CREATING A NEW BUZZÂ… DC nightlife watchers were abuzz last week over the return of Buzz to Nation after a yearlong exile in Baltimore. Buzzlife Productions is emphatic that its reborn Friday night dance-music extravaganza, rechristened Cubik, is not the same rave-style event that drew unfair and unbalanced media attention in years past. As Cubik, they’re going after an older, more mature crowd, organizers say, and the Rubik Room (as in Cube) they’ve established upstairs playing ’80s style synthpop and today’s electro should aid this goal quite nicely. So too will this Friday’s DJ, the Scumfrog. He’s the remixer-producer extraordinaire of the moment. He gave us one of the best mixed CDs this year, the two-disc Extended Engagement (Effin), and the best dance remix so far this year, his dark and moody reworking of Monica‘s bland “So Gone.” We could only hope that he would bring with him former Washingtonian Crystal Waters, who sings his latest dance song, “My Time,” currently No. 1 on the Billboard dance chart. He produced this under the much better name Dutch, also his nationality. Don’t count on her appearance, but do count on a great, (largely) straight night outÂ…
DANCE’S DIRE STRAITSÂ… These are nervous times for the music industry, but especially so for its dance music segment, in its worst predicament in recent memory. The major labels mostly abandoned dance music years ago. Three of the main independent dance labels closed in the past two years, and a fourth, Nervous Records, just exited the dance music scene for hip hop, leaving Kim English‘s anticipated soulful house-infused album, Simply Grateful, in the lurch.Â English’s publicist, Vickie Markusic, told us that English is busy in the studio working on another batch of songs for another album, since copyright-holder Nervous may never release Simply Grateful. SuSu Records in Europe has licensed for the continent the first two songs that were to come from that album, the title track and “C’est La Vie,” and eventually English’s next album. SuSu hopes to eventually release all on this side of the big pond, but naturally makes no promises. Save for the handful of labels sticking it out with dance-pop — foremost among these TommyBoy, Star69, Robbins and Ultra — the one bright spot appears to be at alternative-friendly Artemis Records. Recently appointed Artemis president Daniel Glass told his boss, the liberal firebrand Danny Goldberg, subject of a recent Washington Post profile, of his desire to move into dance music. Glass, known around New York as DJ Disco Danny in the late ’70s/early ’80s, officially opened his label’s doors to dance when he released Junior Vasquez‘s remixes of "Time" by Artemis act The Pretenders. Said Glass to Billboard: “Remember Technotronic? Well, I want one of those groundbreaking dance records again.” I’m not sure Technotronic was all that "groundbreaking," but it was enjoyable nonetheless. So, as they say, pump up the jamÂ…
LOOKING FOR SOME HOT STUFFÂ…The music industry relies on making major bucks at the end of the year, a time of gift-giving buying frenzy. And guess what? The time is drawing very near. How to tell, other than a glance at the calendar? The number of greatest-hits sets coming our way, with special appeal to those most likely to still pay for music these days: those over 30. First up: The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer, a two-disc set that UTV/Mercury/UME will release September 30, two weeks before the Villiard/Random House release of Summer’s autobiography, Ordinary Girl: The Journey. The CD-package will feature all of the disco diva’s biggest hits as well as two new songs, recorded with storied dance producer Giorgio Moroder — "That’s the Way" and "Dream-A-Lot’s Theme." As far as we could ascertain it will not include "You’re So Beautiful," a new Summer beginning to make the rounds of the clubs. A month later, Mute/Warner Bros. will release The Very Best of Erasure, a 19-track CD, as well as a two-disc DVD, Hits! The Videos, which features an inconceivable 35 videos (Erasure had 35 hits?), with performances and short promotional films thrown in the mix. A week later on November 4 another gay-popular Britpop group will release a two-disc DVD video anthology: Duran Duran‘s Greatest will feature all the group’s hits as well as a club version of "Planet Earth" and uncensored versions of "Come Undone" and "Girls on Film."
Tori Amos will release her own best-of package Nov. 18, courtesy of Atlantic Records. Rolling Stone reports she’s approaching the set as an autobiography of her ten-plus years in the spotlight. It will include the Maryland native’s best-known songs plus four others, two re-recorded outtakes from her debut album and two new songs, “Snow Cherries From France" and “Angels."
SO LONG, FAREWELL, NEVERMINDÂ… Cher‘s very own Very Best of set came out earlier this year to much commercial success. But not to be outdone, she’s found a way to keep herself alive in the news. Maybe you expected a Farewell Tour to imply that Cher would retire from the business. Pshaw. She’s in no hurry to even exit the stage more than a year after beginning the tour. And now, Billboard reports, she’ll be going back into the studio to record another album as early as next spring. It’s official: Cher is the modern-day Bionic WomanÂ…