How to tell La Roux from Little Boots - Features - Music - The Independent

How to tell La Roux from Little Boots

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The charts and festivals are bursting with quirky-looking popstrels with weird names and big voices. Confused? Let Gillian Orr be your guide

Without wishing to sound too much like a broken record, aren't the girls doing well in the music world in 2009? A year ago, all we had was Lily, Adele, Amy and Duffy, but now there are swarms of solo female acts assaulting the charts. Why, just this week, another female singer with a pseudonym, Pixie Lott, is at No. 1 in the singles chart with "Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)".

Although they all have their own style of music and a unique look, is anyone else out there struggling to keep up with them all? To make matters even more confusing, no-one seems to go by the name printed on their passport anymore. They all have some sort of quirky moniker attached to them, that was inspired by their favourite movie or song, a nickname or maybe just some other inanimate object that took their fancy. As the market gets more and more saturated, it appears that the only way to stand out from the crowd is to develop an eccentric stage identity, complete with outlandish costumes and hairstyles.

As we wouldn't want anyone to get their Ladyhawke confused with their Lady GaGa, here's a guide to the biggest chanteuses making headlines this summer, some old and some new, but all contributing to an overload of female quirk in your fragile mind.

LA ROUX

AKA

Elly Jackson, 21, from Brixton, South London. There's also her co-writer and co-producer, Ben Langmaid, who is the other half of the duo but tends to stay in the background.

What's in a name?

La Roux is French for "The Redhead".

Sounds like...

Falsetto-laden 80s synth pop. Erasure.

Looks like...

A Flock of Tilda Swintons.

Who's in the crowd?

Pre-"In for the Kill": east London hipsters. Post-"In for the Kill": everyone.

Most likely to...

Watch re-runs of Miami Vice for crucial style tips.

Least likely to...

Play an acoustic set.

Best Track:

"Quicksand".

BAT FOR LASHES

AKA

Natasha Khan, 29, from Brighton

What's in a name?

Apparently, she simply picked some random words that she liked the sound of when put together and which evoked the kind of dark imagery she relishes.

Sounds like...

Folktronic... is that even a word? With a breathy helping of Kate Bush on the side for good measure.

Looks like...

Pocahontas rolled in glitter.

Who's in the crowd?

Topshop hippies.

Most likely to...

Have a serious discussion about Indian stringed instruments with you.

Least likely to...

Be found snuggling up to a footballer in Chinawhite.

Best track:

"What's a Girl to Do".

PIXIE LOTT

AKA

Victoria Lott, 18, from Essex.

What's in a name?

Apparently, her mother always thought she looked like a pixie, so the name stuck. Besides, who ever heard of a pop star called Vicky Lott?

Sounds like...

R&B-tinged soulful pop. Think, dare I say it, Joss Stone.

Looks like...

The sixth member of The Saturdays.

Who's in the crowd?

Fans of Big Brother and the Radio 1 Chart Show.

Most likely to...

Go out with someone from Hollyoaks.

Least likely to...

Be turned down for a US visa following drug allegations.

Best Track:

There's more than one? "Mama Do", I guess.

LADY GAGA

AKA

Stefani Germanotta, 23 (ahem), from New York.

What's in a name?

A huge fan of Queen, she named herself after their song "Radio Ga Ga".

Sounds like...

Electropop that's come from a Scandinavian factory.

Looks like...

Ken in drag as Barbie. Wearing furniture and hair bows.

Who's in the crowd?

Gay men love her. Her recent concert in New York was a Who's Who of the entertainment industry. Even Madonna was there.

Most likely to...

Decide to take up residence on Trafalgar Square's empty fourth plinth, because she's "art".

Least likely to...

Make any sense in interviews.

Best track:

"Poker Face".

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE

AKA

Florence Welch, 22, from South London.

What's in a name?

Well, her name's Florence. The Machine is her ever-changing band.

Sounds like...

Her huge voice will take you on a journey through soul music, from blues to disco.

Looks like...

She favours long floaty dresses that reveal sparkly knickers when she does a handstand on stage.

Who's in the crowd?

The critics love her, so probably a few of them. Kate Moss and Blur's Alex James are fans.

Most likely to...

Give herself an injury by stage-diving into the crowd.

Least likely to...

Be asked to sing louder.

Best track:

"Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)".

LADYHAWKE

AKA

Pip Brown, 29, from New Zealand.

What's in a name?

She is named after the film Ladyhawke, in which Michelle Pfeiffer played a hawk who turns into a beautiful lady by night.

Sounds like...

A love letter to Stevie Nicks. All big synths and guitar riffs.

Looks like...

Double denim, scuffed boots and a pork pie hat. Blunt fringe.

Who's in the crowd?

Plenty of thirty-somethings: perhaps it's nostalgia for the 80s. Kylie and Courtney Love adore her.

Most likely to...

Be called up by Chrissie Hynde to ask for her style back.

Least likely to...

Do a saucy shoot for FHM.

Best Track:

"Paris is Burning".

LITTLE BOOTS

AKA

Victoria Hesketh, 25, from Blackpool.

What's in a name?

The Roman Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was also known as Caligula, or "little boot". Oh, that's cleared it up, then.

Sounds like...

Classic electro. The future of pop?

Looks like...

Kylie Minogue as re-imagined by George Lucas. Plenty of shoulder pads.

Who's in the crowd?

Teenagers and Grazia readers.

Most likely to...

Play a handcrafted Tenori-On while tottering around in scarily high heels.

Least likely to...

Make the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy lose any sleep over the calibre of her rhymes.

Best track:

"Stuck on Repeat".

PALOMA FAITH

AKA

Er, Paloma Faith, 24, from east London.

What's in a name?

Oh Paloma, that's your real name? Didn't you get the memo? Tut.

Sounds like...

Theatrical, edgy soul. Has been compared to Amy Winehouse but mannered.

Looks like...

Dita Von Teese meets Tinkerbell.

Who's in the crowd?

Immaculately dressed retro kids.

Most likely to...

Front an advertising campaign for Agent Provocateur. Previous jobs have included a stint as a burlesque dancer and a magician's assistant.

Least likely to...

Wear a tracksuit.

Best track:

"Stone Cold Sober".

Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week