This is the weekly installment where we recap what we’ve been spinning at The Synthesizer Book headquarters during the week. If it’s on this list, it got played more than once!
This week’s platter is inspired by my visit to the beautiful city of San Diego. I’ve always loved visiting San Diego. It’s been several years since I’ve been there. We went there to do the family thing! On the agenda was Legoland, the San Diego Zoo and lots of good old fashioned family time.
We rented a car and while driving out to Carlsbad, I stumbled on 94.9-It’s About The Music. Within several minutes, I heard Jeff Buckley, M83, Cocteau Twins, Zero 7, The Decemberists, Morrissey and many more great tracks. I have to admit that I am a little jealous. There are no good radio stations in Vancouver. Go on, name one!
1.M83-We Own The Sky
The first time I saw M83 perform live was in a tiny Vancouver club called Richards On Richards. In my opinion it was one of the best venues to watch a live show in Vancouver. Sadly, the venue doesn’t exist anymore. It’s now a giant hole in the ground where condos will be very soon. I saw countless shows there. Among them, Franz Ferdinand, Air, Zero 7, School of Seven Bells, and many others.
Anthony Gonzalez used a Roland JX-305 synthesizer quite a bit for his first few albums and on this track it adds a very lush beauty. This is is one of my favorite M83 tracks and it’s become an anthem of sorts every time I hear it.
Like the DJ on the radio said, “…The Clash on Saturday night,…it just makes sense.” I think it does too. I really like The Clash as some of my previous platters will show. This track definitely worked when it played on the radio on our way to dinner. I found this video and liked the visuals and seeing my sons in the backseat of the car bobbing their heads was fantastic.
A music video I made for the song “Clampdown” by the Clash. Other than the opening footage of the band at the beginning, all footage is old Universal Newsreels which are now in the public domain and can be found at http://archive.org
3.Stone Temple Pilots-Sex Type Thing (Swing Type Version)
This particular track is off of the “Plush” single by Stone Temple Pilots. The original version got quite a bit of airplay when it was released and when it got played on 94.9 I remembered the Swing Type Version. I also remember buying this CD single at a Virgin Records store close to Newport Beach during one very great summer when we switched between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. We attempted to learn how to surf that summer. As I recall we were quite unsuccessful with that endeavor, but we sure did enjoy all the many great pubs around the boardwalk and had some great times with the beach crawlers. Get ready to snap your fingers and if doesn’t make you think about Twin Peaks, then I don’t know what could. The melody on this version is played on xylophone and Scott Weiland’s lounge inspired vocals add to the track’s elegance.
4.James Blake-Self Titled
James Blake has been getting some much deserved attention lately. The anticipation for this album has been building and although there is no telling exactly where all of this will end up, I think it’s safe to say, this album will do really well. Make sure you check out some of his live performances with his Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 08 synthesizer. I love his sparse use of synthesizers, drum machines, and overall there is some very good songwriting on this LP. A good friend of mine got me onto James Blake by introducing me to his single, Limit To Your Love. Since then I’ve been wanting to hear much more and this album was quite welcomed.
Hype Williams is a video director. This Hype Williams though is Inga Copeland and Dean Blunt. I actually purchased Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite, and Start Gettin Reel first. I liked it and I thought it deserved some of its acclaim. However, it is their first LP entitled Untitled that I think deserves a re-press and much more consideration. The experimental nature of the album with its thick layers of synthesizers and tin can/8 bit sounding Casio drum machines make it the better option for me. Dean Blunt says he doesn’t relate to American comedy. However, I can totally relate to this album.
6.Cake-I Will Survive
I never noticed the bass on this track before. I always dug its cheekiness, but for some reason, the bass just stuck out this time around. Cake has recently released their new album entitled, Showroom of Compassion. It is an album they recorded in their very modest solar powered studio. This version of I Will Survive is a very good one. However, contrary to the belief out there, it is not better than the original Gloria Gaynor version. It is a good track and I enjoyed hearing this driving down the I-5. Check out this interview on Electronic Musician regarding their new album here. They used a surprisingly minimal approach to record their new album
7.Matt & Kim-Cameras
From the moment the synthesized horns against the percussive drum machines kicks in with its carnival type feel, I knew I was going to like it. I purchased the the LP-Sidewalks, but haven’t played it all the way through. It’s this track that I wanted to write about as it will surely be a major hit in no time. Check out this video. It features the band in a punch up, like you would find on some Jason Statham film. I really hope they didn’t destroy that Korg Poly 800 synthesizer.
You know the drill! I’m enamored with Broadcast and I miss Trish Keenan. I played this and all I could think about was her walking down the sunset of her life. The Future Crayon is a rarities and b-sides compilation released on August 21, 2006. Check it out.
9.Ladytron-The Harmonium Sessions
The Harmonium Sessions is an unplugged/minimal EP album by the British electro-pop band Ladytron. It contains remixed versions of four songs from Ladytron’s 2005 album, the Witching Hour. The minimal instrumentation on this is a good contrast to their electro-clash inspired sound and that’s exactly what I like about it. As the title suggests, it features the harmonium. Which reminds me, I’d love to get my hands one. The standout tracks for me are the reworkings of their hits Destroy Everything You Touch and the western styled, The Last One Standing.
Four Brothers was on Movie Central last week. I am a fan of John Singleton movies. This all-star ensemble cast worked really well. The setting is Detroit in the dead of winter. This 2005 action crime film was directed by John Singleton. Did I mention I like his movies?! The all-star ensemble cast features: Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin and Garrett Hedlund (Tron Legacy). The film was shot in Detroit, Michigan and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It’s a classic American shoot em up. The soundtrack provides a perfect background for the film. It features several artists from Motown. If you’re feeling cold this winter, play this and it’s guaranteed to give you some warmness. You get The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and many more.