These days, there are few secrets on the Internet. Our insatiable need for information and transparency is erasing the boundaries of personal space and the private; when the government's secrets end up on WikiLeaks and Taylor Swift's new album is just a click away for anyone with knowledge of RapidShare, it makes true surprises few and far between. But I like surprises. It's easy to lament the loss of seeing a film or hearing an album that totally blows you away and realizing that you know absolutely nothing about the person beyond the art. But that's just the case with Blouse's "Shadow," one of the best new songs I've heard all year.
Blouse, to the best of my knowledge (and Google skills), has no MySpace page. Or Facebook account. I don't know who is singing on this track or who is playing the gorgeous, elastic bassline. But the band does have a BandCamp page with downloads to two songs, both of which traffic in a kind of warm nostalgia and even warmer synth patterns that made the micro-genre "chillwave" so popular in 2010. The big difference? Blouse's songs have lasting power.
"Shadow" is the type of song you want to hear during the big climactic scene of any coming-of-age drama: It has that big, sweeping-yet-wistful sound of all the '80s hits we remember from John Hughes' movies, but it's not just a caricature of New Order or Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. The song is anchored by a really fantastic bassline and simple stucture, which lets the unknown female voice dance around the stop-and-start rhythm. "Into Black" is a little darker, but no less anthemic, taking a familiar songwriting troupe (the lyrics "fade into black") and making it exciting again.
I could put on my investigative reporter hat on for a few minutes to try and dig up some information on these guys, but honestly, I don't really care. Kanye's fantastic new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, has been talked about more for the ego of the artist behind it than the actual music contained on each of the 496,000 compact discs he sold last week. For now, let's let Blouse be all about the music.