STARMAN 45 RELEASED 41 YEARS AGO TODAY. “So I picked on you-oo-oo…” Well, if life begins at forty, Starman is one year old today. Released this day in 1972, it still sounds as good now as it did way back then. The proof is here.
The second single – and the third blog single – from the Depeche Mode album “Delta Machine” will be the track “Soothe My Soul”. Reported by depechemode.de citing a telephone interview with Andy Fletcher for the Serbian news agency Beta Agencija. [Source]
James Blake returns today with another taste of his new album, Overgrown, although it comes in the form of the “dub version” of “Voyeur”. Takes a listen to a radio rip as debuted on BBC Radio 1 (via Gorilla vs. Bear). Due out April 8th via Republic, Overgrown comprises the album version of “Voyeur”, the single “Retrograde”, and eight other tracks, one of which features RZA, another boasts Brian Eno. [Source]
Bryan Ferry, never averse to a re-make/re-model (as his lifelong parallel career as a covers-crooner of “ready-mades” has established), has cooked up something completely unexpected and unprecedented here. Not least because he doesn’t sing on it. The Jazz Age is an instrumental set in which numbers spanning from Roxy Music’s Virginia Plain to Reason or Rhyme from most recent solo album Olympia are radically reimagined. Some are only faintly recognisable. His hits and cult items are fashioned as they might have been in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties, or the Gatsby ballrooms of F. Scott Fitzgerald (a poster-boy of doomed romanticism to whom Ferry has never struggled to relate). Names like Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke and Duke Ellington will be bandied around. In fairness to Ferry, this isn’t a dilettante detour: he has always, since the time of Roxy’s 1972 debut, when it was far from cool to do so, named these artists as influences. [Source]
The song was covered by the Scottish singer Lulu in 1974, who, according to biographer David Buckley, performed it in “a sleazy, almost Berlin cabaret style”. Lulu would recall Bowie inviting her to a concert he gave after which he met her in his hotel room saying: “I want to make an MF of a record with you because you’re a great singer.” Lulu – “I didn’t think it would happen but Bowie followed up two days later. He was übercool at the time and I just wanted to be led by him. I loved everything he did. I didn’t think ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ was the greatest song for my voice, but it was such a strong song in itself. I had no idea what it was about. In the studio Bowie kept telling me to smoke more cigarettes, to give my voice a certain quality.” Bowie produced the Lulu recording of “The Man Who Sold the World” with Mick Ronson during the Pin Ups sessions and also contributed guitar, saxophone and backing vocals. The remainder of the band included Ronson on guitar, Trevor Bolder on bass, Mike Garson on piano, and Aynsley Dunbar on drums. Lulu’s “The Man Who Sold the World” was released as a single on 11 January 1974 having been introduced by Lulu on the TOTP broadcast of 10 January 1974: the track only made its Top 50 debut (at #27) on the chart dated 16 January 1974 following a reprise performance by Lulu on the 24 January 1974 TOTP broadcast with a third TOTP performance by Lulu on the 7 February 1974 broadcast facilitating a boost from #13 to #5 on the chart dated 9 February 1974. In her TOTP performances in support of “The Man Who Sold the World” Lulu has been characterized as “dressed and sounding exactly like a diminutive Bowie”. On the UK Top 50 dated 16 February 1974 Lulu’s “The Man Who Sold the World” rose to #3 which proved to be the peak position for the track which subsequently made an accelerated chart descent with its overall Top 50 tenure being a comparatively brief nine weeks. Internationally “The Man Who Sold the World” afforded Lulu a major hit hit in Ireland (#8), the Netherlands (#10) and Germany (#13): the track was also a minor chart item in Australia at #81.
Chances are that B side collections like this one will soon be extinct, an alternative view of a band sacrificed to record company executives’ worship of the internet gods. In the download age, there’s little incentive for even the most traditional of modern indie bands to bother recording songs that few will hear, just for their own sake. But, previously, they could comprise the main attraction. In days when singles came as 45s, radio DJs occasionally flipped the record, turning its supposedly makeweight partner into a career-defining moment. Can you imagine a world where Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry or Rod Stewart’s Maggie May weren’t hits? Nothing on Dead in the Boot – a coy reference to their debut album Asleep in the Back, suggested by Guy Garvey’s sister – might have worked such magic for Elbow. But for them the B side is a serious business, both a way of rewarding fans with more music and an opportunity to learn more about their craft. In their earliest recording days they would wait until the producer went home before setting to work, creative juices flowing. By doing this, keyboard player Craig Potter taught himself the studio skills that would see him produce later albums. [Source]
Production master and veteran solo artist Todd Rundgren has given Tame Impala’s new single “Elephant” one hell of a makeover. Oddly enough, the 64 year old musician is the one who brings the tune a modern day vibe. Hear the unique blend of psychedelic rock and electronics. [Source]
The Blue Nile never sold lorry-loads of albums, but for converts to their unique fusion of romantic melancholy and robust hope they remain one of the finest, most quietly righteous bands of all time. The Glasgow trio who floated effacingly onto no scene in particular in the mid-80s have parted, and singer Paul Buchanan, now 56, releases his solo debut. It’s unconscionably beautiful, and may be the most moving, precious record of 2012. [Source]
“Yet Again” is another song from Grizzly Bear’s upcoming album Shields (out on September 18 through Warp Records). It was premiered on BBC Radio 1′s Zane Lowe show.