Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Little Respect

Hardcore synthpop duo Erasure did the unthinkable last week and released the synth free acoustic/country album "Union Street" last week. Now I have nothing against experimentation or even completely changing styles if you can make it interesting, but this album is an example of getting things horribly wrong. Revisiting overlooked tracks from the bands twenty year history "Union Street" dries up what little inspiration it had going into it after just a few tracks to becomes horribly monotonous. There once was a time that Erasure was a commercially smarter band that would have known better to than to stick to their guns over an album that they just didn't have the passion for. Oh well. A fairly recent audio interview with Andy Bell at Retroforward Radio confirms an upcoming b-side compilation, a "fractured fairy tales" album and a new proper album in the works. Why the few interesting tracks from "Union Street" couldn't be worked into one of those projects is beyond me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

(We Might Need This) Fascist Groove Thing

Heaven 17's recent "Before/After" album has spawned some chart success in the US. Billboard reports:

It was exactly 25 years ago this week that electronic-pop-dance trio Heaven 17 made its debut on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart, with the controversial single "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thing." Just in time to celebrate their silver anniversary, the three original members of Heaven 17 return to the Club Play list this week, debuting at No. 42 with "Hands Up to Heaven" (Ninthwave), from the new album "Before After."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Different Kind Of Smart

I doubt that anyone is discovering the video for the first time at this blog, but here is the new Pet Shop Boys single "I'm With Stupid":

: I was a bit worried when I heard that comedy act Little Britain, who I've heard of but never actually seen anywhere before, would be in the video given the direction they could have taken visualizing the Blair/Bush lyrics, but I like what they've done here. Borrowing from the bands most distinct visual era, they take the tech driven "Very" videos as direct inspiration and attempt a crude stage recreation of them. It makes sense to do a stupid video about being with stupid and so by my take on things the video is an all out success. Now I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing, but if you're not a fan of the official video try a homegrown version.

Friday, April 14, 2006

International Dateline

News from Ladytron:

Our new EP/DVD is out now, featuring unreleased tracks and mixes, the promo clips to Destroy... and Sugar, plus the 'Once upon a time in the East' mini-documentary.
Witching hour is finally on Vinyl now too, those folks at Ryko have been busy.

: Their record company has come under fire quite a bit recently by fans who think they blew the "Witching Hour" release so it's amusing that the band (or whoever runs their myspace profile) are defending them even as they announcing a new EP as "out now" without any advance notice or promotion. Here's the "Extended Play" tracklisting:

1: High Rise [Club Mix] (6:09)
2: Nothing to Hide (3:51)
3: Weekend [James Iha Mix] (4:02)
4: Sugar [Jagz Kooner Mix] (5:25)
5: Citadel (3:54)
6: Destory Everything You Touch [Catholic Version] (4:45)
7: Tender Talons (3:31)
8: Last One Standing [Shipps & Tait Mix] (3:47)
9: Destroy Everything You Touch [DVD]
10: Sugar [DVD]
11: Once Upon a Time in the East: Ladytron in China

UPDATE: You can stream the EP here for the next week.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's The Sure Shot

Legendary producer Arthur Baker has a new import single "Glow" (featuring Tim Wheeler of Ash) that has just been released and he's done a little press for it explaining the difference between a great track and a great song, that he has "always been into disco, hip hop and rock 'n' roll", and why he's started Return To New York parties:

Well, just the fact that I wanted to show the kids where this electro-punk-funk thing really came from, which essentially was from New York in the '80s and London in the '80s too. It was important to introduce music to people who may not have been aware of it or where it came from. If you look at MySpace and the influences the kids put down, a lot of them are from back in the 80s. So, I thought that it was important for me to do that and make that connection.

: "Glow" and a few of his latest productions can be heard at his myspace page. The man still has the touch.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Slow Motion Career Suicide

I love Goldfrapp, but I think their management/record company is insane. Mute US delayed the US release of "Supernature" for half a year so "the band could tour and promote" the album properly in North America but over a month after the album's delayed release there have only been two US dates and one tv appearance. Earlier this week I received an email from ticketmaster bot that is supposed to notify me about any Goldfrapp tickets going on sale which they were about to at 10 that morning. Some of the mystery was cleared up by this recent myspace bulletin:

we are very sneakily activitating ticketmaster for the yet to be announced dates in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Will try to be sneaky with the upcoming East Coast visits as well. Stay tuned m'deers!!

: Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they are finally doing some live US dates, but isn't the point of promoting a band to get people to know about the concert?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

You've Got It All Wrong

MTV News has the scoop on the new album Annie plans to have out by the end of the year:

...throwing herself into madcap sessions with a slew of different producers, including ex-Smashing Pumpkins/ A Perfect Circle guitarist James Iha... She reteamed with British mash-up master Richard X on two songs for the as-yet-untitled new LP, including a cover of Stacy Q's '80s hit "Two of Hearts" and an original called "Remind Me of You."

"The new songs are more club-oriented — still '80s-sounding, but different," Annie said at the recent South by Southwest music conference. "But to be honest, I never really know what things will sound like until I finish the album. I'm sort of in the middle of the album. There's going to be a lot of different people, it's going to be more diverse, but I'm not quite sure which direction the production will go."

After she finishes recording with Iha in New York, she'll team up with French techno producer Alan Braxe (who worked on Stardust's 1998 hit "Music Sounds Better With You") and then some yet-to-be-named collaborators.

: The MTV article also refers to the curious phenomenon of her there's-no-shame-in-bubble-gum style of pop having such appeal to indie rockers. While I think Annie is fantastic, I simply don't understand the appeal to the indie crowd and I am puzzled that her album is still charting at the indie rock dominated college station I used to dj at months and months after it's release. Is it an ironic embrace of all the aesthetic values they once stood for? I'm sincerely confused, but at least it guarantees that Annie's music is distributed in the US.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Drugs Don't Work

This is a bit off my usual track but today's pink section had an entertaining interview with former The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft which derailed after asking about his Live8 cameo into a discussion about his complicated relationship with the best selling band in the world Coldplay:

A: In cynical record company terms, they would have been hammering home their new hit single in front of 3 billion people, and they gave me that time. But also, they were going on after Paul McCartney and U2. Yeah. I think, in Chris' head "Bitter Sweet Symphony" is one of the tunes that stands with that other generation of people.

Q: If that's how you feel, why have you agreed to open Coldplay's shows in America?

A: Why am I opening for them?

Q: Yeah.

A: Quite the simple fact that I'm going to be playing to 30,000 people straight away. That's it. There's no deep thought about it. As far as how many people know my name in America, that would take me all year.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Every year the Depeche Mode site does something hilarious to celebrate April 1st and every year people actually fall for it. I actually read serious online discussions about Fletch posing for "Playgirl" last year and once again this year people are angry at Robert Smith for "suing" the band over the "Playing The Angel" cover. That DM webmaster is so funny. The least they could do is follow in the footsteps of the Pet Shop Boys and do something subtle like releasing the first images of their new album cover. Is it for real? I think so, but I got more of a chuckle out this news than the DM fantatics screaming across the internet.

Also, the PSB site reported a couple of days ago that they are in final negotiations to release "Fundamental" in North America in conjunction with the rest of the world. Reassuring to hear after the frequently mentioned "PopArt" contracts never got sorted out.