there’s always more with autoKratz…

Some bands make it seem too easy.  autoKratz are one of those bands.  The London duo has been making waves and making friends in the electronic/dance circuit in the last couple of years which has resulted in a deal with the Kitsune label and a major buzz. One listen to a song like Always More and it’s really not hard to see why. Minimal electronic dance pop at its finest. Everything is clean, everything is crystal. A tried and true dance progression and the lead…the lead…the not-quite dissonant lead. I just need to say how much I love the lead. For me, it makes the song. Add in the smooth vocals by singer/guitarist David Cox and you’ve got yourself a brilliant dance-pop track.

Their debut record Animal is out 3 March here in the States. Let’s hope they come out here for some shows because rumour has it, the duo absolutely kill it live.

autoKratz on MySpace
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“Always More” by autoKratz, from the forthcoming Kitsune release, “Animal”

on a lazy sunday, look into the clouds…

Just a lazy, rainy Sunday here in Brooklyn… While I’m bored, I figured I’d try to brighten the day a little  bit for myself and share it with you. Here’s a recent single from The Sound Of Arrows called Into The Clouds.  Just further proof that no one uses the arpeggiator quite like the Swedes. Enjoy…

these new puritans ain’t your daddy’s pop music…

Look, I won’t lie to you. This is the new single We Want War by These New Puritans, taken from their forthcoming second record called Hidden out 18 January 2010 via Angular/Domino. The song is about seven and a half minutes long. If your attention span is the size of a pebble than I doubt you made it very far through the video. It’s a shame because the song is actually very good when you listen to it, not as a pop song, but as an actual piece of music.

Yeah, I know. Billy! This is a pop music blog. I come here for poptastic tune-age and not to be subjected to a music lecture. Music is to be enjoyed and not studied. Yes, I get that but every once in a while, it’s nice to get the navel-gazing going and listen to a track that shows depth and tries to push the boundaries of modern music.  We Want War makes a valiant attempt to do just that.  TNPS, to me, have always sounded like a band who took their cues from the likes of Cabaret Voltaire but flipped the script by adding hip-hop percussion to reveal a potential Massive Attack influence in there somewhere. To me, it’s all good and very different from what we’ve been hearing these days.

Booming drums with what sounds like a dance-hall prgression, meancing synths and chanted vocals courtesy of Jack Barnett that almost remind of Karl Hyde from Underworld intersperse throughout.  A symphony is in here somewhere just looking for room to breathe amidst the cacophony until 3.41 when we are treated to a chorus of angelic female voices to add a very interesting counterpoint.  All in all, it works and serves to illustrate the imagination the band seems to have in spades.  Me likey.

These New Puritans on MySpace
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“We Want War” by These New Puritans. Taken from the forthcoming Angular/Domino release “Hidden”

if you’re feeling sinister, get well soon…

“This time we will end it
This life ain’t got no future, girl
Don’t say it’s not my business
It’s tragic you don’t feel my pity
Just think of all the others
What they think they feel they say
But the letters are not golden
Till they write them on your tombstone, girl”

It isn’t often when you come across a piece of music so cold and so relentlessly haunting that you simply must take your temperature afterwards to make sure you haven’t lost a couple of degrees. Coming across Germany’s Konstantin Gropper who performs under the moniker Get Well Soon, it was quite a revelation to see that dark chamber pop music isn’t dead. Gropper’s new record entitled Vexations is due out in January but methinks I won’t be able to wait that long to get my grubby paws on this record based solely on the beauty of the first single featured here entitled If This Hat Is Missing I Have Gone Hunting.

I hesitate to use the words goth or gothic to describe the song or the artist simply because of how cliche and boring the genre is but there are definite overtones here right down to the accordion, the minor chords and of course, Gropper’s stentorian baritone vocals. It really is a beautiful track. Granted the song lyrically talks of rationalising suicide from a man to his girl, it is still a very pretty arrangement and still a quite brilliant pop moment in my humble opinion.

If you’re like me and not afraid to delve into the darker shade of pop music, definitely give Get Well Soon. They should find a bigger audience with the new record and it would be well deserved! It’s out 25 January via City Slang.


Get Well Soon on MySpace

“If This Hat Is Missing I Have Gone Hunting” by Get Well Soon, taken from the forthcoming City Slang release, “Vexations”

could you wanna take my picture?

Always nice to hear some new tunes from a band with a very bright future ahead of them. You may remember I first mentioned the delectable British electro-pop band Heads We Dance back in May and took quite a liking to their bouncy poptastic sound. The band is now back with what they surely hope will be a smash hit in the UK and beyond. This one is called Take My Picture. Take a little bit of dueling male/female vocals a la Don’t You Want Me?, add a foot-stomping chorus and you’ve got a song worthy of being called a single. I’m personally rooting for these guys to get their name out there and it goes without saying that you should do the same. The single is out 14 December via Gash Digital. Need I say more?

Heads We Dance on MySpace
Heads We Dance on Facebook
Heads We Dance on Twitter

“Take My Picture”, taken from the forthcoming Gash Digital release, “Take My Picture/After Dark”

whatever happened to the muslims?

I’ve recently made a revelation.

Most, if not all, of the music I’ve been covering in this here blog has been focused primarily on artists and bands who call New York or England their home. Naturally there have been some rare exceptions along the way but for the most part I’ve been kind of predictable. Allow me the opportunity to make a slight deviation from my tried and true formula. I’d like to present a pretty spiffy indie rock band that’s been making some waves for the past year but is about ready to drop their eponymous debut that will be sure to rattle the senses soon enough. The best part? They’re not from New York and they’re not from London or Manchester either!

Nope. The Soft Pack come to us from the sunny and very friendly confines of San Diego, California. When this band first started out, they were known as the Muslims. Personally I thought the Muslims was a great name and rather ballsy given the current climate we find ourselves in. Unfortunately since we tend to share our planet and on a more micro level, a music scene with bumbling and stumbling idiots, the Muslims thought it better to change their name. Luckily for us, the name change was not followed by a change in sound. This quartet brings their tightly wound and rapid fire assault on the nerves in the form of The Soft Pack, the self-titled debut via Kemado Records on 2 February.

If you’ve happened to catch these guys in concert in the last couple of years sharing the stage with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Phoenix, White Lies and Friendly Fires, you know that the songs are brief in length but simply blistering and full of panic. Just the way we like it. The lead-off single taken from the record entitled Answer To Yourself should serve as a more than acceptable introduction to the band for those previously unaware. Very accessible. Very poppy and oh so hummable. Is 2010 the year of the Pack? I dare say we are about to find out…

The Soft Pack on MySpace
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The Soft Pack on Twitter

“Answer To Yourself” by The Soft Pack, taken from the forthcoming Kemado release, “The Soft Pack”

can you dance? yes…you can.

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? When two titans collide and a magic so organic and so perfect simply happens and you’re left to wonder what ever kept these forces apart in the first place? Don’t believe me? Grab a listen to U Can Dance, the blistering new single from two of the bigger gigolos we’ve come across in recent memory. On one side, we’ve got International Dee Jay Gigolos headman himself, DJ Hell and the incomparable ladies’ man of glam, Roxy Music icon Bryan Ferry. It’s fair to say the resumes of each artist is known to all of you so it really doesn’t bear repeating here. The single is release in January and will feature remixes from the likes of Carl Craig, Simian Mobile Disco and Tim Goldsworthy from the DFA crew. Heavyweights remixing heavyweights. It’s only right.

The song itself is a banger. A nine-minute mindbomb that dares you to be satisfied with a simple headbop. Oh no no…this one will get you out of your computer chair and into the club as you slither and sway to the groove. This track is hot.

DJ Hell on MySpace
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Bryan Ferry on MySpace
Bryan Ferry on Facebook

“U Can Dance” by DJ Hell featuring Bryan Ferry