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Archive for the ‘Daft Punk’ Category

Atlantic Goes for the Gold with New Grammy Compilation

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2014 Grammy NomineesTo cap off a relatively all-over-the-place year in pop music for 2013, January 26 sees the 56th annual Grammy Awards, broadcast live as always from Los Angeles’ Staples Center. The competition is particularly heavy with nominations for rappers, both veterans (Jay-Z) and upstarts (Kendrick Lamar, indie sensations Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who continue to self-release their work without a major label behind them), but there’s a little something for everyone on the 2014 Grammy Nominees album, due January 21 from Atlantic Records.

The 18 tracks herein span dozens of categories and genres. Do you like R&B-flavored pop? Justin Timberlake, nominated for seven awards this year, offers “Mirrors,” a shimmering ballad off his 20/20 Experience double album, while future Super Bowl halftime performer Bruno Mars brings “Locked Out of Heaven” – the best Police song Sting never wrote – and Robin Thicke is represented by the year’s biggest chart hit, “Blurred Lines.” New Zealand’s iconoclastic Lorde, a Record of the Year and Song of the Year nominee at only 17, offers her inescapable “Royals,” while Daft Punk (who will perform with Stevie Wonder at the telecast) satisfy all ages with “Get Lucky,” a killer disco track bolstered by an immediately recognizable guitar riff from CHIC’s Nile Rodgers.

Other key tracks include “Brave,” from singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest (a surprise nominee for Album of the Year), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ uplifting tolerance anthem “Same Love,” the excellent “Just Give Me a Reason” by pop survivor P!nk and Nate Ruess of fun., and “Merry Go Round,” a criminally underrated track by country singer Kacey Musgraves. (Her Same Trailer Different Park is up for Best Country Album, “Merry Go Round” is up for Best Country Song and Musgraves herself contends for a Best New Artist trophy.)

For the full track list, as well as a breakdown of nominations surrounding each song, hit the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 6, 2014 at 09:19

Lose Yourself to Dance: Daft Punk’s New Album Reissued as Mega Box Set

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Get LuckyFrench dance duo Daft Punk is up all night to get lucky (and to reward deep-pocketed fans) with a lush deluxe box set version of their brilliant newest album, 2013’s Random Access Memories.

Though Random Access Memories doesn’t entirely fit the catalogue description that usually guides discussion here at The Second Disc, you might not know that when you hear it. Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, known for their quirky, catchy dance tracks and identity-clouding robot costumes, last released a studio album in 2005, the mixed Human After All. (The band was incredibly busy in the interim years, releasing a Grammy-winning live album in 2007, allowing Kanye West to sample “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” for his chart-topping “Stronger” that same year – dig their joint performance at that year’s Grammy Awards – and penned the soundtrack for Disney’s sci-fi sequel TRON Legacy in 2010.)

With dance music in a major state of transition – Skrillex and Deadmau5 and “EDM” and dubstep piling up all over the place – many expected Daft Punk, elder statesmen of the genre since the release of Homework in 1997, to step in and show them how to create a killer modern dance album. What few expected was how they did it: by firmly looking back to disco and R&B traditions of a generation before. With a package that recalled Michael Jackson’s Thriller (CD and LP labels featured the early ’80s design of their new distributor, Columbia Records) and an impressive cadre of collaborators, including CHIC guitarist/producer Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Williams, guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., bassist Nathan East, drummers Omar Hakim and John “J.R.” Robinson (not to mention modern pals Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and Chilly Gonzales), Random Access Memories is a throwback to a time when beats were made, not sequenced, and records were committed to analog tape.

And the results were stunning: besides general worldwide acclaim, the album was a commercial smash all over (moving more than 600,000 units in the U.S. alone) and spawning the inescapable summer earworm “Get Lucky,” featuring distinctive guitar licks from Rodgers (the fond memory of which will hopefully carry CHIC into this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class) and smooth vocals from Williams. The track was a worldwide No. 1 hit (missing the pole position only in America, where it peaked at No. 2, their sole Top 40 hit) and broke U.K. records on Spotify, reaching the Top 5 in that country within 48 hours of release. (It ultimately stayed at No. 1 for four weeks.)

After the jump, check out what those robots put into this box set – not to mention the hefty price tag!

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 25, 2013 at 10:32

Virgin Records Celebrates “40 Years of Disruptions” with New Compilation, Picture Discs

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Virgin 40Virgin Records, one of England’s most iconic labels, turns 40 this year – and they’re celebrating with a new compilation full of hits from their storied existence.

The Virgin label was largely the brainchild of one young businessman named Richard Branson. The London-born Branson began his career selling records by mail order and later opening a shop on Oxford Street. The Virgin label was blessed with early success thanks to a willingness to sign acts that major U.K. labels were keen to dismiss. This netted them a smash hit with their very first release, Mike Oldfield’s captivating instrumental “Tubular Bells,” as well as a place in cultural history as the label who’d ultimately made the strongest commitment to punk band The Sex Pistols, after EMI and A&M each dropped the band. (It was Virgin who’d pressed the commercial version of their No. 2 hit “God Save The Queen” as well as their sole studio album, Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols.)

The decades to come found Virgin succeeding with all sorts of genres: MTV-ready pop/rock (Culture Club, The Human League, The Spice Girls), groundbreaking alt-rock and New Wave (Simple Minds, XTC), multi-generational rock (Genesis and its two most famous frontmen, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins; The Rolling Stones, for a time) hip-hop and dance (Soul II Soul, Neneh Cherry, Daft Punk, Massive Attack) and more, all the way up to the present (recent critical and commercial hits include tracks by Swedish House Mafia, Emili Sandé and CHVRCHES).

Branson would ultimately sell Virgin to EMI in 1992 to keep other parts of his business empire afloat; the iconoclastic entrepreneur found success in everything from air travel to publishing to music festivals (Europe’s V Festival) to record stores (the late Virgin Megastores) to mobile phones to…well, even more interesting stuff (Branson plans to be aboard the inaugural Virgin Galactic flight – a commercial space trip – this year.) The label continues to exist, now of course under the Universal Music Group family.

Virgin Records: 40 Years of Disruptions plans to honor the label’s indomitable spirit across two discs, along with a bonus EP of current Virgin artists covering some classic tracks, including cuts by John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack and others. The set is in stores today, amid a swath of exhibitions in honor of the label around the U.K. area. The label is also selling a handful of their most beloved titles, including singles and albums, as limited edition vinyl titles (many of which are picture discs). The full list is available at Universal’s Uvinyl page.

As always, you can check out the track list and buy the set after the jump.

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Release Round-Up: Week of April 5

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Rush, Moving Pictures: 30th Anniversary Edition (Mercury/UMe)

A CD/DVD remaster of one of the Canadian rock band’s most beloved albums, featuring a 5.1 surround remaster of the album and some rare music videos on the DVD. If you’re in the U.S., Best Buy is currently the only place you can get the set on CD/Blu-Ray; it’ll be available to general retail on May 3. (Amazon)

Material Issue, International Pop Overthrow: 20th Anniversary Edition (Hip-o Select)

An underrated power-pop classic gets expanded with rare B-sides and other unreleased content. (Hip-o Select)

The Tubes, The Completion Backward Principle: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic)

A remaster of the New Wave band’s first Top 40 album and first record for Capitol, with bonus tracks and new liner notes. (Amazon)

Daft Punk, TRON: Legacy R3C0NF1GUR3D (Walt Disney)

One of the best soundtracks of last year gets the remix album treatment, the same day both TRON films are released on DVD and Blu-Ray. (Official site)

Ray Charles, Live in Concert: Expanded Edition (Concord)

The Genius’ 1965 live LP for ABC Records is expanded and remastered on Concord, keepers of much of Ray’s catalogue. (Amazon)

The Originals, California Sunset: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

An underrated, underground soul album from Motown’s vaults – already released in the U.K. last week – comes to U.S. shores today. (BBR)

Leon Russell, The Best of Leon Russell (EMI/Capitol)

A new compilation honoring the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, from his solo and sideman days to his latest victorious album with Elton John. (Amazon)

Miles Davis, The Definitive Miles Davis on Prestige / Bill Evans, The Definitive Bill Evans on Riverside and Fantasy / Albert King, The Definitive Albert King on Stax (Concord)

Some new double-disc compilations from Concord that compile some of the best jazz and blues artists of the 20th century. (Amazon: Miles, Evans, King)

Sergio Mendes, Celebration: A Musical Journey (Verve/UMe)

Brazil’s most legendary musician is anthologized in a new two-disc set. (Amazon)

Marshall Tucker Band, Greatest Hits (Shout! Factory)

A reissue of the band’s original greatest hits compilation, with the added presence of some rare single edits. (Shout! Factory)

Various Artists, ICON (UMe)

A lot of traditional rock acts get added to the budget compilation series, including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, The Who, Cat Stevens, Sublime, Joe Cocker and others. (A full list, with Amazon links, is here.)

Back to the Grid: “TRON: Legacy” Remixes Coming in April

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It’s not often here at The Second Disc that we get to report on a reissue project devoted to a release that’s only three months old.  But that’s just the case of Daft Punk’s acclaimed score to Tron: Legacy. The novice film composers deftly paid homage to Wendy Carlos’ score to the original TRON, judiciously incorporating it into their work while carving out their own territory with a mix of ambient sounds, techno-style synthpop and traditional orchestral motifs. While the Academy Awards overlooked the duo’s hybrid electronic/orchestral score, it became the first soundtrack in five years to crack Billboard’s pop Top 10, and sold over 70,000 copies in its first week of release, which is none too shabby a number these days. Fans of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, a.k.a. Daft Punk, might have hoped that any catalogue news relating to the TRON: Legacy soundtrack would involve a wide release of the two-CD limited edition briefly available in the U.K. which contained five bonus cues. (Frustratingly, to compile all of the existing TRON: Legacy content involves getting not only the U.K. set, but one track from, two from iTunes and one from Nokia.) Instead, Walt Disney Records will on April 5 release TRON: Legacy R3c0nf1gur3d, a 15-track remix project. Unlike so many remix albums, though, this one sounds like a no-brainer given Daft Punk’s roots as DJs and great innovations in that field.

Paul Oakenfold, The Crystal Method and Moby are among the top-tier artists enlisted to remix Daft Punk’s tracks on R3c0nf1gur3d. The album will be released to traditional retail, but will also be available in an array of packages with bonus material. Intrigued? Hit the jump for full details plus pre-order information and the track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 3, 2011 at 10:31