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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween from The Sky Report

Nina Simone - I Put A Spell On You

Echo & the Bunnymen - The Killing Moon

The Ramones - Pet Sematary

Lou Gramm - Lost In the Shadows

The Cure - Lullaby

Sisters of Mercy - More

Diamanda Galas - I Put A Spell On You (live) (be warned, this one's crazy!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MGMT - "Oracular Spectacular"

MGMT first gained a following two years ago with their "Time To Pretend" EP, a raw excursion into electro-psych-pop. Now the duo has become a trio and have just released their first full-length "Oracular Spectacular", a solid debut of sweet, experimental, psychedelic electro-pop (even though they have said themselves they do not want to be described by many of those words). These are a pair of lads from Wesleyan University who relocated to Brooklyn, got discovered by some NYU students who distributed the EP, which led to a record deal with Columbia and an opening slot on Of Montreal's current tour. Not bad.

The new album is really infectious. From first listen I was immediately hooked and I can't stop repeating it on my iPod. Check out the opening track, 'Time To Pretend':

DOWNLOAD - MGMT - Time To Pretend (via Myspace)

SALLY SHAPIRO - 'Jackie Jackie (Spend This Winter With Me)'

The North American version of Sally Shapiro's "Disco Romance" is out today! And just in the nick of time, Sally has a brand new video for the new track 'Jackie Jackie (Spend This Winter With Me).

The soundtrack is set, let winter begin...

Sally Shapiro - Jackie Jackie (Spend This Winter With Me) (music video)

THE RAVEONETTES - "Lust Lust Lust" (update)

The Raveonettes new LP "Lust Lust Lust" has been given a tentative North American release date of March 4, 2008. Meanwhile, the album drops in Europe on November 12th, with the first single 'Blush' currently out to radio. 'Blush' is so damn can stream it now...

STREAM - The Raveonettes - Blush

Lust Lust Lust tracklist:

01 Aly, Walk With Me
02 Hallucinations
03 Lust
04 Dead Sound
05 Black Satin
06 Blush
07 Expelled From Love
08 You Want The Candy
09 Blitzed
10 Sad Transmisson
11 With My Eyes Closed
12 The Best Dies

THE B-52'S - "Funplex"

The B-52's have signed to Astralwerks and will release their first album in 16 years on February 26th, 2008. The new disk "Funplex" was recorded in Athens, Georgia and produced by Steve Osborne (Doves, New Order, Happy Mondays).

Glenn Mendlinger, Astralwerks label manager says, "We are thrilled to be bringing The B-52's music to a new generation of intergalactic fans. Cindy, Fred, Kate, and Keith have made an album that is incredibly fresh, dynamic and perhaps most importantly, quintessentially The B-52's ... instantly recognizable, instantly fun."

Tomorrow night The B-52's share the stage with The Rapture for a special Halloween show at The Roseland Ballroom. Last I heard there are still tickets available.

Funplex tracklist:

1. Pump
2. Hot Corner
3. Ultraviolet
4. Juliet Of The Spirits
5. Funplex
6. Eyes Wide Open
7. Love In The Year 3000
8. Deviant Ingredient
9. Too Much To Think About
10. Dancing Now
11. Keep This Party Going


The Magnetic Fields will release the new album "Distortion" on January 15th, 2008 via Nonesuch Records. Stephin Merritt has been a busy bee lately. In addition to the new album, he recently scored a pair of Volvo commercials - "Wheels" and "Showroom", one of which features the original new song 'I'm In A Lonely Way', available now on iTunes.

The Magnetic Fields have a brief tour planned for February and March of next year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

GOLDFRAPP - "Seventh Tree" (update)

Goldfrapp's fourth LP has been given the title of "Seventh Tree" and will be released through Mute Records on February 25th, 2008. More details as they come...February is just going to be an amazing month in electronic music...Cut Copy, Hot Chip, Goldfrapp...can't wait!


Of Montreal have made a trippy new video for 'Gronlandic Edit', possibly to remind us that "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer" remains one of the year's best albums.

Of Montreal - Gronlandic Edit (music video)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

LYKKE LI - 'Little Bit'

Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for this one. Lykke Li is a 21 year-old pop singer from Sweden. In the vein of Robyn and Annie, her music is cute and catchy, with just a dash of edginess to make her cool. She has a new EP available in Sweden and you can buy it here. Her new video 'Little Bit' is below and I love it. She has a free show Monday at The Knitting Factory and a regular show Tuesday at Mercury Lounge. Bjorn (of Peter Bjorn & John) is producing her full length debut.

Lykke Li - Little Bit (music video)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

PORTISHEAD - The Wait is Nearly Over

After ten long years, the third Portishead album is finally almost here. Geoff Barrow recently had this to say about the new album on the Portishead blog:

"we went to london for a fews days to finish up. we worked in molko 9 back in ~Bristol now working on some art work and getting the live stuff together. i think one more day messing about with it and it will be done. then into the wonderful world of mastering"

Portishead are also curating All Tomorrow's Parties in Britain December 7-9, with a line-up that includes Silver Apples, Aphex Twin, Boris, Autolux, Madlib, and Thurston Moore.

Portishead - All Mine (music video)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New !!! Video - 'Yadnus'

Warp Records recently released 'Yadnus' as a digital single, taken from !!!'s most recent album "Myth Takes". The release features remixes by Scottie B, DJ Kaos, Emperor Machine, and Still Going, as well as a remix of previous single 'Must Be the Moon'. This provides good reason to go back and listen to the "Myth Takes" album, a really solid effort that I haven't listened to in awhile. At one point last spring I had 'Heart of Hearts' in every playlist I made. Such a great track.

epo-555 - "Mafia"

epo-555 are from Copenhagen and recently released their second album "Mafia" on Rykodisc in the US. The sound is a sort of infectious dreampop/melancholic electro that at times conjures an early 90's nostalgia, something I can never resist. Good stuff.

STREAM - epo-555 - Maid in China

epo-555 - Hyperschlieb (music video)

Monday, October 22, 2007

GLASS CANDY - 'Digital Versicolor'

Glass Candy has been consistently offering new tracks to download on their Myspace page in the last few months and now there's a whole new batch, including 'Life After Sundown' and 'Digital Versicolor', the latter of which also has a brand new video. Check out both mp3's and the video below.

DOWNLOAD - Glass Candy - Digital Versicolor

DOWNLOAD - Glass Candy - Life After Sundown

CMJ Report: Justice

Justice has quite a religious following, as was wildy apparent at Terminal 5 on Saturday night. From the moment the black sheets were pulled from the amp towers, to the now infamous light-up cross flicking on at the show's start, the crowd's sheer excitement was unparalleled - and that was just the beginning. The wall to wall crowd of hipsters, electroheads, and straight-up music lovers danced deliriously, many with glowsticks in hand, loving every mili-second of the duo's infectious electronic set.

It seems like a hard task for a pair of dj's to stand at their decks for an hour and a half and pull off an entertaining show. But Justice made it look easy with the help of flawless sound and lighting, which greatly enhanced the overall show. And when they finished their encore, the feverish crowd began singing the duo's most famous song in hopes that they would once again return to the stage.

"Because we are your friends
you'll never be alone again
well come on well come on
well come on well come on"

After many, many rounds of the chorus being chanted, the houselights finally came up and it was all over.

Justice - Phantom (part1 of 2) (live at Terminal 5)

-all photos by Scot Bowman

CMJ Report: The Secret Life of Sofia

The Secret Life of Sofia played the StereoactiveNYC/Hot Rocks official CMJ showcase at The Delancey on Saturday night. I unfortunately only had time to catch a few songs, but what I heard was quite beautiful. Their stage was adorned with the previously mentioned flourescent lanterns, but no projections this time. Still, these guys are a band to keep an eye on. Their forthcoming full-length will be released in 2008, but in the meantime you can get their self-titled EP at IQ Records.

Download - The Secret Life of Sofia - Hospital Inside Me (via the band's website)

STREAM - The Secret Life of Sofia - Various Tracks (from their forthcoming new LP)

-photo by Scot Bowman

Friday, October 19, 2007


Bloc Party - Flux

Chromeo - Bonafide Lovin'

UNKLE - Hold My Hand

Jose Gonzalez - Teardrop

Prefuse 73 - The Class of 73 Bells

New Pornographers - Challengers

CMJ Report: M.I.A.

M.I.A.'s show at the brand new Terminal 5 was clearly the highlight of the CMJ Music Marathon this week. OMG!!!!!!!!!! It feels almost unfair to even review it, as the entire show was so full of energy, so completely entertaining...just wow!!! (By the way, this post officially marks the end of horrible photography on this site, new camera! Yeah!)

Firstly, Terminal 5, NY's new premiere Bowery Presents venue is so over the top - three levels, with bars and bathrooms on each one, the place is reminiscent of the bar in the 80's film 'Cocktail', you know when Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown are hitting it big time and land a gig at the hottest club in Manhattan. But, as big as this place is, the house was packed. When M.I.A. finally took the stage after 10:30, following an uproar of boos and violent shouts, people were scrambling around everywhere, trying to land a spot with an actual view of the stage.

But once she did take the stage all was forgiven. She opened with 'Bamboo Banga', the opener to her phenomenal new album "Kala". The temperature rose and the songs were tight, tight, tight, equally blending the set with tracks from "Kala" and her auspicious debut "Arular". The crowd was treated to freaked-out versions of 'Pull Up the People', 'Sunshowers', 'XR2', and the amazing '20 Dollar' which morphed into New Order's 'Blue Monday', before breaking anarchically into the current single 'Jimmy'. Mindblowing!

But the party had only just gotten started. Watch the video below of the "Arular" hit 'Bucky Done Gun', which preceded the crowd-shattering 'Boyz', wherein Miss Maya brought half the crowd onto the stage and the show was nearly shut down. This shit was outta control, yet somehow it was all held together magnificently by the enigmatic M.I.A. And lucky for us, the show went on. We were blessed with her best songs from there on out - the song of the year 'Paper Planes' and the hit that made her famous back in '05, 'Galang'.

I caught M.I.A. at Coachella a couple years ago and back then she was great. Now, she is a virtuoso - at once, staggeringly vital and wildy entertaining. Artist of the year for sure.

M.I.A. - Bucky Done Gun (live at Terminal 5, NYC 10/18/07)

CMJ Report: Deerhunter

No photos from Deerhunter last night. My camera died in the middle of Dan Deacon, blah. But I just bought a new one today, so the visual side of things here should be improving very soon.

This was my second time seeing Deerhunter live and they are definitely growing into their sound. The songs were full of layers, distortion, echo and meticulously layered vocals, enhanced by lead singer Bradford Cox's effects processor. The set was mesmerizing. They kicked things off with an amazing new song, then fleshed things out, highlighted by many of the bands greatest tracks - 'Cryptograms', 'Hazel St.', 'Spring Hall Convert' and 'Wash Off'. But the standout for me was the electric-fused rendition of 'Strange Lights'. This bittersweet song found a whole new level of urgency in the Bowery Ballroom set.

Outside of the music, things were sketchy. The encore found Bradford wining away in a desperate rant, repeating phrases like "I miss my family!" "I miss 1997!" It got sad. Especially when some guy tried to leave to take a piss and Bradford shouted after him, "Where do you think you're going?!" When he explained himself, Bradford drank half a bottle of water and demanded that the guy take a piss into the empty half. Once the next song got underway, the guy snuck out unnoticed by crazy Bradford. Then Bradford went into a monologue about how New York sucks because he can't smoke onstage. After a long explanation of his nicotine addiction, he finally lit up. No cops showed up. No one hauled him off the stage.

It was clear Bradford's bandmates were uneasy - the final moment of the show had one of the guys unplugging his microphone so he couldn't talk anymore. This was the ultimate in ironic live sets - the music is flawless, but the band seem to be held together by a weakening thread.

Antics aside, Deerhunter are a great live band. See them soon, before they crumble under their own staged drama.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

CMJ Report: Dan Deacon

About half way through the No Age set last night, I suddenly became aware of some mild commotion going on right behind me. As I looked over my shoulder, I noticed the table that was up against the wall, on which was the crazy audio contraption you see below. Still trying to find the cause of the commotion, I looked down to the floor to discover a pair of legs sticking out from under the table, squirming around on the floor. I thought it was odd, but without much thought I turned my attention back to No Age.

A few moments later, a crazy looking man with huge glasses turned to me with his hands extended and said, "Man, I just started a fire and electrocuted myself!"

Just as I started to smell the smoke from said fire, it dawned on me who this crazy looking man was. It was Dan Deacon!

The fire got put out and Dan was okay, albeit a tad jumpy after electrocuting himself. The whole episode was just so comical. Much like his live show that erupted moments later.

From where I was standing you couldn't see Dan at all - just a glowing green skeleton head, marking his place in the crowd. At set's start Dan instructed people to join the photographers onstage, creating a sort of paparazzi hovering over him. Then, after a bizarre "Ethan Hawke" chant, the music started and a whole room of New Yorker's actually danced like it was the end of the world. It was fantastic.

At one point things got so rowdy that Dan stopped the music and mock-complained that, "The level of shoving is just ridiculous". He proceded to instruct the audience to spread out and create a giant gap in the center of the room, complete with pathways to each of the two mezzanine stairways. Then, like a P.E. teacher, ordered various fans to pretend like they were Diplo and run up and down the stairs greeting their fans. It was mildy hysterical, but what's more is the way in which Dan creates his environment. He talks. People listen. He should run for President!

Catch the video over at Stereogum.

CMJ Report: No Age

No Age took the Bowery Ballroom by storm last night, demanding attention and damn well getting it. With just two guys, one on drums, vocals, and sampler, and the other on electric guitar, these guys rocked the living daylights out of the crowd. Wow! Like my friend Tatiana said, "If these guys stay together for another five years, they'll be huge!"

This was a balls-to-the-wall punk extravaganza, complete with chaotic moshing in the crowd, guitar legend leaps from towering amplifiers, and a final song that sounded like the last three minutes of a feedback-laden finale to a concert ala 1970 by say, The Who. These guys fucking rock!

I have to admit that, at times, I was a bit distracted, as Dan Deacon was right behind me, setting up his equipment and in the process starting a fire and electrocuting himself, but more about that later.

At one point near the end, the guitarist pulled many of the young moshers onto the stage, for an all-out frenetic dance-punk off, that had the place combusting. Those lucky young bastards - particularly the blonde guy who ended up with the guitar and was lifted into the heavens, ad-libbing a dramatic solo; his face literally beaming with excitement at his fifteen minutes of fame. Hell yeah.

Purchase the new album "Weirdo Rippers" here.

-All photos by Scot Bowman

CMJ Report: White Williams

White Williams played the CMJ showcase at Bowery Ballroom last night, surely winning over new fans with his nostalgic 80's-electro-vibe sound. Backed with a band consisting of an electric guitar, bass, two Apple laptops and Mr. White himself on sampler and keyboards, the live incarnation succeeds by the fine use of simplicity, accompanied by a very well put together visual montage backdrop.

Of his current single 'New Violence', the Village Voice recently had quite a few kind words to describe it: "But “New Violence”, which you can hear right now, is the key. Like Blondie’s (correction: Debbie Harry's) “Rush Rush” with the bass dialed, or the Strokes with rhythm, or post-punk if post-punk never happened, “New Violence” pulls off the icy feat of being an irresistible song that doesn’t care whether you resist it or not."

The single is awesome. If you haven't heard it yet, seek it out.

The man behind the moniker is Joe Williams, a fresh-faced 23 year-old who conjures the words cute and sweet. You are sure to hear more from White Williams very soon, as the debut disk "Smoke" is set for a November 6th release and is available now on iTunes.

-All photos by Scot Bowman

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

CAT POWER - "Jukebox" (Update)

Matador Records has just released the awesome ode-to-Warhol new cover art and tracklisting for Cat Power's upcoming new album "Jukebox". As previously reported, this is another covers album, to be released on January 22, 2008.

1. Theme From ‘New York, New York’ (cover of Frank Sinatra)
2. Metal Heart (cover of Cat Power)
3. Ramblin’ (Wo)man (cover of Hank Williams)
4. Song To Bobby (original song)
5. Aretha, Sing One For Me (cover of George Jackson)
6. Lost Someone (cover of James Brown)
7. I Believe In You (cover of Bob Dylan)
8. Fortunate Son (cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival)
9. Silver Stallion (cover of Lee Clayton)
10. Dark End of the Street (cover of James Carr)
11. Don’t Explain (cover of Billie Holliday)
12. Woman Left Lonely (cover of Janis Joplin)

New GOLDFRAPP Album On the Way

Goldfrapp have posted a bulletin on myspace announcing the completion of their new album, which is to be very different from "Supernature".

The message from Goldfrapp:

"Been a long time I know, but we have finally emerged from our beavering hole in Somerset and have an album!

Feels really good to have finished it and we can’t wait for you to hear what we have been doing. It’s very different to Supernature so it might come as a bit of a shock to some of you.

We had fun making it and loved doing something that is in complete contrast to the last album, even though sometimes it took a bit of courage to steer as far away as we did on some of the tunes. It has come from the heart and was made with love, so we hope you will be into it too."

No info yet on the title, tracklisting or a release date. I will definitely keep you posted.

SALLY SHAPIRO - "Disco Romance" North American Version Released Today

-photo by Frida Klingberg

You can finally purchase the North American version of Sally Shapiro's "Disco Romance" here. The disc comes with a couple new tracks, as well as new artwork.

STREAM - Sally Shapiro - Jackie Jackie (Spend This Winter With Me)

"Disco Romance" US Version tracklist:

01. I’ll Be By Your Side (Extended Mix)
02. I Know
03. Find My Soul
04. Time to Let Go
05. Anorak Christmas
06. He Keeps Me Alive
07. Hold Me So Tight
08. Skating in the Moonshine
09. Jackie Jackie (Spend This Winter With Me)
10. Sleep in My Arms

CMJ Music Marathon - NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB - 'Get Lucky', MUSCLES - "Guns Babes Lemonade"

The CMJ Music Marathon kicks off today in NYC and I will be catching a few shows - Deerhunter, Dan Deacon, White Williams, No Age, M.I.A., Justice, Midnight Juggernauts - and hopefully some of the day time and late night showcases. One show I will sadly not be going to is the Thursday night Modular party at Studio B with Muscles, The Cool Kids and New Young Pony Club. I'm sure it will be insane, but I opted for M.I.A. instead.

New Young Pony Club has a new video for 'Get Lucky'. Their album is available now on Modular.

New Young Pony Club - Get Lucky (music video)

Muscles' long-awaited debut "Guns Babes Lemonade" hits stores on October 23 via Modular. His recent single 'Ice Cream' was declared the 2007 summer jam of the year by Gorilla vs. Bear. The new video for the album's opening track 'Sweaty' is below.

Muscles - Sweaty (music video)

Friday, October 12, 2007

CUT COPY - "In Ghost Colours"

February of next year is gonna be a hot one for new releases. In addition to the announcement of Hot Chip's new album getting a Feb. 2008 release, Cut Copy are also planning to release their sophomore LP "In Ghost Colours" the very same month. Yes! This one has been a long time coming. The band recently went into the DFA studios with Tim Goldworthy to complete the album. It should be outta sight!

Snag the mp3 for 'So Haunted' from the new album over at Big Stereo.

HOT CHIP "Made In the Dark"

According to NME in the UK, Hot Chip are eyeing a February 2008 release for their third studio album, currently titled "Made In the Dark". Tracks on the new album will include 'Shake a Fist' and 'Ready For the Floor'. NME quotes Alexis Taylor as saying, "It's a lot more like a live band sound, it's a lot rockier. There's even metal influences in some places."

Hot Chip go metal?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

PJ HARVEY Graces the Beacon Theatre

Polly Jean Harvey graced the legendary Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side of Manhattan last night, turning in her typically flawless live performance. She was simply breathtaking, at times playing an upright piano, other times rocking the antique venue with a solo electric guitar, and other times banging away on a cymbal, howling, backed by a distorted electro-sample loop. It would be a disgrace not to mention the other instruments utilized by Polly's extraordinary talent - harmonica, mini-harp, acoustic guitar, and her painstakingly phenomenal voice.

It was quite perfect that she bookended her show with a live Nina Simone recording. After all, Nina did play the Beacon in her final touring days. It was ominous, haunting and unforgettable to hear Nina's voice in this venue, not unlike PJ's performance itself.

Here is PJ's setlist at Beacon Theatre:

To Bring You My Love
Send His Love To Me
When Under Ether
The Devil
White Chalk
My Beautiful Leah
Nina in Ecstasy
Electric Light
Big Exit
Down By the Water
Grow, Grow, Grow
The Mountain


Rid of Me
The Piano
The Desperate Kingdom of Love

-All photos by Scot Bowman


As you may have heard by now, last weekend's extravaganza at Randall's Island was amazing. Minus ferry troubles that seemed like a scene out of War of the Worlds, the day was fantastic, featuring mindblowing sets by LES SAVY FAV, BLONDE REDHEAD, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, and ARCADE's all been said. I'm only very sad that I arrived too late to catch the majority of Les Savy Fav's set. When I arrived Tim Harrington was half naked, doing naughty things with a pie. I heard it was astounding.

Here are my lackluster photos of the day's events...I need a new camera already!

Blonde Redhead

LCD Soundsystem

Arcade Fire

-all photos by Scot Bowman

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

RADIOHEAD - "In Rainbows" 94%

In the wee hours of the night I found the most exciting gift in my inbox. The brand new and virtually amazing new record from RADIOHEAD, "In Rainbows".

The band makes history by offering the album as a pay-what-you-deem-worthy download, months before its physical release; a motion that has the record industry turning inside out. Since the news of Radiohead's unheard of method, many major acts have followed suit. Both OASIS and JAMIROQUAI have announced similar plans for the future. Trent Reznor released a statement just days ago, speaking of his newfound freedom from his record contract at Interscope - "I have been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate."

With all this flux in the record industry, what does the future hold for the major leagues? And what does this mean for smaller acts? Take the new buzzworthy band of the moment, BLACK KIDS for example. Their new four song EP, "Wizard of Ahhhs" is available to download in its entirety on their Myspace page - completely free. Is it more worthwhile to give your music away and accumulate a larger fanbase, than to go through the standard route of building and building, taking the abuse from the record company when your record doesn't sell Britney-level numbers? Maybe so.

Either way you look at it, major artists are getting increasingly fed up with the laws and legislation of the record industry. So now you have arguably the greatest band of the last two decades taking matters into their own hands and voluntarily leaking their brilliant new album to the masses. The times they are a changin'.

But back to the music.

"In Rainbows" starts with a static, frenetic beat, seemingly mutated from 'Idioteque', the dark-electro standout from 2000's "Kid A". It's an off-putting starting point, but '15 Step' slowly evolves into a very strong, layered opener; at various times recalling past Radiohead moments, with its jangle-fuzz guitar riff, echo-strained pads, and confrontational lyrics. Within a minute or so, you know without a doubt that you have just been swept into a full-on virtuoso Radiohead album.

But the real grabber is track 2. 'Bodysnatchers' is by far the most agressive track on the album. Complete with Thom Yorke's rigorous wail, Jonny Greenwood's dramatic guitar work, and the usual electrifying build up, this is the muscle of the first half of "In Rainbows".

'Nude' takes it down a notch. A gorgeous vocal by Thom, with the familiar, wavering melody of past as he sings, "Don't get any big ideas". Normally it would be a negative statement to say that there are so many moments that recall past songs of a band's catalog, but here the idea is used to great effect; at once reminding you of the genius that is Radiohead, but furthermore, it's as if the band is gently leading you into the state of the future - or better yet, the state of now. On 'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi' Thom sings, "Why should I stay here? Why should I stay? I'd be crazy not to follow, follow where you lead". This literally serves as a multi-layered metaphor for, not only the state of the record industry and what Radiohead are doing to change it, but more importantly, the state of our government and what we are going to do to change it. These political metaphors are, of course, nothing new for our boys, but the way they stay relevant is unmatched by any other band I can recall over the last decade.

A favorite track of mine from the start is the fairly simple, but beautiful 'All I Need'. I can't even really explain why, but the straightforward lyrics and deep piano resonate, leaving you with a stunning Radiohead ballad, if you will. Again Thom soars at the finish, but it is muted just enough to make it haunting, making it stick with you after album's end.

'Faust Arp' again recalls a Radiohead of the past, but manages to stay quite minimal and affecting as the shortest track on the album, clocking in at only 2:10. The presence of strings continues with the eerie and sprawling 'Reckoner'. Another standout comes with 'House of Cards', a track that opaquely leads you into an abyss of gentle confrontation. Thom sings, "The infrastructure will collapse...forget about your house of cards...denial, denial...", as a searing synth-knife swarms around the vocal. The trademark truth is as apparent as ever.

And then things kick into a more natural flow with 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place', the one track that seems to whisper 'single'. An acoustic guitar replaces the eerie atmospherics that make up a large part of the album. If there is a radio-friendly track on the album, this is certainly it.

Finally, the album's closer 'Videotape' brings you back to the center - a melancholy piano refrain, ensconced in a sparsely spastic beat. The track gently fades out, leaving you unsettled...almost wondering if the album is really complete. But, alas it is. And if I had any gripe at all with "In Rainbows" it would be the brief, starkness of it all. Could the whole free album leak be a larger scheme in the grandness of the concept? After all, the discbox version (to be shipped out to purchasers by December 3rd) includes a second disc of which contains eight more songs. One can only hope for more greatness to come, but ultimately Radiohead do here what any profound band of the past has always done. They keep you thirsting for more.

DOWNLOAD - Radiohead - Bodysnatchers
DOWNLOAD - Radiohead - All I Need

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

CAT POWER - "Jukebox"

CAT POWER has unveiled the name of her forthcoming album, previously known only as "The Covers Record II". The collection of cover songs now goes by the name of "Jukebox" and is set to be released on January 22, 2008 via Matador Records. The album will feature a cover of her own song 'Metal Heart', as well as one new original track, 'Song to Bobby'.

-photo by Scot Bowman

Cat Power - 'Lived in Bars' from The Greatest (music video)

ROBYN - 'Handle Me'

As ROBYN gears up for the long-awaited December 4, 2007 release of her (now two and a half year old) self-titled album, she drops a new single in the UK. 'Handle Me' is the follow up to her #1 British smash 'With Every Heartbeat'. Expect a string of hits from Robyn in the US next spring, when we are sure to finally catch on to her pop brilliance.

Robyn - Handle Me (music video)


DEBBIE HARRY is a household name because she fronted the legendary 70's post-punk band BLONDIE. But amazingly her solo work has gone largely unnoticed by the mainstream after being unfairly overshadowed by the emergence of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper in the 80's. So, in celebration of Debbie's 5th solo album "Necessary Evil" being released today, let's look back on her solo career...

In 1981, Debbie Harry released her first solo album Koo Koo, a sharp departure from the genre-bending punk/disco/reggae/pop that Blondie had become famous for. The record took Debbie in a more dance-oriented direction, produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of CHIC. H.R. Giger directed two music videos for the album - 'Backfired' and one of my favorite Debbie Harry songs 'Now I Know You Know'.

'Backfired' from Koo Koo (1981)

'Now I Know You Know' from Koo Koo (1981)

Blondie broke up in 1982 after the album "The Hunter" was released. In 1983, Debbie released the Giorgio Moroder produced single 'Rush Rush', taken from the soundtrack to the Al Pacino classic Scarface. 1985 saw the release of the Jellybean Benitez produced single 'Feel the Spin', taken from the Krush Groove soundtrack.

'Feel the Spin' from the Krush Groove soundtrack (1985)

Debbie's second solo album Rockbird was released in 1986, spawning her most famous solo single 'French Kissin'. The album artwork was designed by Stephen Sprouse, featuring a background painting by Andy Warhol.

'French Kissin' from Rockbird (1986)

'In Love With Love' from Rockbird (1986)

'Free to Fall' from Rockbird (1986)

When Def, Dumb & Blonde was released in 1989, she suddenly became embraced by modern rock radio stations, who helped the first single 'I Want That Man' become a modest success. Around this time, Debbie embarked on the "Escape From NY Tour" with The Ramones, Tom Tom Club, and Jerry Harrison (of Talking Heads).

'I Want That Man' from Def Dumb & Blonde (1989)

'Sweet & Low' from Def, Dumb & Blonde (1989)

'Brite Side' from Def, Dumb & Blonde (1989)

In 1990, Debbie teamed up with Iggy Pop for the Red, Hot & Blue compilation. Their music video for the duet 'Well, Did You Evah' is really humorous.

'Well Did You Evah' (w/ Iggy Pop) from Red, Hot & Blue (1990)

1993 saw the release of Debbie's fourth solo album Debravation. The album was met with lukewarm reviews, but pleased her fans (me included) nonetheless. A somewhat controversial music video was made for the album's second single 'Strike Me Pink', but cannot currently be found on YouTube.

'I Can See Clearly' from Debravation (1993)

Throughout the 90's Debbie executed a string of collaborations and fronted the avante-garde jazz ensemble The Jazz Passengers. In 1999, Blondie reunited and released the album No Exit, followed by 2003's The Curse of Blondie.

In 2006, Moby featured Debbie on his single 'New York, New York', which was included on his 2006 hits compilation GO: The Very Best of Moby.

'New York, New York' (w/ Moby) from Go - The Very Best of Moby (2006)

And today sees the release of Debbie's fifth solo album Necessary Evil. The album features 17 new tracks, the first single being the opening track 'Two Times Blue'.

'Two Times Blue' from Necessary Evil (2007)


Living legend ERIC CLAPTON churns out two huge releases today. "Complete Clapton" chronicles the guitar genius' amazing career in a 2-disk set, spanning the breadth of his solo work. As well, the collection includes key tracks from CREAM, BLIND FAITH and DEREK & THE DOMINOS.

No one can deny Clapton's vast contribution to the history of rock 'n' roll. After all, he has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a record three times (as a solo artist, and as a member of both THE YARDBIRDS and Cream).

'Clapton: The Autobiography' is also out today. The book is described as "a rare self-portrait of an outsized cultural icon" wherein "Clapton offers his legions of admirers unprecedented access to the man behind the legend."

Purchase Complete Clapton on iTunes now.

MOBY Starts Monthly Dance Party, Names New Album

"I wanted to start a fun and dirty and eclectic night of dance music, called 'Degenerates'", says MOBY of his new monthly dance party, which debuts Thursday October 11th at Hiro Ballroom. Joining Moby on the DJ bill are JUAN MACLEAN, Moby's former roommate STRETCH ARMSTRONG and ALEX FRANKEL of DFA.

"When I was growing up in Manhattan in the early 80's you could go dancing anywhere: Area, Fallout Shelter, Danceteria, etc. Now in 2007, your options for a degenerate night out dancing in Manhattan are more limited."

Moby's website says that Degenerates "will also be a testing ground for new Moby material". Maybe he will debut some tracks from his "disco divas"-inspired new album, now titled "Last Nite", due from Mute Records next spring.

$5 tickets are available at or at

Friday, October 05, 2007


The show of the year is finally here! Tomorrow at Randall's Island, four amazing bands will share the stage - ARCADE FIRE, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, BLONDE REDHEAD, & LES SAVY FAV - and the weather is predicted to be perfect!

Plus there's that surprise gift from Arcade Fire that everyone's been talking about that will be revealed tomorrow. What the hell is it? The general consensus is that the LCD Soundsystem remix of 'Black Mirror' will become available for download...though I'm kind of hoping for something a bit more exciting. We'll all know tomorrow morning.

Also on the bill tomorrow are the as-of-yet unknown Boston band WILD LIGHT.


Doors: 3:30pm
Wild Light: 5:00pm
Les Savy Fav: 5:50pm
Blond Redhead: 6:50pm
LCD Soundsystem: 7:55PM
Arcade Fire: 9:15pm

Is anyone else taking the ferry?

See you on the island!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

FEIST Has a Top 10 Hit!

Everyone's favorite 2007 indie-chanteuse, Leslie FEIST has officially become a big star. On this week's Billboard Hot 100 chart, her single '1, 2, 3, 4" soars up from 28 to 8, landing her a bonafide top 10 hit. Sure, we've all loved the song for months now and it truly is one of the great singles of the year. But who knew the powers of iTunes were so potent. After using the track in a TV commercial for the new iPod Nano, the song has catapulted Feist into middle American living rooms, and apparently, they love it. What are the chances of the song reaching #1? They look pretty good at the moment. Go Feist!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

An Interview with James Chapman

MAPS is the one-man project of Northampton-bred electro genius James Chapman, a modest and insular man, who is as shell-shocked by his recent success as any hard line critic would be. After the recent nomination for the coveted Nationwide Mercury Music Prize (controversially won by KLAXONS for their extravagant debut “Myths of the Near Future”), Chapman, 28, finds himself at the center of a media frenzy as he briefly tours the States for the first time in his career, making select stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

I had the amazing opportunity, along with a few other music journalists, to sit down with Chapman for a roundtable discussion at Mute Records in Manhattan for a fairly intimate conversation about, among other things, his background, the U.S. tour, and “We Can Create”, the album that got him shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize.

James Chapman was not the typical kid growing up in the large market town of Northampton, England. While other boys were outside playing football, James was squeaking away at the violin, starting at the age of 6. In his teens he started playing in a band that, according to Chapman, was in the vein of The Stone Roses, though the lead singer was apparently tone deaf, hindering the band’s prolonged success. The demise of the band led to Chapman writing songs on his own, along the way adding percussion, keyboards, guitar, drums and the recorder to his musical palette.

Chapman sites many influences, beginning with the obvious - My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized and The Stone Roses, but finds most of his current sonic stimulation in more electronic acts, such as The Field, M83 and Fourtet. As of late he has also been quite taken with acts like Deerhunter, Animal Collective and Caribou.

The debut album “We Can Create” was recorded alone in Chapman’s bedroom onto a 16-track recorder. After sending demos out to a couple of record labels, Chapman was stunned to find out that Mute Records were profoundly impressed with the homemade CD.

James says, “Mute were really interested, just from these really primitive demos. I was just lucky for them to get to listen to it. Daniel Miller (founder of Mute Records) came to my house on the strength of these CD’s that he heard. He was checking out my little studio and stuff. [It was] pretty intense.”

Miller quickly summoned Chapman to London, where he met with critically acclaimed producer Valgeir Sigurdsson, who has over the years worked heavily with Bjork, as well as Bonnie Prince Billy and Sigur Ros just to name a few. Discovering a common musical dialogue, the pair quickly hit it off and fled to an isolated studio in Iceland to add more cinematic layers to the homemade recordings.

“We basically took what I had done in my bedroom and just added to it. We kind of played around with the instrumentation and beats and things. We did stuff I could have never done on my own in my bedroom, like adding live strings and live brass. It’d be hard to fit that in my bedroom. It could have been weird, but he was so cool and so nice to work with, it just worked out really well. We were into the same kind of music. Just chatting with him, I think we just really clicked.

Iceland was amazing as well. It was amazing to wake up and see all these snowy mountains. It was quite different from Northampton. I was in Reykjavik. It was just outside the main city, so we were kind of still pretty isolated. We could just lock ourselves away. It was kind of similar to how I work at home. I like to just disconnect from everything and not have the phone ringing. It was just right.”

When asked what it was like to perform at the Mercury Music Prize award show, which was hosted by Jools Holland and televised on the BBC, James comes clean.

“It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in my entire life. I was shaking backstage. Since being nominated, I don’t think it ever truly really sunk in until the day that I actually got there. I saw all the tables set out and the massive video screens, I was like, whoa! This is really happening. And that’s when the nerves started to really kick in. But it turned out okay.”

It may be jumping the gun a bit, but with all the acclaim surrounding the debut, it feels only natural to look ahead at what we can expect from Maps in the future.

“With the second record, I definitely want to go along the same lines as I did with the first. I find that’s the best way I work. I’ve tried writing with bands before and it just doesn’t work. I definitely just- I love to lock myself away, stay up all night and immerse myself in it. I think it’s going to be more electronic and probably harder sounding. (jokingly) It could be a hardcore trance album. We’ll wait and see.”

Later that evening I caught Maps’ live show at The Bowery Ballroom. Joined by a full band, Chapman’s isolated bedroom recordings take on a more rigorous and primal feel, at times truly rocking the house. I was really intrigued as to how the album would be translated in a live setting.

Chapman explains, “It took awhile to get it right, really. I had been doing it in my bedroom for so long. I’ve never even sung anywhere apart from my bedroom, so it was quite a big step to get up on stage and sing. But I had to make a decision whether to go with a laptop and just me or get a band. I really wanted to get a band because I thought it was more interesting for everyone. For the audience and just us playing as well. It took awhile. It’s taken a few different line-ups. But I think we’ve got a really solid unit now. It’s the best it’s ever been. It’s quite a different experience.”

Maps’ latest single ‘To the Sky’ is out this month on Mute Records. The album “We Can Create” is available now worldwide.

All photos by Scot Bowman