Category: Introducing (Page 2 of 24)

Introducing LEAGUE OF LIGHTS

Although LEAGUE OF LIGHTS are already veterans of two albums, the heavy rock band sound of their 2011 self-titled debut is not an indicator of where they are today.

The nucleus of vocalist Farrah West and keyboard player Richard West reconvened as a duo for 2019’s ‘In The In Between’ long player which showed more restraint on the rockier elements of their debut and made room for electronics, piano ballads and cinematic soundscapes.

For their new album ‘Dreamers Don’t Come Down’, LEAGUE OF LIGHTS have revealed a love for JOHN FOXX and LADYTRON while developing a pop sound akin to an artier DRAGONETTE. Recorded during lockdown, its more keyboard oriented approach looks to the synth pioneers of the past by limiting the pallet of sounds available in production and allowing the vocals room to shine.

Premiering this more focussed and accomplished direction is ‘Modern Living’, a slice of enjoyable goth disco that comes over like THE SMASHING PUMPKINS recent single ‘Cyr’ meeting ‘Hello’, DRAGONETTE’s 2010 collaboration with Martin Solveig. It comes accompanied by an anime video edited together from the romantic fantasies ‘Your Name’ (Kimi No Na Wa) and ‘Weathering With You (Tenki No Ko)’, both directed by Makoto Shinkai.

Cut from not an entirely dissimilar cloth to ‘Modern Living’, the spritely uptempo ‘Persephone’ exhibits crossover potential with an uplifting chorus; looking for “a light at the end of the tunnel”, ‘The Boys Of Summer’ and ‘Blinding Lights’ can be traced within its blueprint.

With great keyboard lines, ‘The Collector’ is more sombre in its verse but offers hope in the face of adversity, reflecting the mission statement of the parent album’s title, while the more guitar-assisted ‘Ghosts’ is a close relative.

Reflecting on the self-produced ‘Dreamers Don’t Come Down’, Farrah said: “it is about the past, the present and the future; about taking the best from all that you have been through, the pressures of modern life and keeping your dreams alive in dark times.”


‘Dreamers Don’t Come Down’ is released on 12th March 2021 in CD and digital formats by Eightspace Records with a vinyl LP out on 23rd April 2021 via Plane Groovy

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Text by Chi Ming Lai
10th February 2021

Introducing LAURA DRE

Laura Dre may be a new name in synth but she is a seasoned musician and producer with years of experience playing live and working in the studio, completing a degree in Music Production at BIMM along the way.

Having fronted feisty electro-rock combo VINYL BLACK STILETTOS whose second EP ‘Electrical’ was produced by PET SHOP BOYS programmer and engineer Pete Gleadall while also making instrumental music as JADZIADX, the solo work of Laura Dre showcases a fascination for yesterday’s tomorrow.

One of her little projects outside of music has been to build a 1/8th scale model kit of a DeLorean in its ‘Back To The Future’ variant, complete with flux capacitor!

The German-Filipino songstress told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK: “I’d set my time machine to 27.06.1987 – because of the following release dates: ‘Blue Monday’ 1983, ‘Self Control’ 1984, ‘Living In A Box’ 1987 – I would love to experience the 80s club scene with my favourite songs.”

She also owns a 1987 Casio DG20 Guitar Synthesizer to go with her Universal Audio Apollo Twin interface and Behringer X Touch One controller set-up. Having signed a deal with Outland Recordings, Laura Dre opened her account with a moody nocturnal cover of ‘Strangelove’.

I think it’s an interesting choice because there was some good musical complexity in the song, and lyrically it also aligns well with my album theme which is about ‘unrequited love’” she said as she reflected on the 1987 DEPECHE MODE song, “I rarely do covers but if I do one, I want to have something challenging and make things ‘my own’. Meaning if it’s a fast paced pop track, then I might turn it into a slower electronic version and add my own flavour to the piece, giving it my signature sound.”

Her first single proper though is the dreamy ‘Moving Spaces’, a fine showcase for her deeper contralto vocal style influenced by Shirley Manson, PJ Harvey and Alison Goldfrapp. Texturally and structurally, the glistening song takes its lead from classic electronic pop. The accompanying lyric video produced by Outland themselves uses footage from the computer game ‘Leisure Suit Larry III’.

Laura Dre added: “All my musical pieces encompass synthesizers in some shape or form, the only difference this time is the style. This year I experimented with making 80s music and without realising it, I was creating some kind synth music that my friends would classify as a ‘mix of synthpop / synthwave anthems’. They then introduced me to synthwave music which was interesting.”

But there is more to come from this most promising of European synth songstresses. Already in the can, ‘All Day, All Night’ is a discowave tune with great crossover potential; drenched in sparkle and a delicious rhythmic base, it’s one for fans of early PET SHOP BOYS.

It all bodes well for her debut album produced by Robert Harder who worked on David Byrne & Brian Eno’s acclaimed 2008 second album ‘Everything That Happens Will Happen Today’; he also produced the 2012 Neneh Cherry long player ‘The Cherry Thing’.

There are the ubiquitous ‘Blade Runner’ references, but that rainy dystopian air is also countered at regular intervals by an enigmatic allure and a mischievously wired dancefloor friendly groove.


‘Moving Spaces’ is released as a digital single on 22nd January 2021, pre-save at https://hypeddit.com/link/gzw0y3 or pre-order from https://lauradre.bandcamp.com/

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Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Wiebke Kreinick
13th January 2021

Introducing IŻOL

Poland is not normally on par with the European electronica, however acts like ZAMILSKA managed to break the cycle and establish themselves outside the heart shaped Central European nation.

That said, the country has always been massively into synth music, with enormous fan bases for DEPECHE MODE, ERASURE and CAMOUFLAGE, amongst many other acts of the golden electronic era.

IŻOL is Robert Jeżewski, an accomplished songwriter and producer, having founded a popular Polish DM tribute band ICE MACHINE, which evolved into an original band with four albums under their belt.

Having gone solo, Jeżewski continued the electro trend, releasing two albums ‘The Vagabond’s Wish’ (2017) and ‘Control’ (2019). Based in gloomy Silesia, a place which RATIONAL YOUTH once wrote a synthpop cult classic about, IŻOL is no stranger to melancholic soundscapes, often being based on the provisions from his idols, presented in a fresh and progressive manner.

‘A Lonely House’ is a belter, merging the artist’s love of DEPECHE MODE, with a pinch of CAMOUFLAGE and sounding very similar to Germany’s MINERVE. Preserving the tradition of ultra-melodic ditties, wrapped in a thin veil of nostalgia, with expertly written lyrics and more than decent vocal, the Pole gives many of his contemporaries a run for their money, including those in the UK.

Add a clever video, and you get yourself a powerful addition to your synth favourites. And if you’re stuck for live music during lockdowns, IŻOL performed an online gig this year too. TERAZ POLSKA!


‘A Lonely House’ is from the various artists compilation ‘Neonautics v.03’ released by skyQode, available direct from https://skyqode.bandcamp.com/track/a-lonely-house

Other IŻOL releases can be purchased from https://icemachineshop.bandcamp.com/

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https://open.spotify.com/artist/3r3URmy6Ysa1jSwZNfPmrE


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
31st December 2020

Introducing SCALPING

SCALPING are a five piece act hailing from Bristol, a town already with a notable musical heritage.

Over a fairly short time period, the band developed a reputation for their ferocious live shows and secured a support slot with SQUAREPUSHER which unfortunately got derailed due to the pandemic, along with their own standalone gig at Peckham Audio in London.

Made up of James Rushforth, Alex Hill, Isaac Jones, Jamie Thomas and visual artist Jason Baker, SCALPING formed in 2017 with the intention of carrying on Bristol’s musical tradition, but with a sound that eschews hip hop, drum ’n’ bass and trip hop in favour of an aesthetic which combines the synthetic rigidity of EBM and EDM but played primarily with band instrumentation.

SCALPING started releasing material in 2019 with the tracks ‘Ruptured’, ‘Chamber’ and ‘Satan II’ helping to define their sound; one which potentially appeals to both an electronic and rock audience alike. ‘Chamber’ was a frenetic mixture of ascending ‘Computer World’-era sequencers, EBM vowel-bass and aggressive guitars. Accompanied by a trippy, dystopian promotional video, as an introduction, ‘Chamber’ additionally gives the listener an aural feel for SCALPING’s live performances.

Taking the structure of dance music, but melding it with a live band dynamic, the band shows no respect for genre boundaries and successfully manages to achieve the tricky feat of merging these two disparate styles, with Belgium’s SOULWAX coming to mind as a comparison point. More improvisational in nature than ‘Chamber’, ‘Satan II’ skips from one section to another with an uneasy mix of punkish guitars and an almost MANTRONIX-inspired bassline.

The band have recently signed to the Houndstooth label which is a new venture for the Fabric club imprint brand and this partnership sees the release of ‘Deadlock’. Recorded in Bristol and Rockfield Studios in Wales, ‘Deadlock’ is centred around the combo of a frequency modulated synth bass and the kind of thrash-y guitar riff that wouldn’t normally be seen dead in this kind of synthetic company. The influence of UNDERWORLD can be heard here too with a ‘Rez’ style synth part appearing early on in the track.

‘Deadlock’ is accompanied by a video produced by Jason Baker who is also responsible for generating the graphics which are projected behind the band for their live shows. The post-apocalyptic nature of ‘Deadlock’ will come as no surprise and helps to define the overall visual styling of the band (which with an act that has no lead vocalist is no mean feat). According to Baker “The video came from brainstorming sessions with the band. Ideas slowly morphed into this idea of a church service for some weird future tech religion where nirvana is replaced with oblivion and forced onto people through VR screens. Religion done right, basically.”

Over the last few years it’s been interesting to watch many of the metal and rock fraternity embrace electronic music, especially picking up on the much maligned Synthwave genre, even to the point where attendees were actually observed headbanging at a PERTURBATOR gig a few years ago! With this in mind, the direction SCALPING are going in surely means that they are bound to pick up many new fans from both musical sides. The other potential development will be whether the band decide to remain instrumental in nature or eventually adopt vocals into their pieces, this is a question which will likely be answered with what will (hopefully) be an upcoming album for Houndstooth in the New Year.

In the meantime, SCALPING are a visceral and exciting band who are definitely one to watch; a fantastic example of artists who are pushing the musical envelope and trying to get as far as a way from “death by laptop” live experience of many electronic bands.


‘Deadlock’ is out now as a digital single via Houndstooth

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Text by Paul Boddy
18th December 2020

Introducing SILVER MOON

For an act who have named themselves after a David Sylvian song, you can expect SILVER MOON to be esoteric and challenging the minds of potential listeners.

Comprising of vocalist Aidan Casserly and musician Mike Wilson, the Irish duo have just unleashed their first album ‘Empty Rooms’, a musical journey in synth, indie and pop about love and life.

Aidan Casserly is best known for fronting the energetic Dublin electro combo EMPIRE STATE HUMAN but with SILVER MOON, he carries over his singing style crossing Jimmy Somerville, Russell Mael, Andy Bell and Lloyd Cole. Meanwhile, Mike Wilson’s production style throws in elements of ERASURE, NEW ORDER, TALK TALK and THE BLUE NILE while also adopting orchestrated textures, guitar licks and countrified strums.

The staccato first single ‘Flame’ sounds like the more six string driven aspects of NEW ORDER as if recorded in an art school in Nashville. Meanwhile the dream-like ‘Luminous’ is equally unusual with glitched techniques, acoustic guitar, pulsating electronic bass, scratching and swoops welded together for passionate vocals and trumpet to go on top… conventional it most certainly isn’t!

Both songs have Aidan Casserly at the top of his vocal range, so full marks to the fella for being able to obtain a middle-aged falsetto without surgery or too much trouser tightening.

But the best track on ‘Empty Rooms’ is saved until last with the beautiful ‘Ode To The Lost’; a number adapted from ‘Barcarolle’, the centre-piece of the 19th Century opera ‘Tales Of Hoffman’ and the backdrop surreally imagines Vince Clarke rearranging Offenbach! Older listeners may remember Elvis Presley offered his variation on ‘Barcarolle’ in his film ‘GI Blues’ with ’Tonight Is So Right for Love’.

A collection of “toe tappers, cinematic head nodders and dance floor fillers” with even some Gaelic blues thrown in, another highlight on ‘Empty Room’ is the lonely solemn drama of ‘Shadows’.

Among SILVER MOON’s heroes and teachers, there is a list of personalities as diverse as Boy George, Scott Walker, Dirk Bogarde, Ennio Morricone, Glenn Campbell, Ian Curtis, Johnnie Ray, Lou Reed, Noel Coward, Pete Burns, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie.

Made with passion and a thoughtful avant pop ambience, SILVER MOON take all these eclectic influences for their poetic artful expression.

“We’re striving to make music (and art) of the highest production value” said Mike Wilson, “There are lots of musical and creative references to the things we love, but we’re creating our own sound and not copying them”


‘Luminous’ is from the album ‘Empty Rooms’ available as a download direct from https://thesilvermoon.bandcamp.com/album/empty-rooms

SILVER MOON present a special online live show on ditto.tv of art and film from 17.00 to 18.00 on Thursday 17th December 2020, to register to view for free, please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/campfire-presents-the-christmas-special-with-silver-moon-tickets-131026609115

https://silvermoon.live/

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Text by Chi Ming Lai
7th December 2020

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