Archive for August, 2012

Review: De/Vision – Rockets & Swords

Posted in Review with tags on August 31, 2012 by softsynth

When listening to the newest album from the prolific Germans that make up De/Vision one can be struck by a sense of “maybe not exciting, but certainly competent; sometimes very good with a few tracks that stand out in a sort-of-meaningful way”, before realizing, that describes most De/Vision albums.

Now that’s really not a knock on the band. In fact this insanely prolific band has been a source of genuinely consistent joy for this listener for many years. They’ve excelled at producing, seemingly year-in, year-out, rock-solid electronic pop with a vaguely darkwave tinge and often they’ve landed the beast really well. While they’ve only very rarely blown the roof off the joint, they’ve shown a real knack for knowing exactly how to deliver the goods when they’ve needed to. In many ways they are the Joe Lunchbucket of electronic music.  Continue reading

Bands we miss – Bunny Lake

Posted in Observations with tags on August 29, 2012 by softsynth

How soon is too soon to start “missing” a band? In the case of Austria’s Bunny Lake not soon enough. Like, “they’re still winding down their final live dates before officially calling it quits” soon. But that said, words fail as to how much we’re going to miss this band.

We speculated last year about how much we were looking forward to their upcoming album, The Sound of Sehnsucht, and wondered if it would be the best album of ’12 so encouraging were the early snippets and first singles. Truth of the matter it might just be. At a minimum it’s certainly going to be in that mix. We were about to get our review copy of the album in the mail and then that week passed…and then another…then one more. And suddenly they announced on their Twitter feed they were calling it quits (was it something we said? Was our request for the review copy what pushed them over the edge? Horrors! Lost sleep for thinking of it!).

Truth be told they site creative differences and are simply winding down the Bunny Lake machine and the electronic music scene is much the worse for it.

Continue reading

Three artists we’re digging this week

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on August 28, 2012 by softsynth

It’s lighter fare that’s tickling our fancy this week (truth be told our fancy needed a good tickle, so the timing was fortuitous). Sometimes you’re in the mood for aggro angry screaming and other times you just want to bring the pop. To whit: Continue reading

Why we never quite got around to reviewing that Metric album

Posted in Observations with tags on August 15, 2012 by softsynth

There are times we find ourselves heading down that road of wondering “is this electronic music”, and our default is usually toward the “yes if it’s got synths up front as the dominant instrument” end of things, but sometimes it’s still very unclear.

One of the albums we’ve reviewed that had readers up saying, “that ain’t part of the club, it doesn’t belong” was Metric’s terrific Fantasies which was our #5 electronic album of the year on our year-end best of list in 2009. It was around that time that some started suggesting Softsynth considers anything with a keyboard in it electronic music. And while it’s true we cast a wide net to inclusively open the definition, there are albums who play in our yard without being invited inside the house.

Bottom line, when we listened through Metric’s new album Synthetica, which we did an awful lot, one could not help but be struck that this was very much a middle-of-the-road rock album with some keyboards prominently used here and there. So we didn’t review it here (short version if we had – a little soulless and doesn’t pack the punch of the last album but with a few notable highlights). There are a few tracks we could have pulled out to review in isolation (which not coincidentally are among the strongest tracks of the album like “Dreams so Real” and “The Void”) but that’s not how we approach albums around this here place.

So some asked who no Metric review. That’s why.

Review: Huski – H

Posted in Review with tags on August 8, 2012 by softsynth

Be careful of what you wish for. One of our initial reactions to Huski’s last album was “too much guitar, not enough electronics”. Well, on H, they’ve sure banked left and ramped up the synths, but to great effect or ill?

This blogger is a big, big fan of not only Huski but pretty much every Melanie Garside has touched. We listed the first Huski album, Love, Peace, Pain as one of the top electronic albums of the last decade. Their last, poorly distributed, but pretty damn terrific record, Strangelove was among out top ten of last year. This is not a casual relationship. So, upon listening to H, there were a series of conflicted emotions goin’ round.

Continue reading

“Everything Counts guy” and his kids back with another DM cover

Posted in Observations with tags , on August 6, 2012 by softsynth

Loved DMK, (freakishly talented Columbian musician Dicken Schrader and his kids, Milah and Korben) and their take on Depeche Mode’s “Everything Counts” which became something of an internet sensation. They’re back with another DM cover, this time “Black Celebration,” painfully reminding us of how tremendous these songs were and also how purely watchable it is to see people who are having fun performing.

Also? = This guy is an infinitely cooler Dad than this blogger.

Also also? = Digging the black eyeshadow on the kids. Love the committment…

The Azoic back and getting creative to fund their future

Posted in News with tags on August 6, 2012 by softsynth

We’ve missed The Azoic. The Ohio-based EMB-styled band put out some great music some years ago but disappeared from the scene. They are looking to get back in the scene but like so many others, have struggled to make and release music in this challenging world for musicians. We blogged about this very phenomenon recently. Everyone is looking for a business model to survive in this era and some have gotten very creative.

The Azoic are looking for supporters to help fund a new video release and EP for new single “Corruption.” You can help them get new music unto the world and at the same time you can get some very interesting and…”committed” rewards, including a chance to be an extra ($100) or featured player ($200) in the video, an opportunity to party with lead singer Kristy Venrick ($300) or dinner with the band ($500), or getting up there into the truly creative, like having a song written and recorded just for you ($2000), a personal live show ($4000) or the most awesome – a member of the band will get a tattoo of your choice on their body ($5000). That’s devotion to the cause. We’ll be making a donation, albeit more in the “t-shirt” range, but if you like this band, want to help them produce some new stuff and get some really unique incentives, be a part of this great project…