Punk rock was loud, messy, uncontrollable and rowdy. Then Joy Division came and changed all that almost over night. Ever hear of U2, the Killers or Phoenix? All followers of this one band that barreled into the vision of the public almost overnight and then exploded and reinvented itself upon the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis (here’s the fascinating movie about him). Emphasizing emotional music over loud noise and somber emotions over rage and anger, they were the first to synchronize synthesizers, drum machines and live instrumentation.
Joy Division happens to be one of the most depressing bands ever but those influenced by them moved more towards the land of unicorns and butterflies. One of those bands happens to be Phoenix who turned the Joy Division sound slightly upside down. Their most recent release, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, builds upon the simpler drum machine and snyth combinations by adding multiple layers of guitars. It’s a really cool sound and overall a really great album.
I’m connecting these bands with a synth and drum machine sound and it’s my post so I’m going to throw in a little curveball. The next band has many related characteristics to Phoenix, incorporating a lot of drum machine and other samples and a lead singer with a wacky falsetto voice. Passion Pit relies heavily on sound samples which gives a much wider variety of sounds then a simple drum machine, such as in the following song.