Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Sign of the Apocalypse?

Just saw this when I was perusing the news and a shiver went down my spine:

Bono and the Edge will score Spider-Man: The Musical
From World Entertainment News NetworkApril 21, 2007 10:15 AM EDT

LATEST: U2 stars BONO and THE EDGE have confirmed that they will pen the soundtrack for new Broadway show SPIDER-MAN: THE MUSICAL.
The rockers will work with Tony-Award winning Lion King director Julie Taymor for the theatrical extravaganza.
A spokesperson for Marvel Studios says, "This project will delight Spider-Man fans."
Auditions for the main roles of Spider-Man Peter Parker, Mary Jane, spider-woman Arachne, villain The Green Goblin and Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson will begin this July (07). (AT/WNTSU/MT)

Which leads me to a question. What do you do when your favorite band of all time appears to be slipping? I posted a while back on the rapid decline of REM, but this is different. Whereas REM's decline seems to be due to more a loss of interest in their music because of other outlets, U2 seems to be actively trying to kill their careers. After all, am I the only one that is a little tired of St. Bono? I mean, trying to help the poor is great - but come on, you're a rock star, not a UN Ambassador. Now this! Set aside for a moment that the idea of a SPIDERMAN musical is flat out absurd, but to attach your names to this crap is really testing my patience. Then again, these guys could release a record of bird noises and I would probably buy it. But this is a stretch. Imagine what it would be like if these guys just concentrated on making good music...

Here's what I thought was the best song from their last record.

(m4a) U2 -- Miracle Drug (from How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A man drives a plane into the Chrystler Building...

Soul Coughing was a great band that got almost zero attention during their brief career. What started out as free form jazz mixed with hip hop and slam poetry became a even more hypnotic mixture of a myriad of musical styles prior to the demise after just three records. I cannot think of a band with a more varied musical catalogue of influences that stilll managed to be completely unique.

1994's Ruby Vroom still is the purest mix of jazz and poetry that gave the band it's following. The whole record feels like a late night jam at a nightclub. Mike Doughty was the band's singer a and primary writer (he has since gone on to a moderately successful solo career). His words seem to lack cohesion until you start to really dig into them. "Is Chicago, Is not Chicago" has all the earmarks of a great jazz classic (complete with the upright bass line). "Down To This", which samples an old WWII song, hints at the electronic undertones that would later domiante their music.

1996 brought Irresistable Bliss, a more radio friendly album designed to broaden the fan base. While a strong record, it seemed to lack some of the avant garde nature of the first album. Still, "Super Bon Bon" and "Soundtrack to Mary" are irresistable in their own ways.

The band's last release was 1998's El Oso. This was a very radical deaprture from the first two records with a much greater reliance on electronic beats to compliment Doughty's poetry. "Circles" was a minor radio hit but really mislead people from the rest of the record. Songs like "St. Louise is Listening" and "Maybe I'll Come Down" showed a greater depth in writing and instrumentation. Unfortunately, the band broke up soon after.

What was great about Soul Coughing was the compete freedom to their musical approach and Doughty's abstract poetry. It's kind of a shame he has homogenized himself a bit since going solo (under the Dave Matthews Imprint) and morphed into just another singer/songwriter (although an above average one). Still, these guys are worth listening too simply because they truly don't sound like anyone else.

(m4a) Soul Coughing -- Super Bon Bon (from Irresistable Bliss)
(m4a) Soul Coughing -- Circles (from El Oso)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bring That Beat Back

Okay so time for a confession. I CANNOT DANCE!!! I am inflicted with the same disease that most middle aged white males have...complete lack of rhythm. The only way I would ever find my way on to a dance floor was after many, many, many drinks and a total loss of any sense of proprierty. This however would seem to cotnradict my love of dance music. I enjoy almost all forms of electronic music and stocked a good portion of my CD collection with Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Prodigy throughout the 90's. This also lead to a true appreciation for hip hop. Being out here in California, you get exposed to alot more rap and hip hop than other places I imagine. So I offer you a couple of unusual tracks that I stumbled across cleaning out my CD shelves a few days ago.
Danny Saber is a producer/remixer that has made a name for himself remixing artists like Garbage and Electronic. The track I have posted here, Indian Summer, is from a collection entitled "Dope on Plastic Volume 4", which I actually bought for another track but came to appreciate this one as probably the second strongest on the record, mainly for its use of a sitar as the primary instrument of melody. Just a great song that would fit nicely into a Guy Ritchie film (if he still made movies that is...)
The reason I spent money on the Dope on Plastic collection was for the Blueboy track "Remember Me". This appears to be one guy who had this one song and was scarcely heard from again. (at least that's what my research indicates). Anyway, I first heard this song on KCRW (probably the msot influential college radio station on the west coast) and had to track it down. This is a classic 3am song (as in it will infect your brain to the point where your awake until 3 humming it.)
I spent a few months as an intern at London/FFRR records and got a lot of good dance music swag. Two songs from their promo CD "Special Brew" that I played the hell out of in college where Prodigy's "Voodoo People" (remixed by the Dust Brothers of Beck's Odelay fame) and Method Man's "Release Yo Delf" (remixed by the Prodigy). Of course Prodigy went on to a mroe aggressive rock based appraoch later on but this remix is the quintesential dance floor song. The Method Man track gave me a glimpse of the whol Wu Tang Clan vibe and if I ever get up enough courage I will tackle their music in another post.
So there you have it, dance music for people who can't dance.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Another Big Thing Coming

Well Bloc Party seems to have fizzled. Midlake never found any love outside the blog universe. With the exception of the Shins and Modest Mouse (bands with prior success) the big things from the blogs seem to not be doing very well this year. So along comes VOXTROT. This Austin, TX band has a couple of well received eps under their belt and now they are preparing their deubt full length album to be released in May. Voxtrot does the indie rock / pop thing very well. So in the spirit of making snap judgements based solely on one song, I have included their new song"Kid Gloves" for your critique. This could be an outtake from the latest Shins album with less obscure lyrics. A litttle derivative but still very catchy. Better still is the band's cover of New Order's "Love Vigilantes" (anyone with the guts to cover New Order gets bonus points in my book) What is left to be seen is if these guys are equal to their hype.
(mp3) Voxtrot -- Love Vigilantes (New Order Cover)