Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Omar K

I heard this amazing sound while shopping at Amoeba the other day. Blaring over the loudspeakers was something that sounded like Siouxsie And The Banshees circa Juju being played in the middle of a noisy, bustling middle-eastern market. There were synths, sharp-edged guitars, female vocals, lots of eastern instruments, and a hot beat. I was transfixed!

Needless to say, I quickly made for the information counter to find out that I was listening to The Basta, the first EP from LA-based husband and wife duo Rainbow Arabia. I bought the EP on the spot and can't stop listening to it. It reminds me a bit of M.I.A. or Santogold (as it would) but it seems to have a bit more of a punk edge to it that I like. A lot.

I have since learned that they're recording their first album for release in Spring '09, so I'm looking forward to that. They were also recently featured on Perfect As Cats, one of the Cure tributes I wrote about last March. I'm going to have to hunt this down because hearing them cover "Six Different Ways" (from The Cure's eastern-tinged The Head On The Door) could be very cool indeed.

The folks at Amoeba followed this up with...ZZ Top. Ugh.


Rainbow Arabia - Omar K

Friday, December 5, 2008

(More) Years Of Refusal

You might remember a post from way back in May where I mentioned the upcoming Morrissey record Years Of Refusal. It was to have been released in September but was pushed back at the request of the label and now has a UK release date of February 16, 2009.

The cover looks to my eyes like a possible homage to Whipped Cream & Other Delights. Don't know what the baby is all about, but I think I'd prefer whipped cream.

A US tour is scheduled to begin near the release, which is odd considering that (at last report) he is without a US record deal after having sacked Universal earlier this year due to poor promotion of his latest greatest hits compilation. One assumes that will be cleared up in time for the tour. No point promoting an album fans can't buy...right?

Anyway, recent live staple "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" will be the first single, released February 9th and featuring b-sides "Because Of My Poor Education" and "Shame Is The Name" (the latter with backing vocals by Chrissie Hynde). Details on formats are forthcoming.

BMG's reissue of Southpaw Grammar is set to be released the week after Years Of Refusal. As previously mentioned, it will be remastered and feature three unreleased tracks from the recording sessions as well as new cover art (the typography of which is vaguely ChangesOneBowie-like, no?). The tracklisting has been re-sequenced, which is interesting. I wonder if he's trying to set an often misunderstood album in a new context.

It has also been reported that Universal will reissue a remastered and redesigned Maladjusted at the same time though details of bonus tracks (if there are any) and cover art have yet to be announced.

The Girl With The Patent Leather Face

I don't know how I missed this, but seminal 80s compilation Some Bizzare Album has been reissued on CD for the first time since a limited pressing in 1992. Prior to that it was only available on vinyl which had become rather scarce and was selling for loads on eBay.

The record is probably most famous for featuring Depeche Mode's first released recording: the "Some Bizzare Version" of "Photographic" (which was made considerably less rare by its inclusion on The Singles 81>85) as well as Soft Cell's "The Girl With The Patent Leather Face" which has never been released anywhere else. The The and Blancmange also make rare early appearances.

In other Soft Cell news, their classic first album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret has been given the deluxe edition treatment. The 2-disc set features the album as well as its companion remix album Non-Stop Exotic Dancing and various period b-sides and non-album singles. I'll have to do some research to see if this is the definitive version of the album (I have two other pressings) but something tells me it won't be. Typical.

A remix album called Heat: The Remixes was released simultaneously. It features 26 remixes by Manhattan Clique, Richard X, Playgroup, Solvent, and Atomizer and a host of others. I haven't delved into all of it yet but the remixes I've heard did a good job at the balancing act of maintaining respect for - and the spirit of - the original track while still giving it a contemporary update.


Soft Cell - The Girl With The Patent Leather Face
Soft Cell - Seedy Films (Richard X Remix)

4AD 2008 Sampler

The folks over at 4AD have offered up a sampler of stuff they've released in 2008 and for the small price of your e-mail address you can download them all for free.

Remember the days when a 4AD sampler might be bound in a hard cover book, or come in a limited edition wooden box? Oh modern record company climate, what have you done? I should stop complaining and just be glad 4AD even exists anymore and is still putting out great records.

Gripes aside, there's some tasty stuff to be had from The Breeders, Stereolab, Deerhunter, and TV On The Radio among others so check it out!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Paper Planes

Pitchfork is, like, really excited about this year's "surprisingly relevant" Grammy nominations but aside from a few names on the list, it's the usual boring middle-of-the-road dreck. Duffy, Adele, and Jonas brothers are up for Best New Artist and if that doesn't sum it up perfectly, I don't know what will.

Some of my favorites are nominated for awards: Robyn is up for Best Electronic/Dance Album, Rufus Wainwright got a nod for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and Radiohead was nominated for several awards including Album of the Year, Best Rock Song, and Best Alternative Music Album.

I wonder whether - if M.I.A. wins Record of the Year for "Paper Planes" - the terrorists will have won by proxy. Totally kidding. I'm not a huge fan but I think it'd be pretty cool if she won it. She's anything but boring. And she's not Adele. Or Duffy.

Watch "Paper Planes":

New York, I Love You...

This is a fairly frivolous post, but the video below of Kermit singing along to LCD Soundsystem's "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" is priceless. Be sure to stay to the end!

Thankfully, recent rumours that LCD Soundsystem had disbanded were just that so I look forward to their next album, whenever James gets around to it.