Uh, what happened to Duran Duran? Anyone who knows me will tell you I go with the flow and don’t mind change. One of my favorite bands, Primal Scream, has never put out an album that wasn’t completely different from the last…but I’m a little stumped by Duran Duran’s new incarnation.
Talk and speculation over the past year was all about the band working with Timbaland and Timberlake. Not the first time an established band has recruited modern day hipsters to help make them more relevant. Nothing wrong with that. And the concept of previewing new material with performances on Broadway prior to the album release is just south of brilliant.
Playbill and every other media outlet wants you to think this is the Duran Duran you’ll be seeing
when in fact, here’s the reality
Do people really want to see a tribute to Kraftwerk or Can? Hmm…I know they have a rabid fanbase, so as long as they’re happy that’s what counts I suppose.
Regardless, I’m off to check out Red Carpet Massacre streaming at The Leak.
I usually don’t have time to explore new releases the minute they come out. There are a great number that slip through the cracks…like this one. I made my way over to Emma’s MySpace this week & took the time to listen to those tracks posted. Love them. Downloaded the album last night and it feels like fresh air.
Too early to tell whether it will appear in my year-end list, but it has made its way to my car which is a good sign. She’s opening up for The New Pornographers right now. Aversion had a nice feature on her if you’d like to see what she’s been up to since the Delgados broke up.
Underworld’s latest, Oblivion with Bells, was released yesterday here in the States. They are playing some live dates and all three of their London dates this week will be broadcast live and free of charge. Just go to their website for details: www.underworldlive.com – the shows start at 8pm (UK time) October 17, 18 and 19.
According to this MTV article, Hyde and Smith are contemplating the Underworld name live on without them in the future. Interesting concept, but one that makes sense when you look at their efforts as part of a ‘collective’ or ‘art house’ as they put it. Reminds me a bit of the Man or Astroman? cloning projects.
Sultry new wave icon, Debbie Harry is promoting a solo album: Necessary Evil. I caught the video of her first single (“Two Times Blue”) over the past week and it really grew on me. I love the catchy chorus, but what’s especially spectacular is when she works the upper register. Sweetness.
And who knows, she may be touring your town in the next month or so – NME has posted some dates and it’s not just major cities. The Times also printed a thorough article this weekend.
First place I checked out this morning is Stereogum for one of Scott’s ‘premature evaluations’ – sure enough he’s blogging about In Rainbows. With a slew of comments from the cool indie kids, you can check out the early concensus. Also, LAist blogged about the album track by track – they even rated each song. Who won’t be doing that today?
I’m more interested in the possible aftershocks this delivery method will bring. There will be an actual disc, too, so the hype is a bit bigger than the real situation. But it’s certainly made the top of everyone’s list to discuss. I think the real test comes with the next few artists who will alter the delivery method(s) until we all find something that works. Don’t believe this will be quite the overnite sensation the press is making it out to be. We still have several hurdles to jump and some will fall flat in their attempt.
Back to In Rainbows – I’m wavering whether I’ll breakdown and buy it. Going to email one of my friends for his take on it, but I bet I’ll cave.
It’s times and reviews like those of “White Chalk” that make me hate the concept of music reviews. You know, that whole theory about judging an artist’s vision and all. In the case of PJ Harvey’s latest it’s clear that she had something new in mind. She even learned to play the piano. That rocks in my book! I found a terrific article where she discusses the album and her thought process in making it. It goes along nicely especially after listening (or at least sampling) to the album.
Getting back to the reviews I’ve read for the new album, they are a little surprising. How can reviewers give her low marks for an album like this? It’s definitely not what I would call mainstream, but it’s very ‘PJ Harvey’ – cutting edge, dark, mysterious. I also like how she’s made the album cover to reflect the difference to her other albums. Yes, we may be use to her rocking like a wildwoman and whaling like a banshee, but she’s reminding us she has more to explore and accomplish. I have to admire an artist that breaks out of their comfort zone. I think you’ll enjoy her recent interview from the York Evening Post as it guides you through PJ’s experience in bringing “White Chalk” to life. There are also several tracks from the album streaming on her website.
Tomorrow is a big day. Tuesday: album release day in the U.S. Been waiting months for the latest Cult release, “Born Into This“. Some of you know just how major of a Cult fan I am. And that being said it makes me sad to say I will totally confess that my rabid Cult tastes have been waning while waiting for this release. Call me miffed. The band gets a nice deal going with Roadrunner and the label seems to be doing everything that we, as fans, have been hoping for: there are contests to see the band in London, oodles of press coverage and a fall tour.
…but hold on a minute. Though some rocking songs are on the disc, the rocking isn’t confined solely to the recording. Remember a lot of the Cult faithful have been staunch fans since the 80s and really stuck with the band during all those hiatus periods (c’mon…they only broke up once and that was disasterous on so many levels). Back around 2000 when Atlantic signed them, the label created a terrific website that had a super-active board. I know a lot of people had an opportunity to meet one another during those 2001 concerts. I met boarders from Ill. and Texas that I had talked to on the board and there was a real immediacy and frenzy among everyone. Ian even chimed in (taking on a few different personas when the feeling struck him). That particularly made for some interesting mayhem! It was a great time in Cultland and there were many happy Cult children.
But things have slowly changed. The new site remains updated, but there seems to be a lack of soul this time around. And what’s so disheartening is that “soul” is the very element that has always drawn me to the band. Over the past couple weeks the concert dates have dribbled in. Having some exposure in the business I can totally understand how obstacles crop up. Things happen, you have to find the right dates and the right size of venue for the artist. But it all felt a little late for a band that has a fanbase that likes to travel. Let’s face it-we’re all getting older and need time to plan. Booking flights with little more than a month (and in some cases less) is not easy. I’ve had experience booking my travel around Cult shows - I think I’ve seen them in 6 different states.
But the final blow came when moderators on the band’s website announced that only points of interest from the new album and forward would be allowed on the board. Wow, that was a shocker. And what’s really surprising is that this is a group of fans that already lean heavily on the here-and-now as opposed to re-hashing days gone by. I’m not saying that never happened, but it by far wasn’t the majority of talk before (unless we were nowhere near close to hearing new material). I don’t know – it feels pretty cold over in Cultland to me.
I’ll be tracking through the album stream tonight over on AOL and buy the album tomorrow when it comes out, but my expectations have diminished along with what seems to be the band’s former DIY ethic.
Don’t you think Robert Pollard must be one of the luckiest rock and rollers ever? He continues to do what he loves and doesn’t allow normal contraints to hold him back. How sweet is that?
More releases from Bob are due out next week (October 9) and Merge is streaming them both. Your choice: Coast to Coast Carpet of Love or Standard Gargoyle Decisions. Supposedly the latter is the “darker” of the two. Both sound good to me. I’ll spare comparing them to anything he’s previously recorded because 1) well, what good does that do and 2) I don’t know his catalog backwards and forwards.
Sidenote: How many bloggers have chosen NOT to mention the ‘big’ Radiohead news today? (whoops, does that just count?)