Sunday, October 23, 2011

with or without you

"Be With You", the second single from Erasure's latest longplayer, "Tomorrow's World", will be released as a seven track CD and download on November 21.

The tracklisting for it, which happens to be my favorite song on the elpee, will feature several remixes, an exclusive non-album b-side and another of Gareth Jones' very popular extended mixes. The following are the tracks which will be included on both configurations.

1. Be With You (Radio Version)
2. Be With You (Moto Blanco Remix Radio Edit)
3. Never Let You Down
4. Be With You (Love Is Coming - Extended Remix)
5. Be With You (Moto Blanco Club Mix)
6. Be With You (Starshapes Remix)
7. Be With You (Acoustic Version)

While I was disappointed with the remixes for previous single, "When I Start To (Break It All Down)", the inclusion of a Moto Blanco remix of "Be With You" will, hopefully, put things right. Let's hope for a pass the poppers moment which we haven't gotten from Vince and Andy for quite some time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

a little night music

Tracey Thorn, everyone's favorite songstress, is about to return with a brand new single. Huzzah! Let's shed a little light on the situation.

In the summer of 2010, The xx asked Tracey Thorn and her long-time partner in EBTG Ben Watt to record a track from their debut album for a special compilation the band were commissioning. The collection was going to be covers of the album's songs by their favourite artists. Unfortunately, the project never came to fruition. However, before the collapse of the project, Tracey had sung her version of one the album most beautiful tracks, "Night Time".

Now, after being shelved for nearly a year, the track will appear on a three track EP. The appropriately titled "Night Time" will be available from all fine "shops" on October 31. It will be released in two configurations - a 12 inch single for those who love the smell of vinyl and a digital bundle for those who prefer their tunes in the shape of zeros and ones.

The tracklisting for the 12 inch single will feature "Night Time" as the lead track, natch! Tracey's EBTG partner, Ben Watt, guests on guitars and backing vocals which makes it the first time they have recorded together in over a decade. Additionally, it will include remixes of "Swimming", on of the most popular tracks from Ms. Thorn's most recent solo longplayer, "Love And Its Opposite". The track has been reswizzled by Visionquest and underground house legend, Charles Webster.

Visionquest urn in a slightly organic, beefed up version which is draped in shades of "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac. Mr. Webster turns in a sparkling remix with a slightly bossa nova feel to it. The digital bundle will include a dub mix by Charles Webster as a bonus track.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

rise up

A while back, we had a little chinwag with David McAlmont, one of the UK's finest vocalists. At the time, he was touring and preparing for a return with some newly recorded material. Now, he has confirmed his emergence for the studio with the "Smokehouse" EP.

However, there is a twist. Rather than a solo album, David has returned as one half of Fingersnap, his newly formed collaborative partnership with flame haired compadre and pianist extraordinaire, Guy Davies.

Of course, Mr. McAlmont is no stranger to this configuration as he started his career as part of Thieves with Saul Freeman, then reached the dizzying heights of the singles chart with Bernard Butler, has stepped in Shirley Bassey's diamante heels with David Arnold, and most recently stretched his considerable vocal talents on an album with Michael Nyman. Eclectic? Oui. Magnifique? Absolutment.

The first fruits of David's collaboration with Guy appeared as two new studio tracks on "Live From Leicester Square", a live album (natch!) featuring a number of songs from across David's nearly twenty year career. Two covers, "Isn't It A Pity", originally recorded by George Harrison, and the Tom Waits composition, "Grapefruit Moon" were featured as bonus tracks. Guy played piano on the entire project.

Lead song on the four track "Smokehouse" EP is "I Wanna Rise", which is home to a sparkling, soulful and uplifting chorus that wouldn't sound out of place on a Brand New Heavies album. That is not a bad thing at all by my standards as I am a massive BNH fan.

The track starts out with a sforzando string line built from of an amalgam of Motown classics. A hearty laugh from Mr. McAlmont reinforces his pleasure at being able to deliver another installment of quality songs. The first verse is little jarring upon first listen but starts to bleed into shape and find its roots by the time the Guy's piano appears just prior to the rise before the chorus. As I mentioned previously, it's a glorious payoff.

The boys even found time in their hectic schedule to lense a vid for the tune.

Ah, London is a fine locale for a music video. While Mr. McAlmont shimmies, shakes and shuffles, Mr. Davies seems a bit camera shy. Show us more of yer mug, Guy.

Second cut, "Some Kind Of Masterpiece", is a subdued affair with more Motown influences and David channelling a bit of Nina Simone. It is underpinned by Guy's left hand piano and tasteful rhodes. As with "I Wanna Rise", the string arrangement are lovingly draped across the track and give it a classic 70s soul vibe.

Next up is "Mister" which seems to detail a harrowing tale of spousal abuse dressed in an uptempo, 70s rock and soul hybrid with a handclappy rhythm at its core. The lyrics are visually arresting and David's powerful vocal performance slips in shades of Billy Preston and early Michael Jackson.

"The Bishop Of New Hampshire", the final track on the EP, is an elegiac, piano driven ballad which ends with a male vocal choir. It's another lyrically powerful song which seems to have benefited from David's work with Michael Nyman. The subject matter appears to have been ripped from the headlines of our ever present 24/7 news cycle.

All in all, the "Smokehouse" EP is a welcome addition to David's considerable catalog. Working tirelessly with Guy, both on the road and in the studio, has given birth and breath to a strong collaboration in the shape of Fingersnap. I am seriously looking forward to an entire album which will, hopefully, see the light of day in the very near future.

The "Smokehouse" EP will be available from all fine "shops" on November 14. If you wanna invest in a little communication with David, check out my recent interview by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

put your hands in the air

Once upon a time, dance music had meaning. It had soul. It had melody! It had vocals! Then, in the late 90s, bedroom DJs took over the planet with a crate full of dubs and they killed it off. Now, it seems people are clamoring for substance. Something they can sing along with.

Great dance records are few and far between. However, I'm pleased to inform you that there has been a bumper crop of them floating around lately. And "Stronger" by house veteran, Erick Morillo, along with his sidekick, Eddie Thoneick, has enlisted the formidable vocal duties of Shawnee Taylor. Together, they have produced one of the most infectious and downright ass shaking club anthems of the last few years.

As a DJ, it's refreshing to be able to spin something with an uplifting vocal and a solid melody. It's a promising development. I feel like we haven't had many arms akimbo, pop house hybrids like this since the mid-90s when "Free" by Ultra Naté saturated the worldwide airwaves.

Let's hope "Stronger" is the start of a trend rather than an oasis in the musical desert. Please pass the poppers!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

speaking Swedish

Roxette return with "Speak To Me", the second single from "Charm School", their first album in a decade. It has been reswizzled into something more bang up to date on the production tip.

It's also the third single in Germany where they decided to follow up "She's Got Nothing On (But The Radio)" with "Way Out" before issuing "Speak To Me", a quintessentially Roxette-esque, signature ballad.