Von Südenfed “Fledermaus Can’t Get Enough” – I posted the first Mark E Smith/Mouse On Mars collaboration way back in October of 2004, and like a fair chunk of the music that I’ve written up over the past five years, it eventually sorta slipped out of my life. I dimly recall reading about their full-length as Von Südenfed a few months ago and being mildly excited about it in much the same way that I’m eager to hear most anything that Mark E Smith does at least once, but man, I was never prepared for the relentless excellence that was about to come my way.
When it comes down to it, Mark E Smith is just like a rapper — he may be capable of maintaining a baseline level of quality just by showing up in the recording studio, but the merit of any given recording depends greatly upon the talent of his collaborators. Smith’s two records this year are an extreme example of this: Whereas sounds as though he’s stumbled upon a bunch of amateurs on The Fall’s Reformation Post T.L.C., Mouse On Mars’ intense, nuanced tracks on Tromatic Reflexxions are top-drawer bangers custom-made for Smith’s unique vocal talents. The album’s opening cut “Fledermaus Can’t Get Enough” rides a beat that would not sound out of place on LCD Soundsystem’s most recent album, and amps itself up for a violent chorus that seems to repeatedly pistol-whip the listener with the full force of MES’ aggravated shouts. This may sound like hype, but I’m dead serious: Tromatic Reflexxions is aggressive, inspired, and easily the most consistently rewarding album featuring Smith since the late ’80s. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
Erasure “Sucker For Love” – Like the rest of Erasure’s new record, “Sucker For Love” sounds as though Vince Clarke has not acquired any new musical equipment since 1991, but unlike most of the other selections, it actually sounds as exciting and overwhelmingly great as the duo did back during their creative peak in the late ’80s. (Okay, so maybe there’s a theme today.) At its core, the track is basically Erasure-by-numbers — bouncy beat, colorful synths, campy crooning — but they’ve blown it all out to an absurd, hyperactive extreme. The song is so incredibly jumpy and bombastic that it’s actually sort of like a self-drawn caricature of their signature sound. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)
Elsewhere: After a long hiatus, the second season of The Movie Binge began this week with my review of Lars von Trier’s The Boss Of It All and this group review of Pirates of the Caribbean 3. The All-New, All-Different Binge has the same mission as last year — we’re going to review every single movie that comes out between Memorial Day and Labor Day — but there’s a bunch of new writers in addition to a few original Bingers. This year’s new recruits include Dan Beirne, Erik Bryan, Lia Bulaong, Bryan Charles, Meghan Deans, Todd Serencha, and Kyria Abrahams. There will also be several really awesome guest writers joining in along the way. It should be a lot of fun, so please join us.