Monday, January 20, 2014

SWL #50: Roladex, "Nuke It Out"

One of the things that I’ve always loved about minimalist synth music is that is has a strange tendency of aging really well. You could argue that this is a reflection of its continued esteem in underground music, but I don’t think that explains it entirely. There is something about the austere sound of bands like Kraftwerk, or Solid Space, or John Foxx's solo work, that continues to perfectly echo the utilitarianism implied by the word “future”. Funny enough, here we are more than 30 years after the heyday of such music, in the throes of a future that is anything but austere, and the sounds still seem relevant.

Formed in Amarillo, TX as the brainchild of Tyler Jacobsen and Elyssa Dianne, the duo known as Roladex use an “arsenal of analog instruments” to construct their own version of such a future.  The project has released a handful of tracks over the course of the last year to growing acclaim, with their last mini-EP arriving just a couple of months ago on Iowa-based Night People, the fabled label of the Shawn Reed (Wet Hair, Raccoo-oo-oon). However, we’ve already caught wind of the follow-up. On February 13th, Medical Records, our favorite local “purveyors of minimal synth, cosmic disco, wave (cold/new), dream/gaze pop, and futuristic music” will be releasing Roladex’s 10 track debut full-length, ‘Anthems For The Micro-Age’.

In addition to containing the 7 tracks previously only available on the Beko, AMDISCS, and Night People releases (minus the “Pink Halloween” mixes which are still available here), ‘Anthems For The Micro-Age’ will also include 3 brand new tracks. The whole package is getting the proper "Medical" treatment including pressing on 180g, transparent, electric blue vinyl, and an LP insert with lyrics.

I feel like people far more qualified than myself could spend hours arguing about the nuances that make up Roladex’s sound; the good news is that none of that discussion is requisite to falling under the spell cast by ‘Anthems For The Micro-age’. Case-in-point is the record’s long-ish outro track, “Nuke It Out”. While Medical describes the record in general as “Kraftwerk playing Steven Merritt songs”, the track’s haunting melody is more reminiscent of 'Speak and Spell' era Depeche Mode, or the output of modern day cold-wave bands like Black Marble. Whatever the most appropriate comparison is, I have little doubt that you’ll have any trouble fitting this “apocalyptic disco track for the end of the world” into any one of your remaining winter nights.

Stream and preorder your copy of  ‘Anthems For The Micro-Age’ over at the Medical Records Bandcamp.

No comments:

Post a Comment