Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hot Chip - "Ready For The Floor" (the song remains the same)

The last five entries have been heavy on nostalgia so now it is time to shift to something more contemporary...

I learned of the song "Ready For The Floor" from the cover by Lissy Trullie, via the Wichita Recordings YouTube Channel. From the comments there, I learned that the original artist is by the English synth pop band Hot Chip, and that the song is from their 2008 LP "Made in the Dark". I'm not sure how Hot Chip had escaped my attention before (they've released three studio LPs as well as various EPs, singles and remixes), but they appear to be more popular in Europe than in the US. A good sampling of their material is on their MySpace and YouTube pages.

Hot Chip's version of the "Ready For The Floor" simultaneously reminds me of New Order (cf. "Regret"), Devo (cf. "Girl U Want"), and Art of Noise (cf. "Close (To The Edit)"). Ok, so all of my references are from 1980s bands -- I guess this isn't a nostalgia-free update. I have to confess that I have no idea what the song is about, but it's very catchy and the video is a lot of fun (Alexis Taylor apparently comes from the David Byrne school of dancing).

Lissy Trullie covers the song on her 2009 debut EP "Self-Taught Learner" as well as the upcoming soundtrack for "Jennifer's Body". She provides a straight-ahead rock arrangement of the song that works at least as well as the original. This video is also interesting in that 1) it is produced/sponsored by Herve Leger by Max Azria, and 2) features Trullie, a former model, in several of their outfits. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but it doesn't detract from two versions of a fun song. Trullie is generating an early buzz (e.g., reviews in Spin & Rolling Stone), but similar premature press arguably sank fellow NYC artists The Strokes. You can hear more from Trullie on her MySpace and YouTube pages.

Hot Chip: YouTube.

Lissy Trullie: YouTube.

2009-12-24 edit: I just found a cover by The Pigeon Detectives: YouTube.

2010-01-24 edit: Apparently ever UK artist covers this song. Duffy is a big snooze-fest for me, but at least she has a non-standard, lounge arrangement for the song: YouTube.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Romeo Void - "Never Say Never" (forgotten song)

Romeo Void had two minor hits in the early 1980s: 1982's "Never Say Never" and 1984's "A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)". While the latter is a decent song, it sounds a bit too much like Duran Duran. Fortunately, the former is a perfect example of early 80s new wave: part disco, part punk. And it prominently features a saxophone -- an instrument that had all but disappeared from main steam pop music by the late 80s (not including sub-genres such as ska & ska-punk; " ain't what they call rock and roll").

Most know "Never Say Never" by Debora Iyall's signature lyric "I might like you better if we slept together", presaging Liz Phair by 10+ years. Sure, that's a great line, but did you catch "sunsuit girls must be discreet / nursing their fathers locked inside/ they masqueraded as his bride" -- that's heavy stuff. Although Iyall is a great singer and has the punk vocal sneer down pat, one can't help but wonder if Romeo Void would have achieved more success if Iyall looked more like Liz Phair and less like Rosie O'Donnell ("...put the blame on VTR").

There are two versions of this song: a 6 min version, radio-unfriendly version from the 1982 EP "Never Say Never" (which was co-produced by Ric Ocasek), and 3:30 radio edit released on the 1982 LP "Benefactor".

Radio Edit: YouTube (the video, ironically enough, features a full minute of beginning filler).

Original Version: Rhapsody, 4shared.

Bonus Link: YouTube: a cover by Queens of the Stone Age on some versions of the 2000 LP "Rated R". It's not a particularly good cover, but it should make you appreciate Romeo Void and Deborah Iyall that much more.