We wouldn't rush to say that "Asia"—the second song to drip off of Salem's much-anticipated debut album—is our favorite tune from the 11-track King Night, but if ever radio stations could be welcoming to such twisted amalgamations of goth, shoegaze, industrial, and rap music, the trio might find a good single here. And that's primarily because the band's oft-disturbing lyrical content is rendered completely indecipherable (so the FCC will leave them be), though, that's bolstered heftily by the phantasmic synth melody, which somehow overpowers the song's smash of distorted drum-machine beats to tip "Asia" further onto its 'beautifully creepy' side. We're not imagining any Nine Inch Nails or Skinny Puppy scenarios here, but maybe, one day, Salem could eventually reclaim the misdirected angst of certain sub-cultures and turn it into something that transcends the stubbornness of contemporary pop culture. Here's to dreams.
Bay Area-based futuristic tunesmith Amon Tobin recently relaunched a special section on his website, the "Featured Artist" page, in which he "showcases artists he digs, inviting them to contribute content that is only available through amontobin.com." For his most recent feature, Tobin snagged the talented Philly-reppin' DJ/producer Starkey (pictured above), who hooked up an exclusive three-song EP of bass-centric space beats called Universe. Read more »
This Robot Koch (pictured above) track, from the forthcoming Friends of Friends Volume 3, the latest edition of the label's ongoing split-release series, may be called "Devil Drums," but we think the remix by Alex B would be better off entitled "Satanic Synths." Sure, the crushing 'boom-blap' of the Denver resident's production is slightly sinister, but it's that damned sawtooth-wave synth that we wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. The buzzing tone lumbers ominously through the song, even while the tempo gradually kicks things up a notch, and is constantly surrounded by a minion of plugin-addled noise from dimensions far more ghastly than our own. We'll see how the track matches up next to the offerings from the EP's co-pilot, Mexicans with Guns, along with other remixes from Salva, King Cannibal, Lunice, Mux Mool, and Free the Robots when the record comes out on October 5.
Zimbabwe-born Canadian Jason Amm has long been at the forefront of contemporary synth-pop. With his arsenal of vintage analog gear and drum machines, Amm has crafted four full-length albums under the name Solvent, which have continually explored new realms of electronic pop music over the course of 12 years. Read more »
With help from precocious experimental labels like Leaving Records and Non Projects, the nether regions of the Golden State are likely to be a hotbed for inventive musicians and producers for years to come. It seems that every time we turn around, something unique is coming to us from these folks—the latest of which is harpist/vocalist Ana Caravelle. Her forthcoming debut, Basic Climb, which was recorded at Alpha Pup don Daddy Kev's studio and produced by boyfriend Asura, will be released September 28 on Non Projects, but not before a handful of remixes from some beat scene kids drop. Here, we've got a mix from Shigeto, who gives Caravelle's composition a crackling once over, and mixes in his own stuttered melodies and broken grooves while leaving much of the artist's voice and harp plucks intact. The remix is an ideal marriage of live musicianship and electronic wizardry that works well in keeping both approaches interesting and fresh.
The poignant, synth-heavy pop coming from Brooklyn's beloved Small Black is set to try itself out in album form when New Chain is released on October 26 via Bloomington, IN's Jagjaguwar label. The full-length record follows a hotly tipped self-titled EP, a split EP with chillwave darling Washed Out, and a 7" record for fan-favorite song "Despicable Dogs," not to mention a few years of bandhood and some fondly remembered performances at CMJ and SXSW. Read more »
Once we got the tip over on FACT that Actress was hooking up the web with a free track, we were happy to help spread the good word about producer Darren Cunningham's latest innovative tunes. Truthfully, we though it would be a bit more of the slow-burning, subtly nuanced electronics that we've come to expect from Actress, but "Git It" is something entirely different—it's as close to club music as Cunningham is likely to get. A strong IDM vibe runs through the hurried clicks, disjointed thumps, and hypnotic melodies of the tune, which appropriately kicks off with a vocal stating, "This one's for the ladies." And while we wouldn't mind "Git It" kickstarting a new direction for Actress, the MP3 was initially tagged with "HAZYVILLE LP" in the "Album" section, so this is likely a cut that didn't make the cut on his 2008 debut. We're glad to hear it, anyway.
In recent months, we've been getting all hot-and-bothered about LA/Montreal duo LOL Boys, even though the guys had only turned out a handful of remixes and bootlegs. But as of this week, that's all changed, as the pair has entered the world of 'official' releases with their debut single, "123," which comes courtesy of Palms Out Sounds. Read more »
The dark, ethereal soundscapes coming from Portland's Grouper are about to grow two songs stronger with the release of a limited-edition tour 7" on the Australian label Room40. The lead number on the two-song disc, "Hold," is available to stream before the Hold/Sick 45 comes out on October 6, and finds solo artist Liz Harris waxing existential about "[observing] one’s own emotions... You’re in that space where you’re not sure whether to follow or reel them in." Read more »
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