My Saturday morning slow jam: Lust For Youth

 

Swedish synthpop is generally known to be fantastic, and Lust For Youth does a great job of continuing this stereotype. While I highly recommend you check out their full length albums (Perfect View and especially International have been on my heavy rotation for a few years now), their newest single is a downtempo number that reminds me of the best Martin Gore-helmed Depeche Mode songs. It’s fitting in perfectly with my leisurely, cat-cuddle filled Saturday morning, so I thought I’d share.

Molly Nilsson

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.

Kym Amps

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!

Cult Club

Sounds like there’s an amazing new project forming in Berlin…Laslo Antal of Sixth June and Sally Dige Jørgensen have teamed up to form Cult Club, a minimal synth project that sounds really promising from the two tracks I’ve heard so far. ‘All The People’ has a relaxed, almost ethereal vibe while ‘Why Do You Go?’ picks up the pace by being amazingly catchy and danceable. I can’t find any information about ordering or downloading their music, but they do have a Soundcloud and an official site that is being updated. If you like Sixth June or Sally Dige I highly recommend checking out Cult Club – it’s a great melding of their distinctive sounds.

Pleasure Symbols

 

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.

Surrounded By Synths

Black+Marble+black_marble

I found this photo on Black Marble’s last.fm page and it got me to thinking about how much I love photos of artists surrounded by lots of synths. It makes me giggle and envious all at once. I’ve seen a ton while checking up on artists that I enjoy, but haven’t been saving them as I go and am having problems finding my favourites now.

synth1

This guy is having a good day life.

synths2

My favourites tend to be with the artist surrounded by all of his/her synths, staring confidentially into the camera. “This is my dowry. If you link your life to mine in a romantic fashion,” (arm sweep) “this can all be yours!” And what better dowry could one ask for, really?

A friend pointed me in the direction of Sexy Men Of The Synthesizer, which is a great Tumblr but doesn’t necessarily have as many “surrounded in synths” photos as I am looking for. I’m also looking to find more photos of women/non-binary synth players! If you can point me in the direction of anything like this feel free to leave a comment 🙂

Xeno & Oaklander – Par Avion

Xeno & Oaklander’s 4th full-length album Par Avion was released earlier this week, and it’s been getting heavy rotation in my house since then. The band members Sean McBride and Liz Wendelbo themselves describe the album as “Postcards of love for a cold age – shimmering moments from the present, romantic messages from the past, and love mementos for the future”. Truly with this album more than any of their other releases, I can hear strong nostalgia for times past and equally powerful yearning for what is to come.

The songs on Par Avion are both classic Xeno and a continuing evolution of their sound. ‘Interface’ was released as a single and gives a bouncy beginning to the album. I’ve listened to the album quite a few times now and still can’t sort out my favourites – the songs are arranged so well it seems to flow as many smaller stories merging to create a bigger tale, so it’s hard to pull out just one or two to single out. ‘Sheen’ has been getting stuck in my head more than some of the others – Liz’s voice and the gorgeous melody combined with a lively beat is a fantastic combo.

Check out Xeno & Oaklander’s official website for more information and how to purchase their new album. As a side note – Liz Wendelbo has created a Xeno & Oaklander themed perfume which you can find out more about here, and this fragrance will be used to scent the inserts of a limited edition pressing of Par Avion vinyls. As someone who finds scent, memory and music to be forever linked, I think this is an amazing idea and definitely have my eye on Eau de Xeno!

Vierance

I’m pretty bad at labelling music with genres, but I’m trying to get better at it. Part of me rebels at the thought of trapping music in certain neat compartments – there’s a ton of genre overlap in most music I listen to these days. But it’s probably a necessary evil when writing about music, especially when trying to get the word out about some lesser known bands by being as descriptive as possible.

 

That being said, the Toronto band Vierance is giving me a bit more trouble than usual. All I know is that they’ve got synth, great bass lines, chilly ethereal vocals, and an atmospheric sense of mystery in each of their songs. The above tune, ‘Sybl’, was an initial favourite with its driving percussion and hypnotic vocals.

 

‘Raven’ is from Vierance’s new Semblance EP. The song is more subdued than Sybl, but the dream-like synths and at times pleadingly yelling vocals make for a soothing listen with a side of anxiety.

I haven’t been able to dig up too much info on this band – they appear to have been active for about a year and don’t have many articles or interviews out there yet. I hope this changes, because Vierance are an intriguingly dark n spooky duo that are well worth a listen. Check out their Bandcamp for more great songs here and their Facebook here.