Friday, April 30, 2010

Say What You Want

Song: Say What You Want
Artist: Andy Bell
Album: Non-Stop

I chose Pet Shop Boys over Erasure when I was a kid and encountered the gay dance music pioneers. I've since at least gotten into Erasure's amazing greatest hits record, but never felt, from what I heard... that they were "album artists" like the Pet Shop Boys. But regardless, the boys could write a killer chorus... and while Erasure are far from being broken up or done writing new music, lead Andy Bell has embarked on a solo career that started with 2005's "Electric Blue" and continues with his sophomore album, "Non-Stop."

Andy has boldly shed the gay-disco Euro-synth pop of Erasure and has come out with an album of... gay-disco Euro-synth pop. I kid...but the approach is no different from his band for type of music AND his penchant for a killer hook. I really liked "Electric Blue," and immediately dug "Non-Stop" as well. It's more of the same, but it's really well done.

My favorites include opener "Running Out," the shimmering "Say What You Want," and the propulsive "Will You Be There?"


Say What You Want

Will You Be There?

Running Out

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Feel So Good

Song: Feel So Good
Artist: The Juan Maclean
Album: DJ Kicks - Juan Maclean

The Juan Maclean's album from last year, "The Future Will Come" was a pretty good dance record... a bit more grabbing than the debut, but I wouldn't call it a House classic. But what made the album, hands down, was the killer final track and single "Happy House." I heard this song EVERYWHERE, and at twelve and a half minutes... it was epic epic dancefloor freak out. I wore that track out.

Juan Maclean returns this year with his entry into the DJ Kicks series. DJ Kicks was started in 1995 by !K7 Records, and have released 28 mixes from various artists and bands in the Electronic Dance scene. Most notably by Thievery Corporation, Stereo MC's, Tiga, Annie, Four Tet, Hot Chip, etc. The only one I'd listened to before was Annie's which I thought was kind of mediocre.

I am happy to say that Juan Maclean's entry, which came out this month, is pretty amazing. He's basically taken "Happy House" as his template (and much shorter versions to bookend) and created a 72 minute set that is a non-stop party weaving a lot of new music from the last couple years into a set that sounds classic.

The songs really all work together, but my standouts are second track and starter "Spaghetti Circus" by Still Going, "Take Me" by A + O, "Chip Chip" by Alex Niggemann & Superlounge, as well as the EXCELLENT "Everybody Get on the Decks" by Sonny Foderra. I've said it before and I'll say it again... if this don't make your booty move, your booty must be dead.

Toward the end we get a new The Juan Maclean track in "Feel So Good," with vocals by LCD Soundsystem's Nancy Whang. It's another great corker and makes me think that the success of "Happy House" has opened up a new set of doors for Maclean. Record three could REALLY be something else. The version on the mix seems to be an edit... but I found the full ten minute version on YouTube below.

It's important to note that this mix was recorded live, all vinyl, as one take... no computers. It's a true DJ mix... and pretty bloody amazing.


Feel So Good

Spaghetti Circus - Still Going

Everybody Get on the Decks - Sonny Foderra

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Broken Wings

Song: Broken Wings
Artist: Charles Schillings
Album: Like a Radio

Here is an odd little album I've been enjoying. Charles Schillings is a French Electro-house DJ whom has been in the game since 2002, and "Like a Radio" is his third album. He has an odd mix to his music, using female vocals over R & B, Electro-funk, and Soul-infused House. It's very song-focused, so while it is in some ways just a vibe record, it still can be hand-picked for a groovy song here and there.

It does have an 80's feel, which is compacted by a truly odd cover of Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings." The album also contains a version of "Stand By Your Man." Koo-ky. But it's also very fun.

This is great disco/lounge cocktail music with a bit of a rock edge. It's actually a wonder given all of the styles he uses that it all works as a cohesive whole. It's easy to just dig those out-of-nowhere covers, but this is a good one from start to finish.


One on One (The only album track I could find to post)

No Communication, No Love

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

La Gloria

Song: La Gloria
Artist: Gotan Project
Album: Tango 3.0

I first heard of Gotan Project from a single track, "Epoca" from "The Truth About Charlie" soundtrack. I liked their mix of loungy electronica, French vocals, and just overall mood. They hail from Paris, but are composed of just one Frenchman, an Argentinian, and a Swede. "Tango 3.0 is their 7th album that was just released last week.

Aside from "Epoca" I hadn't heard anything else from the band, but was happily surprised by "Tango 3.0" as just more of the same. This is a great sexy-time soundtrack for a romantic but fun dinner, or possibly a fantastic cocktail party at a rooftop pool on a hot summer night. Either way, babies might be made by the following morning.

La Gloria is the first single.


La Gloria


Monday, April 26, 2010

Jealous of My Boogie

Song: Jealous of My Boogie
Artist: RuPaul
Album: Champion

Tonight is the season finale of the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race, which I am a fan of. I'm not sure I like this season as much as the first, but as its gone on I really connected with the girls and am now pretty excited for the last show.

RuPaul is a smart smart business woman and injected the entire show with music from her latest album, 2009's "Champion." From the theme, to her intro song "Cover Girl," to the post vote-off closing credits of "Jealous of My Boogie," just by watching the show you have been listening to the album. "Champion" is filled with up-beat dance tracks fit for a Queen. ;) I LOVE "Jealous of My Boogie," which is pretty typical of the rest of the album. Fun.

Can I get an Amen up in here?


Jealous of My Boogie

Cover Girl

Theme Song with pics of this years girls

Friday, April 23, 2010

Not Going Home

Song: Not Going Home
Artist: Faithless
Album: The Dance

Here's one to get your weekend started. British electronic band Faithless is probably still best known for his massive club hit "Insomnia" from all the way back in 1996. They have been releasing albums consistently since then, and have a new album, "The Dance" coming next month. "Not Going Home" is the first single, already remixed by Eric Prydz and Armin Van Buuren.

I always liked Maxi Jazz's droll, almost spoken voice, added on top of trance-style house music. Rollo, who leads the band and produces (and often remixes other artists acts with othe band member Sister Bliss) is probably best known as being Dido's older brother. (Whom has remixed many of her songs.) I haven't followed the band that much aside from a single here and there but heard this new single and really liked it. Check it out.


Not Going Home


God is a DJ

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pacific Coast Highway

Song: Pacific Coast Highway
Artist: Hole
Album: Nobody's Daughter

Back in the mid-90's when Hole was promoting their last album, "Celebrity Skin," I remember a quote from then co-founder, songwriter, and lead guitarist Eric Erlandson in regards to the wild persona of their front woman;

"Courtney Love is a soap opera. Hole is a band."

I often quoted this line when I professed my love for the band, because people no doubt would say something to the effect of, "Ugh, I can't stand her." And it was so true, as people couldn't separate the Courtney Love from the tabloids, to the front-woman of one of the most important rock bands of the time. The thing about Courtney, as she was not the woman, or lady, or even "bitch" that people could handle... they demeaned her art every way possible. From the second Hole record being actually written by Kurt Cobain, the third Billy Corgan, and when she turned in a brazen should-have-been star-making performance in the film "The People vs. Larry Flint," it was dismissed. This woman could do no right.

But Courtney Love is a mess... and drugs have altered her life and changed what could have been. But what do we have? Well... we have one uneven and (in my opinion) unlistenable debut album with Hole, two BRILLIANT second and third albums (and again two of the best of the 90's) one uneven but worth checking out solo album, and now... well now we have another killer Hole album.

It's been a long time coming, and most of it had been leaked in various forms here and there, but as I listen to "Nobody's Daughter" I am once reminded just how amazing this woman is as a songwriter. And how she lives her art... it's messy, it's a little scary, but it's just some of the best rock singer-songwriter stuff happening right now. I'm worried that given the state of the industry, and the limited money to help keep her in check to promote it will render the album a footnote. It will be a travesty, because some of her best songs are here.

There are the rocking tracks where Courtney comments on the pain of drugs, celebrity, and basically the roller coaster that is her media life ("Skinny Little Bitch," "How Dirty Girls Get Clean") as well as more story-songs that remind me of classics from "Live Through This," like "Samantha," "Honey," and "Someone Else's Bed." But even better are a handful of songs that might just be the best she's written... songs that could only come from Courtney and yet transcend her "soap opera" and become songs that you can connect with personally, just beautiful.

"Pacific Coast Highway," "Someone's Else's Bed," "For Once in Your Life," "Letter to God," and the breathtaking closer "Never Go Hungry" all will shake the listener in a way that the best songs do. Amazing stuff.

Courtney is back... but is anybody still listening?


Pacific Coast Highway

Skinny Little Bitch

Letter to God

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fool's Day

Song: Fool's Day
Artist: Blur
Album: Fool's Day (single)

Blur's last album, 2003's "Think Tank" was once again a re-invention for the band... a moody electronic album that was missing the bands main guitarist, Graham Coxon, whom reportedly was unhappy with the choice of Fatboy Slim as the records chosen producer, but was also rumored to have an alcohol problem, which was effecting the recording of the album. Coxon's solo records had been rock based, while lead Damon Albarn was having success with his side project Gorillaz, and a newfound interest in electronic sounds.

Coxon only played guitar on one song on "Think Tank"before being asked to leave the band, and while I thought the album was pretty amazing, it drummed up some ire from Blur fans, and it was the last thing the band recorded. Reunion shows in 2009 (with Coxon returning) were wildly successful (selling out in two minutes) and continued rumors that the band was back together. This never materialized, and the the band members continued to work on side projects.

So it came with a bit of surprise that the band released its first single since 2003 this past Saturday as part of Record Store Day. The song's title alone suggests this is a one-off and shouldn't once again begin rumors of a reunion. But the idea of new Blur is so exciting... and while "Fool's Day" doesn't really seem like single material at all... it's still pretty bloody great. And a reminder, even if the song is a bit tossed off, just how great they are together as songwriters.

I want Blur back!


Fool's Day

Monday, April 19, 2010

Real Life

Song: Real Life
Artist: Tanlines
Album: Settings (EP)

Tanlines are a Brooklyn-based indie-rock band consisting of Jesse Cohen on drums/music and Eric Emm on guitars and vocals. They have a rock sound mixed with heavy synth's, I've been digging their EP "Settings," which came out earlier this year. The stand-out track is "Real Life," which was released as a single. Several of the tracks are mostly instrumental, with a world music, almost afro-beat sound to them.

Pitchfork describes them as "tropical synth-pop." I hear that.

Check them out.


Real Life

Policy of Trust


Friday, April 16, 2010

Dance Yrself Clean

Song: Dance Yrself Clean
Artist: LCD Soundsystem
Album: This is Happening

One of my most anticipated albums of the summer by far is LCD Soundsytem's latest, "This is Happening," due out in May. 2007's album "Sound of Silver" was one of my favorites of the year and one of my favorite dance records of all time. I couldn't get enough of it... it was modern, yet retro, a great mix of guitars, punk spirit, and beats. Song after song, lead james Murphy wrote one killer after another. If you don't have it... RUN OUT NOW.

So when I heard first single "Drunk Girls" and sort of shrugged... I was worried. Would this be the sophomore slump on his third record? (and can that even work?) After getting into the album a bit, I now see that "Drunk Girls" is sort of his standard first single, the punk attitude, brash guitar work, and short and sweet. Just like "Daft Punk is Playing at My House," and "North American Scum." But that's where the simularities end...

On "This is Happening," "Drunk Girls is the shortest track, with only one other track, "I Can Change," that clock in at under six minutes. Most of the tracks run from seven to eight minutes with style shifts, building of mood, and crazy song structures. I found this to be a little offputting at first, but the songs are starting to take shape for me... and some are downright mind-blowing.

Take album starter "Dance Yrself Clean," which starts quiet and slow and pretty meloncholy... and that goes on for THREE MINUTES. But, there are over five more where that came from... but when the song kicks in, it's a revelation... you wake up. I can't stop listening to it. (Do yourself a favor and give it a full, headphones if possible, listen for the first time. It will rock you.)

I'm not adverse to a long song... it just needs to really work in all those alloted minutes. So like an onion, these tracks need to peel new layers as the counter rolls on, and for many they do. I'm in the middle with this album though... I'm past my initial questioning reaction, and now seeing more layers, and realizing there are more to come. I was a little worried that the magnitude of following up such a stellar album may have resulted in some arty bullshit just to come accross as better than I can understand... and yet, when these songs hit, the visceral reaction is pretty evident.

I'm still digging into this one...


Dance Yrself Clean

Drunk Girls

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Invisible Light

Song: Invisible Light
Artist: Scissor Sisters
Album: Night Work

I think the time between new Scissor Sisters music takes longer than the time when they have new music out. But the time RIGHT before they release new music? Well that's the best... or maybe it's just me.

Just announced was the release date of the Sisters third studio album, titled "Night Work" which will come out on June 28th. The Stuart Price produced album surprisingly has zero of the tracks the band played when I saw their "secret" show under an alias back a year and a half ago. But given what I read, and that booty-pop cover... (I was just thinking there wasn't enough man-butt on album covers recently) the band is seriously going for a sleazy-dance vibe... and given the first available track, closer "Invisible Light," this is going to be some night indeed. With a Vincent Price-esque spoken word moment featuring none other than Sir Ian McKellen, and a dance-floor euphoria freak-out moment at about four and a half minutes... it's transending, beautiful, AND sleazy. Sisters... can we get like a fifteen-minute remix? Pretty please?

It reminds me a bit of Cerron'e "Supernature," which... despite the title, wasn't really done by Goldfrapp back two albums ago.

"Invisible Light" isn't the first single, (rumoured to be "Fire With Fire") and might not even be a single. But as far as getting me excited for the release of "Night Work?" Well... it did that.


Invisible Light

Fire With Fire (Live at the Bowery Ballroom)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Keeper

Song: The Keeper
Artist: Bonobo
Album: Black Sands

The genre of "chill out" covers a much too wide swath of musical styles and interpretation, and since that catch-all phrase became hip a handful of years ago, it became over-used, over-marketed, and what once was a rather cool upstart genre (I'm taking 90's here) began to be used to describe just about anything... nu-jazz, trip-hop, downtempo... etc. I too fell into the trap while digging Morcheba, Moby, or even early Portishead, and picked up a three disc compilation entitled "Ultimate Chill Out" which, aside from a random Fatboy Slim b-side sounded like the rest was made in about a day on someone's laptop. "Chill out" doesn't need to mean "boring."

As I even just name the superstars of the genre, it shows that I just don't get into digging deeper into what ultimately, for me, is just "background music." It's not something I can sink my teeth into, and I suppose like actual jazz... it's hard to get into music that each song sort of runs into the other, song titles are abstract due to little to no lyrics, and often... I can't tell one artist from another. But, this is also a reminder that music can be a lot of things... and can be visceral, something that moves you by meshing with your current reality and becomes just another slight layer to a point in time, dialed back as not to be the forefront, but an accent. Despite knowing shit about jazz I love a lot of jazz and like the mood it sets.

"Downtempo" takes a lot from jazz... and incorporates that mood enhancing element as well. It's also a great accent while doing recreational drugs. (wink-wink)

Since I am not a downtempo connoisseur, I often find myself completely lost in the genre, a deep sea of stuff that falls into that "chill out" slot but often just isn't very good. So when I come across an album like Bonobo's "Black Sands" I rejoice a bit... I've got my new late night record!

Bonobo is the stage moniker of British DJ and producer Simon Green. His first single "Terrapin" was released in 1999 and over the last ten years he's released many many EP's and four full-length albums, including this years "Black Sands." It's hard for me to actually review this record, as I've sort of explained... because it's just a great mood piece. it's a mix of jazz, lazy beats, and world music instrumentation. It's just really cool and... (ugh) "chill." The album is mainly instrumental, but both current singles, "The Keeper" and "Eyesdown" feature vocals by Andreya Triana, whom also sings on the track "Stay the Same."

If you're like me, and dig a little downtempo but have no idea where to go, here's a solid record for you.


The Keeper


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Tube Top

Song: My Tube Top
Artist: Electrocute
Album: Double Diamond

Electrocute are an L.A. based Electro-rock act originally consisting of New Mexico's Nicole Morier and Berlin's Mia Dime, until she left the band and in 2005 Mindy a.k.a. Legs Le Brock joined. Morier's most noted moment has been writing the Britney Spears song "Heaven & Earth" from "Blackout." The band has released a handful of EP's since forming in 2002, and "Double Diamond" is a mix of songs from those records as well as six new tracks, their first full-length.

"My Tube Top" starts things off in boppy, silly fashion. A very fun summer song that I love having on the headphones as I walk down the street. Very fun. The album is very electro, but uses a lot of 60's style guitar, married with the cooing female vocals that sounds a bit Beyond the Valley of the Dolls/Go-Go girl-group. A little surf rock here, a bunch of hand claps there... it's a fun sound, though possibly a little cloying.

Check out the cheerleader-esque "On the Beat," and the blip/blop meets Del Shannon's "Runaway" vibe of "Tiger Toy."


Saturn Rings

On the Beat

Tiger Toy

Monday, April 12, 2010

Alles Neu

Song: Alles Neu
Artist: Peter Fox
Album: Stadtaffe

Well this should certainly fill a hole in your collection... a little German Dancehall. Peter Fox, member of the German reggae/hip hop act Seeed released "Stadtaffe" in 2008. "Alles Neu" was released as the first single and went to #4 on the German charts. Album track "Schwarz zu Blau" won the Bundesvision Song Contest just last year in February. "Stadtaffe" might just remain his only solo work as Fox has said that he is returning to the band as the success of the album garnered him much unwanted attention and stress. Oh well.

While I certainly don't have much... what am I saying... ANY German Dancehall, it's easy to see why "Stadtaffe" made so much noise. It's wildly catchy and diverse, and a great listen despite not knowing a word of what he's saying. Most of the upbeat tracks, including "Alles Neu" crackle with such pure joy it's hard not to shake it a little. He could be rapping the phone book from Berlin for all I know... but I'm moving.

Thanks Harley!


Alles Neu

Haus am See

Schwartz zu Blau

Friday, April 09, 2010

Rocket Scientist (feat. Eve)

Song: Rocket Scientist (feat. Eve)
Artist: Teddybears
Album: Devil's Music

Speaking of Swedish artists... it was a pleasant surprise to find out that the Teddybears (who wrote Robyn's single "Cobrastyle") have a new album coming out this summer. Their last, "Soft Machine" from 2006 (which incidentally had their version of "Cobrastyle") was a great pop record, and brimmed with catchy electro-rock influenced tracks. "Devil's Music" is more of the same, and I have already connected with a handful of the songs.

Lead track and first single "Rocket Scientist" featuring Eve gets things off to a rocking start and builds to a great groovy chorus. Hand-claps, grooving guitar, and Eve's attitude-laced rapping... it's a corker. As is "Cardiac Arrest," which adds more electronics, and a girlish vocal from Maipei. If "Get Fresh With You" reminds you a bit of the Ceasers "Jerk it Out," (from an old iPod ad) that would be because Teddybear band member Joakim Ahlund is also lead guitarist and songwriter for that band, which I didn't know.

"Cho Cha" featuring Gnarls Barkley's Cee Lo and the B-52's sounds just as you think that might, with Cee Lo's crooning and Fred Schneider's... well, Fred Schneider-ness. A real stand out though, is the Flaming Lips assisted "Crystal Meth Christian," a psychedelic-pop take on criticising the American religious right. They've never been that political ("You think that you're superior") and I love it.

I remember thinking it odd that the tracks from "Soft Machine," seemed to pop up everywhere, in advertising, video games, movies, you name it. But it turns out that they have a global music publishing deal with BMG Music Publishing. Which got me thinking that... they're sort of like the Swedish Black Eyed Peas. You can take that for what it is, but I have no doubt that we'll be hearing the tracks from "Devil's Music" just about everywhere in the next couple years. And despite that crass commercialism... I really like their music. So give it a chance.

I must mention though that I was introduced to the band by my friend Lizzy who told me about the track "Yours to Keep" from 2000. They originally released the song on their album "Rock & Roll High School" with vocalist Paola, and then redid the song for "Soft Machine" with Neneh Cherry. As much as I love me some Neneh, the original is SO ace, and an amazing summer song. If you don't have it, get it now.


Rocket Scientist (Live)

Get Mama a House

Yours to Keep (couldn't find the original, just this remix which I didn't know about... it's pretty good though.)

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Song: Fembot
Artist: Robyn
Album: Body Talk Pt. 1

It's sort of hard to believe that Robyn's stellar self-titled 4th album was released FIVE years ago. Up to just last Summer I was still listening to it, a record that had me having a new favorite song every other day. It of course included the once-in-a-career single "With Every Heartbeat," produced by Kleerup, that re-started the album for the rest of the world. Could it have been the pressure of following up that single that caused the delay? (Truthfully, the self-titled album was re-released enough times with new tracks and new mixes, it probably doesn't feel like five years for the artist herself.)

Given that evolution of that album over a couple years, and the state of the music business, Robyn has decided to to something a little different with the follow up. A new interview unearthed that she plans to release three albums this year, with recent clarification that it will actually be one record, "Body Talk" that will be broken up into smaller "albums."

Robyn says about her new work- "I think this splitting a full album up into different releases is, in a way, how people listen to music as well. It’s more about songs now." "But for me this is not an EP or a lesser version of an album. It’s an album, but it’s maybe not the normal length."

So we will be starting with the eight-track "Body Talk Pt. 1" set to be released in June. Two tracks have already leaked, the Diplo produced "Dance Hall Queen," and "Fembot," which she put on her website. I really like both, despite them not quite having the punch of some of the best stuff off "Robyn." Though they are still simmering with me... and neither is the true first single. That song, "Dancing on My Own," will be released with the album in June.

I think this is quite an interesting approach to making a record, though she's admitted that she is still working on the new material, with the first coming out before the others are written. How will that effect the conceptual "album?" And really... does it matter? In the age of MP3 I tend to make the album I like better by omitting tracks in my playlist. So maybe this is just the future. Regardless, eagerly awaiting the first batch of tracks to see where this all goes.



Dance Hall Queen

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I Can't Go For That

Song: I Can't Go For That
Artist: The Bird and the Bee
Album: Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates

Coming pretty quickly after last year's sophomore album "Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future," L.A.-based synth-pop act The Bird and the Bee are releasing what is being considered their third, "Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates" which is, just about how it sounds. Producer Greg Kurstin and vocalist Inara George take their signature loungy sound and apply it to the greatest hits of 80's legends Hall & Oates. Umm... okay.

After a nice, if out of place, original "Heard it on the Radio," (which does reference H & O) they kick off into "I Can't Go For That," which can only be described as.. "cute." On one hand, it almost sounds like they are taking the piss a little, as they seem to relish in the goofy pop bliss of the song, winking at its 80's-ness, but yet restraining themselves from letting it all go into parody territory.

Which reminds me that when it comes to thinking of Hall & Oates, you sort of fall into two categories; you either think of their music as goofy 80's, songs only to be enjoyed in a wink-wink ironic way. Sort of like an 80's Carpenters whom fell out of favor with the pop public and are not, and can not, be truly respected within the history of music. OR, you simply consider the pair two of the best singer-songwriters to come from the era, writing perfect heart-felt pop songs that have stood the test of time and are welcome to modern interpretation. (And I am again reminded of the Carpenters, who's tribute album "If I Were a Carpenter" found some of the 90's best Alternative Rock acts proving that behind the sad, catchy tracks by the pair were just some killer killer songs.)

In terms of Hall & Oates, I fell into the former initially which I attribute to my age, but now feel the former. Their music is dated for sure, but like the Carpenters... these dudes were writing GREAT tunes. Nothing more, nothing less.

Over the course of "Interpreting the Masters Volume 1," I wondered where The Bird and the Bee stand on the subject. At just over thirty minutes long the album doesn't over-stay it's welcome and I certainly enjoyed hearing Inara's vocals over these familiar pop nuggets. "Rich Girl," "Maneater," and "Kiss is On My List" all sparkle with a cute giddiness that they capture with their own original material. And by the end you do realize they have much love for the songs and the guys, and yet... they don't do enough different with them. Enough that you question the whole project in it's entirety.

While enjoyable, I think these covers are best plucked from this breezy album and plugged into a larger playlist, as song after song does render the entire album a little too cute and cloying for pure enjoyment. One at a time, they offer that great "OMG who is doing this song?!?!" that should only be used sparingly.

What do you think? True tribute or parody?


I Can't Go For That

Private Eyes

Heard it on the Radio

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Cooler Couleur

Song: Cooler Couleur (f/Yelle)
Artist: Crookers
Album: Tons of Friends

Crookers are an Italian DJ/Production duo who began working together since 2003. They began doing remixes and production work for a variety of artists and over the past couple years have made a name for themselves remixing artists such as Kid Cudi, Britney, and recently, Lady Gaga. "Tons of Friends" is their debut album which was just released last month.

As the album title suggests, the duo got a crazy roster of guest vocalist and rappers to perform on the album. Including; Soulwax, Kelis, Pitbull, Will.I.Am, Spank Rock, Roisin Murphy, Yelle, Kardinal Ofiishall, Miike Snow, Drop the Lime, Tim Burgess, Major Lazer, Leftside, & Supahype, to actually just name a handful.

Despite the seemingly random mix of people from track to track, it doesn't feel disjointed... more like an intergalactic space trip where one crazy thing after another passes before you. You don't really know where you're going... but you enjoy the trip as it enfolds.

Despite not having a great hook, Kelis' "No Security" is a standout, getting me more excited for her dance album "Flesh Tones" when it comes out later this summer. Roisin Murphey's "Hold Up Your Hand" is pretty wild, working a throbbing beat and almost girl group-ish vocals on top of each other. She also contributes vocals to the upbeat "Royal T." One of my favorites if "Cooler Couleur" with Yelle, with it's almost childish sing-songy french until it slows down to bliss out and back again. It made me wonder if Yelle is working on a second album (which I found no information on.)

There is a lot of hip hop on the album, which I connect less with. But it's got a future hip-hop vibe that still keeps the album interesting.


Cooler Couleur (f/Yelle)

Remedy (f/Miike Snow)

Put Your Hands on Me (f/Kardinal Ofiishall)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Not Myself Tonight

Song: Not Myself Tonight
Artist: Christina Aguilera
Album: Bionic

Christina Aguilera has spent her entire career in the shadow of Britney Spears. While Christina has spent the last decade attempting to build a strong discography with her brand of adventurous pop and technically impressive vocals, Brit has had double the amount of output, all pretty squarely in the realm of dance pop, and been much more successful and obsessed over. While they both started in teen dance pop, Britney has segued into electro while Christina has played with rock, hip-hop, 20-40's style soul with a "modern" flare, and of course ballads. Many, many ballads.

I give Aguilera credit for trying, but her last album, "Back to Basics," was a double album revolving around one idea that created exactly one good song; "Ain't No Other Man." Admittedly, while not a huge fan, I thought that song was pretty amazing, and got the record. Which was terrible.

So does it come as any surprise that Xtina has now decided to give it a go at electro dance-pop? Not really. She toed the waters a bit on her greatest hits album with the first single "Keeps Getting Better" (which I liked but the world met with a shrug) as well as "re-imagining" electro versions of her biggest hits "Beautiful" and "Genie in a Bottle." Her new album is called "Bionic" and the first single is the hard-charging Polow da Don produced "Not Myself Tonight" which throws a bunch of things at the wall... club beats, Justin style bleeps, the diva vocals, sexual cooing, and a vague "it's a new me y'all" message. It's not bad... but doesn't really distinguish itself from the flurry of electro-pop that's out on the market both in corporate pop and the indie world. And at it's worse... it's a bit Pussycat Dolls.

The jury is still out on the album which is being released in June, but I must say I'm interested in her other collaborators for the project: Sia, Goldfrapp, M.I.A., Ladytron, and Le Tigre to name a few. Interesting. We'll see.


Not Myself Tonight

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Book of the Month

Song: Book of the Month
Artist: Lovage
Album: Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By

Lovage was a one-off project from producer Dan the Automator, Mike Patton, and Jennifer Charles. It's a tongue-in-cheek "sexy" record, grounded in trip-hop, and to a lesser extent, acid jazz. The beats, by Kid Koala and Automator, are pretty ace but does the joke sustain? Well... I'm actually not totally sure yet.

After an intro, "Pit Stop (Take Me Home)" starts the record and sets the tone. The music again is pretty amazing, but you hear the silliness that just starts. Can ironic sexy still be sexy? I think maybe the entire purpose for the album is to play it (or selected tracks) for friends only to see how long it takes for them to get it.

"Everyone Has a Summer" comes across as a more jazz-laced Avalanches. And "To Catch a Thief" starts out the same until the music really kicks in, and Jennifer begins to sing... suddenly it's a great trip-hop song you didn't know. Maddening really. Further song titles include "Lies and Alibis," "Herbs, Good Hygiene, & Socks," and "Lovage (Love That Lovage, Baby.)" Okay.

And yet... despite my eye roll of a review, I really like this record. "Book of the Month" and "Strangers on a Train," burn with red velvet intensity and could be played without a hint of irony. And when the cover of Berlin's "Sex (I'm a)" begins, and you recognize it, you marvel at how much you vibe with it, despite how unbelievably ridiculous it is. Outrageous.

Yet... it works.


Book of the Month

Sex (I'm A)

Stranger on a Train