Top 10: Poni Hoax, CSS, Lindstrøm
- Words: Jennifer Marston
Images of Sigrid
Release Date: July 22
It’s no use trying to wrestle Poni Hoax into one specific musical category, and the five-man outfit from France is bound and determined to prove this on its second full-length. Slap the “synth-pop” label on them and they’ll rip it right off and plow through a power chord-driven rock number. Call them “electro” and they’ll serve up some disco. Say their music is “serious,” they'll sing a song about bicycle theft, but if you start laughing too hard they'll make you weep with a poignant number about love and loss accompanied by a chorus of stringed instruments. All of which is to say, this is a finely tuned release that stays fresh, original, and unpredictable throughout.
"West Coast Rocks (The Glitch Mob Remix)"
Admittedly, we give The Glitch Mob enormous amounts love here at XLR8R.com, and tracks like this aren’t helping us temper our addiction. An interpretation of dubstep producer Matty G's "West Coast Rocks" anthem, this track finds the four-man group from Los Angeles laying down their heaviest synth lines and laptop-generated noises (of which there are so many it's ridiculous to try naming them all), but also showing us a new side of their sound, which involves some gorgeous piano and string arrangements that make for a compelling juxtaposition with the darker elements at work.
Otto Von Shirach
Oozing Bass Spasm
Cock Rock Disco
Release Date: July
Not every producer gets to be labeled a "sado-booty ringmaster" in his press kit, and on Oozing Bass Spasms, Otto Von Schirach proves why he's the right artist to bear that crown. As racy as its title indicates, this release is a wild trip through electro-soaked breakcore and booty music, complete with fractured drum machines and a vast supply of sexual innuendo. Schirach should also be praised for track titles here. Only on a Cock Rock Disco release will you find names like "Satanic Unicorn Orgy," "DJ Hepatitis Tofuburger," and "Magnetic Rave Headache."
Trying Got Us Nowhere
Release Date: Out Now
This one wins the award for prettiest release of the week (sorry, Glitch Mob). A combination of field recordings, drum programming, gauzy electronics, and shoegazey guitars, Trying Got Us Nowhere is the debut album from Brooklyn-based duo Evagelia Maravelias and Brian Wenckebach, and it's no surprise artists like Justin Martin and Ulrich Schnauss are raving about it. Every musical note seems as carefully placed as a comma in a novel, and Maravelias' voice soars through a collection of intelligent lyrics mostly centered on lost love. Breakups are cruel, but damned if I don't want to have another one just so I can go home and put this album on repeat.
Southport Weekender Vol 7
Release Date: July 21
Here's another one from the über-prolific Andy Carthy (a.k.a. Mr. Scruff). This time around, the U.K.-based DJ and producer has compiled an hour's worth of soul classics for the latest installment of the Southport Weekender series. Most of the cuts here are on the obscure tip, hardly surprising considering Carthy's extensive record collection, from names like '70s soul crooner Momie-O, the ever-funky Mark V Unlimited, and one from Theo Parrish. As usual, the mixing here is top-notch, with each track blending seamlessly into the next.
Paper Bag Records
Release Date: August 26
With electro party anthems available in every corner of the blogosphere and record stores nowadays, it's hard to excited about receiving another album of synth-heavy dance beats that combine nerdiness and sexiness. That is, unless you're listening to this, the aptly titled Heat Attack from production duo Woodhands. All you really need to know about this album is that it's packed with gritty analog synth lines, keytars, and bizarre vocals, and the tracks sound as though Dan Werb and Paul Banwatt were hopped up on a Red Bull/Pseudoephedrine cocktail when they made them.
DFA Presents: Supersoul Recordings
Release Date: September 2
DFA is the authority on innovative dance music, and for its next release, the label turns to Berlin-based Supersoul Recordings. The two-disc compilation covers every facet of electronic music, from hypnotic techno by Supersoul founder Xaver Naudascher (who also happened to have had a hand in the Run Lola Run soundtrack) to Skatebård's ambient "Marimba." Plenty of synths for everyone on this release, and if Supersoul continues releasing tracks of this quality, they'll blow Get Physical out of the water by the end of the year.
The Tough Alliance
A New Chance
Release Date: September 7
When all the world was busy blogging relentlessly about Cut Copy, Modular was prepping this release, the third full-length from Swedish duo The Tough Alliance. Unfortunately, many of Modular’s artists have one signature sound they recycle over and over on their various EPs and albums. Not so with this group. A New Chance, while definitely a collection of party tracks, explores a variety of music styles, tempos, and moods that prove this duo is as capable with a 4/4 laptop beat as it is with a guitar ballad.
Where You Go I Go Too
Release Date: August 18
When discussing his debut full-length, Norwegian disco king Lindstrøm was recently quoted as saying "I wanted it to sound a bit dramatic and like a long travel." It's a task he has accomplished, both because Where You Go I Go Too consists of a mere three tracks, each one over 10 minutes long, and because of the way each one evolves. The title track begins as a slow, soft number but quickly crescendos into sweeping melodies and crashing chords. "Grand Ideas" is a slightly darker cut with a distinctly heavy beat, while "The Long Way Home" experiments with numerous different rhythms in the span of 15 minutes.
Release Date: July 22
If you're falling asleep at the desk, this one should kick some life back into the workday. The six-member outfit, whose 2006 self-titled release put them on the map and spurred the world’s newfound appreciation for Brazilian electro-rock, has returned with a sophomore album that seems intent on imitating the kind of spirit of its live performances. Donkey features the same driving guitar riffs and slamming drums from previous releases, but singer Lovefoxxx’s vocals contain a lot more bite this time around. , tThe musical arrangements are tighter, too, and the group as a whole seems hell-bent on holding absolutely nothing back.
Photo of CSS by Mariana Juliano.
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