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.

Yellow Magic Orchestra

While celebrity deaths don’t faze me much, David Bowie’s was pretty crushing. To have a small celebration of his life, some friends and I watched The Hunger and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. I’d never seen the latter, and was pleasantly surprised at the layers of meaning and fantastic soundtrack (not to mention The Kiss.) Even better, the movie reminded me of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s existence. I had heard and loved his film scores for years, but had no idea he was an actor (who wears his everyday new wave/glam makeup while playing a military captain, but whatever.) After a bit more digging I realized that not only does Sakamoto have a thriving solo career, but he was also a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra, who are pretty much the pioneers of synthpop in Japan.

Yellow Magic Orchestra was one of the first bands to focus on synth music in the 70s. While Kraftwerk was a big influence on them, they wanted their music to be “less minimalistic, made more varying use of synthesizer lines, introducing ‘fun-loving and breezy’ sounds, and placing a strong emphasis on melody in contrast to Kraftwerk’s statuesque ‘robot pop.'” Incorporating a lot of pop and italo-disco elements, YMO gained popularity worldwide with their innovative use of the newest synth technology and their great composition skills.

Here’s my favourite song by them, Key:

Chandra

Chandra Oppenheim was 12 years old when she released her only EP, Transportation. Due to her talent and her young age she became a hit in the underground 80s new wave scene, and also collaborated with The Dance. One commenter online says, “I saw her perform either in 1980 or 1981 at a small club in Philly called Omin’s. She had a chaperone with her, and she had to finish her performance before 11 pm because of a curfew. Also, for someone so young she had terrific stage presence.” Add this to the list of things that make me wish time machines existed.

Chandra’s music is synthy, punky, and definitely worth a listen. Fortunately, her original 4 track EP was recently uploaded to Bandcamp with an added 4 previously unreleased tracks! Check out the album here.

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.

Double Echo – La Danza

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.