I’m not sure what the weather’s doing wherever you happen to be reading this from, but here in the south west of England it is bleak. Cold, windy, raining, depressing; so thank fuck for John Mood’s new album The Great Design and its soft warmth and positive vibes to lift all our spirits. Moods stays true to his MO of soft rock, synthpop, 80s stylings throughout, with the thoughtful, melancholic Awfully Close is a particularly evocative instrumental delight.
The first new solo material since his sublime So Sweet So Nice album from last year, Same As You sees the Berlin based-musician commit himself fully to 80s soft-rock balladry, with intoxicating results. It’s possibly a coincidence that the gently plucked guitar melody (very) strongly resembles Every Breath You Take – arguably the very epitome of melodramatic musical yearning – but whether it’s a direct lift or knowing nod to his inspirations, Moods carries it off with aplomb.
Read our One Track Mind feature with John Moods here.
If you kind of like Boy Harsher but don’t think they’re quite 80s enough for your tastes, I have a treat for you. Imagine the kind of glamorous New York party Bret Easton Ellis and the rest of the literary brat pack pretty much lived at a few decades ago: it’s on a rooftop, there’s a pool, everyone is tan(ned) and beautiful, it’s sunny as fuck, you’re getting stuck into your third Manhattan and you’ve just made the call. Fatamorgana is being played at this party, even though neither of the people in the band had been born at this point.
Angel Olsen has taken a break from making radio-friendly indie-pop janglers to cover five AAA 80s anthems on new EP Aisles. Like a lot of covers, the less committed you are to the original the more you’re likely to enjoy these: I’m least familiar with Billy Idol’s Eyes Without A Face than anything else on here, and for me her reworking is the clear stand out, with just the right amount of breathy dirge. On the other hand, the mere fact that she’s had a crack at Alphaville’s heartbreaking masterpiece Forever Young is utterly despicable.
Keeping this brief today cos reasons but this is some really amazing synthpop from Small Black’s forthcoming LP. So stop wasting my/your time and go and listen to it.
Two of my favourite artists releasing singles on consecutive days is making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Pretty sure they didn’t do it specifically for me (although, maybe?), but following Gia Margaret’s surprise drop yesterday, here come Nation of Language marching in with another melancholy banger that builds to a crescendo of snaking, shimmering synth lines and crystalline drums.
I have a real soft spot for anything that sounds like it’s harkening back to an especially synthy period of the 80s, and Counting Stars fits very neatly into that particular little box. Vocally he also sounds quite a lot like Toro Y Moi, who released one of my favourite albums of the decade a couple of years back. Really very good indeed.