Digital Leather – Sorcerer

Digital Leather

Digital Leather has split its Sorcerer album into two parts: the home-recording side and the live-show side. The home recordings aren’t like those of Sebadoh or anything, where the tape hiss acts as another instrument. Being that Digital Leather relies heavily on electronics, it’s probably done by plugging the keyboards and mics right into the laptop. That’s artists like Digital Leather’s Shawn Foree can make whole albums without going broke in a studio or annoying the neighbors. The latter tracks, recorded from a full-band show in Memphis, prove that Digital Leather’s live show would definitely have the neighbors pounding on the walls.

“Simulator” may have copped The Units’ sound and attitude, but it ups the aggression just enough to differentiate it from that band’s blueprint. And generally it’s the aggro nature of Sorcerer that distinguishes the live show from what’s hinted at in the home recordings. That, plus a touch of bombast, puts some of Digital Leather’s work in the same camp as Mindless Self Indulgence.

Getting back to the home recordings, “Styrofoam” playfully likens emotional states to the temperature-retention properties of styrofoam, and it does so by riding a 200-BPM wave of synthesizers and cold beats. On “You Will Fail,” the heavily distorted guitar and vocals hint at the punk leanings that animate Digital Leather. If you were to slow the song down a bit and clean it up, it might pass for old M83.

For the live Memphis recording, Foree enlisted a band and made the haul from Arizona. The outcome, on tracks like “Plane” and “Dance Till Dead,” show that Digital Leather works well as a full-fledged outfit – one that knows how to put the thick guitar chords out in front of the synthesizer when it’s time to make the crowd move. Nobody would really mistake this for dance music, though, because the only kind of dancing you’d have been likely to witness would’ve been slamming in a pit.