December 2014 Archives

Old Heroes Go Mute: Laibach - Spectre and Plastikman - EX

Laibach and Plastikman are part of the Mute legacy, but there is nothing nostalgic about Spectre or EX, these albums are as modern and current as anything released in 2014.
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Mute Records has been the home of cutting-edge artists since Daniel Miller founded it in 1978. While it would be ridiculous to consider the label an independent today, it remains surprisingly true to Miller's original vision. As 2014 comes to a close, it occurs to me that two of the years' best records came from artists who have been with Mute for a long time. Laibach's Spectre and Plastikman's EX are great examples of what Miller is still doing right, allowing the artist to make their music without interference.The fact that Laibach released a new album in 2014 was a

DeepSoul, Holiday Edition: Jackson 5 - "Up on the House Top"

DeepSoul closes out 2014 with the Jackson 5's funky remake of a traditional Christmas carol.
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Few collections have successfully melded soul and Christmas music as well as the Jackson 5 Christmas Album, a disc that has sold over three million copies worldwide and remains a mainstay on holiday playlists. While their enthusiastic versions of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" receive annual radio airplay, the album track "Up on the House Top" encapsulates the Jackson 5's charisma and the incredible artistry of Motown's production team. By October 15, 1970, the Jackson 5 were at the peak of their popularity. They had already released three smash albums featuring the

CD Review: The Sevens Collective - A Too Much Divided Heart

The new album from The Sevens Collective A Too Much Divided Heart is a fantastic showcase for everyone involved.
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The release of A Too Much Divided Heart by The Sevens Collective is something of an all-star event from the mysterious Beta-lactam Ring Records label. From their very beginnings the boutique label have created their own niche by coupling handcrafted artwork with exquisitely intricate music. A Too Much Divided Heart by The Sevens Collective also features Beta-lactam artists and associates from around the world. Much like the recent work of Current 93 or The Legendary Pink Dots, there is a peaceful aura about many of these songs, at least on the surface. Listen a little closer however and things become

CD Review: The Brand New Heavies - Sweet Freaks

The Brand New Heavies return with a new singer and a classic sound.
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The Brand New Heavies are back with a brand new lead singer. Dawn Joseph, who shared vocals on 2013's Forward, takes over as lead vocalist on the band's newest album, Sweet Freaks. The singer may be new, but the sound isn't. This is a fun record steeped in 1970s disco and funk grooves and melodies. Opening track "Sweet Freeek," mixes horns with a 1970s disco vibe. It's an infectious melody that sticks in your head from the first listen. The band gives a James Brown feel to Peter Gabriel's classic, "Sledgehammer." While Joseph's vocals lack the intensity of Gabriel's original,

Blu-ray Review: Jeff Beck - Live in Tokyo

The virtuoso guitarist is captured live in Tokyo in this 2014 performance.
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Jeff Beck and Japan have shared a mutual love affair for over 40 years. From his first visit in 1973 with Beck, Bogert & Appice, which resulted in a classic live album, to today, the country has always been a favorite of the guitarist. It's only natural then that Beck's first shows with his killer new band featuring Jonathan Joseph on drums, Nicolas Meier on guitar and Rhonda Smith on bass take place in Japan. An April show at the Tokyo Dome City Hall was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray Jeff Beck -- Live in Tokyo. The show opens