Sometimes you need to take a break from the grind of the 24-hour bad news cycle and never-ending doomscrolling, and put everything bad out of your mind for a few minutes and dance. Or, if you aren’t able to physically get up and shake what the lord gave you, at least stop and listen to some dance music. And nobody makes dance music quite like Andy Bell and Vince Clarke who have been cranking out undeniable jams for 35 years.
Walk through the city singin’ hallelujah
Wish for a lover’s touch
Wore out the mirror, but it can see right through me
I gotta get the look
I’ll admit I haven’t followed their career too closely after their first twenty hits, but I did get the chance to see them live a couple years ago, and it was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been to. So great. The next time they tour I may drop everything and follow them around like the Grateful Dead.
And now they’re back with a new album just when we need it most.
Reminds me of weird, early Beck. Remember when he used to sing about washing dishes and blowing leaves and stuff? Good times. Now we’ve got Liars singing about his “minimum wage routine” and sampling a bit of “My Sharona.” What year is this? Is Carl Stephenson involved?
I like the taste of cola on ice
In the employee lounge
Kick back in comfort, fearless
Regardless, this song is pretty cool. Especially if you like Mellow Gold-era b-sides and deep cuts.
Liars are playing Riot Fest at 2:15 PM on Friday, September 15.
How do you grade a perfect album? More to the point, how do you review an album so remarkable that its perfection will ultimately turn most listeners off?
And here is something else that will blow your mind: Most of the people who end up disliking Last Of The Country Gentlemen after they’ve heard it still won’t be able to pan it very much, because that would be like piling more agony on a guy that sounds like he’s just had the worst day of his entire life.
I have to confess, unless it’s a movie soundtrack with a hefty blend of songs that fit nicely in the mix of the film, I rarely pay much attention to the music featured in movies. If it’s a movie score, forget about it. I appreciate how a score can bring emotional stock to a film and understand that modern day scoring is the closest thing that we may have in terms of classical composition, but it’s not anything that I feel the need to examine further.
There are a few exceptions to this, but I’d be hard pressed to name a soundtrack that spoke to me on any real meaningful level.
A good way to determine if you’d enjoy Richard Hawley‘s Truelove’s Gutter, the former Pulp guitarist’s fifth solo release, is to recall the “candy colored clown” scene from Blue Velvet. In it, Frank Booth visits his crime partner, the suave dandy and heavily made-up Ben. After getting down to business, Frank insists that Ben lip-synchs Roy Orbison‘s “In Dreams” in a form of celebration. The emotional swell of the performance causes Frank to feel vulnerable, to which he immediately stops the music and demands “Let’s hit the fucking road!”
If you feel moved by the haunting atmosphere of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” and take comfort in reflective crooning that owes an obvious debt to mid-twentieth century pop songs, then you will be drawn to Truelove’s Gutter.
The problem is when Moby begins paraphrasing David Lynch‘s speech about how creativity is too often judged by its commercial results, you begin to remind yourself of his own brushes with commercial outlets. This is, after all, an artist whose creative apex (Play) was pawned, track by track, to commercial interests.
It also seems like he’s saving face, an attempt to prepare us for another album with diminishing sales returns, just as every album he’s released since Play has done. This way, when the album fails to sell 100,000 copies, he can come right back and say “Well, I knew that would happen. Wait For Me is my intensely personal creative statement. A piece of work that wasn’t designed for mainstream appeal.”
Hailing from the same school that introduced Amy Winehouse to the world, Polly Scattergood is taking a less dramatic approach with her debut album while incorporating more drama in her song structures. Forgoing the excess that aforementioned vocalist, Scattergood obviously owes a huge debt to Kate Bush; both use intriguing subject matters in their lyrical content and both offer listeners similar quirky vocal techniques. And while Bush utilized a passion for dance in much of her creative projects, Scattergood is involved with film and video for hers, many of which are scored with her musical contributions.
With a vast notebook of hundreds of songs and a unique pop vision, Scattergood caught the eye and ear of Mute’s Daniel Miller who immediately positioned this young songbird as the next great kooky singer/songwriter. They said the same thing about Tori Amos, of course, and she was able to make a cottage industry as a younger generation’s Kate Bush. If you were one of those who was able to overlook Tori’s shortcomings and enjoy her body of work, then there’s a good chance you’ll feel the same about Ms. Scattergood’s debut. She may be good enough to start her own industry as this generation’s Tori Amos.
It wasn’t that long ago when Karin Dreijer Andersson, one-half of the duo The Knife, was blessed with the kind of praise that most independent artists would kill for. Pitchfork named their album Silent Shout one of the best records of 2006 and the Swedish recording industry agreed by providing the Dreijer siblings with a total of six awards at the Swedish equivalent of the Grammys.
At that moment, the idea of playing ball should have been the first priority of the band. Instead, the two sent friends dressed up in gorilla costumes to collect their prize (a protest of Sweden’s Caucasian-heavy music scene) and then promptly went on hiatus.
During this time, Karin gave birth to her second child and while most parents of newborns become mentally numb during the months of ensuing sleep deprivation, Andersson used her somnambulist hours to program beats and put the beginning touches of a solo project on to her hard drive.
Named after the Messier 83 spiral galaxy, M83 take the similarly swirling undercurrents of shoegaze as channeled through a minimal digital spectrum. The idea of penning such a genre with synthetic overtones seems like a logical step for any of those one-word bands from two decades ago, but reality showed us otherwise. Most of them (Lush, Ride, Slowdrive, etc.) fell out of fashion during the run of American grunge, but it’s easy to imagine that had the genre been able to sustain itself for a while longer, those bands may have put away their guitar pedals long enough to discover they could achieve similar headspace with a keyboard and a few fingers.
M83, now reduced to sole member Anthony Gonzales, tackled that idea head-on with the first pair of M83 releases. With album three, Digital Shades [Vol. 1], he’s putting away his Creation Records collection and channeling Brian Eno with an assortment of pleasant if not entirely uneventful ambient exercises.
As Abraham Lincoln so famously said, “People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.” If you like po-mo pseudo punk that seems a lot more clever than it really is, and sounds good in the clubs, this is for you. I thought it was kind of boring, myself.
Based on the CD title, I was expecting some ferocious, angry agit-prop noise that was going to bitchslap me for being part of the problem, like an even angrier version of International Noise Conspiracy. Instead I got wankeriffic art-noise that sounds like Sonic Youth with a sampler. I ended up listening to Dirty instead. You will, too.