Saturday, July 30, 2005

If Madonna Calls

The new Madonna album is expected out in a few months and at least the lead single is produced by one of my favorites:

’Hung Up’ will be the first track to be lifted from the forthcoming LP ’Confessions On A Dancefloor’, which is expected this autumn.

According to, the song was produced by Stuart Price aka Jacques Lu Cont, who is currently in Los Angeles mixing the album with the singer.

: It's about time Madonna let Price loose in the studio since he has worked with her on recent tours and co-wrote a song that, under the direction of rival(?) producer Mirwais, was mysteriously featured in an unplugged version on "American Life." It could be that Madge may just now realizing what a talent he is since he has been just about everywhere in the past year producing New Order and Juliet as he continues working his magic remixing Gwen Stefani and Fischerspooner with versions that are superior to the originals. Have I sold out my "alternative/electro/underground" side with the hope that it will turn out better than NO's "Jetstream"?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Something I Can Never Have

Thanks to TVT Records financial troubles you can own the rights to NIN's first album. Details from the MTV Europe site:

‘Pretty Hate Machine' is part of an overall biddable package that also includes the rights to the Television's ‘Greatest Hits' compilations and the ‘Mortal Kombat' movie soundtracks. In addition, the highest bidder will be able to collect a percentage on future sales of Nine Inch Nails' other TVT-related releases, including ‘Broken', ‘Fixed', 'The Downward Spiral' and ‘Further Down the Spiral'.

: Reznor spent years complaining about his treatment at TVT and even blamed it for silencing NIN before he released "Broken" (in retrospect the three year gap between releases was rather quick by NIN standards) so it would be interesting to see if he attempts to join a party making a bid.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Download USA

The move towards UK style festivals in the US in the wake of the success of events like Coachella continues with the announcement of the Download Festival making it's first American appearance:

The Killers will headline the first U.S. edition of the U.K.'s successful Download Festival, has learned. The event will be held Oct. 8 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., and will also boast performances by Modest Mouse, the Arcade Fire, Doves, H.I.M. and Mindless Self Indulgence.

Like the U.K. version of the event, which drew 150,000 people this year to London's Donnington Park, the U.S. edition will offer cutting-edge technology and media experiences.

: The festival is actually just about a fifteen minute drive away for me since the Shoreline is located on the backyard of Google's offices just down the way on the San Francisco Peninsula, but they have to sweeten the deal a bit more before I'll shell out as much as they are charging. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see The Killers and Doves but they've both been through town at much smaller venues that charged less in the past year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


NME report that Prodigy expect to have a new studio album out in 2006:

Despite the huge gap between 1997’s ‘The Fat Of The Land’ and last year’s ‘Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’, Liam Howlett said a new studio album will be out by the end of next year.

He said: “Now we’re back together as three people, being on the road is a good place to write music. I write on my laptop, so we’ve been playing new tracks.”

He added: “We were going to put loads of new tracks on the best of but we thought that some of the tracks deserve to be part of the new album. They’ll take a few more
months to get right, but we’re thinking end of next year.”

: As always is the case with Howlett it is best to take this news with a grain of salt because Howlett's attempts at putting a timetable on his own creative output are rarely accurate with the predicted 2002 release of "Always Outnumbered" being just one example. Hopefully this burst of creative energy means Howlett's in a more inspired place than he was on the last album.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


The new DM single was leaked to the internet today, and at least one source thinks it's part of a damage control campaign since so many Depeche fan still have a bad taste from the disappointing "Exciter." The story from Side-Line:

The new single from Depeche Mode, "Precious", is out on the online streets. Since last night the track and an unedited version of the video have quickly spread in the close circle of Depeche Mode fans worldwide. Side-Line contacted one of the maintainers of a server offering the track late yesterday evening, he told Side-Line: "So far we have had over 11.000 requests for the track and it looks like it is going up very fast every minute." Asked where the track got leaked from, he said: "All looks like the leaks came from people from the band's label seeing the quality of the leaked material, especially the video. And if there was any doubt, the speed of how this download got 'known' to the outside world just convinces me even more that this is a promo stunt. Most sources online were fed almost simultaneously, a fan would have a daytime job doing this..." The track is the first single to be taken from the upcoming Depeche Mode album, "Playing The Angel", to be released on October 17th and lets us hear a Depeche Mode that has improved tremendously soundwise compared to the rather disappointing "Exciter" album. If it can be compared with previous Depeche Mode material, one should say a mix between "Ultra" and "Violator", at least for this first track.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Flipping past mtv this evening I had a bit of shock because their "You Hear It First" extended artist profile was about Annie. I don't know that I've ever seen an electropop video on mtv, but that was a pleasant surprise. You stream the profile from the mtv site so long as it's still up and also read through an interview where Annie discusses the mood of her music:

She dismisses the touch of melancholy in tunes like "Heartbeat" and "My Best Friend," insisting that she's keeping things upbeat. "For me, it's really easy to write depressive songs," she said, "and that's why I never do that. I try to do songs that are a bit happier and a bit more complicated. I think there are too many songwriters writing sad, depressive songs, and I find it really boring, listening to music where people are just complaining. People should stop whining!

"Right now I'm doing pop — kind of electronic pop music, with a twist of disco. But maybe the next album will be more like a country album," she laughed. "You never know!"

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Mobile Village

When not watching "MTV's The 70's House" where kids talk about their dance instructor as that guy who "worked with John Travolta on that movie, um, that was highly regarded as a classic of that era" I like to keep up with what's happening to that decade's stars:

Victor Edward Willis, the original policeman in the 1970s music group the Village People, was arrested by real police who allegedly found a gun and drugs in his convertible.

Willis, who co-wrote disco hits such as "Macho Man" and "In the Navy" before leaving the Village People in the late 1970s, was taken into custody Monday after an officer stopped his Chevrolet Corvette.

Police said Willis didn't have a valid license or identification and at first lied about his name and residence. Inside the car, the officer found a .45-caliber handgun as well as rock cocaine and drug paraphernalia, police said.

Traces of cocaine and other paraphernalia were also found his home at a mobile home park in Daly City, just south of San Francisco, police said. Willis also had an outstanding felony warrant for possession of narcotics.

: Having spent two lovely years living in the constant cold fog of Daly City as it turned my car's once spotless paint job into rust I had forgotten there even was a trailer park in the town. At least he got out before the band hit the county fair circuit.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Festival Wrap Up

It's music festival season in Europe and while it's the place to be musically I still enjoy watching from a distance. Interestingly, it's Las Vegas' The Killers, and their singer Brandon Flowers (who spent his pre-Killers days in the micro-internet scene of Modern Synthpop) that have been getting the most attention. Here is nme's take on the Oxegen Festival:

The day belonged to The Killers. Though only third on the bill, the Las Vegas favourites drew the biggest ever crowd at the festival with 40,000 adoring fans – at a conservative estimate – thronging the main stage to see them. Such was their appeal, that all the other stages suffered with just handfuls collected to watch when The Killers were in action.

: in Scotland's T In The Park it was Flowers who got the attention of the press again during New Order's set:

Flowers joined the band for 2001 single ’Crystal’. The band in the video for the song were called The Killers.

The band also dedicated the Joy Division classic ’Atmosphere’ to the people of London after the recent bomb attacks on the city.

Bassist Peter Hook said: “There was just no need for that, no need for that at all.” He had earlier told NME.COM: ”It’s really scary. It shows what a rotten world we live in.”

He also praised Scottish audiences, saying: “They seem to love us, even after some of the dodgy shows we’ve played here! They don’t bottle us anyway.”

: The same festival saw Flower's "rivals" play in what I assume was poorly received set as well:
THE BRAVERY have paid tribute to the local culture during their controversial T IN THE PARK appearance this afternoon (July 10).

The band began their set with a full Scottish marching band, complete with bagpipes and drums, who played several traditional songs before joining in with The Bravery’s material.

”It’s awesome, I’ve always wanted to play with bagpipes my whole life,” singer Sam Endicott explained. “And I must say I’ve never seen better bottle throwing in my life!”

However the link up with the be-kilted ones proved more difficult to pull off then the band first hoped.

Initially a police band were booked but they were then called-up to reinforce security at the nearby G8 summit, then The Bravery’s late arrival on site after their plane was delayed meant they had little time to practice with the pipers.

The late arrival also saw the band’s set dramatically cut short, as the plug was pulled as the band tried to play closing song ’Unconditional’ leaving The Bravery to helplessly apologise to disappointed fans.

: T also brought some shocking news as well. The writer's block prone Liam Howelett has some new songs less than a year after the cool reception of “Always Outnumbered…”:

Liam commented: “Now we’re back on the road as a trio we’ve been coming up with new tunes. I write tunes on my laptop. We’d play gigs before but weren’t coming up with new stuff.”

: Perhaps my prediction of that band's demise was premature. Time will tell.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bad Press

I first saw this story on Thursday evening:

London was the scene of carnage Thursday after a series of deadly blasts but American R&B crooner Omarion, who suffered no injury or inconvenience, wants people to pray for him.

“Omarion was in London during the tragic bombings that struck this morning,” a statement by the singer’s publicist AR PR Marketing, released hours after the bombings, said.

Making no mention of the fatalities or casualties of the blasts, the singer’s statement concluded, “He would like his fans to pray that he has a safe trip and a safe return home. He appreciates your support.”

...his publicist Shana Gilmore told Reuters from Los Angeles. Asked why anyone should pray for him, Gilmore said, “He wasn’t hurt or anything, but just the fact that he was there and all that.”

: I assumed it was the work of an overactive publicist and I may have been right according to this follow up story that details Omarion's people denouncing the story as a hoax going on to explains that "his publicist" had a degree of separation or two from the singer with her own poor sense of appropriateness:

Gilmore, whom Omarion's camp said "is not known to the artist," works for AR PR Marketing. But to, even she denied working with Omarion. She said Reuters misquoted and misidentified her.

"This kind of sucks," Gilmore told "I didn't make those quotes. This is sad and it hurts."

Presumably, though, not as much as Londoners are hurting.

Friday, July 08, 2005


My heart goes out to all those who have felt the effects of yesterday's bombing in London. Most everyone I know online who live in the area have checked in, and while I've always known it is a small world I was totally shocked to find that one of my best friend's sister was four blocks away from one of the explosions while on a school trip. I found the following response to the attacks from the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, reprinted on the Pet Shop Boys site and found it touching.

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city.

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Storm Blows Itself Out

PSB fans should recognize Pete Gleadall as the 3rd Pet Shop Boy who has been credited with programming on most of the bands records for the past decade and has even been out to help the Neil and Chris play deejay sets, so I found it odd when I was reading an article about Live 8 that used him for the story's only quotation, and it was about the weather:

Some workers setting up scaffolding and sound systems lamented the unusually rainy weather that has plagued the Russian capital for the past week.

"Well, it has been (awful), but it is getting better," said Pete Gladdel, a sound engineer for the Pet Shop Boys. "I think it's rained for the day and then it's going to be nice from now on we're hoping."

It was so random that I had to take note of it. I imagine my fifteen minutes of fame will be as well spent.
As for the Boys' performance, aol has essentially ignored the Moscow portion of the concert with a chance to see parts of it if you tune into the repeating global stream and wait for it show up again, so I've only seen "Go West" at this point. It was different from any other take on the song I've heard and that impressive in my book because they only rehearsed for five days before taking to the (almost) global stage.
In the spirit of Live 8 I leave you with this taken from a wrap up of the Canadian portion of the concert:
Apparently, there weren't too many Celine Dion fans at Park Place. When Ackroyd and Tom Green introduced the Quebec pop diva, the jeers were so loud that it drowned out the co-hosts.

Reach The Understanding

For the next week you can stream Röyksopp's new album "The Understanding" by launching a player by way of vh1. Based on my first listen it's an album that is well worth getting excited about featuring electropop songs that soar and instrumentals with purpose. In other words it's much better than I feared from my initial reaction to the first single...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Oh La La

With only eight months until the album is released in the US, the video for Goldfrapp's "Ooh La La" just showed up online and you can see by way ofnme.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

What A Beautiful Situation

After failing to get his initial solo album, which would eventually turn into "Other People's Songs," off the ground, Andy Bell's solo career just got some good news:

Erasure frontman Andy Bell has signed a worldwide solo recording deal with Sanctuary Records, and announced details of his debut album, which will be released on 3rd October 2005, and entitled 'Electric Blue'.

The first single release will be 'Crazy', released on September 26th. The single will come on three formats, with club remixes from Erasure partner Vince Clarke, plus Cicada, MHC and King Roc...

The album features 14 brand new tracks, including two duets, with Claudia Brucken (of Propaganda and Act) and Jake Shears (of Scissor Sisters), and encompasses a variety of musical genres.

'Electric Blue' was co-written and recorded throughout 2004 and 2005 with Manhattan Clique (Philip Larsen & Chris Smith)...

Live dates are being planned for late 2005/early 2006, and the trio are also planning a series of PA's and DJ gigs around album release.

: Bell has also worked with Manhattan Clique to remix the upcoming Goldfrapp single "Ohh La La" where he added aditional vocals. The man's keeping busy for someone who had hip replacement surgery in the past few years.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Vanishing Point

New Order have a DVD collecting their videos due out this fall and the fanatics over at NewOrderOnline got their hands on a tracklisting. Here it is with what I remember of what I've seen.

Confusion Fantastic! The video reenacts how the band fine tuned the song by taking it down to the disco and seeing how it did on the dance floor. Bernard (I think) sports some short shorts and even back in the day Arthur Baker was one huge dude.
The Perfect Kiss Quite possibly the best performance video of an electronic song. Great frog samples.
State of the Nation
Bizarre Love Triangle Bouncing!
True Faith A Daft Punk video before there were Daft Punk videos.
Touched By The Hand Of God Take a silly concept like NO dressing up like Bon Jovi and intercut with a rape(?) scene? Art from the director who would go on to make “Point Break.”
Blue Monday ‘88 Wasn’t that good, but I remember objects and bold use of colors that come across as very 80's at this point.
Fine Time Bedtime fun time for the kids!
Round & Round I think is the one with the models staring at the camera, great stuff.
Run It’s been awhile but I remember something about a street corner and becoming quickly annoyed.
World In Motion Football hooligans and Barney in an Elvis jumpsuit.
Regret Split screen with lots of edits, one of my favorite videos.
Ruined In A Day I’ve only seen clips of this and if it’s got subtitles then I can’t wait to see the whole thing.
World Best use of band member cameos. Some of the best use of long takes and slow-ish motion ever used in the music video format.
Spooky My pick for the worst New Order single ever had a video?
Crystal Received a lot of notice lately because of The Killers connection, but a bit too much like that first Blues Traveler video.
60 Miles An Hour I’ve only seen this once and it was truly horrible.
Here To Stay Was this on the CD single or something because it sounds vaguely familiar. Not a good sign that I don’t remember a thing about it.
Krafty Like Pulp’s “Do You Remember The First Time?” video, but with more kissing.
Jetstream I have this horrible feeling that they approved the pitch after seeing that recent U2 video and saying hell we should be playing surrounded by computer animation too. Oh, why did they even bother putting Anna Mantronic in the video if she’s not actually interacting with the band or really with the videos concept?
Waiting For The Sirens’ Call

Round & Round – USA/Patty
Regret – Baywatch
Crystal – Gina Birch version

Temptation (from 3.16)

Ceremony (dir. by Yu Likwai)
Temptation (dir. by Michael H. Shamberg)


Born and raised in beautiful San Jose, California my day got a bit better when I heard this news earlier today:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that the South Bay city has overtaken Detroit to become the 10th largest city in the country, with a population estimated at 904,522. San Francisco continues to be in 14th place, with 744,230 residents.

: While I now live on the Peninsula now, I can't help feel a bit of family responsibility for this trend because my grandparents left Detroit in the late 50's to move with my mom to San Jose. Of course, why no one knows where San Jose probably stems from this part of the story:

The other cities in the top 10 all have high-profile sports teams. San Jose has only the Sharks -- who joined the rest of the National Hockey League in missing all of last season because of a lockout -- but for years has been trying to lure a Major League Baseball team from San Francisco or Oakland.

: Just in case you're into checking links I am well aware of the irony of using a San Francisco newspaper as my reference in a story about San Jose, but the Mercury News wants people to register to read their stories. At least they're not still charging $10 a month like they did when they first went online...