Longboat’s “Midnight Drive” is a Neon Hazed Synth Pop Story of a Man With a Lurid and Murky Past

Longboat’s “Midnight Drive” is the narrative of someone who is trying to get some enjoyment out of life on a leisurely drive. The simple pleasure of it and the tranquility. The synth tones are saturated and percussive while carrying a melody and in its haze to a steady electronic beat and meditative vocals we hear suggestions of a past that might have some dark episodes but nothing so nefarious as rumors in our storyteller’s social circles speculate. The music video is a depiction of this journey with a ride through the desert at first before scenes from a city in an unspecified city in the world. It could be the USA, it could be somewhere in the UK, somewhere in Asia or Latin America or elsewhere. The footage has signifiers that don’t spell this out and that fits the song well as we don’t really find out the mystery our narrator hints at throughout the song. It’s like the musical equivalent of the plot of a long lost 1980s William Friedkin film or an early Michael Mann offering. And musically it sits somewhere between a Murray Head song and a modern vaporwave track and that bridging of times and aesthetics is what makes the song retain re-listening value. Watch the video for “Midnight Drive” on YouTube and follow Longboat on Instagram.

MP Shaw and Nick Andre Craft an Urgent Atmosphere of Dark Mystery on IDM/Ambient Track “Electric Company”

MP Shaw and Nick Andre teamed up to create the sort of techno track with “Electric Company” that was written for the soundtrack of the short film “Return of the Sleepwalker” but wouldn’t be out of place in a Michael Mann or William Friedkin film. It has an enigmatic duskiness and strong tonal pulses and an urgent rhythm that contains a hint of menace or at least focused purpose. A melodic line will trace a short arpeggio and burst into a short echo as the song pushes forward. One hears the touch of the influence of Giorgio Moroder and late night video game play reaching to finish an important section of a horror or thriller RPG you wish existed and may yet be. Listen to “Electric Company” on Spotify where you can listen to other tracks including Shaw’s excellent and evocative cover of Brian Eno’s “Deep Blue Day.”

“City of Angels” from Ladytron’s Forthcoming Album Time’s Arrow Evokes a Hazily Dreamlike Cinematic Mood

Ladytron, photo by Wendy Redfern

Ahead of the January 20, 2023 release of its new album Time’s Arrow, Ladytron offers a glimpse of what we’re in for with the music video for the lead single “City of Angels.” Directed my Manuel Nogueira the video shows figures caught up in a dance in a dimly lit underground setting like a a forgotten dance club out of a dystopian science fiction film. The haze and shadow fit well with a song that while buoyant and pulsing with a subtle momentum is an orchestration of sonic opacity between vocals and layered melodic lines that are reminiscent of New Wave era synth pop so that one has a sense of navigating not just an environment the likes of which is depicted in the video but the social landscape as well with its competing demands on your attention and regularly evolving signifiers. If the song references Los Angeles it does so in capturing how a big city built on both traditional commerce and the entertainment industry is always more complex and nuanced than any romanticizing or cynicism is adequate convey with accuracy. Rather, Ladytron’s gift for crafting colorfully atmospheric rock music is akin to the way William Friedkin imbues his own films, and his own depiction of Los Angeles as a kind of character as well as setting, with grit, deep mood and an eye for fine details. Ladytron’s cinematic sensibilities have been there since its 2001 debut album 604 and it appears Time’s Arrow as hinted at by “City of Angels” will be full of the band’s signature set of observational stories set to evocative soundscapes. Watch the video for “City of Angels” on YouTube and connect with Ladytron at the links provided.

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