Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Final Countdown

In the tradition of three-day weekend radio specials Live 105 counted down their "Top 500 Songs" as submitted by listeners to the station's website. It was refreshing to see that the nu-metal that dominated the station's late-90's/early-00's playlists was largely absent proving that they shouldn't have been playing it in the first place.

The station has been fairly interested in playing mashups and three of them made it on to the countdown. Not too bad when someone is saying their favorite song is actually two unrelated ones. The highest entry of the electronica-era ('96 to 00-something) came in at #124 (The Prodigy's ode to domestic violence) but the genre did fairly well with a number of tracks charting mid-countdown. Imagine if the station had played more than the ten songs or so that got any airplay during the five year long electronic prohibition during the mid-90's. New Wave one-hit wonders did surprisingly well as Alphaville* broke in the top 25, one position ahead of "Enjoy The Silence", with Ah-ha* and When In Rome also making notable appearances.

Depeche Mode proved, once again, that they are the most popular electronic band played on the station. Nine of their songs made the list with four of them in the top 100. New Order's "Blue Monday" was the top electronic song at #4, and the band did fairly well with four songs on the list as NO striking again at #17 as Joy Division with "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (which is probably the song least played by the station to make the top 100). It was also interesting to see how bands respected "importance" balanced out against their "hit power" on the trip hop spectrum with Portishead falling behind The Sneaker Pimps on a chart with no Massive Attack. Does it mean anything about the quality? No, but it's interesting.

* I know they are still around but there's only one other song Live 105 has ever played and that hasn't happened for over a decade.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Playing For England

New Order won an Ivor Novello award for "outstanding song collection" for their recent singles collection last week and since it's that time of the year a reporter for The Sun got their feelings on Embrace's new World Cup song:

Hooky told me: "I just reviewed all the World Cup songs for a magazine and they are all **** apart from SHAM 69's Hurry Up England.

"The production on the Embrace track is very weak. It starts badly. It has no atmosphere."

Bernard chipped in:"It's rubbish. You need the team singing on it and a rapper. Why didn't they have WAYNE ROONEY doing scouse rap?

: Apparently the band's acceptance speech found them slagging off everyone in the room so the band are continuing their trend of being truly rock 'n' roll when given "lifetime achievement" awards. Bernard's anti-Slash rant during the band's induction to the UK Music Hall Of Fame last year was a great moment that really sums up their attitude about being "legends".
Another note about the Ivors. Am I the only one who finds it weird that the "Songwriters Of The Year" went to Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett when Hewlett (to the best of my knowledge) is only behind the visual side of Gorillaz? Curious.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Everything I Am

I received a myspace bulletin today from futurepop project Invisible Ballet unmasking the greatest mystery since the identity of Deep Throat:

Many of our friends don't know this, but Invisible Ballet is actually 2/3 of another band called Halou! Rebecca and Ryan Coseboom of Halou recorded the Invisible Ballet album under the pseudonyms Lee Ryan and Lin Chen.

: I had speculated that the two groups were one in the same even before they mentioned that Ryan was involved as Invisible Ballet's producer, but the whole alias thing threw me off the scent. Of course the timing of this revelation has everything to do with Halou's new album being released yesterday. Read my previous Halou post to see why I adore them so much and click by their myspace page to hear songs from the new album.

Halou's "Wholeness & Separation" can be streamed here until June 3.

Monday, May 22, 2006


It's out today. The album obvious leaked some time ago which was inevitable since PopJustice reviewed the album back in December. There are a few great reviews and thoughts on the album such as xolondon's posts on "Fundamental" and Tremble Clef's amazingly detailed five part analysis of the album to keep you interested. Sticking to my no imports policy (last violated when it became apparent that PSB's "Battleship Potempkin" soundtrack was never getting a US release) I'm waiting for the US release on June 27, and I have a feeling that will get an itunes exclusive early release in the next couple of weeks and I would suggest you wait too so American record companies have an incentive to still release albums from artists with cult followings. However if you can't wait I understand.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Votes Are In

Fansite NewOrderOnline have been hard at work on their second compilation of New Order and Joy Division covers and today they announced the 10 winners voted onto the compilation by the site's members. There was an amazing amount of material submitted, over 100 covers if I recall, and all of the songs that made it through to the top 10 are great. I was glad to see that others recognized the greatness of Glasnost's Mazzy Star-esque take on "Turn" and the professionalism of O'ou's dancey version of "Dream Attack" (a great song selection since it is the most precious hidden gem in NO's catalogue) with both coming in way ahead of the pack in votes. The biggest shocker is that the best cover of the competition came in at spot #23. 3v's amazing original take on "Blue Monday" took the most revisited track in the band's history and found a new angle on it by "turning (the) timeline backwards with halfly reversed old leathercoated drums, neil youngish guitars and some 50's piano." I haven't given up hope because there are three "producers picks" on the compilation and 3v's cover is an excellent candidate. There's still more competition to go with remix and video contests for David Potts' (ex-Monaco) cover of "The Village" so if that interests you stop by this page for more info. Regardless of any voting interests it's shaping up to be an amazing compilation.

Here is what I voted for:

3v- Blue Monday
Glasnost- Turn
Sudden Creation- 60 Miles An Hour
Labster- Behind Closed Doors
O'ou- Dream Attack
Tomihira- Mr. Disco
Almanso- New Dawn Fades
19 New Project- Paradise
Yokohama Crepuscule- Run
Diastema- Vanishing Point
Horse In Retirement- World
Mitchell- Round & Round
Elevated Sins- Times Change
Sonic Weather Front- Disorder

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Think About It

Information Society has reformed with somewhat different lineup that no longer includes singer Kurt Harland who recorded an album by himself as InSoc in the late 90's. Grave Concerns seems to have the first interview with the reformed band:

Paul: You know, early on we had a lot of highfalutin' ideas about being a "collective" and branching out into different industries and things like, which is sort of what happened actually. And there are "old Insoc" fans and "new Insoc" fans, and people who liked both eras...For some people, Information Society IS Kurt Harland (as insoc.org says), but I think a lot of people just liked the songs, and hopefully a lot of people will like the new songs too.

Sonja: That while Paul and James are moving with the times and bringing a new contemporary presence to INSOC, they are very integral and committed to the style and esthetic of the original INSOC. Chris and I respect that as well and wish to uphold that while being in the present moment with it.

: Stream a couple of songs from their forthcoming album on the band's myspace page.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Preemptive Strike

DJ Shadow just wrapped up recording on his new album "The Outsider" and he's speaking out about rumors that he's taken the hyphy route this time around:

"The album is very diverse, and reflects the fact that I don't fit comfortably in any one genre. My critics see that as a problem, but I don't...it's simply the way things are. I've never really fit into any one clique. That's why the album is called 'The Outsider'.

"In some ways it's a risky record. It's going to turn some people off. And I think I'll lose some fans. On the other hand, I know I'll gain some new ones. That's a fair trade in my mind. Besides I can't see playing it safe at this point in my life."

He added that the record contains no samples and "there's songs on this album that I think blow away almost anything else I've ever done".

: Also if you happen to be outside the London offices of Island Records about the time this posts Shadow is doing a listening party with a discman for any fans hardcore enough to stalk him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wholeness & Separation

San Francisco's Halou debut album is one of the best discs that summed up my musical interests back when I was doing college radio in the mid-90s. Combining the thirst for new sounds, direction and beats of the electronica genre with songs that were fully realized and never formulaic. Given that even bigger electronica acts often don't get that combination right Halou are an act to be treasured.

The first half of an interview with a member of the band is up now at Chaos Control which explains why the band are taking the self release route with this release. The certainly would know about give their first album came out on an indie label that folded a few months after the album came out making the album unavailable and the band no longer owned the rights to the material. Halou were picked up by Nettwerk for their second album but it didn't get the attention it deserved:

...the record industry changed so much during that time that even independent labels Ð their purpose in the world should be to release the more left of center, boundary-pushing music Ð even those labels have started to consolidate and operate essentially as junior major labels. I could give you countless examples of that, and in fact many are now owned by major labels. So you're talking about a shift in that direction, so these independent labels are becoming way more trendy and completely afraid to release records anymore because people aren't buying them. They are financially a lot more inhibited. So that's when we made the decision to bypass the label completely. It just didn't make financial sense. In a typical artist deal, the artist gets 10%, and the label gets 90%. Well if they're dong a hell of a lot for you, and they're taking you from ground zero to an established act, yeah that's still pretty extreme but it's not exploitative. But unfortunately, labels aren't doing that now. To give someone 90% of something and have them do very little, well that isn't fair. And it doesn't make financial sense.

: Halou's new album is out next week and tracks from "Wholeness & Separation" can be streamed at the band's myspace page.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Anyone Can Play Guitar

While Radiohead is gearing with live dates supporting an upcoming release it was recently revealed that Thom Yorke has an electronic heavy solo album "The Eraser" due out in July. Here's the info from nme:

Yorke's solo album will be produced by long-time band producer Nigel Godrich. According to the statement - which was released to respected Radiohead fan site www.ateaseweb.com - Yorke wrote at the tracks and played all instruments.

"I have been itching to do something like this for ages," he said. " It was fun and quick to do. Inevitably it is more beats & electronics. But its songs. Stanley [Donwood - Radiohead's cover artist] did the cover. Yes its a record! No its not a radiohead record. As you know the band are now touring and writing new stuff and getting to a good space.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Legends In The House

The new Pet Shop Boys album is just a week away from it's European release and most of the blogs I read have mentioned something related to "Fundamental" in the past week or so. I'm a fan so I'm a bit late getting in on the action. Here are some video of interview clips done for British TV:

PSB On "Pop World"
PSB On BBC1 Breakfast News
The most amusing one I've found is this T4 clip with an interviewer the youtube submitter accurately refers to as "ghastly". The best bit is when Chris can't help but laugh at her.

Preview clips of "Fundamental" can be found here and you might be interested to hear that "I'm With Stupid" entered the UK Single Chart at number 8 this week. The US release is still unconfirmed, but I received a bulletin from an unofficial myspace profile announcing that the new album will be "out July 27th".

Monday, May 08, 2006

Want To Be A Miser

Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers posted a complaint on the band's site last week about their new album being leaked on the internet which was turned into a news item which turned up several places. Here is some of the rant taken from a May 3rd article on vh1.com:

"If you download it now off one of those file-sharing sites, you will be getting a pale imitation of the record. It will be of ... poor sound quality ... and that will break my heart. It will break John Frusciante's heart. It will break Anthony Kiedis' heart. And it will break the heart of Chad Smith"

: Perhaps some of the reporters should have done a little research by turning on Vh1 where they were running promos at the end of nearly every show with Anthony Kiedis and Flea singing about going to vh1.com to stream their new album beginning the day before the news item was written.

GoogleNews On Chili Peppers "Leak"