Would You Believe I Just Bought A Cassette! Or Metric – The Shade EP

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The last time I bought a cassette, well… I’m not sure I remember. It was definitely in the late 80’s or maybe 1990, but it’s all rather fuzzy. To some extent vinyl had always kept a small touch of cool, but cassettes were popular only because they were portable. When CD’s took over that market, they became obsolete. Still, there is that touch of nostalgia and I fully admit to having a tape deck hooked into the stereo as I was making ‘mixed tapes’ into the late 1990’s.

So imagine my surprise when the latest Metric release came in two formats only: digital download and limited cassette. (Actually, I’ll be honest, I find it pretty awesome!) Over to the old AIWA deck I go and watch two wheels turn a thin strip of plastic. There it is, that new single (“The Shade”), introduced to The Edge just a day or two before their Sugar Beach performance, starts pumping out the speakers. The green and red lights are bouncing a storm on the cassette players level reader. It’s all so… mesmerizing. Fortunately, so is the music.

Heavy on the synthesizer, The Shade takes the exploration of those sounds found on Metric’s 2012 release Synthetica an extra step away from 80’s synth-pop and 90’s alternative  only to mix it up with a slight industrial tinge. The result is a band that has managed to show growth and range with every new release and an ep that is catchy without being crass.

The title track with its repeated chorus “I want it all” speaks to living in the moment. “Cascades” finds tenderness in electronica, “Too Bad, So Sad” comes off as a post apocalyptic self-help manual, and the final cut “Office Towers Escalate” builds a heavy drum &keyboard jam into a Matrix like dance revue.

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As if the music wasn’t incentive enough, Metric adds to the ‘collectibility’ of the cassette by signing autographs on the inside of the cover. Not that I think ‘the cassette’ is coming back in style, but I wonder if I need to get a head cleaner?

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You can find The Shade ep at ilovemetric.com

More Than Meets The Eye or Django Django – Born Under Saturn

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I’ve never really found a soft spot for electronica, and I’ve never worshipped at the altar of Kraftwerk. I say this because it seems that when you have bias against the master, you’re just not going to like the apprentice; except, like in life, things aren’t always that straight forward. Where you might hear Kraftwerk I hear Depeche Mode; where you might identify with echoes of Primal Scream I hear whispers of pre ‘wall of sound’ rock ‘n’ pop and when you say Animal Collective I mention Pink Floyd.

All this means is that influences as descriptors gets old fast and the music has to stand on its own merits. Certainly their Mercury nominated self titled debut managed that in spades, but can they continue to do so?

Well, yeah!

Opening track “Giant” is a slow burner that rides waves of psychedelia to create an atmospheric mood pool. The second song “Shake and Tremble” starts with a “Peter Gunn Theme” like riff before breaking into a minimalistic early rock style you might think was Phil Spector producing a lo-fi record.

Each song has these elements that contain little nuggets of influence and sound that seem to drift up and down as if they were a bubble in a light breeze. A funky base leads to a carousel, or a synth line turns all 60’s go-go dance.

Born Under Saturn is like taking a drive (as a passenger) in a convertible with a blindfold on; you don’t know where the hell your going but the journey sure feels incredible.

The other cool thing about this release is the work that Django Django has done to impress their fans. While you can get Born Under Saturn in multiple formats you need to check out the bands vinyl option with Rough Trade, it is absolutely gorgeous.

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