Three artists we’re digging this week

One thing we enjoy about listening to all forms of electronic music is the mix at any one given time can be eclectic, even if all over the place while still enjoying the best of what the genre has to offer from many quarters. One quick check of the Softsynth iPod and we find three great bands keep popping up this week, and the only thing they have in common is they are all awesome.

Mechanical Cabaret are Roi Robertson with Steve Ballamy joining on live synths, and the band is oft-compared to Fad Gadget (RIP Mr. Tovey), an apt description though this project is less experimental and more about delivering the kick-ass electronic rock song. This year they released Disco Vandalism, and while we normally eschew new releases that are largely rehashes of existing material, this collection of remixes is top-notch, particularly the DV800 mix of “In Loving Memory”. It’s dark and messy but also catchy with a synthpop influence buried beneath the more darkwave-tinged exterior. It’s excellent, excellent stuff and has inspires us to seek out the back catalogue (favourite song: “See Her Smile” from Product For Your Insecurity). They are quickly becoming one of our favourites. 

At the opposite end of the electronic spectrum is New York synthpop duo The Mystic Underground. The band have a new single “Pride of St. Mark’s” which is a totally fun electropop song that makes one think of classic Erasure. It’s refreshing to hear music of this sub genre so well produced and so confident in what it is. Interesting lyrically, and bouncy fun musically, it’s an utterly welcome addition to the library.

Does it Offend You, Yeah? are a UK band we’ve never been able to fully figure out. There is no other band who can squeeze as many different genres into one album. Their first album, 2008’s You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into features already timeless classics like the perfect pop song “Dawn of the Dead” and the throat-shredding “Let’s Make Out” (the latter one the favourite of the younger of the mini Softsynths) but it was hard to pin down exactly what kind of band this really was. That confusion reigns supreme on their terrific follow-up, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You, one of the best new releases of the year. Within one album we have the hard-core electro chorus-combined with the quiet, guitar-strummed verses of “We Are the Dead”, the jangly guitar/pretty synths of trad-pop of “Pull Out My Insides”, the techno-influenced thrash of “The Wrestler (This is the Dance)”, the hip hop of “Wondering” and the sweet ballad of “Broken Arms”. It’s musical schizophrenia writ large. And it’s awesome. (If you are missing Pink Grease this band channels that one’s crazy energy and sound.)

While we’re excited about the usual suspects’ new material coming up (hello Marsheaux, Assemblage 23, Ladytron, VNV Nation, Shiny Toy Guns, Erasure, etc etc) and that of the lower profile Softsynth faves (hi System Syn, Northern Kind, Diffuzion – holy hell what a good second half of the year we’re looking art music-wise), it’s beyond lovely to keep coming across the new or the new-again to keep things fresh and hopping. These  are but three making it rain this week…

Watch: Does it Offend You, Yeah? – The Monkey’s Are Coming

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