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The effectiveness of Darwin Deez’ droplets of pop genius lie in their/his/hir carefully articulated guitar harmonies and infectious beats. Darwin Smith, former Creaky Boards guitarist and Meher Baba follower, makes use of every trope within the spectrum of disco and post-punk, formatting them into stripped down but satisfying numbers. Choreographed dance routines are standard for his notoriously colorful live sets. Bill Pearis of BrooklynVegan called them “hard to dislike,” and NME found his self-titled debut “easy to fall in love with.” He currently works indie imprints Lucky Number Music and Rough Trade Records (UK).
Scary Mansion is the musical wing of Leah Hayes’ multimedia empire. The attractive trio articulates her bipolar folk-pop that ranges from danceable to gothy. Her wavering yet strong voice regularly garners comparison to Cat Power and Morrissey. Music Omh writes of her album Make Me Cry, “Her background is in art and anti-folk, so one might have expected to find an (over)abundance of acoustic quirkiness in this, her latest incarnation. But what we get is something more immediate and accessible.”
The prolific Rob Coradetti was based in rural Minnesota and collaborating through the mail during the 90’s, but thankfully he moved to the East Coast in 2000 to turn his vision into Mixel Pixel. The trio sounds like the Pixies digitized by the late 80’s most advanced technology. Their alternative but poppy sound is more for suitable trip-outs than dance-offs, and they’ve fitted their music accordingly with some mindblowing visuals and spiritually uplifting lyrics. They have shared the stage with They Might Be Giants, Grizzly Bear, Of Montreal, and Man Man to name a few. According to Qromag, “To fans of indietronica and indie-pop, this is the continuation of a beauuuuuuu-tiful friendship….”
Post-modern head music from a South Bronx prodigy should sound something like Kurtis Blow jamming with Depeche Mode and Parliament. In that respect, Gordon Voidwell (aka Will Johnson) succeeds in spades, and then some. Their neodisco grooves are unashamedly funky, but they’re also sharp and concise enough for indie nerds, not to mention swathed in psychedelia, social commentary and irony. His singles on Cantora Records have been lovingly received by the media and the underground alike, as Voidwell is now a professed favorite of Mark Ronson and Das Racist.