Anastacia, Lawrence Welk remixed, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Osborne, more

By Doug Rule
Published on September 2, 2004, 12:00am | Comments

WELK IT UP!... Only ten seconds into the dance remix compilation Upstairs with Larry, the project's theme is made plain. “Ladies and Gentlemen, the big band sounds of Lawrence Welk and his musical family.” Is that the Lawrence Welk, the staid and square talk show host and easy-listening bandleader who your grandmother considered hip? Yes, one and the same. Music producer Kevin Welk is out to make his grandfather hip to his generation. And why not? After the legendary jazz labels Verve and Blue Note successfully opened their vaults to modern-day dance remixers, the real question is: what took Welk Music so long? Even more puzzling: who could have predicted they'd succeed beyond all expectations?

Among the 14 remixes of Lawrence Welk Orchestra standards, there are a couple disasters on Upstairs with Larry, including “Blue Velvet” by Smitty, which brings the album to a disappointing, foggy end. And a couple others, including Physics' “Watch What Happens," do nothing to enliven the mood of the originals. But for every failed opportunity, there are at least two other genuine revelations about just how hip Welk can be today. DJ Keri & DJ 43's “Baby Elephant Safari” is a stampeding delight. Q-Burns Abstract Message's “You Can Dance” is a jolly-good saunter. Dance of a peppy chill-out variety reigns here, which is precisely why it excels -- chill-out is the modern-day variant of Welk's own self-labeled “champagne music.” And no remix will be more appealing to today's hipsters than Dex Dubious' “Bubbles in the Wine.” Featuring a campy ‘50s-era instructional sound bite on just what makes sparkling wine “light and gay,” this is the perfect effervescent party track, of a timeless vintage. “Here as in most things it's not what you drink but how much you drink that affects your appreciation of wine…Let's make it a toast to my new friend, wine.” Cheers!...


Upstairs at Larry's


Prince: Musicology

FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY… Say it ain't so! After dazzling dance-poppers with a winsome club-flavored debut disc, Justin Timberlake may radically change course for his sophomore set and go for a brawny “southern rock” sound akin to Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers, he tells GQ. He also hinted he may not join the rest of *NSync for the planned reunion album, to allow him full concentration on his solo work, not expected until next year. All of which might make us cry a river were we not still bitter about his causing Janet Jackson to take most of the heat for their joint Super Bowl fiasco. So instead, we just feel jaded Kelly Osbourne plans to change course on her sophomore set too, but in the opposite direction. The MTV reality show star -- and daughter of hard-rocker Ozzy -- told BBC Radio 1 that she plans to scale back the hard-rock influence that so characterized last year's Shut Up. Instead, she's aiming for an ‘80s pop sound. The set won't be out before next year, since Osbourne, fresh from drug rehab, is focused at the moment on a new TV drama, Life As We Know It


LEFT OUTSIDE U.S.… Anastacia is well on her way to being one of 2004's best-selling artists in most of Europe, where she has dominated various album and singles charts. What was that? You say you didn't know she had a new album out? Of course you didn't. The self-titled set, a follow-up to 2002's Freak of Nature, hasn't been released in the U.S., and her label, Sony, remains mum about whether it'll ever see a domestic release. One bad sign: it's not included in the label's fall release schedule. Perhaps it's a result of the near-total lack of attention stateside to first single, “Left Outside Alone.” And that's just too bad, since it's the best song of her career so far, featuring her strongest melody and her most restrained vocals…

PARTY LIKE IT'S PRINCE (OR PHARELL)… Those who devote their lives to the recreational study of funky R&B/dance music -- that is, Musicology, Prince style -- have only one place to go this Sunday, September 5, provided they're also looking for something unusual and not so gay. Why do we say LoveSexyDC's “The Dance Electric” September Dance Party is not gay? Because of this announcement from the group: “Dress: Stylish & Sexy (no athletic gear please).” Generally speaking, you don't tell gay people what to wear, and you don't have to. DJ Dredd will spin a battle between Prince tunes and those clearly Prince-inspired sounds of The Neptunes -- that's Chad Hugo and Pharell Williams, the hitmaking producers responsible for Kelis' “Milkshake,” Britney Spears' “I'm A Slave 4 U” and, of course, Pharell's own “Frontin'.” Who will win? New power of soul, no question. The revolution begins at 8 p.m. at Georgetown's Modern nightclub. Cost is $7, which enters you into a raffle for “Prince-ly prizes” and allows you access to “Prince-ly Drink Specials.” Visit for more info…

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