something is most definitely NOT rotten in denmark…

“You’re undercover
My secret lover
You’re what I need
My bullet’s in the gun”

With everyone having 80s fever these days, you knew it was only a matter of time before we would start hearing the return of the 80s urban sound to the fold. What wasn’t expected was that it would come from a certain trio from Denmark of all places? With a sound that brings to mind the blue-eyed soul of Scritti Politti and an ultra-slick video replete with beautiful video that would make George Michael stand and applaud, May I bring you Private!

My Secret Lover was originally released in 2007 through the Swedish label, Labrador and was given heaps of praise throughout Scandinavia. The band was also being championed by esteemed blogger, Arjan Writes for what seemed like forever. It seemed the band either couldn’t get the proper backing or the greater public simply wasn’t ready for this Danish band but luckily it appears they’ve gotten a new lease on life. The band is ready to give the second chance this time with the help of Relentless/Virgin and hopefully My Secret Lover will find the audience it truly deserves.

It’s a hard song not to fall heads over heels for.  Perfect for clubs where you sit at booths to ogle and be ogled at. It’s pretty much the kind of song that Green Gartside of Scritti Politti would have sounded great singing himself with a kick in the pants and an even slicker sound backing him. These guys are good…

Private on MySpace
Private on Facebook
Private on Twitter

“My Secret Lover” by Private.

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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”

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
The Soft Pack on Facebook
The Soft Pack on Twitter

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

there’s something in the water in manchester…

“Late at night, I’ll run through the streets and empty corridors.
I’ll find my counterpoint, inside a red room locked behind a door. Behind a door”

I mean, really. It simply is not fair. There must be more musical talent in Manchester, England than the whole US eastern seaboard. You know the names that have come out of that town from the past and the present so I won’t waste your time here. This post’s aim is to add another name to the Mancunian legend. Today I bring you Delphic! A talented quartet whose sound aims to bring back the point in trance music by bringing it back to basics. To be more specific, theirs is a sound that simply reduce the trance form down to its most basic element: a song. They take it from there with that mindset and create something very pure and very enticing to the listener.

This is quite evident here in the song featured here which is their debut single entited Counterpoint. It’s a song Paul Van Dyk could have written if he focused more on songwriting instead of his grandiose epic journeys. It really is a beautiful song to say the least. The production is right on. The arpeggios. The pristine drums… I could go on but you simply have to listen for yourself!

The band’s debut record Acolyte is due to hit stores in January via Polydor. It’s a safe bet this will be a early highlight of the year in music 2010.

Delphic on Facebook
Delphic on MySpace
Delphic on Twitter

“Counterpoint (Live in Amsterdam 19.02.2009)” by Delphic. Original version featured on forthcoming Polydor release, “Acolyte”

who are you and what have you done with julian casablancas?

First things first. I am a Strokes fan. Check that. I am a HUGE Strokes fan. Dating back to the first time playing at Arlene’s Grocery way back when then getting my filthy mitts on The Modern Age EP, I was smitten with this band who quickly became the pride of New York and the purveyors of what would be the return of new wave whether they liked it or not. With the ten year anniversary of the seminal debut record Is This It approaching, it’s about time we get an idea of what lurks in the mind of the face of the franchise so to speak in Julian Casablancas. I was never particularly taken by the Albert Hammond Jr. records and Fab’s Little Joy project left me cold but when the news came about Julian taking a dip into the solo pool, I was interested.

If you, like me, were bored to tears by that Converse-sponsored earache-inducing error-in-judgment involving Julian, Santigold and Pharrell called My Drivethru, I can say for certain it’s okay to place your faith back in the shaggy-haired one. It appears Julian has traded in his lo-fi sound for a cleaner, much more polished electronic pop sound that almost sounds like he’d been listening to the first Electronic record and been taking notes. Needless to say I am highly in favour of the first track taken from Julian’s solo debut record Phrazes For The Young called 11th Dimension. For most, this would be considered quite a change in direction in sound but here it seems to suit Julian just fine.

The record is due out 3 November via Cult/RCA and you can be sure there will be a review so before I waste more space waxing poetic over this track, let me simply say that it’s quite specatacular and you should play to your heart’s content over and over. By the way, New York City cops still aren’t too smart.

Julian Casablancas on MySpace
Julian Casablancas on Facebook

“11th Dimension” by Julian Casablancas, taken from the Cult/RCA release, “Phrazes For The Young”

these girls fall like dominos…

“As soon as I love her it’s been too long

And I really loved breaking your heart
These silver apples will shine on I was wrong
The hardest love has the coldest end”

From London with love comes The Big Pink. A brash duo consisting of Robbie Furze (vox, guitars) and Milo Cordell (keys) who’ve arrived with their recently released debut record A Brief History Of Love (4AD) to remind us all that nothing can summon up varying degrees of emotion than love.  With their booming drums combined with a love of dance music, this duo is blowing up in a big way in the UK and it’s only a matter of time before they invade the States. While it’s a safe bet the greater masses will probably pay them no mind, those of us with a pulse and a brain will find The Big Pink to be the first big band heading into 2010.

Dominos thus far would rate as my favourite of the three singles released to date.  I simply can;t enough of the deadly combination consisting of head-pounding drums and killer fist-raising chorus. This, friends, is what you call an anthem.

The Big Pink on MySpace
The Big Pink on Facebook

“Dominos” by The Big Pink, taken from the 4AD release, “A Brief History Of Love”

introducing…spleen united!

“The city really loves you, baby
But the city never really does
The feeling of corruption stays and
And, then you think about the things you’ve lost”

Their sound has been described as “a rock version of Underworld” and reminds listeners of acts such as Cut Copy and Depeche Mode. Upon reading that, I had to take a listen to this track by the pride of Denmark, Spleen United.  I must say I was rather impressed and can hear the Underworld influence in the track called Suburbia. To me, the influence manifests itself not only in the sound but the overall attitude of the song. It simply jumps out at you and doesn’t let go.

The single was just released last week and appears on the band’s new record entitled Neanderthal which was originally released last February but appears to be getting the reissue treatment to a wider audience. A good thing to be sure because I like what I hear from these boys and they deserve to have more people hear them.

Spleen United on MySpace

“Suburbia” by Spleen United, taken from the Popantipop release, “Neanderthal”

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