Category: Indie Electro Pop

Over the past 12-15 months or so, I’ve managed to write quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. When Phillips started writing and releasing his own music. he was practically homeless, living in a room roughly the size of a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, Philips has developed a growing profile that has included amassing several million streams across all of the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complexas well as this site.

Now, if you’ve been following this site over that same 12-14 month period, you’d recall that Phillips sophomore album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. Interestingly, Phillips recently started a new series, THE OBLIVION [Reimagined], which will feature reworked versions of tracks off widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. The first single in the series found the Chicago-based producer Mielo tackling “DRIP” — and Mielo’s take is a arpeggiated synth-driven, New Wave-inspired remix that’s cinematic and buoyant, recalling A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Depeche Mode while retaining the urgency and frenetic feel of the original. The series’ latest single finds Seattle-based producer Levit∆te, known for a sound that meshes dubstep, left-field bass and hip-hop taking on Crywolf’s “ULTRAVIOLENT Pt. II [she sang to me in a language strange].” The original is a slow-burning and atmospheric take on industrial electronica centered around stuttering beats, industrial clang and clatter and Phillips’ plaintive vocals. Levit∆te’s reworking features a glitchy production that features harder hitting beats that gives the song a murky futuristic air — while retaining Philips plaintive vocals. “When I heard ‘ULTRAVIOLENT Pt. II’ it immediately resonated with me,: Levit∆te says in press notes. “Carrying notes of wave music, slight witch house influences and intimate vocals, teh song really resembled a lot of my own music. I really did my best to retain the original message and feeling the song gave me, but refine it through my own filter.”

 

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Sis is a Berkeley, CA-based indie pop project that features singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Native Cat Recordings founder Jenny Gillespie Mason and Meernaa‘s husband and wife duo Carly Bond and Rob Shelton. The trio’s sophomore album Gas Station Roses will be officially dropping and its latest single “Night From Scratch” is an atmospheric and dreamy track centered around shimmering synths, thumping kick drum, a fluttering flute melody and ethereal vocals. And while evoking rippling and bubbling waters, the track — to my ears, at least —  manages to be deceptively anachronistic: the song manages to nod at breezy 70s AM rock and Sade.

 

 

 

New Audio: Arizona’s Body of Light Returns with a Brooding Yet Dance Floor Friendly New Single

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Arizona-based sibling, electronic duo Body of Light. And as you may recall, the act — comprised of Andrew and Alexander Jarson — can trace their origins to the Jarsons’ involvement in the acclaimed Ascetic House collective.  Interestingly, what hat initially began as a vehicle for the duo to explore noise and sound during their early teens has gradually evolved into an established electronic production and artist unit that crafts music that draws from New Wave, freestyle, goth and techno — and from the Jarsons’ individual and shared experiences. 

Body of Light’s third album Time to Kill is slated for a July 26, 2019 release through Dais Records and the album reportedly finds the Arizona-based sibling duo refining their sound with a bolder sonic palette while thematically, the duo focus on love and obsession within an era of increasing technological bondage and fleeting exhilaration. The Power, Corruption and Lies-era New Order and Upstairs at Eric’s-era Yaz-like album title track “Time to Kill” was centered around a brooding yet relentless, dance floor friendly production and a brooding Romanticism. Time to Kill’s latest single, the Depeche Mode-like “Don’t Pretend” is centered around and industrial/goth-like production featuring insistent and relentless beats, layers upon layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a soaring hook and plaintive vocals — but unlike its immediate predecessor, the album’s latest single is an urgent, desperate plea. As the duo explain in press notes. “We are all hostages of need; we struggle to free our minds from confinement.” They add that the new single is “a song for those imprisoned by their own desires.” 

New Video: Toronto-based Pop Artist RALPH Releases a Playfully 90s Inspired Visual for “Gravity”

Raffa Weyman, best known as RALPH is a Toronto-born and-based singer/songwriter, who quickly emerged into both the national and international pop scene with the release of her bittersweet, disco-inspired debut single “Trouble” in 2015. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Weyman went on to release a series of attention-grabbing singles that found the Canadian pop artist bouncing around into different genres and styles — i.e., the country and western-tinged “Young Hearts Run Free” and “Girl Next Door. ” a radio friendly hip-hop/pop crossover track. 

Since then, Weyman received an IHeartRadio’s Much Music Video Awards Best New Canadian Artist nomination and released her RALPH full-length debut A Good Girl. , “I wrote ‘A Good Girl’ over the course of a year, maybe a little more…and a lot happened in that year,” Weyman explained in press notes. “Because I use songwriting as a type of therapy and a way to explore my feelings, the songs naturally began to reflect everything that was happening in my life. Sometimes I was hurting, other times I was the one hurting someone else, and then to make it more complicated, sometimes I’d be both, like in the last song ‘Cereal’. The album name is a tongue in cheek way of reflecting upon the tracks and their stories, because they represent a multi-faceted character who is good hearted but makes mistakes – no one is ever one thing, we’re not good or bad and shouldn’t feel guilty about it. ​​​​​​”

“Gravity” is Weyman’s first single of this year — and it’s the first official single off a forthcoming EP slated for an October 2019 release. Centered shimmering and arpeggiated keys, thumping beats, Weyman’s sultry yet crystalline vocal delivery, thumping beats and an infectious hook, the track manages to be club friendly and radio friendly in a way that will remind some listeners of Daft Punk and others, the track manages to be a loving homage of 90s club culture with a contemporary production sheen. “When I was younger, Electric Circus was the coolest thing happening in Toronto,” Weyman says in press notes about her latest single. ” I would try to stay up late so I could watch the furry cowboy hats and tube tops on TV, and I truly wanted to grow up so I could dance at EC. This song is an ode to 90s house with a contemporary pop flair. I want to make people dance to this one.”

Directed and animated by Toronto-born, New York-based multi-disciplinary artist Annika Cooper, a.k.a Blackpowerbarbie, the recently released video features 2D collage-based animation. The video finds the animated version of RALPH navigating through space — and throughout there are playfully nostalgic 90s motifs and visual jokes that include a robotic dog companion that looks like a member of Daft Punk.”I’ve admired Amika’s work for awhile. There’s a strength and beauty in the women she creates, so I reached out to see if she’d be interested in illustrating a video for me and creating a cartoon Ralph,” Weyman says in press notes. “My vision was a combination of Sailor Moon meets Gucci animation campaign meets Anime meets Britney Spears’s ‘Oops’ video and the results are perfect.”

 

Up-and-coming Toronto-based indie electro pop sibling duo SWANES — Michael and Stefan Bildy — have released a handful of tracks through French indie electro pop tastemaker label Kitsune Records that have caught thee attention of Warp Records and Future Classic, as well as a key nod from CBC’s Radio 1 Toronto. Adding to a growing profile, the sibling duo have been featured on Bandcamp Daily and COLORS, and they’ve landed tracks on several extremely popular Spotify playlists — in particular, the Indie All Stars and Fresh Finds among others.

The duo will be playing dates with Los Angeles-based artist Harriet Brown — but before that they released a new single, the silky smooth “The Hard Way.” Centered around shimming guitar, stuttering beats and a sultry vocal delivery, the slickly produced track nods at Quiet Storm R&B, Hall and Oates-era blue-eyed soul and breezy pop — and sonically, the track reminds me a bit Rush Midnight and others. Interestingly, the track was inspired by a trip the Bildy Brothers took to their great uncle Bruce Beach’s bomb shelter, The Ark Two — the largest nuclear fallout shelter in their native Canada. And as a result, the track possesses a subtle yet palpable apocalyptic air.

New Video: Blak Emoji Releases a Sexy Visual for “Love Lust Above”

Over the course of this site’s nine year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kelsey Warren, a grizzled local scene vet, who has been in a number of projects as a side man, hired gun or frontman including Denise Barbarita and the Morning Papers, and Pillow Theory among others.

Now, as you may recall, Warren’s latest attention-grabbing project Blak Emoji began in 2015 as a solo recording project with a rotating cast of players; however, over the past couple of years, the project gradually evolved into a full-fledged  band that features Sylvana Joyce (keytar), Bryan Percival (bass, keys) and Max Tholenaar-Maples (drums). During that same period, the project released a handful of slinky, 80s synth funk-inspired singles — “Another Club Night,” “Velvet Ropes & Dive Bars” and “Honey,” — that won attention across the blogosphere and this site. And while being a decided departure from Warren’s previously recorded work, Blak Emoji reveals a songwriter, who can effortlessly craft a big, dance floor friendly hook. 

Warren and company released their highly-anticipated full-length debut Kumi earlier this year and the album continues the slinky, Rick James meets Prince mold of his previously Blak Emoji work. Kumi’s latest single is the slinky, club banger “Love Lust Above.” Centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Warren’s sultry vocal delivery, the track may arguably be the most sensual track off the album, bearing an uncanny resemblance to INXS’ “Need You Tonight.” 

Directed by Jasin Cadic, the recently released and slickly shot video stars Maya Eley, Kristina Kiss, Ruth Gutierrez and Kelsey Warren further emphasizes the sultry, dance floor friendly vibe of the song. At one point, we see Warren getting painted by a love interest, as two shadowy figures convulsively dance in the background. 

New Video: Bat For Lashes Release a Cinematic and Wistful Visual for “Kids in the Dark”

Natasha Khan is a Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed solo recording project Bat For Lashes — and for being the vocalist for Sexwitch, a collaboration with the members of British psych rock act TOY and producer Dan Carey. Born to an English mother, Josie and Pakistani squash player Rehmat Khan, Natasha Khan traces some of the influences of her musical career to attending her father’s and her uncle’s Jahangir’s squash matches, which she felt inspired her creativity: “The roar of the crowd is intense; it is ceremonial, ritualistic, I feel like the banner got passed to me but I carried it on in a creative way. It is a similar thing, the need to thrive on heightened communal experience.” Her father left when she was 11, and she taught herself to play the piano, which quickly became an important channel to express things, to get them out.

Khan’s debut single “The Wizard” was released digitally through Drowned in Sound Records and on seven-inch vinyl through her own imprint, She Bear Records — and by 2006, she caught the attention of Echo Label, a record label owned by Chrysalis Records that acted as an incubator for emerging artists and assisting their careers while moving them to major labels. Echo released her debut, 2006’s Fur and Gold. The following year, Khan and Echo signed an international licensing deal with Parlophone Records, who re-released Fur and Gold that year. The album reached #48 on the UK Albums Charts and since its release, it’s been certified gold. Building upon a growing profile, the British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer played at Glastonbury Festival and toured across the States. The album was shortlisted for that year’s Mercury Prize, losing to Klaxons’ Myths of the Near Future, despite being a named a heavy favorite to win — and being critically applauded. She won ASCAP’s Vanguard Award, which resulted in her performing at their “ASCAP Presents . .  .” SXSW showcase. 

2008 continued an incredible run by the British singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist as she was notated for two Brit Awards — British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist. She opened handful of dates for Radiohead, and she released a cover of The Cure’s “A Forest,” which appeared on the Perfect as Cats charity album. 

Khan’s sophomore album, 2009’s David Kosten and Khan-produced Two Suns was inspired by a trip she took to Joshua Tree, CA. The album focuses on her desert-born alter ego Pearl, whose personality she adopted while living in New York. Sonically, the material was inspired by the Brooklyn bands that had started to receive attention nationally and internationally at the time — in particularly, TV on the Radio, MGMT, Gang Gang Dance and others. Interestingly, the album also found her collaborating with the members of Yeasayer, who contributed bass and beat programming. The album debuted at #5 on the UK Albums Chart and has since been certified gold as a result of “Daniel,” which peaked at #36 on the UK Singles Chart. “Daniel” later won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song and was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. Additionally, Khan received her second Mercury Prize nomination and a second BRIT Award nomination for British Female Solo Artist. 

Summer 2009 saw her play at Glastonbury Festival, Somerset House and the iTunes Festival, which was followed by a special edition of Two Suns, which was released ahead of her October UK tour an included a cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.” 

Khan’s third Bat for Lashes album, 2012’s The Haunted Man debuted at #6 on the UK Albums Chart, her second consecutive Top 10 album, an effort that has since been certified silver. Khan was nominated for her third Best British Solo Female BRIT Award and was nominated for two Ivor Novello Awards — Best Song Musically and Best Song Lyrically for album single “Laura.” That year saw her play at Coachella Festival. She also opened for Blur and Depeche Mode. 

During a surprise 2015 Green Man Festival set in Wales, Khan debuted her collaboration with Dan Carey and TOY — Sexwitch. That September, the project released its self-titled debut through Echo and BMG, which featured six covers of 1970s psych and folk from different parts of the world. 

2016 saw the release of her fourth full-length album The Bride, an album that was nominated for the Mercury Prize. 

Slated for a September 6, 2019 release through AWAL Recordings, Khan’s forthcoming album Lost Girls continues a run of concept albums in which she creates an off-kilter coming of age film in which fans of marauding female biker gangs roam the streets — and teenagers make out on car hoods. The women characters are parallel to the protagonists of her previously released albums — particularly, the street tough, darkness-driven Pearl from Two Suns. In this case, the album’s main character is Nikki Pink, one of the album’s Lost Girls. Thematically, the album is a romantic album that pays homage to Los Angeles, being a child of the 80s, and to the films that touched and changed her life. 

Sonically, the album finds Khan mixing sounds she’s always loved — heavy bass line, synth arpeggios, Iranian pop beats and cascading choruses. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Kids in the Dark,” is a hazy bit of 80s inspired synth pop centered around shimmering synths, reverb-drenched blasts of guitar, a soaring hook, stuttering beats and Khan’s ethereal vocals, and interestingly enough, the track bears an uncanny resemblance to JOVM mainstay ACES, as it possesses an achingly wistful air. 

Directed by Natasha Khan, the recently released video for “Kids in the Dark” was shot against the Los Angeles hills with the eerie and gorgeous waning of dusk casting shadows — and it emphasizes the song’s wistful air, as it features the Lost Girls and two star-crossed lovers. The video hints at how its protagonist Nikki Pink became a Lost Girl. 

Crash Adams is a rather mysterious, up-and-coming indie electro pop act and their forthcoming album is inspired by the sounds that spoke to the bandmembers while growing up — but sonically speaking, they want their sound to be more of a feeling than a genre. Interestingly, their latest single “Astronauts”  is a shimmering bit of pop that recalls Tears for Fears, M83 and St. Lucia, as the track reveals an ambitious band that can craft an enormous, rousingly anthemic hook paired with arpeggiated synths and plaintive vocals. 

“There are so many ‘astronauts’ in the world, they may know it or not, but eventually they will achieve everything they’ve wanted out of their town on earth,” the band says in press notes. “It will be hard, and they will be considered different from those who aren’t astronauts. But in the end, the view of earth is greatest from outer space.”

 

 

Over the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. As the story goes, when Philips started releasing music, he was practically homeless, living in a room the size of roughly a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Interestingly, since then Philips has developed a growing profile that has included amassing several million streams across all of the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complexas well as this site.

Philips sophomore Crywolf album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] was released earlier this year,  and the album’s first single was the urgent, frantic and trippy “DRIP.”  Centered around a swooning and wobbling production thumping beats, a cacophony of industrial clang and clatter, a looped vocal samples, and plaintive vocal delivery and atmospheric synths, the song managed to be a dramatic push into a radical new sonic direction. And at its core, the song evoked a narrator, whose mind and sanity have begun to rapidly fray at the seems — and we hear his thoughts, observations and feelings ping-ponging back and forth. As Philips wrote about the new single and of his sophomore album, “one of the themes of this album is the exploration of the shadow – the darker, more difficult aspects of the human psyche. People often think they have one unified ‘personality,’ but the truth is that we are made up of up to a dozen different personalities that are only loosely tied together. We feel like we have so much control over our actions and personality characteristics, but often when we pay close attention and are honest with ourselves, we can see that we can’t actually control or even explain large parts of who we are. ‘DRIP’ is the my process of staring into my brain and being brutally honest about some of the really difficult aspects of what I see there. It might not be, but it’s uncomfortably real.”

Philips recently started a new series, which he titled THE OBLIVION [Reimagined], which will feature reworked versions of tracks off widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1]. The first single in the series finds the Chicago-based producer Mielo tackling “DRIP” — and Mielo’s take is a arpeggiated synth-driven, New Wave-inspired remix that’s cinematic and buoyant, recalling A-Ha’s “Take on Me” and Depeche Mode while retaining the urgency and frenetic feel of the original.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Indie Electro Pop Act Miami Horror Releases a Sepia-Toned Visual for “Restless”

Initially formed in 2007, as the solo recording project of Melbourne, Australia-based DJ and producer Benjamin Plant, Miami Horror eventually expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Daniel Whitechurch (bass, keys, guitar) and Kosta Theodosis (drums) — and with the release of 2008’s Bravado EP, 2010’s full-length debut Illumination and 2015’s All Possible Futures, the band established a sound that drew from Prince, New Order, Todd Rundgren and Pink Floyd, combined with contemporary electronic production techniques, including house and electro pop. Interestingly, the act’s most recent recorded output, 2017’s The Shapes EP was a decided change in sonic direction with the band’s sound being indebted to 80s pop and New Wave — in particular, Talking Heads, Blondie and the like. 

Two years have passed since the acclaimed Australian indie electro pop act has released material and the act’s latest single, “Restless” finds the project returning to its collaborative and production-based roots. Plant champions this return to his roots as Miami Horror’s new incarnation. “The Shapes was always meant to be a one-off conceptual project, so once that was complete I began moving back towards the original creative process that Miami Horror started with; a simpler approach to production and a continued emphasize on outside vocalists.” Plant says. “For me, music has always been about completing a vision and trying to make something stand out. Allowing outside collaboration really opens me up to complete that vision without being restricted to my own skill set.”

Interestingly, “Restless” is a breezy and summery track centered around shimmering synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, hi-hat led drumming and a plaintive and sultry vocal contribution from Kevin Lavitt. And while retaining the slick, dance floor-friendly electronic production that has won Plant international acclaim, the song sounds indebted to 80s Quiet Storm R&B — in particular Cherelle’s “Saturday Love,” and Mtume’s “Juicy Love” immediately come to my mind, as the song has a similar sophisticated sexiness to it. “I love putting two people in a room that wouldn’t normally work together and seeing what comes of it,” Plant says of his collaboration with Lavitt. 

Directed by Keenan Wetzel, the recently released sepia-toned video for “Restless” features an assortment of quirky characters coming together for tennis training and some meet-cute lust — before ending with a menacing and suggestive air. “When I heard ‘Restless’ I was struck with a nostalgic feeling of starting out a relationship; those first feelings of anxiety coupled with the uncertainty whether or not the attraction is mutual,” Keenan Wetzel says of his video treatment. “I wanted to take these familiar feelings and add Miami Horror’s style to create a bright but strange world for these young people to find each other. I have always been interested in 1970’s culture and how people turned to communities, often ritual-based, to find a sense of belonging. So the idea for the ‘Restless’ music video was to put a pair of young people into a tennis playing community where they were looking for meaning. Only, instead of finding purpose in this community, they find each other, which leads to both love and realization that the nature of the community was not going to give them any more sense of belonging.”