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)

Tracey Thorn Gives Us a Little “Oh” & “Yeah”

17 04 2010

A few new updates on our favorite vocalist pretty much ever, Tracey Thorn. She sent out an alert this week that you can now get her new single, Oh, The Divorces on clear vinyl in the UK and worldwide they’re taking preorders on her 3rd solo album, Love and Its Opposite. Merge her in the US and her husband Ben Watt’s label, Buzzin Fly in the UK.

Tracey, who’s always so good to her fans, just posted this intimate video of her in her in-home studio playing the very moving first single.

And if that got you in the mood for some breaking up, take a listen to the Magnetic Field’s cover she did with the amazing Jens Lekman for Merge Record’s tribute album.

You can get a copy of it direct from Merge’s teet or via iTunes.

Everything But the Girl, back, but apart

18 02 2010

Though still happily partnered with kids, Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn of Everything But the Girl haven’t put out and EBTG record since 1999’s sublime Tempermental. Ben’s been busy being a DJ, club-owner, and record label mogul with his Buzzin’ Fly franchise. And Tracey’s been raising the kids for the most part with the exception of her solo album, Out of the Woods in ’07. With 25 years between that album and her first, pre-EBTG, solo album and a decade since their last collaboration, who thought she’d crank out another CD so soon. But recently, she announced her next album, Love and It’s Opposite, would be out soon.
Just yesterday, she was kind enough to make the first single, “Oh the Divorces”, a gorgeous, stripped down ballad lamenting all her favorite couples breaking up, FREE for download on her site. A heart wrenching and sadly true tune, you can tell Tracey’s really feeling this one hard.

And then, out of the blue, I see Ben’s set to release a new track as well with Julia Biel called “Bright Star.” Predictably housey but surprisingly rather Bjorky, Bright Star sounds like it belongs on an updated version of Bjork’s Debut. ¬†Listen to the new track HERE as part of one of his DJ set radio shows.

But my question is, if Tracey’s writing and recording, and Ben’s writing and recording, why on earth can’t these two just do an EBTG CD together. Seems odd. But now we get double the material, so I shouldn’t complain.

Ben’s single comes out next week in the UK, while Tracey’s album comes out May 18th her in the US on Merge, for whom Tracey just contributed a track to the Merge anniversary album, Score!, with Jens Lekman.