THE VINYL WORD: GOGOL BORDELLO'S ALBUM 'PURA VIDA CONSPIRACY'

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Internationally renowned gypsy punk rock group Gogol Bordello return with their sixth full-length album Pura Vida Conspiracy. Produced by Andrew Scheps, the new album was recorded in El Paso, Texas at Sonic Ranch Studios and is a powerful collection of 12 surging new songs.

The album’s title is derived from a Spanish slang phrase for “pure life,” which is a theme that resonates throughout the new material.  The disc’s opener, “We Rise Again,” introduces the album’s limitless, all-embracing themes instantly, centered on a chorus of “Borders are scars on face of the planet.” The new songs are infused with ideas rooted in Eastern philosophy but also search for a means of joining fragmented parts and persons, and of creating a worldwide consciousness.

“For me music is a way to explore human potential,” frontman Eugene Hutz says. “And that’s my main interest in life – human potential. Everyone knows there’s something inside of us that we’re not using. How do we get it? How do we reach it?  Every single person knows that there’s something and nobody knows what it is. So at one point I said to myself, I’m gonna get down and get it.”

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DAVID LYNCH'S 'THE BIG DREAM' AND OTHER NEW CD RECOMMENDATIONS!

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The blues have been a part of David Lynch’s art for years: pieces from Angelo Badalamenti’s scores, likeFire Walk with Me’s “The Pink Room,” are dominated by time-tested chord progressions and moody atmospheres, while projects like Blue Bob demonstrated Lynch’s formidable guitar skills. All of which is to say that his second album, The Big Dream, should sound familiar to his fans, even as it pushes the blues’ boundaries. These songs are as far removed from many other artists’ bluesy dabblings as they are from Lynch’s solo debut Crazy Clown Time. That album, which spanned industrial-tinged dance music and wild spoken word pieces, was the musical equivalent of his meat sculptures, a bold showcase for the extremes of his surrealism. Fittingly, The Big Dream is blurred around the edges and wrapped in a melancholy fog; the closing track “Are You Sure” is the kind of hazily wistful song Julee Cruise would have sung at one point in Lynch’s career. However, he makes the most of his midwestern twang, using its earthiness to contrast and highlight the dream logic of songs like “Last Call,” a strange but successful blend of quirk and heartache. Lynch also imbues his cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad of Hollis Brown” with creeping decay and despair that pays tribute to both artists’ work (and it’s interesting to note that there’s a similarly pinched quality to both of their voices). While he spends most of The Big Dream in this somber territory, he also remembers that the blues can be fun with “Say It”‘s roadhouse feel and the sexy, rollicking “Star Dream Girl.” The album often works best when Lynch uses elements of the genre as a jumping-off point for his experiments, as on “The Wishin’ Well”‘s shimmery electro mirage or “The Line It Curves,” which features some of his most sophisticated songwriting yet. Even if his take on the blues is far from straightforward, this might be the most accessible set of songs associated with Lynch to date. In its own hypnotic way, The Big Dream honors the blues’ lust for life and its lonely heart.-AllMusic

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NEW RELEASE OF THE WEEK: PET SHOP BOYS' NEWEST ALBUM 'ELECTRIC'

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“Everything about tonight feels right and so young,” sings 58-year-old Neil Tennant on Vocal. “And everything I want to say out loud will be sung.” As his thin yet perennially yearning voice lingers, 53-year-old Chris Lowe’s synths throb and rush, breaking over the relentless beat in big Balearic waves of ecstasy. It is a perfect encapsulation of the communal, near spiritual rapture of great dance music, wrapped up in a blissed-out, fist-pumping techno anthem. For a couple of late-middle-aged men on their 12th album in nearly 30 years, the Pet Shop Boys sound like they are having a really good time.
Just last year, on Elysium, their last album with major label Parlophone, the long-serving electropop duo sounded adrift and even a little bitter, with an over-smooth American disco production and songs about their fading appeal. Maybe they were saving all the good stuff for their own new label, X2. Electric has a spring in its dance steps, marrying the single-mindedness and bright beats of club culture with their own characteristic melodiousness, finely attuned sense of song structure and slightly detached air of being both in the song and above it.
The Pet Shop Boys have always treated trashy pop as a form of art. Tennant’s strongest lyrics manage a difficult blend of ironic awareness and complete engagement, enabling songs to release genuine emotion in satirical situations. Electric is an album of neatly observed tracks about nightlife; a tableau of unrequited desire, impossible love and inevitable heartbreak, that sounds like just the kind of thing to dance away your troubles to.
It must be odd being electropop veterans who have seen the future take shape in their own image. Their vintage synths have a kind of brash colourfulness and melodic emphasis that separates them from the aggressively disjointed attack of the boldest new beats, yet the 21st-century Pet Shop Boys still sound decidedly modern. Producer Stuart Price (Madonna, The Killers) is a very good fit, balancing textures and colours while maintaining constant underlying movement. Fluorescent is weird and mesmeric, awash with shimmering sound effects and pulsing on an orgasmic vocal gasp, while a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s The Last to Die is typically mischievous, turning the rock icon’s post-Iraq belter into a sleek pop anthem about domestic dysfunction. An instant standout is Thursday, which has all the hallmarks of an Eighties classic given a contemporary edge by the perfectly pitched interjections of British rapper Example.-The Telegraph