From the Cradle to the Rave is a near perfect album, and “Take Em Up” is one reason why: The interplay between Marcus “Shit Robot” Lambkin’s loping synthesizer disco funk and Nancy Whang’s unflappable vocals is, simply, great. Now, that track yields added dividends through its pairing with a collection of remixes from an eclectic group of estimable artists. Birmingham, England’s Mark E contributes his Black Country Dub, a reworking that adds a robot-precise, thudding beat to minimal arrangements, and then overlays the whole structure with room-filling synths. Marcus Marr takes things slowly, opening with brooding synths and solitary vocals that burst into blissful electronic pop at the chorus. The digital release adds two tracks: A John Talabot remix that feels like a laidback house party that really gets going when it relocates to a disco floor. And Germany’s Michael Mayer’s epically inventive take on “Tuff Enuff” – another From the Cradle to the Rave standout – is an otherworldly listening experience that literally builds toward take off.
– Kali Holloway
dfa webstore : itunes
shit robot is in town to support lcd soundsystem every night this weekend at tripod, and then back next week with underworld in the rds.
my weekend (and some) in oslo was a bizarre experience. i don’t know where to begin really. well, i’ll start here. whatever else happened over the weekend, that lent it a nice glossy sheen. it wasn’t that it wasn’t a great weekend, it was just a weird one. oslo is weird, man.
friday, we kind of got to grips with things. like the cost of everything. damn! two drinks for €20, ok. wow. well, it was never going to be a boozy holiday, we don’t really do that together for some reason. ah well. saturday, we checked out the small but charming film museum, as well as the astrup fearnley museum of modern art. one of the most striking pieces of work here was michael jackson and bubbles, a striking sculpture by jeff koons. it really has to be seen to be believed. we also took a wander on, over and around the relatively newly built opera house. it’s a beautiful building, and, despite some fears of slipping, probably my favourite thing in the city.
so i’ve gone two days without blogging – for that my sincerest apologies. trying to juggle a job, domesticity and movie-going, not to mention various internet guises, ain’t always easy. onwards and upwards though.
last time i blogged a dfa press release (for q&a’s excellent tumbling cubes/trap door) it became one of my favourite releases of the year. if the artwork for this album by free energy is anything to go by, we should be in for a treat.
Good music emancipates the listener. Boring jobs, troubled relationships, rush hour traffic… such mundane prisons are no match for the liberating power of a fantastic pop song. Think of ‘Stuck On Nothing’ as one giant stack of “Get Out Of Jail Free” cards.
Propelled by cowbell and carbonated guitars, Free Energy’s eponymous theme song—and debut single—finds front man Paul Spranger declaring “We’re gonna start a new life, and see how it goes.” Which is exactly what Paul and his songwriting foil, Scott Wells, did when they left St. Paul, MN for new digs in Philadelphia.
Free Energy marks a leap forward from their previous band, indie combo Hockey Night. “Hockey Night was not as focused, a little more reserved,” says the vocalist. By way of contrast, the driving pulse of Free Energy’s ‘Bang Pop’ could jump start a stalled semi-truck, and ‘Bad Stuff’ juxtaposes vapor trail guitars with nimble riffs that rival Thin Lizzy. Snippets of glam, power pop, bubblegum and arena rock all filter into the mix.
‘Stuck On Nothing’ is not music for the arms-folded set holding up the back wall. “With Free Energy, the first thing we do is make sure the drums sound awesome,” explains Sprangers. “Then we build on top of that, so everything is solid, well thought out, and distilled to its essence.” The vocals are always audible and up front. Free Energy make singing along just as easy as stamping your feet and clapping in time. “There’s a lot of optimism and positivity in the music, lyrics and imagery,” the singer concedes. Do not resist the exuberance. You can’t stop the children of the revolution.
stuck on nothing is out now digitally and cd and vinyl releases follow in april and may respectively.
Posted in News
Tagged DFA, Free Energy, Q&A
i’m a big fan of james murphy and all things dfa and lcd. he makes great music. he gives great interview. proof can be found at resident advisor right now. he dissects the cultural significance of various different kinds of party and social gathering, as well as examining different styles of dj set:
My favorite DJ sets are often filled with music I don’t know and then suddenly one song I know and love, that’s been earned. That’s as good as it gets. When you’re out dancing, and somebody’s been playing music you just don’t know at all, and then all the sudden something comes in that you know and love, right at a good moment, that’s a little more open or energetic than the previous nine things…I prefer that.
i remember seeing murphy dj at dublin’s antics, a wednesday club night frequented by teens who like to get indie kicks and cheap drinks across three rooms (i’m not knocking it). almost without fail, a bizarre look crossed the face of every kid who wandered into the room murphy was playing in, and they soon wandered off. so when murphy says that “pat mahoney and i started playing disco as a way to make people more uncomfortable,” i can say that i’ve seen the results of this discomfort. it’s hilarious. murphy and mahoney bring their special disco version to electric picnic next month. in the meantime check out their contribution to the fabriclive series.
i remember reading an interview with fc kahuna years ago where one of them mentioned a song where some guy was talking about playing daft punk to the rock kids at cbgb’s. it made no sense to me at the time. in 2005, i came across an album called lcd soundsystem.
today i listened to some remixes of their tracks, in preparation for the release of the 45:33 remixes. and then i listened to the aforementioned self-titled album. i started thinking that remixing lcd is a bit pointless. it’s all there in the original. lately i’ve been digging a lot of the nu-disco sounds, with rattling percussion and dugga-dugga basslines, so i thought i’d really enjoy the rub’n’tug remix of too much love. and then i listened to the original, which contains everything that the current crop of nu-disco heads are making their own. there was a period a few years ago when i would beatbox to myself, and more often than not i’d vocalise the opening beats of this very track. and for a while my “status” on myspace was “here comes the new stylish creep” – taken from on repeat. it’s funny how james murphy adopts a different vocal tack as the album rushes by. on opener daft punk is playing at my house his voice is nasal and frantic, on too much love it’s hushed. the beatles-esque never as tired as i’m waking up sees him adopt a gentle, wistful tone, before on repeat literally creeps us out. it’s clear that murphy isn’t the best singer in the world, but his grasp of musicianship and the charm of his delivery make it an irresistible package. and while the album might seem short, with just 9 tracks, the booming sounds of great release make for the best intro song ever to find itself at the end of the disc. in a sense it could be said that it’s the introduction to the singles disc, which features, among others, losing my edge, beat connection and yeah (both pretentious and crass).
since the release of this album in 2005 murphy has toured the world, soundtracked hollywood films, and been responsible for the most significant release in the series of nike+ exercise tracks – the aforementioned 45:33 – as well as getting some of that fabriclive payola. all while helming the consistently brilliant dfa records. and then of course there’s sound of silver, which might even be seen as a better “album” than lcd soundsystem. but that’s a discussion for another day. for now, sit back and enjoy these moments of greatness.
LCD Soundsystem – Too Much Love
LCD Soundsystem – On Repeat
LCD Soundsystem – Great Release