Saturday, February 27, 2010

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim team up to do album about Imelda Marcos

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim are teaming up to put out a full album about Imelda Marcos. The line up of singers is quite amazing: Florence Welch, Annie Clark(St. Vincent), Cyndi Lauper, Santigold, Tori Amos, Martha Wainwright, Nellie Mckay, Allison Moorer, Steve Earl, and the list goes on and on. The opening single Here Lies Love with Florence is pretty amazing. This could be one of the most interesting albums of the year. It is released April 6th, but you can hear some of the tracks here at the official website:

She and Him new song: In The Sun

Scissor Sisters new live gig in NYC

Scissor Sisters will return to the stage in the home town New York City on March 17th and 18th. They will be playing the Bowery Ballroom and tickets go on sale this Monday, March 1st at noon for $30 each. Limit two tickets per person.
No doubt this will be the show where they premier their material for their new album out this spring. The new album is supposed to be their sexiest yet! I have seen the Scissor Sisters perform three times and it is always a great party. I am excited for the new album which they claim is best album they have done. There is sure to be a national live tour to follow(after Europe most likely). The Sisters are huge in Europe, top 40 stars actually, but they are still building a large following in the US. Though it is unfortunate they are not as popular here, it does allow the US fans to see them in smaller venues, which makes for an amazing experience.
If your in NYC in March, I would not miss this one. Here is a taste of them live:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Live Report: Patti Smith-St. Andrews Hall, Detroit

She is an artist, icon and legend. My first live experience with Patti Smith last night lived up to my expectations of an aging punk poet. She was dressed simply in skinny jeans, over sized T-shirt and black blazer. She had a full band which included her son Jackson. Patti seemed happy, smiling at the crowd and chatting casually with the people in the front. She started with songs like her classic Redondo Beach. Highlights of the show were her performance of Free Money, Pissing in a River and the great Gloria. By the third song it was clear Patti was annoyed by the press Photographers when she told them "to take a powder or something", waving her hand, wishing them away. The crowd laughed, happy that Patti was still down to earth as well as still having an edge.
She referenced Detroit, many, many times. In the first half of the show she proclaimed, "we are here for YOU!" The crowd had no doubt she meant it. Through out the night she spoke about Detroit, mentioning such landmarks as The Book Cadillac Hotel, Arcade Bar, St Clair Shores, and Lafayette Coney Island. At one point she stated, "Its not good, it may not get better, but all you need is a roof over your head, food in your mouth and imagination!" We were told to "take back your city!" The show was definitely felt like a homecoming for Smith who lived in the area for over a decade with her family.
In the middle of the performance she gave a energetic tribute to the great poet, writer, musician and her friend, Jim Carroll. Lenny Kaye, Patti and the band did a cover of Jim's biggest musical hit, People Who Died.
Near the end of the show she told the story of how she wrote Because The Night, her only chart hit. She told the story of 1977, being in New York, waiting for a phone call from her soon to be husband Fred Sonic Smith. He was hours late calling her, she grew lonely and wrote the song. That's the short version. She closed night with People Have The Power. She tried to inspire people for a revolution, but I'm sure to her disappointment, everyone was not as enthusiastic about a uprising as they had been in the 1970's.
Her encore started with a cover of Smoky Robinson(it was apparently his birthday) and ended with her most controversial song, Rock and Roll N*****. I wondered if she would do this song and I'm glad that she did, I think it saved her punk cred. Overall, the show had a somber tone, with mostly mid tempo or slow songs, but it was nice for the show to end with the energy and outspokenness that made her the poet and songstress she is today.

This is not from last night, but it is a good example of what I experienced. Check out this youtube video:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Album Reviews: Beach House, Midlake and Yeasayer

Beach House: Teen Dream

I have just begun to discover Beach House. I had heard many mixed reviews but interesting conversations about their music non the less. I think with their new album Teen Dream, the band has really expanded their sound from previous work, second album Devotion. Devotion was interesting but felt all in the same melodic, droning tone. It had highlights like the mysterious sounding You Came To Me, but generally it felt more like pleasant background music. Teen Dream has much more of a diverse sound to it. Don't get me wrong, it is still their signature sound of Victoria's smoky vocals mixed with organs and bells, but it feels like a lighter more joyful quality. Some of the songs like Zebra, Lover of Mine, and 10 Mile Stereo are even upbeat. The highlight of the album though is the first single Norway. The organ, raspy vocals and drums give the song a haunting quality that remains with the listener. Victoria's vocals have a particular clear, strong quality to them that sometimes gets lost in others songs. In general, it is nice to see this band moving forward, developing their sound and gaining new fans like myself. From what I understand, their live show is quite impressive as well. I fully recommend this album!

Midlake: The Courage of Others

This band really discovered its true sound on its last album The Trials of Van Occupanther. If you did not pick up the last album, you really missed a good one. With that album, many people compared them to mid seventies Fleetwood Mac. I can see this quite clearly. Their instrumentation and clean sound complimented the descriptive, literary sounding lyrics. On the new album they took the sound on into a new realm. Let me just say, this is the perfect album for a dreary winter day. It is cozy, creepy and sleepy, but in a good way. It has a narrative in the lyrics and a soundtrack quality to each track. It is like listening to stories in front of the fireplace at dusk. There are slight Elizabethan qualities to the sound as well with autoharp and flutes. The album cover gives a good indication of what your going to get. Like Fleet Foxes, this album feels based in nature, log cabins and a throwback to music before the modern age. This may turn out to be one of my favorite albums of the year.

Yeasayer: Odd Blood

This is another new band for me. The last album did hit my radar, but seemed a little too psychedelic and experimental for me. Earlier this year I decided to give it a chance and actually enjoyed quite a few of the tracks. With the new album Odd Blood, they have continued their psychedelic, organic, upbeat sound but it feels a bit more accessible. This may not appeal to already established fans or reviewers(Pitchfork rated it a 6.1). I must say though, this new album works for me. The first single Ambling Amp is amazing! It has a driving beat, fantastic vocals and is as infectious as any pop song on the radio......but cool. The music is rock, electronic, with touches of world beat. Chris Keatings vocals stand out strongly, which says a lot with music this creative and crazy. 2nd single O.N.E has a much more world music sound to it, peppy and sunny. So far though my other favorite track beside Ambling Amp is the 6th track on the album Love Me Girl. The song has many surprises, breaks in the melody, keeps you guessing, and is a great showcase for the vocals. If you like MGMT, pick this one up.
Even though its February I am already excited for this to be one of my big summer albums.