…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead has been enjoying a rebound period of goodwill surrounding the release of its seventh record, Tao of the Dead, since January of this year. It’s about time, too. The band was poised to become one of the elite untouchables after its seminal Source Tags and Codes album topped so many year-end lists back in 2002. But the backlash set in almost immediately, and the band couldn’t catch a break. It took four albums for even a whiff of praise to blow back in its direction. And Tao of the Dead is a deserving standout, as it encapsulates everything the band does well from the bombastic percussive breakaways to its over the top grandiosity, all couched in a thematic coat of mythical arms. “Summer of Dead Souls” is an explosive rocker, showcasing that the band’s hunger and angst haven’t been diminished by the business end of things. I can’t even recall the last video I saw from this band, but the “silent film” treatment works in this context. And the song just downright rocks.
Whether or not your down with Joy Division bassist Peter Hook touring his old band’s debut album with his kid and a few hired guns in tow is one thing. Purchasing an EP of Joy Division covers by said crew is another. I couldn’t imagine patronizing either one. But somebody must be, or I wouldn’t keep reading about it. (And I’m not helping either, obviously). The new EP 1102 / 2011 by Peter Hook and The Light featuring Rowetta (ex-Happy Mondays) tricks out new versions of the Joy Division classics “Atmosphere,” “Insight,” and “New Dawn Fades,” as well as an unfinished Joy Division song evidently titled “Pictures in My Mind.” The latter song is obviously the bait for the completists. Clever trick. I for one can live without any of it. For the curious, it all hits shelves on May 9 on Hook’s own Hacienda Records.
If you’re nostalgic to the point of obsession, then you can check out Hook et al. on tour, where they’ll not only be playing Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures on certain dates but for a special show in Manchester on May 18th, the anniversary of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis’ death, the group will perform Joy Division’s final recording, Closer, in its entirety. Dates after the break via Pitchfork.
Another new tune from Arctic Monkeys’ fourth long-player, the curiously titled and shittily cover-art-edSuck it and See, shows the Sheffield quartet continuing its quest into the dark terrain trampled on the slightly dour Humbug. But as with even the worst Arctic Monkeys songs, there’s always Alex Turner’s showy wordplay to lessen the blow. Alas, “Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” is a far cry from the band’s worst. It sports a twisted, rocker riff replete with borderline shoegaze “oohs” and a dose of sunny harmonies. And more of Turner’s ace lyrics.
The band has two sweeps across the US planned over the next few months. However, if you live in the South, you’re foiled again. Dates via Pitchfork after the break.
Next month Kate Bush will releaseDirector’s Cut, an album wherein the venerable singer will “revisit” songs from her esteemed albums, The Sensual World and The Red Shoes. So, not exactly new material to speak of. The history of musicians reworking classics is plagued with puzzled fans and tarnished legends. Anyone up for a dose of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86?” Right. So, the first single off Director’s Cut is one of my least favorite Kate Bush song’s to begin with- the fact that she adds loads of vocal mutilating auto-tune to it only hastens my disgust. And then there’s this cheesy, literal video with a man falling in love with a ridiculously animated pair of red lips representing the computer program that understands him like no other. Ugh. It does go a bit off the rails at the end, though. So, there’s that.
“Poly Styrene, best known as the frontwoman with 1970s punk group X-Ray Spex, has died. Styrene was receiving treatment for an advanced form of breast cancer when she passed away yesterday (Monday 25 April). She was 53.”