Friday, March 28, 2008

It's Looking Like A Beautiful Day

Wow, wow, wow. I know this is my second Elbow post in a row, but the video for "One Day Like This," the first US "single" (digital only, as far as I can tell) from The Seldom Seen Kid was released today and it's just wonderful. I love how they took something so mundane and made something so beautiful out of it. Obviously, the song's pretty damn gorge too.

The Seldom Seen Kid

Elbow's new album The Seldom Seen Kid will be out in the US on 4/22, about a month after its release in the UK. I'm so glad we don't have to wait several months for the US release like we have in the past. Naturally, I've already heard the album and it's very, very good. Guy Garvey still has a way with words that'll have you swooning. I might even go so far as to say that some of their best songs are here. It's a really fine album. But what else would one expect?

Vinyl CD copies of the album carry a sticker which addresses the loudness wars with the message: "To preserve the excitement, emotion and dynamics of the original performance this record is intentionally quieter than some. For full enjoyment simply turn me up!" and includes a link to Turn Me Up. I hope more bands catch on and start doing this.

The first single from The Seldom Seen Kid is "Grounds For Divorce" (limited edition, numbered, CD, double 7-inch, exclusive b-sides on each. Of course I bought all three. I just wish that the 7-inches came with a code so I could download the b-sides. Why aren't all of the labels doing that?). Here's the video:

Let It Whip

I'm a bit late to this one, but what can you do? My good friend James has been frothing at the mouth about Manchester band (don't all good things come from Manchester?) The Whip for months but somehow I'd neglected to listen until I heard their full length, X Marks Destination, last week. I've played it a few times and I'm really enjoying it. "Trash," the first track on (and single from) the album is just OK but things get a lot better as the record plays. "Sirens," "Blackout," and "Sister Siam" are particularly great. I have a strong feeling I'll be buying as much of their stuff as I can get my hands on. My poor, poor credit card.

Tasty: The Whip - Sister Siam

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Black Cat

"Black Cat," a track from Ladytron's upcoming fourth album Velocifero has hit the internets. On first listen, it doesn't sound a whole lot different from their last album The Witching Hour. It's one of those repetitive Ladytron songs that takes forever to go anywhere. It doesn't seem like much of a step forward, but I'll reserve judgement until I've heard the album. I will say that I wish Ladytron would lighten it up a bit.

Download: Ladytron - Black Cat

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

She's Lost Control

Oh, Madonna. What's going on with you? Are you acting out? Are you trying to look old? Don't you have anybody who will tell you "no" anymore? I just don't know what you're thinking with this cover art, but this is not a good look for you. Can we please go back to classy Madonna circa Something To Remember? It hurt a lot less.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mike Mills And Peter Buck Come Out

I love Michael Stipe. And I am happy to say that Accelerate isn't bad! More on that later, I'm sure. I just had to post this:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Manchester Music Landmark Disappears

Mosaics by Mark Kennedy that have adorned the side of Afflecks Palace (a famous indoor market in Manchester) have been taken down. One of the mosaics (see photo on the left, taken by me in 2002) features Manchester music legends Morrissey, Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Bez, Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, and Tony Wilson, among others. The building has been sold and the mosaics belong to the former owner. I hope they find another home!

Sorting Out Colin Meloy's Presale Offers

Being a music fan and consumer can be tough these days. Sometimes you feel like those big bad major record labels really enjoy screwing you at every turn.

Luckily, there is great music being put out by lots of smaller, independent labels which seem to care about music and art and their consumer. Maybe that makes you feel better about shelling out your hard-earned cash for music again.

That is until you realise that the indies are doing a lot of the same crap too. I'll throw out a topic: Colin Meloy Sings Live! (in stores April 8th!).

Insound, Kill Rock Stars, and The Decemberists Shop are all doing pre-orders. And they're all different. Here's the run-down:

Insound: Pre-order the CD or LP and get two free, otherwise unavailable bonus downloads immediately.

Kill Rock Stars: Pre-order the CD and receive a one of a kind bookmark and free poster.

The Decemberists Shop: Pre-order the CD or LP and have your copy autographed (first 300 CDs and first 100 LPs only!) by Colin Meloy and be entered to win "the ship, sheep and skull props as seen on the stage for Colin's 2006 tour, and two tickets to any one of his upcoming shows in April."

OK, so not all pre-order give-aways are created equal. The first one I got wind of was from Kill Rock Stars. I jumped on it. I thought, "A free book mark and a poster? My cup runneth over!" And I felt that way for a few days until I saw the Insound pre-order. My cup felt slightly less full. "I got a book mark and a poster but those other people will get more music!" By the time I heard about The Decemberists Shop pre-order I was just annoyed.

The practice of giving exclusives to different retailers is really frustrating. I'm a fan. I want to support Colin. But I don't want to buy the record three times just to get all of the free stuff that went with it. I can handle the idea of missing out on a book mark or poster, but two more tracks? More music? That really gets under my skin. I'm sure they'll show up somewhere and you can bet I'll be downloading them.

Oh. The vinyl version of the album? It's got another otherwise unavailable bonus track. Ugh.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's Their Third Album. Get It?

Portishead are gearing up for the release of their imaginatively titled new album, Third (out 4/29 in the US) and announced Monday that the album would be available as a box set limited to 10,000 copies worldwide. I have to admit to coveting the P-shaped USB drive, but I'm not sure I want to drop $80 for it.

"Machine Gun" will be the lead single; available in the UK on one-sided, etched 12" vinyl. The one-sided, single-track, etched vinyl thing is really being done to death lately. It's so collector-fetish-y!

I wasn't sure what to think when I first heard it, but the song is growing on me. One thing is for sure: Portishead did not make Dummy Part 2. This album is definitely a departure. "Machine Gun" almost sounds like Portishead remixed by Trent Reznor. Which could actually be a good thing.

Here's the video for "Machine Gun":

Blonde Redhead, Dandys To Cover The Cure?

Pitchfork posted a news item today about a Cure tribute record that's in the works. I'm not usually that excited by tribute records because they're often full of really uninspired covers. This one has me intrigued, though, due to the presence of a couple of favorite bands.

Blonde Redhead (who made one of my favorite records of 2007) are set to cover "The Funeral Party". They seem like they would be perfectly suited to covering The Cure. I'm glad they didn't choose an obvious track to cover (i.e. a huge single like "The Lovecats").

The Dandy Warhols are tackling "Primary" (another great song choice). I'd guess they're quite capable based on their great cover of The Cult's classic "She Sells Sanctuary".

Sounds like I'll have to wait to hear this as it's not scheduled to be released until late 2008/early 2009. In the meantime, the new Cure album is set to be released June 3rd while Earth To The Dandy Warhols is rumored to be released before the summer.

I'll be seeing The Cure in Denver, Salt Lake City, and New York this summer. I guess you could say I'm a fan.

Here's the Dandy Warhols covering The Cult. It's from a charity record, so I didn't feel right making this available for download. Stream away, and if you like it, buy it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Was Afraid Of This

This is me right now.Radiohead have announced that the next single from In Rainbows will be "Nude". In a great big "fuck you" to fans (like me) who laid out £40/$80 for the discbox of the album, two of the songs from the bonus disc of the box will be released as b-sides. I wonder how many more will make it out before this is all done. I can't be the only one who was banking on that bonus disc - and its relative rarity if those songs never saw another release - as the main reason to buy this box. Anyway, the track list for the singles is:

1 Nude
2 4 Minute Warning
3 Down Is the New Up

A Nude
B 4 Minute Warning

The "Happiness" Remix Goldfrapp Doesn't Want You To Hear

OK, the title of this post might be a tad tabloid-y but I couldn't resist. Rex the Dog were commissioned to do a remix of the forthcoming Goldfrapp single but it didn't make the cut so they decided to make a video. In their words:

"This is our remix for Goldfrapp's song 'Happiness'. Unfortunately for us, it didn't get approved, but we still really like this song so we did some cooking to celebrate."

I rather like their remix, so I hope it turns up eventually. The video is pretty brilliant too. Bon appetit!

Goldfrapp has also made another of their fun promo videos:

Alas, no new songs about the baby Jesus, but watching Alison in that fox costume is worth the price of admission.

Monday, March 17, 2008

SPC ECO and Chatelaine

Good news for Curve fans. Dean and Toni both have new projects in the works. First up is Dean's new band with his daughter Rose Berlin on vocals. They're called SPC ECO and their debut 7" ("You're Alright"/"Another Day") was released in January on Club AC30. It sounds much like what you would expect from Dean: very dense and noisy but also beautiful. The single and several other tracks are streaming on the SPC ECO MySpace page.

Toni's new solo project is called Chatelaine. Not much news to report except that she's recording and that a release is scheduled for 2008. Two of the tracks are streaming on her MySpace page.

FAC51 Coming to the States

The Hacienda, the legendary club that the lads from New Order built (and the namesake of this very blog), is coming to the US. Well, kinda.

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the club, The Hacienda World Tour features a revolving line-up of DJs and, one assumes, the spirit of the original club (since they're obviously not "building" the club in every city of the tour).

The US date of the tour is March 25th as part of the Winter Music Conference in Miami. Peter Hook, Three, Bobby Langley, Nick Warren, and "special guests" are slated to spin. I think I'd rather hit up the date in Manchester, where the line-up is 808 State, Shaun Ryder, Mike Pickering, Graeme Park, Peter Hook, and A Guy Called Gerald.

Either way, some surplus cash would be really nice right about now.

Here's some classic 808 State for ya.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happiness Revealed

Goldfrapp have revealed the release date (UK: 4/14, no word on a US release just yet) and tracklist for the "Happiness" singles. Still no b-sides even though there were 10+ additional songs recorded but not used on the album. I'll cross my fingers that those end up released eventually. I have a hard time knowing that unreleased songs are just sitting there waiting to be loved. Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing the Spiritualized and Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve remixes. Should be interesting.

1. Happiness - Single version
2. Road To Somewhere Acoustic Version

Maxi CD
1. Happiness - Beyond The Wizards Sleeve Re-animation
2. Monster Love - Goldfrapp vs. Spiritualized
3. Eat Yourself - Yeasayer Remix

7" picture disc
A. Happiness - Single version
B. Happiness - Metronomy Remix Featuring The Teenagers

Speaking of unreleased songs, here's a clip of them performing "Little Death" at Shepherds Bush Empire, London in 2001. It was later released on their live DVD Wonderful Electric but I have always longed for studio versions of this and other songs from that period ("Fondue Knights" and "Sartorious"). Be sure to check out the part around 4:00 where the song just goes nuts. I love it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I swear, this blog isn't going to exclusively be a "so-and-so is streaming their new song at MySpace" type of thing, but Scandanavian pop princess Annie is doing just that and I had to share. "Girlfriend" was produced by Richard X who worked extensively on Annie's first record Anniemal and who had a rather good record of his own. No news as to when "Girlfriend" or rumoured single "Two of Hearts" (yes, it's a Stacey Q cover, and yes, I'm excited) will be released. I've been frothing at the mouth for new music from Annie or Richard X, so this is two good news bits in one.

The Nude

Rob Dickinson (of Catherine Wheel) is streaming a new acoustic version of CW classic "The Nude" on his MySpace page. The track is reportedly going to be included on a bonus disc of the Canadian reissue of his 2005 album Fresh Wine for the Horses which has been mooted since...oh...December '06. At least. Ah, record companies. Maybe they'll get around to releasing it in time for the five-year anniversary.

Anyway, what do you think of the track? To quote a post on the Texture mailing list, it's "precious." Agreed! I think it's nice and all, but pales in comparison to the original.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Goldfrapp Happiness (Literally!)

Based on the one-track promos that keep showing up on eBay, it appears that the second single from Seventh Tree is going to be "Happiness." It's not on my list* of songs that should be released as singles, but it does have those really ecstatic moments that fill me with, well, happiness so I'm sure it'll do just fine.

*That list is "Little Bird," "Cologne Cerrone Houdini," and "Monster Love." But they didn't ask me.

Immi Returns

Seems Imogen Heap has recorded a podcast for the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller. It's interesting and a little batty, like all things Immi.

She is also streaming a clip of "Not Now But Soon," her contribution to the Heroes soundtrack on her MySpace profile. It's lovely, of course, but I want more. Can we have album #3, Immi?

UPDATE: The full song has now been posted, and it is lovely as expected. In a blog post, Imogen said that the track may end up on her new album and that she hopes to have it finished by the end of the year. I sure hope so!

We're The Passions

Pet Shop Boys have recorded a cover of "I'm In Love With A German Film Star" which was a minor hit for The Passions in 1981. Sam Taylor-Wood will handle vocals. You might remember her from their odd cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus." It'll be interesting to see how they make this one sound. Here's the video of their Top of the Pops "performance" of the song.

The Boys are also working on songs for a new album, roughly slated to land in early 2009. Fingers crossed!

New Joy Division 'Best Of' Comp to Replace Old 'Best Of' Comp

Word on the street is that a new Joy Division 'best of' compilation is dropping on 3/24 (in the UK; a US release date is TBD). Presumably, this would replace the previous best of that came out in 1995. Can you just hear the record company execs? "But that was ages ago. We needed to freshen it up and make it more modern!"

As if Joy Division needed freshening up.

Need it be said that the songs on this compilation have previously been released several times over, just in a different running order? The 1998 Heart and Soul box pretty much compiled everything the band ever released.

But wait, there's more! If you buy this limited edition, you get an extra disc, the entirely of which has been previously available on The Complete BBC Recordings.

With such cynical treatment of the band's legacy, is it any wonder people don't bother buying CDs anymore?