Monday, May 10, 2004

It's all about the Music

Yep. I know that we here at Make me a Commentator!!! have gotten a bit of a reputation as a Political Blog, what with having done 739 Political posts in a row, but in reality there's a music component to what we do here as well. And to revitalize that music component here are five electronica albums that are worth a second look.

Propellerheads, "Drumsanddecksandrockandroll," 1998. An extremely solid album, and a fairly strong seller as well, if memory serves. You probably remember it best for "Spybreak" which appeared on the first Matrix album. It also had the driving "Take California," the driven "Bang On!" and the funky "History Repeating," guest starring Ms. Shirley Bassey. Well worth a second listen, and you can often pick it up used. In 2002 there was talk about a follow up, but haven't been able to figure out what happened. Anybody who does know, drop a line in the comments section.Standout Tracks; Spybreak * History Repeating * Bang On!

Pepe Deluxe, "Super Sound," 2000. This is an extremely funky Dutch band. The first song I heard by them was "Woman in Blue," on an e.p. called Naan Commercial Hits, given away free with the late "Revolution" magazine (which also introduced me to DJ Me DJ You (see below) and Fantastic Plastic Machine). Once I got the album I discovered a beautifully funky down tempo album which included the bluesy "Everybody Pass Me By" and the gorgeous "La Femme." Their second album, Beatitude, is also a solid workout. Standout Tracks; Woman in Blue * La Femme * Everybody Pass Me By

The Baldwin Brothers, "Cooking with Lasers," 2002. Everything about this album from the outside (The name, the goofy title, the album cover) seems to scream, "Hey, we're hip postmodernist lounge / dance musicians." The problem is that anybody who's really a hip postmodernist lounger doesn't need to advertise. Still, the Baldwin Brothers are a lot hipper than you might initially think. First of all they have a gorgeously goofy track featuring Miho Hatori with "Dream Girl." Then they have Funky workouts like "Funky Junkyard" and "Viva Kanieval." And they conclude the set with the dreamlike, "Are you there Margaret? It's me, God." So maybe the really are Loungey Post-modernist Hipsters. Standout Tracks; Funky Junkyard * Dream Girl * Are You There Margaret? It's Me God

DJ Me DJ You, "Can you see the Music?" 2003. This is an L.A. album. It just kind of has that vibe. Lot's of funk, lots of beats. You can feel the seventies hanging in the air around the songs, which are fast and funky. The album starter is called, "People Together" and it's such a laid back groove, you might expect a laid back album. But that's not what DJ Me DJ You serve up. Instead you get funky fast tracks like "Zodiac Ape," "Fresh Technology," and the ultra-cool "New You." Standout Tracks; People Together * New You * Fresh Technology"

Space Monkeys, "The Daddy of the All" 1997. The oldest album of the set. It's clear that the producers and distributors of this album expected it to be a big hit; but it wasn't. It's another one that's relatively easy to get used. I think it failed because the big single, "Sugar Cane" was a brilliantly sunny/funky anti drug song, and the rest of the album doesn't sound much like that. Instead the album opener, the nihilistic "Acid House Killed Rock & Roll" is a much better introduction to the Space Monkeys sound. Fierce beats and revved up lyrics. There are a few quieter songs "We are the Supercool" which work as well. Most tellingly, I suppose, is that this is clearly the work of a band. Space Monkeys have lyrics on every trance instead of having them on one or two tracks (sung by guest vocalists). As such this album does have a different groove, closer to Apollo Four Forty perhaps. Standout Tracks; Sugar Cane * Acid House Killed Rock & Roll * Smile America

Anyway, we'll get back to trenchant political commentary momentarily.

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