Thursday, September 1, 2011

Concert pick: Human League back with long-awaited album+tour

photo courtesy: MuseBox
For Southern Californians looking to get their retro music fix, The Human League plays the Dreamcatcher at Viejas Casino in Alpine tonight with Men Without Hats and Friday at the Hollywood Bowl with the B-52's, Berlin and The Fixx. 

Others can see The Human League on the dates below. 
Phil Oakley's icy baritone, meshed with the warm vocal harmonies of Joanne Catherall and Susan Sulley plus some innovative synth music (courtesy early members Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh) helped make The Human League one of the most memorable new wave groups to emerge from Britain in the late '70s. 

1981's Dare, the most successful record, was the sound of synthesizers mixed with a DIY spirit and marked the end of the post-punk era. David Bowie once called The Human League “the sound of the future.” Lady Gaga, Madonna, Moby, Pet Shop Boys and Robbie Williams have all cited the group as an influence.  

Even the current dubstep generation – notably the acclaimed Darkstar, who cover the League’s 1982 B-side "You Remind Me Of Gold" on their current album, North – have started to pay homage to the original sound of Sheffield, UK.

A new generation of synth-driven female pop artists have gotten in on the League-adoring act too: La Roux is a known admirer of the electro pioneers; Little Boots requested Oakey’s input on her debut album. 

After nine studio albums, four EPs, 29 UK singles — including several top 10 hits in England ("Don't You Want Me," "Keep Feeling Fascination," "Human," "Mirror Man," "Together in Electric Dreams") and over 20 million records sold worldwide — The Human League are finally back with Credo. It is their first new material in a decade. 

Produced by fellow Sheffield pop experimentalists I Monster, Credo’s style often recalls the early days. Album opener and first U.S. single "Never Let Me Go" is both joyful and robotic a la 
Kraftwerk, while the disco pop of “Night People” is a glorious ode to those who live their lives after hours in search of the endless party. With its build up of prominent bassline and the delayed entry of Catherall’s lead vocal, it is as strong as anything The Human League have done.

Then there's the nocturnal drama of "Sound Of The Crowd," where the ladies’ voices prove you don’t have to bellow and blare to emote. "Sky" is evocative as any acoustic troubadour, "Got To Do" refers to “startled simians” and harks back to the “sericulture” of "Being Boiled."

“We’re peculiar,” says Sulley. “People think pop music is 'X Factor' and we’re still hankering after a Roxy-Bowie-Donna Summer-Chic version of pop. We don’t fit in. There are three of us, two of whom have never written a song and are pretty average singers, plus we’ve got a lead singer who doesn’t consider himself a singer at all and can’t play any instruments very well.

"Yet we still think of ourselves as a pop group," she continues. "If a market research group got hold of us, they’d change absolutely everything. We shouldn’t have gone on as long as we have – we should have ‘gone rock’ by now, like Depeche Mode, Simple Minds and U2 did. But we’re still a pop group.” 

Credo is available now digitally; the physical release date in America is Sept. 13

9/01 - San Diego, CA @ Viejas
9/02 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Hollywood Bowl
9/03 - Sausolito, CA @ Sausolito Arts Festival
9/04 – Las Vegas, NV @ Mandalay Bay
9/07 - Lincoln, CA @ Thunder Valley Casino Resort
9/08 – Saratoga, CA @ Mountain Winery
9/09 - Jacksonville, OR @ Britt Festival
9/10 – Woodinville, WA @ Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
9/11 - Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
9/15 – Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
9/16 - Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre
9/17 - Chicago, IL @ Oysterfest
9/18 - Toronto, ON @ Guvernment
9/20 - Buffalo, NY @ Riviera Theatre
9/21 - Philadelphia, PA @ Keswick Theatre
9/22 - Boston, MA @ House of Blues
9/23 – New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater

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