Main | Monday, October 06, 2008

Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of the artist, this week's fab Swag Tuesday giftie is The Death Of The Paperboy, the new and fantastic double CD by superstar remixer/DJ Rich Morel.

If you've been to a dance club this century, you've shaken your groove thing to Morel's chart-topping remixes for Cyndi Lauper, Yoko Ono, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Pet Shop Boys, New Order and numerous others. And many of you will know Morel for Blowoff, the wildly popular gay dance party that he has been touring around the nation with co-DJ Bob Mould (aka the godfather of punk). Morel also performs as the keyboardist in the Bob Mould Band, which just finished a world tour.

Shane Percy writes in Xtra about The Death Of The Paperboy:
"Shoegazer disco" is how Richard Morel, aka Morel, describes the sound of his outstanding new project The Death of the Paperboy. Morel, who has been doing remixes for years under the name Pink Noise, has just released this, his fifth album, the follow-up to 2004's outstanding Lucky Strike. Morel's credentials are second to none: He's been behind some of the best remixes of the past decade, for the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Le Tigre, New Order and most recently a handful of tracks from Cyndi Lauper's excellent new dance album. His masterful blending of dance and rock have made him one of the most sought-after remixer/producers of our time and The Death of the Paperboy marks his strongest album of original material yet.

On the double-disc Paperboy, Morel musically separates his trademark mix of dance and rock. Disc one is pop-rock song oriented, while on disc two (dubbed "Disc-O." Get it?), Morel lets his dancefloor inclinations shine with amped-up, discofied versions of what's on disc one.

The separation of musical styles is intriguing indeed. Stripped of beats and effects, Morel's songcraft really stands out. On Anymore, Anymore he sings, "We can go for a walk/ And talk about the things that bring you down/ Like heaven and martinis/ And boys that hang around." Morel sings about modern life from a gay man's perspective, without for a second being camp or ironic. His plaintive voice is a bit of a sexy growl, but a captivating, meditative one at that. He's got the shoegazer part right.
It's been four long years since Morel's last solo album, the dark and brooding Lucky Strike, which became my soundtrack for that fall and will always remind me of moving to the Upper East Side. In 2006, he and Bob Mould released Blowoff, a dance-rock gem that didn't leave the player of my rental car for the week I was spending in San Francisco that fall for Folsom Street Fair. A friend of mine commented, "This music is always going to smell like leather to you from now on." Funny how that works. Similarly, I took my advance copy of Paperboy to Berlin last month and I suppose the songs on it will always smell like schnitzel. And leather. You know what I mean.

As noted in the review above, The Death Of The Paperboy is two discs, the second of which contains remixes of the first and a fantastic cover of David Bowie's Sweet Thing. It also features my favorite song of 2008, Shoegazer Disco, a lovely, haunted, wistful bit of dance gloriousness that Lady iTunes tells me I've already played 81 times.

There’s a moment when everything changes.
A split second from which point everything that follows
Is forever different from what came just an instant before
Sometimes it’s a phone call
Sometimes it’s a handshake
Sometimes it’s a look in your best friend's eyes
You never expect it
You never forget the moment
When for the first time you realize that you can’t go back
Ever again

The Death Of The Paperboy is now available on CD and at iTunes. You can stream tracks from album here. (Start with Shoegazer Disco!) Blowoff returns to NYC this Sunday for a special Columbus Day Weekend party at Chelsea's Highline Ballroom. Advance tickets are strongly recommended as the joint is usually at capacity by midnight.

Enter to win your copy of Rich Morel's The Death Of The Paperboy by commenting on this post. Only enter once and please remember to leave an email address you check frequently. Entries close at midnight on Wednesday. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.

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