Modern Tonic — a daily email that delivers gay-approved pop culture gems (before they've been co-opted by everyone else) — presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad.
With this week’s new albums pretty sketchy, Modern Tonic was almost left high and dry for great new releases to recommend. So instead we sought out these recently released stellar deluxe editions and compilations for your delectation:
We all struggle with gaining a few pounds as we get on in years, but as music gets older, re-releases get seriously bloated. The sight of a deluxe edition re-package (or a career retrospective compilation) overflowing with rare tracks, remixes and live cuts gets our nostalgic hearts thumping. (Lumpy, middle-aged men? Less so.)
Propaganda’s 1985 masterpiece A Secret Wish (25th Anniversary Edition) is full of bright, danceable tunes, but it’s the chilly, Teutonic vocals of front-woman Claudia Brücken you’ll come back to, especially on the epic “Dream within a Dream” (with lyrics by, um, Edgar Allan Poe; stream in player below) and the industrial horror-fest “Dr. Mabuse.” Plus, this latest edition doesn’t skimp on the extras. There are tons of alternate versions of loved songs (shortened, radio-friendly versions of New Wave classics “Jewel” and “Duel”), a fiery 20-minute megamix of five album cuts called “Do Well,” and much, much more. Truly, if you didn't know the band before, this surprisingly well-aged album is worth the investment.
Influence: The A Side — Singles, Hits, Soundtracks and Collaborations from Propaganda’s ZTT label-mates Art of Noise showcases catchy synth experiments. Big-time 80’s producer Trevor Horn (Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Grace Jones) and arranger Anne Dudley had pushed the pop envelope with unlikely hits “Moments in Love” and a camp remake of Prince’s “Kiss” featuring Tom Jones.
Norway’s a-ha scored an enormous international hit with “Take On Me.” They never had another smash on that scale, but 25 (The Very Best of a-ha) is chockablock with the big-hearted pop nuggets that kept them in the spotlight in Europe for years now.
And the very French Nouvelle Vague reinterpret New Wave classics with just a bit of that je ne sais quoi. Best of Nouvelle Vague features a Brazilian take on New Order's “Blue Monday” and a go-go version of Dead Kennedy's “Too Drunk to F**k" (audio NSFW).
Let her see your "Peacock!" We have two pairs of tickets for Katy Perry's "Live on Letterman" performance in NYC on August 24. Click here to enter; contest ends at noon EST Friday, August 20 and we will notify winners soon after then. The performance will be broadcast live on CBS.com at 8PM EST. Get a sneak peek of Katy's Teenage Dream with an exclusive iTunes full album stream starting at midnight EST Sunday night/Monday morning.
Kate Nash announced fall tour dates.
What an idea!: American Idol to "re-focus on talent.
Our latest pop obsession is Lady Gaga's labelmate half-Jamaican/half-South American Brit Natalia Kills, who has released three singles since December. The video for "Mirrors" debuts next month (see a teaser here) and "Zombie" is frightful fun. A debut album, Perfectionist, is expected in early 2011.
Parisian pop collective The Aikiu have debuted their first single, the Erasure-licious "Just Can't Sleep," a tribute to NYC in the late '70s and early '80s. Get a free download of the Stupid Human remix of the track above, and check out the video here. Look for a U.S. tour and an album in the coming months.
Cher has a new album in the works, and it's not going to be "Believe-ish."
Blondie returns in 2011 with already-completed album Panic of Girls.
We've been banging on about electro-pop artist Dan Black for over a year, and we're not about to stop now; his debut, ((un)),
is an album that should be blasting out of speakers from Fire Island to
Palm Springs. New U.S. single "Alone" is out now (see the colorful
video here) and Black, who recently opened for Kelis and Robyn's All
Hearts Tour in some cities, has his own headlining show set for NYC's Bowery Ballroom on September 9. It's not to be missed. Above is a download of "Gimme Into the Cloudbusting," a track from Dan's Weird Science mixtape which features him singing the lyrics to Madonna's "Into The Groove" over a sample from Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting," or download the entire mixtape here for free. It's a great introduction to this man's smart, quirky, beautiful pop music.
The Like — "Wishing He Was Dead"
From their Mark Ronson-produced album Release Me, this all-girl L.A. quartet brings punk attitude to 60’s grooves on a black-and-white clip in which the ladies take out the object of their rejection.
Samuel — "I Heart NY"
This loping paean to the Big Bad Apple could give Frank Sinatra and Jay-Z a run for their money for official song of New York City. The video’s a city travelogue with Samuel in garbage-man garb as he hangs from the back of a dump truck traveling the boroughs. Free download in player above.
Steve Mason — "Am I Just a Man"
The former singer from the defunct Beta Band has a sexy, velvety voice that’s perfect for the gorgeous, questioning love songs of his solo debut Boys Outside. The video’s strict performance, but who needs visual tricks with a song this perfect?
Andreya Triana — "A Town Called Obsolete"
The voice from Bonobo’s down-tempo Black Sands album releases her solo joint Lost Where I Belong next month. This whets our appetite with a series of vignettes of Triana performing in the frames of a child’s View-Master.