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Soft News

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The self effacing title of Soft News’ debut album, Used Melodies, belies its true nature as an innovative cover album of reimagined 80s pop songs. Each song, from Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” to “Love Touch” by Rod Stewart is completely stripped of the decade’s trademark glitter and bombast. In contrast, the sound that pervades Used Melodies is intimate, exposed, and soothing. From the first track to the last, Erik Laroi (the man behind Soft News) inspires trust in the listener. His pitch perfect production, crooning voice, and nuanced arrangements deliver the sense that you’re listening to indie renditions of the Great American Songbook. The collection of songs that Soft News covers on Used Melodies weren’t so much diamonds in the rough as diamonds covered in rhinestones, glitter, and neon-colored feathers. Laroi tenderly stripped them of their shimmer and glue to reveal the true gems sparkling beneath.

Used Melodies was a passion project. Over the past four years, he’s been recording covers in his home studio, selecting songs as the inspiration strikes. He was grocery shopping when “Separate Ways” by Journey came on over the sound system. Laroi couldn’t shake the melancholic alternate version that was cycling through his head and so he recorded it. He did this with approximately 30 songs from the 80s and early 90s (there are two exceptions: a gorgeous version of Big Star’s 1975 classic “Holocaust” and a complete re-interpretation of Pulseprogramming’s 2003 IDM-inspired track “Blooms Eventually”). Laroi enlisted Charles Newman (The Magnetic Fields, Jon DeRosa) to mix them. Laroi had no commercial intent for the project but while mixing, Newman heard an album in the works. Laroi and Newman picked their twelve favorite covers and Used Melodies was born. It will be released on Newman’s label, Mother West, in fall 2014.

If you hear a hint of Kings of Convenience in Laroi’s rich, clear vocals, it may be because they are his Norwegian countrymen. Originally from Norway, Erik Laroi spent much of his childhood in Detroit and London. This is where he soaked up 80s pop culture, making weekly trips to the record store with his older brother to pick up the latest album by New Wave cult bands like New Order, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and The Smiths. As he got older, Laroi’s tastes broadened, discovering bands like Red House Painters and Low, as well as singer-songwriters like Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell. This wandering path of musical exploration led him to create Used Melodies, an album that takes a decidedly grown-up approach to childhood nostalgia – resurrecting it to fit the present.

Used Melodies by Soft News was recorded and produced by Erik Laroi in his home studio in New York. The album was mixed by Charles Newman and Ray Ketchem (Elk City, The Mendoza Line). The tracks feature backing vocals by Lorraine Lelis (Mahogany, Aarktica) and Margaret White (Sparklehorse) and string arrangements by Perry Serpa (TV On The Radio, The Sharp Things) and Jean Cook (Ida, Mountain Ocean Sun).
view all 22 tracks 22 Tracks Found
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Album: Mother West Covers Songs
Genre: Folk
Mood: Contemplative, Emotional, Heartbreak, Moody, Sad
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Album: Mother West Covers Songs
Genre: Folk
Mood: Calm, Chill, Contemplative, Peaceful, Romantic
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Album: Mother West Covers Songs
Genre: Folk
Mood: Affectionate, Contemplative, Emotional, Gentle, Heartbreak
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Album: Mother West Covers Songs
Genre: Folk
Mood: Calm, Peaceful, Positive, Romantic
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