Peter Hook and Opinions on Passion Pit

peterhook

The legend of Joy Division continues to grow decades after the death of frontman Ian Curtis. Peter Hook, founding bassist for both Joy Division and its successor New Order, joins Jim and Greg to set the record straight on the mythology surrounding his influential bands. Later, a review of the new release from indietronica artist Passion Pit.

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In the UK, pop has overtaken rock as the most popular genre of music in terms of chart success. Acts like Ed Sheeran, One Direction and Sam Smith have helped propel pop to its highest sales since 1999, but it’s a different story in the United States. In 2014, rock music claimed 29% of sales, while pop only generated about half of that. These numbers have Jim and Greg thinking, are more rock fans buying physical products than fans of other genres of music?

The Library of Congress has selected new music for its National Recording Registry and there certainly is a range. The National Recording Registry is a list of recordings that are historically, culturally or aesthetically important. Some of the 2015 selections include Steve Martin’s stand-up special A Wild and Crazy Guy, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Joan Baez’s self-titled album, the song Stand By Me and Sesame Street’s Rubber Duckie.

Peter Hook

Joy Division only recorded two proper studio albums before lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980. But those releases, a string of fantastic singles and Curtis’ own legend continue to impact fans today. But, as is often the case with legends, there’s a lot of fiction amongst the fact. And Peter Hook, the hugely influential bass player in Joy Division and New Order, wants to clear a few things up in his book Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division. First, there’s the tragic image of Ian itself. True, he struggled with depression, a failing marriage and a debilitating case of epilepsy that would lead to his death. But, Peter describes a beer-drinking prankster full of joy when it came to the music. He also admits that he and the band weren’t initially crazy about the sparse, moody sound Joy Division fans adore today. Much of that credit goes to producer Martin Hannett. For more on Joy Division listen to this episode.

Then, of course, we come to New Order’s bitter divorce. Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Peter achieved more success than Joy Division. They disbanded in 2006, but recently reunited without Peter. Listening to the interview, you can hear the hard feelings, but Peter admits he’d play with those amazing musicians anytime. So how did New Order fare on their 2013 release without Peter Hook? Check out Jim and Greg’s review.

Kindred Passion Pit

Kindred

Frontman Michael Angelakos of the indietronica act Passion Pit has come a long way since Sleepyhead became a MySpace hit in 2008. He’s now returned with a third album of shimmery electronic pop, Kindred. Jim is amazed by how Angelakos, who suffers from bipolar disorder, finds catharsis in making irresistible dance pop. Although he addresses his pain in Kindred, Angelakos never mopes but rather celebrates life. Electronic Dance Music rarely has real soul like this. Greg is also pleased to find this record more optimistic than the previous release, Gossamer. Angelakos has a knack for making commercial music that avoids pop cliches through his brilliant symphonic keyboard arrangements. According to Greg, it’s a great pop record with finely honed songs from beginning to end. Both critics give Kindred a Buy It.

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