Synth-Pop

“Take My Breath Away” by Tashaki Miyaki // Under Cover Vol. 2 (Out Now via Bandcamp)

Californian dream pop trio, Tashaki Miyaki know their way around a bleary eyed, shoegazey pop song. They do wonderful work all their own, but they also have a particular way with covers. In fact, they’ve recently dropped their second covers EP, which contains covers of bands as varied as Prince, The Buzzcocks, The Velvet Underground, and even Berlin - of the 1986 smash, “Take My Breath Away”. In fact, it’s that Top Gun featured classic that the band takes for a spin here on this particular cover. They shy away from the synth-orchestra of the original and dial it back to a intimate and woozy, dream pop lullaby that feels like some long lost 1950′s teenage ballad. It’s a spectacular version. Of course, that’s not all there is on the album - swing over to the band’s Bandcamp page, where you can sample the rest of the album, and even download it for a name-your-price-fee. You won’t regret it. 

Someone’s got to start like a health goth synth pop aerobics class and stream it online somewhere so I can get my fat goth ass into shape. I want to do high kicks to new order and cross punches to depeche mode

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On this day in music history: September 3, 1983 - “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by Eurythmics hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart, it is the biggest hit for the British/Scottish synth pop duo. The duos’ second album “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” is recorded in a makeshift studio housed above a timber factory on an eight track analog tape machine. Because of the noise generated by saws cutting timber during the day, all vocals for the album have to be recorded at night. After their first release, the 1981 album “In The Garden” fails to make an impact in the US, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” is released fifteen months later in January of 1983. The record will get off to a slow start in the US, languishing until American audiences get their first view of the duo when the music video begins receiving play on MTV. Captivated by Lennox’s strikingly androgynous image and soulful voice, the buzz received from video play spreads to radio and “Sweet Dreams” will finally hit the charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on May 14, 1983, it will begin its long climb up the charts, reaching the top of the chart sixteen weeks later, dislodging The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” from the top spot after holding at number two  for four weeks. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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“Girls Just Wanna Have Some (Cyndi Lauper cover)” by Chromatics // Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Maxisingle (Out 11.6.15 via Italians Do It Better)

While we continue to wait for the new Chromatics album, Dear Tommy, it appears that we’ll continue to get the random one-offs from Johnny Jewel and the gang. This time around, it’s their cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Tomorrow will see the release of that track’s maxisingle, which features several different versions of the track. You can stream one of them now - the chilled out, night-ready, synthed up, “Girls Just Wanna Have Some”. 

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On this day in music history: May 10, 1986 - “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Club Play chart for 2 weeks on May 3, 1986. Written by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, it is the biggest hit for the British synth pop/dance music duo. The worldwide hit version of “West End Girls” will actually be the second version of the song recorded by the duo. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe will originally record the track with new wave/dance music producer Bobby Orlando (aka “Bobby O”) in 1984. Released on CBS’ shortlived Bobcat Records imprint, it will become a sizable club hit in parts of Europe and the US. Tennent and Lowe will have a falling out with Orlando prior to signing with EMI Records and will subsequently re-cut the song with producer Stephen Hague (OMD, Erasure, New Order), in 1985. The track will also feature background vocals by Helena Springs (Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Matt Bianco). The single will shoot to number one in the UK in January 1986, leading to its US release. Entering the Hot 100 at #71 on March 1, 1986, it will climb to the top of the chart ten weeks later. “West End Girls” will also top the charts in Canada, Norway, and New Zealand as well as reaching the top five in another nine countries. The success of the single will drive sales of their debut album “Please” to Platinum status in the US.