Category: Indie Electro Pop

 

Beiju is an up-and-coming French-American musician, who splits her time between New York and Paris. Her latest single “Lost at the Beach” is centered around the French-American musician’s sultry, jazz-like inflection gliding over a glitchy and brooding production consisting of jagged pulses of arpeggiated synths and off-kilter syncopation. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to JOVM mainstays Bells Atlas and the acclaimed Hiatus Kaiyote, the song manages to possesses a breezy nostalgia.

The song as Beiju says in press notes is inspired by and reflects upon a recent weekend at the Rockaways with two of her friends. “Like many people, I can get caught up and anxious in such an intense urban environment as New York,” Beiju explains. “Getting back to basics by being with loved ones, playing music for pure enjoyment, and being carefree in the ocean made us feel gratitude for aspects of life, which we sometimes take for granted. That feeling of being reminded and aware is one to which I wanted to hold on and put into a song.”

 

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Over the past few years, I’ve written a lot about the Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay and electronic music producer and electronic music artist Robert Alfons, best known for his acclaimed recording project TR/ST. So far Alfons has released two critically applauded and commercially successful albums — 2012’s self-titled debut and 2014’s sophomore effort, Joyland. But interestingly his first two albums found Alfons taking risks and playing with his sound and approach: his self-titled TR/ST debut was largely considered dark, kinky and defiantly queer electronica while Joyland was bright and upbeat electronic dance music.

Five years have passed since the release of Joyland and during that period, Alfons wrote and recorded material in a secluded farmhouse in Southern Ontario and in Los Angeles, where he has since relocated. The recording sessions, which eventually became his two album effort Destroyer 1 and Destroyer 2 finds Alfons collaborating former bandmate, electronic music producer and electronic music artist Maya Postepski, who co-wrote and co-produced six of the entire project’s songs. Lars Stalfors and Damien Taylor were also enlisted to further refine the album’s overall sound — at parts industrial, at parts intimate and ambient.

Interestingly, one of the key ingredients behind the Destroyer‘s material was patience. “The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me. I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” he says. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction.” Alfons realized it was a question of patience and perseverance. “My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one,” he says, “They just poured out of me.” With Destroyer, the process was entirely different. “It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”

And while both parts of the project sound different from one another, there’s a central theme throughout — the deconstruction of shame, expressed in raging industrial and machine-like clang and clatter, atmospheric and eerie quiet paired with introspective lyricism. “I think the biggest reason it took five years to write and rework so much material, is that I finally had to confront these feelings of shame that I had somehow been able to push aside for so many years, which explains why the album is so tumultuous” Alfons explains in press notes.

Slated for a November 1, 2019 release, Destroyer 2 as I mentioned earlier is a decided sonic departure from both its immediate predecessor and from his previously released work as the material consists of delicate, earnest and shimmering pop songs. “I think I took so many more risks sonically and emotionally on Part 2 of this record, for that reason this release has much more importance to me. I’ve spent much of the past five years writing and re-working these songs to get them to the state they are in” Alfons says in press notes.

Centered around twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and electronics, thumping drum programming and Alfons’ plaintive vocals, Destroyer 2‘s first single “Destroyer” is an achingly tender and intimate song that’s one part introspective and soulful confession and one part hook-driven, slickly produced pop.

Alfons will be embarking on a lengthy tour throughout the fall — and each of these tour stops will find him playing in much bigger venues than before. The tour includes a November 15, 2019 stop at The Knockdown Center. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates

28 Sept Mexico City, MX – CMD_F

31 Oct San Diego, CA -The Observatory North Park

1 Nov Los Angeles, CA – The Novo

3 Nov Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall

4 Nov Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf

6 Nov San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger

8 Nov Houston,TX – White Oak Music Hall Downstairs

9 Nov Austin, TX – Levitation

11 Nov Atlanta, GA – Terminal West

12 Nov Durham, NC –  Motorco Music Hall

13 Nov Baltimore, MD – Ottobar

15 Nov Maspeth, NY – Knockdown Center

EUROPE

20 Nov London – Heaven

21 Nov Brussels – Botanique

23 Nov Bern – Saint Ghetto

24 Nov Paris – Le Trianon

26 Nov Amsterdam – Paradiso Noord

New Video: Napoleon Gold Releases a Hazy and Surrealistic Video for 80s Inspired Pop Confection “Love Don’t Cut Me Down” feat. Haiva Ru

Born Antoine Honorez, the Luxembourg City, Luxembourg-born French electronic music producer and artist Napoleon Gold received attention across the European electronic music scene and elsewhere for as a solo artist, whose ambient electronic production work is generally centered around bewitching arrangements, warm, low-pitched vocal samples and rousing percussion — and for a series of remixes and collaborations with Sun Glitters and Monsoonsiren. Building upon a growing profile across the European Union, Honorez toured across the European Union’s festival circuit, making appearances at Liverpool Soundcity Festival, Nordik Impakt, Galapagai Festival, Rock A Field and others.

After signing to New York-based electronic labels 13 Audio and Cinematic Music Group last year, Honorez released an attention grabbing collaborative EP,  A New Colour with T-Pain. However, 2019 may be a breakthrough year for the Luxembourg City-born producer: his highly anticipated full-length debut Sunset Motel is slated for a September 20, 2019 release. Deriving its title from a fictitious place, where the producer takes refuge from his life-long struggles from insomnia — and the thoughts, desires, regrets and dreams that come during the late night hours, the album thematically is about the inspiration he feels late at night. The album will also further cement his reputation for being an expert curator of collaborative talent, as the album finds him working with an eclectic array of up-and-coming artists including Haiva Ru’s Annie Merrill, Anna Majidson, Madge, Jesus Honcho, PH Trigano, Raquel, Kimberly Tell and Jalen Santoy. 

The album’s first single “Love Don’t Cut Me Down,” a collaboration with Haiva Ru is a decidedly 80s synth R&B two-step centered around thumping beats, layers of arpeggiated synths, brief blasts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a funky bass line, a sinuous and infectious hook and Haiva Ru’s Allie Merrill’s tender and plaintive vocals. And while sonically speaking, the song manages to recall Cherrelle, and even contemporaries like ACES, the song expresses a mix of yearning, longing and desperate hope that seems all too common in any romantic relationship. “I think I associate my first encounters with insomnia to a period of my childhood when my parents were constantly listening to this Belgian radio station called RTL2, on which they’d always play this kind of music. The songs trigger emotions linked to my childhood and they really speak to me. I wanted to add similar textures and vibes into this album” Honorez says in press notes. 

Starring Haiva Ru’s Allie Merrill, the recently released video is a hazy, languid and surrealistic dream that has Merrill in a hotel room that’s both decadent and dilapidated. We see her intimate moments, dancing to a song and reminiscing — before bathing with her clothes on. 

IMUR is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based trio, comprised of Jenny Lea (vocals, keys), Mikey J. Blige (production, guitar, DJ) and Amine Bouzaher (electric violin, bass, production) — and with the release of their debut EP, 2015’s Slow Dive, the Canadian trio received attention across Vancouver’s underground scene and elsewhere for an attention-grabbing sound that draws heavily from 90s R&B and soul, electro pop, electronica and experimental pop.

The members of IMUR released their full-length debut, 2017’s Little Death, an album that thematically explored and discussed drugs, heartache, strength, vulnerability and intimacy with a fearless lack of inhibition. The album amassed millions of streams across the planet, eventually landing on the Spotify Global Viral Charts — perhaps as a result of the album’s material being featured in ad campaigns by Patagonia and Lululemon and on TV shows like Wynnona Earp and Workin’ Moms. Building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile, the trio played Bumbershoot Festival‘s main stage, sharing with the likes of Jorja Smith, Solange and Lorde. And they closed out the year with a Western Canadian Music Award nomination for Electronic/Dance Artist of the Year and Best Electronic Song Award in the Canadian Songwriting Competition.

Since then, the act has released Little Death‘s follow-up, last year’s Thirty33 EP and a single, “Fever,” which was released earlier this year. The trio’s latest single “Lips, Tongue and Teeth” is a sultry and unapologetically sexual club banger, centered around shimmering and wobbling synths, thumping beats and an infectious hook that seems to draw equally from R&B, contemporary electro pop and classic house music. Interestingly, the song is a defiantly feminist anthem that generally says women should proudly be sexual beings, getting the pleasure they desire and need.

As the trio explain in press notes, the song’s unapologetically sexual nature in some way represents Jenny Lea’s personal and artistic journey in which she went from conservative banker to confident, world-taking badass. The song was penned as the first of a series of songs focused on female empowerment and autonomy  — with this particular song having an audacious and brash message of defiant sexual expression.

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay RALPH Releases a Sassy Tell Off to an Obsessed Ex

Over the better part of the past year, I’ve written a bitt about Raffa Weyman, a Toronto-born and-based singer/songwriter, best known as RALPH. Weyman 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 released a series of attention-grabbing singles that found the Canadian pop artist restlessly bouncing around 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. ​​​​​​”

Now, as you may recall Weyman’s highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut is slated for release later this year. And “Gravity,” the first official single off that forthcoming release was a club-friendly and loving house music homage that brings Daft Punk and others to mind. “No Muss No Fuss,” the EP’s second and latest single is a sassy brush off of a creepy ex, whom she can’t seem to get rid off, centered around thumping beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths an infectious, ear worm of a hook and Weyman’s self-assured and coquettish vocals. 

Directed by longtime collaborator Gemma Warren and shot on 16mm film, the video follows RALPH exuberantly singing and dancing along to the song in some 90s-inspired club outfits in a variety of different locations. “We just wanted a feeling of effortless fun to translate. We didn’t overthink the shoot,” Weyman says of the video’s filming. “We scouted the day before and drove through Gem’s favorite neighbourhoods (Atwater Village, Silver Lake, Echo Park), just taking pics of interesting looking spots. We wanted vivid colours and weird landscapes that would pop on film – like the golden yellow straw and the stacks of rubber tires. The song has a bounciness to it that makes you want to move, so we wanted to focus on organic, quirky movements instead of actual choreographed dances — playing with hand motions and kicks and spins. The lyrics in the track aren’t supposed to be mean, they’re just honest and a little sassy, so that was the mood we tried to capture.”

David Halsey is an up-and-coming Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist, who grew up listening to his parents recording collection, which included Madonna, Depeche Mode and Soft Cell. His brothers introduced him to Bay Area hip-hop. Unsurprisingly, both of those things managed to heavily influence his attention-grabbing solo recording project Petticoat, a musical project that finds Halsey meshing early 80s New Wave, experimental club music and bubblegum bass into a unique, futuristic-leaning take on electronic music. “I love the music from eras that have had an eye towards futurism,” Halsey says. “Things like 2000s RnB and modern club/pop music.”

Earlier this year, the Bay Area-based producer and electronic music artist released a Pharrell Williams-inspired rework of Internet pop sensation Slayyter‘s “Mine,” and building upon a rapidly growing profile, his latest single “Fantasy” is an swooning and flirty, 80s synth pop and synth funk-inspired bop centered around shimmering synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a sinuous bass line and a big, infectious hook. And while sonically recalling the likes of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Cherelle’s “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” and Beverly Girl, the song possesses a familiar, retro-futuristic air.

“Fantasy,” as Haley describes in press notes is “a song centered around the act of presenting through dating apps and websites. The lyrics play into the consequences of shallowness and miscommunication through online profiles. I chose to go with 80s New Wave mixed with dance pop for the instrumental. To me, that era of 80s synth pop was inherently futuristic for its time with its synthesizers, experimental voice mixing, and subject matter. It was a perfect match to get across the feeling and message of modern love; like an eye towards the future through a lens of retrospection.”

 

With the release of their attention-grabbing single “Denim,” which was played on BBC Introducing, the Manchester, UK-based alt pop sextet Mealtime quickly emerged into the British music scene with a sound that meshes pop sensibilities and experimental production values. Since then, the band has built upon a growing profile with two consecutive sold-out shows at their hometown’s prestigious Band On The Wall, live sets at Bluedot Festival and Dot To Dot Festival, as well as a live session for BBC Introducing, Manchester.
Interestingly, Mealtime’s latest single, the atmospheric “Teef” finds the band channeling New Order and Portishead simultaneously, as the song is centered stuttering beats, shimmering synths and guitars, trading male and female verses and a sinuous hook — and while nodding at murkiness, the song is a coquettish and sugary pop confection.