Category: Electro Pop

Perhaps best known as a member of the internationally renowned indie electro pop act Miami Horror, Aaron Shanahan’s solo side project Sunday, much like his primary project’s most recent album All Possible Futures possesses a sound that draws from the time they spent writing and recording the album in California. And his latest single “Only,” pairs his tender and plaintive vocals with a breezy production consisting of gentle layers of shimmering and chiming synths, thumping dance-floor friendly drum programming, angular Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar to craft a song that evokes the last precious warm blast of summer, while (gently) nodding at the Cascine Records roster and Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk, as the song possesses a subtle bittersweetness at its core.

As Shanahan explains in press notes “In the aftermath of relationships with other people we can be challenged in reflection to what they meant and what we are. Through these deep interactions and opening of the hearts, we hope that we can learn from lessons given and heal by connecting to something deeper. This song is about process.”

New Video: The Patiently Surreal and Gorgeous Visuals for Mark Pritchard’s Gorgeous Collaboration with Thom Yorke, “Beautiful People”

Warp Records released Pritchard’s latest effort Under the Sun earlier this year, and from all accounts the album has Pritchard maintaining the lush and accessible production style that has won him international attention — but while crafting material that may arguably be the least club and dance-floor ready he’s released to date. Interestingly, one of the album’s singles is”Beautiful People,” a lush and ethereal collaboration with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke that pairs Yorke’s plaintive and aching vocals with a slow-burning production that possesses an almost painterly quality as it consists of an airy and gorgeous, looped flute sample, steady yet tribal-like drum programming and cascading layers of shimmering and undulating synths. In some way sonically speaking, the song meshes the ancient and tribal with the contemporary in a way that’s spectral –and in fact, in some way the song reminds the listener that ghosts linger and have a way of haunting your life in unexpected ways. That shouldn’t be surprising because as Pritchard explained in press notes “The original instrumental to ‘Beautiful People’ is a personal song about loss, hopelessness and chaos, but ultimately the message is love and hope. Thom’s contribution to this collaboration captured perfectly what the piece is about. . .”

The recently released video is a stunningly gorgeous video that follows its hooded, central character as it hikes and explores scenery that possess an otherworldly beauty before revealing that the character is a sort of Thom Yorke avatar. As the camera pans out in a cinematic fashion, it manages to reveal how small and insignificant its central character is the proceedings at hand — that is before some amazing gravity defying action at the end. Much like the song that inspired it, the video possesses a patient yet intense quality.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Sylvan Esso Return with a Dance-Floor Ready New Single

Heath and Sanborn return with the first bit of new material in two years with their latest single “Radio,” being the A side of the forthcoming “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start,” which is slated for an November 18 release. “Radio” has quickly become a staple of their live shows and a fan favorite — and interestingly enough, the song is arguably the most brash song they’ve released; but, it also manages to be both a refinement and expansion of the sound that first caught them attention. Heath’s sultry vocals are paired with a slickly propulsive and dance floor-friendly production consisting of layers of cascading synths, wobbling low end, stuttering drum programming, and as a result the song sounds as though it were nodding at Soft Metals’ swooning and sensual Lenses and Giorgio Moroder.

Currently based in New Orleans, Kate Fagan is a ska, punk and new wave musician, who first emerged to local and regional attention as the founding member and frontwoman of Chicago-based ska act Heavy Manners, an act that once opened for the The Clash and The English Beat; but interestingly enough before that Fagan released a cult-favorited New Wave single “I Don’t Wanna Be Too Cool” through local imprint Disturbing Records that was immediately embraced by local club DJs, radio stations and taste-making record stores like Chicago’s Wax Trax, where it became the best-selling release by a local artist ever.  The B-side single “Waiting for the Crisis” also received attention for its politically charged, Reagan-era lyrics, which manage to still resonate today.

 

As the story goes, Fagan wrote the title track after moving from New York to Chicago in the late 70s. “I pretty much came to visit Chicago and fell in love with the scene and never left,” Fagan recalled in press notes. “At the time I’d been working at New York magazine and was getting dismayed watching the CBGB scene give way to the whole Studio 54/velvet rope thing. So I spontaneously moved to Chicago, which was much more inclusive and everyone wasn’t standing around peering at each other from behind their shades. But eventually I saw that same kind of divisive hipster culture start to creep in. ‘Too Cool’ was my reaction to that.” Along with “Too Cool,” Fagan wrote many of her earliest songs as a solo artist and with Heavy Manners in an intuitive fashion, recording them at Chicago’s Acme Studios, where she’d meet the fellow artists with whom she’d form Disturbing Records.

Although the “Too Cool” single was a cult favorite back in the early 80s, sadly it was thought to be long lost, as the second printing of the album was lost in a house fire that destroyed almost everything Fagan had owned at the time — that is until Manufactured Recordings stumbled upon the original single, along with two unreleased bonus tracks that Fagan recorded with members of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Scarlet Architect. Interestingly, when you listen to the four tracks off the re-issued 7 inch, the songs manage to sound both of its time and incredibly contemporary — in some way you can imagine acts like Colleen Green, Courtney Barnett, Karen O. and several others citing Fagan as an influence, as Fagan’s lyrics possess a wry irony at at their core, as you’ll hear on the aforementioned “Too Cool,” a song that’s reminiscent of both The B52s and Go-Gos. “Waiting for the Crisis” sounds as though it were influenced by Sandinista! and Combat Rock-era The Clash. However, “Master of Passion” and “Come Over” are the most dance floor-friendly, New Order-like songs of the re-issue, featuring shimmering undulating synths, propulsive drum programming paired with Fagan’s sultry and coquettish delivery.

Of course, each track reveals a songwriter, who had an uncanny knack at writing an infectiously catchy hook that you could imagine kids bouncing up and down to in a sweaty club — and does so with a cool, swaggering self-assuredness.

 

Over the last two years or so,  Detroit, MI-based duo Gosh Pith have become JOVM mainstays while gaining a rapidly growing national profile for a sound that seamlessly meshes elements of hip-hop, electro pop, stoner rock, indie rock, dub, trap music, drum ‘n’ bass and other related genres. And over that period of time, the prolific duo have been experimenting and expanding upon the sound that first caught my attention and that of the rest of the blogosphere. The duo’s latest single “In My Car” pairs the tweeter and woofer rocking beats and stuttering drum programming of trap with swirling and atmospheric electronics and synths and brief bursts of guitar. Lyrically, the song is both a sultry come-on to a potential fling/lover that simultaneously possesses a sense of adventure  and restlessness about driving around with no particular purpose, except seeing wherever and however the  night goes; maybe you fuck around, get something to eat, listen to music, smoke weed, look at the stars — and maybe you hook up at the end of the night. Interestingly, the song may arguably be the most seductive and sensual song the duo have released to date.

 

 

 

Growing up in Atlanta, Blake Fusilier didn’t quite fit in with his contemporaries — while many of his peers aspired to sign to LaFace Records and SoSoDef Records, as a teenager Fusilier picked up the violin, dreamt of being the black Itzhak Perlman and was obsessed with the work of Edgar Allen Poe. And much like odd teenagers — especially odd black teenagers —  a young Fusilier learned that sometimes when you’re extremely different, you can be hated and ridiculed, and around that time he began writing his own music. By the time, he relocated to Boston for college, Fusilier had learned to play the bass and was a member of moody rock band RIBS, which eventually rose to national prominence; in fact, they’ve opened for The Joy Formidable and Queens of the Stone Age, and have been written about across the blogosphere. 

As the story goes, as the band was achieving quite a bit of success, someone asked Fusilier about being black and gay, and the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer began to realize that running away from those questions and the world’s perceptions of him was spiritually and emotionally exhausting. From that point forward, he wanted to make music that would not only drain those questions of their power but to make them permanently irrelevant. As Fusilier says in press notes, “I have this theory that if people knew who we really were in their minds, we probably would all have a lot more respect for one another. This applies to everyone: friends and acquaintances and bandmates. I think it’s our duty to ourselves to make sure that those around us have a chance to allow others to see our glorious, true selves. I finally feel like I’m beginning to live by those words. The songs I’m wrapping up have been floating around for years. I had been anticipating the moment when people could actually hear even 20 seconds of my potential.” 

So far the response from the blogosphere and music critics has been wildly positive with one critic in particular describing Fusilier’s sound as being a synthesis of James Brown and Nine Inch Nails — although as soon as I heard his latest single “Make You,” I immediately heard Prince, Jef Barbara, Boulevards, Gordon Voidwell and quite a bit of contemporary electro pop as the former RIBS bassist’s sultry and sensual cooing is paired with a slick, hyper modern production consisting of a sinuous bass line, propulsive drum programming led by finger snaps, layers of buzzing synths and electronics, and an incredibly infectious hook in a club banging song that possess an unresolved sexual tension and a sly and ironic commentary on racial and sexual identity. And it all should be a reminder that you can pair some deeply personal and political messages in dance music — and the most important that music can be one of the most powerful weapons imaginable.