10 New Electro Bands to Watch in 2011

As an addict of new music, I’m always on the look out for new bands and artists. Very occasionally I’ll hear something that makes me stop whatever I’m doing, pump up the volume and smile at having found something new that I just know will give me lots of pleasure. Here are ten bands I’ve heard recently that all did that to me; a select few that I’m now watching closely to see what they come up with in 2011.

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Vile Electrodes

On the verge of big success according to the synthpoperati, English band Vile Electrodes have arrived just in time to fill the electro-fetish hole left by Client. With shades of Debbie Harry, Portishead, Soft Cell and the aforementioned Client, Vile Electrodes have been releasing some stunning Dirty Pop demos recently via their soundcloud page. If you’ve not heard Vile Electrodes yet then give them a listen: they’ve already whipped me into a frenzy and I’m excitedly awaiting their first official release.

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Chateau Marmont

With three superb EPs already under their belt, French band Chateau Marmont have also made remixes for the likes of La Roux, Ladyhawke and Royksopp. Their music takes me back to late 70s sci-fi soundtracks, with Jean Michel Jarre proto-synths and retro-futurist radiophonics to accompany the journey into outer space. Like Air and Daft Punk, Chateau Marmont have that gallic sense of rhythm and sharp production. “I see the future!” sings the Chateau Marmont robots, but it’s a future that was optimistically featured on Tomorrow’s World circa 1982.

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CLAPS

CLAPS are a minimal synthpop trio from Minneapolis, USA. Recent EP New Science follows on from the earlier No Party EP – both are on Spotify and both are definitely worth checking out. With touch points such as Depeche Mode, Villa Nah and White Lies, CLAPS are another great example of the darker minimal synthpop sub-genre that seems to be growing in popularity in America.

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Titans

Swedish/US trio Titans have only released one single to date: All There Is is a fantastic taster for the forthcoming debut album. Titans (not to be confused with a metal band of the same name) sit at the futurepop or electro-industrial end of synthpop, a bit like And One or De/Vision. They recently signed with Swedish electro label Progress Productions who represent Kite (See below), Mommy Hurt My Head, Cryo and Mr Jones Machine amongst others.

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Club Amour

Club Amour are a bit of an enigma: I heard their track Pain and Pleasure on last year’s orgasmic EBM compilation Hymns Of Sex, where their mix of Joy Division, Fad Gadget, and Front Line Assembly made it the stand-out track on the album. A search on Spotify revealed one other song: and instrumental called Science Fiction which I thought was another brilliant track (although stylistically quite different from Pain and Pleasure). Googling reveals little about the band, other than that they’re from Bordeaux, France.

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Kite

Another band with three great EPs out so far, Kite is Swedish duo Christian Berg (Yvonne, Strip Music) and Nicklas Stenemo (The Mo, Melody Club). Like a more synthpoppped The Knife, Kite embody that classic Swedish electro vibe that’s both inventive and uplifting. Their sound has matured over the course of the three EPs, but these fourteen songs fit together nicely and bode extremenly well for a debut album. Kite are already massive in their native Sweden, but they’re new to me: I think it’s about time the rest of the world got to hear them too!

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Photovoltaik

Photovoltaik are a Californian electro band who bravely build all their analog synths themselves. They got in touch with me recently to tell me that they’d just finished recording and mixing their debut 6-track EP. Their happy synthpop sound sometimes belies some darkly goth lyrics: Fad Gadget inspired opener Sleet Tight includes the line “I want to wrap you up in plastic; I want you buried underground” for example.

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Inje

Inje are from Belgrade: a “beogradska elektropop grupa.” They released a single Danas last year, a lovely slice of Serbian synthpop. The vocals are charming if lyrically impenetrable to my anglophilic ears. But who cares: great music will always win me over, no matter what language it’s sung in! Their remix of NipplePeople‘s Sutra is also well worth checking out.

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Labyrinth Ear

Labyrinth Ear are a synth duo from London, but with an electropop vibe more reminiscent of the new wave of Amercian indie synth bands. Their new Oak EP just went up on Spotify (or you can download it for free here). I like their chilled dreamy sound; it’s been called ice-disco but I can definitely hear a warm heart beating inside…

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Minisystem

Toronto-based Minisystem (aka Jeff Lee) have just released an EP called Life Above Ground, which you can hear in full here at Basic Sounds. The syle is mininmalist “techno-informed” synthpop, made with analogue synthesizers and drum machines. It’s no coincidence Minisystem hail from the same city as contempories Solvent and Lowfish – there must be a scene going on over there!

  © 2016 Jer White / Pansentient League.
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