Archive for Polly Scattergood

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


Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2011 by softsynth

When we look back at the history of electronic music, and more personally Softsynth’s own journey to embrace our shared genre, Daniel Miller’s record label played a larger, more significant role than any other entity. As a young lad in a small Canadian city in the pre-internet era there were only a few ways to discover new music. Mainstream radio was the big one and we’ve waxed on about how we discovered Depeche Mode in 1984 thanks to the then-ubiquitous “People Are People” which aired on MuchMusic, daily video shows like CBC’s Video Hits, and on radio programs like Dick Clark’s op 40 Countdown which aired on Halifax’s C-100.
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Albums we’re excitedly waiting for – Golden Filter

Posted in News with tags , , , on February 20, 2010 by softsynth

We knew US/Aussie pairing Golden Filter as great remix artists lending their talents to great mixes of tracks by bands like Little Boots and Polly Scattergood, but they are beginning to emerge as exciting recording artists in their own right. One of the albums Softsynth is most excited for in 2010 is their forthcoming Voluspa (April 26th). Their early teaser singles “Solid Gold” and “Thunderbird” are pretty great but it’s the soon-to-be-released “Hide Me” that gives us a glimpse of how powerful and interesting this band may end up being. Smooth electronics with a powering backbeat and lovely vocals from Penelope Trappes make for a kick-ass concoction. Consider our appetites whetted…

(Hear a piece of “Hide Me” at their website…where you can also download the track)

Yeah, so what exactly *is* this “electronic music” anyway?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on December 22, 2009 by softsynth

One of the most compelling aspects of writing a blog on a topic as specific as a particular genre of music is the debate that can erupt over a given choice of word, a definition, an inclusion or exclusion from a list, on the part of devoted, perhaps passionate, perhaps utterly nutso fan of said genre. We have seen a lot of that around here lately in either emails to this blogger, comments on the blog itself, or most entertainingly, on message boards of a particular band as fans of that band pick apart our every utterance, for good or ill, about said band. Our traffic quadrupled and stayed there following our best of the decade lists and best of the year list, and we have found our thoughts shared via twitter or on web sites or message boards and many of the questions raised are genuinely fascinating and astute. Continue reading

The Softsynth 2009 Playlist (songs of the year ’09)

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2009 by softsynth

So this will be the last in the long line of “lists” for the year. We had mused about doing up a “best singles of the year list”

and were both overwhelmed by the task at hand and felt persnickety about the notion of being limited to just singles.

The era of the single is definitely upon us what with the death of the CD as the last remaining form of “physical” music and the growth of iTunes culture, but damn it, Softsynth is a creature from the age of album appreciation and the best songs are so often not the tracks sent out to be appreciated by the masses, but those that remain buried in the outer confines of an album. (That said many of the best songs

released there were, indeed, singles, so we’re not limiting ourselves here). It’s what made for the great mixed tapes of yore. (And for those of a certain age, too young for the pure album era of the 70s, but older than those who know only the MP3 era, the mixed tape was a crucial part of our musical upbringing. we created our own playlists, as a kind of precursor to the era we increasingly find ourselves in today via one-off MP3 downloads, but with tracks culled from albums or singles as we saw fit, depending on our mood at a given time.)

This is literally the only time through the year that we open things up to acknowledge the best stuff from various genres, not just electronic music (and in our next post we will revisit the question of what exactly constitutes so-called “electronic music”).We will paint with a wider brush just to fully colour in the year. So away we go, the singles of the year, er, songs of the year, uh…no, the “2009 Softsynth playlist”…

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The Best Electronic Albums of 2009

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2009 by softsynth

Finally recovered from the exhaustion of compiling the decade’s best electronic albums, we now turn our attention to the best of this year. Two changes to the initial plans. We had reported earlier we were going to do an all-genre-inclusive list, as we did last year on this blog and as we have in previous years in the earlier incarnation of the blog. Given the huge number of predominantly electronic albums that were released this year, or more specifically, the large number of great electronic albums, we have done an about-face and will stay true to the blog’s mandate and share what we think are the best of the year – electronic only. (The only two albums clearly effected by this change are the exceptional new works from The Dead Weather and Placebo, and we’ll hear from them elsewhere, see below…; and as always the definition of “electronic” is somewhat loose – see our own definition in an earlier post.)

Second change, we had also mused about doing a singles of the year list. Ha, we say. Ha! Overwhelmed with the sheer number of exceptional singles we throw in the towel. Simply too onerous. We will instead do the 2009 Softsynth playlist – all genres this time and not just singles but album tracks too. Despite the move to a singles society thanks to iTunes and the like, we still look to album tracks for some of the most interesting, challenging work out there. Those songs, electronic and otherwise that have blown us away or just kept us moving throughout the year will make up the official Softsynth playlist. We’ll get to said playlist soon enough, for now, the best in 2009 electronic albums… Continue reading

Review: Polly Scattergood – Polly Scattergood

Posted in Review with tags on April 5, 2009 by softsynth

Sometimes we stumble on bands in a truly half-assed way that end up having a profound impact on us. Were it not for a cell phone commercial I would never have discovered the enjoyable Teddybears STHLM; were it not for a chance happening upon an episode of Late Night With Conan O’Brien I would never have been introduced to a then-new and emerging band called The Decemberists; and if I hadn’t been browsing the Mute Records website and coming across an artist in the long “artists”‘ section I had never heard of some two years ago, I would never have had the pleasure of Polly Scattergood’s delightful new self-titled album.

She had just been signed at the time and her MySpace page had demo tracks that led one to assume that Scattergood would be another in a long line of piano balladeers in the Tori Amos vein. It was lovely stuff and enough to keep me following her ever since waiting for her first recorded material, but nothing I anticipated being all that “special”, up to and including my getting my hands on her (as yet UK-only released) debut.

I would prove to be wrong in adhering to such a belief. Continue reading