Category: Electro Pop

Last summer, I wrote about the electro pop duo Hans Island, comprised of Canadian producer Mwahs and Danish-born, based vocalist and electro pop artist Marie Dahlstrom, who has received attention across both Scandinavia and the European Union for her silky smooth vocals. And with the release of “I’m Yours,” the duo of Mwahs and Dahlstrom quickly received international attention for a sound that possessed elements of contemporary R&B, pop as it paired Dahlstrom’s sultry and plaintive vocals with Mwahs’ slick production consisting of swirling electronics, skittering and stuttering drum programming and twinkling keys to evoke hopeful and swooning sensation of newfound love.

The duo’s latest single “Break Free” consists of Mwah’s ethereal, bouncy production featuring swirling electronics, shimmering and cascading synths and propulsive drum programming and an anthemic hook paired with Dahlstrom’s yearning and effortlessly soulful vocals in an upbeat song about breaking free from one’s past, and starting anew — it’s a timeless sentiment that we’ve all felt at some point, bolstered by the hope that things will get better, once we can move forward.

 

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Up-and-coming, Los Angeles, CA-based alternative R&B/electro pop artist Brooke Aulani has already worked with an impressive array of music industry heavyweights as a student at USC’s Popular Music Program including — multi-Grammy Award-winning producer and Grammy Foundation Chairman Emeritus Jimmy Jam and Grammy-nominated artist Daniel Bedingfield, who has praised the young artist’s vocal range and stage presence, saying in press notes “Brooke has the power to take a room of people and make them focus on her, and draw them into where she wants to be. Whatever she sings, I’m blown away.” Aulani has also opened for Tony Award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth at USC’s annual Widney Gala, performed for Chaka Khan, sang accompaniment for David Foster and has been a backup vocalist for the legendary John Fogerty.

“Shame,” the second single off the Los Angeles-based artist’s debut EP will likely cement her already burgeoning local and regional reputation for a sound that possesses elements of contemporary and old school R&B, soul and experimental pop — and for her effortlessly soulful and sultry, pop-belter vocals. In fact, “Shame” pairs Aulani’s vocals with a slickly modern and seductive production consisting of bluesy guitar chords played with subtle reverb, skittering drum programming and swirling electronics in a song about lust, dishonesty and betrayal going both ways in a sexually charged and confusing relationship — a relationship that the song’s narrator has a difficult time leaving.

 

Initially emerged in 2014 as the recording project of Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop production sibling duo Alex and Ben Kazenoff, Mood Robot expanded to a trio when they enlisted vocalist Jenny Helms (no relation to yours truly) to complete the project’s sound. And from what I understand, the early buzz across the blogosphere has been favorably comparisons to CHVRCHES and The Naked and Famous among others.

Continuing on the early buzz that they’ve received over the past year, the Los Angeles-based electro pop trio will be releasing their debut EP, The Story We Tell Ourselves next month, and the EP’s first single “Drip” pairs Helms’ buoyant, pop starlet vocals with a densely layered production featuring layers of shimmering and undulating synths, electronic bleeps and bloops, blasts of funky and angular guitar chords, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and an infectiously anthemic hook. Admittedly, comparing the trio’s sound to the likes of CHVRCHES is a fair one — although to my ears I also hear the likes of White Prism, Class Actress, and several others, and as as a result of such a crowd pleasing, club-friendly and radio-friendly sound, I expect that the blogosphere will be big on them throughout 2016.

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I’ve been a bit under the weather over the past day-day-and-half or so with a nasty cold and a sore throat, and as a result things have been much slower going than normal for me; in fact, I’ve spent a good part of today in bed, watching episodes of Law and Order, Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen and Forensic Files and texting friends  throughout the course of Winter Storm Juno. But as I’m writing this post, I feel good enough to sit up in my bed with my Macbook, go through several emails and write a post or two. After all, I do feel a duty to you dear friends.  . .

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 story goes, the trio of Chernoff, Kivel and David had been writing songs that were meant to appear on Classixx’s debut album. “Mike and I wrote a track that I was supposed to sing,” Kivel explains in press notes, “but Sarah came in and stole the show, From there we realized that we had good chemistry as a trio, writing and producing in a subtle, refined way.”

“Either/Or” is the trio’s breezy and summery debut single and the song pairs a production consisting of skittering drum programming, shimmering and cascading synths and keyboards with Chernoff’s ethereal cooing floating over a two-step worthy mix. Sonically, the song channels early 80s synth pop and funk; in fact, I’m somehow reminded of a breezier versions of Patrice Rushen‘s “Forget Me Nots” and Oran “Juice” Jones’The Rain” — but with an urgent and plaintive sense of longing just below its shimmering surface.

 

 

 

 

Initially starting her career as the frontwoman of Toronto, ON-based band The Wayo, Charlotte Day Wilson is a 23 year old classically trained singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who has since emerged out of her hometown’s  jazz, soul, and R&B as a solo artist of note, adding herself to a list of growing artists including friends and collaborators BADBADNOTGOOD and River Tiber. Wilson’s debut single “After All” is reportedly about re-socializing after spending some time inside cocooning while also suggesting the freedom of embarking towards new endeavors, and sonically the song pairs Wilson’s husky and effortlessly soulful vocals with an ethereal production — which consists of staccato stabs of organ, warm blasts of horn, skittering drum programming, gently swirling electronics. Interestingly, Wilson’s vocals and the song reminds me quite a bit of The Brand New HeaviesNever Stop” but breezier and moodier.

 

 

 

 

If you were frequenting this site over the last four to six months of 2015, you’d likely be familiar with Raleigh, NC-based funk and soul artist Jamil Rashad and his solo recording project Boulevards. Describing his sound as “party funk jams for the heart and soul to make you move,” Rashad’s work caught my attention as it draws from the classic funk sounds of Earth, Wind and FirePrinceRick JamesChic, the production work of Quincy Jones – most notably Off the Wall and Thriller-era Michael Jackson, as well as Talking HeadsGrace Jones, and Cameo among others. Unsurprisingly, those acts were the sounds that he listened to as a child — although his teenage interest in punk, hardcore and metal also influenced his own songwriting and production work. And with the release of his Boulevards EP, Rashad quickly put himself on the map as part of a growing neo-disco/neo-funk movement that includes several mainstays including Dam-FunkEscortRene LopezMark Ronson (in particular, his mega-hit “Uptown Funk”) and several others.

April 1, 2016 will mark the anticipated release of Boulevard’s full0-length debut, the aptly titled Groove!, and the album’s first single “Cold Call” is indebted to 80s synth R&B and pop as layers of wobbling and  shimmering synth stabs are paired with a sinuous bass line, Rashad’s seductive cooing, warm blasts of horn and an anthem hook in a slow-burning jam that channels Cameo’s “Word Up!” and “Candy,” Oran “Juice” Jones‘ “The Rain” Adding to the period specific feel, are the brief interludes with Rashad seemingly flirting and coming on to the listener. Simply put, it’s the sort of song that you can do that old-fashioned two step to — while flirting with hat pretty young thing you saw across the club.

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM for a while, you may remember that I’ve written about Norwegian electro pop duo, BLØSH. With the release of their breezy and infectious debut single “Can’t Afford to Lose You,” the duo comprised of of Madrid-born, Oslo, Norway-based cellist and vocalist Teresa Bernabé and guitarist Jørgen Berg Svela, an Oslo native, quickly found themselves with an expanding international profile as the duo saw praise and attention from JaJaJa MusicIndie Shuffle and airplay on Amazing Radio.

Give It Away,” which I wrote about last November further cemented the duo’s burgeoning reputation for crafting infectious pop as the song paired an upbeat melody, punchy bass lines, a looping guitar line and a soaring, anthemic hook with with Bernabé’s breezy vocals  while sonically drawing from African music and African-inspired pop  — in particular Paul Simon‘s Graceland, the legendary Ali Farka Touré and Afrobeat. Now the Oslo, Norway-based duo is continuing to build on the buzz of “Can’t Afford to Lose You,” and “Give It Away” with the release of their latest single “When Love Is Alive.” Beginning with a steady bass line, the song pairs reverb-y guitars, propulsive drumming and Bernabé’s ethereal vocals in a slow-burning song that expresses an aching longing and yearning for giving and receiving the love that the narrator desperately wants and deserves — but with the sad realization that love is often short-lived. And as a result, the song possesses the same breeziness as their previous singles but with a subtle sense of mourning.