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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Automatic “Signal”

Los Angeles-based band Automatic came together when they met within the music scene of that city. Izzy Glaudini (synths, vocals), Lola Dompé (drums, vocals) and Halle Saxon (bass, vocals) are the three women who make up the band. It was back in 2017 when Izzy had been invited by Halle to plug her guitar into the bass amp. Since then, however, the band’s makeup changed from guitar-based to keyboard-based music when Izzy Glaudini decided to set the guitar aside and started jamming on the keyboards. With this version of the lineup, the three musicians draw their musical inspiration (as well as the name) from the band called The Go-Gos as well as others. Other influences to Automatic’s music come from the likes of punk bands like Bauhaus and others.

While Automatic draws some inspiration from Punk (due to several factors including the fact that Lola Dompé’s father is none other than Daniel Ash of Bauhaus), the band’s sound is much more closely related to Indie Rock with some New Wave flavor thrown in. You can call the band’s sound “electronic post-punk”. That sound can be found on the band’s debut album entitled Signal.

Signal from Automatic begins with the track “Too Much Money”. It’s the sound of Halle Saxon’s bass that starts the track off, with Izzy Glaudini’s keyboards adding a bit of Industrial Distortion to the background of the track. When Lola Dompé’s drums are added into the mix, the resulting track takes the listener back in time to the early days of New Wave when the bands like Ultravox and Kraftwerk were influencing the direction of Rock and Roll over in England. The unmistakable New Wave feel of the music is joined by lead vocals from drummer Lola Dompé and background vocals from keyboard player Izzy Glaudini that, together, recall bands like Bananarama and/or the aforementioned Go-Gos. While the track has a slightly dark feel, the quick pace of the music adds some lightness into the mix. “Too Much Money” is a fun listen, in a throwback kind of way.

Automatic continues their album with the track “Calling It”. Like with the previous track, the song begins with the pounding bass from Halle Saxon with a light drumbeat from Lola Dompé. The two musicians create a rhythmic pattern that is added to by atmospheric noise from Izzy Glaudini’s keyboards. That rhythmic pattern and atmospheric noise create a track of minimalistic simplicity as the vocals from Izzy Glaudini on the track are delivered in a sing-song, monotone manner. The lyrics about bringing a relationship to a close just adds to the darkness of the track. The song ends up being the type of tracks that would fit in with either New Wave artists and/or Alternative Rock artists.

With the track “Suicide in Texas,” the band creates another song with a rather simplistic feel to the music. Like with the previous track, “Suicide in Texas” contains a light delivery on the drums as well as atmospheric noise in the background. Along with the light percussion, the song features a strong bassline and swirling keyboards that constantly seem to loop upon themselves. This creates a track that has a definite Pop-like pace to the music and a beat that is rather infectious. That being said, however, the song is hardly the type of song that you would find on a Top 40 radio format. As a result, “Suicide in Texas” contains a sound that is both underground and listener-friendly at the same time, creating one of the more interesting songs on the album.

The next track, called “I Love You, Fine,” begins with a heartbeat-like pulse from Halle Saxon’s bass and a keyboard sound that comes with a slightly dark feel to it. The bass/keyboard sound is then joined by sonar-like pulse, which, combined together creates dark, foreboding music. It is with the inclusion of Lola Dompé’s drums that the song actually gains a little lightness to the music. When the band finally picks up the pace on the song, the track takes on a Post-Punk musical approach, making the track feel like it came from the late seventies/early eighties.

As much of the music contained on the Signal release from Automatic contains some influence from New Wave music from the eighties, it should come as no surprise that the band added a slightly robotic feel to their music on the title track of the release. The addition of the sound effects in the music on the song “Signal” also gives the song a mechanical feel to it. With the robotic feel to the drums and bass on the song, as well as the use of sound effect, the track “Signal” feels very much like it was influenced by the band Devo. The band even continues the mechanical feel of the music with the next track of “Humanoid”.

With the bass riff at the beginning of the track “Electrocution,” the band Automatic feels as if they are calling upon the influence of the group A Flock of Seagulls. The quick drumbeat even adds to that reference. But with the light keyboards at the beginning of the song, the track also feels like it was influenced by the likes of The Cure. The Call-and-Return feel of the lead vocals and background vocals in the refrain of the track adds a nice amount of depth to the track. You could imagine this track being played on College Radio back in the late eighties/early nineties.

The Signal album from Automatic comes to a close with the song “Strange Conversation”. The track’s heavy bassline and strong keyboards mix with keyboard player Izzy Glaudini’s vocals to create a track that feels like it would have come from the mid-eighties. In fact, the track would have felt right at home being played alongside either “I Could Be Happy” or “Happy Birthday” from the Scottish New Wave band Altered Images.

Signal from Automatic is a strong album, with the various influences from Alternative Rock and/or New Wave, and from bands like Kraftwerk, A Flock of Seagulls, The Cure among others. But with the music on the release alternating between Post-Punk, Industrial, and New Wave, the album is more suited towards those looking for Indie Rock than those looking for Top 40/Adult Contemporary music. If you’re a fan of slightly darker takes on music, this may well be the album for you.

For a taste of the music from Automatic, check out the music video to the band’s song called “Too Much Money”.

To check out the Signal album from Automatic on spotify, click on the album cover below:

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: gloryBots “Dark Alien Pop”

Start with an artist named Jalal Andre who is mostly an enigma as nothing exists to tell you who exactly he is. Then, add him in with gloryBots, the Seattle-based band that is just as mysterious as he seems to be and you have a combo that is as unusual and unique as the music the band creates. With the combination of alternative, ambient, composer, dubstep, electronic dance music, industrial and a lot more influences blending together with references to Extraterrestrial life, the entire concept of the band’s music fits into what they call Dark Alien Pop. Not only is that a good description of the ensemble’s sound, it also happens to be the title for the band’s first album of music.

Dark Alien Pop from gloryBots beings with the track “Entanglement”. The track begins with the light feel of Ambient music with some EDM thrown in for the beat. The inclusion of some Industrial music also adds body to the music. When every musical influence comes together, what is produced is a track that brings to mind New Wave influences and Industrial music blended together. Think about the sound of Bauhaus and a light version of Depeche Mode and you get the idea of what “Entanglement” sounds like.

The next track on the album is “Dream About Nothing,” the first track off of the album to be featured as a single. This track is the first of many songs on the release that feels completely different from the initial track of “Entanglement”. Where “Entanglement” had a slightly dark Industrial feel to it, the song “Dream About Nothing” has more of a lighter musical approach to it. The track features a driving beat that is matched up with a sound that brings out the New Wave feel of the music. In fact, you may even say that the track falls into the category of Dark Wave, a slightly darker style of New Wave music. And while there is that dark tone to the music, the bouncy “pop” feel to the music. The track comes across as a mix of Duran Duran and Depeche Mode, with more emphasis on Duran Duran. The track would have felt right at home during the eighties and the New Wave era of music.

For the track “Syzygy,” Jalal Andre and the rest of gloryBots create a track that would probably be best described as Indie Rock. The track once again features some Industrial feel, some Pop-Rock and other influences that combine together to create a track with an easy pace and light musical delivery. The beginning of the track starts with a lot of industrial noise which lasts for almost a minute before it eventually segues into a more cohesive sound. The title seems rather appropriate as the use of Pop-Rock and Industrial blend their vastly different musical feels into one sound that would easily belong on an Alternative Music radio format.

Having heard the previous tracks that blend together several musical approaches to create one sound, the listener is then exposed to the track “Immolation”. What sets “Immolation” apart from the previous tracks on the release is that this song finds the band creating a sound that borrows mainly from one musical genre- Alternative Rock. In fact, what “Immolation” ultimately brings to mind is the style of a band like U2 or INXS during their times in the nineties. This track from gloryBots stands out because of the straight-forward Alternative approach the band took on it.

Although many of the tracks on the Dark Alien Pop album find gloryBots drawing from many different artists to bring their music to life, with the track “Fire In the Sun,” gloryBots seems to draw from one specific band. With “Fire In the Sun,” the music of the track seems to scream “Depeche Mode”. The Alternative Rock music on the track features the same keyboard/guitar blend that makes Depeche Mode’s music so unique. The drums on “Fire In the Sun” even contain the same organic/synthetic blend that appears in a lot of Depeche Mode’s songs. If you happened to be a fan of Depeche Mode, “Fire In the Sun” will leave you happy.

The track “Le Monde” begins with sounds that would suggest that the band was about to create a track with a large amount of Industrial influence. But just as fast as the noise grabs the listener’s attention, it disappears. What replaces the industrial sounds once the track segues out of the noise is a track of mainly one solo guitar and vocals. The gentle playing of the electric guitar makes the instrument feel almost acoustic in nature as there is a gentle quality to it. The track is split in two parts as the guitar part stops and fades into the distance about ninety seconds in only to begin again with the same gentle, relaxed approach. The second part of the track also features a keyboard that has joined up with the guitar. While the keyboard adds depth to the music, the addition of the instrument does not end up raising the energy level much at all.

The track “Forces” is one of the busier songs on the release. The track begins with a little Industrial feel that segues into a Pop-Rock sound that is very relaxed and laidback. That laidback approach picks up energy and the result is yet another moment that makes the music come across as Indie Rock. The track later returns to the same laidback approach that began the track to help bring the song to an end.

As the listener makes their way through the dozen track that make up the Dark Alien Pop album from gloryBots, they will encounter a lot of different musical approaches throughout the songs. Some of the album contains a great deal of energy, while a lot of it comes with a much more laidback feel. And the various musical elements blend together to create an album that constantly changes. While the members of gloryBots may be rather mysterious, they come together to create an album that proves that the members are all accomplished musicians who know how to perform.

 

The Dark Alien Pop album from gloryBots is still in the middle of being released. The actual release date for the album is still about a week away from the publishing of this review. Stay tuned to the band’s FACEBOOK account to stay updated on the progress of the release. In the meantime, click the link to hear the lead-off single from the Dark Alien Pop album from gloryBots entitled “Dream About Nothing“. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out the band’s PR Firm, Whiplash PR. Click on the logo below to visit their site. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Features

Hangin’ out pre-show with Vancouver’s Bend Sinister

Fun, electrifying and upbeat all the way, Bend Sinister, blasted its big, bodacious sound at this year’s Pop Montreal festival. The Vancouver-based band, whose name was acquired from a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, is made up of Dan Moxon (lead vocalist and keys), Joel Myers (bass), Joseph Blood (guitar) and Jason Dana (drummer) and is currently on a cross-Canada tour. I met up with one of the West Coast rockers, Joseph, right before the band’s show at Les 3 Minots. Here’s what happened…

Q: Sorry I’m a little flustered, my bike got two flat tires and I had to hop on one of those rental bikes to make it here on time…

A: Oh, that sucks! Yeah, I saw those rental bikes around – that’s kind of cool.