Category: Electro Pop

New Video: Up-and-Coming Aussie Electro Pop Act Haiku Hands Release a Cinematically Shot Visual for “Dare You Not To Dance”

Featuring a core trio comprised of Claire Nakazawa, Beatrice Lewis and Mie Nakazawa, the Australian indie electro pop act Haiku Hands is split between Melbourne and Sydney, and together the members of the act, who are influenced by hip-hop, pop, electro pop dance music and others, curate, perform and work as part of a larger collective that engages with and explores social norms with their lyrical, musical and visual content. Last year was a big year for the Aussie electro pop act as their previously released, high-energy bangers “Squat,” “Jupiter,” and “Not About You” amassed over 3.5 million streams — and as a result, each single landed spots on iTunes charts across the globe; in fact, “Jupiter” was included on Matt Wilkinson‘s Best Songs of 2018 So Far list, and received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Radio X.

Earlier this year, the Aussie electro pop act went on a month-long North American tour with CHAI that featured stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and the Market Hotel, as well as an opening date for Cupcake in Chicago, along with appearances at a handful of SXSW showcases.

Building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile, the Aussie electro pop act are about to embark on a month-long tour of North America with CHAI that features stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and the Market Hotel, as well as an opening slot for Cupcake in Chicago, and along with that they had a busy SXSW, making appearances at a number of showcases, which have helped expand their profile internationally. But in the meantime, the act’s latest single is the brash and infectious “Dare You Not To Dance,” which will further cement their reputation for crafting club bangers that mesh elements of riot grrl punk, hip-hop, house music, drum ‘n’ bass, EDM and trap music with enormous, shout along worthy hooks in a way that brings M.I.A. and Gwen Stefani to mind.

Directed by Nathan Lewis, the recently released, incredibly cinematic video follows a collection of different young people, enthusiastically dancing in public — and in some cases while they’re supposed to be working or some other moment; and unlike the occasional passerby, these dancers are completely unguarded and free. 

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New Video: Up-and-Coming Angolan-Portuguese Global Dance Music Artist Pongo Releases Pastel Colored Surrealist Visuals for Sultry “Chora”

Pongo is an up-and-coming Luanda, Angola-born, Lisbon, Portugal-based pop artist. As a child, the Angolan-Portuguese pop artist’s family was forced to feel Angola to escape a lengthy and very bloody civil war that decimated their homeland. Pongo and her family eventually settled in Lisbon, where she’s lived ever since. 

The Angolan-Portuguese pop artist got the attention of the acclaimed, Portuguese act Buraka Som Sistema, an electronic dance music act that specialized in a sound that meshed tech beats with zouk, a rapid-fire  musical style from Martinique and Guadeloupe and kuduro, an up-tempo dance music genre from Angola that blends elements of soca and samba, in what was dubbed zouk bass and progressive kuduro. In 2008, Buraka Som Sistema released their smash hit, “Kalemba (Wengue Wengue), a single that went on to sell 10 million copies and eventually landed them a MTV Europe Award for Best Portuguese Act. Adding to a growing international profile, the track received co-signs from the likes of Diplo, Hot Chip and Shakira.

Released last year, Pongo’s solo debut Baia EP was a genre-blurring, globalist affair that found the Angolan-Portuguese artist pairing Portuguese lyrics with a sound that meshed elements of Angolan kiduro with Western styles like techno and bass. Released just before her appearance at this year’s Great Escape Festival, the expanded edition of the Baia EP features a new track, “Chora.” Deriving its title from the Portuguese word for “cry,” Pongo’s latest single meshes dancehall, soca and trap within a slick production consisting of glistening bursts of steel drum and snares, stuttering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and self-assured and vaguely trap and hip-hop inspired vocal delivery from the Angolan Portuguese artist. The Baia EP expanded edition also features remixes of “Chora” by 20syl, who has remixed and re-worked material by King Krule, Schoolboy Q, and Rihanna — and a remix by Anoraak, which will be released through renowned French electronic music label Kitsune next month.

Created by French direction and production duo Rush Hour, the recently released video for “Chora” is a pastel-colored, Dadaesque, pan-African dream, centered around a stunningly beautiful, up-and-coming, global star. 

Luna Shadows is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, who has developed a reputation for a staunchly DIY approach with the Los Angeles-based artist writing, performing, recording, producing, engineering and editing every note of her own work — and for sultry, melancholy pop that Billboard has called “. . . refreshingly soulful and haunting . ..” and has been compared by some as Lana Del Ray taking Lorde to the beach.

So far Luna Shadows work has amassed over 35 million Spotify streams, with tracks landing on tastemaker playlists like New Music Friday, Indie Pop, Weekend Beats and Weekly Buzz, reaching #7 on the US Charts and #18 on the Global Viral Charts.  Building upon a growing profile, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer has also received airplay on radio stations worldwide, including KROQ, BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1 — and she played a sold out, live debut show at renowned Los Angeles indie music showcase School Night. And amazingly, Luna Shadows has done that without a label.

Recently, Luna Shadows has begun collaborating with two acclaimed, mainstream indie pop producers, Now Now‘s Brad Hale and The Naked and Famous‘ Thom Powers to help shoulder the production and editing load.

2019 may be a big year for the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, as she signed to +1 Records, who will be releasing her first single of the year “lowercase.” Centered around a sleek radio friendly yet club-banging production featuring tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, chopped up vocal samples, twinkling keys, Luna Shadow’s plaintive and sultry vocals and an enormous hook — and while infectious, the track is imbued with the bitterness, heartache and confusion of a dysfunctional relationship full of power plays and accusation.

“‘lowercase’ is a song about recognizing your power through awareness in a situation where you were made to feel incredibly small by another. This takedown is detailed through a central metaphor, a reference to the millennial digital communication ‘you break down to lowercase, the capitals you take for only you.'”

 

 

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Swedish Pop Artist Molly Hammar Releases a Sultry Visual for New Banger “Words”

Born Elly Natalia Pettersson Hammar, the up-and-coming, 23 year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-born and-raised pop singer/songwriter Molly Hammar can trace the origins of her music career to when she participated on the eighth season of TV4’s talent show Idol, where she reached the final four. 

In 2015, Hammar participated in the Swedish music competition Melodifestivalen, in which the winning song and performer win their country’s slot in the annual Eurovision contest. Her song “I’ll be Fine” finished sixth in the semi-final and although it didn’t reach the finals, it peaked at #65 on the Swedish Singles Chart and at #6 on the Swedish Download Charts ahead of that year’s winner Andra Chansen.  

Hammar competed in 2016’s Melodifestivalen with “Hunger,” which lost in the second semi-final to Andra Chasen; however, she also co-wrote the Maltese entry in Eurovision 2016 “Walk on Water,” performed by Ira Losco. (Hammar joined Losco as a backing vocalist during that year’s Eurovision.) However, it was her debut EP SEX, which she released while still as a teenager that put her on the national map, garnering attention for bold songwriting and a rebellious pop with a lust for life. At the time, Hammer explained that she wrote the EP because she “wanted to tell my own story, to discuss sex from my perspective and my own experience.” 

Building upon a growing national profile, Hammar went on to perform on the Swedish Grammies; but over the past few years, the young, up-and-coming pop artist has spent the time focusing on writing new material, including “There’s No Place Like Me,” a collaboration with Big Narstie, which is ultimately about when you truly feel yourself. Interestingly, her latest single “Words” will further establish her reputation for crafting bangers, centered around anthemic hooks, earnest songwriting and sleek, club-banging production — in this case, a looped, twinkling piano sample, tweeter and woofer rocking beats. 

“‘Words’ is a song that I’ve been wanting to release ever sine that hot summer’s day in the studio in 2017,” Hammer explains in press notes. “It’s about a very common subject . . . how we very seldom dare to be open and honest with each other and how we sometimes just don’t talk with one another. I hope that this song will make people open up their hearts and open up to each other, too.” 

Directed by Jonathan Wendt and Hamza Sultan, the recently released video is imbued with sensuality, longing and confusion over the direction of a romantic relationship. 

Hildur Höglind is an up-and-coming, Swedish alt-pop artist, who grew up in a family of musicians in the small village of Johannishus, Sweden — and over the past few years, Höglind’s career has grown exponentially: she’s gone from playing at local clubs when she was 15 and not even old enough to even be in the club to playing some of her homeland’s biggest festivals.

Höglind’s forthcoming EP Take Off is slated for release later this year — and reportedly, the EP’s material will further establish the young artist’s reputation for lyrics that broach heavy subjects like mental illness, existential dread and our desperate attempts to understand be understood with a wisdom that belies her youth paired with sleek, hook-driven synth pop.

“Further Apart,” Take Off‘s latest single prominently features Höglind’s aching and tender vocals paired with a sleek and atmospheric production consisting of layers of arpeggiated bass and shimmering synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, blasts of strummed acoustic guitar and a rousingly anthemic hook. And while the song is an infectious radio anthem, the song is imbued with a bittersweet quality — as though there’s the tacit understanding both parties are continuing on with something that probably should end, if they weren’t afraid of what was next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Geographer Releases a Wistful Visual for Soaring and Plaintive “Summer of My Discontentment”

JOVM mainstay Mike Deni is a New Jersey-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electro pop artist and producer, best known for his solo recording project Geographer. As the story goes, Deni relocated to San Francisco while living in the aftermath of the sudden and tragic death of his sister — and then the equally unexpected death of his father. While sleeping on a floor of a friend’s Haight-Ashbury apartment, Deni serendipitously found a synthesizer on the street and began to channel his grief and optimism into the songs that would eventually comprise his full-length debut 2008’s Innocent Ghost. And through the release of two more full-length albums 2012’s Myth, 2015’s Ghost Modern and three EPs, 2010’s Animal Shapes EP, 2015’s Endless Motion EP and last year’s Alone Time EP, Deni has received attention across the blogosphere for his unique, textured and soulful blend of analog, electronic  and acoustic elements, a sound that he has described as “soulful music from outer space.” 

Building upon a growing profile, Deni has toured with the likes of K. Flay, The Flaming Lips, Young The Giant, Tycho, Ratatat, Betty Who and Tokyo Police Club, and he played sets at Outside Lands Festival and Firefly Festival. Interestingly, last year the JOVM mainstay gave up his San Francisco apartment and hopped between tours and friends churches for the next six months, including a month stay back in Jersey and a few weeks in Italy (where both sides of his family are from). And he did that before finally relocating to Los Angeles. During that period of shiftlessness in which he was in limbo between his old life and new life, Deni wound up writing the material, which would eventually comprise his recently released New Jersey EP. 

Many of the songs of the New Jersey EP began in his childhood home and were finished at a friend’s Los Angeles home while he was looking for an apartment; in fact, the EP’s first two singles “Love is Wasted in the Dark” and its latest single “Summer of My Discontentment” were part of the first batches of material written during that period. “Summer of My Discontentment” is a perfect example of the JOVM mainstay’s specialty — swooning and earnest 80s-inspired synth pop, centered around a twinkling and arpeggiated piano, thumping beats, a soaring hook and Deni’s plaintive and aching vocals; but unlike some of his previously released material, the song possesses a wistful air that comes from nostalgia for a long-gone, seemingly simpler time that you can’t have ever again — and the dreams your younger self may have given up for the compromises of adulthood. 

Directed by Patrick Mattes, the recently released accompanying video follows a group of young people, full of youthful hopes and dreams on a gloriously sunny day while Deni broodingly sings the song from a different vantage point, during sunset. In some way, the video implies that the action are the reflections and reminiscing of the video’s central character — from the perspective of a complicated adulthood. 

New Video: Seba Kaapstad’s Forward-Thinking Take on Soul and Electro Pop

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the up-and-coming indie electro pop/neo-soul act Seba Kaapstad, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of founding members Sebastian “Seba” Schuster, Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana along with their newest member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel is split between Cape Town, South Africa and Stuttgart, Germany, and can trace its origins to when Schuster landed in Cape Town back in 2013. While studying at the University of Cape Town, Schuster met Modiga and Manana and began working together in an informal setting, in which they jammed playing standards and rearranged songs of their choice. And as they continued working together, the trio recognized a deeper chemistry within their work.

Before Schuster returned to Germany, he asked his future bandmates if they’d be interested in recording material back in his homeland. And over the next few months, Schuster spent time writing and organizing sessions with the focus on what would eventually turn into Seba Kaapstad. After a series of phone calls, emails and trips back and forth to Cape Town, the act’s founding trio had written the material that would eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2016’s Tagore.

The newly-constituted quartet’s highly-anticipated, sophomore album is slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Mello Music Group, and the album finds the act further expanding on a genre-mashing, globalist sound that draws from neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, electro pop and Afro pop — while adding a new member Philip “Pheel” Scheibel. Album single “Africa” was centered around a slick and mind-melting production that features elements of smoky jazz, swaggering hip hop, soul and Pan African vibes that brings Soul II Soul, Erykah Badu, theeSatisfaction, The Roots and Flying Lotus to mind. “Bye,” was centered around glistening and atmospheric production featuring a sinuous bass line, fluttering synths, thumping beats paired Manana and Modiga’s ethereal boy-girl melodies and harmonies describe the self-doubt, anxiety and uncertainty filled moments of attraction at first blush.

The album’s latest single “Don’t” is centered by a trippy Flying Lotus-like production featuring a looped, twinkling piano line, stuttering tweeter and woofer rocking beats, wobbling bass synths, reverb-drenched vocal samples. The song also features Modiga revealing an incredible vocal range, alternating between soulful multi-octave, pop belting solos expressing plaintive yearning and swaggering speak singing — while Manana contributes a plaintive falsetto to the mix. And then song ends with a gorgeous string section. Interestingly, the new single finds the act pushing the soul ballad in a revolutionary new direction. 

The recently released video for “Don’t” continues a run of mesmerizing post-apocalyptic-like visuals featuring grainy, security footage, the act’s vocalists in a variety of different lights and backgrounds and so on, which creates an anxious vibe.