Archive for December, 2011

Alright 2012, whatcha got for us…?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by softsynth

So, 2011 is now on the way to the compost heap and we sweep the hearth clean in anticipation of what 2012 will bring. Lots of good stuff on the electronic music horizon, fortunately mostly slated for the early part of the year, which is a good thing as we’ll get to enjoy some good new music in advance of the looming apocalypse in the fall (or is it the spring? We get our apocoli confused).

Our list is topped by Assemblage 23’s Bruise (supposed to be out this fall, but we’ll take it whenever Mr. Shear wants to deliver it, so terrific was his last A23 album); and after hearing sensational advance tracks from Bunny Lake their The Sound Of Sehnsucht is also high on our anticipated list. But these two are far from alone. 2012 looks to be replete with potential awesomeness, to whit: Continue reading

Merry holiday

Posted in Observations on December 23, 2011 by softsynth

Quick note of merriness to all our readers. If you celebrate Xmas or Chanukah or Kwanzaa or the solstice or nothing at all we hope you’re having a relaxing, meaningful break from whatever you normally do.

We’ve had periods of inactivity this year but it’s always a pleasure to come back knowing there are passions around this genre of music and the occasional debates either here or on Facebook or chatrooms for ones’ favourite bands have made the continued blogging a total blast. This holiday season we had more folks visit the blog than ever before by a factor of ten (!) so it’s sure nice to know you’re reading.

Thanks for coming by, thanks for checking in from time to time and thanks for keeping alive an important and exciting genre of music that needs its prophets, its emissaries to keep it going, to keep it thriving. Thanks to the synthpop fans for keeping it hopping and for the industrial fans for keeping it intense. We love it all, we love listening to it all and (at the risk of appearing sappy for a moment if you’ll allow), we love you for listening and supporting these terrific, important bands.

Happy holidays especially to those behind our sister sites, those blogs or web sites we check in on every single fricken day to learn what’s going on out there, to learn what’s new and what folks are listening to, and sometimes just to read some really good music journalism – The Electricity Club, E&P, Side-Line and The Pansentient League. It’s a thrill to share the stage with you folks.

Have a good one. Off to celebrate the season with the mini Softsynths and Mrs. Softsynth. See you soon.

Electronic xmas tunes ’11

Posted in Observations with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2011 by softsynth

Every year we troll about for new electronic holiday music. Perhaps it’s in reaction to the ubiquitousness of the xmas music we hear from radio stations, malls, co-workers computers…in the sea of the same holiday fare those in the electronic community sometimes want a little something to listen to, to get our spirit on without having to hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” or even our loved but done to death “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, let alone the older classics. Continue reading

The 2011 Softsynth playlist

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2011 by softsynth

So, as we do every year, we have assembled the individual songs that made up the soundtrack for Softsynth this year. We are generally more about albums than singles but there are individual songs that stand on their own as outstanding. Some of these come from albums we found underwhelming as a whole, some were one-off singles, or standouts from excellent EPs.

We don’t do a singles list because as often as not it’s album tracks that get us all hot and bothered but the song collection that truly moved us, our “top 25 songs” to go with our albums of the year, starts with the following: Continue reading

The Best Electronic Albums of 2011

Posted in Commentary, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by softsynth

This has been something of a peculiar year for electronic music. Some of the most compelling music from the genre has come from unsigned or yet-to-record-an-album bands. Discoveries like Curxes, Vile Electrodes and Nightlife provided some of the most alive, exciting and dynamic electronic music of the year. It was a year where EPs, instead of full albums, which we measure here today, brought us some of the most interesting glimpses of how good electronic music can be from the likes of Softsynth mainstay Miss FD, The Golden Filter, Tenek, or the three aforementioned bands (perhaps the latest example of how differently we now consume music in the digital age). And it was a year when many of the bands that make up the very foundation of this blog and this blogger’s bedrock musical interests, released new albums only to fall flat. In a year when Erasure, Ladytron, VNV Nation, M83, She Wants Revenge, And One and The Human League released new work it felt like assembling this year’s chart would be a pre-ordained affair, and yet it was surprises, resurfaces and new discoveries that provided the real fodder for our best of the year list in 2011. It was a year when Amy Lee of Evanescence, of all people would give us one of our most compelling electronic songs of the year, covering a Muppets song no less. There were curve balls but ultimately, as is the case every year, the best of the best rises to the top… Continue reading

Three artists we’re digging this week

Posted in Observations with tags , , on December 9, 2011 by softsynth

In the closing weeks of the year we’ve been inundated with exceptional new music. In addition to the terrific Trent Reznor/Attacus Ross soundtrack for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which was released the day of this blog post (and contains a wonderful new How to Destroy Angels song which makes us yearn even more powerfully for a full length album from that outfit), we’ve seen a bundle of great new stuff which has made up the bulk of the Softsynth playlist these past couple of weeks, to whit: Continue reading

Kid Kasio the antidote to all the dark

Posted in Observations with tags on December 4, 2011 by softsynth

Realized recently that most of the stuff we’re listening to in the lead up to the Holidays (whatever you and yours celebrate) is pitch-black-dark. Our playlist has been chock full of the industrial and the antisocial and sometimes one needs a little respite from the gloom. Then along comes Kid Kasio with the polar opposite – a fun-filled, sun-filled ode to the forgotten 80s. It looks like a classic Duran Duran video and sounds like the common denominator among every popular synth act of that era. It’s pretty fun and really well done and again, a little light amidst a dark, dark December playlist: