January 25, 2009

Mixtape: If you think I'm dreaming

First, the REAL Sasha Fierce:

What a week! This captures it all and made me cry all over again!

I am obsessed all over again with Jennifer Hudson's warm'n'lovely single, If This Isn't Love. [Hear it now - not sure what the male voice is on the rip] The long bridge, from about 2:15 to 2:45, is one of the most uplifting pieces of music I've heard in ages. There are remixes floating around the Internets.

I've come to the conclusion that Vincent Frank - Frankmusik - is the male equivalent of Imgoen Heap. He streamed the title track to his debut album, Complete Me, and it's another wonder. This one has a more serious elegance to it (play it now). The details at the edges of the song, the piano and the pretty vocal scale in the final moment (which reminds me of Tori Amos's Cooling) suggest that he's far deeper than a club boy. Like Imogen, this is a DIY guy and we're watching his imperial moment. One brilliant song after another. I cannot wait for the album.

U2's new song. Garage band music. Why do they always insist of proving something with their music - that they are edgy and youthful. They are not edgy and youthful They are a mega conglomerate world power. What I want from U2 is grandeur, not rat-a-tat-tat.

Two of my friends went to the RIAA party for the Inauguration. Cher, my spiritual mother, was there and I was not! Anyway, my friend reported one droll scene at the party. RIAA staffer: "You look like Josh Groban." Shaggy-headed man: "I AM Josh Groban." Miaow.
Rihanna only performed 3 songs before technical problems ended her set. Also heard that J-Lo and her horrible troll stayed at the Helix, which is a fun hotel, but not even close to grand.

The piece that YoYo Ma et al played the Inauguration was lovely. And it was mimed!

Sufjan Stevens released a whack new song - or maybe it's like 5 songs in 1 - this week called You Are The Blood. 10 minutes! It's a combination of classic Sufjan mixed with a new electronic blippiness. It's very martial at moment. When It comes to esoteric pop, I have tried to like the new Antony And The Johnsons material with no luck - it's just too somnabulant [how many scrabble points?] Sufjan is more my speed, even when he's this arcane.

For those who like indie folk pop, do do DO play Maria Taylor's Time Lapse Lifeline. Superb new single - to listen to it at her myspace.

Just Jack is back! His new song is a string-laden, almost choral epic called Embers. Wow! Thanks to Discopop Directory for the news. I LOVED Jack's last CD, but never did find out the words to Disco Friends. Anybody know them? The hook on the new song is fantastic and timely: "We are all embers of the same fire."

Oldies of the Week: Haunt Me by Sade. For some reason I've never hear Sade's third album, Stronger Than Pride. This song is a smooth gem with a pretty, almost flamenco guitar. It sounds very Brazilian, but not bossa nova. Also played Eve Gallagher's slinky 1991-ish song Love Come Down a lot.

Speaking of Eve Gallagher, she has a great line: "Some damn fool is trying to read me." A psycho on PopJustice - one of the webbies who wants to provoke and fight - likened me to a racist this week for calling Katy Perry a "skank." This apparently means all sorts of horrible. To me it means a sleaze. I find her completely unoriginal, banal and worse, disingenuous. I don't see my comment as hypocritical at all - I think she's a flamethrower.

What is the deal with Americans not being able to buy the CD format of Saint Etienne's Method Of Modern Love? Did anyone successfully get it in the US? Word is that if you put it in your shopping cart and then put in a US address, it will get knocked out of the cart. The band is promising an international version soon. Wot? An industry is tanking and simultaneously saying, "Oh, you want this product? Sorry, no."

For those interested in the music business, check out this Billboard interview with Don Ienner. He talks about the CD being a blessing and a curse: a blessing as new technology (and a way to get people to repurchase their collections) and a curse in the way it ruined the album format. The album-as-filler perception grew when artists had only 5 good songs on a 16 song album. And we all know what happened at that point...

Finally, in a shocking "Lazarus" moment, Tremble Clef, a great pop blog, reappeared in December for one post. Brittle Lemon, the writer, listed his top 60 songs for 2008. Definitely worth your time, though I'll believe this blog is back when it IS back.

source for picture


D'luv said...

It was just the first 500 copies of each format of the Saint Etienne single, from the band's own label (Heavenly), that were UK-only. An exclusive for fans, really.

The official Rough Trade-distributed single is out February 9.

countpopula said...

Excellent mixtape! It made my Sunday morning.

This new Etienne single is very worthy of purchase, and this method of distribution is maddening! Hope it reaches the US soon.

I see what you are saying about the U2 single, but at least they are trying to grow and experiment again--the years of Beautiful Day/Vertigo were good if not a bit safe.

The Ienner comments seemed very candid. I wonder if he will feel the same about the internet vs. physical products one day. The renewed interest in vinyl proves that progress and throwing away the old is not always the best thing, and in a perfect world, it would be nice to see these things co-exist. I was always kind of upset that vinyl was so easily phased out as there is a warmer sound present, but I do like CDs also for the clean sound.

All this downloading generally takes the fun out of what used to be a mission of discovery. When I bought an album back in the day, I knew every word, every note, inside out. Now it's like there is choices overload, and I rarely get to spend as much time with a record as I once did. Maybe through downloading convenience, we become less attached to the experience.


Salvador Ali said...

I just got the new Antony album as well and gave it my first full listen. I think it's going to require a lot of patience. I'm a little worried he's turning into post-Choirgirl Tori, but again, I need more time with it.

xolondon said...

Count - re Ienner and repurchasing music in a new format, I don't think he said it, but I extrapolated. We all know that is what they want, for everyone to keep buying the same shit over and over.

Regarding downloading, I think it's a different kind of discovery happening now. In terms of music leaks, I remember Rachel Stevens album leaking in sets of 3 songs each over a period of a few weeks and it was very interesting to absorb and album in those chunks. I wish someone would try doing something like releasing 3 songs every 3 mos and then putting out a CD at the end, just to see how it goes.

Which reminds me, there is a rumor that Madonna is going back on tour this summer, which makes one wonder if we'll have a few new songs out this Spring.

Salvador - what do you mean about post-Choirgirl Tori?

duanemoody.com said...

That's one of my favorite JHud tracks on the album, although I have really been loving We Gon Fight lately. Sooooo good.

xolondon said...

We Gon Fight is massive. Honestly, I think that album might be worth an overhaul and re-release. She could add some new songs, take off some crap and then start to promote it all over again. She needs to add a blazing disco number (NeYo?), something Roberta Flackish and maybe a duet with some good guy. She should call me to iron it all out!

DanProject76 said...

More Frankmusik songs and versions? Bloody hell! I am very much looking forward to that album.

countpopula said...

It's funny how I was walking around the store today while Pink Floyd was playing (not my choice), and everybody seemed to know it (Animals). I guess it shows how people used to really LIVE with their music rather than treating it like a commodity. So many are now bemoaning that there are no modern classics to rival those, but I think there are actually many, they just are not heard on the same scale, and therefore do not have the same cultural impact. Maybe I should write a dissertation?

About the piecemeal releasing, I think Roisin Murphy actually did that with Ruby Blue in the form of 3 EPs on vinyl, with the CD containing most of the material. Decemberists recently did it as downloads or 45s in 3 parts, but unfortunately, none of those songs are planned for CD, as they are not included in the tracks for the upcoming album. Hopefully they will get an added value status with purchase. Guess I never found or heard the Annie album, but that really is a different scenario what with being dropped & all, and who knows what will actually be on it when it IS released.

zen~ said...

I may be the last one to come to the party, but I don't see the thrill or excitement surrounding Frankmusic!! I've got his e.p. and I just find it charmless. A male Imogen Heap, my ar$e!! Noise.

Also, yet to buy into Little Boots. I love me Ladyhawke, Golden Filter, et al, but Boots is just......doing nothing to excite me aurally.

Agreed, 'Love Come Down' is worth visiting again. :) (See, I am not all doom & gloom! I usually find most of what XO likes palatable to my taste, but all of blogdom has been going ga-ga over a few acts that leave me cold).

xolondon said...

Zen - which EP do you have? Email me at xolondonATgmailDOTcom.

I don't like Little Boots (note she has not been on this blog!) but she only has like 2 songs, so we'll see when her CD comes out.

Matt Microfilm said...


Matt K. from Microfilm writing.

I kinda like the rambling new Sufjan song. Glad he's branching out (electronics) and not repeating 'illinoise' over and over. Sometimes I'm convinced it's not even him. :) He never got back to us about our cover of 'Chicago' but maybe it was an influence? LOL

U2...I gave up on them after they returned to their "ROCK" in all caps format. Yawn.

Got the new Anthony too. I dont know what all the praise is about. The last one was so much better (and I wonder if it would have been as good without all of the guest stars?); this one is just very monotone and slow. I mean 3-4 years for THAT new album? and that's it.

PopJustice...I have a love/hate relationship. They focus on WAAAY too much X-Factor CRAP and not enough slightly original/edgy pop. Oh, maybe the fact that they've refused to ever write about us in 3 years, despite many, many attempts. Not feeling the hate.

Katy Perry; dont get me started. I got on a multiple post rant about her with one of my friends about how she sucks and isnt even redeemable trashy pop fun; she's just trash. I was also kind of outraged that she got OUT magazine's "Musician of the Year" for 2008 (not her doing, but still...).

OK, I ramble ;)

xolondon said...

Matt, I still owe your record more time.

Out Magazine - from what I can tell, they prefer gay-friendly straight people. That sell$.

Salvador Ali said...

XO .. I haven't been able to connect with Tori after Choirgirl (save a few tracks here and there). Last song I loved was "Gold Dust" on Scarlet's Walk.

I love Little Boots!

Daft Monk said...

I was so shocked to see a Tremble Clef post (rss readers are good for something) that I nearly dedicated a post to his return but my blog is so infrequently updated that it seemed sort of stupid. Hopefully Brittle gets back up to speed soon.

On the dropping a few songs at a time and then releasing an album that was the original concept behind Cordless Recordings the label that released the first Dangerous Muse EPs. I think it has potential because the other example I can think of is the most recent Cure album which almost half of came out as singles beforehand. If they didn't suck it might have been a better test of the concept.

xolondon said...

Muse worked with major people but I will be surprised if they get an actual release. It's been 2 years since their couple of singles!

Matt said...


Honestly, that wasn't a prod for you to check out our album again, but thanks for mentioning that :)

I'm online friends with Tom of Dangerous Muse and they're still on schedule to release their full-length debut this year; it's all completed and waiting for the dreaded major label stamp of approval to send it off. They're now on Sire/Warners.

xolondon said...

That makes me think DM need to get off a major label. Those things are dinosaurs that move too slow. They had such momentum a few years back and they've done very little to keep up with fans. They last updated their myspazz in Feb 2008!

Myfizzypop said...

I do enjoy Little Boots (and also Dan Black who may be a bit of a FrankMusic wannabe?) but i do think la Roux and Frankmusic are technically better all rounders. Still the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, etc.

I love your mix tapes. they are always a delight to read. Lets make out.