Friday, June 27th, 2008

Predict The Day

I gave up on Ladytron a long time ago. Way back in 2000 I was coerced by a blend of UK hype and the promise of cute girls and picked up their Play Girl single, which subsequently failed to impress for reasons I can’t even recall at this point – probably too cold and mechanical for my tastes at the time – and I didn’t pay much heed to them over the next eight years and three albums. But when album number four, Velocifero, showed up on my doorstep, I figured that everyone deserves a second chance and here’s to rewarding my magnanimous nature.

They’re still fashionably icy and sexily synthetic but there’s an organic urgency underneath it all that either wasn’t there or I didn’t detect all those years ago that has really drawn me into the album. It’s like the ghost in the machine is trying to get out. Vocalists Mira Aroyo and Helen Marnie offer two distinct personalities to the more uniform musical accompaniment of analog synths and programmed beats, the former emphasizing the more distant, mechanical aspects of their sound and the latter offering a more melodic, human dimension. The balance is a blend of synth and pop that hits a musical sweet spot for me in a way that hasn’t happened since I discovered Dubstar many moons ago, though they’re obviously much darker in mood. I’m still soaking in the new album but suspect that a trip to The Witching Hour isn’t far off.

But first there’ll be a visit to Harbourfront next Friday – their current tour wraps up this week with a string of Canadian dates including a free show at on the lakefront on July 4 as part of the Beats, Breaks & Culture festival. I’ve read some complaints about their live show about how they just stand there and play/sing, but in their case I think that’s entirely the point. If they jumped around or ambulated more than absolutely necessary, it’d just ruin the mood.

The Denver Post and The Sunday Mail have interviews with the band, and courtesy of Nettwerk, I’ve got two prize packs consisting of a copy of Velocifero on CD and a Ladytron tote bag. If you want, email me at contests AT with “I want the Ladytron stuff” in the subject line and your mailing address in the body. Contest open to whomever, wherever, and will close at midnight July 5 to coincide with the end of the North American leg of their tour.

MP3: Ladytron – “Black Cat”
Video: Ladytron – “Ghosts”
MySpace: Ladytron

Drowned In Sound points to the new video from Primal Scream’s hopefully comeback album Beautiful Future, out July 22. And contrary to the song’s title, Bobby Gillespie’s old band – The Jesus & Mary Chain – are hoping you CAN go back as they’re releasing a four-CD box set of b-sides and rarities entitled The Power of Negative Thinking on September 30. Full details at Billboard.

Video: Primal Scream – “Can’t Go Back”

National Geographic will be webcasting tomorrow night’s Bjork/Sigur Ros concert from Reykjavik starting at 7PM GMT, which is 2PM EDT actually I’m not sure, you do the math… And a reminder that tickets for Sigur Ros’ Toronto show at Massey Hall September 22 go on sale at 10AM EDT today. Update: For future reference – the Massey Hall website does NOT like Firefox. My Firefox, anyways. IE was lickety split… after I spent like 10 minutes waiting for FF to load. Anyway, I got row O, seat 15, floors.

MTV talks to Anthony Gonzalez of M83.

The National Post talks to Jose Gonzalez. Congrats to Jonathan and Garrett who won the passes to see him in Halifax and Saskatoon, respectively – everyone else, the contest for Winnipeg passes and CDs is still open.

Minnesota Public Radio welcome Shearwater to their studios for an interview and session.

Everyone’s talking to Lykke Li. The Swedish singer, who releases her debut Youth Novels in North America on August 19 and play the Mod Club in Toronto on October 24, is the subject of features and interviews at Spin, This Is Fake DIY, Blurt and The Independent.

JAM talks to The Ting Tings.

Thick Specs offers up a positive review of You May Need A Murdere, the Low documentary currently screening over at Deaf Indie Elephants has gone to the trouble of ripping a Bee-Gees cover bonus track from the DVD of the film.

JAM and The Georgia Straight talk to Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers.

Pitchfork points us to a new video from Stars.

Video: Stars – “Bitches In Tokyo”

A reminder that tonight marks A Northern Chorus’ final Toronto show ever, and tomorrow night at the Casbah is their final show period. Stop by and thank them for their years of service to the dreampop cause. Chart, The Spec and View salute the Steeltown crew.

Drowned In Sound ask the artists who released their favourite albums of 2008 so far to name their favourite albums of 2008 so far.

By : Frank Yang at 8:32 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Brent says:

    The Witching Hour is worth seeking out if you like Velocifero. A stronger record overall, and more memorable.

  2. Melody says:

    Yes, I agree. Witching Hour is probably their best album, in my opinion. I wasn’t a huge fan of their first two albums either.

  3. Pluto says:

    Yes, check out "The Witching Hour"
    It’s them at their best!

  4. Bruce says:

    Velocifero is indeed excellent, and at the risk of redundancy, Witching Hour is top to bottom incredible. There. It needed to be said again.

    Saw Laydtron a couple of years ago at the Opera House, and loved every minute of it. Yes their performance style is austere, but as you surmised, anything else would seem at odds with their whole sensibility.

  5. Bo says:

    wow, I totally forgot about Dubstar! I loved them well….a long time ago now isn’t it.

    Best, Bo

  6. Scott says:

    The main girl from Dubstar is one of the ladies in Client, now… (A or B – couldn’t tell you which)… in case anyone didn’t know (and cared [smirk]).

    (And I *LOVE* the first 2 Ladytron albums… but I like disembodied Robot Music, so it may just be me… LOL)