Mstation Pop etc Commentary, Reviews Valid RSS pre Dec 04 reviews are here

Sat, 01 Oct 2005

Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang
LP, Virgin

A few years back Rolling Stone mag ran a cartoon which showed a bearded man in the desert in front of an ancient statue which rather resembled the Rolling Stones band. The bearded man was saying, or rather wailing, that "I've come to the oracle for twenty years and it hasn't said a thing". This pretty much summed up the band's recent output which was self-congratulatory arena fodder that was actually pretty well suited to their post Altamont audience of people who didn't quite get it. Well, not all of them of course ... but what were they doing there?

Anyway, the Stones have a pretty impeccable rock 'n' roll history. The point of the thing was, after all, questioning and rebellion. What quite a lot of feckless fans did with the message they received from all that gave great heart to those who would censor and control us in the name of ... well, you know what spurious names they use. And how ridiculous has that got? Regularly, in different countries, you can see examples of censorship ratings systems where pulling someone's spine out causes a small rap on the knuckles but where there's the slighest suggestion of something that is quite legal and most of us do ... sex ... it gets a ban or a very high rating. Is that sick or what?

Back to the Stones: Is the oracle still silent? Does anyone give a shit? Is their pension plan topped up enough yet? First of all, you'd have to say that some attempts have been made in this album to at least dust the oracle off a bit. There is some of the old grittiness and the neo-cons from the USA get a bit of a dusting as well. This will not scare the neo-cons or mobilise anyone or give anyone else a message they hadn't received yet unless they were terminally backward (and this is being written just after Hurricane Katrina). It is a demonstration, however, that the very rich can sometimes be connected to the planet. The song isn't bad at all. It's just a little bit like the dumb kid in class who's the last to get anything.

This kind of leads on to the next answer -- to the question of whether anyone gives a shit. They do, they do! The opening concert in Boston at a 30,000 seater was sold out. People like Arnold Schwarzenegger and the critic for The Times of London (A Murdoch paper) were there. Let me quote briefly from the latter ... 'And although Keith Richards played with customary swashbuckling zeal, the energy level dropped through the floor when he supplied his hopelessly slovenly lead vocals for The Worst and another new song, Infamy.' (,,14936-1746420,00.html) Well, big surprise there, the Times critic doesn't get it. Arnie might well get it, I don't know. The point is that the Rolling Stones are now an event that has mostly to do with their being there rather than saying anything. To most of their crowd, the words are irrelevant: what matters is a tight, professional show, with Sir Mick doing the requisite amount of prancing and acting. It's show biz.

So, is this album a complete waste of time? No, it's not. Is it important? No, it's not.


[] permanent link

Rythmes Digitales

Les Rythmes Digitales, Darkdancer
2 CDs, Wall of Sound

This is good-time electro pop with a little funk and a lot of toe tapping. The main man is Jacques Lu Cont aka Stuart Price who has been Madonna's music director since 2001 and directed the Drowned World tour of 2001 and the Re-invention tour of 2004. And this album is from 1999. I'm not quite sure why it has popped up again now except that Citroen have been using one track a lot and maybe this has sparked new interest. Not that it doesn't deserve interest. It is good stuff within that area. Here are a few words from the blurb and a track listing ...

'Les Rythmes Digitales is one of the many aliases of Stuart Price,
alongside Zoot Woman, Jacques Lu Cont, Thin White Duke, and Paper Faces.
Stuart is hugely in-demand as a producer and has recently worked with
Madonna, New Order and Gwen Stefani. His remixes for the Killers,
Scissor Sisters, Starsailor and Felix Da Housecat have all been huge
things in clubland. Darkdancer is the album that started it allÉ

01 Dreamin'
02 Music Makes You Lose Control
03 Soft Machine (Featuring Thomas Ribero)
04 Hypnotise
05 (Hey You) WhatŐs That Sound?
06 Take A Little Time (Featuring Shannon)
07 From Disco To Disco
08 Brothers
09 Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)
10 About Funk
11 Sometimes (Featuring Nik Kershaw)
12 Damaged People (Featuring Thomas Ribero)

01 Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat) (Club Mix) 
02 Music Makes You Lose Control (LRD remix) 
03 Steps Ahead 5.11 
04 Hey You Whats That Sound ? (LRD remix) 
05 Energy 
06 Sometimes (Junior Sanchez remix)   
07 Nancy Jamaica 
08 Jacques Your Body (Cassius remix edit) 
Hey You (WhatŐs That Sound)? [Video]
Sometimes [Video]

[] permanent link


T. Raumschmiere, Blitzkrieg Pop
LP, Novamute

Golly, the first track of this reminds me of a sort of addled Motorhead. As it happens, there are lots of different moods here. They vary from soothing electronic sweeps to full-on riffing angsttunes where the volume should be set to 11.

Certainly the cover and title suggest that the defining mood is not going to be California dreamin' and so it isn't. Novamute do a good line in indy-tinged more raucous things. Long may they continue. (thunderfinger)

[] permanent link


LP and single, Hed Kandi

Hed Kandi are most well known for their light-hearted dance compiliations. These do not mostly make critics swoon but they are very popular with people who actually buy records. Hed Kandy also, from time to time, bring out a solo singer who usually has a light touch, nice voice, and a bit of funk and soul. And all of which is, of course, smoothly produced. Peyton is one such and he's easy to listen to without being totally easy listening.

[] permanent link

Louise Attaque

Louise Attaque, a plus tard crocodile
LP, Atmosphereques

Grooves, clean rock, electro, high mixed vocals and guitar moments make a radio-friendly album with some nice moments and a mood of art irony.

[] permanent link

Infadels, Jagger '67

EP, Wall of Sound

This has the tracks Jagger '67 and Get Into Me plus four remix tracks of Jagger '67 from Eraserhead, Propellerheads, and Cass and Mangan. The first track that might distantly remind some people with long memories of My Sharona by The Knack, but isn't in that flavour at all. There is some upstanding vocal primping on the first track which, as you'd expect, is stripped for the dance remixes later. All the flavours are fun. (Thunderfinger)

[] permanent link

Hed Kandi

various, Hed Kandi Summer Sampler
LP, Hed Kandi

Cool summer breezes from those purveyors of light hearted tunefulness and danciness. Here we have tracks from the likes of Bliss, Afterlife, Theresa, Late Night Alumni and more. This group of tunes is more for smooching than dancing. (Dr Boots)

[] permanent link

Hed Kandi 50th

various, Hed Kandi 50
3 CD's, Hed Kandi

This is Hed Kandi's 50th release and totals some 47 tracks (well, I was curious) arranged into Disco, Twisted Disco, and "Back to Love". It's kind of interesting that as dance clubland gets increasingly smaller, Hed Kandi continues to thrive. Staying home and playing CD's certainly avoids overpriced clubs anyway.

Also, the sorts of tracks on these CD's are representative of a sort of classic, even retro, clubland which insulates them from the happenings of right now and here this week, gone next week trends. Admittedly this whole scene is less dynamic than it once was but still, there are foundations. (Dr Boots)

[] permanent link

Gravenhurst, The Velvet Cell

Single out 26 Sep 05, Warp Records

These two tracks are from the forthcoming album Fires in Distant Buildings due out on 24 October. I, for one, can't wait. Nick Talbot, joined here, by drummer David Collingwood, has been a genre traveller and here we visit experimental rock with influences suggested in the promo material of My Bloody Valentine and the Velvet Underground amongst others. These may well be true but both of those suggest an anarchism that doesn't actually dwell on these two tracks at least. But the sounds and ideas are there and it is nice. (Dr Boots)

[] permanent link

Diefenbach, Glorious

3 track single, Wall of Sound

Muted instruments with soft swirls and close harmonies in the mid-mixed vocals and even something that sounds suspiciously like a banjo (aside: how do you tell if the stage is sloping to the right? ans: the banjo player is dribbling out of the right side of his mouth! Actually you can substitute any instrument you like in those jokes.) give these three tunes a relaxed, summery, slightly country sort of feel. The tracks are well crafted and more modern sounding than this report suggests. (Dr Boots)

[] permanent link

Fire Engines

Fire Engines, Teenage Premonition
LP, Domino

Sorta fast, sorta guitars, sorta live, sorta lifting a finger to over-produced nonsence, sorta indy and sorta proud of it.

I really like bands with a lot of attitude and the willingness to just get up and do it -- to yell and scream and be on the edge of disaster and not care. The point of it is encapsulated ... oh wait, I was going to say something about producers hanging loose but all of a sudden we have a lot of fairly genuine sounding clapping on a track so at least some of these tracks really do appear to be live. And that's a good thing. Too frequently this sort of band is given to a producer who then attempts to make them commercial and loses every single decent thing the band stood for in the first place. (thunderfinger)

[] permanent link


Ch3vy, Hard Massage
single, Catskills

Lush round tones and retro funkiness with a nice jazz flavour feature on the first track while the second is a more beaty thing but still with an analogue jazzy sort of feel which is tripped up a bit with some random voice incursions and changes. The whole thing is quite worthwhile. (Dr Boots)

[] permanent link