UK based Rodney Cromwell (aka Adam Cresswell, formerly of John Peel favorite Saloon) is the latest addition to my Artist/Band You Should Know series. Not only is he deserving of the focus, he’s good enough that I think everyone needs to give him a listen. A lot of the stuff I cover could be considered niche, or at best genre specific. In other words, I know that electronic music isn’t for everyone and I’m writing to that very specific audience. Rodney Cromwell transcends that. I think you’re going to enjoy him no matter what your musical tastes are or what your decade of choice is. Know why? Good music is timeless…and Rodney Cromwell writes good music.
His first full length album was released in in the summer of 2015 on Happy Robots Records. Right from the music box intro, Age of Anxiety had me hooked. When you see a music box you get an irresistible urge to open it…to hear what’s inside. It’s a mystery waiting to be uncovered. So, what’s in this music box? Pop perfection. The album is a time machine to a simpler time when music was allowed to be fun, without inhibition, and fear of experimentation. It hearkens back to Kraftwerk’s best recordings but Rodney Cromwell adds something that their robotic austerity never allowed. Heart. These songs overflow with emotion – even the musical scores jump out of the speakers. Imagine if, pun intended, a happy robot decided to open a disco and you’re getting an idea of what’s at the core of Age of Anxiety.
I’d be remiss if I left Kraftwerk as the only audible influence, because there’s more to Age of Anxiety than that. There are New Order-esque guitar hooks, audio tracks that Martin Gore would have killed for back in the early 80’s, and even a hint of Boo Radleys shoegaze. None of this really gives you the full scope of things because Rodney Cromwell has taken what was old and really created something new out of it. There are influences here but Age of Anxiety stands on its own two feet and is worthy of inclusion with the work of the bands I’ve named.
Beyond Age of Anxiety, Rodney Cromwell has released two EPs. One for Black Dog, released in 2015, and the Fax Message Breakup EP that came out in November of 2016. I mention these because not only is it more awesome music, you’re also getting some top notch remixes, and everyone in the electronic music community LOVES remixes. The Black Dog EP has a new version of the title track along with an extended cut. You also get remixes of You Will Struggle and my very favorite version of Barry Was An Arms Dealer in AUW’s North Poindexter Remix. The Fax Message Breakup EP gives us even more great remixes. Hologram Teen lends her upbeat magic to the title track, Chris Frain remixes Baby Robot, AUW is back delivering another killer mix of Fax Machine Breakup, and The Leaf Library give the EP a perfect coda with their remix of Cassiopeia.
Sharing new music is why I run this page and artists like Rodney Cromwell make my work really easy for me. It’s been a while since I found an artist I could jump in and enjoy so much after only hearing a few songs. This is somebody you definitely want to keep your attention focused on. Talent like this is not common and Rodney Cromwell is definitely an artist to know.