Thank the internet for free translation websites, because there is damn near nothing about this band in English. Hailing from Paris, Aswefall appears to have not a lot of output, the most notable of which is this single from last year, "Nevermore". I didn't need to google translate the names of bands that kept coming up in reviews about them; it seems like everyone thinks they remind them of some band from the '80s, or maybe three or four of them, but no one agrees on which one. Like Colder, they're decidedly French, and appropriately, one of their songs is the official music for Air France. But what stands out to me here isn't their techno-slick repetitive new wave, but the dark atmosphere, Cure style bassline, and Poe-esque lyrics that bring to mind a goth warehouse party.
You can imagine how excited we were when Michael told us they were coming to town. We jumped on the chance to book them, and so this Sunday, Atomic takes its first leap into live music. I couldn't ask for a better lineup, and Kamar and I hope that when you see Red This Ever, either at the show in Chicago or
Atomic returns this weekend with a
Pic Vicious' classic synthy sound is sparse and dark. Their theatrical presentation, complete with props and costumes, is not. I love the juxtaposition and I couldn't resist posting a video, but the fancy trappings aren't even necessary; this pair sounds great even when you can't see them. Check out "Wicked West" on their
About a week ago, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool's lead singer, Charlie Haddon, walked off the stage after his performance at the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium and jumped to his death from a telecommunications mast.
As the news hit the blogs, a whole lot of people asked not "what would make someone do such a sad thing?" but "who is Ou Est Le Swimming Pool?". Having released all of three singles, the British synthpop band has made something of a name for themselves touring for La Roux, but were still under most people's radars. The thing is, though, those three singles were really really good. And like so many bands before them, we're left wondering what might've become of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, and what great music we're now missing out on, as a result of one key band member's suicide amidst a swirl of depression that we can't understand.
R.I.P. Charlie Haddon, we hardly knew ye.
Very quietly working his way around Chicago's afterhours scene, Olin has been closing his sets with Tears For Fears' "Head Over Heels" for a while now. A few weeks ago, I told him that he should make some kind of remix of it, and was surprised to learn that it had already happened (not surprised that he'd done it, just surprised that I didn't know about it). Well, here it is, and even better, not so much a remix as an entirely new track. The minimal beats and barely-there samples of the original give the vocals a beautiful, ethereal feel they never had before.
Olin will have the honor of the first release on Forem, the newest imprint of Chicago label Dust Traxx. You can hear a preview of it
Moscow-based new wave band Upstation is surprisingly good for an act that has existed for less than a year. Their analog synths are sprinkled with bits of disco, and not afraid to hang out with some guitars. Between these guys, Cut Copy, and the Valerie collective, I hereby stop even using the term "retro", as it is clearly pointless. 21st century pop music sounds like early '80s pop music. I'm ok with that.
From their self-titled EP, available to download for free on the Upstation
Fellow Chicagoans Hey Champ just put out this remix of Andy Bell's new single "Call On Me" and I quite like it. Keeping the disco elements and most of the lyrics intact, they give it a slick makeover that makes the track even more danceable.
Bell's new solo work has had it's fair share of problems, so it's exciting to see it finally released. Feeling the album sounded too much like Erasure, he at one point ditched producer Stephen Hague and all the songs they'd recorded, and started all over again with Gabriel Pascal. Given that both of them have a long history with synthpop artists and have produced Erasure before, I'm not quite sure I see the point, but then I haven't heard what Hague did to it, either. I'd argue that the end product does not even sound that different than Erasure, but I'm pretty sure that only Andy Bell thinks that's a bad thing.
Musician and synthpop/industrial promoter Jens Domgörgen and singer/songwriter Eric Schmaler have just released their first album as X-Divide, called X, on Infacted a few weeks ago. It's not doing too bad for a debut album; their first single, "Forever", just found its way into the German alternative top ten. I'm expecting to see them in an opening slot on a synthpop tour this summer--this could be a band worth getting to the show early for.