Friday, August 31, 2007

Mini Reviews

I listen to new music and sometimes I blog about it months after everyone else has...

Justice Debut Album

Every hipster's second favorite dance band released their debut album recently and while it is not as infallible as their hypem profile would suggest there is plenty of proof that everything Justice touches is made to be blogged about. Not only are they big into the whole artsy "it's not the notes you play- it's the notes you don't play" thing but they suggest with big ideas and do things that are open to interpretation like sample the same song that Will Smith sampled for "Men In Black". Are they using a track because it inspired them to create a new disco monster? Are they fans paying tribute to an under looked original source? Are they taking on ready made hits that "steal" from other songs? Do they want their money back after seeing Wild Wild West? It has been said that art must have ambiguity to allow a spectrum of interpretations to truly survive in critical circles and Justice do have that air of mystery about them. Too bad they didn't get down to business and truly capitalize on their string of pre-release singles with an album that wasn't so concerned with maintaining that aura.
Best tracks: "D.A.N.C.E." "Phantom"

Digitalism Idealism

These folks are often mentioned in the same breath as Justice because they released albums about the same time but Digitalism know how to rock a disco beat in their own way and remixed an old school Depeche Mode track & an aging Cut Copy track which are things Justice has never done. Idealism has range with parts of the album sounding like a rehash of digital hardcore while other moments are the sort of sublime analogue bliss that inspires dreams of electric sheep. Unfortunately it is five tracks too long and many of the tracks fail to distinguish themselves. Be sure to check out the highlights.
Best tracks: "The Pulse" "Pogo" "Jupiter Room"

Motor Unhuman

Originally based out of Paris & Minneapolis this transatlantic duo made the move to London where they are currently unleashing industrial flavored acid techno under the guise of Motor. The album is one of those borderline experiences that really works at moments but seems to be in need of full vocal tracks to really come to life. Given that they record electroclash as Xlover you can't help but wonder how much better the album would be if they didn't compartmentalize their music to different projects. Still it's an album that always urges me on to faster driving speeds and one that works despite "Bleep #1" being the least representative and worst first single from a decent album in 2007.
Best tracks: "Unhuman" "Flashback" "Drug Punk"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Video: Chemical Brothers "The Salmon Dance"

The Chemical Brothers We Are The Night has arrived to a lukewarm reception but I think that the album's second single is the duo's best hip hop track to date. Collaborating with former Pharcyde member Fatlip they have broken their usual pattern of cramming every hip hop idea that ever had into a track and instead let the song dictate it's own course. The success of the remarkably low key "The Salmon Dance" relies on the charms of Fatlip's narrative which fortunately prove to be quite rewarding.

The video features a young person being entertained, possibly with the help of Chemicals, by an aquarium. It's rather good and features the best Ed & Tom cameo ever!:

: Listen to remixes and more at The Chemical Brothers myspace.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Don't Walk Away In Silence

Tony Wilson, the man behind Factory Records, died this past weekend. His unique approach to the music business of dealing without contracts and providing top notch packaging and production help bring about some of my most cherished albums. I don't know that I ever got a complete sense of his over sized personality since I've never seen his television hosting gigs in the UK but the occasional interviews I've read are fascinating. Just a short time ago Wilson was asked by Billboard of his opinion on how Steve Coogan played him in the biographical 24 Hour Party People:

Oh, I loved it. Basically, I'm a complete tw*t, but he played me as an affable fool, which is very sweet. I'm not really an affable fool, but I'm very happy to be portrayed as such... I am so proud of "24 Hour Party People" because it is very funny. I am now a celebrity in America because of that film, which is bizarre.

: Maybe he was even more of a celebrity here than he realized. I first read of Wilson's death on my ISP's news scroll where it was a featured story.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dance To Disco

September will see the first release of Pet Shop Boys new EMI deal with Disco 4. Like the unexpectedly fantastic Disco 3 there is a twist in the series as the album showcases the Boys remix work for other acts including The Killers, Madonna, Rammmstein and David Bowie. Extended versions of "I'm With Stupid" and "Integral" (which will finally get a promo single release!) will round out the package along with a barcode inspired video that is intended to promote discussion about "the gradual erosion of personal freedom taking place in the current political climate". Sounds fun to me.