Saturday, July 29, 2006

Get Your Fash On

Ellen Allien's work with Apparat brought about the most compelling idm album of the year so far with "Orchestra Of Bubbles", but Allien is more than a producer, dj and label boss. She's also a former fashion student who had music derail her initial career choice. Now she's following in the illustrious footsteps of Jay-Z, Puff Daddy and Gwen Stefani and taking the leap into the fashion world. Here's what her site has to say about her summer line:

Fashion, music, art, traveling, existence. Exploring the whole globe, street life, feeling the world on the skin. Ellen Allien develops her own intuition for material, forms and fashion. She’s a DJ, producer and an artist.

In cooperation with Markus Stich in 2006 she created on her own body the kind of fashion she would wear and wears. The femaleness is playfully accentuated – without being unwearable. Ironing is forbidden.

(via Beat Freax)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Other Side Of Love

Yaz is back in the birth control. Do I sense a lawsuit? They might be Yazoo everywhere else in the world but Alison Moyet & Vince Clarke were threatened with legal action forcing a name change in the US. Isn't turnabout fair play?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

We Share Our Music's Health

The Knife's brand of stark electro pop is the kind of music that draws you in and thier new album "Silent Shout" has been gaining more and more praise since it's initial European release a few months ago. The album is finally getting a US release this week and fortunately the good people at itunes are featuring the first single "We Share Our Mothers' Health" as a discovery download this week. Click here to jump to the free version of the song as they are still willing to charge you for the song in a couple of other spots in the itunes store. Those interested in taking a more in depth look at "Silent Shout" can also stream the entire album for the rest of the week at this site and if that's not enough for you enjoy this video for the album's title track:

Monday, July 24, 2006

More Is Less

The greatest Pet Shop Boys single since "Flamboyant" is released today. The song is a much better example of "Fundamental"'s strengths than the previous single and has a fantastic closing section. The single features the remix program U-Myx which lets you create your own version of the song. Expect hundreds of versions of the song to be floating around the internet shortly.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Out Of My League

Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr put much of their musical energy in the 90's towards their joint project Electronic and that band's upcoming greatest hits collection has been generating some well justified buzz. The announced tracklisting looks promising featuring UK chart topping singles and outstanding albums cuts with an amazing b-side that would bring me phone calls everytime I played it on my college radio show.

Forbidden City
Getting Away With It
Get the Message (Single Mix)
Feel Every Beat
Disappointed (Single Mix)
Vivid (Radio Edit)
All That I Need
For You
Imitation of Life (New Edit)
Out of My League
Like No Other
Twisted Tenderness
Late At Night (Radio Edit)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Take 'em To The Middle Eight

Congratulations are in order to the always witty XO and his superbly written XO's Middle Eight which was spotlighted as "blogger of the week" by the always brilliant PopJustice. Shame it happened while he was out of town and taking a break from blogging. Read his write up of Madonna's NYC gig to get a taste of his great blog.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Things I've Learned (From NME)

I love NME because it's fairly good at getting me news about artists that interest me but it's not without it's faults. Here are a few things that caught my eye as being particularly newsworthy:

  • Alan McGee, the man who proclaimed a decade ago that the internet would kill record labels and started his current label as an internet-only venture, recently blogged that singles are a dead format and that major labels are at their end. Good to know that he's consistent.

  • Not only did the former Skabba The Hutt ride the coattails of The Killers new wave revival, but they're also following the new Bruce Springsteen influence that Brandon Flowers has been talking about by working with a noted Springsteen producer. I'm sure that once The Killers discuss recreating the doo-wop sound for their third album The Bravery will right there six months behind them once again.

  • The Who announced their first world tour in 20 years. I guess those constant tours from the late 90's on, like their 2002 tour that picked up weeks after the band's bassist died before a gig, have been "limited" somehow.

  • Pete Doherty is still on drugs.

  • After some 4,000 articles that mention him, NME is still addicted to Pete Doherty.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Left To My Own Devices

I had tons of fun playing hours of Pet Shop Boys and reliving my college radio days last night. It was interesting looking back at the mini "reviews" I wrote for the station and noticing that my musical priorities have changed in the past decade. I was far more interested in electronic music as an ahead of the curve as progressive genre in the past where as these days I'm more interested in quality product than pushing the envelope. Perhaps I've come to the conclusion that electronic music has matured as new sub-genres have stopped appearing every couple of years.

On the PSB tip those interested in hearing tracks from the Pet Shop Boys XFM Session that I pulled a track from on the show can click here to listen and The Guardian has a new interview with the Boys where they talk about writing a couple of songs with Robbie Williams and they offer career advice to Brandon Flowers and Pete Doherty.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm Going To Wichita

Italy's World Cup Champion soccer team adoption of The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" as their unofficial anthem has led to a number of odd moments like the song being sung at a Rolling Stones concert. Nme just printed Jack White's take on the situation:

The White Stripes song has become like a second national anthem, following the country's World Cup victory on Sunday night (July 9), when the squad, led by Francesco Totti, started singing the guitar refrain from the song.

Jack White said: "I am honoured that the Italians have adopted this song as their own. Nothing is more beautiful in music than when people embrace a melody and allow it to enter the pantheon of folk music.

"As a songwriter it is something impossible to plan. Especially in modern times. I love that most people who are chanting it have no idea where it came from. That's folk music."

: Here is video of Italian fans singing "Seven Nation Army" on the streets:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ready For The Passion

This Friday, July 14, I will be filling in on KSCU’s legendary Dekadance program, now in it’s 22nd year, playing a four hour feature that will cover the entire career of the Pet Shop Boys culminating in playing their new release “Fundamental” in it’s entirety. Expect lots of b-sides and rarities but no “West End Girls”. The show is Friday 9PM-1AM PST on KSCU 103.3 out of Santa Clara, CA and you should be able to listen on the internet by way of the station’s website.

Originally Pet Shop Boys signed to their mentor Bobby O's record label and they credited much of their early success to lessons they learned while working with him. Here is the video for the The Flirts "Passion" which Bobby O wrote and produced decades before Felix Da Housecat sampled the song for "Silver Screen Shower Scene". Tennant and Lowe have described hearing the song as an influential moment on the direction they would take would their own music and included the track on their recent "Back To Mine" compilation:

More Bobby O video's here, here, here and here.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Close (To The Song)

Today's Pink Section has a piece that suggests in it's opening that electronic music might be the new medium of the singer-songwriter. The article as a whole is less on point than the opening paragraph, given that one of the three artists they profile works on a decided non-"singer-songwriter" IDM canvas, but it's an interesting theory in light of the recent increase in "indie/electronic" artists on myspace. Often the whole classification thing is more about marketing than an artist's higher intentions but there is a enough recent cross-pollination of ideas that there might indeed actually be something new forming out of the murk that Erlend Oye and The Postal Service stirred up a couple of years ago.
One cutting quote from Halou's (who have been on this whole songwriting path too long to make this a "new" trend) Count caught my attention:

"Today you hear monotonous electronic music in every retail store and restaurant, but people will eventually realize that melody and actual songs transcend quirky sounds," he says. "Without real music to back it up, electronica is just noise."

: Which reminds me of another quote that Mylo protege Linus Loves gave to EQ Magazine that ArjanWrites mentioned:

"It didn't feel to me like that was how people wanted to hear electronic music," he continues. "I felt they wanted it in a more pop structure – get into the substance of the record and get out again. That's our way of thinking – we want to make electronic music fresh again so people aren't like, 'Oh bloody hell. I'm seven minutes into this record and there's still two minutes to go.'"

: I'm all for bringing structure and pop elements to electronic music and what I believe both these artists are getting at is that there is plenty of room for song oriented artists in the electronic "genre". I certainly wouldn't go as far as to say that "electronica is just noise" because there are too many examples of people who work extremely well outside the confines of traditional songwriting structure without mindlessly playing out a sub-genre's conventions. Ultimately the "short-form"/"long-form" debate is more an ongoing issue that a new development in the electronic music world particularly since Daft Punk's "Discovery" and Electroclash reopened the doors to "songs" a few years ago, but The Chronicle's piece suggests that "outsiders" are taking the matter into their own hands. I'd just like to see more of it from people who have never wavered in their love electronics.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Parlez-Vous Freezepop

Freezepop fans aren't just all about fun. They also enjoy the musical stylings of Bauhaus and getting photographed for Rolling Stone:

: Big ups to Rolling Stone for their in-depth knowledge of the Industrial scene that allowed to them to attribute one fan's appreciation of Hanzel Und Gretyl to Hansel and Gretel.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Just Wanna Hide Away

After the BBC ended their coverage of England's loss at the World Cup they played a "rather moving montage" of the team's journey set to Pet Shop Boys "Numb". Given the exposure to what was "one of the biggest TV audiences of the year" I'm sure that EMI was kicking themselves for not having the song out now as a single. Previous to the montage, "Numb" had been coming up as a favorite to be the third "Fundamental" single so this might just seal the deal.

Thanks to xolondon for the video link.

The Guardian has an interesting take on the PSB World Cup montage and on the importance of monatages in the modern day music world.