Friday, February 15, 2008

Portishead – "Cowboys"

As promised, a third Bristol rarity. Portishead weren't a part of the FSA/Third Eye/AMP scene, nor the Massive/Tricky axis the city produced in the 90s. Instead, they forged their own combination of hiphop rhythm moves (right down to the turntable scratches) and dark cabaret lounge pop. Why they never got tapped for a James Bond theme is beyond me. Sheryl Crow? Seriously?

Following the success of their groundbreaking debut, the band released a self-titled follow-up three years later that was similar but way weirder. The formula remains basically the same, but the beats are harsher and distorted, the samples atonal and eerie, the vocals menacing. They announced their new developments with the lead single, the first track on the album and one of the most extreme in this regard.

I'm not really sure how I wound up with this promo 12". I think it belonged to a roommate of mine who used to work at Kim's and left it behind when we moved out. It has no information on the label, and contains only the single on one side and an instrumental version on the other. It was released, apparently, in an edition of 3,000.

And after that, silence. The band released a well-received live album a year later and then disappeared. They were recently announced as one of the headliners for this summer's Coachella festival and reportedly have a new album coming out in April. Welcome back.
Buy it... on vinyl.

From my deck to you: Portishead – "Cowboys" and "Cowboys (instrumental)"

1 comment:

Giesebrecht said...

so, what happend to links? any complaints? possible re-up anywhere? thx!