Category: Alternative Pop

New Audio: Emerging Artist Octavia Releases a Sultry Single

Octavia is a Corsica, France-born, London-based singer/songwriter who since 2017 has developed an a unique take on alternative pop/R&B inspired by the likes of Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Destiny’s Child, Martha Aregeritch, Hiatus Kaiyote and Alice Coltrane among others, paired with lyrics that touch upon being a survivor, the people she has lost, her experiences and being a woman in general — sung in English and in French.

French-born, British-based artist’s latest single “Girlfriend” is centered around a dark and brooding production by Moma, MADD..’s Basile Peter and Lous and the Yakuza’s Raphaël Zeboulon featuring skittering tweeter and woofer rattling beats, wobbling synths paired with Octavia’s sultry vocals to create a song that swoons with desperate and nervous desire: the song tells a story about a woman’s first romantic and sexual encounter with another woman — and the recognition that they’re at the very least bisexual. While thematically perfect for Pride Month, the track also manages to be an honest exploration of feminine sensuality and sexuality.

New Video: Catalan Singer-Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist Magalí Sare Releases a Gorgeous and Intimate Visual

Magalí Sare is a rising 23 year-old, Vallès, Spain-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Growing up in a family of musicians, Sare learned how to play piano, flute and percussion at an early age. Back in 2013, the Vallès-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, enrolled at the Superior Conservatory of the Liceu, where she studied jazz.

Since graduating, Sare quickly developed a unique sound and approach that features elements of jazz, classical music, pop, alt-pop and experimental music with lyrics written and sung in her native Catalan and English. She’s also been rather busy: Sare regularly performs with a quarter that features Marta Pons (cello), Vic Moliner (double bass) and Arnau Figueres (percussion) and with a duo featuring a dear friend, who has accompanied her since the beginning. Over the past year, she’s been further honing a genre-fluid sound:

She collaborated with Sebastiaà Gris on A Boy and a Girl, an album that found the duo reworking classical and folk tunes in a way that incorporated electronics. The album was nominated for Best World Music album on the World Music Charts Europe (WMCE).
Sare contributed her vocals to Clara Peya’s Estomac.
The Catalan-born artist was nominated for an Emerging Artist Award by the Catalan Music Academy and Best New Artist at the ARC Awards.
Magalí Sara was nominated for the first International Award of Suns Europe Festival, which she won.
She also toured with with Quartet Mèlt, an act that won TV3’s Oh happy day’s third season.

Sare’s latest single “Beber de ti” is a slow-burning track and atmospheric featuring twinkling piano, stuttering trap beats, the rising Catalan artist’s ethereal and plaintive vocals, shimmering synth arpeggios and an enormous hook. Sonically, the track will further establish her sound as it’s a slickly produced mesh of classical music, electro pop and trap, centered around earnest songwriting. “Stagnant water rots. To be clean and transparent it needs to flow. The same goes for feelings; Communicating fully is not easy at all,” Sare explains. “Sometimes opening up as people can be painful, but it is something that frees us. Showing fears, letting out crying, as well as empathizing and giving thanks when appropriate, are things that make human relationships flow.”

The recently released and intimately shot video follows a couple, who struggle to truly connect with each other — but when they follow the philosophy of the song, they find themselves much closer, and much more at peace with each other.

Tennin · The What – The Notorious B.IG, Method Man [Tennin Remix]

With the release of a handful of singles that received attention from InRocksLab, Radio Nova, Earmilk and Afropunk, the rising Paris-based alternative pop artist Tennin quickly exploded into the international pop scene in 2015. The Paris-based artist ended a momentum building year by performing at La Cigale, as part of a showcase featuring rising female Parisian artists.

The following year, Tennin built upon her growing profile through tours across France, Germany and the UK. Adding to a relatively young career of big career highlights, the French pop artist’s single “Heal You,” catches the attention of acclaimed, trip hop pioneer Tricky, who signed her to !K7 Records. She then contributes a track to the Test of Time compilation, which featured tracks from Saul Williams, IDLES and others.

Additionally, last year saw her becoming a finalist of the Afropunk springboard but she also opened for the likes of Dope Saint Jude and Muthoni Drummer Queen at Les Cuizines — and she played the final show at Les Etoiles. She ended the year with a live interview and session for Radio Campus Brussels.

Earlier this year, the rising French pop artist signed to renowned Parisian electronic label Kitsune Music, who released her first single of this year “Guys in Tears.” Interestingly, Tennin posted a cover/remix of The Notorious B.I.G.‘s “The What,” feat. Method Man on Instagram that received such positive reactions that she decided to record and release a full-version. While retaining the original’s memorable beat, the addition of Tennin’s vocals adds sultry, Aaliyah-like air to the proceedings. Naturally, while being a shoutout to Golden Era, East Coast hip-hop, the song is also a vital reminder that hip-hop is the lingua franca of kids across the globe.

 

Genevieve Stokes · Lonely And Bored

With the release of “Running Away” and “Surface Tension,” which landed on Spotify‘s New Music Friday, Lorem and Fresh Finds Playlists, the young and rapidly rising, Portland, ME-based singer/songwriter Genevieve Stokes quickly received attention for crafting alt pop songs featuring  a lush mixture of electronic and organic instruments and centered around an insight and honesty that belies her relative youth. Inspired by Regina Spektor, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver and Big Thief‘s Adrianna Lenker, the 18 year-old, Maine-based singer/songwriter can trace the origins of her music career to performing publicly as early as when she was 7 — so in many ways, Stokes is a grizzled pro.

Stokes’ is gearing up to release her highly-anticipated debut EP, which will feature her two previously released singles and her latest single, the slow-burning “Lonely and Bored.” Centered around twinkling keys, atmospheric electronics, Stokes’ gorgeous vocals and a soaring hook, “Lonely and Bored” is a self-assured yet melancholic and mediative track with a warm and effortlessly vibey air reminiscent of ’90s and ’00s neo-soul. But interestingly, the song is inspired by Stokes’ own personal experiences: I’ve struggled with derealization and depersonalization for a couple years now,” the rising Portland, ME-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Often I find it hard to stay grounded in reality. It can be very isolating, but luckily it gets easier to manage over time. ‘Lonely and Bored’ is about a time in my life when I felt particularly disconnected from the world around me and my own emotions. I think a lot of people have experienced this sense of detachment, and hopefully this song helps them feel less alone.”

 

 

 

New Video: Lillian Frances’ Brightly Colored and Summery Visual for Infectious Pop Banger “Raincheck Summer”

Lillian Frances is a Davis, CA-based singer/songwriter, producer and self-described “sonic collager.” Inspired by the creative nature of children, Frances’ work isn’t bound to genre or style conventions: her work frequently meshes and blurs lines between a variety of genres and styles within the same song with shapeshifting aplomb — and Frances pairs that with lyrics sung in English and Spanish. 

Developing a sound that some have compared favorably to Lorde, Sylvan Esso, and Billie Eilish, Frances’ 2018 effort Timeism EP was released to praise from NPR’s Heavy Rotation, Indie Shuffle, and Cap Radio. Frances has opened for Sylvan Esso and played alongside Shakey Graves, Sage the Gemini, and Lexi Panterra. Additionally, she has made appearances at a number of regional festivals, including Sacramento PorchFest, the Davis Music Festival and the Davis Cherry Blossom Festival among others. 

Building upon a growing profile, Frances’ full-length debut Moonrise Queendom is slated for a June 5, 2020 release, and the album’s first single “Raincheck Summer” is a breezy and forward thinking pop confection featuring wobbling low end,  twinkling and clattering polyrhythm,  bursts of shimmering and emotive cellos, an infectious hook and Frances’ sultry vocals.  Centered around a coquettish and mischievous push and pull, the track is a summertime anthem — albeit, an oddly quarantine appropriate song in which you never quite hang out with anyone. And yet underlying its bold playfulness, the song as Frances explains, “explores the idea of authentic connection.” 

Directed by Lillian Frances, the recently released video employs a bright color palette as we follow Frances riding a bike, playing in a pool, in front of a childhood lemonade stand  and sunbathing bringing back memories of past summers. Of course, throughout the entire course of the video, we see the Davis-based singer/songwriter completely alone, which is strangely appropriate for what may be a quarantined summer for a lot of us. 

New Video: Rising British Singer Songwriter Jordan Mackampa Releases an Ebullient Visual for “Magic”

Jordan Mackampa is a rising London-born and-based Congolese-British singer/songwriter. With the release of “Under,” 2016’s Physics EP, and 2017’s Tales From The Broken EP and Live from the Grand Cru EP, Mackampa has received critical praise from NME, The 405, The Line of Best Fit, Clash, Indie Shuffle, Wonderland and others while his work amassed over 50 million Spotify streams.

Mackampa’s work is inspired by his Congolese roots and his mother’s love of legendary soul singers like Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield. And as a result, the Congolese-British singer/songwriter has developed a reputation for pairing old-school singer/songwriter soul, earnest songwriting and catchy melodies with a modern songwriting approach. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that Mackampa’s highly anticipated, full-length debut Foreigner is slated for a March 13, 2020 release through AWAL.  

Reportedly, the album’s material draws from the sounds and stories of the cities he’s spent time in and inhabited over the years, and while documenting his life as an outsider, the material’s sound is a melting pot of cultures that draws from his birthplace in the Republic of the Congo, his mom’s classic soul record collection, hip-hop obsessed childhood in North London, and his Coventry, UK-based teen years, immersed in indie rock — and all of that meshes together to create a hybrid of alternative pop, soul and indie rock. 

Late last year, I wrote about “Parachutes,” a breezy and deliberately crafted track centered around a radio friendly yet loose arrangement of twinkling keys, shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line and propulsive drumming pared with Mackampa’s easygoing vocals, evoking the soaring highs of being in love and the embittering low of heartache within the turn of a phrase.  The album’s latest single “Magic” is a breezy and swinging pop song that reveals Mackampa’s genre-defying sound: the song draws from old school soul, Bossa nova and samba simultaneously. “This is a bossa nova and samba-infused feel good kinda track about when you can’t get someone off your mind,” Mackampa says in press notes. “”You’ve had one taste and you want more!”

Directed by longtime collaborator Tom Ewbank and featuring choreography from Taali Kwaten, the recently released video for “Magic” was filmed in a South London underpass is centered around the Congolese-British singer/songwriter and his backing band performing the song in front of a collection of diverse partiers, who dance the night around.  The video manages to further emphasize the song’s ebullient joy of being infatuated by new love. 

Beiju is an up-and-coming French-American musician, who splits her time between New York and Paris. And as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about the Bells Atlas and Hiatus Kaiyote-like Lost at the Beach,” a nostalgia-tinged track that was inspired by a weekend trip to the Rockaway with friends. Her latest single “Let’s Go Home” further establishes the emerging pop artist’s unique sound and approach: much like it’s predecessor, the track features Beiju’s alluring vocals floating over a glitchy production featuring stuttering beats, wobbling low end, synth laser blasts — but interestingly enough the song is a straightforward and coquettish come hither, about meeting someone you like at a party and wanting to go back home with them.