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 www.mattalber.com/preorder.

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

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An Open Letter To All Music Lovers …

28 05 2011

CockNBullKid - ADULTHOODPatrick Wolf - LUPERCALIA

Memorial Day Weekend is that odd time where people think of vacations but if you’re anything like me, escape is a hard thing to do when that oddity called “work” doesn’t let you get too far away from the homestead.

No bother, I offer you two album releases that can help anyone escape their day-to-day and find a little sonic vacation worth taking.

Consider each of these offering, and forward-thinking soldiers in the world of music, young “veterans” of the industry that, for whatever reason, haven’t found the right audience for global recognition. Sure, CockNBullKid has gotten amazing press from the shows at SXSW, touring with Duran Duran in the UK and finding great radio love across the pond with folks like Huw Stephens but would anyone here in the states truly know this band beyond hearing the name and thinking it sounded like a badly placed expletive in conversation? And, OK, I’ll give it to you, Patrick Wolf has been a darling of the underground music scene, even finding major label push from his ’06 release The Magic Position, but where is he on the US media radar: sadly, not a blip I tell you.

An open request to US music lovers everywhere, take in these two 2011 releases: ADULTHOOD from CockNBullKid and LUPERCALIA from Patrick Wolf and for your consideration, add them to some of your best releases of the year. Why? See below … Read the rest of this entry »





Moose’s Unscientific and Inaccurate Top 40 for 2010

4 01 2011

For 12 years now I’ve put together a compilation on CD of my top whatever-singles-will-fit-on-2-CDs, but with the CD format dying and the loss of my biggest compilation fan, Jamie, I’m switching gears and going Casey Kasem (thanks for the inspiration JP) with a Top 40 list. In this day and age, any of you can find any of these songs with a few searches on ITunes or Google, so why waste the blanks.

So here it is, with a few links to songs as a bonus, and a few notes on some odd choices. Please note that a few of these are late 2009, but were either remixed, released as singles, released in the US or just hit my ears late in 2010. No judging, please. 🙂

1. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) – Florence + The Machine: this one has now landed in my Top 10 of all time.

2. Not In Love (Feat. Robert Smith) – Crystal Castles

3. Hang With Me (Avicii’s Exclusive Radio Edit) – Robyn

4. Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix) – Gossip: came out in 2009, but this remix was my summer jam to the chagrin of my husband.

5. Bright Lights Bigger City – Cee Lo Green

6. Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah) – a-ha: if you don’t have this, get it now if you like old school a-ha.

7. Soldier Of Love – Sade: great song of dull album.

8. Fuck You (Explicit) – Cee Lo Green

9. Monster (JNX’s ”Get 2gether” Mashup Edit) – Lady Gaga

10. Aphrodite – Kylie Minogue: i sincerely hope this gets to be a single. so much better than the last few. oddly reminds me of something Janet Jackson would do.

11. Silver Lining – Hurts: why they are not hot here, I’ll never know.

12. 4th of July (Richard X Mix) Kelis

13. Dancing On My Own [Chew Fu Extended Mix] – Robyn

14. Invisible Life  – Scissor Sisters: their homage to Frankie Goes To Hollywood

15. Enter Telephone (DJs From Mars Club Rmx) – Lady Gaga: genius mashup with Enter Sandman by Metallica

16. King Night – Salem: super creepy!

17. Momma’s Place – Róisín Murphy: now bring on a full album already!

18. Indestructible  – Robyn

19. Party I Provinsen – Hej Matematik: a Danish duo, one of which was in Aqua. both super adorable.

20. Ever Fallen In Love With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve (Buzzcocks Cover) – Noisettes: better than the original

21. Wonderful Life (Freemasons Club Mix) – Hurts

22. Your Ghost – Greg Laswell: cover of Kristen Hersh & Michael Stipe duet from the 90’s.

23. Swimming – Tracey Thorn

24. When the Walls Came Tumbling Down [arachnophobias remix] – Parralox

25. The Man Who Stole A Leopard (Feat. Kelis) – Duran Duran: i’ll be doing a blog post this week about this sequel to Hungry Like The Wolf.

26. Mistake – Moby

27. You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me [Burlesque Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] – Cher: I have a soft spot for her. This is old school 80’s Cher at her best.

28. Still My Body Aches – Thomas Dybdahl

29. things will never be the same again –  jj

30. Every Move – Eric & The Adams: Eric just gets better and better

31. Transitory Life – Laurie Anderson

32. Promises – Nitzer Ebb: they are back and even better.

33. Boyfriend – Best Coast

34. Little Sparrow – Audra Mae: Judy Garland’s niece does high-lonesome. similar to Best Coast.

35. In this Shirt – The Irrepressibles

36. History of Modern (part II) – OMD: if you like old school OMD, this is for you. Very Tesla Girls era.

37. You’s A Nasty – Sam Sparro: full on Crystal Waters flashback.

38. Meet Me Halfway – Black Eyed Peas: I HATE them, but her voice and the production are genius tips to early Madonna.

39. Girls Fall Like Dominoes – Nicki Minaj

40. Teenage Dream (Glee Cast Version) – Glee Cast: gleeked about this show.





Moose’s Top Albums of 2010

31 12 2010

As time’s gone by, I, like most American’s have gotten less about albums and more about singles, just like we went back to 1955. So when going over my top singles of the year, and annual event for me for 15 years, I was struck by home many albums that I loved, didn’t have that one key single to make the cut. So, here, judged on a whole as an album, and not by the songs themselves, my top full lengths of 2010.

Robyn ruled the nest in 2010

  1. Robyn – Body Talk (the culmination of the 2 EPs and the full length was a pop event that Kylie and Madonna have never touched)
  2. Scissor Sisters – Night Work (Producer Stuart Price did for SS, what Mark Ronson did for Duran this year: tapped into their heart for a glimpse into what we always knew was there.  Slicker and sexier than ever)
  3. Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer (Fuck You isn’t even the hottest song on this flawless soul album. He’s crazy/genius)
  4. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid (not since Grace Jones has a black female sing gone so crazy, ambitious and brilliant. This is who Kelis could be)
  5. Kelis – Flesh Tone (best effort of her career. She was playing it like the gays, and not Nas, were listening)
  6. Tracey Thorn – Love and Its Opposites (the first solo effort where I’ve not missed her partner Ben Watt)
  7. Salem – King Night (if you like Crystal Castles but want to feel like you’re constantly terrified, try this horror/electro/crunk masterpiece)
  8. Girl Talk – All Day (first CD the mash master has put out that sounds like his live show: a non-stop consistent party thta never lets up. and did i tell you the album is FREE?)
  9. Hurts – Happiness (completely bringing back the spirit of the fancy Brit keyboard New Romantic sounds but doing it BETTER than the originals. Fans of Tears for Fears or Human League, pay attention)
  10. OMD – History of Modern (first full album by full band in decades. sounds like they never left the 80’s, in a good way)

and some honorable mentions that i also LOVED: Bryan Ferry’s Olympia, Neil Young’s Le Noise, Bruce Springsteen’s The Promise, Eric & The Adams’ EP, Voxbox’s vx/bx, Audra (Liza’s cousin) Mae’s Little Bird, Robert Plant’s Band of Joy

 





The Moosie Awards 2010

22 12 2010

Since I was a little gay I used to watch and critique US award shows. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a roster of award winners on any of them that made sense commercially or artistically. I’m still stinging from Taylor Swift’s Grammy win last year. So, if only to make balance things out karmically in my musical world, I present the 2010 “Moosies” (why does that sound dirty?).

Best New Artist: While Florence + The Machine’s Lungs came out overseas and crept into the US market in 2009, it was official released and broke big in 2010. Florence’s voice harkens back to vintage Sarah McLachlan (see Vox) or later Siouxie Sioux but does better than both. Along with Beth Ditto, she ushered in new era of girls who can REALLY sing. I mean REALLY. If you’ve not yet, make sure you get Dog Days or Rabbit Heart, two of the best songs of this or any year.

Best Album: Tracey Thorn and Scissor Sisters made the 2 best CDs of their careers this year, but I have to give this one to Robyn for Body Talk. More than any artist in my lifetime she blends pop, dance and intelligence breaking down this hardest hipster heart into whirling dance dervish.

Best Remake: Not In Love by Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith takes an obscure Canadian hit by Platinum Blonde and transforms it into a manic, urgent and moving synth-pop masterpiece. Also best workout song of the decade.

Best Remix: For a year where dance music seems to have died…again, it was one of the hottest years for remixes. Robin, Gaga and Kylie put out some brilliant mixes by up and comers Aviici, Alphabeat and Monarchy respectably, but the most addicting remix of the year was by genius Fred Falke for Gossip’s Heavy Cross. He completely rethought the song into an early Duran Duran fantasy that built and built until it erupted in a luscious synthgasm.

Best Live Show: a-ha – While Robyn’s show should probably win, I have a soft spot in  my heart for a-ha and this year was their farewell tour and only time we’ll have had to see them live ever again. It was a joyous and moving sold out show at the Riviera. If you missed, you missed it, and you should be sad. Their 25 year career yield far more groundbreaking stuff than Take On Me. And Robyn will be back soon anyway if you’re a fan of hot Scandinavians.

Best Comeback: Kelis hit it strong this year after a career of hits and misses. Getting dumped by NAS and having a baby would make most women get all Lilith Fair, but Kelis amped up the energy and love on her Flesh Tone collection. It’s what we’ve always known she could do.

Most Overhyped: Predictably Taylor Swift. OK songwriter, cute girl, just can’t sing. In the real world she’d be writing hits for better singers.

Most Overrated: Katy Perry. Since her first album, I’ve been waiting for her to show us how good she can be but this is two overhyped, pitiful albums in a row. In fact, Teenage Dream is worse than the first so she’s sliding artistically downhill. Outside the title track, it sounds like she wrote this album with a drunk Ke$ha and a few 5 years olds. “Show me your Peacock, cock, cock”. Really? (This really should have been Ke$ha, but you have to be talked about to be overrated)

Biggest Letdown: So many things I was looking forward to this year that just sucked after all the hype, but none as bad as the David Byrne/Fatboy Slim double CD concept album Here Lies Love. Done as a story of Imelda Marcos, it featured guest vocals by some of the biggest names in the business: Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos, Natalie Merchant and more but every last track was horribly campy and poorly written. It’s a big of a joke as the theme indicates.

Artist of the Year: Robyn. See album of the year. She did no wrong.

 





An Embarrassment of Reissue Riches!

9 10 2010

Our friends over at The Ideal Copy have, as usual, rounded up the best of the best of the best of 80’s and 90’s reissues. So much that I had to focus and round up the very very best ones and share the expanded joy with you!

Faith/George Michael:  Harken back to when George was just the worst kept gay secret with a huge solo debut and not a pot smoking, pill popping, trucker sucking, photomat crasher. Faith get the super deluxe treatment with double CD, double with DVD, boxed set or LP versions. With the exception of some pretty choice rare b-sides, we’ve seen all this before, just not compiled so lovingly. It’s a lotta Faith.

Not on the boxed set but too hot to sit on: Freemasons’ I Want Your Sex Remix:

While we patiently wait for someone to pull their heads out of their asses and get The Smiths catalog updated, we can enjoy one of Moz’s best solo set’s in new glory. Bona Drag expands to two CDs featuring a bonus disc of rarities and b-sides that I’m betting even the biggest Morrissey fan might be lacking. I, for one, didn’t have any of them. Biggest coup for me was Morrissey’s original version of Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness given to Sandi Shaw for her comeback album.

Demo of Please Help The Cause (w/Sandi Shaw)

After doubling up the love for the wonderful Finisterre and Tiger Bay, this month Saint Etienne does the same for the amazing Tales From the Turnpike and the just OK Good Humour. My advice is to delve into Tales and Finisterre first and leave the others to the fans before moving further. But whatever level of fandom you’re on, these expanded deluxe versions contain more rare tracks than the actual original albums!

My favorite: New Thing from Finisterre

Make sure you pop over to http://idealcopy.com/ for these and more goodies by Propaganda, OMD, Concrete Blonde and more all the time.





Yazoo Live on “Reconnected”

15 09 2010

the story remains the same if you'd take a look

Depeche Mode @ the Rose Bowl. Morrissey @ UCLA.  The Cure @ Dodger Stadium. Just a few of the iconic life altering shows that I have been fortunate enough to attend. In July of 2008 I got to add to that exclusive list. Yaz live. The show was the most fulfilling concert experience of my life. There was surprise of seeing a band I had loved for years that I never thought I would see. The raw emotion that came thru Allison Moyet was palpable. In today’s world of choreographed “don’t miss a step or change up a song  in the set”  standard, the excitement she displayed inbetween songs to not only the audience, but to Vince was something that I will NEVER forget.

Now thanks to my favourite label of all time, MUTE, we can relive the moments over and over again. “Yaz: Reconnected”

The soon-to-be classic  will be released on September 27th as a standard 2-CD set, a limited edition 2-CD deluxe edition contained in a 32-page hardback book, and via digital download. If you can’t wait until then to relive Yazoo’s 2008 ‘Reconnected’ tour then help is at hand courtesy of Mute Records who have set up the audio player below, now complete with four tracks from the album: ‘Nobody’s Diary’, ‘State Farm’, ‘Only You’ and ‘Ode To Boy’… enjoy!