28 February 2009


Formed in France in 1997, Transbeauce draws influences from a wide variety of music – from classical to post-punk. Not static, the band has grown to incorporate more traditional instruments, but yet the soothing, soulful arrangements have never taken a second seat. It is impossible to define their music with any throwaway label like electronic. This is a band that one must consider on their merits and not that of a genre or scene. With a new album out, “Stories on the Radio,” it is only appropriate we take the time to catch up with Transbeauce.

“Die Mitte” (2001)

The opening of the album may lead you to believe you are about to listen to an industrial album, with echoing voices and an angry ambient sound in the background, the music quickly melts into a slow paced beat. Quickly, the album demonstrates what many great post-punk artists knew – simplicity in repetition is powerful. There is no attempt to lull the listener away with grandiose arrangements or bombast clichés that only grow old and trite with time. Instead, Transbeauce truly created timeless music here, which is rare in the world of electronic artists. They do not concentrate on catchy, electro sounds or other trappings of electronic music. Rather, they concentrate on the richness of their songwriting and arrangements. Furthermore, Transbeauce has this talent to take sounds, any sound, and find its harmonic, melodic qualities. For instance, the third song, “Okand,” treats listeners to funk influenced bass line with sheer noise creating most of the melody. The album does have more “acoustic” sounding songs, such as “Speciell,” but regardless of the kind of sounds or equipment used to generate the music, what will stand out is the careful attention to details and the conscious crafting of a soundscape that is rich but not drowning to the senses.

Track Listing:

1. Anfang
2. Hemilg
3. Okand
4. Commencer
5. Xd7
6. Trakig
7. Baver
8. Part 1 and 2
9. Utc
10. Speciell
11. V1
12. 9th
13. Forlat

“Holyhead” (2006)

Incorporating more acoustic elements than their debut, “Holyhead” continues Transbeauce’s journey through the world of sound. With moments reminiscent of the early British goth scene (such as the "Juju" album), there is definitely a greater emotional intensity on this album, even in the slowest of songs. The band demonstrates the power of simplicity in “Kakilaki’ Smile”; a song that takes nearly three minutes to develop percussions, the unraveling layered arrangements builds to a cathartic experience of that pit in the stomach feeling. “Bevy” threatens to breakout into a gloomy, rock mantra, but the emotions are kept tightly compressed, which gives life to an emotional depth rarely experienced in electronic music. The closing track, “Tokyo Light,” is a slow brooding song, which has given into its own lethargy. Instead of building into more luscious arrangements, the song fades into memory – much as lights do eventually. Like their debut album, the conscious crafting of songs that are not clichés or odes to the electronic genre is evident as the ingenious arrangements haunts you.

Track Listing:

1. Dmumb
2. Echo of a Nightmare
3. I Couldn’t
4. Slowmotion
5. Kakilaki ‘Smile
6. Moai
7. A Secret Lullaby
8. Bevy
9. Portmeiron
10. No Guts
11. The Night
12. Rover
13. Tokyo Light

“Stories on the Radio”

Released earlier this year, 17 February 2009, with a double colored vinyl release expected in March, “Stories on the Radio” will burst the poet out of anyone listening – it is inspirational and infectious. Personally, I have not been able to stop listening to it, coming back again and again. According to the band, the album was inspired by their work and interactions with Bernard Lenoir (the French John Peel), the Black Sessions (just look at the titles of the tracks), and the studio atmosphere.

Many of the songs are of epic proportion (songs range from four-and-a-half minutes to ten-and-a-quarter, in total seventy-four). Opening with “The Stars Are Black,” which share the same kind of sonic power as the Cure’s “Carnage Visor,” you are swept into a world of weighed down emotions and continuous soundscapes, yet you are filled with serenity by the end. “The Sky Went Black” inches Transbeauce closer to the world of pop; with arrangements and hooks similar to a plethora of songs of the late 80s and early 90s, but this song is not imitation. Instead the pop hooks are used in a new, refreshing way; it is not about ambient sounds to hook the listeners to tap their feet and bounce around, but rather to continue to draw you into the journey of sound. Then there is the song “A Black Heaven”; it has that subtle of power of undertow: it whisks you away without warning in the complete opposite direction. Like other Transbeauce songs, there is this feeling that the song will breakout emotionally, but its containment is what generates the emotional power. The closing track, “Running Away,” is one of those songs that just start with a sound and keeps developing to the very end. The shortest song of the album, by the end the serenity of the melody that you have been listening to is almost drowned out by an industrial wave of noise. It creates that proverbial tension between mind and soul, and it is this exact tension that makes this a great album – Transbeauce’s ability to make you feel and reflect, while enjoying the experience, is a rare trait in music these days. And on that fact alone, this is a must have album for any collection.

Track Listing:

1. The Stars Are Black
2. Black as Stone
3. Dressed in Black Berlin
4. Little Black Panda
5. Her Hair is Black
6. Pearl Black Eyes
7. Deep Black Water
8. The Sky Went Black
9. Black Heaven
10. Flojt
11. Running Away

[You can find these album on Amazon and iTunes.]

Please keep up with the band at their homepage or MySpace.
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26 February 2009

Thursday Answers 5

A decade old band, Thursday has defied the common expectations for longevity. Five albums into their career (“Waiting” (1999), “Full Collapse” (2001), “War All the Time” (2003), “A City by the Light Divided” (2006), and “Common Existence” (2009)), they continue to produce fresh music that is relevant and urgent. Where the music market continues to favor frivolity and pleasantries, Thursday projects introspection and is willing to take on serious issues. Where musicians are willing to formulate their music in a specific format for radio play, Thursday continues to compose and arrange music that demonstrates consciousness of craft. All that and they kick ass live.

Though they are touring North America through April, before heading to Europe, Steve Pedulla of Thursday took the time to Answer 5.

1. Who are your musical and nonmusical influences?

Quicksand, The Police, U2, Sunny Day Real Estate, Genesis (the Gabriel years), Philip Glass, Clint Mansell, P.T Anderson, Coen Brothers, etc. I could go on forever.

2. Why the break with Island Records? Has Epitaph been more nurturing?

The "Island Records" that we signed with was no longer the "Island Records" that we were dealing with. All of the people that made us want to be a part of the label either quit or got fired. So we wound up working with some people that we felt didn't really understand the identity of the band. The split was amicable though. They were very classy about it. They told us that they wanted to do another record with us, but that it was up to us. Obviously we decided to move on. Epitaph has been amazing. They definitely have a way better understanding of the band and we really get along with everyone that works there.

3. In the digital age, the music industry is changing quickly. Between pirated music and companies caring more about numbers than talent, where do you see this trend will lead bands that do not rely on radio or other pop mediums for exposure?

It's tough to say. It almost seems like having a web presence is more important than radio these days, which in a way makes it easier for bands to promote themselves, but on the other-hand its more difficult since there are so many bands on the Internet. It's all a mess right now and the attempts at change are exciting and scary at the same time. I think the whole downloading thing might really hurt everything more than people tend to realize (and I'm saying this as someone in a band, and someone that has downloaded music). The fact that people are no longer buying records could eventually lead to labels (majors and indies) going out of business. Which in turn makes it more difficult for bands to be able to afford to record. Some people argue that these days its "easy" for bands to record their own records, which it is, but more often than not this severely compromises the sound quality of a recording. I guess it comes down to how much people really value their music. I'm hoping we all value it enough to figure out the next step without compromising the music.

4. In "Friends in the Armed Forces," you take on the issue of the war. Many other songs have political subtexts. Do you believe that musicians have a responsibility to take on social and political issues?

I don't think that every band needs to take on social and political issues. There has to be a balance. Everything has its place. If every band was super serious and only discussed social and political issues I think that would be super boring and possibly counter-productive. It's just as important to make people laugh and smile, as it is to make them angry or sad.

5. I've always wondered, why the "dove" as a logo?

We chose the dove because Thursday has always been about hope and compassion.

Catch Thursday Live; here are tour dates:

Sunday 2/22 – Englewood, CO
Tuesday 2/24 – Milwaukee, WI
Wednesday 2/25 – Cincinnati, OH
Thursday 2/26 – Rochester, NY
Friday 2/27 – Worcester, MA
Sunday 2/28 – Harford, CT
Monday 3/2 – Providence, RI
Tuesday 3/3 – Clifton Park, NY
Wednesday 3/4 – New York, NY
Thursday 3/5 – Sayreville, NY
Friday 3/6 – Philadelphia, PA
Saturday 3/7 – Baltimore, MD
Monday 3/9 – Cleveland, OH
Tuesday 3/10 – Detroit, MI
Wednesday 3/11 – St. Louis, MO
Thursday 3/12 – Chicago, IL
Friday 3/13 – Minneapolis, MN
Saturday 3/14 – Kansas City, MO
Sunday 3/15 – Louisville, KY
Tuesday 3/17 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Wednesday 3/18 – Orlando, FL
Thursday 3/19 – Atlanta, GA
Saturday 3/21 – Houston, TX
Sunday 3/22 – San Antonio, TX
Monday 3/23 – Dallas, TX
Thursday 3/26 – Bosie, ID
Friday 3/27 – Portland, OR
Saturday 3/28 – Seattle, WA
Sunday 3/29 – Spokane, WA
Monday 3/30 – Vancouver, BC
Wednesday 4/1 – Calgary, AB
Friday 4/3 – Edmonton, AB
Saturday 4/4 – Sasktoon, SK
Sunday 4/5 – Winnipeg, MB
Monday 4/6 – Thunder Bay, ON
Wednesday 4/8 – Toronto, ON
Thursday 4/9 – Montreal, QC

Saturday 4/11 – Munich, Germany – Give It a Name Festival
Sunday 4/12 – Cologne, Germany – Give It a Name Festival
Tuesday 4/14 – Vienna, Austria – Give It a Name Festival
Wednesday 4/15 – Bologna, Italy
Thursday 4/16 – Zurich, Switzerland
Friday 4/17 – Meerhout, Belgium – Groezrock Festival
Saturday 4/18 – Manchester, UK – Give It a Name Festival
Sunday 4/19 – London, UK – Give It a Name Festival

For more information and to keep up with the band; you can check them out on their homepage or MySpace.
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24 February 2009

The Cure: Retrospective on “Disintegration”

This was the most unlikely album to have mainstream success, yet “Disintegration” (1989) truly paved the way for the Cure to go from cult band to musical icons. Twelve years into Robert Smith’s career, this album surpassed all expectations, saw the Cure to the top of the singles and album charts, and playing stadiums.

A band that starting writing numbers such as “Need Myself,” “It’s Not You,” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” I personally cannot understand when people say that “Disintegration” is a return to their gothic roots. The reality is that the Cure started as a punk influenced rock trio, which eventually evolved into a more ambient, gothic sound. But the evolution did not stop there. By late 1982, the Cure was writing poppy, new wave numbers, like “The Walk” and “Love Cats,” and continue to mature and evolve. The ability of this band to jump from one genre or style to another, quite often on one album, is a key factor in their longevity. From new wave, to pop-rock of the mid and late 80s, the Cure had grown into critical acclaim in the UK and the Continent. They had traveled the world over, from Japan to New Zealand, from Canada to Argentina. And then 1989 rolled around, and the obvious thing for the Cure to do was to write another album along the lines of “Head on the Door” (1985) or “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me” (1987), playing it safe and capitalizing on their momentum. Instead, Robert Smith (vocalist, guitarist, lyricist) led his band into the moodiest, broodiest downward spiral to date. “Disintegration” was everything that one should not expect from a band on the verge of international breakthrough. Yet, it broke through!

From the ethereal opening, “Plainsong,” to the almost nautical ending, “Untitled,” this album takes the listener through a journey of life and death, love and suicide, final dances and being eaten alive by spiders. “Plainsong” is best described as one long sigh. Orchestrated keyboards, wind chimes, and echoing, harrowing vocals (“It’s so cold, it’s like the cold if you were dead”) – this song starts the journey gently but in grandiose fashion. Followed by “Pictures of You,” a single off of the album, arranged with an ambient keyboard and a six-string bass played as a guitar, the song brings the tempo up some, while pondering loose of love. Other key moments in the album include “Lullaby” – a song verging on pop tempos and arrangements, describing the nightmare of being eaten alive by a spider. Or maybe it is about being raped – “Be still, be calm, be quiet now my precious little boy, don’t struggle like that or I will only love you more.” Regardless of your take, the lyrics are disturbing, yet the music draws you in. The smash hit “Lovesong” is on the album, which was originally written as a wedding present for Robert Smith’s then fiancée, now wife.

True to Cure fashion, the titular track is of epic proportions. The song “Disintegration” muses about suicide – “I never said I would stay to the end, I knew I would leave you with babies and everything, screaming like this in the hole of sincerity, screaming me over and over and over. I leave you with photographs, pictures of trickery, stains on the carpet and stains on the memory, songs about happiness murmured in dreams when we both of knew how the end always is.” Stains on the carpet? Robert Smith is a descriptive genius! The album closes with “Untitled.” Why untitled? Smith sings, “Never quite said what I wanted to say to you, never quite managed the words to explain to you, never quite knew how to make it believable…” But it is the closing line, “never dream of you again,” that haunts you during the three minute musical exodus.

Though it would be unfair to say that the Cure has not written great songs after “Disintegration” – just to name a few: “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea,” “Mint Car,” “Out of this World,” “Lost,” “The Perfect Boy” – what the Cure has never done again was compose an album that works so well together, it is often difficult to think of these songs as anything other than an album. In fact, it is rare that an album by any artist ever congeals the way “Disintegration” did. Why is it a must? Because years before Nirvana and Pearl Jam, a generation before emo kids and goth kids mocked on South Park, this album defied the music industry's predictions, this album rose above all expectations, and this album blew the door open for bands to follow that would not conform to static notions of giddy-pop music or formulated angst. If there was a cure to the mundanities of late 80s music, it was “Disintegration.”

Track Listing:

1. Plainsong
2. Pictures of You
3. Closedown
4. Lovesong
5. Last Dance
6. Lullaby
7. Fascination Street
8. Prayers for Rain
9. The Same Deep Water as You
10. Disintegration
11. Homesick
12. Untitled

Check out “Entreat.” The Cure recorded eight tracks from “Disintegration” live, and though the Cure rarely reworks music extensively between studio recordings and live renditions, this live album displays the urgency felt when the Cure plays live.

Track Listing:

1. Pictures of You
2. Closedown
3. Last Dance
4. Fascination Street
5. Prayers for Rain
6. Disintegration
7. Homesick
8. Untitled

Follow the Cure at their homepage. You can find them at the Polydor Classic YouTube Channel and Universal Music Group. Here are the videos (Polydor) or links (Lovesong, from Universal) for the four singles from “Disintegration.”


"Fascination Street"

The official Universal Music Group link for "Lovesong"

"Pictures of You"

One final note, even Kyle of South Park hails this album; he did say, “Disintegration is the best album ever.”
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21 February 2009

Keane in North America

Here are the dates for the Keane North American Tour.

There will be a presale on Keane's homepage on Monday, 23 February.

The tour dates:

Friday, May 8 - Oakland, CA: The Fox Theater
Saturday, May 9 - Los Angeles, CA: The Hollywood Palladium
Tuesday, May 12 - Salt Lake City, UT: Kingsburry Hall
Wednesday, May 13 - Denver, CO: THe Ogden Theater
Friday, May 15 - Minneapolis, MN: Myth
Saturday, May 16 - Chicago, IL: Aragon Ballroom
Tuesday, May 19 - Washington, DC: Constitution Hall
Wednesday, May 20 - Philadelphia, PA: Tower Theater
Thursday, May 21 - Boston, MA: Bank of America Pavilion
Saturday, May 23 - Toronto, ON: The Sound Academy
Sunday, May 24 - Cleveland, OH: Tower City Amphitheater
Wednesday, May 27 - New York, NY: Radio City Music Hall

Check out the band on their homepage or their YouTube Channel. Here is the link for their video for "The Lovers Are Losinging" at YouTube.

(Photo from homepage, taken by Søren Solkær Starbird.)
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Catching up with The View and Thurday

Time is a major constraint, and these two albums should have been mentioned already. So here I go, making up for lost time.

The View: "Which Bitch?"

The View's "Which Bitch?" is no sophomore slump. The title refers to "Which bitch am I singing about in this song?" Released in the UK on 2 February 2009 (17 February 2009 in the USA), “Which Bitch?” is free of any standard formula; each song starts from a nebulous space in consciousness and takes its own form. This gives each song its own freshness and unpredictability. The album draws influence from various different genres, including indie pop and ska. One really unexpected song was “One Off Pretender,” which includes rapping elements. Orchestrated strings are infused into “Unexpected” and “Distant Doubloon.” (Lyrically this song cracks me up: "There will never be colour in the sea, if you don't have eyes to see. So please don't dwell upon your wooden leg, your limp is boring me.") Paolo Nutini has a guest appearance on the song “Covers,” which was an amazing surprise. The album ends much as it begins: on a mellower, indie pop note. There is no attempt to sandwich the music between two grandiose songs; instead, each song is strong on its own merits, making this a great collection of songs.

Check out the band on their homepage and YouTube Channel. Here is an acoustic performance of their first single off of the album, “5 Rebeccas”:

Track Listing - "Which Bitch?"
1. Typical Time 2
2. 5 Rebeccas
3. One Off Pretender
4. Unexpected
5. Temptation Dice
6. Glass Smash
7. Distant Doubloon
8. Jimmy's Crazy Conpsiracy
9. Cover - ft. Paolo Nutini
10. Double Yellow Lines
11. Shock Horror
12. Realisation
13. Give Back the Sun
14. Gem of a Bird

Thursday: "Common Existence"

I first saw Thursday live at the Curiosa Festival in 2004 at Randall's Island. I like my share of hardcore and post-hardcore bands, but have usually found it difficult to sit through hours of listening to these bands live. Not Thursday, I was immediately entranced as they were playing. Post-hardcore referes to a range of bands that were influenced by hardcore (punk and metal) musicians, but who are concerned with expanding their genre beyond the normal conventions, incorporating elements of music from other genres. Thursday has this down to a artform!

"Common Existence" was released on 17 February 2009 and is Thursday's fifth album. They are not as glossy as nu-metal bands, nor are they stripped down like traditional hardcore bands; instead they strike the perfect balance again and again. This ablum sounds urgent, from the opening track, "Resusitation of a Dead Man," the album hits you with its power. "Time's Arrow" stands out as the sole acoustic song, with beautiful keyboard arrangments. The album closes with "You Were the Cancer," which demonstrates the fact that Thursday has pop-sensibility. This song is an epic adventure through a thick soundscape that reminds me of the harder post-punk music of the early 80s.

I have always felt that Thursday represents what is sorely lacking in the hardest spectrums of rock: a band that defies to be pinned down and labelled by their genre. This is a band that has attracted a wide range of individuals as an audience, while continuing to experiment with their sound. "Common Existence" is no exception. Receiving greater critical and fan reception then their last effort, "A City by the Light Divided" (2006), this ablum will definitely revive your faith in hardcore music.

Check out Thursday at their homepage and MySpace. You can check out their video for "Resuscitation of a Dead Man" on MySpace video.

Track Listing - "Common Existence"
1. Resuscitation of a Dead Man
2. Last Call
3. As He Climbed the Dark Mountain
4. Friends in the Armed Forces
5. Beyond the Visible Spectrum
6. Time's Arrow
7. Unintended Long Term Effects
8. Circuits of Fever
9. Subway Funeral
10. Love Has Led Us Astray
11. You Were the Cancer
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20 February 2009

Sounds of the Universe

Depeche Mode to release their new album, “Sounds of the Universe,” on 6 April 2009 (7 April 2009 in North America). The first single, “Wrong,” will be premiered on 21 February 2009.

This will be Depeche Mode’s twelfth studio album, a career that has started in 1981, with the release of their first album “Speak and Spell.” From “Just Can’t Get Enough” to “Precious,” Depeche Mode has been a hit machine, defying many critics’ expectations and predictions that they would dissolve into some background or become a nostalgia band. Instead, Depeche Mode continues to be relevant.

I have waited to post the dates to The Tour of the Universe until Depeche Mode announced their North American dates. Links provided to ticket vendors where available. North American dates have been announced, but venue and ticket information is not available yet.

European Tour Dates:

Sunday 5/10 – Tel Aviv, Israel (On Sale)

Tuesday 5/12 – Athens, Greece (On Sale)

Thursday 5/14 – Istanbul, Turkey (On Sale)

Saturday 5/15 – Bucharest, Romania (On Sale)

Monday 5/18 – Sofia, Bulgaria (On Sale)

Wednesday 5/20 – Belgrade, Serbia (On Sale)

Thursday 5/21 – Zagreb, Croatia (On Sale)

Saturday 5/23 – Warsaw, Poland (On Sale)

Monday 5/25 – Riga, Latvia (On Sale)

Wednesday 5/27 – Vilnius, Lithuania (On Sale)

Saturday 5/30 – London, United Kingdom (On Sale)

Sunday 5/31 – Pinkpop Festival (Landgraaf, Netherlands) (On Sale 3/7)

Tuesday 6/2 – Hamburg, Germany (On Sale)

Thursday 6/4 – Dusseldorf, Germany (On Sale)
Friday 6/5 – Dusseldorf, Germany (On Sale)

Sunday 6/7 – Leipzig, Germany (On Sale)
Monday 6/8 – Leipzig, Germany (On Sale)

Wednesday 6/10 – Berlin, Germany (On Sale)

Friday 6/12 – Frankfurt, Germany (On Sale)

Saturday 6/13 – Munich, Germany (On Sale)

Tuesday 6/16 – Rome, Italy (On Sale)

Thursday 6/18 – Milan, Italy (On Sale)

Saturday 6/20 – TWC Classic Festival (Werchter, Belgium) (On Sale)

Monday 6/22 – Bratislava, Slovakia (On Sale)

Tuesday 6/23 – Budapest, Hungary (On Sale) [Site was down on 2/20]

Thursday 6/25 – Prague, Czech Republic (On Sale)

Saturday, 6/27 – Paris, France (On Sale)

Sunday, 6/28 – Nancy, France (On Sale)

Tuesday, 6/30 – Copenhagen, Denmark (On Sale)

Thursday, 7/2 – Bergen, Norway (On Sale)

Friday, 7/3 – Arvika Festival (Arvika, Sweden) (On Sale)

Monday, 7/6 – Carcassone, France (On Sale 2/27)

Wednesday, 7/8 – Valladolid, Spain (On Sale)

Thursday, 7/9 – Bilbao BBK Live Festival (Bilbao, Spain) (On Sale)

Saturday, 7/11 – Super Bock Super Rock Festival (Porto, Portugal) (On Sale)

Sunday, 7/12 – Sevilla, Spain (On Sale)

North American Tour (No tickets on sale as of 2/20)

Friday, 7/24 – Toronto, ON

Saturday, 7/25 – Montreal, PQ

Tuesday, 7/28 – Washington, DC

Friday, 7/31 – Boston, MA

Saturday, 8/1 – Atlantic City, NJ

Monday, 8/3 – New York, NY

Monday, 8/10 – Seattle, WA

Wednesday, 8/12 – San Francisco, CA

Friday, 8/14 – San Diego, CA

Sunday, 8/16 – Los Angeles, CA
Monday, 8/17 – Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, 8/20 – Santa Barbara, CA

Saturday, 8/22 – Los Vegas, NV

Sunday, 8/23 – Phoenix, AZ

Tuesday, 8/25 – Salt Lake City, UT

Thursday, 8/27 – Denver, CO

Saturday, 8/29 – Dallas, TX

Sunday, 8/30 – Houston, TX

Tuesday, 9/1 – Atlanta, GA

Friday, 9/4 – Tampa, FL

Saturday, 9/5 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

You can keep up with Depeche Mode on their homepage, MySpace, or Facebook.

Also, check out these festivals: Bilbao BBK Live Festival, Arvika Festival, Pinkpop, Super Bock Super Rock, TWC Classic Festival
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17 February 2009

Morrissey: “Years of Refusal”

Morrissey is one of the veterans of music that you either love or hate, sometimes even both simultaneously. From his days in the Smiths to treading the industry as a solo artist, one thing that can be said about Morrissey is that he has produced everything with dignity and pride of craft. Morrissey’s ninth solo album (released 17 February 2009 in the USA) is no exception and comes as an amazing surprise. Perhaps his best work since “Vauxhall and I” (1994), this album has the classic feel of Morrissey at his best, while coupled with a newfound sense of urgency.

“Years of Refusal” does not lack Oscar Wilde moments: “You hiss and groan and you constantly moan, but you don’t ever go away; that’s because all you need is me.” (“All You Need Is Me”) Touchingly, moments of vulnerability: “The one I love is standing near, the one I love is everywhere, and I can woe you, I can amuse you, but there is nothing I can do to make you mine.” (“Black Could”) And even the maturity and wisdom that comes with age and experience: “After all these years, I find I’m okay by myself, and I don’t need you or your homespun philosophy…” (“I’m OK by Myself”) Though the lyrical themes are constantly shifting, what is consistent in all the vocals is that Morrissey sells these lyrics for all they're worth.

Musically, the album is not a big departure from what we would expect from Morrissey; however, there is a sense of urgency that I have not heard since his earlier solo or Smiths career. Returning to the producer of "You Are the Quarry" (2004), “Years of Refusal” has been infused with a straight-out rock feel, with no attempts of production gimmicks (not that I think Morrissey would condone them). What the listener receives is a raw Morrissey, with scathing lyrics, not fettered down by trying to be something that it is not. This could very well be Morrissey at his best.

With a cheeky title of “Years of Refusal,” the cover art is a photograph of Morrissey carrying a baby. Could this be Morrissey’s clue that to understand all these years of refusing one most go back to the nascent moments? To understand all of these years of refusal, one must go back to the beginning? Or could this be a symbol of new life, something that this album could infuse into the direction Morrissey will take from this moment on in his career? Or, why not, even both ideas at once? Morrissey is a clever one, “with a big nose who knows,” and he proves it on this witty, shrewdly written album.

Track Listing:
1. Something Is Squeezing My Skull
2. Mama Lay Softly on the Riverbed
3. Black Cloud
4. I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
5. All You Need Is Me
6. When Last I Spoke to Carol
7. That’s How People Grow Up
8. One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell
9. It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore
10. You Were Good in Your Time
11. Sorry Doesn’t Help
12. I’m OK by Myself

iTunres US Bonus Tracks:
13. Because of My Poor Education
14. Shame Is the Name

Special Edition DVD:
1. Wrestle with Russell
2. That’s How People Grow Up – Live
3. All You Need Is Me – Live
4. All You Need Is Me – Video

Check out Morrissey on his homepage. You can also find him at the Universal Music Group channel on YouTube. Here is the link to official provider’s posting of the video for “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris.”
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15 February 2009

The Fabulous Entourage Answers 5

I recently discovered the Fabulous Entourage, when they played a show at the Bowery Ballroom; I fell in love instantly and kicked myself a few times for not discovering them sooner! Combining theatrics, post-punk, new wave, and good ole American pop sensibility, their debut album “Play Nice Now” is a must for any up to date music collection. This is not a run of the mill glam-rock band with a gimmick; this is a band of ingenious songwriters and first-rate performers. From acoustic to electronic elements, they produce a sound that is vibrant and catchy, both recorded and live.

And they have agreed to answer five.

1. Who are you musical and non-musical influences?

We draw lots of inspiration from Motown, Bowie, the B-52s, Devo, the Talking Heads, T-Rex, The Scissor Sisters. Perry (the drummer) is a big Phish-head, though we're not sure that comes out in the music. Non-musically we take inspiration from a lot of 1980s performance art that blurred the line between music and other art forms (Laurie Anderson is one very good example of this).

2. How did the band form?

Kyle (keyboardist) and Travis (bassist) actually started the band as part of a theater piece. After a little while, they realized that the music aspect of the project interested them the most, so they brought on additional musicians and focused on becoming a real-life rock band.

3. The band definitely merges many distinct traditions, from glam to Motown; is genre-bending on your conscious agenda or did it just happen?

Mostly, we just try to make music that we have fun playing and would have fun listening to, since we're all drawing from diverse influences that come out in our music. One thing we were consciously trying to do is bring thick vocal harmonies (definitely a Motown thing) to other genres of music. We also want to make music people can dance too. That's another priority.

4. Just how competitive is New York City for musicians?

It's very competitive. Which can be frustrating sometimes, but most of the time is exciting. There are so many bands out there, and so many venues to see live music on any given night – it results in a really vibrant scene.

5. You are on hiatus now, any words for your fans what to expect in the next few weeks?

Singer/keyboardist Kyle just had vocal cord surgery (he had a benign polyp on his vocal fold) so he can't perform for two months while he recovers. Once he's recovered, though, you can expect some more shows to be announced...

Check out their debut album, “Play Nice Now.”

Track Listing:
1. Theme Song
2. Save Me (Please)
3. Million Buxx
4. Lying Song
5. Midnight Cowboy
6. Hello There Lonely Person
7. Marathon
8. Perry’s Dream
9. Burn the City Down
10. Danger Song
11. Sex Bomb

You can keep up with the band on their homepage or MySpace.

(Photos of the band by Sarah Sloboda.)

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13 February 2009

Friendly Fires

Friendly Fires released their self-titled debut ablum on 1 September 2008 and will be touring North America along side of White Lies.

Friendly Fires is one of those bands that is hard to define. Some people call them indie, others pop, and yet a few call them (nu)shoegazing or a pop/rave hybrid; regardless Friendly Fires is an impressive new band with a great debut album. Mostly self-produced (which is impressive considering how sophisticated some of the arragnements are), the album could be played at a swanky rock lounge or a dirty dance floor. From the opening track, "Jump in the Pool," the songs are layered in ambient keyboards and constant precussion, with ingenious pop hooks and catchy basslines. Include the electronic effects that are present everywhere, these boys use every trick in the book to create an album that is simply irresistible. Though some critics refered to the album as a collection of stand alone songs, I could not disagree more. Each song may be strong on its own, but as an album it is a consistent, powerful soundscape that will have you tapping your feet and bobbing your head.

Track Listing:
1. Jumping in the Pool
2. In the Hospital
3. Paris
4. White Diamonds
5. Strobe
6. On Board
7. Lovesick
8. Skeleton Boy
9. Photobooth
10. Ex Lover

Check out Friendly Fires on the XL Recordings YouTube page. Here is their video for their single "Skeleton Boy."

The band will be playing Coachella Festival, on Sunday 19 April.

Catch them on their homepage or MySpace.
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11 February 2009

White Lies to Tour America

Here are the dates for the North American Tour.

Tickets for the most of the American and two Canadian dates are available already at Ticket Master.

March​ 24: Black​ Cat, Washi​ngton​

March​ 25: First​ Unita​rian Churc​h,​ Phila​delph​ia

March​ 26: Bower​y Ballr​oom,​ New York

March​ 27: Bower​y Ballr​oom,​ New York

March​ 28: Parad​ise Rock Club,​ Bosto​n

March​ 30: Les Saint​s,​ Montr​eal

March​ 31: Lee'​s Palac​e,​ Toron​to

April​ 1: Blind​ Pig, Ann Arbor​

April​ 2: Radio​ Radio​,​ India​napol​is

April​ 3: Doubl​e Door,​ Chica​go

April​ 4: Tripl​e Rock Socia​l Club,​ Minne​apoli​s

April​ 7: Neumo​'​s,​ Seatt​le

April​ 8: Richa​rd'​s on Richa​rds,​ Vanco​uver

April​ 9 : Doug Fir Loung​e,​ Portl​and

April​ 11: Slims​,​ San Franc​isco
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09 February 2009

Gonzo Answers 5

With a plethora of bands out there, it is always hard to keep track of everything that is released, especially if the band is from a small European country. Gonzo, from Hungary, is one of those bands that you must give a listen to. Apart from being intelligent and contemplative, they are amazing song writers. If you are interested in a band that produces solid post-punk influenced music, that does more than just imitates influences, but rather brings something new to the table, you need to look no further.

This is a band you should get to know, and they have agreed to answer five questions.

1. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

As for the musical influences we mainly listen to guitar based genres and some electronic stuff. Right now I have Vampire Weekend, Late of the Pier, Primal Scream and Cut Copy on my portable mp3 player, but I refresh it every week.

In Gonzo’s music you can hear a mixture of the tunes of beat bands, the synthpop of the 80s, the melodic Britpop of the nineties and the dynamic post-punk of the millennium too. So it’s pretty eclectic, but of course we have some big favorites, which may make their influence felt, like the Beatles, David Bowie, dEUS, Radiohead, Interpol, Supergrass, The Bravery, Editors, Nick Cave, Woven Hand, Joy Division, Cure, Duran Duran, Clash and many more...

Though we're not a typical alternative, college band we do read a lot; books are our friends. We like the works of Orwell, Viktor Pelevin, Bernard Shaw, Graham Greene, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac and Walt Whitman. And most of the band members are movie fans too; we prefer films of independent artists like Jim Jarmush, David Lynch, Francois Truffaut, Tar Béla, Lars von Trier, Beat Takeshi etc. Basically we walk with ‘open eyes,' and try to reflect on the world surrounding us with a bit of criticism.

2. How did the name of your band come about?

Gonzo is a bird-like puppet character from The Muppet Show, kinda weird, but lovable. He’s the one who plays the final trumpet note of the opening and he represents the type of the misunderstood artist in the show. Gonzo is a style of journalism too, but we have nothing to do with it; we picked this name because it was short, simple and can be easily remembered.

3. With your win of Best Hungarian Act at the EMTV Awards, has there been a greater reception of Gonzo in Western Europe?

Not really. It’s definitely a great thing in Hungary, our name has been mentioned in the press many times, but for the international media it wasn’t a big deal. You know, nowadays everything happens so fast, bands appear and disappear very quickly, and if you don’t have a strong backing support, who could do a little hype around you, you won’t get anywhere. We hope that MTV Europe will broadcast our latest video, because they said something like this in Liverpool [at the EMTV Awards], but I’m not sure. MTV has dramatically changed in the past few years, they hardly play music videos, they air reality shows and stupid lifestyle magazines instead. It’s not really a medium of music anymore, so we have to search for other ways too.

4. You mention in a EMTV Award interview that you have less possibilities than a band from England or France, but do you think that the Internet is helping you reach a larger audience?

Yeah, that’s the only possibility we have right now. Bands are supposed to tour a lot and spread their music, but the truth is that usually you can’t afford it. Most clubs don’t pay enough to lesser known bands to cover the travel expenses, and since the standard of living in Hungary is lower than in western European countries, you can’t pay it from your “pocket.” Of course we’re luckier than the bands 20 years ago, because back then they could only dream about international success and now there is some hope.

The Internet is a free and fast way of finding your target audience. People live part of their lives in this virtual world and like to spend a lot of time by browsing aimlessly for hours, listening to music, watching videos and looking at pictures. If you know how to reach them, you have a great chance to get new fans. But it also takes time, since the Internet is like a huge metropolis, where you can easily get lost without a map. The other thing is that you have to be creative and original, because everybody is fighting for the attention of the audience, you have to be agile and convincing to have them watch your videos or listen to your songs.

5. Any words for your fans in countries like the United States, who have difficulty following your music?

Gonzo for President! :)

For more on Gonzo, visit them on MySpace, YouTube, or Gonzo Website.
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08 February 2009

Why Not, Some More Videos

More recent videos of songs I really dig.

Note: Links provided where video could not be embedded. Check out these bands.

Franz Ferdinand on YouTube

"Ulysses" Link

Goldfrapp on Mute Records YouTube page.


Calvin Harris on YouTube

"The Girls" Link

Bjork on YouTube

"Declare Independence"

David Gahan on Mute Records YouTube page.

"Saw Something"

Recoil on YouTube


The Cure on Suretone Records YouTube Page


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Siouxsie and the Banshees: Retrospective on Studio Albums

From punk rock to experimental pop, Siouxsie and the Banshees defied all the conventions of music, while paving the road for future bands. The power of this catalogue is that it is impossible to define it in its entirety. When you think you have the Banshees figured out, they compose something new and fresh. The beauty of this catalogue is its diversity. Influenced by the likes of the Doors, Iggy Pop, and the Velvet Underground, they left their mark on bands such as the Cure, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and Jane’s Addiction – their distinct sound is echoed throughout music.

Siouxsie and the Banshees are truly unsung heroes. Sure, they have received quite a bit of acclaim, but what has never been postulated is that so much of what followed (post punk, goth rock, shoegazing, dream pop, alternative in general) would not be the same if not for their influence. Not always radio friendly, and quite often disturbing, the Banshees is a seminal band that was led by a woman (Susan Ballion, a.k.a. Siouxsie Sioux), who never sold her sexuality to become an icon. In 2005, Siouxsie Sioux gave the Best International Act Award to the Scissor Sisters at the Brit Awards; Anna Matronic of the Sisters hugged Siouxsie and said, “I want to say to you, that woman right there, Ms. Siouxsie Sioux, if she weren’t in existence, I wouldn’t be standing here today. It’s for women in rock like that, that use their brain and not their butts to get by, that I want to thank.” Even a popish-glam band acknowledges the roads paved by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Listed below are the studio albums. To listen to them in order of release is a journey that mirrors the anger and fears of the 70s, the anxiety of the 80s, and the sense of disillusion and dejection of the early 90s. I recommend these albums hands down, for each of them demonstrates the conscientiousness that all musicians should have to their craft. Each of them demonstrates clever and incredible song writing. Each of them demonstrates how pioneers pushed the envelope – whether sonically, lyrically, or thematically.

“The Scream” (1978)

Track Listing:
1. Pure
2. Jigsaw Feeling
3. Overground
4. Carcass
5. Helter Skelter
6. Mirage
7. Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)
8. Nicotine Stain
9. Suburban Relapse
10. Switch

Why is it a must? This album went beyond the rantings and ravings of punk rock. If punk rock was about challenging the status quo, they challenged the status quo of what punk rock was. With aggressive guitar playing, this album established the Banshees as one of the pioneers of “post-punk” – contemplative, experimental punk. From the beginning, the Banshees refused to be defined by the scene they opted to be part of, or scenes that critics would lump them into. Instead, right from the first album, the Banshees influenced and defined the scenes, and were not just another generic, paper cutter band.

“Join Hands” (1979)

Track Listing:
1. Poppy Days
2. Regal Zone
3. Placebo Effect
4. Icon
5. Premature Burial
6. Playground Twist
7. Mother / “Oh Mein Papa”
8. The Lord’s Prayer

Why is it a must? The fourteen-minute punk rock version of “The Lord’s Prayer.” It is a song that made them (in)famous in 1976, when the Banshees played their first show. According to legend, the Banshees had no idea how to even play their instruments (which I doubt) and had not rehearsed a single note. They got on stage, where Siouxsie commenced to read poetry, while the Banshees made noise, including this take on the “Lords Prayer.” Not the loving prayer we are use to hearing at Sunday mass, this eerie take on the prayer brings out an anxiety and anger that is not typically imaginable.

“Kaleidoscope” (1980)

Track Listing:
1. Happy House
2. Tenant
3. Trophy
4. Hybrid
5. Clockface
6. Lunar Camel
7. Christine
8. Desert Kisses
9. Red Light
10. Paradise Place
11. Skin

Why is it a must? It is the first album that has that classic Banshees guitar sound associated with John McGeoch. The guitar playing becomes much more sophisticated; sonically, this album starts moving the Banshees away from punk and post-punk, inching closer to new wave and gothic rock. The album includes “Red Light,” an eerie experiment in synths, and “Clockface,” where Siouxsie experiments with the use of her voice. The highlight of the album is “Paradise Place.” This song is sexy, in every way. It is also prophetic: “You can hide your genetics under drastic cosmetics, but this chameleon magic is renown to be tragic.” Years before the craze for plastic surgery, the Banshees are lashing out at the fascism of beauty.

“Juju” (1981)

Track Listing:
1. Spellbound
2. Into the Light
3. Arabian Knights
4. Halloween
5. Monitor
6. Nigh Shift
7. Sin in My Heart
8. Head Cut
9. Voodoo Dolly

Why is it a must? This is the first album that Budgie (drummer) and John McGeoch had an equal part in the song writing. This takes the Banshees back into guitar-dominated arrangements with tribal beats at times, taking a step into the goth scene. The album is dark and contemplative, while still begin vibrant and verging on pop hooks. For instance, “Monitor” could have easily been a radio friendly single, while “Arabian Knights,” the second single of the album, is a bouncy number trying to get the skinny on the fate of an unknown woman: “I heard a rumor, what have you done to her?” Though the Banshees have shagged off the label of being goths, songs like “Night Shift,” “Sin in My Heart,” and “Voodoo Dolly” become blue prints for future goths to emulate.

“A Kiss in the Dream House” (1982)

Track Listing:
1. Cascade
2. Green Fingers
3. Obsession
4. She’s a Carnival
5. Circle
6. Melt
7. Painted Bird
8. Cocoon
9. Slowdive

Why is it a must? This was the first Banshees album that receives unanimous critical acclaim in the UK. This is arguably the most experimental album in the catalogue. Combining poppy hooks, synths, and an array of new acoustic sounds (chimes to piano), the Banshees are conscious of genre-bending years before it was popular. For instance, the jazzy “Cacoon” incorporates experimental new wave elements, while both “Cascade” and “Painted Bird” generates the sonic power of their earlier music without the use of power chords.

“Hyaena” (1984)

Track Listing:
1. Dazzle
2. We Hunger
3. Take Me Back
4. Belladonna
5. Swimming Horses
6. Dear Prudence (US Only)
7. Bring Me the Head of the Preacher Man
8. Running Town
9. Pointing Bone
10. Blow the House Down

Why is it a must? First, amazing lyrics that give pause to think – “Skating bullets on angel dust” (“Dazzle”), “He gives birth to swimming horses” (“Swimming Horses”), and “As the rust creeps, corrosion seeps a rotting seed… eat me… feed me” (“We Hunger”) to point out a few. Second, amazing arrangements, from the orchestrated strings in “Dazzle” to the tight and layered “Running Town,” you are absorbed into the music. Even the pop numbers, like “Swimming Horses,” upped the sophistication in the Banshees arrangements. Third, Fat Bob… that is Robert Smith of the Cure, playing guitar as a Banshee. He may not be John McGeoch, but he brings a new element to the sound; the process in turns brings a new dimension to the Cure’s music.

“Tinderbox” (1986)

Track Listing:
1. Candyman
2. The Sweetest Chill
3. This Unrest
4. Cities in Dust
5. Cannons
6. Party’s Fall
7. 92 Degrees
8. Land’s End
9. The Quaterdrawing of the Dog (edited version)
10. An Execution
11. Lullaby
12 Umbrella
13. Cities in Dust (extended version)

Why is it a must? This album combines every pop trick in the book, with really edgy, dark goth elements. It incorporates more acoustic sounds than any album to point, but the occasional ambient keyboards and highly effected guitars eradicate any chance of the mundane. Guitarist John Valentine Curruthers joins the fold for this album. He brings a more jagged arpeggio style and perhaps the best strumming that the Banshees ever had.

“Through the Looking Glass” (1987)

Track Listing:
1. This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us (Originally by the Sparks)
2. Hall of Mirrors (Originally by Kraftwerk)
3. Trust in Me (Originally in Disney’s “The Jungle Book”)
4. This Wheel’s on Fire (Originally by Julie Driscoll)
5. Strange Fruit (Orginally by Billie Holiday)
6. You’re Lost Little Girl (Originally by the Doors)
7. The Passenger (Originally by Iggy Pop)
8. Gun (Originally by John Cale)
9. Sea Breezes (Originally by Roxy Music)
10. Little Johnny Jewel (Originally by Television)

Why is it a must? This is one of the best cover albums of all time. While most artists cover music with the expectation of achieving a hit on the back of a previous famous song, this collection of covers is what covering music should be around. There are two reasons to cover another artist’s music. The first is to bring a new dimension out of the song; the second is to save a great song from obscurity. This album does both. The Banshees own “The Passenger” (I never think of Iggy Pop anymore when I hear this song). “Strange Fruit” (originally by Billie Holiday) is transformed into a disturbing, cold piece. Kraftwerk’s “Hall of Mirrors” gains a new life outside of the realm of electronics.

“Peepshow” (1988)

Track Listing:
1. Peek-a-Boo
2. The Killing Jar
3. Scarecrow
4. Carousel
5. Burn-Up
6. Ornaments of Gold
7. Turn to Stone
8. Rawhead and Bloodybones
9. The Last Beat of My Heart
10. Rhapsody

Why is it a must? This is perhaps one of the best British albums of all times that never got any serious consideration on this side of the Great Pond. From the use of accordions and backmasked recording in “Peek-A-Boo” (a pop jingle about a call girl) to “Scarecrow” (a dark, gothy number of an imaginary friend / voices in the head scenario), this album is produced to perfection, with ambrosial, lascivious arrangements. There is a tension in this album that is rare for any band to produce. As a collection, these songs belong together, whether it is the indelible “Carousel” or the Spanish influenced ballet “Turn to Stone.” Here are a few more words: harrowing, infectious, haunting, and unforgettable.

“Superstition” (1991)

Track Listing:
1. Kiss Them for Me
2. Fear (of the Unknown)
3. Cry
4. Drifter
5. Little Sister
6. Shadowtime
7. Silly Thing
8. Got to Get Up
9. Silver Waterfalls
10. Softly
11. The Ghost in You

Why is it a must? “Kiss Them for Me” is an ode to the final moments of Jayne Mansfield, which in itself should be disturbing (“Kiss them for me, I may be delayed…”), but it is so darn poppy. This album was the only Siouxsie and the Banshee’s album to dent the American airwaves in any significant way – and not because they were co-headlining the original Lollapalooza Tour with Jane’s Addiction and Nine Inch Nails. It is the one Banshee effort that is radio friendly, bubbly even. Even the darkest song, “Little Sister,” sounds fresh in its multi-textured keyboards. If good experimental pop is what you are in the market for, you will not get better than this album. And if you thought you would never dance to the Banshees, listen to “Fear (of the Unknown)” and “Silly Thing.”

“Rapture” (1995)

Track Listing:
1. O Baby
2. Tearing Apart
3. Stargazer
4. Fall from Grace
5. Not Forgotten
6. Sick Child
7. The Lonely One
8. Falling Down
9. Forever
10. The Rapture
11. The Double Life
12. Love Out Me

Why is it a must? Almost twenty years into their career, Siouxsie and the Banshees are able to put out a fresh sounding album. (When recording, to my knowledge, there was no intent on this being the last album – the decision to dissolve the Banshees and the outgrowth of side projects as main projects and solo careers came after the fact.) “O Baby, “ “Tearing Apart,” and “Stargazer” are measuring rods for experimental, dark pop that today’s band constantly fall short of. “Forever” is what the goth sound is supposed to be about – seductive and enchanting, and yet conscious that nothing is forever. The title track, “Rapture,” is an ever-shifting, polymorphic epic that would make Queen proud. And if you thought that Smith was the only suicidal, bombastic poet, you thought wrong; in “Love Out Me,” the final track of the album, Siouxsie sings, “Anger tinged with sadness, it’s always been like this. No nothing, no one, no more, no no no no, I can’t take this. Love me, hate me, help me, save me from me. Hold me, hurt me, stop me, take this love out me!” If the ride had to end, it could not have ended more appropriately.
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Some New, Some Old Videos

Here are some videos of songs I have enjoyed recently and in the past few years. Enjoy.

Update - where embedded videos are not allowed or disabled, I have placed links to let you see the video by the official provider.

Annie Lennox on YouTube

"Shining Light" Link

White Lies on YouTube

Link for "To Lose My Life"

Keane on YouTube

"Perfect Symmetry"

Muse on YouTube


Cursive on the Saddle Creek Records YouTube page

Blank and Jones on YouTube

"A Forest" (with Robert Smith)

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07 February 2009

DJ Chauncey D Answers 5

I have witnessed Chauncey D spin on a few occasions. Whether he if filling a New York City lounge with ambient house or a club with dark, dirty techno, it is not your average listening experience. All the rules that many DJs hold sacred go out the window with Chauncey - he has his own style, his own rules, and creates his own world through music.

He has a agreed to answer five questions.

1. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

All music pioneers from Giorgio Moroder to Larry Levan to Tori Amos to independent singer/songwriters, film makers like Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton to Darren Aronofsky, experimental theatre, my friends and my enemies.

2. How do you see your role as a DJ in the context of the entire music industry?

Although I enjoy a good pop tune from time to time, I am fulfilled more by being a conduit between the listener and songs and remixes that are rare or unknown at least on this side of the Atlantic.

3. I love a good remix of a song, but there are purists among us who hate them; what would you like to say to them?

Every "song" starts out somewhere, be it from the moving traffic of rush hour, the strum of a guitar, the tinkling of a keyboard to the melodic chirps of a bird that has lost its way from the flock, and then is usually transformed into something else in its final version. A remix is just another interpretation of that creation through the ears and workings of another artist. To only hear a song in one way would be a crime.

4. What have you been listening to lately that might be a surprise to people who know you as a DJ?

The new Pussycat Dolls song haha. Anyone who knows my varied style and what type of music I play probably wouldn't be surprised by anything I listen to. The parties I play at range from rock and roll to indie electronic dance to new wave to nudisco so my music collection reflects that.

5. Ten current tracks you really recommend....

Ok I haven't done this in a while.

In no particular order:

- Melnyk - "Revolutions" (Thugfucker Remix)
- Poni Hoax - "Budapest"
- Alter Ego - "Gary" (Tiga's Itlaia '90 Mix)
- Franz Ferdinand - "Ulysses" (Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation)
- Loud E - "Robolove"
- Kaiser Chiefs - "Never Miss a Beat"
- Little Boots - "Love Kills"
- Titiyo - "Crystal Clear Mud"
- The Golden Filter - "Solid Gold"
- The Presets - "Kicking and Screaming"

(If you are interested in knowing more about Chauncey, check him out on MySpace.)
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03 February 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

This is a New York self-titled debut (3 February 2009) that is worth the investment.

Formed in 2007, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart combine the guitar playing elements of the post-punk movement with the distortion and vocal styles of shoegazing. There is always an internal competition between melody and distortion; the balance is always struck precisely where it needs to be. Continuing the tradition of New York City musicians that challenge the norm of what is expected, like Blondie or Interpol, this band’s music is essentially noise pop, and very reminiscent of early Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine – which is of course more popular in Europe than here in the States. This may be the reason why a band like the Wedding Present asked them to tour as an opening act. Though many acts are leaning towards the melodious and easily radio consumed sounds, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart take a bold step in the opposite direction.

This album is best described as hooky guitars accompanied by ambient keyboards. Lyrically, the band oscillates from the quirky (in “Stay Alive” – “Don’t you try to shoot up the sky, tonight we’ll stay alive”) to the disturbing (in “This Love is Fucking Right!” – “Sweet sister, can’t you find the words to say? Your Mister, he don’t hurt you the right way…”)

The beauty of the album is its straightforward production style. There is no attempt at the grandiose or at multi-layering of sounds; instead of allowing gimmicky studio tricks to hook you in, the music speaks for itself. However, their sound is definitely more European than American. This band may have an easier time of reaching the top of the BBC Radio 1 Charts than Billboard’s. Nevertheless, this album will take your breath away if you give into the soundscape it generates – and you will probably be left wanting more.

Track Listing:

1. Contender
2. Come Saturday
3. Young Adult Friction
4. This Love Is Fucking Right!
5. The Tenure Itch
6. Stay Alive
7. Everything With You
8. A Teenager in Love
9. Hey Paul
10. Gentle Sons

By the way, catch the Pains of Being Pure at Heart at Mercury Lounge on 7 February 2009, with Depreciation Guild.
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01 February 2009

Ready For Your Sugar Pill?

Placebo set for a June release.

Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal, and new drummer Steve Forrest will be hitting the road this summer after releasing their as of yet untitled album. According to Pias, Placebo is set to release in June. This will be their sixth studio album.

Though they have yet to announce any Placebo tour information, they have slowly been announcing their summer festival tour.

5 May 2009 Pink Pop Festival, Netherlands
5-7 June 2009 Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park, in Germany
12 June Provinssirock Festival, Finland
20 June Nova Rock, Austria
2 July Rock Werchter, Belgium – Headliner!
3 July Arras Festival, France – Headliner!
5 July Heineken Open’er Festival, Poland – Headliner!

Refer to the festivals’ official websites for more details and other bands playing.

Also, feel free to browse Placebo World - their official website.

As I get more information, I will be sure to post it.
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