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Saturday, September 09, 2006

//Remix Seven//

Delays - Valentine (Torch Team Remix)

Why it rocks: It's actually a bit weird. This version takes the choral ad libs from the end of the original and starts off using them as a basis. The whole thing sounds kind of like a campfire song at first. It's not until halfway through the song that the beat drops in.


“Love is what they'll get when they break up and join in Spleen United”

Despite having one of the strangest band names I've ever heard, Spleen United play fairly straightforward, glossy synth pop. This song in particular sounds like something that Don Juan Dracula (another strange band name, actually) might have written. It's a short, simple song and I have no idea what it's supposed to really be about, but it's definitely catchy. Even though the chorus only appears a couple of times, it'll be echoing in you brain long after the song's ended.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the album here.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds
Release Date: September 12, 2006
Label: Jive

Justin Timberlake’s got a lot to live up to. It’s been three years since his smash debut Justified and he’s riding high on the charts with the techno-rap-loop of a song we know and love (or, in some cases, tolerate) as Sexy/Back. Needless to say, anticipation is high for his next move.

The highlights of FutureSex/LoveSounds come early: the throbbing robotic funk and infectious chorus of the title track, the extended disco romp Love Stoned/I Think She Knows and the dribbly synth splash of My Love. Or, as I like to call it: Cry Me A River Pt. Two. But, unfortunately there’s just too much filler here (i.e. the entire second half of the record). The album takes a notable downturn around track seven, where Timberlake regurgitates lyrical banalities over blippy urban/techno beats that in the end all sound quite the same. By the time he reaches Losing My Way, which chronicles the plight of a cocaine addict (complete with choir at the end - and yet it still manages not to be moving), I couldn’t really be bothered to care.

Luckily, the brilliance of the first five tracks on FutureSex/LoveSounds almost makes up for what follows. Without them, the album would have been extremely tedious (see the cringe-inducing ballad Until The End Of Time as evidence). Producer Timbaland’s shadow looms over the entire record, even on the songs he didn’t orchestrate. So, sonically the album sounds great. It’s melody that’s the problem. There just isn’t enough of it. FutureSex/LoveSounds may be banging from car speakers this fall, but a couple years down the line and it’s going to be very easy to forget. B-

Key Tracks: FutureSex/LoveSounds, My Love, Love Stoned/I Think She Knows

//Remix Six//

Pet Shop Boys - Can You Forgive Her (Swing Version)

Why it rocks: One of Pet Shop Boys' best songs is completely reinvented as a big band classic. New brass instrumentation, background vocals and delivery make this sound really authentic. And, as strange as it is, it completely works.

“Bring her back to life, she's an ordinary girl”

Pink Grease (is that not a fantastic name?) are about to release their second full-length and this is the first single. It's a little bit more produced than their older stuff (even though this particular version I believe is a demo) and that's actually a good thing. The squiggly synths running through this song are ridiculously addictive. Ordinary Girl mines the same territory as bands like White Rose Movement and Boy Kill Boy, but the song's good enough that it stands on its own.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the songs here.)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Oh No Ono - Yes
Release Date: August 28, 2006
Label: Morningside Records

Remember Move Your Body, Junior Senior’s disco/trash/dance extravaganza from a few years back? The full length debut from fellow Danes Oh No Ono sounds a bit like that track, taken to extremes. Fronted (and practically defined) by the androgynous, helium-induced alien voice of Malthe Fischer, Yes is a record chock full of playful synthesizer, disco grooves and an overwhelming sense of weird.

The album opens with a dramatic symphonic piano instrumental which promises something epic to follow. And, the band largely fulfills this promise. They play with such ferocity, such an intense desire to make you dance, that even when the songs don’t quite measure up the music is still fantastic. The delicious disco funk of Victim Of The Modern Age and Practical Money Skills For Life perhaps exemplifies this the best. But, even when Oh No Ono are making you dance, they’re doing it in their own avant-garde alien way. Take first single, Keeping Warm In Cold Country. In between a landscape of chugging guitars and stabbing synths, the verses suddenly halt and reveal almost psychedelic harmonized vocals. They linger for perhaps a second and then the band has moved onto something else. It’s a kitchen sink kind of song but it’s still glossy and catchy as hell.

Fischer’s atypical vocals can be at times grating, most glaringly on album closer Talking Lynddie England. Similarly, Sunshine And Rain At Once, a stab at balladry sounds strangely like the Muppets singing a rock show tune. This one works, though, as it conforms to the anything-goes aesthetic of the rest of the record. A-

Key Tracks: Keeping Warm In Cold Country, Victim Of The Modern Age, Practical Money Skills For Life

//Remix Five//

Savage Garden - I Want You (Xeno Mania Punxy Mix)

Why it rocks: Savage Garden actually had a ton of great mixes, but this is one of my favorites because it adds a new flavor to the song. The hyper-fast verses are intact and the syncopation is changed in places for a breezier (if not even faster) summertime, laid-back feel.


“In this town, in this town, town, town”

Danish scamps Oh No Ono just released their first full-length album about a week ago in their homeland. This is the second single from that record and it's freaking fantastic. Think a more experimental, out-there Melody Club. This is the kind of music that you'd only hear coming from Scandinavia. It's incredibly interesting and weird, but still really poppy. Practical Money Skills, for instance, rolls along on a fantastically catchy disco kick. In that regard, it's really not too different than the stuff the Similou are putting out.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the songs here.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

//Remix Four//

Melody Club - Wildhearts (Piano Version)

Why it rocks: This version reimagines a synth anthem as a delicate piano ballad. Doing so gives the song a completely different feeling and focuses attention on the lyrics and Kristofer's voice. Especially gorgeous is the haunting solo piano that opens the song.


“If you say you love me why don't you care for me?”

Many of you have probably heard of El Presidente, as their debut album came out last year. I remember they were touted as the next Scissor Sisters, though I really don't see why. I guess it was just the time where everyone was touted as the next Scissor Sisters. Anyway, I've rediscovered them after months of not listening to their stuff. In particular, I'm loving this song all over again. It's a gorgeous dual-voiced 80's style ballad. I heard they're working on a new album, too.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the songs here.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


“So I tried a little Freddie”

I was just reading Paul's blog and discovered the magnificent Mika. So, I've got to continue the blog love and post a sample. This guy's amazing! There's a bit of Queen, a bit of Scissor Sisters, a bit of Robbie and some cabaret in this track, which pretty much makes it the greatest thing I have heard in some time. I can't wait for this guy's debut album. His voice alone is something that we have been sorely missing in the pop world. Download is of medium quality.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the songs here.)

//Remix Three//

Janet Jackson - Someone To Call My Lover (Jam & Lewis Velvet Mix)

Why it rocks: This remix does the unexpected in the fact that it takes arguably Jackson's poppiest song ever and transforms it into something that sounds like her work from The Velvet Rope (which is probably the least pop album she's ever recorded). Jam & Lewis borrow what sounds like the beat structure of I Get Lonely, one of Janet's hits from The Velvet Rope, and go from there.


“What if I was five, 1969”

Other blogs have been all over this guy for sometime, so I'm just the next in a long line. But, I had to spotlight 1969, because it is a slice of undeniable pop gold. It doesn't sound like anything else (from this era at least) yet it is still in rotation on Swedish radio. Its sound is very throwback, old generation soul - kind of like Moneybrother but a little bit more delicate. It's actually not really the kind of music I listen to much, but the song's so addictive that it transcends genre.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the album here.)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Talk about being from another planet. This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The guy singer looks like He-Man and those dancers...well...let's just say that I have found new heroes to aspire to...

//Remix Two//

Scissor Sisters - Laura (City Hi-Fi Vocal Mix)

Why it rocks: With this mix, Laura's been turned into a minimalist hip-hop/funk workout. The beat almost sounds like it's from Timbaland's bag of tricks and the chorus is glorious in it's drama. There's some nice saxophone solos towards the end as well.


“I never had it so well, never had it so well”

It’s my sister’s birthday today, so in honor of that I’m posting a track by one of her favorite bands. Some of you may have heard of U.S.E. (United State of Electronica) before. I know they’re kind of a cult act in the States and are also known in Japan. They’ve played my little podunk town to they get extra cool points for that. Emerald City is more on the techno/dance side than what I usually play (they sure love that vocoder!) but it’s also a super pop song. I’ve heard this group described as an electro-pop big band, which I think is a good way to put it.

U.S.E. - Emerald City

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the album here.)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

//Remix One//

The Similou - All This Love (Arena Mix)

Why it rocks: This remix is smart enough to turn the song completely on its head. Gone are the blippy dance beats that we love so much and in their place is complete over-the-top rock arena bombast. I’m talking guitar, synthesizer, drums, “tough” background vocals, etc. It sounds like it would be ridiculous, but it works better than you’d ever imagine.
//Remixes From Another Planet//

For the next week, in addition to regular posts I’m going to post a remixes (or reinterpretations) from some of the featured artists on my site. I’m real finicky when it comes to remixes because there are heaps and heaps of boring ones out there, and the worst ones are usually 8-10 minutes long. So, I raided my vaults for remixes that actually changed the original songs somehow and still sound like they could be singles in their own right. I hope you enjoy!


"And all the hipsters sing"

Kevin Cahoon was first brought to my attention when I discovered that he had played the title role in Hedwig And The Angry Inch onstage. This alone qualifies him for epic coolness. Turns out that he also has a band, the gloriously titled Ghetto Cowboy. They play a real catchy glam rock, kind of a throwback to the days of Bowie and Sweet but with a real pop edge as well. Although all their songs are quick, immediate and catchy, Fashionista's probably the most instant and the most pop. Given Cahoon's experience, his delivery is very theatre, but it really works for this kind of music.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the album here.)