International Rogues Fans! Get your albums here:

Hey Guys!

J here with a quick one for all our International Fans who are looking at getting a copy of our new record, The Sound Of Drums.

First off, if you want a physical CD, you order one from these two links that will deliver anywhere in the world:

http://www.sanity.com.au/products/2205050/Sound_Of_Drums_SIGNED_COPY

https://www.jbhifionline.com.au/music/pop-rock/sound-of-drums-the-signed-copy/657971

And if you want to get the album digitally, here’s links to download it for your country:

UK – http://itunes.apple.com/gb/preorder/the-sound-of-drums/id475875326

Canada – http://itunes.apple.com/ca/preorder/the-sound-of-drums/id475875326

NZ – http://itunes.apple.com/nz/preorder/the-sound-of-drums/id475875326

France – http://itunes.apple.com/fr/preorder/the-sound-of-drums/id475875326

Ireland – http://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/the-sound-of-drums/id475554351

Germany – http://itunes.apple.com/de/album/the-sound-of-drums/id475554351

Mexico – http://itunes.apple.com/mx/preorder/the-sound-of-drums/id475875326

Spain – http://itunes.apple.com/es/preorder/the-sound-of-drums/id475875326

Netherlands – http://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/the-sound-of-drums/id475554351

US – Just getting confirmation of the launch date – but it is expected very shortly…

Get in everyone! And hope you’re loving the album!!

J x

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11: Girl In Gold – NOTLD Blog

Girl In Gold

This song is a thank you note to Debbie Harry…

As you would have seen in the last post – America, along with pretty much every track on NOTLD, owes a great debt to Blondie and it’s iconic lead singer.

As a way of acknowledging what they have given us, this song is offered as simple thanks.

For fans of the band, this song should provide a little goldmine of nods and winks.

For everyone else, I hope it sounds a bit like Sonic Youth.

But more than anything else in the world, I hope that Debbie likes it…

J x

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10: America – NOTLD Blog

America

So by now – pretty much most of you would have heard America…

If you haven’t – get your arse HERE

The version you have all heard so far is quite truncated from the, as yet-unheard, album version. That way when you do get your hands on the record, it’ll be a bit more special.

The main difference between the album version and radio edit of America has a little something to do with a 37 Piece Orchestra – but we are jumping ahead of ourselves…

First off, the most important thing you need to know is that I wrote this song staring at this picture:

At the very start of the writing process for NOTLD I went looking for a muse – and I found it in Blondie.

I think the reason why I related so heavily to Blondie was because at the height of their fame at the end of the 70′s going into the 80s, they set the template that we would follow. They were the first punk rock band to embrace the dance music of the age (disco). They blended, they absorbed and they rejected what wasn’t useful to them.

And then there was the small matter of Debbie Harry.

So, in a remarkable act of near-pyschopathic devotion, I plastered images of Blondie all over the studio. The studio (minus the tech-gear) looked every bit the stalker’s hang out.

The first time I ever spoke to Mindi on the phone I asked her if she liked Blondie… It was kind of a test, I suppose…. (She – having impeccable taste – passed with flying colours).

I think we even got her to sing ‘Call Me’ in her first audition…

So America was, as I say, literally written staring at that picture – and I hope that some tiny flash of the spirit from one of the greatest bands of the 20th century has been channeled through it.

But Blondie weren’t the only inspiration.

When I was about seven my dad took me to see Neil Diamond’s ‘The Jazz Singer’ – and the song that haunted me the most from that movie was called ‘America‘…

It’s no lie when I say in no small part, our song America, is a tribute to Neil Diamond’s legendary classic. You might even hear hints of Voodoo Child in there, too…

[Yeah - that's right! We're repping Neil Diamond bitches]

At the time I wrote the lyric, Obama hadn’t long been in power and for the first time in ages all the ‘US-Bashers’ had fallen silent. There was a real sense of hope that, you know what, maybe America could save the world after all…?

America is a love letter to Blondie, Neil Diamond and everything that’s fantastic and wonderful about that place that is never far from our conversation…

J x

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9: Sign Language – NOTLD Blog

Sign Language

You know how when you’re growing up, there’s always one or two albums that really seem to define a time and place in your life so clearly they are like mental photographs? For me, one of those albums was The Art Of Noise’s Ambient Collection.

Back in 1990, when it came out, I had just discovered electronic music and Steve D and I spent ages every night taping the latest shows off London’s Kiss FM. Along with the latest ‘Techno’ & ‘Hardcore’ there would occasionally be a weird set featuring the spaced-out chill of artists like The Orb, FSOL – and in one case, The Art of Noise.

Tunes like Crusoe provided the perfect soundtrack to gaze out of the 151 bus, and the music hit me hard and profound. Before Steve D and I ever tried writing ‘dance’ music – we spent a lot of time trying to make more ambient electronica – and I don’t think that desire has ever truly left.

Which brings us to Sign Language, a song which musically owes a lot to that era of swaying minimal beats and icy soundscapes.

The lyric for Sign Language was written entirely by Melinda (the Mrs) and I think ranks amongst her best work. The song seems to convey the hopelessness we sometimes feel – the fact that no matter how much we may love someone, and how much we can see how they are hurting everyone around them, there is nothing you can do about it – except (crucially) – to keep loving them.

The line that always gets me in the song is – “Your hands are beautiful, when they’re still… Please be still” – it still KILLS me.

I hope it’s special to you, too.

J x

[To hear a snippet of Sign Language, click HERE and skip to 2:34]

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8: So Lonely – NOTLD Blog

So Lonely

Ok, so despite the title, this track is probably not what you think it is.

This isn’t the gentle, introspective track on the album (that comes next). Nor is this the album’s ‘ballad-moment’ (mercifully, we’re ballad free).

Actually, So Lonely could be the album’s punkiest spark. It’s definitely got bite and spite – and I LOVE that.

Starting life as an experiment mixing human beatbox loops with synths pushed through guitar amps – So Lonely was one of the first tracks written for the new record. The main verse riff came quick, followed by the chorus chords – and before long Melinda and I had most of the song down in early demo form by the end of November ’08.

At the time we were listening to lots of Ladyhawke, Kasabian and Goose – people like that, and I really wanted to get some of that grit and dirt on a track. Normally most dance music is so utterly clean it can almost be lifeless – shit can get truly depressing- so this track was an exercise in keeping the imperfections IN…

When we wrote the lyric we were under pressure to consider doing a reality TV show to find our new lead singer. Despite the money being bandied about, I felt really strongly that it wasn’t the right move for us.

And here lies the central quandry of being in a pop band. Yes, you are in a commercial entity that is making commercial music – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have an artistic heart and that you don’t take what you do deadly serious. Sometimes doing interviews, people would be surprised that yes, my favorite album of the year was also Neon Bible. And yes, even though we toured with Girls Aloud I would really rather talk about the new UNKLE album. And finally, yes, we really did say NO to a bunch of money to do a TV show- even though we’re in a pop band…

I guess a lot of that angst comes through in the lyric of this song.

So Lonely is a broadside at the industry as a whole.

It’s also about the great paradox of being in a pop band.

J x

[You can hear a grab of So Lonely HERE, then skip to the 4:49 mark...]

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7: So Alive – NOTLD Blog

So Alive

Ok, so REALLY, Mindi should be talking about this track.

You see – it’s all hers.

And not only did she write it, but to me anyway, it seems to encapsulate everything we love about the girl… I could offer a stream of adjectives here, but I reckon after you’re heard it you’ll get something more valuable than me giving you a bunch of words.

I reckon you’ll get an insight into how damn unique this girl is.

Now, no one outside the band has really heard this song yet. It’s one of a couple of tracks that have not been featured on the Album Teaser. And that’s deliberate.

Consider it a surprise.

I will only say this, soon after we began writing together I asked Mindi to play me anything she had been working on previously that could be good for Rogues. Sitting at the end of her playlist was this little gem, and I do recall how she didn’t even really think it worth playing.

Anyway, after I DID hear it I was sold: It HAD to be on the album. To this day I’m not sure if Mindi thinks I was serious about that… Well, take a look at THIS. Mindi, I’m serious…

Now, where’s my French Dictionary….

J x

MINDI’S REPLY:

‘So Alive’….well yes! It was a surprise to me when James said he wanted it on the album. And he’s right, I was never going to play it to him, but it popped up one day when we were digging through some of my stuff. This little track was really just me having some fun, playing some clangy guitar and throwing on top of it, a little story. The song is about being inspired by someone and being a bit in awe of them. And it’s about feeling good. I always thought of ‘So Alive’ as one of my quirky studio inventions that only I would listen to. Now you will all be hearing it, and that’s really cool. I’m so happy to be sharing it with you and that this little creature is going out into the daylight!

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6: Like It Ends Tonight – NOTLD Blog

Like It Ends Tonight

This song dropped into my head one day – almost fully formed. I wasn’t even in the studio at the time, wasn’t even thinking about music…

I’ve read quite a bit about this happening to other artists all the time – but for me the experience is very rare. In fact, I think the only other time it had happened was for Way To Go (That idea knocked on my head as I crouched in the corner of my babies’ room, trying not to wake them, whilst singing into my phone at 3:40am…)

What I heard was pure 80′s synth chords (like straight out of the Human League songbook) – happy and bright and optimistic – and big F*$# off distorted organs that feel like your speakers are busted. Then I wanted real Brass… Trumpets ‘n’ shit.

Normally I muck around in the studio for hours, trying to come up with something that is exciting to everyone – but on the day I sat down to work on the track that would become Like It Ends Tonight, I was already inspired…

I very quickly knocked up 8 bars that matched what I was hearing in my head and played it to the two Melindas. Sometimes this is the point where an idea can fall over and quickly get abandoned – but thankfully both the girls were vibing big time.

Most of the lyrics were written over the course of one very hilarious night… For some reason we were all in stupid moods, and anytime one of us was brave enough to put forward a potential line for the song, the others would collapse in absolute hysterics. There was an ongoing argument as to whether Fergie said ‘Lime’ or ‘Locheim’ in I Gotta Feeling (3:19) that almost stopped us being able to communicate in anything other than snorts.

Now you may rightly think that is not a very productive way to work, but the truth was we were having a great time, and the surreal mood added some beautiful touches to our writing.

The track itself became a riff on one of the songwriter’s most favourite themes – ‘Life’s Too Short‘… Or to put it another way – finding joy in the fact that nothing lasts forever, and that only makes it more special…

The middle 8 in this one is very gentle and shows a fragile quality to Mindi’s vocal which I haven’t heard that often (‘Turn off my TV, Run into the Sea…’).

To me, Like it Ends Tonight will always be about the night we wrote it… Brief, special, eternal.

J x

[You can hear a snippet of Like It Ends Tonight HERE. It's the first track in...]

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5: Skyline – NOTLD Blog

Skyline is probably my favourite track off Night of the Living Drums. There. I said it.

Every album we’ve done has a track that just stands a little to the left of the others. On our very first album it was ‘Stay?’, on HCTD it was ‘In Love Again’ and on BITD it was ‘What You’re On’.

After Melinda and I wrote Skyline, we played it to Mindi and at first it was hard to judge her reaction. She didn’t have a lot of words. Turns out that was good…

For me, Skyline expresses something really deep that the lyrics only begin to point to – that sense of isolation we have all felt, even when we are surrounded by people…

The feeling always hit me near the end of a long tour, I’d return to my little room and suitcase, then look out at some strange city glittering away behind the window.

Anyway, all the other tracks I’ve blogged about so far I’ve gone into a lot of detail about how they were made. With Skyline, I’d like to keep some of the mystery and let it be a little enigma for you.

Instead let me tell you what I hope the song does for you.

I hope you can connect to it.

I hope it tells you that you’re not the only one to have felt this way.

And most importantly, I hope it reinforces in you that we are all capable of greatness – even in the most humble of ways.

Until tomorrow!

J x

[You can hear a snippet of Skyline HERE and jump to the 0:35 mark...]

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4: Don’t Think I Love You – NOTLD Blog

‘Don’t Think I Love You’ began as a mash-up idea…

What if we literally tried to combine Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ with Blondie…?

Sure it might not work (let’s face it, it could be shit) – but the idea certainly got us excited, and vibe is currency in the studio – so we got on it straight away.

First port of call was trying to create that authentic sounding 80′s drum feel. Most drum sounds used today are super clean and very electronic sounding – but back in the day live drums and more basic drum machines were the order of the day.

Creating that classic 80′s snare with gated reverb was the first (very fun) challenge. Soon distorted organs were added to flesh out the basic chords and that instantly gave us the epic feel we were after.

As you’ll hear, Don’t Think I Love You changes tempo quite a lot – and probably the toughest part of this track was getting that all to flow properly. The first time you hear the tempo change in the song it’s likely to be a shock – and that’s intended – but from then on making sure the track didn’t lose energy when it slows down again… now that was hard…

Like all songs, there was a long period of re-jigging and shuffling bits around as we struggled to find the right arrangement. Suddenly one day it all clicked quite naturally and we knew we’d cracked it.

I think out of all the tracks on Night of the Living Drums, this one shows of Mindi’s amazing voice at it’s very best. She sounds so deep and strong and I LOVE that long vibrato – it gives me chills and reminds me so much of the Chrissies (Amphlett and Hynde).

So did it turn out like a cross between Prince and Blondie? You are the ultimate judge of course. Me? I reckon it sounds more like a cross between Evil 9 and Kelly Clarkson… What evs.

Til tomorrow!

J x

You order ‘The Sound Of Drums’ – a double disk set including the new album Night of the Living Drums plus The Greatest hits here:

Sanity for $21.99 or 2 for $40 with free delivery in Australia.

JB-HiFi for $19.99. $4.00 postage to anywhere is Australia.

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3: Ease Your Mind – NOTLD Blog

Ease Your Mind – the very first version of it at least – is by far the oldest track on the new record.

In fact, we’ve had a song called Ease Your Mind knocking around since before the Rogues were even called the Rogues… Melinda, Steve and I wrote the earliest version of it at the start of 2001 for another artist.

That’s not to say, of course, that the track sounds old. The final version of Ease Your Mind as it stands on NOTLD doesn’t sound a whole lot like the earliest version did… It’s been reworked and reshaped into something very new indeed – but the core of it is still there… smiling back at us from across the years.

When we were looking at tracks for NOTLD, we took a moment to consider Ease Your Mind – just as we have done with every single album we have written. Normally the track was written off for resurrection – “It’s too pop for Rogues”…

This time round we pulled the song up and it felt different – we immediately had an angle…

“What about if we keep the poppiness 100% but totally SMASH it up to within an inch of it’s life until the track just can’t take it anymore?” – JUSTICE vs SUGAR BABES – yeah, that felt good.

And that’s what we did…

Normally, when mixing a song there are certain rules you obey to ensure you get as much sonic fidelity as possible – to preserve ‘headroom’. Well we fucking ignored all that. Basically the track was mixed 100% straight into a hard limiter (like those French dudes do so well) and if you look at the track on any audio program you’ll see it is basically a solid BLOCK of audio with virtually no dynamics.

This is normally suicide for a track – it sounds small, boxy and shit basically. Ease Your Mind rocks though – and it’s still so bloody optimistically pop which I adore!

We had lots of fun with ad-libbed vocals on this one. At one point near the end, Mindi basically took the piss out of Fergie’s “You so two thousand and late” line… We kept it in til the last minute – but I think we always knew it had to go. We did keep her laugh in, though – you’ll hear her cracking up at the Fergie reference (which no longer exists) in the final seconds of the track…

So now, finally after all these years, Ease Your Mind gets to be the Bride at last!!

[You can hear Ease Your Mind HERE and skip to 1:59....]

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