Having lived through the 80's, witnessed the birth of Wham!, the ascension of Kylie from Neighbours mechanic to pop princess and the rise and fall of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman (s)hit factory, intelligent, well-crafted synth-pop has had a tough (but not impossible) road to climb to redeem itself. It's easier done now for those with little memory of the 80's, who can mine the decade of its untapped wealth and pull influences from The Human League or Gary Numan or even further back without being mocked, all the while creating something new and exciting. Having a rough guess at their ages, London's Villa Cola could surely fill these shoes.
Columbia, 2008[rating:9/10] From the Jesus and Mary Chain through to Franz Ferdinand, every once in a while the sound of Scotland will seemingly unleash an act that will take the music world by storm. Having
Mute/EMI, 2008 [rating:8/10] The passing of time has done nothing to dampen Nick Cave's spirit or soften his tongue. In the preceding decade spent mostly strapped to the piano like a bible-addicted lothario, it
Heavy on atmosphere with a melodic depth that harnesses Banshees-like percussion against rippling guitar-work and bears more than a passing resemblance to the rhythmic whirl of Warpaint and the siren song of Esben and the
Caribou (aka Dan Snaith) is not an artist prone to repeating himself. His second album, 2007's Andorra took '60s psychedelic pop and merged it with complex rhythm patterns, while his LP from last year Swim saw Snaith heading into a denser electronic direction while still retaining a fair amount of pop smarts. Caribou with long time friend Kieran Hebden better known as Four Tet will soon be the Antipodes for a series of shows but late last year Chris Berkley caught up with Snaith whilst on the seemingly never ending tour for Swim where Dan took time out to talk about the art of Caribou live versus recording, his electric friends, how some people perceive Swim to be his dark album and how to win over the doom metal crowd.
Fortuna Pop!, 2008[rating:7/10] Fortuna Pop! is the pre-eminent label for those special acts that can't find a home anywhere else. Think of it as a shelter for the abandoned, misunderstood band either bursting with unrecognised
Mint Records, 2008[rating:9/10] Vancouver's The Organ shared that same shadowy intellectual existence that made them sound like a darker version of The Smiths, without Johnny Marr's trademark flair and Morrissey's veiled humour. Helmed by singer/lyricist