Thursday, February 28, 2008

Quick Notes

  • Exciting to hear that Yaz(oo) have reunited and that their forthcoming box set should have previously unheard goodies. It's even better to hear that they will be bringing their tour to North America.
  • The clips of Róisín Murphy playing street musician are fantastic. Still hoping for a US release of her album and much thanks to Electronically Yours for passing the clip on.
  • Meant to post something about Keyboard Choir who are a group of six dedicated to playing electronic music live. Good mellow stuff.
  • SXSW is almost here which means lots of free mp3s from bands playing the event. Click here for a list of the electronic acts.
  • Download a track from the new The B-52s album over at Rolling Stone. Read the article to see which Bjork album Kate Pierson loves. Thanks to Arjan for this one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Video: Freezepop "Brainpower"

Freezepop are more than a novelty act. Honestly. I don't know how anyone could figure that out from their latest single "Brainpower". The most annoying moment on their recent major label debut Future Future Future Perfect the sticker on the CD pegged it as a highlight before any fans had a chance to hear it. Bad idea. As the most "rock" track on the album it also appears in the video game RockBand so it makes sense that their label thought it would have a built in audience. I'm not so sure because an objective listen reveals it to be not near the greatness that is well within the grasp of the band.
Shot in LA as they toured the west coast this past November the video finds the band playing on a public access channel while being pelted by things as suggested by a brat with a magical remote control:

: Stop by their myspace where you can listen to better material from them including the song that inspired this blog's current tagline.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monster Love

Goldfrapp's Seventh Tree is out today. Decidedly different than anything the duo have done before the disc largely avoids the supernatural beats and all out electropop assault of their past couple of releases instead creating another unique sound which is sure to be imitated. Early favorites of mine are the stunning "A & E", "Caravan Girl", "Happiness" and "Cologne Cerrone Houdini" but make sure to read XO's Middle Eight's essential review and stream the album for yourself at Spinner or their myspace.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Video: Cut Copy "Lights & Music"

There was a time that I distrusted Cut Copy. Maybe it the glowing reviews from sources that I often disagree with, their association with hipster friendly Modular Recordings or the suspicious number of times they were featured itunes but there was something about them I resisted. That all dissipated the moment I gave “Going Nowhere” a proper listen and after receiving the band’s Fabric mix disc for Christmas I’ve been really anticipating any new material. “Lights & Music” does not disappoint. Opening like a dance-punk “Where The Streets Have No Name” the song avoids any obvious path taking over two minutes in the unedited version for the synth stab punctured chorus to lift the song from interesting to flat out amazing. This is one of the best and most exciting songs of the year so far.

The video finds the artfully light band simply performing the song in front of giant video screens creating a hall of mirrors effect that echoes the atmosphere of the song. Not only does it show a synthesizer being actually played rather than the usual showing the guitar player when the synth part is played but it gets bonus points for showing a synth drum being used:

: Visit Cut Copy's myspace while you wait for the Tim Goldsworthy produced In Ghost Colours which is out April in the US.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Late Review: Madonna "Jump" MCD

(The following review was intended for a site that continues to have maintenance issues well over a year after this was written)

Madonna - Jump MCD

Jump (Single Edit)
Jump (Jacques Lu Cont Mix)
Jump (Axwell Remix)
Jump (Junior Sanchez’s Misshapes Mix)
Jump (Extended Album Version)

One year after “Hung Up” stormed charts worldwide Madonna has finally released the obvious pick for the immediate follow up single from “Confessions On A Dancefloor” as the album’s fourth track to receive the honor. Lyrically focused on the importance of family and the need to grow by being in new situations “Jump” is an instantly familiar up tempo track that borrows a bass rhythm, synth strings and a few chords from Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls”. Is this just a rip off? No. There is an undeniable similarity that had been acknowledged by co-writer and producer Stuart Price even before the PSB gave the song their blessing but there is much more to “Jump” than a simple recycling of “WEG“. It has it’s own unique melodic ideas and structure that are perfectly capable of standing on their own making the familiar arrangement a tribute rather than a blueprint for Madonna’s song.

Stuart Price’s “Jump” mix, credited under his Jacques Lu Cont alias, marks the sixth song he has remixed from “Confessions” and the fatigue is showing. While effective at times with a sense of tension and menace the mix lacks the impact and vision that Price often brings to the table creating something of a mess instead of dance floor perfection. At first it appears that Axwell‘s mix is a by-the-numbers club reworking, but closer listening reveals just how remarkably assembled the mix is with subtle touches that evolve from the original. The surprise success of the single comes from dance veteran Junior Sanchez who finds a unique approach with multi-pitched vocals edits in the style of 80’s extended mixes while creating a build that only the finest club tracks achieve.

“History” is the first b-side of Madonna‘s “Confessions”-era and it is a disco friendly track that could have fit comfortably on the album. As another Stuart Price production his fingerprints are all over the track but the lyrics are the real star of the song. Apparently Madonna is “so sick and tired of fighting” that she has decided to use the platform of this b-side to present the solution to ending global conflict. If this sounds a tad grandiose and silly to you then this might be a sticking point in enjoying the song but you have to admire Madonna’s willingness to put herself out there and really give her fans something to think about.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Video: Mark Brown Featuring Sarah Cracknell "The Journey Continues"

If you are the type that enjoys pouring over the pop charts of the world you no doubt are already aware that Sarah Cracknell returned to the UK charts this week. This is great news and a cue that I should be paying closer attention as the brightest of the blog world have been talking up the song for months. Dance label boss Mark Brown brought Cracknell in to create "The Journey Continues" in the tradition of pop music that borrows from classical music to build better songs not unlike The Farm's "All Together Now". The catch here is that the source tune is not quite classical cannon but largely based on Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin's "Eliza`s Aria" which has recently featured in a UK television ad campaign making the song more of an "as heard on tv" hit.

The video was shot using digital stills rather than a film or video camera creating a stop motion effect that is largely unmoving. While the effect has been done memorably before in music videos this tale of a floating dancer simply reminds me of an ineffective Sesame Street numbers short. Of course my disinterest might have everything to do with Sarah Cracknell hardly appearing in the clip:

: No word on a US release yet but be sure to stop by Elena Kats-Chernin's myspace to hear the source material.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ready For The Floor

Just a few short months after it leaked Hot Chip's new album Made In The Dark is out in next week. In celebration myspace is offering an exclusive preview of the entire album:

: As someone on Hot Chip's mailing list (thank you free download!) I had already had been alerted to the exclusive online listening preview of the album at Clash Music earlier in the week. Exclusive just doesn't mean what it used to anymore.