Matt Alber’s Cover of Missing is Missing Nothing

18 07 2011

Most songs come and go in and out of your life and your ears, but some linger, some become legendary in your heart. When I moved away from St. Louis to Chicago in the 90’s leaving my friends and family, this became not only legendary, but my all time favorite song.

Everything But the Girl originally recorded Missing for their Amplified Heart CD, a transitional album away from their “Sunday Brunch” sound of the late 80’s, early 90’s to a more contemporary but still soft sound. It debuted to little fanfare but to their die hard fans like me who’d bought their 8 previous albums and loved every one. From the Smiths-like sound of the first 2, to the Swing Out Sister vibe of the middle period, to their minor hit, Driving, a VH-1/soft jazz staple I’d love every one of their eras. Now it seams they were trying to get a bit serious without trying to seem to young. It didn’t work. Until Todd Terry remixed the single for Missing.

After the remix hit the club, it hit the radio and hit the world. Going #1 in Germany and #2 in the US it would be their biggest hit and be remixed and remade many times over the years (most recently by Fedde LeGrand). EBTG went on to embrace this sound with the heavily electronic two following CDs, and Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn’s solo careers which have been primarily house and electronic respectively.

Forward 15 years and DJ Saul Ruiz meets classically trained vocalist Matt Alber. Alber, hot on the heals of hit album, Hide Nothing, due to the single End Of The World was riding high and prepping for his new CD when Ruiz walked in with an idea to cover Missing, followed by a proposed EP of other covers in the dance vein. Unlike Ben and Tracey’s version, Saul’s version is recorded as a dance track, forcing Matt to record it as such unlike EBTG’s which was remixed later. And the result is no less beautiful. Saul’s version, which takes the Todd Terry approach of less is more and sexy is best, caresses Matt’s silky vocals never overtaking. Matt’s appoach is not trying to be Tracey Thorn but to be Matt in his signature seductive manner, without ever sounding too morose for the dancefloor. That is until his otherworldly wail before and after the bridge like a ghost in the night. Nice touch.

The EP, out now (click on the graphic) contains 4 remixes. The best of which is Hector Fonseca’s soaring and epic remix and Saul’s own Peak Hour Mix. Saul told me earlier today he and Matt are working currently on doing a few more covers for a planned EP. Next on the list, Fleetwood Mac’s legendary dreams. Are they stalking my Best Of All Time playlist or what?!

P.S. You can preorder Matt’s long desired second album here for a short time

Saul Ruiz feat. Matt Alber’s Missing (Original Mix)

Clara May’s Rare Live Show @ Schuba’s

15 07 2011

Tom and Nicole

Big shout out to Fanatic Promotions fantastic new act Clara May as they’ve announced a show at Schuba’s with John Common on 8.8.11. If you’re not familiar with Clara May they’re not a person (think Pink Floyd, Hootie) but the core duo of Tom Silva and Nicole Sotelo. Tom and Nicoles music has a contrast I love, a bright acoustic based pop with almost a nineties college rock edge but their lyric explore dark territories such as genocide, colonialism and cultural identity.  Think American Music Club as done by Low covering Billy Bragg.

Clara May and their label have happily offered up a couple mp3’s to wet your whistle. Enjoy, and see you at Schuba’s on the 8th!


Hush (current single)


29 04 2011
BIMBO JONES Haulin' to the U S of A for MAY DAY!

BIMBO JONES Haulin' to the U S of A for MAY DAY!

Hola music-loving amigos!
Drew_Wall_ giving a first official post for DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE and glad to be doing it with this one. BIMBO JONES has been turning people to the dancefloor for decades and now those lucky folks in the NYC area can experience them — alongside the equally amazing FREEMASONS— spinning stateside at a special one-time event called MAY DAY at Amnesia NYC on, well, May 1 (funny how that works).
We had a chance to throw the man behind the over 70 #1 mixes of Bimbo Jones a few questions LEE DAGGER and here is what he had to say about the love of GaGa, Acapella and Ciara, DJ love they have, going number one and a ton more.

First, thank you for the music and mixes as a DJ troupe, writers and a band. It has been an interesting ride to the current result of BIMBO JONES that we have today. Number one club play hits, top-charting international songs, live shows with the divine Katherine Ellis and always with a consistent move to getting folks to the floor. All these things factor into where you are now and we are glad to have you there. 
In preparing for this interview I did a quick search on my music libraries and playlists to get up to speed and realized I have near 150 club mixes and radio edits with the stamp of Bimbo Jones on it. When I turned around and listened to them, it is interesting to hear your gradual transformation over the years as a remix unit. Do you hear a change in your sound when you look over what you’ve done or do you know that change is there and make it a conscious choice in your sound, given the “hits of the dancefloor” at a certain time? 
Hi there Lee Dagger here (aka DJ BIMBO JONES) firstly a big thanks to you all for all your support over the years.
Yes there is a gradual change in the sound to a certain degree. Our productions and songs can easily vary from track to track.  Remixes can be a different story. It can all depend on how the original song sounded before the remix. Some can be far easier than others and some can prove to be much more of a challenge. The sound of now is always changing and its good to move forward, though I always like to have the ‘push and energy’ within a track especially if I am going to use it in my dj sets.

Read the rest of this entry »

Born This Way, or Raised By Madonna?

11 02 2011

Friday, February 11th, 2011. Ground Zero. Chicago.
No, not thousands of Egyptian residents rejoicing as Hosni Mubarak steps down, or even gay icon Robyn playing live again, but we got our first taste of Lady GaGa’s new material today…and it’s a very familiar flavor at that…a hint of Madonna.
Now, trust, there is nothing more cliché than a gay music critic comparing Madonna to Gaga, I’m aware. But this truly is the first time I’ve noticed it in her production and writing vs. just her imagery. The chorus of La’gaga’s new single, Born This Way, is directly lifted from Madge’s Express Yourself (thank you Matthew Harvat for pointing that one out) and the fading clicks at the end couldn’t be more Express Yourself.
As your probably aware, this isn’t the first time someone has tried to cop Madonna’s sound. The first one I recollect is one hit wonder Regina who’s single Baby Love was so similar to everything off Madonna’s self titled album that we all thought it was a new Madonna single when it hit the radio in 1986. Turns out Baby Love was written for Madonna with Stephen Bray (Madonna’s main collaborator in her early years), but Regina decided to keep it for herself instead. Good move for one hit, but she was so close to Madonna but without the sexy charisma that there was no need for Regina in the pop world after that.
Madonna then didn’t get much in the way of imitators until the 90’s when Kylie Minogue and Cathy Dennis, both in the downward slide of their careers tried on her mid-period sound on Kylie’s Where is the Feeling and Cathy’s entire Into the Skyline, produced by collaborator Shep Pettibone. Well, those two attempts bombed. So lets flash forward to 2009.
The heinous Black Eyed Peas had one glimmer of quality when Fergie and paid homage to her Like a Virgin era with Meet Me Halfway, even working the word Borderline into the chorus. If it wasn’t for the lame wrapping, it’d been the best Madonna track in years. This tribute, combined with Born This Way, show that aping Madonna is truly in “Vogue”. Now if only Ms. Ciccone herself could tap into that, she could still snatch that crown form Ms. Germanotta’s little monster head.

Robbie William’s Husband? A Boy Can Insinuate.

13 09 2010

They made out right after this

Take That bandmates Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow reunited on stage for the first time in 15 years to perform “Shame” at the Help for Heroes concert in the UK last night. Robbie introduced Gary saying: “My wife calls him my boyfriend. I call him my captain. To you, Mr. Gary Barlow!”

“Shame” is the new single off of Robbie’s 2 CD greatest hits collection In And Out Of Consciousness – The Greatest Hits 1990 -2010, out on October 12th.

The Vault Returns: The Glee Club

4 09 2010

One of may favorite St. Louis concert memories was having the thrill of seeing The Glee Club, a one album band signed to the prestigious 4AD label back in 1994. It was in a small  venue in The Loop area of U City called Cicero’s Basement with all my great St. Louis pals. The intimacy and power of being that close to such a moving show left an indelible mark on all of us we still talk about today. I still have my signed CD by Joanne and her partner Hugh and still listen to it frequently, and it never ages.

My gift to you, as I start doing postings again for The Vault Series is the “single from their from their only real CD, Mine.  “Need” is easily the strongest track on the CD, and rivals the best tracks off The Cranberries’ debut.  The entire CD also rings a bit of Lush, Cocteau Twins, Curve,  and All About Eve at times. Worth tracking down if you can find it.

01 Need (right click to save)

Bonus links:

A rare track from Joanne and Hugh’s first band, Swinging Swine:

The demo version of Need:

I Like ‘Em Big and Stupid!

1 09 2010

Before Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun, before The Julie Brown Show, Medusa: Dare to be Truthful,  The Edge or Strip Mall, Julie Brown got me with her first, indy single I Like Em Big and Stupid. Partial because I really do (actually just superficially stupid, but smart underneath) and partially because it’s a hilariously witty track reminiscent of some of Bette Midler’s campier material. In fact, Bette, get on this one. Perfect for you. It’s rare you find a comedy track, that’s actually enjoyable to listen to as well.

I Like ‘Em Big and Stupid (Original 12″ Single Version)

(rc to save mp3)

Bonus with Kathy Griffin!