Diamond Rings – It’s Not My Party Vs. The Knife – Pass This On

March 31, 2011

Diamond Rings is Canadian singer John O’Regan from Toronto. It’s Not My Party is off his debut album that was released last year. The album has got a lot of buzz and may be worth pursuing if you like this track. I am not sure if the video is a morality tale of what can happen if you go out alone and mix alcohol and dolls, or if it captures the essence of self discovery within the confides of isolation and alienation. But whatever you take from it, it is a beautifully shot although I am not sure why he is singing with a bruised eye when in the video he is hit and is bloodied in the mouth. The video reminds of another video, The Knife‘s, Pass This On, which also features the theme of crossdressing, but instead of a bar, takes place in what appears to be an inhouse rehab center. It may very well be where Diamond Rings will be heading after his night of debauchery. The Knife need no introduction and are truly innovators in electronic music. In addition to The Knife, lead singer Karin Dreijer Andersson has also provided sublime vocal work for Röyksopp and whose side project Fever Ray released one of the most buzzed about albums of last year. So who wins? Ultimately, in this bout the winning blow comes from The Kife because whereas in the Diamond Rings video, crossdressing leads to a bashing, in The Knife’s version, it encourages acceptance and understanding. I guess I am an optimist here, because I think that is ultimately the better message.

The Knife – Pass This On

Who Sung It First? “Little Black Angel”

March 28, 2011

Ladytron have amassed a decade long catalog of influential and catchy tunes. To celebrate the decade, they have just released a retrospective of many of their hits (but why oh why was She Took Him To A Movie not included and Evil only on the deluxe version?). Two new tracks, Ace of Hz, which was recently released and this track, Little Black Angel appear on the album. The song is super catchy and is actually a cover of Industrial innovators, Death In June, who first recorded it in 1992. To me, their version reminds me of Some Velvet Morning by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. Which version do you prefer?

Ladytron’s Version

Death In June’s Version

Tesla Boy – Rebecca

March 28, 2011

Russian?! Synthpop band, Tesla Boy released one of the best albums within its genre last year, and third single, Rebecca came out earlier this year. I am not a big fan of compiled concert videos (are you hearing me Goldfrapp and thrown together, Believer?), because it screams “copout” in terms of production and concept, but I am willing to overlook it since this is a band you probably haven’t heard of, but if you are a synthpop lover, and hey, you probably wouldn’t be here if you weren’t, is worth checking out.

And here is their remix of ultra icy cool Sally Shapiro, Miracle

Queen Of Hearts – FreeStyle

March 27, 2011

Starting with a Giorgio Moroder template and mixing icy hints of Annie and Goldfrapp, Freestyle, the debut single by Queen Of Hearts screams super hit. Nothing is known about this artist, other than a video teaser and full song stream. Are you salivating yet? This song has the potential of being this year’s Stuck On Repeat.

Here is the entire song stream

Where Are They Now – Blancmange

March 27, 2011

Then: Blancmange first came to prominence in 1982 with the album release of “Happy Families” whose classic single, “Living On The Ceiling”, mixed synthpop music , world beats and crazy gravity defying hair. It was a massive UK hit and got college radio play in the US. Less popular but just as anthemic was first single, “Feel Me”. There was great promise for second album, “Mange Tout” and it started out with the clever, (although slightly too similar to “Feel Me”) release, “Blind Vision”, but the album was a mixed bag, also containing the dreadful Abba cover, “The Day Before You Came”. This marked the beginning of the end for Blancmange whose fate was quickly sealed with rushed third album, “Believe You Me”, that fell on death ears. Blancmange soon disappeared into obscurity.

Now: Last year, Faithless released a cover of “Feel Me” featuring Blancmange on lyrics which built enough momentum for them to come out of hibernation. After 23 years, Blancmange is back with a new album. It is receiving decent buzz from reviewers, bloggers and fans alike, most notably The Manchester Guardian, which triumphed their return, awarding the album 4 out of 5 stars . Check out first single, “Drive Me” and see if it was worth the wait.

Listen to and download Faithless’ remake of Feel Me.

Jupiter – Sake

March 25, 2011

Picking up, right where Yelle left off, Parisian Electro disco’s Jupiter have release the insanely catchy, albeit, heavy on the cheese, debut single, “Sake” that has already been gaining some buzz and will appear on the new Kitsune compilation album, “KitsuneParisien”. Check out the low on budget , but high on fun video.

And here is a fun mix by Anoraak.

Marsheaux – Summer

March 10, 2011

I am escaping NYC this weekend and its miserable weather and heading to the Caribbean with my family to celebrate my mother’s 65 birthday. I will be gone for a week, but promise to return refreshed and mostly likely burnt to a crisp. To get me in the proper mood, I am playing on loop this classic Marsheaux track from their 2009’s brilliant album, Lumineux Noir. Summer is a blissful track, and the video perfectly personifies my days lying on the beach as I duck to avoid all those pesky flying stingrays.

Rumor has it, that the new Marsheaux album is coming out later this year and I am stoked! This will undoubtedly be one of the top albums of the year. If you like classic Ladytron and Client, you’ll LOVE LOVE LOVE this Greek band.

To tie us over for the new album, I am also going to let my readers preview and download a mix of the new track by Rolla Scape, Heaven Is Real with features vocals by Marsheaux.

On a side note, I was just want to thank NewNowNext for posting my review of the OMD concert on Tuesday. It means a lot to me that a band I love and care about so much can reach tens of thousands of readers through my review, many of whom may be discovering them for the first time.

Go to the review on NewNowNext, read my article and see some great concert shots

I am leaving for holiday on Sunday and won’t have access to new music, nor my computer, so this will be my last post until I get back (about 2 weeks) so for the 3 of you reading my blog (and 2 of those are coming with me), please be patient and I shall reward you plenty when I return.

OMD Concert – Epilogue

March 9, 2011

March 8, 2011

OMD have made their OMG return to a synthpop obsessed sold out crowd last night at Terminal 5 in NYC. Although many in the audience were likely fans during their heyday, there were a significant number of younger converts, who were introduced by the praise of recent synthpop artists like La Roux, Robyn and Hurts, who name Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (or OMD as they are more commonly known) as their main musical influence. This was the first time OMD had performed in the US in 23 years and it was a serious gamble for them to invest on a tour here, but when the evening finally ended, lead singer Andy McCluskey, who was physically shaken by such an enthusiastic reception, vowed to return.

The story of OMD is sadly, a familiar one. Although OMD have enjoyed commercial success in the UK since 1980, in the US, like many quality UK electronic acts from the decade, OMD’s prominence in American culture began and ended with one hit single, 1986’s, If You Leave. It was this song that defined the teenage angst of the x- generation from its inclusion in the seminal John Hughes movie classic, “Pretty In Pink.” Whereas the US audience finally took notice, a backlash began in the UK as fans dismissed their new sound for being “watered-down”. Sadly, they never recaptured their initial critical and financial success on both sides of the Atlantic and in 1996, OMD called it a day. Everything changed, however, last year, when the excellent BBC documentary “Synth Britannia”, finally gave OMD the recognition as true pioneers of electronic music and the momentum surrounding this band has been building ever since.

My friends and I decided to meet for cocktails at Hell’s Kitchen bar, Industry prior to the show. One cocktail led to another, and as I am sure you have already gathered, by the time we left, opening act Oh Land had already gone on stage. We ran to the venue and were able to catch their closing, Son Of A Gun, an extremely catchy single that sounds vaguely like Adele if she embraced electronics. The crowd was clearly impressed and I predict great things from them. You can catch them when they perform at the NewNowNext awards coming April 11, 2011 on LOGO.

OMD finally took the stage shortly after 9pm and opened with an obscure track off their latest album, which created nice atmosphere, but didn’t get the crowd going. This was ok, though, because I was immediately taken by how well lead singer Andy McCluskey had aged. Now over 50, he looks hot! But I digress. The crowd found their footing with third song Messages and the momentum kept up while they played such classic hits as Tesla Girls, Forever Live and Die, So In Love and Joan Of Arc. It soon became clear OMD knew their target audience and weren’t going to alienate old fans with all new material, a point that Andy McCluskey actually joked about early in the evening.

If I were to identify a lull moment in the show, I would have to say it were the few songs performed after crowd pleaser, Maid of Orleans. This was confirmed when at one point Andrew himself seemed bored and sat down on stage while singing. Things picked up again with Locomotion and the show continued to build for the rest of the evening. Crowd favorites included Souvenir, Maid of Orleans, Enola Gay, If You Leave and the encore performance of Electricity.

When it was finally over, you could see that Andrew has moved by the reception. They hadn’t toured the US in 23 years and were told that there wasn’t a market for their sound in the US, but that this sold out crowd had proved his naysayers wrong. Because of our love and enthusiasm, he promised to return and this is something this fan is holding him to.

I just to give a special shout out for my sister Allison and bestest friend Jason for making this such an incredible evening.

OMD Concert – Prologue

March 8, 2011


Our story begins as a young teenager who has yet to realise that the alienation he feels yet can’t explain would be understood once he came out, and who is fascinated by all things new wave (and perhaps slightly unhealthy addiction to Rock Over London), purchases a cassette that would forever change his life. Ironically it would be from the ultimate uncool label K-Tel (“As Seen On TV”) and called, “The Beat”. Never has an album contained such a roster of yet to be established musicians who would later define the new wave and synthpop genres. Artists like Depeche Mode, OMD, Duran Duran, Kim Wilde, Thompson Twins, Go Go’s and Split Enz. This cassette contained their very first recordings, way before they filled stadiums and became household names (at least to alienated youth throughout the USA). Not a dud on the entire cassette (well, except for Graham Parker, but I digress). I immediately fell in love with the OMD track, Joan Of Ark and followed their career religiously which culminated in seeing them live in the US in 1985. The venue was small since this was Syracuse, New York, a town on the forefront of absolutely nothing. It was also at an underage dance club; their target audience were teenagers who knew them from their song, “If You Leave”, a massive teenage anthem, which reached mass appeal after it was included on the soundtrack to the John Hughes film, “Pretty In Pink”. They played an amazing set of synthpop bliss. Afterwards they signed autographs and were very gracious to me as a bent over and had them sign a tour t-shirt I had just purchased. Never had a band been so accessible, and it is still a fond memory I hold to this day. Now where is that shirt?!

The Beat Track List
flock of seagulls: “i ran”
kim wilde: “kids in america”
haircut 100: “love plus one”
sparks: “i predict”
thompson twins: “in the the name of love”
graham parker: “you hit the spot”
the waitresses: “i know what boys like”
the go-go’s: “we got the beat”
bow wow wow: “i want candy”
duran duran: “girls on film”
split enz: “i got you”
depeche mode: “dreaming of me”
omd: “joan of arc”
billy idol: “hot in the city”

Where Are They Now – Propaganda

March 8, 2011

A new feature of my blog that looks at a band I loved from the past and we catch up with them to see what they have been doing now.

Then: Propaganda
Propaganda burst onto the scene in 1985 with the album “A Secret Wish” that contained the synthpop classics P:Machinery and Duel, but just as they were reaching critical acclaim, problems with their record label caused lead singer Claudia Brücken to leave the band a year later and they never recaptured their orignial glory.

Now: Claudia Brücken
Lead singer Claudi Brucken is back, although releasing solo material throughout the years, she is finally releasing her debut album. Lead single, “Thank You” has a James Bond theme feel to it with touches of Trent Reznor. What do you think?

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