As long as we're turning our attention to music (and now that the 2006 summer concert season is winding down in New York City), it comes as a bit of a shock that all of a sudden the gates seem to be opening up to finally allow some of the best bands from the other side of the pond to tour in the United States (last year we wrote of our disappointment that the Department of Homeland Security did not give chanteuse Alison Moyet a visa to the United States in time to promote her latest all-covers album, Voice, and to date we don't know that she ever made it here). So, without further ado, a primer:
*** ZERO 7 ($30/$27 adv. plus transaction fees, Webster Hall, Sept. 15 & 16): Sometimes a band appears out of nowhere with a unique sound and wows just about everyone. This is the case with Zero 7 who released the chilled-out world-wide smash "Simple Things" back in 2001. Somehow they still never have quite seemed to live up to their fans' expectations with their two subsequent releases, "When It Falls" (2004) and this year's "The Garden." OK, I'll give it to the fans, while "When it Fails" had some stunners ("Warm Sounds,""Home," "Morning Song") it sounded a bit like a band seeking some direction. But with this year's "The Garden" they have definitely found it: I'd say it's their best album and easily one of the top five CD's of the year. Should be a memorable couple of sets. YouTube high-lights: "Destiny," "I Have Seen," "Distractions," "In the Waiting Line," "Somersault," "Left Behind," "Waiting to Die," "Home," "You're My Flame."
*** BASEMENT JAXX ($35/$30 adv. plus transaction fees, Webster Hall, Oct. 10 & 11th): What can you say about the Jaxx? Here in the States people are probably most familiar with the video of their hit "Where's Your Head At?" with human-headed monkeys running amok in a scientist's lab. Or perhaps it's the joyous "Do Your Thing" which was used for a plethora of commercials. Or maybe for their remix of Missy Elliot's "4 My People." But, simply, there are just no words to describe just how fantastic they are. Last we saw them, they were performing at Central Park's summer stage with a full bevvy of buxom and feathered Brazilian dancers and just blowing the place up. Raucous, infectious, insane and groundbreaking, it's an unmissable event. Better yet, the New York appearance is to back the slated Sept. 12 release of a brand new CD, Crazy Itch Radio which features "Hush Boy!" (hilarious video here) and the hyper-active double-step horn parade shout out "Hey You" (which you can preview on their MySpace page).
*** GOLDFRAPP ($30 plus transaction fees, Roseland Ballroom, Oct. 18): See picture above? Checked out their MySpace? Number 1? Oh, La La? Enough said, be there, or be square.
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