Taken from the upcoming New Order/Joy Division greatest hits album “Total,” this rocky track has been played on Irish radio and since found its way onto the web. This brings up two questions in my mind - how can this be described as a “leak” if it has been played (presumably officially) on the radio? And why the hell do these two different bands need a combined “best of”?
So the Beastie Boys are back, with their new album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two.
There’s an interesting/confusing story about this release - the first Hot Sauce Committee record was due to drop in 2009. At the same time as HSCPt1 was being recorded, the ever-prolific band recorded a bunch of extra material for NSCPt2, and scheduled the release of the sequel for early 2011. Unfortunately the release of HSCPt1 was delayed when MCA discovered he had cancer (which he thankfully pulled through), but HSCPt2 remained on track for a spring 2011 release. And so here it is - but now with the track list swapped for that of HSCPt1. The real HSCPt1 is scheduled for release later this year, presumably featuring the material that was recorded for HSCPt2. Those Beasties, they so crazy.
So what does it sound like? Well, listen for yourself:
There’s currently a lot of buzz around the electronic artist James Blake in the UK. In January he came runner up in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll, and last week he released his self-titled debut album on Atlas records. Having made a name for himself with his forward-thinking dubstep productions on the labels Hessle Audio and R&S, he has gone in a very different direction on James Blake.
Though some of the dub-style production tropes remain, the sound is much more folk influenced, with some of the tracks featuring just Blake on vocals with spare piano accompaniment. This is most definitely not a dancefloor record, it’s much more of a post-club album, with shades of Anthony Hegarty, John Martyn and even Laurie Anderson. It’s a definite shoe-in for a Mercury Music Prize nomination, and it’s the kind of worthy project the judges love to reward. But is it any good?
Some of the production on James Blake is stunning, but unfortunately this over shadows the actual songs, that to these ears could have done with a lot of refining and a lot less meandering. For a dubstep producer to make a move away from instrumental bin-shakers it would be useful to have a few more songs of the standard of “Limit To Your Love” or “The Wilhelm Scream” - I find what I am drawn to more is the intricate production of “I Never Learned To Share” or “To Care (Like You)”, which are hugely impressive without being particularly engaging. There is a sense that this is mood music rather than pop, and as such it easily begins to fade into the background.
A lot of the press buzz around Blake’s album is about dubstep “growing up”, which is misleading. Dubstep may be a cornerstone of his career, but on this album it sounds more like a footnote, or a production flavor used to shade a very different palate. Where this record seems more aimed at is the gap left in the market by Radiohead being on hiatus or, dare I say it, the coffee table. The album is definitely interesting, but it’s something I want to like more than I actually like. One day when I am in a particular mood I am sure it will hit the perfect spot, but til then, I will continue to listen to “CMYK” instead.
You can hear James Blake in full here, streaming on the Dutch website 3VOOR12.
James Blake is currently available on import in the States via Amazon.