Placebo (formed 1994)
Placebo is an English rock band whose famous hits include 'Nancy Boy' and 'Pure Morning'. The band is made up of Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Forrest.
Formation: Placebo formed when Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal met in London. Olsdal attended Molko's gig and they went on to form Ashtray Heart. They soon enlisted drummer Robert Schultzberg and became Placebo.
Musical career: Placebo released their self-titled debut album in 1996; it reached number 5 in the UK charts and featured the single 'Nancy Boy'. The band fired Schultzberg in 1995, but was brought back for the single 'Bruise Pristine'. He left for good in 1996. He was subsequently replaced by Steve Hewitt. 1996 saw the band support David Bowie on his Outside Tour, and they received further recognition for their T-Rex cover '20th Century Boy' for 'Velvet Goldmine' in which they also made an appearance. Bowie appeared on the single 'Without You I'm Nothing'; the title track from their second album released in 1998 through Virgin Records. The lead single from their next album was the hit 'Pure Morning' which, along with 'You Don't Care About Us', became successful in the UK despite some negative press. In 2000, they released third album 'Black Market Music' which featured a cover of Depeche Mode's 'I Feel You' and the singles 'Taste in Men' and 'Slave to the Wage'. Their fourth album was 'Sleeping With Ghosts', released in 2003 which sold 1.4 million copies globally and was followed by tours in Australia and the UK alongside Elbow and Har Mar Superstar respectively. In 2004, they released live DVD 'Soulmates Never Die (Live in Paris 2003)' followed by compilation album 'Once More with Feeling: Singles 1996-2004'. In 2005, they performed for Live 8 with the songs 'Twenty Years' and 'The Bitter End'. The following year they also released fifth album 'Meds' with lead single 'Because I Want You'. It also featured 'Meds' with Alison Mosshart and 'Broken Promise' with Michael Stipe. The album topped the charts in France. In 2006, they signed to Astralwerks and re-released their debut album with new tracks 'UNEEDMEMORETHANINEEDU', 'Lazarus' amd a Kate Bush cover, 'Running Up that Hill'. They took part in 2007's Projekt: Revolution tour alongside Linkin Park. That year, Hewitt was replaced by Steve Forrest. They released their next album 'Battle for the Sun' in 2009, produced by David Bottrill. The title track was released as a free download, during which time they also performed in London in a secret gig. The first official single was 'For What It's Worth', and that year they also released live album 'iTunes Live: London Festival '09'. They went on a world tour but one show in Greece was poorly received by the audience. In 2011, they released live album 'We Come in Pieces' and the following year headlined Sundance Film and Music Festival as well as releasing their B3 EP which was later re-released for Record Store Day 2013. In 2013, they also released seventh album 'Loud Like Love', produced by Adam Noble, which was followed by a world tour. (Written by Contactmusic)
We'll see you in line at this year's Record Store Day, bigger and better than ever.
The vinyl list has been released for this year's Record Store Day, which will be celebrated by 240 independent music shops throughout the UK with over 600 exclusive releases available. More big-name acts than ever before have lent their music to the unique event, which is designed to save the nation's record shops from the threat of online shopping and big corporations.
Californian Sister Trio Haim Are Contributing Vinyl-Based Music To Record Store Day 2014.
Placebo, Green Day, Outkast, Bombay Bicycle Club, Chvrches, Disclosure, Dinosaur Jr, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Jake Bugg, The Flaming Lips, Elbow, Fleetwood Mac, Haim, Richard Hawley, and Johnny Cash represent just a handful of the most high profile LP or EP releases this year with an eclectic range of genres for music fans to flick through.
With their cult following made up of fans that have supported the band throughout their nineteen years, it was no wonder the pre-show vibes around Brixton Academy were electric. Playing their first of two sold out shows in this legendary venue, Placebo, it seemed, could do nothing to disappoint their fans.
Opening with a new track it was clear from the beginning that the star of the show would of course be charismatic front man Brian Molko. With the spotlight well and truly on him, the singer danced and twisted his way through their near two hour set engaging with the crowd very little verbally yet still managing to come across as open and thankful towards his adoring onlookers with his constant wide smiles and unfaltering stage presence. His distinctive voice, still as prominent as ever, was without a doubt the most impressive thing about the gig. It's immediately recognisable and sends shivers down your spine.
Despite playing very few of their hit singles, nearly every word was sung out loud by this buoyant audience. Most notably missing were 'Nancy Boy' and 'Pure Morning', however this can be forgiven as 'Every You Every Me' turned this already lively crowd into a moshpit as they uncontrollably jumped around the floor. 'Running Up That Hill' unsurprisingly caused the same effect as this Kate Bush cover was performed somewhat more forcefully than usual. This was truly the highlight of the gig. 'Meds' whipped the punters into a frenzy as all three guitarists made their way to the edge of the stage feeling every word and rift whilst lapping up the excitable cheers. At the back of the stage, drummer Steve Forrest and Fiona Brice were outstanding throughout. If the crowd needed warming up - which they didn't - 'Too Many Friends' would have certainly done the job. Full of energy and ending with feedback from Molko's guitar, the strobe lighting and graphics were barely needed as the band provided the energy for this one. 'Special K' also made an appearance; a song so typical of the talent Molko possesses in his song writing - his dark, deep and astonishingly honest lyrics have become so popular and needed by followers - that their desire to let Molko know they were listening was overwhelming.
Continue reading: Placebo - Brixton Academy, 16th December 2013 Live Review
Placebo's seventh studio album, and their first full-length effort to be released by Universal, is a significantly less daunting proposition than much of their back catalogue. On first inspection, 'Loud Like Love' boasts a more positive title than the likes of 'Meds' and 'Battle For The Sun'. Equally, the record's technicolour artwork signals a creative shift for the three-piece on the eve of their twentieth anniversary. While the doom and gloom hasn't been completely washed away and the musical formula remains largely unchanged, there's a feeling the band has grown up. Less teenage angst and more mid life crisis, 'Loud Like Love' is enjoyable but not remarkable.
The re-birth that opener and title track 'Loud Like Love' seems to allude to, with Brian Molko's mantra of "breathe, breathe, believe", is somewhat of a false prophecy as the album progresses. But while the band doesn't stretch itself, there are subtle changes and touches that add to the feeling that this is a band coming to terms with the last two decades. Molko's voice isn't quite reaching the high notes he used to, but his delivery is as impressive as ever. However, when he does try to be more experimental with a spoken word section on 'Hold On To Me', it does feel a little misplaced. Meanwhile, the familiar guitar hooks are still as catchy and urgent as ever, without the album sounding like a band simply going through the motions. But it's Steve Forrest's drums that seem to elevate much of the material here. Various percussive tricks and samples are used to great effect. For example, the handclaps that ground 'Scene Of The Crime' or the ominous and distorted drum machine that opens 'Exit Wounds'.
There's a certain irony when Molko sings "This is my last communiqué down the super highway. All that I have to say in a single tome" on lead single 'Too Many Friends'. He's highlighting the isolating experience of online social networking and its sanitised version of human interaction, yet this is a band which launched the album on YouTube; perhaps Molko feels the sentiment is made stronger by the captive online audience that Placebo has nurtured. But it's also that feeling of disconnection that makes 'Loud Like Love' sound middle aged. Later on, in 'A Million Little Pieces', Molko crystallises the central problem with the album: "Whenever I was feeling wrong, I used to go and write a song from my heart. But now I feel I've lost my spark, no more glowing in the dark for my heart." While much of the material here is good, it lacks the rough edges (both musically and emotionally) that made Placebo so compelling in the late nineties.
Continue reading: Placebo - Loud Like Love Album Review
Coldplay live CD/DVD Cover
Albums of Note... Coldplay’s Live 2012 album shows a band far more at ease with themselves than their previous live release, from 2003. The Live 2012 package includes both blu-ray and CD. The footage is punctuated by behind-the-scenes interludes and these excerpts showcase each band member’s enthusiasm for their live shows as well as revealing how the material from Mylo Xyloto evolved over time and culminated with them band playing to a vast stadium audiences across the globe. “Live 2012 includes some nice musical moments... the low-key piano intro to 'Yellow', a guest appearance from Rihanna during 'Princess Of China', and the stripped back intimacy of 'Us Against The World'. All of the other elements of big choruses and sing-along's spanning the entire Coldplay back catalogue are present and correct… and Chris Martin's voice seems to have found a renewed strength to cope with the massive venues the band now fills.”
The B3 EP is the first original collection music released by Placebo since 2009 and, for many months, the band had their fans on tenterhooks. They stated on their Facebook page earlier his year that they had begun work on their 7th studio album but were hoping to release some songs before the year was out. B3 contains those songs.
What made Placebo great in the '90s was a sense of humour, albeit wallowing in the murky waters of post-punk, but their most famous songs 'Pure Morning', 'Every You and Every Me' and 'Nancy Boy' were quintessentially funny. Funny in the way that emo music is always funny. Classic lyrics like, "My hearts a tart, your body's rent" or "A friend with breasts and all the rest, A friend who's dressed in leather" are undeniably tongue in cheek. That seems to be what was lost on their last album, Battle for the Sun, which was, emphatically, not received well particularly by fans.
However, B3 seems be something of a return to form. Drawled lyrics of "A friend in need's a friend indeed, A friend with weed is better" defined the teenage experience of the late '90s and, 15 years on, fans are hitting middle age and wanting something more from their fave band which is difficult terrain to tread. Now, thematically at least, they're hitting that target.
Continue reading: Placebo - B3 EP Review
31st July, 1994