Archive for Backlash

Bands we miss – “where the hell *are* they?” edition

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on January 15, 2011 by softsynth

Usually our “Bands we miss” series focuses on bands we know to have disbanded, broken up, gone to that CD clearance rack in the sky. This day we look at three bands, as it happens all hailing from synth mecca Sweden, who live in a limbo state, unknown where they are, what’s gotten into them, what they’re up to. Each one is a band we miss terribly and it’s made all the worse for not knowing. In each case we tried to reach the band or their management and still no dice.  Continue reading

Electronic cover versions

Posted in Commentary, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by softsynth

While listening to the new Collide album (which we were pretty hard on in our review, it still stands but some of these tracks have held up better than we would have thought…) Softsynth was struck by the number of songs that seemed like odd matches with a predominantly electronic band (John Lennon?) Got us to thinking about some of the great cover versions given new life by electronic bands over the years (and some of the noble failures. And some of the just plain shitty treatments).

Some of the early great electronic recordings were cover versions, none more notable than Daniel Miller’s 1979/80 Silicon Teens project which was mostly synthpop covers of classic rock songs from the 50s and early 60s.

It didn’t always work (like the too-twee-by-half “Judy in Disguise”) but sometimes, like the fantastic version of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” it made for really refreshing takes on the classics.

Bands like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and The Human League diddled about with covers (Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for the Man”, the “Nightclubbing/Rock n Roll” amalgam, respectively) in the early days of their careers and the likes of Depeche Mode messed about with classics like “The Price of Love” before becoming full-fledged recording artists.

Perhaps the most successful well-known electronic cover was Soft Cell’s monster 1981 hit single, their version of the Northern Soul classic “Tainted Love” (which for decades had the distinction of being the song to log the most weeks on billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart). Continue reading

Quick trip around the interwebs: Covenant album on hold

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2009 by softsynth

Every few months Softsynth takes a trip around about 100 web sites for our favourite bands, especially those who have been quiet for a while. We learned today that Sweden’s Covenant have put their new album Modern Ruin on hold as their label reorganizes. Sad news as it could be another six months (!) before we see what has been shaping up to be a very promising new work. Meanwhile their US tour will go ahead even without the new album to promote. Hm. Continue reading

(mini) Review: Backlash – Quiet Men EP

Posted in Review with tags , on July 14, 2009 by softsynth

In reviewing a 3-song EP how much space should be devoted to the subject at hand? In the case of this startlingly interesting and powerful EP, as much as it damn well takes.

A tribute of sorts to classic John Foxx-era Ultravox, the Swedish electronic band take the title track and Slow Motion by the electronic pioneers and update them beautifully, in fact, in some respects improving on the originals (and how often can we say that about classics?), giving them a punch and power the originals never knew and for that matter a punch and power we’ve never seen evidence of in Backlash before.

Softsynth has written about our fondness for Backlash and their wholly original approach to electronic music, but even at that, this small collection surprises. For the first time, Backlash has shown they have serious balls. The two Ultravox covers are heavy with bass and abrasive, screeching synths that drag their fingernails across a sonic blackboard to beautiful effect. For good measure they also throw in original, “Lipstick” which every bit as strong, heavy and intense as the Ultravox tracks, giving us a glimpse into what the next Backlash album might sound like. If so, sign us up, ’cause this is the good shit.

Ultravox hasn’t sounded so fresh in 25 years and Backlash has never sounded so gutsy and strong. The marriage is one made in heaven.

Bands we miss – Zeigeist (and what’s the deal with Sweden?)

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2009 by softsynth

“What?” you are saying, provided you have heard of this Swedish electronic band. “Didn’t they, like,*just* break up…a few months ago? How does one “miss” a band that just ceased to be? And a fair query, that.

Zeigeist were a trio, yet another emerging from Sweden, that endeavoured to be merge their musical ideas with graphic design, film, art and music, a la Fischerspooner. On that front their success rate was debatable and their ultimate output was minimal, releasing one actual album, The Jade Motel, but what an interesting album it was. Similar to the Scissor Sisters in sound but with a more committed, unabashed electronic aura, they experimented not just with sound but with lyrics that made one’s eyebrows raise, particularly on the peerless “Cuffs” which takes a forward-looking view of someone discovering the joys of a little S&M. It was the kind of album that makes one wonder what could have been had they toughed it out. Softsynth highly, highly, recommends the album while mourning the passing of the band, who disbanded this February (member, Pearl has already launched a new project, Pearl Fiction). And we miss not only this highly interesting band but all that they could have built. Continue reading