Our latest quick roundup of tunes features a combo of old favourites and new promising acts. As we head into a more positive music scene (hopefully a post-Covid one), it’s inspiring to have some excellent electronic music to provide the soundtrack.
PRINCESS CENTURY – Still The Same
Maya Postepski has kept herself busy in recent years, particularly since reuniting with Robert Alfons to work on his last two TR/ST albums (see review previously). She’s since collaborated with the likes of Fragrance., Pepper Levain and momonyx – and even found time for soundtrack work, penning the music for coming-of-age flick Cocoon.
Originally from Toronto, Postepski has also moved her base in recent years, particularly with her rising popularity as a DJ. She’s spent time in Estonia, Morocco and also a two-month residency in Narva, a frozen town along the Russian border. More recently, she’s relocated to Berlin, taking inspiration from the city’s busy club scene.
‘Still The Same’ is a composition seeped in longing and frustration, offering up a wonderful slice of moody electropop with the sumptuous sequenced beats that are key to previous Princess Century outings. The difference here is that the composition also features a wistful vocal element which pulls the whole thing together. “It’s about the inescapable need to feel held” comments Postepski on the new song “and seen by the one you were closest to, but can no longer reach.” Quite why Postepski has been reluctant to add vocals on previous tunes is a mystery as ‘Still The Same’ showcases a dreamy, evocative style that’s vaguely reminiscent of Electric Youth’s ethereal moods.
That evolution bodes well for forthcoming album s u r r e n d e r (which follows on from 2015’s Progress – see review previously) due out this October.
TEE DEE DEES – War
If strident electropop tunes are the thing that floats your boat, then ‘War’ via Tee Dee Dees will provide an act for you to keep an eye on. In a previous life, Ori Mark was a magazine editor (not that uncommon in the world of electronic music…) before feeling the urge to jump into music.
Based in Tel-Aviv, Mark has previously released two albums in Hebrew, one of which was produced by Gil Lewis. Taking inspiration from the likes of Django Django and MGMT, the musician has now served up the scintillating pop of ‘War’.
Filled with uplifting hooks and synth lines, complete with a bold vocal from Mark, ‘War’ is symptomatic of a new generation of artists who have managed to craft their own take on synth-pop (but without slavishly imitating their predecessors). Written during a bitterly cold winter in Boston, nothing on this composition suggests a chilly arctic vibe. Instead, it’s a sweeping summer pop banger that’s more than capable of straddling the boundary between nice electropop and big chart action.
‘War’ is taken from forthcoming album 1^2=1 and suggests that Tee Dee Dees will be delivering big things in the future.
NATION OF LANGUAGE – Wounds Of Love
Hailing from Brooklyn, synth-pop outfit Nation Of Language features Ian Richard Devaney (vocals, guitar, percussion), Aidan Noell (synth, vocals) and Michael Sue-Poi (bass). Their latest release comes in the form of the heartfelt ‘Wounds Of Love’, a composition that throws a nod to classic synth-pop while still sounding fresh and modern.
That acknowledgement was originally inspired by Devaney listening to OMD’s ‘Electricity’ – and there’s a similar electropop warmth at work here. While similar acts might opt for bolder pop territory, Nation Of Language have a more thoughtful, subtle handle on the synths. At times, this suggests the ‘indie synth’ approach of lost outfit Mirrors, but with a much smoother production at work.
Nation Of Language have been active since 2016 and have attracted the interest of high profile outlets such as Stereogum, demonstrating that their synth-pop efforts have some legs. New album A Way Forward arrives in November.
VOGON POETRY – Atomic Skies
One of Sweden’s secret musical weapons is sci-fi combo Vogon Poetry, who have turned up on the TEC radar several times previously – particularly for 2020’s superb Deep Thought album (see review)
New outing ‘Atomic Skies’ throws a nod to popular video game Fallout, which might suggest a rather downbeat musical affair. But the end result is bold and engaging pop with robust percussion. As ever, the band love to throw in a barrage of sourced samples (which did wonders for ‘The Nightflyer’ on Deep Thought), here beefing up the apocalyptic themes of the song . But the catchy synth-pop melodies and John Anderson’s distinctive Swedish burr are front and centre on this uplifting number.
‘Atomic Skies’ is Vogon Poetry’s first release following on from the Tankar EP from earlier this year. It also comes complete with two additional remixes: a SCALA take on ‘Tankar’ and a superb Glenn Main remix of earlier song ‘Passion’.