The Hated Opinionated One

Posts Tagged ‘Pop’

Presets Bring Forth Dancefloor Armageddon

Posted by Scotio on April 11, 2008

Riding on the wave from their extraordinary 2005 album, Beams (not to mention there numerous EPs and Kim’s solo release of System Breakdown), Australia’s own The Presets sets their sights higher with Apocalypso. From jump, the dynamic duo shows why they deserve the exposure they’re getting (and it took bloody long enough for them to get it, too). “Kicking And Screaming” pumps out the speakers with full forced Club Music fury. Offering every perfect ingredient for a sure-fire hit: Catchy hook, semi-non-intelligible lyrics, synths to drive Daft Punk batty. They set the bar high directly from the gate. Luckily, “My People” is able to keep the party going. As the album’s lead single, it already had people salivating in impatience for this album. With a thumping bass drum parading its way around the song with the pride of a well-groomed lion, it’s hard to bypass or even depress the fierceness of such a track. When hearing the line “And it feels so good” repeated with growing intensity, you have to agree . . . it feels SO good when music feels so right. The second single from this unbelievable album is “This Boy’s In Love.” And, if this music is supposed to represent how a boy is supposed to feel when he’s in love, then a lot of young gents have a ways to go before they can feel real love of this caliber. With Julian’s vocals for the verses sounding like they are trailing off into ghost-like vapors, the song haunts you with the spirit of Dancefloor’s Future. With a chorus so simple, it screams out the genius behind it. Hard to miss, even harder to resist once it does catches you in it’s sweat-inducing grasp. “Yippiyo-Ay” pulls out Michael Jackson when all he had was an overly moisturized jheri curl, and no skin bleaching. Possessing a melody, tempo, and singing-style that would find comfort on MJ’s magnificent Thriller album. Resting somewhere between Techno and Disco, you don’t have to be a friend of Bruce Leroy(Last Dragon, anyone?) to recognize that The Presets have The Glow. Not to alienate the Goths with a sense of Dance Fever, “Talk Like That” conjures up a hit that even Dracula would have to shake a wing to. Saying “Uh Oh,” you feel like you’re overhearing a dance party filled with preppies and the morbid misfits have just arrived. Brilliantly, neither of the two groups would feel black sheeped for this particular tune. The old Horrorwood organ playing doesn’t just make the song cheesy, but make it a memorable moment for Party Music history. There are some even odder moments, though, such as the rock-a-billy influence on “Eucalyptus” and overly technological SID-chip assisted, porn-midsectioned chopped up tune “Together.” As the album’s sole instrumental track, “Aeon” manages to bring out the inner flux that lies dormant inside of you. Taking you on a microchipped soul-stirring journey inside of your own psyche, it’s almost like you’re waiting for Morpheus to offer you pills(no, not that kind) at any moment. Starting off with the chantings of “Deeper, I know you want it” and “Faster, I know you want it” you’re tempted to see if the Aussie boys aren’t trying to lure you into some homemade Risqué moments between you, a camera, and the one that drives you wild for the closer track “Anywhere”. Housing nothing but the bare essentials, it drives the point home even harder than if they had sampled a sledgehammer teaming up with a jackhammer. Clocking in at 6:17, it doesn’t hit you repeatedly over the head with the constant badgering of lyrics. Rather, the terrific twosome decided to let the song be equal amounts instrumental and vocal. It’s not hard to see that The Presets were supposed to be where they are at(even if majority of their US following came from the feature of their song on the reality dance show, So You Think You Can Dance). Just like Julian said, “Farther, you know we’re going Farther . . .”and farther past their contemporaries they go.



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Pendulum Swung Hard in `05

Posted by Scotio on April 9, 2008


Australia is rapidly becoming the site for new and groundbreaking music. Especially in the electronic field. First The Avalanches, then The Presets, now Pendulum. Hold Your Color should have been titled “Hold On To Your Sanity,” as it breaks into sounds that you’ve heard before, but never as groovy. On the Prelude opening track, the narration ends with the words “But, tonight . . . on this small planet . . .on Earth, we’re going to rock civilization.” Pendulum does just that. “Slam” steps in with a funky hip-hop-tinged sound right from the gate. Then, once the phrase from the end of the prelude gets repeated, the song takes a turn for the fast-paced breakbeat soundings that you’d liken to The Prodigy. “Plasticworld” offers up a beautifully orchestra sonic-jazz Lo-Fi sound of Thievery Corporation with cool ambience reminiscent of Boards Of Canada. “Through The Loop” brilliantly samples Gene Wilder from Young Frankenstein. Making classic lines from an even more classic movie into a memorable and possibly future classic club tune. With aggressive drums that make it hard to not feel it directly in your gut with each thumping punch. Jasmine Yee brings her best Sia/Kelli Ali impersonation to “Sounds Of Life.” Fast-Paced, yet somehow oddly mellow and chill worthy. Think of it as being on an amusement ride on a boardwalk. This song is summer at it’s most fun. All da rude bwoys dem with a liking to breakbeating can find comfort on the track “Tarantula.” With assistance from Fresh, Tenor Fly & $pyda, Pendulum brings that Red Yellow & Green vibe for those UK-born Caribbean folks who feels their presence isn’t properly known in the club. The title track “Hold Your Colour,” is nothing to sleep on, but the intro would make you believe that it is something you could sleep to. Clearly the highlight of the album, if you haven’t heard it, then you’re missing out on a key note in life. Plain and simple. Clocking in over 7 minutes long, the album closer “Another Planet” brings more of that The Prodigy sound. It could be due to the fact that they remixed Voodoo People by The Prodigy, or that them loving their music so much made them want to remix it, but either or, the influence is heavily felt. Not just on this song, but throughout the album. Though, not the the extent of calling them a rip-off band. Clearly taking the style, and making it their own (Tyra would be proud). This album is one that will stand the test of time. As long as there are neon lights, strobe lights, pill popping youth, speed demon racers, overly caffeinated DJs, and geeks with a desire to be cool, there will always be a place for this album to reign near the top of the totem pole.

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The Legends Figures Facts

Posted by Scotio on April 9, 2008

Further experimentation has led The Legends to sounding like The Cure of the 80’s resurrected in the 2000’s, but having a more chipper and high pitched Rob Smith leading them. Truly, it’s something of Pop Brilliance. From the album opener “Heart”, the good old vibes of Brat Pack era comes crashing in on you. But, it’s more than just 80’s revival, here. The implementation of more electronics on this album leads you almost into the domain of the band Figurine. Though not as heavily electronic as the band mention, it is still a good bit different from the other albums released by The Legends. Still, it’s nothing to complain about. On the song “Closer,” you get the opposite side of the emotional spectrum than by the Nine Inch Nails song of the same name. A more euphoric, summer-in-the-sun moment is what it could be attributed to. “Nothing On TV” opens up with digital twinklings that make you feel that you’ve been transported into the Prom Scene of a Tween Film. Once the song kicks in, the digital bass lulls you over as the soundscaped electronics encourage you to go on a daydreaming journey. The chorus shows the only signs of some type of aggression, though it’s wrong to even declare it that. Consider it more of a upbeat chanting of the drums to help you march on time with your mental image. “Disco Sucks” would have to be the heaviest electronic song on the whole album. The irony of the lyrics vs. the beat is hard to ignore. The song sounds like it could easily follow virtually any Daft Punk song in a discotech. Though the album is a definite must have for anyone either born and raised in the 80’s, or those that seem to cling to this new found rehash of love for the 80’s, it wouldn’t be easily accepted by those who totally despise such things. Though not Legends from the that decade, this Swedish Indie-Pop act seems to dive deeper into it with each album as if they’ve gotten in touch with Doc Brown and were rubbing elbows with Marty McFly.

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Teenage Satan Worshippers With Style

Posted by Scotio on April 9, 2008

No, this has nothing to do with Satan (unless you’re from the 1800’s and believe that everything electronic is devil related), but this is darn good music for the soul . . . or is it soulful music? Either or, this young new band from Finland is definitely out to get some [much deserved] attention even if it means taking on a controversial name for their act. With their first full length album, they bring what one could call the Finnish version of the debut album by Idiot Pilot but with more bite(by the by, if you haven’t heard that, then you are really one lost to the world of the music that is to come). With distorted guitars running next to keyboard and computer loops while digital drums kick in, this is something that can seriously grab the attention of today’s youth. On “Heavy Metal Nation,” the band sounds more like Shiny Toy Guns with Lestat singing lead. Nothing on it is heavy, not is it metal. It’s very Technology-inspired. Think Blade Runner but in Fast Forward and you have an idea of the sound here. The instrumental track “(Lost Hours)” has to be one of the sexiest electronic songs currently out there. It’s like Futuristic Porn Music from the 70’s (2070’s . . . come on, I said futuristic, people!). The album closer “Happy Hearts” drum track slightly resembles the track “And Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals. The haunting vocals and disturbingly eerie guitar work does wonders for the whole thing. Bringing to close a phenomenal musical assault by a band refusing to be called Emo, but willing to accept the money of those who go by that label.

Back with 1 LP and 1 EP under their belt, The Finnish act known as I Was A Teenage Satan Worshipper brings out a brand new LP The Lemonade Ocean for 2008. This time around, they sound more like Julien-K doing something for Shadow The Hedgehog than anything else. Starting off the attack is the Nu Rave-ish “Hello Bubbles.” And, if you’re thinking that this might be some greeting to one of the Power Puff Girls, then you’re brutally wrong. The song does pack dancing Power, and it’s something that you’d definitely want to be close to a Girl for, but there’s nothing Puffy about it. With Bono-esque “Ooh”ings and computer bleeps chirping away on the track, it’s hard not to get caught up inside of it. The song proceeding after that is “OMG, Techno Chicks!!!” and they unleash the female vocalist on the listening party. The song starts off with the regular male lead singer, then the chick joins in to sing with him, until she finally takes over the singing duties on her own. Ending the song with the chanting of “Oh My God, Techno Chicks/Gimme Pills/Gimme Kicks.” On the song “Beat Your Boyfriend,” the band somehow manages to marry similar sounds of The Prodigy with what sounds like a Boss Battle from some highly amped up video game. It’s compelling to hear something so overly driven from this band. Speaking of drive, it wouldn’t be something bad if this tune somehow managed to pop up on the soundtrack for some racing movie/game sometime down the line. “Art School Creeps” totally brings back memories of Sonic The Hedgehog Part 2 (I’m well aware that I mentioned a hedgehog before, but it fits here) & Bubble Bobble (who remembers 8-bit Nintendo). On the title track for the album “The Lemonade Ocean,” the band mellows out and brings out their inner The Birthday Massacre for the song. Strangely enough, if they had more songs like this featured on the album, it would be much easier swallowed without the use of some Rave Drug. The heavy atmospheric sounds and digital ambience make it something to vibe to with ease. The album does, though, begin to change after the song. “Slackers On The Beach” is an Alt. Rock semi-Thrasher song with a Keyboard making its presence known throughout. Surely, this is the hardest track on the album. The closer for the album is appropriately titled”[End Credits].” Why? Because, it feels more like an overly vamped up soundtrack than a traditional album (Even for dancy electronic standards). What’s the peculiar thing is the track is Electro-Shoegazing (Think My Bloody Valentine getting busy on an Amusement Park Ride . . . heck, you could even say Amusement Parks On Fire). It’s a shame that the experimentation with their realm doesn’t kick in until track 8. It would have really pulled in many more fans than what they will. Not to mention the pretty dramatic change in the music from the first half to the second half. Still, for folks who like variety, this band delivers it with this album. Though not their best one, to date, it is a very good offering nonetheless.

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