Premiere: Rational Youth – Future Past Tense

Rational Youth are legendary figures to Canadian synth-pop heads. Their debut LP Cold War Night Life released in 1986 is one of the finest examples of the strength of Canada’s new wave scene in the 80s. Now, after a few line-up changes, we at Silent Shout are thrilled the present the premiere of their first EP since 1999. Future Past Tense lives up to their stellar reputation and sounds simultaneously retro and modern at the same time. All the core things we loved about Rational Youth remains in tact: the analog synths, hook-laden choruses, synth solos galore and more!

The band is now an Ottawa-based husband/wife duo featuring Gaenor and Tracey Howe (also the former guitarist for Men Without Hats), but the record is chock-a-block with amazing sounds despite the sparse line-up. Every track is a throwback in the best possible way. EP opener “This Side of the Border” sounds like something straight from the 80s, and the poppy angst of “Here It Comes Again” showcases some fine early goth sentiments while maintaining a joie-de-vivre synth-pop line.

Future Past Tense is available on 10″ vinyl in June via their Bandcamp and Artoffact Records, with 200 limited-edition copies on clear vinyl.

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Premiere: Tend & See – Migrations

A few months ago, we found ourselves utterly captivated by Vancouver duo Tend & See‘s mesmerizing soft electronic pop debut Migrations, an EP that still stands up as one of the best of the year. And today, we’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to debut the video for the title track.

A time-lapse travelogue that shifts from a car dashboard traveling from city streets to plains to planes, beaches to tundra, it’s a beautiful accompaniment to the delicate, immersive “Migrations”. The sped-up pace of the imagery contrasts excellently with the meditative but propulsive song. A massive amount of footage must have been required to pull this one off, and there’s some especially remarkable shots capturing two polar bears sparring. Glad the director kept their distance!

Tend & See are on the verge of releasing a remix EP, which we’re very excited to hear. It’s out June 1 on Abandon Building Records and is available now for pre-order from Bandcamp.

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Premiere: Old Girl – Objet a

We’ve been fans of Victoria experimental electronic pop artist Nasstasia Ellefsen aka Old Girl ever since we heard “Never Make It”, one of the highlights from her 2015 album Eternal Idol. And today, we’re ever-so-pleased to get the chance to premiere the follow-up, Objet a.

The record is decidedly more experimental than her previous release, getting darker, noisier, and more confounding – but in a good way. In contrast to the often-smooth electropop we’re used to from Ellefsen, these tracks are a whorl of clattering drum machines, swooshing synths, and some of the evilest-sounding guitar you’ll find. There are many layers here to discover, most especially on the lyrical front – the Lacan-referencing title of the record should be a clue to its theoretical bent, and the lyrics of “Jouissance” are derived from Lacan’s Seminar X. No one song is like another, but they all hang together extremely well in their instrumentation, slow-burning tempo, and melancholy. All in all it’s a stunning release: Old Girl is the dark, philosophical goth-pop auteur of our (psychoanalytic) dreams.

Objet a is available now on Bandcamp, and will be released on cassette next week by Victoria tape label Gary Cassettes. If you’re in Western Canada, you can catch Old Girl live in Victoria at the Objet a release party at the Copper Owl on June 16. She’ll also be appearing at Sled Island in Calgary, and at a Weird Canada showcase in Victoria’s Centennial Square on August 4.

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Premiere: Denique – Sensitive Plant

Our admiration for Nova-Scotian Denique LeBlanc is pretty well-documented at this point. Known for his immersive audiovisual approach to releasing music, Denique’s videos are startlingly original and consistently jaw-dropping: “Vegvísir” was our #16 video of 2016 and “Crack the Code”, released a couple of months ago, was equally impressive.

Today we have the honour of premiering his latest, “Sensitive Plant”, a shot-in-Iceland video which continues the tradition of excellent Denique costumes, visual effects, and dance moves. But this time, we also get to see some awesome handmade puppets, as well as a guest spot from Icelandic makeup artist Ástrós Erla, who happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to him. The song itself is a very worthy addition to the Denique canon, an otherworldly pop track featuring some mesmerizing, unusual harmonies and some very inventive and dramatic percussion. We can always count on Denique for epic, unique pop, and this jam is no exception.

“Sensitive Plant” is the ninth chapter in the ongoing audiovisual series that Denique’s been posting to his website. Head there to watch them all!

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It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Toronto ambient pop prodigy Michele Nox (who used to go by Mekele), but they’ve recently been sharing some demos on Soundcloud, and the best of the bunch is an absolute stunner. “Poison” is a beautiful track, featuring Michele’s trademark layered vocals and cavernous reverb to create an otherworldly and deeply emotional ballad. We wouldn’t call this a demo! Blown away.

Go to Michele’s Soundcloud for more fantastic tunes.

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