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Kele Okereke Hub



04/19/2007


MUSIC NEWS: Adele, Hercules & Love Affair, Beyoncé, James Yuill, Ciara, Moby, Grizzly Bear, Radiohead, Ex-Boyfriends

Adele

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.

ESSENTIAL NEW MUSIC:

Adele21 Adele 21 (XL/Columbia)

It could be construed that by naming her 2008 debut album 19, after her age at the time of its writing, Adele also established a critical lens for it — with her emphasized youth becoming one part disclaimer and one part I-can't-believe-it-either. We couldn't believe it, of course, because the very timbre of Adele's voice invokes a kind of maturity we tend to associate with world-weary soul singers twice her age. But it was also impossible to ignore that the delivery sometimes outweighed the content, and when it did, we could always point to that disclaimer: 19 introduced Adele as an articulate, but ultimately inexperienced teenager — forming a paradigm where songs like "First Love" are literally about first loves, and where wounds feel fresh because they are. Such reasonable shortcomings are essentially wiped clean from 21, in which Adele finds herself expressing a more even-tempered notion of love and loss from a woman on the cusp of adulthood; it's an album in which the ability to assert her own self-empowerment finally catches up with her unrivaled ability to sing about it. So if Adele's newfound confidence is what allows her to move skillfully between genres — dabbling in country ("Don't You Remember"), gospel ("Rolling In The Deep"), and even bossa nova (on a somewhat unnecessary cover of The Cure's "Lovesong") — it's even more radiant when she shares the room with spotlight-grabbers like Rick Rubin and Ryan Tedder and outshines them all. With the release of 21, the critical lens has been tweaked: It's all wonder, no disclaimers.

Hercules_love_affair-blue_songs Hercules & Love Affair Blue Songs (Moshi Moshi)

If the 2008 debut by Hercules & Love Affair was a revelation, it probably had something to do with our collective dance music amnesia: Andy Butler had successfully tapped into the classic house music zeitgeist pioneered by producers like David Morales and Frankie Knuckles — most notably constructing a near-perfect piece of contemplative disco with "Blind" and making a diva out of Antony Hegarty in the process. Hegarty is absent on Blue Songs — as is DFA producer Tim Goldsworthy and vocalist Nomi Ruiz — but Butler's vision persists with a new supporting cast: Shaun Wright's performance on "My House" recalls Robert Owens in his prime and Bloc Party's Kele Okereke takes his turn on "Step Up," for what sounds like an ode to Chicago house legends Virgo Four. But somehow, the album's strongest statement is a cover of Sterling Void's "It's Alright," which eschews the dancefloor direction of the original for a plaintive, almost mournful rendition — perhaps confirming the suspicion that Blue Songs is not an attempt at genre revivalism, but an accomplished exercise in the recontextualization of house.

THE DISPATCH:

Beyonce Pictures Road Beyoncé is currently in the writing stages of her next record, and if this is an indicator, her new list of collaborators might just surprise you: The singer recently completed work with Diplo and Sleigh Bells guitarist Derek Miller. "I actually have no idea if the collaboration will ever be released," Miller says. "Beyoncé works with whoever she wants to work with… It's just a totally different world from what I'm used to."

Road Death Cab for Cutie have announced the follow-up to 2008's gold-certified Narrow Stairs — which also scored the band their first Billboard #1 album. Codes and Keys will be released on May 31, with bassist Nick Harmer promising, "this is a much less guitar-centric album than we've ever made before."

Road In a post to her Facebook page called "My Time To Speak," Ciara surprised her fans with a public plea to be released from her contract with Jive Records and alleged that she spent "more than one hundred thousand dollars out of my pocket" to promote a record "only to hear the radio [program directors] tell me my label didn't want the song played." Jive has yet to respond to the accusations.

Road Björk is, indeed, releasing an album this year, but it's not the one she hinted at: The singer is teaming up with Syrian artist Omar Souleyman for "the first-ever major Western pop release to feature Syrian dabble and Iraqi choubi music." I have no idea what that means, honestly, but we can expect to hear it before the end of the year.

SP Road In one of the more bizarre bits of news this week, Billy Corgan alleged on Twitter that The Smashing Pumpkins' current bassist, Nicole Fiorentino, is actually one of the two girls featured on the cover of his 1993 album Siamese Dream. She neglected to tell him this before, Corgan says, "because she thought maybe we wouldn't let her be in the band." Maura Johnston at Popdust, however, says not-so-fast — and lays out the evidence for a hoax.

Road It's been a busy week for Moby, who announced the release of a new album called Destroyed for May 17, an accompanying book of photography, three new music videos, and a teaser EP called Be The One — which is available as a free download HERE.

Road Lykke Li has leaked a fourth track to lead up to the March 1 release of her sophomore album, Wounded Rhymes, and dare I say it's the best one yet: "Love Out of Lust" is streaming at the singer's Soundcloud page now

COMING OUT:

Jamesyuill James Yuill's 2008 breakthrough, Turning Down Water For Air, was one of those albums that crystallizes the successful possibility of an idea that hasn't quite been tapped. Before Yuill, "folktronica" was code for bleepy folk songs; after, it was possible to write four-on-the-floor tech-house tracks with an acoustic guitar. Which is why the first thing you'll notice about his third album, Movement in a Storm, is the near-total absence of guitars. Yuill just went ahead and made a pop-techno record, and it may be months before you realize how game-changing this is: Because when it comes to combining this level of dancefloor credibility with classic pop songcraft, it's not even that no one else is coming close. It's that no one else thought it was possible.

Radiohead's eighth studio album came out on Friday, and if you're still holding out for a return to their guitar-based rock roots, The King of Limbs won't do anything to feed your jones. This is an album driven by rhythm and textures, and despite their insistence on being a "band," the reference points that I feel most confident drawing all point to companionless studio programmers like Four Tet (in the rapid staccato of "Bloom") or James Holden (in the techno-glitch editing of "Feral"). It's not easy listening, but when you recall that even OK Computer's first single was a 7-minute song about suspicious robots, it becomes increasingly clear that the rewards are there if you're willing to collect them.

Blue-valentine-soundtrack The original motion picture soundtrack for Blue Valentine — the oscar-nominated film starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams — isn't so much a new album by Grizzly Bear as it is a new way to listen to them: Previous album tracks like "I Live With You" and "Lullabye" take on a new meaning as instrumentals, and Horn Of Plenty's "Alligator" appears here as a "Choir Version" featuring Beirut's Zach Condon with Dirty Projectors' Amber Coffman and Dave Longstreth. Ryan Gosling also shows up with a version of "You Always Hurt The Ones You Love," but that one might be for the diehard fans only.

Also out today: Toro Y Moi — Underneath The Pine (Carpark), Diplo — Riddimentary (Greensleeves), Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd — Bordeaux (Darla), Danielson Famile — Best of Gloucester County (Sounds Familyre), Bloody Beetroots — Best of: Remixes (Downtown), Gruff Rhys — Hotel Shampoo (Witchita)

SOUND & VISION:

Ex-Boyfriends — "Uh-Oh!"

San Francisco's Ex-Boyfriends have always been more than just "queercore" — if it's even fair to so narrowly pigeonhole them at all. On Line In/Line Out, the trio firmly establishes their acumen for writing finely crafted pop songs dressed in indie rock camouflage, while the video for "Uh-Oh!" is a chance for the Ex-Boyfriends to tell a story about ex-girlfriends.

Cut Copy — "Need You Now"

In the world of Cut Copy's "Need You Now" video, boxers wield swords, swimmers throw nunchuks, and sprinters carry baseball bats — presumably all for love. It's also the must-hear opening track from the recently-released and critically acclaimed Zonoscope.

Literature — "It's Cruel"

Austin's Literature play scrappy garage pop with a West Coast heart, which is probably why it makes total sense that they'd film a video that reenacts Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze's legendary foot-chase scene from Point Break. I don't call too many ideas "genius," but this would be a necessary exception.

Bright Light Bright Light — "How To Make A Heart"

Rod Thomas used to be an acoustic guitar-swinging singer-songwriter — and a great one at that — but these days, he's a new wave flame-keeper and UK gay-mag pinup. (The logical next step!) "How To Make A Heart" is the emotive first single from Bright Light Bright Light's forthcoming debut album Make Me Believe In Hope.



MUSIC NEWS: The Go! Team, The Joy Formidable, Kele Okereke, Ricky Martin, Björk, Lykke Li, Joan As Police Woman, Robyn

TheGo!Team

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.

ESSENTIAL NEW MUSIC:

Rolling Blackouts The Go! Team Rolling Blackouts (Memphis Industries)

The Go! Team are somewhat impossible to describe in any sort of meaningfully categorical way. In fact, it's not an exaggeration to say that the last time I heard an album that drew equal influence from Fatboy Slim, the Beach Boys, Run-DMC, and the soundtrack to Shaft, it took Girl Talk something like 373 samples to construct it. Which is probably why Rolling Blackouts, the third album by the Brighton, England–based sextet, is something like a balance of skill and miracle: Album opener "T.O.R.N.A.D.O." does as its name suggests — coming off like an old school Boogie Down Productions record in the middle of a James Bond car chase — while the comparatively demure "Secretary Song" offers a sugary nod to '60s pop psychedelia featuring Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki. But it's lead single "Buy Nothing Day" — with Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino on vocals — that provides the album's emotional center and lends the necessary third dimension to pull off this kind of stylistic free-for-all. For a band that prides itself on making self-proclaimed "schizo music," it's like a glimpse of The Go! Team on meds.

JoyFormidable The Joy Formidable Big Roar (Warner Bros.)

They only have three members, but you'll never hear The Joy Formidable being accused of minimalism. On their debut album, Big Roar, the London-based group revel in the kind of epic reverb-drenched big room anthems that bands like the Arcade Fire need twice as many members to execute. It's not for the weak of heart, mind you — the hyper-cranked decibel levels of My Bloody Valentine is an obvious reference point — but the payoff is, quite simply, remarkable. Singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan is already 2011's most compelling frontwoman, and it's a title she earns with the pathos-ridden "I Don't Want To See You Like This" and the inimitable Siouxsie-on-steroids delivery of "A Heavy Abacus." They've been incessantly linked to the '90s shoegaze movement by the British press, but Big Roar is far more complex than the analogy will allow. Because underneath the digitally-processed wall of sound, there are actually real songs here.

THE DISPATCH:

Kele Okereke Road Following the success of his debut solo album, The Boxer, Kele Okereke — the openly gay frontman of Bloc Party — has announced his plan to move to New York in order to write a "sexually-charged" memoir. "We can expect some naming names and shaming of celebrities," he claims. "It's gonna be hot."

Road TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek took time out from his current auxiliary duties as a member of Jane's Addiction to remix "I Follow Rivers," the second single from Lykke Li's forthcoming sophomore album. You can grab the free download HERE.

Road London's National Theatre has announced a line-up of its forthcoming productions and at least one name on the playbill is going to surprise you: A new musical written by Tori Amos is scheduled to open in April 2012.

Road Having just taken home a National Book Award for Just Kids — a memoir detailing her relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe — Patti Smith is already working on the follow-up. But hang on! It's a detective novel inspired by Sherlock Holmes.

Road Azure Ray's Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink reunited after six years to release last year's truly elegant Drawing Down The Moon, but the first song they wrote together following the separation never made it onto the album. "Silverlake," which features the late Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, was released earlier this week on iTunes, but Saddle Creek Records will send you the link to a free download in exchange for an e-mail address. It's worth it.

Road It’s been almost four years since Volta, but reports from Iceland have a new album from Björk already halfway to completion. Also: She claims to be collaborating with "eccentric people who had been in Africa for four years with lions and insects." Of course!

Road Shortly following the news that Big Audio Dynamite would reunite at this year's Coachella Festival, Boy George confirmed reports that the original members of Culture Club would be reuniting in 2012 to celebrate their 30th anniversary. "We'll be doing a proper huge worldwide tour," he announced. "And a new album."

COMING OUT:

Ricky Martin Musica Ricky Martin's first album since coming out is, umm, coming out today. All but two of the songs on Musica + Alma + Sexo are sung in Spanish — which will be a challenge outside the Latin market! — and while a surprising number of them take a turn towards tribal and progressive house, you're not likely to mistake this for a club album: With Desmond Child producing, classic power ballads like "Basta Ya" and "Te Busco Y Te Alcazo" still hold it down for the old school lighter-waving set.

Le Tigre's JD Samson returns this week with MEN, an electro-pop project also featuring members of New York indie favorites Ladybug Transistor and The Ballet. Talk About Body is as much a visceral collection of punk-disco as it is an authentic demonstration of art-as-activism — as you might expect. But it's also the most fun you'll ever have listening to expositions of wartime economy and critical gender theory.

Joan as Police Woman As a member of Antony & the Johnsons and a frequent collaborator with Rufus Wainwright and Scissor Sisters, Joan Wasser has certainly merited her favor with the gay community. But on The Deep Field her third album under the Joan as Police Woman moniker — Wasser goes at it solo and turns up an unpredictably soulful result.

Also out today: George Michael — Faith: Special Edition (Sony Legacy), Seefeel — Seefeel (Warp), Various Artists — Pop Ambient 2011 (Kompakt).

SOUND & VISION:

Savage Skulls & Douster feat. Robyn — "Bad Gal"

If you picked up the second installment of Robyn's Body Talk trilogy, then you've already heard the work of Swedish production duo Savage Skulls on "Love Kills." Here, Robyn returns the favor on this Chicago-flavored house track for Diplo's Mad Decent label.

The Thermals — "I Don't Believe You"

As the star of IFC's sketch comedy show Portlandia, a freelance music critic for NPR, and singer for the all-star indie band Wild Flag, it seems like Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein is everywhere these days. Which makes this video — in which she destroys her house trying to escape from The Thermals — just a little bit ironic.

R.E.M. — "Oh My Heart" (Live in Studio)

R.E.M.'s upcoming fifteenth studio album, Collapse Into Now, isn't set for release until March 7, but the band's latest self-imposed leak comes in the form of this gorgeous live performance.

Joan as Police Woman — "The Magic"

It might be that Joan Wasser put out a casting call on BigMuscle.com for the first video from her new album, The Deep Field. Otherwise, really, I'm not sure I have a good explanation for this!



Watch: Kele's Tearstains in New Video for 'Everything You Wanted'

Kele

Check out the beautiful video for the second single off Kele Okereke's album The Boxer, called "Everything You Wanted."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via omg - where you can find a full list of rescheduled tour dates)

Continue reading "Watch: Kele's Tearstains in New Video for 'Everything You Wanted'" »


News: Rush Limbaugh, Berlin, Mitchell Gold, Astros, Kele Okereke

Road BP "pleased" with new cap on Gulf leak — verdict days away...

BerlinRoadBerlin Fashion Week: the whiskered look for Fall?

RoadSloth orphanage filmmaker in talks to produce full-length documentary.

RoadMitchell Gold marries his partner Tim Scofield in Iowa: "The two held the ceremony in Des Moines because Iowa is one of the five states, along with Washington, D.C., that recognizes same-sex marriages. They also appreciated the symbolism of Iowa as part of the nation's heartland, as well as the ruling of district court judge Robert Hanson, which led the Iowa Supreme court to permit same-sex marriages. Judge Hanson performed the ceremony at the Des Moines Art Center on June 19."

RoadA free remix of Kele Okereke's track "Tenderoni".

RoadWill the 'Google App Inventor' be a boon for the Android platform, or just fill it with useless apps?

RoadWATCH: Five minutes of the new film Inception.

RoadBrit TAB: Women often 'go lesbo' at 40.

RoadFacebook to add "panic button" for bullied teens in UK: "The button will actually connect the teens with resources hosted by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), an organization run in part by the UK government. Teens will be given advice and resources on dealing with potential threats on the Internet, and they may also report users who they believe are acting inappropriately toward them."

RoadThe Mona Lisa of our time?

Flowers RoadBrandon Flowers drops cover artwork for Flamingo.

RoadJames Cameron picks up $350 million 'Avatar' paycheck.

RoadBlindness-causing toxic weed spreads in Ontario, Canada: "The concern is it's a very poisonous plant, in the sense that if you get any of the sap from this plant on your skin, it can cause severe blistering and very bad burns."

RoadMore than 1,000 attend Houston Astros Pride Night at the Park.

RoadGay Dubai student sentenced to three years in prison asks court to segregate him from the general prison population if his sentence is upheld: "The 22-year-old M N was sentenced to three years in jail by Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance in March after he appeared in pornographic pictures that were distributed online. He was arrested at Dubai International Airport on July 20 last year with his male partner, who had been convicted of homosexuality and sentenced to one year in jail. Yaser al Naqbi, M N’s lawyer, said in today's closing argument that his client should be acquitted because of what he called improper arrest and search procedures. He also called the writ used when apprehending M N into question."

RoadJon Hamm dons a baseball uniform.

Butler RoadGerard Butler is ready to mount his Hog.

RoadBombers target World Cup soccer fans in Uganda, kill more than 60: "The bombs exploded at 10:30 p.m. local time in the middle of the match between Spain and the Netherlands under way in South Africa, with at least three explosions hitting a popular Ethiopian garden restaurant and a large rugby field in a different Kampala neighborhood where hundreds of people had massed to watch the game. More than 70 people were injured."

RoadMale model fix: Caleb Lane.

RoadIf Queen Latifah considers being a lesbian to be part of her "personal, personal life" then she will never come out.

RoadCastleford Rugby Club bans three fans for anti-gay abuse of player Gareth Thomas.

RoadRush Limbaugh sells NYC penthouse for $11.5 million: "A year after railing about the high tax burden on wealthy New Yorkers, Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk-show host, is severing one more tie with New York, selling his lushly decorated Fifth Avenue penthouse to an undisclosed buyer. Mr. Limbaugh's 10-room condominium, which features a 30-foot-wide living room with fireplace and four terraces overlooking Central Park at East 86th Street, went into contract Thursday for a bit under the final $12.95 million asking price, brokers said."


Watch: Kele Okereke Sings, Discusses New Album 'The Boxer'

Kele

In a new interview with Death & Taxes, Kele Okereke discusses how he developed his new solo album The Boxer.

"I'm not really into boxing, per se, as a sport. I think watching people fight for sport is gross, it's like fox hunting or something. But I do like the idea though, as a boxer you have to rely on nobody else but yourself to get something done. You have to summon the energy and strength from inside yourself. Even though you're being knocked down. Even though it's hard. You have to keep going..."

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Check out Kele's first video from the album for "Tenderoni", HERE.

Continue reading "Watch: Kele Okereke Sings, Discusses New Album 'The Boxer'" »


Watch: Kele Okereke of Bloc Party's New Video for 'Tenderoni'

Kele

Bloc Party's Kele Okereke is out with a new solo album and a brand new single "Tenderoni", the video for which has popped up online.

Arjan Writes: "While taking time off from Bloc Party, Kele took the opportunity to book his own studio time to explore new sounds, 'I plugged in synths with no idea what they would do. It was completely back to the drawing board. It was exciting and terrifying,' he explains in a press releases. 'The key for the sound of the record was to take things as harsh and as physical as I could make them. These are the sounds that make me happiest in the world.'"

Okereke recently told XFM why he recently shaved his head: "I was doing a Britney. I'd had enough and I needed to start again. I was having a meltdown. I was attacking photographers with my umbrella and not being so good to myself."

Watch the video for "Tenderoni", AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Kele Okereke of Bloc Party's New Video for 'Tenderoni'" »


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