The Politburo Disko EP by Tiny Magnetic Pets makes a strong case for new wave and synth-pop not being genres that are “over” or simply retro. I was really impressed with the sound design on this record. Starting the EP with “Enigma Code Variations 1 & 2,” I didn’t know what to expect was intrigued. Then what in my opinion is the obvious single from the EP, “Blitzed,” hits the listener with pop hooks that recall some of the best of 80s synthpop acts. I was reminded of Alison Moyet and Martin Gore’s Yaz/Yazoo and The Human League, but Tiny Magnetic Fields have their own sound. I can’t sing the praises of the vocals enough. Definitely one of the strongest aspects of this EP.
Tiny Magnetic Pets are excellent songwriters that incorporate interesting electronic sounds into a pop context. So much of today’s electronic music is monotonous and dull. It’s so nice to hear music that harkens back to an era of warmer sounds and far superior pop hooks. My favorite songs on the EP are the aforementioned “Blitzed” and the title track which closes out the release. We’re in the era of EPs now, with many aspiring artists choosing to release tons of EPs instead of full-length albums. One could say the market is flooded. Listening to this one won’t be a waste of your time.
Get Wet +’s latest EP starts with a perfect opener and my favorite track on the record, “Cop Blood.” THREE exudes the kind of punk energy that actually takes skill to pull off. This isn’t a slapdash record that was thrown together. One can hear the thought put into every track and all of the instruments shine through nicely in the mix.
I especially love the vocals on this record. It’s so rare in punk music to hear good vocals that are in tune but here they are. Get Wet + makes a great move artistically by relegating the guitar to a secondary role to bass. Too often, I hear modern punk music where everything just blends together. The mixing and mastering on THREE deserves high praise. Usually I approach new punk music with a healthy dose of skepticism but Get Wet + have managed to create an EP worth listening to.
As far as musical influences go, I can’t place any particular one for this record, though it’s an EP that instantly feels familiar. If only there were bands like Get Wet + playing the basement scene at Rutgers when I was there, I might have gone went to more shows. A highly recommended listen.
TG’s Hug Machine by The Vardaman Ensemble is a fun instrumental record that makes good use of repetitive arpeggiating keyboard riffs. Trust me, it sounds way better than it looks on paper, and guess what, it sounds more interesting here than in certain other more popular recent contexts. A review of this engaging and brief release would be incomplete without a nod to Frankie Knuckles’ classic “Your Love,” which sounds absolutely nothing like this album. The Vardaman Ensemble successfully take this dance motif and inject it into a totally new and experimental context without the music sounding dry. Not an easy task.
As the record ends it kind of veers off into acid trip territory. I’m not complaining. The band members of The Vardaman Ensemble do an awesome job of not alienating more pop-based listeners. If I have any criticism of the release, it’s that I really enjoyed the drums and would like to hear more. Very solid record.
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Classical violinist and piano player. Mostly self-taught guitarist took lessons with Vic Juris who was sampled for Gang Starr’s Mass Appeal hit. Appeared in Music of the Heart with Meryl Streep (d. by Wes Craven.) Long-time home-recording artist.