Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sixteen Shades Of Black And Blue

I somehow missed the fact that there is a new Fujiya & Miyagi record coming out, in spite of the fact that I spend countless hours a week reading music news and am "friends" with the band on MySpace and Facebook. So much for staying informed!

Ventriloquizzing, the band's fourth album, is due out on January 25, 2011 via Yep Roc in the US and on January 17, 2011 via Full Time Hobby in the UK.

Based on preview track "Sixteen Shades Of Black And Blue," the band sounds a bit sinister and, well, weird this time around. It's a good weird...I think. I couldn't really get into their last record so I'm curious to hear the full length. The tracklisting of the album follows below:

1. Ventriloquizzing
2. Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue
3. Cat Got Your Tongue
4. Taiwanese Boots
5. Yoyo
6. Pills
7. OK
8. Minestrone
9. Spilt Milk
10. Tinsel & Glitter
11. Universe

"Sixteen Shades Of Black And Blue" is available for free from the band's SoundCloud.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Omega Dog

Montreal's The Dears released a new single called "Omega Dog" today. The song is available from the band and digital outlets (iTunes, Amazon).

This is the band's first release since 2008's Missiles and the first single from forthcoming fifth album Degeneration Street which is due on February 15, 2011 via Dangerbird.

Following a personnel shuffle The Dears spent the year recording and playing their new album in its entirety at multi-night residencies in Mexico City, Montreal, and Toronto. A final residency is at the The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on November 3rd and 4th.

Watch The Dears playing "Omega Man" live for the first time in Mexico City:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ways To An End

I wake from my long slumber to bring you a single which has me more excited than any other new release I've heard this year. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you: Mirrors. "Ways To An End" is the Brighton, UK band's first single on venerable old dance label Skint.

I first heard the b-side "Broken By Silence" at a bar Sunday night and was sufficiently smitten enough to run to the DJ booth to find out what it was. After downloading the single today I was happy to find that the a-side is even better.

If I had to describe the single I'd say it's like a modern meeting of "Beautiful World" by Devo and "Doctor! Doctor!" by Thompson Twins. Which is to say that it's a) rather synthy and b) immediately reminiscent of things you remember from 27 years ago, in a very good way.

"Ways To An End" was released last month on 7-inch vinyl and is also available for download at eMusic, Amazon, iTunes, etc. You can get a free demo of "Organ Song" by signing up to their mailing list here. A full-length album is expected in February.

How many references can you spot in the video?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chase The Tear

Famously unprolific band Portishead have released a new track in support of Amnesty International. "Chase The Tear" is available for download exclusively through 7digital with all proceeds going to the human rights organization.

I've already downloaded it - it's a dollar for a good cause - and I imagine the song will be on repeat for a good chunk of the day. It's largely electronic and less bleak and sparse than the last album. Which is not to say it's a party record, of course. It'll be interesting to see if this is the direction they're headed.

This new track comes on the heels of news that Portishead are in the studio working on the follow-up to last year's Third. That's fast work considering the eleven year gap between their last two studio albums. Not that I'm complaining.

Here's the video:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tubular Bells

80s club hit makers Book of Love have announced a September 25 show at New York's Highline Ballroom to commemorate the silver anniversary (25 years? It can't be!) of their self-titled debut album as well as the re-release of their catalog.

I don't remember seeing it reported anywhere at the time, but the band's Sire Records catalog was remastered - bulked up with the usual remixes, demos, live tracks, and rarities - and released back in May by Noble Rot/Collector's Choice. I didn't keep up with them past their first two records but those two pack some great singles. Tracklistings for the reissues:

Book Of Love
Disc 1
1. Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes)
2. You Make Me Feel So Good
3. Still Angry
4. White Lies
5. Lost Souls
6. Late Show
7. I Touch Roses
8. Yellow Sky
9. Boy
10. Happy Day
11. Die Matrosen
12. Book Of Love

Disc 2
1. Happy Day (Live)
2. You Make Me Feel So Good (Demo)
3. Lost Souls (Demo)
4. Boy (Demo)
5. I Touch Roses (Full Bloom Version)
6. Modigliani (Instrumental)
7. White Lies (Demo)
8. I Touch Roses (Demo)
9. We Three Kings
10. Boy (Dub)
11. Boy (Live)

1. Tubular Bells
2. Pretty Boys And Pretty Girls
3. Sea Of Tranquility
4. Melt My Heart
5. With A Little Love
6. Witchcraft
7. You Look Through Me
8. Champagne Wishes
9. Oranges And Lemons
10. Lullaby
11. Pretty Boys And Pretty Girls (Extended Mix)
12. Tubular Bells/Pretty Boys And Pretty Girls (Regan's House Medley)
13. Lullaby (Pleasant Dream Mix)
14. Witchcraft (Extended Mix)
15. Enchantra

Candy Carol
1. Intro
2. Turn The World
3. Quiver
4. Butterfly
5. Sunny Day
6. Flower Parade
7. Wall Song
8. Alice Everyday
9. Counting The Rosaries
10. Miss Melancholy
11. Orange Flip
12. Candy Carol
13. Alice Everyday (Everyday-Glo Mix)
14. Alice Everyday (Sam The Butcher Mix)
15. Sunny Day (Single Remix)
16. Counting The Rosaries (Happiness & Love Mix)

1. Sunday A.M.
2. Happily Ever After
3. Sound And Vision
4. Hunny Hunny
5. Trouble In A Bubble
6. Chatterbox (Pt. 1)
7. Salve My Soul
8. Woyaya
9. Boy Pop
10. Flower In My Hand
11. Enchanted
12. Tambourine
13. Leap Of Faith
14. Chatterbox (Pt. 2)
15. Boy Pop (Go Bottom Go Top Mix)
16. Boy Pop (Swinging Boy Pop Mix)
17. Hunny Hunny (Sweet & Sticky Mix)
18. Chatterbox (Pt. 2) (Late Nite Chat Mix)

Listen to "Tubular Bells/Pretty Boys And Pretty Girls (Regan's House Medley)." I wore the groove out on this 12-inch back in eighth grade!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Deluxe Edition Madness

I've never been one to pretend that I understand record label strategy. In most cases, it's because there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what they do. My relationship with them pretty much equates to a battered wife situation: I offer support in the form of hard-earned cash, they beat me, and I come back for more.

What's got me all hot and bothered lately is deluxe editions. Don't get me wrong, I love a good deluxe edition of a classic album as much as the next music fan but there are records that deserve it (REM's Murmur comes to mind) and those that don't (The Gin Blossoms' New Miserable Experience? Really?).

The criteria for a deluxe edition once seemed to be: is the record a classic? Does it deserve this treatment? Is there bonus material to make it worth buying again? Does it make any sense? The latest epidemic of deluxe editions of records mere months after they were originally released flies in the face of that thinking, turning admittedly fine records into classics before "earning" it.

In the coming weeks the indie music fan will decide whether or not to buy deluxe editions of records that have been out about a year or less:

The Friendly Fires record has been out since July of 2008. The deluxe edition is out now and includes a bonus DualDisc with new single "Kiss Of Life," remixes, videos, and a concert filmed in May.

Two Suns by Bat For Lashes has been out since April. The deluxe edition dropped this week and boasts eight bonus tracks and a documentary DVD.

Fever Ray's self-titled album was released in March. The deluxe edition comes out October 12 and has bonus tracks and a DVD of videos.

These are good records. They may even be worthy of a deluxe edition ten years in the future. But do they deserve a deluxe edition now, months after their original release? And what of the fans who have already bought the album? The new versions have been padded with decent bonus material that a fan would want but they'll surely feel a little put out to have to buy the album again.

I guess the point is that if you buy an album early, more and more often you can expect to have to buy it again within the year. So what is the savvy record buyer to do? Wait a year just to be sure a deluxe edition isn't released? I highly doubt the record companies would like that but they're not really respecting their consumer so why should the consumer respect them? It's no wonder people can't be bothered to buy music anymore.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When Michael Jackson Dies, We're Covering "Blackbird"

The title song of The Dandy Warhols' Welcome To The Monkey House contained the lyrics:

"Wire's coming back again,
Elastica got sued by them
When Michael Jackson dies,
We're covering Blackbird.
But won't it be absurd, then
When no one knows
what song they just heard
Unless someone on the radio
tells them first?"

I've always thought these lyrics - the Michael Jackson line in particular - were hilarious; mostly because I'm a huge nerd who loves music industry in-jokes, but also because MJ's death seemed so unimaginable and far off that I figured the band would be covering "Blackbird" in their 70s.

But then he died, and the first things I thought of - aside from Jesus Christ, is this really happening? - were: a) who is going to get The Beatles publishing rights and b) are The Dandys going to make good on their promise?

It's anybody's guess who will get The Beatles publishing rights but The Dandy Warhols cover of "Blackbird" was released yesterday on the band's Beat The World label and is available as a digital download from their site as well as Amazon, etc. Genius!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't Stop!

The tale of Annie's second full-length album is a long one. It was initially announced over a year ago and all seemed to be going well: the tracklist was out there, the album leaked and Popjustice called it a "complete modern masterpiece," the first single was released...but then there were delays, label troubles, Annie was in the studio retooling things, and ultimately she left Island and took the album with her.

During the wait Annie's long-awaited (and utterly brilliant) cover of Stacey Q's "Two Of Hearts" was released as a promo but never hit retail.

Another single "Anthonio" was released on Richard X's Pleasure Masters label, backed by some pretty wonderful remixes. The Berlin Breakdown version in particular is amazing, taking a high energy song and turning it into a full-on early Pet Shop Boys ballad.

The tale has a happy ending. Don't Stop is finally being released on October 19 in the UK and November 17 in the US via Smalltown Supersound. Collaborators Richard X, Xenomania, and Timo Kaukolampi are still around but the tracklist has changed a bit. Songs we knew from the album leak are gone and some new ones have been added. Take a look:

1. Hey Annie
2. My Love Is Better
3. Bad Times
4. Don't Stop
5. I Don't Like Your Band
6. Songs Remind Me Of You
7. Marie Cherie
8. Take You Home
9. The Breakfast Song
10. Loco
11. When The Night
12. Heaven And Hell

I'm going to miss "Sweet" and "I Can't Let Go" (a duet with Fredrik Saroea of Datarock), but I'm thrilled to hear the new songs. Hopefully those two get released somehow. Everybody loves a good b-side!

First single "Songs Remind Me Of You" - the only Richard X production left after the tracklist changes - was released as a one-track, iTunes-only, UK-only type of thing which is rubbish. I'm hoping that this is just a teaser and that they'll work out a full release because the song definitely deserves more.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Music For Hairproducts

I've been remiss in not mentioning two new-ish records from Arthur And Martha. Their debut LP Navigation and second EP Music For Hairproducts were both released in June on their own Happy Robots Records.

Navigation continues in the same vein of their first EP: indie electro-pop with a bit of an edge. A few of the tracks hearken back to classic New Order and the way they mixed electronics and guitars in that perfectly wistful way. Many of the songs start out slow and build to a glorious noise. I'm also reminded of Section 25 and their cold electro masterpiece "Looking From A Hilltop" in the harder electronic tracks like "Memory." High points are many, but my favorites so far are "Kasparov," "Navigation," and "This City Life."

The Music For Hairproducts EP features the title track in its original and two remixed versions as well as a b-side and the Laudanum remix of "Autovia" which is particularly lovely, having been stripped of its motorik beat and given a grand orchestral treatment instead. It's not to be missed.

Arthur And Martha music can be purchased direct from the band, Darla, or digitally via eMusic, Amazon, or iTunes.

Video: "Music For Hairproducts"

Seancing Songs And Witch Cult Rumbles

It's been far too quiet in the world of Broadcast for the past few years but that's about to change. A new EP has been announced for release on October 13 via Warp Records. Precious few details are available but we do know that the EP is a collaboration with The Focus Group and has been described as "seancing songs and witch cult rumbles" which, let's face it, could only be amazing. More details as they're available, obviously.

Broadcast embark on a co-headlining US tour with The Atlas Sound on October 15. Dates below.

15 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
16 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
17 Washington, DC @ Black Cat
18 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church Sanctuary
20 New York, NY @ (Le) Poisson Rouge
21 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
22 Boston, MA @ The Paradise
23 Montreal, QC @ Le National
24 Toronto, ON @ Lees Palace
25 Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center
26 Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
27 Northfield, MN @ The Cave
30 Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
31 Seattle, WA @ Neumos

01 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
03 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
04 Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
05 Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room
07 Denton, TX @ Hailey's

Watch the video for "Tender Buttons" from Broadcast's last album: