Latest News: Joy Division

Songs Through Time: Love Will Tear Us Apart

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As it was explored last time, there are certain songs that are forever fresh because they are powerfully covered in every era. These are the songs that wriggle their way into the minds of listeners, and moreso into other creators. They're inescapable and beg to be reborn in new, interesting and revealing ways. One of the most successful, constantly covered songs is the timeless and heart exploding Joy Division hit, “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Part of it is that the song was a legend in its own time having been released just before Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis committed suicide. But the song has outlasted the initial myth-making and found new audiences who latch onto something else in its dark reflections, spacious '80s sound and catchy driving melody. When Nouvelle Vague covered it in their 2004 self-titled debut in slick bossa nova form, they stripped it of its urgency and made the tragedy of the relationships seem relaxing, which is a whole new tragedy unto itself. It's a cover that reveals to us that you can change the whole sound and atmosphere, but if the lyrics remain (“Resentments ride high, emotions won't grow”) you can never fully lose the powerful weight of a song. There are different ways to perform surgery on a song. Indie titans Broken Social Scene took a stab at it on the soundtrack to The Time Traveler's Wife, and they removed any semblance of pop riffs in favor of something that brings slow motion drowning to mind. Kevin Drew apparently tries to do a distorted imitation of Ian Curtis' voice, which may be a little odd, but it's a dramatic performance all the same. Nouvelle Vague giggles, and Broken Social Scene bellows. Even simplifying a song to its barest elements will do things to the message. Evelyn Evelyn, a duo made of Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, have the song set to a ukelele and a large, empty room. Palmer whispers sickly into the mic and Webley is a somber monotone, but the most telling change is that this is now a duet. What was once Curtis' painfully personal expression of defeat is suddenly the saddest agreement. It's one thing for one speaker to lose hope, but to hear it in a quiet call & response style shows that “Love Will Tear Us Apart” has plenty of darkness to mine. Yet one of the most notable covers of the song in recent times, and one of the most straightforward is singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez's acoustic take. It's the type of cover that is so effortless and organic that a newcomer might assume the song is meant to be this way. It approximates everything from the building drum hits to the subtle urgency shifts with nothing more than a six-string guitar, and that's amazing and infectious. Breaking a song down to its bare sonic elements, the way a lot of VSQ songs do in fact, has the best results when it retains the pieces that are more than just notes and instruments. It's energy, mindset, story and all the other intangibles that aren't easy to translate. Jose Gonzalez's version isn't quite the new wave despair of the original, but it's remarkably faithful to the other parts that matter most.

String Quartet Tribute to New Order & Joy Division Available at iTunes and Amazon

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Get to Know: New Order

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Sometimes when we’re sitting around the office thinking about songs we like, we realize that there are certain tracks that we know all the words to, even though we don’t know anything about the band that’s singing them. New Order is one such example, and so, we give you the history of New Order, in, uh, chronological order. 1980: Bernard Summers, Peter Hook and David Morris, the remaining members of Joy Division, form New Order after the suicide of JD singer Ian Curtis, who killed himself the day before New Order was set to embark on their first American tour. Said Hook: “We didn't cry at his funeral. It came out as anger at the start. We were absolutely devastated: not only had we lost someone we considered our friend, we'd lost the group. Our life basically." 1981: New Order’s first album, Movement, is released and contains the successful single “Ceremony.” The album continues Joy Division’s trademark dark, melodic synthesizer based songs, although a change in musical direction would happen this same year, when the band discovers post-disco, latin and electronic music in New York. 1983: The band releases Power, Corruption and Lies, which unveils their new dance sound. They also release their hit “Blue Monday” as a single, and fans are angry that the track is not included on the new album. 1985: The band releases Low Life, which contains the single, “The Perfect Kiss,” the video for which is shot by revered director Jonathan Demme. The band gets further exposure when their single “Shellshock” is included on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack. 1986: The band releases Brotherhood, a double album which explores both the group’s darker, rock tendencies and more upbeat synthesized dance sounds. The album contains the massive hit “Bizarre Love Triangle,” which currently occupies spot 204 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. 1989: The group’s next album, Technique, explores a more Mediterranean acid house musical style, (much of it was recorded on the Spanish island of Ibiza), and enters the  U.K. charts at number one. New Order supports this album by touring with Bjork’s then group, The Sugarcubes. 1993: New Order go on hiatus between 1993 and 1998, allowing all members to participate in various side-projects. The band reconvened in 1998, and in 2001 released Get Ready, their first album in eight years. September, 2011: Bassist Peter Hook will play a series of shows with his new band Light in the United States. For these concerts, Hook will perform Joy Division’s Substance and Unknown Pleasures in their entirety. September, 2011: New Order reforms, sans Peter Hook, and announces plans to tour. Hook is “saddened by this news, saying “I’m gonna say it’s not New Order. It’s some members of New Order going out as New Order. It’s like me saying I’m going out as Joy Division.” Be sure to check out: The String Quartet Tribute to New Order and Joy Division Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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Valentines Day VSQ Mixtape & Contest!

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It's February and love is in the air. Well, depending on who you talk to. For those of you who turn your nose up, scroll to the second part of this post for something a little less sappy. For the rest of you hopeless romantics, keep reading for a special treat for your Valentine. Nothing creates a romantic mood better than a few of your favorite love songs - done VSQ style. So we've put together a smashing playlist of our favorite tracks to get your juices flowing. Light some scented candles, spread the rose petals and let VSQ do the rest. Download Valentine's Day Playlist Tracklist:
  • All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
  • Fell In Love With a Girl - The White Strips
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
  • Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want - The Smiths
  • California Love - Tupac
  • Just LIke Heaven - The Cure
  • Crown of Love - Arcade Fire
  • The One I Love - REM
  • Soul Meets Body - Death Cab For Cutie
  • Jack and Sally Montage - Nightmare Revisited


VSQ Valentines Day Contest!

We believe that Valentine's day shouldn't discriminate. That's why we have four albums stock full of string quartet love songs for every type of lover. Whether you prefer spikes or feathers, lace or leather, we've got the Valentine's Day soundtrack for you! Want to win a copy of your favorite VSQ Valentine's Day album? All you have to do is create your own iMix of your favorite VSQ love songs! Whoever creates the bext iMix will win the Valentine's Day CD of their choice: Valentine's Day Massacre: The Emo Anti-Valentine's Day Collection The Rock N' Roll Valentine's Day Collection The String Quartet Tribute to Valentine's Day My Metal Valentine How to enter: 1. Create an iMix on iTunes with your favorite VSQ love songs. 2. Leave a comment below with a link. Please make sure to let us know your email address! Extra Entries: 1. Follow us on Twitter and RT us about this contest 2. Become our fan on Facebook 3. Subscribe to our blog feed Good luck!

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VSQ Employee Mixtape #2: The Art Department

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Please welcome the second installment of our new series of employee playlists, designed by the experts themselves - the VSQ staff! Like we said in our first post, we designed this series to help fans discover VSQ tracks they may have never found otherwise - and show off our impeccable and discerning musical taste! Last week we visited Taylor in the Marketing Department to see what was on her iTunes rotation. This week, lets check out what the art department is spinning.

Mixtape #2: Art Deparment Deep in the bowls of this ship we call “the art department” lies the desk of graphic designer Steven (aka PONG). If you had the chance to go through his itunes library you’d see he(I love referring to myself in 3rd person) is into a lot of music. There’s so much in the VSQ catalog, and narrowing down the fav’s is not a task for the faint at heart(look at me ma! I’m blogging!).

Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want

String Quartet Tribute to The Smiths


String Quartet Tribute to Sonic Youth (even though it’s really a carpenters song, this cover of a cover is great!)

Bizarre Love Triangle + She’s Lost Control

String Quartet Tribute to New Order & Joy Division Another VSQ album that is a must!


Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Pixies

Wish You Were Here

Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd

10:15 Saturday Night

The String Quartet Tribute to The Cure


Vitamin String Quartet: Alternative Hits of the 80's and 90's Vol. 2

Hit Me Like You Did The First Time

The String Quartet Tribute to The Flaming Lips


The String Quartet Tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico Seriously, just buy this album every song kicks ass!

Everyday Is Like Sunday

String Quartet Tribute to Morrissey Aww, to be in high school once more

The Man Who Sold The World

String Quartet Tribute to David Bowie

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