There aren’t many big name, major label recording artists these days that cause me to get excited when I hear they’ve got a new album coming out . . . but The Chemical Brothers are one such group. Throw me in a car with a good stereo system and a couple of Chemical Brothers’s discs and I can drive and drive and drive and be happy while I do it. Unlike most techno/electro artists, the Chems have an amazing sense of melody and dynamic scope . . . they make good singles, but they make great albums, ones that build and grow over their duration, and actually seem to hold together as coherent works of art, rather than an assortment of disconnected short bits. Good stuff.
Their new record, Push the Button, continues their long-standing habit of featuring guest vocalists, although there’s far more of an urban/hip-hop flavor to the guest list this time out there than has been in the past. Plus . . . (and this was the reason for the title of this post) . . . a great Albany-bred and based composer-singer named Sara Ayers is prominently sampled on “Come Inside,” one of the best tracks on the album. Sara has curated two excellent art shows for me at the C+CC, and has performed live as part of each exhibition. She’s great to work with, and makes great music. I commend the Chemical Brothers for recognizing that.
On another local music note, if you have ever played in a band or are thinking about playing in a band, you need to click the link to the left and read former Albanian Jed Davis‘s ongoing blog history of his Albany band, The Hanslick Rebellion. Go back to the entries that begin January 23 and read forward to catch up. I had planned at one point to work with Jed on a book-length treatment of his music career to date, but that fell through for a variety of internal and external reasons . . . but I think at the core of it not happening was my knowledge that Jed really tells the story a lot better than I would have. Anyway . . . the Hanslick Rebellion were an extraordinary band. And their methodologies and plans of attack (both musical and nonmusical) were smart and well-executed. Read and heed, wannabe rockers.