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GOLDFRAPP RELEASES EP… Madonna name-checked them in a recent Billboard interview, and that can only help U.K. electronica duo Goldfrapp gain more attention in the U.S. ”I love the new Goldfrapp record. It’s my main record,” Madonna told the magazine. Billboard, of course, didn’t stoop to report that one cheeky British gossip newsletter said Madonna’s label reps had taken to calling her ”Oldfrapp,” playing off the last name of the Madonna/Bjork-hybridized singer Allison Goldfrapp, who records with Will Gregory. North America has to wait until March 7 before it gets to hear Goldfrapp’s third album, Supernature, already a big hit in Europe. But the duo’s label, Mute, has recently released an EP to tide over fans and to pique the interest in others who like the sound of today’s neo-electro — or as Madonna has taken to calling it, ”future disco.”
Number 1 includes three tracks from Supernature, though strangely only a remix of first single ”Oh La La” and not the original. Tiefschwarz does turn out a nice remix, good enough that it could help the song top the Billboard Club Play Chart, just as the group’s ”Strict Machine” did last year — or a year before Madonna borrowed Goldfrapp’s idea to sample Donna Summer‘s ”I Feel Love.” The best new track, ”Beautiful,” is an attractive recast of ”Strict Machine,” altered in part by a hair of Dire Straits-esque guitar work in the chorus. Goldfrapp’s music will soon be heard in TV shows NCIS and Grey’s Anatomy….
BROADWAY BRIT?… She just released a slapped-together collection of edited dance tracks, B In The Mix — The Remixes. But instead of focusing on promoting this uninspired set, Britney Spears is instead testing out new territory these days, even if most sane people would recommend she didn’t. Besides marriage and motherhood, the still-girly-but-clearly-now-a-woman singer may soon star on Broadway. Yes, the Great White Way, where, unlike the recording studio and the concert stage, singing is usually done without assist. People magazine reports that Spears, 22, is in talks to take over from Christina Applegate to play the lead role in the musical Sweet Charity. She’d play the title role of Charity Hope Valentine, a plucky dancer with a heart of gold….
RISKY NELLY, RAUNCHY PEACHES… With their respective third artist albums, both Nelly Furtado and Peaches have enlisted all-star guest lineups, and both Canadians are branching out to become even riskier and raunchier, if you can imagine such a thing. Next spring Furtado will release Loose, which Rolling Stone reports has already been recorded in Miami with hip-hop hitmaker Timbaland at the production helm. But as ever, Furtado’s album isn’t just about hip-hop, or where hip-hop meets pop. She also snagged Coldplay’s Chris Martin to contribute vocals on one track, ”All Good Things Come to an End.” As much as I like both singers’ voices, this has the makings to be a whiney duet. Futher, the likely first single, ”Promiscuous Girl,” is a sexy, slow jam about celebrating your inner slut, according to Rolling Stone. Sounds lusty.
But it’s sure to have nothing on electro-clash naughty girl Peaches’ forthcoming third album, also due in the spring. Most famous for her first club hit, 2000’s ”Fuck The Pain Away,” the singing-rapper Peaches has recruited Joan Jett, Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Peaches’ former roommate and fellow Canadian singer-songwriter Feist, among others, to guest on the as-yet-untitled album. The album is the follow-up to 2003’s Fatherfucker, an album that tried-too-hard-to-shock, and whose title she coined as a sort-of feminist retort to a common curse phrase. There’s more from whence that came: Rolling Stone reports that the new set will feature tracks with raunchy titles such as ”Hankie Code,” ”Stick It to the Pimp” and ”Two Guys for Every Girl.” The latter is a response to the 1960s’ mega-hit ”Surf City,” in which Jan and Dean sang about ”two girls for every boy.” ”Everybody fantasizes about the two-girl thing — to hell!” Peaches told Rolling Stone. ”Guys gotta get sexy with each other”….
VERVE REPACKAGES REMIXES… Instead of releasing a fourth compilation featuring new dance remixes of jazz standards, storied jazz label Verve decided to re-package its first three popular Verve Remixed albums as part of a four-disc boxed set. It doesn’t necessarily spell the end for the series, according to a label rep. And in any event it is this year’s perfect holiday stocking stuffer for those who like both jazz and electronica. It’s a great way to brush up on both the best of vocal jazz history and the best of present-day electronica. Though the fourth disc includes previously unreleased material, such as Carl Craig‘s rework of Dorothy Ashby‘s ”Afro-Harping,” it also includes others that were previously released exclusively through iTunes, including Diplo‘s rework of Walter Wanderley‘s ”Popcorn” and Mondo Grosso‘s remix of Archie Shepp‘s ”Blues for Brother George Jackson.” The fourth disc also features videos based on remixes of three female jazz legends: Dina Washington‘s ”Is You or Is You Ain’t My Baby?” as remixed by Rae & Christian, Nina Simone‘s ”Sinnerman” as remixed by Felix da Housecat, and Sarah Vaughan‘s ”Fever” as remixed by Adam Freeland….
EURYTHMICS REIGN AGAIN… Annie Lennox is back, and in a way that’s so much more than just a sweet dream, though it’s that too. So, shoo pale imitator Britta Medeiros, and take your dance cover-by-numbers of ”Why” along with you — and don’t forget to hit the man responsible, DJ Sammy, on your way out. Lennox has returned for the moment as one-half of The Eurythmics, the British synth-pop duo of Lennox and Dave Stewart that was such a staple of the 1980s sound. The two just reissued their entire back catalog, remastering each title and including a number of unreleased tracks, such as covers of David Bowie, The Smiths and The Doors.
The two have no real plans to create a new album, or to perform live aside from a couple televised gigs, including the American Music Awards show this Monday, Nov. 22. The two will perform in support of the new Eurythmics Ultimate Collection, which features 17 of the band’s hits and — here’s the great thing — two new songs. The first track and single ”I’ve Got A life” is typical Eurythmics, with an uplifting melody and mostly downbeat lyrics. Neither it nor the other new track — ”Was It Just Another Love Affair?” — is quite up to the level of the duo’s greatest hits, from ”Would I Lie to You?” to ”Here Comes the Rain Again” to ”Sweet Dreams.”
But ”I’ve Got A Life” is delicious nonetheless, with its multiple chord and tempo changes and its discofied vibe. And it’s been given a nice remix workout by David Guetta. (The normally reliable Sander Kleinenberg turns in a lifeless rendering.) Lennox pleads for a reprieve from this mad, cruel world at one point — ”All I’m asking for is a little tenderness, tenderness.” But Guetta in his remix only honors her request for a brief moment, when nothing is heard except for a beep from what sounds like a submarine. Life is cruel and today’s clubland demands fierce beats, so Guetta then sticks it to Lennox by dropping an all-consuming bass line, grinding electric guitars and snyth swooshes….
WHAT SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF… While David Guetta’s remix of ”I’ve Got A Life” is gaining increasing play in the clubs, the Eurythmics remix you should request is Steve Angello‘s Bootleg Mix of ”Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” The appealing cruelness of Guetta’s synthesized bass line has nothing on the pounding, reverberating bass Angello adds to his remix of ”Dreams,” which this 21-year-old Swedish newcomer otherwise pretty much leaves intact. Although it wakes the song up with the forcefulness of a nightmare, the intense bass line makes it sound more like a dream than ever. Unfortunately, the remix isn’t commercially available — it was only available to those who pre-ordered the new hits set on iTunes. Let’s hope DJs start playing the remix and someone in turn encourages the Arista label to change its mind. If nothing else they could make it an ”album only” exclusive on iTunes….
DAVE STEWART TO LAUNCH NEW DUO… While there’s no word on what else Lennox might be up to, Rolling Stone reports that the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart is teaming up with a hit songwriter, Kara DioGuardi — who has composed several dance hits, including Kylie Minogue‘s ”Spinning Around,” plus hits for Ashlee Simpson — to form a new duo, Platinum Weird. The duo, with DioGuardi on vocals, will sound like a contemporary version of Fleetwood Mac and other ’70s bands, Stewart told the magazine. An album is expected early next year from the duo, and it will be produced by John Shanks. Meanwhile, Stewart has branched out to television, developing series for both Nickelodeon and HBO….
AUSTRALIA’S NEXT BIG THING… Infusion, a multicultural trio of Jamie Stevens, Manuel Sharrad and Frank Xavier from Australia should reach the level of fame in America as that of previous decades’ synth-pop bands from Down Under, including INXS, Men Without Hats and Midnight Oil. You can hear vague references to its native predecessors on Infusion’s captivating Six Feet Above Yesterday, which electronica indie label Thrive Records recently released stateside. But bands from the U.K. are the predominant ingredients in Infusion’s infusion, most significantly Depeche Mode, as well as New Order and The Cure. And their sound fits right in with the dance-rock resurgency of the past couple years. The album features both instrumental, guitar-charged dance tracks — which, assembled back-to-back in the second half, forces the album to drag — as well as fully formed songs with vocals, including the masterful ”Natural” and the punchy ”Better World.” That last song seems to offer veiled criticism of the Bush Administration’s approach to international relations. ”You pushed us down on the way to make a better world,” they sing….