Londoner J Churcher recorded parts of his debut album, Borderland State, over the course of two years and then had the fortune of meeting producer Dreamtrak, who helped Churcher fully realize his musical vision. “Finding Roxanne” is a mesmerizing song loaded with emotion that’s underpinned by wall-of-sound synths and Churcher’s evocative and yearning voice. Churcher tells PopMatters that the song is “a homage to the agonies and ecstasies of falling in love”.
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Norway’s Apoptygma Berzerk have made a name for themselves throughout Europe for their somewhat gothic synthpop that they describe as “futurepop”. The group formed back in 1989 at the very tail end of the new wave musical movement, which perhaps explains the darker turn in their music from earlier bands more inherently poppy. As the Cure and Depeche Mode evolved into heavier sounds, so too did Apoptygma Berzerk embrace the underside of the often bright and chipper synthpop of earlier ‘80s. Apoptygma Berzerk also have deep and ambitious goals as “The Genesis 6 Experiment” shows.
The band tells PopMatters that the track “unlocks understanding of mythology, legends, ancient history, and religious belief. The supernatural in the natural. The analogue roots of the digital tree.” It’s a stirring song laden with atmosphere and deep grooves. The song will appear on the band’s upcoming compilation, Exit Popularity Contest, due October 7th via the End Records. The album contains the group’s EP trilogy that only previously was available on vinyl.
Musician Gayle Skidmore presents “The Golden West”, the title tune from her upcoming LP. The Golden West is release Number 20 for Skidmore and her first full-length in the vinyl format. The album also arrives with her third adult coloring book.
“The Golden West” marks a return to happiness for the singer-songwriter. She penned the tune during the same 2015 tour that introduced her to her husband. “The last five years of my life were a tumultuous time of loss and hardship,” she says. “My mother went through stage four cancer and a long-term relationship ended traumatically. I was able to wrestle through that time and sought healing in many places and fashions, including through songwriting and art.”
Band of Skulls always keep it real and true to the roots of rock and roll with their heavily blues-influenced sound that’s thoroughly modern. This year saw the release of the band’s fourth album, By Default. Drummer Matt Hayward says that they “went back to square one… The first three records were like a trilogy, a piece of work in of themselves. We wanted to do those things, and we did them all. We took a breath, took a look at what we’d done, and started from scratch again.” It’s always good for the creative process to start with a fresh canvas from time to time and Band of Skulls clearly benefitted from the approach.
Adriane Pontecorvo: Driving, ‘80s-style synthpop laced with vapors, sex. and recklessness. Marie Fisker’s voice switches between crystal clear and smoky, going from low and calm to high moans and back in a beautiful crossing of the spectrum. The video follows the same path as Fisker’s voice, blurring earthy realism and the uncanny: a grim nighttime walk through concrete streets and tunnels leads to a supermarket full of nude shoppers and erotic encounters on boxes of detergent under a hail of dollar bills. It’s a sensual, surreal piece with an electric charge to it. [8/10]