from the listening nook

vinyl thoughts for an analogue life


July 28, 2017


Format: 12″ LP gold vinyl

Whilst visiting Domino Records to grab a copy of the amazing Middle Kids EP, my eye was caught by a beautiful gold LP. The band behind this glorious piece of spinning wax was Little Cub, and after some investigation I chose to take the risk and order the LP.

Boy oh boy, am I happy that I did. Not only is it one of the most gorgeous LPs I’ve ever seen, but what lies within its grooves is sheer synth heaven!

The best way to describe this South London trio is soft indie lo-fi synthwave pop…I know, it is a mouthful, but it sums them up perfectly. Every track on the LP is a masterpiece of modern synthwave composition, evoking actual and assumed 80s nostalgia. Then layered on top is a vocal style that is relaxed, pulled-back, lo-fi but engaging and oh-so-wonderful. There’s a bit of Morrissey, New Order, Talk Talk, Pet Shop Boys and Lightning Seeds in here…but it is much more than mere homage. This is a very modern indie take on what made those 80s synths and mournful lyrics so important. This is revelatory street-level storytelling with rhythm and swagger. This is synthwave poetry, making you think and boogie in equal measure. Each and every track takes you on a journey…albeit it in a Lamborghini Countach whilst wearing a big shouldered suit and Aviator shades!

Here’s a few thoughts on some of the majestic tracks:

  • Too Much Love (1/1) – perfect soft indie pop merged with classic synthwave electronica and New Order-esque vocals
  • My Nature (1/2) – slow driving rhythm with deep pulsing synth bass, a wide landscape explored by engaging vocals and lyrics
  • Breathing Space (1/3) – dancy trippy upbeat synth contrast with lo-fi vocals and introspective lyrics, soothing storytelling at its best
  • Hypnotise (1/6) – fully expansive synth vibes with beautiful evocative Joy Division-esque vocals. 80s noir builds to epic synthwave dance beat
  • Closing Time (2/1) – low throbbing rhythm complemented with gloriously chorused vocals and a Neil Tennant style mixed with a Del Amitri story – fantastic sense of movement and speed against an ever-changing electronica noise backdrop
  • Snow (2/4) – a real change of pace, ethereal and whispery, toned down and melancholic vocals. A mournful contemplative hymn to lyricism and simple yet accomplished composition

I love this album, am overjoyed at taking the risk of buying something unknown, and hope Little Cub keep evolving their sound and releasing incredible music for decades to come. The LP is an astonishing piece of vinyl, the gold colouring is eye-catching, and the sheer weight of the thing (almost like two traditional LPs glued together) is shockingly pleasing. Thumbs up to the band, the label and the manufacturer!

Score: 10/10

Thoughts: driving at speed down an 80s highway, shades on, padded shoulders bopping to the tunes, brain engaged by the lyrics – sheer synthwave bliss

Info: LittleCubband


We’re Taking Control – Warriors of the Dystoteque ft. Pop Will Eat Itself

June 25, 2017

Format: 10″ transparent vinyl

A brand new super-limited edition 10″ from the electro geniuses WotD. Mid 80s early hip hop meets mid-late 80s house and modern electronica in a fabulous fusion deserving it’s own mad professor screaming “IT LIVES!” as thunder roars overhead. This is gloriously old school and has deep veins of authenticity thanks to the collaboration with electronic dance pioneering legends Pop Will Eat Itself. Close your eyes and those of us of a certain age will feel a heady rush of musical nostalgia…but this is no synth-wave wannabe, this is a colossus of pure electronic dancery, a synthesized oversized Kaiju of hard drums and trip beats swatting at the aeroplanes of conventionality. Simple on one level, almost New Order like lyrics and vocals…this is typically WotD in that there is so much more happening underneath. From sublime cubase-esque tone patterns to 70s analogue synth arpeggios. If you have an appreciation for electronica and skilfully built tracks them this is one for you.

Side A has the original mix plus a remix, whilst Side B has an extended Robertson remix.

Ridiculously rare but a must have for fans of this truly outstanding musical collective.

Score: 10/10

Thought: Ambassador you are spoiling us with these fly beats and old school aural forms

Info: @Dysto_Warriors

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