New Music

Photo by Hadley HudsonVARIOUS ARTISTS
DEFINING TECH
ORBISONIC

and

VARIOUS ARTISTS
THIS IS TECH-POP
MINISTRY OF SOUND

More powerful than any plinky-plonk synthesizer! Ruder than any funny haircut! The pop sound of the '80s is back, and this time, it's a little more real than anything on a KROQ Flashback Lunch. Scores of bands and DJs across the USA and Europe are taking inspiration from the likes of Depeche Mode and Human League, putting their own vicious twist on the music that put MTV on the map. So does this mean the people who hated this music the first chance they got should head for the hills until the '90s swing back into style? Not if they listen to the bands on these compilations. New York duo Fischerspooner is the best of this new new wave, which is probably the reason their songs are on both albums. "Invisible" on the Defining Tech album and "Emerge" on This Is Tech-Pop approach the nauseating alien anxiety first propagated by Gary Numan and the Normal. Defining Tech also plays new wave's transgressive sexuality card with potty-mouthed singer Peaches' track "AAXXX"; This Is Tech-Popresponds with the machine-takes-all sex sweepstakes of Green Velvet's song "Genedefekt." But don't cringe—these compilations aren't totally '80s. The production is too clean, and there's a lot of distance from the bizarro deviance that made new wave new in the first place. That said, most of these artists avoid queasy nostalgia—indeed, a reinterpretation like this might even make that wave crest one more time. (Andrew Asch)

 
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