Review: Three years on from the release of their acclaimed debut album, "Yr Body is Nothing", Augustus Miller and Jae Matthews are finally ready to release the second Boy Harsher full-length. It's a hugely atmospheric affair, with the lauded pair sashaying between moody creepiness (the slowly shifting musical dystopia of opener "Keep Driving"), guitar-flecked new wave ("Face The Fire"), arpeggio-driven alternative synth-pop ("Fate"), Pet Shop Boys-esque Italo-disco influenced throb-jobs ("LA"), EBM-driven dancefloor funk ("Come Closer", "Tears"), icy electronic soundscapes ("Crush") and immersive, wide-eyed ambient ("Careful"). It does sound like it could have been made around 1985, but that's precisely the point: Boy Harsher can certainly deliver well observed retro-futurism better than most.
Venus Covers Mars (Antoni- Maiovvi remix - bonus track)
Under The Red (Leather Strip remix - bonus track)
All You Can Eat (Ant People remix - bonus track)
Review: Synth pop veterans Boytronic - well known for hit single "You" but also for honing their sound at sex shows in Hamburg's red light district - are back after a ten year hiatus. After several personnel changes over the years, the latest line-up features old and new vocalists in Holger Wobker and James Knights respectively, and it could be the first time ever that a replacement and their predecessor have worked together on the same record. Importantly, they work well together, with plenty of 80s influences looming large over a wealth of danceable beats, tinny chords and woodpecker fills.
Review: Just weeks after legendary 1980s pop manager Tom Watkins passed away, we're treated to a bumper retrospective from one of his most successful acts: Bros. The three discs tell the story of their late '80s/early '90s heyday, gathering together single versions of their mega hits (the glossy Stock, Aitken & Waterman style synth-pop pf "When Will I Be Famous?", "I Owe You Nothing" and "I Quit" for example), album tracks, B-sides and a smattering of 12" remixes from some notable producers. These include a funky Chicago house revision of "Madly In Love" by "Promised Land" producer Joe Smooth, a chunky, head-nodding revision of the New Jack Swing influenced "Drop The Boy" by Shep Pettibone that features some killer drum edits, and an acapella of "When Will I Be Famous?".
Review: Best known for his work as half of "minimal synth duo" Boy Harsher, Augustus Muller has a neat sideline in composing scores for experimental short films produced by his friends from the Four Chambers collective. "Machine Learning Experiments" offers up two of those scores on one must-check LP. A-side suite "Orange Theory" sees Muller confidently strut between creepy sci-fi ambience, thrusting Italo-disco influenced dancefloor workouts, more melodic and spaced-out synth-wave and clandestine, Vangelis-esque soundscapes. Over on side B, the "Hydra" soundtrack is an altogether more immersive affair, with Muller sticking to clandestine ambient and the kind of slowly throbbing fare that was once the preserve of John Carpenter.