Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged synthesizer

Old Punch Card

Over the past few years, Chicago-based singer, songwriter, photographer, and painter Sam Prekop has dabbled in all sorts of music. He’s collaborated with Broken Social Scene, Prefuse 73, and even had his work sampled in a toilet paper commercial. Most well known as frontman for The Sea and Cake, he set out to make a brand new kind of record, in no way resembling anything he’s ever done.

Success or Suicide

In the beginning, there were two: brothers Jeff and Chris Cannon. These Michiganders, transplanted to the Land of Enchantment otherwise known as New Mexico, started a band–a boisterous beast named Vertigo Venus.

Maniac Meat

Sometimes I can send off a record review in ten minutes. Excited by the tunes in my headphones or emanating from my computer’s tinny speakers, my fingers fly across the keys with artistic inspiration. Other times, it takes time and a few repeat spins of the disc to let the music settle into my brain. Tobacco’s Maniac Meat is one such record. You could ask, what’s happening here? A better question is, what isn’t?

This Is Happening

This can go one of two ways. You can put this album on the loudspeakers of your choice and busy yourself with life until the best beats drop and you are unable to stop yourself from dancing around wildly, close to whatever said speakers you chose. Or, you can do as I do: ready the tunes, put on the headphones, and sit down. You’re going to need to fully absorb the genius before you try to dance to this record. How does one come to produce some of the greatest ironic dance music of the decade? As co-founding producer of DFA Records, James Murphy certainly learned from some of the best.

In Evening Air

Synthpop is my steeze. I like to dance, I like to daydream staring out of train windows, and I’m a woman-child passing for an adult on the days that I’m forced to leave the house. This sappy, manufactured genre could have been created just for me and my wild ideas about the big world in which I am so small. I don’t care in which decade it was produced; I’ve been known to adore anything from Modern Talking to Pet Shop Boys to Freezepop. Are there multi-layered keyboards involved in the making of the music?

Bad City

Saadi is in love with music. It's fun to guess where the loops and tracks come from on their debut album, Bad City. Their influences are far-ranging, and combine '70s dance, '80s synth, choir vocals, and traditional Arabic music. The title track is a solid dance anthem. The song's companion remix is particularly hot, too.

Fabric 50

The ever-prolific Fabric series returns with this effort from Dutch producer Martyn.

Shady Retreat

Here’s the dilemma: I like a lot of divergent genres. Living in northern Europe the past eighteen months, I’ve been able to embrace my unabashed love of electronic club music and synthpop. I live in the birthplace of Eurovision, in the land of ABBA. Well, I’m twenty miles south of Sweden, but you get the idea. My partner and I are making plans to move home within the calendar year, though “home” may become anywhere from NYC to Silicon Valley because he’s a start-up guy looking for funding.

What Day Is It Tonight? (Live 1993-2008)

Hipster culture exists and sustains itself on a continuous loop, a vicious never-ending cycle, like a Möbius strip or an Ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail. Take something once mainstream and now uncool, adopt it with tongue planted firmly in cheek as “so bad it's good,” deem said sound/product/style “cool,” and watch as it is co-opted by a broader audience and becomes mainstream. Later, rinse and repeat. Every once in a while such a revival of the old dredges up some long-lost gem, but most of the time it's just masturbatory.


Do you have a band with which you feel a connection that far surpasses all others? Are you a writerly music nerd who wouldn’t dream of interviewing said band for fear the mystique would be shattered? I reserve such ardor for only one band. I met Spoon frontman Britt Daniel a few times over the years at various North American concerts. Once, I had the guts to say, “Hi, I’m Britt too.” He put his arm around my shoulders, made a fist with his other hand, and took a photo with me. It’s crazy intense.

Abnormally Attracted to Sin

It’s a sinful world out there, and Tori Amos wants to talk about a few sins not included in the Ten Commandments. Her tenth studio album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, tackles themes of oppression, shame, intolerance, and abuse of power.


I don't dance. At least not well. So an evening of bopping or grinding or shaking (or whatever the kids are into these days) isn't my scene. But that's no excuse to excise whole genres from my potential music library, and more electronic acts are creeping in by the day.

I Am the West

Love is complicated. What seems to be heading in one direction can catch you off-guard and go someplace else. So too, Lovers depart from the realm of singer/songwriter and venture into the world of electro-pop. Lovers' latest album, I Am the West, opens with catchy synth rhythms coupled with the sweet, airy vocals of Carolyn Berk.

Common Reaction

Long story short, I was hanging around in the student center at school where a flat screen television soundlessly flashed images of MTVu. Since I had largely stopped watching MTV more than a decade ago, I was pretty much ignoring it. That is, until I saw a grainy black and white cartoon of an obviously lovesick man trailing a raven-haired beauty down the street. Intrigued, I resolved to listen to the song at home and made note of the band's name—Uh Huh Her. I had never heard of the group before, and Los Angeles-based Uh Huh Her is a long way off from household name status.

God Has a Voice, She Speaks Through Me

You’ve probably noticed that Sierra and Bianca, the sisters who make up CocoRosie, are not the type to play coy when it comes to performing. Not only do their provocatively bright outfits and adventuresome vocals call attention to this fact, but the duo unapologetically evokes the name of the big "man" upstairs in the title of their latest single.

The Devil, You + Me

I think The Notwist are a fun, synthy explosion of goodness, and I loved and lived with their 2002 album, Neon Golden, since its release. In the interim, the band members have been keeping busy with projects 13 & God and Ms. John Soda, both excellent acts in their own right.