Category: Electro Pop

New Video: Seattle’s Jupe Jupe Releases an 80s MTV-Influenced Visual for Brooding Disco-Tinged “How Could We Both Be In Love”

Seattle-based indie electro pop act Jupe Jupe, which features My Young (vocals, synths), Bryan Manzo (guitar, bass, sax), Patrick Partington (guitar) and Jarrod Arbini (drums, percussion) have released four albums since their formation 2010 — Invaders, Reduction in Drag, Crooked Kisses, and Lonely Creatures — that have firmly established their sound: an infectious, dance floor friendly sound influenced by post-punk, synth pop and Americana. Adding to a growing profile, the act has collaborated with the likes of The Afghan Whigs‘ Rick G. Nelson, Lusine, Mike Simonetti, Erik Blood and a number of others on their remix album Cut Up Kisses.

Released earlier this year, the Seattle-based quartet’s Matt Bayles-produced Nightfall EP was recorded at Seattle-based Studio Litho and continues their ongoing collaboration with Bayles, who produced and engineered their last album.  Meticulously written over the course of a year, the five song EP features five hook-driven upbeat yet simultaneously melancholy songs that thematically focuses on yearning and desire — with the addition of a saxophone to their sound. 

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about the shimmering, New Order-like “Leave You Lonely,” a decidedly ambitious and cinematic pop confection that expresses an aching yearning. Centered around a sinuous bass line, four-on-the floor drumming, shimmering synth arpeggios, plaintive vocals, an anthemic hook, and a mournful saxophone line, “How Could We Both Be In Love” continues a run of brooding yet disco-tinged pop confections. But unlike its immediate predecessor, the track sonically manages to bring Avalon-era Roxy Music and Duran Duran to mind while evoking late night, noir-ish vibes. The recently released video by Dirty Sidewalks’ Erik Foster is an incredibly stylish and moody visual that nods at French nouvelle vague and 80s MTV.  

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Late last month, I wrote about Los Angeles-based composer and electronic music producer Will Thomas. Thomas is best known as the creature mastermind behind the collaborative recording project Dive Index and the minimalist, solo recording project Plumbline, with which he has released several albums, including two collaborative albums with ambient music composer Roger Eno. The Los Angeles-based composer has also written scores for film, modern dance pieces and has developed sound installations.

Now, as you may recall, Thomas’ fifth Dive Index album Waiting at Airplanes is slated for a May 29, 2020 release through Neutral Music. Deriving its title from the overly optimistic and childlike act of seeking the fleeting attention of passing strangers for the sake of sheer connection, the album will reportedly continue Thomas’ long-held thematic interest in exploring both the human condition and the condition of humanity. But while also touching upon missed connections, artificial intelligence, contentment, the beauty of the desert and our dire and uncertain political and social climate. The album finds Thomas continuing his ongoing collaboration with with Daughter Darling‘s Natalie Walker and critically acclaimed English multi-instrumentalist Merz.

Thomas reportedly set specific parameters to the material’s overall sound and construction, sourcing almost every sound heard on the album, including percussion from modular synthesizer with the exception of some piano, acoustic guitar and the occasional extraneous sounds — a nail gun and jackhammer, in particular — that managed to leak into the studios and recordings, and were embraced on as part of the album’s material.

The visceral and intimate album single “Window to Window” was centered around Natalie Walker’s gorgeous and achingly expressive vocals, twinkling keys, shimmering synths and thumping low-end was full of regret over lost moments, blown opportunities, the passage of time and the inevitability of mortality while nodding at Portishead and Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp. The album’s latest single “Near Enough” continues Thomas’ long-held reputation for crafting minimalist soundscapes — this time centered around shimmering and gently undulating synths, stuttering beats, hospital like blips and bloops, and Merz’s plaintive vocals. Revealing a deliberate and almost painterly approach and quality reminiscent of Radiohead‘s Amnesiac, “Near Enough” is a mediative song that evokes the longing for connection and meaning that we all struggle with at some point or another.

Grace Joyner is an emerging singer/songwriter, who has spent the bulk of her career as a harmony and backing singer for several  bands in the Charleston, SC area. In 2014, Joyner stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with the release of her debut EP, 2014’s Young Fools, an effort that reflected on a difficult yet important time in her life — and inspired her own songwriting. “I think there is something valuable in admitting your mistakes, as well as recognizing the power within you to leave them behind.  Somewhere in the middle of learning that getting hurt does not make you weak, I started the healing process — I started writing music,” Joyner said at the time.

Joyner’s full-length debt, 2016’s Wolfgang Zimmerman-produced Maybe Sometimes in C wound up being a way for the Charleston-based singer/songwriter to further define her musical perspective and showcase her maturation and growth as a songwriter, with the material thematically focusing on moving from heartbreak and into a place of independence and self-assurance. Her forthcoming sophomore album Settle In continues her ongoing collaboration with producer and engineer Wolfgang Zimmernan — and the album reportedly finds Joyner taking bigger risks with the material exploring much more personal topics including her romantic failures, her family and her relationship to her career. Building upon a growing profile, Joyner has made appearances across the national festival circuit with sets at SXSW and Savannah Stopover. She has also recorded sessions for Daytrotter and Breakthru Radio — and most importantly, “Dreams” appeared on The CW’s Riverdale

Her soon-to-be released sophomore album Settle In finds the Charleston-based singer/songwriter continuing her ongoing collaboration with Wolfgang Zimmeran while furthering her development as an artist and songwriter. “I took my time with Settle In. This record covers a lot of ground for me. I took bigger risks in my songwriting process and pushed personal boundaries by exploring content around my romantic struggles, my family, and my relationship with the pursuit of music itself,” Joyner explains in press notes. ” But, ultimately, you can’t choose what or who you love, and if you don’t give it a fair shot you might never know what could have been.”

“Fake Girlfriend,” Settle In‘s second single is a mesmerizing and swooning song featuring  a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, shuffling four-on-the-floor,  Joyner’s achingly plaintive vocals and an infectious hook, reminiscent of Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back” and Sylvan Esso. Centered around a slick, dance floor friendly production, the track finds Joyner and Zimmerman creating ambitious yet remarkably accessible disco-influenced dream pop.

Notelle is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter, topliner and pop artist, who has worked with an eclectic array of DJs and producer across the globe since 2014. The Nashville-based artist has managed to amass over 12 million Spotify streams as a writer and vocalist with her work appearing on Spotify‘s FreshEDM, Hot New Dance, Friday Cratediggers, Heart Beats, Sad Beats, Pop Chillout, Study Break, Fresh Finds, Fresh Finds: Poptronix, Italians Do It Better, Shisha Lounge, Stepping Out, New Music Fridays and Deep Delight Playlists, as well as Apple Music”s Pop Rising and Breaking Dance playlists. She has also been covered by EDM.com and received airplay on Sirius XM Radio. Additionally, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter and pop artist has signed and released material on 15 different electronic music labels, including Armada, Monstercat, Proximity, Lowly, Hinky, AtLast, Seeking Blue, Thrive Music, Ultra Music, Ophelia and Knight Vision (Warner Music) — while remaining fiercely independent.

After spending the past handful of years as a go-to collaborator, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter and pop artist has decided to step out into the spotlight as a solo artist: over the past year, she’s been writing material and honing her take on “dark industrial pop” while catching the attention of Nashville Scene as a Nashville Artist to Watch in 2020. Building upon the rapidly growing buzz surrounding her, her solo debut single “Power” premiered on Lightning 100‘s The 615 and her third “Out of Love” was put on the station’s regular rotation.

“Beyond The Grave” found Notelle exploring a grittier sound than her previously released material, while fearlessly eschewing standard pop song structures and defying genre conventions and this has helped the Nashville-based artist develop a reputation for crafting forward-thinking, difficult to categorize pop. Interestingly, within the first couple of weeks of the song’s release, the track landed on Spotify’s “Study Break,” “Fresh Finds” and Fresh Finds: Poptronix” lists organically.

Notelle’s latest and recently released single ” Alive” continues a run of slickly produced, genre-defying and remarkably sultry pop, featuring elements of industrial electronica, alternative pop and trip hop. And while being centered around the Nashville-based pop artist’s whispered cooing, wobbling low-end, shimmering and twinkling synth arpeggios and industrial clang and clatter, the track finds Notelle further honing a darkly seductive and eerie sound that seemingly draws from Nine Inch Nails and Billie Eilish. But what sets the Nashville-based artist and her latest single apart from her contemporaries is the fact that “Alive” reveals fearlessly adventurous and ambitious songwriting rooted in deeply unsettling personal experience.

“There’s a point in hysteria where you begin to feel electrified. When you love someone who is pushing you to the brink of insanity, it has a way of making you feel more than you’ve ever felt prior. You experience every emotion, all at once, in such an alarming way,” says Notelle, “and I wanted to explore that in this track. I’ve been in a situation before where someone was questioning my own perception of reality, telling me that my understanding of what was going on wasn’t accurate — lying to me, gaslighting me. It pushed me to an emotional breaking point that was totally new. It felt like I had shot up adrenaline and it was startling and liberating at the same time. Straddling the line between total madness and invigorating emotional depth, I realized that this was unbelievably toxic, yet I had never felt more alive.”

Clément Leduc is a Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, songwriter and electronic music artist, who initially made a name for himself by collaborating with fellow Canadian artists Geoffroy, La Bronze and Dead Obies. Stepping out from behind the dials and into the spotlight as a solo artist, Leduc is also the creative mastermind behind the solo recording project Hologramme. In 2015, Leduc’s self-produced, Hologramme debut was released to critical applause, including landing on ICI Musique‘s Best Albums list that year and being named GAMIQ’s Best Electronic Album of the Year.

Leduc spent the bulk of 2018 living in Berlin, where he soaked up new influences and new sounds that wound up deeply influencing his sophomore album 2019’s Felicity, an effort that saw him collaborating with Les praises’ and Hubert Lenoir‘s Felix Petit, Gustafson’s Adrien Bletton, Senegalese guitarist Assane Seck, and Laurence-Anne‘s Laurent Saint Pierre to create a dream-like and sensual soundscape that draws from the  music of South Africa and South America — while continued an ongoing run of critically applauded releases.

Building upon a growing profile, the Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and songwriter has started off 2020 with a bang: he announced the release of a 5 song remix EP of Felicity tracks that will feature remixes by Fakear, Robert Robert, Ouri and others, which is slated for a June 5, 2020 release — and the first bit of new material since the release of Felicity, his latest single “Alaska.”

“Alaska” can trace its origins back some time ago — to sometime before the release of Felicity as a rough sketch of sorts. He took that track with him to Paris and Berlin, where he tried to finish it without much success. Forgotten for over a year, Leduc stumbled upon the then-unfinished track on an hard drive, seemingly asking to be completed. And with the assistance of Laurent Saint Pierre, he completed the song. The end result is a slow burning and atmospheric  track, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, bubbling electronics, shuffling and clattering beats, and sultry vocal samples that reminds me quite a bit of Octo Octa‘s sensuous and dream-like Between Two Selves and Bonobo — but while possessing a cinematic quality.

 

 

Tracing their origins back to 2009, when the project was started as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Rituals of Mine — singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and percussionist Adam Pierce — have received attention for crafting a sound that features elements of 90s trip hop, footwork and downtempo R&B through the release of their critically applauded first two albums, 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic. Building upon a growing profile, the act had spent several years relentlessly touring up and down the West Coast and elsewhere, playing house shows, DIY venues and basements before, eventually landing tours with The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree, and others.

2015 was a harrowing and difficult year for Lopez: her father committed suicide and several months later, her best friend Lucas Johnson tragically died in an accident. Reeling from the grief of such profoundly unexpected and inconsolable loss, Lopez went through a period of deep reflection. During that time, Lopez felt the need to reassess life and her work with Sister Crayon, eventually deciding that she needed to put the name to rest and move forward with a new chapter and new moniker  — Rituals of Mine. ““It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times,” Lopez wrote at the time. “Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”

Rituals of Mine is a bold and decided step forward for Lopez: after years of obscuring her own story and emotions through metaphorical lyrics, Lopez felt both a sudden confidence and need to write more directly about her experiences and life as a queer woman of color. Lopez with the assistance of her longtime collaborator and producer Wes Jones began to flesh out material centered around heartfelt observations and writing on her traumas by pairing her lyrics with pulsating and forceful electronic tracks. Lopez then recruited Adam Pierce to play drums — with understanding that Pierce’s background in metal would provide an intensity that could match her own and fit the material.

Back in 2018, I wrote about “No Time To Go Numb”  a defiant anti-Trump anthem centered around a tweeter and woofer rocking production of trap-like beats and chopped up and distorted vocal samples paired with Lopez’s impassioned vocal delivery, which sees her sing and spit fiery bars. Thematically, the song reminds the listener that while it may be natural to want to slink back from the horrors of an crooked and dictatorial Trump Administration, that things are too desperate, too urgent; that now is the time to be fueled by anger and fear of what could happen next, and fight like hell for those who are most vulnerable.

Much like countless artists across the globe, Rituals of Mine’s Terra Lopez has turned our period of quarantines and social distancing into an opportunity to reach out to fans while helping give to those in need through a weekly Twitch streamed DJ Series titled LOCKDOWN LOPEZ. Lopez takes over her girlfriend’s bedroom and turns into the club. This past Tuesday’s LOCKDOWN LOPEZ saw the Rituals of Mine frontwoman raise money for 174 meals for Border Kindness — and every week, she’ll be raising money to a new charity. Since we’re on the DJ and club vibe, their longtime producer and collaborator Wes jones recently created a deep house remix of “No Time to Go Numb,” for LOCKDOWN LOPEZ that’s centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a chopped up and distorted Lopez vocal sample and a dance floor friendly groove, turning the furious anthem into a club banger.

 

New Video: Sophie Strauss Releases a John Hughes-like Visual for Anthemic and Shimmering “Gone”

Sophie Strauss is a a rising, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, who identifies as a successful queer child bride and a struggling indie musician. “Gone,” Strauss’ latest single is a swooning pop song centered around atmospheric synths, blasts of shimmering, reverb drenched guitars, dramatic yet propulsive drumming, an enormous and rousing hook and the Los Angeles-born pop artist’s achingly plaintive vocals.

While sounding as though it could be a part of the soundtracks for a John Hughes rom-com or Stranger Things, the song finds Strauss pushing the creative and thematic boundaries of her songwriting — with the song being one of her first truly love songs; a love song that’s a sigh of elation, full of the understanding that finding love can be extremely difficult.  

“’Gone’ is a new kind of song for me — it’s my first real love song.” Strauss explains in press notes. “There’s this mythology that artists need to be in miserable turmoil to create anything good, and though I’ve always believed that to be bullshit, it was nice to be able to try disproving it myself. Not that the world is short on misery to tap into right now, but being really fucking in love was a neat new place to write from and, especially right now, seemed like a small avenue for some much-needed romance and escapism while we’re all stuck inside.”

Directed by Gregory J.M. Kasunich, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video for “Gone” emphasizes the song’s swooning and nostalgic-tinged vibes: featuring Strauss and her husband Brendan Stephan, the video begins with Strauss’ character in a miserable, loveless relationship that she’s desperate to escape. Seemingly on a whim, she runs out of her house to a local tattoo shop, where she meets a tattoo artist, who immediately catches her attention. The pair begins a love affair in which both parties are swept off their feet with youthful passion and abandon. It’s a much-needed bit of escape and longing for sweetness in a bleak world. 

Matthieu Asnarez is a young and emerging, Basque Country-born and-based electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known for his solo recording project Manwarp, a project that’s heavily influenced by and meshes elements of disco, electronica, house music and techno. Asnarez spent last year writing and recording his latest EP, the ambitious concept EP Don’t Quarantine in the hopes of winning over the French and international electronic scene.
Centered around his mixing and mastering technique, Don’t Quarantine isn’t a call for violating social distancing guidelines or common sense infectious disease prevention — but rather, an invitation to the listener to break up the mundane routine of our daily lives through the use of our imagination. “Just because you’re physically locked up in your home doesn’t mean you can’t travel internally,” Asnarez explains in press notes. “That’s what I did in finishing to produce this EP, and i hope that will be the case for the people, who will listen to it, It is a journey consisting of four parts, fifteen minutes of music. Everything follows naturally, you just have to let yourself be carried away.”

The EP’s latest single, EP closing track “About Coming Back” is a mind-bending track featuring shimmering and wobbling synth arpeggios, a gorgeous melody,  tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap-like beats within an expansive song structure featuring alternating quiet-loud-quiet sections meant to evoke being roused from a pleasant reverie. It is about coming back to reality,” the rising Basque Country-based electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer explains in press notes. “Penetrating melody, strong synths and percussions… I tried something different here with a lot of dynamic as if you were travelling back. I enjoyed and learned a lot by producing this one.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Escape to a Far Simpler Time with JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma

I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink writing about the internationally acclaimed synth pop act Yumi Zouma throughout the course of this site’s history. Now, as you may recall, late last year, the JOVM mainstays signed to Polyvinyl Record Co, who released their critically applauded, self-produced, third album Truth or Consequences earlier this year. 

Thematically, the album’s material focuses on distance — both real and metaphorically. with the album’s material touching upon romantic and platonic heartbreak, real and imagined emotional distance, disillusionment and being out of reach. I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: the hopeful yet somehow melancholy “Cool For A Second” which was centered around the idea that life doesn’t always provide the answers or closure that you want want — and the shimmering and equally ambivalent “Southwark.”

Truth or Consequences’ latest single “Lonely After” continues a run of shimmering and swooning synth pop, but unlike the previously released material, it may be the most achingly nostalgic song released from the album to date, as the song’s narrator longs for the intensity and urgency of a relatively recent past that was confusing but easy to understand. And yes, it may be an escapist fantasy but when things are this bleak, a few moments of escapism may be necessary. 

Directed and edited by Martin Sagadin, the recently released, incredibly cinematic video further emphasizes the song’s aching nostalgia and escapist desires: we see the band’s Christie Simpson in the woods with windswept hair on a late Summer afternoon. How it all brings back memories of far simpler times — of first loves and first heartbreaks. 

“Nostalgia has always been a big part of Yumi Zouma and that’s mostly a result of the people we are,” the band’s Josh Burgess writes in a statement on the single and video. “We all get high off of the rush that comes with remembering the intensity and ecstasy of ‘yesterday’ safe in the present. Our memories, stories, demos and each other are the only incomplete link back to the way things used to be which is magical in itself. 

Now more than ever it feels like we’re all craving yesterday, skeptical of what tomorrow will bring as we patiently navigate these strange new times. For me, yesterday is very vivid. Christchurch, early February down by the Waimakariri River on the outskirts of town. The wind running off the river, through the trees, and into Christie’s hair. The midday sun stinging the skin as I entertain our friends making the video with my best Mick Jagger impression and skills of doing handstands in loafers. 
 
These moments are precious, they suspend time so all that matters is the present.  
 
I’m forever grateful to have the ‘Lonely After’ video as my yesterday to get lost in. It reminds me to be present and hold everything that is dear that little bit closer in my head and my heart. 
 

New Video: Caroline Mason’s Surreal and Minimalist Visual for Brooding “If You Want Me To”

Caroline Mason is an emerging, Portland, OR-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and experimental electronic music artist, who from an early age has been drawn to find a connection between the depths of human emotion and how must has the ability to take us to those places within ourselves. 

Mason’s latest single “If You Want Me To” is a brooding yet atmospheric song centered around a sinuous bass line, reverb and delay pedaled guitar, gently accumulating layers of wobbling, arpeggiated synths, Mason’s plaintive vocals and an infectious, ear worm of a hook. Sonically recalling Us-era Peter Gabriel, the song thematically touches upon honestly facing oneself and pushing away old habits, old fears and old selves for a bold new future. 

Directed by filmmaker and stylist Christal Angelique, the recently released video was inspired by English fashion designer Gareth Pugh and finds Mason dressed up in a custom, futuristic piece made by Portland-based designer Kate Towers. And in the video we see Mason in the desert, accompanied by a marching army of her doppelgängers. Angelique wanted the piece to be relatable for anyone facing fears and parts of themselves that needed to go. “It is about overcoming the battles within so one can move into their stronger, future self,” Mason says of the song.