Here are 4 bands that I think really bring something special to the indie rock table, bands that are pushing the envelope on sound and their passions reaching for something different.
Juana Molina makes me want to dig thru the world music crates and pick her brain, the drive in her voice in this song could make 101 yr old man stand up and dance, I need to see this song being played live, my jaw would probably hit the floor.
What can you say its a new Beach House single that just leaked and the indie world is fumbling over itself to get a listen and I have to say its pretty impressive, catchy and i’d like to throw out this genre idea – woodgaze [woodsy shoegaze], yes or no?
After Pitchfork’s Festival all I heard about was how outstanding Frightened Rabbit sounded live, this is my first taste of something that I like by them on CD, wow a collection of songs[this plus the other 3 songs and some shoegaze and maybe Red House Painters and thats really it, and The Police too] that actually make me want to listen to lyrics, its such a nice feeling.
I have to give it to Tom Croose, he called Real Estate being great in the spring and now look at us all, I have to go back to how I visually described it back in August: “to me its laid back feel makes me want to bust out the Yo La Tengo’s Summer Sun LP but i’m too busy chillin’ in my kids pool filled with hose water that is being warmed by the sun and I have grass blades stuck all over me that i’m trying to pick off, so lets just keep the Real Estate CD in.”
My friend Eli (who needs to do an Italo Disco installment of Synth Pioneers) put me onto this documentary, which is likely the best exploration of the English synth-pop moment. With great interviews from heroes like Daniel Miller, Vince Clark and Martin Gore, it really got my blood pumping so I wanted to write about a few other acts who were originators of the international electronic pop sound.
Kraftwerk – Computer Love
Talking about the greatness of Kraftwerk is like talking about the necessity of air, so I’ll keep it short. They just released all of their most well-known albums, remastered and with original artwork. “Computer Love” is one of my al time favorite songs. The way the lead seems to phase shift at the end always takes my breath away. Let’s get this straight: A song about loneliness and computers, made before the internet was invented which glides like classical music? Sounds like a plan.
Yellow Magic Orchestra – Technopolis
Yellow Magic Orchestra have been called the Japanese Kraftwerk, in that they were both pop innovators and an awesomely stoic synth band. Ryuichi Sakamoto has since gone on to collaborate with Fennesz and Christopher Willits amongst others. Their work may pre-date synth-pop but it’s surely in the canon of influential works. I often play their hit “Computer Games” if transitioning between sounds in a DJ set. When the beat drops at 1:50, it always lights up the room.
Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids
A band that is sorely overlooked is David Sylvian’s Japan project, which married glam and (some would say, invented) new romantic aesthetics to synth austerity and elegant arrangements. Their full sound was more complex than their peers and more sinister by a long shot. Recently, Sylvian has also collaborated with aritsts like Fennesz and covered acts like Blonde Redhead with stunning vocal clarity.
Simple Minds – Glittering Prize
Scotland’s Simple Minds were another band not included in this documentary, probably because they are more associated with the New Wave movement, but like labelmates the Human League, they’re example of a band moving from experimental work to pop success. Their work became increasing U2-like and less electronic, but this track captures them at the peak of a rewardingly sweeping sound, with pitch-perfect production to boot.
Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Synth Pioneers series can be found here.
I’ve been sick in bed but that hasn’t stopped me from digging deep for music in between long naps, I found soo many nice tracks I even want to post the 4 songs for tomorrow now.
Helios is one of those bands i’ll always check out because I know they’ll have a stand out track on there album every time and this album is no exception. The song Cross The Ocean is the closest i’ve heard to something like Boards of Canada in a while but without the PBS feel, tell me if i’m wrong.
I’m loving this intro of this Cale Parks song, the whole song is really unique and forward thinking, definitely the definition of Avant Pop.
I just found Desolation Wilderness, a really low key post rock/surf-ish group and an enjoyable listen.
Yeasayer have the sound to take experimental indie pop to TOP 40, if you listen close to their instrumental its mind scrambling, how do you sit down and put that together with other band members?! they care and are super talented.
I’ve really been digging back into Midlake’s work since Sam posted the Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve remix of Roscoe in Playlist 6 (Jakub actually posted it quite a while back but I somehow missed it). This is one of the few rock remixes I actually like more than the original. In this case much more.
And here’s one of my favorite Midlake songs, Young Bride from their last album, The Trials of Vanoccupanther. The bass is incredible on this one; I love that driving style. I keep wanting it to go to this place but it never does and I think that’s what makes it perfect.
One label that did it perfect this year was Werkdiscs, just solid A+R with a vision and exposed new sounds to the whole industry by unveiling high caliber talent like Lukid, Actress, and their new addition Lone. It really made a hobbyist/music lover like myself get excited about the hunt of music again. What Actress brought to the table this year was eye opening and Lukid’s twist on Dub gave me another record that I could put on and not worry about skipping around.
Lone’s new LP has the charm and playful nostalgia feel like his last LP Lemurian but hits a bit harder on the kicks and just comes off brighter like the sun beams glaring off snow. If you’re a Tycho, Boards of Canada, Flying Lotus, Christ., Washed Out, Neon Indian, etc. fan there is something in this album for you.
On a side note: I kind of want to rock doubles of Karen Loves Kate, just a second there I had this player and itunes playing the song at the same time and it just sounded soo warm and thick, pure goodness.
This is pretty rewarding 19 minute piece by Piano Magic if you have the time to slow down and enjoy the ocean wave sounds and a bell, I promise its well worth it especially right around the 7 minute mark and on.
I don’t listen to Cat Power, just never felt like she was worth looking into since I felt like the whole indie world had it covered but my best friend The Tower Of Light definitely proved me wrong by playing me this gorgeous and passion filled track that she did with Dirty Three.
Ex Boards of Canada member Christ is always releasing it feels like, this seems like a pretty raw LP, not as dreamy but heavy on highs in the Mono/Poly(?) and 90’s style breaks, I like how that he is holding down this sound and doesn’t evolve into what’s popular just for the sake of doing it.
Everyone has been leaking this new Four Tet song everywhere in the blog world, let me know if you like it, it has really grown on me, but i’m still not into the vocal samples though.
In 2003 I remember hearing this mix by Tobias Thomas and it being the first mix to really catch the beauty in melody in house/techno while venturing off into indie electronic, it was super inspiring and probably shaped me and my taste in music from there on. It has this gradual gentle ramp up into the dance music like a friendly tap on the shoulder, such a welcoming collection of tracks too, if you lend this CD to someone that didn’t like house music but liked Erlend Oye then I think you’d have that person asking for more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED mix to own.
Kaito / Erlend Oye – Release Your Body/Ghost Train (Accapella)
Sami Koivikko – Grunis
Le Dust Sucker – Mandate My Ass
Tonetraeger – Welcome Back Kotter (Thomas/Mayer Mix)
Since the success of the first two exclusive FREE EP’s ( 1st & 2nd ) that we did on ISO50 blog I asked for some musicians for more tracks of covers and edits.
Our very own Tom Croose who has helped with Playlist #4 made a dreamy edit of Beirut’s Venice track, i’ve posted this song before but I never felt like it received the proper love.
I’m sure many have covered Elvis Presley’sCan’t Help Falling In Love but 800beloved’s cover comes to us as one of the more unique and stylized one’s that i’d actually listen to. There is a bit of a 50’s slow swing plus some goth that meets post rock, so if you have your finger on the indie pulse I can only explain it to you this way: it’s like if The xx and the Editors covered Can’t Help Falling In Love, yeah something like that.
One guy to watch in 2010 is Shigeto, he can do what that Los Angeles Flying Lotus crew does but he actually plays the drums live at all of his shows and comes from the same town as Dabrye and Samiyam. His edit of Ravi Shankar is a better representation of his rhythms in his original work, you definitely should check those out if you like fatty synths and dub style kicks.
If you downloaded the last FREE EP here you might of heard the M83You Appearing edit which might be a favorite of mine still. Well Ryan Cavanagh who is half of producing duo Worst Friends, DJ’s as Slowhands, and produces as Addled comes back with an edit of an IDM classic by Aphex Twin. It has the right amount of the original and hints at taking it to soft Tech House land but is definitely more dreamy than dancey.