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La Roux and Millennial Synthpop

Bulletproof

La Roux "Bulletproof"

With two smash hit singles in the UK, including "Bulletproof" (above), which debuted at the top of the country's charts, synthpop duo La Roux is ready to hit the States. The band's self-title album is out today, with a record release party to be held tonight at weekly Beauty Bar party Sonic.

The obvious response to hearing something like La Roux is, "That's so '80s." But, can you really say that in 2009? We're in the final months of a decade dominated by melodic, electronic music. Whether it's called electroclash, electrohouse, electropop or whatever other derivative you can imagine, it's hard not to think of artists like Miss Kittin, Ladytron and Stuart Price as being as influential as the new wave biggies for a band emerging now. Below, we've posted a few of our favorite millennial synthpop tracks for your viewing pleasure. (As an aside, you might be interested in knowing that Larry Tee, the DJ who coined the term "electroclash" will be spinning at Incognito this Friday.)

Golden Boy and Miss Kittin "Rippin' Kittin"

Stemming from that moment when French DJ Miss Kittin was singing on everything, this is probably one of the creepiest club hits you'll ever hear. Though popular at the time, it wasn't played as frequently as "Frank Sinatra" (with the Hacker) or "Silver Screen, Shower Scene" (with Felix da Housecat), which is probably why it's aged better. For the record, Miss Kittin is right up there with Laurent Garnier as one of my favorite DJs. Her sets are always unpredictable and quite beautiful from a technical standpoint.

Zoot Woman "It's Automatic"

Les Rythmes Digitales "Sometimes"

If someone could be both the breakout star of the '00 club scene and it's most underrated artist, it would be Stuart Price. He should be a rock star, if for no other reason than producing the bulk of Madonna's only solid album this decade, but his own work as Les Rythmes Digitales and one-third of Zoot Woman remains relatively obscure. Hence, we have two offerings from him here.

Zombie Nation "Kernkraft 400"

It became an anthem at Dodger games, but at one point, "Kernkraft 400" was just another really cool single out on International Deejay Gigolo, back when the label was hot shit. Like a lot of the electrowhatever tunes that came out at the beginning of the decade, it's sound was further rooted in techno than pop, but it's still highly influential on today's new artists. (Miss Kittin and the Hacker did a much more synthpop-oriented mix that you can hear on YouTube).

Legowelt "Disco Rout"

Again, this is a song that people might want to associate with techno more than synthpop, but when I first heard it, I thought of Depeche Mode's album A Broken Frame. The video is also incredibly cool.

Ladytron "Playgirl"

When Ladytron first hit the scene, the British band seemed like a perfect complement to groups like Stereolab and Broadcast. That they spearheaded a relaunch of synthpop might have been a pure accident. With Ladytron, though, it's not just the music, their stark, retro-futurist style set the pace for a good chunk of the decade as well.


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