Frankmusik Hub

MUSIC NEWS: Frankmusik, Nirvana, Erasure, Arthur Russell, Portishead, Kele, Sneaky Sound System, Death Cab For Cutie



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.


Frankmusik-do-it-in-the-am Frankmusik Do It In The AM (Cherrytree/Interscope)

Frankmusik launched his second album firmly on the defense. "It's got bit of an American twang to it because, f*ck it, I'm in America," he said in an interview this past April. "So when people are gonna say it isn't me, 'Frankmusik sold out,' I'll just say, 'No, Frankmusik got more concise,' and they can suck a d*ck." Well, OK then!

Historically, of course, great records have rarely been initiated with the self-awareness that there may be something disingenuous about them, and in the case of Do It In The AM, that self-conscious decision-making is nearly audible on songs like "No I.D." — the spiritual cousin to Rebecca Black's "Friday" and Murray Head's "One Night In Bangkok," if you can imagine that — and the commercial-radio-by-the-numbers title track which, as Frankmusik attests, sounds painstakingly American. Like he was trying. Fortunately, once you get past these ill-fated attempts at having the next Pitbull-assisted radio hit (sans Pitbull, thankfully), there is an album: Opener "We Collide" flirts with the kind of pleasurable, but edgy electropop that Stuart Price pioneered with recent albums for Take That and The Killers, while "Wrecking Ball" sounds like it could have emerged from Frankmusik's successful album sessions with Ellie Goulding. In fact, by the time you get to Track 10 — the simply brilliant "Struck by Lightning" — it becomes increasingly hard to believe that the lows on Do It In The AM are so damn low. Because the highs are simply transcendent.

The point Frankmusik seems to have missed in his preemptive strike is that this has less to do with "selling out" as it does with knowing what makes you unique and developing that to its greatest potential. When he speaks in his own voice, Do It In The AM is delightful. But the detours are disastrous.

Also out today: Nirvana — Nevermind: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Geffen), Wilco — The Whole Love (Anti-), Blink-182 — Neighborhoods (DGC), Plaid — Scintilli (Warp), Twin Sister — In Heaven (Domino), Spank Rock — Everything is Boring and Everyone is a F*cking Liar (Bad Blood), Apparat — Devil's Walk (Mute)


Nirvana with rupaul Road For the 20th Anniversary of the release of Nirvana's Nevermind, I put together a list of ten albums also released in 1991 that less noticeably changed the world. They sold about 29 million copies less than Nevermind — at least — but all of them altered the course of music in the last twenty years.

Road Frankmusik's new album may be touch and go, but I've got high hopes for his work with Erasure: A complete stream of Tomorrow's World and track-by-track commentary by the band is online now.

Road Experimental pop and disco pioneer — and queer icon — Arthur Russell changed the face of the dancefloor with "Let's Go Swimming." This week, Audika Records reissues the single with a dub mix from disco legend Walter Gibbons and a previously unreleased version of "Make 1, 2 (Gem Spa Dub)" that clocks in at eleven minutes long.

Road Influential trip-hop trio Portishead are threatening to go back into the studio for the first time since 2008's Third. "I'm going to start in January," says Geoff Barrow. "Historically that could mean f*cking ten years."

Jake-Shears Road Scissor Sisters mainman Jake Shears isn't penning your average collaborator dream-list: At the top of the heap is Queens of the Stone Age singer Josh Homme. "I really, really want to sing on the next QOTSA album," says Shears. "I think that he's a genius, a genuine rock hero living among us."

Road New music you'll want to stream: Beni's forthcoming House of Beni promises to do for runway house what Frankie Knuckles did for whistles. "Someone Just Like You" is the latest track to surface and features The Rapture's Mattie Safer on vocals. Also, MGMT have curated the latest edition of the Late Night Tales series, out next week, and the band covers Bauhaus' "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" for the occasion. Neo-psychadelic goth, then? It actually works.

Bjork-2011_610 Road Björk talks with New Scientist about the technological and scientific inspirations and intersections on her forthcoming album, Biophilia: "If you write a song with acoustic guitar, is there [automatically] soul in it? I've heard tons of guitar songs with no soul at all. If music created with electronics or a computer has no soul, it's because nobody put it there."

Road R.E.M. announced their break-up after thirty-plus years as a band, but they won't go out quietly: Their final release is called Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982–2011, and it will be a two-disc, 40-song retrospective of the band's inimitable career — also featuring three new tracks.


Kele — "What Did I Do?" (featuring Lucy Taylor)

Bloc Party's out frontman is kind of worried that he's been kicked out of his band, but not enough to halt the release of his upcoming The Hunter EP on October 31. "What Did I Do?" is the lead single, and introduces a bunch of firsts: Guest singer Lucy Taylor, a new dubstep-tinged direction, and a newly muscled and shirtless physique he wasn't exactly touting on the Silent Alarm tour.

Washington — "Holy Moses"

I know very little about Washington outside of this video, and sometimes, that's the best way to evaluate something: The costuming might recall Lady Gaga and Tori Amos, but the song itself is one of those effortlessly ebullient tracks that are basically impossible to contrive. Washington's vocal, meanwhile, is strong, seductive, and best of all, perceptibly sincere.

Sneaky Sound System — "Big"

I'm starting to really look forward to the third album from Sydney–based Sneaky Sound System. Due out on October 7, From Here To Anywhere has already spawned a pretty fantastic lead single in "We Love," but single number-two connects the band with a more emotional tenor: "Big" comes from the Robyn school of slightly-melancholy-but-ultimately-uplifting arpeggiated pop. This is much harder to pull off than you'd think.

Death Cab For Cutie — "Stay Young, Go Dancing"

The latest by Death Cab is something like The Notebook of indie rock videos: You're kind of expecting Ryan Gosling to jump out and win someone's heart. But it's actually more sweet — and realistic — than that. "Stay Young, Go Dancing" is an anthem of aging in love.


MUSIC NEWS: Frankmusik, Anjulie, Mariah Carey, MTV VMA Nominees, iLike iPhone App, YACHT

Guestblogger MODERN TONIC

The editors of Modern Tonic present a weekly music update here on Towleroad. The rest of the week, they scan the pop-culture landscape for movie, TV, book and Web recommendations in their daily email.


We’ve been banging on about Vincent Frank aka Frankmusik since we heard his ‘08 singles “3 Little Words” and “In Step” — mouth-watering slices of juicy synth-pop that kick-started the U.K.’s ‘80’s revival. Now that his debut Complete Me is finally out overseas, we’re going to bang on some more! Those two singles are joined by twelve more potentially chart-topping, booty-shaking capsules of aural happiness. Add to that this FREE DOWNLOAD of “Wrong Time, Wrong Place” — his collaboration with Brit-hopper Tinchy Stryder produced exclusively for Mixmag — and you should be smiling until we bring you more new artists next week.

Anjulie Sultry Canadian singer Anjulie grew up in the suburbs of Ontario, but her playful voice and elegant R&B song-craft should not remain a secret Canuck pleasure like maple syrup pie or poutine. Her debut, Anjulie, adds a classic pop sheen to radio-friendly hip-hop. She reinterprets ‘70s-leaning soft-soul on “Love Songs” (FREE DOWNLOAD of the club-banging Bimbo Jones Remix here). And her first single, “Boom" (FREE DOWNLOAD here), delivered with the insinuating purr of Eartha Kitt, could easily soundtrack the seduction scene in a spy movie.


Road The CD booklet for Mariah Carey's forthcoming Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel is being co-produced by Elle Magazine. The 34-page insert will include lifestyle advertising and Mariah-related editorial layouts in addition to lyrics and the usual fare. 

Humanleague Road Classic album covers re-imagined as Penguin books, and examples of some of the worst album covers ever.

Road Beyoncé and Lady Gaga are tied for nine VMA nominations, including Video of the Year and Best Female Video, on MTV's annual awards show, to be held on September 13th at Radio City Music Hall.

Road iLike, the music application popular on Facebook, has launched a free app for the iPhone/iPod Touch. It scans the music in your device and alerts you to forthcoming local performances by the artists in your collection. 

Road Jill Sobule belatedly unleashes her real feelings around Katy Perry's use of "I Kissed A Girl" as a song title.


How strange can the music of an Oregon avant-pop duo who records as YACHT (Young Americans Challenging High Technology) be? Their third album See Mystery Lights, featuring FREE DOWNLOAD "Psychic City (Voodoo City)," locates them somewhere on the corner of Animal Collective Street and MGMT Way.

AmandaBlankCover Amanda Blank — a dirty-mouthed Philadelphia MC — says I Love You, plus a lot of other fantastically unprintable things on her brisk, minimalist electro coming out party.

Now that Modest Mouse have had two big hits, will the indie kids still thrill to the angular jolt of their latest EP, No One's First, and You're Next? Oh, you fickle hipsters!

Gloriana’s single “Wild at Heart” has a John Cougar Mellencamp heartland hook that just might send this self-titled country debut up the pop charts. The four photogenic members — brothers Tom and Mike Gossin (vocals, guitar), Rachel Reinert (vocals) and Cheyenne Kimball (vocals, mandolin) — won’t hurt, either.

Also released: Catie Curtis — Hello Stranger; Japandroids — Post-Nothing; Julian Plenti — Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper (Paul Banks of Interpol’s solo debut); plus singles from Madonna ("Celebration"), Antony and the Johnsons ("Aeon" b/w a cover of Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love"), David Gray ("Fugitive"), and Ledisi ("Everything Changes")


Just Jack: "The Day I Died"
JJ makes a cameo as a paramedic in this narrative clip about an average bloke’s perfect last day on earth. Bittersweet, melancholy, and as moving as The Streets’ “Dry Your Eyes.”

Miike Snow: "Animal"
This Swedish trio – including one-half of production team Bloodshy & Avant (Britney, Kylie) – shape-shift throughout this reggae-propelled pop tune about man’s true underlying nature.  (Hint – it’s in the title.)

Paolo Nutini: "Coming Up Easy"
The mop-topped Scottish troubadour romances a rabbit(!) in this lighthearted clip for his soulful stomper from album number two, Sunny Side Up.

Jessie James: "Wanted"
The country-pop singer vamps for her August 11 debut with this dusty romp through the great Southwest in a hot pair of hip-hugging denim shorts. Eat your heart out, Megan Fox. (Also features hunky shirtless road-workers. Hello!)


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