A GUEST POSTING FROM SWC
Yup, Shit Robot. Bands with silly sweary names annoy me a bit. This is because by and large they turn out to be really good and their names stop them from being on the radio or the telly or even properly advertising. I mean Fucked Up, Fuck Buttons and Buggery Wotsits are three of my all time favourite bands. The last one being the name of a band I formed with my brother and Nick from down the road when we were aged 14 and 15. Ash we were not, but we did a mean cover of ‘I Should Be So Lucky’.
I digress. Shit Robot are amazing and if it wasn’t for their completely unnecessary name they probably would have been all over your radios and that over the last five years or so. They are signed to DFA Records, for those in the dark, DFA Records is the part-time of job of the LCD Soundsystem boys and they house a load of bands who make records that would not sound out-of-place on an LCD Soundsystem album – deep dancey anthems, full of bleeps, aahs, tweaks and breaks so big that you need a stretcher to get them off your stereo. Everything on DFA records is brilliant. Take my word for it.
So some history – Shit Robot is the brainchild of an Irish chap called Marcus and whilst DJing in New York, as you do, he befriended James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem and DFA records and the rest is history. They have released three albums of electronica that switches from progressive house to techno via big beat and breakbeats. Last year they released’ What Follows’ which for me was the sleeper album of the year – it gets better and better with each play. If you like Hot Chip, The Juan Maclean, Soulwax and Carcass then you will probably love them (well maybe not the last one – although first album ‘From the Cradle to the Rave’ does hint at a ‘Cradle of Filth’ angle to their music. It hints at it but doesn’t actually do it). Just on a tangent I watched a film the other starring the lead singer from Cradle of Filth, Dani Filth – it was called Cradle of Fear and it is 117 minutes of my life that I am never ever getting back. Up there with Joe vs Volcano as the Worst Film Ever Made. I digress again.
Here’s the music.
Do It (Right) – taken from ‘We Got Love’ (2014)
‘We Got Love’ is the second album from Shit Robot and ‘Do It (Right)’ is a throwback to the early house scene of the 80s. It features the words ‘Jack Your Body’ and then has this deep vibrating beat running through it. It is impeccably done and makes you feel that you are there in Chicago drinking Mojitos with Fast Eddie.
Wir Warten – taken from ‘What Follows’ (2016)
The reason why the third album is so good is that it marks a bit of an evolvement from the last two – this is progressive house with a meaty old beat behind which kind of sounds like a bloke banging a massive gong in the background. It also features a bunch of oddball vocals from a chap call New Jackson who I should have probably heard of but haven’t.
I Found Love – Taken from ‘From the Cradle to the Rave (2010)
One of the few tracks to actually feature vocals from Marcus himself, this is taken from the debut album. For some unknown reason he decides to sing this one with a deep Texan accent mixed with some heavy effects. It kind of works. What does work is the quirky keyboards which turn this into a glittering slice of synth pop.
Losing My Patience – Taken from ‘From the Cradle to the Rave (2010)
This features Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip and it’s wonderful. If you didn’t know better you could say that this was a Hot Chip song, it has the melancholy lyrics, the synths, and the usual funky vein running through it alongside Taylor’s trademark falsetto.
Take Em Up – Taken from ‘From the Cradle To The Rave’ (2010)
Finishing the first side is another track from the first album, this is perhaps the bands most well-known song. It features Nancy Whang on vocals. For those still in the dark as to who she is, she the keyboardist and backing vocalist in LCD Soundsystem and therefore someone you should love and cherish. This is basically what all electro pop should sound like it also features the word ‘Slowdive’ and not enough songs do that. Wonderful.
OB -8 – Single (2016)
Taking its name from an iconic analogue synthesizer from the early 80s (that era again), this is a pretty fine single that preceded the latest album. At a first listen you might argue that there is nothing much happening. But listen to it again, there is birdsong, there is a woman sighing, running water, it has a hypnotic pull. Handclaps dissolve into a fizzy little blast of dubby magic. It is as mesmerizing as house music gets.
Is There No End? – Taken from ‘What Follows’ (2016)
This a five-minute trip into techno and acid house. There is a spoken word vocal about a man’s journey to a club and then his getting kicked out as the party reaches its peak. It’s kind of like ‘Blinded by the Lights’ by The Streets in its narrative (but totally different in delivery and music) as we follow a drugged clubber trying his best to follow the music as everything kicks in.
Space Race – B Side to ‘Teenage Bass’ (2014)
This is a sharp and crispy little number, full of punchy dance beats and as the name suggests there is something a little sci-fi about it. There are a load of glossy synths bouncing about all over the place here. It I think is supposed to sound like a futuristic soundtrack to an nineties space film, but the kind of film with a soundtrack that is a million miles better than the actual film. I mean how many soundtracks make you want to dance until the sun comes up?
Lose Control – Taken from ‘What Follows’ (2016)
This was the lead single from ‘What Follows’ and is another Nancy Whang moment of brilliance. It is also another example of where Shit Robot’s obsession with late 80s and early 90s rave culture shines through. Whang vocals here are markedly different from ‘Take Em Up’ – here she is an ice maiden, all sultry and direct.
I Got A Feeling – Taken from ‘From the Cradle to the Rave’ (2010)
Another slow building housey techno number that at around ninety seconds sees a mumbly little piano come in and then it all goes a bit LCD Soundsystem with the introduction of a cow bell and some echo-y synths and then it kind of relaxes a bit and around four minutes in the singing starts. The bass gets upped and the words bounce around off each other. Its euphoric and if you close your eyes you can even see yourself floating away to it at 3am surrounded by sweaty strangers. The perfect ending to this ICA.