This is the weekly installment where we recap what we’ve been spinning at The Synthesizer Book headquarters during the week. If it’s on this list, it got played more than once!
1.Radiohead-The King of Limbs
I was going through my Facebook news feed one morning this week and was notified that Radiohead had pre-released their new album, The King of Limbs. Attached to the feed was the video for Lotus Flower, featuring a gyrating Thom Yorke sporting a derby hat with his hipster looking oxford shirt. There is no band… just Thom Yorke in all his panache. The following night a few of my friends and I attended the Yo La Tengo show at the Rickshaw. Before the event, as we walked over to a friend’s house to meet up, we thought we’d introduce them to the new Radiohead album. Well, to our surprise or not, they were already listening to it. How’s that for viral marketing, huh? Not even out for 48 hours, and already in the hands of 4 out of 5 of my friends I was out with that night. This album is fantastic. The drums, the bass, the arpeggio type guitars, Thom Yorke… you know I’m going to tell you that it works. It sounds brilliant even. So, don’t take it from me, go get yourself a copy here.
2.Matt and Kim-Sidewalks
I was told by a friend that radio stations are playing the skylights out Cameras right now. I don’t listen to much radio so I didn’t know! I still like the track. I’m enjoying this album and can’t wait to give it some focused attention. Their LP Grand was a welcome surprise upon its release and a good background to all the shows the hits appeared on. The only reason why this didn’t get much more spins this week was that I purchased it on the same week Radiohead released their LP, and what else am I supposed to do people? That said, this is a good album overall. There are 10 tracks that offer pop style vocals, tight drums and lots of synthesizer goodness throughout.
Some people borrow the worst elements of decades past and some are inspired by the best parts of the early 80’s synth-pop. On Zonoscope, Cut Copy do a fantastic job of creating pop songs that seem like they could easily fit neatly on the A-list of pop radio stations all over the world. Yet without a doubt, they still maintain an appeal that seems relevant right now to more than just the top 40 listener. Upon first hearing Need You Now, I heard elements of OMD. I hear New Order on some other tracks too. I hear Cause & Effect. I can’t help myself really, these are my childhood idols. Still, everything on offer on this album works as a whole. Take Me Over has me bobbing my head in time and wishing one of the guitarists I collaborate with could play the jangly type of guitars found here. This album could easily be their breakthrough into pop stardom and the more I think about it really,… why the heck not? I don’t think they compromised and I’m going to get angry if I read a review that says so. What Cut Copy have done is create one really good pop-inspired creation. They’re on tour with Holy Ghost! and my only question is, why are you guys not playing in Vancouver? Come on now!
There was a comment on xlr8r, where the person said something like,…”I really wanna like this band, but just can’t.” Until then I couldn’t quite figure out how I felt about them either. I had my doubts too and for a brief second I even wondered why I kept wanting to listen more. The person mentioned that their tracks sound like unfinished tracks which they have opted to release. Is that the reason why I have an attraction? Is my desire to seek unpolished music behind it all? I don’t know if that’s it, really. This track sounds like something you could find on a sci-fi b-movie or a late night teen angst film rerun. There is definitely something alluring in all of their tracks. The synth swells, the cheap drum machine loops and the out of tune synth at the end here… it keeps piquing my interest somehow. I still wonder if they deserve all of the hype they’ve been getting. I won’t lie about that. Some of that hype can even be found here. However, for now I think I’ll keep listening until I’ve made up my mind. One Nation is their forthcoming album.
…Like on “Businessline” from their forthcoming LP for Hippos in Tanks, One Nation (pictured above), Hype Williams lets a simple hip-hop beat carry a few precious synth melodies that simultaneously sound lifted from the love scene in a late-’70s sci-fi B movie and like two kids just jamming in their basement on a rainy day.
You can get the single from xlr8r.com here.
5.John Foxx & The Maths-Catwalk & Evergreen
It’s been 30 years since John Foxx has released an all analog synthesizer album. Who knew? This was also really good news that I received this week. I didn’t wait long and went right over to Townsend Records and purchased Interplay. I checked out the video for Catwalk and was instantly smiling at the sound and that synthesizer candy found onstage. With the pre-order you get one download track. Evergreen was the download and upon first hearing it, I came to one conclusion. Retro sounding synth-pop albums sound best when they are made by the few select artists from decades past that did it first. I mean, how many of us have cited Metamatic as an influence? There is a certain kind of sincerity in these tracks that shouldn’t be denied. It doesn’t sound contrived. It sounds so very right to my ears. John Foxx has called his new partner Benge, the Conny Plank of today and I am really looking forward to hearing more output from these guys. I’ve got my hands on the stems for Shatterproof from Interplay LP and I can’t wait to remix those. If the remix works out, I’ll post it here first. Check out the previous post here.
From Townsend Records:
If you have pre-ordered already or if you pre-order now you will receive this one-off package to mark the release of Foxx’s first all-analogue synthesizer album in 30 years. You’ll also receive a download of an exclusive edit of the track, ‘Evergreen’. Once the initial 1500 copies have sold out, Interplay will be available in a more conventional jewel case.
You can pre-order a copy of Interplay here.
6.Chris & Cosey-Cowboys in Cuba (1982)
I don’t know what this video has to with Cuba, Cowboys or Chris and Cosey except that it features their track from the album Trance and I like it. The video features a sped up train journey from London Paddington to Birmingham via Leamington Spa in 1962. Chris and Cosey are another act from the decades past that could probably get away with producing another synth-pop album. Again, if you want to know what something should sound like, why not go right to the source. This band was there too just a hop skip and jump away from John Foxx.
7.Martin Solveig & Dragonette-Hello
My wife loves this song and I want to put one in for her. She’s made me listen to it a few times now! It features the husband and wife duo aka Dragonette. It’s catchy too. She’s grooving to it and why not. Love the Peter Hook type bass guitar on the breakdown. I’ll dedicate this one to you, gorgeous!