Archive for February, 2010

March madness

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2010 by softsynth

As we swerve head-long into March Softsynth is excited about the spate of new releases from an assortment of some of our very favourite bands. A sampling of the March goodness:

Absurd Minds: Serve or Suffer – March 5

De/Vision: Popgefahr – March 9

Diorama: Cubed – March 19 (check out their new video for “Child of Entertainment” at the link below – despite the horrific lipsyncing we’re diggin’ the tune…)

Psy’Aviah: Eclectric – March 19

Goldfrapp: Head First – March 22

The Girl and the Robot: The Beauty of Decay – March 26

Blind Faith and Envy: Into the Calm – March ??? (they are still saying March but no actual date yet…hmm…)

Continue reading

Electronic cover versions

Posted in Commentary, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by softsynth

While listening to the new Collide album (which we were pretty hard on in our review, it still stands but some of these tracks have held up better than we would have thought…) Softsynth was struck by the number of songs that seemed like odd matches with a predominantly electronic band (John Lennon?) Got us to thinking about some of the great cover versions given new life by electronic bands over the years (and some of the noble failures. And some of the just plain shitty treatments).

Some of the early great electronic recordings were cover versions, none more notable than Daniel Miller’s 1979/80 Silicon Teens project which was mostly synthpop covers of classic rock songs from the 50s and early 60s.

It didn’t always work (like the too-twee-by-half “Judy in Disguise”) but sometimes, like the fantastic version of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” it made for really refreshing takes on the classics.

Bands like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and The Human League diddled about with covers (Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for the Man”, the “Nightclubbing/Rock n Roll” amalgam, respectively) in the early days of their careers and the likes of Depeche Mode messed about with classics like “The Price of Love” before becoming full-fledged recording artists.

Perhaps the most successful well-known electronic cover was Soft Cell’s monster 1981 hit single, their version of the Northern Soul classic “Tainted Love” (which for decades had the distinction of being the song to log the most weeks on billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart). Continue reading

Albums we’re excitedly waiting for – Golden Filter

Posted in News with tags , , , on February 20, 2010 by softsynth

We knew US/Aussie pairing Golden Filter as great remix artists lending their talents to great mixes of tracks by bands like Little Boots and Polly Scattergood, but they are beginning to emerge as exciting recording artists in their own right. One of the albums Softsynth is most excited for in 2010 is their forthcoming Voluspa (April 26th). Their early teaser singles “Solid Gold” and “Thunderbird” are pretty great but it’s the soon-to-be-released “Hide Me” that gives us a glimpse of how powerful and interesting this band may end up being. Smooth electronics with a powering backbeat and lovely vocals from Penelope Trappes make for a kick-ass concoction. Consider our appetites whetted…

(Hear a piece of “Hide Me” at their website…where you can also download the track)

Review: Hungry Lucy – Pulse of the Earth

Posted in Review with tags , on February 11, 2010 by softsynth

It feels like forever since Hungry Lucy’s last full length release, To Kill a King (and truth be told, in music terms it has been since that 2004 release). They did manage to release an outstanding EP, Before We Stand … We Crawl in 2006 but its three songs were just enough to whet the appetite for fans of this US trip-hop band. The delay was due in part to the band – Christa Belle and War-N Harrison – re-thinking their direction. As they write on their web site:

In mid-2008, indie duo, Hungry Lucy were recording weekly podcasts and had finished writing songs for their 4th full-length release. By all accounts, things were going well for the band. Popularity was at an all-time high, and their music was selling nicely across the globe. From the inside though, Hungry Lucy had become more about social media, and less about the kind of great songs the pair loved to write. Gone was the mystery, spark and creativity that once burned bright for Christa Belle and Warren Harrison. With that, the couple ceased podcasting, scrapped most of of the nearly-complete album and immersed themselves in making something truly magical.

And so they did. At long last their fourth album has been midwifed into existence and it’s an interesting and refreshing addition to the Hungry Lucy canon. Continue reading

Viral video mystery with an electronic twist

Posted in Commentary, News with tags , , on February 10, 2010 by softsynth

So the interwebs are all a-flutter over the identity of the iamamiwhoami project. What is this, you may ask. Well it’s a mystery band/singer/collective/project that features some really neat electronic tracks with some high quality video to match and the big mystery is: who the hell is this? All we know it’s some cool electronic snippets and the whole thing features a blonde, breathy singer who we can’t quite identify (which has fueled the mystery).

Speculation abounds ranging from Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots fame, to The Knife (and a lot of people seem to think it’s the Knife, and truth be told we’re leaning that way ourselves), to Lady Gaga, to Christina Augilara (which, given her recent work with Ladytron wouldn’t entirely surprise either…). The clips are intriguing as is the mystery itself and we’d totally buy this stuff, especially the track where the mystery singer is licking the tree…

What do you think? Is it The Knife? Is it ‘ol Trent Reznor with a new vocalist, or something altogether new who have brilliantly used the tubes to publicize a new project…?

Bands we miss: T.H.C.

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on February 6, 2010 by softsynth

Los Angeles trip-hop-based band T.H.C. didn’t have a long life, but they did leave something of a mark. Sarah Folkman and George Sarah released only one album, the fantastic Adagio, in 1999, along with a harder-hitting EP, Consenting Guinea Pig before flaming out, Sarah leaving to pursue a number of solo projects.

During their all-too-brief recording career they produced some of the sexiest, moodiest electronic music on the scene. They had a brief moment of minor fame when their song “Overfire” was featured in the “Wild at Heart” episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (“performed” by on-screen band Shy, [and lipsynched by actress Paige Moss] hilariously a full-trad-band with guitars and drums which bear little resemblance to the song actually playing, but we digress…). Sarah actually ended up appearing on three episodes of the show and even collaborated on an album featuring Buffy alum Anthony Stewart Head. Their brief moment of Buffyness had many scrambling to find out who were actually behind the lovely, creepy-beautiful song and T.H.C. suddenly had their moment.

But it wasn’t to last. Folkman had already moved on and that was that. But they left behind a fantastic album that is not to be missed (though that said it is nearly impossible to find in anything but virtual form. Good old iTunes has the album for sale digitally but that’s the extent of it that we can find).

We miss them because they could have produced some wonderful stuff had they soldiered on. As it is we’re glad for what they managed to leave in the end…