Thursday, November 24, 2011

star trekkin'

After 30 years working on their respective ongoing music projects, Vince Clarke (currently, one half of Erasure) and Martin L. Gore (as a member Depeche Mode) have come together for the first time since 1981 as VCMG to release a brand new album preceded by a series of EPs.

Referenced during interviews and tentative discussions in the press, Vince and Martin, two electronic music pioneers, have finally given the green light and announced the first fruits of their labor with "EP1/Spock". The EP, due to hit the "shops" as a digital download on December 12 and followed by a 12" single a week later, will feature four tracks, the original version of "Spock" alongside three remixes.

"Spock", a techno inspired number, has been lovingly reswizzled by Edit Select (aka Tony Scott), Regis and XOQ, the alter ego of Californian producer Überzone/Q who mixed the forthcoming VCMG longplayer which is due next year.

fresh kicks

On March 26, 2012, Paul Weller will issue "Sonik Kicks", his eleventh, solo longplayer. If you add in studio albums from The Jam and The Style Council, PW has released a total of 23 albums since "In The City", The Jam's debut elpee in 1977.

The first single to be plucked from it's digital grooves is "Around The Lake". It's a driving and slightly ominous recording which features Paul's vocal swimming in reverb, a clutch of psychedelic noises and a little farfisa line dotted throughout.

Strangely enough, it feels a bit 60s over 80s for me. While maintaining some elements of The Who, The Stooges and The Faces, I can't help but think the single wouldn't sound out of place on an early album by The Cure or Siouxsie And The Banshees.

PW seems to have more fire in him at times than many artists nearly a third his age.

Incidentally, rumor has it that "Starlite", Paul's most recent single which had a touch of TSC about it, will not feature on "Sonik Kicks". Well, that would be quite 80s in itself, n'est-ce pas?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

panic on the streets of London

Must dust this thing off from time to time. It's all gone a bit mental at So Hip It Hurts HQ. A little plug, darlings. Keep an ear out for a few, brand new tracks I produced for Bright Light Bright Light and Fingersnap (aka David McAlmont and Guy Davies). That's where much of my creative energy has been flowing these days. But enough, shameless self promotion.

The mighty Duran Duran return with "Girl Panic!", the second single from their latest longplayer, "All You Need Is Now". Another return to the sound of their halcyon days when Nagel prints and eyeliner were everywhere. Actually, go to any suburban hair salon in the US and you will still find copious amount of both. Some things never change.

Anyway, the marketing and promotional campaigns behind a new Duran single would not be complete with a video from the lads. This time, like many times before, they have splashed some cash on a new clip. Shot in London, the video for "Girl Panic!" finds some role and gender reversal wrapped up in a massive, sprawling, nine minute, fashion drenched extravaganza. It's the 80s all over again, my friends.

Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen and Cindy Crawford all star in the video. I will leave the surprise unspoken. If you haven't seen the clip before, you will find that it has a few twists that make it quite unique. Let's take a gander.

A little wink and a nod to George Michael ("Freedom 90") and Robert Palmer ("Addicted To Love") with that piece of celluloid. "Girl Panic!" is, without a doubt, one of the best videos of the year and a high water mark in the Duran Duran canon. It was expertly directed by Jonas Åkerlund who has lensed many clips including "Frozen" by Madonna.

Now, where is the companion album of Night Versions you're supposed to be releasing, laddies? We, the fans, demand it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

money, money, money

Penguin Prison has been out and about promoting their debut, self titled longplayer and now the fifth single has been plucked from its grooves. "Don't Fuck With My Money" sits somewhere between Prince, Hall And Oates, Duran Duran, and INXS. It captures the vibe of the MTV era without ever aping any particular artist or song.

And let's face it kittens, it's all about timing! Considering the current political climate, what would be a better time than now to lense a video for the single? And smack in the middle of Occupy Wall Street. The clip was shot at Zuccotti Park in NYC which was cleared of protesters and their tents earlier this weekg. Synchronicity and serendipity unite!

For sure, the Penguin Prison album is one of the highlights in a year that has seen a distinct return to intelligent pop which has long been dormant over the last two decades. Expect to see it in my top five elpees of the year.

Also, Penguin Prison has been responsible for some seriously good reswizzlings include tracks from Darren Hayes, Kylie Minogue, Goldfrapp, Ellie Goulding and Jamiroquai, among others. If you get a chance, check out Chris Glover and co. in a live setting near you!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

gone daddy gone

My sincerest apologies for being AWOL for a short while. It's been quite manic at So Hip It Hurts HQ. Between productions, DJ gigs and songwrting sessions, not to mention running a local business, time has slipped ever faster into the future without an update to my lovely blog. I can assure you, I plan to do my best to stay on top of things.

So, it's my pleasure to return with a beautiful, new platter from an artist many people are earmarking for big things well into 2012 and beyond.

After the monumental success of "Heaven", Emeli Sandé was always going to have a tough time following it with something even remotely epic. A career defining song, "Heaven" pushed all the right buttons without sounding like anything else out there.

Now, Ms. Sandé moves forward with "Daddy", the second single from her forthcoming longplayer, "Our Version Of Events". Seeing as her debut elpee is scheduled for release on February 6, I suspect a third single will see the light of day a few weeks ahead of it.

Thankfully, "Daddy" mines the same ground as"Heaven". There is a distinct trip hop undertow in the clattered rhythm and ominous strings combo. It's all very 90s in its inspiration while establishing a very 21st century sound. Nary a dubstep breakbeat in earshot. Huzzah! A daring move in this cookie cutter climate. One I'm pleased she has stuck with.

As for the video, Ms. Sandé has traded London for Los Angeles which hints at a more global launch for her anticipated debut. Labels aren't splashing cash in many directions these days. I suspect there is quite a lot of support for Emeli's album.

Nothing groundbreaking. She has a striking look that will burning a unique image behind the retinas. The key here is that Emeli Sandé doesn't oversing. No melismatic overstatement. She simply sings the song. Beyoncé, please take note.

One confusing note to end on, not sure why producer Shahid Khan, aka Naughty Boy, is namechecked in the artist credit with Emeli. Has he contributed something unique to the performance that I haven't discovered?

"Daddy", accompanied by a cadre of remixes, will be available from all fine "shops" on November 20.