Silent Shout: This Alt-Pop Roundup Is *Tremendous*, Also Cyber

Carl Williott | October 6, 2016 10:00 am

Silent Shout is our recurring dispatch from pop’s fringes. It may not be music for the masses, but — to paraphrase *NSYNC — this might be pop.

This alt-pop roundup is tremendous. It’s going to be so good, because it features all the best people making all the best songs. I’m not even gonna tell you how I compiled these quality gems, because it’s a secret plan I use, but look, I have computers, and I am so good with these computers it’s unbelievable. And what I do is, I use my high level of taste and discretion, as a proven successful music bloggerman, okay. And I put it into the computers. And lemme tell you, the music aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable. The content makers have so many things that we have to do better, and certainly cyber is one of them. Have you been out there? Music fans on the internet are living in hell! I alone can fix it. Only I, successful music bloggerman, can deal with the tremendous cyber content problems, with my secret plans.

These other bloggers, somebody sitting in bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay, they’ll give you their polished lines about some ugly slob’s new song, but why do you think they’re deleting emails? Emails from PR contacts and label hacks telling them to write about that song. You wonder why they won’t release the emails.

You looking for some tropical house here? Wrong. You want to find The Chainsmokers here? Wrong. I only have the finest, best alt-pop material. Five pristine songs, right down there. Me, the guy with the huge hands and tremendous amount of taste. And also hats. To make music great again. I did this. I did it all. I was very strong, and I brought you these strong songs.


Sapphire Slows — “Confession”

Japanese musician Hiramatsu Kinuko’s Sapphire Slows project has been dormant for three years, but she returns with “Confession,” a slowly unfurling piece of electronic bliss combining New Age electro plinks with whispered chants. She told The Fader that the track was mastered by the great Veronica Vasicka, founder of Minimal Wave Records — which for you means pristine synth tones that make the Stranger Things score sound like it was made with a goddamn toy keyboard. “Confession” is the A-side to a Sapphire Slows 7-inch dropping tomorrow (October 7).

Marie Davidson — “Naive To The Bone” Speaking of Minimal Wave, Marie Davidson thrived in the label’s namesake genre as one half of Essaie Pas and on her last solo album. But with new song “Naive To The Bone,” she gets more aggressive with her sound, moving those cold synth stares to the club and placing syncopated techno percussion at the front of the mix. Think Factory Floor‘s punishing repetition and The Knife‘s Shaking The Habitual made less abrasive. It’s off her new album Adieux Au Dancefloor, out today on Minimal Wave imprint Cititrax.

World Radio — “New Romance” Yet more proof that Scritti Politti are secretly one of the most influential bands of the ’80s. If The 1975 took that influence and looked to the lithe guitar pop of INXS for additional inspiration on their last LP, these guys instead mix in a bit of Tears For Fears circa The Hurting. At least, based on this one (very promising!) song they have to their name.

Soft Hair — “In Love”

Soft Hair is the new project from New Zealand’s Connan Mockasin and the UK’s Sam Dust. Their material evokes a demented retro haze, not unlike what Ariel Pink does stateside, but with Mockasin you get a bigger whiff of soft rock cheeze: See “In Love” with its aqueous little riffs from a sax that sounds like a keyboard and a keyboard that sounds like a sax. Their self-titled debut is out October 28 via Weird World, and it’s shaping up to be a wobbly psych-pop trip.

TVRQUOISE — “Paralyzed Legs” On their first song, this bewitching California duo forgoes traditional pop structure, instead starting with an extended intro of hiccup-chopped vocals that eventually turns into a spiraling synth séance. The former Berklee College of Music students put your head in the clouds with a digi-sprawl reminiscent of early Braids and keep your feet on the ground with tactile lyrics.