Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Here comes the rain again....

With various wildfires in my country burning an area larger than the state of Rhode Island, it turns out that that news isn't sensational enough for those in the ratings game - now we have to waste tax payer dollars on air drops to make them even more sensational for the six o'clock news. Click on the image for a link the LA Times article on 'CNN Drops'.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Riviera F

Last night I was supposed to go see a production of Grease at Tacoma Musical Playhouse. However, due to a ticket mix-up, that didn't happen and the musical will be seen today instead. After briefly debating if a trip to the wine bar was in order, it was decided that spending some time at home sounded more enjoyable. What happened then was another potentially great musical discovery: Riviera F.

After stumbling upon their myspace page, the song 'International Lover' grabbed me right away. It has an early '80s feel to it with obvious influences from Duran Duran's eponymous debut and Rio albums. Given that both of those records are New Wave classics, to hear hints of them on 'International Lover' was quite a joy. After sampling a few more of Riviera F's songs, it was 'International Lover' that received the most spins and head bopping.

Unable to get Riviera F out of my head, research on them continued this morning - a visit to their official website was in order. To offer a brief history, the band was formed when Russian born singer Alexa Marlen and Dutch guitarist Kairo Sin met at a London art college. Initially they recorded demo tracks using a casio keyboard and a simple drum machine. Over time their sound developed - Logan Sky was added to the lineup of the band and more instruments were brought into the mix.

Now here is the interesting part: after a chance meeting with Duran Duran keyboard player Nick Rhodes, (there seems to be a lot of those 'chance meetings' in the world of music, doesn't there?) Rhodes signed as on as producer of Riviera F's debut release which just happens to be 'International Lover'. As it turns out, all those connections between their music and Duran Duran's music are there for a very good reason, indeed!

As far we here at Computer Love can tell, the girls are busy promoting their latest release, the brilliant 'Now we've got Europe' which you can hear on their myspace page. However, we've decided to post the video for the song that was our first glimpse into the world of Riviera F - International Lover.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Katsen gives Computer Love some lovin'

I feel the need to toot my own horn: today I noticed that Katsen mentioned this little blog of mine on their myspace page. To have them notice my posting about their music is really quite an honor; I am very tickled to know that Katsen took the time to read my blog (and acknowledge it!). This is even more exciting for me since I am still new to the blogosphere and I want to do my part to promote great electronic bands such as Katsen. Since Katsen made mention of this blog, traffic to this space has greatly increased. So, a big thank you to Katsen and the folks at Electronically Yours for taking notice. Hold on tight, this ride known as Computer Love has just begun!

Starcluster ft. Marc Almond

Starcluster is another band that is new to me. I learned of them whilst reading the official Marsheaux forum; there is a section on that forum dedicated to new electronic bands, and Starcluster was mentioned by one of the forum users. After taking one listen of their song 'Smoke and Mirrors' which features the brilliant Marc Almond on vocals, I knew I had to buy the song. After a bit of hunting online, I found 'Smoke and Mirrors' on iTunes bundled with two other tracks and various remixes of 'Smoke and Mirrors'. Remixes, in general, do nothing for me, but I have to say that even the remixes of this song turn me on. There is definitely a huge Kraftwerk influence in their music - which is never a bad thing, is it? I highly encourage everyone to check out Starcluster.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Introducting Katsen

There is a good reason why Electronically Yours is one of my favorite websites - their taste in music is right up my alley. Their latest feature is a band from Brighton called Katsen. Their debut video is a song called 'Where nobody can find us'. I think it's brilliant - amazing even. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Worst Song Ever?

As mentioned in my previous post, some pop music is just shamelessly bad. Enter Supersister. I discovered this song while reading Northern Kind's blog and was both amused and horrified by it.

Being that I live in the Seattle area, I can't help but think that Starbucks should consider using this track in a promo add - maybe that would help turn their profits around...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Like You Girl!

One of the great things about pop music is that it spans the spectrum in terms of how serious artists take themselves. I recently read an Alison Moyet interview where she said 'I have no sense of immortality, and I dislike the smoke and mirrors that some acts use to cover up their extreme common mundaneity'. Too true Alison, too true.

Of course, on the opposite end of that spectrum are the trite boy and girl bands that we're all supposed to think are cute. We're supposed to have our favorite member, cut our hair like them, put posters of them on our walls, buy their records, then pretend they are serious musicians who are victims of their own mass popularity. We're also made to pretend that we are shocked (sometimes even a bit horrified) when our favorite member of a girl or boy band turns out to be gay or becomes pregnant at 14. Soccer moms across the country can be heard saying 'I thought so and so had moral values; I can't believe this!'. Or, 'so and so didn't LOOK gay!'.

My point is that the beauty of pop music is that it can be anything you want it to be - serious, trite, or all things in between. It can be intelligent and insightful, or it can be a bunch of a trashy girls or boys singing about how difficult it is to be popular in high school these days - it's your choice.

With that in mind, there is a brilliant web series on Youtube called 'Toyboize'. It chronicles the reunion of a fictional '80s child band. Enough said.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why I'm Afraid of Grace Jones - Part One of an Infinite Series

I used to think Grace Jones was kinda cool - that was between the years of 1984-86 when Grace teamed up with Duran Duran members Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon and Roger Taylor to record the amazing single 'Election Day' for the Arcadia album, 'So Red the Rose'. During that time, she also played a bad girl in a bond film, and did some pretty bad-ass commercials for motor bikes. Her coolness ends there.

Since then, Grace has modeled herself as not being quite human nor machine, neither male or female, neither earthling nor space creature, neither...well, you get my point: she's a freak. And, her new incarnation does little to soften her image either.

I hesitate to post her new video here, but in order to fully express my fear of her, and in the interest of not being alone in the feeling that I need to bathe after watching this video, I have no other choice but to do so.

Monday, July 7, 2008

More on Roisin Murphy

(Left: Untitled Film Still by Cindy Sherman)

I was browsing through Roisin's youtube page this weekend and was delighted to learn that her video for 'You Know Me Better' was inspired by the artist Cindy Sherman. I happen to be a fan of Cindy's work, and I think Roisin's video is a good representation of Cindy's famous Untitled Film Stills.

Check out the video for 'You Know Me Better', pasted below.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Roisin Murphy

O...M...G - check out this video. i just discovered it this morning while downloading HBOs 'Rome' on iTunes. Roisin Murphy is kinda great, but i'm not quite sure what to make of this video: note the lobster sequence...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Diamonds Are Forever.

Stop Radioactivity!

(Left: Kraftwerk)

According to Wikipedia, "Kraftwerk's lyrics deal with post-war European urban life and technology—traveling by car on the Autobahn, traveling by train, using home computers, and the like. Usually, the lyrics are very minimal but reveal both an innocent celebration of, and a knowing caution about, the modern world, as well as playing an integral role in the rhythmic structure of the songs. Many of Kraftwerk's songs express the paradoxical nature of modern urban life—a strong sense of alienation existing side-by-side with a celebration of the joys of modern technology."

With recent reports saying that the North Pole will likely melt this summer, I have been doing a lot of thinking about our impact on the environment and, I've also been listening to a lot of Kraftwerk...hmmmm....I wonder if the two are connected?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No! No! No!

Part of the reason why I decided to write a pop music blog is because of the countless moments in my life in which pop music has inspired me to learn. For me, music isn't just about the feeling and emotion it evokes - it's also about the subject matter of the song. Electronic music from the '80s is very appealing to me because the songs are not often about typical pop music subjects like love, sex and loss. Instead, you had people like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark taking a different, and in my opinion, more intelligent approach to song writing. They wrote songs about Joan of Arc, Submarines and Sealand. They pioneered musical special effects with computers and keyboards but managed to make their music accessible by always being mindful of melody, rhythm and harmony.

I didn't always understand the subject matter of songs I was listening to when I was younger, but that's what made them so brilliant to me. One such song, Tesla Girls, was a huge favorite of mine when I was younger. 'What was a Tesla Girl?' I wondered. Were Tesla Girls simply groupies of the hideous American band, Tesla? Surely OMD were too classy to write about band groupies.

(above: 12" single sleeve for Tesla Girls)

So, with a little effort I plunged head first into this mystery - who were these Tesla Girls, and why were they testing out things? To my delight, I discovered that Tesla Girls is actually about the famous scientist Nikola Tesla. I learned all about his discoveries in mechanical engineering and robotics, physics, as well as the invention of the radio. I learned about his tragic fall from grace, to being labeled a 'Mad Scientist' , to dying penniless in a New York hotel. The story of Tesla is a fascinating one, and one that I would like to examine further. However, the point is that my science classes in school didn't teach me these things about Telsa - OMD taught me these things - and, they did it all with a pulsing electro beat, a soaring chorus and lots of voices singing 'No! No! No!'.

(Left: Nikola Tesla)