Category Archives: New Wave

Cold Beat’s sophomore album “Into the Air” shows a band in sync

After a strong showing with their debut LP “Over Me” just last year, punk and electro-pop band Cold Beat is back with “Into the Air.”

Already, the band seems deeply in sync, a feat that could take more than a few albums for a new band to master before they can focus on pushing personal boundaries.

Bassist, vocalist and primary songwriter Hannah Lew, previously with the San Francisco surf-rock trio Grass Widow, easily carries the weight of Cold Beat’s vocals. Her strong yet angelic sound acts as a guiding light for the album’s dark points. Add the rest of the band’s playful pop/synth style, and Cold Beat can embody the punk-crossover rebellion of Blondie or the bleeding-heart shoegaze of Dum Dum Girls.

Lew’s lush voice soars throughout the album — it radiates romantic warmth, mirroring Debbie Harry’s opulent style.

Haunting, isolating melodies and moody soundscapes are what Cold Beat does best, evident in the synthwave wanderings of the instrumental “Clouds” and the drum-machine and space-rock album closer “Ashes.”

But the band can also change its attitude within a song. They build tension with a guitar clang and propulsive drumming on the protopunk “Sisters,” a song that later finds solace in a flowing melody, which was somehow there all along. Compare those textures with the brisk guitar strumming of the straightforward “Am I Dust,” or Lew’s heartbreaking indecision on “Broken Lines,” and Cold Beat’s broad versatility on “Into the Air” becomes even clearer.

The new album, “Into the Air” was on Lew’s label Crime On the Moon on Sept. 4.

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Filed under Dream pop, Electro-pop, Indie Rock, New Wave, Post-punk, Punk, Review, Space rock, Synth pop

Enjoy this stream of Cold Beat’s new album “Into the Air”

The punk electro-pop band Cold Beat is streaming their new album “Into the Air.” The new album, their second LP and out Sept. 4 on Crime On the Moon, shows off the group’s wide range of influences.

Strong vocals throughout, from bassist and vocalist Hanna Lew, embody the rich-sounding youth of early Blondie’s pop nuggets and that punk rock sound, as on “Broken Lines.” Lew’s voice may be the closest to Debby Harry’s as you can get, while still maintaining her own identity. Her vocals soar freely throughout the album, emitting a dreamwave warmth.

The vintage synth sound of “Am I Dust” and the ragged guitar intro and propulsive drumming of the punk-driven “Sisters” both show the band’s broad versatility on the album. They can be haunting, as on the instrumental “Clouds” and moody, on the space-rock closer “Ashes.” Through it all is Lew, who makes the whole thing sound easy. The San Francisco native‘s previous project was with the all-girl outfit Grass Widow.

Cold Beat only has a handful of tour dates, so you’ll have to head to Brooklyn to see them.


Fri. Sept. 18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool

Sat. Sept. 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium

Sun. Sept. 20 – New York, NY @ Other Music (7PM)

Sun. Sept. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn

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Filed under Dream pop, Electro-pop, Indie Rock, New Wave, Punk, Space rock, Synth pop

LP from new-wave punks Suburban Lawns to be reissued

Light in the Attic Records have put out details on a few of their September reissues.

suburban lawns pic

Sue “Su Tissue” McLane

Among them is a release of the self-titled LP from California new wave art punk group Suburban Lawns, who have been out of print since 1980 — way too long. The band formed in 1978 in Long Beach. That LP was their only release.

This vinyl reissue is the first for the post-punk band, as well as the first time on CD format. New artwork and newly revealed photos and five bonus tracks are part of the release.

Watch a video (with lyrics)  for “Janitor” — The video is classic ’80s avant garde propaganda in all its glory.

Listen to “Flying Saucer Safari”:

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Filed under artpunk, New Wave, VIdeos

Lights releases video for “Running With The Boys”; will play at Coachella

Lights has released a video for "Running With The Boys"

Lights has released a video for “Running With The Boys”

While Canada’s synth-pop instrumentalist Lights is out on a sold-out European tour, a vintage-y, nostalgia-tinged video has been released for “Running With The Boys,” from her latest album, “Little Machines,” out on Warner Brothers.

The album is nominated for Pop Album of the Year at the Juno Awards, and no wonder — Lights’ bright, electro-pop sound is immediately likable and smooth, fueled by her youthful, fun 80s vibe.

Lights (Valerie Anne Poxleitner) has also announced she’ll be performing at this year’s Coachella.

Her headlining tour begins Feb. 14 in Minneapolis with X-Ambassadors.

Download a copy of Lights’ “Running With The Boys (Leisure Cruise Remix)” at Jay Z’s Life+ Times.

Lights’ upcoming tour dates w/ special guest X Ambassadors:

*Select dates w/ special guest Saint Motel

02/13 Kansas City, MO        Arvest Bank Theatre

02/14  Minneapolis, MN       Mill City Nights

02/15  Omaha, NE               The Waiting Room

02/17  Iowa City, IA              Blue Moose Tap House

02/18  St. Louis, MO            Ready Room

02/20  Dallas, TX                 Granada Theater

02/21  Austin, TX                  Emo’s

02/22  Houston, TX              Warehouse Live

02/24  Orlando, FL               Beacham Theater

02/25  Ft. Lauderdale, FL     Culture Room

02/27  Atlanta, GA                The Masquerade

02/28  Carrboro, NC             Cat’s Cradle

03/01  Nashville, TN             Rocketown

03/02  Charlotte, NC            The Fillmore Charlotte

03/04  Norfolk, VA                The NorVa

03/05  Pittsburgh, PA           Mr. Small’s Theatre

03/06  Columbus, OH           Skully’s Music Diner

03/07  Indianapolis, IN          Deluxe at Old National Centre

03/09  Cleveland, OH           House of Blues – Cleveland

03/10  Grand Rapids, MI      The Intersection

04/11  Indio, CA                    Coachella Week 1

04/14  Phoenix, AZ               Marquee Theatre*

04/15  San Diego, CA           The Irenic*

04/16  Sacramento, CA         Ace of Spades*

04/18  Indio, CA                    Coachella Week 2

Lights as special guest to OneRepublic:

04/20  Montreal, QC             Bell Centre

04/21  Ottawa, ON                Canadian Tire Centre

04/22  London, ON               Budweiser Gardens

04/24  Toronto, ON               Air Canada Centre

04/25  Sudbury, ON              Sudbury Arena

04/27  Winnipeg, MB            MTS Centre

04/29  Edmonton, AB           Rexall Place

04/30  Calgary, AB               Scotiabank Saddledome

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Filed under Electro-pop, Indie, New Wave, Synth pop

Watch New Hands’ GIF-generated video “Strange Attractor”

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Just a little bit of techno-geek: GIFs are bitmap pictures of just 256 colors usually reserved for low-res film clips. That turns out to be the perfect formula for what synth band New Hands’ wanted for their latest video.

The electronic group has put out a GIF-based generative video for their new-wave song “Strange Attractor,” taking people’s random vintage home videos from Youtube and mashing them up in strange ways.

The idea seems bred from the vein of John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” video;

jack and diane image

But for “Strange Attractor,” New Hands has curated more than 900 images — of young children, a guy trying to stuff something in a car trunk, skateboarders, dancers over the decades, Las Vegas, a man with a mask, car crashes, karate events, — usually catching people at their most awkward-looking.

These mundane images are familiar, wonderful and mysterious at the same time. The clashes of culture are oddly at home together on “Strange Attractor.”

Every time you click on New Hands’ video generator for “Strange Attractor,”, it regenerates the order of 329 of these images, for a unique experience every time. You could also just watch the YouTube version, which is slightly easier.

Sometimes the beat of “Strange Attractor” feeds off one of the images, but most of the time the awkward pictures are unsettling but extremely interesting to watch. You can never really latch on to one picture because in a few seconds, any attachment you might have to that is replaced with something different and new.

Drummer Gord Bond explained why the GIF format appealed to him:

““It was the GIF format that intrigued me. Technically it is a picture file, but it allows for animation. To me this was an interesting dualism. On the one hand it’s a video and on the other a still image. By using the GIF files we compiled as the frames for the video we are bringing attention to the structural element of video – the individual frame, which when stitched together create movement. This idea of stillness vs movement is also repeated in the thematic element of the video. The GIFs all contain some form of movement. Movement is critical to the song itself, it is constantly in motion.””

If you’re not into any of that, you can still just listen to the song at Soundcloud.

The song was mixed by Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck.  New Hands’ debut full-length album is due next year.




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Filed under Dance, Electro-pop, Electronic, New Wave, Synth pop, Techno, VIdeos