Category Archives: Synth

Open Windows 2: Nice dreams, coathangers and shoegaze/metal fire

Atlanta garage punk group The Coathangers paid a visit to Paste’s studios recently. The band members all have stage names ending in Coathanger — Rusty Coathanger, Crook Kid Coathanger and Minnie Coathanger. They’re already seasoned punk veterans, with their fifth album, Nosebleed Weekend, out April 15 on Suicide Squeeze Records.

With the constant tick-ticking of the rim and two acoustic guitars, the three of them play a stripped-down version of their song “Make It Right” for Paste, but to hear them in their full punk-rock glory, watch them do the cutting in their video for “Hurricane” from 2011:


The debut from Boston-based thrash-metal-shoegaze group Astronoid is out June 10 on Blood Music, and Metal Injection has posted the lyric video for “Up and Atom.” One listen to that song will hook you– their vocal harmonies simply float in the heavens, while waves of guitars perform their own shredded masterpiece below. Their debut is going to be huge.


Almost everyone’s reviewing Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool, including an 8-year-old who’s broken the songs down in very simple terms. Radiohead’s music is extremely dense and layered with different meanings, so it’s refreshing to see a child tackle the album, track by track. And to be honest, every music critic has to start somewhere, and my early reviews started like this, so kudos to him for getting an early jump.

Read it for yourself:

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 9.35.55 PM

Jazz/classical/synth and sonic mastermind Floating Points (Sam Shepherd) has released the studio version of an 18-minute song called “Kuiper,” part of his upcoming Kuiper EP out July 22 on Luaka Bop/PLUTO. Shepherd had earlier released the live version on video. His instrumental works are pieces of electronic art. Kuiper will be available to download May 20.

Actor and MC Daveed Diggs can rap 19 words in 3 seconds — the fastest rapper on Broadway. While there’s not many rappers on Broadway, that’s pretty damn impressive. Diggs shows off his skills in the song “Guns and Ships” which he performs on the massive Broadway hit “Hamilton.”

Don’t blink as he slams a few verses from his hip-hop group, clipping., on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon:


EL VY, a project created by The National’s Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of Menomena, have mixed and released Wye Oak’s song “Need A Friend.”

Wye Oak’s Andy Stack said this about the remix:

I spent the last quarter of 2015 playing drums on tour with EL VY. “Need a Friend” was consistently our closer, and arguably the most high-energy song of the set. By contrast, when I went to remix it, I imagined it as a Sade-style slow jam (complete with horn solo), a genuine reading of the angst, “love” and “heartbreak” which the original presents as more tongue-in-cheek. 

Wye Oak has been hinting at new music and will head out on tour this summer.

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Filed under Electronic, Garage Punk, Hardcore punk, Instrumental, Jazz, Metal, Noise Punk, Open Windows New Music, Rap, Shoegaze, Synth, Thrash, Uncategorized

Hear Plaitum’s glittery synthpop on single “Carousel”

The duo of Plaitum has been busy these days. Producer Matt Canham creates these glittery synthpop and electronic hooks, which curl and ebb around Abi Dersiley’s dramatic, vixen-y vocals. The London group have been friends since they were kids who connected through horror films, Massive Attack and Talking Heads.

Check out “Carousel,” the second release off their upcoming EP, listen below:

Dersiley told Stereogum that ” ‘ Carousel’ is basically about drowning in someone else’s deception,” and according to Canham, “Abi played these massive climatic chords on the keyboard and we just ran with the idea of making a really ’80s crescendo around it.”


Plaitum’s self-titled EP is out Dec. 4 on Wolf Tone records.

2. Carousel
3. Higher
4. Sway

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Filed under Electro-pop, Electronic, New Music, Synth, Synth pop, Uncategorized

Floating Points’ debut album, “Elaenia,” is finally here

Floating Points mug

Although the stream of Floating Points’ debut album “Elaenia,” is no longer streaming at NPR Music, you can still hear it through a Spotify link there or on Soundcloud. It’s an extremely interesting angle on the electronic music scene.

Composer and producer Sam Shepherd (Floating Points) can sight-read music and once sang with the Manchester Cathedral Boys Choir. But he’s also a DJ, and began releasing singles as dubstep was finding its feet in England. That doesn’t completely explain his unusual music, which rarely involves vocals and relies often on live instruments like keyboards, as well as weeping string sections.

Shepherd incorporates jazz and its improvisations into synth and prog-rock. His take on these different styles (like on “Silhouettes (I, II, and III”) is freeing to hear, as experimentation in music should be.

In case you haven’t seen it, watch the gorgeous, trippy light show that is the video for “Silhouettes”:

Floating Points has just a few tour dates:

Oct 30 – Utrecht, NL – Catch Festival
Oct 31 Leuven, BE – Het Depot
Nov 2 – Paris, FR – New Morning
Nov 5 – Turin, IT – Club to Club
Nov 7 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
Nov 17 London, UK – Islington Assembly Hall

Elaenia is out now on Luaka Bop in the U.S., and Pluto in the UK.


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Filed under Dubstep, Electronic, Jazz, Progressive Rock, Synth, VIdeos

Django Django has put out a juicy-sweet video for “Pause Repeat”

Enjoying a nice blue lolly.

Enjoying a nice blue lolly.

Django Django‘s video for “Pause Repeat” is basically a neverending conga line of overly saturated strawberries, basketballs, ruby-red grapefruit, blue lemons and fake grass, and other sporting goods. It’s one of those videos with a continuous feed of images, and all of them are vibrantly colored and a joy to watch.

Check it out:

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Filed under Art rock, Synth, VIdeos

DJ Andrew Weatherall remixes Gwenno’s “Chwyldro”

DJ, producer and remixer Andrew Weatherall has remixed electro-pop artist Gwenno Saunder’s song “Chwyldro” off Gwenno’s recent release, “Y Dydd Olaf” (“The Last Day”).

Gwenno, who was a dancer in her youth and was formerly leader of the Pipettes, sings almost the entire album in Welsh, a language only about 500,000 people in the world speak.

gwenno Y Dydd Olaf album cover

Gwenno has also culled her new music from a 1976 sci-fi novel by Owain Owain, billing “Y Dydd Olaf” as a political-concept album. The record is, at its core, a modern, refreshing take on ‘80s electro-pop and vintage-Cure and Krautrock styles.

Weatherall, as a producer, has worked with Beth Orton and Primal Scream, as well as remixed songs by Bjork, Siousxie Sioux, New Order, My Bloody Valentine and James.

Weatherall keeps alive the astro-rock elements of the original “Chwyldro,” while transforming Gwenno’s voice to a sultry whisper in a song that’s already breathy and dreamy. Weatherall adds frantic synth notes and Indian beats that lead you into Gwenno’s peaceful vocals.

Gwenno’s “Y Dydd Olaf” is out now on Heavenly Recordings.

Listen to the Andrew Weatherall Remix:

Watch Gwenno’s psychedelic/kaleidoscopic video for “Chwyldro”:

You should also check out the vintage sound of Gwenno’s “Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki.” It moves between early Cure via their “Seventeen Seconds,” with a pulsing synthesizer wave; it’s a slower take on the likes of Berlin’s “The Metro”:

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Filed under Dance-Synth, Electro-pop, Kraut rock, Space rock, Synth, Synth pop

Set a course for the dark chillwave of Mausoleums

MausoleumsI stumbled across the dark electronic synthwave group Mausoleums today and realized I need to wander more.

Mausoleums, from Newcastle, is Simeon Soden on programming and synth and Elliot Reeves on vocal and synths. According to their bio, they’re influenced by ’80s minimal wave, witch house and industrial.

While their sound isn’t always my cup of tea, it had a mellow vibe to it that drew me in. The songs are full of beats that remind me of other songs I like, such as songs by Bauhaus or the White Stripes (the song “Five” has nearly the same frantic timing as the Stripes’ “Seven-Nation Army.”) Sometimes it’s nice to have that familiar lifeline when checking out new music or new genres.

Check out “Destiny Doll”:

and “Five”:

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Filed under Industrial, Minimal wave, Synth, Synthwave, Witch House

Remember when Caribou gave away a giant fish? We have a winner

In April, Caribou held a contest in which a colorful flying fish was going to be given away.

Dan Snaith, aka Caribou, explained how the winner was chosen:

We received over 500 emails from every corner of the world proposing myriad purposes for it – including an aeronautical engineering student who wanted to attach it to a rocket and fire it into space. 

But right from the first time we read it, one proposal in particular grabbed our attention, and after researching the logistics of transporting this gentle giant halfway around the world, we are proud to announce the winner today: 

Harry Marshall emailed us on behalf of a group of students at the Welsh School of Architecture, planning to help build a playground on the island of Koh Rong in Cambodia, together with non-profit organisation Friends of Koh Rong.

The Cambodian island of Koh Rong is certainly not the only island that is dealing with the effects of increased tourism but is one such example, where rapid change is presenting the local community with overwhelming challenges.

Friends of Koh Rong was set up in 2013 to help deal with exactly those problems through increasing ( the previously limited ) access to education, healthcare and increasing the community’s capacity to deal with the strain brought by more tourism:

“Our organisation aims to help in mitigating the negative impacts of the tourism industry, and to enable our beneficiaries to stand in the best possible position to benefit from the changes that have arrived on this island, their home.”

As tourist infrastructure has encroached on more and more space on the island, there is no place for the school aged children on the island to play. The playground, sitting next to the school set up by Friends of Koh Rong, will provide an area for the children to play and be safe. The creature will provide a centrepiece for the playground. 

Harry and his team are raising money to complete this playground right now with construction due to begin towards the end of July – right around the time the multicoloured creature, which is just now being crated up and in preparation for its transpacific journey, will arrive on the island.

You can learn more and support the Friends of Koh Rong playground project by visiting their Kickstarter.

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Filed under Synth, Synth pop

Telekinesis debuts “A Future World” on Seattle’s KEXP

telekinesisTelekinesis’ new song, “A Future World,” comes as Benjamin Lerner’s settling down into spousal bliss and reassessing life’s priorities.

According to a press release:

“I went down to the basement,” Lerner recalls, “and started playing the same chords I always play… I just felt like I’d exhausted everything I knew. I was not excited at all. I just could not make another power-pop album.”

“A Future World” could not be considered power pop, that much is true. It lays heavy on the side of synth-pop but with plenty of bright heart.

The song debuted on Seattle’s KEXP today, and the link includes a trailer to the new album, “Ad Infinitum.”

Telekinesis, otherwise known as Benjamin Lerner, has been making music since 2009 with a self-titled debut. This will be the band’s fourth album.

The new album by Telekinesis, “Ad Infinitum,” is out Sept. 18. The band is going on tour with Say Hi in October in Washington with a possible European tour over the winter.

Check out their much different sound on “Power Lines” from 2013:

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Filed under New Music, Synth, Synth pop

Nots thankfully up to no good on punk single “Virgin Mary”

Nots Virgin Mary

Punk quartet Nots recently released a new song, “Virgin Mary.” They know a good formula when they hear one, and “Virgin Mary” hasn’t strayed in terms of harsh guitar scratchings, synth bleeps and deep bass rumblings commonly found on their off-the-radar debut, “We Are Nots.”

Listen to “VIrgin Mary” via Stereogum. and at Soundcloud.

The 7-inch single, with B-side “Shelf Life,” is out June 23 on Goner Records.

If you’re craving a heavy dose of craziness and raw DIY flavor, then check out “We Are Nots”– one of the most original records of 2014.

Remaining Nots tour dates:

5/24 Santa Cruz, CA @ Crepe Place*
5/25 Oakland, CA @ 1-2-3-4 Go! Records$
5/26 Eureka, CA @ The Shanty*
5/28 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios*
5/29 Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern*
5/30 Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret*
6/1 Calgary, AB @ Palomino Social Club*
6/2 Missoula, MT @ Stage 112*
6/3 Salt Lake City, UT@ Urban Lounge*
6/5 Denver, CO @ Oriental Theater*
6/6 Lincoln, NE @ Vega*
6/8 Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar*
6/11 Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone*
6/20 Birmingham, AL @ Happenin Fest%
7/11 Columbus, OH @ 4th & 4th Fest

* w/ Quintron & Miss Pussycat
$ w/ Cold Beat
% w/ Black Lips


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Filed under DIY, Garage Punk, New Music, Noise Punk, Post-punk, Punk, Synth

Mas Ysa announces tour with Young Fathers, releases single “Look Up”

Today Mas Ysa released his single “Look Up” and detailed plans to open for England’s Young Fathers for their full U.S. tour. Mas Ysa’s delicate vocals match up perfectly with the positive vibe he employs through his synthpop/percussive sound.

After Mas Ysa’s “Worth” EP was released in February 2014, he stayed busy, touring with Delorean, EMA and Hundred Waters, as well as performed at SXSW, Pitchfork Music Fest, Primavera Sound, Hopscotch and more.

Stream “Look Up” here; Listen to “Look Up” on Soundcloud as well.

Mas Ysa

Mas Ysa

Dates with Young Fathers:

4/09/2015   Boston, MA at Great Scott

4/10/2015   Brooklyn, NY at Music Hall of Williamsburg

4/11/2015   Philadelphia, PA at Boot & Saddle

4/12/2015   Washington, DC at Rock and Roll Hotel

4/14/2015   Raleigh, NC at Kings

4/15/2015   Atlanta, GA at Masquerade

4/16/2015   New Orleans, LA at Republic

4/17/2015   Houston, TX at Fitzgeralds

4/18/2015   Dallas, TX at Trees

4/19/2015   Austin, TX at The Parish

4/21/2015   Phoenix, AZ at Pub Rock

4/22/2015   San Diego, CA at The Casbah

4/24/2015   Los Angeles, CA at The Echo

4/25/2015   San Francisco, CA at The Independent
4/29/2015   Portland, OR at Holocene

4/30/2015   Vancouver, BC at Fortune

5/01/2015   Victoria, BC at Distrikt

5/02/2015   Seattle, WA at Neumos

5/05/2015   Boise, ID at Neurolux

5/06/2015   Salt Lake City, UT at Urban Lounge

5/07/2015   Denver, CO at Larimer Lounge

5/08/2015   Lincoln, NE at Vega

5/09/2015   Minneapolis, MN at 7th Street Entry

5/10/2015   Chicago, IL at Lincoln Hall

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Filed under Synth, Synth pop