Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Free Music! From Moby!

Hola! I've recently stumbled across an opportunity for a free mix - by the one and only Moby, (supposed) great-great-greatgrand nephew of Herman Melville, author of the oft-discussed (but rarely actually read) masterpiece Moby-Dick. I consider him to be one of the major forces in electronica; his debut, Everything Is Wrong, alongside the 1999 master-work Play (which frankly stands as one of electronica's finest moments) and his most recent effort, the under-appreciated (in my humble opinion) Wait For Me. Have you heard it yet? If not, I recommend picking it up like now and giving it a spin. Works well at night, with some candles going, and (preferably) a nice glass of Cabernet.

Now, the nice folks at XLR8R Magazine had something of an "itching" for the glow-stick/whistle fueled house anthems of the early 1990's. Like when you hear ghosts, brother, freaky ghosts, baby - who ya gonna call?

Moby, naturally. Asked if he could come up with a nice mix of early rave anthems you could shake your booty too and blow your whistles and shake those glow sticks under them flashing lights, he said, in effect, Damn right.

I'm listening to the damn thing right now as I write this, and I gotta tell ya - the shit delivers! Clocking in at 48 minutes, it's a joyous and righteously awesome flashback to the days (daze?) of rave, warehouse parties, anthems, and, yes, glow sticks. I'm sure you're asking yourself right now, Now where on Earth can I get one of these free mixes for myself and shake my booty all night long?

Wonder no more, faithful friends!

You're welcome!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Electro Classic Jukebox: Eurythmics.

As I was writing my recent review for the LCD Soundsystem show last week, I'd made the point that one of the tracks off their new album This Is Happening, "I Can Change," reminded me of early Eurythmics. What song was it, I asked myself, aware that I hadn't really listened to Annie Lennox and Dave Stewarts' deliciously icy pop in quite some time. Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued, so I pulled out my little collection of their first three albums - In The Garden, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), and Touch - and proceeded to have myself a sweet little Eurythmics listening party. Cool! I had completely forgotten what a rich treasure trove of material those two had put out during the first half of the 80's.

Cutting edge synths and beautiful orchestrations beautifully dovetailed with Lennox's silky alto voice on such choice tracks like "Who's That Girl?," "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," and "Here Comes The Rain Again," propelling them to the top of the electro scene back in the day. After I realized what song LCD Soundsystem's single had reminded me of ("Love Is A Stranger" off of SD(AMOT), in case you were curious), I dutifully visited our dear friend YouTube and watched the video!

The video has it all: A mysterious chauffeur, a nighttime ride through the streets of London, a creepy puppet, and the one and only Lennox wearing BDSM-inspired clothing with a multitude of sexy wigs over her shock of bright red hair. Watch out for her (looking awfully damn sexy, by the way) writhing on a bathroom floor with a length of film - damn, she's freaking hot! And the lyrics themselves, in my own humble opinion, are really quite frank and honest in describing love itself. Here's a sample: "It's guilt-edged, glamorous and sleek by design/You know it's jealous by nature, false and unkind/It's hard and restrained and it's totally cool/It touches and it teases as you stumble in the debris" And it's absolutely fabulous when delivered by Lennox's smoky voice.

Also - watch for Dave Stewart (as the aforementioned chauffeur) pulling out a phone that looks suspiciously like an iPhone. See? They were ahead of their time!

So, with no further ado, here's the video for "Love Is A Stranger." Damn, I'm glad for my little listening party - their music will certainly continue in my ongoing shuffle!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

F••k You, BP.

You know, when I started this blog earlier this year, I toyed around with the idea of having it be one of those one-size-fits-all affairs - balancing popular culture, music, science, and politics into one particular frenzied ball of whathaveyou. I decided to stick with one thing that I know pretty well, and (as most bloggers know) it's probably best to stick to one topic; otherwise you might lose readers! (Like I'll ever have that problem!)

However, events of late have been preying at my mind. As anybody who knows me will vouch, I'm a nature buff - especially when it comes to our fine feathered friends. I've stalked beaches in NSW with an Australian pelican, I've roamed a park with wild and crazy grazing cockatoos, I've hung with bizarre (and trust me they are strange) mallards, and watched over a hummingbird nest built on a tree right outside my balcony.

I looked at these pictures today, and frankly my heart is broken. Words cannot describe how fucking disgusting, hurtful, and rending these photos are to me. I truly hope somebody goes to prison for these crimes ('cos that's what they are!) against ... against everything. The victims are not just the birds. We're talking about sea turtles, dolphins, snook, tuna, jellyfish, shrimp, sperm whales, sharks, and other such creatures. (Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the humans involved in this death trap - it's just that we have free will: We CHOSE to continue our addiction to oil.)

But, in keeping with the electronic reputation of my blossoming (I like to think!) blog, I'd like to put out a song that I think perfectly encapsulates my feeling for the oil behemoth who has currently drowned the dreams of the Gulf of Mexico in curlicued swirls of poisonous brown muck and destruction.

Behold, "Destroy Everything You Touch," by the one and only Ladytron.

Fuck you, BP.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Gig Review: LCD Soundsystem.

LCD Soundsystem
03 June 2010
The Fillmore Auditorium
San Francisco, California

Let's just say he has a better record collection than you do. God bless Mr James Murphy - the rambunctious, energetic, clever, and just plain inventive frontman for LCD Soundsystem. Only he, during their manic performance at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, could deliver a line like this (from "Pow Pow," my favorite song off the new album, This Is Happening) - and in one breath, at that:
On this occasion, there are a couple of things that we know
that we learned from Fact Magazine:
One, the king wears a king hat and lives in a king house
Two, your time will come, but tonight is our night, so you should give us all your drugs
Three, we have a black president and you do not, so shut up,
because you don't know shit about where I'm from that you didn't get from your TV.
Take these lyrics, practically spoken-word/poetry-slammed into what looked like a vintage '50s 555 VMOT microphone over a staccato rhythm of intense percussion, jangling guitar, heavy dub-style bass, intricate and spidery synths, and a catchy-as-all-fucking-hell chorus ("Pow, pow pow pow pow, pow pow pow pow!"): Whatcha got?

Well, according to my math, you've got yourselves a pretty goddamn good time. The sold-out crowd at 1805 Geary, sweating their asses off whilst dancing, swaying, and generally having the time of their life was good evidence of this scientific theory.

Earlier in the day, Ess Eff was getting rather balmy (about 75ºF/21ºC), and in the midst of all the pressing bodies in the venue - well, I gotta say, it was getting fairly hot (and this was before the show started!). Murphy and company took the stage at a little past ten - he wiped his forehead with his arm and bemoaned the fact that there wasn't a towel available to wipe away his sweat. "Damn, it's hot up here and I think they forgot about me?" he half-asked into the mike - a roady immediately fluttered out from stage left and delivered a fluffy blue towel. After a quick wipe-down and a thank-you to the bearer of cloth, Murphy and company wasted absolutely no time in crunching into their set with the opener, "Us V Them," from the second album, Sound of Silver.

LCD Soundsystem did not disappoint; not in the slightest. James Murphy and his usual gang of suspects - including the lovely Nancy Whang from DFA (Murphy's record company - interestingly enough, they used to be called Death From Above, but after the 9/11 attacks it was generally felt that that name was somehow inappropriate for a NYC-based label) band The Juan MacLean - tore into the venue's revered atmosphere like Lindsey Lohan into a baggy of white powder. Madness ensued forthwith, as the stage saw Murphy and his six cohorts ripping and roaring through a two hour set spattered with songs from all three albums. (On a sad note, James Murphy has said in no uncertain terms that This Is Happening will be the last LCD Soundsystem album. I hear he's champing at the bit to return to his producing and compiling duties with DFA. I hope he changes his mind!)

From the mad rush of percussion and Herbie Hancock-inspired keyboards of "Us V Them," to the sinister madness and howling laughter of "Yr City's A Sucker," and to the sheer brazen spectacle of the epic "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House," the trademark humor and winking irony of Murphy's lyrics went hand in hand with a hodgepodge of music stylings - veering wildly at times, but almost always working like a charm. And if you can find in your collection another band that's as enthusiastic with the cowbell, please let me know! (Christopher Walken would be proud.)

"I Can Change," a wonderfully cynical love song ("... And love is a curse shoved in a hearse/Love is an open book to a verse of your bad poetry/And this is coming from me.") brings to mind the lyrics of Morrissey, delivered with panache over the synth-pop flavorings of early 80's figureheads The Eurythmics (I was thinking "Love Is A Stranger"). "Drunk Girls," the first single off of the new album rings with echoes of the late 70's Iggy Pop-fueled Detroit Rock cacophony (that, in this reviewer's opinion, did not mesh well with the rest of the show. Not the best song in LCD Soundsystem's canon). Downbeat and pretty damn sad tracks "Someone Great" and "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" closed out the set once again, proving that James Murphy is purely capable of capping off a party with a downer like he did last time I saw them at Mezzanine in 2007! But - whatever.

As I hinted at above, I would like to make a plea to Mr Murphy regarding his rumored plans to cease and desist his purported disintegration of LCD Soundsystem. Mr Murphy, if you're reading this, I implore you: The world of electronic music and synth-pop need you! We need our resident trickster, our jack-of-all-trades. True, sir, it may be that you feel you're truly shining as a producer/mixer/collaborator extraordinaire - and I'm imaging that that's probably true; I'm not trying to be selfish - but we do need you, I reckon. Because in a musical genre that tends to take itself just a wee bit seriously, it's always nice to have a sense of humor, don't you think? Thanks for listening!
us v them
drunk girls
get innocuous
yr city's a sucker
daft punk is playing at my house
all i want
all my friends
i can change
someone great
losing my edge
new york i love you but you're bringing me down

For my loyal readers, here is LCD Soundsystem performing "Us V Them" in Manchester, UK!