Thursday, December 09, 2004

Like A Motorway

With the last of my birthday money from last month in my hands I had the chance to visit a proper record store today. Rasputin’s in San Lorenzo stands so far ahead of the any competition on the other side of the bay, with so much more selection available than anything on the mid-peninsula. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tower, but they always mark their prices up after Thanksgiving , don’t do order rarer electronic stuff or singles and don’t have a decent used section. It’s times like this that I miss living in San Jose. Sure there are no decent clubs, but at least they have plenty of record stores (many of them open late).
My find of the day was in the random used bin where I discovered a copy of Electroset’s rave makeover of “Blue Monday.” I’ve been looking for the single off and on since it first came out nearly fifteen years ago and this was the first time I had seen it. Still it wasn’t as strange as the last time I was in Rasputin’s and found the same Moby cd I had reviewed for my college radio station with my handwriting still on part of it (I couldn’t tell you if they sold it to the store or someone stole it from the station though). Oddly enough one of the mixes on the Electroset single was ahead of it’s time, mashing-up Kraftwerk’s “Tour De France” with “Blue Monday.” I always appreciate old rave music that knows it’s roots.
Maybe I was just in nostalgic mood (or maybe the price was right) but I also picked up Saint Etienne’s new singles collection “Travel Edition.” I used to love Saint Etienne so much, played them to death on my old radio show, but their last three albums just haven’t been where my interests are these days. My biggest faults with the album are that they included too many of the wrong tracks at the expense of other, better singles. Strokes of pop genius like “You’re In A Bad Way” didn’t make the cut, but filler like “Goodnight Jack,” and self-indulgent meandering like “How We Used To Live” (all eight and half minutes of it) made the compilation. The lack of conventional sense is one of the reasons I was drawn to the band in the first place, but it gets a little frustrating when they try attempt to convey a legacy while leaving out some of my favorite parts. The other odd thing about the collection is that the only new track looks to be a Sarah Cracknell solo track since it’s written without the other band members and produced , programmed and mixed by the tracks co-writers. That being said, there is tons of great music on it, and they made some great moves working with Franz Ferdinand (now rumored to be working on the new New Order album) producer Tore Johansson and getting the colder Ladytron/Adult. side of electro clashright on the money back in 2000 with the even better now “Heart Failed (In The Back Of A Taxi).“ Still you never want to see something you used to love drift apart from you when you wish they did things your way.
Of course what I was really looking for today I couldn't find. Scissor Sisters "Remixed!" album just isn't anywhere except online stores. From what I can find, it looks like it's just not getting any decent distribution because it's out on the SS's original indie label A Touch Of Class which just doesn't have the set up. Too bad.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Post With Link To Free Music Download (You Know You Want It)

I’ve been in the mood to post something clever recently, but sadly I have no clever thoughts for you. Instead the itunes release of the new Chemical Brothers single “Galvanize” has me thinking about the “electronica revolution of ‘97” and the artists I supported back when I was doing college radio. 2004 has been a troubling year for bands and artists that I was into back before they got major label deals and broke out (kinda) into commercial radio play and press coverage. The Crystal Method dropped the disappointing Legion Of Boom, Orbital went out with a whimper on “Blue Album,” Prodigy’s “Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned” didn’t get off the ground, and Fatboy Slim’s “Palookaville” is something of a disaster (admittedly with a great song in “Wonderful Night“). Really the only non-electro/synthpop electronica album I’ve loved from the past year is Ferry Corsten’s “Right Of Way” so I’m pretty happy that the Propellerheads still haven’t gotten around to releasing their second album (promised for a fall ‘04 release). Better to write off ‘04 as an off year for the big beaters of the “electronica revolution.” Things are looking up though, “Galvanize” sounds pretty good on the first week of listening although it sounds more “underground” than I would expect from the Brothers at this point in their career. From what I’ve read, both their album and the new Moby album are going to be full of vocal tracks which is a step in the right direction and I think they’ve got the songwriting skills to make it work. It should be interesting to see if it works, because I’ve just read an article about the superstar trance djs now going all “rock” which could be final signal of death for electronica as we’ve known it. Time will tell.
I was rather happy to see the Color Theory update on the message boards because it cleared up some confusion I had. Brandon Flowers, the singer for The Killers, has talked about how he spent the 90’s in a synthpop band called Blush Response and formed The Killers after being dumped by the band when they moved to LA without him. I’ve been looking over the past few months for any information about the band since they were a modern synthpop band and the scene isn’t very big. All I could find is that Flowers was also in another band Subversion that released one song on a compilation (“Electricity” on Ninthwave Records). But here comes the Color Theory update offering a free download of Blush Response’s “Your Sinister Heart” demo because it was produced by Brian of CT. Come to find out they sound pretty good, but never got past doing a couple of sets of demos. It’s well worth checking out and more polished than the Subversion track if you’re interested.
I was going to say something witty about something inane but it’s a cheap shot that I am so beyond…