Archive for June, 2010

Bands we miss – Pink Grease

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on June 27, 2010 by softsynth

Sometimes we discuss a band that causes some to moan, “hey, that’s not an electronic artist”. Well, this is likely to be one of those cases, but there is reason behind everything we do here.

Pink Grease are one of the more interesting bands to have crosses our path in a very long time. They came to out attention around the time of the release of their first album, This is For Real in 2004 because they were on our favourite record label, Mute Records and that’s been a starting point of many a long, beautiful relationship for us. It wasn’t what we were expecting, hard to describe musically, but the best we can come up with very authentically old-school punk (though British it’s more of a New York Dolls-style punk than Sex Pistols) with a strange, shouldn’t-work-but-it-does strong electro element.

So what makes that a band for discussion on Softsynth. Well, as we’ve discussed before, we make a distinction between a band that simply “uses a synthesizer” and one that considers synths central to their sound both sonically and attitudinally. Pink Grease is absolutely such a band, and indeed their vintage, home-made synths defined the band’s sound beyond anything else. Continue reading

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O.M.D. set release date, track list for History of Modern

Posted in News with tags , , on June 27, 2010 by softsynth

Boy, if this album turns out to be a dud, not sure how Softsynth is going to handle it. The most anticipated album on our calendar in many years is the first new album from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in their full original line-up in more than 20 years, and the noise we’ve heard has been very positive (with teaser track “Sister Marie Says” a perfectly serviceable, if not exceptional taste), so our excitement has been on the rise. Better be good for all that waiting. A release date has finally been set – September 20; and a track listing has been revealed (and the song titles take us back to a very early period O.M.D., so they are, at a minimum, taking great care with the window dressing):

1.New Babies: New Toys

2. If You Want It

3.History Of Modern (part I)

4. History Of Modern (part II)

5. Sometimes

6. RFWK

7. New Holy Ground

8. The Future, The Past, and Forever After

9. Sister Mary Says

10. Pulse

11. Green

12. Bondage Of Fate

13. The Right Side?

There were few, more influential bands on the musical identity of this blogger so stakes are high. Make it a good one boys…

Three bands we’re digging this week

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on June 20, 2010 by softsynth

Been listening to a few bands that are hard to access but finally scraped up their material. A couple of these are our two favourite new additions to the Softsynth stable.

The first is Norway’s Electro Spectre whose most recent album Watch It All Turn is an utter treat. It’s as old school electro as old school gets. Right down to the production values the album sounds like it could be have been released in 1982. There is some confusion as to whether or not this is a 2009 album or released more recently than this (a recent label change has added to the confusion – it’s only as issue inasmuch as this is already a strong contender for Softsynth’s Best of 2010 though be all accounts it’s been out in some form for a while), but either way its’ delightful retro synth pop and nakedly European vocals make it go down like tea with a strong helping of honey. Wonderful stuff.

The other we simply cannot stop listening to is Squared Strawberries by Greece’s Rockets in a Coma. This is a dance-influenced electro pop album released last year but only now coming to our attention and it’s a beautiful, shockingly original collection of material. Hard to pin down exactly what this band “is” (Synth pop? Dance? Experimental? Something else altogether?) but what we do know is it’s become a fast favourite around here and we’re excited as hell to hear more. Crazy-hard to get a hold of but well worth the effort if you do. Continue reading

Review: Ego Likeness – Breedless

Posted in Review with tags , on June 18, 2010 by softsynth

At Softsynth we usually follow a “timeliness rule” that states if we are going to review an album it has to be within a few weeks of its release whilst still fresh and new, if we miss that window (see: Chew Lips), no review, we’ll find other ways to talk about the band. We’re making an exception in the case of the newest album by US band Ego Likeness.

Their album, Breedless sat in our downloaded file for a number of weeks following it’s April release without our bothering to listen. Why? Well, we like the band, especially tasty songs like “Isobel”  and “Wolves”, but they weren’t what one would call a “priority band” and we were contending with a rush of quality new material to get through.

Now that the inbox has cleared a bit and we had a chance to start giving Breedless its turn at the well and damn if we weren’t sitting on a corker. Continue reading

Softsynth tweeting

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2010 by softsynth

In order to keep the info train rolling we will be tweeting @Softsynth in addition to the blog…follow Softsynth there for the in-between-blog-post awesomeness…

Review: Uberbyte – EXS

Posted in Review with tags on June 13, 2010 by softsynth

Prolific UK industrial band Uberbyte are back with their latest,  EXS and it’s a consistently strong return. Among bands that could possibly qualify as having “industrial” influences Uberbyte enjoy a level of accessibility not enjoyed by many.

EXS is a great blend of intense dark oft-distorted vocals mixed with exceptional electronics (and increasingly dance-influenced rhythms), chased with a soupcon of jagged-edged noise. Continue reading

Review: How to Destroy Angels – How to Destroy Angels

Posted in Review with tags , on June 5, 2010 by softsynth

Trent Reznor making noise of closing the door on Nine Inch Nails was horrifyingly depressing but if he can make music as interesting, challenging and oft-awesome as the debut from How to Destroy Angels we might weather the storm better than we anticipated.

The project is the result of a collaboration between Reznor, his wife Mariqueen and producer/tech guy/long time NIN collaborator Atticus Ross and it’s a dilly. The first product is a self-titled six song ep and it’s one of the most thought-provoking and fascinating releases of 2010. Continue reading