Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: Top Songs

  1. Tracey Thorn "It's All True"
  2. Chemical Brothers "The Salmon Dance"
  3. Justice "D.A.N.C.E."
  4. LCD Soundsystem "North American Scum"
  5. Client "Drive"
  6. Simian Mobile Disco "Hustler"
  7. Róisín Murphy "Let Me Know"
  8. Swen Weber "First Stroke"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Video: The Killers "Shadowplay"

The Killers previewed their cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" as they toured this past summer and the youtube clips that spread across the web didn't sell me on the song. Perhaps it was the camera phone sound quality or that the clips suggested that Flowers was borrowing a little too closely from the Pet Shop Boys by starting the cover with a version of "Can't Keep My Eyes Off Of You" but it was surprising with how much I enjoyed the song after it started getting played on the radio. The last Joy Division cover to be an alternative radio hit was Nine Inch Nails take on "Dead Souls". Both are unlikely "single" candidates as Joy Division songs so the idea that two bands that owe little to mimicry of the JD sound (hello Interpol, Editors, She Wants Revenge, etc...) could manage to turn soundtrack contributions into radio hits is quite interesting. NIN dove into the deep end of darkness on their cover with Reznor searching for the heart of Ian Curtis' trademark despair before the studio perfect programming overtook him leaving nothing but numbness. The Killers didn't tinker with the foundation of their choice but go the other way with the vocals as Flowers "doot doot doot"s his way to a brighter place that reveals the pop song beneath the goth trappings of the original. Strange that The Killers would find more about the band Joy Division would become post-Curtis than Reznor's electronic arrangement in their unanticipated route to the soul of the song.
In the grand tradition of music videos of songs featured in films the "Shadowplay" video takes the majority of it's footage from Anton Corbijn's Control with The Killers making appearances on a tv that Ian Curtis is watching. Generally this sort of video doesn't work for me, but this one does:

: "Shadowplay" appears on the soundtrack to Control alongside what is possibly the last new material ever from New Order and can also be found on The Killers Sawdust which has been declared infinitely better than either Hot Fuss or Sam's Town.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

What More Can I Say?

  • Did anyone else notice that Matinee Club released the "Discotheque Français" single digitally in the US a couple of months ago? Not only have the band finally released something people can actually buy but their long delayed full length Modern Industry is due December 17 on Planet Clique. If that wasn't enough their on-again-off-again "US exclusive" EP has morphed into a "singles and b-sides collection" called The Modern LP that should be out in January on Ninthwave. Now none of these releases are on Europa Recordings or Universal which signed the band back in July so who knows what it all means for the band but at least fans will have a chance to buy the album.
  • Did anyone one else notice how completely unamazing Dangerous Muse's cover of "Everyday Is Halloween" is? Of course you did because a quick technorati search reveals that almost no one has said anything about it. The most interesting part of the package is not the dull remixes but the new version of "Give Me Danger" which demonstrates how Sire must be prepping to sell the band to alternative radio. Recently the band posted an explanation of why it was taking so long to finish the record where they pointed out that "until this point, we have been solely responsible for instigating and overseeing all of our own marketing and publicity efforts, booking our own private shows, running our online store (designing, printing, shipping and restocking merchandise)." No wonder established bands like NIN are proudly announcing that they are leaving their labels.
  • Did anyone else notice how fantastic amazon's download store is? They had a fairly low key launch a couple of months ago to little press outside a dismissive mention in rolling stone that questioned if people would really want to buy their music from a store that also sells things like power tools. Given the choice between itunes and amazon's higher quality drm-free mp3s who wouldn't take the latter given that they are usually cheaper and use variable pricing so you don't see any "album only" tracks. The biggest drawback about the store right now is that not all the major labels are on board because the letting people buy things in a convenient format thing must be a scary thing for record execs. I'm sure they'll come around soon.
  • Did anyone else notice that there are quite a few free "guilt free" downloads floating around this pre-Boxing Day season? For example Arjan just posted a Scissor Sisters mix that should be fantastic by his description but is utterly dreadful. While beggars can''t be choosers (or at least complain too much) I am rather enjoying Tiger Baby's "This Christmas (You’re The One We Want To Be With)" which taps into the melancholy I often associate with the holidays. Find it at their myspace.
  • Did anyone else notice that Seal seems to be promoting his new album in all the same places Heidi Klum seems to be on tv? I'm not sure where the connection was when he played the Monday Night Football halftime a couple of weeks ago, but I'm sure there is one.
  • Ooh, Zoot Woman have new material coming out and you can download something from it for free. Where does Stuart Price find the time?