Monday, February 25, 2013

Moyet minutes

The stunningly gorgeous artwork for Alison Moyet's forthcoming album, "The Minutes", has been revealed. Eleganza!

"The Minutes" will hit the "shops" on May 6. The first single, "When I Was Your Girl", will be available from April 1. Prepare to be enthralled!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

walking on broken glass

With a career spanning nearly 35 years, Simple Minds are dipping their collective toes into the retrospective waters once again. "Celebrate", a brand new greatest hits compilation, will hit the shops on March 25 in the UK. It will be made available in two flavors - the red sleeve will feature two CDs of singles for the casual buyer and a fan friendly three CD version will sport a gray cover. The collection will wash up on US shores two months later.

The set spans the band's entire career from their early, post-punk efforts from the late 1970s through to their imperial period throughout the 1980s and early 1990s and onward into their independent years.
Throughout the expansive track selection, you can hear the diverse range of material which has been inspired by punk, the artier side of glam, as well as funk and disco. Just listen to the Moroder-esque "I Travel" or the alternately rubbery and chunky rhythm sections on "Promised You A Miracle" and "Sweat In Bullet", the latter making a few passing glances at Japan with JK giving his best Jim Morrison delivery.

"Celebrate" also features three newly recorded songs exclusive to this collection. "Blood Diamonds" and "Broken Glass Park" are added to the end of the double disc version, while the triple disc adds “Stagefright" which was released as a free download in 2011.

The moody and majestic "Broken Glass Parker" sees Jim Kerr and co. revisit many of the signature sounds they have explored over the years.

"Celebrate" is yet another phase in the rebranding and repackaging of Simple Minds. By the sound of things, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill are ready to The collection will be commemorated by a world tour and also marks a reversal in the band's fortunes. After their slide from international superstardom, they were often remembered as an overblown, stadium act mostly derided by being wrongly compared (IMHO) to U2.

Although, they freely admit they cashed in a bit when worldwide domination came knocking at their door in the shape of "Don't You (Forget About Me)" from John Hughes' 1985 teen drama "The Breakfast Club".

Now, they are looked upon as part of the vanguard of visionaries who inspired many bands from Manic Street Preachers to Muse. Even the titans of dance music have namechecked Simple Minds over the last decade and a half. Take a listen to the often-sampled "New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84)" which, oddly enough, was never released as a single.

The full, three CD edition of "Celebrate" chronicles Simple Minds' journey through 50 singles and assorted key tracks.


CD 1

1. Life In A Day
2. Chelsea Girl
3. Changeling
4. I Travel
5. Celebrate
6. The American
7. Love Song
8. Sweat In Bullet
9. Theme From Great Cities
10. Promised You A Miracle
11. Glittering Prize
12. Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
13. New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84)
14. Waterfront
15. Speed Your Love To Me
16. Up On The Catwalk

CD 2

1. Don’t You (Forget About Me)
2. Alive And Kicking
3. Sanctify Yourself
4. All The Things She Said
5. Ghost Dancing
6. Promised You A Miracle (Live)
7. Belfast Child
8. Mandela Day
9. Biko
10. This Is Your Land
11. Kick It In
12. Let It All Come Down
13. Let There Be Love
14. See The Lights
15. Stand By Love
16. Real Life

CD 3

1. She’s A River
2. Hypnotised
3. Glitterball
4. War Babies
5. Space
6. Jeweller To The Stars
7. Dancing Barefoot
8. Cry
9. Spaceface
10. One Step Closer
11. Home
12. Stranger
13. Stay Visible
14. Rockets
15. Stars Will Lead The Way
16. Stagefright
17. Blood Diamonds
18. Broken Glass Park

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the minutes in moments

Alison Moyet just delivered "Changeling", the first fruits of her labor for "The Minutes", her forthcoming eighth studio longplayer.

Produced by knob twiddling legend and electronic wizard, Guy Sigsworth, the track shows Alison returning to her programmed roots while still maintaining her robust vocal delivery.

The stuttering, squelchy production set against Alison's passionate vocal is a powerful mix. Guy, who has produced Madonna, Björk and Imogen Heap, brings a new dimension to Alison's music while still maintaining her identity. A magnificent match!

I'm very much looking forward to the new album. But I'd like Sony to pull their fingers out and get to releasing deluxe editions of her back catalog? They were on the release schedules and then they disappeared into the mist!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

metro retro

"Metroland" is the lead single from Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark's forthcoming longplayer, "English Electric". Released as a 12" single, the full length, seven minute album version will feature on the a-side, while the b-side will be non-album track "The Great White Silence".

Unfortunately, the 12 inch single, released on March 25, will be the only physical configuration made available. While it would be nice to have a vinyl collectible, I prefer to have a CD single. Digital downloads, although convenient, are not satisfying to a collector. A CD single would maintain the collectibility and still keep things in the realm of zeros and ones. Not sure why artists and labels have been so quick do distance themselves from the dominant physical format.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

a stimulating simulation

Róisín Murphy has become a bit of enigma lately. She appears with a new track out of nowhere and then disappears into the ether leaving her fans salivating for more. Surprises abound!

For example, seven months after she released "Simulation", a slinky and sexy single on Munich-based label Permanent Vacation, a newly produced video for it has turned up out of the blue. Sadly, she does not appear in the clip.

The disappointment of her not appearing in the video is almost made up by the striking and cleverly arty imagery. Check out my favorite part around the 2.28 mark where Olivia Newton-John makes a cameo. Sort of.

Róisín, we want more from you. Please heed our call!

Friday, February 8, 2013

move this

Just as "Devotion", her debut longplayer, featured on many year end favorites, Jessie Ware returns with another magnificent single plucked from the album, but with a twist. "If You're Never Gonna Move" sees Jessie's gorgeous, sweetly sung, slightly hushed vocals flit like a butterfly over a pleasantly insistent track featuring a low, twisted, pitch shifted spoken snippet and a rubbery, bouncing bass.

It's another lovely example of the reason why people have succumbed to her musical charms. It is, in fact, "110%", which features on the album "Devotion", renamed for an easier crack at the American market. Still, it's brilliant regardless of the title.

Jessie can also be found contributing her languid, soulful cover of "Never Knew Love Like This Before", a hit for Stephanie Mills which peaked at #4 in the UK and #6 on the US singles chart in 1980. Dig it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

loose screw

Prince has always been, for better or worse, a bit unconventional. Even at his most conventional, their has always been an element of doing whatever the hell he pleases. Naturally, it hasn't always worked to his benefit.

As we approach the thirty year anniversary of "Purple Rain", - Take a minute to let the gravity of that sink in. Try not to throw up in your mouth. - Prince seems to have been reenergized. First, he returned with "Rock And Roll Love Affair", his first thoroughly enjoyable single in ages.

For his second trick, he has delivered "Screwdriver", a muscular jam that sees Mr. Nelson return to a more humorous and clever lyrical landscape. Even the lyric video, a more conventional promotional vehicle in these interweb savvy times, is tongue in cheek. The more unconventional part of it is that he appears in the video at various points in the clip.

I love the flirty, dirty, sexy Prince. I think he's having more fun these days. Perhaps he has recovered his mojo. And maybe he's not taking himself as seriously as he used to.

robot ranch

"English Electric", OMD's forthcoming longplayer, is shaping up to be a quirky affair. After the cacophony of voice commands that make up the basis of "Decimal", which was featured as the first taster from the elpee, I expected a big, melodic, electronic number would be the next thing we heard. I was very wrong.

Instead, Andy and Paul just dropped some serious science on us with the bleak, robotic wishlist of "Atomic Ranch". Check out the retro 50s themed vid clip below.

Seriously. I think their new album is likely to be "Dazzle Ships" on crack.

second start

Not even a month has passed since Suede returned reenergized for another crack at the pop pantheon. "Barriers", the first taste from "Bloodsports", their forthcoming longplayer, was splashed across the interwebs only a couple of weeks ago.

Now, "It Starts And Ends With You" is launched as the first, official single from the album nearly six weeks ahead of the album.

Brett Anderson is still a slinky, slender lad. Does this man ever eat? Perhaps he is the male Patsy Stone, subsisting on cigarettes and alcohol. Whatever his diet consists of, I hope it doesn't change if that's what fuels his distinctive, visually acute lyrics.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

all I need is a miracle

Hurts unveiled the artwork for "Exile", their forthcoming sophomore effort and the follow up to their debut, "Happiness". Theo and Adam still look smart. They're suited, once again. However, the sleeve seems a bit dark. And why do they insist on using such a large version of their logo? It's a bit overbearing and appears to be shoehorned into place. It needs balance against the title and image.

I had the same design issue with the last album. All of the singles were beautifully tailored works of art. But the album cover featured an awful photo and that oversized font. Bring me the head of that graphic designer!

Still, it's more about the music. The first, official single from "Exile" is "Miracle" which will hit the "shops" on March 10, a day before the album drops. A few weeks ago, Hurts debuted "The Road", another track from the elpee.

The bombast is there. The slightly goth shadings are present. Theo Hutchcraft's voice soars. It seems like they might have eschewed the electronics for a more stadium friendly, rock sound.

Thankfully, they didn't have a protracted absence from the musical landscape. Taking too long to follow up a successful debut is far too risky in the current climate. Strike while the iron is hot. As long as you bring the goods to the table. Bon appétit!

The following is tracklisting for "Exile". Nearly all the songs have very short titles. Only one or two words. Theo and Adam are men of few words.
1. Exile
2. Miracle
3. Sandman
4. Blind
5. Only You
6. The Road
7. Cupid
8. Mercy
9. The Crow
10. Somebody To Die For
11. The Rope
12. Help

Friday, February 1, 2013

heavenly action

Depeche Mode have unleashed the video for their new single, "Heaven". It's a somewhat odd choice for the first single from a new DM album. A sparse, downtempo rock ballad is at odds with the launch of previous longplayers. They've long stopped trying to play the chart game.

"Heaven", it doesn't reflect the more electronic direction that they've hinted at in interviews. Sure, there are few bleepy flourishes, but I was looking forward to something more like the b-side, "All That's Mine".

Sonically, it hits the right buttons. However, one thing missing from both tracks is the booming, epic chorus that was typically the centerpiece of a lead single from a new elpee by the Basildon boys.