Last year, Studio Killer‘s Ode to the Bouncer was the little track that could. It came out from seemingly nowhere and went on to become a massive European hit. A year has passed and now Studio Killers have finally returned with their much-anticipated follow-up single, Eros and Apollo. Will it be just as charming and irresistible as Ode? We are happy to report that it is and the song and video pick up right where Ode to the Bouncer left off. Eros and Apollo is a happy-go-lucky, uplifting summer track which reminds us of another happy vibes dance track from yesteryear, Point of View.
If you are a fan of Fever Ray and The Knife, we think you are going to get all worked up over Restless, the new single by Swedish goth-poptastic artist, Karen Park, who incorporates the Fever Ray template, but makes it slightly more accessible (re: poptastic). This connection extends, however, past the obvious similarities in vocals and tone. Restless was produced by Barry Barnett and Christoffer Berg, the same guys behind Fever Ray and The Knife. Although not well-known (yet) outside of Scandinavia, Karin Park’s profile has risen substantially in her native homeland as she has amassed two Norwegian Grammys and has toured with Azari & III and SBTRKT. We are also including the dreamy and funky Ladytron! mix. The single is due out at the end of next month.
Men Without Hats are unfairly most associated with their hit single, The Safety Dance. Although this was their biggest hit, they have released a wealth of material including a half dozen albums and other charted singles. Men Without Hats formed in Montreal in 1980. The original core consisted of Ivan Doroschuk (vocals, keyboards), Jeremie Arrobas (keyboards & electronics) and Ivan’s brother Stefan Doroschuk on guitar. They took their name from not wanting to wear hats during Montreal’s cold winters. They released their first EP, Folk of the 80s in 1980. The EP contained fan favorite, Antarctica . After a series of lineup changes, including founding member Arrobas leaving and Allan McCarthy being recruited for percussion and electronics, the band returned to the studio and recorded their debut album, Rhythm of Youth, which would go on to worldwide acclaim. Lead single, The Safety Dance, would become a top 20 hit in their native Canada and a top 10 hit in both the US and UK. Three other singles were released from the album; I Got the Message, Living in China and I Like. Of these, I Like was the most successful as it became a minor hit in the US charts. A series of lineup changes occured before they released their followup album, the oddly named, Folk of the 80’s (Part III) (odd since there was never a Part II). The album was a commercial failure and only saw limited success in Canada with single, Where Do the Boys Go. Reshuffling the line-up yet again, Men Without Hats again found success with their third album, Pop Goes the World in 1987. The title track saw them returning to the top 20 charts in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. There would be 3 albums after Pop Goes the World, however, none of these were commercial successes. In 1991, their album, Sideways saw a radical departure in sound; gone were the synthesizers that made them famous, now replaced with electric guitars. It was a low point for the band and the album was unable to secure a US distributor.
Sadly, in 1995, keyboard and percussionist, Allan McCarthy, who was involved with the band at their peak, died of complications from AIDS. Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk reformed the band name with hired backup musicians to play a couple music festivals in 2010 and 2011 and the band was embraced. Last year, they opened for The Human League on a couple of their US tour dates. This year Ivan has announced that he will be releasing a new album, Love in the Age of War, the first album in nearly 10 years under the band’s moniker. The album was recorded with some help from Ivan’s brother Colin Doroschuk on backing vocals, Lou Dawson on keyboards and James Love on guitar. It was produced by Dave Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy fame. The lead single from the album is called, Slicing Up Eyeballs, and we are happy to report that it is a return to their original sound that we found most endearing. At this point, only a streaming radio version is available so you will need to forward the video about a minute and a half before the song kicks in.
Holy reinvention, Batman! Fort Lauderdale’s Miss FD is an electro-rock vixen in her new sizzling video, Infatuated, which oozes sexuality, confidence and latex. The track is a daring departure from the her synthpop/goth roots and forges a new path; one that is harder, rockier (guitars) and has a menacing edge. The new sound is accompanied by a radically new (Blonde!) look which will undoubtedly appeal to a larger (i.e., male/lesbian) audience. The digital single is out now on her Bandcamp Page and other media outlets.
One a the perks of having a music blog is the interaction between artist and blogger. As our blog takes on an identity and reaches a larger audience, artists who share similar interests and influences begin finding you. John Rowley is a perfect example. An incredibly talented musician from Sydney, Rowley who is a jaw-dropping 18 years young, is following his dreams and creating dreamy melancholic synthpop, while establishing himself as an accomplished musician. To gain exposure and build a base, he is offering his latest single, Stones From Glass Houses for a “name your price” off his Bandcamp Page. Rowley has a love of all things synthpop and sites Xenomania as his greatest influence. Be sure to follow him on Facebook and dig into your pockets and show him some love.
Rebeka, the Polish duo of Iwona Skwarek and Bartosz Szczęsny are the latest, in a string of hip artists, signed to Portuguese label, Discotexas. They have just put out a video, directed by Balbina Bruszewska & Katarzyna Baraniewicz, for their new single, Stars, which comes out today and includes remixes by Mirror People (who also provided mixing work for the single version) and Punks Jump Up. The original version is being made available, guilt-free, compliments of Discotexas.
Sure to get comparisons to Rebecca & Fiona, Eli & Fur are a London duo who make delectably catchy synthpop music that is geared towards the dance clubs. To whet our appetite, their first musical offering, Sea of Stars is being made available to download, guilt-free. Although their look and history (both started out as DJ’s) are similar to Rebecca & Fiona, the voice reminds us more of Kirsty Hawkshaw.