Robert Alfons is the person behind TR/ST. His intense song craft using a dark wave environment, with sweeping changes and underlying tension, have had me hooked from the first note of the first song TR/ST released. The news is that there will be two records this year, The Destroyer — 1 and The Destroyer — 2. Read the full goings on at Billboard, but we leave you with this sample of The Destroyer — 1 titled “Gone”, hinting at a more pop-oriented album.
The ATH IT Department has a combo. We are sharing the brand new track from Auragraph, a solo project from Hector Carlos Ramirez. Hector has worked with several familiar names; Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein and S U R V I V E, Josh Mills of Missions. He is part of the resurgence in the analog synth sounds that have been so welcomed by myself and many electronic music fans for bringing back a lo-fi honesty to creation of waveforms and beats. We also have a little Q&A for you by following the jump after the video for the song “Polywave” via Outer Limits Records.
I have been a fan of Underworld since Chip slid an import single to me fresh out of the Thursday arrivals box at Technophoilia. It was quite a while ago. Beaucoup Fish is still among my favorite records and if you haven’t invested time with it, by all means.
Travelling in a space that can be abrasive, elegant, haunting or aggressive, the longevity of the band that was born out of a one-hit-wonder (“Doot Doot”, Freur) is impressive. The music created by Karl Hyde and Rick Smith is varied yet identifiable. The latest project is entitled Drift. They have been collaborating with people in unique spaces and the most realized track to be born out of the Drift project to date is “Appleshine”. The song features Georgia and Lewis from Black Country, New Road on violin and flute with visuals by Simon Taylor. I recommend headphones and isolation.
Boy Harsher is among the dark waviest of the dark wave revival. Sparse and haunting, with hooks that are designed to put you into a dizzy trance. “Face The Fire” is no diversion from the formula. It is gorgeous and the video featuring ATX native Sara Cummings suits its buried vocals and haunting loops. The full length, Careful, is due next February on Nude Club, preorder here.
I make no mystery of my love for the synthy goodness, especially when it can carry a heavy tone. Public Memory is one such project led by Robert Toher.
Landing here on the pending release of the second LP, titled Demolition, the song embedded below is called “The Line”. Tension builds as the open of the track takes a stranglehold, running longer and longer, creating tension with the addition of a rising and falling sawtooth only to have haunting by high octave tones add to that stress. The release lands willfully under a flood of harmonies followed by the initial vocals only to quiet again to give lyrics space.
Demolition is due 11/9 on Felte.
Several years back, I raved about The New Division. While they have stayed on my playlists, I have neglected to share any recent tracks. In checking in on the band, I learned that John Kunkel has teamed with James Meays, Missing Words, for a project called Digital Shades.
It triggers thoughts of all the glorious, yet brooding synth pop that feels slow and fast at the same time. I pick up tension in space left between notes and treatment of vocals as songs build and move towards shining guitar crescendo to drop to a synth hook or momentary silence. The recently released EP is called Moonraker, “I’m Still Here” is a pleasant intro. You will get your Alphaville, Ultravox, M83 vibe strings pulled.
I am the resident sucker for the synthy goodness. We occasionally get a little something in the inbox that catches our eye and more importantly, an ear.
Alexa X is the new project from Michaela Newman. The road to this song includes being a pop-folk duo and some solo work away from the digital landscape. But alas, the synths came calling and Alexa X found a background for the voice that had been there all along. The time spent writing and in studio for anything but a synth shows through in a building and brooding, sparse and tense tale about taking a chance. Solid first single, staying tuned.
How’s that World Cup going? My beloved Spurs are all having good showings for their respective countries, so far. Kane has two goals, Eriksen another and Trippier was wrecking defensive tactics with quality service from the wing. I digress.
There is no mystery that Ghostly International is one of my favorite labels, from Tycho to Beacon to Matthew Dear. They have another gem of a release pending with Steve Hauschildt‘s full-length album Dissolvi, due early August. Currently working out of Chicago, the Cleveland born producer employs texture and an ethereal vocal from Julianna Barwick to create a haze inducing atmosphere with progressive weight while percussion echoes with subtlety. This record is gonna be good.
I wanted to highlight a few shows, but Nathan killed that.
Instead, I am going to focus on a PYAITK scenario. There has been so much hype around SURVIVE and deservedly so, super talented team of analog synth artists. Anyone obsessed with SURVIVE should certainly take some time to review the history of the genre, and in particular, spend time with Orbital. Orbital is Paul and Phil Hartnoll, brothers residing in Brighton. I have loved this band since the release of “Chime/Midnight” and “Belfast” singles. Their releases have been remarkably staggered over the last decade, long breaks between releases, sabbaticals, final tours, reunions. But there is a new single and from a new record, which I can only dream will result in them coming close enough to Austin for me to see them again for the first time since the late 90’s. They lead the path that many stopped following, but popularized again by the analog synth revolution, live programming their performances, even “recording live” on occasion. If you know not of the band, I recommend Orbital II (aka the Brown Album) and In Sides to kick you off.
The track featured in the gorgeous video below is called “Tiny Foldable Cities” from the forthcoming Monsters Exist due in September.
Pizzagirl is bedroom pop project out of Liverpool by Liam Brown. There is no girl (or pizza) in the band. Having recently signed with our friends in Heist or Hit, Pizzagirl puts down dreamy synth lines while delivering the at times frivolous lyrics with an earnest tone; I’d say it is Magical Cloudz in happier days. We have featured a few songs here already, the EP An Extended Play was out about a month ago. Recommended. Videos will be released for each song on the EP so tune into the Pg YouTube channel.