The Last Drop

Reviews and Clues on Music That Matters (to me)

Archive for May, 2008

New Issue: Moby

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Moby, Last Night – Inspired by the streets of NYC comes the “definitive” dance album of now. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem “now” enough for me.

First, I applaud Moby for trying to get Americans to like dance music. We are are resistent bunch and notably gravitate towards the hip hop realm for booty shaking inspiration. Still, there are a precious few (namely me) who still appreciate a good synthesizer well used to get the masses at least nodding their heads. And most often, Europe is providing the Moog and Casio inspired anthems. Moby’s nod to the New York scene is admirable and I appreciate the effort.

That being said, this is no where near the capability of the current club scene in Europe. Call me spoiled, but I can’t imagine any of these songs being played in any night establishment in London and considered cutting edge. The samples and synths feel very dated (I know there is a late ’80s revival underway, but can you really get away with the C&C Music factory sound again? Is that Taylor Dane I hear?) and just not fun enough. The album tries to replicate the full night experience, complete with somber sobering at the end, but I didn’t get enough of the actual “night out” element. Where is the frantic energy? Where is the “Oh my God, this is MY SONG” moment? It seems chock full of pre and post clubbing middle of the road fare, but I wanted more meat.

Plus it felt pretty stodgy. I wasn’t surprised by any of the songs. His sound didn’t seem to evolve that much for the supposed amount of effort he put in catching up to the latest dance scene. Here’s a tip: if I were to go to a club, it would sound and look a lot more like this

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May 31st, 2008 at 2:00 pm

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New Issue: Waldeck

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Waldeck, Ballroom Stories – A Top Drop donation from the other Matt in my life. Matt M, keep up the good work!

Austria – I was supposed to visit you but your flights were too expensive this summer. Thus I will have to watch football in your country on my TV (Euro Cup Finals) and listen to Waldeck. Which is not exactly a horrible substitute. But not quite great.

Waldeck’s musical formula of ’20s/’30s music electronicized reminded me heavily of two musical figures: Moby and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Moby’s greatest success, Play, heavily sampled vintage soul while modernizing it with electronic ambiance. The Squirrel Nut Zippers caught the early ’90s nostalgic wave of the ’30s/’40s big band sound. Both of these figures found a way to reuse a formula from the past in an inventive enough way to capture a new audience. However, I don’t think Ballroom Stories succeeds on the same level. The music starts to feel precious and cutesy after a while. They rely too heavily on achieving a certain sound. The loungy feel is replicated too often and each song starts running into one another. Outside of the “Bie mir bis du schon” cover, I couldn’t tell you what distinguishes one song from the next. Granted, the song is decent and easy to listen to. It’s just nothing stellar. Alas, there is a market for lounge music (pun intended) thus, Waldeck should score well with this album. Kudos for getting into character with the vintage clothing too!

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May 31st, 2008 at 11:04 am

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One is the Loneliest Number

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But it makes for good music. Seems like solo is the way to go. Thanks to technology and a lack of ego. As if we didn’t already know, musicians are embracing the “technological revolution” in every way. From free downloads to freeing yourself from band members. Indie is going solo but in a distinctively non-singer songwriter way. This is not Bob Dylan’s influence (I just saw I’m Not There). And all three artists spotlighted will tell you that. It’s all about doing more with more. Oh and my Top Drop of 2007 is mentioned heartily in the article.

The Return of the One Man Band

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May 21st, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Stuck on You

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But not a bad Farrelly Brothers movie. Quite the opposite. TuneGlue, as brought to me by VSL, is the new, new thing. Think Pandora only not banned in the UK (thanks Gordon Brown!). And throw in a fun six degrees of separation format and you get TuneGlue. What I like – ridiculously easy format for finding similar artists. You can click on a new artist, see their latest releases, purchase their album on Amazon, or delete them. You can even play with the way the chart looks. Fun!
What I don’t like – listening to new artists. Why can’t I? I like the knowledge of seeing new artists, but everything these days relies on a free listen of SOMETHING! I would expect a site supported by LastFM to have at least playability. Maybe they are saving it for V2.0.

Thoughts anyone?

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May 20th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

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Stream Me Baby!

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NBC is using Steve Job’s baby to push their agenda. Or at least their programs. But for free? Que? Yeah, their fed up with the iTunes model too. And now, with wifi, the thought of free streaming TV show may make sense. When the wifi speeds pick up, I might even think about it. But until then, the idea of streaming TV shows instead of downloading, saving it and paying for it seems much more appealing.

Word Up to to NBC’s strategy

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May 8th, 2008 at 2:21 pm

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Top Drops: April

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So much to choose from ( for once). And from the looks of it, May is going to be a good batch as well. Don’t you just love Spring!

Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple – Nothing will match the global appeal of “Crazy”, but you shouldn’t match the past. Push forward. And if that forward is a bit darker, slower, creepier, but ultimately good, I’m there.


The Heavy, Great Vengeance and Furious Fire
– Yeah, so the title is probably plucked from Pulp Fiction. But you know what, I like that too. I’m eagerly anticipating the buzz machine to work these guys out. Justly. Overt charisma is finally making a comeback. And more power to it.

Written by TopDrop

May 4th, 2008 at 5:59 pm

New Issue: Jamie Lidell

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Jamie Lidell, JimUmm, before I can even address this album, there are two things I have to mention.
1) Jim – Really? That’s the name of the album? I know your a prankster, but seriously? OK…
2) Ahhh….I get it. Thanks for the lovely show at Koko on Tuesday, Jim! You are still the only man I would marry. Let’s make musical, heterozygously advantaged babies and live in Berlin!

Thus, now I have context for listening to this album. Most others will ostensibly hear a grand departure from the unconventional, untidy and often unmatching albums that were previously released. While I hold Multiply and the following remixes Multiply:Additions in some of the highest regard in my collection, you can easily find fault in them as albums. He’s a genius, but as a genius, he often doesn’t make (linear) sense. Jim is one step towards falling in line with album flow and sonic evolution. Maybe less avant garde than the previous recordings, but no less enjoyable. And what a joy it is! I think he actually made the album with little bits of sunshine, a bottled rainbow, and some Southern BBQ. I am still listening to this bad boy on heavy rotation. The perfect blend of soul and funk to ‘get me up’ on a Sunday morning (look at that, a pun. That’s how much I love you, Jamie!). I’m desperately hoping that Jim becomes the St Elsewhere of 2008. Extremely listenable, but still intricate. And that voice! Find me a badder white man on the planet and I will gladly give up my Jamie obsession. Every song is fully fleshed out, if not bubbling with enthusiasm. His success as a vocalist is cemented with this album. And he brings it live so get yourself some tickets while you can. Oh, and check out the crazy content on his website, like this interview with Blender. He’s properly mad. But I love it. And I love him.

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May 4th, 2008 at 5:04 pm

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Stockpile: The Libertines

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The Libertines, The Libertines – UK garage rock royalty, compliments of my new favorite music supporter and recommender Zubin. Big ups to Greenwich!

I guess for rock and roll, it really does take two. The early collaboration of Carl Barat and Pete Doherty was explosive, problematic, but overall fruitful. Warring personalities at worst, these two created interesting music together. On this second and final album, The Libertines personify garage rock to fullest. Warts and all. Stylistically, they cross lots of territory, but sit quite comfortably in post punk independent rock. Easy hooks, pseudo Beatles pop sensibility, and nothing more than 3 minutes. Which can be fun at first, but ultimately runs out of steam halfway through the album. 14 songs following a sad, self flagellating relationship is bit much. Don’t get me wrong, these two are at their songwriting finest when they are pining and wanton with desire. It just gets tedious. And since I don’t have the innate heredity of following their tumult from the beginning, I’m less swayed by their antics to add “depth” to their records. Still, a seminal rock album from a group that is destined to influence a generation of art rockers.

Written by TopDrop

May 4th, 2008 at 4:34 pm

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