April 23, 2008

Some Relevant Items

1 - "Falling Down", the first single from the upcoming Scarlett Johansson album premiered Monday on AOL's Spinner, and was yesterday (I think) released to the iTunes and Amazon MP3 stores for purchase. I like this track a lot, even more than title track "Anywhere I Lay My Head", my favorite of the songs I discussed previously. David Bowie is featured on backing vocals, and Scarlett's lead vocals are reminiscent of Sinead O'Connor and/or Annie Lennox. I was really into the singles from Lennox's Diva back in '92 ("Walking on Broken Glass" was the first and, I think, only song I ever called in to request on the radio), so I suppose it's only fitting that I would take a liking to this one.
There is a music Myspace set up for the album here.
1.2 - I like the latest iteration of Bowie's career, which seems to involve guest turns with young, currently relevant acts (TV on the Radio, Arcade Fire, Sitek/Johansson), allowing him to gracefully age as a legend without feeling the need to crank out an album every few years, as he did from '93 to '03. Compare that to Lou Reed, who's playing any corporate gig for hire, disappointing paying fans on a regular basis (I'm glad I didn't spend the $50+ it would have cost to see him in Northampton last Sunday), and guesting on overblown Killers b-sides.

2 - Interesting post at Boogie Woogie Flu, in which Ted Barron traces the "stark two chord template laid out in Lou Reed's 'Heroin'" to Peter Laughner's "Amphetamine", Wilco's "Misunderstood", and Josh Ritter's "Thin Blue Flame" (complete with MP3s of each). [Link]

3 - Pitchfork brings news that Dirty Projectors have signed to Domino, and plan to release an LP on the label in early 2009, as well as their last LP for Dead Oceans in fall 2009. It's said that the Dead Oceans release will be "an album expanding upon and inspired by the arrangements of Rise Above." I saw the band play some new songs in Boston late last month, all of which were similar in style and arrangement to Rise Above, but otherwise bore no relation the album's Black Flag concept. The sound struck me as already a little tired, so I'm hoping this means that Dave Longstreth will be taking yet another new direction on the Domino release, and using the songs I heard for the Dead Oceans album. If that's the case -- and if you're familiar with the band's history, you'll know that Lonstreth doesn't like to stick with any one sound/style for too long -- this is exciting news. [Link]

4 - An article posted on MTV.com last week (link) makes the case that, essentially, America(ns) is(are) "too dumb" for Robyn. This is similar to the Wired piece I posted earlier -- comparing the careers of Robyn and Britney Spears -- in which a message about the stupidity of Americans was at least implied, if not stated directly. I don't know exactly why, because I don't entirely disagree with the premise, but something about this type of coverage rubs me the wrong way. If the author of the MTV post is as hopeful for Robyn's U.S. career as he says, is insulting her prospective audience really the best way to get them interested in her music? There's a reason music critics have a reputation as elitist assholes. I have a feeling there will be more coverage of this ilk as her the release date for Robyn approaches.

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