Well, it’s September. The days are getting noticeably shorter and cooler already. Festival season is winding down, summer vacations are over, and it’s back to the grind. Kids are excited to be back in school with friends, complaining about homework, and the parents are as excited to see them go. Personally, I don’t have kids, nor am I in school myself, so all this excitement is lost on me. My September excitement is derived from the maturing list of fall music releases and local concerts that have been promised over the last eight
months or so.
Or, in the case of Deltron 3030, nine years! The long-awaited return of the futuristic, anti-corporate, hiphop hero supergroup is
finally on the horizon. In 2004, four years after the release of Deltron 3030, Kid Koala announced that the new album should be done
in ‘06. Since then we’ve heard an annual promise of ‘next year’ from Del The Funky Homosapien. Finally a new EP, City Rising From
The Ashes has surfaced. The title track of the EP introduces the new story. Event II will happen October 1. In June Elton John released a lyric video to his new single, ‘Home Again’ from his upcoming album The Diving Board, which has been delayed twice to a sum total of a full year, and had its name changed to Voyeur and back. The song is a homesick piano ballad that sounds like it could have been an emotional deep cut from The Lion King. I almost passed it up but I’m glad I gave it a listen. Now I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of The Diving Board on September 24.
It’s been five years since the last Nine Inch Nails album, but at least Trent Reznor has been honest about those delays, insisting over the years that he had no intention of doing anything new with NIN any time soon. Meanwhile the fans begged and cried, and some were temporarily satiated with How To Destroy Angels. But last year he finally started to hint that there was some new NIN on the horizon.
In February a new Nine Inch Nails tour was announced and Trent Reznor teased us with album details over the next few months until finally releasing ‘Came Back Haunted’ as the first single from Hesitation Marks in June. The song sounds like stock NIN — but there’s nothing wrong with stock NIN. The seizure-inducing video for ‘Came Back Haunted’ was directed by David Lynch and looks like something from the world of Eraserhead on crack.
I far preferred the stark simplicity and the layering and slow build of the second single, ‘Copy Of A.’ Most recently, the most pop song ever to be heard from Nine Inch Nails debuted on NPR. ‘Everything’ is a pop guitar rock song that builds to quite the thrashing climax. It just might be the most radio-friendly song Trent Reznor has ever written. Hesitation Marks will be released September 4th and Nine Inch Nails plays Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on November 21. I’ve got my ticket. See you on the floor! Moby quietly uploaded the video for his new single “A Case For Shame” (featuring Cold Specks) to his website last month. It’s the first official single from the upcoming album Innocents. The video features people garbed in white and wearing animal masks standing around watching a guy bob around underwater. It feels like The Wicker Man with water instead of fire (and no wicker). Given the theme of the The Wicker Man tale, and that Moby has made a point of pointing out that the album is called Innocents, as in a group of innocent people, rather than innocence the noun, I suspect there may be a theme here. The album will be released sometime in October.
Lady Gaga debuted her new single, ‘Applause,’ on Good Morning America and on the big screens in Times Square just a couple weeks ago and it’s topping charts worldwide already. The video is shockingly not shocking. Or maybe we’re all just used to her by now. Some have noticed that the video and the sentiment of the song are quite reminiscent Weird Al’s “Perform This Way” parody of her. The tameness of this whole thing has me wondering what shocks we’re in for with the November 11 release of Artpop approaching. If you head over to metalblade.com/gwar/ you can listen to Gwar’s latest release ‘Madess At The Core Of Time’ while you pre-order
the new album, Battle Maximus. It’ll be out September 17, but I’ll pick up my hard copy at the show at The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on October 14. That’s Thanksgiving Monday, so grab Grandma and the kids and come witness all of the family fun that a
Gwar show has to offer!
(Disclaimer: it’s actually an on-stage gore-fest that leaves the entire audience covered in fake blood and in some cases, real blood.)
But have there been any good albums released in the last month? Well there’s a few, but not many worth talking about. Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines certainly isn’t worth talking about. It’s an uninteresting pop album with a falsetto dude croonin’ about booty. The biggest
reason he’s topping the charts is because of the controversy he’s sparked by putting naked girls in a music video to a song that says “I know you want it / but you’re a good girl / the way you grab me / must wanna get nasty / go ahead, get at me.”
My question is, so what? This is not the first music video with tits, and it’s not the first song with sexist lyrics. And what’s this sentiment that black rappers can get away with this while some rich white guy can’t? Guess what, that’s racist! The whole discussion of this song
is stupid. This song is stupid. The rest of the album is less interesting. Get over it. Alright, so what’s actually worth listening
to. Well, trance pioneer BT proves that after all these years, trance can still be interesting and original. All four singles from the new
album, A Song Across Wires, have been #1 on the Beatport Trance chart. The album opens with the bright and airy third single, ‘Skylarking,’ and then drops into dubstep mode on ‘Letting Go’ with Fractal and Jes. The dubstep steps down a little on the
next track, ‘Tomahawk’ which was the first single from the album, and thereafter fades away to not be heard again until later in the album, on the re-recording of his original 1995 single. It was originally credited on the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation soundtrack as ‘Anomaly (Calling Your Name)’ by Libra presents Taylor and also appeared in American Pie. The new version is simply titled ‘Calling Your Name.’
This album is full of beautiful trancy goodness that should tie you over while you wait for your favourite artist to upload their set from that crazy EDM festival you were at last month. Speaking of festivals, Michael Franti gives shouts to almost as many festivals as cities in his new crowd-pleaser title track for the new Michael Franti & Spearhead album All People. The album is full of nice, singable hippy-pop songs about love and peace and happiness. His flag wavin’ friend, K’naan, joins him on ‘Earth From Outter Space,’ a song about looking
down on the world and loving everyone. And with love songs like ‘Life Is Better With You’ and ‘Closer To You,’ this is a very feel-good album.
This is the perfect album to play in the car as you drive out to that one last camping trip of the season. You’ll be singing it around the fire later. Versions, the latest album from Zola Jesus sees many of her past songs reworked. The songs are arranged in a neo-classical style
by composer J. G. Thirlwell (Foetus) with the music performed by the Mivos Quartet, and rather than just mixing the old vocal tracks into the new music, she has re-recorded all the vocals for this album. This time around she sings in a more articulate and audible register rather than belting operatic vocals. Being able to easily understand the lyrics lets a little more emotion shine through and will make these songs far more accessible to the masses.
Versions is like an easy listening, ‘Best Of ’ of the early career of Zola Jesus. And even as it hit’s shelves she’s taking her first crack at recording her next album in a professional studio, rather than piecing it together herself on her laptop. I look forward to it, and in the meantime, this is gonna get a lot of rotation in my regular play.
Well, that’s all for now. Next month we’ll dive into some of these new fall releases.