Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

What are you listening to this week?

Photo: Suzie Gibbons/Getty Images
Photo: Suzie Gibbons/Getty Images

The Psychedelic Furs, “Sister Europe”

The Psychedelic Furs are currently enjoying a moment in the sun (pun entirely intended) thanks to Armie Hammer and his dorky dance moves in Call Me By Your Name, but lately I’ve been feeling more in tune with the group’s 1980 debut album, and specifically, the second single off of same, “Sister Europe.” With its morose tempo and mumbling, deadpan vocals over opium-den guitars and the vanishingly rare phenomenon of a non-cheesy saxophone, “Sister Europe” plays like an alternate track off of The Velvet Underground & Nico as performed by Roxy Music. It’s a world away from the dance-floor-friendly Aqua Net-and-stonewashed-jeans vibes of the Furs’ greatest hits, although whether that association comes more from the music itself or from its appearance in John Hughes movies remains up for debate. [Katie Rife]

DJ Sports, “World Class”

Aarhus, Denmark is, apparently, a sort of blissful mid-sized city near Copenhagen, so nice and homey people call it the “City Of Smiles.” Perhaps as a result of this, it’s generating some of the most blissfully lush electronic music I’ve heard in years. The 11-person collective/label Regelbau can be hard to keep track of, releasing music under a bunch of different monikers and variations, scattered across Soundcloud and YouTube and vinyl and cassette, but it’s worth the effort, landing in a hazy middle spot between ambient and house, nostalgic and forward-thinking. Their sole streamable release is Modern Species, by DJ Sports, whose name, if Googled, leads to a disproportionate amount of middle-American pizzerias. Still, the album is fantastically, compulsively listenable, a quality apparent seconds after starting opening track “World Class,” full of aqueous synthesizers rolling over each other, spectral coos from a far-off diva, and skittering ’90s jungle drums that rise and fall with an almost respiratory ease. It’s the perfect introduction to an album I’ve had pretty much on repeat since I first came across it, and hopefully a harbinger of more to come from Regelbau. [Clayton Purdom]


Soviet, “China”

When Brooklyn band Soviet released its 2001 debut, We Are Eyes, We Are Builders, it had both the benefit and the burden of being swept up in the fleeting “electroclash” movement—a collection of bands loosely united by their shared affinity for synthesizers, as well as their near-instant disposability. (I should know; I was in one.) But enough time has passed to render trends irrelevant, and for us to reevaluate music that was skeptically dismissed on its own terms. Like so many of its era, Soviet was heavily influenced by groups like Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Ultravox, early Depeche Mode, etc., something that led to them being shrugged off as slavish imitators and nothing more. Subscribe to that sort of blanket dismissal, however, and you deny yourself the similar pleasures of We Are Eyes…, which got a much-deserved reissue last year on Medical Records with an expanded tracklist and a rejiggered sequence that puts the shimmering, New Romantic ballad “China” right up front. There you can immediately hear everything that made Soviet stand out from its coldly mechanical pack, led by frontman Keith Ruggiero’s warm, unusually heartfelt voice. If you like this style (whether its original iteration, or the ’00s revival that’s now old enough to inspire its own nostalgia), We Are Eyes… is an unfairly overlooked exemplar of the form. [Sean O’Neal]

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