Music Reviews

New Order: Item

 Posted by Donovan Tate (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Nov 16 2006
Artist: New Order
Title: Item
Format: DVD
Label: Warner Bros.
Distributor: Rhino
New Order is a band who can do anything they want. This double dvd is totally a must , especially if you're a child of the 80's. NO was very creative when it comes making music and videos. Alot of their videos may not didn't go with their songs, but in my own opinion, it was consider to be crafty and artsy with a sense of humour. This Manchester English band spun out of their dark days when they were Joy Division. Sad that Ian Curtis hung himself in the kitchen, which made the rest of the other three band mates moved on and transform themselves and change the name of the band and recruited female keyboardist Gillian Gilbert as part of a fourth new member. Guitarist Bernard Summer took over as vocalist. His voice may not be all that appealing on every song he sings, but at least he have the courage to express his emotions with feeling from his gut. The first disc is a collection of all their 25 videos from 1981-2005, including their club dance classic "Confusion". Also including alternate video versions and new videos for their older songs "Ceremony" and "Temptation". The second disc contains an extended documentary and interviews about the band plus clips from the Joy Division era. A collective item to have.

Disc 1 (Music Videos)

1 Confusion
2 The Perfect Kiss
3 Shellshock
4 State Of The Nation
5 Bizarre Love Triangle
6 True Faith
7 Touched By The Hand Of God
8 Blue Monday '88
9 Fine Time
10 Round & Round
11 Run
12 World In Motion
13 Regret
14 Ruined In A Day
15 World
15 Spooky
17 1963
18 Crystal
19 60 Miles An Hour
20 Here To Stay
21 Krafty
21 Jetstream
22 Waiting For The Sirens' Call
23 Ceremony
25 Temptation

Disc 2



 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Nov 13 2006
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Title: ziu zau
Format: CD
Label: Ma (@)
Rated: *****
Crippled self bored lo-fi folk music, that's what Little Brown and Pentolino is all about. This time lo-fi is again intentional since the recording is ok and the skeletal/minimal impression you get from the listening of this cd probably sticks to musicians' purposes. This silly funny ballads indirectly pay homage to the ironic genius of Jad Fair and they have a common spleen/bored/ironic factor with the ex member of Half Japanese. Acoustic guitar driven ballads, deliberately rock/out of tune vocals and some acoustic intrusions like toy instruments, drum machines, harmonicas, etc. but they've kept it all really "poor". On this cd you have a couple of strange things in-between the track list, like the psychedelic repetitions of "Wake up" or the psych-folk "adagio" of "Loop", but it's one of those record that's probably meant to be played in front of the fire... barely drunk in the middle of a picnic. While some episodes makes it straight to listeners hear, some others probably gets lost during the listening of the whole release. The last part of this cd is really nice, so much that I'd have voted for another track list but who knows probably the project's physiognomy would have been too different.

FATHER MURPHY / LORENZO FRAGIACOMO : When Ground Figures bless in black Tutus

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Nov 08 2006
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Title: When Ground Figures bless in black Tutus
Format: CD
Label: Madcap collective (@)
Rated: *****
Good news from the front of pop-folk and it's a split that got hitched Father Murphy and Lorenzo Fragiacomo. I was positively impressed by Father Murphy’s last release that came out few months ago and even if I think that is their compositional acme so far, this "When Ground Figures bless in black Tutus" is the proof they haven’t lost their good taste. The first obvious conclusion is that this time "the Father" went much more for sadness but don’t think to long and desolated ballad a-la Will Oldham or a-la last Current 93. "I was in a coma..." and "We know..." are more immersed in disheartened psychedelia than into folk and be it the atmosphere or the hammondesque keyboard sound but the impression is to hear Fuzztones (obviously not their garage-rock-ass-kicking-tunes) hybridized with some ol' american folk-ballad a la Violent Femmes, Tom Petty and so on. The closing track of the release brings Father Murphy into a more country but yet visionary scenario and it's still hi-quality lo-fi folk the way it should be done. Lorenzo Fragiacomo could be too quickly filed as pop-folk, less evocative if compared to his mate on this release but more arranged and less lo-fi. Even if I'm sure this' far from his intention, these three tracks could be an incredible discovery for the fans of Blur and Damon Albarn. Who said Brit Pop? Not me, infact I'm speaking about the latest period of the band, and I'm sure if Damon could give a listen to "Walking on the moon" would nod with his head to the danceable rhythm of the drum machine. English music with an ounce of soundtrack-taste that owes so much to Bacharach (ask Jimmy O'rourke)...the vocals and the arrangements are a good example of it. "Another indie folk/pop is possible" then, and I'm glad there's people that tries to escape the "american-indie-folk singer-wonnabe" formula.


 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Nov 02 2006
image not
Title: big saloon
Format: CD
Label: Madcap collective (@)
Rated: *****
"Sweets are my opium..." sung Shawn Brown (ex Dag Nasty-Swiz) in my fave Sweet Belly Freakdown (3/4 of Swiz) song and here we got some poppy sugar for you honey. Ok, with the coming of age and of cynism I've to admit I'm hesitant when approaching to many of these female musicians glorified for a second hand "petty romance" desire hidden in the backyard, but that's not the case, so go on reading if you’re into tiny and lovely tunes. If you're not familiar with Madcap consider they've an hi-profile lo-fi-poppy-folk-label with an eye open on american music. Beatrice Antolini is a good surprise, definitely able to write refined structured and well arranged songs without throwing it all on the average girl singer a la Cat Power like many nowadays, she went for soft psichedelia (post-Beatlesian) with an ironic feel. Piano, vocals and keyboards are the dominant tools to forge this minimal pop parade, thanks to her brilliant folk attitude she reminded me of Lisa Germano coloured in a definite post sixties salsa, that could also be a fishy coincidence considered one of the two label involved in the production of this debut is run by some Jennifer Gentle's folk (the "master of Sixties" landed on Sub Pop). This "big saloon" could have been influenced (or indirectly remind) some other 4AD female artist like Kristine Hersh or Belly but you know this "saloon"-singer thing is much more close to miss Germano and that's why I’ve put the accent there. A funny, light hearted portrait in a funny lo-fi formula.

Ahab Rex: The Queen of Softcore

 Posted by eskaton   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Oct 30 2006
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Artist: Ahab Rex (@)
Title: The Queen of Softcore
Format: CD EP
Label: Lens Records (@)
This really isn’t so much an EP as five versions of one track. Remix singles are a two edged sword. When they are good, they can be amazing, but when they aren’t so good, it becomes a bit monotonous. I had not heard of this project, but with Martin Atkins on drums, I figured it had to be good. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite fit what I was expecting. This song is a bit too poppy for my tastes - catchy, but not really that engaging. The remixes are of varying quality. The Ahab Rex Remix doesn’t do much to change the original and the Press Remix just makes it more of a dance track, taking out the vocals and adding cheesy synth. The Countdown Remix is a bit more interesting than the previous two, heavier and more stripped down. The Nookleptia Remix is the only one that really attempts to do anything with the original track, cutting it up, tweaking it, and distorting the source material. I went to the label’s site to see if Ahab Rex’s other stuff sounded like this track, but it didn’t. The other stuff was a lot more interesting and harsher. Maybe this is a new direction for this artist. If you want to hear the original version of the track, you can go to Ahab Rex’s MySpace site at If you like the original, you’ll like the remixes.

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