Wednesday, September 30, 2009

11th Dimension

Song: 11th Dimension
Artist: Julian Casablancas
Album: Phrazes For the Young

Really digging this new solo track from the lead Strokes. Reminds me just how much I miss the Strokes. This makes me very interested in the album.

Julian Fernando Casablancas (born August 23, 1978) is the vocalist and songwriter of the American rock band The Strokes. He also has a solo album called Phrazes for the Young.

Early life and education

Julian Casablancas is the son of John Casablancas, son of immigrants from Sabadell in Spain and the founder of Elite Model Management, and Jeanette Christiansen, a Danish model who was Miss Denmark in 1965, and brother of Cecile and John II Casablancas. His paternal grandfather Ferran Casablancas was a textile businessman. His parents were divorced when Casablancas was nine, and he lived with his mother and Sam Adoquei. He is best known for being a member of The Strokes.

The first original member of The Strokes with whom Casablancas met was Nikolai Fraiture. The two attended the same kindergarten and soon more schools to come. When he was 14, Casablancas was caught drinking before school and consequently was forced twice a week to attend a rehabilitation program called Phoenix House. Soon afterwards, his father sent him to Institut Le Rosey, a boarding school in Switzerland. It was here that he encountered Albert Hammond, Jr.. Though the two were not friends at the time, they would later become roommates and finally bandmates.

When Casablancas returned to New York after six months at Le Rosey, he continued his education at Dwight School in Manhattan, where he befriended Fabrizio Moretti and Nick Valensi, who later also became fellow band members. He dropped out in 11th grade and attended Five Towns College on Long Island for one year, receiving a scholarship after writing a classical composition. He worked as a bartender before going into music professionally.

Musical career

The Strokes

Julian Casablancas' vocals feature a distinct delivery as well as a wide range in pitch. His signature vocal style combines elements of sing-speak and soul, drawing influences most notably from Robert Pollard, Lou Reed, and Ian Curtis.

As The Strokes principal songwriter, he has the greatest impact on their sound and has been known to be extremely meticulous with it. While Casablancas composes on a variety of instruments, he uses the keyboard to write complex arrangements that he later transposes to fit The Strokes' guitar-driven lineup.

Another recent change has come in the recording of his vocals, which is significantly clearer and louder than their first two albums. At first, Casablancas would always use a filter when singing on The Strokes' first two albums. He has since changed this on First Impressions of Earth. However, Casablancas says this was adjusted only because it fit the new songs' style more, and not because he was any less self-critical about his voice.

Other work

Known to not play much on Strokes' recordings, Julian has proved himself an able multi-instrumentalist through guest appearances. He's played casio guitar on "Sick, Sick, Sick" by Queens of the Stone Age, bass guitar and backing vocals on Albert Hammond, Jr.'s "Scared", and the second set of drums on the Strokes' "Evening Sun".

He has also served as inspiration for several other musicians. For instance, Courtney Love's song "But Julian, I'm a Little Bit Older Than You", from her debut solo album America's Sweetheart (2004), was written about Julian Casablancas.

In 2008, Julian recorded a song with Santogold and Pharrell of N*E*R*D called "My Drive Thru" for Converse. He also appears in the ad campaign.

In 2009, Julian recorded a song with Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer of SNL and The Lonely Island called "Boombox" for their debut album. He also collaborated with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse on the song "Little Girl".

Personal life

Julian (or 'Jules' as he is known by his friends and family) is an avid baseball fan, particularly of the New York Mets, and has said that "if I could go back in time I'd be a minor league pitcher". He also likes the New York Jets football team.

On February 5, 2005, Julian Casablancas married Juliet Joslin, an assistant to a band manager, in a private ceremony in New York. Their reception was at Tavern on the Green. He announced the engagement at several shows including Central Park, where prior to playing their song "Hard to Explain," he said, "Oh, and I'm getting married and this is 'Hard to Explain!'"

Julian is also a co-owner of a Korean BBQ restaurant Shin along with Danny Masterson, Steve Aoki (Dim Mak Records), Mark Ronson, Laura Prepon, Gerard Butler and others.

Phrazes for the Young is the debut solo album by the American songwriter Julian Casablancas, set to be released on October 19th, 2009 in the UK and October 20th in the US and Europe. Casablancas, who is best known for being the front man of New York garage-rock band The Strokes, recorded the eight-song album in 2009 in New York, Los Angeles, and Nebraska. Jason Lader served as producer, and Bright Eyes/Monsters of Folk musician Mike Mogis contributed additional production. The album was previewed in its entirety on August 31, 2009 at the Duo Music Exchange in Tokyo,Japan. "11th Dimension" had its very first airing on the Radio 1 Zane Lowe Show on September 17th, and was marked as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record.

Track Listing

1."Out of the Blue"
2."River of Brake Lights"
3."4 Chords of the Apocalypse"
4."11th Dimension" 4:02
5."Ludlow St."
7."Left & Right in the Dark"


11th Dimension

Preview of "Phrazes For the Young"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Add This Song

Song: Add This Song
Artist: GusGus
Album: 24/7

GusGus is a band from Reykjavík, Iceland. They were founded in 1995. Their discography consists of seven studio albums and one live record.


Initially formed as a film and acting collective, the group became mostly known for their electronic music. GusGus has had a varied lineup, including:

Several lineup changes have occurred, and their current incarnation consists of three members (President Bongo, Biggi Veira and Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson). After their third album, This Is Normal, the filmmaking arm of GusGus (Kjartansson and Árni Þorgeirsson) split off to form the production company Celebrator, now known as Arni & Kinski, which has produced award-winning advertisements and videos. A few former members such as Hafdís Huld, Blake, and Daníel Ágúst have gone solo, most notably though Emilíana Torrini, who provided a song for the soundtrack to Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

GusGus's music is eclectic, and although primarily classified with techno, trip-hop and house music, they have experimented with numerous other styles. They have also remixed several famous artists, including Björk, Depeche Mode, Moloko, and Sigur Rós. Added to this they released the song "Desire" with Ian Brown in January 2004.

The band's name refers to the 1974 German film Ali: Fear Eats the Soul by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, where a female character is cooking couscous for her lover, pronouncing it "Gus Gus". The band regards it as a "sex reference".


Studio albums

24/7 is the title of the seventh studio album by GusGus. The album was released on September 14, 2009 through German label Kompakt, which delayed the record from the first announcement of July 6, 2009. The first single was "Add This Song", released on June 22, 2009, with remixes from Lopazz & Zarook, Gluteus Maximus, Patrick Chardronnet, and Klovn. From September 4, 2009, full album leak started spreading via various internet blogs and forums.

Track listing

1."Thin Ice" 8:24
2."Hateful" 9:37
3."On The Job" 10:50
4."Take Me Baby" (feat. Jimi Tenor)3:58
5."Bremen Cowboy" 7:52
6."Add This Song" 11:36


Add This Song

Believe (Live) - GusGus

Moss - GusGus

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Spell

Song: The Spell
Artist: Alphabeat
Album: The Spell

So I have this half-thought-out theory that dance music here in the United States is most popular when Democrats are in the White House. We saw disco take off in the late 70's just as Jimmy Carter was becoming president. And then we saw the onset of Grunge and mope-rock as George H.W. Bush took office in the late 80's early 90's. Then, dance music came back when Clinton got got into office in the mid-to-late 90's with club music (and culture) seeing it's popularity at the highest. That all ended with the onset of teen-pop (N*SYNC, Britney) in the early 2000's just as W took over only to have music... well, I don't know what I'd call music during that time. Everything just sort of sucked.

Well, not that Obama is in the (White) house I really feel that dance music is on the verge of a re-awakening. It's still been huge and popular everywhere else in the world but since a Dem is back we suddenly have Lady GaGa climbing the charts and a possible return to the heady days of club kids, outlandish outfits, and you know... having fun.

Nobody has taken this return to dance more straight forward than Denmark's Alphabeat whom on their sophomore album have decided to kick it like it's the 90's again and make dance pop in the vein of Snap! and Black Box. Curious for sure, but taking one listen to their first single off the new record "The Spell" and lo-and-behold it SOUNDS like it's from the late 90's.

Alphabeat is a Danish pop band from Silkeborg, signed to Polydor label. Their single, "Fascination", was a major hit in Denmark during the summer of 2007 and a significant hit in the UK in 2008. The next single, "10.000 Nights of Thunder" (or just "10,000 Nights" in the UK) saw equal success, and their eponymous debut album went platinum in Denmark, and in the UK, the album has gone gold. It has sold over 100,000 copies, and their 3 top 20 singles have sold in the region of 400,000 all together.


2006-2008: This Is Alphabeat

The band is made up of six members, Anders SG, Stine Bramsen, Anders B, Rasmus Nagel, Anders Reinholdt and Troels Hansen. Its sound is mainly retro 80s melodic pop, taking inspiration, amongst others, from British bands Deacon Blue andPrefab Sprout, with distinctive overlay of male and female harmonies.

The band was previously named Sodastar but this was changed to avoid confusion with a German band.

The band's native success attracted the attention of several major labels from larger markets abroad, and Alphabeat was eventually signed to EMI's Charisma Records label in the United Kingdom. Its British debut single, "Fantastic 6", was released on 26 November 2007.

Alphabeat received several positive reviews in major British publications such as NME, The Observer Music Monthly ,Digital Spy and Popjustice.

On 20 December 2008, it was announced via press release that the band had been dropped by its UK label Charisma Records, despite a Top 10 album and 3 Top 20 singles. In a statement from the band on 19 January 2009, it was confirmed that it had chosen to leave the label after being given the opportunity, and was signing with a new label in the UK for the release of its as yet unrecorded second album. It also stated that it was hoping to release said album in 2009.

2009-Present: The Spell

It was announced on 6 March 2009 that Alphabeat had signed a new record deal with the label Polydor. The band's manager said "We are thrilled to be signing to one of the UK's most successful record companies and looking forward to achieving even more success with the band and Polydor in the coming years."

In August 2009, Pop Justice premiered their new single "The Spell" which is set for a release of October and their second album This Is Still Alphabeat to be released shortly after. The title of the second album was subsequently changed to The Spell, set for release on 19 October 2009 in the UK.


Studio albums

YearAlbum detailsChart positionsCertifications
(sales thresholds)

2007This Is Alphabeat10254
2009The SpellTBATBATBA
  • UK: -


YearSingleChart positionsAlbum
2008"Fascination"4642233848This Is Alphabeat
"10,000 Nights"161624
"What Is Happening"110


The band was offered to play as a warm-up for the Spice Girls during their reunion world tour 2007-8, but declined the offer, feeling that it would be "too weird" to suddenly play in front of a very large audience unfamiliar with the band's music.

It has often been associated with the Wonky Pop movement - having played the Wonky Pop Tour and DJ'd various Wonky Pop events. It is currently penned to play the Wonky Pop Xmas party in London.

Alphabeat performed at T in the Park 2008 on "Camper's Friday" and were announced in the line-up for the 2008 Roskilde Festival. It also performed at T4 on the beach, and at the "Summerfestival" in Klaksvik, Faroe Islands, in early August 2008, and also in October 2008, along with many other bands at the NEC in Birmingham for hundreds of young girlguides.

During late 2008, Alphabeat began a 22 gig tour of the UK and Holland, with many shows sold out.

In 2008, the band was planning to play select shows with American singer Katy Perry on her 2008 world tour. However, in March 2009, Alphabeat cancelled its appearances in support of her US tour. Its management has stated that it is instead working on its second album and will be touring the USA later in the year.