Posts Tagged ‘Duncan Alney’

Julian Casablancas covers Buddy Holly

Strokes front man - Julian Casablancas - promoting his solo debut at Luna Music, where community and music live. Photographed by Duncan Alney.

New solo material from Strokes front man Julian Casabalancas. He’s covering Buddy Holly’s “Rave On”.

Julian Casablancas Photo Credit

Duncan Alney is equally inspired by Wyclef Jean, Brian Eno, and Kieslowski. He’s living the American Dream with his wife Angela and their cats Boogie, Pookie and Zooie.

Flame & Citron is compelling, stunning cinema

Stylish and yet retains gritty period realism

In the mood for a war film? Flame & Citron is based on the lives of two Danish resistance fighters. Wel,l okay, they’re assassins. Nazi assassins mostly. The two central characters have real chemistry and the performances are compelling. Mads Mikkelsens’ quirky Citronen, a nervously energetic, emotionally charged man and his partner, the red-haired, cool-headed Flammen (Thure Lindhardt). The film is stylish and yet retains gritty period realism – yet its dreamy and noir-ish. The film is full of the politics we rarely see depicted in a convincing way in world war II films, double cross, intrigue, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and even a femme fatale. The leading men have relationship problems and this frankly makes the film more believable. There is no glamor in this story, and there are frayed and broken relationships strewn everywhere – but this is a film about Nazi occupied Denmark. Think “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid”, or really more accurately the stylish “Bonnie & Clyde”. Its a stunning film and is based on a true story.

Duncan Alney is equally inspired by Wyclef Jean, Brian Eno, and Kieslowski. He’s living the American Dream with his wife Angela and their cats Boogie, Pookie and Zooie.

New Duran Duran sounds like Rio (Thank God!)

My colleague and friend, Chad Richards, stormed in the other day saying “the new Duran Duran is sooooo good”. What? A new Duran Duran? And I don’t know about it. Here’s a juicy little video on the record that features the original line up and being produced by Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse among numerous others). I gave the album a listen last weekend and its vintage DD. The album is only available on iTunes (another apple score. Zune who?) until March of this year. It’s true that LeBon once said that its “the band to dance to when bombs drop”. As Moby said of the band in his website diary in 2003: “… they were cursed by what we can call the ‘Bee Gees‘ curse, which is: ‘write amazing songs, sell tons of records, and consequently incur the wrath or disinterest of the rock obsessed critical establishment’.” Not to mention that bands/groups that claim DD as their influence include Dido, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, Panic at the Disco, Justin Timberlake – to name a few. So listen you can go listen to you piss in my porridge, sad, whiney, critically acclaimed crap. I’ll be dancing on the sand with a girl named Rio.

– Duncan Alney

Lay Lady Lay – Casually disinterested, yet sexy

I love Bob Dylan. Nashville Skyline is a must listen album. And the track Lay Lady Lay is one of my favorites. No check out this not-so-recent version by Norwegian singer-songwriter Even Johansen a.k.a Magnet. There’s a lot of covers of this song from Duran Duran to Ministry to the Byrds, and even Kid Cudi (what what) sampled it for his song “I Be”. But this version may be the most casually disinterested yet incredibly sexy one I’ve heard. Now hit play!

– Duncan Alney

N.E.R.D.’s new track “hypnotize u” is sexy, lazy, delicious

N.E.R.D. back with a sexy, slow, synth track produced by Daft Punk.

N.E.R.D. returns with this sexy track produced by Daft Punk. It’s a lazy, yet sexy, slow, synth track produced by none other than Daft Punk. It’s off their new album “Nothing”. My analysis: Pharrell, Chad and Shae have given us yet another genre-bender, accessible, hip dance songs. That is all.

– Duncan Alney



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

King’s Cross: Pet Shop Boys, Tracey Thorn & Hot Chip

We danced to PSB on a regular basis at the Pink Elephant in the Oberoi Grand in Calcutta. Or listened to it really loud in my friend George’s Standard Herald as we drove from over-the-top social gathering to another. I never really found the hidden track on the 1987 album, “Actually“, until several years later. And it wasn’t until this year that I examined the song closely (mostly because Tracey Thorn updated it on her 2007 outing which was then remixed by Hot Chip).

The original PSB version is a dreamy, synth track, of course, and feels like a day-after-a-ecstasy trip through the King’s Cross station. The music washes over you in only slightly persistent waves. Layered and yet seemingly stark compared to some of their more produced work. But what does it mean? Is it a horrible premonition of the fire that happened there later that year. Not likely since the album was released several months earlier. Based on reading writing by the group, introspective, a lot people migrated to London, from the North of England, looking for work. Neil Tennant came to study at the Polytechnic of North London.  He’s probably referring to the fact that King’s cross looked like a refugee camp with all the students, tourists, and homeless people. People waited for their train in long queues. Many of these people probably didn’t find work and eventually drifted else where but regardless the place probably felt pallid. Strange since the station was built on the former site of a small pox and fever hospital.

I’ve been hurt and we’ve been had
You leave home, and you don’t go back
So I went looking out today
For the one who got away
Murder walking round the block
Ending up in King’s Cross
Good luck, bad luck waiting in a line
It takes more than the matter of time
And there’s still no guarantee
There is still no guarantee

Fast forward to early 2007, Tracey Thorn records the track as part of the second album (25 years after her first album). You should know Thorn’s work  – she’s collaborated with Massive Attack, The Style Council, and Lloyd Cole & the Commotions. Thorn’s rendition is stark, eerie, and lonely at best. Yet it’s one that works supremely well in the Hot Chip remix of the song – which is unexpectedly energetic, yearning for the 80’s and yet magnificently new.

Click here to listen to the Hot Chip Version.

That’s the journey this song has taken through pop culture. Yet the original stands up – and perhaps that is because of its vagueness, its lack of commitment, and its spareness (compared to some of the other PSB work). Regardless, it’s a gem. One that you should savor.

Theophilus London: Flying Overseas (amazing!)

Fly overseas with Theophilus London

Thanks to Angela, the style maven and music blood sleuth for finding this via Darrin Lancaster. Theophilus London. This is from the album I WANT YOU which is a collection of “dark jams that restlessly examines the promise of love beyond lifestyle.” This is definitely UK indie pop with a touch of global influence – sexy with a bit of “I don’t know why but this makes me happy” in it. In a world of increasing online social connections – this is a song about living in the moment and flying overseas to sea places and people you love or want to love. More on this soon. And the shit is for free.

– Duncan Alney

Top Albums 2010 – our Q1 favorites

Who wants to wait till 2011 to find out about all the great music in 2010 so we’ve decided to release a list of our favorite albums of 2010 to date. Q1 was a good time to be listening! Here’s our picks along with a video/audio track for each. This doesn’t include anything released in April. If you think we’ve left something out. Please leave us a comment!

Albums to set you on fire - the best of 2010 so far

1. Interpreting the Masters Volume: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates – bird and the bee

2. Plastic Beach – the gorillaz

3. Broken Bells – broken bells

4. Scratch My Back – peter Gabriel

5. YES – k-os

6. Conditions – temper trap

7. Life is Sweet | Nice to Meet You – lightspeed champion

8. Talking To Me Talking To You – watson twins

9. Future Sons & Daughters – am

10. Soldier of Love – sade

11. Contra – vampire weekend

12. Heligoland – massive attack

13. Of the Blue Color of the sky – ok go

14. Teen Dream – beach house

– Duncan Alney

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

Julian Casablancas: A portrait. No, really.

Known as the often drunk, interesting, Strokes man, Julian Casablancas has shed this mantle. He’s 31. He’s married. He’s got a kid. He’s got two dogs. And he’s got a new solo debut album, Phrazes for the Young, that he wrote and financed himself. It’s not what you might expect — complex and keyboard-heavy. And it’s catchy.

It will resonate in your head, long after you take the needle off the record. It’s been critically acclaimed (for good reason) and he’s been touring to support it. Standing inside the back office at Luna Music, last week, chatting on his phone, Julian looked uneffected by the line that curved around the block.

Clad in skin tight red leather pants, white high tops, black T, and an almost bomber looking brown jacket with his trade mark shaggy ’70s hairstyle, Casablancas is a lot of things. Johnny Depp could play him in a movie, or could have played him in a movie 15 years ago. All these people waiting for a glimpse, a signature, a smile and maybe a photo with the man. And let me tell you, Julian dispensed all of the above as if they were going out of style. “A picture with each of you?” he says to a group of shiny-eyed girls. There was no interview for Passionati, but 2 minutes for a photo before the crowds came in. I shot two frames. Here’s the one that I like.

Strokes front man - Julian Casablancas - promoting his solo debut at Luna Music, where community and music live. Photographed by Duncan Alney.

If you don’t know his music – this is tequila on the rocks. Don’t skimp. Buy the best you can. And do listen to “out of the blue”. Then you’ll know that Julian Casablancas has stolen your song, my song, our songs. And I’m not sure how he did it. But it’s a story I’ve lived, and know. Drink up baby. The song plays on.

– Duncan Alney

For our international Friends who can’t listen to Lala (bad Apple!)

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

Emily Pinkerton: transnational & essential Andean alt-country

“I’ve lived around my true passions”

Emily Pinkerton's music influences range for Valparaiso, USA to Valparaiso, Chile

Emily Pinkerton marches to the sound of her own drum, or Guitarrón that is. She’s designed a life that is based on her true passions – music and languages. In addition to her significant accomplishments, she’s friendly, layered, and oh-so-easy to talk to. And this is a woman who’s performed with the Chieftans and Alejandro Escovedo to name a few, and has toured in both North and South America appearing at venues such as SXSW (TX), Sala América (Chile), Kamikaze (Peru), and Makor (NY). Grab some bourbon, sit back and enjoy the flight!

– Duncan Alney

In Rotation Mix 2/20/10

Four Tet - One word Review - Brilliant

A pretty decent week as far as listening is concerned for me. It’s always good to listen to Candles, which is a ghost story, by Brazil. I’m curious to see what you think. Out of the archives, a lush track from My Bloody Valentine and heart felt piece of nostalgia from Chris Isaak. Check out the China Crisis song so you can get your 80’s fix (gives you a bit of perspective on where Washed Out and Neon Indian come from, doesn’t it?). Then sink into your most comfortable couch and ease into the new Wu Tang Clan. What! That’s right. Others you should listen to are: Paolo Nutini and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (my new Mardi Gras favorite), Time for Three (who I just saw in concert), Four Tet (brilliant), Carolina Chocolate Drops, Black Kids, Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee. Happy listening and melting snow baby!

– Duncan

In Rotation 2/20

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

David Byrne & Fatboy Slim: Free Download

Wha wha wha what! Thats right. David Byrne and Fatboy Slim Baby! Songs about Imelda Marcos. Its a project that is focused on what makes famous people tick, what inspires them to re-invent themselves again and again. Anyone thinking Madonna? And here’s the first track from none other than Santigold. More tracks on the album from St. Vincent, Martha Wainwright, Sharon Jones and more. Check it check it. And a little slide show made by David himself!

– Duncan Alney @firebelly

Xmas Songs: Duncan’s 12


So here’s the first  list – 12 christmas songs. Yes they’re nostalgic, some of them are a bit odd, and one or two are just perfect. The Elvis track is very rare and is a joy to watch. Check them out! Let me know what you think!

12. Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon

11. Mariah Carey – All I want for Christmas is you

10. Please come home – Jon Bonjovi

9. Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC

8. Pretty Paper – Kenny Chesney and Willie Nelson

7. The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

6. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

5. Last Christmas – Wham

4. Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby and David Bowie

3. Christmas, baby please come home – U2

2. Do they know it’s Christmas – Band Aid

1. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley

Thank You! Thank You!

Celebrating 2 months!

We’re officially 2 months old, as of yesterday. September we were still getting organized. I’ve put together a little celebratory play list. Thank you to all the people that write, thank you to Greg Perez and Don Alney for constantly offering brilliant photos, thank you to my wife for allowing me to do this, thank you to all of you who read it, and to those I’ve forgotten to thank – there are too many of you. Thank you thank you thank you! The songs I’ve picked are old friends, some classics, some slightly off-beat, some just nuts. Enjoy the list and I love you all! We’ve got lots more coming – more opinion,  film suggestions, more food, more photography, and of course more music. We’ve even got a facebook fan page. Search Passionati on facebook!

Stories - Love

– Duncan Alney

Speed Addict: Ashley Johnson

Ashley Johnson grew up in South Africa. He became an Olympian. Now he races motorcycles for fun. He races for the thrill, for the challenge, because it feeds his passion, his need for speed. Passionati was able to catch up with him recently so that you can experience him in this little film first hand.

Picture 90

– Duncan Alney directed “Speed Addict”, Lain Ewing shot and edited it. Kristina Williams assisted on location.

Why Robert Francis is making 100% genuine (timeless) american rock music

Confessional, Candid, Mature, Authentic, and he’s only 22

“I know that for some musicians, writing songs is like therapy and the way they get their emotions out,” says Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Robert Francis. “But for me it’s more than an outlet — it’s a way to keep me from completely losing my mind.”

Robert Francis - Butterflies - Marc Gabor

"There’s not a shred of anything within my songs that isn’t 100 percent genuine.” - Robert Francis on his songwriting

Such an intense statement may sound like the drama of being 21, which Francis is, but listen to the two albums that he’s created, 2007’s indie release One By One and his upcoming major-label debut Before Nightfall, and it becomes clear that it’s true. As NPR has noted about Francis’ modern take on timeless American rock: “He has laid himself out in song and created some incredibly moving and beautiful musical moments.”

“Honesty is what makes a good song,” Francis says. “I don’t think there’s a reason to write unless you’re writing about something that’s deeply important to you. If I write anything, it has to be 100 percent heartfelt. There’s not a shred of anything within my songs that isn’t 100 percent genuine.”

Francis’ work pulses with an undercurrent of forceful candor that cannot be faked. The songs on Before Nightfall are so personal that Francis has trouble explaining the specifics of what they’re about, but he does offer that One By One came out of the emotional turmoil he suffered after a failed relationship, whereas Before Nightfall looks back on that relationship through the healing prism of time and finds hope in starting over and moving on to something new. “Songs like ‘Darkness,’ ‘Climb a Mountain,’ ‘Junebug,’ and ‘Keep On Running,’ are about knowing that the person you love is out there on their own and you can’t do anything about it,” Francis says. “They’re about how impossible love becomes more impossible. But I think there’s optimism in the songs; I don’t think of them as sad. I think they’re kind of uplifting.”

Francis’ frankness goes down easier than you’d think thanks to his husky baritone voice, finger-picked acoustic melodies, and uncluttered arrangements. Burnished by his keyboard work (Francis plays piano, Mellotron, Hammond B3, Wurlitzer, Farfisa organ, and Solina synth), bandmate Graham Lathrop’s elegant pedal steel guitar, and backing vocals from Francis’ sisters Juliette and Carla Commagere, the songs on Before Nightfall glow with an earthy, homespun quality that draws on everything from country, to folk, to blues, to roots rock. Highlights include the aforementioned “Climb a Mountain,” which features slide guitar from one of Francis’ early mentors, Ry Cooder (his sister Juliette’s father-in-law), the heartfelt country-tinged “Playground,” and closing acoustic ballad “Do What I Can,” where the emotion is so palpable, you can hear Francis’ voice quaver as he slides into his upper-register.

The intimate sound is deliberate, Francis says. “On the records I love, the vocals are right there. It sounds like you’re in the room with the person and all the other instruments support the story. The greatest records were made like that. In no way was I trying to make a ’60s or ’70s throwback record, but the songs called for that intimate vibe. I wanted to get the band in a room, do it live, and make it sound as immediate as possible.”

To help him achieve that immediacy, Francis enlisted Grammy Award-winning producer D. Sardy (Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Marilyn Manson, among many others), whom he credits with “helping me come into my own with my voice.  Sardy helped me sing out and make the vocals as raw and intense as possible. He was not the guy who was going to spend three hours on some crazy synth sound. He was the guy who said, ‘Let’s do this — but just you guys. Let’s make an old-school rock record.’”


“But for me it’s more than an outlet — it’s a way to keep me from completely losing my mind.” - Robert Francis

Sardy and the band (bassist Alex Kweskin, drummer Richard Gowen, and guitarist Graham Lathrop) kept the proceedings relaxed by making the studio feel like home. “I basically brought my living room to Sunset Sound,” Francis says. “We brought all the rugs and some posters and lamps and recreated this little world that felt just like where we rehearse. We set up in a circle, stocked up on what we needed, and went to town.”
It was the way Francis imagines his favorite artists, like The Band, Gene Clark, Bob Dylan, and Greenwich Village folkies Karen Dalton and Dino Valenti made records.  “There was a time when a few amazing artists moved up to Bearsville to get away from the city and really just make beautiful music,” he says. “They weren’t concerned about what was going on outside their bubble. They created their own universe. And that’s what I wanted to do – to forget about everything and just concentrate on four guys in a room making music the way we wanted to make it.”

– Filed by Duncan Alney