I’m gonna kick out another post for this semi-sunny summer Friday middling of the day. I’ve been a bit backlogged on a number of fronts. So I’ve got some catching up to do. Plus, I just spent some time on Yppah in an earlier post, which has got me thinking about positivity and serendipitous balance – i.e. peace of mind, heart and soul.
So in keeping with the surging spirit, I’m focusing post number two on another SoCal native, John Kunkel, better known as The New Division. This track, in an appropriate turn of phrase, is titled “Hope,” which again, suits my mindset for week’s end. Well, technically, Sunday is when I typically wrap up the week’s affairs. But Friday marks the conclusion of all things workwise, so I’ll leave it at that.
Kunkel is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, and vocalist, who specializes in conjuring the nocturnal neon bliss of ’80s electronics and old school new wave synth-esthesia. He’s also a talent I’ve covered in the past, way back in October of last year, when I first started this extracurricular blog affair. That track’s called “The Walk,” and not surprisingly, it’s still one of my favs from The New Division.
But like a lot of acts that really push the right buttons in all those touchy-feely feel-good ways, I’ve always intended to cover far more of The New Division’s extensive and exhilarating catalogue of euphoric sound and songcraft. Coincidentally, Kunkel’s recently released some wonderful new material, with “Hope” being part of the pick.
On that note, check it out …
“Hope” from the 2019 EP “Fascination.”
Now that I’ve got “Hope” covered, I’m gonna switch gears to some other newness from The New Division. Just a heads up. Some of these are going to veer off-topic, in terms of that warm positive glow I’ve been fixated on. Musically, though, the feel-good sonics still keep things on the up and up. So there’s that.
Let’s start with some vintage synthwave romanticism titled “Jealous.” This one’s actually a remix of the original by Kunkel, which in my mind, works far more dynamically as an emotional mind-meander of frustration and envy. If you’re going to dwell in this particular mindset, you might as go deep, far, and wide. And this version does just that.
Experience the dense richness of feeling “Jealous.”
“Jealous” from the 2019 remix EP of the same name.
I thought about exploring a couple of other new tracks from The New Division. Kunkel’s got some other great ones – “Fascination” and “Vicious,” to name two. But there’s also a new album forthcoming. So I think I’ll save my thoughts for then, and see what I feel and where I stand at that future moment in time.
So instead, I’m going to wrap this up with an earlier pick from 2015’s “Gemini” album, titled “Killer,” which for the life of me, I can’t figure out why I haven’t featured before. Again, this one steers close to the shadow-laced content, a bit darker on the comeuppance and a tad vengeful in the annals of justice. Nonetheless, it’s a snazzy synth-epic groove that skirts ’80s sensorium and sensation with present-day electronic grooves and moves. There’s a prescient funkiness in its underlying severity that feels downright refreshing.
Also, it’s trademarked density in layered synths, flanked by a tipsy tempestuous drum pattern and warm bedded bassline, keep this one lively and full of surprises. It’s intro alone throws a directional curveball that keeps you guessing. And once that vintage guitar kicks in, it may not rock your socks off, but it’ll definitely trigger all those nostalgic vibes. And there’s a certain solace in the starker simplicity and minimalism of era’s gone by.
Here’s my third and final recommend for today’s musings on The New Division. Enjoy delving into the mindset of this “Killer.”
“Killer” from the 2015 album “Gemini.”