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:


Dead Can Dance front man Brendan Perry has contributed vocals to two tracks on the upcoming Piano Magic album Ovations. The band's 10th studio album is due on 10/12 from those lovely folks at Darla.

I didn't know their material at all before today which is a shame as it seems like it'd be right up my alley. Darla's write-up of the album says it's "a record that swings wildly between Marrakesh, Eastern Europe, Sevilla and early 80s Manchester without breaking a sweat. Piano Magic have always worn their influences on their sleeves. The Chameleons, Joy Division and The Cure rub shoulders with Turkish darabuka, hammered dulcimer, viola, cello, flamenco claps. Elsewhere there are cold analogue synths, chiming guitars, mournful piano and industrial percussion." SIGN ME UP! It seems like Brendan's voice would work perfectly in that context, so I'm looking forward to hearing the record.

In related news, Brendan has a solo album called Ark which should be announced soon. Fans who sign up for his mailing list can download a rare unreleased Dead Can Dance track called "A Means Of Escape" which is the first professional recording made by the band way back in 1982.

Have a listen to Brendan covering Tim Buckley's "Happy Time" way back in 1993, why don't you?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eins, Zwei, Drei, Vier, Fünf, Sechs, Sieben, Acht!

Shocker! Kraftwerk's The Catalogue is finally being released on October 6 via Astralwerks (October 5 in the UK via Mute)!

Those who have been following the saga know that the albums Autobahn, Radio-Activity, Trans-Europe Express, The Man-Machine, Computer World, Techno Pop, The Mix, and Tour de France were remastered earlier in the decade but were never released. The word on the street is that the band was unhappy with the result and undertook an entirely new remastering job. Hope they sound good!

On to the details: The box set features eight CDs housed in mini-vinyl card wallet sleeves along with a booklet for each album. The albums will also be released individually on CD, vinyl, and as digital downloads. Due to licensing restrictions, only five of the albums will be available in the US outside of the box set. A German language version is slated for release October 2.

The cover art for each album been reworked to some degree which irks a purist like me, but I will admit they do look a bit like a cohesive set now. Word is there will be additional artwork but loads of bonus tracks aren't likely as the band doesn't have much unreleased material.

Watch a short promo video for the set:

Asleep In The Back

Elbow's Mercury Prize-nominated debut album Asleep In The Back is getting the deluxe reissue treatment. Polydor will release the 2 CD + DVD package on September 28 (UK; kinda doubt this will get a domestic release but one can hope).

The big news is that (most of) the insanely rare Noisebox EP is included. I haven't seen any explanation of why "George Lassoes The Moon" isn't here but it would be interesting to know why. The Elbow site says that 200 copies of the EP were made and I've seen how much they go for on eBay so the fact that it's included in this set is amazing.

My biggest issue with the tracklisting is, where are the period b-sides? I have them all (of course) but maybe they'll turn up on that b-sides collection that's been rumored since before they left V2? I'm not sure where the unreleased videos on the DVD come from. I know there were videos made at the time for the singles but the fact that they all say "previously unreleased" makes me think this is something else. One wonders whether the audio on the DVD will be mixed in 5.1 or if it's strictly just there for visuals. And why are the Noisebox tracks repeated on the DVD? I have too many questions at this point. Anyway, here's the rundown:

Disc 1

1. Any Day Now
2. Red
3. Little Beast
4. Powder Blue
5. Bitten By The Tail Fly
6. Asleep In The Back
7. Newborn
8. Don't Mix Your Drinks
9. Presuming Ed (Rest Easy)
10. Coming Second
11. Can't Stop
12. Scattered Black And Whites

Disc 2

1. Powder Blue (Noisebox EP Version)
2. Red (Noisebox EP Version)
3. Theme From Munroe Kelly (Noisebox EP Version)
4. Can't Stop (Noisebox EP Version)
5. Bitten By The Tail Fly (Live At The Astoria)
6. Coming Second (Live At The Astoria)
7. Don't Mix Your Drinks (Live At The Astoria)
8. Can't Stop (Live At The Astoria)
9. Scattered Black And Whites (Live At The Astoria)
10. George Lassoes The Moon (Live At The Astoria)
11. Newborn (Radio 1 Lamacq Session Previously Unreleased)
12. Don't Mix Your Drinks (Radio 1 Lamacq Session Previously Unreleased)
13. Red (Radio 1 Lamacq Session Previously Unreleased)


1. Any Day Now (Previously Unreleased Video)
2. Red (Previously Unreleased Video)
3. Little Beast (Previously Unreleased Video)
4. Powder Blue (Previously Unreleased Video)
5. Bitten By The Tail Fly (Previously Unreleased Video)
6. Asleep In The Back (Previously Unreleased Video)
7. Newborn (Previously Unreleased Video)
8. Don't Mix Your Drinks (Previously Unreleased Video)
9. Presuming Ed (Rest Easy) (Previously Unreleased Video)
10. Coming Second (Previously Unreleased Video)
11. Can't Stop (Previously Unreleased Video)
12. Scattered Black And Whites (Previously Unreleased Video)
13. Powder Blue (Noisebox EP Version)
14. Red (Noisebox EP Version)
15. Theme From Munroe Kelly (Noizebox EP Version)
16. Can't Stop (Noisebox EP Version)
17. Bitten By The Tail Fly (Live At The Astoria)
18. Coming Second (Live At The Astoria)
19. Don't Mix Your Drinks (Live At The Astoria)
20. Can't Stop (Live At The Astoria)
21. Scattered Black And Whites (Live At The Astoria)
22. George Lassoes The Moon (Live At The Astoria)
23. Newborn (Radio 1 Lamacq Session Previously Unreleased)
24. Don't Mix Your Drinks (Radio 1 Lamacq Session Previously Unreleased)
25. Red (Radio 1 Lamacq Session Previously Unreleased)

Universal has disabled embedding from YouTube so I can't include any of the videos from this period but enjoy "Powder Blue."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We All Wanna Be Prince

I haven't really been paying attention to what Felix da Housecat has been up to because I was a little bored by what I'd heard of his output post-"Kittenz And Thee Glitz" so I was pleasantly surprised when I took a cursory spin through his new record He Was King today.

The album hasn't been reviewed very well but I think it's a heck of a lot of electro fun, starting with second single "We All Wanna Be Prince" which is a) supposedly made up entirely of Prince lyrics and b) totally hot.

Download: Felix da Housecat - We All Wanna Be Prince

The Sound Of The Atom Splitting

After years of delays and side projects, Massive Attack have announced a new EP! "Splitting The Atom" will be released on October 5th and it looks to be a digital release with a "nice vinyl package" in the works as well.

The EP features Massive Attack mainstays 3D, Daddy G, and Horace Andy on "Splitting The Atom" and TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe on "Pray For Rain." It will also include remixes of two new tracks: "Psyche" featuring Martina Topley-Bird and "Bulletproof Love" featuring Guy Garvey (Elbow). The tracklist looks like this:

1. Splitting The Atom
2. Pray For Rain
3. Psyche (Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid Remix)
4. Bulletproof Love (Flash Treatment remix by Christoff Berg)

The latter two tracks are thought to appear in their original form on the band's fifth LP which is slated for a January/February 2010 release. The album will feature vocal contributions from those mentioned above as well as Damon Albarn (Blur) and Hope Sandoval. This is a welcome return indeed!

Listen to "Splitting The Atom" here:

If EMI has pulled that YouTube post, you can hear the premiere of the song on the BBC Radio 1 Zane Lowe show (you'll want to go about 28 minutes into the show).