Joining the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Dead Kennedys and Bush on the small list of artists to feature a US President in their name, German producer Roosevelt’s “dance music for people who don’t dance” is being tipped as the latest sound to break through from Cologne’s thriving electronica scene.
Born in the Viersen district of North Rhine-Westphalia, Marius Lauber only started writing his own material when he moved to the city two years ago, but his blissful blend of chillwave, washed-out techno and loved-up guitar pop has already drawn comparisons to the likes of Factory Records legends New Order and Polaris Music Prize-winning Caribou.
Discovered by Tobias Thomas, one of the more prominent DJs on the seminal Kompakt label, when he uploaded the supremely funky indie-disco of “Sea” onto YouTube, Roosevelt then signed to Greco-Roman, the London label co-run by Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard also responsible for launching the careers of two-step garage revivalists Disclosure and synth-pop maestro Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
A tour with the latter headdress aficionado followed shortly after, alongside appearances at the UK’s Great Escape and Prague’s Electronic Beats festivals, a streamlined cover version of Superpitcher’s “Country Boy” and a debut US tour, before Roosevelt began to work on his first E.P., Elliot, a four-track collection of broken-hearted odes to an ex-girlfriend inspired by everyone from late avant-garde cellist Arthur Russell to Italo-disco veteran P. Lion.
Showcasing the same kind of listless but winsome vocals that made Bernard Sumner such a unique frontman, Elliot’s mixture of achingly sad lyrics and contrastingly radiant production makes for an engaging listen, whether it’s the low-slung bass-lines and cascading synths of the blissful title track, the muted disco-pop of “Montreal” or the hazy yacht-rock of “Around You.” A full-length album is expected to follow next year.