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.
Low bitrate is not so good for your ears.
This video allegedly failed a strobe/seizure test. As for the song, once you settle into the first half, finally lulled by the back drop lurking under the traditionally quick drums, a break takes away any comfort before returning you into hypnosis. Pre-order the Collapse EP at Warp.
Sometimes a friend on the intarwebs shares a band with you via the social media to PYAITK. Fellow music photog Randy tagged me in a post due to my penchant for synth pop after he stumbled across Nation of Language on a Soundcloud bender. They were supposed to come for SxSW where I probably would have stumbled into one of their sets and subsequently followed them around, but recording took the budget. Developing.
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.
Film School was an absolute favorite of mine; their show at The Parish eight years ago was my first “assignment” for ATH. I am happy to catch you up on the news that the band has shared a new song called “Crushin” with accompanying video. The other piece of great news is that their first full-length record in six years, Bright To Death, is due in the Fall. Pretty excited, this is a gorgeous piece of shoegaze pop by Greg Bertens and company.
Been a hot minute since I did a HANW post. We’ll start this off with a semi-local favorite, Lou Rebecca. Her self-titled EP made with Mr. Josh Mills is out today on Holodeck, use the link in the previous sentence to make it yours. To celebrate, they have released the official video for “Tonight”, shot in and around Austin (greenbelt and Justine’s) by Daniel Everett Di Domenico starring the singer and ATH Records’ alum Ramesh.
There were a slew of festival announcements. Meh. A ton of overlapping lukewarmers with occasional “oh, that’s cool” in the small print. For instance, ATX friend Roger Sellers will be playing several fests as Bayonne. I won’t echo a recent Uproxx editorial in detail, but I really hope that ACL being in a fairly unique spot in the festival season could pull off a few interesting names, bands not really touring until 2019 or a legit one off surprise (please let it be Bon Jovi so I can win a three year old bet). May the bookers pay homage to FFF and pull in some legit counter-culture to the lawn.
Finally, I am going to PYAITK for a band I listened to late last year a bit but never highlighted. Boy Harsher is amazing. Friends on the left coast keep an eye out, they are booking shows.
It has been a pretty good week of electronic jams. From the new Fever Ray today to Bayonne’s latest to the Korine track. All solid offerings. Maybe you should just resolve to shimmy all weekend with this cooler weather. It is finally fall. LCD Soundsystem out at COTA seems a good way to spend Halloween. I am hoping my skwuad can rock our onesies. If you see a platypus, perhaps with a camera, say hi.
I will leave everyone with one last bit of electro-pop goodness. It is from French-born, part-time local Lou Rebecca, who with Josh Mills on programming and keys, has been turning out wonderfully crafted French disco. Holodeck picked up the pending release and we now have a full shimmy-inducing slice of heaven following the more thoughtfully subdued and bilingual lead single from the S/T EP.
Almost forgot. Our friends Night Drive have a video out for “Trapeze Artist Regrets”. Check it.
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.
I missed the first announcement about the new record from Geotic, the electronic/downtempo/looping project from Will Wiesenfeld, better known for Baths. Ghostly is home to the new LP called Abysma due end of March.
Previous material was more towards ambient, using loops of guitar taps and minimal synths with a drum machine to keep it all in motion, gorgeous stuff and an anchor of the soundtrack I use when I travel. The latest content is more polished, relying more heavily on synth and programming then pulling smaples and layering, but I love it none the less. It is an evolution, bordering on shimmy material.
I embedded the latest called “Nav”. If you dig, check out “Actually Smiling”.