Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flashback: Cranes "Shining Road" (1994)

Taking their name from the machines that transport cargo on the docks of their native Portsmouth the often experimental, occasionally pop but always unique Cranes got their start in the mid 80s. They opened for The Cure (who have a new album out this week) on the "Wish" tour and first came to my attention when the Robert Smith remix of "Jewel" got a modest amount of airplay on Live 105. That song didn't really grab me and I assumed that I had heard the band's best material since Live 105 even played The Cure's b-sides in heavy rotation at the time. A year later the first single from Cranes next album Loved got a couple of spins and proved just how wrong I was. "Shining Road" is an amazing song. Unexpected and effortless it harnesses the groove of the UK's second wave of rave revolution to the best parts of showgaze alt-rock. All discussions of Cranes inevitably lead to the merits of Alison Shaw's singular voice, which is often described as "childlike" even though otherworldly is perhaps more accurate, but there is no denying her voice is the perfect conduit for the wordless emotion conveyed here:

: After some time off in the late 90s Cranes have kept active releasing music on their own label with an album out earlier this year. If you watch American tv you almost certainly are familiar with some of their recent work that was featured in an oft-aired commercial. Keep up with the band at their label's website.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Video: The Killers "Human"

Brandon Flowers pitched "Human" to producer Stuart Price as "Johnny Cash meets the Pet Shop Boys". My endorsement will almost certainly be the death blow to The Killers domestic success but the perfect marriage of the band's (occasionally) brilliant songwriting to Stuart Price's precision tuned disco machine makes the song one of my musical highlights of the year. Love the unique take on the man/machine dynamic with the whole "human/dancer" lyric that has everyone in such a fuss although I can't help but think that Flowers could have avoided turning up on worst lyric lists by picking a less obscure quote to build a song around:

: Those who still doubt the song's brilliance should give this youtuber's piano version a listen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Video: Sam Taylor-Wood "I'm In Love With A German Film Star"

Sam Taylor-Wood's new M.I.N.I.M.A.L. video:

: Read better posts here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Video: The Chemical Brothers "Midnight Madness"

The biggest fault of last year's We Are The Night was it's lack of a tent pole dance track and while it is a bit late The Chemical Brothers have found it with the first single taken from the duo's second greatest hits album Brotherhood. "Midnight Madness" is an awesome track that restores my faith in the Brothers ability to move a dance floor. A cousin to Tom & Ed's definitive trance statement "Star Guitar" here the Brothers refine an aspect of their sound that has never really been fully explored to great effect. Shame it's not attached to a proper album.

Directed by long time visual collaborators Dom and Nic the video features a goblin that crawls out of a bin marked "commercial waste" (subtle commentary on Brotherhood?) and proceeds to do unreal parkour/free running/dancing on the streets before taking it into the club:

: The song also has a Google Earth project connected to it that involves people around the world sending in footage taken at midnight. View the official youtube video or stop by their site for more info.