05 November, 2007

Some Electro Pop Goodness

Joining the ranks of bedroom singer/electro producers is Frankmusik. He's 21, lives in London and likes to play around with some genuinely retro electro samples and twist them into 3 minute pop wonders. He can also knock up a good remix.

[mp3] Frankmusik - Made Her Smile
[mp3] Dead Disco - You're on (FM remix)

Sticking with the working at home vibe are To My Boy, who record all their music on a personal computer. With their drum machines, 80s synth and Bowie style vocals, they're an English Shy Child.

[mp3] To My Boy -In the Zone
[mp3] To My Boy -Model

New York based electro rockers Hearts Revolution are the latest well hyped electro act. With a similar style to Does it Offend You, these producers know how to through a party. Check out their music video below.

[mp3] Hearts Revolution - Domino Effect

With a more contemporary sound are Brighton-based outfit South Central. Known most for their remixes (The Maccabees, Metronomy), they also pack a decent indie/electro tune or two of their own.

[mp3] South Central - Revolution

Architecture In Helsinki @ WOW Hall, OR, 10/31/2007

Halloween marked a fitting night for Architecture in Helsinki to descend upon Eugene’s WOW Concert Hall. With their genre evading, zaney style of pop and energetic displays, the holiday atmosphere proved a perfect platform for the indie deviants.

Opening act, The Jason Webley Quartet soon clicked with the excitable, inebriated crowd. Lead singer Jason played the first half an hour of the set without his backing band, but still had the audience obeying his every order. Before long he had fans spinning in circles, putting their arms around people next to them and dancing to the band’s alternative take on folk rock. And renditions of pop songs including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” made the little known Seattle based band’s set ring with an air of familiarity.

After meticulous preparation of an impressive arsenal of instruments, Architecure were ready to jazz, raggae, rock and pop things up. With a flamboyant on stage presence that matched the band’s audacious musical style, Architecture in Helsinki reeled through a heavy catalogue of material climaxing with the feverously received, latest single “Heart it Races”. Mixing electro samples, rap, traditional rock melodies and even jungle infused beats, Architecture in Helsinki brought a sound never heard before in the WOW concert hall

Although Architecture in Helsinki are based in Australia, lead singer Cameron Bird lived in Portland for a year and it was in Oregon that he came up with much of the material featured on the band’s first album, “Fingers Crossed”.

Cameron then, must have felt quite at home as he and the rest of the six piece band worked the audience using a brilliant array of instruments ranging from electronic synthesizers to tubas and guitars.

With hundreds of people joined together in a sea of random Halloween costumes, hearing Cameron Bird unleash his unruly rapping skills over the tropically rooted, brass inflected pop jig of “Debbie” never felt more right. With no effort the band slid gracefully through musical genres from the subdued melodies of folk pop “What’s in Store?”, to the jazz infused rap of “Hold Music”.

But for a band with so many styles under its belt, it would be difficult to make these styles work in harmony with one another. No such problem for the Australian art rockers however, with the new sounds of electonica overlapping the classic sounds of jazz with such finesse you would deem it totally everyday. Incredibly, with such variety of threadwork running through the band’s construct, the sound is fantastically accessible and impossibly danceable. Architecture are true performers and even with their multi-skilled and richly influenced cast, they don’t let their experimental edge supersede their wonderfully fun pop sound.

[mp3] Architecture in Helsinki - Heart It Races
[mp3] Architecture in Helsinki - Debbie
[mp3] Architecture in Helsinki - The Owls Go

Pipettes @ John Henry's, OR 11/02/2007

John Henry’s bar, Eugene, OR celebrated pop music of the past as The Pipettes brought their retro styled pop to the stage on Friday night.

In an eclectic night of music, the Pipettes’ guitarist and experimental singer song writer Monster Bobby opened with a solo set of conceptual electronica. With his mix of offbeat songwriting and unusual electro samples, the Brighton based artist proved he was more than just part of the backing band of The Pipettes.

Five piece New Yorkers, The Ladybug Transistor then brought the venue back to normality thanks to their classic indie sound. With their female lead singer and pop sensibilities they owe much to indie starlets, Rilo Kiley.

But it was The Pipettes with their lovable, bubble gum pop that really made an impact. Armed with their four piece backing band, the Pipettes swept through songs from their debut LP and their US only EP “Your Kisses are wasted on Me”.

The band’s aim is to get people moving, through energetic power pop tunes and dance acts to accompany each song. This couldn’t be any clearer, with middle aged admirers, punk rockers and die hard fans alike all coming together to party with the UK based indie trio.

Dressed in matching pokadot outfits and distancing themselves from their support band The Pipettes have the visual characteristics of a manufactured pop act. But though some credit goes to “Monster Bobby” and the rest of the band, most of the creative input is channeled through the girls. Rosay, Julia and Gwenno responsible creating most of the songs, the dance moves and even the dresses. All of which came together perfectly on Friday to create an immersive pop experience.

Now familiar with the bigger crowds back home in the UK, The Pipettes showed great showmanship to put on an exuberant show for the modest crowd that descended upon John Henry’s bar.

With their three female lead singers, heavy bass and sparkly guitar melodies the band sounded like a Phil Spector pop act of the 60s with a modern indie twang. The simple piano scores, hip shaking melodies and finger clicking are all there but so is all the polish and gleam of a contemporary pop act as well as modern tales of youth. Whether its the the girl who’s boring but great in bed (“Sex”) or the girl bully who amounts to nothing after school (“Judy.”)

The lyrics of “Pull Shapes” are the perfect reflection of The Pipettes’ spirit. A song designed with only one thing in mind, it’s a fantastic dance floor draw “I just want to dance I don’t care what the song is about”. With its sweeping orchestral score, hand claps and start-stop melody its destined to keep you there too.

The Pipettes are talented producers of a fun pop package. Refusing to take themselves too seriously, the band’s songs and style are all about getting people to dance and enjoy themselves. Modern performers of an old fashioned sound reworked for the naughties, they’re not to be seen as innovators but they put on a brilliantly entertaining show.

[mp3] The Pipettes - Dance and Boogie
[mp3] The Pipettes - Pull Shapes
[mp3] The Pipettes - Your Kisses are Wasted on Me