March 19, 2010

DEATH AND VANILLA - digital single (Beko)

I ran into the BEKO site by accident.Just linking up one day,and there it was.For those of you who aren't up on this label,Beko is a digital singles label.They offer up a new 1-2 song single by awesome bands you've never heard of.I listened to every release (around 30) and just about ALL of them were good.Most of their bands fall into the lo-fi pop/electro genre,bedroom type stuff.But there are some real gems,too.I will review all of them eventually,but I'll start with my favorites first.Death and Vanilla was probably the single that stuck out for me the most.According to their Myspace,which is pretty much the ONLY info i can dig up on this outfit,they reside in Malmo,Sweden,and make really great pop songs.If you run into anything I missed,please let me know!

The first song on this tiny digi-gem is a dark and hooky pop jam called "Godspeed".It starts off nicely with an eerie vibrato organ,that is reminiscent of the first Beach House record's whimsical tone.Before you know it, a short Vibraphone lick is carrying the tune,as more keys,cavernous guitar strides,and soft synths float atop a light and punchy drum-machine pulse.The music rarely ever pushes this into the red,and for the most part is pretty gentle and breezy.The vocals fit in perfectly with their surrounding elements.The majority of voices are handled by a woman,who's sweet and breathy vocal style reminds me of Stereolab's more recent, laid back tunes.Crisp and clear with a tiny hint of accent,she murmurs "go die...goodbye", and keeps it dark and fluttering all the way to the end of the song.

The b-side is a number called "Ghosts in the Machine",and offers up a bit more musically.It's got some fantastic vocal harmonies right off the bat.Subtle oohs and aahs come and go and come back again.They are the bulk of this track,and seem to glue it all together in the end.A killer Mellotron run washes over them,but doesn't drown them out,and the synths are pushed to the foreground.Live drums flesh this song out nicely,with a laid back swagger that isn't completely overbearing.
Again,the vibrato is heavy on most of the instruments,even some of the vocals are treated a bit.Ghosts..has even more of 60's pop feel,with some cool tremolo-dipped guitar twang that is kind of surf-y.Overall an excellent debut.If you want more,they have a 4 song e.p. available for download at's got these two songs as well as 2 others that are really great.Can't wait to hear more.

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