In the last few years, a wave of garage rock and surf bands popped up, possibly in reaction to the 130 beat-per-minute songs and heavily distorted bass arpeggiators of post-Justice electro. Maybe it’s the natural order of things. Disco ran it’s course and was replaced by supposedly “real” music. Electroclash in the early ’00s was immediately followed by a return to guitar rock via the Strokes and White Stripes. Now that everyone has had a some time off, grown beards, brewed their own beer, pickled everything they could, and ran their hand-crafted rocking chair business into the ground, we can take the synthesizers and drum machines out of the closet and get back to business.
Frankie Rose seems to think so. The former member of Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and Vivian Girls is by no means typical in terms of dance music. Rose steals the slinky surf leads and reverb-drenched guitars of her former scene and sets them adrift over epic landscapes of synth pads and pulsing bass. Think the Ventures meets Vangelis. The results are minimal, psychedelic, spaced out and sexy.
Montreal’s Claire Boucher is another artist who seems to have traded her pachouli for patch cables. After being kicked out of Montreal’s McGill University for missing over a year of classes, she built a 20-foot houseboat. Christening it the “Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, she and her then boyfriend took the names “Varuschka” and “Zelda Xox” for themselves and Mark Twain-ed it down the Mississippi. They got as far as Minnesota where, in true hippie radical fashion, they ran afoul of the man. The boat and its cargo of live chickens were impounded and Claire began looking for a new alias. Now signed to 4AD, she’s called Grimes. Her follow up to the wild bohemian nautical adventure is a new full length LP of sleek, polished electro-pop.
With programmed beats and disco baselines back in rotation, maybe it’s time to put away the mustache wax and hang up the flannel.