Results for Passion Pit

interviews

Michael Angelakos

Indietronica act Passion Pit recently released its third album of electronic pop Kindred, eliciting a Buy It from both Jim and Greg. This week, we revisit our 2012 interview with Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos, who joined Jim and Greg in the studio for a frank conversation and stripped-back live set. Passion Pit first found success after Angelakos posted some songs on MySpace in 2008 and the track "Sleepyhead" quickly exploded on the net. Passion Pit have since released three critically acclaimed albums and toured the world. The danceable tracks and high production values of the band's music can be deceptive. If you don‘t listen closely, you can miss the highly introspective lyrics that explore Angelakos’s own experience with addiction and mental illness. As Michael tells Jim and Greg, the band had to cancel dates so that he could deal with issues related to his manic depression. The contrast between upbeat music and dark lyrics, Michael explains, is what he's always found interesting in pop music, and it's the key to the Passion Pit project. Despite the often harrowing content, Michael says his music is ultimately hopeful – an effort to achieve transcendence amid tough circumstances.

Go to episode 495

Michael Angelakos

This week, Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos is in the studio with Jim and Greg for a frank conversation and stripped-back live set. As Michael tells Jim and Greg, the band began with a belated Valentine's Day present. Angelakos - then a student at Boston's Emerson College - posted a track he'd written for his girlfriend to MySpace. "Sleepyhead" quickly exploded on the net. Passion Pit have since released two critically acclaimed albums and toured the world. Their latest release, Gossamer combines upbeat dance tracks and high production values with lyrics that explore Angelakos's own experience with addiction and mental illness. (As Michael tells Jim and Greg, the band had to cancel dates this year so that he could deal with issues related to his manic depression). The contrast between upbeat music and dark lyrics, Michael explains, is what he's always found interesting in pop music, and it's the key to the Passion Pit project. Despite Gossamer's harrowing content, Michael says the album is ultimately hopeful - an effort to achieve transcendence amid tough circumstances.

Go to episode 359
specials

Synth-Pop

Next Jim and Greg embark on one of their trademark genre explorations. They've mentioned the term "Synth-Pop" a lot in the past year. The electronic sound of the 1980's has been heavily influencing a slew of new bands including Passion Pit, MGMT and Phoenix. So where does that synth sound come from? Of course, Jim traces a line directly to Kraftwerk and Brian Eno, but notes that it wasn't until technology became cheap and portable that it really came into the mainstream. He and Greg cite Daniel Miller of The Normal as an example of an artist who really embraced synthesizers and didn't merely use them to replicate other instruments. And acts like the Human League developed the sound further to have more warmth and emotion.

Go to episode 225
reviews
KindredKindred available on iTunes

Passion Pit Kindred

Frontman Michael Angelakos of the indietronica act Passion Pit has come a long way since "Sleepyhead" became a MySpace hit in 2008. He's now returned with a third album of shimmery electronic pop, Kindred. Jim is amazed by how Angelakos, who suffers from bipolar disorder, finds catharsis in making irresistible dance pop. Although he addresses his pain in Kindred, Angelakos never mopes but rather celebrates life. Electronic Dance Music rarely has real soul like this. Greg is also pleased to find this record more optimistic than the previous release, Gossamer. Angelakos has a knack for making commercial music that avoids pop cliches through his brilliant symphonic keyboard arrangements. According to Greg, it's a great pop record with finely honed songs from beginning to end. Both critics give Kindred a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 494
Manners (Bonus Track Version)Manners available on iTunes

Passion Pit Manners

The next album up for review is Manners, the debut from Boston-based Passion Pit. The electro-pop quintet is helmed by Michael Angelakos. It's his falsetto that dominates the album, in addition to the lush, swirling synths. In fact, the music is a little too lush and sugary for Mr. Kot, who wishes there were a few more moments of calm. He gives Manners a Try It rating. Jim was certain Greg would be all over this record. He hears the music as a successful, indie take on '80s disco and gives the album a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 182
GossamerManners available on iTunes

Passion Pit Manners

Michael Angelakos, the laptop wizard behind electropop band Passion Pit, first made a splash on MySpace in 2008 with the hit "Sleepyhead." He released his debut album, Manners, the next year. Since then we haven‘t heard much from him. Passion Pit’s new sophomore effort, Gossamer, was in the works for some time, and Angelakos recently posted on the band's website that he was calling off performances in July in order to deal with mental health problems. Mental health issues, the stresses of maintaining a marriage, and economic decline all make up the rather dark background of Gossamer, an album that masquerades as a lighthearted dance record. For Jim and Greg, that contrast of light and dark is all too good. Jim says Angelakos's lyrics wouldn't be out of place on a soul album. He includes Passion Pit as part of a movement of weird soul geniuses (Frank Ocean and The Weeknd are also among them) making heart-felt epics in their bedrooms. Both Jim and Greg agree this is a deep record worth spending some time with. Another double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 348
lists

The Best of 2009… So Far

Lists are just too much fun to do them only once a year. Here are Jim and Greg's mid-year best album lists.

Greg

  • St. Vincent, Actor
  • Neko Case, Middle Cyclone
  • Amadou & Mariam, Welcome to Mali
  • The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love
  • Maxwell, BLACKsummers'night
  • Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
  • Mastodon, Crack the Skye
  • Dan Deacon, Bromst
  • Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz

Jim

  • Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
  • Neko Case, Middle Cyclone
  • The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love
  • Lily Allen, It's Not Me, It's You
  • Morrissey, Years of Refusal
  • Franz Ferdinand, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
  • PJ Harvey and John Parish, A Woman a Man Walked By
  • Moby, Wait for Me
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz
  • Passion Pit, Manners
  • Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  • Metric, Fantasies
  • K'Naan, Troubadour
  • Cursive, Mama, I'm Swollen
  • Bob Dylan, Together Through Life
  • Leonard Cohen, Live in London
  • St. Vincent, Actor
  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
  • Mastodon, Crack the Skye
  • Sonic Youth, The Eternal
  • U2, No Line on the Horizon
  • Wilco, Wilco
  • The Handsome Family, Honey Moon
  • Art Brut, Art Brut vs. Satan
  • Peaches, I Feel Cream
  • Screaming Females, Power Move
  • Dan Deacon, Bromst

A message from Jim: The following, LISTED IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, is my tally of albums mid-year in 2009 that have all warranted 3.5 stars or more on the Chicago Sun-Times‘ 4-star ratings scale (making them all very enthusiastic“buy its”on the“Sound Opinions”scale). I will mention that these are in no particular order (sorry, but that’s reserved for the year-end list), that this list is not all-inclusive (I will no doubt catch up with quite a few discs released earlier in the year by the time I tally the year-end list) and, also, because this always confuses people, THESE ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER. Yet. But they're all really, really, really good albums.

Go to episode 190

Best Albums of 2009

Go to episode 211