Op-Ed: Heading Downtown — Tom Tom Club releases new album

Posted Sep 7, 2012 by Tim Sandle
New York art rockers and purveyors of funky tunes the Tom Tom Club have released their first studio album in over ten years. The album features an eclectic mix of soul, pop, and rock.
Tom Tom Club icon
Tom Tom Club icon
Tom Tom Club
Formed by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, the other two founding members of Talking Heads along with David Byrne, Tom Tom Club is known for hits such as "Genius Of Love" and "Wordy Rappinghood.” “Genius of Love” has been sampled countless times, most notably by Mariah Carey , who hit #1 with her version “Fantasy,” but also Grandmaster Flash, Tupac Shakur, T.I. and the Black Eyed Peas.
'Downtown Rockers' is the first new release from the iconic pop band in more than a decade. The album features an upbeat fusion of electro and funk. The album was mixed by Ed Stasium, who also recorded and mixed Talking Heads '77 and umpteen Ramones classics.
Although the band had not recorded for some time, they were inspired to do so again after a an extensive US and European tour, according to East Village Radio. Asked about the length of time between albums by Music Radar, Frantz said:
"Well, yes, I did, but then I realized that we're not the kind of band that churns things out, or as quickly as we used to. We're a little circumspect now, more particular. And also, being grown-up adults, we've got a lot more responsibilities than we used to have."
On one level the record is a nostalgic look at Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth's halcyon days at the clubs in New York where the punk scene first emerged, like the CBGB, where bands like Blondie, Television and Talking Heads played. Although this sets the theme, especially with the lyrics of the eponymous opening track, the music is forward looking and has an energetic freshness and toe-tapping urgency.
On the opening track 'Downtown Rockers'. Frantz recites the names of influential New York bands against a backdrop of distorted guitars and a psychedelic multi-instrumental warble. Other tracks, such as “Won’t Give You Up”, are more funky, recalling bands like Parliament and 'Remain In Light' era Talking Heads. Another track, “Love Tape”, has more parallels with piano influenced disco.
In line with the retro-cum-modern vibe, the album, according to Talking, is available on vinyl and as digital download only. The digital version contains bonus remixes and alternative versions.
The Tom Tom Club, with their comeback, have produced a cool album. The stand-out tracks for this listener were “Kissin’ Antonio” and "Won’t Give You Up”. Hopefully this will lead to more records within a shorter space of time than ten years.
The tracks are:
1. Downtown Rockers
2. Won't Give You Up
3. You Make Me Rock and Roll
4. Kissin' Antonio
5. Sweets to the Sweet
6. Love Tape
7. Downtown Rockers E-Dub Mix
8. Won't Give You Up (Instrumental)
9. You Make Me Rock and Roll (Instrumental)
10. Kissin' Antonio (Instrumental)
11. Sweets to the Sweet (Instrumental)
12. Downtown Rockers (Instrumental)
'Downtown Rockers' is released on Nacional Records on September 11, 2012.