Artist: The Temper Trap
Album: Conditions – Remixed, Liberation Music
In an attempt to satisfy the insatiable cravings for Melbourne alt-rockers the Temper Trap while they’re recording in London, ten DJs have sliced and diced their 2009 knockout debut album Conditions to serve up the remixed album.
Sister Bliss and Rollo, two-thirds of the London electro band Faithless, whips the overplayed album opener “Love Lost” into an infectious, seven-minute whirlwind of club-thumping, techno beats, transforming vocalist Dougy Mandagi into wailing soul singer while Penguin Prison reinterprets the bare-boned “Resurrection” into wonky synth-drenched, dancefloor-filler that sounds more like a Scissor Sisters tune than Temper Trap’s. The Count (aka Hervé) injects the thrashing “Science of Fear” with stabbing synths, burying the original skeleton into a grimy, dub step ruckus.
Inevitably, a few of the remixes feel forced with throbbing R&B synths and squawking seagulls (for real) on RUSKO’s “Soldier On” and the pounding percussions laced with sci-fi synths and stuttering vocals on PVT’s “Fader” remix. The remixed version of Conditions is a respectable afterglow, but it simply cannot stand up to the sinewy original.
Key Tracks: “Love Lost” (Sister Bliss and Rollo Mix), “Resurrection” (Penguin Prison Remix), “Science of Fear” (The Count (aka Hervé) ‘Medusa’ Remix)
Album: Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, Ed Banger Records
The spritely French electro-pop artist gets gangster on your ass
It’s hard to imagine the 22-year-old platinum blonde Uffie popping a cap in your ass, yet that’s the theme of her first single “Pop The Glock”, originally released in 2006 off her debut album Sex Dreams And Denim Jeans. Uffie also attempts to boost her street cred with her self-proclaimed “hip hop roots” on “The Art Of Uff” with a 90s Dr. Dre beat on ecstasy, saying “This sound is smacking your ass/My voice is touching your heart/So bang your head, you silly bitch” in her ambiguous accent.
As she says herself, she’s got some “dope beats” courtesy of DJ Feadz, Mirwais, Mr. Oizo, and SebastiAn, particularly on the lullaby-meshed-with-Atari track “Give It Away” and the drugged-out synths on the urbanized Valley of the Dolls track “ADD SUV” that features Pharrell Williams.
Aside from Uffie’s bungling lyrics, Uffie’s most unforgivable offence is the album’s title track “Sex Dreams And Denim Jeans” that samples The Velvet Underground’s legendary track “Rock & Roll”. No one should ever be allowed to squeal about his or her wet dreams over that fulminant guitar solo.
Key Tracks: “Pop The Glock”, “ADD SUV”, “MCs Can Kiss”
Artist: Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
Album: The Golden Year, Ministry of Sound Australia
London electro-pop trio debut on a melancholy note—in more ways than one
Anyone who listens to electro-pop has one thing in mind: dancing their sorrows away on a jam-packed dancefloor on a Saturday night at some hole-in-the-wall club at Kings’ Cross. The tragic flaw of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s debut album The Golden Year is that instead of your problems disintegrating into the sweaty blare of pumping speakers, they are magnified with heavy-hearted tales of tug-of-war love layered over mediocre synthesised backbeats.
The recent August 2010 suicide of 22-year old frontman Charles “Chazz” Haddon at the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium overshadows the standout party anthem and first single “Dance The Way I Feel” as the embodiment of danceable, 80s-influenced track and sort of indie companion to Lady Gaga’s breakout hit “Just Dance”.
Haddon laments “I’m next to nothing/next to nothing without it/without the hold and pain of your love” on the closing track “Next To Nothing”, highlighting the melancholy undercurrents of the album and the band’s uncertain future.
Key Tracks: “You Started”, “Dance The Way I Feel”
Artist: Chiddy Bang
Album: The Preview, EMI
It’s about time hip-hop/electronica marriage was legalized
Philly-based duo Chiddy Bang playfully mix and match a resourceful stew of indie rock, electro-pop, and American Dream hip-hop on their first EP The Preview. Emcee Chiddy and DJ/producer Xaphoon Jones prove their novelty on their first single “The Opposite of Adults” merging a sample of MGMT’s “Kids” with classic East Coast rap, producing the perfect introduction into their realm of promising hybrid sound. “All Things Go” transforms indie folk singer Sufijan Stevens’ “Chicago” into a feel-good tune bordering a whimsical children’s sing along with its quirky, entirely auto-tuned chorus.
But Chiddy’s influences ring far too clear throughout the album: cliché references to C.R.E.A.M., traces of Kanye West’s “Stronger” in the hook of the punchy, rap-heavy “Here We Go”, and tracks like “Nothing On We” fall short without Jones’ strategically placed samples, with Chiddy’s primary school lyrics like “Victorious/and can we bring this to the chorius” on full display. Chiddy better up his originality and wit or Jones’ eyes may be wandering for a new partner.
Key Tracks: “Opposite of Adults”, “All Things Go,” “Bad Day”
GRINSPOON: December 26th to January 8th
Alt-rockers Grinspoon are treading up and down the East Coast promoting their 2009 album Six to Midnight. The party fires up on Boxing Day in Byron Bay and virtually does not stop until they reach southwestern Sydney. The band is playing 12 gigs in only 14 days with the support of Ballarat punk rockers, Howl, and Chicks Who Love Guns.
THE NATIONAL: January 7th to January 10th
Crammed between their performances at the Falls Festival, Southbound Festival, and Cross-Linx Festival, Brooklyn indie rockers The National still found time to tour Oz on their on their own terms. The band will play back-to-back shows at the Enmore Theatre in Victoria and the Palais Theatre in New South Wales on their High Violet tour.
THE SOFT PACK: January 5th to 7th
These non-stop Cali rockers are returning to Australia for a dreadfully short tour after a stellar response from their first ever Aussie tour last July. The tour kicks off at Sydney at the Manning Bar and wraps up at the Corner in Melbourne with fresh, local acts supporting both gigs.
HOT HOT HEAT: January 3rd to 6th
This January, these Canadian rockers will be down under promoting their first self-produced album, 2010’s Future Breeds. The buzz around the band is rising with Pitchfork calling the album “what Hot Hot Heat does best, compact, unpredictable and delivered with the scalding energy of a band about to jump out of its own skin.”
Published in the January 2011 issue of Rolling Stone Australia.
Published in the January 2011 issue of Rolling Stone Australia.