Cat Power Purrs Back Lizzie Goodman of Blender spins new music from Cat Power, Hot Chip, Cassie, and The Teenagers.
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Cat Power Purrs Back

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Cat Power Purrs Back


Music Reviews

Cat Power Purrs Back

Cat Power Purrs Back

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Lizzie Goodman of Blender spins new music from Cat Power, Hot Chip, Cassie, and The Teenagers.


That music in your iPod right now is so 2007, might as well be in 8-track. But don't worry, a lot of good stuff is coming up in 2008. And we've got a guide, a person actually, to look forward to what's going to be hot this year. It's Lizzie Goodman, editor at large of Blender magazine. And we put together 2008 rock and roll user's guide.

Hey, Lizzie, how are you doing?

Ms. LIZZIE GOODMAN (Editor at Large, Blender): Very well. How are you?

PESCA: I'm pretty good.

Ms. GOODMAN: Good.

PESCA: And I got even more excited when I found out that Cat Power is coming out with a new release.


PESCA: It's an album called "Jukebox."


PESCA: It's a covers record. Before we hear a bit, what's your philosophy on cover records?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, there's a lot to pull off on a covers record, you know? The song selection and then execution, are you going to do it in the classic style, the original person who made it famous, are you going to change it up a little bit. And the reason that Cat Power is so fantastic at this is that she does a little bit of both. She makes - she really reinvents the songs to sort of reflect her insensibility that also has this great quality of homage to whoever first popularized it. So it's a kind of perfect combination.

PESCA: Okay. Let's hear the - I think, this is the first track of that album. I think you'll know the song.

(Soundbite of song, "New York, New York")

Ms. CHAN MARSHALL (Singer, Cat Power): (Singing) Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today. I want to be a part of it - New York, New York.

These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray…

PESCA: She's actually covering Lisa Minnelli there, right?

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah, or Frank Sinatra (unintelligible).

PESCA: Well, I think Sinatra covered Minnelli, right after the movie.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yes. I mean, it's a standard, and both of them, neither of them wrote it. But they, you know, each of them had sort of a moment in making that song famous for their own repertoire. But now, she's doing it. She's taking it on and sort of who thought that that song would sound dirty and bluesy.


I know. I'm kind of on bored with that.

Ms. GOODMAN: I know, right? It's always a good one if dirty and bluesy, that's my motto. But…

PESCA: I checked out the other tracks. This is the most - well, a lot of the other songs are more obscure, I would say.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. There - I mean, she's not - she hasn't done on her last cover's record, you know, there is "Satisfaction." She hasn't done any, you know, the sort of most recognizable song for many particular artists…

PESCA: Right.

Ms. GOODMAN: …canned in. But she's - you know, she covers herself on this cover's album, which I think is really cool. She's done that before, and it's interesting to see her sort of reinterpret an older song of hers. And she has one original song on this album. So it - there's really a lot of stuff to be excited about. And she said that she had so many covers during this session that when she was recording this that there may be another cover's record on the horizon. So we've got a lot coming from Cat Power.

PESCA: That's cool. I love that. And I love in the live show when a band and you know all their songs, throws out a cover…


PESCA: …and really connects with you. Let's talk about another new record, Hot Chip.


PESCA: What can you tell us about this band?

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, they are - they're really hot. They've had a huge success with their last record, which came out in 2006. They won the Mercury Prize. They had - they've had sort of just a big profile, big emergence as this really rad, electro-pop band from England.

PESCA: All right.

Ms. GOODMAN: And a lot of people are really impressed with them. And they have - they're now coming out with their third album. And for this third record, they've kind of gone taking the kind of geeky since pop thing, what they've done and added some Black Sabbath. So it's kind of - it's got a cool mix of being different enough from what they've done before that it's interesting but not so different that you're going where's my Hot Chip?

PESCA: Right. So maybe not I am Iron Man, but I am talc man, a little more sensitive. Here's - bring it up a little bit. Let's hear it.

(Soundbite of song, "Ready for the Floor")

Ms. ALEXIS TAYLOR (Singer, Hot Chip): (Singing) You might take this dance. I can't hear your voice, do I have a choice?

Mr. JOE GODDARD (Singer, Hot Chip): (Singing) You're sinking below. I'm using my force.

Ms. TAYLOR: (Singing) I'm hoping with chance, you might take this dance…

PESCA: So Jacob Ganz, who is our director and true music aficionado, he really likes these guys. He says - he described it as sensitive dance kids music. And he's kind of a sensitive dance kitty(ph), plays a lot of it on the show. What do you like about it?

Ms. GOODMAN: That's pretty accurate. It is sensitive dance music. I mean, it's very - a lot of sort of electro stuff or explicitly dancee(ph) music, can be kind of austere. And this is very, very human band. It feels very pastoral and warm. But there's also - it's also a dance music. And so it's kind of - it's really - that's what makes them original. That what makes the people listen to them and go, wow, this is really something special.

STEWART: I will say, though, I do have sort of a parachute pants flashback.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Kind of Fiorucci's, late '80s thing…

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah. And what's wrong with that?

STEWART: …when I hear that. No judgment. I'm just saying that's what it brings up for me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GOODMAN: I'm wearing my parachute pants right now, you know.

PESCA: I'm thinking may be big Benetton sweater with bold stripes. That's a couple of years later.

Ms. GOODMAN: Oh, guys, I got to get all this stuff on my closet.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: One artist who made the Blender 2008 rock and roll user's guide is Cassie.

Ms. GOODMAN: Mm-hmm.

PESCA: She had a hit with the song "Me & U." She's one of these models/performers and a Sean Diddy protege.



Ms. GOODMAN: Do I hear a hint of disdain in your voices?

PESCA: You know, I try not to prejudge so what I did is I listen to some of the music.

STEWART: Mm-hmm.

PESCA: Let's check it out.

(Soundbite of song, "Me & U")

CASSIE (Singer): (Singing) I was waiting for you to tell me you were ready. I know what to do, if only you would let me. As long as you're cool with it…

PESCA: That's her big song "Me & U." So I didn't prejudge, I post-judged. And I guess it's good for what it is, right?

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah.

PESCA: I mean, 18-year-old girls are really like this.

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, yeah. And, you know, I mean, the thing about her is that she's really kind of an unknown in a lot of place like she came out, she doesn't stick(ph) with her self-titled album and she's very young. And yes, she has this modeling path and this sort of big connections in the business, and that song became a hit, but the record didn't do all that much. And she wasn't - she was sort of chastised for not being particularly good lives.

And now, she's back and she's serious. So she says and she's out to sort of make her mark and she's a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and she's still affiliated with big people in the business. The beat is all over this record and Kanye West is putting(ph) something for the album. And, you know, she's really trying to sort of reconnect with the audience she started with that track. And it could be one of those things where the album is fantastic. It's just going to be a runaway, you know? And she has the capacity to that. We'll just see what happens.

STEWART: And Rihanna opened the door wide open for some unlike with Cassie.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah, this is (unintelligible) the time…

STEWART: Stuck her umbrella…

PESCA: Yeah.

STEWART: … in the door and opened it up.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: You know, I think beautiful chanteuses have a long history in the music industry. I guess, you know, I was reading - she's very popular. She was a big YouTube - no way, a big Facebook sensation. And she had, you know, these social networking sites behind her.

STEWART: Mm-hmm.

PESCA: But I was reading the iTune reviews and they were kind of down on her. A lot of them said aside from the song, this is her last album.

Ms. GOODMAN: Mm-hmm.

PESCA: Aside from the big song "Me & U," there was nothing else worthwhile there. Do you - I mean, I get the impression that Sean Puffy Combs can just pretty much say, all right, I'll give a number one single, but beyond that, you got to do the heavy lifting yourself.

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, if she's the test case for that, that seems to be the truth. But the good thing is that she is sort of coming out of the gate with this new record saying I'm ready to do that, the heavy lifting. And you got to applaud her for that. And it's one of those situations where it's just an interesting examination of what could be huge. It really could go either way and she has the makings. But, yeah, she's got to do it herself. So we'll see what happens.

PESCA: All right. I want to do one thing where we call in the business, we tease the segment. Let's play a little bit of sound from a band called - what do we got? The Teenagers here?


PESCA: Oh, okay. So let's not play the Teenagers here.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Because, you know, if we were to play the Teenagers here, I think everyone will go out and buy their records and not continue with us. So can you hang around for a little bit, we'll finish up our talk of some of the best music that's coming out, most anticipated music that's coming out in 2008.

Can you stick with us for second there, Lizzie?

Ms. GOODMAN: Sure.

PESCA: All right. And as I promised, we will be back on THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT in just a moment. Stick around.

(Soundbite of song, "Ready for the Floor")

Ms. TAYLOR: (Singing) Stand carving up the wall. Why don't you open up with all? I am ready, I am ready for a fall. Stand carving up the wall…

(Soundbite of song, "Starlett Johansson")

THE TEENAGERS (Singing Group): (Singing) I know you're born in '84.

PESCA: That is the French band called the Teenagers. And we're back talking with Lizzie…

STEWART: Goodman.

PESCA: …Goodman of Blender magazine. I was just trying to think what was your title, the editor at large.


PESCA: So here she is. You're at large.

Ms. GOODMAN: I am at large.

PESCA: I guess The Teenagers are at large. They're this French band. This song was this YouTube and it's called "Starlett Johansson." I…

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah.

PESCA: I like it. It's got a great hook. What can you tell me about The Teenagers?

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, they're, you know, they're - like you said, they're this French band in their mid-20s, a bunch of sort of really cheeky sort of - probably adolescent dudes who obviously have a crush on Scarlett Johansson. And…

PESCA: Who doesn't?

Ms. GOODMAN: …which doesn't really make them in any kind of minority. But…

PESCA: You think so.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GOODMAN: …this song is just really the kind of things that draws a lot of attention to an artist. They're - it's cheeky. It's funny. It's silly. You know, they're making all these jokes in the press about how they try to get her for the video. But somehow, she wasn't available, you know?

And it's just fun. This is what sort of bratty, in the grand tradition of bratty adolescent rock that also happens to be really kind of charming that (unintelligible).

PESCA: What I want to ask you about in the history of rock and roll, has - I can't think of a French band that really broke big here. Can you?

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, I mean, broke big is I guess a loose term.

PESCA: Okay, broke le grand.

Ms. GOODMAN: Air comes to mind but not really big. I mean, no, French rock has its tradition of being sort of like understated, very electro, very kind of not brawny in your face, which is what we tend to like in America a lot of the time. And they have a different kind of sound, I mean. They sing in English. They really - they sound a little bit like they could be from Britain and we'll see what happens. And this song is really funny. And like you said, it's been all over the place. The video is already the place on YouTube.

PESCA: Yeah. Let's just hear it a little more.

(Soundbite of song, "Starlett Johansson")

THE TEENAGERS: (Singing) I felt sad for 30 seconds. Oh, when I noticed for Josh Hartnett, I prayed for 40 nights.

PESCA: You're right. They're funny. And not in the way the French think Jerry Lewis is funny. They're funny funny.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Look, there are some household name bands that are coming out with records. Madonna is coming out with one. Sheryl Crow is coming out with one.

Ms. GOODMAN: Mm-hmm.

PESCA: Metallica. People don't realize. I think I read Metallica's one of the top five biggest selling artists of all-time. I think their…

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah.

PESCA: I think their last LP "St. Anger" wasn't that as big seller because they had a documentary about it. Do we expect good things from the new Metallica record?

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah, sure. And they've - they're not working with their usual producer anymore. They're working with Rick Rubin. And when a band hires Rick Rubin, that means they're in it for, in it to me is something fantastic, something big. So, you know, at any time he collaborates with an artist of their caliber, you're expecting something really interesting to come about. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to that. And I loved the movie. I thought the movie was hysterical. But apparently now, they're all getting along so we're not going to see anymore…

PESCA: Right.

Ms. GOODMAN: …anymore films about their concert.

STEWART: Oh, that's just because they haven't been working together.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: You just wait.

Ms. GOODMAN: Give it time.

STEWART: Lars, Lars, lot of Lars.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Yes, Lars and Hetfield…

STEWART: Think about that.

PESCA: …in separate rooms once they get together.

Ms. GOODMAN: Oh, boy.

PESCA: My little Danish friend, I believe, as he was called in the movie.


PESCA: Well, thanks. Lizzie Goodman, editor at large of Blender magazine. The 2008 user's guide to rock and roll in the Web site. Thank, Lizzie.

Ms. GOODMAN: Thank you so much for having me.

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