Saturday, April 27, 2013
March 2013 Backtracks
Enough rambling because it's time to get caught up with our belated March 2013 Backtracks. This mixtape is loaded with the kind of stuff that people expect me to like. In a nutshell there's plenty of dark, brooding electropop on here. Oh and then there's Bowie.
March 2013 Backtracks
1. How to destroy angels, "How long?": The most obvious inclusion to any of my mixtapes is anything Trent Reznor-related. It's no secret that I'm a huge Nine Inch Nails fan (I've only seen them live 11 times) and I love anything Trent touches. Yes, even that remix he did of that P. Diddy song. But How to destroy angels is a different animal altogether. It's a definite band atmosphere, as longtime NIN collaborators Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan are full-fledged members, and Trent's wife, Mariqueen Maandig supplies lead vocals. I've described HTDA as an industrialized Massive Attack as most songs on their debut full-length, Welcome oblivion are set to a simmer. "How long?" is one of the album's highlights as it has a slight R&B backbone underneath the icy synths.
2. Tying Tiffany, "One Second": I was introduced to this Italian act by Boston DJ, writer, label-head, tastemaker, and all-around nice guy, Michael Marotta. He had Tweeted about Tying Tiffany and used the word "darkwave." Naturally, I had to check them out. "One Second" was the first song that I found and I was floored. It helps that it starts with the instantly catchy chorus. It definitely would fit in nicely on a darkly lit dancefloor. Further research led me to previous Tying Tiffany records which show a more aggressive side mixing electropop, goth, and industrial. Needless to say, it's love.
[Check out Michael Marotta's awesome Vanyaland music blog here.]
3. CHVRCHES, "Now Is Not The Time": It's safe to say that this Swedish electropop trio was quick to become one of my 2013 obsessions. I talk about CHVRCHES all the time. It's definitely because of their knack for making some of the catchiest songs I've heard. It's not all about bright synths and cute female vocals because there's a dark undercurrent swiveling its way through their music. A debut album is due out some time this year, but in the meantime, they released the Recover EP. Its title track is great, but "Now Is Not The Time" hits me harder and it's definitely because of those pulsing synths at the heart of the song's chorus.
4. André Obin, "Enjoy": I've been a fan of André Obin's music for a few years now. Easily one of my favorite Boston electronic artists. And there are so many reasons why, the biggest of which, is that he takes influence from so many things-- be it techno, Krautrock, shoegaze, or synthpop-- and filters it through his own artistic vision making music that sounds singularly like himself. His full-length debut, The Arsonist, has been getting some good attention and deservedly so. For me, "Enjoy" is the standout as Obin finds a way to bring EBM and dreampop together so seamlessly that I've managed to play this song on my industrial show alongside of Front 242. The Arsonist is proof that there is great electronic music out there that outshines some of the stuff passing off as "EDM."
5. Depeche Mode, "Soothe My Soul": A song that could have easily come out of Depeche Mode's Violator-era, "Soothe My Soul" has that slinky rhythm and slick guitar riff that could make it sound like a not-too-distant cousin of "Personal Jesus." Their latest album, Delta Machine, has its ups and downs but "Soothe My Soul" is a definite highlight sure to become a live staple deserving of repeated listens.
6. Cold Cave, "People Are Poison": Cold Cave has become one of my favorite bands to the point that I pre-order any 7" they've released. So far this year, the man behind Cold Cave, Wesley Eisold, has been releasing music at a breakneck pace already putting out two stellar singles with one more due out soon. It was a tough choice as to which one to include on this mixtape. It came down to the warmer synthpop of "God Made The World" and this brooding industrial pop gem. Appearing on the Oceans With No End EP, "People Are Poison" is the darker side to that EP's title track as Eisold sneers, "I'll give you one step over the line and then I'm gone" backed by guitars and synths grinding against each other like grimy, rusted gears before Eisold finally concludes, "You were nothing." It's the type of song I can dedicate to few people.
7. Nightmare Air, "Icy Daggers": LA's Nightmare Air falls into that category of "Bands I Can Easily Become Obsessed With." I remember seeing them live last year only having heard two songs and just falling in love with them. Their debut album, High In The Lasers, is already one of my favorites of the year and one I constantly listen to. It's actually hard to pick a favorite off the record since pretty much every song is killer, but the album's latest single, "Icy Daggers" is a definite highlight with its careening guitars and explosive chorus. I recently saw Nightmare Air for a second time and it just kicked my obsession with them into a higher gear.
8. Suede, "It Starts And Ends With You": I refuse to call them "London Suede." It might just be out of stubbornness. But really it's because to me, there will always be only one Suede. Their comeback album, Bloodsports is a return to peak form for a band that's practically the reason the term "Britpop" even exists. "It Starts And Ends With You" is a downright masterpiece. Hearing Brett Anderson belt out that chorus is honestly one of the greatest things ever. Easily one of my favorite singles of the year. Expect to see it high in that list when it gets compiled in December.
9. David Bowie, "The Next Day": What needs to be said about David Bowie? The fact that The Next Day came out was a surprise to many. And the fact that the album is pretty good is an added bonus. He's an elder statesmen for all the cool music that came out since donning the makeup and becoming Ziggy Stardust. At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, Bowie just rules, ok?
There you have it. I don't mean to play favorites or anything, but this particular Backtracks mixtape is one of my favorites. Depeche Mode, Trent Reznor, Cold Cave, Suede, and Bowie!? That sounds about right. Until next time, definitely listen loud and become immersed.