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Album review: RADAR – Lost In The Atlantic

RADAR – Lost In The AtlanticEscape Music [Release date 19.02.21] Escape Music have a knack of uncovering long lost albums, or in the case of Radar, one that has never had a proper release until now. Radar was formed in 1981 by David West (keyboards, … Continue reading

The post Album review: RADAR – Lost In The Atlantic appeared first on Get Ready to ROCK!.

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Australian Synth Artist Brigitte Handley Rides Through the Streets and Ubahn of “Köln”

False illusions, your delusions

Wasted in my mind

Smothered in a silence

The truth just makes us blind

Australian synth musician Brigitte Handley sends a rueful missive to her adopted German city of Cologne with the moody, introspective Köln, a collaboration with Australian creative collective, Matahari Ranch. With dark atmospherics and deep vocals, the track is a loving tribute to humanity on the precipice of disaster, delivered in a monotone as droll as Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, with nods to the deft precision of Kraftwerk.

The accompanying video for Köln features Handley traipsing about an eerily empty city, cycling through grey, abandoned streets and crooning in the camera in a long-forgotten subway system. The effect is unsettling when combined with the wistful lyrics; an anthem for the COVID-era, for false promises, for the darkness.

Brigitte Handley’s live solo electric shows are known for her signature black Gretsch and assortment of FX pedals, combined with atmospheric video art projections.  Handley has joined forces with Matahari Ranch before on a remix of Lament of a Lost Soul.

Köln will be released independently through Select-A-Vision Records and is streams on all digital platforms, with a plan to release the track soon on vinyl.

The past is over, but it doesn’t go away.

The post Australian Synth Artist Brigitte Handley Rides Through the Streets and Ubahn of “Köln” appeared first on Post-Punk.com.

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Tourists: Another State – album review

TouristsTourists

Another State

Modern Sky UK 

Out Now

The inviting first album from the Torquay-based Tourists calls back to the past with its potent synth tracks and frenetic drumming, all while offering a distinctly modern sound. 

Another State is a carefully constructed entity, a whole – each track feels as if it’s in dialogue with what came before and what ultimately follows, both in language and sound. It’s ultimately a sonically driven record, with lyrics highlighting some of the melancholy themes imbued in each song. Silent Type, the first track, gently draws us in as it illumines the interplay between aural and visual cues that drive Another State

I can’t escape those prying eyes
I can’t escape those prying eyes
I can’t escape those prying eyes

The lyrics fade out about a third of the way through, perhaps an ironic nod to the song’s title. Yet the instrumental sounds that follow are anything but speechless as they envelop us in an atmosphere originally sculpted by bands like the Cure, the Smiths, and Echo & The Bunnymen. As Silent Type recedes, songs like Align and Smokescreen come in to pay homage to Stephen Morris’s drumming and Hooky’s bass lines, reaching out to listeners who wonder if there’s any good music getting made these days. The tracks feel like they were carefully crafted by a band listening to a lot of Joy Division and New Order. Those nostalgic sounds pick up again on Blindside, more than halfway through Another State. When I asked the band about their musical influences, I mentioned some of those 1980s sounds that emanated from the recorded. The band replied:

“Yeah, those influences are in there. Some of these songs have been about for quite a few years, some more recent. So the list of bands and influences over that time span is huge…the post-punk influences have always been there underlying, and we love bands like Joy Division and Gang of Four. Then more recently, we’ve taken inspiration from bands like Preoccupations, Froth, Beach House, The War on Drugs, Slowdive, Interpol, NEU, Lower Dens. Those kinds of influences are all in there on the album I think.

As if speaking directly to Blindside through song, the follow-up track is an instrumental Black Friday, introducing more of the shoegaze and dream pop elements that are also at work across the album. Another State ends wistfully, speaking softly to the ephemerality of music, of space, and of time:

Four nights ago I prayed
I felt the sun shining across my face
And I learnt another state
It was fine and I felt safe
Such a calm and lonely place
We can’t stay here too long
We can’t stay here too long

The video for Another State draws on those themes, full of fading footage and aging sunlight.

I speculated that the band’s spatial roots in Torquay materialise across their music, and they gave weight to my suspicions:

“Our music has definitely been influenced by where we’re from and the slow pace of life we have here in Torquay. We tried to pay tribute to that with the video for our recent single Another State. It’s quite a chilled, dreamy track that we recorded in the summer, and I think it probably reflects us as people and where we’re from the best of all these album tracks (we recorded the guitar outside so you can hear the seagulls in the intro!). We have always felt in our own bubble down here, not overly influenced or constrained by other bands or any sort of scene, so it’s enabled us to stay authentic and do our own thing.”

While the album certainly has a coastal feel, some of the darker tracks also have a grittiness to them. Daniel Schlett (The War on Drugs, DIIV), perhaps unsurprisingly, produced Another State. I asked the band about Schlett’s influence on the album, and they spoke about his distinctive approach:

“It was a real privilege to work with Daniel, who’s really on the top of his game. We knew what we wanted with this record—to capture our live sound and to get a more atmospheric, raw, dynamic feel with the production. We knew from his previous work with bands like DIIV and The War on Drugs that he would be the perfect man for this aesthetic, so we got in touch with him and sent him some tracks…He agreed to mix the album at his studio Strange Weather in Brooklyn, New York, and he totally nailed it.

The band is desperate to return to playing for crowds in a post-pandemic world. When it comes to gigs and live music, their words say what we’re all thinking:

“I think it’s what we all need. To be in a room together again, enjoying live music, embracing each other. It’s what makes us human. I don’t think anyone will take that for granted again after this whole Covid experience.”

You can listen to Another State on Bandcamp, and you can follow Tourists on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

~

Audrey J. Golden is a literature and film professor who lives in New York. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and you can check out her personal website to learn more about her writing and her archive of books, records, and ephemera.

The post Tourists: Another State – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Twist Helix: Machinery – album review

Twist Helix MachineryTwist Helix

Machinery

LP | CD | DL

Out Now

In their latest album Machinery, Newcastle’s trio Twist Helix offers angsty, synth-heavy send-ups to sexism and to the music industry. And like the best electronic music, they’re all tracks that make you want to dance. 

If you long for clubs and dance parties featuring new wave sounds and the pulsing, sonic buzz of electro synth-pop, you’re going to be ecstatic to discover Machinery. This second album from Twist Helix has track after track of songs that all seem like hit singles. Diving deeper into the music, the lyrics have the band members taking their work in a definitively more political direction. 

Moving seamlessly between English and Spanish, lead singer Bea Garcia highlights the problematic nature of the current music industry and the ways in which sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of prejudice damage society. In Garcia’s own words, Machinery aims to “pick apart the workings of the music industry, and to try and explain it to our audience as we experience it—not just the product you see on stage.” Accordingly, Garcia highlights, “the album ends up touching on themes of exploitation (Vultures’, the shallowness of consumer culture (Frida Kahlo), how human relationships become disposable (Festival Season), chauvinism and the lack of gender diversity (Ghost, Louder), and finally the misunderstanding of culture and the folly of nationalism (Good Night Little England).” Indeed, as drummer James Walker explains, “for us the music industry isn’t just bands and songs—it is a system of cultural product which, when put under a critical lens, gives as revealing an insight into our society as the product itself.”

Each of the songs has sonic resonances with earlier synth bands, especially calling back to New Order, but the music on Machinery is also moving forward. For Twist Helix, those connections to 80s synth-pop and new-wave sounds from acts associated with the “Second British Invasion” and “La Movida Madrileña” are present, but the band also want to forge new ground. Garcia says Twist Helix is “probably just as much influenced by 00’s indie as by retro synth, the blog culture, and the MySpace moment that blew up in our teens,” and bassist Matthew Barron focuses on the importance of “reminding people that not all synth music has to be a pastiche of the 1980s—it keeps evolving and growing.”

Machinery’s graphic design is also stunning, with rainbow-colored visions of DNA helixes giving rise to new visual forms. Each song has its own design, thanks to the artistic vision of Natalie Heaver. 

Twist Helix currently has plans to kick off a return to live shows on February 27, 2021, supporting Parralox at FAC251 in Manchester, with future gig plans at Springkell Live in Dumfriesshire, Twisterella in Middlesbrough, and Solfest in Cumbria in the summer.

Stream Machinery here:

You can find Twist Helix on their website, and you can follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.

~

Audrey J. Golden is a literature and film professor who lives in New York. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and you can check out her personal website to learn more about her writing and her archive of books, records, and ephemera.

The post Twist Helix: Machinery – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

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Billy Vena – Talking 2 Myself

billy vena talking to myself

Buzz artist Billy Vena has recently released a new bop titled ‘Talking 2 Myself‘.

If his previous single ‘Disco Maniac‘ was full of late 70s vibes, this new one taps into 80s nostalgia.

It’s a bittersweet tune which immediately grabs your attention. Contagious and accessible, but still highly recognizable. Billy’s vocal is really one of a kind and that sax finale is the cherry on top of an extremely strong pop song.

In Billy’s own words: “‘Talking to Myself’ is about convincing yourself someone you’re in love with also feels the same when they really don’t. This in turn means you’ve been talking to yourself the whole time

Sounds like: Bee Gees, Pharell Williams, Justin Timberlake

Soundcloud | Instagram

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