Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Haunted by the late Garçon Garçon

There's not much music that matters to me anymore that is discovered via old-fashioned radio. A prime example of this is Garçon Garçon, perhaps my favorite artist of the last couple of years, who came to my attention via a blog post about a remix of their song "Stay in Touch." I'd have never heard of them otherwise. They released an EP of songs and later, in 2013, an incredible single, "Instant Attraction." They have a sound that's hard to quantify, but wiki comes reasonably close with "a nostalgic blend of modern electropop with an inherent 80s teen spirit." But there's more than that; many of the tracks have a haunting quality juxtaposed with incredibly sharp pop hooks.

So, it put a dagger through my heart when the duo announced their split via social media. Especially after such a stellar new release.

This is how their tracks stacked up for me in total plays, per

Stay In Touch (Son of Vader Remix) // 32
Instant Attraction // 27
Save Our Souls (EP)  // 23
Maybe Tonight (EP) // 21 
Take Me Out (EP) // 21
Hollywood Song (Sveta & Tokoloshe Midas Touch Remix)  // 21                                                 

It's a new Pseudo Echo album called Ultraviolet

A treat has surfaced in the form of a new Pseudo Echo album called Ultraviolet. Many '80s fans know that Pseudo Echo amounted to much more than a clever cover of the disco hit "Funky Town" … their 1984 album Autumnal Park is a masterwork of synthpop.

Over the past year or so, a couple of new tracks appeared on iTunes: "Suddenly Silently" and "Fighting the Tide." Both are excellent, retaining the old sound and knack for melody; the latter, in particular, could have been released in '84. With new tracks coming to light, I had a feeling a new album might be in the offing, and here it is, their first proper album since Race (1989), which took an unfortunate turn toward hair metal territory.

For whatever reason, iTunes and Amazon MP3 have totally different sequences for the tracks on the new set; the first and last songs are reversed, among other differences. I have yet to digest it, and I just hope it captures some of the brilliance of Autumnal Park.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Something new in the air from Information Society

Ironically, just a day or two after deciding to dig through my hundreds of CDs for my copy of their 1992 album Peace and Love, Inc., I stumbled on a new Information Society single release, "Land of the Blind." It's out there on iTunes and Amazon along with remixes and a worthy extra track, "Me and My Rhythm Box." Fans should really get all tingly over the A-side, which is instantly catchy and heavily references their classic signature hit "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)." It really feels like turning back the clock.

As for Peace and Love, Inc., it certainly has its advocates, but I've never been able to get into it. I really want to like it, because I love their first two albums, but it feels mostly half-hearted from start to end. My favorite track is easily "Crybaby," which illustrates again how synth ballads showcased their knack for songcraft, as did "Repetition" and "Slipping Away."

Did the commercial letdown of previous album Hack take the wind out of their sails? Perhaps. But Hack is a real gem, an underrated platter loaded with polished, radio-ready hooks. I never tire of going back to songs like "Fire Tonight" (another scorching ballad), "Move Out" and "Come With Me."

Can't wait for the new album after hearing this new tune: