Category: Electro Pop

New Video: The Lush and Meditative Visuals for Rich Aucoin’s “Release”

Rich Aucoin is a Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist, known as a collaborator and guest musician of his older brother Paul Aucoin’s band Hylozoists and as an solo artist. His debut effort, 2007’s Personal Publication EP was conceptualized as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas and he supported the release by going on a cross-Canada tour entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. When he was finished with his solo tour, he joined Hylozoists on a tour, but after a sudden shift from regular exercise to visually no exercise at all, Aucoin suffered with an iron deficiency; however, after recuperating, he went on a solo tour, running partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. 

During both of his early solo tours, the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based musician recorded the material, which would comprise his 2011 full-length effort, We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan’s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party’s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band’s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. The album was long-listed as a nominee for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize, with the music video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” winning a Prism Prize in 2013. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Aucoin released his critically applauded, 2014 effort Ephemeral. 

Slated for a March 16, 2018 release, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in over 4 years, and the EP’s first single “Release” which, features live drumming from Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff is a sprawling yet propulsive, club banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths and thumping beats. Interestingly, the track finds Aucoin drawing from house music, and boom bap-era hip-hop in a way that’s reminiscent of The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method and others — but underneath the club banging swagger, there’s a zen-like tranquility.

Directed by Dave Hung, who may arguably be best known for his work on Kanye West’s “Famous,” the recently released video for “Release,” was filmed on four separate occasions off the coast of Nova Scotia, and features a suit-wearing Aucoin laying in the water, repeating the mantra of there being no shark attacks in Nova Scotia — while the video crew flew drones overhead, safely on shore. Primarily based around one, long and deeply meditative, photographic shot, the video manages to posses a creepy air as it forces to viewer to wonder if the video’s protagonist was at peace — or if he were dead. 

New Audio: JOVM Sylvan Esso Return with a Sinuous and Propulsive Dance Floor Friendly Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’ve come across a handful of posts featuring JOVM mainstays and blogosphere darlings Sylvan Esso. And as you may recall, the duo of Mountain Man’s Amelia Heath (vocals, synths)  and Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn (synths, programming, production) have received attention for  a slick, minimalist yet propulsive and thumping pop sound that’s a radical departure from the duo’s previous, individual projects.

Continuing their ongoing run of critically applauded and commercially successful releases, the duo’s Grammy-nominated, sophomore effort What Now featured the duo crafting material that inched towards a self-assured and coquettish, dance floor and radio friendly sound as you would have heard on album singles like “Radio,” “Jump Kick Start,” and “Die Young.” Thematically, the material on What Now focused on a critical and deeply sobering question” where we do go now as a culture, when it feels as though everyone and everything is standing at a precipice?  And as result, What Now’s material was imbued with the urgency of our contemporary political moment. 

“PARAD(w/m)e,” the duo’s first single of 2018 — and the follow up to their critically and commercially successful sophomore effort, will further cement their reputation for coquettish yet forward looking electro pop as Heath’s come hither cooing is paired with a slick and glittering production featuring shimmering arpeggiated synths, hand clap-led percussion, thumping beats and a sinuous hook.  And while sonically being upbeat, lyrically the song continues in a similar vein as their sophomore effort, as it manages to be deceptively ambivalent — is a celebration of love or a celebration of survival at all costs? Considering the contemporary political moment, perhaps ambivalence at all things is par for the course. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you may recall that last November, I wrote about the  Minneapolis, MN-born, New York-based trio Strange Names, whose highly-anticipated, sophomore, full-length effort Data is slated for a February 23, 2018 release through renowned, local indie label Frenchkiss Records. “Into Me,” the album’s first single managed to further cement their reputation for crafting breezy, 80s inspired synth pop — but underneath the song’s breezy nature is bratty yet flirtatious kiss off of sorts to someone, who the song’s narrator realizes is into him but for some perverse reason is busily pretending not to be. “UFO,” Data‘s second and latest single finds the duo still in the realms of 80s synth pop — but leaning more towards a funky, dance floor friendly angle, as though the duo were drawing from Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait,” Cherelle’s “Saturday Love” and “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” thanks in part to a incredibly sinuous bass line, some Nile Rodgers-like guitar, thumping beats, layers of arpeggiated synths and one of the sharpest pop hooks I’ve heard this year.

 

 

 

Tiny Fireflies is an indie electro pop/dream pop duo that initially began when two Chicago, IL-based electronic music producers and artists Lisle and Kristine, who were best known for their own solo projects,  Fireflies and Tiny Microphone were invited to contribute to “Between Two Waves,” an Eardrums Pop Records compilation series centered around the concept of two musicians collaborating together to write and record a song together. Their song together, “Don’t Wait Until I Fall Asleep” paid homage to the Factory Records synth pop/post punk-era sound and was a fan favorite.

In October 2010, Tiny Fireflies became the first act to release a single for the label’s single  club with the three song offering being voted as one of Eardrum Pops favorite releases and featured one of the favorite singles of the singles club, “Snow.” And since then, the duo have played at New York City Popfest, toured the UK and Spain, and opened for Memoryhouse during the renowned indie act’s Midwest tour. Building upon a growing profile, the duo released their Ian Catt-produced, 2015 full-length debut The Space Between to critical applause from the likes of AllMusic.com and CMJ. 

Late last year saw the release of “2040,” the first single off a forthcoming vinyl 7″ single slated for release during the first few months of this year, and the new single will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting smoky and gossamer-like synth pop, reminiscent of JOVM mainstay ACES and others, complete with a soaring hook and achingly tender vocals.

 

New Video: The Hazily Nostalgic Sounds and Visuals of Los Angeles’ The Marias

Comprised of founding duo and romantic couple, Puerto Rican-born, Los Angeles, CA-based (by way of Atlanta, GA) Maria Zardoya (vocals, guitar) and Los Angeles, CA native Josh Conway (production, drums, vocals), along with fellow Los Angeles, CA native Jesse Perlman (lead guitar, vocals), Canadian-born, Berklee College of Music-trained and Los Angeles, CA-based Carter Lee (bass, vocals) and Edward James (keys), The Marias formed in late 2016. And while the band draws inspiration from their vastly diverse backgrounds and the intimacy of their Hollywood Hills commune, their sound meshes jazz, psych pop, funk, lounge pop and 70s AM rock with subtly modern production. 

With an early SoundCloud demo being spun by Chris Douridas on KCRW’s Eclectic 24 and then the Anne Litt Show, the members of the Los Angeles-based quintet saw a growing local and regional profile that resulted in an appearance on KRCW’s concert series School Night. Building upon a growing profile, the band released their debut EP Superclean, Vol. 1 during the fall of 2017. The band’s forthcoming Superclean, Vol. 2 is slated for release early this year and along with that, The Marias will be playing at Coachella this year, which should result in much more attention on the band. But in the meantime, “Dejate Llevar,” off the band’s Superclean, Vol. 1 is a breezy, pop confection that will further cement their growing reputation for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop, dream pop and 70s AM rock, complete with sultry hooks, underpinned with a hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia. 
Directed by Mimi Raver, the visuals for “Dejate Llevar” further emphasizes the hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia, as the cinematically yet Instagram filter-like footage focuses on the band hanging out on a glorious, Southern California, summer day. 

 

 

Mark Berg is an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist and producer, whose solo recording project Tropic Harbour specializes in hazy, dream pop inspired by nostalgic images and dreams of the coast, during the summer — and in many ways, Berg reportedly created the project as a way to mentally escape the harsh Edmonton winters. Along with a backing and that features Kurtis Cockerill
Andrew Brostrom, and Marcus Rayment, Berg began receiving national attention, playing at a number of Canada’s renowned festivals including Pop Montreal, NXNE and Sled Island, as well as opening for the likes of DIIV, Jessy Lanza, Homeshake and Will Butler.

Berg’s latest Tropic Harbour single “Can’t Pretend” will further cement his reputation for crafting, 80s-inspired, nostalgia-inducing and summery synth pop; however, it’s a much more downtempo and atmospheric production featuring a sinuous bass line, gently swirling electronics, shimmering synths and stuttering drum programming, and in some way, the song sonically speaking will remind some listeners of I Love You It’s Cool-era Bear in Heaven, Neon Indian and others — while thematically focusing on its narrator letting go of a past relationship and trying to find himself again in the process.

 

 

 

Comprised of Dana Janssen, a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a member of renowned indie act Akron/Family, and long-time collaborator Justin Miller, Dana Buoy is a decided change of sonic direction for those familiar with Janssen’s work with Akron Family. In fact, Dana Buoy finds the duo of Janssen and Miller focusing on sweaty, late night, dance floor-friendly, analog synth-based, pop that is frequently equal parts lysergic and sensual, as you’ll hear on the duo’s exuberant yet deeply introspective and shimmering, Neon Indian meets Cut Copy and Painted Palms-like new single “Ice Glitter Gold,” off the duo’s forthcoming album of the same name, slated for a February 23, 2018 through Everloving Records.

 

 
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New Video: The 80s Inspired Sounds and Visuals of Up-and-Coming Boston-based Duo Modesta

Comprised of Arjun Viswanathan and Kostas Papadopoulous, the up and-coming, Boston-based duo Modesta specialize in a retro-futuristic synth pop sound that will remind most listeners of John Carpenter soundtracks and 80s synth funk, as well as contemporaries like Umberto and others — although interestingly enough, the duo cites Roosevelt, The Shins and Unknown Mortal Orchestra as major influences while saying that their own own sound and aesthetic is rooted in diversity and experimentation.

Since their formation, the duo have accrued almost half a million streams on Spotify with over 15,000 monthly listeners, and along with that the duo have built a home recording studio from the ground up, while learning new ways to improve their craft and experiment with their sound and songwriting process. Their debut EP VHS is slated for a January 12, 2018 release and reportedly the EP will find the duo meshing contemporary, electronic production, analog synthesizers, and organic instrumentation while further cementing their reputation for crafting material that’s indebted to 80s synth pop; in fact, as you’ll hear on EP title track and first single “VHS,” Viswanathan and Papadopoulous as the duo pair shimmering layers of arpeggiated, analog synths, thumping beats, a sinuous bass line, ethereal vocals and a slick hook. But underneath the moody iciness of the song is a swooning devotion of love. 

The recently released music video further emphasizes the retro-futuristc theme and vibe of the song as it features VHS player noises, grainy footage shot on VHS tape and incredibly 80s-like graphics and special effects. 

New Video: The Soaring 80s Inspired Pop Sounds and Visuals of Husband and Wife Duo DEGA

Comprised of husband wife duo Aslyn and Kalen Nash, the Joshua Tree, CA-based synth pop duo DEGA features two accomplished, veteran musicians: Ashlyn had released two solo albums — Lemon Love through Capitol Records and The Dandelion Sessions through Lemonade Records, as well as spending some time as a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for Grammy nominated artist Kesha. Karen Nash was guitarist and vocalist for Athens, GA-based indie rock act Ponderosa, a band that released their critically applauded, Joe Chiccarelli-produced album Midnight Revival, which was released through renowned indie rock/roots rock label New West Records. Interestingly, the origins of the Nashes latest project can be traced back to 2008 when they first met — and although they got married in 2011, they were so busy with their own projects that they hadn’t really considered working together. Eventually, the loneliness of the road led the Nashes to consider a different path. “I remember a phone call when I was out with Kesha and Kalen was on tour with Ponderosa,” recalls Aslyn. “We were a country apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. I told him that we needed to start collaborating so, at the very least, we could see each other more often.”

The Nashes then formed DEGA with the idea that they could shed any of their preconceived notions about their previous work and freely explore new sounds — in this case, anthemic, synth-based indie pop in which they merged their talents and ideas into a unique sound and approach. Their forthcoming self-titled debut is slated for a February 23, 2018 release through Lemonade Records and the album reportedly is one of the most personal works either have released to date, as it focuses on their highs and the lows, as well as the love they have for each other; in fact, album single “Phoenix” focuses on Aslyn’s pregnancy and miscarriage during the recording sessions. With both Aslyn and Kalen touring, the duo would record whenever they were in the same city and had free time and although the album took two years to complete with sessions helmed by Justin Loucks and Jon Ashley at various studios across the States. 

The self-titled album’s latest single “Don’t Call It” is a an ethereal, 80s inspired synth pop confection reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy as layers of shimmering synths are paired with a sinuous bass line line, propulsive yet African-inspired percussion and a soaring hook. And while being slickly produced, the song possesses an urgent and swooning romanticism that belies a careful attention to craft. 

Directed by Scott Lansing, the recently released video for “Don’t Call It” consists of a fairly simple premise — the duo performing the song in a darkened room, in front of bright, lysergic lighting effects.