Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hey Annie

The BBC has done a three part audio documentary about the career of Anne Dudley. The first section looked at her meeting Trevor Horn, arranging ABC's "Lexicon Of Love" and how the emerging sampling technology shaped the sound of Art Of Noise. The second segment is up this week and explores Dudley's second career scoring film and television which led to her winning an Oscar. Listen here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Richard X Producing PSB

Richard X's site offers some encouraging news:
A brand new Pet Shop Boys track now in the bag for some future release. Speculate away. Update: No more emails please, it's a new track , not a remix, i'm sure the boys will announce all soon...Update 2: It's called Fugitive and will be released on the second disc of the new Pet Shop Boys album "Fundamental"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Announcing Electro Downloaded Podcast

Regular readers have probably caught on that I've caught the podcasting bug and recently I found my way around my two main problems: cost and legality. Electro Downloaded is my solution, a podcast version of an mp3 blog that brings songs to your pod catcher song by song. It’s a bit like some popular pocasts available on itunes but without the focus on creative commons artists (who are, no offense, mostly amateurs) instead taking downloads from legitimately hosted mp3s by artists of note. The podcast follows my taste and currently I’ve got downloads from Mylo, The Juan Maclean, Carmen Rizzo, Prodigy, Sia, and Out Hud up with more to come. Subscribe with itunes, the rss feed or those unfamiliar with the technology can click on the pod cast player link at the PodcastAlley page to listen.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Free Download: Bitter:Sweet- The Mating Game

Kiran Shahani and singer Shana Halligan comprise Bitter:Sweet and you can download the title track to their album "The Mating Game" here. The song highlights the electro-lounge style that Shahani's former project, Supreme Beings Of Leisure, excelled at and if you were to visit the band's myspace page you might be convinced that Bitter:Sweet have an exciting album on the way. Sadly the album as a whole is something of a mess. Stream it here to hear for yourself.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Give Me Every Little Thing

The Juan Maclean is playing South By Southwest and is celebrating by offering a free download on the festival's site. Download "Give Me Every Little Thing" here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Different Kind Of Smart

The new Pet Shop Boys "I'm With Stupid" was played on Swedish radio earlier this week and Popjustice offers instruction for the interested fan willing to put in a little effort. Go to this page, click on 22.10-23.00 and skip ahead 19 minutes and the song should start right up.
On first listen I find the song to be a bit of a letdown from the PopArt singles and Trevor Horn's horn-heavy production sounds straight out of the late 80s which isn't a good thing. The lyrics were probably the deciding factor in this being the first single and the song does grow on you with a few listens so there is still plenty of reason to think that Fundamental will still be a great album. "Minimal" was originally slated as the first single, "Numb" was recorded as a potential single for PopArt and PopJustice had suggested "Integral" as the best choice for a single so there are plenty of other tracks with potential. Regardless the official PSB site reports that "I'm With Stupid" will be remixed by Melnyk, Max Tundra and Abe Duque with possibility of more before the single is released.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Orac's Electronically Yours has resurfaced as a news section attached to his much praised Human League fansite. He reports that Goldfrapp have dropped "Satin Chic" in favor of "Fly Me Away" as the next UK single to be taken from "Supernature". While I agree with Orac's assessment that "Satin" is the better track but just last night I was struck by what a great song "Fly Me Away" is bringing together elements of the last three decades of electronic music in to one great song.
Orac also has an item about the new version of DM's "Suffer Well" where Dave Gahan sings the song in Simlish. I first saw the video for the song by way of Bardot's blog and I can only describe the experience as surreal. Apparently Gahan describes the move to rerecord the song for a recent Sims expansion pack done because the band have "always been open to new ways of sharing our music".

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Real Thing But You Knew It All Along

Today's Chronicle has a feature on DEV2.0, a Disney-sponsored version of Devo that recasts kids as members of the band in a move they compare to "Star Trek: The Next Generation." In typical fashion the Devo members spend the interview complaining about corporate influence on the product they are supposed to be promoting. Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh on the Disney experience:

"In many cases, they were telling me what the lyrics meant that I wrote 25 years ago. In 'That's Good,' there's a parochial school nursery rhyme couplet that goes 'Life's a bee without a buzz, it's going great till you get stung.' That had to go because 'B' is slang for bitch and 'life's a buzz' means you're high. Stung means you're getting away with it until the cops pop you. I found out I was writing gangster rap lyrics. It became a Devo experiment to learn how corporate thinking works these days."

"They thought 'Uncontrollable Urge' was sexual," Mothersbaugh says. "I thought it was about fulfilling your dreams because you were inspired to change the world. They changed the lyrics to make the kids sound like they're having a snack attack, but if the kids listen to DEV2.0 they may eventually seek out Devo albums and wonder why the lyrics were changed."

: The project hasn't led to any promising news about the original version of the band as many hoped:

"We get asked all the time to write a new record and do a tour," Casale says. "So far, Mark doesn't want to. He composes all the time, but without his collaboration it's not really Devo. Limited dates will continue, like Bigfoot or UFO sightings. We'll appear and then vanish again."

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Please Don't Say

Whatever your feelings about Madonna, still ambivalent in my case, you really must admit that she has fantastic taste in collaborators. Her latest single “Sorry,” which I reviewed for, is a great example of her bringing together great people that I admire in the name of her music. Not only did the talented Stuart Price produce the original version, but the single has two of his remixes including a floor filling version of the awkwardly worded “Let It Will Be”. Green Velvet and Paul Oakenfold contribute as well, but the highlight is Pet Shop Boys take on the song which is absolutely epic and features additional vocals from Neil Tennant making for a mix that is the duo's most involved since they worked with Bowie. Download the original from her myspace page or stream the PSB maxi-mix with winamp.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Pop Idol

A recent Popjustice column by Alexander Bard reclaims David Bowie as an artist of the Pop camp while refuting claims of the rock critic establishment:

David changed his last name to Bowie (unless they are born with fancy sounding names, pop stars always change their passport names into something more glamorous: pop is all about entertainment, not boring genuinity), invented a wicked alter ego called Ziggy Stardust, and began to write gorgeous anthemic pop songs with titles like "Space Oddity" and "Life On Mars". The guitars were now left in the background, David Bowie's sound was instead drenched in grandiose strings, hysterical chorus sections, and melodic piano harmonies. The pop icon David Bowie was born.

Nile Rodgers maximised the huge pop star potential of David Bowie with a fantastic pop album called "Let's Dance". The album went on to top the charts around the world and turned David Bowie into a global pop phenomenon. Naturally, rock critics hated the record and what it had done with David Bowie's career.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

May I Say Nothing

This story has been making it's way around the internet for about a week now and I hadn't posted it because it speaks for itself. From London's Evening Standard:

Lead singer Neil Tennant regularly donated thousands of pounds to the labor Party during its first term in office between 1997 and 2001 but he now votes Liberal Democrat... Tennant and Lowe vehemently oppose the Government's plan for ID cards and the "special relationship" between George Bush and Mr Blair. One song, Integral, is scathing about the aims of the New Labour project.

A spokesman for the Pet Shop Boys said: "Neil has always been a Labour Party supporter but at the last election he voted Liberal Democrat because he is completely against the idea of ID cards.

"The Pet Shop Boys think we should try to increase our freedom, not limit it. They don't believe ID cards are an effective way of countering terrorism.

"Some tracks are about the climate of fear that is being exploited so people can push through ID cards. I'm With Stupid is inspired by the relationship between George Bush and Tony Blair."

: PSB are far from complete strangers with politics since some of their early material has a decided anti-Thatcher tilt, they campaigned against the law that outlawed unlicensed raves in the early 90s and wrote "DJ Culture" about the first Gulf War. Why wouldn't they have something to say about when governments are working within this "climate of fear" that the spokesman mentioned? If there was a time when politics and governmental action had visible consequence it is our times today.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Regular readers of this blog no doubt realize that I'm quite excited about Goldfrapp and that I had been looking forward to the release of their "Supernature" album which is out today. Stream it for yourself this week at this site.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Rewind That

Dance label owner and dj Dave Piccioni on the recent wave of retro rave compilations:

Dance music has been around a long time, but this current cycle, the one that started with the rave scene has really now matured. New people entering the scene want to know about its history so these compilations are relevant and you’ve also got younger DJs coming along now bringing their own different histories. So there’s enough room and I think there’s a demand for these CDs definitely and they are interesting albums. Though in some ways they’re a labour of love, because we don’t make a lot of money off them because all the tracks are licensed from major labels, and are really a nightmare to put together.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Looking For The Rest Of Me

R&B singer Rihanna latest single samples Soft Cell's version of "Tainted Love" which is something I dismissed when I first saw it at ArjanWrites a week ago, but I'm having a change of heart. Having heard it a on the radio a couple of times since then I think Arjan might be right about the song becoming a hit, and if that happens would be the US breakthrough of the Richard X/Girls On Top style mash-up. To oversimplify, the Richard X formula is to take an early 80's backing track and throw some 90's R&B vocals over it creating an unlikely but effective combination that has led to hits for pop groups Sugababes and Liberty X in the UK. Time will tell how well the song does, but it's interesting to hear a 2000's r&b song done by a singer from Barbados that samples a 80's UK new wave hit that was a remake of a 60's northern soul song originally recorded by a native Texan.

Listen for yourself here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This Is Only A Test

I'm make a test run at making a podcast. Feel free to ignore this link or check out the rss feed if you are curious.