What makes Al Green so unique as a soul singer is that he’s not a belter – he sings like he’s holding something back, like he’s trying to get you to come in closer. That’s a key component of his most seductive songs, like “Let’s Stay Together” and “Take Me to the River,” the latter of which became a hit for David Byrne and the Talking Heads. Smartly, the Talking Heads’ cover keeps the original’s light touch, paring away anything that could get in the way of the song’s slinky groove.
Talking Heads have always cut a peculiar shape amidst the pop-culture milieu, and that’s only partly due to the massively oversized suits David Byrne wore in a bid to make his head “appear smaller”. They burst onto the scene as a totally original entity, classifiable by nothing other than a Bowie-Esque otherworldliness. They were art-school punks of the highest order sporting a benevolent rebellion against mundanity.
After their initial surge onto the airwaves with Talking Heads 77, the group grew further into their welcomed weirdness. Nowhere was the bands middle finger to banality thrust more forcefully than with the flippy floppy madness of ‘Once In a Lifetime’. Released 40 years ago today, the track still stands up on any playlist as an incomparable piece of music for a multitude of reasons.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are an American Indie band, originally from Brooklyn, (New York) and Philadelphia, (Pennsylvania). The group, whose members met at the University of Connecticut, formed in early 2004 and began playing clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn. is led by Alec Ounsworth.
They are known to achieve their fame through the internet without using any record company. They debuted with an eponymous album, “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah”, self-produced and self-distributed, which found worldwide resonance mainly through its promotion through the Internet and the attendance of well-known rock figures such as David Bowie or David Byrne at their concerts.
Three years on since their last album ‘The Tourist’, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have announced that their new album ‘New Fragility’ will be out on 29th January. Sharing two brand new singles to celebrate the news, Alec Ounsworth says of ‘Hesitating Nation’ and ‘Thousand Oaks’, “These songs are politically motivated, which is unusual for me.
Joe Jackson, a big name on the new wave scene along with the likes of Elvis Costelo and David Byrne, brings his versatility to Barcelona’s BARTS stage to celebrate his four-decades-long career in which he’s released some 20 albums spanning genres such as reggae, jump blues, salsa, R&B and contemporary sounds.
Hot Chip have announced a new album, called A Bath Full Of Ecstasy, that will be out in June. It’s their first album since 2015’s Why Make Sense?, and it’s their first album that they recruited outside producers to work with them, namely Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix) and Rodaidh McDonald (the XX, David Byrne, Sampha).
They’ve dropped a music video for lead single “Hungry Child,” which was directed by Saman Kesh and stars Freaks And Geeks’ Martin Starr and This Is Us’ Milana Vayntrub as a couple having a spat before getting entranced by the new Hot Chip single. It turns out that “Hungry Child” has taken over the whole world, and no one can stop hearing it.
The eclectic Cruïlla music festival is a favourite for locals in the Barcelona summer festival season, and it celebrates its ninth year running on July 12, 13 and 14 in the Parc del Fòrum with a line-up of some 40 performances featuring all kinds of musical styles, and featuring veterans as well as up-and-comers.
One of the headliners is the great David Byrne, who not only was the frontman for the legendary Talking Heads but has also enjoyed an extensive and fruitful solo career and is one of the first English-speaking stars to open up his sound to include Latin and African rhythms. Fans of rock rooted in Americana are excited about the addition of Jack White to the line-up, with his third solo album, ‘Boarding House Reach’ (2018), and of bluesman Seasick Steve. For fans of rap and urban music, don’t miss The Roots, N*E*R*D (Pharrell Williams among them), Prophets of Rage (the supergroup made up of members of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, Chuck D and DJ Lord Public Enemy, plus B-Real from Cypress Hill), and British outfit Bugzy Malone, showing off the harder side of hip hop.
Electronic music fans won’t be disappointed either with the French duo Justice, British duo Orbital, drum & bass duo Chase & Status, and Norwegian producer Kygo.
Look forward to roots music from Brazil’s Gilberto Gil, Fatoumata Diawara from Mali, and American reggae band Soja. In addition to Diawara, Cruïlla’s other important female voices are English singer-songwriter Jessie Ware, and French musician Camille, who’s comfortable with both pop and the avant-garde and whatever lies between.
Reggae heir Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley is back at the festival after his 2015 performance, and now he presents his latest album, ‘Stony Hill’ (2017); Colombian duo Bomba Estéreo, one of the most internationally well-known groups on the new wave of alternative Latin American pop also takes to the stage.
More locally, Spanish and Catalan performers include Núria Graham, The New Raemon, Mi Capitán, Belako, La Pegatina, Els Catarres, La M.O.D.A., the Always Drinking Marching Band, Lori Meyers, Elefantes, Blaumut, Ramon Mirabet and Joan Dausà, Madrid’s Izal with their epic pop, and from nearby Vic Joana Serrat.
Completing the line-up are LP, the alias of American singer-songwriter Laura Pergolizzi; English singer-songwriter Ben Howard; New York rock band The Last Internationale; and Peruvian folk-pop group We the Lion; as well as Fura dels Baus and Aquelarre de Cervera, who add a stage-performance ingredient to the festival cocktail.
The British trio’s foray into an electro-funk-rock landscape—inspired by the sounds of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, LCD Soundsystem, and both Davids (Bowie and Byrne)—has been, for the most part, organic. Artificial Pleasure is barely two year old with some singles , and most of their material is mixed and produced by the band’s members; the London-based group consists of Phil McDonnell (vocals and guitar), Dom Brennan (synths), and Lee Jordan (drums), all of whom were previously part of the band Night Engine.