Category: Electro Pop

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Rich Aucoin Releases a Gorgeous and Meditative Visual for “The Mind”

Over the course of the past year, I’ve written a lot about the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based singer/sgonwriter, electronic music producer, electronic music artist, indie rock musician and JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin. And as you may recall, Aucoin spent time as a guest musician in his older brother Paul’s band Hylozoists before developing a reputation as a solo artist in his own right with the release of his debut EP, 2007’s Personal Publication, a concept effort written as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Personal Publication EP was also the first of an ongoing series of collaborations with charitable foundations, as he supported the EP with a cross Canada tour made entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. After completing his first solo tour, he went on to join his brother’s band while they were on tour; however, Aucoin suffered a debilitating iron deficiency that cut his time on  the tour short. But once he recuperated, Aucoin went on the road again, running partial marathons between tour stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. During both of those early tours, the Halifax-born and-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist, electronic music producer and indie rock musician spent time writing the material that would eventually comprise his full-length debut, 2011’s We’re All Dying to Live, an effort 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. Adding to a rapidly growing profile. the album was long-listed as a nominee for a Polaris Music Prize — and the video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” won a Prism Prize in 2013.

Building upon a growing profile, the Nova Scotian producer and electronic music artist released his critically applauded sophomore effort, 2014’s Ephemeral. Several years passed before the release of last year’s Hold EP, and with singles like the sprawling and propulsive “Release”, the swooning M83-like “The Middle,” the jangling guitar pop meets synth pop  “The Fear.” and the slow-burning and wistful “The Dream,” the EP further cemented Aucoin’s reputation for crafting slickly produced, infectious and thoughtful pop.

Slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Haven Sounds, Aucoin’s third full-length album  Release was co-produced by the Halifax-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer, electronic music artist and indie rock musician and drummer Joel Waddell. Inspired by the work of David Bowie, Holly Herndon, Fatboy Slim, Bjork, John Lennon, Future Islands, Caribou and Chic among others, the album finds the JOVM mainstay further cementing his growing reputation for his own unique blend of organic and electronic instrumentation — while thematically, the album finds Aucoin grappling with mortality, by using Alice in Wonderland as a metaphor for life’s journey. 

“The Mind,” Release’s first single is a pulsating instrumental track is centered around a slow build up of increasingly textured sounds including arpeggiated synths, chopped up and ethereal vocal samples and propulsive drumming that finds Aucoin drawing from drum ‘n’ bass and Kraftwerk-like minimalism before an explosive conclusion. “This track is about the mind and therefore has no lyrics,” Aucoin explains in press notes. “Musically, this song has two drum sets on it. The main kit is played by Jeremy Malvin (aka Chrome Sparks) and the second is carried over from the Release session by Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff. Ben Talmi played the very rare Therevox slide theremin on the track down at his Virtue & Vice Studio in Brooklyn. While Jenn Grant was recorded by Daniel Ledwell at his Echo Lake Studio in Nova Scotia. The vocal melody seamlessly switches from male to female vocals with Jenn and my voices being the samples.”

Directed by Meghan Tansey Whitton, the recently released video follows a mysterious and otherworldly figure covered in a metallic blanket, striding on a beach at sunset and as the video progresses, the figure is subjected to the elements, facing them with a preternaturally zen-like calm. 

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With the release of 2016’s mini-album Into Dimensions, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based  duo IRAH, comprised of Stone Grøn (vocals) and Adi Zukanović (keys) quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a unique take on atmospheric pop that’s ethereal yet earthy. 

Slated for a May 24, 2019 through Tambourhinoceros Records, the Danish duo’s forthcoming Mads Brinch Nielsen and IRAH-co-produced full-length debut Diamond Grid was written in between tours across Europe, features renowned drummer Seb Rochford, who has toured with the band, playing drums on all but one track — the album’s gorgeous Kate Bush and Junip/Jose Gonzalez-like first single “Unity of Gods,” a track that was centered around a sparse yet propulsive arrangement of twinkling keys, hushed  drumming, and ethereal and plaintive vocals singing lyrics about seeking oneness. The album’s second and latest single, the Kate Bush meets Bjork-like”Siu Hinama” features Grøn’s primordial chanting ethereally floating over atmospheric synths and propulsive drumming — and while continuing in a similar vein, as its immediate predecessor, the track also manages to evoke an ancient tribal ritual. “Siu Hinama occurred through vocalistic sound meditations,” Grøn explains in press notes. “The song never felt right with lyrics and therefore we decided to just let the words or word-sounds be as they were.”   

 

Lyric Video: Dutch-based Act Altin Gun Releases a Lysergic Visual for Shimmering Take on Turkish Psych Pop

Comprised of founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinc Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums), the Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gun, which derive their name for the Turkish phrase “Golden Day” can trace their origins to Verhulst’s deep passion for 60s and 70s Turkish psych pop and folk — and when he toured Istanbul with a previous band. While in Istanbul, Verhulst discovered a lot music that wasn’t readily available back in Netherlands; but at the story goes, he wasn’t content to just listen as an ardent fan, he wound up having a vision of where he could potentially take the sound. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admits in press notes “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.”

Although the material they’re playing has been a familiar part of Turkish life for a few generations, the Dutch-based act actively interpret an re-imagine the beloved sound through a 21st century lens. “Of course, since our singers are Turkish, they know many of these pieces. All this is part of the country’s musical past, their heritage, like ‘House of The Rising Sun’ is in America,'” Verhulst explains. Naturally, he’s continued to see new songs that grab his ear. “Most of these songs have had hundreds of different interpretations over the years. I’m listening for something we can change and make into our own.  We need something that will make people stop and listen, as if it’s the first time they’ve heard it.”

Slated for an April 26, 2019 release through ATO Records, the Dutch-based Turkish psych pop act’s sophomore album Gece is the highly-anticipated follow-up to last year’s On — and the album reportedly finds the band further establishing themselves as masterful interpreters of a beloved Anatolian rock and folk history, and as a new voice in a growing global psych scene.  Gece also finds the band bringing together music and sounds from several different Anatolian sources — with only one original song, the improvised “Şoför Bey.”

Interestingly, Gece’s latest single is the Dutch-based act’s hypnotic take on Muzaffer Sarısözen’s “Süpürgesi Yoncadan.” Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated, Casio-like synths, complex polyrhythm, thumping beats and a propulsive, club-banging hook. Sonically, the Altin Gun rendition bears an uncanny resemblance to Syria’s great wedding singer Omar Souleyman but with a motorik groove and a swooning vibe. As the band explains, the song is about “falling for someone unexpectedly, crying and suffering over love.” 

Directed and produced by Sylvain Rusques and Simon Moreaux, the animated, lyric video further emphasizes the lysergic nature of the song, as it features a woman sensually gyrating to the song. 

 

With the release of his first two albums, Innerspeaker and Lonerism, the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Kevin Parker quickly received national and international attention for his psych pop solo recording project Tame Impala. 2015’s Currents though, was a commercial and critical breakthrough: the Grammy-nominated, RIAA Gold-Certified album reflected a decided change in songwriting that resulted in some of his most emotionally direct lyrics paired with a more nuanced, textured sound that drew from psych rock, psych pop, synth pop, prog rock and R&B.

“Patience” is the first bit of new, solo material from Parker in a few years, and the mid-tempo track is a seamless synthesis of classic 90s house music and 70s funk, soul and disco that features shimmering and arpeggiated synths, piano jabs, a motorik groove, congo-led percussion and a soaring and rousingly anthemic hook paired with Parker’s imitable, falsetto croon. And while being a decidedly upbeat banger, the song is centered by a thoughtful meditation on the cycles and phases of life, in which the song’s narrator makes peace with the fact that everything and everyone is transient.

Parker will be making his Saturday Night Live debut tonight, which he’ll follow up with some extensive touring across the international festival circuit that will include stops at Coachella Festival, Shaky Knees Festival, Corona Capital Festival, Boston Calling, Primavera Sound Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Lollapalooza with more dates to come. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
April 13 – Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – Indio, CA
April 20 – Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – Indio,CA
May 02 – Ascend Amphitheatre – Nashville, TN
May 03 – ExploreAsheville.com Arena – Asheville, NC
May 05 – Shaky Knees Music Festival – Atlanta, GA
May 06 – St. Augustine Amphitheater – St. Augustine, FL
May 07 – Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater – Miami Beach FL
May 11 – Corona Capital Festival – Guadalajara, MEXICO
May 25 – Boston Calling Festival – Boston, MA
May 31 – Primavera Festival – Barcelona, SPAIN
June 01 – We Love Green – Paris, FRANCE
June 05 – Garden – Gotenberg, SWEDEN
June 06 – NorthSide – Aarhus, DENMARK
June 21 – Hurricane Festival – Sheebel, GERMANY
June 22 – Southside Festival – Neuhausen ob eck, GERMANY
June 26 – Glasonbury – Pilton, ENGLAND
August 01-04 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL
August 09 – Flow Festival – Helsinki, FINLAND
August 14 – Pukkelpop – Hasselt, BELGIUM
August 15 – La Route Du Rock – Rennes, FRANCE
August 16 – Lowlands Festival – Walibi Holland, NETHERLANDS

New Video: Introducing the Futuristic Genre Blurring Sounds of Seba Kaapstad

Comprised of founding members Sebastian “Seba” Schuster, Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana with their newest member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel, the members of indie electro pop/neo-soul act Seba Kaapstad are split between Cape Town, South Africa and Stuttgart, Germany — and interestingly, the act can trace its origins to when Schuster landed in Cape Town, South Africa in 2013. While studying at the University of Cape Town, Schuster began working with Modiga and Manana in an informal setting, in which they jammed standards and rearranged songs of their choice. As they continued to work together, the more it seemed as though the trio were experience a much deeper chemistry within their work and music. 

Before Schuster returned to Germany, he asked Modiga and Manana if they’d be interested in recording in his home country — and over the next few months, Schuster spent his time writing and organizing sessions, focusing on what would eventually become Seba Kaapstad. After a series of phone calls, emails and trips down to Cape Town, the members of the project had written the material that would eventually comprised their debut, 2016’s Tagore. 

Slated for a May 15, 2019 release through Mello Music Group, Seba Kaapstad’s highly anticipated sophomore full-length album Thina finds the act adding a new member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel while further expanding on a genre-mashing, globalist sound that draws from neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, electro pop and Afro pop that’s intended to demonstrate humanity’s shared commonalities. Interestingly, the album’s latest single,  “Africa,” a is track centered around a slick yet mind-melting production that features elements of moody jazz, thumping and swaggering hip hop and sultry soul and Pan African vibes that at points recalls Soul II Soul, Erykah Badu, theeSatisfaction, The Roots and Flying Lotus simultaneously — but with a futuristic leaning. Shot in a smoky purples and reds, in a mirrored room, the recently released video for “Africa” evokes the moody atmospherics of the song, while being equally futuristic. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ibibio Sound Machine Releases Vividly Colored Visuals for Funky Album Single “Wanna Come Down”

I’ve written quite a bit about this site’s newest mainstay, the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine over the past few months, and the act, which is fronted by Nigerian-born vocalist Eno Williams and features Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth) and Max Grunhard (sax, synth) over the course of their first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2017’s Uyai — have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that’s influenced by golden era West African funk and disco and contemporary post-punk and electro pop.

Now, as you may recall, the London-based act’s third, full-length album Doko Mien is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Merge Records, and the album which derives its name from the Ibibio phase that translates into English as “tell me,” reportedly finds the act crafting a sonic world of entrancing specificity and comforting universality, essentially blurring the lines separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and the future. Album title track  and first official single, “Doko Mien,” was centered around a glimmering, hook-driven club banger  featuring 80s synth funk meets disco-like beats, arpeggiated synths, African polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and pizzicato guitar and an explosive horn arrangement. Sonically, the song strikes me as a wild, genre-bending amalgamation of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin‘,” Chicago house and Fela Kuti — and adding to the globalist vibes, Williams soulfully sings lyrics in both English and Ibibio, the Nigerian dialect from which the London-based act derives its name.

Doko Mien‘s second and latest single “Wanna Come Down” continues in a similar, club-banging vein as its predecessor as its centered around a rubbery, Bootsy Collins meets Flea bass line, an explosive horn line, arpeggiated synths and propulsive beats and Williams powerhouse vocals singing lyrics in her native Ibibio and English. Sonically, the song is a wild and seamless synthesis of 80s synth funk, Afrobeat and JOVM mainstays Escort — all while feeling like a sultry come on. In line with the track’s beckoning title, the band’s frontwoman Eno Williams says, “The Ibibio lyrics of the track are about the healing power of the river and the chorus. ‘Wanna come down, get ready ‘coz we’re gonna go’ is inviting people to come, dance and get involved with what’s going on.”

The recently released video employs the use of a bold and vivid color palette that includes reds, blues, white, yellows, purples and an array of other pastels, as well as split screens that feature each of the band’s musicians performing the funky club banger; but the heart of the song and the video is the band’s commanding frontowman. 

Comprised of founding members Andy Peña (vocals) and Devin Garcia (bass), along with David Ramirez (keys) and Adrian Loera (drums), the McAllen, TX-based dream pop act Quiet Kids can trace their origins to the breakup of Peña’s and Garcia’s previous band Dignan. Once the dust settled, Peña and Garcia began writing new material together, before recruiting Ramirez and Loera to flesh out the band’s sound and to complete its lineup. Eventually, the band earned attention-grabbing opening slots for the likes of Angel Olsen, Mitski and Miniature Tigers.

Slated for a March 29, 2019 release through Good Eye Records, the McAllen-based dream pop act’s self-titled debut EP finds the band’s sound centered around dreamy synths, sinuous bass lines and tight drumming while the material’s lyrically touch upon everyday themes — in particular, the EP’s material focuses on the places and relationships of one’s life. As the band’s Andy Peña explains in press notes, “People, places and things pull you in every direction, and it’s easy to please any and everyone.  If we all just said what was on our minds we’d have much more of an understanding of who we are, and what we’re looking for… It’s only in the stability of my relationships that I realized I can write about whatever I feel. My art is me, and my family, and friends.”

Interestingly, the EP’s latest single is the slow-burning, Quiet Storm meets Caveman-like “My Moon,” a track built upon shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook paired with Peña’s achingly plaintive vocals, expressing gratitude with a sort of thoughtful, contemplative sigh — and while sounding indebted to classic 80s pop, the song as Peña explains “is a love song to my wife. No matter what our lives through at us, she’s always there, like the moon, leading me in a calm way. I started writing that song when we were in between homes, trying to figure out where we wanted to settle. I realized we were each other’s home, and we didn’t really have to worry about finding a place for ourselves.”

Live Footage: French Electro Pop Act Agar Agar Performs “Sorry About The Carpet” on Colors Sessions

With the release of last year’s full-length debut, The Dog And The Future, the Paris-based electro pop duo Agar Agar, which is comprised of Clara Cappagli (vocals) and Armand Bultheel (keys) received national and international attention for a sound and aesthetic centered around vintage synths, unique melodies and a sense of mysticism. Since the release of their attention-grabbing debut, the French electro pop duo were invited to Colors, where they performed the slow-burning Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk-like “Sorry About The Carpet,” a track centered by layers of arpeggiated synths — elegantly shimmering synth chords for the melodies, bolstered by supple bass synths and a motorik groove paired with Cappagali’s effortless yet sultry vocals. 

New Audio: Jai Wolf Releases an Anthemic M83-Like Single

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Bangladesh-born, New York-based electro pop Sajeeb Saha. Best known for his solo recording Jai Wolf, Saha’s work is inspired by a diverse and eclectic array of music, including indie rock, punk rock, hip-hop, classic music and Bollywood. Thematically, much of his work draws from his own experiences growing up as a third culture kid. 

Saha’s full-length debut The Cure To Loneliness is slated for an April 5, 2019 release through Mom + Pop Music, and as Saha professes in press notes, “In my heart, this album is me,” professes. From the sounds to the lyrics, it’s everything that I’ve always wanted to do.” Now, as you may recall, The Cure To Loneliness’ M83-like “Your Way,” was a collaboration with Day Wave that’s centered around jangling guitars, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, soaring hooks, thumping beats and plaintive vocals — and interestingly, the song was a bitter lament from a narrator, who’s lonely and profoundly disconnected from everything and everyone, including himself. The Cure To Loneliness’ latest single is the anthemic instrumental composition “This Song Reminds Me Of You.” Owing a major sonic debt to M83, the track is centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, warm blasts of guitars and a motorik groove — and interestingly, as a result, the track possesses a swooning urgency.