Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In For the Kill

Song: In For the Kill
Artist: La Roux
Album: In For the Kill Single

Next Big Thing alert. I’ve just been made aware of La Roux, a new English act that has thus far only released two singles, “Quicksand” and “In For the Kill.” Their debut album is expected sometime later this year. Both singles are really great and have me quite interested in hearing their full album. Loads of remixes have been done for both songs from a mix of up and comers that have been making the scene in 2008. The Twelves, Hostage, Autokratz, and Chateau Marmont have taken stabs at either track.

“In For the Kill” is a real winner, and I particularly like The Twelves mix of the song. I have a feeling this is a band to watch this year.


In For the Kill

Quicksand (Joe & Will Ask Remix)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Walking on a Dream

Song: Walking on a Dream
Artist: Empire of the Sun
Album: Walking on a Dream

I was just made aware of Australian electro duo Empire of the Sun who released their debut album “Walking on a Dream” last year in August. They’re an odd mix of 80’s lite-new wave with hints of Brodski Beat, Adult Contemporary, with visual style that’s best described as “Adam Ant in Star Wars.” It’s odd for sure.

Actually, take a look at the video for “Walking on a Dream” here:

To me, it almost looks like an 80’s video parody. Doesn’t it? Are they serious? I think they are.

Despite the silly video, the silly face makeup, and what Pitchfork described as “one of the worst album covers of 2008,” I’m actually really digging the music. The whole album has a great relaxed vibe that would no doubt sound great while hanging around a pool somewhere fabulous. They certainly haven’t made a big splash here in America, but given their look and vibe… I’m not totally surprised.


We Are the People

Friday, March 20, 2009

Did You See Me Coming?

Song: Did You See Me Coming?
Artist: The Pet Shop Boys
Album: Yes

In some ways it’s amazing to think the Pet Shop Boys are on their tenth album, and amazing to think it’s ONLY been ten. Though of course this doesn’t include the myriad of remix “Disco” albums they’ve released, as well as remixes for other artists, live albums, the list goes on. I’m a pretty big fan, and like that they have consistently made albums, vs. a collection of either singles or throw-away tracks. “Yes,” their tenth album which follows 2006’s “Fundamental” finds the Boys working with production team Xenomania who are best known for writing pop hits for UK acts such as Girls Aloud.

“Fundamental” was a big critical hit but I found it a little messy and inconsistent. It was as strong as “Release” and wasn’t as fun “Nightlife.” So where does “Yes” fall? Initial listens had me shrugging. It sounded like the Pet Shop Boys for sure, but didn’t seem very fresh to me. But as I’ve gotten to digest the whole album I’m beginning to see it’s almost a classic Pet Shop Boys album, filled with sunny hooks and their trademark witty ruminations on love. The more I hear, the more I like.

“Love, Etc.” is the first single, but I really like “Did You See Me Coming?” which is more typical of the whole album. It’s so sunny and optimistic… I’m swooning.


Love, Etc.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Happy Up Here

Song: Happy Up Here
Artist: Röyksopp
Album: Junior

Initially I first heard of Röyksopp based on their remixes, but I then got their debut album “Melody A.M.” which was a neat loungy-atmospheric house record that was more mood based than single driven. Their follow up, “The Understanding,” went for the opposite, adding vocals and doing songs that were a bit more pop with more standard song arrangements. As showcased by singles “Only This Moment” and “What Else is There?” For their third album “Junior” it seems that Röyksopp have split the difference, making a vibe record with a few tracks that really have a pop polish on them.

“Happy Up Here” is the opening track and first single, a fun bouncy song that reminds me of “Eple” from their debut. Elsewhere on the album you’ll hear collaborations with other notable Swedish singers like Lykke Li, Karin Dreijer Andersson of the Knife, and Robyn. I’m still getting into it, but have pretty much liked it right away, as expected.

Apparently, “Junior” is the first of a two-album set with “Senior,” a more ambient work, coming next year.


Happy Up Here

What Else is There?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello 2morrow

Song: Hello 2morrow
Artist: Moodyman
Album: Detroit ‘67

Here’s an odd one. I came across this EP on a blog somewhere, gave it a few listens, and sort of shrugged it off. It’s short, just six tracks, and doesn’t make much of a statement. But I have been listening to it more lately and really dig the sleazy vibe. “Freeki Muther F cker” is the records calling card (minimalist funk?) but I really dig the house-esque “Hello 2morrow.”

“Moodyman” is Detroit based DJ/Producer Kenny Dixon Jr. His style is a mix of funk, jazz, and sampled elements from a wide range of music and blaxploitation flicks. “Detroit ‘67” is his sixth work, which started with 1997’s “Silentintroduction.” The album sure sets a particular mood… equal parts funky and freaky.


Freeki Muther F cker (live)

And he DJ’s at a roller-rink…

Monday, March 09, 2009


Song: Wrong
Artist: Depeche Mode
Album: Sounds of the Universe

I was a big fan of Depeche Mode’s last album, 2006’s “Playing the Angel.” I’m not a huge fan of the band, have consistently liked singles they have, including some of their early 80’s material, but never went over-the-moon crazy for them like many of their über-fans seem to be. But regardless, the band has remained relevant throughout many changes to the business and while they don’t have pop hits like U2 still have, I think they are still making challenging worth-wild music.

“Wrong” is the first single from their upcoming twelfth studio album, “Sounds of the Universe.” I haven’t heard anything but the single, but it sounds much like the dark electronica from “Angel” as well as lead Dave Gahan’s recent solo record “Hourglass.” (Which I also liked quite a bit.) Looking forward to hearing the rest of the album as I think “Wrong” is way right. And check out the video below… it’s crazy!



Here is the band performing the song live at the Echo Awards in Berlin

Friday, March 06, 2009

Boom Boom Pow!

Song: Boom Boom Pow!
Artist: Black Eyed Peas
Album: The E.N.D.

I’ve never shied away from dumb pop music, and I suppose you would need to look no further than the Black Eyed Peas “My Humps” for the epitome of a dumb pop song. But I suppose that the Black Eyed Peas have somehow topped themselves in the dumb department with their new single “Boom Boom Pow,” which is the first of their upcoming new album “The E.N.D.” Now, I was, like many of you totally hooked on “My Humps.” I find no shame in enjoying a big dumb sing-a-long pop track every once in a while.

Though “My Humps” was actually ABOUT something (Uh… ass?) where “Boom Boom Pow…” I’m really not sure it’s about anything. It’s one of those random boastful tracks where the Peas basically tell everyone they’re awesome. Okay… cool. Personally my favorite line comes from Fergie; “I’m so three-thousand and eight, you’re so two-thousand and late.” It’s catchy for sure, sounds current… will probably be a huge hit. What do you think?


Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Tenure Itch

Song: The Tenure Itch
Artist: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Album: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are currently experiencing the whip and whirl of blog-rage and now blog-lash, hyped enough to get people listening and now over-hyped by those that started the hype, or anyone with a Macbook in Brooklyn. A good friend recommended the band to me and I’ve enjoyed the record which to me is a mix of early R.E.M. jangle-pop, The Smiths, and well… My Bloody Valentine. (All that buzz!) I never understood the My Bloody Valentine thing (I was too late for that boat and when I finally caught it I wondered what the fuss was about.) but dig the first two and find the record to be a neat reminder of myself in late high school and college. Hey Madder Rose!

They might be the next Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, or the next Vampire Weekend, or yesterday’s news which they already are in some circles. I’ll wash my hands of it all and say that “The Tenure Itch” is a killer song, as is “A Teenager in Love.” Maybe it’s just shoegazer music for people who don’t know what shoegazer is. Or I’m just no longer hip and feeling it.


Everything With You

A Teenager in Love

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Song: Earthquake
Artist: The Von Bondies
Album: Love, Hate, and Then There Is You

The Von Bondies came up around the same time the White Stripes did, also coming out of the Detroit garage rock scene. The Bondies haven’t been nearly as prolific as the Stripes, as their newly released third album, “Love, Hate, and Then There Is You” is their follow up to the breakthrough, 2004’s “Pawn Shoppe Heart.” I liked that record okay, but LOVED their big single “C’mon, C’mon,” which also serves as the theme song to the Dennis Leary show “Rescue Me.”

I haven’t been really tuned into rock music that much as of late as I really can’t stand emo, and bands like Nickelback and the like make my skin crawl. But I must say that I’ve really been digging their new record and think it deserves some of your time. It’s pretty consistent, starting with lead single “Pale Bride.” I personally like “Earthquake” the best, love the way lead singer Jason Stollsteimer stretches the words out, building the intensity.

Are there any songs as good as “C’mon, C’mon?” Well… no. But they’re making some of the best American rock out there and Stollsteimer should be know for more than just getting his ass kicked by Jack White.

Rock on.


Pale Bride

C’mon, C’mon – Live on Letterman

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Song: 1989
Artist: The Rakes
Album: Klang!

Its funny how big Emo is here in America where in Europe, they’re all about “lad rock.” Skinny mal-nourished boys that sing about girls and emotions and stuff. I sort of can’t stand Emo… I don’t know why… maybe because it all sounds the same? (Though that is an annoying non-criticism criticism from someone who hasn’t taken the time to listen to whatever they’re dismissing.) Regardless, I will take the Kaiser Chiefs over Fall Out Boy any day.

The Rakes formed in 2004 and saw the release of their debut album happen the following year. I heard some buzz about them and took a listen to that album, “Catch/Release” and didn’t think it really held up against better bands records like the aforementioned Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand, and Bloc Party. (Though the last two are arguably more dance-rock but hell… I just split a hair too.) I didn’t even realize that the band had already released a follow up, 2007’s “Ten New Messages,” which I didn’t hear, but already have their third, “Klang!” on deck for release later this month.

I have found “Klang!” immediately enjoyable and put it on par with the first Fratelli’s record and the latest from the Kaiser Chiefs. First single “1989” is a good indication on what you can expect from the rest of the album. It sort of typifies what I expect from lad rock. Catchy, sing-a-long chorus about working class life. Dig.


Work, Work, Work, (Pub, Club, Sleep)

22 Grand Job


Monday, March 02, 2009

I'm Not Alone

Song: I’m Not Alone
Artist: Calvin Harris
Album: ’09 TBD / I’m Not Alone Single

I have been eagerly waiting to hear new music from Calvin Harris, the electro-pop boy wonder who, at the tender age of twenty-three, released his infectious, arguably stupid, debut album “I Created Disco.” Loved the record, and as “dumb” as it was, I couldn’t stop listening to it… crazy about singles “Acceptable in the 80’s,” “The Girls,” and “Merrymaking at My Place” as well as album tracks “Neon Rocks” and “Certified.” He then wrote and produced my favorite Kylie song in years (“In My Arms”) and just last summer teamed with Dizzie Rascal and Chrome for the killer single “Dance Wiv Me.” I literally couldn’t get enough of Mr. Harris and wondered what he’s come up with for his sophomore album.

I wasn’t expecting this…

I suppose that what I thought we’d get, and thought I wanted, was another super-catchy dance-pop song cycle that matched his earlier work. And honestly… I would have been totally happy with that. Given that “Dance Wiv Me” was on constant repeat on my stereo last summer into the fall, I was ready to have the man (boy?) release catchy bouncy song one after the other. But it has come apparent that he could literally do that if he wanted to, but Harris has instead gone in a different direction.

“I’m Not Alone” is the first single off of his still as yet untitled album due this year, and instead of his typical bouncy beats he’s gone trance, and semi-serious. No more goofy jokes, and the music is much more euphoric and big room filling. I was pretty taken aback by the first listen… what has he done? But I must admit… I can’t STOP listening to it. It has totally grown on me. I find it hypnotic, with a sense of mystery that his early more pop songs didn’t touch on.

Harris debuted the track while DJ’ing New Years Eve in Sydney. Check it out… the crowd is certainly FEELING it:

I’m not sure how this one will do on the charts (I’m speaking of course about the UK, where “Dance Wiv Me” shot straight to number 1) as it’s not as catchy as his earlier work. Actually… scratch that, I find the song to be VERY catchy, it’s just not a pop song in the normal sense.

What do you think?


And in case you are not familiar with earlier Harris:

Dance Wiv Me