Do you like your pop music quirky? You anti-synths? You want to hear what happens when electronic foundations are slightly shaken to provide flourishes of syncopation from analog devices? It really is the break at around the two minute mark and instrumental bits that follow that won me, so hang in if on the fence.
Just check out this track from John Maus. The new record, Screen Memories, lands 10/27 on Domino. It can be ordered individually or as part of a six LP box.
It was SxSW a few years back and I had just seen TR/ST for the third time. Having exchanged pleasentries side stage at Mohawk and in passing during the week, I worked up the nerve to ask for a quick portrait. His immediate response was, “No.” Magical moment. Right?
TR/ST, aka Trust, aka Robert Alfons, has captivated mindshare since I happened across “Candy Walls” six years ago. I think I listened to it seven times, over and over. It led the way for the record TRST in 2012 that still gets pretty heavy rotation in my house. It has been three years since Joyland and it is about time for a new track. And here it is. I planned on making this part of a have a nice weekend post, but it is too good. Maybe I was just tired and brain-fried when I listened to it yesterday, but damn. He tells Fader that “Bicep” is about “…the struggle between accepting and resisting shame, as well as an expression of sexual fantasies.” Perhaps, but this is brilliantly dark and danceable, just as you’d expect with that familiar edge lurking in the waveforms.
We’ll be waiting impatiently until 2018 for the new record.
NITE is recently added favorite to the ATH IT Department. Their new record, Reborn, is available for preorder at that link kicking off the post and is landing in couple weeks via Cleopatra Records. In advance, they have released a video for the song “Dreamer”.
The song sounds like Tears for Fears tour bus collided head-on with Little Boots backing synths and a Juan MacLean groove. I dig it, looking forward to the new record. Twins, Myles and Kyle Mendez, are pushing the retro-future thing hard right now. They have an upcoming show with Night Drive and Blackbird Blackbird in Dallas, you should go if you are in the metroplex.
You ever go to a show excited about the headliner, and in fact, very impressed by the headliner, but walk away a bigger fan of an opener?
That very thing happened last Saturday when Austin converged on The Sidewinder last Saturday night. Black Marble was outstanding. They ended up selling the place out. However, I was really taken by Body of Light; they were fully on target for the renaissance of analog synth pop/dark wave I am delighted to see surging right now. The fact that openers Draa held their own here was also worth praise.
Click through for a few thoughts and plenty of pics.
If you are out and about tonight, perhaps you should go say to Big Bill at friends at Electric Church. It is one of the best lineups of the residency. Check it out here. But if you are keeping it lowkey tonight and want to burn it out tomorrow…
We make no bones that Black Marble had one of our favorite records of last year. It’s Immaterial is packed with waves of density, haunting basslines and respites of sparse tension. This show at Sidewinder instantly went on my calendar.
I also want to highlight the openers. I missed the PR blitz when Body of Light‘s record Let Me Go came out last summer. I am bummed about that. It is full on new wave perfection with peppered in samples that will haunt you until you figure them out. Draa rounds out the bill bringing gorgeous echoing pop. Listen to previews of all three below.
This bill is stacked.
Come dance with us.
Night Drive is finally able to unleash their self-titled full length out today. To commemorate, we are gathering at Cheer Up Charlies for a night music and fun. They wanted to invite friends that they love and make some new ones to join them on stage. If you show up, you get good friends Orthy, who have promised a bunch of new music, Keeper, Single Lash and Lambda.
That is a really nicely stacked lineup. Add to it, AmuricaTX will have their photobooth trailer to immortalize things and Captain Morgan is providing the drink specials if you dare.
I’ll be there taking the pics for ATH along with +1 and many friends and familiar faces. We’re thinking a burger and Salt and Time would be fun beforehand. It will be hot. Be ready. Dress sensibly. Comfortable shoes. Nathan loves when I bring up comfortable shoes. Tickets are $5 at the door.
To get psyched, have a listen…
Synth pop, new wave, dance pop, whatever you want to call it, has its roots in the late 70’s and early 80’s with groups like Visage, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and many more. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark was among those early pioneers with tracks like “Electricity”, “Messages” and “Enola Gay” setting a foundation for their pop stardom in a shift to a more mass-market approval and mid-80’s movie soundtrack domination. We recently saw OMD here in Austin and one thing is for sure, they still love those songs and they still love the genre.
The band is currently back to the core lineup and they are making new music. It seems they want to show all the kids how to do things. The first real release from the forthcoming record The Punishment Of Luxury, due 9/1 on White Noise Records, is called “IsoType” and it is wonderful reminder of the roots that is back to being contemporary. Put on your headphones to revel in stereo effects and dream of the heady days of Kraftwerk, Ultravox and The Human League…
…and it is a gem. I listened to it twice.
According to the intarwebs, this is a bonus track to a 2xEP purchase featuring previously released materials and some new things. Hazel English straddles a line between too much and not enough in every little bit of the song. You want the song to be longer, the hook to stick around, echoes linger and layers peel back, but without letting go to move on and open space for the synth flourishes and guitar sweeps and all that space between, you wouldn’t be nearly as hooked at one listen. Brilliant stuff.
Order the double EP here and those of you across the pond need to see if she is playing in your town.
Jay-Z is playing ACL.
LCD Soundsystem has released two songs into the digital wild.
Resume your regularly scheduled programming.
Here is a the latest track from Beacon, realized I hadn’t shared it yet. According to a bookface post, it is a hint of what to expect from the new record pending on Ghostly. When artists are given the ultimate freedom of the digitally (or analog in the case of classic synths) crafted soundscape, I am disappointed how often that soundscape can be squandered or derivative. The creation of the tones and waves, how they transition and fall into the feeling of the track, maybe a half beat early or late, pitch-shifted or hot cut, will often decide whether or not I will spend two seconds or all day listening to a track. The foundation and eventual fall of the primary groove here, the transition between notes and octaves, the way it disapperas as the track progresses and leaves behind the refrain closing the song, but is still present in melody is why I spent more than two seconds listening.
…and what I say here stands for the bangers and the ambients, dance pop and deep house, you gotta do something with it.
I was randomly talking to a coworker about the history of electronic music, bringing my days of chasing drum and bass imports at Technophilia and later Waterloo and Alien Records. Since you are a music fan, you should watch this mini-documentary on the Amen Break, a sample pulled by many hip hop and rap artists, but also the source of the core building blocks of the entire D&B genre and subsequent subsets still used heavily for all things beat related. What to listen to after that? LTJ Bukem; find the Earth Vol. 1 compilation. One of my personal faves as single artist/album is Spring Heel Jack‘s 68 Million Shades.
Goldie always hit the periphery of my collection; I always favored his pure tracks, non-collab/no vocal. Just so happens, he released one such track today. This is current yet classic, simultaneously soothing and abrasive, aggressive and focused. Leave a comment.