Category: Indie Electro Pop

 

Since the release of their fantastic, full-length sophomore effort, Leave Me Midnight a couple of years ago, the Chicago-based duo  My Gold Mask have become JOVM mainstays as I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink about the duo and their work. Of course, in case you are new to the site — or just need your memory refreshed, some backstory is necessary:  Comprised of Jack Armondo (guitar, vocals) and Gretta Rochelle (vocals, percussion),  the duo spent time in Brooklyn and Baton Rouge, LA respectively, before relocating to Albuquerque, NM. Strangely enough, despite running in the same social circles, it wasn’t until Armondo and Rochelle finally relocated to Chicago, where they had a chance encounter at a rooftop party.

And as the story goes, the duo’s conversation quickly turned to music and their mutual love of Italian giallo films. In 2009, after completing a couple of short-lived rock projects involving other local musicians, Armando and Rochelle retreated and spent time experimenting with new sounds and broadening their artistic voices and the end result was their now-critically acclaimed duo My Gold Mask. Writing and recording their material in Chicago’s dimly-lit warehouse district has in some way influenced their overall sound and aesthetic. Assisted by long-time producer and collaborator Balthazar del Ley,  their sound seemed to subtly nod towards Phil Spector’s famed “Wall Of Sound” production style of the 60s — that is layers of instrumentation with cascading and swirling reverb.

Since the release of Leave Me Midnight, My Gold Mask have released a series of singles that have revealed a band expanding upon and refining the sound that won the duo national attention, and in a similar fashion to Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s Blitz! — in particular, “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll.” “Battles,” the first single off the duo’s paired undulating synths, industrial clang and clatter, brief but explosive blasts of guitar, four-on-the-floor drumming  and anthemic hooks with Rochelle’s plaintive and ethereal vocals. And as you can imagine, the addition of electronics gave their soaring sound a futuristic and club-friendly sheen (which interestingly enough adds a some light to their dark and brooding material).

The album’s latest single “Connect” continues the album’s overarching change in sonic approach as synths and electronics play a big role; however, with “Connect” the approach is more of a gentle and subtle refinement. The soaring and anthemic hooks the duo are known for are still there but in this case, they’re paired with angular and buzzing power chords, electronic bleeps and bloops, swirling atmospheric synths and live drumming paired with electronic drums. Much like the album’s previous single, the song’s narrator bares their anxieties, obsessions and fears with an unadorned frankness to anthemic, shimmering dance rock.

 

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New Video: The Noir-ish and Surreal Video for Neon Indian’s “Slumlord Rising”

Alan Palomo is Mexican-born, Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist best known for his recording project, Neon Indian. Palomo’s 2009 debut effort, Psychic Chasms was released to critical praise across the blogosphere, as Pitchfork named it one of its best […]

Comprised of Linnea Atieno and Joakim Buddee, the Stockholm, Sweden-based production and electro pop duo Heart/Dancer have received attention nationally in their native Sweden and internationally for an ambient and cinematic synth pop sound that has been favorably compared to the likes of Young Galaxy, Kygo, M83 and others — and similarly, the Swedish electro pop duo’s sound possesses elements of shoegaze and new wave. Adding to a growing profile, the duo recently completed a UK and European Union tour and have had their a number of their songs appear in a few Swedish blockbuster films and an American TV series.

“Under,” the duo’s latest single will appear on their soon-to-be released full-length effort, My Heart Is A Dancer, slated for release on November 27. The single is a nuanced pop confection consisting of swirling electronics, bursts of angular guitar chords, gentle layers of ethereal synths and soulful boy/girl duet vocals paired with subtly anthemic hooks that give a song that’s as intimate as sweetly whispered nothings in a lover’s ear, a larger-than-life feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of long-time friends and collaborators, the Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist production duo Intergalactix have a long-held reputation behind the scenes producing material for a number of renowned artists including Jason Mraz, Heart, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Kelis, Allen Stone, Ariana Grande, The Fugees‘ Pras MichelCool & Dre, fellow countrymen Jimmy Barnes and PNAU, as well as  Cash Money Records.

Last year, the production duo began to establish themselves as artists  with the release of their debut EP I.W.S.O.M, which featured the single “Tuesday.” Building upon an already growing national profile, the duo toured extensively to support the EP — and it included a set at Firefly Music Festival. (Interestingly, the festival may have had one of the biggest and most star-studded lineups of this past year’s festival season as Intergalactix played a bill that included Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, Snoop Dogg, The Killers, Morrissey, and several others.)

Thursday marks the release of the Australian-born, Los Angeles-based duo’s sophomore EP S.T.S. – R.N.D.  and the EP’s latest single “Right Next Door” featuring Capital Cities‘ Spencer Ludwig will further cement Intergalactix’s reputation for sleek, retro-futuristic synth pop that channels The Gap Band‘s “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” and “Outstanding,Rick James and The TemptationsStanding On The TopThe WhispersAnd The Beat Goes On” and “Rock Steady,” and Cameo‘s “Word Up,”as well as more contemporary fare including Dam-Funk, Rene Lopez‘s most recent return to all things funk, Boulevards, ISHI, and a growing list of others.

Growing up listening to a ton of synth funk back in the 80s, it isn’t surprising that a number of contemporary artists have revived that sound — both eras specialize in slick production based around sinuous bass lines, shimmering arpeggio synths, four-on-the-floor drumming (or drum programming), anthemic hooks paired with an incredible sense of memorable melody and sensual vocals. You can’t help but recognize how sexy the song is — but it’s also a certified club banger, that should make you get up out of your seat and to the dance floor.

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Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of artists who have become mainstay artists on this site. And interestingly over the past week or two I’ve been primarily (and unwittingly) focusing on many of those mainstay artists, as some of them had been releasing videos or new material. Adding to that growing list is the New York-based electronic duo Beacon, who will be releasing their latest effort, Escapements through renowned indie electronica label, Ghostly International on February 5. Now if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few years, you may be familiar with the New York-based duo comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gusset (production), but I know that there will hopefully be some new readers and listeners and there will be some folks whose memories will need to be refreshed so some backstory is a little necessary. With the release of their debut EP, For Now and its follow-up efforts, The Ways We Separate and L1, the duo have received attention across the blogosphere for a sparse R&B-leaning electro pop driven by big bass and big beats that frequently explores human relationships — perhaps more important, the dark and fucked up aspects of broken and failed relationships including the confusion between lust and love, obsession and longing and so on. And at its core a haunting sense of dread and regret as a reminder that ghosts linger — and linger in unsettling, uncomfortable ways. Although initially sparse and icily minimalist, the duo’s material has become increasingly warmer and dance-floor ready while remaining as subtle and nuanced as ever. In many ways, the material captures complex mental and emotional states that we all have known at some point.

Interestingly, the Beacon’s forthcoming effort Escapements is about time and the baggage it inevitably brings. And it’s title is reportedly taken from clock mechanics; escapements are timekeeping regulators designed to transfer energy at a constant and regular pace. As the duo’s Mullarney explains in press notes. “I was attracted to this concept because of the entropy it implies. Friction and changes in amplitude over time mean[s] every escapement, no matter how well crafted, will lose its accuracy and effectively slow down time via its own decay.”

Featuring drumming from Tycho‘s Rory O’Connor, the material on Escapements was written, revised, refined and recorded over the course of about nine months at Beacon’s Brooklyn-based home studio and Gary’s Electric and interestingly, their forthcoming effort reveals that the duo in a period of restless experimentation that includes changing their songwriting and production approach wherever their muses take them. And as the members of Beacon note, it meant trying out new studio tricks and recording techniques — sometimes on the fly, essentially capturing the free-flowing energy of the creative process.

Escapements‘ first single “Preserve” begins with woofer and tweeter rattling bass, layers of undulating and cascading synths and skittering and stuttering drum programming paired with Mullarney’s aching falsetto in what may arguably be the most dance-floor ready, classic house music-leaning song they’ve released to date while remaining incredibly nuanced both emotionally and sonically. But at it’s core the song glistens with an urgent, plaintive need.
The band will be on tour next February and March to support the new album and it’ll include a hometown show in February. Check out tour dates below.
Tour Dates
02/04 Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s Tavern*
02/05 Detroit, MI @ Majestic Cafe*
02/06 Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel*
02/10 Boston, MA @ Great Scott*
02/11 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom*
02/12 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle*
02/13 Washington, DC @ Song Bird*
02/16 Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5*
02/17 New Orleans, LA @ Hi-Ho*
02/18 Houston, TX @ Rudyard’s*
02/19 Austin, TX @ The Parish*
02/20 Tlaltizapán, MX @ Bahidora*
02/22 El Paso, TX @ The Lowbrow Palace*
02/23 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar*
02/24 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar*
02/25 Los Angeles, CA @ Bottom of the Hill*
02/26 San Francisco, CA @ Noise Pop*
02/27 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios*
02/28 Seattle, WA @ Nectar Lounge*
03/01 Boise, ID @ Treefort*
03/02 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court*
03/03 Denver, CO @ Lost Lake*
03/04 Wichita, KS @ Barleycorns*
* w/ Natasha Kmeto

With the release of their first two singles “Brontos” and “Snowboy,” Emmecosta, a Gothenburg, Sweden-based electronic trio have quickly received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a dreamy, jazz-based electro pop sound that evokes the sensation of being half-awake and walking home from the club as the sun is rising. And over the past few months, the Swedish electronic trio’s profile has been on the rise as they’ve received praise from several internationally recognized websites and publications including Clash Magazine, Vice’s Noisey and Complex — and they’ve seen increasing radio play from Scandinavian radio stations P3, P4 and YleX, as well as several others across the globe.

“Thousands of Me,” the third and latest single from the Gothenburg-based trio is a moody track consisting of handclaps, stuttering and skittering drum programming, sparse piano chords and a mournful horn line. Sonically speaking the song seems to draw influence from Portishead, Amnesiac-era Radiohead and Chet Faker — and much like the work of those acts, “Thousands of Me” has confessional and deeply personal feel, while delving deeply into the psyche of its narrator.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you may recall that I’ve written about Brothertiger, the solo recording project of Brooklyn-based electronic musician and producer John Jagos. The project can trace its origins to when Jagos was a sophomore at Ohio State University. His debut EP, Vision Tunnels was released to critical praise from No Fear of Pop and Pitchfork. Building upon the early buzz he received, Jagos wrote and recorded his debut full-length Golden Years, which was released through Mush Records in 2012.

Future Splendors, the follow-up effort to Golden Years was a change in sonic direction as the material was reportedly his darkest and moodiest effort to date — and it was his first effort that he supported with a tour. Lagos’ forthcoming third, full-length effort Out of Touch is slated for a December 4 release and with the release of the album’s first single, album title track “Out of Touch” and its latest single “Beyond The Infinite,” Jagos is set to firmly put himself on the national map for an 80s synth-pop based sound that channels the likes of Tears for Fears as well as, contemporary artists such as St. Lucia and Washed Out.

In particular, “Beyond The Infinite” consists of layers of propulsive and cascading synths paired with four-on-the-floor drumming and rousingly anthemic hooks with soulful vocals in a song that’s plaintive yet remarkably cinematic. Much like the album’s previous single “Out of Touch,” the album’s latest single is informed by the Jagos’ desire to create an auditory journey through a metaphorical jungle of emotional states — tribulation, despair, fatigue, serenity, joy, tranquility, etc. In this case, the song focuses on the sensation of making a connection with someone and discovering that person has been deceitful and has betrayed you. And as a result, at the core of such a breezy, pop confection is the sort of heartache that should feel profoundly familiar.