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First peek at new B-52's album (review)

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First peek at new B-52's album (review)

Old 07-29-07, 01:33 AM
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First peek at new B-52's album (review AND soundbites)

From creativeloafing.com (yeah, I don't know what that is either). But this is(pardon the pun), good stuff.

The B-52's: Welcome to Cindy Wilson's love shack

Athens queen bee(hive) returns to keep the party going

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH


"We're gonna listen to the new record," says Cindy Wilson excitedly, only moments after greeting her visitor at the front door of her north Atlanta home. As a member of the Athens-born art project called the B-52's for the past 30 years, the pop icon is instantly recognizable as the bewigged, bewitching, big-eyed blond blend of Nancy Sinatra's sensual purr, Lene Lovich's serrated new-wave yelp and Yoko Ono's angular, art-damaged attack.

Tonight, however, she's in subdued, domestic mode; there's no towering beehive over her long, straight hair, and instead of an outrageous dress she's in a tasteful top and pants. She resides in comfy suburbia with her family, the role she originally left the band for in the early 1990s, only to return to the fold a few years later. Safely away from the scores of rabid fans who squeal with delight whenever she spouts "Love Shack's" famous "tiiin roof rusted!" break, she's relaxed and positively glowing with the anticipation of playing the new album from the B-52's.

And it is a big deal, arriving 15 years after the release of the Cindy-less Good Stuff and a whole generation since her last full studio recording on 1989's Cosmic Thing. Fans anxious to hear the new music will get a sneak preview during the group's current tour, which stops in Atlanta at Chastain Park Aug. 1. "It's the best thing we've ever done," Cindy enthuses as she retreats to the memorabilia-lined basement of her spacious home, disc in hand. Her children are busy watching cartoons, playing computer games and teasing their hyperactive dog as her husband, artist/musician Keith Bennett, drops the CD into a player behind the bar.

Hearing artists say their newest album is the best thing they've ever done usually elicits a healthy measure of jaded skepticism in this writer, having endured the unwarranted glee of countless hopeful musicians since around the same time the B-52's first appeared on "Saturday Night Live" in 1980. But even with a proper game face on, it's hard to ignore Wilson's childlike delight as she curls up barefoot on the couch while the throbbing dance track "Pump" fills the room.

After each song, she giggles proudly, and her unbridled enthusiasm is undeniably contagious. The 12 songs alternately pulse and rock with a thoroughly modern sheen, thanks to in-demand producer Steve Osbourne (KT Tunstall, U2), the signature sound of the band balancing insistent dance-club grooves, and Keith Strickland's inventive guitar flourishes and goofy pop-culture narratives.

The vocals from Wilson, Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson are playful, sinewy and dynamic. The material is sassy, hooky and kitschy. And the whole thing sounds remarkably like it could be a lost project from sometime in the late '80s, yet it doesn't rely on tired retreads or obvious rip-offs from the past.

Standouts from the first listen include "Funplex," "Juliet of the Spirits," the anthemic "Hot Corner" and "Let's Keep This Party Going On." Overall, there seems to be at least five strong-enough-to-be-hit singles. The rest are well-crafted album cuts with no obvious filler. It could very well become the band's best-received album of its career if it's properly promoted and heard.

And that's an "if" Wilson is acutely aware of.

"This is the worst time in the world to put out a record," she sighs, surrounded by an impressive collection of band-related artifacts, oddball knickknacks, '60s collectibles and awards. "We should have our heads examined for even trying to do something new the way things are now, but that's just the way it's happened." Half the album was recorded at John Keane's studio, she says, not far from the spot the band debuted on Valentine's Day 1977. "We'd recorded in the Bahamas but never in Athens," she continues. "There's an 'Athens vibe,' even though it's changed so much over there. I think it's the magical kiss we needed."

But why did it take so long? "Everybody's in a different city now. It's not like we all lived in New York, like when we did Cosmic Thing." Over a four-year period, the B-52's met in various locations, often in Atlanta, and collaborated during intense, three-day writing sessions.

As her son gently requests a bedtime story and the dog hops on the couch with a slobbery chew toy, she adds, "We're bringing everything that's happened to us in 30 years to this record. There's a maturity to it, but we're not about to grow up. It's still us, you know."

Since the music exists only as a completed master with no cover art, title or distribution deal, the only way fans can hear the new songs is live on tour, mixed in with the hits. "This summer we're taking it out on the road, doing about half of [the album], to see the crowd reaction. So far it's been great, people really like all the new songs."

With a new album currently being shopped to labels, and a busy summer and fall tour schedule ahead, it'd be easy to call the B-52's new wave of activity a comeback, but don't. Wilson says it's far more personal than that. "It's like a 'Here, [a] present,'" she concludes as she leads her kids off to bed, "Or, with the new songs, it's like 'Here, here's a present.' It's a party."

Last edited by Daytripper; 07-31-07 at 06:07 PM.
Old 07-29-07, 06:20 AM
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Cool, looking forward to this release. Anything to redeem Good Stuff (yuck). BTW, Creative Loafing is the free alternative weekly in Atlanta, Charlotte and somewhere else (?).
Old 07-31-07, 06:00 PM
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Songs from the new album played at some festival in London recently. Bad quality, but gives you an idea:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNgtKqGexF8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXYOO...elated&search=

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IKPw...elated&search=

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8Rse...elated&search=

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsAcN...elated&search=
Old 08-01-07, 01:22 PM
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I am looking forward to this. Always liked their sound and songs. I got the chance to see them live once at an outdoor festival in Michigan. It was the B-52s, Go-Gos and one other band I believe. Fun show!
Old 08-01-07, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Vryce


I am looking forward to this. Always liked their sound and songs. I got the chance to see them live once at an outdoor festival in Michigan. It was the B-52s, Go-Gos and one other band I believe. Fun show!
Cool for you, I would love to see them one day. I was offered free tickets to see them in Atlanta tonight, but we aren't quite to babysitting stage for our tot.
Old 08-01-07, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Vryce


I am looking forward to this. Always liked their sound and songs. I got the chance to see them live once at an outdoor festival in Michigan. It was the B-52s, Go-Gos and one other band I believe. Fun show!
Was it a festival or a tour? One year I saw the B's with the Go-Go's. Another year, they were with the Pretenders. Sweet double bill on both. But on one of those tours, the Psychedelic Furs opened for both. Was that the show you saw?

Anyway...I cannot WAIT to see this tour. One week from tonight for me baby. Wolf Trapp in Vienna Virginia.
Old 08-01-07, 09:18 PM
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I think it was just a tour. It was one summer and I saw them at what was the Pine Knob venue, now it is the DTE amphitheater.

The one with Psychedelic Furs opening sounds familiar. That could have been the opening band. It was a little bit ago. Maybe 98 or 99 summer season.
Old 08-01-07, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Vryce
I think it was just a tour. It was one summer and I saw them at what was the Pine Knob venue, now it is the DTE amphitheater.

The one with Psychedelic Furs opening sounds familiar. That could have been the opening band. It was a little bit ago. Maybe 98 or 99 summer season.
Yep, about that time. A great triple bill and show...wasn't it?
Old 08-01-07, 10:11 PM
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Going to see them live later this month...didn't know they had a new album!
Old 08-02-07, 02:42 AM
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i saw them with blondie..i prefered that double bill than the go go's
Old 08-02-07, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Southside
i saw them with blondie..i prefered that double bill than the go go's

With all due respect, but..... Blondie are a musical institution, for sure. But I've seen them twice in the last 10 years and they were TERRIBLE live. Possibly the worst concert(s) I've seen. It totally depressed the shit out of me because early Blondie was just sublime. Their sound, look, etc. The Go-Go's just kick major ass. They get better with age. On every level.
Old 08-02-07, 07:15 AM
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Howdy Daytripper! Thanks for posting! I've seen the B's four times and they are the most fun shows I've been to....like one big dance party.
Old 08-02-07, 07:24 AM
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Glad to see Cindy back with the group.
I saw the band awhile back - sadly during her absence - with Julee Cruise filling her shoes. Just not quite the same....


And call me goofy, but I've always liked the song 'Good Stuff'...
Old 08-02-07, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Daytripper
Yep, about that time. A great triple bill and show...wasn't it?
Yeah, it was a very fun show.

The Furs were nice to see. But the B-52s and Go-Gos really got the crowd moving and having a lot of fun. Both of those groups have an intense energy that spilled over into the crowd.


I'm going to have to keep an eye out for tour dates with the B-52s on this new cd. I would love to see them in person again.
Old 08-02-07, 09:48 AM
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I went to the Furs/B-52's/Go-Go's tour as well. It was in 2000 I think. The only bad thing was that, like any co-headlining tour, the headliners don't get enough stage time.

As for the new album, I kinda hope they go back a little more to their punk/new wave roots, and not that disco-ey dancefloor shit that made up much of Good Stuff (Mo-Dean, Hot Pants Explosion, Tell It Like It TIS, etc.)
Old 08-02-07, 09:51 AM
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I've had the exact opposite experience with Blondie. I've seen them two times in the past couple of years and they kicked ass and sounded great.
Old 08-02-07, 09:54 AM
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I like some of the tunes on "Good Stuff" as well. The more kind of spacy songs "Dreamland", "Revolution Earth", and "Vision of a Kiss".
Old 08-02-07, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 12thmonkey
Glad to see Cindy back with the group.
I saw the band awhile back - sadly during her absence - with Julee Cruise filling her shoes. Just not quite the same....


And call me goofy, but I've always liked the song 'Good Stuff'...

Good grief, where've you been? Cindy has been back with them since circa 1996 She was on the song "Debbie" and "Hallucinating Pluto" on the greatest hits album. But most importantly, has been touring with them for the past 10 years. And yes, Julee Cruise....could NOT fill Cindy's shoes. Or wig. Terrible TERRIBLE idea.

Re: the album "Good Stuff". It's most crap and filler. Save for possibly the title song. But "Revolution Earth" is just gorgeous. Kate's vocal and range still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
Old 08-02-07, 10:22 AM
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Doesn't sound like this album will be released anytime soon.
Old 08-02-07, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
Doesn't sound like this album will be released anytime soon.
Well, it *is* completed. I just think they're shopping around for the best label. Which I'm sure will be something through Warner Brothers. I expect this to be released sometime in the Fall. It better be.
Old 08-02-07, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Daytripper
Good grief, where've you been? Cindy has been back with them since circa 1996 She was on the song "Debbie" and "Hallucinating Pluto" on the greatest hits album. But most importantly, has been touring with them for the past 10 years. And yes, Julee Cruise....could NOT fill Cindy's shoes. Or wig. Terrible TERRIBLE idea.
Well, she wasn't on the Fur/Go-Gos tour I saw around Time Capsule period, and that was within the last ten years.
Old 08-02-07, 11:56 AM
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I read on their official site somewhere that they plan on releasing it early next year.
Old 08-02-07, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 12thmonkey
Well, she wasn't on the Fur/Go-Gos tour I saw around Time Capsule period, and that was within the last ten years.

She must've been ill. Because she was in my show. And I saw them twice that summer. What city was this?
Old 08-02-07, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by cdollaz
I read on their official site somewhere that they plan on releasing it early next year.
Can we talk about their official site for a moment? Just how pitiful is THAT? I mean, these guys are punk and alternative music pioneers and that's the best they could come up with!? Nary an update the entire time recording the new album. Very disappointed in their webmaster. He (or she) has not responded to one e-mail I've sent asking for status or when I had a question. I hope they hire someone more professional and artistic once the new album is released. And yes, I too read early 2008. But that is just ridiculous if the album is complete. It's August for crying out loud.
Old 08-02-07, 02:50 PM
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Yeah, not a very informative website. Better than the Violent Femmes site though. Have you been to that piece of shit?

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