Blog.

Icon

Music+film+art+books

Song of the Day – Kate Bush: “Wild Man”

After 12 years between The Red Shoes and Aerial, and five-and-a-half between Aerial and Director’s Cut, Kate Bush is acting like it’s 1978 all over again and releasing two albums in one year. Next month sees the release of 50 Words for Snow, Bush’s first album of all-new material in six years (this spring’s Director’s Cut was an album of reworkings of previous songs.) The lead single, “Wild Man,” premiered yesterday and marries the lush layered style and synth hooks of her ’80s peak with the low-key, mellow harmonies and instrumentation of her 2000s work. The result is a serious grower: where Bush’s spoken verses initially seem underwhelming, repeated listening reveals it to be another rich, alluring release from a true original.

Advertisements

Filed under: Art, Culture, Music, Music video, Pop, , , , ,

Song of the Day – Nerina Pallot: “Put Your Hands Up”

The lead single from Nerina Pallot’s upcoming fourth LP Year of the Wolf is a classy pop confection produced by former Suede band member and current producer du jour Bernard Butler. The original, debuted live in concert last year, was faster paced and suggested more of a camp Eurodisco anthem but this studio version is pleasingly classy and elegant. In an ideal world, a sophisticated pop song like this would become a deserving hit. We’ll have to wait until its official release later this month to find out.

In the meantime, here is the video

Filed under: Culture, Music, Music video, Pop, , , , ,

If you were wondering what Kate Bush looks like these days…

… Then look no further.

Kate Bush is back this spring with Director’s Cut, an unusual package that brings together new versions of songs that appeared on her albums The Sensual World (1989) and The Red Shoes (1993), keeping the “best” elements of the existing tracks while re-imagining others. So far, so mysterious – that is until Amazon jumped the gun a little and posted a 30-second preview clip of the new “Deeper Understanding,” originally from The Sensual World. What emerged was a sultry-sounding new vocal from Bush singing the “I press execute” line followed by a jarring and, frankly, terrifying computerised voice in place of the original angelic chorus of Bush and the Trio Bulgarka. It is a mark of her artistic fearlessness that a 30-second clip of a six-and-a-half minute song (around two minutes’ extension from 1989’s original) can provoke the mostly negative reactions it has among Bush fans so far, but really it makes sense for a song about computers to have a digitised voice in there somewhere. It remains to be seen (or rather, heard) how the other six minutes follow.

It’s an odd project, definitely, but both of these records that Bush is revisiting came at difficult points in her life. With The Sensual World, Bush was struggling with studio fatigue, having rarely been out of the confinement of the recording atmosphere for the best part of a decade, and had the problem of following two landmark artistic triumphs in The Dreaming (1982) and, commercially as well, Hounds of Love (1985). Then, The Red Shoes was beset by personal issues as Bush split from her long-time partner Del Palmer and suffered through the death of her mother Hannah, contributing to one of her less focused records. Still, she has expressed the opinion that these records contain some of her best work – so it makes sense for her now, with the benefit of two decades’ hindsight, to return to tinker with them with a fresh new approach. Whether Bush stretches even further back and undertakes a similar project with her other records remains to be seen, but the very arrival of any new Bush release is cause for celebration, giving her propensity for large gaps between records.

And for those who are disappointed at the lack of new new material, the official word is that Bush is working on brand new material. It’s on its way, people! In the meantime, let’s look forward to this fascinating new project, due for release in mid-May.

Filed under: Culture, Music, News, Pop, , ,

PJ Harvey on The Culture Show 2011

PJ Harvey’s appearance on BBC2’s The Culture Show, on February 10, 2011

Filed under: Art, Culture, Music, News, Pop, , , , , , ,

PJ Harvey returns with “Let England Shake”

PJHarvey.net teased us with an “announcement coming November 23rd” announcement and today we learned that Feb.14, 2011 will see the release of Harvey’s eighth solo studio album Let England Shake.

It’s been a long time coming, written and demoed even before the release of 2009’s John Parish collaboration A Woman A Man Walked By, and recorded this spring in a Dorset church. Word is that it’s “dark” and “terrifying,” but Harvey has also made reference to its “energy” and “vitality” to the NME, describing it as “uplifting.” All words that we like in PJH land.

The two songs we’ve heard that presumably will be included – “Let England Shake” and “The Last Living Rose” – seemed to suggest a move away from the spectral piano ghost-balladry of 2007’s White Chalk but we can be sure that something somewhat fresh and new is coming, such is the Peej loath to repeat herself.

It will be interesting hearing more news trickle out over the next three months. Her last February-released album was 1995’s classic To Bring You My Love – an omen? We will see.

Filed under: Art, Culture, Music, News, Pop, , , ,