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 […]
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 Moonbabies, The Land Below, Hey Elbow, Blind 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.
Wednesday 16th March
The Townsend – 1:05am
Saturday 19th March
Icenhauer’s – 1am
Wednesday 23rd March
Live In Brooklyn – The Knitting Factory –
Comprised of Superhumanoids‘ Sarah Chernoff, Kisses‘ Jesse Kivel, and Classixx‘s Michael David, Mt. Si is a collaborative side project that can trace its origins to when David and his bandmates in Classixx were working on their first album. As the […]
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 Perry, LCD Soundsystem, Moby 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 Coachella, Outside Lands, Primavera 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.
Last month, I wrote about the New York-based dream pop/electro pop duo Paperwhite. And with the release of their 2014 debut EP, Magic, the duo comprised of siblings Katie and Ben Marshall exploded onto the blogosphere; in fact, the duo earned the title of “Most Blogged Abotu Artist” twice — and that shouldn’t be surprising as their incredibly contemporary sound pairs lush melodies and super anthemic hooks. Building on that buzz that they received a few years ago, the duo’s forthcoming EP Escape is slated for a Spring release, and if you were frequenting last month you might recall that I wrote about the EP’s first single “Unstoppable,” a single that I think will further cement the duo’s reputation for pairing lush melodies and anthemic hooks with Katie Marshall’s ethereal in a way that’s contemporary as it’s reminiscent of St. Lucia and yet is also reminiscent of radio friendly 80s synth pop.
Escape‘s latest single “On My Own” continues on the same sonic path as “Unstoppable” as the duo pairs Marshall’s plaintive and earnest vocals with layers of propulsive and undulating synths and anthemic hooks in a song that clearly draws from 80s synth pop — but with a breezy and contemporary production sheen that’s reminiscent of St. Lucia, Haerts and several others.
Although they officially formed in 2012, the Auburn, CA-based electro pop/experimental pop act Sunmonks can actually trace its origins to when the act’s primary members Geoffrey CK and Alexandra Steele met in 2005. And in […]
After the release of Grammy nominated album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and Platinum single “Midnight City” and two years of relentless touring across the world, Anthony Gonzalez the creative mastermind of M83 is set […]
Ronald Kaufman is a Los Angeles, CA-born and based producer and multi-instrumentalist, who began his solo electronic music recording project Kauf after his early experimental rock bands split up and a return back to his hometown. When Cut Copy‘s Dan Whitford released Kaufman’s critically applauded As Much Again through Whitford’s highly-regarded indie dance/indie electronica label Cutters Records, Kaufman quickly received international attention; in fact, Kaufman has toured with the likes of Cut Copy, Maribou State and others — and he’s remixed the work of Poliça, The Big Pink and Public Service Broadcasting and others.
His forthcoming full-length debut Regrowth reportedly will explore the small fractures that come about within one’s closest relationships — the ones that have long been there but have either been willfully ignored or conveniently missed until you recognize that you should try to repair it before it shatters to pieces before your eyes. And as a result much of the material also explores the related themes of denial and doubt but with a sense of hope — that you can actually get things right if you’re truly honest with yourself and about your motivations. The album’s first single “Through the Yard” sonically bears a resemblance to Zonoscope-era Cut Copy as the song possesses an ethereal tropicalia — shimmering synths are paired with sweaty, tropical beats and Kaufman’s plaintive and yearning vocals. In some way the song feels like a sweaty and lingering fever dream; the sort of fever dream that at its core possesses a palpable sense of regret and doubt.