Baltimore's Future Islands are quickly emerging as the media darlings of a musical movement that some are calling post-wave and others are calling a return to the New Romantic sounds of 1980s Britain. (Hints of contemporary artists like Xiu Xiu and TV on the Radio also abound.) With its shimmering synth melody recalling Eno's "Spider & I," deep kicks, and male-female vocal contrasts, "In the Fall" is a near-perfect slice of melancholic electronic pop. Taken from their latest 12" and recorded just weeks after completing their first album, the single is sure to win the trio many fans who lament the end of spring and its inevitable goodbyes.
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The latest installment of All City's split 10" series featuring the stars of the Los Angeles beat scene comes from Ras G and Samiyam, whose collaborative efforts with FlyLo have been lauded for their originality. Here, the Angeleno crafts a shuffling beat that rides below sub-sonic bass tones, accordion synth-drones, and little bits of secondary high-frequency flourish. Though it isn't the most danceable selection, "Fishsticks" uncannily invokes scenes of domesticity and service work—in other words, one can totally see a short-order cook jamming to this piece on the job, especially after its squelchy apex.
On the forthcoming Subject to Shift, his first album under the Solvent moniker in six years, Jason Amm brings an air of synth-pop melancholy to a sound that had previously inhabited the imagined world of happy analog robots. While the sonics remain analog, "Loss for Words" is indicative of Amm's new direction—a sheen of sad, watery synths flows behind bright swells that bring New Romantic sounds to mind. With multi-tracked vocals intoning about an unhappy, non-communicative relationship softly floating above it all, one can imagine Solvent blasting out of many college dorm windows, and this is most certainly a good thing.
Miami's Gosub has certainly absorbed the electro-funk sounds that have been coming from Detroit for years, as "Eyes of Nimrud" sounds like a lost Drexciya track. Its ominous bass loop, dry hand-claps, and squelchy synth runs would fit right in on a Submerge Recordings compilation, and the pitch-shifted vocals are insanely similar to those on countless Underground Resistance recordings. While the press release's claim that Gosub is "predicting funk's future" seems a bit absurd as a result of these similarities to older, more venerated recordings, his talents are evident and plentiful on this track taken from his The Last Time... EP. Available on sale right now, it would behoove all fans of UR and its affiliates to jump on this slice ASAP.
8-bit tunes are so 2005. Seattle's premiere bass-toting, hip-hop-obsessed gamers-cum-production duo, Splatinum up the resolution on its latest single, "Pumping Quarterz." The track's hard-hitting beat and vocodered hook ("fat booty bitches is so delicious") speak to the outfit's club-lovin' side, but the buzzing synths and assorted sound effects are clearly the work of pure video game fanboys. It would be a stretch to call "Pumping Quarterz" geek-hop, or any other contrived genre title, but Splatinum offers sounds for both ends of that spectrum—along with remixes from Mochipet and Inaudible—on its Pumping Quarterz EP, available for free download here.
It's pretty awesome that Scion brought out the big guns to release this brand-new track from veteran garage producer Todd Edwards as the next installment of its Scion A/V Remix series. More awesome still is the host of remixers corralled to flesh out the release: 2-step legend MJ Cole, Feadz, and future-dubstep darling Joy Orbison all have a go at Edwards' original. Here, Orbison tones down the ecstatic sounds of "I Might Be" for an even-keeled number that places subtle synth melodies and sub-bass rumbles far below the soulful Auto-Tuned vocal hooks and stuttering dance beats. If you're interested in doing some comparisons on your own, you can grab Edwards' original version and the rest of the remixes over here, well before the EP's official release date on April 12.
Taken from Bustin' Loose, the fourth compilation released by the DC-based T&A label (run by Tittsworth and DJ Ayers), this remix of Steve Starks' "Lydia" by Smalltown Romeo is a high-energy exercise in rolling basslines, bouncing disco-house beats, and a seemingly endless arsenal of swelling background sounds. The Canadian supergroup—made up of the Smalltown DJs duo and Wax Romeo—seems to have only left the original's Spanish vocal intact, but even that is vocodered into oblivion. Basically, "Lydia" receives an almost complete 180—effectively transforming from a gritty street-bass number into something more suitable for a nightclub with a dress code.
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