Archive for April, 2010

Trent Reznor cranking out a new project?

Posted in News with tags , , on April 30, 2010 by softsynth

Rumours are flying that the new band How to Destroy Angels is actually Nine Inch Nails impresario Trent Reznor and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig. Sure sounds like it could be from the clip they made available on their newly launched web site. Not sure with any certainly but either way, we’re ingregued. As long as Reznor is making music we’re sated and if it’s something this promising so much the better. And if by chance this is not Reznor, then good on whoever this really is for the extra publicity (but we still think it’s him…

Bands we miss/what the hell happened to Juliet?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 29, 2010 by softsynth

Back in 2005 a very intriguing new artist named Juliet appeared on the scene. Juliet Richardson had done some time as the lead vocalist with 1 Plus 1 (with whom she did a pretty cool, if too polished version of “Cherry Bomb” back when she looked like a gothy electro-punk) and MNQNN before branching out as a solo artist. She released Random Order, a most-cool collection of electro-pop tunes with some genuinely interesting and original rhythms mixed in and a decidedly funk influence. While infinitely accessible it sounded like nothing else on the market. Her voice was polished but with attitude, her songwriting quirky but with a mainstream sensibility the electronics spoke to neither synth pop nor something harder, it was something wholly unto itself. There was a little bit of buzz around her at the time, particularly songs like “Avalon” which reached #1 on the Billboard Dance/Club chart. Then…then… Continue reading

Religion in electronic music

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2010 by softsynth

Maybe it’s just because we follow our mutual preferred genre so closely that this seems to stand out but it strikes Softsynth there’s almost a disproportionate number of theistic, or “religious”, if you will, music in the electronic world. Some are confirmed so, others are merely assumed to be such given the subject matter of their songs, but either way there seems to be an awful lot of electronic music that takes a little ride on the religion highway. Continue reading

Thermostatic call it a day

Posted in News with tags on April 21, 2010 by softsynth

Usually when one of the electronic family calls it quits we deal with the news with a degree of equanimity. But news today that Sweden’s Thermostatic are no more hits hard. Discovering this band a few years back was a revelation – a purely electronic bit pop band that knew a hook like few others and blended cold electronics with warm, beautiful vocals. They quickly became one of Softsynth’s absolute favourite bands and we were eagerly anticipating a new album.

A final concert in Gothenburg May 1st will mark the official end.¬†Upon hearing the news, in full disclosure, we were yelling No! No! No! at the computer screen. Sucks. Sucks a lot. And another great band joins our list of “bands we miss”…

We are officially in mourning.

Watch: Driving

Four artists we’re digging this week

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on April 19, 2010 by softsynth

Softsynth has been enjoying four somewhat under-the-radar artists recently, each of which deserves a larger audience and each deserves a little plug.

One thing about our shared beloved umbrella genre is the sheer number of smaller acts that don’t have the audience of a Goldfrapp or a Depeche Mode but are equally valid of attention. We will begin showcasing some of those smaller, often independent electronic acts that deserve more pair of ears fixed squarely on their material.

To whit… Continue reading

Review: Bunny Lake – The Beautiful Fall

Posted in Review with tags , on April 19, 2010 by softsynth

Austria’s Bunny Lake have delivered their most fully developed and most purely entertaining album to date.¬†The Beautiful Fall is a collection of extremely varied tracks, some of which don’t quite click but most of which click like a Geiger counter on speed. The album isn’t just a diverse collection in terms of tones, speeds, or tempos, it’s as though there are more than one band at work here.

At times they are a pure electro clash stomper. On others they are a pretty conventional rock band. The material is utterly schizophrenic. Sometimes that makes for greatness, sometimes for something a little more coma-inducing.

Known for being a “dirty band” their lyrical tone seems a little bit tamer than we’re sometimes used to. There is no “All That Sex” here. They are still the good ‘ol dirty group but there are more layers at work on The Beautiful Fall.

Continue reading

(mini) Review: Blind Faith and Envy – Into the Calm

Posted in Review with tags , on April 17, 2010 by softsynth

We’ve had this EP from Arizona’s Blind Faith and Envy for over two weeks and we’ve been trying to formulate a coherent opinion to little avail. Reviewing EPs can be difficult at the best of times what with short playlists and few overriding themes. In this case the newest work from this duo is neither the awesome electro-pop from their first two albums or the mundane mediorcracy of their last full length album, Media Motel. It’s also a hard review because even after ten (!) full listens we still couldn’t say if we truly enjoy this work or not.

One obvious winner stands out right away. “In a Crash” is a wonderful mid-tempo number that evokes an earlier era (with a lovely, multi-tracked vocals from singer Charlene April sounding bizarrely like Avril Lavigne…), but beyond this sublime track it becomes murkier… Continue reading