Toronto-based indie pop band Alvvays released their sophomore album Antisocialites this year. The second track is ‘Dreams Tonite’ with its dreamy 1980s pop sound. Think Chromatics. Think Beach House. Think Cocteau Twins.
In 2009, Chromatics’ Johnny Jewel and Nat Walker teamed up with vocalist Megan Louise to become Desire. Their debut album II was released on Italians Do It Better and explores the synthpop typical of Jewel’s label. The standout song ‘Under Your Spell’ would then appear as a centrepiece sound in the 2011 movie Drive.
In no particular order …
Honourable mentions also go to: Burial for ‘Ashtray Wasp‘; Bat For Lashes for ‘Laura‘; TNGHT for ‘Higher Ground‘; Field Report for ‘Taking Alcatraz‘; Lulu James for ‘Be Safe‘; Family Of The Year for ‘Hero‘; Grizzly Bear for ‘Sleeping Ute‘; San Cisco for ‘Wild Things‘; RY X & Frank Wiedemann for ‘Howling‘; Chrome Sparks for ‘Send The Pain On‘; TR13 for ‘Fly‘; Bobby Womack for ‘Please Forgive My Heart‘; Parquet Courts for ‘Master Of My Craft‘; and Grimes for ‘Oblivion‘.
Although officially released last year, ScHoolboy Q’s ‘Man Of THe Year’ has been a slow burner this one. A big part of its success lies in the smart sample of Chromatics’ ‘Cherry’. That single and its recognisable synth melody features on the Italians Do It Better label’s After Dark 2, a superlative compilation that has already featured on this blog in the guise of Glass Candy.
No blues revival was more fervent that the raw electric sound of two-man rock outfit The Black Keys. With Dan Auerbach on the vocals and riffs, and Patrick Carney on the drums, from The Big Come Up to El Camino, it was pure garage blues. And then, what do I hear on the radio? ‘Fever’. It’s The Black Keys, but not as I know them. It’s like they’ve had a session listening to Hot Chip, Chromatics, Metronomy, MGMT etc. and decided to get all electronica. It works – I might just try it myself this weekend. Have a good one.
It’s August and I’m back. In the mid-to-late noughties, Mike Simonetti formed the Italians Do It Better record label with Johnny Jewel. In the month before I went offline, the label released After Dark 2 – a compilation of music heavily influenced by Jewel the producer. It includes the currency of his Chromatics, but it’s hard to overlook the impact of the opening track from Glass Candy – another of his electronic vehicles. Listening to ‘Warm In The Winter’, I cannot help but hear echoes of Pete Wylie. The 1980s can do that to you.
After the retrospect of last week, something of the hipster variety to kick off this week. ‘Lady’ is the third single taken off Chromatics’ album Kill For Love, which was released out of their Portland studio earlier this year. The sound they’ve created is very current. Think synthesised M83, the mournful melody of The XX and the dreampop of Beach House – the result is otherworldly and perfectly matched by Ruth Radelet’s detached vocals. Have a good week.