Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Charlatans New Album

The Charlatans, those crafty Madchester veterans across the pond, have released a new album entitled “You Cross My Path” and it’s being offered as a free download (in its entirety) on XFM. For those of you not familiar with the band, here’s a brief history:
“For many years, the Charlatans UK were perceived as the also-rans of Madchester, the group that didn't capture the zeitgeist like the Stone Roses or the band that failed to match the mad genre-bending of the Happy Mondays. Of course, they were more traditional than either of their peers. Working from a Stonesy foundation, the Charlatans added dance-oriented rhythms and layers of swirling organs straight out of '60s psychedelia. At first, the Charlatans had great promise, and their initial singles — including "The Only One I Know" — were hits, but as Madchester and "baggy" faded away, the group began to look like a relic. It was commonly assumed that their third album, 1994's Up to Our Hips, was the end of the line. However, the Charlatans made a remarkable comeback in 1995 with their eponymous fourth album, which found them embracing not only the flourishing Britpop movement, but also underground dance and techno, as well as their mainstay of classic rock. The Charlatans UK debuted at number one, and the group was hailed as survivors. Unfortunately, few knew how literal that term was — as the band was recording its follow-up album in 1996, organist Rob Collins, who had defined the band's sound, died in a car crash. The Charlatans decided to continue as a quartet, and their subsequent album, Tellin' Stories, debuted at number one upon its 1997 release, suggesting that they had become one of the great British journeyman bands of the '90s.”
The new album is quite good. It still has that Stonsey swagger, but the real difference is in how much they sound like New Order. Tim Burgess (lead vocals) in particular sounds eerily similar to Bernard Sumner circa Power Corruption and Lies, but it doesn‘t come across as imitation. It works because the songs are strong, filled with hooks and propelled into the stratosphere by the seemingly reinvigorated rhythm section of Martin Blunt (bass) and Jon Brooks (drums).
I’ve only listened once, but I like what I hear so far. It’s definitely worth the time it takes to download these ten tracks.

If you’re interested go to http://xfm.co.uk and follow the instructions.

Nine Inch Nails is offering the first nine tracks off their new instrumental album “Ghosts I-IV” free on it’s web site (http://www.nin.com). If you want the full recording (it’s 36 tracks!), it’ll cost you a whopping $5.00 for the entire digital album. I’ve never been a huge fan of NIN, but I have it on good authority that it’s pretty darn good. I’ll download the free ones and tell you what I think in a later post.

Cheers!

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