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|Written by Mike Cullen|
|Tuesday, 11 May 2010 00:00|
Goldfrapp -- Head First
Right from the first track, lead single "Rocket," you know that Goldfrapp is back in fine form. There's something disco-kitschy about this album that's not cringe-worthy but actually sinfully delicious. Considering the duo's last effort, 2008's Seventh Tree -- which was lacklustre to say the least -- this album is the one that spells not only comeback but even bigger things to come for the celebrated electro-pop pair.
Head First is honestly the best pop album I've heard since . . . well, probably Lily Allen or Lady Gaga, and considering the plethora of substandard pop acts out there (Ke$ha anyone?), it's a pleasant feeling to sit down and listen to a well-constructed, highly addictive pop album. The slickness of this album doesn't end with "Rocket" either. "Believer" keeps the energy going, and, while things slow down for a bit during the third and fourth tracks ("Alive" and "Dreaming"), this latest release from the band still manages to keep a toe-tapping beat throughout. My only real complaint is the length of the album; at nine tracks and just under 40 minutes, it feels cut drastically short. Regardless, this album is definitely worth a listen.
The Wind Up Radio Sessions -- Red Brick House
You probably haven't heard of them yet -- you'll regret that when they hit it big, because The Wind Up Radio Sessions has everything necessary to take their artisanship to the next level. Red Brick House, their first LP, (released independently) features ten phenomenal tracks, making TWURS the next big indie thing. You probably just shuddered at the thought of another Canadian indie band, but believe it or not The Wind Up Radio Sessions are unique. They aren't loud or cerebral like Broken Social Scene, and they're not so mainstream that you dislike them, like, say, The Weakerthans (but I still like them, too!). These new kids in Ottawa give us an almost chill version of indie.
Whether it's the laid back album opener "Me and My Doe" or the perfect sing-along track "Let Me Go" (I totally see myself singing this in front of a campfire this summer), this trio have put together an excellent selection of no-need-to-care indie-folk that will get repeated listens from me. Seriously, keep an eye on these guys and see them live the next time they play a show in town, because this is the best thing to come out of Ottawa in a long time.
Broken Social Scene -- "All for All," "Forced to Love," and "World Sick"
Life is good when three Broken Social Scene songs get released at the same time. Their much-anticipated new album, Forgiveness Rock Record, was not available in time for this review, but I guess the band couldn't wait to gift their loyal fans early with a trio of new tunes.
There have been rumours that the band is going in new directions musically, but that's not immediately apparent in listening to these three tracks. "World Sick" is classic Broken Social Scene with a sonic landscape stretching over the normal span for a song released to radio. "Forced to Love" sounds like a great jam-session song, but is almost a little too mainstream even for Broken Social Scene (perhaps that's their "new sound"?). "All for All" is perhaps the weakest of the bunch, trying to go in an electronic-chill route (hard to explain, but go give it a listen) with Lisa Lobsinger providing vocals on her first BSS record since joining the band as a permanent female vocalist.
There is no denying that this is Broken Social Scene at their catchiest and their best. For a band well known for playing a great mix of old and new tracks, band tracks, and members' songs from their respective solo albums, it will be interesting to hear and see how the new material fits into their live performances. Regardless, these are three great tracks that got me wishing that May 4th wasn't so far away for the album's release (note: by the time this article goes to press, the album will have already dropped).
Hole -- "Skinny Little Bitch"
Life hasn't been kind to Courtney Love, I'm just saying. But with everything going on in her life, it's actually surprising (and refreshing) to hear that she can still put out a really great rock tune. For someone who was a trailblazing female rocker some 20 years ago (even I can't believe it's been that long!), there has been some doubt as to whether or not Love could actually stage a comeback.
"Skinny Little Bitch," while not the strongest song she has ever written, certainly goes a long way to say that, despite it all, Love still has it. Clocking in at just over three minutes, she snarls her way through this song, reminiscent in many ways of "Celebrity Skin" some 15 years ago. In fact, this song screams nostalgia throughout. For those wondering what has happened to grunge, it's back, and it was just waiting for Courtney Love to lead the charge.
U2 - U2:3D
Seeing this 3D concert experience was like being at a U2 show for the first time again. In fact, in many ways it was. The first U2 show I ever saw live was during the 2005 Vertigo Tour. I was up in the nosebleeds, but it was one of the concert highlights of my life. The band has this incredible way of playing to tens of thousands but making it feel like an intimate show at the same time.
That very same energy can be felt during U2:3D. Filmed in Buenos Aires during the final leg of the Vertigo Tour, this 90-minute 3D movie captures everything that makes this band so great live. It's full of energy and life, even during slower moments such as Bono's heart-wrenching performance of "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" or hidden gem "Miss Sarajevo." For a band known for playing two hours each night (and oftentimes longer), I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to pare this video down into something a little more manageable for a film-watching audience ('cause really, if you've been to a U2 show, you know you don't sit through it).
On the technical side, this live concert is nothing short of spectacular. At times, watching this concert (with goofy 3D glasses to boot), one feels like one is getting a private show right on stage, while other times the perspective and the effects make it feel as though one is right in the middle of a huge mob.
For some, this may be the closest they get to seeing the band live (and loud), and honestly it's worth every penny. This show is still playing at the Museum of Civilization for a few more nights, so do yourself a favour -- grab a bunch of U2 fans and head over to see it. You will not be disappointed.
Tags: 3d, all for all, broken social scene, can con, courtney love, forced to love, forgiveness rock record, gatineau hull, goldfrapp, grunge, head first, hole, imax, music, ottawa, red brick house, review, skinny little bitch, solidarity, the wind up radio sessions, u2, world sick