Category: Indie Electro Pop

New Video: Montreal’s Anemone Releases Cinematic Visuals for Breezy Retro-futuristic Synth Pop Number “Daffodils”

Earlier this year, I caught the Montreal-indie pop/dream pop act Anemone open for the acclaimed indie pop act HAERTS at Baby’s All Right, and as you may recall, the act led by Chloe Soldevila (keys, vocals) and featuring Miles Dupire-Gagnon (drums), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Samuel Gemme (bass) and Zachary Irving (guitar) specializes in a breezy and dreamy synth pop sound that hints at psych pop — and at points to In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Forever and Horizon-era Painted Palms. The Canadian act released their attention-grabbing debut EP earlier this year, which they’ve supported with a series of critically applauded SXSW shows, and some relentless touring across North America.

“Daffodils,” the Canadian act’s latest single is a breezy bit of synth-led dream pop centered around arpeggiated, analog synths, an ethereal melody, reverb drenched drums, shimmering guitar lines and a sinuous bass line within a gently unfolding, expansive song structure — and interestingly, the song recalls Pavo Pavo’s gorgeous, retro-futurstic dream Young Narrator on the Breakers. 

Directed, shot and edited by the band’s Chloe Soldevila, along with her bandmates, the recently released video was filmed on a grainy looking, Super 8 like film (or Instagram filter) in the New Mexico desert with a wide-screen cinematic vibe that shows the members of the band wandering about the desert, looking small in the face of an enormous expansive, before you see the band playing in the desert. As the band’s Chloe Soldevila explain sin press notes, “”Wide and magical open spaces are so powerful to me. I couldn’t have imagined a better place to capture the song’s video. Driving into White Sands’ natural park was one of the most empowering experiences to us. We had so much fun walking and running endlessly with our eyes wide open, full of admiration. After a while we decided impulsively to set up our gear which we had in the van and we started to play. We felt so alone in the world, playing for the sky and suddenly tons of people enjoying the park started driving in to enjoy the performance… it was so special, until eventually the park security kindly kicked us out!”

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New Video: Yumi Zouma Releases a Funky, Dance Floor Friendly, 80s Synth Pop Inspired Jam

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the internationally renowned synth pop act Yumi Zouma, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of Christchurch, New Zealand-born Christie Simpson, Sam Perry, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess have been split across various locations across the globe — primarily New York, Paris and Christchurch — after the 2011 earthquake that ravaged both their hometown and the region at large. Primarily writing and recorded by email, the band wasn’t initially meant to be a live band; however, they’ve received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a breezy yet bittersweet, 80s synth pop-inspired sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal vocals. Since the release of their Turntable Kitchen released cover of Oasis’ 1995 full-length effort, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the renowned synth pop act has been busily writing and recording an EP trilogy — with the last part of the trilogy EP III slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Cascine Records.

“In Camera,” EP III’s first single was a swooning bit of synth pop with a soaring hook that sonically nodded a bit at  A Flock of Seagulls‘ “I Ran (So Far Away)“, complete with reverb fed instrumentation, a cinematic vibe and a clean, super more production sheen — and while seemingly effortlessly breezy, the song is underpinned by a deliberate and very careful attention to craft, as the members of the band refine each song until it’s absolutely perfect.  “Crush (It’s Late, Just Stay)” EP III’s latest single is centered around thumping beats, a shuffling guitar line, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a sultry and sinuous bass line and while being a hook-driven, dance floor friendly song, it manages to sound as though it were released in 1983 or so, as it recalls Cherelle’s “Saturday Love” and others. 

Interestingly, as the band’s Josh Burgess explains in press notes, “This song began life as an experiment recording with a fellow Kiwi (Liam Finn) at his studio in 2015. The studio was aptly named The End as it was situated at the very end of Greenpoint Avenue overlooking Transmitter Park which was arguably one of the best views of Manhattan at the time. The End hosted a few different studios, including Jacob Portrait’s (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Blouse) who mixed ‘In Camera’ as well as rehearsal spaces (I once walked in on The Congo’s rehearsing!). We smoked on the roof and had a bash at making a song together, which is what we sampled in the verses of ‘Crush’. The working title was ‘First Class Lounge’ because it sounded like some kind of musak that would be playing as background before rich people boarded a Concord. 

Unfortunately, The End had a sad finale courtesy of a fire that ripped through the building. Thankfully no one was hurt, but a lot of the gear was wrecked. My girlfriend lives a couple blocks away and over morning coffees we’ll often stroll through Transmitter looking up at the shell of the studio. Like most things in New York it’s relegated to a memory now, but a lot of great music came out of that building!”

The accompanying video features the classically-inspired artwork of Aiden Koch, set among bold and bright colors, animated by Joseph Brennan — and interestingly, while reminding me of the introductory sequence of an 80s rom com, it manages to evoke the flirtatious nature of the song. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Canadian Duo Always Never Releases Dark and Seductive Visuals for “Wylin'”

Always Never is an up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based electro pop production and artist duo, comprised of Patrick Kirschner (vocals) and Dean Guilbault (production) — and with the release of “Millions,” “No Good,” “Morgan Freeman” and “Dangerous,” off their recently released self-titled debut, the Canadian duo have been compared to the likes of Majid Jordan, Miguel and The Weeknd among others — although with the attention grabbing single “Wylin,” the duo’s sound strikes me as bearing a closer resemblance to For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon, as Kirschner’s soulful yet tender vocals are paired with gauzy, atmospheric and yet super modern productions featuring stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and infectious hooks; in fact, much like Beacon, the duo’s sound possesses a pensive, late night vibe, full of regret, confusion and longing.

Directed by Kid Studio, best known for his work on videos for The Weeknd, Big Sean and 6LACK, the recently released video is dark, murky, and dramatic — and features illicit drug use, overdosing, late night seduction and murder, but centered around a trippy and mind-altering series of flashbacks that further evoke the song’s regret, confusion and longing. 

Last month, I wrote about the Sydney, Australia-based electro pop trio RUFUS DU SOL, and as you may recall, with the release of their first two albums — 2013’s ATLAS, which landed at number 1 on the Australian charts and earned platinum status and 2016’s critically and commercially successful follow up, Bloom, which featured smash hits “You Were Right” and “Innerbloom,” the trio comprised of Tyrone Lindqvist, Jon George and James Hunt quickly became sensations both at home and internationally. And over the course of a lengthy two-year long international tour, the Australian electro pop trio developed a reputation for combining the DIY live aesthetics of indie rock and punk rock with the euphoria of club culture.

After completing the tours to support their first two albums, the Australian trio spent the past year or so in Venice, CA writing and recording their highly-anticipated third full-length album SOLACE, which is slated for release this fall, and as the trio note, the album is largely influenced by the dichotomy of the stark desert landscapes and coastlines of California — but while being a much fuller exploration of their evolving sound, and a deeper, more intimate glimpse into both melancholy and transcendence. It feels like a new RÜFÜS,”the trio says. “We are inspired by our new home out here, by the people we’ve met and the music we’ve heard along the way. We’ve got a refreshed sense of ambition and cannot wait to share our creation with the world.”

Underwater,” SOLACE‘s second single further cemented the trio’s growing reputation for forward-thinking, boundary-pushing production as the track was centered around arpeggiated and propulsive Giorgio Moroder-like synths, a soaring choral hook and verses that express an aching longing. Ultimately, the track reveals an act that has managed to carefully walk a tightrope between arena and club rocking bombast with an earnest and intimate emotionality. “Lost In My Mind” the album’s third and latest single continues with forward thinking, electronic production centered around twinkling and arpeggiated synths, a chopped up choral-based hook paired with soulful vocals, and while sonically  making a subtle nod to Snap!‘s “Rhythm is a Dancer,” the song manages to evoke both the anxious desperation of someone hopelessly trapped within his own mind, and the push and pull of new love.

The internationally renowned electro pop trio will be on a month long North American tour during the fall and it includes three New York City area dates — November 23, November 24 and November 25 at Terminal 5. Check out the tour dates below.

 

SOLACE North American Fall Tour Dates (with more dates to be announced):
Oct 24th – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
Oct 25th – Atlanta, GA – Coca Cola Roxy
Oct 26th – New Orleans, LA – Voodoo Music & Arts Experience
Oct 27th – Houston, TX – House of Blues (Houston)
Oct 28th – Austin, TX – Emo’s
Oct 30th – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
Oct 31st – San Diego, CA – Valley View Casino Center
Nov 1st – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 2nd – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 3rd – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 6th – San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Nov 9th – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
Nov 10th – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium
Nov 11th – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium
Nov 13th – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Nov 14th – Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom
Nov 15th – Detroit, MI – Royal Oak Music Hall
Nov 16th – Toronto, ON – The Danforth Music Hall
Nov 18th – Montreal, QC – MTELUS
Nov 20th – Boston, MA – House of Blues (Boston)
Nov 21st – Boston, MA – House of Blues (Boston)
Nov 23rd – New York, NY – Terminal 5
Nov 24th – New York, NY – Terminal 5
Nov 25th – New York, NY – Terminal 5

Always Never is an up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based electro pop production and artist duo, comprised of Patrick Kirschner (vocals) and Dean Guilbault (production) — and with the release of “Millions,” “No Good,” “Morgan Freeman” and “Dangerous,” off their recently released self-titled debut, the Canadian duo have been compared to the likes of Majid Jordan, Miguel and The Weeknd among others — although with the attention grabbing single “Wylin,” the duo’s sound strikes me as bearing a closer resemblance to For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon, as Kirschner’s soulful yet tender vocals are paired with gauzy, atmospheric and yet super modern productions featuring stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and infectious hooks; in fact, much like Beacon, the duo’s sound possesses a pensive, late night vibe, full of regret, confusion and longing.

 

 

 

Liam Brown is an up-and-coming, Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl — and with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was championed by the likes of Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.

Building upon a growing profile, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl effort season 2 is slated for a November release, and the EP’s latest single “highschool,” will further cement Brown’s reputation for crafting achingly wistful and pensive, synth pop centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and sinuous hooks — while recalling Washed Out, St. Lucia and classic 80s synth pop, complete with enormous, painfully sincere teenaged sentiment, as the song’s narrator is worried about losing his cool over someone he digs immensely.

 

 

 

Maria Del Pilar is a Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician, whose family immigrated to the States when she was a child. After developing roots in her adoptive hometown, Del Pilar became an integral part of the city’s music scene as the frontwoman of the critically acclaimed local act, Los Abandoned. Pilar’s solo debut Songs + Canciones I was released to critical praise for Del Pilar’s ability to craft infectious pop hooks that possess a rock ‘n’ roll grit that recalled her Riot Grrl roots. Interestingly, Songs + Canciones I‘s lead single “En El Dancefloor” skyrocketed to the top of the Mexican radio charts and led to shows at Vive Latino and Mexico City’s prestigious The Zocalo.

Songs + Canciones II, the highly-anticipated follow-up to Del Pilar’s solo debut is slated for a November 2, 2018 release, and while finishing up the album, Del Pilar has managed to collaborate with a diverse array of renowned artists including Chicano Batman, Francisca Valenzuela, and Tegan & Sara; in fact, the album features collaborations with a virtual who’s who of the Los Angeles music scene, including members of Chicano Batman, No Doubt, Las Cafeteras, Fitz + The Tantrums and others. But in the meantime, the Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter has also performed as a backing singer  during tUnE yArDs’ most recent appearance on Conan. Adding to a growing profile, “Se Me Hace Mas” was recently  featured on the new Starz drama Vida.

“Original Dreamer,” Songs + Canciones II’s latest single is of our current sociopolitical moment, as it was written while the Trump Administration and the Republican led house was busily repealing DACA, which struck a chord both personally and politically. After the introduction and approval of 2001’s DREAM Act, millions of undocumented minors were granted legal residency in the States along with their parents and guardians. Del Pilar’s mother and father were among the first DREAMers — but sadly, her mother died when she was 12.  The stories reminded me of what I saw my parents go through when I was a kid immigrating from Chile to the US,” Del Pilar says in press notes. “I had a chance to thank my father for these sacrifices but never got a chance to thank my mom. This song gives me that chance.”

Produced by Poolside‘s Flip Nikolic, the song features looping, psych rock-inspired guitar lines from Chicano Batman’s Carlos Arevalo — and while centered around a fiercely held belief that no one is an illegal alien, the percussive, deep groove-driven song manages to bring Fear of Music-era Talking Heads to mind; but with a bold, distinctly Latin flavor and vibe, along with some infectious hooks. Of course, at its core is a deep (and much-needed) empathy and understanding of the plight of society’s most vulnerable, reminded the listener that a great deal of Americans are descendants of those who have taken great risks and had enormous dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josie Bolvin is a Quebec-based, classically trained pianist and opera vocalist, as well as an electronic pop producer, singer/songwriter and artist, best known as MUNYA — and as the story goes Bolvin had only written one song when she was asked to perform at last year’s Pop Montreal. Ironically, at the time, Bolvin had never intended to pursue music full-time but after playing at the festival, she quickly realized that what she was meant to do — be a musician. So Bolvin quit her day job, moved in with her sister and turned their kitchen into a home recording studio where she wrote every day. These recordings would eventually become part of an EP trilogy — with each EP comprised of three songs — named after a significant place in Bolvin’s life. Her self-released debut North Hatley derives its name from one of Bolvin’s favorite little villages in Quebec. Her forthcoming second EP, Delmano is slated for an October 5, 2018 release through Fat Possum Records and derives its name from Williamsburg Brooklyn’s Hotel Delmano.

Delmano‘s first single ”Hotel Delmano” is a breezy and mischevious, shimmering synth-based tale of melancholy surrealism, centered by Bolvin’s ethereal vocals singing completely in her native French. And as Bolvin explains in press notes, the song is largely inspired by a dream Bolvin had that was inspired by the video for Vendredi sur Mer‘s “La Femme à la Peau Bleue.” As Bolvin says in press notes, “I watched it so many times that she entered my dreams once we were having a drink at Hotel Delmano. The song is about that dream.”  Sonically, the song sounds as though it should be a part of the soundtrack of a Michel Gondry film in which its sad protagonist gets thrown into a whimsical and colorful world while recalling La Femme, Polo & Pan, and others.

 

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Comprised of Dexy Valentine (vocals, guitar), Coleman Moore (bass) and Phil Galloni (synths, programming), the Los Angeles, CA-based dream pop trio My Ultra Violet can trace their origins to when the trio met at a gig and exchanged numbers — and since their formation, they’ve received some attention for crafting elegant yet moody dream pop. Interestingly, the trio’s latest single, “Wilde As Me” finds the act collaborating with producer Adam Greenspan, who has worked with Nick Cave, Supergrass and Band of Skulls and drummer Malcolm Cross on a decidedly 80s-inspired synth pop jam centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, Valentine’s ethereal vocals and rousing, radio friendly hooks within a hypnotic song that nods at Washed Out, Summer Heart and others.

Valentine takes up the space of a two-dimensional character within the track to highlight the internal irony of the lyrics of pop songs in general, noting that they generally can be shallower and more blatant — and as she admits in press notes, it’s a nod towards Oscar Wilde, one of her famous poets, who once quipped that “only the shallow know themselves.”

 

 

New Video: An Intimate Look Behind the Scenes for Visuals for Mass Gothic’s Soaring 80s-Inspired Synth Pop Single “Keep on Dying”

Mass Gothic is an acclaimed New York-based synth based project comprised of married duo Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri, and the over course of their 18 year relationship, the’ve managed to dip in and out of each other’s creative spaces, advising on their respective projects and supporting one another; but throughout that bulk of their relationship, they never completely committed themselves to collaborating together on an entire album, sharing equal load — that is until, the project’s recently sophomore album, I’ve Tortured You Long Enough, a tongue-in-cheek title based around the fact it took way too long for the duo to finally collaborate together. 

Interestingly, Heroux started Mass Gothic back in 2016 as a solo project, after the breakup of his previous band Hooray for Earth. Reportedly plagued by his own insecurities and anxieties, Heroux wasn’t yet ready to deal with putting his trust and confidence into a shared, collaborate project — and perhaps most importantly, he wasn’t ready to do so with someone so close and so fundamental to his life. But before work began on the second Mass Gothic album, the phrase “I’ve Tortured You Long Enough” had reverberated through his head and quickly became both a mantra and a premonition. “It just popped into my head,” Heroux explains in press notes. “You can say it to a loved one or to a friend. Or You could wish someone say it to you. It covers so many basses but it’s taken on extra meaning in the past couple of years, while everybody is at each other’s throats; frustrated and confused all the time.” At the time, Heroux was in need of forcing himself out of his comfort zone and letting go of his prior, deep-seated stubbornness — and by the fall of 2016, circumstances forced him to face his biggest fears head on. “We rented a small tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. We put ourselves away and worked on music all day, wondering what it would feel and sound like,” Jessica Zambri recalls in press notes. 

The first song they wrote together was an early iteration of “Keep On Dying.” Zambri had the melody and lyrics while Heroux had arranged the chords. From there, things snowballed and while the writing began in New York, early last year the duo threw caution to wind, got rid of their Brooklyn apartment, purged most of their belongings and relocated to Los Angeles to write and record their album. They then bought a car, drove to L.A. where they lived out of duffle bag with co-producer Josh Ascalon, and they spent the bulk of their time writing. “The entire record from start to finish was done without having our own place to live,” Heroux recalls. Maybe we wouldn’t have been able to do it if we were anchored at home. We were forced into it. Jess was trying to open me up and if we could have just sat on a couch and thrown on the TV it probably wouldn’t have worked.”

Working as a duo helped to evolved the project’s sound, with the duo’s sophomore album being a more intentional meeting of the minds, centered round a complete openness to work together without rules or conditions — although last spring, when they initially thought they had finished the album, Heroux and Zambri separately realized that the material had way more potential; in fact, while they were preparing to go on tour with Zambri’s sister Cristi Jo and her boyfriend Jospeh Stickney when Heroux woke up one morning, turned to his spouse and said “Oh God, we have to fucking re-record the whole album.” The duo quietly agreed that it was required and during the final ten days, they made sure that the material was perfect but felt alive. Reportedly, the album’s material basks in and celebrates the acceptance of co-dependence and independence simultaneously — and while being autobiographical (it’s rooted around the relationship of its creators), it’s not so autobiographical and a conversation between its creators but while not being  alienating to the listener. 

I’ve Tortured You Long Enough’s latest single”Keep On Dying,” is a  hook driven song that features brief blasts of horn, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Zambri’s ethereal vocals — and while sonically the song brings to mind Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks, it possesses a swooning Romanticism that’s tethered to the real world; vulnerable but with the recognition that love, like all things doesn’t make much sense and can be simultaneously easy and difficult yet so necessary in an increasingly stark, cynical world. 

Co-directed by the band and Nira Burnstein, the recently released video is an look of the band while on tour, goofing off, practicing — and with a profound, behind the scenes intimacy of a touring band.