Electronic

WAZU – ROBOBO [Album Review]

Embrace your darker side, at least for one bone-chilling night. Nodding back ever so graciously to the synth sounds of neo-80s, this orchestra of goth, horror-punk, dance & electro is sure to entice.  Wazu’s full album Robobo released this past Halloween gives us a deeper darker insight into their feelings of disdain & haunting gloom. Surprisingly their deep dark voyage gives way to a hopeful outcome.

This eccentric pair comprised of Matt & Rizz, natives of Sydney Australia and now based in New York City have formed a sound that can be comparable to that of Depeche Mode and even newer bands such as Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti & Crystal Castles. Even though slightly reminiscent to others in certain ways, Wazu has definitely managed to cleverly carve out an original sound that is enjoyably fresh in this rapidly growing field of “me too’s”.

Ingenious lyrics accompanied by energetic dark grooves and ghostly vocals work together so seamlessly in danceable tracks like “It’s a Trick” & “Councilor”. As we progress, the melancholy feeling of “Ghost Years” is haunting on so many levels. And alas, a beautiful ending to an already compelling piece of art is “Irene” with wonderful guitars and deep vocals that end in an array of atmospheric fog. Robobo is a brilliant journey full of emotional high & lows that I was more than happy to experience. by Wil Rodriguez.

WAZURobobo [iTunes]

 

Free DOWNLOADS

Tiga – “Plush” [New Video]

 

So what do we think of Tiga’s brand new still-video for the Gary Numan-esque track, “Plush”?? I think it’s creative… but a bit lazy, don’t you think?

The track in the other hand is insanely good! Old-school techno beats drenched in 80′s funk and glam…what’s not to like?!!  This is the Jam!!

What do you think of the video? Does it work for the song or no?

“Plush” is taken from the mix LP Tiga Non Stop out now.

 Tiga (iTunes)

AlunaGeorge – “Diver” [New Video + Teaser track]

 

Recently signed to Island/Def Jam, London based Electro-R&B duo AlunaGeorge are set to release their as-yet-untitled debut record in June 2013. But to keep us all intrigue and excited for the release, the duo has unleashed a video for the record via a two minute teaser for a brand new, cool, warm and sultry track called, “Diver.”

Check it!

2013 will be the year of AlunaGeorge!

AlunaGeorge (iTunes)

Gold Fields – “Dark Again” [New Video]

 

Watch Australian electro-dance-rockers, Gold Field’s brand new tribal video for the amazing new single “Dark Again”. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming debut, Black Sun due out in February 26!

I’ll never get tired of saying it….these guys are next best thing! They are the real deal. Can’t wait to hear the record!

If you haven’t yet listen to Gold Fields’ self titled debut EP, I urge you to give it a try!

Gold Fields (iTunes)

Monarchy – “Disintegration” feat. Dita Von Teese [Mighty Mouse remix]

 

London-based electro-pop masked duo, Monarchy, are set to release their brand new single “Disintegration” featuring burlesque diva, Dita Von Teese on vocals ( I had no idea she could sing?!) The track is set to arrive on January 14, ’till then check out this glorious remix by the talented Mighty Mouse!!

I’m really excited for the new Monarchy record! Are you?!!

Free download below!

Monarchy (iTunes)

BEST ALBUMS OF 2012

 

Here are my top picks for best albums of the year.

If you missed my picks for 2011 check here.

 

25. The KDMSKinky Dramas & Magic Stories [iTunes]

We’d got a taste of The KDMS’s sound via their incredibly groovy cover of Madonna‘s Gimme All Your Luvin’ (here). The duo, comprised of Polish producer Maximilian Skiba and singer Kathy Diamond continued to showcase their groove and motion with their upbeat, feel good, nu-disco debut. If you are a fan of Róisín Murphy‘s sexy vocals, then you should let Kathy Diamond’s soulful voice seduce you the same way Murphy’s does.


24. GossipA Joyful Noise [iTunes]

I still feel Beth Ditto’s vocals on this record sound restrained and controlled—but watching Ditto belt-out these tracks LIVE (where Ditto is at her best) 3-times during the course of this release, I’ve grown to love this record. Ditto’s raw LIVE vocal power birth new life into every song; the stage is where these songs truly become A Joyful Noise.

23. WAZURobobo [iTunes]

 Dark-wave Aussie duo WAZU arrived out of nowhere with the haunting industrial track, Murder 1′; the track quickly became one of my favorites— but it wasn’t till the witchy, synth-heavy track ‘Happy Endings’ appeared that I began to pay attention. Their debut album, Robobo is heavily influenced by new-wave and ’80s industrial sound that bare comparison to the best in the genre (Depeche Mode). The vocal exchanges and mashups between singers Matt and Rizz are definitely a plus here–as it adds a new dimension to the music. Robobo is not perfect, but it’s a great introduction to a very promising band.

22. SSIONBent [iTunes]

There are plenty of addictive, pop, house, dance tunes and glitter here to turn anyone into a dancing queen. Simply play the addictive, ‘Blonde With You’ and ‘Listen 2 The Grrrls’ once, and I guaranteed you that you’ll be hooked. There is no escaping the dancing power of SSION.

21. TRUSTTRST [iTunes]

TRUST‘s (Robert Alfons and Austra‘s Maya Postepski) industrial, moody, goth-flecked synth-pop sound will seduce you into a dark, sweaty world filled with smoke, sex and drugs. Robert Alfons’ smoky, slithering vocals on this record are creepy, menacing, inviting, and at the same time seductive and sexually enticing. Think Crystal Castles with a more sensual pop sound. I love this record.

20. Garbage Not Your Kind of People [iTunes]

I’ve been a fan of Garbage from the very beginning. Through their good, Bad and ugly. Fortunately, Not Your Kind of People is one of their best work. This record represents Garbage’s return to form…the dazzling alt-rock-sythn heavy hooks and screeching guitars of the 90′s are back, alongside Shirley Manson’s empowering vocals and songs. Give this record another try!


19. LadyhawkeAnxiety [iTunes]

Ladyhawke‘s sophomore album was not what fans were expecting from the New Zealand singer. On her second outing, Brown substituted her synthy-pop sound with psychedelic guitar-riffs and 80s inspired rock hooks that brought a level of maturity to her music. The record succeeds, by delivering catchy and lyrically engaging pop tunes that never sound too-distant from Ladyhawke’s electro-pop material.


18. Friends - Manifest! [iTunes]

The 1980s musical revival never sounded so good… and so addictive. Brooklyn based, indie-electro-pop band, Friends’ ( a horrible name btw, try to Google the word ‘Friends,’ it’ll take you 10hrs to find the band)  collection of cool and slick indie-dance tracks will seduce you into a New York state of mind where punk, funk and disco once dared to mingle.


17. Lana Del ReyBorn To Die [iTunes]

I think by now we all have our own opinions about who Lana Del Rey is or wants to be  — but if we allow ourselves to let go of everything we know about her, including the dreadful SNL live performance and just focus solemnly on her music; we end-up with a soulful, remarkable record that transcends genres and time. ‘Born To Die’ successfully fuses hip-hop, R&B and electronic pop music with a vintage, faux-americana with a 1950s flair that oozes sensuality and glam; all while maintaining a vague sense humor.

 

16. Hot ChipIn Our Heads [iTunes]

This is probably hot chip’s most playful and colorful record to date. In Our Heads sounds like a debut of sorts due to it’s innovation and fusion of genres like Disco, Techno and Pop. Let Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard‘s inescapable sound lure you back onto the dancefloor and help you get your groove back.


15. Frank OceanChannel ORANGE [iTunes]

On this record Frank Ocean pours his heart and soul and lays it all down for the whole world to see. Channeling the best of Stevie Wonder and Prince, every track on this record perfectly depicts stories of love and loss over Ocean’s soulful, falsetto-brushed vocals and honeycombed R&B grooves.

14. Purity RingShrines [iTunes]

Canadian duo Purity Ring (Megan James and Corin Roddick) will remind you of a few bands; the duo employs the same ghostly pitch-shifted vocals reminiscent of The Knife, Burial, and Crystal Castles to some extend. But the duo aligns closer to nu-wave and synth-pop bands of the 80′s. Unlike the bands mentioned above, Purity Ring brings a ‘fun’ factor to their lush, dreamy sound —and the clever mixture of hip-hop, synth and R&B grooves makes for a very creative debut.

13. SolangeTRUE [iTunes]

Admittedly, I’ve never heard Solange’s first record. So this album is kinda like a debut for me. From the first addictive opening track, Losing You to the soulful nostalgic final track Bad Girls  this record is true perfection from beginning to end—largely in part to the slick masterful production of Dev Hynes, (Aka Blood Orange) Dev Hynes is a genius musician!

12. Crystal Castles(III) [iTunes]

I think this is probably my favorite Crystal Castles’ album to date. On this record the band sounds more streamlined, cohesive and melodic than before. There is still plenty of anger, screams and staggering synth work here, but it all feels like it has purpose now. There is structure to the sound and lyrically it conveys more emotions than the previous records…even if the lyrics are still dystopian and apocalyptic in nature.

11. Marina and The DiamondsElectra Heart [iTunes]

This record shares a lot of similarities to Lana Del Rey‘s Born To Die. They both share the same sentiment and obsession about the American life and dream — they both feel like are being narrated by a housewife…and thou Del Rey’s take has more of a vintage (50′s and 60′s) nostalgic approach, Marina’s vision plays a like a mainstream soap opera with a cynical take on the role. This is an incredible pop record.

 

10. The XXCoexist    [iTunes]

A beautiful record that flourishes on its own minimalist sound escapes. All tracks are sung and delivered beautifully by Romy Croft and Olive Sim over dreamy keyboards, delicate guitar riff and simple chord progressions. Their duets on this record sound intimate and tense— almost as if they were recorded in a bedroom. A simply remarkable record that showcases the band’s musical refinement and rapid growth.

 

9. ChromaticsKill for Love [iTunes]

This gorgeous record is a perfect winter companion. Ruth Radelet’s monotonic and delicate vocals accompanied by the masterful italo style synth work and ghostly piano riffs by Johnny Jewel will hypnotize you into a timeless cinematic dream-scape of smoke, glam and nightlife.


8. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs  – Trouble [iTunes]

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs makes music at the central point between pop, electro, house and melodic rave – and his debut album ‘Trouble’ is just more proof that TEED‘s Orlando Higginbottom is one of the most fascinating, brilliant and musically kaleidoscopic artists in the world right now.

7. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than… [iTunes]

This is the same emotional, spiteful and poetic Fiona Apple we ALL love…but this time around without any label restrictions. In her Fourth LP and first self-produced record, Fiona sounds more confident and self-aware (As if that’s even possible) by revealing every intimacy and disillusions of her life behind a cabaret-style acoustic set and masterful piano work.


6. Bat For LashesThe Haunted Man [iTunes]

Natasha Khan‘s third record, The Haunted Man, is a more personal and intimate affair than the gipsy-like, outwardly, story driven artistry of the first two records. On The Haunted Man, Khan explores issues of longing and loss and musically I feel is one of her best records; it reminds me a lot of PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake (which was my pick for best album of 2011) This record is raw and darkly enigmatic…but it’s also a pop record at heart.

5. Ellie GouldingHalcyon [iTunes]

It’s hard to believe that Goulding’s first record, ‘Lights’ was only released two years ago. There is an immense maturity on Halcyon that I feel leaps ahead of her debut. With songs like ‘Figure 8′, ‘My Blood’ and ‘Don’t Say A Word’ Goulding showcases her songwriting growth as she dwells deeper into love, loss and heartbreak while vocally conveying emotions on every song with confidence and hope.

 

4. SantigoldMaster of My Make Believe [iTunes]

With Master of My Make Believe, Santigold solidified herself as a genre-bending auteur. With the help of Switch, Diplo, Dave Sitek, and John HillIs, Santi gave us a wide range of addictive and creatives tracks that ranged from dancehall to hip-hop to rock. Although nowadays, cross-genre adaptability is no longer a novelty, this record simply serves as a proclamation that Santi did it first…and can still do it well.

3. Jessie Ware - Devotion [Amazon]

Devotion is an incredible soulful affair that channels the beautiful voice of sultry diva Lisa Stansfield and the sensual and timeless musicality of the iconic Sade. The record seamlessly blends Pop, Soul and R&B with contemporary electronic music; but it’s Jessie Ware’s soothing and dreamy vocals that shine brightly throughout each song. ‘Devotion’ is a beautiful record that stages the introduction of a shining new star.


2. Karin ParkHighwire Poetry [iTunes]

Thanks in part to The Knife collaborator, Christoffer Berg, Swedish electro-goth songstress Karin Park delivered a perfect, gloomy and brooding electronic record that almost made me knock-down Grimes from the top spot. Heavily influenced by 80′s industrial sound, synth and dub, mixed with lyrics of longing, sex and religion, Park manages to outshine comparisons by delivering a lush, gorgeous record that sounds years ahead of it’s time.

1. GrimesVisions [iTunes]

On her first two records ‘Halfaxa’ and ‘Geidi Primes’, Grimes aka Clare Boucher introduced us to a range of gloomy atmospheric tunes and trippy psychedelic songs. With, Visions, her third record (to what she calls her debut) Boucher experimented with pop and synthesized electronic melodies that gave birth to one of the most creative and refreshing albums of the year. Wether is K-pop, Hip-Hop, new age, or bubblegum music, Grimes finds the core and soul of all those genres and delivers something new and creative that’s completely out-of-the-box and musically forward.

 

 

 

DAN BLACK – LIVE at Le Baron Chinatown NYC

 

Last night, the incredibly talented Dan Black made a triumphant return to the stage as part of the Absolut Encore Series at Le Baron Chinatown in New York City. The tightly packed venue hosted about 100 eager fans and industry folk alike whom gathered around the tiny stage to witness Black’s live return after a two year absence.

Around 9:30PM, Dan made his appearance. Dressed in a black blazer, jeans and sneakers the enthusiastic singer began his live set with a groovy and upbeat brand new song  (tentatively titled) “Plastic Heart.” Backed by a  guitarist and a percussionist, both wearing a Monkey and a Rabbit mask, respectively; the two piece band continued the set with Black’s now classics “U + Me” and “Symphonies.” Black’s voice sounded as good as ever. Between his high and low hymns it was refreshing to hear that he can still deliver those fresh rhymes and vocal rhythms as smoothly as he did two or three years ago since I last saw him when he opened for electro-pop queen, Robyn.

Black’s elecro-charged set continued with a mixture of old tracks including “Pump My Pumps” and “Alone” from his amazing and critically acclaimed debut ((un)) plus 3 more brand new tracks called (again, tentatively titled) “Blow”, “Wild” and “Hearts.” All 4 new songs sounded upbeat, dancy and catchy with the same electronic-pop flair, style and vocal flow that have made Dan Black a stand-out amongst electronic-pop music fans.

Black ended his set with one of my favorite songs, ‘Ecstasy.’ “I want that hot breath of life in me, I want that hot breath of life in me” he repeatedly crooned as the audience enthusiastically sung along with him.

Check out some videos below

Expect Dan Black‘s to drop his brand new single in January 2013 with a follow-up to ((un)) later in the year. The new record will  include some very ‘special collaborations’. A while back there was some twitter talk regarding a Dan Black and Kelis production…let’s hope she appears on the record!

Dan Black (iTunes)

The video below is courtesy of my good friend and concert buddy, Camille from HardCandyMusic, who I attended the event with. Enjoy!