Free mp3 of the week – Delerium

The final track and title track from their forthcoming album Music Box Opera is now available from the website. It’s been a very long time since Nuages du Monde so you should really be looking forward to this one!

Sébastien Tellier – My God is Blue

I was at a friend’s house, very late at night, back in 2008, when he put on Sexuality by Sébastien Tellier, telling me only that he was France’s Eurovision entry and that it was produced by one of Daft Punk. Within seconds, I was blown away by the beautiful bubbling arpeggio of Roche, and stunned by the eccentric pop throughout the album. To this day, Roche is still the most played track in my iTunes library.

A month or so later, I got to see his hilarious performance of Divine at the Eurovision Song Contest, with its golf buggy, helium and bearded dancers. Not sure what I’m talking about? Perhaps your memory needs refreshing?

I was also lucky enough to see Sébastien performing live at the Ooh La L.A. festival in Los Angeles in 2010, where he performed a short but utterly brilliant set. The live version of l’Amour et la Violence was, as you might expect, quite exceptional.

So, of course, I was very pleased to see that he was now back with a new album, but for some reason it isn’t properly available in the USA yet, so I briefly made do by getting hold of the remixed version of Sexuality which appeared on iTunes a while back. That’s quite good too.

And finally I managed to get my hands on My God is Blue. It opens with more wonderful synthpop in the shape of Pépito Bleu, before settling down into more gentle rhythms, disco, and pop. As you might expect after Sexuality, the whole thing is coloured by a slightly offbeat humour, and the low points are few and far between. Highlights are The Colour of Your MindRussian AttractionsAgainst the Law and Yes, It’s Possible, and the whole thing comes to an unusual close with a minute or so of near silence.

All round it’s another wonderful album, and definitely worth checking out if you like your pop to be French, laid back, and ever-so-slightly silly.

My God is Blue is available from or on import from Amazon.comSexuality is more widely available through or, and Sexuality (Remix) is on iTunes and probably other places too.

Live – Dragonette

Toronto band Dragonette may have only had a couple of hits that you’ve heard of, but they’re extremely good live. I first saw them perform in 2010, and by the time I next saw them earlier this year they seemed to have also become inexpressibly cool.

According to Songkick you can catch Dragonette across the USA in September and Canada in October.

Portishead – Third

This was another $1 CD which I stumbled across recently.

Actually I really don’t know a lot about Portishead. They kicked off with a wonderful first album Dummy in 1994, which is essentially ten tracks of total perfection. The more obvious hits Sour Times and Glory Box are accompanied by such moments of brilliance as Wandering Star and Biscuit, among many of others. They seemed to have perfected a combination of melancholy, experimental dub, and I’ve no idea how else I would describe their sound…

The follow-up, 1997’s Portishead is only slightly more pedestrian. It may lack a Sour Times, but it has a number of excellent moments – All MineUndenied and Seven Months spring to mind. It does suffer from a little filler around the middle of the album, but it’s generally another very good release.

Their only other output in the intervening decade was the live collection Roseland NYC Live (2008), a slightly arbitrary mix of tracks from the first two albums. And then they disappeared off the face of the planet.

Eventually they would reappear with their most recent album Third (2008), and you might have been forgiven for thinking that their creativity was failing. Certainly their album titles have suffered for some time, but actually the album really does have some moments of excellence. The opener Silence doesn’t quite seem to grab you in the way that Mysterons did on their first album, but with Hunter you’re quickly reminded of what it is they do so well.

Four tracks in, you come across the album’s real gem, the second single The Rip, which is truly haunting, and somehow this really seems to take the whole album to the next level. Hidden somewhere in the middle is Deep Water, a beautiful Hawaiian themed moment, which is also wonderfully spoiled by the throbbing sub-bass and effects of the first single Machine Gun. And the high points continue through to the very end, with Magic Doors and Threads plodding beautifully onwards and taking you straight into the fourth album. Oh…

It’s worth mentioning that Portishead are one of those acts whose albums take a little time to embed themselves completely in your head. They have to be listened to in full, over a number of weeks, before you can really appreciate them. This post has therefore been listened to after a few listens, but it’s possible I may come to love the album even more with time. If so, I’ll be back…

In summary, then, it’s fair to say that Portishead seem to be a band I like a lot, but also one that I always entirely forget about. With Third they returned to form with their trademark haunting sound, and it’s definitely worth more than $1.

If you don’t mind sacrificing a little more money than I did, you can find Third on iTunes here, or probably on plenty of other download sites if you search hard enough.

VCMG – Aftermaths

VCMG are finally back with the third single from SsssEP3 – Aftermaths. It was first rumoured back in about May or June, but for some reason got delayed to this week. It’s available on 12″ and download and includes four new mixes by people I’ve never heard of.

Chart for stowaways – 18 August 2012

Things are still firing around all over the shop. Here are the singles this week:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Winner
  2. Delerium – Monarch
  3. Moby – Extreme Ways
  4. Sébastien Tellier – Pépito Bleu
  5. The Good Natured – Ghost Train
  6. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Higher Than the Stars
  7. Saint Etienne – I’ve Got Your Music
  8. Chicane – Going Deep
  9. Ladytron – Ace of Hz
  10. Sébastien Tellier – Cochon Ville

… and on the albums… well, nothing much happening right now.

The London 2012 Olympic Games

Music and sport have had plenty of odd crossovers in their time, but also a lot of very good crossovers too (New Order spring to mind).

So in this post I’m not going to wax lyrical about how well Team GB (+NI) got along, because frankly I live overseas and don’t have a telly, so try as I might I haven’t actually seen very much of it. I can’t even tell you how much I liked the opening or closing ceremonies, because at the time of writing I haven’t seen either of them.

What I can do, though, is heartily recommend that you buy an album called Isles of Wonder, which is available all over the place. I haven’t got around to buying it myself yet (frankly it’s ridiculously expensive in the USA) but just look at that track listing! Mike OldfieldUnderworldThe Chemical BrothersUnderworldPet Shop Boys, more UnderworldFuck ButtonsU2, oh look, Underworld, and then some more Underworld.

It looks as though it’s particularly worth buying if you like Underworld.

You can get Isles of Wonder on CD from Amazon UK, or as a download from iTunes among other places.