Former Roxy Music front man Bryan Ferry and his handsome son Tara, star in this commercial for H&M clothing stores. Now I’ve seen everything.
In contrast to the ethereal, romantic, midnight cabaret vibe of Blonde Exodus, my favorite album by Scottish expat Chris Connelly, Artificial Madness, the latest from the ex-Ministry/RevCo vocalist is fierce, briskly paced and vibrant with frenetic energy. Oh Chris, why did you stay away so long?
While the undeniable bombast of Connelly’s impressive musical pedigree is in full evidence over the course of these eleven tracks, he’s also imbued these tunes with the essence of eighties-era bands that, in effect, carried the torch for all that came along in the nineties. “Wait for Amateur” would sound right at home book-ended by “Terror Couple Kill Colonel” and “Dark Entries” on a Best-of Bauhaus album and “The Modern Swine” resembles an aural bow to Howard Devoto’s Magazine, whether intentional or otherwise. As always, Connelly’s sublime Bowie-esque croon takes even Peter Murphy’s embodiment of the Thin White Duke past the realm of homage and into the arena of a vocalist whose imprint is arguable matched only by Bryan Ferry among those currently recording. If you enjoy music with a serious pulse, there is no reason not to add Artificial Madness to your collection.
Chicago-area fans can catch the Artificial Madness record release show on Friday November 18, 2011 at The Hideout. For this show, Chris will be joined by the those who backed him on the album including producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Nachtmystium), Noah Leger (The Karl Hendricks Trio, The(e) Speaking Canaries, Head of Skulls), Will Lindsay (Indian, Nachtmystium, Wolves in Throne Room), and Dallas Thomas (The Swan King, Circle of Animals, Asschapel).
Malevolent, beautiful, creepy and compelling all at once, Artificial Madness, out on Relapse Records on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, is one of my favorite releases of the year.
This past Thursday I was super fortunate to have been able to see Roxy Music front man Bryan Ferry perform at the Beacon Theater here in NYC. He looked great and sounded amazing! He also did a fun and varied set of songs that ranged from both early and later period Roxy Music, his own solo stuff and covers of Bob Dylan and Neil Young tunes. Ferry is changing up the song list on this tour, so every show is a little bit different, but if you weren’t at the Beacon on October 6, 2011, this is what you missed.
The Main Thing (Roxy Music)
Slave to Love
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Bob Dylan cover)
Casanova (Roxy Music)
If There is Something (Roxy Music song)
Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan cover)
Boys and Girls
Kiss and Tell
To Turn You On
Like a Hurricane (Neil Young cover)
Tara (Roxy Music)
Bitter Sweet (Roxy Music)
You Can Dance
Reason and Rhyme
Avalon (Roxy Music)
My Only Love (Roxy Music)
Love Is The Drug (Roxy Music)
All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)
Let’s Stick Together (Wilbert Harrison cover)
Jealous Guy (John Lennon cover)
Hold On (I’m Coming)
I’ll say one thing about 2010: it was a better fucking year for new music here at the Chickpad. Some of you might recall that when compiling my “Year End” list of 2009, I couldn’t even come up with ten CDs that I could admit to having listened to, let alone liked. That was weird, but what can I say? Today’s music just isn’t yanking my chain the way new records used to get me all hot and bothered, even as recently as, say, two or three years ago. Fans of the Rad Blog know that I wrote about Art and various facets of Pop Culture exponentially more often than I ever wrote about new music or bands that were turning me on. The times, they are a-changin. By semi-switching alliances from Music to Art I know I missed out on a lot, but I did discover ten aural gems this year that I think you should have in your record collection.
I tagged the sophomore effort by Brooklyn’s MGMT as Album of the Year way back when it was first released at the beginning of 2010, and my mind hasn’t changed. In 2010, who else but MGMT is releasing albums crammed full of homages to surf music and Brian Eno? No one else, except maybe…
Mark Ronson & The Business, Record Collection
Everything old is new again! The thoroughly sublime and appropriately entitled Record Collection is the best album of 80s music in twenty-five years!
Posies, Blood Candy
Blood Candy proves that The Posies are the closest thing we’ll ever see to a second incarnation of The Beatles.
Cameron Meshell, Prizefighter
Shreveport, LA in 2010 is a very long way from London, England in the 70s, but that sleepy little town has nevertheless managed to spawn singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist Cameron Meshell, whose blissfully malleable vocals conjure the heady ghost of the late, great Freddie Mercury like no ouija board ever could. Discover Cameron Meshell at his finest on his knockout second full-length release, Prizefighter.
Gripweeds, Strange Change Machine
Best. Sixties. Revivalist. Band. Ever.
Shamelessly unapologetic worshipper of the ’80s Metal that I am, if you’d told me last year that in 2010 I’d be putting an album by Ratt, Los Angles-based icons of Hair Metal, on my list of favorite CDs, even I would have laughed you off the face of the Earth. So no one was more surprised than me to hear Ratt, valiantly holding on to most of its original line up (RIP Robin Crosby), sounding as on top of the rock world as they did in 1987, serving up a collection of classic metal songs with more visceral sex appeal and crunchy, loud guitars than you could imagine. Someone tell me where these guys are hiding their time machine.
Hawkwind, Blood of the Earth
Hawkwind have been a band for longer than most people reading this have even been alive. I am not fronting when I say that the songs on Blood of The Earth will appeal to all genres of metal, prog and hard rock fans of bands as varied as Zodiac Mindwarp, Jimi Hendrix, The Pretty Things, Yes and Nine Inch Nails. Must own!
Except for MGMT, southern rockers American Bang are the only “new” band on this list, because they kick ass and take names. I mean, don’t they just look like they rock? If I were 25 years old I’d be in the front row of their shows throwing my panties on the stage. Plus their bass player writes a food blog!
Robert Plant & The Band of Joy
This collection of Americana covers by rock god legend Robert Plant and his amazing Band of Joy makes the list because their magical show at the Bowery Ballroom this winter was the best show I attended all year. Led Zeppelin!
Bryan Ferry, Olympia
It’s about his voice. Olympia hasn’t exactly checked in as a critics’ favorite, but as far as I’m concerned, the former Roxy Music front man could sing a menu and I’d get on board.
How about you guys? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments!
Heads Up: American fans of the hilarious and twisted BBC/Adult Swim series, The Mighty Boosh – starring Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt – might want to schedule that long-planned trip to London for sometime between next Monday and the end of the year. That way, you can check out Noel Fielding’s exhibit of his original paintings, starting July 5th at Maison Bertaux patisserie in London. The show is entitled Brian Ferry versus the Jelly Fox, which makes sense when you know that Noel is a huge fan of the former Roxy Music front man (Ferry is referenced in the 2004 Mighty Boosh episode, Hitcher).
According to an interview with Fielding published today in the Guardian UK, the exhibit “will feature a shrine to Ferry, including a large portrait of the Roxy Music singer, as well as a picture of a tree, with Ferry masks hanging off, and another with a headless man on a hill, a Bryan Ferry kite flying high above his neck. The Jelly Fox is part of another convoluted fantasy, a little like The Wizard of Oz, in which three characters go in search of the Jelly Fox.”
I think I will be calling my travel agent shortly!
Noel Fielding’s Bryan Ferry vs The Jelly Fox runs from July 5, 2010 to January 2011 at Maison Bertaux (“London’s oldest and best patisserie”), located at 28 Greek Street, SOHO London, England.
Roxy Music vocalist Bryan Ferry was born on this day, September 26th, in 1945. Gee whiz, what a great band (Favorite Roxy Music Song: “Street Life”). Bryan also recorded an amazing CD of Bob Dylan covers a couple of years ago, Dylanesque which is highly recommended listening. Happy Birthday, Bryan!