I swear, I never thought this space would turn into a place for me to vent my frustrations about what's currently hot and happening in the music blog space, but it has -- so there you go.
Case in point, the new Nouvelle Vague album, Bande A Part (cute title, nice reference...) is beyond disappointing, but a look at the number of tracks posted in mp3 blogs lately from the Hype Machine indicates that I'm possibly alone in thinking this. I think I read about the first Nouvelle Vague release in an issue of Fader sometime in late 2004/early 2005 (I think) and went through great lengths to track down a copy stateside (I ended up finiding it on a bittorrent site and later encountered a copy on a friend's coffee table in London). About half the album is listenable; "Guns of Brixton," "Friday Night, Saturday Morning," and "Making Plans For Nigel" are exemplary, mostly because the bossa nova-ification of the tracks wasn't too far off from the tone of the originals. A few too many of the selections just sort of crumble under the belabored arrangements, though -- which is unfortunate -- who wouldn't want to hear blasé chanteuses interpret more obscure New Wave classics from the likes of Tuxedomoon, Visage, Blancmange, and Heaven 17? Despite the appearance of songs by the latter three on the group's latest effort, there's even more missteps. I think the main problem is that too many songs are directed in the cabaret style, and when combined with the now-flat gimick of the bossa nova-tinged arrangements of the rest of the tracks, the album is just rendered into an incoherent mess that leads me to suggest that you just download the versions of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and "The Killing Moon" (which again, are successful because the arrangements are pretty faithful to the originals) and skip the rest (especially the overblown "Heart of Glass" and "Blue Monday" and "Fade to Grey" and the particularly horrific "Dancing With Myself").
In other news, I wish I had a satellite or something so I could watch the Eurovision Song Contest, which despite its complete cheezeball factor is still going strong after 51 (yes, that's right) years. (Past winning performers you may have heard of include France Gall, Sandie Shaw, Katrina and the Waves, Michael Ball, and uh, ABBA. Oh, and Celine Dion performed the winning song for um, Switzerland in 1988 -- just another facet of the wonderful and weird politics of the event...)
And hey, look! Tacks the Boy Disaster, one of the many members of the happy Tonewheel Collective crowd, is on Fluxblog today. And apparently, I missed quite a time at the Tonewheel happy hour last night...
You know what I saw at Target the other day? The Wolfmother CD! I'm amazed sometimes at how out-of-the-loop I can be when a blogger band crosses over into more mainstream markets.
Wolfmother -- Mother (MSTRKRFT remix)
All that tambourine and cowbell in that remix reminds me that I totally need to remind you that No Wave legends E.S.G. have a new album out on Soul Jazz later this summer. Here's two tracks that immediately snagged my attention:
E.S.G. -- Insane (tambourine mix)
E.S.G. -- Everything Goes
And one random one for good measure: I read about Fox'N'Wolf on Fluxblog (natch!), and I'm smitten; here's a nice Todd Terje remix of Snuten's "Wild and Free," now known as "Claws Against Knives" and features Fox'n'Wolf (or Fox, mostly, and her amazing 80's bitchy Latin Freestyle-esque voice), to cap the thumpy dance party we have going on here today.
Snuten (feat. Fox'n'Wolf) -- "Claws Against Knives" (Todd Terje Remix) [20 Jazz Funk Greats hosts the original version.]