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by William Carl Ferleman

15 Feb 2011


Forget about the cheery presence of Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” in The Karate Kid. Is not this a goth song incognito? There is undoubtedly a distinct sense of isolation, alienation and melancholy in it, and the lyrics betray as much. But it’s mainly viewed as a happy, perfunctory, feel-good summertime song. For instance, one is easily tempted to hear “cool” instead of “cruel” in the song’s refrain. This track is begging for a certain band—Marilyn Manson—to cover it.  After all, Manson’s most peculiar cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” essentially put Manson on the radar.  Marilyn Manson has previously covered Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” and, of course, Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” with considerable success. Why not cover another esteemed 1980s song?

by Eric Allen Been

14 Feb 2011


Happy Valentine’s Day, Radiohead fans! Earlier today, the band made the surprise announcement that they’ll be releasing their eighth studio album, The King of Limbs, and it will be available as a digital download on Saturday, Feb. 19. Yes, that’s in five days!

But unlike the band’s last album, 2007’s In Rainbows, the digital release of King of Limbs will have a set price. An MP3 version of the album will cost $9 and a CD-quality WAV version will go for $14.

Radiohead also plans to offer up this spring a so-called “newspaper album” edition of The Kings of Limbs, which will consist of two 10-inch vinyl LPs and a CD, along with “many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-color piece of oxo-degradable plastic to hold it all together”. This deluxe edition of the release will cost either $48 (which will also include the MP3 digital files) or $53 (for the WAV files), and will ship on May 9.

According to Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune, “standard CD and vinyl versions of the album will be made available March 28 in retail outlets through a partnership with XL Recordings.”

Head over to thekingoflimbs.com to preorder the album.

 

by Corey Beasley

14 Feb 2011


Arcade Fire may be the first indie act to win a Grammy for Album of the Year, but they may have company next year: titans of this new millennium (and fellow indie act since the self-release of 2007’s In Rainbows) Radiohead gave the world a Valentine’s Day surprise this morning. The UK group announced the release of their eighth studio album, The King of Limbs, set to drop digitally this Saturday and in physical form May 9th.

Thom Yorke and co. are calling The King of Limbs the world’s first “newspaper album”, which apparently has something to do with the amazing packaging that buyers of the physical release will find. The band’s website says the record will include:

  • Two clear 10” vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve.
  • A compact disc.
  • Many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together.
  • The Newspaper Album comes with a digital download that is compatible with all good digital media players.
  • One lucky owner of the digital version of The King of Limbs, purchased from this website, will receive a signed two-track 12” vinyl.

The King of Limbs as available for digital and physical pre-order now. Get in line to buy here.

by William Carl Ferleman

14 Feb 2011


Lady Gaga’s “incubation” bit was extraordinary, and her courage to be herself—creative and singular—must be respected; and she won three awards. At the same time, in terms of sheer substance, tonight her rendition of her new single “Born This Way” was, while intriguing, not relatively grand. In fact, it was problematic—several of the lyrics just were not sung by her live, and this was quite evident, as the song would go on while she turned her head from her microphone. It’s difficult to maintain both “off the wall” theatre and efficacious song renditions. It’s also difficult to beat her own performance last year—which included much more theatre—a bird nest, zombies, Gaga tossed into a burner, Elton John—alongside potent, substantive renditions. Instead, in my view, Kansas Citian Janelle Monáe stole the show, ironically, by using little to no overt drama: her “Cold War” bit exuded vocal strength, keen dance moves, and she did not require a quasi-uterus prop to achieve any credibility or success.

by Christian John Wikane

14 Feb 2011


For Brooklyn-based Xavier, Valentine’s Day means more than flower bouquets and Russell Stover Chocolates. Each year since 2007, the dance-soul artist has recorded a special song for the holiday, offering it for free on his website. 2011, however, might just be the most special Valentine’s Day yet: not only has Xavier recorded a new song (“The Makings of You”), he’s making all of the previous Valentine’s Day downloads available, gratis!

Historically, the Valentine’s Day songs not only enamor thousands of listeners, they take on a life of their own. Upon hearing “Baltimore” (2009), renowned fashion photographer Marc Baptiste asked to shoot a video especially for the song (to be released later in 2011). Mattie Safer, former bassist of The Rapture, also loved what he heard on past Valentine’s Day efforts and joined Xavier with Shaquanda Cocoa Mullatta (a.k.a. Andre Springer) on last year’s offering, “Don’t Let Me Down”. Xavier fans will have an opportunity to download both cuts, plus “Something About Us” and “Strawberry Blonde”, on a special site dedicated to the Valentine’s Day songs, accessible through Xavier’s website.

Recently, Xavier has been seen and heard in a variety of musical contexts. In addition to singing in the Bread & Puppet Theater’s opera The Return of Ulysses, he joined Grammy winner Lady Rizo at Joe’s Pub and performed with the Veveritse Brass Band. He also recorded with Prince’s New Power Generation and co-wrote songs with Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters.

On 14 February, however, Xavier’s honeyed voice will grace “The Makings of You”, a Curtis Mayfield cover whose combination of percussion, bass, strings, and clarinet will enchant both lovers and lovers of music alike. Quietly gripping and compulsively listenable, “The Makings of You” is a gift for the other 364 days of the year, too.

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