Though obviously unorthodox as cover albums go, the past three tribute releases by the 8-Bit Operators name—which cover tunes by Kraftwerk, the Beatles, and Devo—have been wildly fun. Using sounds repurposed from old video game consoles and operating systems, including Game Boys, Atari consoles, and Commodore 64s, a whole gamut of artists under the 8-Bit Operators umbrella have crafted some eccentric and unforgettable tracks. If you think the digital bleeps of video game consoles would be unable to turn the Beatles’ “Because” into a haunting reverie, you’d be forgiven—but also wrong. 8-Bit music is a niche a genre as there is, but there is plenty exciting happening in the field.
Latest Blog Posts
The title of the Portland, Oregon outfit HERS’ latest LP, Youth Revisited, may at first pass suggest a mood of nostalgia. Such a simplistic take, however, all but dissipates as the first notes of the album begin. This first song, “Bad”, finds frontwoman and songwriter Melissa Amstutz hauntingly repeating, “I’ve been so bad.”
As the much-hyped debut LP by Syracuse’s Perfect Pussy has already demonstrated this year, there’s a real power in unflinching emotional examination. However, in contrast to the cut-and-paste sonic of Say Yes to Love, Youth Revisited‘s musical range is far more refined and wide-spanning.
Earlier this year, PopMatters premiered the first new work by Children of the Stones, a project spearheaded by electronic music impresario Mark Van Hoen (Locust, Black Hearted Brother) and collaborator Martin Maeers. Coming on the heels of an introductory EP and a debut full-length The Stars and the Silence, Children of the Stones is releasing yet another EP on 3 June, MCM (Saint Marie). Premiering here on PopMatters, the MCM track “Save for Me” showcases the trippier and moodier side of the duo’s electro sound.
Laura Hill, the Aussie one-woman synth-pop band who works under the name Scraps, has an uncanny ability to not just recreate an ‘80s sound, but the vibe that goes along with it. On the video for “Projections”, which premieres on PopMatters, the retro mood of her bubbling keyboards and neon-lit production is accentuated by visuals that look like they could’ve come from a long-lost VHS tape lodged in a VCR buried in a dusty thrift-shop corner. “Projections” appears on Scraps’ 2014 full-length, Electric Ocean (Fire).
In describing “Short Little Summer Love Song”, Atlanta rock outfit Baby Baby says, “The worst part about about love is feels like it will last forever and there’s nothing anyone can tell you otherwise. However, if life has told us anything it’s that love is fleeting and fragile at best.” Despite its otherwise bouncy demeanor, “Short Little Summer Love Song”, a track off of Baby Baby’s recent Big Boy Baller Club LP, attempts to clutch on to the inherently ephemeral spirit of summer.
// Notes from the Road
"Radio 104.5's birthday show featured great bands and might have been the unofficial start of summer festival season in the Northeast.READ the article