Thursday, 27 January 2011

New Music: Cut Copy.

Zonoscope, Cut Copy's eagerly awaited third album, will be released 4 February this year. I, for one, am tremendously excited; Cut Copy has always been a riveting band, delivering music that is breathtaking in its delirious futuristic beauty. The quartet from my adopted city Melbourne, Australia (they used to be a trio, but they've recently brought on their fourth member, Ben Browning, on bass), through their first two albums – Bright Like Neon Love (2004) and In Ghost Colours (2008) – have exhibited a singular grace and elegance that is unmatched by their contemporaries. Dan Whitford's vocals are as emotive as ever, and the rhythms put forward by Tim Hoey and Mitchell Scott, while tinged with a delicacy and deliberation that bring to mind the best of '80s New Wave, still contain a contemporary edge guaranteed to get asses out there on that fucking dance floor.

So it is with great pleasure that I share with you today the first single off of Zonoscope, "Need You Now." Give it a listen. Then give it another. And another. My God, it's gorgeous. Cheers, friends. And enjoy.

Gary Numan Is Visiting OZ.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure today that I announce the dates for Gary Numan's 2011 Australian tour. Yes, the man who helped pioneer electronic music into what it is today is bringing his The Pleasure Principle Tour down under – and you know what that means. You got it – Numan will be performing his 1979 masterpiece The Pleasure Principle in its entirety, plus a special encore with selections from his entire career, from albums such as Replicas and Telekon through to Pure, Jagged, and the soon-to-be-released Splinter. So! Excited yet? As if that weren't enough, Sydney "Aus-electro" masters Severed Heads have been tapped to be the supporting act! How fucking awesome is that?

Here, for your reference, are the dates of his Australia/New Zealand tour. Please note that Severed Heads will not be performing at the Perth and Auckland shows.

16 MAY 2011 – ADELAIDE – HQ

And, if you click here and subscribe to Red Ant Touring, who's promoting the tour, you can get yourself two free Gary Numan downloads, and three free Severed Heads downloads! So, you know, go and do it, already.

See you there, kids. Stay well, and talk to you later! From 1979's Replicas, with Tubeway Army, here is Gary Numan at the Old Grey Whistle Test in London performing "Are Friends Electric?". You can be sure this is going to be huge live. Cheers!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Happy Australia Day!

Well, today is Australia Day – and my first one, at that! I've got to give props to my adopted country; everybody has been incredibly warm and inviting for the first four months of my stay. True, the paperwork hasn't gone through all the channels yet, but patience, I'm told, is a virtue. But still – I'm really enjoying it here, and I have been made to feel at home.

That being said, I'd like to showcase some music from the 1986 Richard Lowenstein film Dogs In Space. Set in Richmond, Victoria (an outer suburb of Melbourne), this examination of the 1978 Melbourne punk scene – starring Michael Hutchence of INXS in his first leading role – doesn't, unfortunately, hold much water in the story-telling department. Chockfull of wooden performances, stilted dialogue, and a whole lot of nothing happening throughout its 103 minutes. BUT – and this is a huge 'but' – the music! My gosh, the music gracing the soundtrack, put together by Lowenstein and Ollie Olsen (who was part of the scene back in those days; a member of the post-punk band Whirlywind), is pretty much playing nonstop; so it more than makes up for Hutchence's "acting" (which pretty much amounts to rolling around on the floor in a heroin stupor 75% of the time, all the while "speaking" in hardly anything but barks and grunts). Hutchence: brilliant singer, crap actor. But I digress.
Featuring pulse-quickening tracks by late-'70s acts such as Iggy Pop, Thrush and the Cunts, Primitive Calculators, Ollie Olsen, Gang of Four, Brian Eno, and Boys Next Door (Nick Cave's band before it transmogrified into The Birthday Party), the soundtrack to Dogs In Space is fucking fantastic. And if one is interested in knowing more about the scene personified in the film, one can check out an ABC 1 documentary entitled We're Living On Dog Food, which takes its name from the Iggy Pop track that opens Dogs In Space. So without any further ado, here are some of my favourite tracks from this well-meaning film

First up is "Win/Lose" from Ollie Olsen. I love the bit in the film where he sings it in the main house's living room, backed up only by a tape machine!

Here is "Pumping Ugly Muscle" by Fitzroy-based Primitive Calculators. Some brilliant anger going on in this track, with a lot of cathartic screaming and wailing!

What can one say about a band called Thrush and the Cunts? Great hooks, interesting name. Here is their seminal track from the so-called "little band scene", "Diseases." 

Here's "Shivers" by Boys Next Door, which would then become The Birthday Party. Goddamn, look how young Nick Cave is! And dammit, he makes this song fucking ache.

During the closing moments of the film, where Michael Hutchence's character's girlfriend has been buried (she died of a heroin overdose), we're treated to "Rooms For The Memory," a track written and performed by Ollie Olsen, and sung by Hutchence. This collaboration would result in a short-lived side-project called Max Q – which almost broke up INXS, seeing as Hutchence did the recording behind his band's back.

And last but not least, here's "Endless Sea" by Iggy Pop. Now, I know he's not Australian. However, that being said, this song – which plays in the background while Saskia Post's character has her fatal overdose – so completely works in the movie, I just had to include it. And there you go, as I leave you with Iggy. Have a fantastic Australia Day, people.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

He Took Her To A Movie.

Ladytron fans, rejoice! Ladytron has just announced on their website that they are reissuing their first three albums, 604, Light & Magic, and Witching Hour, fully re-mastered and "featuring the original album track listings plus four bonus songs for each album." Sounds incredible! The bonus songs are either remixes of favourite tracks, or live versions. Could be an awesome year for Ladytron; their first single off the upcoming album, "Ace of Hz" is out now on iTunes, and the album itself will be coming out later this year. 

Ladytron's label, Nettwerk, has released through Sound Cloud a sample of six songs from their catalogue that you can, you know, click on and listen to. You can click on this link here to visit the Sound Cloud page. I've embedded the tracks themselves below. Included are "Playgirl," "He Took Her To A Movie (Live in Sofia)", "Seventeen," "Seventeen (Soulwax Mix)," "Destroy Everything You Touch," and "International Dateline (Simian Mobile Disco Remix)." Happy listening, everybody!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Gig Review: Grinderman.

17 JANUARY 2011

Sure, sure, sure ... this is an electronica blog, you might say. And yes, you're right. BUT, this is Nick Cave we're talking about here, and goddamn it, I'm going to review his show I had the honour of witnessing when he dropped down in his hometown (of sorts) of Melbourne, Victoria. So there.

Longtime Bad Seed Conway Savage (1990 to present) was the opening act, sitting at an electric piano and accompanied by a guitarist. He was a quiet and graceful presence; subtlety and a glass of red wine perched atop his instrument were his constant friends -- alongside those audience members closest to the stage who could actually hear him over the din of the talkers and shouters in the back of the house, who were constantly on the cusp of completely drowning out Savage's bluesy concoctions. I had to leave my wife in the back for a spell so I could get closer to hear some of his intoxicating melodies. I really had never listened to his solo stuff before, but from what I could discern, his music would be a lovely companion to a night drinking out – I was reminded of Tom Waits, to be honest. I'm looking forward to picking up his most recent release, 2009's Live In Ireland. With a quiet "Thank you," and a nod to the crowd, Savage left the stage.

At around 10.00, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis (guitar, violin, percussion), Martyn P Casey (bass), and Jim Sclavunos (drums, percussion) took to their instruments and basically just brought the fucking house down right then and there, ripping wholeheartedly into "Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man" off their second album, the deliciously dirty and demented Grinderman 2. "And he sucked her, and he sucked her, and he sucked her DRY," bellowed Cave, delivering karate kicks into the air and following up with his Big Bad Wolf howl, "AWOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!" I swear, the intensity present in the room as he and his cohorts let loose on the first date of their Australian tour was buzzing, man. In fact, there were moments where old Cave – circa The Birthday Party – seemed to have come out to play, it was filled with so much giddily recounted mayhem and chaos. Grinderman has always been the id of a sweaty, hairy, sex-obsessed nasty man; Sclavunos's and Ellis's mountain-man beards certainly did nothing to dispel that particular aspect of their music. How was it that Sclavunos explained their new album to NME last year? Oh yeah – "No I'm not going to tell you anything about any of the songs. But they're great, and they cover a variety of topics from bloodshed to hairy animals to young girls masturbating in bathtubs ... on the first album you felt the weight of distended testicles swaying in the breeze of a mid-life crisis, whereas this one is a magic carpet ride floating over the rich spectrum of life," is what he said. Nice! And correct. This show displayed not a single flat note, glitch, or boring moment. It was the aural equivalent of a rampant locomotive with no breaks, steamrolling through anything and everything that gets in its way. "Get It On," with its chorus of "GET IT ON / GET IT ON / ON THE DAY THAT YOU WERE BORN" was simply fucking explosive. "No Pussy Blues," a treatise on a woman who just won't put out, no matter what one does for her, was fluid in its frustration.

The scathing "Honeybee (Let's Fly To Mars)" was fantastic in its punk-rock fervour, and "Worm Tamer," a rollicking track with one of the funnier lines to ever be sung ("Well my baby calls me the Loch Ness Monster / Two great big humps and then I'm gone") nearly hypnotised with its grungy dirty-ass blues. Fittingly, Cave and company closed things down with the first Grinderman's self-titled track, "Grinderman." "Yes I'm the Grinderman / In the silver rain / In the pale moonlight / I am open late / Yes I'm the Grinderman / Yes I am / Any way I can."

Damn right, Nick. Yes, you are.


mickey mouse and the goodbye man
worm tamer
get it on
heathen child
when my baby comes
what i know
honeybee (let's fly to mars)
no pussy blues
bellringer blues
palaces of montezuma
man in the moon
when my love comes down
love bomb

Here for your viewing pleasure is Grinderman's "Heathen Child," directed by John Hillcoat, director of fantastic films The Proposition (which was scripted by Nick Cave) and The Road, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy (which featured music written by Cave and Ellis). It's NSFW, just so you know – featuring nudity, violence, and grown men prancing around in Roman Centurion costumes.

Monday, 17 January 2011

House Classic: Leftfield.

As promised earlier this afternoon, I'm going to commence highlighting the various acts and personalities gracing Australian soil this upcoming March for the ultra-fantastic Future Music Festival. So I figured, why not now? Yo, check it out -- here's fucking Leftfield!

Formed back in 1990 by London mates Paul Daley and Neil Barnes, Leftfield were one of the stalwarts of British electronic music and progressive house that began to earnestly sweep the planet during the early-to-mid-'90s. Hell, I remember when their 1995 debut album Leftism came out. Holy shit, it was awesome. Featuring an eclectic lineup of guest vocalists (including PiL's own John Lydon!), it was a mighty force to be reckoned with; it just didn't stop banging! Then, in 1999 they released their second, and last, album, Rhythm and Stealth. The vibe this time out was a little darker and moodier than its predecessor. Layered with deeper basslines and exhibiting a certain menace reminiscent of trip-hop electronica stalwarts Massive Attack (who in 1998 had released the amazing Mezzanine), RaS had vocal contributors (such as the brilliant Afrika Bambaata and Roots Manuva) who brought a distinctly urban feel to the proceedings.

Now, Leftfield is back and touring. But Barnes is going it alone this time out, seeing as Daley has decided to focus on his DJing and solo record. And they'll be at this year's Future Music Festival -- so the resident doctor at Second Drawer Up HQ has officially prescribed your presence. Party on, and enjoy!

Here, from 1999's Rhythm and Stealth, is their breathtaking track "Dusted", featuring the vocal talents of the one and only Roots Manuva.

Future Music Festival 2011!

Well! This should be something! Here, in all its glory, is the Future Music Festival making its way through Australia this March! All told, the lineup is absolutely solid. Here's where the Festival will be touching down in Oz, and when:






Fantastic! Looking forward to it. Now let's take a look at the lineup, shall we?

and many, many more.

How awesome is that? I'm really looking forward to a few of these acts. Chemical Brothers, yes. Leftfield? Yes, please. Art Vs Science and The Presets (who are releasing their new album mid-2011)? Definitely. MGMT is always fun. Dizzee Rascal is going to be a hoot and a holler. Pendulum put on a terrifically intense live performance, so they'll certainly be worth checking out. But one of the nice things about festivals such as this is that it'll also be a day of discovery -- nothing beats stumbling upon a new band and totally digging it.

Anyway, from time to time during the next couple of months, I'll be returning to this lineup and sharing some of the music to expect at Flemington Race Course this autumn!

Cheers, boys and girls -- can't wait to catch up!

Sunday, 16 January 2011


Barren tree branches sporting eyes in the cracks in the bark. Spilled jars of coffee beans from which feeling toes venture warily. Placental imagery in a gilded forest of cling film and foil. A forest of disembodied legs and arms, all smudged with dirt and grime. Slimy mollusks leaving a trail of mucus on a leaf. A black cat. A beautiful blonde woman curled up amongst the exposed roots of a tree, licking the bark. Virtual birth from a crack in the trunk of a birch. 

These are but some of the many images employed by the Swedish experimental group iamamiwhoami, headed by the ethereally gorgeous Jonna Lee. Short teaser video clips have been showing up on YouTube for most of last year, garnering a lot of speculation and anticipation as to who are they and what are they about. Well, now the (black) cat is out of the bag, and a series of videos with such titles as "o", "t", "n", and "y" have been released through iamamiwhoami's YouTube Channel. Their music is available on iTunes, as well -- so I completely recommend a visit to pursue some of this devilishly clever and freakishly brilliant experimental electronica headed by the voice of an angel. To say the music's dreamy and mythical would be an understatement, by my reckoning! As I said before, Ms Lee's voice is something of a revelation; wispy yet forceful, with a breathy insouciance befitting a body of work that seems to revel (if not openly worship) the woods and the mysteries that can be found within their mysterious darkness. The music is delightfully experimental, full of piano, crickets, toads, squelching beats, humming insect noises, elegiac synths, and a general sense of wonder that comes through every note. Best discovery I've made in quite some time, and I thought of sharing it with you, dear readers! Check it. Here, for your viewing and listening pleasure, are three of my favourites: "o", "t", and "y" -- which do spell "toy." 

Friday, 14 January 2011

SDU's Top 11 Albums of 2010! (#1)

Well, this is it. The final installment of Second Drawer Up's "Top Eleven Albums of 2010". I have to admit I'm a bit sorry to see it finish. Mayhaps I'll hit some of the albums that came close to making my list sometime in the near future (Kele's debut solo record The Boxer springs to mind); I think that would be quite fun. But -- yeah -- this is the final installment. And once again I'd like to remind the reader that these have in no way been listed in a preferential order ... though I have to admit that this record I'm about to put down is certainly one of my all-time favourites. So here it is!



On the 9th of March last year, Gorillaz released their third (and perhaps final) album, Plastic Beach. A cartoon band created by Damon Albarn (of the late, great Blur) and realized by Jamie Hewlett (who was responsible for the great comic series Tank Girl), Gorillaz consists of part-time Satanist Murdoc Niccals, the pint-sized and impossibly skinny 2D, half-robotic assassin Noodle, and the hulking behemoth Russell Hobbs. 

Their self-titled debut was released in 2001, featuring the classic tracks "Clint Eastwood" (featuring Del tha Funkee Homosapien - which in itself was rather ideal) and "19-2000" (with Miho Hatori and Tina Weymouth). 2005 brought us the more fully-realized Demon Days, with the most awesome electro-disco single "Dare" and their pairing with Neneh Cherry, "Kids With Guns". And now, we are blessed with the singularly epic sprawling masterpiece that I'm talking about right now at this very moment. As a matter of course, the cartoon characters have been somewhat sidelined by a very large coterie of flesh-and-blood musicians and guest vocalists -- but their spirit still lingers strongly in the world of Gorillaz' third LP. Set on the titular piece of real estate, somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean, this rollicking piece of work finds itself reveling on chunks of plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that have somehow manifested themselves into an island where the Gorillaz have set up their home. And, boy, I've got to tell you - they have some seriously awesome guests. Here on Plastic Beach we have musical compositions (ranging from dub, raggae, hip-hop, techno, and - yes - electronica) with such luminaries as Snoop Dogg, Bobby Womack, Mick Jones and Paul Simonen from The Clash, Mark E. Smith, Lou Reed (!), Mos Def, and De La Soul. Eclectic? For sure! And that's one thing (of many) that makes it so special - you can't pin it down. Based on what I've heard, I heartedly recommend it to anybody. Pardon my French, but it's fucking magical.

Probably the most searing, awesomely scorching track off of Plastic Beach has to be the rollicking "Stylo," with vocal performances from Damon Albarn, Mos Def, and the gorgeous soul voice of the one and only Bobby Womack. The accompanying video is something special as well. It features three of the cartoon characters speeding through the desert in their car after some kind of shootout. It's a car chase! Guns blazing! A fat cop with donuts! Bruce Willis chasing them with a humongous gun! Noodle the cyborg with a hole in its head! It freaking rocks.

Thank you all so much for reading! If you like what you're reading at all, then help spread the word for me -- share a link, like on Facebook, re-Tweet, yeah, all that sweet-ass shit. Peace out, and can't wait to hear from y'all again!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Electronica Classic: Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas.

This shit rocks. Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas, two incredibly talented producers and electronic composers from the magical country of Norway, first worked together in 2005, producing a self-titled album featuring original tracks. Two years later they reconvened, taking that album and completely remixing it -- in turn, transforming it into an entirely new entity. Lindstrøm himself hardly ever tours, so when he does it's needless to say a joyous occasion for connoisseurs of detail-driven and immaculate dance music. Luckily, 2011 is the year he's decided to take his show on the road. Here are his tour dates -- if you can make it, then go, already!

10 FEBRUARY 2011

11 FEBRUARY 2011

12 FEBRUARY 2011

18 FEBRUARY 2011

25 MARCH 2011

Check out his Myspace site for further information and go, already! Here's Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas's "Mighty Girl" off of Reinterpretations to get your juices flowing.

SDU's Top 11 Albums of 2010! (#2)

Well, here we are. The final two of eleven albums of 2010 that made Second Drawer Up's cockles warm up. Here's number two (though once again I'd like to remind everybody that this list has in no way been in any preferential order) -- an outstanding surprise released by a band who I was beginning to believe wouldn't release anything else at all...



Seven years. Seven long, long years. That's how long ago Robert "3D" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall, better known as Bristol duo Massive Attack, released their fourth official album 100th Window. Seven years. I really was under the impression that they'd laid Massive Attack to rest; content to noodle about here and there with other musicians and eschew the limelight. 

But they never sat on their laurels, did Massive Attack. They were busy as bees, working on film soundtracks, engaging in fundraisers for the benefit of Palestinian children, and curating festivals in London. Del Naja and Marshall were also taking their time, getting together from time to time and writing bits and pieces of what was then only known in blogs and rumours as "LP5". But it was when they went to hang in Damon Albarn's (of Gorillaz) studio that music began to flow -- enough for an EP they released in 2009 called Splitting The Atom. And after that, it all came together and coalesced into a finished "LP5" -- featuring three of the songs off of Splitting The Atom, "Splitting The Atom," "Pray For Rain," and "Psyche." The LP was subsequently titled Heligoland, after the German archipelago where Werner Heisenberg first formulated the idea of quantum mechanics in the 1920s. (You see, Heisenberg suffered from tremendous allergies. Heligoland doesn't have any trees or pollen to speak of, so he felt comfortable there.) Don't know if that's the particular reason Del Naja chose Heligoland, but that's my favourite guess.

So! Was the wait worth it? Fuck yeah, it was worth it. What I've always liked about Massive Attack has been their intense and unwavering feel for experimentation. From their 1991 debut Blue Lines to '94s Protection to '98s immense (and my favourite, I must add) Mezzanine there's always been a deliriously feel of immersion in the listening experience. And yeah, I mean it when I say "experience". 'Cos that's what listening to a Massive Attack record is like -- it feels as if you're in another place and time while those squelchy beats, string arrangements, and numbing basslines wash over you. Heligoland is no different. Written with a host of other musicians and featuring vocal work by Horace Andy, Hope Sandoval, Tunde Adebimpe, Guy Garvey, and Damon Albarn his own bad self, this record is like a treasure trove of musical wonder, coming at you from every direction. There's the gleeful menace and atmospherics of "Girl I Love You," complete with Andy's powerful voice backing shit up. "Rush Minute," one of the few tracks featuring Del Naja's scratchy and moody voice, slowly builds in intensity over staccato drums and guitar and an unrelenting beat. The beautiful Hope Sandoval's breathy vocals preside over "Paradise Circus." And then, closing shit out, there's the demented animosity of "United Snakes," which seems to evoke a nightmarish world of intrigue and dishonesty that exists ... underwater. It's all so awesome and thrilling; and I'm happy that Massive Attack is back -- in a huge way. Yo, check it.

Here's "Girl I Love You" from the album. Brilliant!

And here's a link for the video "Paradise Circus." It's amazingly pornographic and is unsuitable for work! I mean it -- it's truly NSFW and if you click to the right link, the video will start immediately. Two words: Seventies Porn.  CLICK HERE. 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

SDU's Top 11 Albums of 2010! (#s 4 & 3)

So! Here we are -- well over halfway through our special little list of our favourite eleven albums of 2010. Today we have numbers four and three for you. So we recommend you fix yourself your favourite beverage, sit back in your comfortable (at least we hope it's comfortable) chair, and read today's entry! You'll be happy you did. Especially if that chair's a comfortable one. Going on ...



I still remember when Die Antwoord first entered my consciousness. I was browsing my preferred go-to site for all things cool and interesting, BoingBoing, and one of their South African correspondents had written a missive on this fascinating rap-rave crew from Cape Town whose sound was unlike anything he'd heard before. The accompanying video was unlike anything I'd seen before. An impossibly tall and skinny blonde man (NINJA) covered with primitive tattoos, a diminutive tomboy girl (¥O-LANDI VI$$ER) with a funky platinum fringe haircut, and a huge DJ (HI-TEK) with a massive talent for human beatboxing were holding court in the hot South African sun and talking about a concept called "ZEF". Frankly, I couldn't take my eyes or ears off them, and I thought to myself, These guys are fucking crazy. They're going to be HUGE.

So when the trio finally dropped their debut album $O$ in November, I snapped the fucker up. And I've got to tell you: this record has got to be the most original I've heard in many a moon, dude. It's startling. Racing breathlessly from genre to genre, $O$ never plays it safe -- it's loud, it's in your face, it's brooding, and it's gleefully profane. Now that I think about it, that's what "ZEF" is really all about. All I can say is this album is "fokken" brilliant. Check it. 



A concept album of sorts, based on a cheesy 1979 science fiction film called The Visitor, Stridulum II by Zola Jesus (the stage name of Phoenix, Arizona singer Nika Roza Danilova) is an attempt to discuss the powers of good and evil that rest on the weary shoulders of a young woman who is caught between the pulling forces of the two. Here's what I wrote: "This is quite literally a thrilling album, deep and mysterious and full of emotion. From the opening number 'Night' to closing time with 'Lightsick,' Danilova brings to mind the best vocal performances of Siouxsie Sioux and Kate Bush, splashing and dashing the flavour with sleek and dark synth brushstrokes and a mighty dollop of mezzo soprano classicism. Something dark and wounded in the night; a decision upon which balances the difference between success and failure; a heavy head, lost in the fog of confusion; and the blindness that careens from the deepest pits of despair -- this is not a happy record."

Here's the video for my favourite track, "Sea Talk." Like a funeral dirge backed by towering organs and a militaristic drumbeat, when Danilova sings, "Sick / I'm sick, honey / I don't, I don't got the money / Do you want a raincheck?" you can feel the raw emotion all the way down your backbone. Enjoy.

Monday, 10 January 2011

SDU's Top 11 Albums of 2010! (#s 6 & 5)

Chugging right along. Second Drawer Up's Top Eleven Albums of 2010 continues, resembling a steaming locomotive loaded with nothing but the dandiest electronic goodies this side of Pluto (which is still a planet in my book)! Here are numbers 6 and 5 -- and remember, kiddies, that none of these albums are in any preferential order! Shall we?



Melbourne, Australia's own Midnight Juggernauts dropped their sophomore album The Crystal Axis May of last year, and frankly I feel as if they dodged what many consider to be the "dreaded sophomore curse". Any doubts about Vincent Vendetta, Andrew Szekeres, and Daniel Stricker being able to maintain their glistening prog-rock-meets-Vangelis sound were quickly dispelled by the opening number, "Induco", an instrumental introduction that would surely feel at home in an early-'80s science fiction film about a dystopian future. Here's what I wrote last year after having seen Midnight Juggernauts at the Lovebox Festival in London: "[It's] a hypnotic and soulful hybrid of 70s glam, soaring Ennio Morriconesque soundscapes, and spacey synths that would fit quite comfortably in anybody's music collection." Songs such as "This New Technology," "Cannibal Freeway," and (my favourite) "Winds of Fortune" really take their debut record Dystopia's musical direction further along this road lined with so much psychedelic lustre. It's fun, it's danceable, and above all it takes the listener to a dynamic, mythological place with (to quote Bryan Ferry) a rhythm of rhyming guitars. Excellent stuff, indeed. Now, here's "This New Technology" for your listening pleasure, gentle readers.



There's a moment, three minutes and six seconds into the opening track "Dance Yrself Clean", that's a lot like the curtain effect at certain rock shows -- you know what I'm talking about; when a song builds and builds and builds, ratcheting up the anciness and expectations and potential bust-a-movers ... and then when that final note hits, then POW! it all begins in earnest and the beats kick in and the volume goes up ten-fold and the crowd goes fucking apeshit and the curtain that had previously concealed the band falls down to the stage with a crash and the lights go wild. So ... yeah, 3:06 into "Dance Yrself Clean" that happens. And once those cards are thrown down by James Murphy of DFA fame, then all bets are off the table. For here's his third (and, unfortunately, probably his last) album under the LCD Soundsystem moniker -- and he's going out with a bang, motherfuckers.

There is so much good on this album. There's the delightfully cynic track "I Can Change" ("... And love is a curse shoved in a hearse/Love is an open book to a verse of your bad poetry/And this is coming from me."), flowing along effortlessly and -- while it's at it -- bringing to mind the Eurythmics' classic "Love Is A Stranger"; the punk-rock late-'70s boisterousness of "Drunk Girls"; "Pow Pow", which takes its usage and fetishism of cow-bells to dizzying heights; and "Home" which sounds like the soundtrack from an alien production of a western -- yet the film-making ETs were all on angel dust.

So. This Is Happening. Will it truly be James Murphy's last album as LCD Soundsystem? I certainly hope not, but if it is indeed true, it's not like he's going away, or anything. I picture him heading back to his producing chair in NYC's DFA HQ -- making fucking kickass music no matter what name he's doing it under. Thanks, James -- for going out with some class!

Here's "I Can Change", track five off of the aforementioned album. Enjoy!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

SDU's Top 11 Albums of 2010! (#s 8 & 7)

And the ball keeps moving on Second Drawer Up's Top Eleven Albums of 2010! Let's jump right in, shall we? Numbers 8 and 7 were chosen through Facebook when I asked some friends to give me two numbers. Simple shimple, easy schmeasy peasy!



When Torbjörn Brundtland and Svein Berge recorded their ebullient Junior in 2009, featuring a multitude of guest vocalists, soaring synths, partying beats, and, yes, a singular sensation of being young and carefree, they'd also put down on tape some more introspective and multi-layered instrumentals that really had no place on such a festive album. So they released in 2010 the followup to Junior: Senior. The Norwegian electro-artistes stated on their website:
"The two albums (’Junior’ and ‘Senior’) have a kinship, in that they represent Röyksopp’s two very different artistic expressions. ‘Junior’ – with emphasis on vocals, accessible melodies and harmonies, has the energy, the inquisitive temper and confident 'hey-ho, let’s go!'-attitude of youth, whereas ‘Senior’ is the introverted, dwelling and sometimes graceful counterpart – brimfull with dark secrets and distorted memories, insisting 'I’m old, I’ve got experince…'. Senior’ is furthermore an album about age, horses and being subdued – with devils breathing down your neck."
And here's what I wrote last year: "Flowing nearly seamlessly over nine tracks and 48 minutes, this entirely instrumental work shines with a languid and chill-out beauty. Hypnotic, meandering, and in no hurry, Senior would make a fantastic soundtrack to an imaginary sci-fi spaghetti Western film with lots of dramatic silences and speculative ennui."

Terrific album; very mellow, it plucks the heart's strings in just the right places, and -- even better -- it's a bit like brain food; Senior takes your mind to a fantastical place, like a spa, and massages your grey matter with tones and moods and feelings. It's just ... right.

Taken from the album, here's track 4, "Senior Living." My Gosh, it's a gorgeous song.



Featuring a cover depicting Robert Mapplethorpe's 1980 photograph of ballet dancer Peter Reed's well-toned ass, and literally chockfull of sharp and edgy disco-saturated shenanigans, Scissor Sisters' third full-length, Night Work, was a direct result of a wholesale scrapping of eighteen tracks, that the band just couldn't coalesce behind. Lead singer Jake Shears fled to Berlin for a few months to "readjust" and it was there, in the sex clubs, cabarets, discotheques, and the music scene in general that a fire was lit in his imagination. Voilá -- a brilliant album was born. Taking its cue from the halcyon days of gay sex and partying before the spectre of AIDS reared its ugly head, Night Work straddles (ha) the fine lines separating pleasure and pain, love and death, joyousness and sadness, and the trials and tribulations of hooking up with strangers after a sweaty night out. The disco sensibilities they explored on their self-titled debut are all here, but turned up to 11. Title track "Night Work" sets off the proceedings with style and flair, complete with buzzing guitars, throbbing rhythms, and Shears' and Matronic's vocals overlaid on the catchy-as-fuck chorus. "Running Out" is probably my favorite song off this record, and my nominee for the next single! I'm telling you - this song soars, man. It's an incredibly, impossibly catchy piece of pop confectionary that seemingly has it all: sharp indie guitars courtesy of Babydaddy and Del Marquis, a fantastic disco beat, and chirping, swooping synths that bring to mind some of the best stuff that late 70's/early 80's Krautrock had to offer. Then on the darker side of things, there's the spooky "Sex And Violence," told from the point of view of a serial killer who kills gay men, trailing his next victim and singing how he's going to do the deed. Chilling. Ana Matronic has a solo song, "Skin This Cat" as well. Featuring a deep, progressive throbbing bass-line throughout with a fantastically fun 8-bit keyboard flitting about like a stoned butterfly, it's something of a turn-on when she purrs, "Here, kitty kitty, let's skin this cat." 

Night Work. Simply divine; it's a monumental work.