TANKIAN 'Imperfect Harmonies' [Release Date
Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and political activist Serj Tankian has postponed the street date of his new solo album, entitled 'Imperfect Harmonies', in order to package the recording in the same tree-free paper he has used for his previous releases, including 'Elect the Dead'. The eco-friendly paper was not available to create the packaging for 'Imperfect Harmonies' in time to make the previously announced street date.
Serjical Strike/Reprise Records will now release 'Imperfect Harmonies' on September 20th, 2010. The album is the second solo released from the System Of A Down frontman, following up his critically acclaimed 2007 solo debut 'Elect the Dead'. As with 'Elect the Dead', Tankian produced 'Imperfect Harmonies' himself at his home studio in Los Angeles.
"Where 'Elect the Dead' was essentially a rock record with progressive melodic elements," Tankian says. 'Imperfect Harmonies' could be classified as rock because it is punchy with many peaks throughout, but the instrumentation is somewhat different. Though there are live drums, bass, and some guitars, the driving aspects are electronic and orchestral. It's quite unique in its sound palette. This is, in essence, music that has sat in the vat and matured to a ripe sensation and is now ready to serve."
'Imperfect Harmonies' is as powerful and musically eclectic as its predecessor. "I have been calling the music 'electro-orchestral-jazz-rock' because it has all of those aspects in prominence within the songs," Tankian says. "A few are more stripped down, but the majority of the songs have this huge wall of sound presented in a way I've never heard before. It's not common to have a song that is both electronic and orchestral since one is synthetic and the other organic, but I found a way of meshing a lot of these colors together."
The album has been influenced by Tankian's experience making Elect the Dead Symphony, a symphonic interpretation of his debut that had its inaugural performance in New Zealand with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in March 2009. The performance has been captured on the CD/DVD 'Elect the Dead Symphony'. "The making of 'Elect the Dead Symphony' gave me the confidence and tools to create ensemble pieces for orchestra more confidently and effectively than before," Tankian says. "And that became one of the primary colors for this record along with electronic, jazz, and live instrumentation."
CYNDI LAUPER 'Memphis Blues' [Release Date
Iconic performer and musical chameleon Cyndi Lauper
will release Memphis Blues on September 27th on Downtown Records. The collection
of blues cover songs, recorded this March at Electraphonic Studios in Memphis,
Tennessee, features appearances by such great artists as B.B. King, Jonny Lang,
Allen Toussaint, Ann Peebles and Charlie
"This is the album I've wanted to make for years," said
Lauper. "All of these beautiful songs, and all of the great players on the
album, were carefully chosen because I've admired them my entire life. And I
knew from the moment Alan Toussaint hit the keys in 'Shattered Dreams' that we
were creating something really
The feel of 'Memphis Blues' is gritty and full of life.
It bristles with the kind of energy that earmarked the hit singles invented on
the fly at Stax Records, the historic and spiritual prototype for Electraphonic,
where musicians of multiple generations work side-by-side creating soul-driven
anthems for the brokenhearted, the unrequited, and the overlooked.
Lauper, who traveled from New York to Memphis to set up
camp at Electraphonic Recording Studio, assembled a team of crackerjack session
players to cut the way she knew this record had to be done: live, analog, with
Cyndi herself calling out arrangements on the studio
Produced by Scott Bomar and mixed by longtime
collaborator William Wittman, 'Memphis Blues' features appearances by a
veritable dream team of blues and soul greats, including harmonica master
Charlie Musselwhite, vocalist Ann 'I Can't Stand the Rain' Peebles, brilliant
Crescent City organist Allen Toussaint, and hotshot guitar heroes Jonny Lang and
legend B.B. King.
'Memphis Blues' session players include Stax veterans
Lester Snell and Skip Pitts, and Hi Rhythm Section alums Leroy Hodges and Howard
Grimes, studio careerists who cut their teeth recording with the likes of Isaac
Hayes and Al Green. Along with the punctuating blasts provided by trumpeter Marc
Franklin, baritone saxophonist Kirk Smother, and tenor saxman Derrick Williams,
they provided a steadfast foundation for Lauper's impeccable vocals.
MARK RONSON & THE BUSINESS INTL 'Record
Collection' [Release Date 27/09/2010]
back and this time more than ever, he means business – the Business Intl, in
Collection' is the third album headed up by the mid-Atlantic muso mastermind
and, as usual, he's bought a host of famous friends and former collaborators
along for the ride.
The follow up
to 2007's triple platinum 'Version' – which sold one million copies in the UK
and saw Ronson score the Best Male Solo Artist gong at the Brit Awards – is
every bit as impressive as it's predecessor. This time however, Ronson has made
a point of ripping up the rule book that he had written so well. So it's goodbye
to the Dap Kings and their horn-y break downs and au revoir to the innovative
cover versions. Instead, Ronson is saying hello to Brooklyn b-boy sonics,
swirling retro synthesized sounds and the kind of off-kilter pop sixth sense
that it's impossible not to move to.
Dunham studios in Brooklyn and working with vintage keyboards Ronson bought on
eBay, the album melds eighties indie to nineties hip hop beats and also sees
someone rather special take to the mic… 'Lose It (In The End)' was co-written
by Jonathan Pierce of The Drums and features rhymes from Ghostface Killah and
vocals from Mark Ronson himself. "My vocals sound so small next to Ghostface –
literally dwarfed when he comes in. But I wanted that song to sound like The RZA
sampling a Turtles record and putting a breakbeat on it," says
The old school
flavour of the album is behind much of its charm. 'The Bike Song' – co-written
by the Zutons' Dave McCabe and with laid back, but never lazy, vocals from The
View's Kyle Falconer – boasts an almost psychedelic sixties vibe while the warm
doo-wop of 'The Night Last Night' is brought to glorious life by former Pipette
Rose Elinor Dougall. "I wanted to get that Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons'
Beggin' feeling, that really haunting, barbershop-type harmonies over a heavy
drum break," explains Ronson.
Love Me' is another highlight. Jake Shears of Scissors Sisters, Cathy Dennis,
erstwhile Dirty Pretty Thing Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt all had a hand
in writing what Ronson describes as a 'bionic' song. Then he persuaded Boy
George, at his most cracked diva-esque, to sing this song of 'earnest blue-eyed
soul' and a lost club classic with a modern twist. It'd be a mistake not have
'Record Collection' in yours.