SWAN | The Collective Anxiety on Little Dark Age

Last week, MGMT released Little Dark Age, the duo’s fourth studio album. Admittedly, I haven’t listened to much of MGMT beyond their hits from last decade like “Kids” or “Electric Feel,” but nevertheless I really enjoyed listening to Little Dark Age. The album appears to have received generally positive reviews, with most critics asserting that Little Dark Age is a welcome return to MGMT’s commercial-pop sound after their foray into a more experimental quality during the early 2010s. Little Dark Age is rather quick to convey a retro vibe, made apparent from the breach by songs like “She Works Out Too Much,” “Little Dark Age,” and “When You Die.” MGMT seems to have pulled from the vernacular of 1980s pop music, with warm, analog synthesizer tracks on essentially every piece of the album. “Little Dark Age” the lead sample from the album which was actually released back in October, contains a machinated drum beat and near monotonic vocal track, both of which bring “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats to mind.


Stranger Things Puts the Science (And Much More) Back in Science Fiction

When you watch Stranger Things, you are immediately transported into a relic of the 1980s. It was a time when adventure was sought out, science was deemed cool and heroism was somewhat synonymous with nerdiness. We are introduced to our heros — four boys around ten years old who strive for scientific exploration, fantastical adventure and unbreakable friendship — and, as viewers, immediately become attached to them. From the beginning of the first episode, there is an underlying element of supernaturalness that becomes much more overt later in the hour. However, unlike most shows for which the basis of the storyline is made up of supernatural events, this show isn’t nauseatingly cheesy or predictable.


TEST SPIN: Porches — Pool

Porches frontman Aaron Maine seems to have spent the past couple of years enjoying, like so many of us, a great run of ’80s synthpop inspired indie records. His latest release Pool bears heavily the mark of their influence. I began listening to Porches in 2014 after (unfortunately) missing their Fanclub Collective show at Watermargin. At the time, the band was promoting Slow Dance in The Cosmos — a lo-fi pop/indie rock ode to melancholy punctuated by moments of high energy and lyrical hilarity (see “Headsgiving,” “Fog Fog,” “Jesus Universe”). At the time, the band both exemplified and exceeded much of what I would have expected from a band touring the basement scene/small venue circuit.