Out and About
“Blondie” releases new album, and embarks on summer co-headlining tour with “Garbage”
New wave legends, Blondie, have a new album out today (May 5th, 2017 via BMG), and a North American summer tour scheduled that includes Toronto (July 26, 2017), with equally fantastic co-headliners, Garbage!
Front woman Debbie Harry’s persona, along with the band’s boundary-pushing pop, have shaped the look and sound of many chart-topping female artists who followed in the last three decades. The new album Polinator delves even deeper into this idea, with inspiration from Blondie’s action-packed, cross-pollinating past shaping the sound of our collective future.
(Photo Credit: Alexander Thompson)
For the last four decades, Blondie has become, and still remains a true national treasure,one whose influence both shaped and continues to inform the worlds of music, fashion and art. From an irreverent Lower East Side punk outfit to bona fide international ambassadors of New York cool, Blondie will forever be synonymous with that punk spirit that lives somewhere in all of us. Comprised of singer-songwriter Debbie Harry, guitarist and co-writer Chris Stein, powerhouse drummer Clem Burke, and long-time band members bassist Leigh Foxx, guitarist Tommy Kessler and keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen, Blondie’s chart-topping success, fearless spirit and rare longevity led to an induction into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, a NME Godlike Genius Award in 2014, a Q Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 2016, and more than 40 million albums sold worldwide to date.
Watching the video for the first single “Fun“, the spacey Studio 54 party-styled video has images of a variety of androgynous personalities, interspersed with homoerotic undertones. There’s no reason this shouldn’t be one of this summer’s top hits. I must say that Harry looks absolutely stunning, not seeming to have aged from the days I had her poster up on my wall as a teenage wanderlust lad.
The second single release, “Long Time“, sees the band collaborating with Dev Hynes (AKA Blood Orange), offering a few riffs reminiscent of their classic 1979 hit, “Heart of Glass”, mixed in with a swirling mix of intense drumming, glorious 80s synth, funky guitar riffs and a thumping baseline. Filmed throughout the gritty streets and back alleys of New York City, while Debbie navigates her way around as one of the infamous yellow cab drivers, this is Blondie (and NYC) the way they were in the early 1980s. These two songs alone make this album a must buy!
It seems the band had quite a bit of Fun recording the album as well, which features several guests musicians and songwriters, such as Sia, Blood Orange frontman Dev Hynes, British singer Charli XCX, Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), Nick Valensi (The Strokes), Johnny Marr (The Smiths) and Canadian movie blogger and indie rocker Adam Johnston (an Unkindness).
Polinator was produced by John Congleton (Franz Ferdinand, St. Vincent, Sigur Ros) and recorded at NYC’s famed studio The Magic Shop, and also features vocals from Joan Jett, cross dressing comedian and singer John Roberts and The Gregory Brothers (founders of Songify the News), and even Laurie Anderson appears on a special hidden track on the CD version.
(Photo Credit: Lindsey Byrnes)
Garbage is Shirley Manson, Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig. After forming in Madison, WI, Garbage released their self-titled debut album in 1995. The band’s unique sound and provocative visual aesthetic, inspired massive worldwide attention and success. Several non-classic singles were released, including “Only Happy When it Rains”, “Stupid Girl”, and the queer anthem for many, simply titled “Queer”.
Their follow up album, Version 2.0, released in 1998, topped charts all over the world and garnered multiple Grammy Award nominations, including Album Of The Year. Garbage went on to release two more albums: 2001’s Beautiful Garbage and 2005’s Bleed Like Me, the latter of which earned the band its highest chart position with a No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.
After a 7-year hiatus, the band released their fifth studio album Not Your Kind of People in 2012 on their independent record label, STUNVOLUME. The album was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 50 Albums of the year, and was hailed as the “alternative to everything,” by Pitchfork. Garbage has sold over 15 million albums worldwide and performed in over thirty-five countries. In 2015, the band celebrated its 20th anniversary with their ’20 Years Queer’ world tour, and the release of a special 20th anniversary edition of their debut album, re-mastered and featuring previously unreleased material. Last year, Garbage released Strange Little Birds, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums chart, and arrived at No. 14 overall on the Billboard 200 chart.
This summer, Garbage will be releasing an autobiographical coffee table book, This Is The Noise That Keeps Me Awake, currently available for pre-order here. The official release date is July 4, 2017. The band will also be doing an in-store book signing the day after their show here in the city (July 27, 2017), at Type Books (883 Queen Street West) at 7pm.
Blondie and Garbage will be co-headlining the Rage and Rapture North American tour that kicks off on July 5th in Saratoga, CA and wraps on August 12th in Dallas, TX. John Doe & Exene Cervenka will provide support on the first leg of the tour and Deap Vally for the second leg. So far, the only Canadian date announced is here in Toronto at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, on July 26, 2017.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.