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Sunday, November 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 47.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist
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Digital Leather pours rock, metal and more into its trashy synth-pop
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on
Masters of comical bleakness.
Masters of comical bleakness.

Digital Leather is not a plug-in for Photoshop. It's Sean Foree's trashy synth-pop project. Foree has maintained a prolific pace, releasing nine albums and EPs along with tons of singles in just seven years. He'll be touring behind his latest full-length, 2012's Modern Problems, when he and his band stop by Revolution Cycles June 8.

Digital Leather packs more than enough punk snarl into its music to earn the leather in its name, but Foree runs many more musical materials through his sonic sewing machine.

Rock

For pure bowel-shaking rock, there may be no better place to turn in Digital Leather's discography than "So Warm" off the 2012 tape Yes, Please. Thank You. A bashing backbeat props up half-in-the-bag, fuzzed-out guitar riffs as they stumble home while Foree croons, "I want to die because I'm stupid and I'm useless." The song is great for bashing your head against the wall until that special someone takes you in his or her arms.

Metal

Foree never even comes close to metal in a traditional thrash-your-face sense of the genre, but "The Man With No Emotion," off Modern Problems, slams so much comical bleakness into its lyrics that it's begging to be turned into a half-serious death metal opus. "Puppies dying, kittens dying, children crying, mothers lying, everybody's smiling," Foree says in the first 20 seconds, sounding like he couldn't care less. The slightly surfy guitar solo midway through would need some beefing up if Slayer attempted a cover, but the tone is already solidly set on pitch-black.

Glass

Though most of Digital Leather's music is crusted over with distortion, pristine shards of shining glass occasionally protrude from the surface. "Gold Hearts," off 2010's Warm Brother, sounds like rocket fuel burning in the distance until pointed synth spikes push through to add a little melody to the noise. Mixed with the ennui of Foree's lyrics and the dulling effect of the scorched-earth ambience, the song's piercing keyboard provides a lively, cutting contradiction.

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