Thursday, October 27, 2005

Best Band Breakup Ever!

To borrow a phrase from Iron Maiden (by way of Maxx Klaxxon) if you're going to die, die with your boots on. Brit rockers Alfie just announced thier breakup in a blaze of bitter glory taking parting shots at Crazy Frog and announcing they had more talent in a single note of their songs than "ten thousand James Blunt albums." They topped off their final rant with this sentiment:
It's hard to keep faith that "everything'll be alright", (which has been my mantra from day one), when it feels, ultimately, like no-one's listening

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


During the promotion of "100th Window" Massive Attack announced that they would be releasing back-to-back albums within the year. That was back in 2003 and the collective's sole standing founding member Robert 3-D Del Naja is finally realizing his plans:

"Been a fertile year. Lots of new recordings and talented people been in and out of our studio which has become home now. I have been trying out new and old techniques and have come up with a new gothic soul direction.

"We have recorded vocals on about 5 tracks and have vocals to put down on at least 15 before Xmas, which is drawing horrifically close."

: In his defense he was sidetracked a bit. About a month after "100th Window" was released 3-D was charged (and later completely cleared) regarding child pornography in some strange sting that charged Pete Townshend too (also later cleared). Massive Attack recently resurfaced with the "Danny The Dog"/"Unleashed" (depending on which country you live in) soundtrack last year, but it's good to see them get down to business. The album is expected to feature some familar vocalists like Horace Andy and Liz Frazer, but I wonder how 3-D can call "gothic soul" a new direction for his music? That sounds exactly like his brand of trip hop to me.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Punk To Funk

David Byrne is writing a musical about Imelda Marcos with Fatboy Slim:

'Here Lies Love' will examine Mrs Marcos' passion for music and nightclubs. It's set to premiere in March 2006, reports the BBC.

Billed as "a timeless story with more contemporary resonances than are comfortable", it will take its bow at Australia's Adelaide Festival...

"She loved the nightlife in all parts of the world, and in New York at Studio 54, so much so that she installed a disco in her NYC townhouse," an Adelaide Festival spokesman said.

"It was a non-stop party, featuring politicians, arms dealers, financiers, artists, musicians and the international jet set."

'Here Lies Love' was the brainchild of Byrne, who has written the music with Fatboy Slim. The show will be directed by Marianne Weems, artistic director of New York ensemble The Builders' Association, as "a multimedia extravaganza".

: Byrne has been taking plenty of interest in electronic music in recent years doing vocals on "Lazy" for Xpress and writing lyrics for the recent Fischerspooner album. These moves away from the world beat sound that dominated his musical direction in the 90s couldn't come at better a time considering Byrne and Talking Heads inflence on rock-turned-dance acts like LCD Soundsystem and The Juan MacLean.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Warsaw Returns

New Order just did an all Joy Division set at the John Peel Day concert that included the first song the band wrote together. The gig is to be rebroadcast later today on Radio 1 which means it will most likely be available in their archive for the next week starting tomorrow. NewOrderOnline reports this as the setlist:

1) Transmission.
2) She's Lost Control
3) Shadowplay
4) Love Will Tear Us Apart
5) Atmosphere
6) Warsaw

: Bizzarely they were introduced by Fergeal Sharkey!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Now that it's a week before the release of "Playing The Angel" Depeche Mode reviews are starting to appear everywhere and you can even stream the album in a couple of places so the hype continues. I've given the album a few good listens and it's a solid album that has grown on me with each listen. If "Precious" wasn't indication enough, I can safely say at this point that the surefire alt-pop sense of "Violator" when even b-sides like "Sea Of Sin" & "Dangerous" sounded like hits is something the band will never regain. The album is more of a return to the mid-80's flirting with industrial and all things goth sound that they had down.
The most shocking thing I've found in the album's reviews is the fond memories critics seem to have of "Exciter." Arjan Writes refers to that album as "critically-acclaimed" and PlayLouder use "much-underrated" to describe the album I've rarely seen defended by even the most hardcore Depeche fans. I just don't get it. Ever since it's release in 2001 I've pulled "Exciter" out every six months or so to see if I missed something, but I still end up turning it off before the halfway point and despite the many second chances I've given it, it's still one of my least listen to albums that I've ever bought. There are two songs "Dream On" and "Freelove" that are fantastic, but the rest... It's not that I don't think that Mark Bell can't produce since Bjork's "Homogenic" is a fantastic album, but there is no passion and Gore admitted that he only wrote the record to appease his record company who hired a small production team to assist his writing process. The lifelessness of that album is just deadening and it's great to find that DM have found a new lease on life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I See The Mothership Coming

I stumbled into an interesting documentary on PBS about George Clinton and the Parliament/Funkadelic empire he created that dug a bit deeper than the average VH1 special. The doc's site gives a little background and an idea of their angle:

Ultimately, Clinton morphed his core band members into multiple groups on multiple record labels, something no one had ever done. The band also created an alternate reality in which young P-Funk fans, especially African American males, could imagine themselves. George Clinton developed a mythology about “brothers” from another planet who came to liberate earth from the restrictions of Puritanical morality. It was a concept that allowed P-Funk’s fans to transcend the confines of their neighborhood and imagine themselves as citizens of a much larger universe.

: Highlights include the props given to Bernie Worrell and his pioneering use of synths for the baseline of "Flash Light", admitting that part of Clinton's continuing influence was his business sense, and interviewing Ice Cube about gangsta rap while he sits in an office. Here's a link to postage stamp-sized clip of the Mothership landing.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

You Got To Help Me Out

The Killers just let it slip that they will be working on their new album with Flood and Alan Moulder. You can take this as a sign that Brandon Flowers is following his roots in modern synthpop and working with former Depeche Mode producers or that the rest of the band was excited to work with people who have hit records all over their resumes (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nail, U2, etc...). The band's drummer offers some thoughts that suggest they don't plan to fade into the night:

"We want to take our time with this one, make sure everything's right, we've earned the right to do that with this album, " he explained adding, "We can't wait to get back into the garage, hammer out ideas for songs, go out for dinners together, work on the new album."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Clarke Connection

The review of Andy Bell's "Crazy" single suggests something of a competition between former Vince Clarke collaborators, specifically talking about the timing with new Depeche Mode album, and I think it might be on to something. While I think Clarke is busy doing a one-off single with Larry Tee or something to that effect (my memory is a bit fuzzy at the moment) there are a shocking number of releases from Clarke collaborators arriving within a couple months of each other. Chances are you may have heard of the Andy Bell and Depeche Mode albums out this month, but September also saw new material from Martyn Ware, who has done a couple of experimental albums with Vince, in the form of Heaven 17's "Before/After." Yazoo/Yaz collaborator Alison Moyet's "Voice" album just arrived in the US last month and she's got a new live DVD out in the UK and that covers everyone Clarke has done albums with. What's next? New material from Paul Quinn and Feargal Sharkey?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

It's There

Damon Album has revealed the secret to breaking through in the US:

"We wouldn't be as successful as we are in America if we weren't a cartoon band," he declared. "You can't be white and from London and produce hip hop - it's illegal actually, in America."