Sunday, May 29, 2005

Spin Spin Sugar

Ladytron's video for their new single "Sugar" just arrived on their site. Ladytron's "Witching Hour" will be out at the end August.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bite The Hand That Feeds You

When do you drop out of an appearance promoting your new album? When it not doing the gig brings you far more publicity.
Nine Inch Nails dropped out of the MTV Movie Awards after clashing with the network over an image of President Bush the band planned as a performance backdrop.

The Bush image was to accompany the song "The Hand That Feeds," which obliquely criticizes the Iraq war. It includes the lyrics: "What if this whole crusade's a charade / And behind it all there's a price to be paid / For the blood on which we dine / Justified in the name of the holy and the divine."

MTV said in a statement to its news division that the network was disappointed the industrial rock band would not perform but had been "uncomfortable with their performance being built around a partisan political statement."

Given the network's political philosophy (see the mtv "news" coverage of last years election that made fox look like a non-partisan paradise) I was a bit surprised by the turn of events. As odd as this story is with the network's attempt to become apolitical (or at least not transparently left) and people actually talking about music on mtv, it's ultimately Reznor that gets extra points for this zinger.
Reznor said in a statement posted on the band's Web site Thursday that the image of the president would have been unaltered and "straightforward."

"Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me," he said.

Friday, May 27, 2005

We Don't Need No Education

The new video for Fischerspooner's "Never Win" has arrived on the net. Lots of glitchy editing going on along with a look that says something...Elton John maybe?

(link from Mia at electrofreaks)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Being Nobody

BBC recently interviewed Richard X as part of a series profiling major songwriters of recent years. It examines his mash-up past,
The idea, he explains, was "escaping from that world of formatting - which the DJ culture and club culture relies on so much.

"They were supposed to be the future of pop music."

and he's a bit modest about his production abilities on a #1 UK single:
"When we made the Sugababes thing there was a loop, some handclaps, the Sugababes and a semi-broken synthesiser."

"You could probably forget about the synth and as long as you had the Sugababes around at your house, you could recreate that record."

(Thanks to Si for posting this at bimfactor)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Guilt Is A Useless Emotion

When EMI records released a profit warning a couple of months ago when it became known that the new Coldplay album would be released slightly late I took note, but I found Chris Martin’s entirely too sincere response when asked about this last week too much to pass up. As some one who desperate to maintain artistic credibility Martin went on an anti-corporate rant where he called shareholders “the great evil of this modern world". Was it surprising then to see Coldplay's beer company sponsored performance on SNL this past weekend followed by three commercials in a row selling their new album? That’s an unprecedented amount of attention and advertising dollars at work with Coldplay specific ads from itunes, best buy and tower all gracing the same commercial block. Ask Martin, it’s rough dealing with "the slavery that we are all under to shareholders” when they all are supporting your career.
Not to be outdone, Bono has also gone on an outside forces-style rant where he has disowned the released version of “Pop” because U2 apparently rushed the album because they prematurely booked their tour before they had all the ideas worked out. Strange that didn’t come up when you were promoting that album Bono. It’s always good to remind yourself that artistic failure doesn’t come from within.
Since I’m dealing with shocking revelations, corporate responsibility advocate and “Super Size Me” star/director Morgan Spurlock who said “The only agenda I had going in was to make a film that would hopefully cause people to think about how they eat and live their lives.” might be full of it. I’ve suggested that he made the movie primarily as an attempt to further his career and a new lawsuit would support that theory:
The suit, filed at the New York Supreme Court, accuses Spurlock of "engaging in self-interested and wasteful activities" and diverting assets into a new company.

: Hmm, could that be the company producing Spurlock’s new tv show? It’s hard to believe someone so selfless as Spurlock wants to appear would facing lawsuit from someone who supported him early on with a “bet on this long shot”.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Left To My Own Devices

The official Pet Shop Boys site reports that they've made some progress on their new album with some help from an old friend:
Chris and Neil are busy in the studio with producer Trevor Horn working on five tracks for their new album due for release in Spring next year.

Trevor Horn produced "Left to my own devices" and "It's alright" for Pet Shop Boys in 1988/89 and recently produced the song "Numb" for them which was originally intended for the "PopArt" compilation but will now appear on next year's album. At the end of last year Pet Shop Boys appeared in the "Produced by Trevor Horn" show at London's Wembley Arena which also featured Seal, Tatu, Grace Jones and Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Songs being recorded at the moment include "Luna Park", "Casanova in Hell" and "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show". The musical style is described as "electronic and quite epic".

: Epic and electronic are the right direction for the Boy's to take their music and Horn produced a few of my favorite PSB songs along with great tunes from ABC and his own work with Art Of Noise. Not that they've been still too long, but Neil Tennant co-wrote and did the vocals for a Superchumbo track that will be out in a month or two. Not a bad amount activity for a band that had it's first hit twenty years ago.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Madchester Revival

I'll admit to having missed most of the original Madchester craze because I was bit on the young side and on the wrong contentinent, but the current wave of dance rock owes a debt to them and this story from caught my eye:
HAPPY MONDAYS have confirmed their first MANCHESTER date in five years.

The band will play at the Manchester Evening News Arena on October 29, with support from The Farm and Stereo MCs.

: Now that's a bill with some history behind it. I do own The Farm's greatest hits somewhere, since they were an okay band with some good singles that never got around to making a solid album, but I got the impression that they gave up that "being a band" thing long ago. The liner notes to that collection were one of the saddest things I've ever read because they thought of their personal highlight as a band was going on stage before The Stone Roses at a festival. It's never good when you're a supporting act even in your finest hour. Oh, the liner notes also mentioned that they figured out that they were going to be dropped by their label when Madonna failed to show up at one of their gigs. Once again playing second fiddle to someone more famous.
And now for a picture of Bez...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Handing It Over

Is it wrong that I find the new cute Faithless video so much better than latest from Bjork? Done to promote their new greatest hits collection, Faithless have redone "Why Go?" from a couple of albums ago where they've changed vocalists (no more Boy George apparently) and changed around the music (again apparently, can you tell I didn't buy that one?). The video is a fantastic example of taking a basic concept and taking it too the extreme. Essentially it follows a woman who can't stop dancing, and never does throughout the video as we follow her through her about ten years of her life (or about as long as Faithless have been releasing records) and in spite of the changes in her life she remains the herself which is an interesting commentary for a band looking back on their career. The best moment: the look on her face during her wedding.
While Bjork is the one artist I enjoy that translates in the world of video's consistently, but one the Spike Jonze directed video for "Triumph Of A Heart" she jumps the shark. While shooting a video roughly in the style of dogme 95 is usually an idea I endorse which talents like Bjork and Jonze, they ran into a brick wall with the whole Bjork has a complicated relationship with a cat storyline and then backed up to smash themselves to death with the whole dancing cat sequence. Don't get me wrong, part of genius of Jonze is that he's willing to go places he shouldn't, but this was just a bad, bad idea.
Of course, I'm still chuckling about Bjork's "Who Is It?" video from a few months back because I keep conjuring up a vision of record execs saying "now we let you do the whole album with just voices, and we respected your creative freedom, but wouldn't be great if you made an alternate version of the song for the single, maybe with some instruments." Bjork agrees, and three months later the exec ends up with a video of a bell chorus in a field and no instruments to be heard but bells.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Is My Timing That Flawed

Today marks 25 years since the death of the troubled Joy Division singer Ian Curtis at the age of 23. Over the years he has become an iconic member of the tragic rock star club, and there are currently two films being produced about his short life. What are his former band mates doing this week? New Order have been promoting their lightest and most pop-oriented single ever, with the possible exception of their football anthem "World In Motion," in "Jetstream." Considering all the sentiment this week, it's a bit of a surprise that it's the single's guest vocalist Ana Matronic that has been getting all the press. Of course, New Order aren't doing too bad for themselves, fan site NewOrderOnline had half a million hits between March 26th and May 5th, and their sense freedom from the darker sensibilities of Joy Division in releasing pop tracks like "Jetstream" means they are as far out of the shadow that Curtis left behind as they ever will.

That's What I Get

Trent Reznor celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday by making the news suing his manager. If it shakes out that Reznor did actually figure out that he was low on funds just a short while ago it would explain all those rumors about "With Teeth" being recorded in a matter of just a few months (as opposed to the usual years and years). As for his birthday, Reznor shares it with quite an assortment of really talented people like Jordan Knight, Enya, Bob Saget and that kid who played the ten-year old genius who skipped six grades to be in high school with his teenage siblings on "The Smart Guy" but who wasn't quite smart enough to not be on UPN. Where is it that Reznor finds all that angst...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Those Amazing Electro Osbournes

The booker on "Jimmel Kimmel Live" is a mad genius. Last Friday they had Ozzie Osbourne and Fozzie Bear on the same show that saw Erasure as the musical guest. Sharon Osbourne seemed to be enjoying herself chair dancing to Erasure and Ozzie bravely attempted to hold onto his metal cred while Fozzie and his manager Rizzo The Rat got their Muppet groove on between the couple. What can I say? It was a moment that was totally unique.
Kelly Osbourne has her new electropop album due out shortly and the good folks at the Mtv Europe site are streaming it for the next week. I'm still making my way through a first listen, but I'm astonished by how similar some of the tracks on "Sleeping In The Nothing" are to The Bravery. Maybe it's the same lead synth sound but "Redlight" and "Edge Of Your Atmosphere" left me double checking to make sure I opened the right file. All in all, Kelly's album isn’t nearly as bad as it should be. It's good to have enough money to hire Linda Perry.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Somehow I ended up on an industrial specialty store's mailing list (I don't know how since I've never bought anything from them or gave them my email address) and in their latest update which had info about a new Front 242 dvd they described as the product as the "LIVE DVD fromone of the continuing frontrunners of electronic music!" Having heard Front 242's recent material I can safely say it's not running in front of anything.
Now consider this quote from a review at industrial mag Regen:
Though, the problem is that those who know better just can’t get the trailblazing bands of the ‘80s out of our minds and can’t stand the extreme overflow of clones in today’s scene.

: While the review is a slam at the modern synthpop scene (with some decent points about the scene's mentality), tell me this doesn't completely apply to the offspring of industrial. The superiority complex of rivetheads confounds me.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Times Change

I was reading an article about a NIN's new album debuting at the top spot on the US charts and in the process learned a bit more about the downsizing of American Bizkit fans:
Limp Bizkit, one of the few artists ever to achieve a million-copy sales week, was an afterthought on the Billboard 200 with its new seven-song EP, The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1). The seven-song disc, which admittedly got little or no label promotion, sold 37,000 copies at number 24 bow. Just two years ago, the group sold 325,000 first-week copies of Results May Vary, which was considered a relative disappointment at the time.

: Oddly enough I did have a request for the Limp boys during my college radio electronica show before they opened the floodgates to rap-metal mania, but it was from some girl who called all the station's guy djs, regardless of what genre they played, so it's not like she was actually listening to the music. Let's hope we're out of that cycle of music for a good long while...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Techno Cow Bell

Arron of the modern synthpop group Eight To Infinity recently bought a slightly used 808 drum machine only to randomly discover that it originally belonged to 808 State. Apparently the seller of the boom box told him that it had been left at his house "by some guy called gerald," which turns out to be A Guy Called Gerald who was an early member of 808 State. Here it is today and with Graham Massey recording with it in the late 80's.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Maybe I've Forgotten

Apparently years of drug abuse haven't been kind to Bernard Sumner's memory. Here are some pictures of his autocue lyric prompter taken by some members of NewOrderOnline at recent gigs.

Just a note, but it's likely that one of the pictures has been photoshopped a bit to play with autocue’s content.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Getting Smaller

When Barcode is on point they express what I haven't been able to put into words. Take a look at some of their recent review of VNV Nation's new album:

Emerging like a rat from the infestation of Industrial music, VNV calculated that to be different from their forever-unevolving contemporaries, they would have to do something distinctive. Hence the creation of their “Futurepop” sound, whereupon industrial aggro is watered down into repetitive melodies and a House beats.

: "Forever-unevolving" is exactly why I didn't look back (too much) when I left my interest in the industrial/ebm scene to the past a little over 10 years ago. What I loved about the music is that it had a vision that was different even apart from the "dark" and "scary" nature of the genre. Industrial was music that was going somewhere; this was a genre that was progressing. In the past decade it's gone almost nowhere. Now groups like VNV and Covenant have tried to add elements from trance and drum 'n' bass to the mix, but it is reliance on the genre's cannon that have left it stagnant for far too long. Of course the blame could be placed on the relative silence and stumbling of the genre's mainstream stars like NIN, Ministry and KMFDM, but the blind leading the blind into repetitive mediocrity should shoulder the weight of the burden.
Speaking of NIN, Trent's got a new record out. I once was a massive fan, but my taste and my perception of "The Fragile"'s quality (all I read were raving reviews, even if it seems to be critically disowned this time around) have tempered my enthusiasm to near nothing. It was something of a shock to me that the new single "The Hand That Feeds" is strong enough to rekindle some of that passion. Having listened to "With Teeth" I'm afraid that I won't be returning to the NIN-fold too soon. There are a few tracks that have spark, but tracks like "You Know Who You Are?" are warmed over echoes of previous efforts without the passion. If the pre-release rumors of this being the final NIN album that might not be such a bad thing. Maybe Trent needs a new avenue to grow his music.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Kelly-Mania Lives

Famed baseball cap wearing Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys just chatted with the folks of Skrufff newsletter about their new "Back To Mine" compilation and in the process proved that Dave of isn't the only one spreading the gospel of Kelly Osbourne's electro makeover.

Chris Lowe:"...The best thing though is when you’ve just bought a record that you can’t wait to play, then DJing is so much fun….Do you like the Kelly Osbourne record?”

Skrufff: I’ve not heard it.

Chris Lowe: “I really like it. The verse is Visage – Fade To Grey, but then it goes into a really catchy chorus which is unexpected. It’s really good.”

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Podcasting On The Radio?

I'm always interested in radio, and this is unique. From sfgate:

Next month, Infinity will convert an underperforming station in San Francisco to a format that will play only "podcasts," or amateur recordings distributed via the Internet to listeners' iPods and other digital music players.
Infinity, which is part of the Viacom Inc. media conglomerate that also owns CBS and MTV, announced Wednesday that it would convert its KYCY-AM station in San Francisco to the new format on May 16...
Joel Hollander, the CEO of Infinity, said the station, which would be promoted under the name KYOURADIO, would run material submitted by listeners but screened to make sure it conforms with federal broadcasting standards for decency.
Hollander described the format change as something of an "experiment," but he said the company had not decided how long it would try it before deciding whether to keep it. He said the station won't charge or pay for the podcasts contributed by listeners.

: It is worth mentioning that the article also talks about how the stations current format doesn't even register an Arbitron rating.

Downloading Gangs

I'm not sure if I find it more troubling that this new law was passed as rider on the user's rights oriented Family Entertainment and Copyright Act or that I had heard nothing about it until I saw something in the UK press. Here's the gist from cnet:

The law had drawn some controversy because it broadly says that anyone who has even one copy of an unreleased film, software program or music file in a shared folder could be subjected to prison terms and fines of up to three years. Penalties would apply regardless of whether that file was downloaded or not.
...The law's stiff penalties apply to "audiovisual" works, music and software that are "being prepared for commercial distribution." It's not clear how that would apply to fans who redistribute video files of TV shows aired in other countries first, or movies like Shaolin Soccer and Japanese anime flicks that can take years to arrive in the U.S. market.

: I don't know why anyone would ever think that lawmakers are just out to help business when there are violent crimes with smaller penalties. I found the most puzzling quote justifying the bill in the nme article:
Dan Glickman, president of the MPAA said: “There is evidence that criminal gangs use this kind of theft to support and expand their criminal enterprises.”
: So this is really about helping curb the gang problem. It all makes sense now...