synth

NEARLY OROTORIO: SIMON LAM’S STRIPPED DOWN  TIN EP
April 15, 2016 11:43 am

Melbourne’s Simon Lam is known by many names. Earlier this month, Lam, who releases solo material through the Nearly Orotorio moniker, dropped his second EP, Tin, via Solitaire Recordings.

Whether contributing vocal tracks or lending his keen sound engineering chops, Simon Lam has done a lot in a short span of time–and it seems like any project he decides to take on tends to make its way to an increasingly wide audience. His career launched in 2010 with the formation of Kins, a group that initially manifested in Australia, but later transplanted to Brighton, England. Kins fused wistful guitar with downtempo electronic breaks. They followed up the release of their self-titled full-length by touring in support of last year’s indie rock blockbuster, Courtney Barnett, before officially calling it quits in February. Meanwhile Lam, who didn’t stay around for Kins to fully come to fruition, was busy parsing together tapestries of his soulful vocals and minimal electronics with I’lls. Next he was building warm synth backdrops to back fellow-Melbourn songstress Chloe Kaul for their project Kllo.  They released a debut EP Cusp in 2015 via Dot Dash / Remote Control.

Lam’s first Nearly Oratorio release Showers was released in 2011, perhaps opening the door to some of his other collaborations. His fluid transition from one project to the next is disorienting indeed, but it’s the sign of an ambitious recording artist dedicated to his art and finding just the right collaborative environment to find inspiration for his next work.

Tin is a collection of oddball ditties dedicated to the wandering thinkers and creatives that occasionally get stuck inside their heads. To soak in this album properly one simply needs to lay back in a comfortable position, adorn a pair of headphones and take it in. Tin captures the essence of Sam Lam’s tinkering, the thought-process of a tireless scientist going through the motions of artistic process. It’s packed with a modest range of percussion adding texture and rhythmic dimension to his tracks which are otherwise bare-bones: Sam’s soothing R&B falsetto accompanied by a trickle of acoustic guitar and under synths.  It’s a great introduction to Simon Lin’s signature blissfully minimal sound. 

WILDCAT! WILDCAT! HEAD STRAIGHT TO THE TOP
March 25, 2016 10:35 am

Wildcat! Wildcat! are back with their newest jam “Straight To The Top“.  Those familiar with Jesse Taylor and Jesse Carmichael’s signature mix of dueling falsetto melodies and tightly packed layers of synth and percussion are in for a treat. The duo’s wide vocal range and colossal sound is befitting of a song that dabbles with themes of perseverance and determination. We at ATYPICALSOUNDS agree: you’ve got to be a beast to get to the top.

Wildcat! Wildcat! emerged in 2012 with a string of infectious singles. 2013 saw the release of their self-titled EP via Downtown Records, and included the sensational tune “Mr. Quiche“, the accompanying video to which features a guy break-dancing in a cat costume. What more could you ask for, really? Wildcat! Wildcat! released their debut full-length No Moon At all in 2014 followed by an extensive world tour. One can only imagine how exhausted they were after that marathon of events, so it’s perfectly justifiable we haven’t heard from them in a minute.

Unfortunately, Wildcat! Wildcat! doesn’t seem to have any live gigs lined up at the moment, which means you wont be seeing them at any music fests this summer.  Worry not though.  Keep an eye out for new singles, as word on the streets is they have been busy in the studio piecing together new material, meaning there’s more on the way soon.  In the meantime, their entire catalog is available via their SoundCloud.  Check out the new single in all of it’s glory below.

WILD NOTHING: LIFE OF PAUSE
February 24, 2016 3:55 pm

Jack Tatum aka Wild Nothing has returned with Life of Pause, his third full-length installment on Captured Tracks. Once again Tatum builds majestically shimmering dreamscapes that incorporate a varied palette of influences. This is a record dripping with nostalgia, which seems to not only stem from the particular sounds Tatum jives towards, but also the themes from which Life of Praise revolves. Not uncommon among aspiring artists coming of age, Tatum’s sound explorations mimic his own personal experiences as he grapples of themes not unfamiliar to the Dream Pop cannon: identity, coming of age, love.

lifeLife of Pause opening track “Reichpop” grabs you right through the time-space-continuum portal into a Remain In Light-era Talking Heads groove accompanied by nonsensical lyrics “I am the silencer / I am the only one”.  “Japanese Alice” opens with Shoegazey guitar swerves recalling My Bloody Valentine, but then quickly settles into a funk cut more akin to Toro Y Moi. “Lady Blue” sounds like it was penned by Buckingham-Nicks for Fleetwood Mac’s forgotten late-70s synthesizer record.  It’s on “Lady Blue” that Tatum begins one of many spacey inward discussions about love, “will I find a way / to make sense of the way that you love me?” On “Every Women’s Wisdom”, Tatum points out to a perspective lover, “I don’t believe in heaven / but baby, you can be my church.”  Who wouldn’t be flattered by that line? The title track has an odd resemblance both sonically and stylistically to Foxygen’s “How Can You Really”, which makes sense since both artists cup their hands into a similar stream of hazy 70s leisure rock vibes.   On “Whenever I” Tatum comes full circle, realizing, “And I thought you were onto me / And I thought you’d be good for me / But I know what you are now.”

Overall Life of Pause is nothing short of an entrancing, fluid, well-constructed collection of tunes. If you’re into either neo-psych wave of bands currently in vogue such as Tame Impala or the aforementioned Foyxygen, or dream pop standbys like Beach House or Kurt Vile, this record is a shoe in.  The only real critique is that 11 tracks and close to an entire hour’s worth of transcendental psych can really start to drag on.  But perhaps that’s not such a negative, as it allows you to come back another day and still have a few fresh tracks to bring you back in.

Wild Nothing will be touring extensively in support of Life of Pause, check out dates here.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’S INEVITABLY TRIUMPHANT RETURN
January 14, 2016 1:40 pm

By now the “farewell concert” has become something of a cliché.

Ever since Jay-Z hosted his retirement extravaganza back in 2003 (which didn’t last very long), the legitimacy of other acts celebrating their exit from show business has been somewhat questionable. Let’s be honest though, are we ever upset when one of favorite artists decides to come out of the wood work and start performing again? Absolutely not.

LCD Soundsystem, what hasn’t been said about them already?  For a band with a relatively short life span of only 10 years, they released three critically acclaimed albums, and for many of us, defined an indelible era of musical history.

Although it’s easy to forget sometimes, given how popular music has shifted toward an EDM-dominated landscape, that there was a time when electronic music wasn’t very ‘cool’ at all.

It was flaunted by cool kids, hipsters.  LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy first made a name for himself by co-founding DFA Records, a record label that quickly picked up steam as an underground advocate for house music’s accession into the mainstream.

By the time LCD Soundsystem formed in 2001 their hometown of Brooklyn had already been transformed into the central hub of hipsterdom (yeah I know, I made up a word, but so what?!).  Indie electronic music was about to explode into a global phenomenon.  Albums like Cut Copy’s In Ghost Colours, Jus†ice’s , and lest we forget, LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver, received not only rave reviews from the music press, but were starting to cut mainstream pop out of the picture all together. This empowering shift marked the beginning of the digital age, for the first time since recorded music’s inception, listeners were choosing their own music, and plugging their iPod’s (that’s right) into their car stereos rather than listening to overly-glossed Top 40 hits and mainly commercials.

By the end of the decade LCD Soundsystem was on top of the world.  Sold out concerts, packed festivals, and Murphy plastered onto the front page of every music publication possible.

Then, like all good things, LCD Soundsystem decided it was time to call it quits.  On February 5th, 2011, the band announced on their website that they thought it was better to quit while they were ahead and go out with a bang.

On April 2nd, 2011, at Madison Square Garden, the band performed their final show.

Hold on, hold on. Where have a heard this before? This is bogus! You know this isn’t going to last! Come on!

Sure enough…on January 5th this note was posted to their website.  That’s right, they’re back. Like really back.

Of course, it’s no surprise that somehow Coachella managed to cash in on their triumphant return. While we can safely assume plenty of festival-goers will flock to the outskirts of Palo Alto to sweat it out this April, where will LCD Soundsystem appear next?  For now, my friends, the answer to that question is shrouded in mystery.  The only hint is a promising yet cryptic message on their website: “2016 tour dates coming soon.”  I supposed we’ll have to wait it out (although, I think it’s safe to assume they’ll be playing somewhere in the vicinity of New York.)

By far the most important tidbit of information is that there’s a new album in the works.

LCD Soundsystem has a pretty awesome discography. It’s dancey, but sophisticated. It’s music that celebrates dusting off obscure records for audiophiles with an interest in obscure music. You know, like cool kids. Hipsters.

So in short, farewell concerts are probably a sham, so don’t drive halfway across the country to celebrate your favorite band’s early–er, I mean, botched retirement. LCD Soundsystem is back and 2016 is going to be an awesome year to ”Dance Yrself Clean yet again!

NEON INDIAN BACK ON THE ROAD
December 8, 2015 6:37 am

Neon Indian is finally back on the road with his new album Vega Intl. Night School and proves that it was worth the two year wait. Who knew he’d be flying halfway around the world to play for a Japanese crowd? Apparently it’s his “favorite place to be on earth.” Maybe he got some of that “popstar” quality from his father who was quite the musician in Mexico back then. Either way, I got the chance to enjoy how he rocked the crowd in Japan last week.

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Photo by Youka Nagase

neonindian

Photo by Youka Nagase

As Alan Palomo stands on stage you could feel the excitement in the room. People were shouting all kinds of stuff from “Neon Indian!”, “You’re awesome!” to “I love you, you’re hot!” His feet start dancing to “Annie” and shows us some bold dance moves to the reggae guitar beat and the girls in the front row are mesmerized by him. Very much like his album, it felt like a drunken memory with echoey vocals on top of the overlapping synth and flashing rainbow lights. The kind of drunken memory that I wanted to last forever. The Glitzy Hive is that song you just uncontrollably dance to like you’re at an 80’s party sporting a neon jacket. I mean, the lyrics literally say “Party, she’s at the monster party. Party, party” with the perfect beat so how could you even stay still during this song?

Unlike other musicians he doesn’t pull the kind of “bullshit” and tease his fans telling the crowd that it’s the “last song” when there’s clearly 3 more important songs that everyone’s been dying to hear. Instead he cruises through the set and tells us that the supposedly “last song” isn’t the last one because let’s face it, the encore is the best part and nobody wants a good show to end! Of course he leaves everyone’s favorite “Polish Girl” towards the end, leaving everyone on a high from all the chillwave.

HERE WE GO MAGIC SLIMS DOWN WITH BE SMALL
November 6, 2015 1:00 pm

Here We Go Magic reemerged a couple of weeks ago and it seems they’ve been hitting the gym since their last record – slimming down from a five piece to a duo. It is only fitting that the band, now consisting solely of Luke Temple and Michael Bloch, titled their new album Be Small.

sc315-hwgm-fc-hr-1425 You may know Here We Go Magic from their extensive touring history, opening for big name acts like The Walkmen and Grizzly Bear. Or perhaps you know their most popular song “How Do I Know” off their critically acclaimed 2012 record A Different Ship?

Be Small opens with an “Intro.” So does A Different Ship. However, the two records don’t have much in common when you get past the first 30 seconds. Inspired by Brian Eno and John Cale’s collaborative album Wrong Way Up, Be Small is a mess of genres. But it’s a welcomed mess, one that makes the whole record feel familiar and comfortable. The album is a true hybrid, with each song tapping into the realms of Prog-rock, Soul, Electronic, Americana, and of course Indie rock.

The true opener of the album, “Stella” begins with a psychedelic looping synthesizer riff bouncing back and forth through your brain, and gradually layers on soaring lead synth, vocals, and plentiful pads. Although it lacks a traditional chorus, it builds energy throughout and is a song that immediately demands your attention.

The band then jumps into the title track “Be Small.” Again eschewing the use of a traditional verse-chorus-verse structure, Here We Go Magic here leaves the electro-pop stylings of “Stella” behind for a unique blend of the lush chordal orchestrations from bands such as Earth Wind and Fire with the earthy approachability of CSNY. As Temple advises the listener “stay low to the ground,” it’s clear thathere-we-go-magic Here We Go Magic is looking backwards for inspiration while striving forward towards new uncharted sounds.

Every song on this album has its merits, but “Tokyo London US Korea” strikes us as being particularly noteworthy, drawing on Steve Reich-esque layered rhythmic patterns while somehow including the earthen tones Here We Go Magic is known for. Some may find the title combined with the constantly shifting rhythm a bit too on-the-nose. But we find the approach refreshing and unique. Much like the album itself.

Find yourself a good pair of headphones, and listen to Be Small today.

SEOUL BRINGS THE DREAM TO BROOKLYN
October 12, 2015 9:57 am

Montreal indie-pop band Seoul stopped by Rough Trade this past Saturday night and they brought their massive dreamy synth sound with them. Opening the night were locals Lightning Bug, who are master shoegazers. They set the tone with seoulklktheir intricately skilled pedal work and ripping bass lines; definitely a band to keep an eye on. They were followed with a toned down set by Young Ejecta, the Brooklyn based synth-pop duo featuring Leanne Macomber of Neon Indian, who was the only one present for this particular set. The songs were aesthetically sloppy but gave the audience a more candid look into Leanne’s raw style.

Seoul is now more than halfway through their North American tour, and still performing with an energy that moved the crowd. Their Canadian-bred style is just peculiar enough to get you interested, then you crash under the ambient wave of their dream-like synth driven songs. The band has maintained an air of anonymity which seems to work with their reverb drowned style. The Beasts suggest you find this band in a town near you.You can find all the tour dates here. In the meantime, check out their newly released video for “Real June”, and dream on dreamers.

Domino Kirke Takes Over Baby’s All Right
May 21, 2015 9:59 pm

Domino Kirke took her first live show at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, and AtypicalSounds were lucky enough to witness. I didn’t realize she was mingling in the crowd while Luke Temple was on stage before her. She scurried up on stage, seeming a little nervous to see the crowd’s reaction to her music, however that soon ended once the blue lights matched the calm mood to her soothing voice.


She looked fashionable in her blue jumpsuit, holding the mic with her intricately tattooed arm. Her high pitched dreamy voice sounded hypnotizing with the deep synth and beets from the drums. You could tell that she gets into the music when she closes her eyes and moves her arms freely.

Her tunes sound simple, yet have the power to hold you in a trance, leaving you craving more.

She dropped her song Ordinary World (below) a few days ago, and will be releasing her new EP on May 26th which we’re excited to hear. She has a few more shows at Baby’s All Right, and we hope to see more of her around town!