We are starting things off in a stellar way within the hallowed halls of the “Support Good Music” offices in 2012 as we kick off the new year with a feature on Julien-K, whose impending sophomore triumph We’re Here With You is just waiting to be added to your Best of 2012 playlists the moment you finish hearing it for the first time.
But first, a little history:
I wanted Orgy’s debut record, Candyass, before I had even heard a note on the record. I had been reading about the band for ages it seemed and their goth by way of Duran Duran sound appealed to me immensely. Before I had internet efficiency and wasn’t able to find out when an album was pushed a week in a heartbeat, I would often drive 45 minutes to my favorite record store only to find out that an album I was expecting wasn’t available for a week or so. I did that with Candyass. When I did finally get it a week after it was supposed to come out I was sold.
I only saw the band live twice but they floored me every time.
In fact, Amir Derakh was the first famous person I had ever met backstage at a show. I worked at a record store at the time and a label rep friend of mine (Thank you, Amy!) had gotten passes for my then-girlfriend, now-wife and we were able to meet and have our picture taken with the synth/engineer/producer/guitar phenomenon. I have the biggest shit-eating grin on my face in that pic which is sadly not proudly displayed in my house at the moment.
Anyway, Orgy eventually fell but out of the ashes rose guitarist Ryan Shuck’s (Who would take on lead vocal duties as well) and Amir Derakh’s new project, Julien-K. I first found out about them while at a Projekt Revolution show in 2007. As I watched this band called Julien-K, whom I knew nothing about but was genuinely getting into, I looked and said to myself: “Hey, that’s Amir…and Ryan! The hell?!?!”
I’ve been a fan ever since. I scoured the internet for any recordings that were available including purchasing the Transformers soundtrack they were a part of. Yeah, I liked ’em alot!
When Death to Analog came out in March of 2009, it was one of a handful of albums that I own that I thought I would never be physically holding in my hands. It was so worth the two year wait from when I started listening to Julien-K. It took everything I loved about Orgy to another place but were a different entity entirely. I dare say that I started to like them more. From the opening electro blast of the title track featuring a mechanical voiced Shuck through the Duran Duran-esque dancefloor stomp “Someday Soon” or the robotic industrial slam of “Technical Difficulties” Death To Analog is guaranteed to make old school fans happy and garner tons of new ones who, like me, had no idea the members of Orgy went on to form a new band.
Then there’s the singles. “Kick The Bass” definitely fits that category. Julien-K (rounded out by Anthony ‘Fu’ Valcic and Brandon Belsky) had the Shuck/Derakh magic team so crafting memorable, catchy songs was a no-brainer. The opening drums combined with the spacey synths and new wave guitar line prefacing the entrance of Shuck’s smooth vocal delivery insured that this song (and band) had real staying power. As you get deeper in, DTA keeps pulling you closer with songs that just ooze sexiness one minute like the filthy hypnotic “Systeme De Sexe” or make you pull out the black eyeliner and dance like a madman by your lonesome the next (“Maestro”).
It’s been close to three years since Death To Analog and Julien-K (minus Belsky) are finally ready to release the follow-up. I’m not going to say too much on their upcoming album We’re Here With You (You’ll be able to read that review soon enough…) but I will say if you liked Death to Analog, then you’re in for a treat with this one.