Hollywood Burns – Invaders

Hollywood Burns’ Invaders lands in a weird and in-between place within the discussion on the plight of retro/synth wave (I’m just going to use synthwave from now on, you know what I mean). It’s an album that suffers from its structure, for some reason making the odd decision of placing its best tracks on its second half. On one hand, we can understand the decision; the first five tracks should be very familiar to anyone who’s up to date with the scene. “Scherzo No. 5 in Death Minor” for example channels the by now familiar horror/occult vibes of artists like Carpenter Brut while its predecessor, “Black Saucers”, rings of most artists being released on Blood Music today (on which label this record was also released). Which is not to say they’re bad tracks. The former especially has some really good ideas and cool line synths. But they’re pretty regular stock within the context of the scene around Hollywood Burns; they don’t really leave their mark on the listener. This cannot be said for what happens further down the line however.

LIVE REVIEW: Carpenter Brut at Chicago’s Concord Music Hall, April 26th, 2018

Carpenter Brut is something of a hot item in the electronic scene. From mastermind Frank Hueso, the Poitiers-based electronic artist has risen to popularity with the aggressive, ’80s influenced synthwave, acting as an audible time travel device with a live show to match. Editor-in-Chief Eden Kupermintz has previously sung the…

Carpenter Brut – Leather Teeth

Those who can adapt are the quintessential hero, rising above the challenges to stay supreme and powerful. In the menagerie of synth and retrowave we have access to these days, who better to embody the figure of the 80’s hero, shirt torn and muddied, face filled with cuts but eyes still burning with passion, with dedication for the fight, than Carpenter Brut? He is the demon of the night, wielding dirty synth tones and killer beats in a constant effort to keep the listeners of the genre fixed on his sounds, a constant effort to defeat the staleness that creeps at the edges of the genre. And so he did with 2015’s Trilogy, a fresh and excellent take on the milieu of synth, retro and even dark wave. But can he keep adapting? As the villain of mediocrity and repetition rears itself constantly above the Neo-Tokyo that is the electronic genres today, will Carpenter Brut rise to the challenge and attack with a new approach or stick to his guns and begin fading away?

Editors’ Picks // February 2018

February! What a month; it’s short, so everything seems stronger, more concentrated and condensed. It’s also historically a weird month for releases. January is over and done with so that “shine” of fresh and new wears off somewhat but the year hasn’t started really swinging like it will in late-March/April.…

Hey! Listen to Gregorio Franco!

When one thinks about synthwave they more often than not conjure up images of neon landscapes made up of transparent grids, sunsets, beaches, palm trees, fast cars and anything else that may fit into such an aesthetic. That said, one does not tend to think about upside down crosses, demons, serial killers and an overall sense of evil in turn. However, for every genre that has ever existed there lies a much darker side, a subgenre which turns things on their head and produces a much more heavier sound in response. For synthwave that would be darkwave or darksynth, either seem to be interchangeable for the most part, with well-known acts such as Carpenter Brut, GosT, Perturbator, and Dance with the Dead carrying the torch. Of course, for every well-known act, there are those who are scratching, clawing and going through hell to be noticed, many of whom were influenced by those already leading that proverbial charge.

Gregorio Franco is one of those dark souls of the synth and, if what he’s produced thus far is any indication, he is not only one to keep an ear to the ground on but one to keep an eye out for as well.

Wake Up the President Because Carpenter Brut’s Live Show Is Phenomenal

Darkness. The walls of Schinmanski, Brooklyn are all expectant, together with the audience, for the French phenom called Carpenter Brut to take the stage, incarnated into the form of drummer, guitarist and keyboards. For all those familiar with the act’s predilections what comes next should have probably been obvious; for those uninitiated, Brut’s early moments of the show might have come as a surprise.

Hey! Listen To SurgeryHead!

Okay, first off, what a great name. Seriously, SurgeryHead is such a cool name for an artist, and it goes along perfectly with the kind of music the dude makes. In line with the darkest and most visceral end of retrowave, SurgeryHead’s music combines bassy, aggressive synthesizers, pounding drums, an EDM-like approach…