Tag: Depeche Mode

Several years ago, I wrote about the London-based electro rock/industrial rock trio Blindness, an act that featured Beth Rettig (vocals, programming), Emma Quick (bass) and Debbie Smith (guitar), who also had stints in Curve, Echobelly and Snowpony. After Blindness split up, Rettig started tinkering around with new music and reworking some ideas that she had lying around without much of a plan. As Rettig told me in an email, “Recently, I decided it was probably time to do something with some of the new stuff.” Debbie Smith, her former Blindness bandmate contributed guitars, along with some programming on one of the two singles, Rettig has released with her new project Where We Sleep, a project that Rettig hopes will have her working with other musicians as well. Unsurprisingly, the project draws from some of Rettig’s lifelong influences — Curve, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Nine Inch Nails, PJ Harvey, Kate Bush, Massive Attack, and others.

“Veins,” the first Where We Sleep single finds Rettig collaborating with her former Blindness bandmate Debbie Smith, who contributes some thumping drum programming, arpeggiated synths and buzzing power chords in a sultry and anthemic New Wave-like song that sounds as though it were influenced by Sixousie and the Banshees and Depeche Mode. “Crawl” is a moody and atmospheric track centered around Rettig’s breathy vocals and industrial clang and clatter — and sonically speaking, the song may arguably be the most Depeche Mode-like that she’s released yet.

 

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New Video: Goldfrapp Releases Gorgeous and Cinematic Visuals for the Reworked Version of “Ocean” featuring Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan

With the release of 2013’s Tales of Us, Goldfrapp, comprised of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, released one of their most hauntingly cinematic and gorgeous efforts they’ve ever released, as the album’s material found the duo pairing Goldfrapp’s arresting vocals with classical music-inspired arrangements centered around piano and strings, acoustic guitar and occasional electronic flourishes. However, last year’s critically applauded and commercially successful Silver Eye was a striking return to form — and as you may recall Anymore,” the album’s first single featured a slick yet abrasive sound featuring  enormous, thumping 808-like beats, layers of buzzing and undulating synths. Interestingly, “Anymore” much like the rest of the material on the album buzzed with a restless, creative energy and sense of experimentation that was partially the result of the acclaimed duo working with  Grammy-wining producer John Congleton, who has worked with St. Vincent, John Grant and Wild Beasts; as well as collaborations with electronic composer Bobby Krlic, best known as The Haxan Cloak and Leo Abrahams, a guitarist, who has collaborated with Brian Eno.

Album single “Ocean” continued in a similar vein as the song centered around an abrasive and minimalist-leaning production of arpeggiated synths, thunderous beats. As the duo explained to Billboard the song was created during a morning writing and recording session and was originally built from what Goldfrapp called a “a very small improvisation.” “I remember coming into the studio one morning and I think we just had a few drums going and it was really basic,” Goldfrapp recalled. “Will said ‘Do you fancy doing some vocals this morning?’ So I was like, ‘Alright then’ and slightly reluctantly, i went into the vocal both and the words just came out.” And as a result, the song manages to bristle with a furious sense of unpredictability.

July 6, 2016 will mark the release of Silver Eye: Deluxe Edition and while the deluxe edition will include the original album material, there will be a bonus disc of remixes and alternate versions, including a re-recording of “Ocean” that features Depeche Mode‘s Dave Gahan, as well a previously unreleased Will Gregory remix of “Anymore.” Naturally, turning the original song into a duet with Gahan’s and Goldfrapp’s imitable vocals gives the song a harder, darker, moodier, goth edge while still managing to be a straightforward rendition of the song. But perhaps, more important, if you’re a fan of both, it’s the most necessary and effortless collaboration that you needed to hear.

Directed by Alison Goldfrapp, the gorgeous and cinematically shot video for “Ocean” found her returning to Fuerteventura, where the videos for “Anymore” and “Everything Is Never Enough” were shot for her scenes, while she directed Dave Gahan in Madrid during a break in Depeche Mode’s current world tour. As a photographer, the video features some scenery and cinematography that has me jealous. As Alison Goldfrapp says of the video, “I had an amazing time directing Dave in the video for the track and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.”
 

New Audio: Goldfrapp Team Up with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan on a Reworked Version of “Ocean”

With the release of 2013’s Tales of Us, Goldfrapp, comprised of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, released one of their most hauntingly cinematic and gorgeous efforts they’ve ever released, as the album’s material found the duo pairing Goldfrapp’s arresting vocals with classical music-inspired arrangements centered around piano and strings, acoustic guitar and occasional electronic flourishes. However, last year’s critically applauded and commercially successful Silver Eye was a striking return to form — and as you may recall Anymore,” the album’s first single featured a slick yet abrasive sound featuring  enormous, thumping 808-like beats, layers of buzzing and undulating synths. Interestingly, “Anymore” much like the rest of the material on the album buzzed with a restless, creative energy and sense of experimentation that was partially the result of the acclaimed duo working with  Grammy-wining producer John Congleton, who has worked with St. Vincent, John Grant and Wild Beasts; as well as collaborations with electronic composer Bobby Krlic, best known as The Haxan Cloak and Leo Abrahams, a guitarist, who has collaborated with Brian Eno.

Album single “Ocean” continued in a similar vein as the song centered around an abrasive and minimalist-leaning production of arpeggiated synths, thunderous beats. As the duo explained to Billboard the song was created during a morning writing and recording session and was originally built from what Goldfrapp called a “a very small improvisation.” “I remember coming into the studio one morning and I think we just had a few drums going and it was really basic,” Goldfrapp recalled. “Will said ‘Do you fancy doing some vocals this morning?’ So I was like, ‘Alright then’ and slightly reluctantly, i went into the vocal both and the words just came out.” And as a result, the song manages to bristle with a furious sense of unpredictability. 

July 6, 2016 will mark the release of Silver Eye: Deluxe Edition and while the deluxe edition will include the original album material, there will be a bonus disc of remixes and alternate versions, including a re-recording of “Ocean” that features Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan, as well a previously unreleased Will Gregory remix of “Anymore.” Naturally, turning the original song into a duet with Gahan’s and Goldfrapp’s imitable vocals gives the song a harder, darker, moodier, goth edge while still managing to be a straightforward rendition of the song. But perhaps, more important, if you’re a fan of both, it’s the most necessary and effortless collaboration that you needed to hear. 

John Glenn Kunkel is a Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and producer, who has released three critically applauded albums, four EPs and a number of remixes with his solo recording project The New Division. Kunkel’s work has received millions of Spotify streams, and adding to a growing profile, Kunkel has been covered in major media outlets like Pitchfork and The Guardian.

Kunkel’s soon-to-be released Fader EP will further cement the Los Angeles-based electronic music artist and producer’s reputation for crafting cinematic and moody synth pop that immediately brings Depeche Mode, New Order, Umberto and others to mind; in fact, the EP’s first single, the dance floor friendly, opening track “One Night in Tokyo” is centered around slick production featuring a motorik-like groove, propulsive boom bap-like beats, shimmering, arpeggiated synths and a soaring hook; but underneath the dance floor friendly sounds are melancholy lyrics based on a failed trans-Pacific love affair that has haunted the song’s narrator, which create an interesting and ironic juxtaposition within the song.

New Video: Introducing the Brooding and Cinematic Sounds of Chicago’s Well Yells

Patrick Holbrook is a Chicago, IL-based electronic music producer and artist, and his darkwave, synth-based solo recording project Well Yells has received attention both locally and regionally for a spectral sound paired with surreal, dream-like lyrics that draws from much of the music he had admired and learned to play bass following along to  — in particular, Joy Division and Bauhaus, and the fragments of music he could remember from his dreams. Although unsurprisingly, his work has been compared to The Cure, Depeche Mode, John Carpenter, The Legendary Pink Dots, and Clan of Xymox among others.

Holbrook’s latest Wells Yell album Skunk was released earlier this year, and the album’s latest single “Near” is a brooding and cinematic track centered around layers of wobbling and arpeggiated synths, submerged vocals fed through layers of effects pedals, shimmering guitar chords and subtle, industrial clang and clatter. Sonically, the song manages to evoke a slowly unfurling and inescapable, existential dread.

As Holbrook told me through an email, the recently released video for “Near” was directed and shot by Toupee’s Mark Fragassi, and a segment of the of the video was shot at “. . . the Steelworkers Park on the South Side [Chicago], which have these really uncanny ruins of a steel mill — the walls are all that remain, but they’re 1/4 mile long!”

 

New Video: Foreign Air Releases Gorgeously Shot and Moody Visuals for “Chakra Daemon”

Last year was a breakthrough year for the Washington, DC/New York-based indie duo Foreign Air — their For The Light EP amassed over 20 million Spotify streams, their material was included in a Nike ad campaign, and building upon a growing profile, the duo opened for the likes of Phantogram, Aurora, BØRNS, X Ambassadors, Kevin Garrett and Lewis Del Mar, before heading to Seattle to record their forthcoming, Phil Ek-produced full-length debut, slated for release sometime this year. 

Their latest single “Chakra Daemon” will further cement the duo’s growing reputation for material inspired by heady subject matters — for this particular song, evolution, biomechanics and the ubiquitous email bounce back bot Mailer Daemon, as a comment on how much of one’s daily routine is heaped in negative, harmful and repetitive energy.  Sonically, the song follows along a similar vein as its predecessors — a murky and menacing production featuring layers of arpeggiated and pulsating synths, four-on-the-floor drum programming, bursts of buzzing guitar and an anthemic but pessimistic, post-apocalyptic-like hook that finds the duo nodding at the likes of Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode and others, as well as contemporary synth pop acts like Painted Palms.

As the duo’s Jordan Classen explained in press notes “We as humans are constantly looking for a connection. However, more often than not we fail to find that connection leaving one to feel lonely or even invisible at time. As humans slowly begin self evolving by integrating bio-technology, I imagine one day there will be a Chakra Daemon. This will be like an artificial subconscious. An enhanced intuition. Beyond the obvious implication of keeping us out of danger, I think it will also play a role in navigating us through relationships both platonic and romantic.”

Directed by Sabrina Reiter, the recently released video for “Chakra Daemon” was shot in Vienna Austria and stars Florian Tröbinger and Martin Brandner, who are both struggling in some way or another with the inner truths that must be spoken about ourselves — and in turn, while longing for connection that has long evaded them. As the duo explains of the video treatment, “We all struggle with fear at one point or another in our lives and must find ways to overcome; to put into the world the truth that we know is already in our hearts and in our minds. If we don’t learn to externalize ourselves as individuals then we will never know our true potential as a society.”

Initially releasing singles like “Seeing Is Forgetting” and “Half-Empty Happiness” under a decidedly intentional cloak of mystery, the Montreal-based DJ, production and electronic music artist duo The Beat Escape quickly received attention across the blogosphere for crafting moody and atmospheric pop that’s deeply indebted to 80s synth pop — i.e., Depeche ModeThe Human League and others —  while evoking the sensation of a half-remembered dream.

Slated for an April 27, 2018 release through renowned indie label  Bella Union Records, the Canadian synth pop duo’s highly-anticipated, full-length debut Life Is Short The Answer’s Long finds The Beat Escape shedding much of the mystery that surrounded them during their previous releases; in fact, as you may recall, the JOVM mainstays, comprised of Addy Weitzman and Patrick A Boivin can trace the origins of the act to a college short film they had worked on together. “We made a short oddball work; a video piece that followed two characters through a psychedelic waking dream,” the Canadian pop duo explain in press note. And since that initial collaboration, the duo have collaborated on a series of projects — but interestingly, their full-length Beat Escape debut finds them thematically speaking coming full-circle while further developing the sound that grabbed the attention of the blogosphere and elsewhere.

Life Is Short‘s minimalist first single “Sign of Age” featured propulsive and gently undulating Giorgio Moroder-like synths with a deliberate, textured and painterly quality that evoked gently drifting about in somnambulistic reverie. Continuing in a similar vibe, the album’s second and latest single “Moon in Aquarius” is a a decidedly motorik affair featuring a spectral melody — and while being clearly indebted to 80s synth pop, the song manages to evoke the mesmerizing sensation of a night time road unfurling before you, with white lines and dividers flashing by in a blur; but on another level, the song feels haunted by lingering and inescapable ghosts.

 

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about renowned Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist JOVM mainstay Sofia Härdig, who’s at the forefront of a blogosphere attention grabbing Swedish pop movement that includes several acts that I’ve written about at some or another; in fact, in her native Sweden, she’s considered the queen of electronic rock. Adding to a growing profile, the Swedish-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has collaborated with the likes of Grammy Award-winning acts The Hellacopters and Bob HundBoredoms and Free Kitten’s Yoshimi P-We — and she has shared stages with Lydia Lunch and Belle and Sebastian‘s Stevie Jackson.

Last month, I wrote about Härdig’s “Illuminate,” an atmospheric and introspective, 80s-inspired synth pop track featuring layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a subtle rhythm guitar, a sinuous guitar line and a sultry hook that managed to remind me of both  Stevie NicksStand Back” and The CarsDrive” but centered around a deeply personal and yet universal experience — the seemingly endless, frustrating search for love and connection with another. Interestingly, “Let Me Fall,” the latest single from her forthcoming full-length effort, Changing the Order is a thumping, club banging track that finds the renowned Swedish pop artist drawing from industrial electronica and 90s house music — to my ears, it’s a trippy yet forceful synthesis of Depeche Mode, Light Asylum and Snap!

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past month or so, you’ve likely come across a couple of posts featuring  Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based duo VOWWS. And with the release of 2015’s debut effort, The Great Sun, the Sydney-born, Los Angeles-based duo received attention for a sound that drew from a diverse array of influences including classic Western, electronica, surf rock, metal, post-punk and industrial rock. The duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort Under the World continues their ongoing collaboration with longtime friend, mentor, the renowned engineer and producer Kevin S. McMahon — and the album reportedly find the duo eschewing much of the familiar post-punk tropes of their previously released material, and focusing on razor sharp hooks, direct vocals and richer, more nuanced textures.

Forget Your Finery” was an 80s New Wave-inspired track that featured a deliberate attention to melodicism and to infectious, arena rock friendly hooks while “ESSSEFF” was an industrial-like track that nodded at Depeche Mode‘s “Policy of Truth” and U2′s “Mysterious Ways” — and much like its immediate predecessor, it found the duo continuing with a deliberate attention to razor sharp and rousingly anthemic hooks. “Structure of Love,” Under the World‘s latest single is a a decidedly gothic-leaning track with an industrial thump, angular bass chords and the continued emphasis on arena rock friendly hooks. Interestingly, the new track also manages to be among their cinematic and soundtrack worthy track off the forthcoming album.

VOWWS’ sophomore effort is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through the band’s own Anti-Language Records, and throughout the mid-March and early April, the Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles, CA-based duo will be embarking on a North American tour that will include a March 22, 2018 stop at Saint Vitus. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates 

3.19 – 529 – Atlanta, GA
3.20 – Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
3.22 – Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
3.23 – Meatlocker – Montclair, NJ
3.24 – Geno’s – Portland, ME
3.25 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
3.26 – Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT
3.27 – O’Brien’s – Boston, MA
3.28 – Casa Del Popolo – Montreal
3.29 – Coalition – Toronto
3.30 – Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH *
3.31 – Deluxx Fluxx – Detroit, MI *
4.1 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL *
4.3 – Reverb Lounge – Omaha, NE *
4.4 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO *
4.5 – Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UT *
4.6 – Neurolux – Boise, ID *
4.7 – Barboza – Seattle, WA *
4.8 – Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR *
4.10 – Old Nick’s – Eugene, OR *

* w/ Soft Kill and Choir Boy