Archive for LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem tragically plays their last concert but what a concert…

Posted in News with tags on April 3, 2011 by softsynth

We’ve oft-blogged about our love for LCD Soundsystem, and it was with mixed emotions that we watched (remotely, sadly, we couldn’t make the trip to see this live) their final concert at Madison Square Garden last night. But our sadness at this ending was tempered by just how unbelievably terrific this convert was. Any fan of electronic music needs to watch this – no band is better at taking electronic tracks and recreating them in a live setting using traditional instruments. While we’ve often written about how we’re more amenable to those who keep it electronic live, James Murphy and co just make their show so goddamn interesting it’s a thing of beauty to watch. Go to 2:53:10 to hear “Losing My Edge”, one of Softsynth’s all time favourite songs to see just how perfect an electronic song can be in concert…

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The Softsynth 2010 playlist

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by softsynth

Daunting is the idea of having to single out singles.

a) What do singles even mean in 2010? The digital age, the era of the pre-release leak, the lack of any physical “release” for all intents and purposes, the absence of any television presence where videos are played in any meaningful way – all have lead to a music world where a so-called “single” means no more than any other stand-out track on an album.

b) If breaking down the best albums in a particular genre is as daunting as it was in 2010, the idea of having to attack the mountain of meaningful electronic songs and somehow rank them in a consequential way is beyond the mental capacity of this blogger.

That said, each year there rises an honour roll of sorts, in absolutely no particular order at all, no “first”, no “last” . just those songs (yes, usually singles, but not always) that were constantly on the Softsynth playlist this year; those songs that resonated and rose above the conclave, the 30 “best” electronic songs of 2010. Continue reading

The Best Electronic Albums of 2010

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2010 by softsynth

Is it that time already? Hard to fathom a year has passed since we crowned IAMX as having had the best electronic album of ’09, but here we are. It’s been a very different year for electronic music than last. In 2009 we saw a handful of albums (four at least) that were spectacular, and opened up a wormhole in the genre that led us to incredible new places. For balance we also had a great number of albums that were simply “great” to round out our ten. This year is markedly different. There wasn’t a single release that would qualify as transcendent in the way that handful were last year. What we had instead were a much larger pool of “really good, really enjoyable albums”. That makes the art of building a best-of list that much more challenging. A whole lot of good instead of a select few greats makes for a big pot of soup and that’s a harder thing to differentiate. Still there were a number that floated to the top.

When we build a list such as this we are looking for quality lyrics, well-constructed songs and above all, a sense of true resonance – songs that stay with us and stay fresh. There were albums we gave strong, positive reviews to that within months felt stale, and others that received luke-warm reviews that grew stronger with each listen. This made for a very different list than we might have predicted in the summer or early fall.

Need to say it up front: people love lists. Softsynth is no exception, and accordingly a lot of thought goes into ours. Last year at chart time our readership quadrupled and we’ve had emails and tweets asking when the top 10 is due this year, so we know there’s interest in these posts more than any other through the year. Accordingly we get more debate and even the occasional angry post questioning our choices. How could you choose that, how could you exclude this, and the ever-popular, I can’t believe you consider that to be an electronic album!! It needs saying: this is subjective, as are all of our posts. Debate is awesome and most utterly welcome, but the caveat still needs stating.

It was a big enough challenge breaking it down to a top 25. Going deeper to a top ten harder still. There were a number of great, enjoyable albums that we celebrate outside our top ten from across the genre including Nitzer Ebb, Kant Kino, Hot Chip, Tikkle Me, Cindergarden, Ellie Goulding, Psy’Aviah, Goldfrapp, Ego Likeness, tenek, Hungry Lucy, Ambra Red, Android Lust, The Golden Filter, Alice in Videoland, Diorama, Edge of Dawn, How to Destroy Angels (which was such brilliant work, but after going back and forth we decided a five-song EP shouldn’t be in the mix as the best of the best, but we look forward to a full-length very much), De/Vision and our toughest drop, Parralox (and we know full well with the passage of time this is one we may regret not including in the 10, as its recent release may just have not given us enough time to sit with and properly get to know it over a glass of wine in front of the fire, learning each other’s deepest secrets). Each one of the above albums was terrific and made 2010 a solid, enjoyable year for electronic music, they stayed fresh, and displayed songwriting and performance chops and would have been on a longer list. But this is about the best of the year, the best of the best, the top 10 best electronic albums of 2010. To whit… Continue reading

Review: LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening

Posted in Review with tags , on May 23, 2010 by softsynth

Within the world of electronic music one of the most difficult challenges is to carve out an entirely unique place for yourself. A sound that would instantly define you as ‘apart’ from the rest of the community. James Murphy has succeeded at this more than almost anyone purporting to make music with synthesizers.

At the same time he has imparted a sense of fun to his music. It’s when one hears a cheeky track like “Pow Pow” or “Drunk Girls” that one realizes how unusual it is to hear an electronic song with that much of a sense of genuine fun. By its nature most electronic music is crazy-self serious. We take ourselves very very Seriously and what we make/listen to is very very Important and we’re not inclined to associate so much of music of our genre with a smile (maybe an intense grimace while dancing, or a knowing nod when we catch a snatch of lyric that goes to the heart of What We’re All About Underneath It All). Murphy and Co are all about taking the piss and enjoying the ride. And more often than not it goes beyond refreshing into the realm of “downright blast”. Continue reading

Coachella looks sweet for the electronic fan

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by softsynth

The new Coachella lineup has been officially announced and it’s killing Softsynth at our inability to attend this year (next year is planned but that was before this killer line up materialized). Lots of our favourite artists from all genres are on tap but in the electronic vibe our community is particularly well represented, not least of which by Gary Numan and Little Boots who appear on the same day (and we would imagine will revisit their awesome collaboration on the Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs”, see below).

Also: La Roux, LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, MGMT, Devo (freaking DEVO!), The Big Pink, Phoenix, and a slew of smaller, less well known genre bands. (And beyond electronic music the chance to see Muse, The Dead Weather, Public Image Ltd, Gorillaz, Dirty Projectors, Thom Yorke and Pavement all on one bill is enough to give us a case of the vapors.)

Killing. Softynth. Want to go so very much.

If you’re in Southern California April 16-18 so very worth checking out…

Watch: Venus in Furs

Electronic music in 2010

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by softsynth

While not quite the promising bounty with which we were able to look toward 2009 this time last year we can look to the year ahead at a number of very exciting new releases. Goldfrapp’s 5th album is the big deal news around these here parts but we can also look forward to new material from the liked of De/Vision, Diorama, Michigan (rumoured), Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Iris, Covenant, Ashbury Heights, Android Lust, Birthday Massacre, i:scintilla, Conjure One, LCD Soundsystem, Unter Null, Miss FD, Suicide Commando, Distain, Hot Chip, Ellie Goulding and the weirdness that is Ladytron…in the form of producers for Christina Augilara (which makes Softsynth’s virtual head ache with trying to envision the results of this collaboration).

As we look forward to the new year the wheel keeps on turning and lots of great stuff to come…

Top 25 electronic albums: 2000-2009 – Part II

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2009 by softsynth

The top 25 albums of the aughts continues as we count down to #1. There’s a lot of variety in these albums, coming from across the spectrum of electronic music, so many great ones that got left out but the cream rises and herewith, the cream…

Continue reading