[Audio] Avec Sans’ ‘Heartbreak Hi’ album


Avec Sans

What I can I say about Avec Sans that I haven’t already? Probably not a lot; but they’ve just gone and released their début full-lengther so let’s give it a go, eh? To call their new album, sharing the title Heartbreak Hi with their first single, long-awaited would be an understatement. I’ve always seen The Sans as an album band, so the slow trickle of singles over the past four years has been tantalizing in the extreme and now that time has come I can well and truly say that a large body of Avec Sans work feels as satisfying as I’d always thought it would.

To bring you up to speed (insert American TV voice here: “Previously on Avec Sans…”); Avec Sans are, without question, amongst the top tier ElectroPop artists the UK has ever produced, and definitely one if, if not the best in the past decade. Striking the perfect balance between machine music and deep emotion in all elements of their sound as Jack St James offers up a deft combination of spiky, jagged synths and lush, evocative arrangements while Alice Fox’s voice flits between icy aloofness and heartfelt passion. This blending of cold and warm, dark and light, is what makes Avec Sans’s music such a rich experience. And it’s pretty groovy too! They serve up something for the heart, the head and the feet.

Avec Sans Heartbreak Hi Album

Heartbreak Hi is a both a culmination of the past few years of work and an introduction to new, sometimes surprising, material. All the singles are present and correct from their premiére tracks Perth and Heartbreak Hi, through The Answer, Hold On, Shiver, All Of Time,and Resonate to When You Go. So, rather than going over the singles again, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and re-visit our first impressions of the tracks. Here’s a rundown of Avec Sans’ previous singles, featured on Heartbreak Hi, via the medium of quoting our original thoughts:

♫ Avec Sans – Heartbreak Hi

Heartbreak Hi: “The track itself is glorious, rousing slice of razor sharp ElectroPop. With a very slight Industrial quality to it, that is tempered by Alice Fox’s impassioned vocals. It’s rare for a new ElectroPop act to come along and sound so polished and mature from the get-go.” (June 2012)

Shiver: “Catchy, but in an intelligent way, the tune is a cavalcade of buzzing synths and dance beats. Ms. Fox’s vocals sound more epic than ever, set to a sweeping, driving, slice of ElectroPop gold.” (November 2013)

When You Go: “Swoosh! That’s how When You Go begins. Once suitably swooshed you’ll be treated to a booming and majestic tune that sees Jack playing with an almost Dubby groove, albeit it a Dubby groove run through his humming RoboPop machines while Alice’s smoky vocal delivers that particular gloomy optimism that only she can.” (July 2015)

Hold On: “Hold On delivers compelling beats, a swirl of biting synths and a chorus that’ll stick in your head all day. What more could you want?” (June 2013)

The Answer: “If you said to me that this was a track created by a guy who has experimented with many different forms of electronic music and a vocalist who cut her teeth on the Indie band circuit, I would say that’s exactly what it is.” (November 2012)

Resonate: “Resonate is a thumping mid-tempo ElectroPop epic that it’s hard not to get swept up in as the starlight arpeggios swirl around an intimate and intoxicating vocal performance, all set to a hammerfall kick.” (April 2015)

All Of Time: “…a rousing, emotional SynthPop track with a surprising and powerful Indie sensibility. Piercing synths and Alice’s passionate vocal delivery wash over some tight dance beats on this one.” (August 2014)

Perth: “…a seriously classy cover of Bon Iver’s Perth” (June 2012)

All of which goes to show two things. Firstly that I am a terrible writer (but we knew this anyway, right?). Secondly that Avec Sans have been offering up the finest of tunes consistently since 2012; and by ‘consistently’ I don’t mean quantity, I mean consistently high quality. There’s a craftsmanship (and craftswomanship) and attention to sonic detail going on here that I’m sure some other acts would have found exhausting to keep up.

♫ Avec Sans – Shiver

All of that is precluded by the album opener, Even The Echoes, which layers on the atmosphere in true album intro style. The track actually sets up the album really well, all the Sans elements are in place. Jack’s sample manipulation and growling tones, Alice’s slightly sad anthems. All just a little reined in, tempo-wise, to ease you into proceedings. To the trained ear (and when I say trained, I mean: have listened to a lot of Aves Sans on busses in the past four years) the evolution and increasing musical confidence throughout their carrier is apparent in Heartbreak Hi’s catalogue; and damn, We Are is an evolved and confident tune. A sublime Pop track with beats and a hook that are surprisingly early-90s. I mean, seriously, it’s synth horns and hushed vocals could have easily been featured on the early days of MTV UK. A proper Pop anthem.

History, for me anyway, is the unforeseen standout of the new album tracks. A departure from Avec Sans’ crisp and regimented SynthPop into something with a gentle, almost R&B swing at times, a thick dancefloor bass and an IndiePop refrain. Which is an odd combination but when put into musical context, with Jack’s production and Alice’s delivery, is a combination that both works as an Avec Sans track, and give the duo a chance to flex their musical muscles slightly outside of the comfort zone (with total success!).

Gun to my head; Close My Eyes is my least favourite track on the album. Not a bad song by any means, I particularly like the lyrical imagery and the little squirly (that’s a word damnit!) bit in the riff, but it doesn’t quite reach the heights of it’s album mates. The album closer, Mistakes, however, is perfectly placed to ease you out of the record. A song full of regrets and reflection that pairs a hushed lament with a hazy swirl of rising keys that eventually breaks, like tension snapping, for the track’s, and album’s, beat driven finale.

♫ Avec Sans – When You Go

Which leads us to one last point of order. What’s my favourite Avec Sans song then? Well, now there is a large enough body of work out there I can safely say that it’s Hold On, for various reasons. Musically it speaks to my love of abrasive sounds made into something beautiful; an emotional and warm track comprised of chainsaw synths and piercing leads with a catchy as hell hook. Lyrically I find it totally relatable. I’ve no idea what Alice wrote the track about, but in the finest tradition of the listener interpreting the song, it is scary how it could have been written about a certain time in my life (more than any song I’ve head in the past decade or so!). Thankfully a time long in the past, still gives me goosebumps hearing a song about it though. Especially one that makes me want to dance!

♫ Avec Sans – Hold On

To sum up, in case you haven’t been paying attention. Just go and buy this album. A ‘summing up’ paragraph seems a little redundant at this point, if you read this website then you will love this album, without a doubt. It’s been a long time coming and doesn’t disappoint. It also feels a bt like the end of Aves Sans chapter one, and we are already excited about what Jack and Alice will bring us for chapter two.

Avec Sans’ Heartbreak Hi is out now on digital and CD, you can pre-order the vinyl here.

Buy Avec Sans’ music from:


[Audio] Avec Sans’ ‘Heartbreak Hi’


Avec Sans

It looks like the Avec Sans train is really starting to roll out of the station now. You could consider the past four year since England’s finest ElectroPop outfit emerged as one big training montage and now it;s time for the big fight. Releasing a couple of single’s a year they have stayed in the consciousnesses of discerning music lovers, honed their skills on the live circuit and now their long long awaited début album is finally on the horizon. It’s time to kick things up a notch.

The first single from the album? Heartbreak Hi; which is extremely pleasing in a lovely symmetry kinda’ way. Of course, Heartbreak Hi was The Sans’ first ever track; the track that had us hooked, so it seems fitting that it was chosen to be the track to hook new listeners at the start of this album cycle. The beginning of this chapter of Avec Sans kicks off in the same bombastic fashion as the previous one.

Also, Heartbreak Hi sums up Avec Sans perfectly. It’s Avec Sans condensed and distilled into it’s purest form. It’s neat Avec Sans. No ice.

For a start Heartbreak Hi is exemplary of The Sans’ lyrical flavour. A deep melancholy and undercurrent of darkness intertwined with a healthy amount of tongue-in-cheek and word play. Anyone who spent the early-to-mid 90s slumped in front of teatime telly will instantly make the connection with the Aussie equivalent of Grange Hill, Heartbreak High. When Sci-Fi Debbie Harry Alice Fox turns that into “Hello heartbreak; hi” there’s an instant feeling (aside from ‘why the hell has no-one thought of that before’) of comforting nostalgia that tempers the track’s themes of loneliness.

The Sans haven’t just dumped a four year old MP3 on the world though. This Heartbreak Hi has been completely re-recorded and remastered. Instantly noticeable it that it sounds much warmer than it’s predecessor. Novation Yoda and part-time Clive Lewis cosplayer Jack St. James is renowned for his clean, crisp melodies and razor sharp synths which here are delivered in a more well-rounded whole than Heartbreak Hi’s predecessor.

As always, Avec Sans’ killer app is the combination of somewhat abrasive, somewhat aggressive, exhilarating and emotional electronic music and Alice’s Sarah-Cracknell-but-friendlier vocals. There’s a certain tone to Alice’s voice that could probably sing you a Cancer diagnosis and have you saying “ahhh whatever”; and weirdly (I say ‘weirdly’ because I have no justification for this at all) that blend of jagged and euphoric electronics with a voice with displays both confidence and fragility always makes me think there is more going on in the track’s narrative, like each Avec Sans song is a small slices of a larger story. Or maybe that’s just me and I should shut up and dance?

So; Heartbreak Hi is released 18th March with a full reMix package. Aces Sans forthcoming première album drops 3rd June. The album is, as-yet, untitled. In keeping with the 90s nostalgia my suggestion would be The One Where Alice And Jack Release An Album. You’re Welcome.

You can pre-order the album (including on vinyl!!!), and a whole host of other goodies including CDs, tote bags, private gigs, Jack’s sage-like production nouse, Alice’s clothes and a dress-up-like-me kit on their PledgeMusic page which is well worth a browse ‘cos there’s a ton of stuff there. If you’re in old London town next month you can catch them at The Old Blue Last; I’ll be there so, y’know, leave me alone please (joke!). Or if you’re at SXSW they’ll be doing the rounds (Great! More people on my friends list to join in the annual reminder that I’m not at SXSW and how everyone is having a much better time than me!).

Check out Heartbreak Hi below. Then go and pre-order the new album. Then get a little restless waiting until June. Ahhh, the double-edged sword of the pre-order. You should though; Avec Sans are super DIY and self-funding, and in the words of respected philosopher Mr. John Tesco “Every Little Helps”.

tl;dr Yay, Avec Sans have finally got an album coming out.

♫ Avec Sans – Heartbreak Hi

Avec Sans’ Heartbreak Hi is released 18th March followed by their début album on 3rd June.

Pre-order the album, the single and tons of other goodies here.

Buy Avec Sans’ music from:

[Audio] Goldroom reMixes’ Chvrches’ ‘Leave A Trace’



Well now. This is a cheeky end to the year. We were actually not going to be writing about anything new now until 2016. Aside from the electronic rumors Awards just before the new year we had cleared our desks and left the office for the holidays. And then this happens.

We actually knew this was coming, but when it didn’t arrive when we expected we just assumed it had been delayed until the new year. Not quite, this one snuck out this last weekend before X-mas pulling us back to the keyboard like we were on call. As much as we wanted to be putting our feet up with a very large drink this was just too special to pass on.

What can make us temporarily put aside seasonal laziness you ask? Two of our most favourite acts of the century on the same release. That’s what. Chvrches have only gone and got Goldroom to reMix Leave A Trace for them!

You know we love Chvrches. You must do. Whether it’s handing their début album, The Bones Of What You Believe, the tops album spot in the 2013 electronic rumors Awards or calling seeing Chvrches live “a religious experience for us” on Instagram or owning every Chvrches vinyl release, including the ones that are worth three figures; you could definitely say we were kinda’ fans of the Glaswegian trio. One of the best things to happen to ElectroPop for some time both in terms of intelligent songwriting that connects with people and makes people dance, and in terms of popularity for the genre. Just type “Chvrches” into the search field on the right, you’ll see post after post praising their new synthetic emotions, you can read our lengthy review of their new album, Every Open Eye, right here..

Similarly, what can we say that we haven’t already said about Goldroom. Josh is a long-time friend of electronic rumors. Coming up with his band NightWaves and his label/collective Binary in parallel to ourselves our relationship with Josh has always been one of mutual support, he’s contributed tracks to our label; and we once ran an entire week in collaboration, devoted to Binary artists. When he changed gears and became Goldroom the man just blew up, and well deserved it was too. There are fewer more talented, and nicer guys on the scene today. Goldroom is living proof that sometimes the cream really does rise to the top.

So Goldroom reMixing Chvrches has us excited even before pressing play. Also apprehensive, a pairing like this has a lot to live up to. Goldroom sweet, comfortable, Disco and House should be a refreshingly euphoric backing for the impassioned vocals of Lauren Mayberry.

And it is! Phew. Crisis averted.  This is right up there with Ikonika’s reMix of Chvrches’ Lies.

The latest Chvrches album tends to veer more toward the 80s in terms of songwriting and arrangement (if not sound) than their première offering, and this plays right into Goldroom’s blissfully nostalgic hands. Josh presents a deceptively complex tapestry of interwoven synth lines and percussion to bring together a little Balearic and a little summery House, and even a little of his own 80s retro past,to Chvrches anthemic SynthPop. One of the things that struck us about this new reMix was that, aside from being one of the hugest floorfillers we’ve heard this year, how this is the most Dreamwave track Joash has releasing in a long time (Josh invented, or at least christened Dreamwave back in the day). It’s kinda like the musical equivalent of a bunch of old friends throwing an awesome surprise party for you,

Josh keeps things immensely deep and groove on this one. The brick-wall solid kick and Californian Moog-y bass providing the foundation for waves of warm synths and intricate instrumentation. From the distorted vocoding and the bright Indie-esque riffs to the majestic and emotive piano hooks; Goldroom delivers a rich and always compelling soundtrack which complements Chvrches’ anthemic opus perfectly. At once rousing and decadent while at the same time being aimed squarely at the dancefloor. Crikey, that’s quite a build too!

♫ Chvrches =- Leave A Trace (Goldroom reMix)

Chvrches’ Leave A Trace is out now

Buy Chvrches’ music from:

[Audio] LoFrames’ ‘In Love With You’ (+ Monsieur Adi & Aashton reMixes)



LoFrames continue to go from strength to strength. Ever since these guys got together they have been quietly making waves with the people in the know. Even before they teamed up they were a couple of our favourite producers; James Yuill and out very own Franck from Freak You (one of our favourite people full stop) have had blistering carriers of their own, so them coming together, and bringing their respective SynthPop, House and Disco talents to the table, was something pretty special.

Their first release, Get Real (Can’t Touch Your Love), from the start of the year was a deep Pop House tune that remained on our playlist well into the summer. The duo are just now following up with their brand new single. In Love With You is actually a cover the 2003 French House classic by The Paradise. The Paradise were, of course, was Alan Braxe and Romuald; Braxe himself has given LoFrames’ cover his seal of approval.

LoFrames version of the tune is a sumptuous, hypnotic jam. Like a warm blanket of dancefloor sounds LoFrames’ In Love With You lays out building blocks of warm synths and slightly metallic leads into Dance soundtrack that is so rich, heady and uplifting it borders Progressive. The snatches of vocals drift in and out of the smokey sounds begging to be followed onto the tunes depths. We were also pretty pleased to see a return of the epic sax from get Real, we’re hoping the sax is a mainstay of LoFrames sound moving forward.

Among the reMixes served up on the singe are these two gems, from a couple of our favourite producers around. Monsieur Adi is back and laying down one of his massive ElectroPop reMixes. This one harkens back to his Electro-House roots a bit with big gritty synths and a stomping beat but in true Pop style Adi revels in having that drifting sax to play with. Brightonion Aashton gets all dreamy with the track on his kinda’ smooth affair. Walking the line between Tech and Deep Aashton’s hypnotic House mix brings a sweltering groove to the release.

The original and Adi mixes are free downloads for a limited time too!

LoFrames – In Love With You (The Paradise Cover)

LoFrames – In Love With You (The Paradise Cover) (Monsieur Adi reMix)

♫ LoFrames – In Love With You (The Paradise Cover) (Aashton reMix)

LoFrames’ In Love With You is our now.

Buy LoFrames’ music from:


[Audio] Kid Kasio’s ‘Sit And Wait’ album


Kid Kasio

Kid Kasio is the most 80s person on the planet. Nathan Cooper lives and breathes the decade in a way that even the staunchest nostalgia-ist doesn’t. His music, as we’ve said before, is one of the some of the only truly authentic sounding 80s Pop being made today. Oh sure there are, and have been, many scenes that claimed ownership of the 80s bloodline; the Modern SynthPop Movement, with it’s simplistic digital beats and Industrial leanings always sounded too 90s, ElectroClash felt more like a parody that a mirror and Synthwave, despite professing the be the 80s scene, owes too much to late 90s Euphoric Trance to sound truly of the decade. All those scenes were awesome in their own right, but for songs, sounds and a look that could have genuinely stepped right out of a mid-80s episode of Top Of The Pops Kid Kasio is your man.

Nathan Cooper first came to SynthPop prominence as the driving force behind acclaimed (and rotatingly named) The Modern/Dirty Blonde/ Matinée Club in the early 2000’s, but it has been his solo output where he has really come into his own. The Modern’s big brand of vintage flavoured Indie-Electro was a show stopper at the time, nevertheless it’s since parting ways that Kid Kasio has truly been able to revel in his obsession with the 80s. From the preciseness of his DIY music videos, that recreate visual styles from the era with eerie accuracy, to the artwork, to how Nathan presents himself; the man is the pure embodiment of the 80s.

It’s been four years since Kid Kasio’s début album, Kasiotone; and this, his sophomore album, has has been a long (and sometimes troubled, not least the fact that the video for lead single, The Kodo Song, took two years to finish) journey. The final result, Sit And Wait, was well worth the wait. Blending a few of the singles we’ve been treated to over the past couple of years with a whole host of new tracks, Sit And Wait serves as a tidy follow up to Nathan’s impressive début.

Speaking of The Kodo Song, that’s how the album kicks off . The comradery anthem, with it’s sing-a-long chorus and uplifting, have on the rhythm, soundtrack is best place here. Slightly sad themes aside, The Kodo Song is a great way to introduce people to the album. A slicker representation of the 80s than found on Kasiotone, The Kodo Song is an immediate earworm to entice new listeners. 2014 single Letters Of Love is next, the first of a few tracks co-produced by The Sanfernando Sound. These guys are perfectly matched (we should know, we introduced them!). TSS’s slightly darker, more abrasive take on vintage electronics tempered by Nathan’s trademark catchy songwriting. Letters Of Love is one of our personal favourites on the album, bringing a European dancefloor Italo energy to Kid Kasio’s distinctly British retro Pop. Coursing basslines and shoulder shaking hooks pair up with Kasio’s epic vocal perfectly. Full Moon Blue has us grinning as Kid Kasio goes full Kershaw with a slice of digital Funk Pop. Building up FM slap bass and warbling synth brass in a soulful manner to underpin Nathan in heartfelt crooning mode Kasio delivers what might be the most 80s sounding track on a very 80s sounding album, and one we could listen to all day. Blood Red Skies is possibly one of the album’s only mis-steps. There’s something here that doesn’t quite gel. The song itself is really good, and catchy as hell, but the music just doesn’t work here. It’s that kind of ‘don’t quite get it’ attempt at Dance Music that people who don’t really know about Dance Music make. It’s not terrible, but it just isn’t of the same quality as the rest of the record. Along with One More Time, a similar cacophony of over compressed kick drums (because Dance Music!), this is the only point where the album falters, but The Story Of Kid Charlemagne’s intoxicating synthetic haze soon draws you back in. Not quite a ballad, but a mid-paced and involving hymn that draws you in with each piano note.

The album’s lead track, Sit And Wait, is a track we have a bit of history with. At one point to was going to be the second release on our record label (but we were let down by a whole bunch of people and it just unfortunately never happened) so we’re glad it sees the light of day here. Another The Sanfernando Sound collaboration, Sit And Wait is an energetic slice of ItaloPop with a wry sense of humour lyrically.

There’s a couple of tracks on Sit And Wait co-produced with Kal-Q-Lus. Both One Chance and Human Beings make for a nice aside to the strictly 80s SynthPop sound found elsewhere. While still keeping it retro, both of these track play around with B-Boy beats and an Electro Soul feel; the latter upping the atmosphere with some subtly used choir.

Drive (Some Kind Of Love) is Kid Kasio’s big soundtrack moment. An intense track that plays homage to the most motivational 80s movie themes. A dynamic and high-octane tune that could easily bust into the closing credits of any number of inspiring 80s movies. The Sanfernando Sound returns for the album closer, fitting title The End, a dark floorfiller that rounds off Sit And Wait on a wave of melancholic energy.

Kid Kasio has managed to turn in another must album for fans of 80s music. Despite a couple of wobbles, Sit And Wait is a highly recommended, solid album. Nathan truly is at the top of his game and has produced a record to rival many of his heroes.

♫ Kid Kasio & The Sanfernando Sound – Letters Of Love

♫ Kid Kasio – The Kodo Song

Kid Kasio’s Sit And Wait is out now.

Buy Kid Kasio’s music from:

[Audio] Kate Boy’s ‘One’ album


Kate Boy

Those fine folk at Fiction Records must have read my big blog rant, or at least have some common sense, as they sent over the promo of Scandinavian ElectroPop heroes (and now slimmed down from trio to duo) Kate Boy’s début long player in enough time for us to spend a while with it and actually write a review to post in release week! It makes a change from the ‘here’s a new album that’s out tomorrow; can you post about it now?’ attitude of most. Ironically, although we’ve had a week or so with this album; this is one record that we could have safely said, on the first day we got it, was fucking awesome.

But we’ve been waiting for Kate Boy’s album for a long time now; and considering half the album is either songs we already loved from their string of amazing singles, or songs we already loved (and surprisingly knew all the words to) from their string of amazing live shows; us loving One was to be expected. It would have been very hard for Kate Boy to mess this one up.

Speaking of live; we hate to talk about Kate Boy without mentioning just how flippin’ good they are. Easily one of the (arguable the) best live ElectroPop acts around right now. Their live shows are energetic, engaging and as musicians the are unbelievably tight. More than that, though, Australian born Kate Akhurst herself has got a hell of a voice on her. If you get the chance to catch them, do yourself a favour….

It been a few year’s road to the album release. First causing a stir back in 2012 with Northern Lights, Kate Boy immediately became music blog darlings. We fell instantly in love with their mixture of Nitzer Ebb-esque post-Industrial percussive synths and warm, anthemic Indie-Electro vocals (with a hint of R&B) and while some outlets haven’t stuck around for the ride we think they’ve raised the bar with each release since.

Most of those releases are featured on One; kicking off with the album’s recently released lead single, Midnight Sun; a track that is perfectly placed as the first thing you hear. Midnight Sun sums up Kate Boy to a tea, driven by relentless big attack bass synths and hammerfall drums that underpin and array of icy, but somehow comforting, keys alongside Kate’s powerhouse vocals. This is Kate Boy’s perfect combination of aggressive and compelling with bubbly and inviting. Midnight Sun leads into the aforementioned Northern Lights, the more low-key affair that hooked us in the first place. A woozy bassed, stuttering anthem that still sends tingles down the spine. Lion For Real is a track that, despite being presented her on record for the first time, is a track well known to Kate Boy fans. A live favourite (the first of many), Lion For Real is an odd metaphor, but a sweeping anthem that works as a prime example of Kate’s vocal range; gliding from moody crooning in the verses to epic call-to-arms bellowing for the chorus. Human Engine, again, is a live staple that gets it’s first studio recording outing here. One of our personal live highlights, Human Engine wears wears it’s industrial influences in it’s sleeve underneath the passionate lament that is Ms. Akhurst at her most vocally expressive. At the end of side one Kate Boy give you a breather from all the abrasive euphoria with the darkly beautiful Burn, which makes for a nice palate cleanser before the track that is, for the most part, the peak of their live show. Higher, Akhurst’s equality anthem usually sees her at her most interactive with the audience, and that is recreated here with the reproduction of that optimistic energy and inclusive mantra amid a sea of rapid fire synths and wobbly bass.

If we had to pick, we would probably say that Self Control was our favourite Kate Boy track. It’s the closest they get to actually funky, thanks to an infectious and fluid bassline that give the song the most organic groove on the album. When I Was Young is, for the most part, our choice pick of the brand new tracks on One, we were unsurprised, then, to hear that it will be the band’s next single (due out in January). Easing in with a rumbling Acidic synth line, Kate growls her vocals over a selection of nostalgic sounds before When I Was Young launches into Kate Bush-esque rhythmic battle cry that stands out on side two as a personal and intoxicating opus. The Way We Are, another acclaimed single from 2013, brings some welcome familiarity; showcasing Kate Boy at their most Industrial with some melodic sampling that would have made Art Of Noise proud. This is paired side-by-side with Open Fire, Kate Boy’s other factory-floor-funk single from 2014 and it’s big sing-a-long chorus. The Album closes on Run As One, a slow grinding song which feels both introspective and, in the choruses, and epic closer with Kate’s vocals taking on a Post-Punk anger.

The bonus track on the extended version of One are In Your Eyes, from the Northern Lights EP, an epic tune that felt missed on the album proper (but, we guess, there isn’t room for everything) and the incredibly uplifting, yet quite biting, Temporary Gold. A tune which sounds weirdly like an Industrial Marina And The Diamonds, covering the same ground for topics too.

So there it is. We feel like we’ve been waiting years for the album’s release (mainly because we have) and not one second of it disappointed. Which, apart from being amazing, was a massive relief. Needless to say Kate Boy’s one comes so, so, so highly recommended. As does seeing them live if you can; that’s where the real Kate Boy experience shines the most.

♫ Kate Boy – Self Control

♫ Kate Boy – Midnight Sun

♫ Kate Boy – Open Fire

Kate Boy’s One is out now.

Buy Kate Boy’s music from:

[Audio] Du Tonc’s ‘We Can Hold On’



The duo of Du Tonc coming together was one of those moments in music that is just so exciting. We’d longtime been fans of Aussie Indie-Electro outfit Van She, probable the most guitary band we are fans of, who rode the crest of the 2006/2006 Electro explosion with both a string of catchy as hell ditties and some storming Van She Tech reMixes. And post Van She the guys have done the business too; Touch Sensitive, Arithmatix!, Tear Council have all been at the top of their game, as was Matt Van Schie peddling his solo line in silky smooth SynthPop that was both glorious and intimate.

So you can imagine how badass it was when, back in 2013, when Matt teamed up with another Matt to form a Matt themed double-act. MiGHty mOUse (no, we’re never going to stop writing it like that!) is a powerhouse on the Nu-Disco scene. The UK finest purveyor of Cosmic and Left-Field Disco (and more recently some Houseier offerings) MiGHty mOUse has not only been at the top of his game, producing, editing, reMixing and DJing, for the best part of a decade but also curated the Disco Circus series which are absolutely essential for anyone interested in modern dance music. His burbling analog Boogie productions are always something to look forward to.

These two Matts, together as Du Tonc, have released a string of amazing tunes in the years since they exploded onto the scene. Weaving breezy Indie-ElectroPop melodies into space age dancefloor grooves Du Tonc have consistently delivered atmospheric and intoxicating sunkissed tracks that you can just sink into. It’s no wonder the duo ended up on Belgian fine-taste label Eskimo.

So their new single has just been released, and We Can Hold On is a woozy excursion in psychedelic island Funk. The dual juggernauts of thick synth bass and a slap riff make for a rock solid core that practically compels you head to nod in time. Spacious pads and bubbling hooks intermingle with subtly guitar to form a swirling and mysterious soundtrack for Matt’s comforting vocals. No Du Tonc track would be complete without a hint of nostalgia; and We Can Hold On certainly brings it with just enough of a hint of a mid-80s summertime dream. Du Tonc have released enough material now for us to be able to say, with some certainty, that their forthcoming album should be a killer. It would be very hard to fuck it up!

♫ Du Tonc – We Can Hold On

Du Tonc’s We Can Hold On is out now.

Buy Du Tonc’s music from:

[Video] Kid Kasio’s ‘The Kodo Song’


Kid Kasio   The Kodo Song   YouTube

Nathan Cooper, A.K.A. Kid Kasio is arguably the finest creator of 80s Pop music around today. Everyone one from the SynthWave scene, to the leftovers of the mid-2000’s ElectroPop boom, to today’s Pop-R&B artists are laying claim to the sounds of the greatest decade, but not one of them (even the devoted SynthWave scene) is actually making music that sounds genuinely like it came out in the 80s. But Kid Kasio is.

Emerging from the ruins of (almost massive) Indie-ElectroPop outfit The Modern (nee Matineé Club), Kid Kasio honed his skills on the singles leading up to is début album, Kasiotone. Referencing everything from the SynthPop of The Human League and mid-80s Depeche Mode to the slick Pop of Duran Duran and Nik Kershaw, Kid Kasio’s songs sound like you’ve just changed channels in 1984 and Top Of The Pops is on.

Kid Kasio has been quiet for a while, holed up in the studio, but now he’s back with a new song, and new video. Nathan’s videos are almost as good as his songs themselves, each one painstakingly crafted by Nathan himself (his family has a film making history; his brother being Howard Stark, sorry, Dominic Cooper) and each one looking as authentically retro as his music sounds.

His new one is titled The Kodo Song, it’s actually three years old and a collaboration with his long term writing partner Benjamin Todd, with whom  co wrote the music for Sony pictures’ Tamara Drewe and more recently Miss You Already starring Toni Colette and Drew Barrymore.

Nathan tells the story: “The song tells the story of 2 friends called up to fight in the Anglo – Zulu war. The nonsensical chorus is the mantra the pair would chant on the battlefield. One of the friends dies in battle and his companion is left with the song as a reminder of their friendship, long after his death. I guess it’s all about the intensity of friendship and the power of music and its longevity.

The video is entirely Rotoscoped, inspired by A-Ha’s video for Take On Me,  a process which Kasio begun himself without really considering how much work would be involved (hence the three year delay). Nathan continues: “Unfortunately I had little understanding of how time consuming the process would be. I began animating in October 2013. At one point I was getting up at 6am and drawing continuously until 2am in the morning. I’d get to the end of a day like that and watch back what I’d done, and there would be only 2 seconds of animation to show for it, it was utterly soul destroying, doing this day after day, month after month.

I felt like it was going nowhere, I hadn’t realised the people making this kind of animation were normally working in teams. It wasn’t just Morten Harket sitting in his room, tracing 3000 frames himself! I’d basically bitten off more than I could chew!

Bizarrely Drew Barrymore, who Nathan met on the set of Miss You Already sparked a resurgence of Kasio’s interest in the song: “I gave the 2nd album to her on the set, expecting to never hear anything back and I got this gushing text from her the next day saying how both her and Toni Colette had loved the album and especially that song, and how I absolutely had to release this! It was the impetus I needed to get it finished I suppose”.

And here it is! 3,372 drawings later. The Kodo Song is classic 80s Pop, in the vein of The Riddle with a chorus that makes less sense as it is really catchy. Playing on that particularly 80s strain on pseudo-exotic synth instrumentation and an infectious digital bassline, The Kodo Song leverages it’s solemn subject matter with insightful choruses that make the chant-a-long refrain of the chorus feel like a break in the tension. Militaristic drums underpinning the tracks give way to compelling beats before asserting them selves again as an example of the song as a whole, slipping from stern seriousness to euphoric Pop brilliance.

The video could not be more fitting. Playing with effects that would have been cutting edge in the 80s, Zulu is rotoscoped to perfection with Nathan’s performance highlighted but unobtrusive. With knowledge of the amount of work that went into the clips creation, watching can be exhausting, but massively worthwhile.

We eagerly await Kid Kasio’s sophomore album, due for release in the coming months.

Kid Kasio’s The Kodo Song is out now.

Buy Kid Kasio’s music from:

[Audio] Kickstarter Lovestarrs’ new album and EPs



UK band Lovestarrs are the Rocky Balboa of the SynthPop world. They keep getting knocked down, and keep getting back up again. Sarah Mackintosh rose to critical acclaim as The Good Natured; starting with her Grandma’s old Yamaha keyboard and ending up as one of Britain’s most hotly tipped Indie-Electro acts. Juggling moody lyrics and a Gothy aesthetic with catchy and rousing ElectroPop tunes, The Good Natured were one of the more interesting and unique acts in a saturated mid-2000’s scene.

The the setbacks begun. Signing to Parlophone seemed like a good thing at the time with the backing of another EP and the announcement of the forthcoming album, to be titled Prism. A good thing short-lived though with the news, after a period of quiet, that The Good Natured had been dropped from the major and had spent the previous few month trying to secure the rights to the Prism masters; to no avail. The album was buried, and The Good Natured died.

In our opinion, this is the biggest dick move a major label can pull. We’ve seen it happen before and we’ll see it happen again. We don’t understand why, if you’re dropping an artist, you can’t just let them release their recordings. Sure, you’ve paid for them; so let them release them themselves and take a cut (surely that way at least you get something back for the recordings you paid for rather than nothing at all). It makes no sense to us and largely just comes across as spiteful.

Anyhoo, you can’t keep a good act down; and with almost a middle finger to the music industry, Sarah came bursting back on our radar as the bombastic Lovestarrs. Backed by her brother Hamish, Sarah’s new output was buoyant and optimistic. Pink replaced back and exuberance replaced gloom; and their début single, Get Your Sexy On, was a party fuelling manifesto proclaiming that Lovestarrs was a different beast to The Good Natured, keeping the lush SynthPop textures but washing them in a lavish, colourful nostalgia (epitomised by 80s Love Song, one of our top tunes of 2014).

Now staunchly DIY (and who can blame them) despite working with indie label Defdisco, Lovestarrs have set up a Kickstarter campaign to cover the release of their next two EPs and début album. The plan is to pay for the releases themselves, and licence them to Defdisco. The desire to pay for, and own, their own records is completely understandable coming from a band who had the last album they recorded held hostage. It’s one of the worthier Kickstarter campaigns we’ve come across. These guys deserve to own their own music, we can imagine how heartbreaking it was to record your début album and then have it disappeared by gangsters.

Lovestarrs are serious about this too; one of the rewards (in exchange for a shit ton of money!) is Sarah’s Grandma’s aforementioned Yamaha keyboard!

The duo have been releasing teasers of what to expect from the releases, you will hopefully find it in your heart it help out with, on their SoundCloud page in the past couple of weeks. From the chant-a-long fun of WTF to the robotic rabble-rousing of Frank Sinatra the album sounds like it’ll be wearing it’s 80s influences on it’s sleeve. Tracks like Somebody Like You sound classic Sarah Macintosh (whether The Good Natured or Lovestarrs) while the likes of Good Girls sound like the will bring something new, and more contemporary, to the table.

Just do it. Go and contribute. Lovestarrs deserve this and, goddammit, we want this album released.

♫ Lovestarrs – WTF (Demo.) (Snippet)

♫ Lovestarrs – Frank Sinatra (Demo.) (Snippet)

♫ Lovestarrs – Somebody Like You (Demo.) (Snippet)

♫ Lovestarrs – Good Girls (Demo.) (Snippet)

Get on board with Lovestarrs’ Kickstarter campaign here.

Buy Lovestarrs’ music from:

[Video] Little Boots’ ‘Get Things Done’


Little Boots   Get Things Done   YouTube

Little Boots is knocking out the videos these days, isn’t she? Get Things Done is one of our favourite track on the recent third album, Working Girl (now finally out in it’s vinyl form) so we think it’s pretty cool that this slice of catchy, bounce-ified ElectroPop get’s it’s own clip.

The video, directed by Nova Dando, slips comfortable into the Working Girl aesthetic that Ms. Hesketh has build up around the album. The pastels and powersuits showing off just what a tight ship she;s runs at On Repeat.

Little Boots’ Working Girl is out now.

Buy Little Boots’ music from: