Erasure Hub




MUSIC NEWS: Take That, Nerina Pallot, John Tejada, Thursday, Joss Stone, Kathleen Hanna, Patrick Wolf, Matt & Kim, Stars, Rye Rye

Take That

NORMAN BRANNON

Guestblogger Norman Brannon is a pop critic, musician, and author based in New York City. He presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad and writes regularly at Nervous Acid.  

Follow Norman on Twitter at @nervousacid.

EXTENDED PLAY:

Take That Progressed (Polydor UK) Progressed

First of all, let's not be delusional about it. When Take That became a Beatles–sized phenomenon in the U.K. in the early to mid-'90s, they were both one notch above New Kids on the Block and one notch below: One notch above, perhaps, because band member Gary Barlow was actually a co-songwriter on all of their material since the beginning, and one notch below because taking off your shirt was a non-negotiable part of the audition process. (Needless to say, their pecs and abs were in fine order.) But something happened along the way, and it's a story that remains unprecedented in the last 30 years of boy band history: In the ten years that it took for Take That to break up and get back together, all five members somehow managed to become accomplished songwriters in their own right, and the resulting comeback records — 2006's Beautiful World and 2008's The Circus — were pleasurably sophisticated self-written albums that objectively validated this development. Last year's Progress was the first Take That album to feature Robbie Williams since 1996, and it was, by all accounts, the band's second reinvention. Progressed, an 8-song EP out today, is an extension of that sound — a retromodern synth-based pop produced by Stuart Price, whose work with the Killers and Keane are good reference points here — but it's also their first attempt to integrate the current direction with the anthemic orchestral pop that defined their first comeback: Album opener "When We Were Young" merges acoustic and electronic elements with Williams and Barlow's wistful back-and-forth and "The Day The Work Is Done" suggests that Mark Owen — whose solo albums veered more towards British indie rock — is Take That's most under-appreciated talent. If Progressed makes a wrong turn anywhere, it's arguably when the band falls too far back into the mid-'90s schmaltz and pomp of overwrought ballads like "Don't Say Goodbye." Because, as the album's title implies, Take That have always seemed to fare better when they're moving forward.

THE DISPATCH:

ThursdayRoad Currently out on a co-headlining tour with Taking Back Sunday, Thursday's Lukas Previn composed an interesting tweet on Saturday in which he revealed that the band had been tipped off to a potential protest of their Seattle concert by the Westboro Baptist Church. In response to the Westboro rhetoric, and in solidarity with the gay community, Previn tweeted, "We all are wearing pride flag t-shirts and Geoff and I just got called sodomites." A photo of the band wearing these rainbow flag t-shirts on before the show surfaced on the Internet, but Westboro were, at last tweet, a no-show.

Road This week's most bizarre story: Two men were arrested in an alleged plot to murder British singer Joss Stone. The men were arrested outside of her home carrying swords, rope, and a body bag. For her part, Stone is not unhinged: "I'm all good," she said. "People are crazy, but that's OK. I'm carrying on, I'm painting my bathroom. I'm baking cakes."

Kathleen_Hanna Road Were it not for Bikini Kill and Le Tigre frontwoman Kathleen Hanna, the space in rock music that occupies radical feminist activism and queer empowerment would be a whole lot emptier. This week it was announced that her latest project, The Julie Ruin — which also features Bikini Kill's Kathi Wilcox and Kiki and Herb's Kenny Mellman — are currently recording an album slated for release in January.

Road The electronic dancehall of Switch and Diplo's Major Lazer project gets put to good use on this remix of Beastie Boys' "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win," which also features Santigold on the hook.

Road In addition to his forthcoming "techno album" with Depeche Mode's Martin Gore, this week Vince Clarke announced the return of Erasure. The duo will be touring in America this summer, while the new album — called Tomorrow's World and produced with Frankmusik — gets its release in the fall.

Road In case you missed it, Patti Smith inexplicably appeared on this weekend's Law & Order: Criminal Intent to play "Columbia University mythology professor Cleo Alexander." You can watch the clip now.

Pwolf2011 Road One more week until Patrick Wolf's Lupercalia makes its way to the States as an import, but until then, enjoy this top-of-his-game cover of Kate Bush's iconic "Army Dreamers."

Road Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino revealed that the video for their forthcoming single "Our Deal" will be directed by Drew Barrymore, and features appearances by iCarly's Miranda Cosgrove, Community's Donald Glover, and that awesome kick-ass girl with the purple hair from, umm, Kick-Ass. In other words, they can't go wrong.

COMING OUT:

Nerina Pallot Year of the Wolf Nerina Pallot's fourth album begins with "Put Your Hands Up" — the song she originally wrote for Kylie Minogue with husband Andy Chatterley, who makes progressive house records under the aliases of Skylark and The Buick Project. In Pallot's hands, it's not an Aphrodite-styled pop number nor a club track, but a vintage, bluesy, guitar-based song — and by the end of its first chorus, it's obvious that hers is the definitive version. Year Of The Wolf is like that: It's a pop album in the sense that the song is the thing, and Pallot's songcraft paired with an unlikely, but necessary production by Suede's Bernard Butler surprisingly positions Wolf for a potential breakthrough of Adele-like proportions. Tracks like "All Bets Are Off" or "I Do Not Want What I Do Not Have" (co-written by Linda Perry) are vintage, but not throwback; they hark to a golden era of pop music but resist the urge to wax nostalgic. In other words, timeless.

Johntejada To the world outside of underground techno, John Tejada is probably best known as a technical advisor to The Postal Service's Jimmy Tamborello, who enlisted the producer for help on his James Figurine solo album in addition to working on The Postal Service remix of Feist's "Mushaboom." But in the clubs, Tejada is a respected producer and DJ whose work spans over fifteen years and literally hundreds of tracks. Parabolas is his first album for Kompakt, and with it, Tejada offers a refined sense of musicality and an expanded palette of subdued tricknology. The minimal breakbeat of "Subdivided" or the elegant melodic techno of "The Honest Man" tend to insinuate that Tejada is classically trained, which he is. But they are also cleverly designed to make you forget it.

Also out today: Bon Iver — Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar), Jill Scott — The Light of the Sun (Blues Babe), OK GO — 180/365 (Paracadute), Nico Muhly — Seeing is Believing (Decca), Liam Finn — Fomo (Yep Roc), When Saints Go Machine — Konkylie (!K7), The Get Up Kids — Simple Science EP (Quality Hill), Metronomy — English Riviera (WEA International)

SOUND & VISION:

Matt & Kim — "Block After Block"

The irrepressible Matt & Kim return with the second single from their sleeper third album Sidewalks, and here's the thing: Every time Matt & Kim make a new video, I'm convinced — if only for three-and-a-half minutes — that they're the best band in the world. Or that they should be my best friends. Because you can't not be happy watching this.

Rye Rye — "New Thing" 

It's only been a week since Rye Rye released a video for her collaboration with Robyn; this week, the Baltimore rapper teams up with  fashion designer Prabul Gurung for the second video from her long-awaited debut album. "New Thing" was directed by fashion photographer Kenneth Cappello and showcases Gurung's latest resort collection — which also serves as inspiration for the clip's set and lighting design.

Stars — "We Don't Want Your Body"

Seeing as gay men are often targeted for our alleged obsessions with body image, it's a relief to see Stars shine a light on the straights: Honestly, the men and women who star in "We Don't Want Your Body" make most of the guys on BigMuscle look kind of scrawny.

Belle & Sebastian — "I Didn't See It Coming" (Richard X Remix)

It wasn't until I first heard this track that I realized how overdue Belle & Sebastian were for a remix. Richard X, who has written and produced singles for Kelis and Sugababes in the past, almost effortlessly transforms this indie folk song into a Kylie–styled melodic club track, which — in some sort of alternate universe, anyway — actually has the muscle to put Belle & Sebastian on a modern pop chart.



Watch: Erasure Gives 'A Little Respect' to LGBT Youth in New Video

Bell

(Apologies - posted this without the video earlier)

Via Joe comes this uplifting re-do of Erasure's "A Little Respect" from Andy Bell and LGBT youth at the Hetrick Martin Institute, along with some other cameos.

"Proceeds from the track will be donated to The Hetrick-Martin Institute, the home of the Harvey Milk High School, in New York, and the True Colors Fund. The Hetrick-Martin Institute, the nation's oldest and largest LGBTQ youth service organization, provides a safe and supportive environment to all young people -- regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity so that they can achieve their full potential. The HMI Redux features a youth chorus from the Hetrick-Martin Institute who also appear in the music video, directed by filmmaker Jason Stein."

Love, love, love.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

The track is available on iTunes.

Bell2

Continue reading "Watch: Erasure Gives 'A Little Respect' to LGBT Youth in New Video" »


Erasure and Andy Bell to Re-Record 'A Little Respect' with Gay and Lesbian Youth Chorus, Anti-Bullying Doc

Bell

Erasure's Andy Bell has announced that Erasure will record a new version of their hit single "A Little Respect":

Alittlerespect Originally released as a single in 1988 from the Erasure album 'The Innocents', 'A Little Respect' reached #2 on the Billboard Dance Charts and became a signature tune for the synthpop duo Erasure, as well as becoming an anthem for the gay rights movement.

The new recording of 'A Little Respect' will now include a youth chorus from The Hetrick-Martin Institute and it will be released as a download by Mute Records. A new documentary-style video, conceived by filmmaker Jason Stein of Laundry Service Media, will accompany the new recording. Both the single and video - which is intended to include cameos from high-profile supportive friends in the gay-straight community - are scheduled for release in mid-December with proceeds from the download of the music single earmarked to benefit The Hetrick-Martin Institute and the True Colors Fund.

In the wake of the tragic gay bullying incidents and related suicides across the country, Andy Bell was motivated to take action. As one of popular music's first openly-gay celebrities Bell felt compelled to get involved. "I am honored and moved beyond words to serve as an Ambassador to the The Hetrick-Martin Institute. Every opportunity we have to spread tolerance and compassion must be seized and I will take special pride in doing so on HMI's behalf."

Proceeds from the single will benefit The Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, and Cyndi Lauper's charity the True Colors Fund.

Watch the video for "A Little Respect", AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Erasure and Andy Bell to Re-Record 'A Little Respect' with Gay and Lesbian Youth Chorus, Anti-Bullying Doc" »


Music News: La Roux Hits The U.S., Plus Antigone, Little Boots, Kurt Cobain, iTunes, Calvin Harris

Laroux

GuestbloggerROBBIE DAW 

Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad. Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

This spring has seen somewhat of an electro-pop revolution coming out of England, and leading the charge, so to speak, is London-based duo La Roux (aka, Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid).

Lroux  The pair's single "In For The Kill" cracked the Top 10 of the U.K. chart this week, and a remix of the tune is being included on the "Quicksand" EP that's to be released here in the States via Cherrytree/Interscope this coming Tuesday. In the meantime, you can download "Quicksand" in its original form, as well as several remixes, in an indie EP already up on U.S. iTunes.

La Roux have been doing several North American gigs this week. Tomorrow they perform at San Francisco's Popscene, while Saturday they'll be doing the Wyndham Palm Springs Hotel's Saturday Pool Party during White Party weekend. They wrap things up in the States at L.A.'s Roxy on Sunday night.

Below are some recent synth-heavy clips from across the pond:

LA ROUX: Their video for "In For The Kill."

ANTIGONE: The Aussie-born, London-based singer's "More Man Than Man." Her new single "Promiscuity" was added to iTunes this week, and her album AntigoneLand will be available on April 20.

CALVIN HARRIS: The 25-year-old Scottish songwriter/producer's new single "I'm Not Alone."

LITTLE BOOTS: A live clip of her upcoming late-May release "New In Town." Little Boots played South By Southwest in Austin last month.

road.jpg   It's hard to believe, but today marks 15 years since Kurt Cobain was found dead. Technically, his suicide is said to have taken place on April 5. Whether you're a fan of Nirvana's music or not, it certainly was a moment of cultural significance, and, as cliched as it sounds, the end of an era. Do you remember where you were when the news broke? (I'd just finished classes that Friday afternoon during my sophomore college year, and walked into the library where a bunch of students were talking about it.)

road.jpg   The entire Beatles catalog to be remastered and re-released on CD with extras this September. However, still no resolution in getting the songs onto iTunes.

road.jpg   Boom Boom Pow: The Black Eyed Peas land their first number one hit.

road.jpg   Notice some songs jumped in price from 99 cents to $1.29 on iTunes this week, while others dropped to 69 cents? Best get used to it.

road.jpg   There's a whole lot of smoke-jumpin' surrounding Chris Brown's felony case.

road.jpg   Has Katy Perry enlisted Calvin Harris—who swazzed up Kylie Minogue's "In My Arms"—to produce her next album

road.jpg   THE WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:

Erasure Two Suns, the second album from Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan).

Erasure's career-spanning hits set Total Pop!—40 Hits. Also available in a 3-CD/DVD version is Total Pop!—Deluxe Box. Andy Bell will be signing copies of the collection at L.A.'s Amoeba Records tomorrow after doing an in-store DJ set.

Manchester band Doves' fourth LP, Kingdom Of Rust.

English rapper Lady Sovereign's second album Jigsaw, featuring production from Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco.

Death Cab For Cutie's Open Door EP.

New singles from Antony And The Johnson's ("Epilepsy Is Dancing"), Marilyn Manson ("We're From America") and Teena Marie ("Can't Last A Day").


Music News: Ten Years After Dusty Springfield's Death, Plus M83, Prince, No Doubt, The Decemberists, U2

Dusty

GuestbloggerROBBIE DAW 

Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad. Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

Yesterday (March 2) marked 10 years since the death of British soul singer Dusty Springfield, known for such songs as "Wishin' And Hopin'," "I Only Want To Be With You" and "Son Of A Preacher Man." After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Dusty passed away the day she was to receive the OBE (Order of the British Empire) at Buckingham Palace, and 10 days before she was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in the U.S. She was 59.

At her funeral in London, Elton John noted, "I think she is the greatest white singer that there ever has been," while Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys said, "I think Dusty would have been amazed and moved to learn how much she means to people, what an impact her singing has made, what fondness people feel for her. The British have always taken pop music surprisingly seriously and they know that Dusty Springfield was unique, a soul singer, a star, the real thing. Dusty's voice is always there to lift you up when you're down. I feel proud that we knew her and worked with her and played a small part in her fabulous life. She was 'fab', and because of her music, she always will be."

The site Broadway World stated yesterday that Wicked and Pushing Daisies actress Kristin Chenoweth is currently developing a movie based on the life of Springfield, which Playbill mentioned in 2005 would focus on the singer's life while recording her classic 1969 album Dusty In Memphis.

Below are some clips of Dusty Springfield both in her prime in the '60s and after her successful comeback in the 1980s.

No Doubt road.jpg   If you're planning to see M83 perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall this Saturday, don't expect to hear "Kim & Jessie" or anything off the French band's recent album Saturdays = Youth. Says frontman Anthony Gonzales, "We'll play tracks that are more like orchestral material—mostly songs from my previous albums, for example 'Before The Dawn Heals Us', because I don't think it's really interesting to play pop songs with the orchestra."

road.jpg   The reunited No Doubt (above) to perform on the May 11 season finale of Gossip Girl. Then band will do a cover of Adam and the Ants' "Stand And Deliver" on the hit nighttime teen soap, before Gwen Stefani and Co. head off on tour this summer.

Prince road.jpg   Prince to release a three-CD set on March 29 exclusively through Target, for $11.98.

road.jpg   Chris Brown and Rihanna: Reconciled?

road.jpg   The Decemberists to do two sets on their upcoming A Short Fazed Hovel spring tour—one of their complete upcoming album The Hazards Of Love, and another of older songs.

road.jpg   U2 to release a more "meditative and processional" album by the end of the year, culled from the same sessions as today's release No Line On The Horizon

Totalpop road.jpg   Metalheads, get ready to rock the big screen. The high-def documentary Iron Maiden: Flight 666 will air for one day only (April 21) on 400 screens in 34 different countries. The film chronicles Iron Maiden circling the globe on a Boeing 757 to perform 23 sold out stadium and arena shows. The band was named Best Live Act at the Brit Awards two weeks ago.

road.jpg   An interesting review of Erasure's Total Pop!—The First 40 Hits compilation from U.K. site The Quietus: "That Erasure were fated forever to remain in the critical and commercial shadow of fellow synth-pop behemoths the Pet Shop Boys seems largely down to their more overtly gay aesthetic: while Q journalists and Mondeo Man alike could cheerfully endorse the latter’s arch pop nous and ambiguous sexuality without too many hang-ups, it was harder to fully embrace Erasure’s flamboyant outrageousness without finding your masculinity just a little compromised. No matter: in an era when the contrived camp affectations of The Scissor Sisters and Mika is hailed as in some way progressive and ground-breaking, Erasure deserve to be celebrated for their sparkling originality and crusading flamboyance, but mostly for their impeccable tuneage. Be out and be proud."

road.jpg   TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:

No Line U2's twelfth studio album No Line On The Horizon, featuring a photograph of the sea meeting the sky by Hiroshi Sugimoto on the cover. Last night in Los Angeles, a special U2 pop up installation was opened to the public at Space 15 Twenty on North Cahuenga Blvd. The installation is open today from noon to 9 p.m., as well. Rock photographer Anton Corbijn's pictures of the band are on display, and his new film Linear will be screened at the location.

Both the Watchmen soundtrack, featuring music from various artists, and Tyler Bates' original film score.

The Middle Cyclone, the sixth studio album from New Pornographers member Neko Case. 

Total Dance 2009, mixed by Tony Okungbowa and featuring remixes of hits by Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Estelle, David Archuleta, Coldplay and Chris Brown, amongst others. Annoyingly, iTunes only offers the continuous mix as one hour+-long MP3.

Music News: Erasure Pop!-ing Out 20 More Hits, Plus Green Day, The Saturdays, Lady GaGa, Pet Shop Boys, Lily Allen

Erasure_3

GuestbloggerROBBIE DAW

Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad. Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

TotalpopIt's been over 16 years since Erasure released their Pop!—The First 20 Hits, which would go on to become a music collection staple throughout the '90s.

Picking up where that compilation left off (all the singles from 1985 through 1992), Rhino is issuing the duo's three-disc/DVD Total Pop!—Deluxe Box on April 7. A two-disc version, Total Pop!—The First 40 Hits, will also be available. (In Europe, Mute is putting the collection out on February 23.)

Disc one is pretty much the original Pop!, but remastered. Disc two begins with 1994's "Always" from I Say, I Say, I Say and runs up through "Storm In A Teacup," off 2007's Light At The End Of The World. But since that only brings Vince Clarke and Andy Bell's singles tally to 19 for the second part, a "2009 Mix" of "Always," swizzed up by Jeremy Wheatley, is tacked on at the end.

The third disc contains 20 years of Erasure's live performances, and the DVD boasts various U.K. television appearances by the band, from BBC shows such as Top Of The Pops, Wogan and Daytime Live.

After the first Pop! came out in 1992—in the days before the "information age" and widespread Internet use—I recall kind of forgetting about Erasure. I'd been a fan since junior high school, but Pop! put an end to their almost yearly releases.

Though my then college-age music tastes had altered a bit by spring '94, it was fun to watch the twosome come back with "Always," which went on to become their third—and, sadly, last—U.S. Top 20 hit.

road.jpg Green Day have unveiled the cover of their eighth studio album 21st Century Breakdown, which is due out in May. But is the Sixten-inspired artwork a tad similar to Banksy's cover for Blur's 2003 album Think Tank?

Green_day_vs_blur

road.jpg THE WEEK IN CLIPS:

ERASURE: Jeremy Wheatley's "2009 Mix" of "Always," set to the original 1994 video.

PET SHOP BOYS: New single "Love etc."

LADY GAGA: "Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)," which is set to be remixed by Pet Shop Boys for the U.K. single release.

THE SATURDAYS: Cover of Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough," for Britain's Comic Relief Red Nose Day charity.


Lily_allenroad.jpg THIS WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:

Lily Allen's second album, It's Not Me, It's You, featuring her #1 U.K. hit "The Fear."

Comedy troupe The Lonely Island's Incredibad.

India.Arie's fourth album, Testimony, Vol. 2: Love & Politics.

Solange's "Sandcastle Disco" EP, featuring remixes by the Freemasons, Gomi, Karmatronic and King Britt.

Flo Rida's new single "Right Round."


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