There are a zillion albums coming out, so I'd better review a few more recent releases:
New Order: Waiting For The Siren's Call
This record could have been a real stinker, but New Order wrote strong tunes and used a mix of good producers, old (Stephen Street, John Leckie) and new (Stuart "Jacques LuCont" Price). WFTSC is a great pop record. In past years, it seems like they tried (even with Electronic) to leap onto whatever the current trend was - that happens less so here. "Krafty," the single, is a grower with a lovely synth string accompaniment weaving in and out. My favorite is "Guilt Is A Useless Emotion," one of the Price songs that bears his dance-pop stamp...it's a perfect gym song. Love the weird slicing sound at the end! Most of the songs here have a nice instrumental section that allows them to breathe a bit. I'm not so fond of the new single "Jetstream" - which features Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters - the "J-E-T" bit on the chorus is just silly. And yes, the lyrics on this record are generally crap. Bernard has written some good ones in the past ("Regret") but not here! Somehow they rose above it and made their best CD in years.
Favorite tracks: "Guilt Is A Useless Emotion" and "Krafty"
Bodies Without Organs: Prototype
Bodies Without Organs, a Swedish pop group engineered in a gay lab, are not for the wimpy or fearful of full-on, butt-shaking, hair-flippin' Europop. If you are self-conciously hip and cannot release the inner club kid in yourself, go listen to Arcade Fire. This is sickly sweet pop, but the sugar-addicted boppers at PopJustice recognize quality when they hear it. My faves here are "Sunshine In The Rain," the one that namechecks all sorts of European cities and "Living In A Fantasy" a perfect summer single. Lyrically, it's the standard rhymes, but it's so fucking happy you can't help but like it. Now remember, it is hard to find: they are only big in Sweden and Russia! I ordered mine from Amazon Marketplace and it wasn't cheap. And remember, to quote another blogger, just because I do the go-go don't mean I'm a ho-ho!
Favorite track: "Sunshine In The Rain"
Patrick Wolf: Wind In The Wires
Sometimes a new artist comes along who seems completely unmoved by the current trends in music - they do their own thing and that is what makes them great (and soon a whole bunch of imitators come along). Patrick Wolf is only about 22; agewise his peers are idiots like Jesse McCartney and that hair kid who "dates" Ashlee Simpson. There hasn't been anyone doing this kind of music in a long time. Here are some reasons to love Patrick Wolf's new album Wind In The Wires: First, ignore the babyfaced cover shot, a sort of disturbing teeny bop milky boy photo, and focus on the music. He straddles a line, vocally and visually, between an innocent young brainiac who has spent too much time indoors and a sort of gothpunk rentboy. Several songs seem to be the result of time spent alone on trains chugging through around English country and seaside, especially between London and Edinurgh on the "The Railway House" and then down to moody Cornwall on "Teignmouth." Patrick, thankfully, is prone to the same kind of caterwauling romantic drama that Sinead O'Connor favored on her debut. He's one of those singers who is able to let his vocals go astray at times - it's part of the allure. The whole record is pretty fearless, with its hitchhikers getting "raped on the roadside" and the spitting vocals on the Reznoresque "Tristan." That song, while crunchy, is also pretty melodic, mixing the guitars with some high end "information" (like bells). The title song even has a hitmaking bassline that reeks of U2, so he covers a lot of ground. Important thing to remember: Patrick wrote, arranged, played and produced the whole record HIMSELF at 21 years old.
Favorite tracks: "The Libertine" and "Wind In The Wires"