Category: Indie Electro Pop

With the 2015 release of Hairless Toys, Irish electro pop singer/songwriter and producer Roisin Murphy quickly became a JOVM mainstay artist — and that shouldn’t be surprising as Murphy has a long-held reputation for being an inventive and genre defying artist, whose sound and aesthetic incorporates elements of jazz, pop, electronic dance music and found field recordings and samples. And although her 2005 full-length solo debut Ruby Blue was a critically applauded departure from her early work in pop act Moloko, the effort was a commercial failure; however, her 2007 release Overpowered was a critical and commercial success as the album was considered for nomination for that year’s MTV Europe Music Award for Best International Act.

Over the next few years, Murphy hadn’t released any album-length material but she did collaborate with an impressive array of internationally acclaimed artists including the likes of Fatboy SlimDavid ByrneCrookers and others. 2014 marked the release of the Mi Senti EP, a collaboration with her frequent collaborator Eddie Stevens and her partner Sebastiano Propezi, which featured the Irish singer/songwriter singing covers in Italian. And according to Murphy, the album’s material was written to intentionally channel Edith Piaf and Studio 54 in a style that Murphy coined “very adult-orientated disco.”

The aforementioned Hairless Toys was Murphy’s first full-length release in over eight years and the material off the album reportedly drew from very similar influences to the Mi Senti EP — in this particular case, European house music, Casablanca Records, and the legendary Grace Jones. Simply put, the material is effortlessly elegant and shimmering electro pop that slowly reveals that its narrator is on the verge of mental breakdown — you can practically feel their psyche crumbling from the weight of her own failures and anxieties. And as a result, it gives the material an aching, desperate urgency. Interestingly,  the forthcoming Take Her Up To Monto an album that takes its name from an Irish folk song popularized by The Dubliners, is comprised of material that was written and recorded during the intense writing and recording sessions that wound up resulting in Hairless Toys.  And although drawing from disco, cabaret, pop torch songs some of the material was radically reimagined and reworked once the Take Her Up To Monto‘s tone and character revealed itself.

Monto’s latest single “Mastermind” is a slinky and tense song that sonically seems to draw from classic house music, freestyle and confessional singer/songwriter pop as Murphy and her frequent collaborator Eddie Stevens pair layers of shimmering synths, propulsive beats and swirling electronics with Murphy’s plaintive and aching alto in an song with an expansive song structure that eschews easily discernible hooks and choruses for a driving motorik groove reminiscent of Kraftwerk as the song comes and goes about in strange and unfamiliar angles revealing an artist, who relentlessly pushes her sound and aesthetic forward and into new territories.

 

Comprised of Dana Hobson (vocals), Daniel Wolf (guitars, production) and Patrick Zenali (drums), Los Angeles-based electro pop trio The Danes specialize in what the band describes in an email to me as “dark electro pop in a similar style as BANKS, FKA Twigs and Lo-Fang” — although the trio’s latest single “Far From Love,” a slickly produced song about the dangers that came up with a long-term serious and committed couple experimented with an open relationship manages to be reminiscent of Los Angeles-based electro pop duo Pr0files as the trio pairs skittering drum programming, boom bap beats, wobbling synths, ambient electronics and an infectious hook with Hobson’s sultry, jazz-leaning vocals. What makes the song truly compelling and what also sets it apart from the tons of contemporary releases I come across is the fact that the song’s narrator expresses both an urgent sensuality, but just underneath the surface fear, confusion, regret and uncertainty are all evokes within the turn of a phrase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Kristina Borg (vocalist), Niklas Angergård (guitar, vocals) of Acid House Kings, Mikael Matsson (guitar), of the Shermans and Carl–Johan Näsström (bass), Stockholm, Sweden-based indie pop quartet Red Sleeping Beauty originally formed in 1989 and with the release of two full-length albums Bedroom and Soundtrack, a number of EPs and singles, the Swedish pop quartet received both national and international attention before the quartet split up.

In 2014, the Stockholm-based quartet reunited to record a cover of Alpaca Sports song “Just For Fun” and “Merry Christmas, Marie,” a holiday-themed track, which caught the attention of fans and critics, who were desperate for new material from Red Sleeping Beauty. The quartet quickly followed that up with the release of the “Always” 7 inch, a set at Madrid Pop Fest and the release of “Mi Amor,” the first song the band recorded with a chorus completely sung in Spanish. Building upon the buzz created by the band’s reunion, this year may be one of the biggest years in the band’s history, as June 17 will mark the release of Kristina, Red Sleeping Beauty’s first album in 19 years.

“If You Want Affection” Kristina‘s first single has the members of Red Sleeping Beauty pairing a driving motorik groove with shimmering cascades of synths and an infectious hook with Angergård’s chilly yet plaintive vocals to craft a song that sounds as though it pulsates with an urgent need, while sonically the song sounds as though it channels 80s dance floor-friendly synth pop — in particular, I think of Depeche Mode‘s “People Are People”  and “Just Can’t Get Enough” among others –but with a slick, modern polish.

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a post or two about JOVM mainstay act Monogem. Comprised of singer/songwriter Jen Hirsh and producer/songwriter Scott Smith, the indie electro pop act derives their name from a unique cosmic phenomenon — a Monogem Ring, the leftover glow of an supernova explosion.Interestingly enough, one of the largest monogem rings in the observable universe is located near the Gemini and Cancer constellations. And for Hirsh, whose birthday is on the cusp of the astrological signs Gemini and Cancer, the project’s name has a deeply personal and special meaning for the singer/songwriter.

Now, you may also know that in the same period of time Hirsh and Smith have received critical praise from the likes of Interview MagazineVice’s NOISEYElle MagazineIndie ShuffleHillydilly, Earmilk and others, which has expanded their profile nationally — and that shouldn’t be terribly surprising as the duo has described their sound as “disco-tinged California pool party tunes” with elements of funk and soul. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from them but their latest single “Take It Slow” is arguably their most sensual, Quiet Storm-era R&B-tinged single released to date as Hirsh’s sultry and breathy vocals with glistening synths and propulsive, boom-bap like drum programming in a song that evokes a plaintive and urgent need, an aching vulnerability and a come-hither before it’s too late vibe that fits with the slinky production.

 

New Video: Check Out The Playfully and Manically Charming, New Video for Manatee Commune’s “Clay”

Electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Grant Eadie and his solo recording project Manatee Commune have received regional attention across the Pacific Northwest and a growing national profile for a carefully and organically molded electronic sound that […]

Comprised of Trewin Howard (vocals, synths, production), who has synaesthesia, a condition in which the sufferer experiences two different senses simultaneously and an a still undiagnosed illness that has left his senses frayed and mind on edge; along with Howard’s two childhood friends Jeb Hardwick (guitar) and Ed Sanderson (piano/synths), the Brighton, UK-based founding trio behind Phoria recruited Tim Douglas (bass, synth) and Seryn Burden (drums) to flesh out the band’s sound. Over the past couple of years, the Brighton-based quintet have a growing national and international profile for crafting spectral and evocative soundscapes — 2014’s Display EP landed at #5 on Hype Machine’s charts, received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 and several million Spotify streams. They also have a burgeoning reputation for their live set which pairs Hardwick’s visual installations and projections with their live sound. And in fact, you may have remember coming across a post about the British quintet; however, it’s been a while since we’ve heard about them but the they will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut Volition through X Novo Records on June 3, 2016.

Interestingly, the band’s primary songwriter Trewin Howard has explained that he never wanted to be a storyteller, as he ascribes to the concept of saying very little to say a lot, and as a result the quintet’s material generally focuses on a special mood while simultaneously focusing on a number of themes. Howard mentions that the material on Volition thematically touches upon love, sex, mortality, pain, joy, the way people interact, change and move each other and several other things. Volition‘s first single “Everything Beta” will further cement the British quintet’s reputation for crafting moodily spectral songs that sound indebted to Amnesiac and King of Limbs-era Radiohead, as Howard’s ethereal and plaintive vocals are paired with clicking and clacking percussion, twinkling piano chords, buzzing synths and a subtly anthemic hook in a song that slowly builds up an unresolved tension before quickly fading out. And while ethereal, the song manages to evoke a desperately aching yearning at its core.