September 14, 2013 |
'We're very aware that the kind of music we play, you could just push a space bar on a laptop and karaoke about. But that's not really how we want to do things," says Lauren Mayberry of the Scottish trio Chvrches. Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty are very aware of how they want to do things. Chvrches' story is a mixture of natural evolution, social media buzz, and cautious control. The three were veterans of a variety of guitar-based bands before beginning to write together in 2011.
September 3, 2013 |
When Britain's Depeche Mode started in 1980, you'd hardly imagine they'd become what Q magazine called "the most popular electronic band the world has ever known. " Their earliest singles - written by Vince Clarke, later of Yazoo and Erasure fame - were tinkling and twee, hardly the stuff of the grand, dark electro they became under songwriter/lyricist Martin Gore. Between Gore and baritone mouthpiece David Gahan, Depeche songs swelled with Euro-cosmopolitan chord changes and words of despairing romanticism the likes of which sold 100 million-plus records.
February 1, 2013
Memory Tapes Grace / Confusion , the third album from Memory Tapes, bridges nostalgic new wave and dream-pop with contemporary chilly electronics - "chill wave," if you must - to create a swirling trip into the ether. Memory Tapes is the solo project of South Jersey's Dayve Hawk, formerly of Philly's Hail Social, although when he comes to Johnny Brenda's Tuesday night, he will have a band in tow. At times, Hawk seems to mimic his sources wholesale: a New Order guitar solo concludes "Thru the Fields"; Spiritualized could have scripted the narcotic chords that begin "Neighborhood Watch"; Depeche Mode synth-pop percolates through the middle of "Follow Me. " But Memory Tapes' songs are elastic: They stretch and evolve gradually, most of them over the course of six to eight minutes, and those blatant nostalgic moments surface only as glimpses in ever-shifting, fascinating landscapes.
January 15, 2012
Pop Future This (4AD **1/2) London's the Big Pink debuted in 2010 with A Brief History of Love and its irresistibly catchy single, "Dominos. " They favored the densely distorted guitars of shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine, but their heart was in the hooks and the big beats rather than in the dreamy feedback. On Future This , the duo of Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell lay bare their grandiose aspirations. It's an album of stadium-size sing-alongs full of optimism, skyward-swirling synths, and stomping beats.
August 3, 2009 |
Making what was once joyless and hurt seem somewhat joyful is Depeche Mode's game - at least in its present-day live performances. Since the synthesizer-based act's 1980 start in Basildon, England, its core of baritone vocalist David Gahan, primary songwriter/instrumentalist Martin Gore, and Andrew Fletcher has seemed a dour lot across its dozen studio albums. Blame Gore's melancholic melodies, rich Euro-mantic choruses, and ruminating lyrics - a job Gahan has also taken on of late.
March 27, 2009 |
Before MTV, Pitchfork, and the multitude of MP3 blogs both great and goofy, the most effective way of knowing whether or not a band should matter was Britain's New Music Express. Back in the day, this cheaply produced U.K. newspaper weekly was hard to find but worth the hunt. In fact, finding a copy of NME was half the thrill. Ink rubbed off on your fingers as you rapidly turned its pages and got the dirt (wildly praiseful, angrily dismissive) on T. Rex, The Smiths, and more esoteric acts.
May 22, 2006 |
With live CDs burned at every show, a documentary in the oven (on top of cine-essayist D.A. Pennebaker's previous docu, 101), and Rhino Records reissues slathered with a heaping dose of historical overview, Depeche Mode has finally beat it. It being that stupid tag usually hanging over DM's neatly appointed hairdos, which reads: prettyboy synth poppers; twerpy non-musicians; New Romantic darlings. It makes me want to smudge my mascara. Saturday's sold-out gig at the Borgata proved they were made of tougher stuff.
June 25, 2004 |
Wednesday's performance by goth-industrial god Skinny Puppy and dark-electro Tweaker, produced by Dancing Ferret at a sold-out Electric Factory, felt like a menacing tribal gathering. That was due mostly to the aural assault of Puppy's heaving force-field of anti-government rants ("Inquisition"), humanist rallying cries ("I'mmortal"), and aggressive visuals. The overall sound? Think Depeche Mode's grandeur jammed into a wood chipper. The quartet's music was lined with orchestral loops and shredded-metal guitar, bottomed by a blend of twittering electronic beats and kettledrum-like pulses, laced with Nivek Ogre's heavy-handed socio-political lyrics, and backed by video montages whose bloody images matched Ogre's lipstick smear of a voice.
July 23, 2003 |
Known for his baritone croon in Depeche Mode, David Gahan has spent a stoic lifetime singing Martin Gore's kinky lyrics set to moody soundscapes and semi-industrial bangs and booms. To be on his own - as he was Monday at the Electric Factory, appearing in support of his solo debut, Paper Monsters - meant liberation. Gahan, 41, rocked out and danced wildly at the half-full Factory, where the enthusiastic audience sang along to tunes out barely a month as if they were classics. With his black vest and pompadour, Gahan - who survived a suicide attempt and a drug overdose in the '90s - seemed a happy greaser hellbent for leather, a look amplified by his smiling(!
July 19, 2002 |
Time-traveling through micro-eras of 1970s and 1980s London (hippiedom, punk, glam), Me Without You is a story of best friends whose lives, and lovers, keep intersecting, not always for the good. Anna Friel (a true Brit) and Michelle Williams (a Yank, and the cute, scrunchy-faced Jen of TV's Dawson's Creek) star as Marina and Holly, respectively. Growing up next door to each other in suburban London, the pair form a relationship that is intense and intimate - with Marina, a blazing, theatrical type, the dominant (and demanding)