Category Archives: pop

Loose Shus “Demos”

Loose Shus
(self-released; 2008)

Save for a few horrible frat houses in the midwest or even some godforsaken trailers in the deep south, if you put on Michael Jackson’s Thriller at a dance party people are going to have a great time. There is something in the uninhibitedly inhibited sounds of late 70’s and early 80’s dance music that just keeps bringing everyone back for one more listen. Contemporary producers like Chromeo and Kavinsky know the beauty to be found in these sounds, and they’ve given us quite a twirl with their revitalized revivals of the golden age of dance music. If you have room for one more, please lend your ears to San Francisco’s Loose Shus. He’s got a few extra steps to show you.

Through a smooth blend of vintage samples, recreated classic synths, and overtly consistent sexual energy, Loose Shus calls you to move with his revived brand of motorik disco. His style could seem contrived and tired if not for it’s utmost purity of influence and genuine dedication to reliving the biggest decades of dance through music. Those aspects gain my musical respect, but it’s the epicly-written-yet-immediately-enjoyable songs that capture my love. Whether you’re being carried along by the bouncy bass line of “Taurus” or the squealing synths of “Six Minute” Loose Shus doesn’t wait til the destination to drop grooves on you; the whole journey is a well-crafted dance experience. Even on the CD’s closest cousin to a slow jam, my personal favorite, “mmmm hmmmmm”, we’re moved by a solidly mellow beat accompanied by a soft, whistling synth. No matter what he does in his music, Loose Shus’ motive is consistent and clear; put your feet and your pants on the dance floor. Won’t you listen?

– Patric Fallon


Japanese Motors “Single Fins & Safety Pins”

Japanese Motors
Single Fins & Safety Pins
(Vice; 2008)

Japanese Motors are from Costa Mesa, CA which makes their name sort of incongruous; if there’s a Japanese car anywhere in Orange County I’ve never seen it. Added to which, this band makes music that’s more muscle-car than fuel-economy sedan. The sound on the first track we hear from their forthcoming album is a little old-fashioned but wears like a sunburn. The bass is quaintly cut-and-dried, the guitar echoes with a rockabilly kick, and the drums sync with groovy handclaps. Lyrically, there’s the kicking off of shoes and the tasting of wine. It sounds suspiciously like they’re having fun. They’re a little too late for a summer album, but you can still feel the wind in your hair and the sand in your shorts. “Single Fins & Safety Pins” is the first single from the Motors’ self-titled debut out this month on Vice. Just don’t call it surf music.

– Anthony Strain

Ian McGlynn “Tomorrow’s Re-Taken”

Ian McGlynn
Tomorrow’s Re-Taken
(Bailey Park Records, 2007)

Normally, I wouldn’t write a review for an album that I contributed the slightest sound or production idea to, but this time around is different for a few reasons. The first reason is that Tomorrow’s Re-Taken is a remix album composed primarily of source material from singer/songwriter Ian McGlynn’s debut album Tomorrow’s Taken. Reason number two is that the one remix I contributed to this ten song album was produced as Such, Broken Glass which is a moniker I no longer use. The last reason is that my remix was completed over three years ago. From the way the rest of these remixes sound, it’s safe to assume they were all written and finished years ago.

There are a few semi-interesting sounds for the casual listener here, but certainly nothing the seasoned music fan hasn’t heard before. The remixing styles range from 90’s-era, 100% Dance club music to ‘are you kidding me?!’ acid jazz to fake, 80’s post-punk with not a whole lot in between. This motley crew of genres wouldn’t sound so completely off the wall if Ian McGlynn’s most noted influences weren’t the likes of Coldplay, Ben Folds, and The Beatles. I’m sure he got a kick out of hearing his voice and instrumentation re-worked a whole album’s worth, but after the 9 minutes of preset drum and bass that works as the album’s centerpiece I’m quite ready to give Tomorrow… back.

Unless we’re talking about one artist re-writing the entirety of another artist’s record (which would be more of a cover album), a remix album is, by default, a mish-mash of many separate ideas. This common trait makes remix albums appeal to very distinct crowds; the die-hard fans, the remixers of the music, and the writer of the original music. Sadly, I doubt many people outside of those three groups will be looking for Tomorrow’s Re-Taken.

– Patric Fallon

The Toy Soldiers “Demo”

The Toy Soldiers
The Toy Soldiers
(self-released, 2007)

Song 1:
Strangely danceable though the recording and mix are relatively subpar.
Beat has a simliar sound to Battles’ “Atlas” or anything from Gary Glitter’s catalog. Interesting juxtaposition of disjointed guitar solos with synth heavy hooks. Vocals overall come across as Arcade Fire’s less intense, little brother, but most definitely in a good way.

Song 2:
A more mellow song that’s almost 100% electronic with similiar spurts of spacey, effected guitar bursts. A disco beat comes in towards the end that is almost indescernable as live or programmed. The vocal hook, “We didn’t look out the back window” is strong and would most likely make for a good appearance on an episode of the OC or maybe even Grey’s Anatomy.

All the songs have decent structure and rarely become boring or uninteresting to listen to. There are definite pop sensibilites throughout the songs, and even hints of more epic inclinations, but nothing is fully delivered. The sound is nothing new or ground breaking, but if Toy Soldiers wrote a group of songs over a couple years they could most likely find fans in the Death Cab for Postal Service, Minus the Faint-esque indie, electro-pop scene. Go for it, guys!