Frontwoman Patricia Hall with a friend at L.A.'s Part Time Punks party

[Photo by Dylan Gordon]

We get a lot of crap CDs at the self-titled offices. But once in a while, a pleasant surprise slips into our promo stack. Here’s a recent delivery that knocked the s/t staff on its collective ass.

The Artist/Album: Soft Metals, The Cold World Melts 12” (Captured Tracks, 2010)

The Vibe: To be honest, we didn’t get this one in the mail. We bought it based on the cover art alone–a Videodrome-like allusion to rain-slicked nights and killer Minimal Wave reissues. The authenticity of which seemed to be verified by the credits on the back: “All songs written and performed by Ian Hicks and Patricia Hall on a Roland Juno 60, Roland JX-3P, Sequential Circuits Pro One, Micro Moog, x0xb0x, TR-808, TR-707, Boss RDD20 delay, Boss RBF10 flanger, Boss ph2 phaser, Boss PS3 delay on vox.”

In other words, shit’s analog as hell. And not the least bit lo-fi, either. No, Captured Tracks went all out on The Cold World Melts‘ vinyl pressing, a perfectly mastered slab of white vinyl that sounds like Glass Candy…if they shed their slo-mo disco skin and decided to go for our collective jugular on the dancefloor. Sure enough, both acts are synth-driven duos from the land of strong organic coffee and gutter punks who oughta get a jobby job (Portland). The difference being Hall’s refusal to act coy or precious. Instead, she sounds like a natural doing battle with lean, carefully-cleaved shards of acid techno, Chicago house, and industrial.

Easily one of our favorite record store finds of 2010, and Captured Tracks’ strongest release since Wild Nothing‘s debut LP.

RIYL: Dancing with a dagger in your hand; smoke machine serenades; Floyd-free laser light shows