Review: Canada's Junior Boys have been running the synth-pop game since the late 90s and, in our eyes, they're as fundamental to the scene as other outfits like Hot Chip or Simian Mobile Disco. They are now made up of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus, and this time they return with a follow-up EP to their recent album for Christof Ellinghaus' City Slang. "Yes" is a delightful pseudo-house number with the boys' vocals riding the crest of the wave, and "Baby Fat" feels like a natural progression thanks to its soft house beats and watery lyrics. The B-side features "Some People Are Crazy", a sublime electronica piece with a sunken, moody tone that encapsulates them perfectly as a group, while "Kiss Me All Night" flaps its stuttering beats and sonic waves to a rigged husk of vocals. Bang.
Altar [Native States] (feat Scientific Dreamz Of U)
Review: Junior Loves has previously been spotted alongside Scientific Dreamz Of U on the excellent The Dreamcode cassette for 1080p back in 2015, and now the spiritually charged producer is stepping out on SDOU-friendly label Tabernacle to impart some well-travelled rhythm science to all astral journeypeople. There's definitely a psyched-out drum circle vibe to "Light/New Faith," but it's shot through with foreboding that makes it all the more alluring. "Hallowed (0.E.P)" is a strafing exercise in space age arpeggios and eerie chords, and the Scientific one lends a hand on the thrumming cosmic engine of "Altar [Native States]."
Review: Having come to light on Optimo Music, The Junto Club now kick off the Snap Crackle & Pop label with a new single that builds on their promising reputation. "Shiviana" is a perfect encapsulation of what the band are about, channelling all kinds of wave styles into their instruments but still coming off sounding contemporary and seductive at once. Khidja comes on board to remix the track, turning it into an acidic burner with a heavy dose of bombast thrown in. "Ikiryo" presents a more post punk side to The Junto Club sound, which Smagghe & Cross then buff up into a crafty electro number for the dancers.
Review: The combination of Richard H. Kirk and Minimal Wave was never going to disappoint, but the four tracks on this Never Lose Your Shadow 12" are still very special! Digging deep through the archives of the Cabaret Voltaire front man, Veronica Vasicka presents a quartet of solo recordings that have never been committed to wax before. The highlight is undoubtedly the A Side title track, a lolloping ten minute track of hypnotic industrial action made all the more memorable by Kirk's acerbic intonations about "the blind leading the blind". If you've caught a Vasicka DJ set recently you will have probably lost yourself to these ten minutes. On the flip are three tracks recorded in the same late '70s period which are distinctly more experimental in tone and just as vital.
Review: If you have a serious interest in Italo-disco, you should already be aware of Kirlian Camera. For the uninitiated, Angelo Bergamini's band was founded in 1980, and has been a constant presence on the Italian music scene ever since. "Helden Platz" was originally released in 1987, and is one of the standout moments in their bulging discography. Full of Cold War-era paranoia, the A-side extended version is dark, gothic and stylish, with impassioned female vocals riding body-popping machine drums, moody chords and a mind-altering arpeggio bassline. On the flip you'll find the notably different 7" version, and the gripping dark ambient of "Burial".
N'ecoutez Pas Tous Les Conseils De Vos Amis (4:45)
Dans Mon Desordre (5:42)
En Retirant (5:52)
Review: LCN is the alias for Le Chocolat Noir, an artist whose thirst for roughneck electro seems absolutely devoid of any sort of replenishment. The man's been active for near ten years now, skipping and hopping from label to label, and he lands on Gooiland Elektro, a subsidiary of Enfant Terrible, with these four stomping bangers. The A-side twists and turns its industrial gears with a fluid motion, bubbling up all sorts of dark energies from the depths of the inferno; the flip is no less magnetic in its look-and-feel, offering up two dicey cuts - "Solitude" and "En Retirant" - the former being a deep excursion into cold-waves and the latter a nasty, vibrating acid hybrid for the warehouse.
Review: Damn! Dark Entries are on a roll! Their latest reissue is of Scotland's Thomas Leer, an early 80's independent artist who recorded "Private Plane" in his bedroom using an extremely limited set-up...the prototypical '80s experimental kid! The tune is dreary, funky and on the abstract side all at the same time, but our favourite is actually "International" thanks to its wonky groove, driving percussion stabs and bursts of distorted jazz flute. On the B-side there's also "Saving Grace", a more poppy affair in that inimitable 80's Karate Kid flair...highly recommended, a 12" worthy of a reissue.
Review: Polytechnic Youth has been on something of a release spree of late. This absorbing single from the previously low-key Adam Leonard is apparently one of three seven-inch singles the label is releasing simultaneously. Split into two equally otherworldly parts, "Entkommen" is a meditative Berlin-School composition built around spacey, elongated modular pulses, fuzzy 1970s synthesizer chords, sci-fi effects and languid, rippling organ melodies that slowly rise and fall throughout. It's undeniably "kosmiche" in nature, recalling in parts very early Tangerine Dream, Dieter Moebius and Conrad Schnitzler. It's drowsy, alien and hugely atmospheric, suggesting that Adam Leonard is not only a student of those landmark German artists, but also a very capable musician.
Review: Barrelling out of the Hamburg underground, it's little wonder that Helena Hauff deemed emergent producer L.F.T. of a spin on her Return To Disorder label. As rough and ready as the electro on It's Alive! is, it's also delightfully playful and upfront as well. The title track sports plenty of Motor City soul motifs to match the hard edges of the beat, while "Visitors" plays around with a primal early 90s palette that should have all bleep fanatics body popping their approval. "Bankrupt Brain" is a taut new wave strutter precision engineered for deviant dancefloors, and "Jorogumo" blows the end of the record open with a soaring, swinging emotional belter.
Review: Second time around for South Florida noise-niks Life In Sodom's 1991 debut single "The Stains", which here comes accompanied by a 21st century rework from Mannequin big cheese Alessandro Adriani. His mostly instrumental version adds a little rubbery electronic funk and weightier bottom end into the mix whilst retaining the drum machine driven, guitar-fired sense of impending doom that marked out Life In Sodom's original mix. That celebrated cut comes in slimmed-down album and extended versions, with the latter working better on club dancefloors. Also worth checking is bonus cut "Phantasmagoria", a much more downbeat and melancholic affair that sounds like it could have been made at any point in the early-to-mid 1980s.
Review: Last year, we got a bit giddy with excitement over MIC's first two releases, which presented lost music from a 1980s drum machine enthusiast and a swathe of new cuts from Glaswegian cold-wave oddballs LAPS. The label's first missive of 2018 comes from rising star Lord Tusk and is every bit as good as its predecessors. Taken as a whole, it's rather hard to pigeonhole, featuring as it does tracks that variously fuse together sounds variously associated with post-punk dub, weirdo deep house, turn of the '90s London dub house (check the brilliant "Don't Be Shy"), the Art of Noise ("Beyond Limitation") and the dream house/dusty breakbeat fusions we've come to expect from Project Pablo and Jayda G ("Champion Lovers"). Throughout, it remains spaced-out, fuzzy and eccentric.
Review: Mirror Box is the solo analog synth project of Dallas musician Sean Kirkpatrick. With an extensive resume that includes keyboard duties for Kill Rock Stars' 00s noise rock band The Paper Chase as well as his concurrent projects, dark post-punk-synth-rockers Nervous Curtains and darkwave duo Little Beards, Mirror Box is Kirkpatrick's first foray into the purely electronic realm. Blending together elements of Giallo moodiness, dub texture, techno propulsion, a passing nod to your favorite wave music, and a flare for the kosmiche, Mirror Box' debut release, Minimal Compliance EP, is a tour de force of the veteran musician's exploration of a wide range of influences and experience.
Review: Nitzer Ebb and Mute aside, if you're looking for some high-class EBM-style music then The Neon Judment should be your first port of call. Davo Da Davo and TB Frank made some utterly timeless music back in the 80s and early 90s, but what we really love about their style is that they effortlessly glided between synth-pop and odd, inimitably obscure strains of industrial tones. Cockerill-Sombre was originally released in 1983 and, of course, Dark Entries are here to reissue the gem in the finest of styles. The opener "Please Release Me, Let Me Go-Go" is the best post-punk nugget that's been reissued thus far in 2017; the tune is a bizarre blend of hip-hop vocalism rapped through a fuzzy, electro-like filter that has been playing on our turntable since Monday morning, while "Too Cold To Breathe" sprays a shuddery sequence of vocals over a nervy techno, 4/4 drum machine. "The Fashion Party" bubbles its wavy bassline over incessant analogue drums, and makes for a fine proto-techno joint, leaving "1 Jump Ahead" to provide us with a fast, tribal post-punk bullet that leaves us yearning for more TNJ material.
Review: "Decadance" by Croatian industrial wonder-group NEP was first released all the way back in 1988, when all things post-punk were steering towards the dancefloor. The original tune resided on the band's one and only tape, Nova Evropa, which was technically put out in Yugoslavia, and had to be one of the country's few industrial releases that year. These guys, however, were both radical and chic - a dangerous blend. The lead tune itself is largely indescribable in terms of genres, using electro as the core channel to fuel its mystical and drugged-out cocktail of sonics. There's a 2017 remix on the B-side, produced by Snuffo, who adds a little 4/4 bounce to the original's nutty selection of industrial mechanics and oddball samples.
Review: Neuzeliche Bodenblage is a new project from sometime Oracles members Joshua Gottmanns and Niklas Wandt, the latter fresh from a triumphant collaborative LP alongside Wolf Muller man Jan Schulte. Both tracks doff a cap to the new wave era, offering authentically early '80s sounding chunks of coldwave pop built around throbbing synthesizer arpeggio lines, ice-cold electronic melodies and just about the right amount of late night, eyeliner-clad sleaze. Our pick of the pair is A-side "Ich Verliebe Mich Nie", where half-whispered vocals rise above a throbbing backing track, though there's something adorable about the chugging, reggae-influenced cheeriness of oddball B-side "Pfleg' Mich".
Review: The mythical Transdance from UK duo Night Moves is given a much needed official repress by Domestica Records and the Barcelona label have spared no expense. A limited pressing of 400 10"s come housed in hand screen printed sleeves accompanied by a leaflet with complete biography of the band. Despite the paucity of Night Moves discography, it's clear the duo of Michael Guihen and John Davis have had an everlasting effect on the canon of synth music with their much admired debut. Transdance was originally released as a limited 12" white label in 1981, finding favour on the dance floors of Europe and New York City yet never really gained the wider exposure it richly deserved. Original copies of the GC1 pressing of Transdance still command slightly ridiculous prices on Discogs so kudos to Domestica for this rather special presentation which features a previously unreleased demo cut "Life Up" on the flip.
Review: A seminal 81/83 record that epitomised so many sounds and melting pots: synth wave, Italo, New Romantic, electro, proto house... The list of worlds this groundbreaking song traversed is remarkable. Here Dark Entries compile the four versions that were cut during its two key release phases on GC Recordings in 1981 and 1983 in all their remastered glory. Smouldering, moody and still relevant to so much going on musically, this is true piece of history.
Review: Italy's Andrea Noce makes the perfect addition to Selva Elettrica's label, a collective of artists with a similar vision of electronic music. Fitting right in to the synth-pop-meets-coldwave aesthetic of the imprint, Noce delivers "Pray 4 Ca$h" as her opener, a house-driven slice of spacey pop that is further twisted into a more concrete club banger by Tormen Tonee. "Hawaii Bombay" is slower, drugged-out and tropical in its flavour, whereas "Magic Mirror" folds its heavy swarms of bass over placid melodies and luscious pads; anted-up and made bump-ready by a remix from Aufgang B. Lovely stuff.
Review: Just the one reissue this month from Dark Entries, but it's a real synthpop gem with Opera Multisteel's self titled debut from 1984 is granted a new edition. Aside from a cassette release in 1987, this is the first proper reissue and it presents the chance to get your hands on a truly rare, weird and wonderful piece of music. The vocals might be a tad conspicuous on first listen, but if you give them a chance to sink in you'll realise how quirky and special they really are. Each track stems form the same seed, a fast-paced, drum machine-led chant about life, love and loss.
Review: Back in December, Genevieve Pasquier quietly returned to action after six years by contributing a remix of the previously unheard "Fairy Tale" to Frigio's The Midas Touch EP. The original version of that song takes pride of place on Reflection, alongside three other clandestine trips into industrial pop territory. It's all deliciously dark and moody stuff, with metallic drum machine percussion, fuzzy synth lines and the artist's own atmospheric vocals taking centre stage. We're particularly enjoying the buzzing guitars, low-slung groove and Nine Inch Nails attitude of "Bouge!", though the decidedly weird, crackly and sparse "Tu Es Le Star" is similarly impressive.
Review: California based husband and wife duo Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis are Peaking Lights - who present their tenth long player on Amsterdam's Dekmantel. The acclaimed live act deliver yet more of their trademark blend of electronic freakouts here with Dunis' outstanding vocal style throughout. From the stylish electro-pop noir heard on numbers like "Blind Corner" or "I Can Read Your Mind", the cosmo-psychedelic dub of "Hypnotized" through to the lo-slung punk-funk of "Shift Your Mind" and the blazed ambient chill-out of the title track.
Review: Chris Garner, Jorg Burckhardt, Matthias Elvers, and Regina Petersen didn't release more than handful of EPs under the Peppermint guise, but what they did put out was as foundational and inspirational as more known electronic bands of the 80s like Liaisons Dangereuses. Dark Entries is responsible for this reissue, of course, a repress of an original going for near 100 bucks on the second-hand market, and this 1983 bomb has that rare characteristic of sounding retro and utterly fresh all at the same time. There's two mixes to the wonderfully wavy "Perfect High", and they both serve their own purpose; the radio edit, as you'd expect, is the one that gets the heads turning, its ominous bass charging menacingly amid the sweeter melodies and classic, new-romantic vocals, while the instrumental makes for the perfect beat companion to any serious cold wave DJ set.