Cloak & Dagger
DAF / Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft
Many things have been said about this band: they were called the “godfathers of techno,”
the pioneers of EBM and the forefathers of electropunk. Yet they only laugh coolly and
remain tight-lipped in the face of any attempt to historicize them. Deutsch Amerikanische
Freundschaft – better known as DAF – is a myth.
What we know is that they released four albums in a short time span between 1980 and
1982, and that those albums changed the history of music worldwide. Yet DAF’s
international renown certainly was not based in the name: Gabi Delgado-López and
Robert Görl were never looking for friendship; their expressions were invariably ones of
steely, piercing stares, and they presented themselves with a precisely staged iciness
that belied the ardor burning inside them.
DAF initially formed as a quintet in the confines of Ratinger Hof in Düsseldorf, alongside
bands like Fehlfarben, Der Plan, Mittagspause and others, but later adopted a
conceptual approach that left no space for other “young lords.” From that point on they
worked as a duo. With precision percussive elements mastered in classical jazz training,
a legendary Korg MS-20 and a highly fetishistic militaristic spoken-word style, they
produced four albums in quick succession – records that could be construed as
substitutes for sex, drugs and violence. While the first album, Die kleinen und die Bösen
– on which half the tracks were recorded in Conny Plank’s studio while the B-side
contained live recordings – still hinted at roots in original punk music, they then created a
triptych of leathery, sweat-soaked hedonism on Alles ist Gut, Gold und Liebe and Für
immer. In the early 1980s the records in the DAF box set Groenland Records is now
releasing quickly made this duo the international figurehead of the music everyone now
associates with the Rhine region: DAF, along with Kraftwerk and Can, were the pioneers
of German electronic music. They were always in vogue. Sequencers, synthesizers,
commanding drum beats and the most cutting staccato spoken-word vocals – an
alliteration only disrupted by the notion of the uniform. Very few bands have managed to
contrive their own look in such masterly fashion, and to even make it a subject of their
work: “Was ziehst du an heut nacht?,” “Verehrt euren Haarschnitt” and – oh yes – “Tanz
DAF’s militaristic aspect is only broken by their attitude of denial, which invites us to
dance in the dark with them and to follow Delgado-López’s rhythmic movements – even
if he seems to be dancing entirely for himself. Perhaps it is that contradiction itself that
renders this duo so eternal.
This compilation will allow you to experience the music of DAF; the darkest and hardest
driving musical imperative ever to come out of Germany.
She Wants Revenge
American indie rock/synth punk band, formed in Omaha, Nebraska in 1995.
HEALTH are the new frontier of noise rock. Formed in 2005, HEALTH self-recorded their debut album over the course of 9 months at Los Angeles D.I.Y. venue The Smell, birthing an urgent and extraordinary album which seethed with ghostly, epic pop and spurts of chaotic noise. Their shows grew wilder, kids danced & moshed, blogs freaked out, critics raved, and everyone wondered how in God's name HEALTH was going to follow it up. While the anticipation continued to build, HEALTH released a critically-acclaimed remix record HEALTH//DISCO, toured with the likes of Crystal Castles, Nine Inch Nails, and Of Montreal and played over 420 shows!
In April of 2009, HEALTH emerged with their first new single since 2007: "DIE SLOW" received immediate accolades from Pitchfork & NME, with the effects rippling across their DIE SLOW THROUGH EUROPE tour, resulting in a near-riot in Eastern Europe. The song's infectious fusion of noise and dance was the most fully-formed and undeniably rad piece of music from HEALTH yet. And it only served to rile up their fans more. The new full-length was desperately needed.
On September 8th 2009, HEALTH answer the call and release their second album GET COLOR. Recorded in an especially gnarly part of Lincoln Heights, L.A, GET COLOR is an exuberant proclamation of noise, rock and electronic splendor. It's a celebration of sound; pretty, harsh, soft and basked in a blanket of ethereal vocals. GET COLOR is the manifesto HEALTH have been promising since their inception. HEALTH are the band. GET COLOR is the record. NOW is the time.
Two years after releasing the revered noise/dance record HEALTH//DISCO, HEALTH return to the remix realm with DISCO2 on June 22, 2010 on Lovepump United Records.
Curated and produced by HEALTH, DISCO2 features the epic noise jams of GET COLOR remixed by electronic luminaries Tobacco, Crystal Castles, Salem, Javelin, and Gold Panda (among others), morphing 2009's GET COLOR into an electronic masterpiece.
DICSCO2 leads off with the killer new HEALTH single "USA BOYS", mixed by legendary producer Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode). HEALTH have turned the dancefloor filthy again. It's going to be a noisy summer.
BOY HARSHER is a dark electronic duo that produces gritty dance beats infused with ethereal vocals, creating a sound that is eerie, intense and incredibly danceable. Augustus Muller develops the underbelly of sound with minimal beats and grinding synths, where Jae Matthews whispers, screams and chants on top. Together, the music created is somewhere between industrial, drone and confessional storytelling. Muller and Matthews both have a strong background in film and their cinematic approach translates effectively in both their recordings and live performance.
Boy Harsher started in early 2013 under the name Teen Dreamz. The project was based on short stories written and read by Matthews then live scored by Muller. As the project matured the instrumentals became more dance influenced and Matthews’ delivery became more dynamic and spontaneous. In January of 2014 Teen Dreamz took on the moniker Boy Harsher.
Yr Body is Nothing, Boy Harsher’s debut LP, was released by Atlanta’s DKA Records in June of 2016. The LP has been described as a “darkly beautiful and very emotional new record” by Gorilla Vs. Bear and as “highly danceable fantasy narratives of desire and nuanced discomfort” by Decoder Magazine. The album was recorded at home in Northampton, Massachusetts with additional recording and final mixing done at Dollhouse Studios by Peter Mavrogeorgis. The first pressing quickly sold out and a 2nd pressing was released January 2017 ahead of Boy Harsher’s US tour.
Their first EP was mostly recorded at home in Savannah using small collection of cheap synthesizers. These recordings were fleshed out in the studio under the guidance of veteran engineer and producer Peter Mavrogeorgis at Dollhouse Studios. After a short, but productive mixing and mastering session Boy Harsher completed their EP Lesser Man. Lesser Man was originally released by Savannah’s Soft Science on small run cassette. St. Paul’s Night People re-released Lesser Man in April.
Time and changes distance Tamaryn’s Cranekiss from her earlier efforts, and for that matter, from everyone else’s. Time, by way of the long period spent crafting this material, both on her own and with Weekend’s Shaun Durkan, who with producer Jorge Elbrecht (Violens, Lansing-Dreiden), make up the creative team behind Cranekiss. Changes, by relocating across the country from San Francisco to New York City, by expanding the approach taken on her two previous albums (2010’s The Waves and 2012’s Tender New Signs), by making music that pulls you closer to it despite the enormity of the sounds within.
Tamaryn’s first two full-lengths stood out in a crowd of shoegaze/ethereal revivalists as much for what they were (careful, gorgeous, thrilling tapestries of guitar-based textures) as what they weren’t (simplistic, trendy, disposable signposts made to be broken). With Cranekiss, Tamaryn emerges from her past in a way that’s inviting, warm-blooded, and shockingly direct. She’s made a big record, loaded with samples, synth triggers and processing that was missing from her previous efforts, the result of long nights grinding it out at the Brooklyn studio Gary’s Electric, where the record was born. The Waves and Tender New Signs focused on the sounds Tamaryn and her group could coax out of guitars, but with Cranekiss her sonic palette has exploded with maniacal abandon, pressed into service of a post-adolescent love letter to all the music that she and her collaborators hold dear, drawing influences from the feelings that fell out of her. Anyone familiar enough with those times should be able to draw their own comparisons, recognizing the modes of musical respect and adoration flashing past as the record spins. From there, though, Tamaryn has modeled these elements into simulacra, where despite the nods and glances to the past, play as a totally new sound.
Lyrically, this is Tamaryn’s most personal collection of songs to date, and Elbrecht has placed her voice front and center across the entire record, elevating her presence like never before. Cranekiss explores dark rock, dance pop, and glistening melancholy with a uniformly commanding presence across it all, in stormy, unsettled brushstrokes that apply pressure behind Tamaryn’s words.
Cranekiss represents a long journey, and a new phase in Tamaryn’s music unfolding before you, a blood-red kaleidoscope of desire and late night abandon, a bold step forward.
“The long awaited debut from Texas-based electronic duo BOAN has finally arrived, at last bringing their unique incarnation of minimalist synth-pop to an eager and international cult following. BOAN consists of José Cota (SSLEEPERHOLD) and Mariana Saldaña (ex - //TENSE//) who, outside of their lauded individual creative efforts, are widely known as two thirds of the now defunct electro-trio Medio Mutante. MM's critically acclaimed 2008 EP Inestable was released by Cititrax, an imprint of the illustrious Minimal Wave Records, and was the first modern album allowed into the label's celebrated cannon of classic reissues. On BOAN's highly anticipated debut LP Mentiras, Cota & Saldaña continue to deconstruct, sharpen, and enhance their idiosyncratic cold wave tradition by using all hardware electronics to sequence and arrange infectious live dance music. Cota's vivid analog compositions form a solid foundation for Saldaña's indelible and predominantly Spanish vocals to sink into, reflecting a unique confluence of Texas' vibrant electronic music scene with its rich and inextricable history of Hispanic culture.
The album's title, Mentiras (translated as "lies"), accurately sets the tone for the dark romance of Saldaña's alluring vocal delivery that seamlessly oscillates between the sanguine and the apocalyptic with cold, stoic detachment. As a fitting counterpoint, Cota's bass-lines and sequences fuse into dense melodic structures that lock-in with his signature half-time drum beats, propelling each piece forward with aggressive momentum. Medio Mutante, in the tradition of bands like Absolute Body Control, Fad Gadget, and Snowy Red, exclusively used vintage equipment of the era and worked within the given hardware limitations as a defining compositional tool. BOAN however, is free from any genre specific formula and embraces an array of modern synthesizers, sequencers, and effects in conjunction with the warm and classic analog tones that came to be synonymous with MM's sound. By employing a variety of punchy downtempo swing rhythms BOAN establishes an innovative vocabulary of beats that make room for deeper melodic refrains to confidently emerge while simultaneously drilling themselves deep into the unconscious. Pieces such as Babylon and BOAN Acid are impossible to forget, standing out as the most energetic and arresting works on the album, while Secretos and the title track Mentiras are impassioned pop ballads that fully display the vulnerable yet vicious polarity of the full-length's emotional spectrum. Saldaña manages to perfectly suspend her lurid and haunting lyrics above Cota's rich bass lines and arpeggiator hooks, creating lush and complex melodies that are meticulously integrated with massive drum hits and intoxicating effects processing. Engineered and produced by Michael Stein of S U R V I V E at Omniverse Studios, Mentiras is deeply saturated with stereo chorus, reel-to-reel tape delay, and countless other elaborate studio experiments in order to create nuanced layers of vocals, drums, and musical phrasings that continually unveil refined subtleties with every repeat listen.
Thoroughly versed in the history and form of electronic music, BOAN have tirelessly continued to develop their song writing and arrangement process while rising to the top of the crowded Texas synth community, cultivating a rabid following both locally and abroad. Medio Mutante fans will finally be satiated as the matured, expansive sound of BOAN's debut Mentiras not only meets the lofty standards set by MM but delves further into Cota & Saldaña's unique and highly addictive electronic minimalism.”
Black Mare is a solo project of Sera Timms. She released her debut "Field Of The Host" in spring 2013.