Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
Lights Go Out
When I was in university, there was this girl named Sarah Blackwood. She sang in a British band called Dubstar and their dreamy, sparkly blend of Brit/indie and electro-pop soundtracked a goodly portion of my collegiate years. I found the blend of Blackwood’s sweet, yet distant vocals with Steve Hillier’s synths and Chris Wilkie’s jangly, Marr-ish guitars irresistible – the single-disc US edition of Goodbye, which combined the best parts of their first two UK releases Disgraceful and Goodbye, was never far from my CD player.
But when you graduate from university, you inevitably leave people behind and so it was that as I moved into the working world and my musical tastes wandered elsewhere, Sarah and I fell out of touch. Dubstar’s third and final record, Make It Better in 2000, was only available on import and I wasn’t interested enough to shell out those prices. And while I was excited to find individual copies of the first two UK albums and replaced the US version with them, they didn’t have the same super-concentrated goodness. They’re both good records – the excised tracks still quite worthy – but they mostly just sat on my shelves. Sarah and I had some good times but I figured that was it for us.
But sometimes people from the past have a habit of turning up unexpectedly and so it was when I discovered Client and their third, just-released album Heartland. Certainly that’s Sarah, but gone is the demure, doe-eyed girl who peered out from the Dubstar CD liner notes – instead, she’s now “Client B”, one third of a glammy, sexed-up,
duo trio dressed in super-tight, shiny stewardess uniforms (her co-conspirators are “Client A” and “Client E”). Musically, it’s a similar transformation – gone are the airy synth pads and light, Pet Shop Boys-esque rhythms. Client has a much harder, square-wave sound and heavier beats, more suited to proper dance floor ass-shaking than mopey indie head-bobbing. Lyrically, things are also darker but considering that Blackwood was never a credited songwriter in Dubstar and all of Client’s songs (save the covers, natch) are credited to them, this might well be Blackwood’s real voice. Maybe I didn’t know her that well in school after all.
Interesting footnote – Dubstar’s Wikipedia entry states that Steve Hillier announced this year that he was, as they say, “getting the band back together”. Or at least releasing new material as Dubstar. Who’s he working with? Who knows?
MP3: Client – “Drive”
MP3: Client – “Lights Go Out”
MP3: Dubstar – “St Swithin’s Day” (Billy Bragg cover)
Video: Client – “Zerox Machine” (YouTube)
Video: Dubstar – “Stars” (YouTube)
Video: Dubstar – “No More Talk” (YouTube)
Video: Dubstar – “I Will Be Your Girlfriend” (YouTube)
eCard: Client / Heartland
The Guardian talks to the Brothers Reid about what on earth could have brought the Jesus & Mary Chain back together. Me, I’m far more excited about the fact that ex-Ride drummer Loz Colbert is behind the kit for them. BIG improvement on the old drum machine, let me tell you. And hey, Loz has his own MySpace. And solo material. Of course he does.
While I was away, Pitchfork gave Lucky Soul’s The Great Unwanted a solid 8.0. Even after two months of having this record on heavy rotation, I still love it as much as when I wrote this. That is remarkable. REMARKABLE. Go listen.
Stream: Lucky Soul / The Great Unwanted
And to cap off the Anglo portion of this post, I direct you to this Pitchfork piece about the forthcoming The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze, and Brit Pop Gems of the Last Millennium box set due out on October 2. At first glance, it certainly seems like they’ve done a decent job of covering the final fifteen years of the 20th century in British indie over four discs – it’s funny, discs one and two represent the era that I wish I’d lived through, disc three represents the era I did live through and disc four pretty much represents the era that drove me away from British music for a good many years. I’ve already got most everything in the set that I care to own but that battery-powered glowing telephone booth packaging looks mighty tempting. No wait, it doesn’t.
The schedule for Austin City Limits is now up and goodness are there some decisions to be made. Queens Of The Stone Age or Spoon? I’m not really a fan of the former but am sure they’d be fun to see and shoot, and I’ll see Spoon here in town in October. Arcade Fire or White Stripes? Same deal – just saw AF (though from a couple stories up) but I’m sure the Stripes would be fun to shoot. Steve Earle or Andrew Bird? Actually, that’ll be Steve fo’ sho’. Wilco or My Morning Jacket? That’s a toughie. Though considering that it’s Texas in mid-September, the determining factor will probably more likely be which stage is closer to a nice shaded area or water station.
Hey Virgin Fest – ACL has THEIR SCHEDULE UP and they’re not happening till the week after you… want to get your final lineup announced or what?
Check out Batman’s new wheels.