Thursday, December 30, 2010

Time Machine

Best of 2010

Song: Time Machine
Artist: Robyn
Album: Body Talk

Over the course of 2010 WeCastMusic probably sometimes seemed like it turned into a Robyn fan blog... but can you blame me?  By breaking up her new album (her first in five years) into three "parts" throughout the year and releasing one official single with each was a masterstroke, and built up interest throughout the entire year.  By the time that "Body Talk" the album was released I'd already been completely won over, and hearing the album as a whole just reinforced it... 2010 belonged to Robyn.

2005's stellar self-titled album really got me into the Swedish singer and I was unsure if she'd not only be able to top that album, but also improve on the incredible single "With Every Heartbeat."  But when I heard "Body Talk Part 1's" "Dancing on My Own," I knew we were getting something magical.  What I didn't realize was just how good "Part 1's" other tracks would be, how amazing the other singles from the other parts would be, and then... just how much "Dancing on My Own" would sink in.  Once again like Sia, it was a mind-blowingly excellent Fred Falke remix coupled with the original that made my love for the track grow, and as the year closed it became my hands-down favorite song of the year.  A dancy, emotional anthem that gets under your skin, into your heart, and refuses to leave your head.  There was no better single this year, I still can't stop listening to it.

"Part 1" was amazing start to finish, though I must admit that aside from the stellar single "Hang With Me," I was a little let down with "Part 2."  Thinking that that might mean "Part 3" was going to be a bit of a disaster (just a bunch of filler) had me pause mid-year, but it all turned around.  Once again "Part 3" contained a killer single, "Indestructible," but it also had four other great tracks.  The single-worthy "Time Machine," produced by Max Martin (whom produced Robyn's first hit "Show Me Love" way before he blew up with mega singles by Britney, N*Sync, Pink, & Kelly Clarkson) is one of the best tracks on the album and my new favorite, while "Call Your Girlfriend" & "Get Myself Together" work seamlessly with the other tracks and are some of the best on the album.

Listening to "Body Talk" the full album became dizzying; had she really released this many great songs in one year?  Added with the great material from "Part 1" and "Part 3" the songs from "Part 2" started to sound better to me, with "U Should Know Better" and "In My Eyes" now among my favorites.  My only complaint is the omission of "Part 1's" "Cry When You Get Older."  I could have lived without "Part 2's" "We Dance to the Beat," but I suppose you Robyn fans out there could argue that "Include Me Out" or "Criminal Intent" should have made the cut.  But that's the brilliance of "Body Talk" as a project.  Robyn knew that in the digital age of buying a song here and there, the modern music listener creates the album that they want, programming their favorites into their own playlist anyhow.  It's a living, breathing thing.  And album of the year, according to WeCastMusic.


Time Machine

Dancehall Queen

Get Myself Together

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You've Changed

Best of 2010

Song: You've Changed
Artist: Sia
Album: We Are Born

Sia Furler may still be best known here in this country for her song "Breathe Me," which was prominently featured in the last episode of HBO's "Six Feet Under."  That haunting track fit in line with her collaborations with trip hop group Zero 7 and over three albums of a similar style, it remained her shining achievement.  That is until she released "We Are Born" this June.

"We Are Born" was a stylistic shift for the Australian singer-songwriter, a more upbeat and "pop" effort that used her soulful voice and penchant for melody in new, exhilarating ways.  Her relationship with Le Tigre's JD Sampson is often sighted for this shift to the more upbeat.  It could have been disastrous for sure, but "We Are Born" is a triumph.

It was Fred Falke's remix of "Clap Your Hands" that first got my attention, a real party-starter that given her past work, I thought must have somehow been taken from a slower song.  But no, the original was an effervescent, soulful jam with a great baseline and a "You've only got one life" message that was built for some serious euphoria on the dancefloor.  As fun as the songs on "Born" are, they all carry a little insight into the human condition, life, love, and the mystery of it all.  Thankfully her songs did't get a dumbing down when they got catchier.

I love first track "The Fight," an upbeat song about the struggle of the human experience against negativity and the "reality" of life on earth.  "Stop Trying" has an 80's Go-Go's vibe and "You've Changed" struts to some seriously sexy guitar licks and proves that you can mold a potential suitor for the better.

Sia does bring things down from time to time on the album, my favorite being the slow-swing of "Be Good to Me," a pleading ballad for love.  Last single "I'm in Here" is also like the Sia of old, an emotional lament that still has a bit more punch than her previous work.  It's quite beautiful.

Thankfully, Furler kept her best songs for herself as she made news being one of the main songwriters on Christina Aguilera's summer flop "Bionic."  Despite the album underperforming, the collaboration seems to have been positive, with Aguilera stating that the three tracks Sia wrote were "the heart of the record."  She also co-wrote the song "Bound to You" for her in "Burlesque."

While her early work certainly shouldn't be written off, I hear "We Are Born" as Furler truly finding her voice as an artist.  And that result is always a thrilling listen.


You've Changed

Be Good to Me

The Fight

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Skin Tight

Best of 2010

Song: Skin Tight
Artist: Scissor Sisters
Album: Night Work

As I'm a huge fan of this band since their inception, it's probably no surprise that the Scissor Sisters latest album, "Night Work" tops my year end list.  Now while I still defend letting their maligned sophomore album "Tah-Da" making my list in its year of release, "Night Work" is an even better album, and one that could arguably be their best.

From reports this album, or I should say "Album 3" was their most difficult, and then their easiest to create.  The band wrote a new album that they realized they didn't like, decided to scrap it, brought in producer Stuart Price (Madonna, Kylie) after lead Jake Shears re-connected with nightlife again in Berlin, and "Night Work" was born.  Taking a cue from 70's disco, 80's new wave, and then of course sexuality and drugs, the album is their first that has a true through-line to the music and its themes, with every song being good.

And despite three totally different, and equally great singles... the band still isn't catching on here in the States. The feel-good, anthemic "Fire with Fire," the groovy funk of "Any Which Way," and the future-disco of the revelation "Invisible Light," their latest single shows the band with a new enthusiasm to making music.

But "Night Work" is about much more than the singles.  Lead title track is one of the bands most rocking, "Whole New Way" finds the band at their most sleazy and sexually overt, and "Running Out" crosses Devo with some serious post-millennium tension with help from Santigold.  All could potentially be future singles, along with the peppy "Something Like This."  But the real surprise is "Skin Tight," a beautiful and sexy love song that wrings true emotion out of a safe-sex metaphor for love.  It really is gorgeous, and while the album doesn't contain a straight-up ballad that has been one of the band's forte's... "Skin Tight" is as close as you get, and it's just as majestic.

"Night Work" feels like a triumph even despite them topping "Tah-Da," despite them overcoming working through an entire album of scrapped material... it triumphs because it's filled with so much joy and harkens back to a more exciting time in nightlife and good times in general, bringing it all up to date and current.  The new-found joy in creating music already has the band in the studio creating more music and going in an even more dance direction.  Maybe opening for Lady Gaga early next year will help them evolve even more.  And possibly get a hit here in America as well.


Skin Tight

Night Work

Invisible Light

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Best of 2010

Song: Home
Artist: LCD Soundsystem
Album: This is Happening

LCD Soundsystem's 2007 album "Sound of Silver" was one of my favorites of the year.  An album that sounded great upon first listen and unfolded new layers and complexity with repeated listens.  And at its center, the gorgeous, pulsating, emotional "All My Friends" still gets me every time... and I find it to be the perfect antidote for being a bit down, as its got a knowing emotional heaviness that rings completely true.  I think it's one of the best songs of the decade.

So it was with much anticipation that this years follow-up, and apparent final album, "This is Happening" arrived... how would it measure up?  How could this be the end?  And how do I cope with being let down a bit from first single "Drunk Girls?"  Well... you just let it all sink in.  As there is reality... and you can be afraid of what you need.

In all honestly "This is Happening" was a bit of a letdown to me initially.  While opener "Dance Yrself Clean" was a revelation, and unquestionably blew me away, I found the album to be a bit plodding... the several eight minute-plus tracks just too... much.  But a bit of time, and a random listen to the final track "Home" at just the right time made me go back and REALLY listen.  And wouldn't you know, "This is Happening" finally spoke to me, and I realized it had to, needed to, make my year's end list.

Given the now depressing thought that this might be the end of LCD as we know it, what is clear is that lead James Murphy has created quite the three-album arch that marries the immediacy of post-punk, Eno-era Bowie, and dance music that presents itself as something else... and yet is comprised sometimes very simply... of a loop repeated to almost infinity.  And yet on "Happening," those eight-minute plus songs with these repeated loops build in ways you almost don't realize while it's happening.  Just as "All My Friends" did.

What "Happening" is really all about is Murphy shedding the hipster referencing, the witty-yet-attached lyricism of "Losing My Edge" to a more emotional take on life itself.  The man turned 40, and that milestone possibly effected what "Happening" turned out to be.  From the "Heroes"-esque "All I Want" to the emotional "I Can Change," the songs seem to reflect that Murphy's figured some things out in life, and he's put them to song.

I read a recent interview with Murphy who said he hates the term "electronic" in terms of his music.  He likes "disco" better because back in the day that dance music wasn't about just pushing play on a computer, put playing music live.  Disco bands were bands, and while I've never seen them live, LCD's albums bridge that gap from post-punk rock to club music.  It's all very organic and raw.

And that final track; "Home" really drives the album... well, home.  It does feel like the end of something, turning around to see where you've been, all that's happened, and reflecting.  While I'd listened to it a couple times when the album came out it was only recently that I really heard it.  It's got the loops and build of the other tracks, incorporates some Talking Heads afro-beat, and then lyrically... it's raw James Murphy, equal parts melancholy and hopeful.  It's alright.  It's all alright.

"This is Happening" is more than alright.

And please please please if you haven't heard anything from this album yet, scroll down to "Dance Yrself Clean," the first track, put on some headphones, and listen to it in its entirety.  It's SUCH a mindblower.



All I Want

Dance Yrself Clean

Monday, December 20, 2010

4th of July (Fireworks)

Best of 2010

Song: 4th of July (Fireworks)
Artist: Kelis
Album: Flesh Tone

I've always liked Kelis' brand of R&B and hip hop, a bit more daring than the cookie-cutter stuff on the radio.  But audiences are fickle, and despite having a HUGE hit with "Milkshake," album buyers skipped her messy but still very good "Kelis Was Here" from 2006.  For 2010, Kelis went in another direction, a pure dance album.

Recorded while she was without a label, "Flesh Tone" is a revelation, from the David Guetta produced "Acapella," to the thumping "Scream," and "4th of July (Fireworks)."  Some of my favorite tracks of the summer were from this album, and literally every song is good.  Not one throw-away.   

As this is Kelis, these aren't throw-away dance songs, "Flesh Tone" is an emotional song-cycle that deals with Kelis' new baby, her split with Nas, love, life, home, and being strong in the face of personal strife.  It's not just an album, it's a personal manifesto.

I've read that some critics have complained that the album sounds dated... I couldn't disagree more.  "Flesh Tone" sounds fresh, exciting, and based on the content of the songs... a pretty exhilarating listen.  This isn't a dumb dance record by any means. I feel like only "Acapella" really caught on, but other singles "Scream" and "4th of July (Fireworks)" should have been bigger.

If you past it by when it came out, you're missing out.


4th of July (Fireworks)



Friday, December 17, 2010


Best of 2010

Song: Free
Artist: Graffiti6
Album: Colours

While Ceee-Lo had the soul single of the year with his obscene yet totally cute track "Fuck You," a very little known band had my favorite soul album of the year, Graffiti6's "Colours."  The London-based duo of DJ/Producer TommyD (no relation to Pauly) and Singer-Songwriter Jamie Scott.

I first highlighted the album and first single "Stare into the Sun" back in October when I stumbled across the album and really liked it's vibe.  Over the last couple months it's really grown on me and become one of my favorites of the year.  Scott's voice is emotive and quite strong, while TommyD's production and song-craft mix Mark Ronson-esque soul throwback with 60's psychedelia and even glimpses of 90's era house here and there.  The album is filled with laments on love and life a takes a modern look at the world through a kaleidoscope of the past.  This is one cool record.

Opener "Stone in My Heart" really sets the stage for the album's Otis Redding does "Hair" feel.  Throughout the album you have the trippy strut of "Stare at the Sun," the almost trip-hoppy "This Man," and slow folk-ballads like "Calm the Storm" and "Goodbye Goeffrey Drake."  The 60's are alive and updated thanks to Graffiti6!

My favorite track on the album is "Free," a groovy tale of love lost that's heartbreaking and real.  Man these lyrics just shudder through me.  I love love love this track.

While artist like Winehouse, Duffy, and Adele have been given a lot of press to the neo (white) soul movement... Graffiti6 aren't being talked about at all.  I don't really get how this record is going under the radar... it seems like out-of nowhere Grammy Gold to me.  Well consider hearing about it first on WeCastMusic!



Stare into the Sun

Annie You Save Me

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shiny and Warm

Best of 2010

Song: Shiny and Warm
Artist: Godfrapp
Album: Head First

In the no huge surprise department... WeCastMusic LOVED Goldfrapp's latest 80's influenced offering, "Head First," which was released back in March.  But I must admit that at first... my opinion wasn't so strong.

After making THE electro-pop manifesto "Supernature" in 2005, and then the psychedelic-folktronica epic "Seventh Tree," it seemed that Goldfrapp could only misstep when returning to their dance floor roots.  I mean... how does anyone match something like "Supernature?"  Well... by swerving a bit.  I thought "Seventh Tree" was a brilliant follow up, completely different in sound and approach, and yet just as good... with melodies that grew on you and layers that opened up with repeat listens.  They of course needed to return to the dance floor but again, how to even come close to the perfection that was "Supernature?"

First single "Rocket" initially seemed all kitch.  The over-the-top 80's sound, jet blast effects, and seemingly goofy chorus just seemed a bit off.  We'd come so use to Goldfrapp coming across so hard and fierce in their dance music... they aren't bloody Laura Branigan!  But as always, Goldfrapp manages to transcend all of that... once again made an emotional dance record that looks to the past to make sense of the present.  And also, the 80's influence isn't as strong on all of the tracks... it's just a vibe.

Like all Goldfrapp albums since their first, "Head First" is filled with just one great track after another.  From the etherial, in the clouds, pop of "Believer" and "Dreaming" to the harder dance tracks "Alive" and "Shiny and Warm," and then the mid-tempo ballads "Head First" and "Hunt"; the album is brimming with songs that initially seem dipped in a coat of cheese only to unfold themselves as heartfelt personal emoting.  As goofy as "Rocket" seemed initially, hearing "I've got a rocket, you're going on it, you're never coming back," married to "But I still wanna know, how she walked in the door uninvited" paints a picture of love lost and jealousy that really resonates despite its goofy veneer.

"Head First" isn't exactly perfect though.  I think it's short by two songs as the last track, "Voicething," goes for the experimental and seems out of place.  So at just eight "real" tracks... it seems light.  Though I'd certainly take an abbreviated solid song-cycle versus filler here and there.  If you're a fan, they've done it again.  And if you're not... you can start here.


Shiny and Warm



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Private Eyes

Best of 2010

Song: Private Eyes
Artist: Bird and the Bee
Album: Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates

Alright, this is such an odd choice for a "Best of" year-end list, so much so I've been on the fence about it quite a bit.  One on hand, a re-read of my original post highlighting the album shows that I enjoyed the kitchy-ness of the project more than the actual music within, and then on the other; taking a look at my iTunes play counts shows that since March... I've listened to these songs A LOT.

The concept to this record is right in the title.  L.A.-based synth-pop band The Bird & the Bee cover the songs of 80's soft-rock legends Hall and Oats for their third album, save one original, which is engineered to sound reminiscent of... Hall and Oats.  They don't modify the songs all that much and do something super creative... they just re-do the songs with the cutsie vocals of lead singer Inara George ad production from indie-pop producer Greg Kurstin.  How is this worth talking about?

Well, throughout the year I played various songs form this record around at parties, etc. and almost without question, this would happen: a) someone would not necessarily be paying attention until they realize they know the song but realize that it's not the original, b) they would come to me and ask me who it was, no matter the track I was playing, and c) mention how much they liked it.  And again... throughout this entire year, I just played the shit out of it.

In that original post about this record I pointed out that you either fall into the camp that Hall and Oats were lucky, goofy dudes of their time that happened to have several cheesy hits in the 80's, or that they go down as one of the most important songwriting duos in pop music history.  And given the pure listen-ability of this collection of songs... it's hard to argue.  Songs like "I Can't Go For That" and "Kiss On My List" just sort of "fly" with the help of Kurstin's modern production, and George's pretty, wink-wink vocals.  I don't fully get just how much I enjoyed this record this year... I just did.

They didn't release any singles from the record, not even the aforementioned original that starts the album, "Heard it On the Radio," which turned out to be one of my favorite tracks of the year.  They reference the band and their songs throughout, and it just fits so well with the Hall and Oats' originals.  Pure pop bliss.

Maybe listing this album alongside the rest of this years best proves JUST how ho-hum this year was in music... or proves that sometime content can transcend even the goofiest of concepts.


Private Eyes

Heard it on the Radio

I Can't Go For That

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Best of 2010

Song: O.N.E.
Artist: Yeasayer
Album: Odd Blood

Over the lifespan of this blog I've waxed quite a bit about my old love for "Modern Rock" and "Alternative" music of my youth and how I don't connect much to what is considered "indie" now-a-days. My tastes have shifted more toward dance music and pop... I don't know why exactly.  Maybe I'm just getting older and am way less concerned about appearing cool... yeah I love the new Ke$ha single, I just don't give a shit.

I could probably write an essay about this topic but will spare you.  What I really want to talk about is what (at least I thought) was the one indie-rock record that I hands-down LOVED this year.  Brooklyn-based Yeasayer released their sophomore album and follow up to 2007's "All Hour Cymbals" this February.  Ditching the world-is-ending-and-totally-sucks theme from their debut, "Odd Blood" finds the band harnessing the power of their sound, mixing strong memorable melodies with "what is that?" experimental sounds, and a surprising amount of 80's influences that aren't obvious at all.  It's sort of like if Radiohead decided to make an irony-free Orchestral Maneuvers After Dark record.

Maybe it's the refreshing mix of true eclecticism and heart-on-their-sleeve earnestness that I've connected with.  Or the fact that it's just really strange but totally catchy.  Opener "The Children" is a bit of a misnomer with it's industrial clatter, pitch-corrected vocals, and slow as molasses dirge-like sound.  It doesn't sound like the rest of the record, and yet works as visually I imagine and odd creature opening a large gate welcoming you into a strange world.  And then you're hit with "Ampling Alp," one of my favorite tracks of the year. The indie answer to Katy Perry's "Firework" (yes I just said that) "Alp" is a self-empowerment anthem disguised as an experimental reggae-lite Summer jam.  I love it.  Next track "Madder Red" is a melancholy I-know-I've-done-you-wrong lament that's equally sad and mysterious.  Another gem.

Things get very 80's prom dance on "I Remember" which is sweet and odd and in a different universe... would have been a huge hit this year.  Beautiful.  Things pick up with the bouncy, catchy, "O.N.E.," another big favorite this year.  A break-up track that's all hilarious "I'm over you..." but I'm really not and don't realize it.  "Rome" is about as Scissor Sisters as the band gets, and "Mondegreen" is their version of Ska.  But this is a great record start to finish that manages to take you on an experimental journey that lyrically fairly straight-forward and super catchy.

Funny, as I consider this the one indie-rock record that I liked this year, it turns out some of the hipsters have turned on Yeasayer, calling sell-out from "Odd Blood," and mourning the shift from "All Hour."  Ugh... there you go.  It pretty much sums up my feelings about the state of "indie rock."  Regardless of all that, the best thing I can say about "Odd Blood" is that despite all of its quirk... you're actually going to FEEL something from this record.  Caring is NOT creepy.



I Remember

Madder Red

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh No!

Best of 2010

Song: Oh No!
Artist: Marina & The Diamonds
Album: The Family Jewels

It's the end of the year, time when we take look back at the year that was, what was good, bad, etc.  In 2010 it seemed pop music took a stronger hold on the airwaves, the better albums were those made by already established artists, and music in general was just sort of ho-hum.  There wasn't a lot that made my head spin... but there was still some great tunes released.  Over the next two weeks I'll highlight WeCastMusic's favorite records of the year, sharing another track from records that I possibly have over-covered already. ;)

While I did mostly find myself enjoying new records from artists I already knew and liked, one of my favorite records of the year was the debut by Marina & the Diamonds, "The Family Jewels."  After a couple digital E.P.'s released in 2007 & 2009 respectively, getting the blogesphere excited about her, the Welsh singer released her proper debut this February.

"The Family Jewels" is filled to the brim with quirk, catchy melodies, and lyrically forward-thinking tales of modern life from a refreshingly strong female perspective.  Like a return to the days of Lilith Fair, Marina has sold herself on her stunning individualism and pop craft vs. selling a sexy image as the main part of the package.  A mix of Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Kate Nash, and Mika, Marina has crafted a song cycle that is boldly odd and yet completely melodic.  But it starts off my best of the year list because every track on the album is good.  No filler.

From the piano-based opener "Are You Satisfied?" through the disco-pop of "Shampain" and the marching band of strange that is "Mowgli's Road," the album is chock full of quirky gems that upon several listens do create a fantastic whole, and is by far my favorite debut of the year.  Lead Marina Diamandis is certainly a talent, and I feel that she should have caught on just a bit more than she actually did.  I hope this record is remembered for other year-end lists.  It deserves it.  I'm looking forward to hearing what she comes up with next.


Oh No!



Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sofi Needs a Ladder

Song: Sofi Needs a Ladder
Artist: Deadmau5
Album: 4x4=12

I have a hard time figuring out Canadian DJ Deadmau5's output.  I was first introduced via the "album" "For Lack of a Better Name" from 2009, a hard elctro-house album containing the one-two punch of "Moar Ghosts 'n' Stuff" and "Ghosts 'n' Stuff"(featuring Rob Swire.)  But as some tracks had been released before, I've seen it mentioned as a "compilation album" and that his most recent release, "4x4=12" was actually his first "artist" album... yet Wikipedia has it listed as his third album.  Since he released "At Play 2" in 2009 and "At Play 3" in 2010 (which Wikipedia lists as his tenth album) though featured other artists music... I just can't figure it out.

Regardless, "4x4=12" feels like the follow up to "Lack of a Better Name," so I'm gunna run with that.  It contains singles "Some Chords," "Animal Rights," and "Sofi Needs a Ladder" which were all released this year.  I really liked "Some Chords" and "Ladder," with the latter being one of my favorites from the electronic mouse-head-wearing DJ.

Deadmau5 had his most high-profile gig this past fall when he DJ'd MTV's VMA Awards.  For American audiences, it was an inspiring choice for MTV to make to highlight the DJ who none-the-less made very little water cooler chatter after the event, aside from possibly the too short (like twenty-three seconds) accompaniment to Robyn's "Dancing on My Own" performed literally in the rafters.  But America isn't on the Progressive House tip (just yet) but it's a start.

Unlike the "At Play" series which I find monotonous and a bit droning, "4x4=12" does contain actual songs.  It has his moments where things seem drag on a bit, but highlights like the Daft Punk-esque "Animal Rights" and the soulful "Raise Your Weapon," along with "Chords" and "Ladder" show that the Progressive House cross-over album might be inside Deadmau5, it's just not "4x4=12."  But for fans of the genre, or even casual house fans like myself will find a lot to enjoy here.

The more I listen to it, "Raise Your Weapon," featuring the vocals of Greta Svabo Bech, the more it has become one of my favorites.  It starts a bit slower than the other tracks, and just when you think it's going to explode into a four-to-the-floor booty shaker, it dives deep into Dubstep instead.  At just over eight minutes, it's pretty epic.

Check this out.


Sofi Needs a Ladder

Raise Your Weapon

Some Chords

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I'm on Fire

Song: I'm on Fire
Artist: The Chromatics
Album: In the City

A quick diversion as I have been loving this cover...

The Chromatics are a Portland, Oregon-based band that specializes in Italian Disco.  Their 2007 album "Night Drive," released on the Italians Do It Better label, didn't grab me all that much upon it's release, save for their excellent downtempo cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," which I covered here at WeCastMusic.  Back in October I got what I thought was their second album "In the City," only to find out that it's only really a single... but with seven new tracks, and two running over the six-minute mark... you see why.

Well, despite my incorrect assumption, I still wasn't floored by it.  The single, "In the City," was okay, but even for chill out music... it's bored and detached style just left me... well a little bored.  But there is SOMETHING about their sound, something about... well their bored and detached-ness that I do find effective.  And this is once again displayed not by an original song, but another cover.

Possibly because there is a bit of guitar work reminiscent of the song within "In the City," (actually, as well as the opening of "I Want Your Love" from "Night Drive") the band decided to cover my favorite Springsteen track, "I'm on Fire."  Slowed down even more than the original, the Chromatics take this song of longing and lust and transport it to a David Lynchian space trip.  I sound off my rocker... but just take a listen and you'll see what I mean.  What really sums up everything is the fact that despite how once again bored lead singer Hannah Billie sounds... lyrically, "I'm on Fire" is so direct, so purposeful with both words and feeling... that it reaches an emotional space their original music never does.  It's sexy, trippy, and will grab you and not let go.

Check out more Chromatics below.  I might be wrong about them... what do you think?  But certainly, I know I am NOT wrong on "I'm on Fire."  Hot!


I'm on Fire

In the City

I Want Your Love

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Song: Survive
Artist: Laurent Wolf
Album: Harmony

I keep surprising myself in how much more I've been digging European dance music.  I'm sure readers of the blog have rolled their eyes at that; "Are you kidding?  That's ALL you listen to."  Okay, okay... more specifically more mainstream Euro-dance music.  While I'd years ago really stayed away from what I considered "dumb" dance music, even over the last two years or so, I've seen myself getting into people like David Guetta whom I originally written off as "cheesy."  As I've been listening to, and enjoying, French DJ Laurent Wolf's 2010 album "Harmony," I was reminded of all of this.

Laurent Wolf has been in the game since 2001, releasing singles on a couple different dance labels until releasing his first full album, "Prive" in 2003.  After three more independent records, he released "Wash My World" in 2008 on SONY/BMG and saw his single "No Stress" reach #1 on the French SNEP singles chart.  "Harmony" has generated three singles thus far, lead rack "Survive," "It's Not the End of the World," and a remix of sorts of Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line."

Like Guetta's "One Love" (which was just recently re-released for the umpteenth time) "Harmony" works sort of like a mix tape with Wolf providing music with a variety of singers both male and female.  Unlike Guetta though, he's not playing with heavy vocal hitters like Fergie, Kid Cudi, Akon, and Kelly Rowland.  Wolf gets only what I can assume to be Euro-dance singers such as Andrew Roachfoard, Mod Martin, Alyssa Palmer, and Anne-Lyse to name a few.  But I think that this approach helps keeps things interesting... the vocalist change as not to make things get repetitive, but it's all held together with a similar sound and vibe orchestrated by Wolf.  I dig.

"Survive" kicks things off strong and gives you an idea what to expect.  Not for all tastes, and you hipster dance fans might thumb your nose up at this but if you do like Guetta, check this out.



Walk the Line

No Stress

Monday, December 06, 2010

Give Me the Beat

Song: Give Me the Beat
Artist: Ghostland Observatory
Album: Codename: Rondo

Ghostland Observatory are an Austin, Texas-based duo consisting of front man Aaron Behrens, and drums/synthesizer player Thomas Ross Turner.  They formed in 2004 and have released a total of four records on indie label Trashy Moped Records.  "Codename: Rondo," their latest, was released in late October.

Ghostland Observatory's music is a mix of electro, funk, rock, and new wave.  It has a cinematic quality to it, and also a dirty psychedelic vibe.  As you can tell, I can't really put a finger directly on their sound... I've been listening to this record for a couple months now and while I like it... their is an element of mystery there.  It's very "From Dusk to Dawn" meets "Death Proof," which as movies don't really tell you what the music is like... but this is the vibe I'm getting.  If that makes any sense.

Opener "Glitter" starts things off very glam, with a deep beat and then throbbing synths.  Behrens vocals are a falsetto-drenched psych-freak out... it's almost like he's invited you into a secret circus tent of the bizarre.  They are foremost a rock band, and write rock songs, though each usually start with an electronic beat and flourish throughout.  I really like second track "Miracles" and the dark "Give me a Beat."

This is an odd record... and I am stopping short of fully recommending it completely.  But, it's been a nagging record that I've liked that has begged to be highlighted here on WeCast... so here it is.  Mysterious, funky... the soundtrack to some desert-set nightmare for sure.

You can find out more from the band on their official website.


Give me the Beat

Glitter (live)

Friday, December 03, 2010


Song: Lovestruck
Artist: Duffy
Album: Endlessly

Upon hearing Adele's new AMAZING single "Rolling in the Deep," it was hard not to think about the other new white soul singers; Amy Winehouse who started it all off with her breakthrough sophomore album "Back in Black," as well as Duffy, who had a killer single ("Mercy") and a pretty boring full album.  So I wasn't so interested in her new material that much, and a listen to first single "Well, Well, Well" garnered a "well that's nice," vs. "Whoa, amazing" a-la Adele... but it also wasn't terrible.  But I've been listening to her full sophomore album, "Endlessly" and happy to report it's better than her debut.

In an interesting move, Duffy has partnered with music legend Albert Hammond (father of the Stokes rhythm guitarist) to co-write and co-produce the entire album.    She took the main songwriting credit on the songs from her debut "Rockferry," but takes second fiddle this time around.  Whatever, it works.

The songs do have the old-time vibe that again Winehouse, Adele, and she strive for, but more so this time around Duffy sounds a bit more pop.  Back to lead single "Well, Well, Well," after a couple listens I began to think it really did have the urgency of "Mercy," and a killer rhythm section... which turned out to be done by none-other than The Roots.  The song has seriously grown on me, and I am equally digging the Digital Dog Remix.

As I listened to third track "Keeping My Baby" I started to think less 60's girl-group and a little more Kylie.  Odd for sure... but again when hearing "Lovestruck" I heard a real Kylie connection.  Odd until I found out that both tracks (along with "Well, Well, Well") were co-produced by none-other than recent Kylie collaborator Stuart Price.  Funny.  I totally hear it, and they are some of my favorite tracks on the album.

Sure, second single "Endlessly," and sixth track "Breath Away," keep the old-time sound and are rather beautiful.  Very very nice.  This one is turning my ears for sure.


Lovestruck - on Live@Home

Well, Well, Well

Clips from "Endlessly"

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sick of You

Song: Sick of You
Artist: Cake
Album: Showroom of Compassion

It's been a record almost seven years since Cake released a proper new album. (2004's "Pressure Chief")  While they released a B-Sides album in 2007, it's an odd amount of time for a band that typically was releasing new albums every two to three years.  That is all changing with the release of their sixth studio album, "Showroom of Compassion."

I first fell in love with Cake based on their third album, 1998's "Prolonging the Magic" not their breakthrough sophomore set which included the mega-single "The Distance" and their off-kilter cover of "I Will Survive."  I actually didn't care for them at the time, but after loving "Magic" I went back and realized they were more a casualty (for me) of their alterna-aren't-we-funny marketing.  My bad... I love them now.  After another killer album, 2001's "Comfort Eagle," the band did take a step back ever so slightly with the just-okay aforementioned "Pressure Chief."  All the elements were there... it sure sounded like Cake... but I felt it was missing the usual at least two killer killer songs that we'd heard from albums prior.  Oh well... everybody slips a little.

Leading up to the new album, lead Cake-man John McCrea had promised that the new album would be "very different" from previous Cake-offerings.  I missed it, but in September they digitally released the first single from "Showroom," entitled "Sick of You."  And lo-and-behold... it sounds JUST like Cake.  From the deadpan "singing," mariachi horns, to even their sort of trademark back-up "shouting-along."  This is Cake through and through.  At first listen I wonder if it holds up to some of their best singles... but I'm saving my opinion until hearing the full album.  At this point... I'm just happy to be getting some more Cake.  What do you think?

Catch another new song they performed live this summer below, as well as probably my favorite Cake track and video.


Sick of You

Long Time (live)

Short Skirt/Long Jacket