Seemingly Unknown Artist: Fragrance

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Genre:  Synth pop, dark pop, dream pop, cold wave

Get lost in a dark dreamy world with French group Fragrance.  Their underwater sounding vocals lull you into a colorful world of airy and grimy synths. I’m really starting to get into dark pop and this is a good segue into the subgenre.

Songs you might like:

  • “Malibu” – L’An2000
  • “Into those woods” –  Bragolin
  • “Lust for Life” – Fragrance

Artists you might like: Liste Noire, HoRD, Black Nail Cabaret, Paradox Obscur, Antipole, Geometric Vision, ACTORS, L’An2000

Listen to my dark pop playlist here.

Visit their Spotify page here. 

 

REVIEW “Letting Go” – Wild Nothing

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Genre: dreampop, shoegaze, post-punk revival

Jack Tatum’s stylistically driven work caught everyone’s attention in 2009 when he started his own music project under the name Wild Nothing.  In 2009 bands like The Pains of Being Pure At Heart were dominating the scene with the fuzzy shoegaze and sweet pop undercurrents.  Tatum came in with his own unique brand of this, but he made himself distinct in  the scene with his mellow glittery synths and buttery vocals.

The  new single “Letting Go,”  highlights the care Tatum has taken in crafting his unique brand of work influenced by the sounds of synth-pop, alternative dance, dance-rock, post-punk, and new wave–all frameworks spawned out of the 80s and early 90s.  Tatum acknowledges that the tradition and pays homage to these artists with his up beat melody driven track.

As melancholy lyrics describe a jilted lover dreaming of happiness, and attempting to overcome his despair of being betrayed by a lover.

I want to be happier now
I want to be more than closed
Surreal, the way you made me out
The way you crashed me down

Yet, “Letting Go,” isn’t the typical break up ballad.  The lyrics describe a monumental life changing heart break, but the upbeat guitar melodies emote an hope for happiness in the future.

It is a fine line artists tread, should they shy away from traditional frameworks for their genre? Some reject the groundworks for fear of being repetitive and cliche.  Instead Tatum embraces the aspects of what made legends like Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, New Order so unique and memorable.  These are the types of bands that are still part of the shoegaze/ dream pop consciousness, they are what defines tradition, and Tatum respects that.  Tatum acknowledges that tradition is important when crafting music that will remain relevant and venerated in the future.  He elaborates,

“I wanted it to sound like a classic studio record, as close as I could get it there. It just boils down to me wanting to fit into some larger narrative, musically, in terms of these artists I love… I think about how my music will age. Ideas of ‘timeless’ are going to be different—so if Indigo is not timeless then it’s at least ‘out of time.’”

I’m looking forward to listening the rest of the album and seeing where I can place Wild Nothing in the larger musical narrative.  It will be interesting to hear what Tatum’s interpretation of “timeless” entails.  We will have to wait for hazy August for the new album “Indigo” to be released. If “Letting Go, ” is any clue to what is to come, I’m hopeful that Wild Nothing will be a band I’m still listening to in 30 years.

Songs you might like:

  • “Allison” – Slowdive
  • “Pulling Our Weight” – The Radio Dept.
  • “Kaleidoscope” – Ringo Deathstarr
  • “Cherry-coloured Funk” – Cocteau Twins

Artists you might like: New Order, The Radio Dept. , Beach Fossils, Beach House, DIIV, Real Estate, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Ringo Deathstarr

Sources:

Kenneally, Cerys. “Wild Nothing Returns with News of Fourth Album Indigo and Lead Single ‘Letting Go.’” The Line of Best Fit, 5 June 2018, www.thelineofbestfit.com/news/latest-news/wild-nothing-new-album-indigo-new-single-letting-go.

 

International Artists Spotlight: Spain

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I’ll be visiting in France in a few short weeks and its the closest I’ve ever been to the land of my ancestors, Spain.  That being said, I decided to start another spotlight segment, international artists. I love a lot of international music, this is just a taste.  Stay tuned for a bunch of international segments like this one!

On this playlist you’ll hear a array of genres and influences: synth pop, synth rock, post-punk revival, dream pop, folk pop (with emphasis on the pop) funk synth and more! Even if you don’t speak Spanish you’ll love these melody driven tracks.

Click here to find the playlist on Spotify.

  1. “Girls”- Lost Tapes
  2. “Tu Casa Nueva” – El Ultimo Vecino
  3. “El Extraño Viaje” – Murciano Total
  4. “Tortura en los Bares” Trepát
  5. “Morado” – Sr. Chinarro
  6. “Dejame Entrar” Trajano!
  7. “Mató al Fary” – Anntona
  8. ” Mi Patria en Mis Gayumbos” -Anntona
  9. “Flor de Luz” – Joe Crepuscúlo
  10. “Chill Aqui” – Extraperlo
  11. “Peor Que Las Demas” – La Bien Querida

What do you think of the music scene going on in Spain?

 

Review: “Face Up” – Washed Out

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Genre: Synth Pop, Dream Pop, Chillwave

With the overarching postmodern thought, it seems that irony taints everything with its cynicism.  Sentiment is something that we are lacking, and something that we crave. Yet most artists today are heavy handed in their use of irony.

In an interview American writer David Foster Wallace talks about the effects of postmodern thought on artists, and his hope that this oppressive trend will come to a close:

“Postmodern irony and cynicism become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what’s wrong, because they’ll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony’s gone from liberating to enslaving. There’s some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who’s come to love his cage.”

Ernest Green breaks free from the bondage of irony and starts a trend of sentimentalism with his new single “Face Up.” We find relief from cynicism in this soothing new track.  Although the song evokes nostalgic sounds, it does not step over the line into a postmodern self-conscious meta pop culture.

The song was produced for the Adult Swim Single Series, an ironic nighttime programming, and yet the song is anything but ironic. This song is not a product of postmodern irreverence, instead the track goes back to the basics with its smooth “Take My Breath Away,” inspired synth and light shoegazy vocals. Ernest Green elaborated on the sentimental nature of this song to Stone Throw Records, “This song was the first thing I wrote post-Mister Mellow and it contains none of the sample-driven craziness or detached irony found in that era. Instead it’s a simple song with a simple sentiment.”

Far removed removed from last year’s “Mister Mellow,” this fresh new single restores my hope for dream pop.  Thank you Ernest, we need more simple songs with simple sentiment.

Watch a “The problem with irony” here to learn more about the issue of irony in pop culture.

Songs you might like:

  • “For Phoebe Still A Baby”- Cocteau Twins
  • “Colored Emotions”-  Night Moves
  • “Pretty Haze” – Summer Heart
  • “Cassie(Won’t You Be My Doll)”- Part Time

Artists you might like: Craft Spells, Moses, Inner Wave, Part Time, TV Girl, Operators, Blouse, Still Corners, Night Moves, El Ultimo Vecino, Von Sell, Drab Majesty, Lost Tapes, Keep Shelly in Athens

Sources:

David Foster Wallace, in interview with Larry McCaffery, in “A Conversation with David Foster Wallace,” The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Vol. 13 (Summer 1993): 147.

Schoder , Will, director. The Problem with Irony The Problem with Irony, YouTube, 6 Oct. 2016, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2doZROwdte4.

Stream. “Washed Out – ‘Face Up’ | Stones Throw Records.” Stones Throw, 11 May 2018, http://www.stonesthrow.com/news/2018/05/washed-out-face-up.