Thursday, March 29, 2007

Short Bits

Pet Shop Boys reportedly were seconds away from being killed by falling Russian space junk during a recent flight. The band are touring behind Fundamental into the summer but they just announced a May release for the Cubism DVD that was filmed at their recent show in Mexico City so some fans can watch the show before it reaches them.

LCD Soundsystem's attempt at topping the charts fell a bit short as Sound Of Silver debuted two spots ahead Kidz Bop 11 at #46 in this past week's Billboard chart. Chalk it up to the absolute lack of airplay for the rock crowd friendly "North American Scum". James Murphy provides my quote of the week in an interview with Chart Attack responding to accusations of selling out for that Nike track he sold his soul for last year: "It's just like, dude, I live in New York. I just did a Justin Timberlake remix. I am not indie rock."

Chemical Brothers new album We Are The Night is expected this summer.

Maximus of Voltage had an opening dj set at a party that featured electro star Peaches at SXSW a couple of weeks ago. Read about it here.

Swen Weber's "First Stroke" is amazing. Yes, it came out last year but I just heard it last night and unlike a number of other worthy techno tracks it's up on itunes.

Since Channel 1049 has returned I've heard nothing on it and Live 105 but an inexcusable amount of "alternative" staples from the likes of Nirvana, RHCP, and Beastie Boys along with an unexpected surge in spins of songs by Violent Femmes. Perhaps it's because "Blister In The Sun" plays in the background of a new Wendy's commercial.

Spin apparently use zshare now. In a related note the overly praised drug addict Perry Farrell's new project isn't as horrible as his past few failures. Having New Order's Peter Hook along for the ride must be helping.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Can You Feel It Too?

Tracey Thorn's solo album Out Of The Woods hits the streets today and she posted this in her blog about the album's critical reception:

I have on occasion in the past, been known to grumble that reviewers are cloth-eared dimwits whose opinion counts for nothing. But so far I have read almost nothing but praise for Out Of The Woods, and so of course I have to revise that opinion and admit that they are all of sound judgement, and thoroughly bloody lovely blokes.

: Clearly a wise woman. Stream a few tracks from the album at Thorn's myspace to experience some of the magic that is her music.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Free Download: Information Society "Back In The Day"

Information Society's first release since reforming is out this week. Following their mid-90s masterpiece Peace & Love Inc the core trio went their separate ways as vocalist Kurt Harland carried on under the name taking the music in a more industrial direction. With Harland occupied with personal obligations the band's primary songwriter Paul Robb has picked up the name with the help of long term member Jim Cassidy and new vocalist Christopher Anton. The Oscillator EP, which can be streamed here for the rest of the week, is true to their freestyle electro roots explaining how Robb is qualified to be on a "History of Electronic Music" panel at the Winter Music Conference later this week.


Download "Back in the Day" (mp3)
Download "Back in the Day (Paul Robb Roots Electro Mix)" (mp3)
from "Oscillator"
by Information Society
Hakatak International

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Stream/buy at Napster

The new Information Society are touring and will be releasing a full album Synthesizer shortly so stop by their myspace for all the details.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Video: Supermode "Tell Me Why"

Steve Angello and Axwell are part of the informal group of producers known as the Swedish House Mafia who have championed the looping-a-hook-from-a-past-hit-and-add-a-fresh-beat technique that has been a major staple of dance charts for the past few years. Recording as Supermode they bring together two of The Bronski Beat’s biggest hits of their Jimmy Summerville-era in a mash up twist to their formula as vocals from the chorus of “Why?” float over the timeless groove of “Smalltown Boy”. My friend Glenn who introduced me to synthpop and the enigmatic genre of "Modern Rock" was a huge fan of "Smalltown Boy" which actually put me off the track, released in the US last year, for some time because I didn't see the need for yet another remix a classic song. However the combination comes across far more fresh musically speaking than you would expect from such familiar material and the juxtaposition of the two songs creates a conversation about the boy “pushed around and kicked around” for his sexual preferences as it asks why it is still relevant some twenty years after “Smalltown Boy” was first released:

: The soul behind the record The Bronski Beat called it a day shortly after their own 1994 re-recording of "Smalltown Boy". Jimmy Sommerville left the band long before that and is still around making music as a solo artist with his site noting upcoming tv appearances. Synth master Steve Bronski is also plugging away and has a very messy myspace that notes his recent production duties for my friendly online acquaintances The Garland Cult (I've exhanged emails with the singer before so you know we're tight).
Supermode, at least on paper, appears to be a one-off project that fits in the pattern of Steve Angello "mode" projects like Mode Hookers and General Moders but Axwell's site reports that as of last month "me and Steve are progressing with the new supermode". Apparently they are searching for the right vocal so don't hold your breath waiting for an album because source material this strong is hard to come by.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Respect My Girl Authority

One of Vince Clarke's first songs is seeing the light of day this week as part of "preeteen pop girl group" Girl Authority's album Road Trip. The official Erasure site reports that Clarke reworked the song, which pre-dates his time with Depeche Mode, to include the riff from "Just Can't Get Enough" and to make it a better fit for the intended young female audience.

"Let's Get Together" can be streamed at Girl Authority's myspace and Road Trip can be streamed in full here for the next week.

UPDATE: Bardot tracked down video of Vince running through the song with the first formation of Depeche. Check it out, it's fascinating stuff.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Too Much Love

LCD Soundsystem's second proper album Sound Of Silver is due next week and it is currently being previewed on the band's myspace. "North American Scum", which can be downloaded for free here, hinted at a new direction and indeed the sound is decidedly more rock this time around. It's not that there aren't electronics sprinkled throughout the album, the opening "Get Innocuous" has a beat inspired by Kraftwerk's "The Robots" and the amazing title track is pure electronic deliciousness, but the band's reputation as an essential live act seems to have dictated the sound. Although I would love to hear an electro album of little "Tribulations" SOS sounds great on the first couple of listens and part of the joy of their first album was discovering music outside the range of my usual music taste.

As previously mentioned LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy is attempting a bit of Chart Rigging aiming for a top-40 release with his clever slogan of "if you were going to buy it anyway, why not by it this week." Monitor his progress with the band's "sound of silver billboard chart guerilla takeover monitor/thermometer" found at their official site.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Palms Out Sounds made a few waves in the blogging world when they did a feature a couple of weeks ago on samples used in Daft Punk songs which has been spread even further after Music Thing created a youtube clip that compares the source material to the finished tracks. A number of the most obvious samples were credited in the liner notes but the French duo's inroads with the American indie rock crowd in the 00s has brought the expected cries of shock and disappointment. Perhaps it's hard for the backwards rockist crowd to believe that their token object of dance praise could be guilty of the same vices that lesser blatantly inartistic acts that sample and use computers are guilty of. Surely when the band claimed "all guitars by Daft Punk" on Human After All they were to be taken at their word. However fans that have been following Daft Punk from the beginning not only know they take inspiration from hip hop acts but have a sense of humor as well.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Channel 1049 Back From The Dead

Just over a year after Clear Channel closed the station down to broadcast a new Spanish language format Channel 1049 returned to the Bay Area airwaves this past week. The station's program director claimed in the Mercury News (updated link) (thanks Bardot) that "we've been hearing that listeners want their station back". Perhaps the new station's ratings being half what Channel 1049's were at the time of reformatting was the deciding factor.