Perfume — Natural no Koi Shite

This actually sounds slightly different to all Perfume’s other songs. The beat is nice and chunky and, for a change, not straight 4/4. Instead it’s on the hip-hop tip, as the kids used to say when I was one of them. The girls’ voices are sounding more and more robotic though; the autotune is taking… Read more »

Renee-Louise Carafice Tells You to Fight!

This wonderfully-titled album is full of dark-tinged folk pop; the music is interesting and acoustic, while the voice and lyrics lend a definite edge. Ms Carafice was incarcerated in a mental hospital for a time, which explains songs like Asylum Escape Song and Lorazopam [sic]. They sound a bit more upbeat than you might think — all… Read more »

International Observer — All Played Out

This dub album came out a year or three ago. I remembered it recently when I read that International Observer is actually former ’80s pop star Tom Bailey, of former ’80s pop idols The Thompson Twins. And now he seems to live in New Zealand, just like me. His album reminds me of a more understated… Read more »

Capsule — The Music

It just makes we want to move, and even throw my hands in the air like I just don’t care. It’s pretty cheesy, but I really like the nagging, nagging, nagging synth lead, the nice autotune harmonies and the whole good-time vibe. I also like the absence of rapping, which tends to be the weak… Read more »

Tokyo Jiken — Ikiru

A female vocal/male choir epic with some odd effects on the backing and some pretty full-on lead vocals. Epic. Almost histrionic. And then the drums and guitar kick in and we have J-Pop! The histrionics return towards the end, with added guitar/bass/drum/piano chaos. It sounds like a whole album in four minutes — exhausting, yet… Read more »

Billie Ray Martin — The Crackdown

She’s still going strong, still with that distinctive voice (in italics). There’s always been a slightly scary, unhinged edge to even her poppier songs, so this cover of an old Cabaret Voltaire track works pretty well. It seems to feature vocals from original CV vocalist Stephin Mallinder too. There are about a zillion remixes available,… Read more »

The Depreciation Guild — By Sundown

The Depreciation Guild are the premier exponents of the shoegaze-chiptune hybrid known as Chipgaze. (Actually nobody calls it that except me. But it’s a catchy name. Better than “shoetune” anyway.) This track, from the excellent Nautilus EP, is packed with perky drum fills, bleeps and chiming guitar chords. It’s instrumental, but what passes for a chorus… Read more »