Archive for May, 2010

Cyndi Lauper: What’s going on

Cyndi Lauper is being honored by Passionati for a life time of creative accomplishments

Taken from 1987’s True Colors, Cyndi Lauper’s cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s going on” still has the power to captivate. Unlike Madonna who’s needed packaging and production to sell music, Cyndi’s depended on her pipes and her ability to perform. We’re going to be bringing you a lot of Cyndi over the next few weeks. Why? Coz we like her. She’s real, she’s talented, and she’s still producing great music. That’s why!

RIP Dennis Hopper: Born To Be Wild

Dennis - we'll always love you

Man I’ve loved Dennis Hopper most of my life. Born to be wild. Dennis Hopper lived hard and he burned bright. Here’s some of the memorable and funny things he said.

Like all artists I want to cheat death a little and contribute something to the next generation.

I’ve been a Republican since Reagan. I voted for Bush and his father. I don’t tell a lot of people, because I live in a city where somebody who voted for Bush is really an outcast.

I should have been dead ten times over. I’ve thought about that a lot. I believe in miracles. It’s an absolute miracle that I’m still around.

On his 8-day marriage to Michelle Phillips The first seven were pretty good.

The alcohol was awful. I was a terrible alcoholic. I mean, people used to ask how much drugs I did. I said, ‘I only do drugs so I can drink more’. I was doing the coke so I could drink more. I mean, I don’t know any other reason. I’d start drinking in the morning. I’d drink all day long.

I made a picture called Super Mario Bros, and my six-year-old son at the time said, “Dad, I think you’re probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa inSuper Mario Bros?” and I said, “Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes”, and he said, “Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly”.

Clintel Steed: Portrait of Stephanie

Portrait of Stephanie (oil, 72×52) by Clintel Steed

Sleigh bells: the attack of heavy electro-pop

Sorry this ain’t the succulent, sexy pop that you’d expect from Beach house, or even the contemplative lushness called The National. This is intense, in your face, full frontal synth/guitar attack. Guitarist Derek Miller and singer Alexis Krauss are a duo that is going to do big things. Yeah I suppose you could listen to She & Him but do that when your mom comes over. This is for time when you want to dance loudly even when everyone is watching with that primal scream that you hide in your pretty little life. This is Sleigh Bells – heavy electro-pop – time.

Chali 2na (of the legendary Jurassic 5): Step Yo Game Up

hey! Chali 2na (of the legendary Jurassic 5) has teamed with DJ Dez Andres of Slum Village to deliver a second installment of his Fish Market series. Check this track from  Fish Market Part 2, “Step Yo Game Up”.

Chali 2na (of the legendary Jurassic 5)

the xx: live

Sometimes words aren’t necessary. here’s the XX. Intro and Crystalized. Live. Translucent. Electrifying.

To order any of this music, please go to Luna Music! Click this link below.

The National: High Violet

One of the year’s best

So when you listen to The National, you’re likely to get addicted to the seemingly dark, contemplative and sometimes spacey – sometimes lush music. Your next question might be how did I miss these guys before. Matt Berninger and his band are feelin’ pretty good these days. They’re kickin’ the rubbish that usually dominates the charts. Yeah that’s over-produced crap from Justin Bieber and Lady Ga Garbage. They’ve got a tour with dates selling out already. This Brooklyn-based band is verging on the big time. If you’ve been with Passionati for a few months, you’ll remember we featured St. Vincent and The National’s track “Sleep all Summer”. They’re how I feel these days – cautiously happy, and prone to sudden visually exuberant. Listen, I’ve said it before. Tune in. Turn on.

And if you need further validation, it’s also my friend Todd Robinson’s pick for the month. Yeah that Todd. From Luna.

To order any of this music, please go to Luna Music! Click this link below.

Blade Runner: Cinema at it’s best

If you haven’t seen Blade Runner, it’s high time you did. It’s much more than science fiction. It’s probably closer to what parts of Tokyo and LA look like now or what they will look like in a very short time. Sans flying cars. This film has influenced film making in general – film you’d know. While the film never made a huge impact at the box office in 1982, it has become over the last 28 years one of the most discussed films. Because of it’s themes in general and of course whether or not Deckerd is a replicant or not. There are fan sites, social media pages, festivals and much more. If you’ve seen it before, I hope you enjoy this incredible moment in cinema.

Roy in his final moments. Possibly some of the finest moments in cinema.

Wolf Parade: Ghost Pressure

Wolf Parade's Ghost Pressure is the first alert from Passionati's music trend spotter DayRon

Passionati’s got a new secret weapon – he goes by the name “DayRon” and he’s got finely tuned antennae for catchy music. Here’s Wolf Parade and Ghost Pressure. The new album will drop in June. Enjoy!

Damian Marley & Nas: NY boom-bap & post-dance hall reggae

This is the first single and also the first song on the new album “Distant Relatives” by Nas and Damian Marley. It’s been out for a bit, but damn, it’s good. It’s chock full of punch lines and these two are like a tag team that doesn’t stop coming at you. I’ll have more once I’ve listened to the album a few times. I love it when these two just vent (remember welcome to jamrock).

JES: Reinventing The Cure’s “Love Song”

Reinventing The Cure

So I posted a Cure story earlier this week. And my friend Sarah (thanks Sarah!) pointed me in the direction of JES. Wow. Check it out. Rocktronica. Who knew this genre existed but I like it! Her vocal are smooth, emotive, and earnest. Turn it on baby! “Unfolding around a truly breathtaking vocal, JES reinvents The Cure’s 80’s classic for a whole new generation.” Yes!

She’s apparently a chart-topping and award-winning artist. She’s got a newish album called High Glow with Black Hole Recordings and Ultra Records. The reason her voice is immediately familiar is because of her work with superstar dance artists like Tiësto, Armin Van Buuren, BT, Gabriel & Dresden and more. JES has topped numerous charts worldwide and earned two honors on Billboards famed Decade End Charts including the #4 Hot Dance Airplay song of the decade. The latest chapter in this American pioneer’s sonic adventures with her newest release will shatter all preconceptions of where EDM starts and stops. The new album, High Glow goes beyond JES’ EDM fan base by combining her song writing and performances into a wider range of styles. She stretches her talents over electronic sounds to combine her favorite elements of contemporary pop and rock music. The album marks a bright transition for JES, elevating her to new heights of accessibility. This passionate collection of songs lives up to its title, creating an ultimately uplifting feeling of hope and new beginnings that only a true shining star can bring. Bravo Baby!

New Kylie Minogue: “all the lovers”

Kylie – Australia’s pop princess – brings us a groovy comeback track that is taken from her forthcoming eleventh studio album, “Aphrodite.” I don’t love it. I’d play it in my car but not sure it would compel me to dance. What do you think?

The Cure: “Disintegration 20th Anniversary Edition”

Reissued & remastered plus rarities

Despite early concerns that it was too gloomy for radio airplay, The Cure’s eighth studio album, Disintegration, quickly became the group’s most successful. Spurred by two Top 10 hits, “Lullaby” and “Lovesong,” album sales topped more than 3 million as the band sold out stadiums and arenas around the world during its 1989 tour. Rhino reissues this dark tour de force, remastering the original, adding a disc of unreleased outtakes and demos, plus a third disc that contains a live performance of the entire album recorded in 1989 at Wembley Arena, London. This Deluxe Edition comes with a 20 page booklet containing previously unseen pictures and art, as well as lyrics and an in depth overview of the period by The Cure’s founder Robert Smith.

Robert Smith compiled, produced, and supervised the mastering of this three-disc collection, which covers the evolution of Disintegration, from demos and rehearsals to studio and stage. The first disc contains newly remastered versions of the album’s original 12 tracks.

Gathering 20 unreleased tracks, the second disc trawls through Smith’s home recordings to find early instrumental demos of fan favorites “Pictures Of You”, “Prayers For Rain” and “Fascination Street.” The band can be heard rehearsing and arranging various instrumental versions, including ”Homesick”, “Closedown” and “The Same Deep Water As You”, as well as studio outtakes of several other tracks, including “Plainsong.” The disc also contains four unreleased songs: “Noheart,” “Esten,” “Delirious Night” and a cover of Judy Collins’ “Pirate Ships”, the latter a solo performance by Smith that was recorded for, but ultimately not included on, Rubáiyát, a 1990 album celebrating Elektra Records’ 40th anniversary.

For the final disc, Smith remixes and expands Entreat, a live album recorded in 1989 at Wembley Arena during The Cure’s sold-out Prayer Tour. Entreat Plus combines the original’s eight tracks, remixed with the four ‘missing’ songs to create a complete contemporary live version of Disintegration.

Disc One: Remastered Album 1. “Plainsong” 2. “Pictures Of You” 3. “Closedown” 4. “Lovesong” 5. “Last Dance” 6. “Lullaby” 7. “Fascination Street” 8. “Prayers For Rain” 9. “The Same Deep Water As You” 10. “Disintegration” 11. “Homesick” 12. “Untitled”

Disc Two: Rarities (1988 – 1989) 1. “Prayers For Rain” – RS Home Demo (Instrumental) 2. “Pictures Of You” – RS Home Demo (Instrumental) 3. “Fascination Street” – RS Home Demo (Instrumental) 4. “Homesick” – Band Rehearsal (Instrumental) 5. “Fear Of Ghosts” – Band Rehearsal (Instrumental) 6. “Noheart” – Band Rehearsal (Instrumental)* 7. “Esten” – Band Demo (Instrumental)* 8. “Closedown” – Band Demo (Instrumental) 9. “Lovesong” – Band Demo (Instrumental) 10. “2 Late” (alternate version) – Band Demo (Instrumental) 11. “The Same Deep Water As You” – Band Demo (Instrumental) 12. “Disintegration” – Band Demo (Instrumental) 13. “Untitled” (alternate version) – Studio Rough (Instrumental) 14. “Babble” (alternate version) – Studio Rough (Instrumental) 15. “Plainsong” – Studio Rough (Guide Vocal) 16. “Last Dance” – Studio Rough (Guide Vocal) 17. “Lullaby” – Studio Rough (Guide Vocal) 18. “Out Of Mind” – Studio Rough (Guide Vocal) 19. “Delirious Night” – Rough Mix (Vocal)* 20. “Pirate Ships” – RS Solo, Rough Mix (Vocal)* * Previously Unreleased Song

Disc Three: Entreat Plus 1. “Plainsong”* 2. “Pictures Of You” 3. “Closedown” 4. “Lovesong”* 5. “Last Dance” 6. “Lullaby”* 7. “Fascination Street” 8. “Prayers For Rain” 9. “The Same Deep Water As You”* 10. “Disintegration” 11. “Homesick” 12. “Untitled” * Previously Unreleased Performance

Reissued, Remasterered and even includes rarities

To order any of this music, please go to Luna Music! Click this link below.

Style Update: Death of the Gladiator

Misty Browning brings it – Dallas style

Have you heard the news…gladiator sandals are “in” again this season. When will the fashion gods realize that all those straps make our feet and ankles look like tied up sausages. Not exactly flattering. Ok ladies, let’s leave the gladiators for Hollywood’s sexy leading men and focus on what looks best on us individually. Perhaps a lovely wedge – it elongates and slims. Or how about a cute top-sider – a little too frat boy for the guys but very chic for the girls.  Don’t want to forget my fave – platform peeps.  Anything to make me taller!

Gladiators like this are out baby!

Just because a trend is the talk of the catwalk, that does not mean you must own it. Many of the catwalk superstars are unflattering for most and there is nothing worse than trying to pull off something you are uncomfortable wearing.

So I challenge you with this…close your magazines with glossy ads and must-have checklists. Instead take a look around at the people you see on the streets in every day life.  See someone with a fierce look?  Snap a sneaky pic (or just ask permission) then add your personal spin to it. Learn to continuously reinvent your basics with tweaks that make a statement. Or if budget allows, create an entirely new look.  Who would you like to muse?

Misty Browning joins the Passionati crew for monthly style updates via Dallas

Misty Browning’s is a Dallas-based bon vivant. Her avocations are fashion, vino, and witty banter. Her vocation is marketing. Follow her @misty55. Look for vibrant monthly style updates from Misty.

DEVO return with first new album in 20 years!

Devo return with fresh new album

“Thirty years ago, people said that we were cynical, that we had a bad attitude,” says Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh. “But now, when you ask people if de-evolution is real, they understand that there was something to what we were saying. It’s not the kind of thing you want to see proven right, but it does make it easier to talk about.”

“The world is in sync with Devo,” says his band-mate and co-writer Gerald Casale. “We’re not the guys who freak people out and scare them – we’re like the house band on the Titanic, entertaining everybody as we go down.”

And so, now is the time. More than three decades after the release of their visionary debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo, and a full 20 years since their last studio album, Devo is back with the aptly titled Something for Everybody. The long rumored, wildly anticipated album (which was launched with a memorable performance in Vancouver at the Winter Olympics) features the band’s classic line-up – Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, Gerald and Bob Casale—joined by drummer Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, Guns n’ Roses).

Produced by Greg Kurstin (The Bird & The Bee), the album also includes contributions from John Hill and Santi White (better known as rising hip-hop star Santigold), John King of the Dust Brothers, and the Teddybears.

Though the 12 songs on Something for Everybody are built on Devo’s signature mechanized swing, the recording and presentation of the album saw the band experimenting with an entirely new approach. Greg Scholl was brought in to serve as COO for Devo, Inc., and – working with the advertising agency Mother LA – conducted a series of studies through the site to help the band with its creative decisions, from color selection to song mixes.

click for hi res

“We decided to actively seek comment and criticism from outside people and use that as a tool, rather than shunning or ignoring it,” says Gerald Casale. “Our experiences participating in secondary creativity – things like corporate consensus building, focus groups—make you appreciate the connection that an artist has to society.”

“In the past, Devo was very insular,” says Mark Mothersbaugh. “This time, I became intrigued with the idea of having people who understood Devo actually work on the songs, and to do to our songs what we did to ‘Satisfaction’ on our first record. Don’t put any boundaries on their production style; let them bring what they needed to make Devo be what it should be after waking up from suspended animation for 20 years.”

His revelation came when the Teddybears did a remix of the song “Watch Us Work It,”an idea initiated by the Mother agency. “They took Josh Freese’s drums off and put on a sample from something we did back in, like, 1982. And I thought, ‘That actually is better!’ That was when I first really saw that Devo had something to absorb, as well as something to impart.”

Certainly Devo has had plenty to convey since Gerald Casale founded the group in Akron, Ohio, in 1973. The band was an extension of a multi-media exploration of the concept that mankind’s progress had ceased, and the process of de-evolution had begun. Devo’s early work caught the attention of such icons as Neil Young and David Bowie, and, with such hits as “Whip It” and “Girl U Want,” and the accompanying, revolutionary music videos, the group became one of the defining acts of the 1980s.

Devo’s sound, style, and philosophy have been an influence on artists from Rage Against the Machine to Lady Gaga. Kurt Cobain once said, “Of all the bands who came from the underground and actually made it in the mainstream, Devo is the most challenging and subversive of all.”

In 1990, Devo morphed from a recording and concert act to putting more focus on individual pursuits and various creative enterprises. Mark Mothersbaugh, along with brother Bob, and Bob Casale, began making music for films and television, working onPee-Wee’s Playhouse and Rugrats and the movies of Wes Anderson. Gerald Casale directed scores of commercials and music videos for the likes of Miller Lite Beer and Mrs. Butterworth’s to Rush, The Foo Fighters, and Soundgarden respectively. (“Everything we’ve done outside of Devo is basically a permutation on the theme we started with,” says Mark Mothersbaugh.) Meanwhile, Devo‘s music remained a staple in movies, commercials, and videogames.

After appearing sporadically in concert and working on 2006’s Devo 2.0 project—with kids providing the vocals to Devo songs—the band began the stop-and-start project of making new music. “It was now or never,” says Gerald Casale. “We’re all still alive, and we can all play and sing—probably better than we ever did in the past. These new songs, like ‘Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)’ or ‘What We Do,’ are as Devo as anything Devo has ever done.”

Especially notable on Something for Everybody is the focus its songs bring to the vapid absurdity of so much contemporary speech (don’t miss the closing wail of “Don’t tase me, bro!” on “Don’t Shoot”). Mark Mothersbaugh points out that, for all the attention usually given to Devo’s funky robot sound, this has always been a central aspect of its work.

“We grew up in a time when we saw hippies become hip capitalists, when the real punks truly destroyed themselves, and we came to the conclusion that rebellion was obsolete,” he says. “We saw subversion as the most successful form of change, so we always had an attraction to loaded phrases that you can reshape and subvert to fit your own needs.”

Gerald Casale adds that Devo really was looking at today’s world when writing the new songs. “The tautology of a line like ‘What we do is what we do’ is taken straight from hip-hop,” he says. “And words like ‘bro’ and ‘dude’—we’re surrounded by it all the time, 20-year-olds don’t even see any irony in it anymore.”

Devo for our times. A band that evolves, even as the world around them confirms the decay they have long suspected. With Something for EverybodyDevo has gained from experience, honed its attack, and stands ready to sound the alarm for another generation.

“As angry young men who have been validated, we have the possibility to do something that resonates like it did back in the early days,” says Mark Mothersbaugh. “It’s the same car, just now with air bags, power brakes, and steering.”

“We’re inspired by reality,” says Gerald Casale, “because the world is so ridiculous and stupid. DE-EVOLUTION IS REAL.”




Gerald Casale – Bass Guitar, Bass Synthesizer, Vocals
Mark Mothersbaugh – Synthesizers, Vocals, Mutated Guitars
Bob “Bob 1”  Mothersbaugh – Guitar, Vocals
Bob “Bob 2” Casale – Guitar, Keyboards, Bass Synthesizer
Josh Freese – Drums


1978 – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
1979 – Duty Now for the Future
1980 – Freedom of Choice
1981 – New Traditionalists
1982 – Oh, No! It’s Devo
1984 – Shout
1988 – Total Devo
1990 – Smooth Noodle Maps
2010 – Something for Everybody


Starman: Versions of a good thing

Bowie wrote and sang the classic, but have you heard the covers?

Regardless of how you interpret it, Starman is still as fresh almost 40 years after it was first written. Ziggy Stardust is telling the young people on earth about the Starman’s message of hope. So the Starman is an alien. The song itself has been interpreted as the second coming of Christ to a loose script for the Spielberg film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

The chorus is loosely based on Harold Arlen‘s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the film The Wizard of Oz. Other influences cited for the track are the T. Rex songs “Telegram Sam” and “Hot Love” (the “boogie” references and “la la la” chorus) and Holland–Dozier–Holland‘s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On

Either way, here’s some bad ass renditions of the song itself.

David Byrne & Brian Eno – Home

The dimming of the light makes the picture clearer
It’s just an old photograph, there’s nothing to hide
When the world was just beginning.
I memorized her face so it’s not forgotten
I hear the wind whistling “come back anytime”
And we’ll mix our lives together
Heaven knows, what keeps mankind alive
Every hand goes searching for its partner in crime
Under chairs and behind tables
Connecting to places we have known

I’m looking for a home, where the wheels are turning
Home, why I keep returning
Home, where my world is breaking in two
Home, with the neighbors fighting
Home, always so exciting
Home, were my parents telling the truth?
Home, such a funny feeling
Home, no one ever speaking
Home, with our bodies touching
Home, and the cameras watching
Home, will infect whatever you do
Where home, comes to life from out of the blue

Tiny little boats on a beach at sunset
I took a drink from a jar and into my head
Familiar smells and flavours
Vehicles are stuck on the plains of heaven
I’ve seen their wheels spinnin’ round
And everywhere I can hear those people saying
That the eye is the measure of the man
You can fly from the stuff that still surrounds you
Where home and the band keeps marching on
Connecting to every living soul
Compassion for things I’ll never know.

There are times when a song can capture everything you want to say or think. When the visuality generated is beyond what you thought was possible. When you experience a rush of emotions. When you want to cry but don’t know why. Or maybe you do. It’s not the everyday things that are the biggest sometimes. And when David Byrne and Brian Eno work together – I’m there. Both renaissance men that I admire and whose work infects my mind and heart. For this you need some Bali Blue Moon (assuming it makes on to the boat and gets delivered) and a french press – pour yourself a cuppa, put on your old school headset, and sit back.

– Duncan Alney

Cracker: private performance of Sidi Ifni

The boys from Cracker performed Sidi Ifni for us. That’s right y’all. So if you can’t make it to see them on tour with Reverend Horton Heat – this is for you. Turn it on. Pour yourself a beverage of your choice. Andl let David Lowery and Johnny Hickman take it away! I’ll have an interview with the band up later this month.

– Duncan Alney