Digital Leather @ Rhythm Room

If David Bowie and Ian Curtis were to have an illegitimate love-child, he might sound a little like Shawn Foree, the Yuma native better known as Digital Leather. He earned a degree in 19th-century American literature, but the lure of synthesizers, four-track home tape recorders, and tripping balls led him to the road and a life of touring in support of his gritty synth punk. Though his voice may not be as despondent as Curtis', he gets his point across, fluttering over gnarled guitar riffs, upbeat keyboard banging, and good old-fashioned lo-fi frequencies. In short, it's punk rage you can dance to. For his upcoming album, Modern Problems, Foree channels his inner Bowie in grieving for late friend and collaborator Jay Reatard by creating an alter ego that goes through the record struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one. Pop gems like "Doctors in Love" bounce, while "Hot Bubblegum" articulates the mournful quality of the album. His minimalistic approach combined with intimate lyrics, rugged synth-pop power, and trashy garage rock grit make for a tasty break from today's over-processed dubbings.


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