Tag: Night Club (Page 1 of 6)

The Electricity Club’s 30 SONGS OF 2020

Despite the worldwide pandemic crisis, the music industry did its best and soldiered on.

Many artists who had scheduled releases in 2020 went through with them, but other artists used the lockdown situation as creative tension and were particularly productive while stuck at home, to compensate for being unable to perform live shows.

Electronic music has always had an emotional link in particular with isolation and solitary working, so the advances in computerised recording technology meant that a number of musicians could function as before.

Worthy mentions for 2020 include AaRON, ASSEMBLAGE 23, COSAQUITOS EN GLOBO, DESIRE, DISCOVERY ZONE, FIAT LUX, JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS, GEISTE, NEW ORDER, NEW SPELL, PAGE, WITCH OF THE VALE, ZIMBRU and 808 DOT POP, while one of the most popular synthpop songs of the year was ‘Blinding Lights’ by THE WEEKND which actually slipped out almost under the radar at the back end of 2019.

A special acknowledgement also goes to ‘Future Shock’ by Marc Collin featuring Clara Luciani which came from his independently produced film ‘Le Choc Du Futur’, but only became more widely known when the fictional story of an aspiring female synth musician set in 1978 was released internationally on DVD this year.

But at the end of the day, only 30 songs could be selected as a snapshot of the calendar year. So here are The Electricity Club’s songs of 2020, presented as usual alphabetically by act with a restriction of one song per artist moniker.


TOBIAS BERNSTRUP Private Eye

Tobias Bernstrup is an electronic musician and performance artist from Gothenburg who combines sci-fi, performance art and gothic noir for a striking persona that has been exhibited at art galleries in Sweden. The club-friendly Italo flavoured ‘Private Eye’ looked at the surveillance society with hints of TRANS-X who Bernstrup collaborated with on a new version of his song ‘Videodrome’ in 2018. Already a veteran of several albums, a follow-up to his last long player ‘Technophobic’ is in the works.

Available on the digital single ‘Private Eye’ via Tonight Records

http://www.bernstrup.com/


BLANCMANGE Diagram

The ninth full length BLANCMANGE long player of new material since their return in 2011 with ‘Blanc Burn’, Neil Arthur’s dark ‘Mindset’ is only reflecting what many are thinking in these strange times. Thus strange pop music is just the tonic and the highlight of this collection was the marvellous KRAFTWERK meets FAITHLESS concoction of the mutant electronic disco of ‘Diagram’. In his sharp Northern lilt, our hero repeating himself like a preacher on how “I want transparency” only adds to the sinister dance.

Available on the album ‘Mindset’ is released by Blanc Check

http://www.blancmange.co.uk/


ALANAS CHOSNAU & MARK REEDER Heavy Rainfall

From ‘Children of Nature’, the excellent first album by Mark Reeder and Alanas Chosnau, ‘Heavy Rainfall’ was a song seemingly having an environmental reference but actually reflecting on the world’s increasingly disturbing political climate. Like a grooving NEW ORDER disco number with Reeder’s rhythm guitar syncopating off an exquisite range of electronic patterns while some spacey magic flies within the exquisite soundscape. Chosnau solemnly announces the storm warning, yet his message to hang on remains positive as light is seen at the end of the tunnel.

Available on the album ‘Children of Nature’ via https://markreeder.bandcamp.com/album/children-of-nature

https://alanaschosnau.com/

https://www.facebook.com/markreeder.mfs/


GARY DALY 80s Electro 2

‘Luna Landings’, the second solo offering from Gary Daly was the next best thing to a CHINA CRISIS instrumental album but then it sort of was, comprising of various demos and sketches that Daly originally recorded on his TEAC and Tascam Portastudios between 1981 to 1987. A highly enjoyable record that channelled a laid back demeanour to aid relaxation and escape, despite the age of the recordings, the air and hiss from the incumbent machinery added an endearingly earthy quality to proceedings. One of the highlights ‘80s Electro 2’ did exactly as the title suggested.

Available on the album ‘Luna Landings’ via https://www.musicglue.com/gary-daly/products/luna-landings-cd

https://www.instagram.com/garydalymusic/


DUBSTAR Hygiene Strip (2020)

Hygiene strips are now common place as reminders of social distancing, so a gesture of solidarity with fellow humans, DUBSTAR presented this poignant song at the height of the 2020 UK lockdown. Working with Stephen Hague and DUBSTAR who co-produced their hits ‘Not So Manic Now’ and ‘Stars’, the writing and recording was completed remotely. There was a forlorn presence in Sarah Blackwood’s vocal but also the subtle lifting air of PET SHOP BOYS to offer some hope in the haze of melancholy.

Available on the digital single ‘Hygiene Strip’ via Northern Writes

https://www.dubstarofficial.co/


ANI GLASS Ynys Araul (OMD Remix)

With her long-awaited debut album ‘Mirores’, ANI GLASS had the honour of being shortlisted for Welsh Music Prize. An observational electronic travelogue based around the idea of movement and progress in her hometown of Cardiff, one of the highlights was the Euro-disco of ‘Ynys Araul’. Rich in traditional melody with a lovely high vocal register while offering a pop sensibility and a wonderful triplet bassline, it was given a subtle remix by her one-time mentor Andy McCluskey who she had worked with as a Mk2 member of GENIE QUEEN.

Available on the digital single ‘Ynys Araul’ via  https://aniglass.bandcamp.com/album/ynys-araul

https://www.facebook.com/aniglasscymru/


GLÜME Come Softly To Me

From the Italians Do It Better stable, home to CHROMATICS and DESIRE, the mysterious but glamourous GLÜME offered this lovely eerie ‘Twin Peaks’ styled cover of ‘Come Softly To Me’. More chilling and metronomic than the almost acapella song written and made famous by THE FLEETWOODS in 1958, the original vocal hook was transferred to synth. Her version captured the innocence of forgotten yesterdays in the pursuit of today with its hypnotic arrangement and her lush but tragic Marilyn Monroe meets Julee Cruise delivery.

Available on the digital single ‘Come Softly To Me’ via Italians Do It Better

https://www.instagram.com/babyglume/


HILTIPOP Time

HILTIPOP might be a new name in electronic pop but the man behind it is something of a veteran. Magnus Johansson’s best known project internationally has been ALISON, but he began working on solo material and launched HILTIPOP with a triumphant early afternoon slot at Electronic Summer 2015. It would be 2018 before his first release ‘The Pattern’. Johansson’s sombre darker-tinged pop style fused is evident on ‘Time’, with a sample of SIMPLE MINDS ‘Theme For Great Cities’ thrown into a dynamic squelch fest.

Available on the digital EP ‘The Man’ via Hoyt Burton Records

https://soundcloud.com/sem-hilti-johansson


INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP The Tower

After an excellent self-titled debut album, INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP brought more of their danceable synthy togetherness to home discos with ‘Pop Gossip’. With a sardonic twist and perhaps referring to the soap opera that is the status of HRH Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, the brilliantly uptempo album closer ‘The Tower’ amusingly imagines Queen Elizabeth II telling her Beefeaters to “Take them to The Tower, it’s a beautiful day, take them away!” like a future scene from series 8 of ‘The Crown’!

Available on the album ‘Pop Gossip’ via Desolate Spools

https://www.facebook.com/internationalteachersofpop/


KID MOXIE Big In Japan

Unwittingly reflecting the pandemic crisis, KID MOXIE composed the soundtrack to a film ‘Not To Be Unpleasant, But We Need to Have a Serious Talk’. The plot centred around a womanizer who finds out he is a carrier of a sexually transmitted virus, lethal only to women! She said of ‘Big In Japan’: “It didn’t feel right to necessarily use drums because I did want to take a departure from the ALPHAVILLE original. There was already a strong rhythm element with the synth bass and it takes it to a different place by having a woman sing it.”

Available on the album ‘Not to Be Unpleasant, But We Need to Have a Serious Talk’ via Lakeshore Records

http://www.facebook.com/kidmoxie


KITE Teenage Bliss

Exploring the innocence of ‘Teenage Bliss’, the most recent singular offering from KITE was co-produced by Benjamin John Power, best known as Scared Bones artist BLANCK MASS. The dynamic uptempo combination was wonderfully hymn-like, with Stenemo telling his congregation that “Teenage bliss, there ain’t no consequences in your life and you don’t know what tragedy is” before the bittersweet revelation that “In the end, no-one wins!” as “life is not like your first kiss…”

Available on the digital single ‘Teenage Bliss’ via Astronaut Recordings

https://www.facebook.com/KiteHQ


LASTLINGS Held Under

Recalling melodic 21st Century dance-friendly acts like San Francisco’s ANDAIN, LASTLINGS are a Japanese Australian sibling duo comprising of Amy and Josh Dowdle whose debut album title ‘First Contact’ was a reference to the thrill and despair of notable life milestones like first love and first heartbreak. Capturing the anxiety of growing up and the unknown of adult independence, the ethereal electronic drama of ‘Held Under’ was one of its highlights, using subtle house influences while maximising a hauntingly treated layers of female voice.

Available on the album ‘First Contact’ via Rose Avenue Records

http://www.lastlings.com/


LINEA ASPERA Event Horizon

LINEA ASPERA released their self-titled debut album in 2012. A collection of dark but danceable electronic pop, before any new listeners had an opportunity to discover and savour them, the duo had already disbanded in 2013. The duo reunited in 2019 and on the superb ‘Event Horizon’, the cutting synthesized hooks, disco drum box rhythms and supreme vocals confirmed how LINEA ASPERA have become such a highly rated and beloved duo and why their magnificent melodic melancholy had been so missed over the past few years.

Available on the album ‘LP II’ from https://lineaaspera.bandcamp.com/album/linea-aspera-lp-ii

https://www.facebook.com/lineaaspera


NIGHT CLUB Die In The Disco

In a typically NIGHT CLUB twist, the duo found their perfect co-conspirator in former SKINNY PUPPY member Dave “Rave” Ogilvie who mixed Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2011 worldwide smash hit ‘Call Me Maybe’. ‘Die In The Disco’ set the ‘Die Die Lullaby’ album off with a slice of throbbing HI-NRG disco, donning its hat to Giorgio Moroder and Bobby Orlando before asking to “take me to a place I can dance” and an unsettling ghostly pitch-shifted voice exclaims that ”This is my party and I will die if I want to…”

Available on the album ‘Die Die Lullaby’ via Gato Blanco

https://nightclubband.com/


NINA Where It Ends

Much has changed for NINA. First the German songstress made some life changes and moved back to Berlin just as the world went into lockdown. ‘Runaway’ from this year’s ‘Synthian’ album declared she “searching for a way out”. So it was only natural that any new material would be influenced by the uncertainty and sombre realities of what was happening around her. The self-explanatory ‘Where It Ends’ made something of a sombre statement with the introspective tones of DE/VISION in building towards a steadfast gothic schwing and penetrating synth solo.

Available on the digital EP ‘Control’ via Lakeshore Records

https://www.iloveninamusic.com/


PET SHOP BOYS Will-O-The-Wisp

A ghostly light seen by travellers at night that refers to ignis fatuus or “foolish fire”, the astute intelligence of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe saw Medieval folk mythology referenced for ‘Will-O-The-Wisp, a fabulous PET SHOP BOYS dance tune with catchy hooks and a dry monologue. From the third of a trilogy of long players produced by Stuart Price and recorded in Berlin’s renowned Hansa Studios, the duo’s fourteen album ‘Hotspot’ maintained the duo’s position as exemplary English songsmiths.

Available on the album ‘Hotspot’ via x2 Recordings

http://www.petshopboys.co.uk/


PISTON DAMP Something in Me

PISTON DAMP are a new electronic pop duo based in Norway comprising of Jonas Groth and Truls Sønsterud. ‘Something In Me’ is what APOPTYGMA BERZERK or AESTHETIC PERFECTION would sound like if they were in full synthpop mode. Catchy, bubbly, melodic and rhythmic with an emotively spirited vocal, when Jonas Groth hits falsetto, it provides a most gloriously optimistic lift that is reminiscent of APOP’s more immediate work, perhaps unsurprisingly given that he is part of their live line-up in support of his brother Stephan.

Available on the digital single ‘Something In Me’ via Sub Culture Records

https://www.pistondamp.com/


DANA JEAN PHOENIX & POWERNERD Fight These Robots

Recording a collaborative album with Austria’s POWERNERD, the joyous result ‘Megawave’ was Canadian synth starlet Dean Jean Phoenix’s most sonically consistent body of work yet, reflecting her powerhouse stage persona in recorded form fully for the first time. A fun and dynamic collection, the album’s highlight ‘Fight These Robots’ was a classic funky Sci-Fi number with a dose of girly cheekiness and a reflection of a childhood watching ‘Transformers’ cartoons.

Available on the album ‘Megawave’ via Outland Recordings

http://www.facebook.com/danajeanphoenix

https://www.facebook.com/powernerdmusic


POLYCHROME Starts With A Kiss

Having described themselves as “Slacker synth-wave refuseniks”, POLYCHROME and their brand of filmic dreamwave as showcased on their self-titled 2018 debut album found favour with TV producers and advertising agencies around the world, particularly ‘Final Kiss’. Continuing the kissing theme, their recorded return Starts With A Kiss’ featured an unexpected but fitting guitar solo from Bjorn Agren of RAZORLIGHT but made extra special by the dreamy voice of Vicky Harrison who said “we’d finished with a kiss, so now wanted to start with one”.

Available on the digital single ‘Starts With A Kiss’ via Outland Recordings

http://soundofpolychrome.com/


FINLAY SHAKESPEARE Occupation

For Bristol-based Finlay Shakespeare, his interest in synths came from his parents’ record collection, with music from the likes of KRAFTWERK, THE HUMAN LEAGUE and JAPAN. His second album ‘Solemnities’ was a more focussed progression from his debut ‘Domestic Economy’, making the most of a crystal clear modular synth sound coupled to his claustrophobic anxious vocals. The superb ‘Occupation’ was a metronomic squelch fest about social injustice with our hero conducting a raucous avant noise experiment in song with penetrating noise percussion and icy string machines.

Available on the album ‘Solemnities’ via Editions Mego

http://finlayshakespeare.com/


EMILIE SIMON Cette Ombre

With her arty but catchy electronic pop, Emilie Simon studied at the Sorbonne and her only release primarily English release was ‘The Big Machine’ in 2009. Using Martian invaders as a metaphor to the world pandemic, she felt the need to express her feelings on the ‘Mars on Earth 2020’ EP. The best track from it was the powerful ‘Cette Ombre (This Shadow)’ on which she summised “Planet Earth is under attack. Faced with an unknown invader, humanity is experiencing an unprecedented shift. What will remain of it?”

Available on the digital EP ‘Mars On Earth 2020’ via Vegetal

http://www.emiliesimon.com/


THE SMASHING PUMKINS Cyr

Now adding a “THE” to prefix their name, SMASHING PUMPKINS surprised many with a splendid synth friendly single entitled ‘Cyr’. With hooks very reminiscent of ‘Enjoy The Silence’, Billy Corgan & Co went synthpop with much of the track being of an electronic bent, particularly the synthetic bass. Not only that but ‘Cyr’ was also quite catchy in an almost DURAN DURAN vein! It was magnificent surprise that only highlighted the hopelessness of the more recent material from DEPECHE MODE.

Available on the album ‘Cyr’ via Sumerian Records / Warner Music Group

https://smashingpumpkins.com/


SNS SENSATION Small World

If there was a song that captures the claustrophobic solitude of lockdown isolation, then it was the appropriately titled ‘Small World’ by SNS SENSATION, the new musical vehicle of Sebastian Muravchik, best known as the charismatic front man of HEARTBREAK. A song about self-isolation during the pandemic crisis, ‘Small World’ was a throbbing electronic number with icy rhythms, marrying the elegance of minimal synth with the melodic presence of Italo disco, reminiscent of VISAGE’s ‘I’m Still Searching’ and PET SHOP BOYS ‘Miserabilsm’.

Available on the download single ‘Small World’ via https://wearesns.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/wearesns/


SPARKS One For The Ages

Less than three years after ‘Hippopotamus’, SPARKS offered ‘A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip’. As idiosyncratic as ever, if there was a key track, then it was the glorious ‘One For The Ages’; with a narrative about craving artistic longevity, the lines “As I write my tome every single night, my eyes show the strain of computer light but I’m pressing on” captured the lot of the creative mind. Already very synthy, the Mael Brothers probably could have made it even synthier!

Available on the album ‘A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip’ via BMG

http://allsparks.com/


ZACHERY ALLAN STARKEY featuring BERNARD SUMNER Force

With two albums ‘DIY’ and ‘Hard Power’ already under his belt, since opening for NEW ORDER on the ‘Music Complete’ tour in 2016, Zachery Allan Starkey has been working hard on observational concept album ‘Fear City’. ‘Force’ was a powerful collaboration with Bernard Sumner featuring his signature Italo-influenced sequencing style. Starkey’s impassioned authentic vocals were a rallying call to the people with the daunting prospect of Donald Trump being re-elected on the horizon. Thankfully, the message on jointly produced track was heeded.

Available on the album ‘Fear City’ via https://zasmusic.bandcamp.com/album/fear-city-album

https://www.zacheryallanstarkey.com/


ULTRAFLEX Olympic Sweat

ULTRAFLEX are a new Norwegian Icelandic duo based in Berlin who describe themselves as “The new teen sensation” with an interest in Soviet disco, athleisure and weirdo boogie. However, Kari Jahnsen and Katrín Helga Andrésdóttir are perhaps better known by their solo monikers FARAO and SPECIAL-K respectively. ‘Olympic Sweat’ was uplifting disco lento with an organic heart, a pretty tune with an expansive sweeping resonance that was reminiscent of SIN COS TAN, PET SHOP BOYS and NEW ORDER, but with a feminine twist.

Available on the album ‘Visions Of Ultraflex’ via Street Pulse Records

https://www.facebook.com/ultraflexband


UNIFY SEPARATE Solitude & I

If there was a musical duo who visually symbolise the dystopian paranoia of the world pandemic crisis, then it is UNIFY SEPARATE, formally known as US. ‘Solitude & I’ was a natural progression of the material on ‘First Contact’ with Andrew Montgomery not letting up with his Jeff Buckley inspired vocal delivery, reflecting the isolation and uncertain future many are currently feeling as “There’s nobody out there, no-one but you and I”. Anthemic, uplifting and optimistic, it was a message to all about never giving up on your dreams.

Available on the digital single ‘Solitude & I’ via https://unifyseparate.bandcamp.com/

http://www.unifyseparate.com


VANDAL MOON Suicidal City Girl

Capturing a dystopian outlook on life with an appealing electronic sensibility, ‘Black Kiss’ was the best VANDAL MOON album yet. With a sound seeded from post-punk, goth and new wave, they are shaped as much by their use of drum machines and synthesizers as much as guitars and the inevitable deep baritone vocals. The superb electro-gothic aesthetics of ‘Suicidal City Girl’ recalled the enthralling tension of THE DANSE SOCIETY and a highlight of a record with many highlights.

Available on the album ‘Black Kiss’ via Starfield Music

https://www.vandalmoon.com/


MARVA VON THEO Forever

On ‘Forever’, Greek dark synth songstress Marva Von Theo channelled the frantic tone of ‘River In Me’, the Anders Trentemøller’s collaboration with Jenny Vee of SAVAGES, into a great atmospheric art pop statement on redemption and eternity. A track from her upcoming second album ‘Afterglow’, with determined vocals and punchy beats, ‘Forever’ demonstrated, along with its singular follow-up ‘Ruins’, a significant artistic progression since her promising but unfulfilled debut long player ‘Dream Within A Dream’.

Available on the digital single ‘Forever’ via Marva Von Theo

https://marvavontheo.com


WHITE DOOR Resurrection

Melodic synth trio WHITE DOOR released their only album ‘Windows’ in 1983 but despite BBC Radio1 airplay, were unable to gain wider traction. WHITE DOOR gained cult status and one young fan was Swedish synthesist Johan Baeckström who joined the band for their return. Acknowledging the theme of ’Get Carter’ but with a more brassy flair, ’Resurrection’ surprised with a bouncy Moroder-inspired stomp while Mac Austin managed to sound like a cross between Morten Harket and Chris De Burgh around some beautifully symphonic synth.

Available on the album ‘The Great Awakening’ via Progress Productions

https://www.facebook.com/whitedoorband/


A broader selection of music from the year is gathered in The Electricity Club’s 2020 Vision playlist at https://open.spotify.com/playlist/75LrsXIgakcoP03WYtDsLZ


Text by Chi Ming Lai
12th December 2020

NIGHT CLUB Discuss Their Existential Dread

Having reflected on the ‘Scary World’ of 2018, LA based synth rock couple NIGHT CLUB go on the attack in 2020 with their excellent third album ‘Die Die Lullaby’.

Reflecting the times the world is living in, the duo of Emily Kavanaugh and Mark Brooks have delivered a record that captures the introspection and paranoia of 2020.

‘Die Die Lullaby’ will be one of those documents that commentators and historians will look back on in a few years when researching the uncomfortable and anxious emotions of the corona crisis.

For NIGHT CLUB, there has been frustration as they were travelling on an upward trajectory having opened for alternative rock supergroup A PERFECT CIRCLE in 2018 before embarking on their own headlining jaunt the following year.

Front woman Emily Kavanaugh talked to The Electricity Club on behalf of NIGHT CLUB about their existential dread and riding the ‘Misery Go Round’…

As quoted from the closing track ‘Civil War’, ‘Die Die Lullaby’ is 35 minutes of “Existential dread”, so how and when did making the album begin in earnest?

We started writing songs for this album at the end of 2018. It takes us a long time to write and record an album and this one was the hardest yet. How do we grow from ‘Requiem’ and ‘Scary World’ sonically while also delving deeper into ourselves lyrically? We think / hope we succeeded in that.

You’d more or less come back from touring with A PERFECT CIRCLE and then a run of your own headlining North American shows. How had the response been?

It’s not easy to be the opener for such a beloved band in arenas (we’re only two people on stage after all) but we think we did pretty well and we’ve noticed a definite uptick in awareness in the band since then. Our headlining tour though this past Fall 2019 was by far our favorite tour yet. Gruelling but so incredibly rewarding.

We were gearing up to do another one this year – it was all booked and ready to go. But obviously Covid had other plans for us…

How was the comedown when you got home? Did your experiences naturally shape the sound of the album?

After we got off of tour with A PERFECT CIRCLE in 2018, we started writing songs for this record. A series of deaths happened at that time: our friend Jon Schnepp, Mark’s father and one of our pets. So that doom and gloom just kind of naturally permeated its way onto the record.

‘Die in The Disco’ lyrically was inspired by all of that darkness, and that was one of the first songs we ended up writing. It’s about just wanting to escape all the bad shit happening around us, but in true NIGHT CLUB fashion, making it an upbeat dance song. ‘California Killed Me’ and ‘Miss Negativity’ came next, which were definitely more autobiographical and introspective. Then 2020 rolled around: the coronavirus, quarantine and civil unrest all influenced the new songs we were writing like ‘Gossip’, ‘Misery Go Round’ and ‘The Creepshow’.

We met Courtney Taylor from THE DANDY WARHOLS in Portland during our headlining tour when he came out to our show at the Star Theater. And I remember a piece of advice he gave us was to write a song we could perform in the middle of our set that would allow us to slow down and just connect with the audience. Not a heavy song, no dancing, just an intense kind of personal moment; something ala DURAN DURAN’s ‘The Chauffeur’; and when we ended up writing ‘Civil War’, we were like… this is it!

Did you find yourselves ideally suited to working in isolation during lockdown?

Yeah, by the time the lockdown came around, we just buried our heads into finishing the album. It was such a strange but productive time. We’re used to just working together on a record, the two of us, so it was business as usual.

The Electricity Club had used the “Britney Spears fronting NINE INCH NAILS” tagline a few years ago and it now seems to have stuck. But for ‘Die Die Lullaby’, you mixed the album with Dave “Rave” Ogilvie from SKINNY PUPPY member who also mixed NIN, Marilyn Manson and most importantly Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’, so that’s a rather perfect combination?

Yeah, we became friends with Rave several years ago when we discovered that he was digging the stuff we were making. We’re big fans of all of the stuff that he’s been involved with, so we always thought that we would work together in some way. Also, he’s one of the few people that equally loves dark underground electronics along with mainstream pop. It seemed like a no brainer that we should work together, and we’re so happy with the result.

While ‘Die Die Lullaby’ is still lyrically a heavy album, compared with ‘Requiem For Romance’ and ‘Scary World’, the more synthetic metal elements that were characteristic of those two records appear to be more restrained this time. Was that something you consciously aimed for during recording or did it come about at the mixing stage?

Not really. We try to always expand our sound and keep pushing the boundaries of what we do. We want the records to sound like us but be the next, more mature version of us. We never try to limit ourselves when we start writing; we just let it go where it wants to go.

‘Die In The Disco’ comes over as a rather wonderful homage to Giorgio Moroder and Bobby Orlando?

Yeah, that’s awesome that you think so. We’re both big fans of Moroder but also fans of so many genres of music. We view everything as an influence.

The deep pitch shifted vocals are used on ‘Die In The Disco’, ‘Sad Boy’ and on a number of other tracks, it is wonderfully creepy and suits NIGHT CLUB to a tee…

That’s one thing that we’ve been doing for years that we always love to incorporate. It gives the songs a little more texture and variance. It’s like having another singer in the band.

You introduced Indian sub-continent flavours on ‘My Valentine’, how had this come about?

When we started writing the melodies, it just naturally lent itself to Indian instrumentation using the sitar, tambora, and tablas. So we thought that would be a cool addition to the “NIGHT CLUB” sound.

With ‘Miss Negativity’, was that a narrative or autobiographical? If Britney sung it, it would be a huge hit!

100% autobiographical. When you’re told you have a black cloud over your head “x” amount of times, the only natural thing to do is write a song about it. Lemons into lemonade!

Could ‘Gossip’ be a metaphor for fake news?

Absolutely. Basically that is what’s happening everywhere. Instead of actually learning the facts about something, people just repeat the rumors they hear. And that goes for music scenes and politics.

Is it healthy to keep riding the ‘Misery Go Round’?

No, it’s probably not but it’s an addictive cycle isn’t it? And that’s what the song is about: why do you keep doing something that makes you feel bad? Why are we obsessed with things that aren’t good for us?

On ‘The Creepshow’, you sing of “a broken lullaby” that “you sing until you die!”…

We wrote this a few months into quarantine. LA was in the middle of lockdown, civil unrest and the air was filled with smoke from the forests burning around us. The song was entrenched in the thought of everything crumbling around you and wanting to escape.

‘California Killed Me’ is classic NIGHT CLUB and within this intensity is a mighty chorus and a simple but effective synth solo, how do you feel about living in LA these days?

LA is without a doubt one of our biggest songwriting “muses”. It’s a recurring character in our songs as it’s (for many reasons) one of the darkest places in the world. You have TikTok influencers making millions a year, and then thousands of mentally ill or jobless people on the streets struggling to survive with nobody taking care of them. You have new friends one minute, no friends the next. It’s endless inspiration for creating art, you just have to try and keep your head above water before it sucks you under.

The notion of a ‘Civil War’ is quite an apt observation in US Presidential Election Year although it is more personal and you talk of how “I’ve become someone I hate” and “say it will be over soon”?

Yeah, so I get these really bad migraine headaches; usually after we play live shows. They’re awful. So originally I wanted to write a song inspired by these headaches I get and how debilitating they are, and how they only seem to cruelly occur after doing something I love, which in turn makes me anxious and scared to do the thing I love (performing) for fear of getting one of these migraines afterwards.

Anyway I started writing the lyrics about having a headache- “I can’t take the pounding in my head”; but then I guess I sort of drifted off and made it about myself and my own self-loathing. And it just sort of took a more natural introspective turn lyrically. Almost like a stream of consciousness style of writing.

It just became bigger than what I originally intended, more of an existential crisis in your brain brought on by something minor like a headache. Just spiralling down and down. Mark decided ‘Civil War’ would be an apt title for it, as it’s essentially a war with myself. But yes, also taking into account the civil unrest within our own society.

Have you any particular favourites from ‘Die Die Lullaby’ and how as a whole does it compare with your previous work?

Maybe ‘Miss Negativity’ and ‘Gossip’? But honestly, we’re proud of every song on this record for different reasons. This was the album we needed to make right now and we’re happy with how it’s been received so far.

We always aspire to great songwriting bands like DEPECHE MODE where every song is good on the record. No fillers, no skips. That’s our ultimate goal: to do that every time.

It’s an uncertain world out there now, but what are your hopes (and fears) for the future?

All of our fears are already baked into the songs on this album, but hopefully one day we’ll actually be able to play them live.


The Electricity Club gives its sincerest thanks to NIGHT CLUB

‘Die Die Lullaby’ is released by Gato Blanco as a CD, purple vinyl LP and download, available direct from http://nightclubband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nightclubband

https://twitter.com/nightclubband

https://www.instagram.com/nightclubband/

https://soundcloud.com/nightclubband


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
7th November 2020

NIGHT CLUB Die Die Lullaby

From the ‘Scary World’ of 2018 to the ‘Die Die Lullaby’ of 2020, LA based duo NIGHT CLUB have put their enforced confinement in lockdown to good use and channelled their angst to produce a wonderful 35 minutes of existential dread.

Emily Kavanaugh and Mark Brooks opened their account in 2012 with a self-titled EP. The second EP ‘Love Casualty’ included their first universally great song in ‘Poisonous’. But it was their excellent third EP ‘Black Leather Heart’ in 2014 that managed to truly harness the potential of their Britney Spears meets NINE INCH NAILS template across five tracks.

Their debut full-length album ‘Requiem For Romance’ turned up their love of heavy rock to 11 but they cleverly achieved it without the use of guitars or live drums, confusion some but delighting others.

‘Scary World’ was an extension of that sound but while ‘Die Die Lullaby’ is undoubtedly a refinement of its predecessors, like with Gary Numan’s ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’, the more metal elements have been turned down and in its place is a more vulnerable demeanour that emotively is no-less weighty in its attacks and observations.

Sonically, the album contains a typically NIGHT CLUB twist. Co-mixing with Brooks is Dave Rave Ogilvie, a former member of SKINNY PUPPY known for his work with NINE INCH NAILS and Marilyn Manson. But crucially, he also mixed Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2011 worldwide smash hit ‘Call Me Maybe’ so for ‘Die Die Lullaby’, NIGHT CLUB have found their perfect co-conspirator .

As they begin to ‘Go to Sleep’, ‘Die In The Disco’ sets the album off proper with a slice of throbbing HI-NRG disco, donning its hat to Giorgio Moroder and Bobby Orlando with Kavanaugh asking to “take me to a place I can dance” before a haunting request for life termination. And when an unsettling ghostly pitch-shifted voice exclaims that ”This is my party and I will die if I want to”, that die is cast.

Following on, ‘Sad Boy’ is classic NIGHT CLUB, up there with their best but more old school Goth than metal with hooks galore. ‘My Valentine’ though is heavier and here, the Kavanaugh / Brooks / Ogilvie combination achieves a fine balance of edge and pop while throwing in a few exotic flavours too.

Trapped in her own personal hell and under the spectre of IAMX’s ‘Spit It Out’, ‘Miss Negativity’ sees Kavanaugh capturing the zeitgeist, singing that “No, I don’t want to go out cos I won’t have any fun, I am sick and infected with pure pessimism…”

On ‘Gossip’, Kavanaugh tells someone to shut their dirty mouth as a chilling horror movie Theremin announces its presence. ‘Misery Go Round’ though will surprise some with its sparse but effective verse structure that gets overturned with a chorus pitch shift and vocoder ending while our heroine tells everyone that “I don’t feel so good right now”.

The haunting music box on ‘The Creepshow’ will remind some of Numan’s ‘It Will End Here’ and that’s not a bad thing, while ‘California Killed Me’ captures Kavanaugh in a cage of anxiety because ”I feel like crying” as “I’ve nowhere to run”. However, mated to all of this intensity is a mighty chorus and synth solo.

Closing with ‘Civil War’, Kavanaugh channels her existential dread, unhappy that “I’ve become someone I hate” as she battles her demons because she “can’t escape the pain in the war inside my brain”.

A slice of dark DEPECHE MODE tinged pop that says “it will be over soon”, the words are worrying but on point, echoing how many feel in this strange world that was already becoming irrational and self-destructive even before the Covid crisis.

‘Die Die Lullaby’ sees the NIGHT CLUB motto of “Keep your friends close and your enemies in your songs” being maintained, but pragmatically looks within the psyche too.

Reflecting the times the world is living in, this is uncomfortable but enjoyably cathartic. When commentators and historians look back in a few years for an audio document that captures the introspection and paranoia of 2020, then they will need to look no further than ‘Die Die Lullaby’.


‘Die Die Lullaby’ is released by Gato Blanco on 9th October 2020 as a CD, purple vinyl LP and download, pre-order from http://nightclubband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nightclubband

https://twitter.com/nightclubband

https://www.instagram.com/nightclubband/

https://soundcloud.com/nightclubband


Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th October 2020

NIGHT CLUB Miss Negativity

Don’t watch that, watch this… this is the heavy heavy sound of NIGHT CLUB!

While Emily Kavanaugh’s voice may playfully echo that of Britney Spears, lyrically she comes over like a vengeful angel of doom. Meanwhile, Mark Brooks’ exploration of rock and metal using only synthesizers gives NIGHT CLUB their rather unique sound as they resist pressure to use drummers and guitars.

Having reflected on the ‘Scary World’ of 2018, the duo of Emily Kavanaugh and Mark Brooks go on the attack in 2020 with their new album ‘Die Die Lullaby’.

With song titles like ‘Die In The Disco’, ‘Misery Go Round’, ‘California Killed Me’ and ‘Civil War’, the NIGHT CLUB motto of “Keep your friends close and your enemies in your songs” is undoubtedly being maintained.

But in a slight twist, the superb first single ‘Miss Negativity’ returns to the uptempo danceable synthpop of their third EP ‘Black Leather Heart’ despite its dark austere. Poignantly capturing the zeitgeist, Kavanaugh sings: “No, I don’t want to go out cos I won’t have any fun, I am sick and infected with pure pessimism…”

NIGHT CLUB describe the video to ‘Miss Negativity’ as being “trapped in your own personal hell. Struggling to find positivity in a world gone wrong” and when Kavanaugh is creepily pitched shifted to announce “Who’s gonna save me from myself? I’m no good for my health, I’m cryin’ out for help, I’m beggin’ you”, she is eerily covered in blood in a flaming homage to ‘Carrie’…

Opening for alternative rock supergroup A PERFECT CIRCLE for their 2018 North American arena tour and significantly expanding their audience, NIGHT CLUB were able to embark on their own headlining jaunt the following year.

On the cusp of a wider breakthrough, NIGHT CLUB have been riding on an upward momentum since they were commissioned to provide the soundtrack to the Comedy Central animated series ‘Moonbeam City’ starring the voice of Rob Lowe in 2017. Their track ‘Cruel Devotion’ from ‘Black Leather Heart’ also appeared on ‘The Electricity Club’ compilation alongside the likes of ERASURE, OMD, SIN COS TAN, MESH, MARSHEAUX and VILE ELECTRODES.


‘Miss Negativity’ is from the new album ‘Die Die Lullaby’ released by Gato Blanco on 9th October 2020 as a CD, purple vinyl LP and download, pre-order direct from http://nightclubband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nightclubband

https://twitter.com/nightclubband

https://www.instagram.com/nightclubband/

https://soundcloud.com/nightclubband


Text by Chi Ming Lai
29th August 2020

KANGA Eternal Daughter

With the mix of the airy feel of MARSHEAUX and darker connotations of ZOLA JESUS, California based KANGA is no stranger to insidious sounds, having worked on the music for horror movies such as ‘Nightmare’, ‘The Devils Carnival II’, ‘Insidious III’, and ‘The Conjuring II’.

Kanga Duchamp creates an unforgettable symbiosis of hard and ethereal, wrapped in electronic soundscapes of Los Angeles. She likes mixing pop into her darker electro roots, not because pop sells but because the good hooks make a good song.

Her 2016 self-titled album, featuring SKINNY PUPPY guitarist Matthew Setzer and mixed by Rhys Fulber of FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, created a buzz that continues to fuel the energy pushing the Santa Ana artist out into the open with her new mini album ‘Eternal Daughter’.

As all good things come in small packages, and EPs as well as mini albums seem to capture the listeners’ attention more readily, KANGA decided to release a bite size provision, full of punchy tunes, which are leading her all the way to the Numan support slots.

‘Burn’ doesn’t disappoint from the onset, weaving in the elements of vintage LADYTRON alongside layered vocals a la Greek goddesses MARSHEAUX. All that wrapped around gritty synth, melodic hooks and a fast paced musicality.

None of that stops, with the Persian inspired sounds of ‘Daughter’. Here the bass is heavy, with cinematic progressions and very cleverly inserted metallic elements. The outcome is rather Numan-esque but somehow fresher and readier.

‘Run’ resembles the achievements of KANGA’s LA colleagues NIGHT CLUB, with the vocal similar of that of Emily Kavanaugh’s while ‘Cocaine’ fuels the electronic fire further with inspiration from the artist she often mentions in interviews and clearly takes a lot of musical advice from, NINE INCH NAILS. Their sound magician has clearly had a massive impact of KANGA’s musical direction, with many describing her as a “female Trent Reznor”.

The closing ‘Control’ is a coagulation of rough and ready eclectic mix of sounds, punctuated by melodic inserts, driven vocals and immediate femininity, bursting with energy and wielding the power of objectification.

With total musical freedom and steering clear from constricting pigeon holes, KANGA’s style is difficult to classify; it is supposed to be a darker electronica with popular music elements, but the outcome is so much more than that. She’s contemporary, unconventional and current, without being too quirky and audience limiting, self-indulgent to the point of becoming too niche.

KANGA is your new mainstream alternative and simply superb.


‘Eternal Daughter’ is available as a digital mini-album direct from https://kanga.bandcamp.com/

KANGA opens for GARY NUMAN on his (R)Evolution 40th Anniversary UK tour, further details can be found at https://garynuman.com/tours2/

https://www.facebook.com/kangakullt/

https://twitter.com/KANGAkult

https://www.instagram.com/k.a.n.g.a/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
10th September 2019

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