Category: Indie Electro Pop

DFNSE is a Parsian electronic music producer, whose work frequently meshes elements of French touch, funk and pop. He has participated in producer battles alongside emerging artists like BlackDoeIkaz Boi, and Varnish La Piscine before releasing his debut EP, 2015’s Pandorium, an effort inspired by the SoundCloud Future House scene. 

In 2016, the rising Parisian producer released material through Darker Than WaxSouletiquettte and Nowadays Records, who released a single on their Oceans compilation and his sophomore EP Moonrock, which featured his biggest song to date, “Show You.” 

Released earlier this year, the rising French producer’s latest EP Symphony Road features:

  • Getaway,” a breezy, 80s-inspired summertime bop featuring Aussie vocals AKA Lui’s plaintive falsetto floating over twinkling keys, a strutting bass line, some Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, an irresistible, two-step inducing groove and an infectious hook. And while being a club friendly banger, the song is an escapist fantasy of summer, full of seemingly carefree, sultry days and nights, hanging out with friends, vacations and meet-cutes at rooftop bars, the beach and clubs. 
  • Good Enough,” is a sultry and strutting bop seemingly indebted to French touch, alt pop, and R&B centered around a slick production featuring glistening synth arpeggios, skittering beats, and an euphoric hook paired with Senpu’s achingly vulnerable delivery. The song details a swooning, flirtatious and vulnerable declaration of desire, love and human need — whether for a night or forever.

“Let It Go,” Symphony Road‘s latest single is a slickly produced and breezy bop featuring French musician Hoodie Boy that’s sonically one-part French touch, one-part disco, one part-funk centered around tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap, some Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, glistening synth arpeggios and a strutting bass line paired with DFNSE’s uncannily unerring knack for infectious hooks. It’s the sort of upbeat bop that should shake you out of the doldrums and get you working towards a dance floor.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Carré Share Uneasy and Lysergic “Brothers”

Over the past couple of years, I managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Los Angeles-based indie electro rock outfit and JOVM mainstays Carré, an act that features:

  • Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
  • Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that JusticeSoulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
  • Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels ClineJonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.

Deriving their name for the French word for “square,” “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed back in 2019 — and as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”

Carrè fittingly specializes in a French electronica-inspired sound that frequently blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops. And thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality through a surrealistic outlook of our world.

2020’s attention-grabbing self-titled EP featured:

Since the release of their debut EP, the members of Carré have shared remixes of material off their self-titled EP. But earlier this month, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays released “Brothers,” their first single of 2022. Centered around a dense and woozy production featuring copious amounts of cowbell, buzzing guitars, layered arpeggiated synths, industrial clang and clatter, thumping and propulsive four-on-the-floor, the expansive “Brothers” is a slick synthesis of Pink Floyd‘s “On The Run,” Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails, and LCD Soundsystem that’s arguably the act’s trippiest and most dance floor friendly track of their growing catalog.

The band explains that the track “is a surrealistic allegory on climate change and human relationships with Mother Earth.”

The accompanying video was made by San Diego-based artist Jerry Scott Lopez and is an uneasy and lysergic nightmare featuring stop motion animation vaguely inspired by Darron Anrofski’s Mother.

New Video: Pop Outfit Lynda Shares a Breezy Yet Wistful Bop

Currently split between Bristol and Paris, indie electro pop duo Lynda — Russ Harley and Youcef Khelil — can trace their origins to a writing session in London‘s Lewisham section back in 2016. With the release of a handful of singles and Lynda Tapes [2018-2020], the duo quickly established a sound influenced by Japanese synth pop outfit YMO, Hiroshi Sato, VangelisBlade Runner soundtrack and Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack.

The duo is set to release their four-song, debut EP LEMONRIVER EP. Mixed by French touch legend Alan Braxe, the EP reportedly sees the duo crafting an ethereal synth wave sound featuring vintage 80s and 90s drum machines, vintage synths paired with Khelil’s plaintive vocal delivery. The end result is a sound that’s dreamy and cinematic and tinged with a bittersweet nostalgia.

LEMONRIVER EP‘s second and latest single “Calliope” derives its title from the Greek muse of epic poetry. Centered around a lush and dreamy soundscape featuring a strutting yet funky bass line, glistening synth arpeggios, Khelil’s achingly plaintive vocal and the duo’s penchant for infectious, razor sharp hooks. Thematically, the song is focused on a familiar scenario for most, if not all of us: That recognition that your lover has changed and become a stranger right before your eyes — and that maybe it’s time for the things to end, even if you don’t want it to end.

Directed by Ikonë Studio, the accompanying video was shot in Kosovo and follows the duo in 90s-styled suits and sneakers, driving through tree-lined suburban streets and downtown Kosovo at night in a red convertible, goofing off at a quirky Wes Anderson-like hotel and dancing on the roof of skyscraper. Underneath the stylishness and quirkiness of the visual is a bittersweet, nostalgic ache.

New Video: Danish Pop Artist Kleo Shares Euphoric “Beautiful Life”

Danish singer/songwriter Kleo exploded into the national and European scenes with her debut single “Miss You,” that paired the rapidly rising Danish artist’s achingly tender and vulnerable vocal delivery is paired with a sparse and dreamy soundscape of strummed guitar, twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and persistent, uptempo beats. Rooted in seemingly lived-in experience , “Miss You” features a narrator, who is haunted by longing and their memories of a relationship that they’ll never get back. But it’s core, the song has a bigger message, encouraging the listener to see that all of our experiences help us grow as people, and perhaps most important, there’s almost always a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Beautiful Life,” the Danish artist’s second and latest single is a defiantly upbeat, slickly produced pop anthem centered around glistening synth arpeggios, Kleo’s earnest pop belter delivery and earnest lyricism paired with a penchant for rousingly anthemic, enormous hooks. The song sees Kleo reinterpreting the motto carpe diem through her own lens with the song encouraging the listener to embrace life and to fully immerse themselves in the euphoric feeling of falling — and being — in love. The song is also a reminder that the world can still be beautiful, and that love has a unique power for good.

“For me, it’s about being open and holding on to the feeling of happiness I feel in the present moment,” Kleo explains. “For example, the feeling I get when I meditate, or when I’m completely head over heels in love with someone. I woke up one morning and thought: This is the canvas – it’s the backdrop for life itself. And not days of clouds and hurricanes. If I can wake up in the morning and feel bliss, then it must be reality itself.”

Directed by Stine Emil Thorbøll, the accompanying black and white visual for “Beautiful Life” is shot is inspired by 90s pop culture and is shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white. We see the Danish pop star dancing blissfully with actor Ask Berntsen. And for the pair of star-crossed lovers, time and the entire world itself just seems to melt away.
 

New Video: Blue Canopy Teams Up with Misty Boyce and Patrick J. Smith on Slow-Burning “Stranger At The Door”

Portland, OR-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex Schiff started his music career as a co-writer for indie outfit Modern Rivals — and with Modern Rivals, Schiff has shared stages with the likes of Ra Ra Riot, Stars, and The Black Keys.

Since his time with Modern Rivals, Schiff has stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with his recording project Blue Canopy, which sees the Portland-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist combining versatile songwriting chops and exuberant melodies to convey nostalgia as a force to move forward. Sonically, Blue Canopy sees Schiff weaving dream pop, psych rock-inspired guitars and expansive electronic soundscapes. The end result is work that’s introspective at a time when self-reflection seems more crucial than ever.

So far, Schiff has released two Blue Canopy EPs 2020’s Mild Anxiety and last yer’s Sleep While You Can, which featured additional instrumentation and co-production from A Beacon School‘s Patrick J. Smith.

Schiff’s latest Blue Canopy single, the slow-burning and meditative “Stranger At The Door” features vocals from Misty Boyce, who has worked with Sara Bareilles and BØRNS and guitar from A Beacon School’s Patrick J. Smith. Featuring glistening synths arpeggios, skittering beats, a sinuous bass line paired with Boyce’s gorgeous vocals, “Stranger At The Door” sounds like a synthesis of Currents-era Tame Impala and Quiet Storm soul while centered around earnest, seemingly lived-in lyricism.

Interestingly, “Stranger At The Door” examines social anxieties in the COVID era, but written from the perspective of his dog Banjo, who has become increasingly anxious and paranoid over the past few months, as the world returns to a certain version o of normalcy.

‘”Stranger At The Door’ is a song from my dog Banjo’s perspective. He’s been super anxious and paranoid since we moved to a new house. He’s especially worried that there is someone or something dangerous at the front door. Some of it, and the inspiration is from his perspective. I relate it later in the song to my own social anxieties that have escalated since COVID. I often don’t feel comfortable in my own skin, or without a mask, or around people in general.”

Directed by Alex Beebee, the accompanying video for “Stranger At The Door” is a surrealistic fever dream featuring a mix of animation, grainy super 8-like live footage rooted in nostalgia.

New Audio: Lee Paradise Teams Up with New Chance’s Victoria Cheong on a Woozy Banger

Although best known for being one-half of Toronto-based indie electro pop duo Phédre, Dan Lee is also a solo artist in his own right, under the moniker Lee Paradise. And with the release of his Lee Paradise debut, 2020’s The Fink, Lee quickly established a sound that’s typically widescreen and is indebted to polyrhythmic psychedelia.

Lee’s sophomore Lee Paradise album Lee Paradise & Co. is slated for an October 28, 2022 release through Telephone Explosion Records. The album’s material started off as a set of mood-focused instrumental sketches. But the sketches became fleshed out songs after he sent the tracks to a an eclectic array of collaborators including Jane Inc.‘s Carlyn Bezic, Scott Hardware’s, No Frills‘ and Ducks Ltd.‘s Jonathan Pappo, Scott Hardware, Isla Craig, New Chance‘s Victoria Cheong, Jay Anderson, Mother Tongues‘ Charise Aragoza and Lukas Cheung and Moon King‘s Daniel Woodhead. The end result is an album in which every aspect of its creation eventually became open to collaboration, from musical performances, lyric writing and vocals all the way through to mixing and mastering, all while featuring material that defies genre and style conventions with a soulful panache.

“Not Practical,” Lee Paradise & Co.‘s latest single is a woozy yet accessible synth pop-leaning banger centered around copious amounts of DFA Records/LCD Soundsystem-like cowbell, layers of glistening and whirring synths and skittering beats paired with Victoria Cheong’s beguiling vocal. While being remarkably dance floor friendly, “Not Practical” evokes the swooning and wildly illogical of love.

New Video: Alewya Returns with a Woozy Banger

Alewya is an acclaimed London-based singer/songwriter, producer and visual artist. Born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian-Sudanese father and an Ethiopian mother, Alewya has spent her life surrounded and nurtured by diaspora immigrant communities: she grew up in West London and after spending several years in New York, she returned to London. Upon returning home, the rising Saudi-British artist developed and honed her ear for music through the sounds of the Ethiopian and Arabic music of her parents and the ambient alternative rock albums of her brother. 

The Saudi-born, Egyptian-Sudanese-Ethiopian, London-based artist’s name translates from Arabic to English into “most high” or “the highest,” and interestingly enough, her work thematically concerns itself with transcendence. She sees her music as an accessible space for her and her listeners to connect on a deeply spiritual level — with her work challenging the listener to remember the last time that they felt truly connected to themselves and their emotions. “I want to move people to themselves. I want them to feel the same way that I felt when I had a taste of a higher power and felt there was a presence over me,” Alewya says. “I want people to feel that.”

Back in 2020, Alewya burst out into the scene with an attention-grabbing feature on Little Simz‘s “where’s my lighter,” which caught the attention of Because Records, who signed the rising artist and released her critically applauded debut, last year’s Panther In Mode, which featured:

 The Busy Twist-produced debut single “Sweating,” a forward-thinking Timbaland-like mesh of trap, reggae and electro pop.

“Spirit_X,” which paired elements of Timbaland, trap and drum ‘n’ bass paired with the rising British artist alternating between spitting fiery bars and sultry crooning.

The sultry and defiantly feminist anthem “Play.” 

“Channel High” a slick synthesis of grime, contemporary R&B, dancehall, electro pop and Afrobeats that’s roomy enough for the rising British artist to pull out an incredibly self-assured, Lauryn Hill-like performance. Much like its predecessors, “Channel High” is politically charged, calling for music to bring about a much-needed paradigm shift. 

The JOVM mainstay’s latest single “Let Go,” is the first bit of new material since last year’s Panther in Mode EP. Centered around skittering beats and wobbling synths paired with Alewya’s raspy delivery. But where the material on Panther in Mode saw the artist at her most poised and controlled, “Let Go” feels feral and uneasy while self-assured.

“I’m freeing myself up, getting more confident in how lost I feel,” Alewya says. “With Panther In Mode, I was coming from a more poised space. The next phase is more wild. I won’t hold back anymore.”

Directed by Rawtape x Lee Trigg, the accompanying video for “Let Go” stars the rising artist and JOVM mainstay frenetically dancing in a variety of rooms and situations, including what appears to be a mental health institution. The video also features original hieroglyphic-style artwork by Alewya.

Lyric VIdeo: Kainalu Teams up with MUNYA on A Breezy and Funky Bop

Trent Prall is a Southern California-born, Madison,WI--based producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and creative mastermind behind the acclaimed solo recording project and JOVM mainstay act Kainalu

Deriving its name from the Hawaiian word for ocean wave, Prall’s work with Kanialu sees him drawing from psych pop, psych rock, dream pop, Tropicalia, synth pop and funk, and childhood trips to visit his mother’s family in Oahu. The end result is a breezy, funky and nostalgia-inducing sound that Prall has dubbed “Hawaii-fi,” which he further developed and expanded upon with his full-length Kainalu debut, Lotus Gate

Back in 2020, the JOVM mainstay collaborated with fellow JOVM mainstay MUNYA on the breezy and infectious “You Never Let Go,” which revealed some easy-going yet ambitious, hook-driven songwriting that found the pair seamlessly meshing their individual sound and aesthetics. 

Prall’s highly-anticipated sophomore Kainalu album Ginseng Hourglass is slated for a November 4, 2022 release, The 11-song album is reportedly a contemplative and philosophical exploration of the passage of time and the finite, fleeting nature of life. Ginseng Hourglass follows the recent and untimely death of Prall’s mother, and is deeply informed by the conversations they had about her life and mortality during the last few months of her life. While seeing Prall striking a delicate balance between breezy effervescence and the darkest depths of despair, the album’s material captures life’s small joys and victories amidst trauma, emotional ruin and hard-won wisdom. Ultimately, the album makes a concerted effect to find and see hope — in heartbreak and pain. 

“I don’t want people to think this album is sad because it’s not,” Prall says in press notes. “I have always used music as a way to heal. That’s what this music is — a way to escape into a vibe and atmosphere when the world was crumbling. It’s meant to transport you into a world because that’s what I needed when I wrote it.”

The album’s main thematic concern is also shown in the cover art, which resembles falling sand in an hourglass — the literal embodiment of time physically slipping away, knowing that one’s time is the most precious thing anyone could have. While the album will further cement Prall’s reputation for crafting dance floor friendly grooves, lyrically, it may arguably be the most personal of his growing catalog: The songs dig deep into a rabbit hole of complex, conflicting (and intimately familiar) emotions making the album a cathartic, therapeutic fever dream — with Prall’s story at the center. Created as a means of escape and healing, Prall explains, I write to escape the thoughts that keeps me up at night. It’s a therapy device and meditative practice. These past years we all experienced so much loss. On top of the pandemic, I really went through some serious trauma and I wrote this record because I needed to.” 

Last month, I wrote about album single “Queen of Wands,” a strutting, funky bop that sonically seems to draw from Currents-era Tame Impala, electro pop, 90s funk, and 90s house music centerdd around Krall’s unerring knack for yearning, nostalgia-inducing songwriting and infectious, soaring hooks. Interestingly, “Queen of Wands” took shape after a tarot card reading in which Prall drew the queen of wands card. (According to some interpretations, the queen of wands card suggests that the person is upbeat, courageous, determined, self-actualized and self-aware. and can channel their strengths and weaknesses to achieve their goals. In some cases, those who draw the card are inspirational, charismatic, creative sorts.) 

 “It’s about being overwhelmed in the complexities of modern dating and relationships. As we grow older, the desire for deep connection becomes increasingly stronger and a sort of existential longing develops.” An ode to the power of femininity, Prall continues, “The track is a metaphor for this desire as the card roughly symbolizes a strong, driven feminine persona. When the queen of wands reveals themselves to you, resisting the signs is futile.”

Ginseng Hourglass‘s latest single “Inhibitions/Intuitions” thematically and even sonically continues where its immediate predecessor left off. Seemingly influenced by Tame Impala with the song centered around a strutting bass line, bursts of glistening synths, buzzing guitars, “Inhibitions/Intuitions” continues Prall’s ongoing and wildly successful collaboration with Quebec-born-and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and fellow JOVM mainstay Josie Boivin, a.k.a. MUNYA, who contributes her ethereal and coquettish vocals. While reminding listeners of the pair’s unerring knack for crafting earnest, yet hook-driven bops, “Inhibitions/Intuitions” grapples with the apprehension that comes with taking risks in love and in other aspects of one’s life, and trusting your instincts, which aren’t always right.

“MUNYA, aka Josie Boivin, and I have been collaborating on tracks together for several years,” Prall says in press notes. “We met through Instagram and have actually never met in person despite creating countless songs together. The song dives deeper into the story presented by ‘Queen of Wands.’ Fighting one’s inhibitions about taking risks in love versus following their intuition which has previously led them astray.

“Trent and I have been working together for a few years now. Even if we have never met in person, we have built a strong connection that allows us to create and complete each other in a very natural way,” Boivin says. “I had a lot of fun singing on ‘Inhibitions / Intuitions’ and I’m so honoured to be part of Kainalu’s album. Super stoked for this one and the whole album.”