Monday, May 28, 2007

My New Favorite Record This Week

To be fair the title of this post should really say "My New Favorite Record This Week, Last Week, The Week Before, The Week Before That And Probably Next Week Too.". Githead are Colin Newman from Wire, Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner), Colin's wife Malka Spigel and drummer Max Franken, both formerly of Israeli new wave act Minimal Compact. Githead have been in existence since 2004. They have already released two EPs and one album, 2005's Profile. And I only just learned about them a month or two ago. Where the hell have I been? These guys are tremendous. I have been listening to Art Pop almost every day for a month now. Musically it really reminds me of Wire at their poppiest - both the early years and the late '80s stuff like Ideal Copy where things got a bit more electronic. Art Pop to me is a perfect blend of space-rock, art rock, punk, dub, new wave and electro-pop. It rocks hard in places, with Colin and Robin dueling it out on guitar. There are pop-tastic moments, some great melodies and some nice, spacy ambient songs with Malka's vocals. I think I actually prefer these songs to the recent Wire records, which have been less about intricate and edgy interplay and more about bludgeoning metal riffs. It is the perfect synthesis of the experimental and conventional into a memorable whole. This one will make my year end best of for sure. Here are a couple of tasty tracks that demonstrate both the rock-ist and the dance-y, spaced out sides of the band.

On Your Own

Friday, May 25, 2007

Funky Friday Has Bangin' Beats

Matthew Dear - Good To Be Alive
Asa Breed
Leftfield microhouser Matthew Dear's new album drops June 5th on Ghostly International. It's house-y and glitchy like all of the good Ghostly stuff is, but then he throws real instruments into the mix and tops it all of with his baritone croon. It adds up to a unique take on minimal electronica, influenced by the polyrhythms of Byrne and Eno. I've only had this for a couple of days but I like what I hear.
Digitalism - Zdarlight
The Hamburg duo who have come to be known for their remixes finally get their debut out, and it's another mish mash of styles and sounds. Their sound is always hard, a mix of rock and electronics, filled with riffage and memorable tunes. They include a bit of the Cure's Fire In Cairo in Digitalism In Cairo to great effect. This is robot rock that cribs from all of the usual sources ('ello Daft Punk) but doesn't bore like so much of it ('ello Daft Punk). A bumpin' LP.
Chemical Brothers - A Modern Midnight Conversation
We Are The Night
Tom and Ed are back, and they've brought a pretty entertaining record with them. It's a solid mix of bangin' instrumentals and songs with featured vocalists. The Klaxons, Midlake and Fatlip (Pharcyde) are all present. I keep thinking I'm over these guys but somehow they keep bringing me back into the fold.
New Young Pony Club - Fan
Fantastic Playroom
This London 5 piece drop their debut next month. It's a heady brew of indie rock, disco, no wave funk, electro and synth pop. For influences think LCD Soundsystem, Gang of Four, Talking Heads, ESG and even Grace Jones. There is a touch of electroclash in this with the monotone singing and '80s synths. I really am enjoying this album's hard and sexy dance party vibes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Funky Friday Four Pack

I've had a craptacularly crappy week. I haven't had time to post once. Life has been speeding by, with every moment filled with activity. Yowsah. Thank goodness it's Friday, because lord knows I need a break from the drudgery. Here are some fantastic new tunes to get you dancing your way into the weekend.

Junior Boys - Like A Child (Carl Craig Remix)
The Dead Horse EP
Carl sprinkles minimalism all over this, and in the end it is 10 minutes and 39 seconds of techno bliss.

Bonde Do Role - Marina Do Bairro
With Lasers
Fat electro from the forthcoming LP from these Brazilian blogger favorites. A very enjoyable album.

Justice - New Jack

The current faves of the music blogosphere - all you need to do is check out the Hype Machine's Popular Blog Tracks to see that. Despite all of the hype, it is a record that is largely worthy of your attention.

Amerie - Some Like It
Because I Love It
Amerie sings over a backing track constructed from samples of Malcolm McClaren's World's Famous, taken from his seminal debut album Duck Rock. Produced by Trevor Horn, performed by him and his cohorts (who went on to become Art Of Noise), it is a prime slice of 1983 NYC flavored electro. Inspired choice of source material indeed.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Funky Friday Is A Family Affair

All seven of Sly & The Family Stone's classic albums have been remastered and expanded, many with previously unreleased tracks. They are available as a box set (which my fave record shop had on sale for $60.00 - now that's a deal!) and individually. They are numbered, limited editions in digipaks. They have expanded booklets with lots of photos and liner notes and details. They are fantastic. Seminal recordings, radical ideas, and tight ass musicianship - it's all good. Starting in the late '60s they blended pop, funk, soul and psychedelic rock in a unique and accessible way. Over the years (and with the help of a lot drugs) things got looser and funkier and spacier. I highly recommend these reissues to anyone with more than a passing interest in good music. Tracks marked with an * are previously unreleased...

Are You Ready
Higher (Unissued Single Version)*
Dance To The Music

You Better Help Yourself (Instrumental)*
A Whole New Thing

Family Affair
You Caught Me Smilin'
There's A Riot Goin' On

Time For Livin'
Loose Booty (Alternate Version)*
Small Talk

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

New Music Tuesday - The Bad Plus

Minneapolis' power jazz trio The Bad Plus are back in action today with a new label (after 3 albums on Columbia Records) and a new album called Prog. This trio of instrumentalists (Reid Anderson on bass/Ethan Iverson on piano/David King on drums) mix modal jazz, power trio rock-isms and math rock into their heady brew of originals and covers. Covers are a big part of the appeal of these guys to me (they've always been known for their range of covers, from Nirvana to the Pixes to Black Sabbath). As well as the band's own sharp and angular compositions, this album has four interesting covers; Bowie's Life On Mars, Burt Bacharach's This Guy's In Love With You, Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World and Rush's Tom Sawyer. Insanity? On paper you'd think so, but in reality it's pretty cool. I like the vibe on Everybody Wants To Rule The World a lot - it captures the melancholy mood of the original anthem. It's interesting to note that Patti Smith also covered this song recently, although her version failed to move me. The Rush cover IS insanity, but it's inspired insanity, and this power trio has the heft to pull off the meaty groove.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Funky Friday Four Pack

Gus Gus - Lust

Simian Mobile Disco - Wooden
Attack Decay Sustain Release

Jimi Tenor & Kabu Kabu - Hermetic Man
James Brown - Funky Drummer (Listen To The MURO Mix)
Ultimate Remixes

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New Music Tuesday Assumes The Magic Position

Patrick Wolf's third album The Magic Position gets its US release today. I have been listening to a bootleg of this album for a couple of months now and it is fantastic. I picked up my legit copy today. I am new to young (he's only 23) Patrick's music, having never heard his previous music. From what I've read, the early albums (which are now on my want list) are experimental and electronic filled with dark, stark ballads and songs that hinted at pop possibilities. The Magic Position is a much brighter, happier record - that should be apparent from the colorful cover shot, eh? Big swelling choruses abound, as do laptop glitches and horns and all manner of sonic embellishment. The tunes are memorable, with hints of the melancholy of old. There is a semi spooky cameo from Marianne Faithfull. It is a big, swoony ride of an album that has me captivated. The title track is an explosion of sounds - big Motown beats, strings, horns, toy pianos and a glorious chorus. Let's Go Get Lost really reminds me of early The The - there is something about the melody and the combination of electric and acoustic instruments. A great album that deserves a listen.
The Magic Position
Let's Go Get Lost