31 May 2007

Embracing the Nostalgia (Music Edition)

Two new albums and one new song this week released on URGE. The albums are Scarred from Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde fame, and Ultra Payloaded from Satellite Party headed by Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction fame, and the single is Tarantula by The Smashing Pumpkins of Smashing Pumpkins fame.

Embrace the late 80s and early 90s, you know you miss them musically.

First the single, The Smashing Pumpkins, according to their wiki, are reformed and have a studio album coming out in July. The new line-up includes original drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, and Billy Corgan who has always been the main writer of both the music and lyrics for all their incarnations. Also, as has been Pumpkins tradition, you must have a vagina to play the bass for the band, Ginger Reyes 'aka' Ginger Sling is no exception (or at least if she is, she's very good at passing). The song itself is power pop, noisy, melodic, has a strong hook and lots and lots of guitars. It's more reminiscent of their earliest Gish/Siamese Dream type stuff than their later Mellon Collie period, which to me is a good thing and means I look forward to the first Pumpkins album since '99.

Next let's discuss The Satellite Party. Perry is always coming up with new projects for himself, and here's a good interview at Suicide Girls (link is to the interview, you'll have to click over to the naked goth chicks on your own) about his latest. Perry being Perry, there's a lot of whacked out material in conjunction with the album at the band's website. There's a blog (naturally), here's the entry about their upcoming Carson Daly appearances
Carson Daily Cares about music!
Wasn't he so famous for being an MTV vj?! Well now he is famous for making tevo a common houshold appliance. They say he gets the best bands. People Tevo his show a lot. We played four nights worth of songs for him tonight. Andy Dick ran out into the hallway with his foul mouth. We laughed for 5 minutes.
I saw new friend I met in airport bar last week- in the audience as well as dancer friends who all live in the valley. Chris- you seemed happy-good to see you again.
Just about to jump off stage when Nuno ripped into Stop! The producer didn't know how to react- we just fell into it-when Nuno's guitar went out... I thought they pulled the plug- but it was Nuno who pulled his own chord out accidently! He got down and jammed it back into his chorus pedal and we all laughed and soared through to the end. I hope they add that performance on another day.

Andy Dick is like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects the Dick. That's not the really crazy stuff, though, for that you have to click on the bio portion where it goes off into lala land about "the solutionists". But you probably don't care about that, what you want to know is, "How's the music?".

The music's fine. It's not Jane's Addiction, and that's probably a good thing, Jane's was great, but that was then, this is now. This album has a pretty commercial friendly feel to it. There's some techno flourishes, some funkier tracks, some rockier tracks, one really beautiful ballad (Awesome), but mostly it's groovy. It's danceable rock, basically, more reminiscent of Garbage or Republica than Jane's (especially on the track Kinky, it's really easy to imagine Shirley Manson singing that song instead of Perry). Other than the title track, Ultra - Payloaded Satellite Party could have been on any of the Jane's album. Overall, it's a solid album, if a bit of a throwaway. It's not meant to make you think, it's meant to tap your feet, and for the summer time, that's not a bad thing.

Now, let's talk about the amazing new solo album from Johnette Napolitano. She rocks. She's one of my all time favorite performers, and Concrete Blonde was one of the best live bands that I've ever seen personally. If you're already a fan of hers, then this album won't disappoint. You can download an acoustic version of the song "When I'm Gone" (mp3 download at link) and her website has a music player embedded that lets you listen to the whole album, so you don't have to take my word for how awesome this album is. For why she's terrific I suggest listening to her cover of Coldplay's The Scientist. It's the second track, so just click next and you'll hear her rip into that song with all the intensity her voice brings. Intensity doesn't equal volume, it's a quiet song, done quietly, but she manages to convey so much emotion in her singing without edging over into bathos. It's much less whiny than the original (admittedly not hard to do, Chris Martin is a consummate whiny singer). So if that impresses you, you'll love the rest of this, if it doesn't then stay away from this album. The title track is impressive as well. Again, either her talk/singing style puts you off, or you'll find it enthralling, I'm in the latter camp. The musicianship is top notch throughout, and she just throws so much of herself into her vocals that I find it hard not to be swept up into the songs.

So that's it, instead of a "new music Tuesday" you have an 'old favorites releasing new music Thursday'. Good to see all these folks still out there, still evolving, and still holding on to what made them special back in the day as well.

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