What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The One About Music I Like

When I work on my blogs or work on my weekly column (The One About Politics), I listen to music. For those of you into synth-pop or electronic music, here are some suggestions to some great music you may have missed:

Venus Hum, Big Beautiful Sky

Here is my review from Amazon:

"My introduction to Venus Hum came about through the Blue Man Group's album "The Complex" and the song "I feel love," sung beautifully by Annette Strean. I had no idea who they were and was so impressed by their collaboration with Blue Man Group that I had to give a listen to "Big Beautiful Sky." Strean's lyrics are whimsical and she sounds like an angel. The electronic palette painted by Tony Miracle and Kip Kubin provide a spectacular backdrop to Annette's voice, covering a wide variety of electronica styles that reminds one of the great synth-pop bands of the 1980s, like Depeche Mode and Erasure, coupled with an enigmatic voice best compared to Kate Bush. "Big Beautiful World" is an album deserving of more attention to this talented trio from Nashville. A must-have for any record collection."

Wolfsheim, Spectators

My Amazon review:

"What a shame it is that, in an age where unrecognizable, bland pop music rules the airways, original, brilliant music does not get the airplay it deserves. Thankfully, Wolfsheim's latest, Spectaors is about to get a domestic release.

Peter Heppner and Markus Reinhardt are Wolfsheim, with Peter on vocals and Markus on instruments. Until recently they've not had much of a presence in the United States, with just a song or two ("The Sparrows and the Nightingale") being played in dance clubs. Essentially, they're known more by word of mouth than anything else in the U.S.

Specators features a rich, haunting sonic tapestry with an emotional impact. Comparisons to other bands are inevitable (such as Depeche Mode) but essentially useless.

For the new listener, any song on Specators is a great start, but Once In a Lifetime really stands out. Musically upbeat, the lyrics belie a darker undertone. In fact, many of the songs on "Spectators" present this musical paradox, which creates a very real experience for the listener.

Spectators is worth hunting out, whether you purchase it as an import or wait for the domestic release, and is a far better album than Depeche Mode's lackluster Exciter."

Color Theory Presents: A Tribute to Depeche Mode

My Amazon review:

"Color Theory is actually a one-man band, musician Brian Hazard, and his tribute to Depeche Mode is in my opinion the best DM tribute album available. It helps that Hazard sounds an awful lot like Martin L. Gore of Depeche Mode, but there's more to Color Theory than the singing; the music is a fabulous mix of old-style synth-pop and 21st century electronica.

The choice of Depeche Mode songs covered represents an eclectic mix of old and new, all great Depeche Mode songs that did not get the attention they deserved when released, such as the single Here is The House from Black Celebration and my favorite track from Violator, Sweetest Perfection.

Included in this mix is Hazard's own single Ponytail Girl, a song many thought was recorded by Depeche Mode when it was released. Some may come away with the impression that Hazard is simply imitating Depeche Mode, but that's just not the case. Hazard is a great musician, and Color Theory is music equal to the greatness of Depeche Mode, and not just an imitation."

All of the above are great choices if you're looking for something new to add to your music collection.


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