Although Molly Nilsson previously collaborated with John Maus and also has a large discography under her belt, I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing her music before today. The above song caught my attention for its macabre/romantic lyrics and minimal melody, and the other tracks I’ve listened to off of various releases are equally as wonderful. I can’t find much information about her, but some articles claim she was born in Sweden and currently lives in Berlin. I’m loving her powerful voice matched with her simple synth anthems. Her ‘These Things Take Time’ release is available on Spotify, and you can listen to/buy her other releases via her official website.
Double Echo, that fantastic dark post-punk band from Liverpool, is back with another full-length release. Gloomy bass and guitars pair with vocals that feel straight out of the 80s goth scene to create some spookily delicious soundscapes. La Danza feels like a culmination of the best of their frosty sounds all on one album. Definitely recommend hearing this release, makes for perfect autumn listening! You can find their album at their Bandcamp or on Spotify.
Frankie Teardrop of the fantastic Systems of Romance music blog has created a mix of entirely female-fronted projects in the coldwave, minimal and post-punk vein. It’s a great mix so I highly recommend giving it a listen, and check out the tracklist here for any artists you don’t recognize.
In preparation for Veronica Vasicka coming to Vancouver for a DJ gig, I’ve been listening a lot to one of my favourite Minimal Wave compilations, The Hidden Tapes. One track in particular that’s been haunting me has been You Don’t Know My Name by a mysterious artist named Kym Amps.
I’ve tried to do some research on Kym Amps to see if I could find out more info about her, and see if she has any other releases. The always awesome Systems of Romance posted the one single that she definitely released, which you can find here. However, trying to find info on her background and any other releases has been a bit tricky. As for minimal wave songs, that single seems to be all she ever released. However, there also appears to be a soprano vocalist with the same name. I’ve listened to a couple of her songs, and while the non-coldwave songs have a much more polished vocal style (not to mention higher notes), I feel like I can hear a similarity. Her photo from the above biography page and the photo on the cover of the minimal wave single also have some interesting similarities.
If you happen to know any info about Kym Amps feel free to let me know – is she now happy and thriving in a soprano career? Does she still fondly listen to synthy beep boops and dream of releasing some new material in that vein? I’d love to hear what she’s up to these days. Until then, I’ll give You Don’t Know My Name a listen every so often and enjoy the melancholic charm.
Edit: A commenter kindly pointed out that there are two other Kym songs available for purchase on iTunes and streamable on Spotify: I Must Have Been Seeing Things and Days Like These. Her voice is really heavenly and I’ve been loving them!
Figure Study is a minimal synth band based in NYC. According to the description of their self-titled LP on Dark Entries, members Nathan Antolik and April Chalpara met at a Wierd Party event in 2009 and began collaborating soon after. Their music evokes a sense of gloomy foreboding while still remaining very danceable. Loneliness and distance tinge each song, but the soundscape somehow leaves the listener feeling energized instead of desolate. This is an album I’d love to listen to while walking the streets of a city I’ve never been to before, at night.
In addition to their debut LP, Figure Study also has one single available. ‘Lesson One’ was my introduction to this great band, and remains one of my favourites. You can listen to Figure Study by buying their music from Dark Entries, visiting their Soundcloud, or streaming on Spotify or Rdio.
This week’s album on repeat is Signals From Afar by a fairly unknown 80s band called The Shortwave Mystery. A duo from California, in 1985 they apparently released a 12″ of the above song, Pilots, that was so unsuccessful that the majority of the records ended up in a landfill. How they didn’t take off is beyond me – their songs combine the best parts of synthpop and minimal-synth, with some EBM sprinkled in for good measure. However, due to resurging interest in the 80s synth scene, the band re-issued their songs into a full-length album a few years ago.
Signals From Afar is excellent from beginning to end – I haven’t been this excited about stumbling upon a band in at least a couple of months. Which actually says a lot. I get excited pretty often.
You can buy their releases directly from the label that re-issued them here.
Quick post about this solo minimal-synth project from Chicago called Stacian. There’s some great classic analog sounds here, and I’m really enjoying the Songs For Cadets release. Beep boops, lo-fi quality and echoey female vocals: these are a few of my favourite things – as if you didn’t know that by now. Check out more songs on Stacian’s Bandcamp here.
It’s a few years old, but I can’t get enough of Frank (Just Frank)’s album The Brutal Wave. Synthpop, post-punk, and coldwave combine to create a fantastic aural landscape that has been making me hit the Repeat button quite a bit these past few days. ‘Beneath’ in particular is steadily earworming its way into my dreams, and I have no complaints.
With a touch of dark 80s inspired synth and vocals, The Brutal Wave is climbing my personal favourites chart. Coming in a close second, their Valerie EP has some great songs as well, including the fantastic dance tune ‘Do The Soviet’.
More band info: Facebook
Just heard this song off of the new two-track release from Pleasure Symbols, and it’s mesmerizing! Dark and droning coldwave with some post-punk flavour thrown in, this Brisbane band is definitely going to be on my radar when it comes to future releases. Ultraviolence is the other track on this release and definitely worth a listen; evokes feelings of a descending, shadowy dystopia. Head on over to their Bandcamp here to check out both excellent songs.
This weekend one of my favourite synthy Vancouver bands, Animal Bodies, released their newest dark musical offering. The Killing Scene is a fantastic release from start to finish – I’ve been waiting for some of these songs to be released for a couple of years. I remember watching a live clip 2 years ago of them playing the first track from this release (‘Start The Suffocation’) and falling in love – Animal Bodies melds EBM, darkwave, and synthpunk flawlessly and the result is catchy as hell! The second track ‘Sex Power’ is reminiscent of some of their earlier songs from their Kiss Of The Fang EP, also highly worth checking out.
I’ve had this album on repeat for a few days, surrounded by candles and watching it pour rain outside – I’m fairly certain life couldn’t get any better. To top it off, Animal Bodies sound great recorded, but their live shows aren’t to be missed. They’re doing a tour of the west coast and starting off this weekend in Vancouver, so keep an eye on their Facebook page if you want to catch them – you won’t regret it. As always, please support the artists if you like what you hear: Bandcamp and Official Website.