Friday, September 29, 2006

Funky Friday Fourpack

A couple of new tracks, a mash-up and a bit of classic '80s funk for your weekend grooving...

Beck - We Dance Alone
From The Information, out Tuesday. Sounds like a Beck record to me - I like.

CCC - Fool D'Argent
Stone Roses' Fools Gold + Air's La Femme D'Argent + Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing = GREAT.

The Gap Band - Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)
I never, ever had a lover
Who put the peddle to the metal
And burn rubber on me, Charlie
Oh, no, no, no...

Arling & Cameron - Popcorn 2006
The Dutch duo return with an album of Euro-pop, disco, and electronics.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Mouse On Mars are back with a new LP called Varcharz. It is their noisiest, edgiest in years. This fits with the fact that the record is on Ipecac Records, which is Mike Patton's experimental label. No pop vocals or collaborations with Mark E. Smith here, just lots of loudness. The duo of Andi Toma and Jan St.Werner were rumored to have met at a death metal concert, so it is only natural that that influence creeps into this record. That can make for occasionally challenging listening, as on Düül or Retphase. Beats, glitches, distortion and shards of noise fight for space. Quite a step away from the almost pop-tastic vibes of 2004's Radical Connector. That having been said, today I share one of the lighter moments on the LP, I Go Ego Why Go We Go - a mid tempo beat, a nice melody, and a touch of glitch here and there make this one a head nodder.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I was at the record store today and stumbled across a new Polyphonic Spree EP called Wait. Now, I love me some Spree. Sure, it might be on the verge of being cultish, but I love the hippy vibe, the bigness of the band, and the positivity. It helps that the music is good. Live it is an unforgettable experience. Anyway, the EP has five tunes on it, two of which are newbies from their forthcoming LP The Fragile Army. The other three songs are covers. One is Sonic Bloom, which is an old Tripping Daisy song - Tim DeLaughter's old band before he cleaned up and found the robes. The other two are today's selections. Love My Way is an old Psychedelic Furs song that I have always loved, and this is a pretty nice version that benefits from the Spree's mass act - I love the vocals singing some of the main melody and the little guitar motif that has been added. Lithium is of course the Nirvana classic, taken from their breakthrough album Nevermind. Again the mass vocals, the horns, and the orchestration of the Spree makes this a memorable recreation. I love it when a band can make a cover their own, and these two work for me.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Funky Friday Fourpack

I'm pressed for time so the funky four pack can speak for itself today. If I have time I'll try and write some blurbs later...

Scissor Sisters - The Other Side
From Ta-Dah!, out on Tuesday. This is the best Duran Duran song that I've heard in years. It is an impeccable recreation of vintage DD - the hissing hi-hat, the bass that is pure John Taylor, the rock guitar solo, the sax at the end - it's perfect. And damn good too.

DJ Shadow - This Time (I'm Gonna Try It My Way)
From The Outsider, this is a nice old school funk throwback. The rest of the album leaves me with mixed feelings. I'll keep playing it and see what happens...

Los Amigos Invisibles - Super Pop Venezuela
From the Venezuelan party band's newest album, this is the title track. These are all cover tunes of Venezuelan pop hits and classics, and even though I don't know any of the originals I'm enjoying the swanky disco vibes. Added bonus is the slick production courtesy of Dimitri From Paris.

Janet Jackson - So Excited (feat. Khia)
Janet's new album 20 Y.O. drops Tuesday. This tune is the 2nd single, and most notable for the bitching Herbie Hancock samples. A bit of old school electro is always tasty.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My '80s Remastered - Penthouse And Pavement

Image Hosted by
When Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh left the Human League in 1980 I was very curious about what their next move would be. I was and still am a huge fan of the League - the early, experimental records and the post-split pop successes. When Heaven 17 released their debut 45 I was there. Called (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thing, it was a stomping , militaristic beat topped off with poppin' bass and scratchy guitar parts, some smoky sax, and some very political lyrics that addressed the rise of Ronald Reagan and the conservatives in the US. In Glenn Gregory the duo had found a voice that was similar to Phil Oakey, yet distinctive in it's own way. In John Wilson they had a young and upcoming talent who played the killer bass and guitar parts. The debut album, 1981's Penthouse And Pavement dropped around the same time as their old bandmates' new record. That album was called Dare and it's hit singles pretty much overshadowed everything, including Heaven 17. I personally loved both albums, and even though Dare might have gotten a few more plays, Penthouse And Pavement was right up there. This being it's 25th anniversary it has been given the remastered and expanded treatment, and includes five extra tracks. Divided into two sides, side A (Penthouse) is slick, Linn drum driven electro-funk and pop, with a barrage of singles - the title track, Play To Win and Fascist Groove Thang - coming one after another until you get to the last track, Soul Warfare. I have always loved this tune. It starts out with some clappy beats, adds some seriously fresh bass (including some wicked soloing down the end stretch), tops it all off with cooler than cool piano vamping and watery FX and Glenn's baritone. Fantastic. Side B (Pavement) is the more experimental, harder edged electronic music - the stuff that sounds like the old League records. The bonus tracks are a couple of instrumental tunes from alter egos B.E.F. (including the ace instr. version of Groove Thang), and 12" versions of the single I'm Your Money and it's b-side, Are Everything (12" Version). This is a Pete Shelley/Buzzcocks tune, and when I bought the original 45 this song got played as much as the A side did - something about the beats and the acoustic strum. A welcome reissue that still hits all the right notes for me...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monument To The Masses

Image Hosted by
A couple of years ago I picked up the debut album by Ima Robot. It was a throwback to the new wave era, full of herky-jerky rhythms and keyboards and punk riffs and lots of Devo-licious flavor. It got mostly average to bad reviews, but for some reason it worked for me - in fact it still does. The band then splintered and reformulated themselves, and last week they finally released their follow up, Monument To The Masses. If you liked the debut and can get past the admittedly awful Photoshop-py progfest that is the cover, you will find much to love. They pretty much pick up right where they left off, but things seem a bit more realized. The record kicks off with Disconnect. This is Ima Robot does PIL - the "hellos" at the beginning, the sneer of the vocals, and that glorious, anthemic chorus that makes has me reaching for the air guitar all make this a great opening salvo. I also dig Pouring Pain, and this is because of my current Prince fascination - there's more than a whiff of purple in the verse melody. The chorus is kind of a mish mash of Bowie, Faith No More and Adam Ant (that falsetto is pure Adam). Very tasty.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Funky Friday Fourpack

White boys bringing the funk in their uniquely white way...

Junior Boys - Double Shadow
Blogger favorites return with their second album of wistful, glitchy synth pop, with one foot in today's (and 1983's) world of technology and the other firmly planted in the soft rock of the '70s.

Justin Timberlake - Pose (featuring Snoop Dogg)
From the Japanese two disc version comes this silly little track featuring the S-N-double O-P. Hate on me all you want but I am liking the Prince-ly vibes of Justin's latest. I liked the first album too, so there.

Basement Jaxx - Oh My Gosh
This is a single from the greatest hits collection they released last year. It is not officially part of the new album, but it (and it's video) is included in mp3 form on the disc.

Heaven 17 - Who'll Stop The Rain (Dub)
From the recently reissued (and remastered and expanded) The Luxury Gap. I used to have this 12" and somewhere along the line I sold it. Idiot. Damn groovy and I love the tight hi-hat programming on this.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sign O' The Times

A little over a week ago I posted some Prince 12"s from 1985's Around The World In A Day album. Today gets you a couple of 12"s from the 1987 follow-up to that record (and probably my favorite Prince album of all) Sign O' The Times. A sprawling double album, it had all of the catchy pop chart material that fans wanted (U Got The Look), and some seriously strange stuff to satisfy those of us looking for some experimentation (Starfish & Coffee/The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker). It was also full of the requisite references to God and sex and love and devotion. And it was wrapped up in a lovely, psychedelic package. Many an hour was spent listening to this record, both sober and under the influence of all manner of things, and it was always all good. I look forward to the day when I can get my hands on a remastered and expanded reissue of this album, with all of it's 12" versions and cool b-sides and rarities. In the meantime enjoy these two ripping slabs of funkiness...

U Got The Look (Long Look) features a memorable cameo from diminutive Scottish funkstress Sheena Easton, as well as some seriously horny lyrics. Let's get to ramming!

Hot Thing (Extended Remix) is one of the funkiest Prince jams ever. Big bumping beats, big horns and plenty of horny add up to a killer late '80s update of James Brown's Sex Machine.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pieces Of The People We Love

There are many new records to sift through this week - see Monday's post for a list of stuff that came out yesterday. As a result I have been spending time listening to new music instead writing about it. It has been a bit overwhelming to say the least - "what do I play next?!?" I haven't had any time to really give anything more than one or two plays, so there are no real critical comments either. A few postive impressions? The Yo La Tengo record is beautiful and expansive and I can't believe they can still impress me so. Bettie Serveert continue their middle aged mellowing period, and I like what I hear from them too. Can't say what I think about the Basement Jaxx - needs a few more plays. The one song that has made a big impression is from the one time "next big things" The Rapture. Their new album Pieces Of The People We Love ditches the punk part of their old punk-funk sound in favor of slick dance floor moves. Production is handled by electronic remixer Ewan Pearson, Paul Epworth (Bloc Party/Maximo Park/The Rakes) and man of the hour Danger Mouse, who works on two tracks. The album puts the emphasis on the funk, but there is still plenty of guitar action to keep me satisifed. The album kicks off with Don Gon Do It. It starts with layered vocals reminiscent of Queen, explodes in squelchy funk, and unfolds to a chorus that is pure sing-song happiness. This tune really grabbed me, and I love the handclaps that come in about halfway through and the very Steely Dan guitar riffing down the stretch. So far so good.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Return To Cookie Mountain

TV On The Radio are releasing their sophomore album on Tuesday. Return To Cookie Mountain is the long awaited follow up to their 2004 debut Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, an album that captured my attention with it's uniqueness. They write slowly evolving songs that explode into anthemic choruses. It is art rock, sometimes prog, sometimes electronica. It is quiet-loud-quiet, sometimes dirge-y, other times angelic. It reminds me of Peter Gabriel and Massive Attack. They have a weird, timeless quality to what they do, and even though they might sound reminiscent of someone else they are wholly original.

The new album is fantastic. It is a tighter, leaner sounding record. It is a record about the troubled times we live in - war and peace and justice. It's got David Bowie on backing vocals on Province, that is how good it is. Those of us in the US who were patient and didn't buy the import are being rewarded with 4 extra tracks. All I can say is that I am really enjoying this record, and have been playing it almost every day - it gets better with each listen too. Thge album opens with I Was A Lover, and it is a perfect starting point if you haven't heard them yet. It is their blend of electronics and rock guitars, coupled with those ever unique vocals and the woozy melody. Highly recommended.


The TV On The Radio is only one of many new records of note coming out on Tuesday, September 12th. It is literally the most overwhelming list of new releases all coming out in one day that I can recall. Here goes my shopping list...

Brazilian Girls - Talk To La Bomb
Ima Robot - Monument To The Masses
Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You...
Basement Jaxx - Crazy Itch Radio
Bettie Serveert - Bare Stripped Naked
Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
Los Lobos - The Town And The City
Mouse On Mars - Vacharz
REM - The Best of The IRS Years
Soulwax - Nite Versions
The Rapture - Pieces Of The People We Love
Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/Lovesounds

Then there is a Raconteurs EP, ELO reissues, Cerrone reissues and a whole bunch more I don't care so much about. Quite overwhelming to finance that list...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Funky Friday Sass

Kelis is another one of my guilty pleasures. Her debut was full of cheek and sass and cool leftfield influences, a kind of 'hood take on Bjork, all gussied up by The Neptunes. The video of her screaming "I hate you so much right now!" was arresting too. The follow up Wanderland never got a US release and I've never heard it. Her third LP, 2003's Tasty, broke her into the mainstream and moved away from the artier tendencies of her earlier stuff. Milkshake was all about bounce and booty. Her latest effort is called Kelis Was Here. Lead single Bossy picks up where Milkshake left off, all sass and bounce, plus a guest spot for '90s hip hopper Too $hort. The rest of the album is up and down, though overall I'm enjoying it. Fave tune right now is the collaboration with man of the hour Cee-Lo. He wrote and produced Lil Star, which is a sweet and soulful retro shuffle, all about positive affirmation. It also has killer chorus vocals from the man himself - "just keep trying...". Fabulous.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Outlandos d'Amour

It's a bit random today - I just felt like listening to The Police album Outlandos d'Amour. I absolutely love this record - it rocks, it skanks, it screams and yells. These three guys had tremendous chemistry, and were aces at their instruments. The songs are catchy and brash. I think it's remarkable that this album is 2 years away from being 30. THIRTY! Whoa. Still freakin' rocks me.

So Lonely
Can't Stand Losing You

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

I am a big fan of Beyoncé. When daughter #1 was born six and a half years ago I took off a month to stay home with the new babe. Afternoons were spent chilling on the couch, watching TRL on MTV. Destiny Child's second album The Writing's On The Wall was blowing up, and the video for Say My Name was on every day. I was hooked, and so was daughter #1. Four years later Beyoncé was solo, and killing us with Crazy In Love. I skipped out on the last Destiny's Child album - the singles didn't really impress me. This week B. dropped her new solo LP, B'Day. Lead single Deja Vu is a terrific, percussive jam produced by Rodney Jerkins that features a rap from boyfriend Jay-Z and also has some killer horn riffing - this album's Crazy In Love. Ring The Alarm is the song she performed on the MTV VMAs last week. It's a Swizz Beatz production that is full of alarm sirens, gritty processed vocals, and fierce attitude. Daughter #1 is liking it, Daughter #2 is shaking her booty, and the best thing of all is the lack of a "Parental Advisory" sticker on the front. It's a relatively trim 10 tracks that are mostly ballad free. Funktastic.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Warner Brothers has just released yet another "cash in on the Prince back catalog" collection. Called Ultimate, it's a two disc set. Disc one is the hit singles, disc two is a collection of 12 " versions and dance remixes. I was able to "obtain" a copy of the second disc, and it features some smokin' versions of classic Prince tunes. Today's selections come from 1985's Around The World In A Day. This album was the follow up to Purple Rain, and was a poke in the eye for fans who were expecting more of the same. Instead, they got whimsical, psychedelic pop nuggets and spartan funk workouts like Tambourine. While not as successful as it's predecessor, it still shifted enough copies to go triple platinum. I personally love the record, and see it as an important musical step in his everchanging career path.
Raspberry Beret (12" Version)
Pop Life (Fresh Dance Mix)

Monday, September 04, 2006


Kinky are a five piece band from Monterrey, Mexico. They formed in 1998, and have already released two albums - 2002's self titled debut and 2003's Atlas. Tomorrow sees the release of their latest record Reina. Sonically it picks up pretty much where they left off. These guys are pretty eclectic, a mash up of Mexican tropicalia, hip hop, pop, indie rock, electronica and a touch of psychedelia - basically your "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" approach. The common denominator of most of the songs is that they are aimed at getting you to dance. This time around the band recorded and self produced the album in California. While recording the house they were in was hit by a mudslide which covered all of the instruments and equipment. Unphased, they cleaned up and finished the record. While the record is unlikely to get high critical praise it is a fun and funky listen. How Do They Do That is an instrumental that combines horns, funky scratching and some killer new wave keyboards. Monday Killer features a special guest vocalist - Men At Work's Colin Hay. It's a skanking update of the old "Low Rider" riff with plenty of percussive groove.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Rorschach Suite

Moodgadget is an indie electronic music label. It is affiliated with a couple of other well known indies, Ghostly International and Spectral Sound. They have released a new compilation called The Rorschach Suite. From their press release -

"Compiled by Ghostly International/ Spectral Sound A+R Jakub Alexander, this comp covers a wide range of “avant pop” music from Psych Folk, Deep Minimal, IDM, and Downtempo. Put together to show the diversity in electronically made music, this compilation includes talents like Dykehouse (Ghostly), Benoit Pioulard (Kranky), JDSY (Ghostly), Wisp (Sublight, Hymen) as well as many new faces."

They have made three tracks available for free, and they show diversity and quality.

The Hexx - Revista Moda - swirling, shoegazey uptempo electro with arpeggiators set on stun.

Small Sails - Aftershocks And Afterthoughts - post-rock and electronics and floaty pop combined with ethereal vocals. Lovely.

Mux Mool - Lost And Found - a bumpin' glitch hop rhythm track, quirky keys and a slight feeling of melancholy. Head nodding goodness.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Funky Friday Droppin' Beats

It's an all hop hop edition of funky Friday...

The Roots have a new LP out called Game Theory. It is fantastic - tight beats, tight band, tight flow, some nice guest spots. Some of it is fierce - Here I Come (feat. Dice Raw & Malik B.) has block rockin' drums, raging guitars and energy to spare. Long Time (feat. Peedi Peedi & Bunny Sigler) is a smooth ass funk jam that kind of has a bit of the Marvin Gaye feeling going on. Love the strings and guitar on this.

Rahzel used to be a regular member of The Roots, filling the spot of human beatboxer extraordinaire. He turns in a nice guest spot on his old band's latest. All I Know is the bomb joint from his 1999 debut MTM 2000, a record full of pleasant surprises (Slick Rick and Me'shell N'degeocello cameos) and mind blowing tracks constructed fully out of Rahzel's vocals. If you've ever seen him live (and I have on a couple of occasions) you kow how good he is at this stuff!

I've been listening to a lot of A Tribe Called Quest lately. They have reformed and are doing some shows, but there is no news on a new record. If they come to your town you had better go and catch one of the most entertaining live trios around - Q and Phife rock the mic, Shaheed rocks the ones and twos, and they have 5 or 6 albums worth of killer material to play - like these two tracks from 1993's Midnight Marauders, Electric Relaxation and the Busta-fied Oh My God. Some classic mid period old school.