Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Music Wednesday

Hercules' Theme
Blind (Hercules Club Mix)

Regular readers of my blog will already know that I love Hercules & Love Affair, the latest hipsters signed to the always good DFA Records. When their album came out earlier this spring I did a piece on it where I gushed over my love for it. OK. maybe I didn't gush, but I do love it. Produced by DFA main man Tim Goldsworthy, I wrote "it is a disco stunner. And by disco, I mean the good stuff - the '70s underground, Arthur Russell, Ze Records, Giorgio Moroder, Grace Jones and Larry Levan's Paradise Garage mixes all come to mind. It is a throbbing mix of classic disco influences, live instrumentation and current electronic production. There are strings, horns and synths. There are funky instrumentals." I also point out that Antony Hegarty, lead vocalist for Antony & The Johnsons, sings on several tracks. I a not a big fan of the the man's regular work, but I find his unique vocal stylings well suited to the disco grooves on offer here. The record has been well received by the music press, and I can see why. It has pop smarts, some serious club bangers, '70s disco authenticity, and just the right amount of artiness. The album finally got a US release this week via Mute Records, who have put it out with two extra tracks (Classique #2 & Roar) as well as the video for Blind. It is a fine record, probably one of my faves of the year so far, and I heartily encourage you to investigate it further!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

You Got To Know Your Chicken

I played Cibo Matto's 1996 debut album Viva La Woman! today for the first time in quite a while. I was quickly reminded of why I loved them and their records so well. Formed in '94 in New York, the music of Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda went from the sublime (Sugar Water) to the ridiculous (Know Your Chicken). They were obsessed with food and sex and hip hop, all mashed it all up with bits of J-pop and art rock and ambience. The record was produced by Tchad Blake and Mitchell Froom, and features the ace Bernie Worrell on keyboards ("organ de plaisir" is how he is credited). It's a lot of fun and still holds up well these 12 years (!) later. If you've never heard them go pick this album up. If you already own it, pull it out and give it a spin - guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Know Your Chicken
Sugar Water

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Music Tuesday

Coldplay - Strawberry Swing

Hi. My name is Michael, and I like Coldplay.

Or at least I did for a while. That last album (XYZ) of more of the same pretty much did them in for me. I think I played it two or three times before shelving it. Then I read last year that they had decided to record with Brian Eno at the producer's helm, and that intrigued me. He has a proven ability to reshape a popular band's sound - just ask U2, or Talking Heads, and he can be both formulaic and experimental. I picked up the resulting album Viva La Vida... this morning and been able to listen to it twice.

I am pleased with what I have heard. Co-produced by the band and Eno cohort Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire/Björk), you can spot the changes right away. There is a far more worldly sound at play here, apparent from the opening instrumental with it's hammered dulcimer. It is a tougher, harder rocking set with political overtones, and Eno's "sonic landscapes" work well with the band's dynamics. There are still several classic Coldplay moments, but there are also several songs where you might find yourself wondering who it is thats playing. I think that I'll be listening to this one more than just a couple of times. I just played Eno's Here Come The Warm Jets yesterday, so his influence here is freshly apparent to me, especially when you listen to the massed guitars and dense percussion of Strawberry Swing.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Funky Friday

Japan - Swing
N*E*R*D - Windows
Adele - Cold Shoulder
Sam Sparro - Clingwrap
Alpinestars - Hyper Hyper
Sam Sparro - 21st Century Life
Young MC - Bust A Move (Diplo Remix)
My Morning Jacket - Highly Suspicious
Grace Jones - Nipple To The Bottle (12" Version)
Santogold/N*E*R*D/Julian Casablancas - My Drive Thru

A fine assortment of grooves to move you; Japan really do swing on this bit of early '80s art-funk, with tasty fretless bass and horn riffage. N*E*R*D embrace the new wave/funk hybrid. Adele has a killer set of pipes like Amy Winehouse, but without all of the chav drama. Sam Sparro's self titled debut hits US shores on the 24th of this month, and if you love the '80s r'n'b and electro and have a good sense of humor you will LOVE this record. It's electrofunksoulpop that has the freshest grooves and beats, as well as some very amusing lyrics. Alpinestars seemed to be up and comers at the start of this decade, but are no more, and Hyper Hyper is a nice bit of electro from their 2000 debut B.A.S.I.C.. Young MC's classic gets a Diplo update. My Morning Jacket try some Prince-ly funk rock falsetto-ing. I've been listening to a lot of Grace Jones this week, so enjoy the extended pleasures of Nipple To The Bottle. Finally, could there be a hipper combo act than Santogold, N*E*R*D and Julian Casablancas all rolled up into one? I think not.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Random Sunday Post

I have been rather broke these last few weeks, so as a result there hasn't been much in the way of new music. This has led to fewer posts, including two weeks in a row without Funky Friday! Today I am cleaning out my inbox, and you are getting some rather tasty tracks out of the deal. The Amplive remix of MGMT is beefed up with a rap from Mistah Fab. Cage The Elephant bring the skank on this remix. Van She give Pendulum the crispy Franco-electro workout treatment. The Hues Corporation is a '70s pop soul classic - thanks to Greg for hearing my special request and sharing! Hopeless rocks the bad haircut - click the link for a bunch more music, including the Haircut 100 sampling original version! Lulu Rouge are a Danish duo who are collaborators of Trentemøller. Bless You is the title track from their new album out this week, and is some nice dubby techno in the vein of The Knife or Gus Gus. Comment over there >>>>>>>>

MGMT - Of Moons, Birds & Monsters (Amplive Remix feat. Mistah Fab)
Cage The Elephant - Wicked Devil (Ain't No Rest Remix)
Pendulum - Propane Nightmares (Van She Remix)
The Hues Corporation - Rock The Boat
Hopeless - Haircut 100 (Remix)
Lulu Rouge - Bless You

Last 4 posts to my tumblr...
1. Radiohead's Nude played on some seriously vintage technologies.
2. Solange's I Decided video, a great pastiche of styles through the ages.
3. Muto, a killer graffiti animation by BLU.
4. Boards of Canada vs. David Hasselhoff. Yeah, you read that right.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New Music Tuesday

Ladytron - They Gave You A Heart, They Gave You A Name

Ladytron's new album Velocifero hits record stores today. I have been listening to an advance of it for about two months now and I am a huge fan. The band put in a special request to work with producer Vicarious Bliss, who is part of the Ed Banger Records crew. Does this mean that Ladytron have gone all hipster French electro? Nope. This record pretty much picks up where they left off with 2005's Witching Hour. That record began to hint at a more poptastic direction, and this one has taken that even further. The sound is punchier, less murky than previously. There are a bunch of memorable songs, with lead single Ghosts stomping along like Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus, all glitter beats and twang, until that dreamy chorus hits and carries you away on it's synth pillows. Runaway, Burning Up, Versus and Tomorrow are all brimming with pop hooks. There are plenty of moody moments (Black Cat & Kletva, sung in Bulgarian), lots of tasty electronic touches, and several tracks where the quartet rocks out (The Lovers), reminding you they are a band and not just a bunch of synths. Like I said, I really like this record and I recommend it highly. Lovely cover too...

Also out today; The Futureheads' This Is Not The World, The Ting Tings' We Started Nothing, Radiohead's Best Of and Manu Chao's Politik Kills remix EP.

For some reason Haloscan commenting has decided not to work on my blog anymore. I am trying to work something out. Any ideas? Email me - djrez1 at silenceisarhythmtoo dot com.