Friday, August 26, 2011

black and blood

Darren Hayes has released some deets about the second single from his forthcoming longplayer, "Secret Codes And Battleships".

"Bloodstained Heart" is scheduled to be released in Australia on September 5.

It's a beautiful ballad that starts with a lonely, throbbing guitar and builds through a beautifully heartbreaking chorus and ends with a brutally epic arrangement which would make Jimmy Webb shed a jealous tear. Simply gorgeous.

On October 2, the rest of the world outside Oz gets a different track, "Black Out The Sun".

It's another big pop number, but it's dressed in some hip hop inspired drum programming without the melody ever being compromised. The chorus is very expressive with a smattering of Middle Eastern flavored string arrangements laid over the top.

Three singles in and Mr. Hayes' next elpee sounds quite promising, indeed. "Secret Codes And Battleships" is due to be available from all fine "shops" on October 17. Many friends who have heard the new longplayer at recent playback sessions in London and NYC have indicated that this might be his finest and fully satisfying album to date.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the session during my recent visit to London as I was deeply ensconced in various studios across the capital working on songs for other artists. I guess I'll have to wait until the album is unleashed!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

promises, promises

Swedish DJ maestros, Drop Out Orchestra, have reswizzled, "Promised Land", an often forgotten, late 80s, dance jam by The Style Council, a record which itself was a cover of a Chicago house classic by Joe Smooth.

"Promised Land" was TSC's penultimate single before being shown the door by their record label. Paul Weller went on to tremendous solos success as the godfather of Britpop a few years later. Reinvention is the mother of popular music, my friends.

Well, they've certainly done the business once again. Drop Out Orchestra have taken the original and added tasty bits including a new, funky bass line, horny horns, some whooshes and a few electronic touches. Voilà! A reswizzled revisit of a a record that really should've been a hit upon its release back in 1989.

In a flash of synchronicity, Drop Out Orchestra have just been commissioned to put their delicate touch on Paul Weller's current single, "Starlite".

The sound of PW recapturing a bit of TSC sonic glory. We knew he had it in him.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

heavenly action

Hello, my lovelies. I'm writing this blog entry from a cozy little corner at Starbucks in Maida Vale which is located in the bosom of northern London. There are many songs being written in various studios throughout the capital this week. The journey to and from each session has been accompanied by one song which makes it's debut at #2 on the UK singles chart today.

The gloriously anthemic "Heaven" from Emeli Sandé has crashed the consumer consciousness in Great Britain and filled the airwaves with gospel voices set to a funky drummer beat. Yes, we have firmly revisited the sound of the 90s, ladies and gents. And it appears Emeli's producers have listened to copious amounts of "Blue Lines", the genre defining, trip hop, debut from Bristol's finest, Massive Attack.

But first, let's have a look at the video which was just lensed for "Heaven".

The twenty year cycle of nostalgia is in full effect for the 90s. Gritty street scenes, ashen faces, wandering homeless men and lost children. For a visual and sonic comparison, let's check out "Unfinished Sympathy", the track that launched the Massive Attack phenomenon. Pay particular attention the the string lines.

Of course, the two songs don't sound the same, but Emeli definitely captured some of the vibe. Big things are tipped for her. We will keep a watchful on this rising diva.

Friday, August 12, 2011

the centre of the heart is a suburb to the brain

Erasure have just announced the details of "When I Start To (Break It All Down)", the lead single from their forthcoming, fourteenth longplayer, "Tomorrow's World". The single sleeve, like the album cover, has been designed by Tom Hingston and uses another sculpture by artist Kate MacDowell.

I must admit that I have always enjoyed the continuity of the artwork for Erasure's singles and album campaigns. Much like Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys, Vince and Andy put a lot of loving care into the visuals of their packaging.

The single will be available on CD and as a download on September 26. Additionally,
"When I Start To (Break It All Down)" will be available as a single track download a full month ahead of the extended configurations.

The full, official tracklisting for the single include the following:

1. When I Start To (Break It All Down) (Single Mix)
2. Tomorrow's World
3. When I Start To (Break It All Down) (Steve Smart & Westfunk Main Room Mix)
4. When I Start To (Break It All Down) (Kris Menace Remix)
5. When I Start To (Break It All Down) (Little Loud Remix)

"Tomorrow's World" is a cover of the theme music from the UK TV series of the same which inspired the album title.

And as if that wasn't enough good news for Erasure fans, the tracklisting for the deluxe edition of "Tomorrow's World" has been announced. The first disc will feature the album in its entirety. The second disc will feature exclusive mixes, a bonus track and demos from the album recording sessions. The tracklisting for the bonus disc will include the following tasty nuggets:

1. I Lose Myself (Extended "No Self Control" Mix)
2. Give Me Life [bonus track not available elsewhere]
3. Fill Us With Fire (Extended "Fired Up" Mix)
4. When I Start To (Break It All Down) (Frankmusik Remix)
5. Clash (demo version of "I Lose Myself")
6. Big Song (demo version of "Fill Us With Fire")
7. Major 7th (demo version of "Be With You")
8. Save Me (demo version of "You've Got To Save Me Right Now")

The mixes of "I Lose Myself" and "Fill Us With Fire" were produced by Erasure mainstay, Gareth Jones. "Tomorrow's World" is scheduled to hit the "shops" on October 3.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

collages and codes collide

Darren Hayes has revealed the gloriously colorful artwork for his forthcoming, fourth, solo longplayer "Secret Codes And Battle Ships". Is there a hidden message within its imagery?

First single, "Talk Talk Talk", is head and shoulders above much of the current pop pack. Let's hope everyone's favorite Aussie troubadour stacks the zeros and ones with more of the same shimmering goodness.

Apparently, the album isn't scheduled for release until October. However, Darren will be having exclusive playback sessions of the elpee throughout August in London, New York, Sydney and Brisbane. Such a generous chap!

never turn your back on Mother Earth

Hard on the heels of the deluxe editions of their first two elpees, "Wonderland" and "The Circus", Erasure announce the release of their forthcoming, fourteenth longplayer, "Tomorrow’s World".

The album sleeve, another artistic triumph for the duo, retools the band's logo once again. The cover design is by Tom Hingston who has done magnificent work for artists like Massive Attack, Garbage, The Chemical Brothers and Robbie Williams among many others. It also incorporates sculptures made by Kate MacDowell. It's very pastel. No? Hearts flowers and butterflies, ahoy! Thankfully, no unicorns.

The album, the band’s first in more than four years, is produced by Frankmusik (a.k.a. Vincent Frank) and mixed by Rob Orton. We're still a big fan of Frankmusik's debut longplayer, "Complete Me", from 2009. Even though his new single, "Do It In The AM" is complete shit and giant step down from his pop glory, I'm really looking forward to his contribution to Vince and Andy's electronic odes to love. The first single plucked from it will be “When I Start To (Break It All Down)”.

The standard album features nine songs, but the deluxe edition will come with a bonus disc featuring remixes, demos and a bonus track. The full, official tracklisting for "Tomorrow's World", which is scheduled to be released on October 4, features the following tracks.

1. Be With You
2. Fill Us With Fire
3. What Will I Say When You’re Gone?
4. You’ve Got To Save Me Right Now
5. A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot
6. When I Start To (Break It All Down)
7. I Lose Myself
8. Then I Go Twisting
9. Just When I Thought It Was Ending

Friday, August 5, 2011

Have we lost what it takes to advance?

Such is the question posed in "Sleeping Satellite" as covered by Kim Wilde on her latest album, "Snapshots", a collection of her fave raves. It does make you wonder about the validity of such a project. What is the motivation? Laziness? Lack of inspiration? No faith in original material? Just good fun?

Whatever the reason, at least KW has taken the opportunity to record some unexpected covers. And now, as part of an old fashioned double a-side single, Kim has decided to release "Sleeping Satellite" alongside "It's Alright".

She spent a few euros on a video, too. Amazing that she was able to squeeze out some cash from the label for two clips!

Love those retro looking, fingerless, black lace gloves!

And here's the original from Tasmin Archer which was a #1 hit in the UK way back in 1992.

The full, official tracklisting for "Snapshots" includes the following fourteen nuggets.

1. It's Alright (originally recorded by East 17)
2. In Between Days (originally recorded by The Cure)
3. About You Now (originally recorded by Sugababes)
4. Sleeping Satellite (originally recorded by Tasmin Archer)
5. To France (originally recorded by Mike Oldfield)
6. A Little Respect (originally recorded by Erasure)
7. Remember Me (originally recorded by Diana Ross)
8. Anyone Who Had A Heart (originally recorded by Cilla Black)
9. Wonderful Life (originally recorded by Black)
10. They Don't Know (originally recorded by Kirsty MacColl)
11. Beautiful Ones (originally recorded by Suede)
12. Just What I Needed (originally recorded by The Cars)
13. Ever Fallen In Love (originally recorded by The Buzzcocks)
14. Kooks (originally recorded by David Bowie)