Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Box set boys

I've noticed how very expensive box set editions of new albums seem to be cropping up more and more. Is it newly revived, or is just that artists and music who gain my attention have recently caught on to this medium? Anyways not since my mate at school got Mike Oldfield's aptly named Boxed box set - went green with envy - have they been more attractive.

Anyway a quick round up of box sets, in order of apprearance:

1. John Foxx - Cinemascope

- the least pricey of the bunch but also perhaps the most 'economically' made. Features 5 albums forn the grandaddy of electro-rock, plus a DVD of his Cathedral Oceans music/image project and six 'small art prints' by Foxx himself. Strongly recommended for those who want to catch up with the man's work as it features albums originally issued from 2003 - 2006 both in the electronica and ambient style. Discs come in cardboard sleeves. It's art.
Get it from Townsend Records a real bargain at £19.99

2. Franz Ferdinand - Tonight

- not their best album but certianly their most expensive issue to date at around 40 - 45 quid for their box. You get quite a lot for your money though with said box containing:
1. 6 x Jukebox 7" singles of the album
2. The album on CD (plus an album of dub mixes on CD).
3. A DVD containing a forty min documentary of the making of the album.
4. 4 filmed live performances.
5. A 24 page hardback booklet featuring photos & lyrics.
6. A dink to play the 7"s on standard record players.
A must for fans, especially the dink.
source: recordStore.uk

3. Pet Shop Boys - Yes
- apart from the standard CD, download etc. there's also a double CD edition with dub tracks and an exclusive recording 'The Used to Be the Future' featuring Phil Oakey on vocals. Quite hard to come by, apparently, so why not plump for the special box set containing, among other things, "11 super heavyweight 200-gram vinyl records pressed on the classic EMI 1400, each featuring ‘Yes’ album track plus exclusive b-side instrumental version" plus so much other stuff, ...actually. Just as well as it costs a whopping £300.00 (say, three hundred pounds). I wouldn't normally buy this kind of thing.
Ships from 27th April - order at the vinyl factory

4. Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe
- yes the dizzy Deps are back again this year with new album and a 'tour of the universe' no less and home by Christmas! While pirate copies of the album begin to circulate, snub the common-or-garden CD, and order your "Deluxe 4 disc" 'SOTU' box set now to ensure your copy and get 3CDs plus a DVD. "Bonus songs and remixes, as well as 14 exclusive demos..." are promised together with "Two 84-page hardback books" to leave lying around on your coffee table. Impress friends and become popular! Prices from £56.79 on amazon and others (choose country or planet here).

Mike Oldfield: he started it.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Maurice Jarre

French composer and musician Maurice Jarre has died at his Los Angeles home aged 84.
Jarre composed soundtracks and themes for many films including Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia and, more recently, Dead Poets Society, for which he won a British Academy Award, and Ghost.

If the surname rings a bell then Maurice was in fact father of electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre famous for his epic synthesiser based works such as Oxygène, Equinoxe and more recent pop oriented tracks such as C'est la Vie and Teo & Tea.

Thanks to benydebney for this selection of Maurice Jarre's work:

"One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head and that only I can hear." - M. Jarre

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Orch Men in two Minds

OMD have issued an official statement on their myspace blog concerning rumours of a possible tour with Simple Minds in the U.S.A. While the band do not either confirm or deny rumours they decline responsibility fo anyone "planning to book air tickets, reserve hotels or change their holiday arrangements based on postings on third party websites".

Andy McCluskeyhad this to say: "Additionally the agents of all touring artists are constantly in negotiations about possible concerts and tours. Since most of these discussions usually don't culminate in actual performances it is very unwise of artists to even mention them as it gets people's hopes up usually for them to be dashed."

The Listening Pool's 1994 album Still Life is now available through Fin Music with the single Oil for the Lamps of China as a free download. The Listening Pool was a post-OMD band formed by Paul Humphreys, Malcolm Holmes and Martin Cooper following the break-up of OMD around 1988. The band's sound featured a blend of electronics and acoustic instruments which resulted in a single album release.

The Listening Pool: traces of "eighties" hairstyles still rife in the 90s

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Depeche Livre

The lyrics of Martin L Gore of Depeche Mode have been collected and translated into French for a new book entitled 'Lays' (Editions Normant). The book contains 87 of Gore's songs diligently rendered in French by "DM aficionado" Jugurtha Harchaoui with German artist KLAUS VOORMANN contributing half-a-dozen original illustrations made specifically for the book. The front cover features a rare portrait by photogrpaher Anton Corbijn.
More info and orders here.

Meanwhile Depeche Mode's pioneering 'i-tunes pass' music purchasing system has been extended from the US to UK, France and Germany i-tunes stores.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Women of quality and distinction

Thank you to the Kate Bush tribute myspace for highlighting a soon-to-be aired BBC documentary entitled Queens of British Pop, featuring among others our Kate, Siouxsie Sue, Suzie Quatro and many many more. The link given is not valid but the BBC press blurb is as follows:

Queens Of British Pop Ep 1/2
New series
Day and time to be confirmed BBC ONE

Queens Of British Pop is a two-part series which celebrates 12 female singers and icons who have influenced British pop music from the Sixties to the present day. The series features new interviews with iconic stars including Sandie Shaw, Suzi Quatro, Siouxsie Sioux, Annie Lennox and Leona Lewis.

In the first programme, narrator Liza Tarbuck takes viewers back to the early Sixties and on to the cusp of the Eighties, exploring the lives and careers of Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, Marianne Faithfull, Suzi Quatro, Kate Bush and Siouxsie Sioux. They are all female artists who pioneered some of Britain's defining musical movements, from the Swinging Sixties through to glam rock and punk.

The programme features new interviews with Sandie Shaw, Marianne Faithfull, Suzi Quatro, Siouxsie Sioux and contributions from friends and fans, including Sir Tom Jones, Lulu, Burt Bacharach, John Lydon, Martha Reeves, Nancy Sinatra, Mark Radcliffe, Henry Winkler, Marc Almond, Peter Gabriel, Claire Grogan, Jarvis Cocker, Kiki Dee and Adele. They give an insight into the constraints and obstacles these pop icons have had to overcome, how they have defied and defined contemporary opinion and changing notions of pop femininity over the years and how their journeys helped shape and influence the next generation of female pop stars.

This celebration of British female pop stardom concludes next week, as Liza takes viewers from the early Eighties to the present day, completing the odyssey by looking at the impact made by Annie Lennox, Alison Moyet, Kylie Minogue, Geri Halliwell, Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis.

Kate Bush : "oi..who you calling eccentric? I'm a pop queen me!"

Monday, 9 March 2009

Spring electro-pop news

Greek electro-pop Goddesses Marsheaux have announced that their new album entitled "Lumineux Noir" will be out soon. Tracklisting here

More Continental electro-news from Ladytron who have a catchy new single 'Tomorrow' out, have also announced new shows in the Spring in Russia, Greece and Italy, partly as support to Depeche Mode.

Marsheaux : it's all Greek to them.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Aylesbury Friars, 1979

full interview with Andy MCluskey of OMD here

Top 5 cities

Been doing a bit of Euro-cityhopping this week so here's a quick top 5 I made up.
  1. London Belongs to Me (St. Etienne)*
  2. Drowning in Berlin (Mobiles)
  3. Nightboat to Cairo (Madness)
  4. New York City Boy (Pet Shop Boys)
  5. Arrivederci Roma (various)
St Etienne - the Berlin U Bahn belongs to them