Tag Archives: Blondie

NENA’s Coming To The States!!!


NENA coming to America: it’s one of the great unrequited love stories of pop culture history.99 Luftballons” was the first German-language song to enter the US charts since Marlene Dietrich, yet although the pop queen toured all over the world, she never made it over to the US to perform. NENA has continued to rule the charts in Germany with sixteen studio albums and countless hits, and now is finally her time to take America by storm.

In the 33 years since it was released, NENA’s “99 Luftballons” (“99 Red Balloons”) has had an unmatchable impact on popular and music culture.  Although NENA never stopped making music – she’s had a three-and-a-half decade career of hits and 16 studio albums behind her in Germany – and has toured in countries as far as Japan, NENA never got to tour the US. It’s one of those flukes in music history where what should have happened didn’t happen. But in NENA’s own words, “…now’s the right time. It’s always now!…When you want to do something and it just doesn’t happen, you shouldn’t be sad or disappointed because, well, 35 years later, it happens! It’s perfect timing.”

At the heart of NENA is a rock’n’roller with unbeatable stage presence and energy to spare, whether she’s playing to regularly sold-out crowds at the biggest arenas or more intimate club venues. Just take a listen to NENA’s latest outing – the excellent, energetic and rocking live album Live at SO36, recorded during a within-minutes sold-out concert at the famed Berlin club SO36. The opening rocking riffs of “Noch Einmal” NENA struck on her Telecaster sent out a shockwave of energy that carries through an entire night. From pure rockers to new-wave favorites to the touching ballads that fans sing along word-for-word, NENA can electrify a crowd with her incomparable, instantly recognizable voice and her own brand of rock’n’roll that includes influences of The Ramones, Blondie, and Talking Heads, among many others. The dancing never lets up with NENA until the lights finally go on at the end of the night. That’s what NENA is going to ultimately bring to the US – an amazing live energy that can shake an entire audience to its core.

She’s captured the hearts of Germany: her numerous top ten hits and 25 million sold records are proof of that. Now it’s time to share that with America. NENA’s most recent studio album, Oldschool, is the perfect fusion of her constant drive for artistic development and genuine authenticity. Produced and co-written by German hip-hop superstar Samy Deluxe, it blisters with a sense of immediacy and newness while especially playing lyrically with references to her past.

NENA has never been a nostalgia act; she still delivers onstage an exhilarating mix of her amazing and expansive discography. With that much spark, it’s a recipe for an utterly mind-blowing evening. American fans that missed the opportunity to see NENA when they were first introduced to her now have that chance. To paraphrase her latest single, there’s no time like “Genau jetzt” (right now).

NENA will be playing San Francisco on September 30, Los Angeles on October 2, and New York City on October 4.

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Newest Love: Nova Heart


“A delightful shock from China ….. a sly variant on Seventies New Wave: a dynamic singer, Helen Feng, who bears a strong vocal resemblance to Blondie’s Debbie Harry, fronting a White Stripes-style rhythm section – male guitarist, wicked female drummer – that threaded loops and programming through heavy blues and dance floor rhythms….. – at once rough and digital… my first best of the fest.”  – ROLLING STONE (David Fricke, Senior Editor)

If the music planet these days is inhabited by candy colored pop munchkins, ruby red dance floors, and twerking teddy bears, here comes the Wicked Witch of the East.  Staunchly opposed to the oh so technicolored predictable dance tracks that have goo’d and gaga’d the world, a band out of China, yes you heard me, China, has produced an electronic EP finally with a nasty, nasty side to drive fear into the all the denizens of OZ.

This is not for the club, but for the lonely, lonely walk home after a night at the club.  It’s music for walking through streets filled with tranny prostitutes (Beautiful Boys) and coming down from lord knows what (My Song 9).  As if emerging from the polluted fog of Beijing, Nova Heart gives you garbled transmissions from an enemy satellite, telling you that for every up there is a down, for every pleasure there is a price.

And this message, like an ominous counterpoint, is filled with sex unfulfilled and builds that lead to a slide into oblivion. Dark analog scenes created by Italian cowboy Rodion are filled to the brim with the siren’s call of lead singer Helen Feng that promises both sex and mortality – all at the same time.  Deceptive pop melodies that lead you down the road as if setting you up for the kill before they diverge and you drop down that endless well.

Live, Nova Heart is like watching a gathering at a religious service gone dangerously wrong.  The world’s most amazing female drummer, ATOM, the size of a munchkin herself, powers through a show that feels like a voodoo ceremony while Helen holds the pulpit like an evangelical preacher shaking and panting as if she´s feeling some spirit possessing her body and asking for your souls.  The guitarist (LOOP), sends only the dirtiest warbliest Floyd-like hooks out in crashing waves as the bassist plays distorted grooves that seems some strange baby called industrial funk.

And from the music and the sound they tease at past hours on that ruby dance floor, dancing around aged genres but never landing flat footed in anything predictable.  Perhaps only a group coming out of China can dare to make such predictions, the exuberance of the never ending 80’s finally in coda, and all we are left with is an illusion, the afterglow of the ecstasy, and the fear of facing the consequences of our excess.  Perhaps it takes a band that lives in a place where the foibles of a self-obsessed world are exaggerated to 1.6 billion degrees to create the come down album of their generation.  This is not a political statement as it is more of a moment of contemplation on just how it feels when the party is over.  And if you’re lucky, these are the tracks for the after-after party in purgatory.

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MP3: Lux – “Coroner’s Office”

Seattle duo Lux has issued another peek into the sound of its debut album We Are Not The Same, due for release on April 3rd, 2012.  The new single “Coroner’s Office” follows up the album’s first single “The Window” which was recently featured as a Magnet Magazine “MP3 At 3PM” and on the KEXP “Music That Matters” podcast.

The band wrote “Coroner’s Office” “in an addled haze of oblivion” according to the male half of the duo, David Chandler. “I was watching a lot of ‘Forensic Files’ and ‘Cold Case Files.’ There was a channel that ran this stuff 24/7. I also saw documentaries about Gacy, Gein and Dahmer. This inspired song ideas and “Coroner’s Office” seemed to encapsulate these ideas the most. The song ended up being recorded at the very last minute for inclusion on the album.”

Inspired by some of the most essential artists of the era of indie and underground music (Pavement, The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, The Magnetic Fields, The Jesus & Mary Chain, New Order, Blondie), Leah Rosen and David Chandler trade off vocals, guitars, synths and drum programming on We Are Not The Same which they also wrote, recorded and mixed themselves. The album is due for release on April 3rd.

Listen/download: Lux – “Coroner’s Office”

Track Listing: 

01. Coroner’s Office

02. Out Of Love

03. The Window

04. Valerie, They’ll Never Understand

05. Little Cripple

06. X

07. Cerebellar Ataxia

08. Candy Lux

09. Cachexia

10. A Study In Apathy (Drugs, Etc)

11. 1000 Airwaves

12. I’ll Try To Ignore The Fact That You’re Drowning

13. Blackout

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