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Friday, January 11th, 2013

The Return Of The Thin White Duke

Some more thoughts on the return of David Bowie and other stuff

Photo By Jimmy KingJimmy KingIn the wake of David Bowie’s sudden and unexpected return to public life on Monday night, there’s understandably been a lot of Bowie talk in the past few days. Linking to them all would be futile, but here’s some of the pieces I’ve particularly liked. The Quietus does a great job of summing up why his return matters, why it’s different from all the other reunions and career resurrections that we’ve seen, as well as what we might expect from The Next Day when it drops on March 12.

Both The Guardian and The Quietus analyze the odd and polarizing artwork that will grace the new album – I honestly thought it was a joke when I first saw it – and if you missed my addendum on Tuesday, there’s an interview with the designer of the cover at Virus Fonts. Rolling Stone sums up an interview with producer Tony Visconti about the making of the record, which has been two years in the making, and what the rest of the album feels like – hint: not like the lead single – and over at Ultimate Classic Rock, guitarist Earl Slick talks about his own contributions to the record and the challenges of not saying a damn word about it until now. Update: In a forthcoming NME interview, Visconti re-emphasizes Bowie’s intentions to not perform live for this record. So there’s that. Update 2: Billboard also has an interview with Visconti.

For my part, despite being one of the many who probably hasn’t given any of Bowie’s late-era works the consideration at least some of it surely deserves, I’m quite excited about the new record. I really like the new song, and I especially like the fact that this is an album that exists not because Bowie felt he was obliged to make one – most everyone had accepted that he was retired and no longer owed anyone anything; he had successfully transitioned into myth – but because after an unprecedentedly long layoff, once again has something to say musically. I look forward to hearing what that is.

And in the meantime, check out these 34 portraits of Bowie by famous cartoonists over at Buzzfeed, have another look at the piece in The Daily Mail from last year that seemed to confirm his domestic bliss and try to read the, “yeah sure it looks like I’m just out to do some shopping but I’m really making a new record that you have no idea about” in his smile. Oh, and here’s that new single/video again.

Video: David Bowie – “Where Are We Now?”

The Bowie news, of course, blew the news of Suede’s own new single right off the front pages of certain music news sites, but to remind us that also was a thing, the band have released a rehearsal space video for the song. Their new album Bloodsports is out in March, though hopefully not on the 12th lest they want to be overshadowed by Bowie yet again.

Video: Suede – “Barricade” (Rehearsal Room video)

Pitchfork has debuted the new video from Esben & The Witch’s second album Wash The Sins Not Only The Face, out in a couple weeks on January 22.

Video: Esben & The Witch – “Despair”

DIY has got a stream of the new single from British buzz band Palma Violets, in town at The Horseshoe on January 24 and dropping their debut 180 on February 25.

Stream: Palma Violets – “Step Up For The Cool Cats”

The Guardian has a wide-ranging interview with Johnny Marr, covering everything from The Smiths to his solo debut The Messenger due out February 26. Another new track from the album is streaming at KROQ.

Stream: Johnny Marr – “Upstarts”

The Walking Dead is back on TV come February 10 but those who like their Zombies a little less shambling and a little more classic baroque pop will want to catch the Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent-led 2013 lineup at The Sound Academy on March 3.

Video: The Zombies – “She’s Not There”

NME reports thatKate Nash will release her third album Girl Talk on March 4; stream the first single below.

Stream: Kate Nash – “3AM”

Le Blogotheque has a Takeaway Show session with Django Django. They play The Opera House on March 12.

The 405 has details on If You Leave, the debut album from Daughter which will be out on March 18 in Europe and the UK but not until April 30 in North America.

The Alt-J show on March 27 originally set for The Phoenix has been moved to The Sound Academy and is now all-ages. The extra 2000 or so tickets go on sale today and are still $17.50. NPR has a video session as well as a Tiny Desk Concert with the band and Clash gets them to reflect on their rather successful 2012. Under The Radar also has an interview.

MP3: Alt-J – “Tessalate”

The 405 has a quick update on the new Primal Scream album, which if their producer’s Facebook is to be believed, will be called More Light and be out in May.

Rolling Stone talks to Neil Halstead about the just-released new video from his latest Palindrome Hunches.

Video: Neil Halstead – “Digging Shelters”

Charli XCX has released a new gunplay-happy video that’s drawing some ire from those who are a bit sensitive on the topic of guns right now. Which is understandable to a degree, but I hope they’re saving some of their vitriol for the people/organizations actually responsible for the excess of real-life gun violence rather than a British pop singer latching onto a ubiquitous aspect of western pop culture.

Video: Charli XCX – “You (Ha Ha Ha)”

DIY talks to Summer Camp about how things are coming with album number two while The Line Of Best Fit learns about the documentary the band are also making about late ’90s/early ’00s teen movies entitled Beyond Clueless.

By : Frank Yang at 8:30 am
Category: General

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RSS Feed for this post4 Responses.
  1. musicforants says:

    RT @fyang: chromewaves: Some more thoughts on the return of David Bowie and other stuff http://t.co/dbZhUngV

  2. Square says:

    Thanks for the link to The Quietus about the album artwork, that was an interesting read.

    Like you, I also thought the cover was a joke, or perhaps just a place holder until the finalized artwork was available. When I finally realized it was the real thing, it made me laugh out loud. Just the shear audacity of taking such an iconic album cover and attempting to recontextualize it takes some balls. I’ve seen it over a dozen times now and it still brings a smile to my face.

    And Frank, do yourself and your brain a favor and give some of Bowie’s later work another try. Specifically “Heathen”, fairly easy to get into and lots of great songs, and more importantly, “1.Oustside”, very dense and layered but it rewards repeated listening. I think it’s right up there with some of his other masterpieces.

  3. Frank Yang says:

    yeah, I intend to revisit the later Bowie stuff before the new album is out to give some context. I think the thing I – and probably many people – need to do is accept that at a certain point he stopped being a pop artist and became something else entirely, although working within pop and rock idioms. Just because a record doesn’t contain something as anthemic as “Heroes” doesn’t mean it’s a failure.

    though if the new record has an anthem or two, I’m fine with that as well.

  4. Bruce says:

    I second the praise for Heathen, it’s one of my absolute favourite of his albums. If you like that elegiac quality of “Where Are We Now”, it can be found (among a few fine rockers) in spades there, especially on the title track which is nothing short of sublime.