Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Are You Ready?

Thirty one years after the release of their classic debut, Wire are gearing up for the release of their new album, Object 47 (so named because it is the 47th item in their discography). The record has a tentative release date of July 7 (UK; US release TBD).

Pinkflag had this to say: "Retaining Wire's idiosyncratic mix of an avant-garde mindset with classic pop timing, this album also boasts 'tunes with zoom', a unique formula that manages to sound wholly Wire (in a classic sense) and contemporary." Sounds good to me!

The band is starting a European tour in just a few days and there are plans underway for a US tour in October. Margaret Fiedler McGinnis will be playing rhythm guitar in place of Bruce Gilbert who left the band in 2004. Margaret was previously in Laika and has also toured with PJ Harvey.

The tracklist for Object 47:

One Of Us
Mekon Headman
Perspex Icon
Four Long Years
Hard Currency
Patient Flees
Are You Ready?
All Fours

Listen: Wire - 23 Years Too Late

Indio, So Much To Answer For

The yearly sunburn otherwise known as Coachella is just two days away. How did it creep up on me so quickly? Why do I never feel prepared even when I've had tickets for months? Why does Prince get his name and his symbol on the poster?

I'm most excited to see Kraftwerk, Portishead, Prince, The Verve, The Breeders, Goldfrapp, 120 Days, Autolux, and Love and Rockets. There's a link below to my yearly Coachella schedule which will give you a good idea of where I'll be if you happen to be looking for me. It's far better than the Coachooser...and I beat them to the punch by a couple years with it. Enjoy!

I still think that the b- and c-tier bands are a bit grim, but on the whole, this lineup is probably better than other US festivals this year.

Joe's Coachella Schedule 2008 (Excel)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why Why Why

Oh, stewards of the Joy Division legacy, what the hell have you done? Pitchfork reports that a limited edition Unknown Pleasures Zune is being made as a tie-in to the release of Grant Gee's Joy Division documentary.

Barf! Why is this necessary? And why would you choose an inferior, un-sexy product to align with? Let's face it, if this was an iPod, it would be hot. But it's a Zune! What are they thinking?

Is this better or worse than the Unknown Pleasures shoes? I'm not sure. Is nothing sacred?

"Every other band was on stage because they wanted to be rock stars; this lot got on stage because they had no fucking choice."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Audience No. 2

LA favorites Autolux have just announced their new single, "Audience No. 2". Apparently it will be sent to radio and will be available for download from iTunes next week with the new album, Transit Transit following "soon enough." You've got to love vague news like that!

I do appreciate this recent trend of singles and albums being released a week after they're announced without a lot of the promotional crap that usually comes along with a release. I'm definitely looking forward to this record as their debut Future Perfect was one of my favorites of 2004.

Autolux are playing at Coachella this year and if you're going, you'd do well to check them out. They can be pretty amazing live.

Autolux - Turnstile Blues:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

All Remote And No Control

Eric Avery - who you may remember from Jane's Addiction, Deconstruction, and Polar Bear - released his first solo album, Help Wanted, last week on Dangerbird. I haven't heard it yet, but I have heard the first single, "All Remote And No Control," and I really like it (the video's pretty cool too!). Based on this one track, I'm definitely going to have to check out the album.

In related news, the rest of the original members of Jane's Addiction will perform at the first US NME Awards, where they will be receiving the "Godlike Genius" award.

UPDATE: Eric has confirmed he will join his former bandmates on stage for the first time since 1991. The original members of Jane's, playing together again... Must not get my hopes up!

Eric Avery - All Remote And No Control:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Squarewave To Heaven

Adam from my beloved Saloon (R.I.P.) has a new band. Well, he's had a new band for a while now and they're called Arthur and Martha. Their debut single has just been released by Happy Robots and is available in the following formats:

A. Autovia
B. Japanese Kiss

1. Autovia
2. Japanese Kiss
3. Squarewave To Heaven
4. Autovia 2

Arthur and Martha isn't far away from Saloon...if Saloon were less guitar-based and more electronic. Think of a mix 120 Days, Kraftwerk, OMD and New Order (without being a copy of any of them) and you might come close.

I would post the A-side, but I'm a B-sides guy and anyway, how could I resist "Japanese Kiss," a lovely song the press release describes as "the soundtrack to a messy break-up and inevitable argument over custody of the Pet Shop Boys CDs"?

UPDATE: I have removed the MP3 at the request of the band. The songs are streaming on their and page so please head on over and have a listen!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Day Full Of You, A Night Tired Of Me

There's a Locust song called "Just Like You" that I really love. It's a stand-out track on Morning Light and was sung by Craig Bethell. A few years back, I became intrigued by this vocalist. His voice was great, but who was he? Why hadn't I heard of him before or since? I wanted to know more, so I did some searches. None of the music sites had much to say so I turned to Yahoo where I learned that he'd recorded an entire album with Locust mastermind Mark Van Hoen called A Day Full Of You, A Night Tired Of Me. It hadn't been officially released, but there was a short window of time when you could pay £8 and have it sent to you. A short window that I'd missed. Such is my luck.

I sent an e-mail to the address provided hoping that I might convince them to send me a copy anyway. As it happens, I got an e-mail from the man himself offering to burn me a copy. Sweet! A CD appeared a couple weeks later, along with a hand-written note about the recordings and how he'd been unsuccessful in shopping the album to labels. He was kind enough to include a few bonus tracks too. I listened to it and liked it but the disc got buried beneath a pile of crap on my desk and ended up in a box not to be seen again for about three years until I came across it a few nights ago. I popped it in the player and really liked it this time. This caused me to put his name in a Yahoo search and there were a bunch of hits: a MySpace page, a listing for the album on Target's website of all places. When did this happen?

December, apparently. Craig and Mark went into the studio in 2006 and "revised, rerecorded, remixed and revamped" some of the songs from the original album and recorded some new ones for a proper release of A Day Full Of You, A Night Tired Of Me which Infraction Records released last December. I haven't received my copy yet, but based on samples of the album it sounds very much in keeping with the disc he sent me and the tracks he did with Locust: melancholic, romantic, late-night music. Sort of a cross between "I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingos, Counterfeit by Martin Gore, and Secrets of the Beehive by David Sylvian. If that makes any sense. Anyway, it's gorgeous and worth your time to check out. I'm glad he finally got it released!

Check it out:
Locust - Just Like You
Craig Bethell - Post Modern Times
Craig Bethell - I'm Coming Through (Demo)

Record Store Day

On April 19, record stores across the country will participate in Record Store Day, a celebration of record stores and their enduring importance to our culture. I spent my formative years in record stores, hanging out for hours on end even if I was broke, making lists, soaking up information, and hearing new music. In an era of store closures and Internet sales, it's good to know that record stores still endure. There's nothing like digging through the bins and coming across that rare disc you've been looking for for years, or being in the store and having an employee put a record on that you instantly fall in love with. I hope record stores never go away. I know some of us will always want that tactile music shopping experience.

Several exclusive releases are planned for Record Store Day including:

REM - Supernatural Superserious 7"
The Breeders - We're Gonna Rise 7"

I think I know where I'll be on April 19th!

You Got Yr Cherry Bomb

The lads from Spoon have just posted a demo of "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb" in the bonus section of their website. It's definitely worth checking out.

Meanwhile, "Well Don't You Evah," my favorite track from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, was released as a single this week. Here's the rundown:

1. Don't You Evah
2. All I Got Is Me
3. Don't You Evah (Ted Leo's I Want It Hotter Remix)
4. Don't You Evah (Diplo Mix)
5. Don't You Evah (Matthew Dear Mix)
6. Don't You Evah (Dj Amaze & Alan Astor Mix)
7. Don't You Evah (Doc Delay Fixerupper)
8. Don't You Ever (The Natural History Original Version)

I've only heard samples, but the remixes from Diplo, Matthew Dear, and Doc Delay sound good. Also, I think it's pretty classy of them to include the original version by The Natural History.

Download: Spoon - Cherry Bomb Country

No Spoken Words, Just A Scream

Bono was rather fit in 1981U2 is set to release remastered and expanded editions of their first three albums Boy, October, and War on July 24 via Universal. There will be a single disc version, a double disc version with b-sides, live tracks, and rarities, and an 180gm vinyl version. No word yet on the extras but now would be a good time for them to finally get all of their b-sides released on CD.

Interestingly, Amazon also lists live EP Under A Blood Red Sky for release the same day. That disc could really use some expanding. I'd suggest adding the whole Live At Red Rocks: Under A Blood Red Sky show, or at least finally issuing the concert film on DVD.

"Electric Co" live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver in 1983. Seriously electrifying:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

All You Need Is...Morrissey

Cover art for forthcoming Morrissey single "All You Need Is Me" has found its way to the Internet. This appears to be another skin-baring photo taken by ex-lover ex-personal assistant Jake Walters in the mid-'90s. Why he feels 14-year old photos are the best fit for a new greatest hits album and singles is beyond me, but who can argue with him when he looks so good?

Further details have emerged about the singles. Two of the b-sides, "Children In Pieces" and "My Dearest Love," were recorded with Gustavo Santaolalla (composer of soundtracks for Brokeback Mountain, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Babel). The third b-side is a Bowie cover recorded live in Omaha, Nebraska (of all places). Must place my order soon!

Friday, April 4, 2008

We Will Be Free One Day

The headlines today reminded me of one of my favorite Martin Luther King Jr-related songs: a three-part, nearly 16-minute downtempo dance track called "Spiritual High" by Moodswings, a joint venture between former Smiths roadie, guitar tech, and producer Grant Showbiz and onetime Pretender James Hood. It features Chrissie Hynde on vocals and samples Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech extensively. It never fails to give me chills.

Incidentally, the middle section of "Spiritual High" is a cover of "State Of Independence," a song originally recorded by Jon & Vangelis but made famous in a definitive cover by Donna Summer, whose version featured an All-Star Choir: Christopher Cross, Dionne Warwick, James Ingram, Kenny Loggins, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Michael McDonald, Quincy Jones, and Stevie Wonder among others. That's some big star power circa 1982!

Download: Moodswings - Spiritual High (Parts 1-3)

Watch the video for "State Of Independence" by Donna Summer:

Another Page In Your Diary

We finally have details of the forthcoming Yazoo (or Yaz, depending on which side of the pond you reside) box set In Your Room. Yazoo had a short career, releasing two perfect, eclectic pop albums in 12 months and disbanding before it had a chance to go south. The title of the documentary on the included DVD says it all: 2 albums, 4 singles and that was it. Indeed.

The tracklist is pretty pure: the albums are in the original UK running order, "Situation" is on the b-sides disc where it should be, and the dreadful '90s remixes are nowhere to be seen.

Unfortunately, they missed the boat when it comes to extras. Yazoo recorded a John Peel session and a David Jensen session, half of which was released on the excellent Mute Audio Documents 1978-1984 box set last year. The other half remains unreleased. Also, the BBC recorded a concert at the Dominion Theatre in London on November 22, 1982 (three tracks ended up on Mute Audio Documents) which could have been put to good use here.

Disc 1 (CD): Upstairs at Eric’s (Remastered)
1. Don’t Go
2. Too Pieces
3. Bad Connection
4. I Before E Except After C
5. Midnight
6. In My Room
7. Only You
8. Goodbye ’70s
9. Tuesday
10. Winter Kills
11. Bring Your Love Down (Didn’t I)

Disc 2 (CD): You And Me Both (Remastered)
1. Nobody’s Diary
2. Softly Over
3. Sweet Thing
4. Mr Blue
5. Good Times
6. Walk Away From Love
7. Ode To Boy
8. Unmarked
9. Anyone
10. Happy People
11. And On

Disc 3 (CD): B-Sides and Remixes
1. Situation
2. Situation (Extended Version)
3. Don’t Go (Re-mix)
4. Don’t Go (Re-re-mix)
5. Situation (US 12" Mix)
6. Situation (US 12" Dub)
7. The Other Side Of Love
8. The Other Side Of Love (12" Remix)
9. State Farm
10. Nobody’s Diary (Extended)
11. State Farm (Extended)
12. Situation (Re-recorded)

Disc 4 (DVD)
2 albums, 4 singles and that was it...
1. A short film featuring new interviews with Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet, and exclusive archive footage.

Promotional Videos
1. Don’t Go
2. The Other Side Of Love
3. Nobody’s Diary
4. Situation (1990)
5. Situation - Alternative Version (1990)
6. Only You (1999)

Yazoo At The BBC
1. Only You (Top Of The Pops) 29 Apr 1982
2. Only You (Cheggers Plays Pop) 24 May 1982
3. Don’t Go (Top Of The Pops) 15 Jul 1982
4. Don’t Go (Saturday Live) 24 Jul 1982
5. Don’t Go (Top Of The Pops) 12 Aug 1982
6. The Other Side Of Love (Top Of The Pops) 25 Nov 1982
7. The Other Side Of Love (Top Of The Pops) 09 Dec 1982
8. Nobody’s Diary (Top Of The Pops) 19 May 1983
9. Nobody’s Diary (Top Of The Pops) 02 Jun 1983

5:1 And Stereo Mixes
Upstairs At Eric's
You and Me Both

In Your Room is released in the UK on 5/26. A US date is still pending. Hear Yazoo live from the Dominion Theatre, London:

"Situation" and "Too Pieces"

"Goodbye Seventies" and "Winter Kills"

"Bad Connection" and "Midnight"

"Chinese Detectives" and "In My Room"

"Don't Go" and "The Other Side Of Love"

"Ode To Boy" and "Only You"

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Was Pretending That I Was In A Galaxie 500 Video

Exile In Guyville, one of my favorite records ever, is being reissued as a 2-disc CD+DVD edition on June 24 via ATO. I haven't cared much for most of the stuff Liz Phair did after this album but how could you realistically top it? Probably not by going all pop and having your album produced by The Matrix. But anyway.

I had a long obsession with this record that began when a girlfriend played the titillating "Flower" for me. She was the same girl who'd given me Sonic Youth's Goo for my birthday in my sophomore year. It's a story for another time, but she obviously steered me toward some great stuff.

Anyway. I was a sexually confused 17 year old and had just graduated high school when Exile came out and it really hit me. It was so varied; by turns dirty and weird and poppy and and atmospheric and lo-fi. I fell for it hard. It's supposed to be a track-by-track response to the Stones' Exile On Main Street. I don't know about that but I do know that out of 18 songs not one of them is a dud. Exile In Guyville is probably the most fully realised debut records I own.

Remember the video for "Stratford-On-Guy"?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

All You Need Is Me

Tracklistings and formats for "All You Need Is Me," the second single to be pulled from Morrissey's latest Greatest Hits collection have been announced. I thought it should have been the first single, but again, they didn't ask me. On to the songs:

1 All You Need Is Me
2 Children In Pieces

7-inch #1
A All You Need Is Me
B Drive-in Saturday

7-inch #2
A All You Need Is Me
B My Dearest Love

I'm not happy about another double 7-inch single, but I'm thrilled to see two new b-sides and a Bowie cover instead of the live tracks we got on the last single.

"All You Need Is Me" live on Later...with Jools Holland. Fantastic: