The System That Started it All…

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I was working my very first summer job at the “One Hour Photo Lab” wearing a blue lab coat the first time I heard the System. Just doing my ordinary shift, mixing a huge vat of film developing chemicals ( not fun), with the radio on when “Promises Can Break”, their new single off the “X-Periment” album came bursting out of the junky boombox we had there. The song was soul, yeah, but it was fueled by a fat synth, so it sounded kind of different, modern. It also featured a dizzying hook, and downright swoon-worthy ascending vocal line. I was instantly in love. I went and bought the album from which it came, “X-Periment”, the very next day and discovered that track was the tip of the iceberg, and that the whole thing was full of tunes with lush electronic heartbeats, and every one sounded like a single.

The band itself consisted of David Frank, Mic Murphy w/assistance from Paul Pesco, and their singular, hard-earned moment in the sun came with their 4th album, “Don’t Disturb This Groove” whose title track was a mega-hit, and is still justifiably beloved today (with over 2 million Spotify plays and counting, not bad). Now while that album is pretty fine, the bands charms and gifts shine the brightest on the aforementioned “X-Periment”, and it’s follow-up “The Pleasure Seekers”. Both feature plush, melodic, electro-soul pop of the highest order, all melodic, edgy, anxious, and emotional, and are absolutely worth seeking out.

And with that let’s raise a glass to these guys, the true pioneers of electro-soul, they still deserve a lotta love , and all of our ears.

Have a listen/look at these sweet things:

And here are the “X-Periment” and “The Pleasure Seekers” albums on Spotify if you wanna go deeper:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/2qgQhLLLXt2uGB6AYMCQl2

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/0IornSrnyQoXSvJVWjL4OP

Mina Rose “Lemons and Limes”

I pray for records like this on a regular basis. Specifically, the kind where reggae, pop, and post punk tightly snake around each other, and make you completely forget what year you’re living in. “Lemons” spiritual father is “Ghost Town” by the Specials, while the soul of Slits legend, Ari Up, is living, and breathing inside of Mina’s ace vocal…which is to say, it’s a bit of a classic. Oh, and one more thing ! :  there’s a nod of honor to Smiley Culture preceding the song in the video, and so if you haven’t done it yet, please check out our piece on his wondrous creations under “Lost 80’s” in Topics section of this very blog. You won’t regret it.

Baum “Hot Water/First”

Remember when when Madonna was making classic, boundary pushing singles at every turn ? Big, fat pop records that you couldn’t get out of your head ? And then we hit the 2000’s and she wasn’t ? It’s still sad and disappointing….well, meet Baum, and allow her to redress the balance, and pull us into the pop future. She is bitchin’ and unapologetic. There’s a real raw depth, and assertiveness to her singing ( and songs for that matter) that kicks the asses of all the pop queens lurking in the top 10 these days. And with that, here are 2 shining stars to share. “Hot Water” is an infectious, sinewy, candy coated groover that gets bigger by the second. Then comes “First”, a ballad, featuring a world weary, sultry, I’m throwing up my hands vocal, within a tune that sounds like some long lost Prince ballad from the late 80’s, married to an early D’Angelo record, and I can’t think of a higher compliment to pay than that.

Wait.Think.Fast. “Count No Count”

A heavenly widescreen hymn for staring at the sun, and wiping your brow to. The sparseness of “Count No Count” contradicts how positively epic it is, which is part of what makes it so compelling. How to describe it ? Well, simplest way would be imagine Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star singing a gospel song… but the LA duo take it well beyond those confines, and it is a singularly beautiful beast.

Joseph of Mercury “Angel”

He is Joseph of Mercury, and he is here to polarize you. “Angel” is completely earnest and romantically over the top. It’s a fifties soul ballad that seems to have gotten lost and found itself wandering around in 2017. It’s a scene where everyone is dressed in white and the stars are shining, and we are all bowing before Venus standing in her shell ( in the parking lot of a drive-in). Okay, will tell you straight : you will either love this or hate it. We recommend you just give in and succumb to it’s undeniable charm, and accept it’s bouquet because it really is pretty freakin’ swell.

Knifeplay “Breathe”

This is a pretty nifty piece of post-punk here, with a tuneful, New Order-esque guitar line as the star, some understated whispery vocalizing following sweetly in it’s wake, plus some bonus dissonant twangs…subtle, memorable, and cool.

Partner “Gross Secret”

Ever imagine Kim and Kelly Deal collaborating with Neil Young on a song about that stuff  that you do that you don’t want anyone to know you do (or did ) ? Now you don’t have to, because Partner have invented it. It’s a song, and an eternal truth, and epitomizes what Partner are about : chorus’s and self- flagellating truth telling…but fun, if that makes sense.

The debut album “In Search of Lost Time” is due out in September and judging by the tracks they’ve kicked out so far, it contains no bad songs : every one thus far has been a freakin’ diamond.

And hey do yourself a favor and check out another truly fine track off the forthcoming album ,”Play the Field”, a popped out, new wave diary of teenage lust, sports bras, and the sacrifice of dignity.

Bonus: Oh no, just had an 80’s flashback, and gonna attach this piece of pop absurdity that sounds like a distant forefather of “Play the Field”, and spontaneously popped into mind . It’s by MOR legend Gino Vannelli, it’s ridiculous and it kinda rules.

 

 

 

Weekly New Wonders Playlists !

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Here are August’s ( so far) Playlists ! Featuring some fine things that surfaced this month (and before that) , compiled neatly together, to bend an ear to. There are songs we haven’t talked about, and a few we have, and they are all mighty fine.

Below you will find links for both a Soundcloud and a Spotify playlist. Why both ? Well,  some of the tracks on Soundcloud are not currently offered on Spotify, and we don’t want anything to fall through the cracks! In other words, it’s worth checking ’em both out so you don’t miss discovering something special. Go on now and introduce yourself…

Soundcloud link:

 

Spotify link:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/esperanza19/playlist/7aNhnt0SvZy1pWEfotYvCQ

 

Bad Nerves “Radio Punk”

Urgent, frantic, but also romantic in it’s exultation of the word ‘radio” as in the old school, “the radio is my lifeline” way, which is pretty damn romantic. Anyhow, this is a true power pop anthem, and could possibly make your heart explode.

Sweet Nobody “In a Manner of Speaking”

An ecstatic Go-Go’s/Bangles/60’s girl group hybrid, set to a motorik-krautrock beat ( no really),  this is pop of the highest order, and in a perfect world, at this very moment, it is blasting from a radio in a pink convertible rolling defiantly down the Pacific Coast Highway, and not looking back.