Archive for September, 2012

Review: Daybehavior – Follow that Car!

Posted in Review with tags , on September 29, 2012 by softsynth

We wrote about what a bright light Daybehavior were some time ago, but lost track and the months dragged by and their then-new songs faded from the Softsynth playlist. So when we caught wind of the at-last completed Follow That Car! we were both a little indifferent and a little interest-piqued.

What was nice about rediscovering the Swedish trio is your Humble Blogger has been awash in dark, angry industrial-flavoured music these days and this album, along with the next one we are to review were like a cleansing breath of light and air. With minimal expectations we were pleasantly surprised to find an accomplished, delightful and very competent synth pop album.  Continue reading

And One to call it a day

Posted in News with tags on September 26, 2012 by softsynth

We’ve written about the train wreck that And One has become in recent years but it’s not without considerable sadness to hear through the wind (and the good folks at side-line.com) that the band are ready to hang up the leather and keyboards and turn off the lights. Continue reading

Review: The Presets – Pacifica

Posted in Review with tags on September 22, 2012 by softsynth

We’ve been a big fan of Australia’s The Presets since the very beginning. There’s something oddly beguiling, something pathologically weird but also accessible about this duo and despite pretty radical shifts (one might say lurches) between albums, one listen to anything they release and it’s instantly recognizable as The Presets.

On Pacifica, they have taken another big shift, this time in the direction of the clubs. And like everything else they touch it works in their own inimitable way.

Continue reading

And One take a most interesting zig

Posted in News, Observations with tags on September 19, 2012 by softsynth

And One are a funny bird; they have been remarkably consistent act over their many years in the biz, with an almost-uniform output album after album with some peaks (like their remarkable Bodypop album) and some serious valleys (pretty much everything since that release). But now they bring us something that may mark the first genuinely different effort we’ve seen…maybe ever since the advent of the band.

Their newest song is the lovely ballad “Aigua” and it literally sounds nothing like And One, not just for the absence of Steve Naghavi on vocals (which are carried out by guest Vivi), but for the soft, drowsy and thoughtful melody. It’s the first genuinely “sweet” And One song one can recall. We had fallen deeply out of love with the band in recent years. A few too many misogynistic lyrics, a few too many songs that sounded exactly like every other And One song (and we don’t toss that off cavalierly, this is the band that is our 23rd most listened to artist on LastFM out of nearly 1000 artists), a few too many tantrums aimed in the direction of former band members. But this delightful track makes us take another look. Does this signal a new experimental direction or simply a refreshing palate-cleanser of a one-off? Either way, what a nice little aperitif. It’s an appreciated moment.

Watch: Aigua

Review: Pet Shop Boys – Elysium

Posted in Review with tags on September 14, 2012 by softsynth

We so want to hear a Pet Shop Boys album that makes us believe again. We’ve tread this ground before but it bears repeating.

This blogger had formally and wholeheartedly run headlong into the warm embrace of electronic music around 1984/85 after dabbling as any child of the early 80s would have found themselves dabbling (dayum Mr. Softsynth, you old!). When Pet Shop Boys suavely elbowed their way into the scene at the tail end of this Period of Discovery they were a lovely addition to the quiver. While old-lady-bones-dry there was also a dollop of cheek and a sense of post disco fun. Please was genius. Actually was so full of hooks you’d have sworn there was a gnarly fisherman in the mix. All the way through to Behaviour, with its oddly sexless sex and painfully clever wordplay, they knew had to spin a yarn coupled with a gorgeous synth riff.

Then something started to go off the rails. Even the band seemed bored and couldn’t be bothered wedging in any feeling or life to the admittedly consistent and prolific output.

Yet those fond memories linger still, so much so that we yearn for each new album to rekindle that sense of magic. But what was lost has yet to be found again. There is no soul, nor any heart in recent output. Sadly Elysium is no exception.  Continue reading

Spotlight on…a bunch of artists you probably haven’t heard of yet but hopefully will soon…

Posted in Observations with tags , , , on September 2, 2012 by softsynth

Pretty much every day we receive a track, or album, or preview from an up and coming electronic band. The sheer volume of this material makes it almost impossible to provide the coverage this material deserves (though anyone, emerging or established band alike, should feel free to use our Facebook page to share the wares directly). Here are a handful that caught our ear and deserve a wider listen:

Belgian act Calfskin is a nice, hard to label electro act with a lot of interesting layers and a clear darkwave influence. It’s among the best stuff we’ve received recently and it really stands up to repeat listens. The Standing Eight EP is a really nice piece of work.

Toronto’s Pale Eyes brings us something really unique, a funky, rough-hewn electro-bop that feels really refreshing (and helps us work toward that place of trying desperately to find good Canadian electronic music). Very analogue, very fun.

Loving Brooklyn/NJ-based band Nova Social. Softer feel but really, really well-produced material that combines an electronic feel with a serious funk beat (two funk references in one blog post! bringing our blog-wide 4-year total to…two). Really fun listen. “The Hard Part” reminds one of Hot Chip back at their peak. Seriously – check it out.

Peachcake is an extremely promising synth pop artist with a lot of depth. Their album Unbelievable Souls is due out later this month and their track “The World is Our Platform to Mean Something” is a very good start…

This just scratches the surface but is a good sampling of some of the neat stuff crossing our tastefully decorated threshold. Keep it coming, thar’s gold in them thar hills…