Category: electro R&B

New Video: Check out the “Grease” Inspired Visuals for Joseph of Mercury’s “Angel”

Earlier this summer, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring Joseph W. Salusbury, an up-and-coming Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter and producer, who has a number of songwriting and production credits including cowrites on Majid Jordan‘s “Something About You” and Illangelo‘s “Your Future’s Not Mine, and vocal production on Nelly Furtado and Blood Orange‘s “Hadron Collider” — and earlier this year, Salusbury stepped out from behind the production booth and the relatively anonymity of being a go-to songwriter with his solo recording project Joseph of Mercury, and three singles “Without Words,” “Young Thing” and “Find You Inside,” which quickly established the Canadian singer/songwriter and producer’s reputation for crafting melancholic, slow-burning synth pop that draws from a diverse range of influences, including David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Future Islands and Lower Dens among others, paired with his aching baritone crooning.

Salusbury’s Joseph of Mercury debut, Find You Inside was released last week, and as you may recall, to celebrate the announcement of the EP, he released a live and hauntingly spectral rendition of EP single “Without Words” featuring the up-and-coming Canadian pop artist accompanying himself with guitar. And personally, what made that rendition so compelling is that the live version pulls out the raw, aching emotion at the core of the song in a way that nods at both Roy Orbison and Nick Hakim.

“Angel,” the fourth and latest single off the Canadian pop crooner’s recently released EP finds Salusbury meshing 60s pop and classic R&B, anthemic 80s arena rock and contemporary electro pop in a way that reminiscent of both the aforementioned Nick Hakim and Roy Orbison, and of Daughn Gibson — and much like the sources that influenced the song, “Angel” is a sweet, almost old-timey love song written in a way that may of his contemporaries frankly just seem incapable of doing. As a result, the song is a swooning yet slow-burning  and contemporary torch song in which the song’s narrator confesses his love and devotion with an visceral ache.

Directed by Cannes Short Film Festival-nominated director Gemma Warren, the recently released music video for “Angel” pays homage to a famous scene from Grease in which Joseph play the part of the Teen Angel, originally played by Frankie Avalon, and as a result the video possesses a hazy, dream-like nature. 

 

With the release of their first two singles a cover of Pharrell Williams‘ “Frontin‘” and their Amin Payne-produced debut single “Love Trick,” the Melbourne, Australia-based R&B/Future Soul act La Hazel, comprised of Lucas Miller, Matty Lansdown, Tim Chambers and Anand Sivamalai quickly received attention nationally and elsewhere; in fact, with the release of their cover of “Frontin’,” the Melbourne-based Future Soul act built an online following and played with a number of local acts including Blasko, Zil, 1/6, SO.Crates, Tino, Aaron Creigh, Tail Sing, Noti, Class A and others. Along with that they were included on an international line up of up-and-coming hip-hop acts that included Canada’s Xolisa, New Zealand’s Raiza Biza, and American acts A1 Krashn and Paco while the acts were on tour in Australia. Their official debut, “Love Trick” quickly racked up 30,000 views within the first four weeks of its release on Facebook.

Building upon a growing profile, the Melbourne, Australia-based Future Soul act recently released their second and latest single “Begging” is a slinky and sultry bit of synth-based funk that interestingly enough reminds me of Melbourne, Australia-born, Brooklyn-based Nick Murphy, fka Chet Faker — with hints at D’Angelo, The Roots, Dam-Funk and others, but with rousingly anthemic hooks; but under-pinning the song is an irresistible, yet frustrated carnal need. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about Joseph W. Salusbury, an up-and-coming Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter and producer, who has a number of songwriting and production credits including cowrites on Majid Jordan‘s “Something About You” and Illangelo‘s “Your Future’s Not Mine, and vocal production on Nelly Furtado and Blood Orange‘s “Hadron Collider;” however, earlier this year, Salusbury stepped out from behind the production desk with his solo recording project Joseph of Mercury and three singles “Without Words,” “Young Thing” and “Find You Inside.” And with this three early singles, Salusbury quickly established a reputation for crafting melancholic, slow-burning synth pop that draws from a diverse range of influences, including David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Future Islands and Lower Dens among others, paired with his aching baritone crooning.

Find You Inside, Salusbury’s Joseph of Mercury debut is slated for a September 1, 2017 release, and Salusbury celebrated the release announcement with a live, spectral rendition of EP single “Without Words” featuring the up-and-coming Canadian pop artist accompanying himself with guitar, and what makes this rendition so compelling to me is that it pulls out the raw, aching emotion at the core of the song in a way that nods at both Roy Orbison and Nick Hakim.

“Angel,” the fourth and latest single off the Canadian pop crooner’s soon-to-be released EP finds Salusbury meshing 60s pop and classic R&B, anthemic 80s arena rock and contemporary electro pop in a way that reminiscent of both the aforementioned Nick Hakim and Roy Orbison, and of Daughn Gibson — and much like the sources that influenced the song, “Angel” is a sweet, almost old-timey love song written in a way that his contemporaries frankly just seem incapable of doing. As a result, the song is a swooning yet slow-burning  and contemporary torch song in which the song’s narrator confesses his love and devotion with an visceral ache.

 

 

BLVK IRIS is an up-and-coming Danish electronic music artist and electronic producer and his debut single single “Put It On” is a sultry, slow-urning, Quiet Storm-inspired pop song featuring a sinuous bass line, shimmering and wobbling synths, an anthemic hook and the warm, interwoven male and female vocals of New York-based vocalists Janelle Kroll and Jeuru. And while being an incredibly sensual song with both vocalists expressing a yearning and urgent sexual desire and longing, the slickly produced, swaggering song also nods at 90s R&B and contemporary R&B simultaneously.

Live Footage: Bay Area-based JOVM Mainstays The Seshen Perform “Right Here” at Berkeley’s The Clock Factory

Now, if you had been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months or so, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on one of this site’s newest mainstay acts, the Bay Area-based electro pop/electro R&B/electro soul act The Seshen. Comprised of founding members Lalin St. Juste (vocals) and Akiyoshi Ehara (bass, production) with Kasha Rockland (vocals), Mizra Kopelman (percussion) and Kumar Butler (sampler), the Bay Area-based act have received attention from this site and elsewhere for a sound that draws from a broad and eclectic array of influences including  Erykah Badu, Jai Paul, James Blake, Radiohead, Broadcast, hip-hop, indie rock, electronica — with the result being a sound that managed to be simultaneously contemporary and retro-futuristic.
Over the past year, I wrote about the first three singles off the act’s sophomore full-length effort Flames & Figures — “Distant Heart,” a sleek and sensual, synth-based single that sounded as though it were influenced by 80s synth-based R&B and pop,  “Already Gone,” a sultry and sensual track that subtly nodded at Giorgio Moroder, and “Colors Collide,” which managed to nod at 60s-inspired psych pop and rock rock, complete with a shifting and morphing song structure held together by a hazy vibe. The album’s latest single “Right Here” consisting of retro-futuristic-leaning production featuring cascading layers of synths, xylophone, subtly African percussion, a sinuous yet propulsive bass line and ambient synths within an expansive song structure featuring rapidly shifting key changes and mood and razor sharp hooks — and while there’s a lot going on within the song, there’s enough room for St. Juste’s sultry and coquettish vocals to dart and float about. But perhaps most important, the latest single should remind listeners that the Bay Area-based act specialize in balancing an accessible, pop sensibility with an uncompromisingly challenging songwriting approach and sound. 

New Video: The Retro-futuristic 80s Visuals and Synth Funk Sounds of Aida’s “Let’s Ride”

Aida is a French-born singer/songwriter who with the release of “Let’s Ride” off her soon-to-be released debut EP, My Retrospective has received attention for a neon bright, funk sound reminiscent of 80s synth funk — i.e., The Whispers “And The Beat Goes On,” “It’s A Love Thing,” and “Rock Steady,” Tuxedo’s self-titled debut, Dam-Funk, Blood Orange, Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You” and others; in fact, “Let’s Ride” which features a slick, dance floor-friendly electro funk production by Fresco Klüb consisting of cascading and propulsive arpeggio synth chords, enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats from Fresco Klüb paired with Aida’s effortlessly soulful and coquettish vocals.

Directed by Xavier Cantin-Lemieux of La Maison Bald Man, the recently released music video consists of pitch-perfect 80s-inspired visuals that cut between Aida going to a local bodega to make a phone call, where she watches a music video featuring three bathing suit-clad dancers on a studio-designed beach, and Aida riding her scooter through a Tron-like landscape; but as the video gets to the hook, it becomes darker, suggesting that Aida is an assassin on an important mission — and she does so with a cool, detached, efficiency.

Francis Novotny is an up-and-coming Gothenburg, Sweden-born, Paris, France-based singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who grew up under the influence of his five older siblings and their eclectic record collections. As the story goes, after finishing school, Novotny moved to Paris, ostensibly to study French — but in reality, to work on music in relative peace and in new environs. Interestingly, for a brief period, Novotny felt compelled to try his hand at house music, before finding his true musical voice and sound, a sound that draws from a mix of styles including glitch-hop, R&B and electro soul while seemingly being influenced by Hudson Mohawke, Cashmere Cat and Gorillaz. And with his latest single “Hit N Run,” the Gothenburg-born, Paris-based artist reveals a imitable sound in which stuttering synths and chopped electronics, razor sharp beats and an insistent ear worm of a hook are paired  with Novotny’s ethereal yet soulful vocals singing lyrics in which the song’s narrator describes reluctance and cynicism that have hardened him a bit and made it difficult for him to open up to a new, potential romantic partner. And yet it’s an incredibly sensual song that sounds unlike anything I’ve come across in some time.

 

 

 

Comprised of the Ann Arbor, MI-born, Los Angeles, CA-based soul singer/songwriter Mayer Hawthorne, arguably one of the most unheralded vocalists and singer/songwriters of the past decade; and Jake One, a Seattle, WA-born and based, Grammy nominated producer and artist, who was best known as part of the G-Unit, production team The Money Management Group, for collaborating with Brother Ali, Young Buck, De La Soul, M.O.P., Freeway, M.F. Doom, Atmosphere‘s Slug, Keak da Sneak and others, and for contributing tracks to the soundtracks of major motion pictures such as Get Rich or Die Tryin,’ The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Gone Baby Gone, the electro funk act Tuxedo can trace its origins to around 2006 when Hawthorne and Jake One began exchanging mixtapes, which revealed that they had a mutual appreciation and love of classic funk and soul.  The duo quickly worked on and released three singles while both were working on separate solo projects — and those singles wound up on the duo’s 2015 self-titled debut, an effort, which I think was one of that year’s best party records.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve last written about them — and that shouldn’t be surprising, as Hawthrone released his fourth, full-length effort Man About Town last year and opened for Hall and Oates during the duo’s U.S. tour and Jake One released the #prayerhandsemoji mixtape; but speaking for myself, I’m always in the need of some funk in my life and thankfully, the duo have returned with a three song EP, titled Fux with the Tux.. “Fux with the Tux,” the EP’s title track and opening track pairs Hawthrone’s vocals with a late 70s and early 80s synth funk production featuring squiggly arpeggio synth blasts, propulsive drum programming, a wobbling and tumbling low bass line, a chant-worthy and anthemic hook and a brief braggadocio-filled guest spot from Snoop Dogg. And while sounding as though it drew a some influence from Heatwave‘s “The Groove Line” – 12″ Disco Version,  Cherelle‘s “Saturday Love” feat. Alexander O’Neal and others. “Special” clearly continues on a similar vein as it’s incredibly dance floor friendly, while being a sultry come on. It’s the sort of song you’d want to play while dancing with that pretty young thing, you’ve wanted to get with for an entire summer or however long it’s been for you. Completing the three song set, “July” is a slow-burning and silky smooth, Quiet Storm-like track about unexpectedly, stupidly and desperately in love and that love changing the narrator’s life for the better — and of course, its underpinned by Hawthorne expressing a vulnerable, urgent and plaintive need that gives the song an irresistible sensuality.

 

 

If there’s one thing that listeners will instantly gleam from this new EP is that Hawthorne and Jake One have further cemented their reputation for crafting dance floor friendly, two-step, 80s-inspired synth funk and sexy, slow-burning ballads with a subtly modern take.

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Jillian Hervey (vocals) and Lucas Goodman, a.k.a. Astro Raw (production), the New York-based neo-soul/R&B duo Lion Babe received a growing national and international profile with the release of their full-length debut Begin, which featured the duo collaborating with Pharrell Williams and Childish Gambino,  and standout, blogosphere dominating singles “Treat Me Like Fire” and their collaboration with the aforementioned Childish Gambino, “Jump Hi,” the Sun Joint Mixtape, the duo’s first headlining tour and a number of festival appearances — including at Glastonbury Festival.

The duo will be releasing a new EP sometime this spring and it’ll feature the duo’s latest single “Rockets,” a collaboration with Moe Moks that features the duo doing their thing over a swaggering yet minimalist, neo-soul production featuring what sound like twinkling vibraphone, tweeter and woofer rocking beats — that nods at Erykah Badu, Jill Scott but with a bracingly chilly, cosmic glow. And as the duo explained to the folks at Noisey, the song is about creating “good times in a crazy world.”  Certainly, we could use some of that in our lives, eh?

With the release of her debut EP, Where’s Your Love?, the up-and-coming, NYC-based pop artist Khodara received attention across the blogosphere for a soulful take on electro pop that according to some critics evoked the likes of Diana Ross, Kylie Minogue and Donna Summer.  Building upon the buzz, she received with her debut EP, Khodara along with producer and collaborator Billy Pavone wrote and recorded material, which would eventually comprise her soon-to-be released EP Billie. And with “Anxious,” the second single off the EP, the New York-based  up-and-coming pop artist along with her collaborator Billy Pavone, reveal that the EP will be comprised of slow-burning and atmospheric synth pop that to some ears has been compared to the XX and Phantogram, although to my ears I’m reminded of the likes of ACES (if they did Quiet Storm-like R&B) and others — while lyrically, the song deals with its narrator overcoming her own self-doubts and anxiousness in a very human and imperfect fashion.