Pet Shop Boys, Optometry, Ride and More New Music

Cover for Interplay 2024 album by Ride
Cover for Ride’s new album, Interplay, which I was listening to for the first time while finishing this post.

It sounds like we’re on the verge of another Pet Shop Boys moment. Or, at least, that’s how I hope 2024 will sound and, judging from the response on the dance floor, the L.A. crowds seem to agree. But, then again, L.A.’s affinity for the British duo has endured since the 1980s. 

In January, I fell for the cover of “Being Boring” by TR/ST, with guest vocals from Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters. Shortly after that dropped, Pet Shop Boys themselves released “Loneliness,” the first single from their forthcoming album, Nonetheless. It’s a gorgeous dance song that reflects the strange isolation of 2020s life. (The Guardian has a good interview with the band, if you’re interested in reading more about Pet Shop Boys’ new music.) Around the same time, I stumbled across a cover of “Rent” that Sally Shapiro released last fall. I wondered how I missed this release last year, then snapped it up on Bandcamp

All three songs are getting fairly regular play in my sets now. (You may have heard all of them if you were at my most recent gig at Underground.) The response has been fantastic. All three songs have kept people on the floor. At one gig, someone asked, “Who does this cover of ‘Rent’?” and a DJ from another club gave me props for dropping the new Pet Shop Boys tune. Hearing directly from people that they’re into a song is even more encouraging than seeing people respond to it on the dance floor, so I’m inclined to think these tunes will be sticking around for a while. I’m also really excited to hear Nonetheless later in April. 

Back in January, I mentioned here that I thought “Sangre de Oro” by Twin Tribes would turn up in my sets and it has. The song did really well both at Underground earlier this month and at Klub Nocturno’s Rockero Night in Phoenix last month, where I played new wave and darkwave on the Crescent Ballroom patio. 

Lately, I’ve also been listening to Interior Spring, the new album from Bay Area band topographies. It has a moody, early 4AD vibe that is perfect for a party like Night Shift, where I’ve played “Red Black Sun.” (The next Night Shift is coming up on Thursday, April 4 at Bar Franca, see my previous post for details.) I’ll likely have more new music from Ride on me at Night Shift as well. I’m listening to Interplay, their brand new full-length, as I write this and it’s a real delight. 

L.A.-based duo Optometry, who you’ve heard in my sets at Underground, have a new EP out as well. It’s called Parallel Distortion, a tribute to the late artist, Simone Ling, who designed the covers of their previous singles and last year’s album, After-Image. There’s a cover of “Into the Groove” on the EP that is so much fun, you might be hearing it in my sets very soon. 

Something that I should disclose is that I kind of hate Spotify. I use it to make playlists because it’s essentially the default platform, but the recommendations that it sends my way are almost always garbage. Every once in a while, though, something will come up in the new releases that I don’t want to skip. A month or so ago, that song was Fred Falke’s remix of “Palace in My Head” by Jaakko Eino Kalevi, with vocals from Alma Jodorowsky. I was sucked in by the faux Italo disco vibe and dropped it into my Dolce Vita stash of tunes. I finally got around to picking up Kalevi’s album, Chaos Magic, which came out last year. It’s a behemoth album by today’s standards, clocking it at a little over an hour with thirteen songs that cross a litany of genres. It’s dark. It’s funky. It’s  sometimes psychedelic. It’s a long, weird ride and I’m enjoying every moment of it.

Liz O. is an L.A.-based writer and DJ. Read her recently published work and check out her upcoming gigs.