Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Lights Go Out

When I was in university, there was this girl named Sarah Blackwood. She sang in a British band called Dubstar and their dreamy, sparkly blend of Brit/indie and electro-pop soundtracked a goodly portion of my collegiate years. I found the blend of Blackwood’s sweet, yet distant vocals with Steve Hillier’s synths and Chris Wilkie’s jangly, Marr-ish guitars irresistible – the single-disc US edition of Goodbye, which combined the best parts of their first two UK releases Disgraceful and Goodbye, was never far from my CD player.

But when you graduate from university, you inevitably leave people behind and so it was that as I moved into the working world and my musical tastes wandered elsewhere, Sarah and I fell out of touch. Dubstar’s third and final record, Make It Better in 2000, was only available on import and I wasn’t interested enough to shell out those prices. And while I was excited to find individual copies of the first two UK albums and replaced the US version with them, they didn’t have the same super-concentrated goodness. They’re both good records – the excised tracks still quite worthy – but they mostly just sat on my shelves. Sarah and I had some good times but I figured that was it for us.

But sometimes people from the past have a habit of turning up unexpectedly and so it was when I discovered Client and their third, just-released album Heartland. Certainly that’s Sarah, but gone is the demure, doe-eyed girl who peered out from the Dubstar CD liner notes – instead, she’s now “Client B”, one third of a glammy, sexed-up, duo trio dressed in super-tight, shiny stewardess uniforms (her co-conspirators are “Client A” and “Client E”). Musically, it’s a similar transformation – gone are the airy synth pads and light, Pet Shop Boys-esque rhythms. Client has a much harder, square-wave sound and heavier beats, more suited to proper dance floor ass-shaking than mopey indie head-bobbing. Lyrically, things are also darker but considering that Blackwood was never a credited songwriter in Dubstar and all of Client’s songs (save the covers, natch) are credited to them, this might well be Blackwood’s real voice. Maybe I didn’t know her that well in school after all.

Interesting footnote – Dubstar’s Wikipedia entry states that Steve Hillier announced this year that he was, as they say, “getting the band back together”. Or at least releasing new material as Dubstar. Who’s he working with? Who knows?

MP3: Client – “Drive”
MP3: Client – “Lights Go Out”
MP3: Dubstar – “St Swithin’s Day” (Billy Bragg cover)
Video: Client – “Zerox Machine” (YouTube)
Video: Dubstar – “Stars” (YouTube)
Video: Dubstar – “No More Talk” (YouTube)
Video: Dubstar – “I Will Be Your Girlfriend” (YouTube)
eCard: Client / Heartland
MySpace: Client

You know what the saddest thing about this melange of excised clips from the new Radiohead record is? If this is what the album actually sounded like, I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised.

The Guardian talks to the Brothers Reid about what on earth could have brought the Jesus & Mary Chain back together. Me, I’m far more excited about the fact that ex-Ride drummer Loz Colbert is behind the kit for them. BIG improvement on the old drum machine, let me tell you. And hey, Loz has his own MySpace. And solo material. Of course he does.

Aversion checks in with an interview with The Long Blondes.

While I was away, Pitchfork gave Lucky Soul’s The Great Unwanted a solid 8.0. Even after two months of having this record on heavy rotation, I still love it as much as when I wrote this. That is remarkable. REMARKABLE. Go listen.

Stream: Lucky Soul / The Great Unwanted

The AV Club gets Nick Peill of Fields to put his iPod on shuffle… and the first song that comes up is a Fields song. How mortifying.

And to cap off the Anglo portion of this post, I direct you to this Pitchfork piece about the forthcoming The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze, and Brit Pop Gems of the Last Millennium box set due out on October 2. At first glance, it certainly seems like they’ve done a decent job of covering the final fifteen years of the 20th century in British indie over four discs – it’s funny, discs one and two represent the era that I wish I’d lived through, disc three represents the era I did live through and disc four pretty much represents the era that drove me away from British music for a good many years. I’ve already got most everything in the set that I care to own but that battery-powered glowing telephone booth packaging looks mighty tempting. No wait, it doesn’t.

The schedule for Austin City Limits is now up and goodness are there some decisions to be made. Queens Of The Stone Age or Spoon? I’m not really a fan of the former but am sure they’d be fun to see and shoot, and I’ll see Spoon here in town in October. Arcade Fire or White Stripes? Same deal – just saw AF (though from a couple stories up) but I’m sure the Stripes would be fun to shoot. Steve Earle or Andrew Bird? Actually, that’ll be Steve fo’ sho’. Wilco or My Morning Jacket? That’s a toughie. Though considering that it’s Texas in mid-September, the determining factor will probably more likely be which stage is closer to a nice shaded area or water station.

Hey Virgin Fest – ACL has THEIR SCHEDULE UP and they’re not happening till the week after you… want to get your final lineup announced or what?

NPR will be webcasting The National’s show in Washington DC tonight – tune in at around 10PM EDT to hear them live from the 9:30 Club.

Check out Batman’s new wheels.

By : Frank Yang at 8:22 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. sean says:

    I’d never heard of the Dubstar/Clinet connection, will have to investigate.
    (and, erm, one third of a duo? more than a singer, she’s bending physics!)

  2. Frank says:

    this is why I need a copy editor. Anyone? Free CDs in it for you.

  3. kathryn says:

    I’ve heard bad things about the White Stripes’ photo contract FWIW. Something like you can’t ever use your photos of them for any publication other than the one that hired you, and if you ever license photos to others, it’s $10,000 per photo / per violation. Granted, you’ll probably only ever put them on Chromewaves, but it might be something to consider.

  4. tom says:

    The photo you posted of Client helps me in forgiving you for the Radiohead slam.

  5. Tualla says:

    Frank – Gotta ask about Chris Garneau Tonight at Sneeky Dees Vs Heartless Bastards at the Elmo. Think I’ve made my decision, but am interested in yours.

    Always many, many public thanks for the Brakes Tickets. Wish I cold say it suck, but it was really something special for the 50 people who were there.

    Again, Thanks, – T

  6. Frank says:

    I’m going to Chris Garneau cause it’s free and reasonably early. I’ve got a thing earlier in the evening, will swing by Sneak’s and hopefully be home by 11:30. and I think I’m in the mood for quiet.

    kathryn – yeah, that was the deal with the Raconteurs at V Fest last year. there was some confusion about my media pass so I didn’t get a chance to be turned down for photo access. I will probably go with Arcade Fire at ACL but if I did shoot the Stripes, i’d have totally photoshopped Jack White’s shirt to orange.

  7. Karl says:

    Back in the day, JAMC rarely used the drum machine live, even for stuff that had it on the albums (where the drummer would sometimes play the machine live). But I prefer the more organic sound in any event.

  8. Monsieur Mignon says:

    They(Client) sound like Ladytron but much worse.

  9. Slash-s Snakepit says:

    Anyone gonna checout the Velvet Revolver
    and Alice In Chains show in August? I
    actually know someone involved with the
    meet and greets before the show, so I’m
    get to hang out with Slash for a bit before
    the show. It should be interesting