Pop: Logging on to passionate pop

"I'm learning a lot about bands that I'd never heard of before because people in the UK say we sound a bit like them; Fad Gadget and that kind of stuff. I'd never really thought about the 1980s element until radio DJs started talking about it."

Jesse Hartman (below), formerly of slacker indie janglers Sammy, has just got up in his New York city apartment, and over the phone you can almost hear him scratching his head trying to figure out the critical reaction his new outfit, Laptop, have received over here. It's not that it's a big problem for Hartman: Laptop's first EP, End Credits, has been lapped up by radio, and someone's even gone to the bother of concocting the term "retro-futurism" in an attempt to sum it up. In brief, what Laptop have come up with is a fat slice of electronic yet passionate pop. Dealing with an ugly relationship break-up, it juxtaposes pained, overstated crooning with samples of an icy answerphone message just to jack up the melodrama. As well as sounding great it's totally vivid.

"Yeah, I also make films (as does bassist Michael Galinsky)," explains Hartman, "and while we were starting Laptop we were also making short pieces for TV about crazy characters in the East Village. The two kind of meshed a bit, creating these little stories with dialogue. We continue that theme on the next single, "Gimme the Night". It's like a sequel that traces a pick-up scene in a bar. We brought in one of my sleazy friends to be the guy, and the woman who I'm seeing right now to be the girl, and they do this dialogue throughout the song.

"I've wanted to do this kind of thing for some time, but it was when we were over in Europe with Sammy that it really got to me. We listened to a lot of radio and I heard Railroad Jerk, Daft Punk, a rap song and some classic rock tune all playing in a row. It got me thinking as they would never do that in the US. I thought that if the same person is listening to all four of those songs then why not combine them, find something in each of them and push them together? Why not have a beat with punk guitar and a crooning Vegas vocal over the top? "When I got back home, I started pulling out my old Eno records and it all just happened I guess."

So, we arrive back at the 1980s synth theme again. Hartman dreams out loud about turning Laptop into a postmodern residency in Vegas and, as a parting shot, he reveals: "On stage I'll even have this secret little weapon which is this Devo-esque keyboard that you wear like a guitar, I love it."

Laptop: Highbury Garage, N1 (0171-607 1818) 14 Mar

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk