Category: Electro Pop

Over the six year history of this site, I’ve written quite a bit about New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rene Lopez, who is not only among a group of artists I first wrote about when I started things here, he is also one of JOVM‘s earliest mainstay artists. And throughout the past six years, Lopez has uncompromisingly refused to be pigeonholed into one particular genre — Lopez has managed to mesh salsa, boogaloo, old-school hip-hop, meringue and electronica into one cohesive whole on E.L.S. (short for Electric Latin Soul); salsa and 7os Brazilian music on his most deeply personal effort Paint the Moon Gold; and slinkily seductive synth-based R&B and funk, inspired by PrinceThe Gap BandRick JamesChic and others on Love Has No Mercy and its subsequent releases. This shouldn’t be surprising as Lopez has told me in an interview, he grew up in a household where salsa, merengue and disco were frequently played — and his first band The Authority was deeply influenced by his love of Prince and funk. So in some way, Lopez has come back full circle.

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few months you’ve come across posts on Lopez’s “Heavy, Baby Heavy,” “Trouble Lovin’ Lady,” and “Watch Me Turn It Up,” the first, third and sixth singles of his continuing Jam of the Month Series. The seventh and latest single in the series is the slow-burning Quiet Storm-like synth-based ballad that pairs Lopez’s sultry crooning with contemporary electronic production consisting of shimmering synths and persistent keyboards, ambient and swirling electronics, skittering drum programming, a gorgeous violin arrangement and anthemic hook. Sonically, the song sounds as though it draws influence from Prince, Blood Orange and Tuxedo and while being danceable and sensual, there’s an earnest sentiment at its core — a mix of desire, uncertainty, doubt and vulnerability that comes about from sincerely putting your heart and soul out on the line with the hope that it’d be reciprocated, and that it’d be a real and meaningful love.

 

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William Phillips is a London, UK-based electronic music artist/producer and songwriter, best known in electronic music circles best known for his solo recording project Tourist — and as the cowriter of 2015 Grammy Award winner for “Song of the Year” for Sam Smith‘s mega-hit “Stay With Me.” Adding to a breakthrough 2015, which resulted in a rapidly growing international profile, Phillips played at Coachella and Pitchfork Festival Paris, toured throughout the European Union and North America, made mixes for BBC 1‘s Diplo and Friends and i-D Magazine, as well as seeing praise from a number of major media outlets including Pitchfork, FADER and several others.

After releasing a number of EPs, Phillips will be building upon his breakthrough 2015 with the long-awaited release of his full-length debut U, slated for a May 6 release. As Phillips explains in press notes: “This is an album that reflects on a relationship I had with someone. I called it U as the word ‘You’ looks a bit accusatory, and the tone of this album certainly isn’t bitter, ‘U’ is a shape that is balanced but also incomplete, I thought it was a nice visual metaphor for a failed relationship.

I wouldn’t describe this record as mournful or sorrow filled, merely a reflection on my first relationship. I’ve always recorded a lot of my life through my phone, whilst writing the album I found a huge number of recordings that I had made whilst being in that relationship, so my ex’s voice is all over this record. Also the sounds of the places we lived and visited together form prominent backdrops to the music.

I don’t know how to describe it sonically, it’s not really body music, it’s just a story told through different tempos and sounds. I’m not channelling any specific scene or sound, just my thoughts and feelings. I don’t really understand the term ‘electronic music’ but I suppose if pressed I’d call it that.

I have zero interest in beats and scenes, I’m much more interested in stories. I feel as though this is the biggest lesson I learnt whilst writing this album, that I don’t write music to express myself but to enrich myself. It wasn’t until finishing this album that I could truly feel at peace with that chapter in my life.”

U’s second and latest single “Run” is a slickly produced track consisting of a spectral and distorted looped vocal samples paired with layers of shimmering and cascading synths, swirling and undulating ambient electronics, tweeter and woofer rocking beats that sonically draws from house music while possessing a swooning wistfulness at its core; in fact, on some level, the song feels like a bittersweet sigh. There’s a clear sadness of a relationship ending or being irrevocably altered and yet at the same time, there’s the recognition and acknowledgement that at the very least you experienced a wonderful period of sweetness — and for that you should be grateful.

Phillips will be on tour throughout major festival season — and it’ll include a set at the inaugural Panorama Festival. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates: 

05.07 – Dublin, Ireland – Academy Green Room
05.09 – Glasgow, Scotland – King Tut’s
05.10 – Manchester, England – Deaf Institute
05.11 – London, England – XOYO
05.12 – Brighton, England – The Haunt
05.20-22 – Gulf Shores, AL – Hangout Festival
05.25-30 – Lake San Antonio, CA – Lightning In A Bottle
06.11-12 – London, England – Field Day
06.17-20 – Dufur, OR @ What The Festival
07.02 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands @ Pitch Festival
07.15-17 – Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
07.14-16 – Scranton, PA @ Camp Bisco
07.22-24 – Oro-Medonte, ON @ WayHome Festival
07.22-24 – Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party
07.24 – New York, NY – Panorama
08.06 – Oxfordshire, UK @ Wilderness Festival
09.10 – Isle of Wight, UK @ Bestival

 

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past year, you may remember coming across a couple of posts on Australian electro pop singer/songwriter Sophie Lowe. Initially establishing herself as an actress, who has appeared in films such as Beautiful Kate, After the DarkAdore and Road Kill, as well as TV series such as The SlapOnce Upon A Time In Wonderland and the US TV series, The ReturnedLowe also received national attention across her native Australia (and internationally) when she released some of her earliest work under the moniker  S.O.L.O.

As the story goes, Lowe recorded under the S.O.L.O. moniker to differentiate her music career from her acting career — but recently, Lowe decided that she should record and perform under her name, essentially tying her music and acting careers together. Now as I mentioned earlier, you might remember coming across “Understand,” a somewhat minimalist song comprised of stuttering drum programming, ominously swirling electronics and undulating synth chords paired with Lowe’s ethereal yet sultry cooing. And although remarkably contemporary, the song also manages to sound as though it drew from analog synth New Wave. “Pink Flowers” paired Lowe’s vocals with a tense and minimalist production of swirling electronics, explosive flashes of cymbal and shimmering cascades of synths to craft a song that pulsates with need and vulnerability.

Lowe’s latest single “Breathe” is the first single off the Australian singer/songwriter’s latest effort EP 2 and the single which pairs Lowe’s vocals with a shuffling and stuttering production consisting of layers of twinkling and shimmering synths, skittering beats, ambient electronics to evoke a tense, anxiousness. As Lowe explains in press notes “I wrote ‘Breathe’ at a time in my life when I [was] struggling to feel comfortable within myself and surroundings. I wanted to talk abotu anxiety with this song because I feel its not talked about enough.” As a result, the song’s narrator humanizes what it feels to be suffering through anxiety, capturing the narrator’s innermost thoughts when she’s at her most terrified and uncertain despite what anyone else says. It also suggests something that we all know is true — some things in life, say getting it together, is easier said than done.

 

 

New Video: The Trippy and Woozy Video for XO’s “Divine Disaster” feat. James Chatburn

Sumil Heera, best known within electronic music circles as XO is an up-and-coming 20 year old, Staffordshire, UK-based producer and songwriter, who has quickly received both national and international attention for a sound that possesses elements of […]

New Video: The Surreal and Hilarious Visuals for Sophie and the Bom Bom’s “Appetite”

As you might remember, last December I wrote about Sophie Stern, the Los Angeles-based creative mastermind behind the (mostly) solo recording project Sophie and the Bom Boms. Initially, Stern’s career began behind the scenes as a songwriter, who was […]

Swedish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Alexander and his solo dream pop/electro-pop Summer Heart has received international attention for a wistfully nostalgic, 60s psych pop-leaning, lo-fi sound that compares favorably to Caribou‘s earliest material, Washed Out, In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy, Painted Palms and others; in fact, his 2011 Please Stay EP received praise from The Guardian and The Star topped Hype Machine‘s charts. In his native Sweden, Alexander has a reputation for being a pioneer of Sweden’s burgeoning dream pop movement, a movement that includes MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

Interestingly, Alexander’s international profile has grown as several of his songs have appeared in TV series — including the NBC series, Whitney, which brought him the attention of millions of American TV viewers. Now, if you were frequenting this site last year, you might recall that I wrote about “Nothing Can Stop Us Now,” a song that consisted of jangling guitars, washboard-led percussion, layers of ethereal vocals and cascading synths with a warm buzzing summer afternoon warmth. His latest single “The Forbidden” off his forthcoming EP also named The Forbidden is a slow-burning and shoegaze-leaning single that pairs Alexander’s ethereal cooing with shimmering guitars and synths played through gentle amounts of reverb  and jazz-like drumming. And although the song evokes the sensation of waking up from a pleasant dream, just underneath its placid surface is a wistful melancholy that will remind the listener that all things will eventually dissipate.

Alexander along with a backing band featuring some of his dearest friends will be making Stateside appearances at SXSW and Williamsburg Brooklyn’s The Knitting Factory later this month. Check out tour dates below.

 

SXSW:

Wednesday 16th March

The Townsend – 1:05am

 

Saturday 19th March

Icenhauer’s – 1am

 

NYC:

Wednesday 23rd March

Live In Brooklyn – The Knitting Factory –

http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=6437785

 

Back in 2013, I wrote quite a bit about Anika Henderson, best known under the mononym that she writes, records and performs under, Anika . Initially, Henderson spent her professional career as a political journalist, who split time between Berlin and Bristol, UK. While in Bristol, Henderson was introduced to Geoff Barrow, who’s best known for his work with Portishead. And at the time, Barrow was looking for a vocalist, who would work with his band Beak> for what would be a side project. As the story goes, Henderson and Barrow bonded over a mutual love of punk, dub and 60s girl groups — and about a week later, Barrow, Henderson and the members of Beak>  went into the studio to record what would eventually turn out to be Henderson’s 2010 self-titled full-length debut, completely live with Henderson and the band in the same room without overdubs — and in 12 days.

2013 saw the release of Henderson’s self-titled EP, a collection of covers and remixes that included Henderson’s murky, Portishead and The Velvet Underground and Nico-inspired cover of Chromatics’ “In the City.” And what the self-titled EP revealed is that Henderson, Barrow and company have a way of covering a song with a unique take that makes a song their own — and in the case of Chromatics’ “In The City,” their cover feels as though it was always their song. That’s a rare thing, indeed. Last week, as February was coming to a close, Invada Records, released an icy, lo-tech analog synth electro pop and dub-leaning cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” by the mysterious Invada All Stars featuring Anika on vocals as part of that weekend’s Stop Trident National anti-nukes demonstration in London, a demonstration protesting the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system. Proceeds from the digital single will go to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Also in that post, I mentioned that Henderson is part of a new project Exploded View — and as it turns out, Exploded View is something of a side project  from her solo work with the members of Beak>. Although the project’s full-length debut is slated for release later on this year through Sacred Bones Records, they will be performing several sets at this year’s SXSW. But before that, the project released their single “No More Parties in the Attic,” that draws from post-krautrock, krautrock, dub and industrial music as the band pairs electronic bloops and bleeps, industrial clang and clatter, buzzing and angular synth and guitar chords with Anika’s signature icy delivery to craft a sound that’s tense and icy  — while evoking the contemporary zeitgeist of trying to navigate in a world that’s gone absolutely mad all the time.

 

 

 

 

Last month, I wrote about the NYC-based electro funk/neo-disco production and artist duo Holy Ghost!. And with the release of their 2011 self-titled debut, 2013’s Dynamics through renowned indie dance label DFA Records and their 2015 self-released remix album, Work For Hire, the duo comprised of Alex Frankel and Nicholas Millhiser have seen a growing national and international profile, which has resulted in the duo remixing the work of Katy PerryLCD SoundsystemMoby and a lengthy list of others; made national TV appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Show with David Letterman; toured with the legendary New Order; and played sets at some of this country’s and the world’s biggest festivals including CoachellaOutside LandsPrimavera Sound and Bonnaroo.

April 29, 2016 will mark the release of the Crime Cutz EP through DFA Records, and the EP’s first single and title track “Crime Cutz” further cements the duo’s reputation for crafting slickly produced  retro-futuristic electronic funk as the duo pairs shimmying synths, early 80s hip-hop break beats, undulating and swirling 8 bit electronics and a sinuous bass line paired with ethereal yet sensually cooed vocals and anthemic hooks. Sonically, the song seems to draws so much influence from Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” that it sounds as though it could easily back in 1983.

Recently, Eli Escobar remixed “Crime Cutz” and while his remix retains the retro-futuristic feel of the original, as well as its anthemic hooks, Escobar’s remix is much more propulsive and forceful — layers of shimmying and shimmering synths are paired with stuttering and skittering drum programming, a driving motorik groove, 8 bit bloops and bleeps and ethereal yet sensually cooed vocals that pushes the song in the direction of The Man Machine and Radioactivity-era Kraftwerk and classic house music; in other words, it’s an infectious and slickly produced club banger with an expansive groove.