Tag: Catherine Moan

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 30 SONGS OF 2021

Despite the general appetite for nostalgia with boxed sets and coloured vinyl of classic albums hogging the pressing plants, there was a lot of excellent new music released in 2021.

The quality of individual tracks released in 2021 was extremely high but at the end of the day, only 30 songs can be selected as a snapshot of the calendar year. As Monica Geller in ‘Friends’ once said, “Rules are good, rules help control the fun” – rules, routine and structure = creativity and fun ?

So the highly commended group who did not quite make ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 30 songs of 2021 includes Tobias Bernstrup, David Cicero, Alice Hubble, Michael Oakley, Jason Priest, Nina, Eric Random and Kat Von D’s duet with Peter Murphy, along with SIN COS TAN, FIAT LUX, LONELADY, GLITBITER, KNIGHT$, PEAKES, DESIRE, SOFTWAVE, XENO & OAKLANDER, BUNNY X, PISTON DAMP, FRAGRANCE. and HANTE.

So here are ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 30 songs of 2021, presented as usual alphabetically by act with a restriction of one song per artist moniker.


ACTORS Love U More

Thanks to the recruitment of new bassist Kendall Wooding, the male-to-female ratio of ACTORS has equalled up and altered their dynamic. The vocal duality between guitarist Jason Corbett and keyboardist Shannon Hemmett aka LEATHERS takes an increased role in the band’s developing sound. With the brooding baritone counterpointed by girly soprano and male falsetto to provide an uneasy uplift to the gloomy domino dance, ‘Love U More’ was a statement of intent like a goth DURAN DURAN with metronomic rhythms and eerie synths.

Available on the album ‘Acts Of Worship’ via Artoffact Records

https://www.actorstheband.com/


BAND ELECTRONICA featuring MIDGE URE Das Beat

Midge Ure finally launched his BAND ELECTRONICA project as a recording entity with ‘Das Beat’, a glorious slice of Teutonic robopop in collaboration with Wolfgang Flür. With “Beats through wires, beats through walls”, the icy motorik bossa nova was complimented by a blisteringly catchy synth hook in the classic Kling Klang tradition and harked back the Glaswegian’s days hearing KRAFTWERK at The Blitz Club and making music with VISAGE and ULTRAVOX. Dancing is a given to the synthesizer rhythm.

Available on the single ‘Das Beat’ via BMG Rights Management

http://www.midgeure.co.uk/


JORJA CHALMERS Rhapsody

Although a seasoned musician as the sax and keyboard player for Bryan Ferry over the past 10 years, Australian multi-instrumentalist Jorja Chalmers did not release her first album until 2019. The superb take on SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES ‘Rhapsody’, an orchestrated gothic epic off their ninth album ‘Peepshow’, featured an intriguing electronic warble within its stripped down arrangement. From its claustrophobic cocoon, Chalmers sounded trapped inside an unsettling icy soundscape of synthetic strings and choirs.

Available on the album ‘Midnight Train’ via Italians Do it Better

https://www.instagram.com/jorjachalmers/


CLASS ACTRESS Saint Patrick

CLASS ACTRESS is the nom de théâtre of one-time Giorgio Moroder protégée Elizabeth Harper. Releasing a new EP ‘Sense Memory’ which initially featured three cover including THE SMITHS’ ‘Ask’ but steadily expanded with new material, the percussive ‘Saint Patrick’ featured an array of infectious synth hooks while Harper’s richly passionate vocal over some strident keyboard work combined like Nerina Pallot fronting BOY HARSHER for a brilliant slice of modern electronic pop.

Available on the EP ‘Sense Memory’ via Terrible Records

https://classactress.com/


HATTIE COOKE I Get By

Perhaps more intentionally pop than Hattie Cooke has ever been before on her previous two long playing outings, an intimate gravitas comes with the expanded electronic texturing on her third album ‘Bliss Land’ and this is undoubtedly stamped on its opening song. The hypnotic ‘I Get By’ was superb with ringing hooks, sweeping soundscapes and airy understated vocals that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on an Italians Do It Better ‘After Dark’ compilation.

Available on the album ‘Bliss Land’ via Castles In Space

https://twitter.com/hattiecooke


DANZ CM Human Existence

‘The Absurdity of Human Existence’ is the debut album by DANZ CM, the artist formally known as COMPUTER MAGIC. New York based Danz Johnson is the synth girl behind both vehicles with a passion for the development of the electronic music. Reflecting the album’s title, the total melancholic brilliance of ‘Human Existence’ sees our heroine make a sombre declaration that “you can’t save me, I can’t save you” in a manner reminiscent of CHROMATICS meeting OMD.

Available on the album ‘The Absurdity Of Human Existence’ via Channel 9 Records

https://www.zdanz.com/


DAWN TO DAWN Care

Danceable dreampop trio DAWN TO DAWN feature in its line-up Tess Roby who released her debut album ‘Beacon’ on Italians Do It Better. Also featuring Adam Ohr and Patrick Lee with their Minimoog, Roland System 100, Roland Juno 60 and Korg 700s armoury, ’Care’ was written on a cold winter’s night and unsurprisingly captures that mood. Nocturnal yet rhythmic, Roby’s alluring folk-tinged vocal offsets the various synthetic overtures for a mysterious weightless quality.

Available on the single ‘Care’ via https://dawntodawn.bandcamp.com/track/care

https://www.facebook.com/dawntodawnmusic


DEVOIR Mercer

Leeds based duo DEVOIR comprise of Imogen Holmes who released the impressive ‘Lines’ EP as IMI and Jacob Marston. A product of lockdown, although ‘Mercer’ is entirely electronic, it differs slightly from IMI in its four-to-the-floor construction. So imagine GOLDFRAPP at an Alpine rave in the Hornlihutte basecamp next to The Matterhorn. As the cinematic techno builds, the magnificent voice that graced IMI soars and shines, expressing itself at the extremes of alluring spoken word and piercing high soprano.

Available on the single ‘Mercer’

https://www.facebook.com/wearedevoir


DIAMOND FIELD feat BELINDA BRADLEY A Kiss Apart

DIAMOND FIELD is the musical vehicle of Andy Diamond, the New York based Kiwi who, looks to studio icons such as Hugh Padgham, Rupert Hine and Peter Wolf as his heroes. With a backing track like NEW ORDER’s ‘Your Silent Face’ reworked by OMD, ‘A Kiss Apart’ is superb and sees a velvet performance by Belinda Bradley of New Zealand collective SELON RECLINER; akin to the other Belinda, Ms Carlisle crossed with Marcella Detroit there is a gorgeous chorus and some great synth interventions recalling lost Mute trio PEACH.

Available on the album ‘Diamond Field’ via Sofa King

https://diamondfieldmusic.com/


DLINA VOLNY Bipolar

Inspired by the spectre of the former Soviet Union, Minsk trio DLINA VOLNY explore post-punk with a dance beat not unlike NEW ORDER. Having already had two albums already under their belt and singing in English with an inherent Eastern Bloc gloom in Masha Zinevitch’s vocals throughout their Italians Do It Better period, their fifth single for the label ‘Bipolar’ was dark disco with plenty of synth and mystery that asked “But what is it like being on the border?”.

Available on the album ‘Dazed’ via Italians Do It Better

https://www.instagram.com/dlina_volny/


LAURA DRE All Day, All Night

With her mix of modern synthpop and synthwave coupled to her deep nonchalant vocals, Laura Dre captures the rainy dystopian air of ‘Blade Runner’, but with a sexy enigmatic allure and a mischievously wired groove that wouldn’t go amiss in a West Berlin nightclub. The glorious uptempo disco number ‘All Day, All Night’ offers great crossover potential; drenched in sparkle and a delicious percussive base. It’s a number for fans of early PET SHOP BOYS, complete with a classic Tennant / Lowe styled instrumental middle eight.

Available on the album ‘Moving Spaces’ via Outland Recordings

https://lauradre.com/


DURAN DURAN Featuring CHAI More Joy!

Celebrating 40 years as recording artists, DURAN DURAN released their 15th studio album ‘Future Past’ in a “live for the moment” reference of how something today can become a cherished memory in times to come. The chiptune inspired ‘More Joy!’ was reminiscent of past glories, its syncopated disco poise capturing DURAN DURAN at what they do best and with hypnotic electronics offset by a wonderful bass guitar run and chants by Japanese rock band CHAI, its exuberant manner presented the right dose of escapism.

Available on the album ‘Future Past’ via Tape Modern / BMG

http://www.duranduran.com/


GLÜME Get Low

Like a tattooed Marilyn Monroe dropped into Twin Peaks, GLÜME is a shimmering new starlet in the Italians Do It Better stable. From her debut album ‘The Internet’, ‘Get Low’ was an intriguing slice of accessible avant pop about the high of falling for someone where brain chemistry and nervous systems are affected. Applying some rumbling electronic bass, stabbing vintage synths and simple but prominent digital drum beats, ‘Get Low’ sounded not unlike an experimental hybrid of OMD and LADYTRON!

Available on the album ‘The Internet’ via Italians Do It Better

https://www.facebook.com/babyglume


ROBIN HATCH Airplane

Made using the T.O.N.T.O. synth complex created Malcom Cecil and Robert Margouleff which was made famous by Stevie Wonder, the same titled album is the fifth solo body of work by the Toronto-based neoclassical composer and multi-instrumentalist Robin Hatch. The sinister ‘Airplane’ took shape around an avant garde soundscape. Utilising the talents of doom metal violinist Laura Bates of VOLUR alongside the synthetic strings and hypnotic generative blips, this encapsulated an unsettling gothic grandeur.

Available on the album ‘T.O.N.T.O.’ via Robin Records

https://twitter.com/robinhatch


ITALOCONNECTION featuring ETIENNE DAHO Virus X

For Italian musician veterans Fred Ventura and Paolo Gozzetti, the ethos of ITALOCONNECTION is “to sound vintage in a modern way”. The superb ‘Virus X’ featuring French veteran Etienne Daho sprung a surprise as a suave slice of Gallic synthwave. With its downbeat verse and an emotive chorus, this was as a fitting musical document of the past year and half’s tensions while using toxic personal relationships as a poignant lyrical analogy.

Available on the album ‘Midnight Confessions Vol1’ via Bordello A Parigi

https://www.facebook.com/italoconnection


JAKUZI Hiç Işık Yok

Hailing from Turkey, JAKUZI’s Italo flavoured song ‘Hiç Işık Yok’ saw the usual cowbells substituted by processed pots and pans, while the mix of classic brassy tones and chilling synth pads blended to create something rather unusual and extraordinary. Working with Maurizio Baggio who mixed the most recent albums by BOY HARSHER and THE SOFT MOON, the Italian producer turned what had been a gothic futureless mood piece with a sombre vocal intonation into a dark but catchy electronic disco number.

Available on the EP ‘Açık Bir Yara’ via City Slang

https://www.facebook.com/jakuz1/


JOON Good Times

2021 was a year craving for more ‘Good Times’ and JOON, the electronic solo project from Maltese producer Yasmin Kuymizakis did her best to remember them. Another recent signing to Italians Do It Better, she reflected on “The way you sing your songs and make me dance, the way you take a chance on a little romance” before affirming “You remind me of the good times”. It all captured a charming innocence in a dreamy Mediterranean take on Japanese City Pop.

Available on the album ‘Dream Again’ via Italians Do It Better

https://www.templeofjoon.com/


КЛЕТ Eternity

КЛЕТ is a music project of Bohemian-born composer and producer Michal Trávníček. Primarily celebrating the Soviet space programme with its impressive series of firsts, while the ‘Alconaut’ album’s pivotal track was its opener ‘Gagarin’s Start’ which honoured the handsome hero who was the first man in space as he prepared for lift-off, the spacey Sovietwave mood over 13 tracks made for an enticing listen. The sparkling sparseness of ‘Eternity’ with its stuttering vintage drum machine provided another highlight.

Available on the album ‘Alconaut’ via https://claat.bandcamp.com/album/

https://www.instagram.com/kletwave/


LEATHERS Reckless

LEATHERS is the more synth focussed solo project from ACTORS keyboardist Shannon Hemmett. The undoubted highlight of her debut ‘Reckless’ EP was the title song. Resigned and accepting, she was still alluring in her voicing despite the heartbreak of her love being so cruel and dangerous. A rather lovely slice of synthpop in that classic melancholic vein with an infectious steadfast motorik beat, it again showed that Canada again was leading the way in the modern version of the form.

Available on the EP ‘Reckless’ via Artoffact Records

https://www.leatherstheband.com/


CATHERINE MOAN Drop It!

Having treated the world with her charming cover of the Alan Wilder penned DEPECHE MODE B-side ‘Fools’, Philadelphian songstress CATHERINE MOAN launched her debut album with the self-composed ‘Drop It!’, song craving the joy of nightlife after a year of lockdown confinement. Dreamily floating over a classic four chord progression with an eerily sombre apocalyptic understatement, ‘Drop It!’ channelled her innocent sound in the manner of ELECTRIC YOUTH meeting STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE and MARSHEAUX via her own bedroom aesthetic.

Available on the album ‘Chain Reaction’ via https://catherinemoan.bandcamp.com/album/chain-reaction-2

https://www.facebook.com/Catherine-Moan-105421111625150


KARIN MY Loop

While Karin My has been working with TWICE A MAN and MACHINISTA over the last ten years, it was only in 2019 that she stepped out to front her own traditionally derived electronic songs. A steadfast drum machine propels ‘Loop’ while sweeping symphonic melodies in the vein of ULTRAVOX accompany the despairing resignation. The closing computer generated female speech declaring “identification – procedure – quote – hyphen – perform – display – go to – loop – full stop – execute” added to the dystopian unsettlement.

Available on the album ‘Silence Amygdala’ via Ad Inexplorata

http://www.karinmy.net/


NATION OF LANGUAGE This Fractured Mind

Using a rigid motorik backbone and capturing a danceable ethereal shudder, ‘This Fractured Mind’ breathed new life via its sprightly synth tones in a reference to the past. Although there was also some frenetic bass guitar grit to provide a hint of claustrophobia, the machines that had only been friends previously became family in the NATION OF LANGUAGE sound. Dealing with the spectre of unrealised dreams and jealousy towards more successful others, by the end of ‘This Fractured Mind’, any inferiority complex is countered with hopeful acceptance.

Available on the album ‘A Way Forward’ via Play It Again Sam

https://www.nationoflanguage.com/


NORTHERN LITE Ich Fürchte Nein

The project of Andreas Kubat and Sebastian Bohn, the 2001 NORTHERN LITE single ‘Treat Me Better’ was a cult favourite on the electroclash scene. Translating as “I don‘t think so…”, Kubat reflected on enforced isolation and staying sane. In a chorus that could be roughly interpreted: “You can‘t be happy and by liked by everyone at the same time”, ‘Ich Fürchte Nein’ was a delightfully catchy synthpop tune with a bright and jolly melodic section contrasted by a vocal of a more anxious disposition.

Available on the album ‘Ja’ via UnaMusic

https://www.northernlite.de/


GARY NUMAN The Chosen

While ‘Savage’ depicted a deserted post-apocalyptic world, clad in darkness, The Ade Fenton produced ‘Intruder’ saw Planet Earth react to human kind’s self-destructive misdemeanours by unleashing a virus! “It feels betrayed, hurt and ravaged. Disillusioned and heartbroken it is now fighting back” said Gary Numan poignantly.  ‘The Chosen’ was fast paced synth rock and filled with pleading messages embroiled in frustration and despair, asking “Do you need one more sign?” and “Can you see, or are you so blind?”

Available on the album ‘Intruder’ via BMG

https://garynuman.com/


MARK REEDER & FIFI RONG Figure Of 8

Mark Reeder first met Fifi Rong who at the Berlin Kraftwerk in 2016 when she was singing in concert with Swiss trailblazers YELLO. From his album ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ , the opening track ‘Figure of 8’ was a magical new collaboration between the two with a cinematic backdrop of sparse piano and glistening sequences over which the exquisite Chinese songstress added her distinctive air of mystery to a more metronomic rhythm construction than perhaps heard on her own work.

Available on the album ‘Subversiv-Dekadent’ via MFS

https://fifirong.com/

https://mfsberlin.com/


R. MISSING Crimeless

New York City-based darklings R. MISSING are fronted by Sharon Shy, a vocalist with an elegant Jane Birkin-like presence while the studious Toppy Frost does the music. 2020’s ‘Placeholder For The Night’ signalled airier developments in their increasingly synthy sound, but the wonderful ‘Crimeless’ was R. MISSING’s most electronic pop noir statement yet. It was like CHROMATICS carefully reconfigured for the dancefloor with Sharon Shy presenting a whispery singing style that could easily be mistaken for Ruth Radelet.

Available on the single ‘Crimeless’ via Sugarcane Recordings

https://rmissing.com/


SCHÖNHEIT Danse Du Robot

Subtitled ‘Hommage à Florian’, ‘Danse Du Robot’ was a magical tribute to the late KRAFTWERK co-founder with hints of ‘Trans Europe Express’ from Swedish producer Martin Lillberg, the man behind SCHÖNHEIT. Not exactly a prolific project with singles in 2014 and 2019, Lillberg however records under various monikers including as DEOLETUS, DESTINY NATION, INESI, LAURENTIA, LOVE ON DRUGS, MY SWEETEST PUNCH and WML as well as holding down a day job as a classical percussionist.

Available on the single ‘Danse du Robot (Hommage à Florian)’

https://swedishelectroscene.bandcamp.com/track/danse-du-robot-hommage-florian


SEA FEVER De Facto

SEA FEVER are the new eclectic Manchester combo featuring second generation members of SECTION 25 and NEW ORDER, Beth Cassidy, Tom Chapman and Phil Cunningham. ‘De Facto’ was a delightful electro-disco feast with a rhythm rush that screamed strobelights and likely to fill indie club dancefloors while also crossing over to lovers of synth. With echoes of NEW ORDER and THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, it captured a vibrant energy worthy of Manchester and its musical heritage.

Available on the album ‘Folding Lines’ via Kartel Records

https://seafeverband.com/


UNIFY SEPARATE Embrace The Fear

As the prospect of interacting with others again set off anxieties after 18 months of social distancing, for Scottish Swedish duo UNIFY SEPARATE, it was time to ‘Embrace The Fear’. While the theme was relatable to lockdown, the lyrical gist touched on the more general existential crises that afflict many as they navigate a life crossroads. But despite the air of unease and the grittier disposition, as with most of UNIFY SEPARATE’s output, there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Available on the single ‘Embrace The Fear’ via https://unifyseparate.bandcamp.com/track/embrace-the-fear

https://www.facebook.com/usmusicspace


WAVESHAPER Lost In The Cloud

Gorgeously melodic within a claustrophobic drama, ‘Lost In The Cloud’ did as the title suggested like Vangelis meeting Giorgio Moroder at the Necropolis on a dreamy dance trip. A lovely little uplifting synth instrumental, Tom Andersson the man behind WAVESHAPER suggested something darker, saying “Imagine Red Riding Hood trapped in the Digital Cloud, behind the Mainframe. How would she feel? What would she see? There is probably more to fear than a wolf in the forest…”

Available on the album ‘Mainframe’ via Waveshaper Music Production

https://www.facebook.com/Waveshaperofficial


A selection of ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s favourite music in 2021 is on its ‘Missing U’ playlist at
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4rlJgJhiGkOw8q2JcunJfw


Text by Chi Ming Lai
11th December 2021

CATHERINE MOAN Interview

CATHERINE MOAN is the musical vehicle of Philadelphian songstress Angel Jefferson. Her rework of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Fools’ launched her into the world of electronic pop.

Part of an emerging group of independent North American female synth artists that include DANZ CM, GLITBITER, CLASS ACTRESS and MECHA MAIKO, the debut CATHERINE MOAN album ‘Chain Reaction’ is a short but sweet collection of eight dreamily innocent synthpop songs with a consistent sound and feel running throughout.

The album’s lead single ‘Drop It!’ captured the mindset of many and craved the excitement of nightlife. Set over a classic four chord progression, its proclamation was to “keep this fire burning ‘til the record stops turning, ‘til the lights and the drugs stop working…”

Angel Jefferson talked to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about being CATHERINE MOAN and provided some insight into her ‘Chain Reaction’…

How did you become interested in making pop music with synthesizers?

I first became interested in making pop music on a whim when someone offered to gift me a cheap sampler and I realized how intuitive and easy it could be at its bare minimum. After years of obsessing over and listening to so many pop musicians and imagining if that could be me, I felt that spark and reached out for it to see if I could manifest that.

Had you tried making music in other styles or with other people before?

Great question! I have a few demos sitting on my laptop where I went for a more alternative indie vibe with just a guitar, drum machine, and vocals. In the end, it just didn’t feel very authentic to me and what I wanted to be making.

There’s also a few demos I worked on with a friend that was kinda witch housey and darker than what I usually make, but for similar reasons, I just felt like I couldn’t follow through because it didn’t feel like what I wanted to say was coming through.

The up-and-coming British singer-songwriter Hattie Cooke uses just GarageBand for her recordings; did you opt for a hardware set-up or take advantage of what modern software had to offer?

Just checked out Hattie Cooke and wow what a talent! I wish it wasn’t a debate that people even have, but I think if we have the means to use it. I will always favor modern software because it is so forgiving and intuitive. Not to deprecate myself but I am a very instant gratification brained person, and GarageBand gave me just what I needed as a jumping off point. All the songs on my first EP were made entirely in GarageBand, it makes the songwriting process so fool proof for a beginner. As someone who at the time had never made music before, it really gave me the tools I needed. And while I have nothing but respect for people who opt for fully analog, I enjoy the simplicity and comfort of a digital workspace.

Technologically, is there any particular synth that you don’t own but particularly covet?

The Prophet, I use the digital version a bit and it is just a powerhouse when it comes to the dreamy, melancholic, cinematic timbres I like to look for. Another synth I would love to have is the Moog Minitaur, I love using the virtual Moog Mini and when I found this compact bass centered synth they made, I immediately got starry eyed because the bass sounds it makes are so tasty. Unfortunately I don’t have it like that when it comes to money. so it will never be a justifiable purchase!

Were there any particular acts that you looked up for your more predominantly synthesized template?

The acts that I look up to the most are FEVER RAY, CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS, and CHVRCHES. I think all of those artists do a really great job of taking a diverse array of synthesized sounds and interpolating 80s and 90s “vibes” and making them sound really fresh and modern.

In North America, there are a number of emerging female synth artists like DANZ CM, GLITBITER, CLASS ACTRESS and MECHA MAIKO, do you feel any affinity or kinship with them?

I’ll have to sit and listen to all these artists, I’m definitely a huge fan of Danz. I listened to a lot of COMPUTER MAGIC when I was first getting into production, I was very inspired by the DIY bedroom synthpop vibes.

There was been a significant sonic leap from your self-titled debut EP to ‘Chain Reaction’ in terms of production values, although ‘Cut It’ indicated you were interested in more European music forms? How do you look back on your first work as “Catherine”?

The production quality leap absolutely came from entrusting someone else to do the mixing and mastering. The CM EP was kind of a crash course in songwriting and production for me, and once I knew I could do it, I didn’t feel adverse to the idea of letting someone else in to help get it to a more professional sonic quality. While I started off with a DIY mindset, I ended up favoring the idea of being more collaborative and passing the music around to other ears to get it the best it could be rather than leave it sounding raw.

I look back on those first tracks fondly, it was a very exciting moment for me. They are sloppy, weird and unconventionally structured songs from a brain with little to no musicality and I hope I can channel that in future work.

Why did you feel the need to create the CATHERINE MOAN persona to channel your creativity?

I think the persona originally came out of a desire to be discreet and not attached to my real self. It seems like it’s a bit easier to act with more bravado and confidence when you’re pretending to be someone else. But to be honest CATHERINE MOAN is 100% me, it’s just a cooler sounding name than my real one.

You came to wider attention with a really good cover version of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Fools’, your choice was interesting not just because it was a B-side but because it was written by Alan Wilder, the man many fans cite as being the sonic soul of the band’s imperial era, what was your approach in your reinterpretation?

‘Construction Time Again’ is a VERY good album! Specifically the deluxe edition with all those B-Sides, the idea to cover one of them came from intensely listening to that record last winter. I almost covered the song ‘Get The Balance Right’, but ‘Fools’ has that whimsical fun energy that I really feel a connection to. When I was recording the cover, the first thing I wanted to do was make it unique to the original, I changed the key to be in a more comfortable vocal range and cut out the entire middle of the song and made up a riff inspired by the original’s composition.

The album’s title ‘Chain Reaction’ reflects some of your emotive impetuosity but has this enforced lockdown helped you become more patient or do you feel that life is short and you should “go for it”?

100% Life is short, go for it. While the album is melancholic at times, I don’t regret chasing the highs that lead to a lot of my disappointments and painful memories. Hindsight is 20/20 and regret lasts forever, but you never know unless you take chances. The past few years of my life have been a whirlwind of spontaneity and huge life altering decisions and I really wanted to channel the manic and introspective elements of that in my songwriting.

I think those moments of my life were the true catalyst for me to even start songwriting, that’s the real chain reaction huh haha.

So was ‘Drop It!’ composed before or during the lockdown, what was the song’s genesis?

‘Drop It!’ was composed in the middle of the pandemic! I had this fling with someone where we would just dance around my room to our favorite songs, and it made me long so much for the bright lights and booming bass of the clubs. I channeled that into the song, very intentionally writing a really basic pop song in a tongue-in-cheek generic method.

Creating in lockdown was a challenge for anyone, but you managed to produce a charming and optimistic video for ‘Drop It!’ too?

Thank you! It was honestly a happy accident, I was scrambling for ideas and the idea hit me like a bolt of lightning. The intensity of manically trying to make something deep or provocative in the confines of my bedroom sparked the idea to do something extremely constricted to just one color and scene. It ended up working very well as a metaphor for how I was feeling when I wrote the song.

‘Wasted’ is like a cousin of ‘Drop It!’, and substantiates a sonic continuity that runs through this album?

Yes! It was a very deliberate decision to have those songs in succession. I wrote them both with the same synthesizer, my Korg Minilogue. And they both somehow conveyed such opposite spectrums of an emotional scale and it felt like a good yin and yang of my 2020 mania.

The striking of an anvil is a recurring percussive texture on ‘Faces’, was this as a result of listening to DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Construction Time Again’?

YES! I wrote that song before the ‘Fools’ cover and I was so enthralled by the percussion of that album and was really trying to mimic some of the sounds. When I was writing the track, all I could think about was someone just banging on drums like a hammer.

‘Lucky Lobotomy’ has to be the song title of year and is quite funky, what is this actually about?

That’s my favorite song on the album right there! The idea from the song came from this emotional state that is close to hysteria when it comes to infatuation. Like sometimes you just want to just shut your brain off or at least just hit the brakes but it just isn’t possible. The chorus is just a mantra to myself to be low key and calm down, a cognitive behavioral therapy to subdue my erratic lovesick mind.

The sound of the album deviates slightly with some guitar on ‘Body Work’ and ‘The Ordinary’, where does this influence in your sound come from?

Specifically the guitar on ‘Body Work’ is influenced by post punk bands like JOY DIVISION and NEW ORDER, it’s certainly my most moody song and I really wanted a very emotional guitar tone to fit the energy of that track.

‘Skin Graft’ is quite sombre yet wonderfully dancey, which kind of sums up the sad/happy dichotomy of your music?

I’m glad someone is noticing this song! ‘Skin Graft’ was the last song I wrote and to me it was the cherry on top of the albums theme of converting heavy emotions into palatable danceable pop songs! My thesis when it comes to my music is even when I’m at my saddest, to make the tracks something you want to bob your head and sway too, because if you’re gonna be in your feelings, you might as well have some fun! And in truth I’m a very optimistic person, even when I’m at my lowest, I try to aspire myself into happier more light-hearted thinking.

As an album, ‘Chain Reaction’ is short and sweet and leaves the audience wanting more, where do anticipate you might take your music in the future?

Thank you! Right now I’m in creative limbo where I’m not 100% sure what to do, but I know I’m not calling it quits anytime soon. I want my next assortment of songs to be dancier, catchier and impossible to get out of your head. And I think what that entails is being more serious and tending to the music more. ‘Chain Reaction’ was very much me trying to prove a point to myself, that I as an amateur with no musical upbringing can make an album.

You played your first live gig as CATHERINE MOAN recently, how was it? Do you consider yourself a natural performer?

My first live shows have been electric! I had never performed before and I was really afraid but I really think I’m a natural performer. Once I’m on the stage, I just want to dance and influence the people watching to dance to, it’s just pure fun honestly.

What’s next for you?

For now it’s focusing on playing live and getting my sea legs, because I think it’s going to take a while to really get the chops to become a quality life performer. But I really want to get back into the studio writing, all in due time I guess 🙂

Thanks for the great questions, and of course thanks for sharing my music and being a supporter!


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Angel Jefferson

‘Chain Reaction’ released by Born Losers as a transparent electric blue vinyl LP and download, available from https://catherinemoan.bandcamp.com/album/chain-reaction-2

https://www.facebook.com/Catherine-Moan-105421111625150

https://twitter.com/catherinexmoan

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Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
23rd November 2021

CATHERINE MOAN Chain Reaction

Demonstrating how modern pop can be self-produced, accessible yet artistic and considered, CATHERINE MOAN is one of the emerging group of independent North American female synth artists that include DANZ CM, GLITBITER, CLASS ACTRESS and MECHA MAIKO who are acting as fine role models and projecting their own voices.

Behind the nom de théâtre of CATHERINE MOAN is Philadelphian Angel Jefferson who gained wider recognition with her delightful cover version of the Alan Wilder-penned ‘Fools’ which was originally the B-side to DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Love In Itself’.

Alas, ‘Fools’ does not feature on her debut full-length album release ‘Chain Reaction’ but it does contain eight dreamily innocent synthpop numbers in the manner of ELECTRIC YOUTH meeting STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE and MARSHEAUX.

‘Drop It!’ is a fine opening statement where Jefferson craves the spice and excitement of nightlife over a classic four chord progression that is musically uplifting with vintage synth sounds and a proclamation to “keep this fire burning ‘til the record stops turning, ‘til the lights and the drugs stop working…”

Equally wonderful, ‘Wasted’ doesn’t deviate too much from the template of ‘Drop It!’ with its airy and vibrant disposition while despite being a bit more midtempo, ‘The Ordinary’ actually sounds like a lively ELECTRIC YOUTH, with a combination of sparkling synths, minimal guitar and voice samples providing the instrumental interest.

With a stuttering rhythmic backdrop accented by big electronic snares, ‘Faces’ takes its lead from CHROMATICS and SAY LOU LOU as the striking of an anvil provides an unusual but pleasing percussive touch. ‘Body Work’ adds more guitar into the mix, but ‘Skin Graft’ livens up proceedings with some groovy bassline sequencing and a new wave disco approach although the vocal tones remain resigned, the mood subsiding into CHROMATICS meeting THE CURE.

The superbly titled ‘Lucky Lobotomy’ utilises the digital claps alongside the funky electronic bass on what could easily have been an archetypical synthwave ballad before the ‘Chain Reaction’ title song takes things right down for the close.

Bringing in a forlorn piano as accompaniment, the offbeat fills do throw off the scent to illustrate that Jefferson thinks outside the box in her arrangements and production.

Clocking in at less than half an hour, this charming album is short and sweet, with a consistent sound and feel running throughout. In summary, those who loved ‘Drop It!’ will love the album although those who got introduced to CATHERINE MOAN via the ‘Fools’ cover might bemoan its absence from the tracklisting.


‘Chain Reaction’ released by Born Losers as a transparent electric blue vinyl LP and download, available from https://catherinemoan.bandcamp.com/album/chain-reaction-2

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Text by Chi Ming Lai
28th September 2021

CATHERINE MOAN Drop It!

Having treated the world with her charming cover of the Alan Wilder-penned DEPECHE MODE B-side ‘Fools’, Philadelphian songstress Angel Jefferson returns as CATHERINE MOAN with the self-composed ‘Drop It!’.

Coming from her forthcoming debut long player ‘Chain Reaction’, ‘Drop It!’ channels Angel Jefferson’s innocent sound in the manner of ELECTRIC YOUTH meeting STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE and MARSHEAUX via her own bedroom aesthetic. As she craves the nightlife after a year of lockdown confinement, her DIY approach carries over into the karaoke booth video for ‘Drop It!’ which illustrates the sense of fun behind CATHERINE MOAN with Jefferson happily performing to herself.

Dreamily floating over a classic four chord progression and eerily, if coincidentally, reminiscent of the great lost 1984 single ‘Summer Spies’ by FATAL CHARM, ‘Drop It!’ is the result of isolation yet is musically soothing and uplifting, despite a sombre apocalyptic understatement to “let’s keep this fire burning ‘til the record stops turning, ‘til the lights and the drugs stop working…”

While ‘Chain Reaction’ will not include ‘Fools’, as well as ‘Drop It!, the album will feature the airy CHROMATICS meets THE CURE moods of ‘Body Work’ and the punchy North American popwave of ‘The Ordinary’.

Along with DANZ CM, GLITBITER and MECHA MAIKO, CATHERINE MOAN is among the emerging crop of independent North American female synth artists who are demonstrating how modern pop can be self-produced, accessible yet artistic and considered. Not pandering to the mass market expectations of major record labels, they are projecting their own voices without interference and acting as fine role models, highlighting that reality talent shows are not the only way…


‘Drop It!’ is from the forthcoming album ‘Chain Reaction’ released by Born Losers on 24th September 2021 as a transparent electric blue vinyl LP and download, pre-order direct from https://catherinemoan.bandcamp.com/album/chain-reaction-2

https://www.facebook.com/Catherine-Moan-105421111625150

https://twitter.com/catherinexmoan

https://www.instagram.com/catherinemoan_/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/1j3eSDACLPhrEDYDkHYF9I


Text by Chi Ming Lai
16th August 2021

Introducing CATHERINE MOAN

CATHERINE MOAN is the electronic pop vehicle of Philadelphian songstress Angel Jefferson and her most recent offering is a rework of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Fools’ which was originally the B-side to ‘Love In Itself’.

That old chestnut of covering DEPECHE MODE songs is a polarising affair, especially as the hapless trio of Gahan, Gore and Fletcher, assisted by The D(r)umhead and The Noodler have been pretty lame at interpreting their own back catalogue on their last three world tours!

Add to that the number tribute bands and male fronted acts who regularly give their take on DM, the question often asked can often be “what is the point?”

But as has been proven by the likes of Susanne Sundfør, Ane Brun and Laura Dre in their respective interpretations of ‘Ice Machine’, ‘Fly On The Windscreen’ and ‘Strangelove’ over the last ten years, the female voice adds a totally new dimension and perspective.

Like most electronic pop enthusiasts, Angel Jefferson is a fan of DEPECHE MODE’s earlier music and her choice of ‘Fools’, one of only nine DM tracks released that featured Alan Wilder as a solo or joint composer, is an interesting one.

Reflecting on being blanked or “ghosted” as Generation Zoomers today like to call it, ‘Fools’ is given a hypnotically stark treatment with detached but alluring vocals. Although Jefferson does away with the Middle Eastern warble that was part of the original, she inserts her own ad-libs both vocally and instrumentally, with the unexpected augmentation of digital slapped bass.

Previous CATHERINE MOAN works have included ‘Body Work’ which recalls the airy moods of CHROMATICS. Meanwhile ‘The Ordinary’, ‘New Velvet’ and ‘Habitual Conceding’ explore more typically North American synthwave territory.

Interestingly, despite needing more work in the production department, ‘Cut It’ from the self-titled EP displays potential as an engaging slice of European flavoured industrial disco rooted in Basildon and Berlin.

It will be interesting to see where Angel Jefferson takes her sound on her debut album as CATHERINE MOAN due out later in 2021.


‘Fools’ is available via the usual digital platforms

https://www.facebook.com/Catherine-Moan-105421111625150

https://twitter.com/catherinexmoan

https://www.instagram.com/catherinemoan_/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/1j3eSDACLPhrEDYDkHYF9I


Text by Chi Ming Lai
7th April 2021