Category: Indie Pop

Chiara Foschiani is a Paris-born-and-based singer/songwriter and pianist. Although she’s just 17, the Paris-born artist can trace the origins of her music career to learning the piano when she turned eight. Foschiani started signing when she was 13, joining local bands and performing on small stages and local music festivals before she started writing her own original material.

Since 2018, the emerging French singer/songwriter has been posting demos and covers on Soundcloud — with her material amassing over 49,000 streams. When Foschiani turned 16, she left school to fully dedicate herself to music, spending her time with literature, film, concerts, festivals and listening to new music and meeting artists. But generally speaking, she cites Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Lana del Rey and others as influences on her work.

Foschiani’s second and latest single is the slow-burning ballad “My Glass of Wine.” Centered around thumping beats, shimmering and atmospheric synths and the French singer/songwriter’s self-assured and soulful vocals, “My Glass of Wine” manages to bring Dummy-era Portishead to mind, complete with a brooding, cinematic quality.

Live Footage: Palace Winter’s Tennis Court Session–“1996”

The Copenhagen, Denmark-based pop duo and JOVM mainstays Palace Winter — Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born, Copenhagen-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager — built upon a rapidly growing profile regionally and internationally, with the release of their sophomore album 2018’s Nowadays.

Nowadays found the Danish pop duo firmly cementing their sound — carefully crafted, melodic and hook-driven, 70s AM radio rock-inspired pop paired with deep thematic concerns. Thematically, the Danish act’s sophomore album touched upon the loss of innocence and adulthood; the freedom and power that comes as one takes control of their life and destiny; and the the sobering life lessons that come about as one gets older.

Palace Winter’s third album . . . Keep Dreaming Buddy was released earlier this year through the band’s longtime label home Tambourhinoceros Records. Unlike their previously released material, the album was written through a long distance correspondence, as the band’s Carl Coleman was residing in an empty, retro hotel in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Coleman’s lyrics were inspired by Tenerife’s unique landscape while drawing metaphorical parallels between Mt. Teide, a dormant volcano, which is also one of Spain’s tallest peaks, and the looming fear of a relationship about to disintegrate.

“I was walking around this weird volcano island. The retro hotel was like a forgotten paradise resort. The whole thing felt like a Lynchian alternate reality,” Palace Winter’s Carl Coleman recalls. “Caspar was sending me these synth hooks and drum loops from Denmark, so I started coming up with melodies and lyrical ideas to record into my phone.” And as a result, the album is figuratively and literally a tale of two cities and two completely different — yet oddly related — emotional states.

Over the past handful of months, I’ve written about four of the album’s released singles:

Top of the Hill,” was a great example of the album’s overall tale of two cities and two completely different emotional states. Featuring shimmering and icy synths, thumping beats and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook paired with Coleman’s volcanic imagery-based lyrics, the song captures the bubbling dissatisfaction, boredom, frustration and distrust of a relationship about to boil over and explode.
“Won’t Be Long,” . . . .Keep Dreaming Buddy‘s second single was an expansive song that featured elements of arena rock, glam rock and synth pop, complete with a rousingly anthemic hook, a crunchy power chord-driven riff, shimmering synth arpeggios and strummed guitar. But interestingly enough, the song is actually deceptively and ironically upbeat as it tackles the anxiety of anticipatory grief, as it focuses on a narrator, who is preparing for the inevitable loss of a dear, loved one. Loss and despair are always around the corner, indeed.
“Deeper End,” the album’s third single was a decidedly genre-defying affair that found the duo pushing their sound in a new direction without changing the essentially elements of the sound that has won them attention internationally. Featuring an infectious hook, shimmering synth arpeggios and strummed guitar, the breezy song is one part synth pop. one part 70s AM rock, one part country — but while centered around an unusual juxtaposition: the song as the band’s Carl Coleman explains is “a story about a bad trip at a weird house party I went to with my sister.” Granddaddy’s Jason Lytle contributes a guest verse to the song, a verse in which his character dispenses harsh yet very trippy truths to the song’s hallucinating and anxious narrator.
“Richard (Says Yes),” a playful, thematic left turn that finds the duo writing a big, upbeat party them — but while pushing their sound in a new direction. Centered around their unerring knack for crafting an anthemic hook, “Richard (Says Yes)” is a remarkably proggy take on their sound.

Earlier this year, the duo, along with their backing band filmed a live session from the tennis court of Copenhagen hotel, practically abandoned as a result of the pandemic. So in some way, the live session finds the band returning to the sort of surrealistic hotel scenes, which informed the album’s material. The sessions included live versions of two of my favorite songs off the album — the aforementioned “Won’t Be Long” and “Top of the Hill.”

The last Tennis Session features . . . Keep Dreaming Buddy’s latest single , the slow-burning “1996.” Featuring a shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering drumming, strummed acoustic guitar and a bluesy electric guitar solo paired with Coleman’s plaintive vocals, “1996” describes a romantic relationship at a major crossroads in which both parties don’t quite know if it’s worth fighting for or not. Sonically, the song — to my ears at least — manages to bring The Cars “Drive” to mind, as it possesses a similar longing to get it right one way or the other.

Unlike the previous videos, this particular session eventually pans into the empty hotel. which gives the entire proceedings a dream-like feel.

New Video: Rising British Pop Artist Gracey Releases an Infectious and Self-Assured Banger

With the release of her debut mini-album The Art of Closure earlier this year, the rising 22 year-old, English pop artist GRACEY quickly established herself as one of the scene’s most successful and highly buzzed about artists. The seven track effort features her first Top 10 UK Chart hit , as well as her latest single, mini-album opening track “99%”

Centered around a slick, super modern production featuring finger snaps, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, a enormous, attention-grabbing hook and the young English artist’s sultry vocals, “99%” is a sugary sweet pop confection that reveals an artist, who is self-assured beyond her relative youth — and about to take over the world as we know it. The song itself finds its narrator asserting complete control of a sitautionship that’s on the verge of becoming a blossoming relationship — all while capturing the excitement, longing and desire of a new thing.

The recently released video for 99% was shot in one extremely long take and follows the rising pop artist in a seemingly effortless choreographed sequence that evokes the swooning pangs of new love.

New Video: Rising NYC-based Pop Act Eighty Ninety Releases a Shimmering Pop Confection

The New York-based pop duo Eighty Ninety — brothers Abner James (vocals, production) and Harper James (guitar, production) — quickly exploded into the national and international scenes with the viral hit, “Three Thirty,” which rose to #2 on Spotify’s Global Viral Charts. Building upon a rapidly growing profile and the buzz surrounding them, followed up the success of “Three Thirty” with their debut EP Elizabeth.

Their debut EP found the duo further cementing their sound and approach: minimalist pop productions featuring a slick mix of electronic sounds and organic instrumentation paired with infectious hooks and sticky melodies, which they’ve dubbed “808s and Telecasters” — a joking shorthand for their sound and their anything goes mentality to their creative process. “We let the emotional arc of the song, rather than any set of genre conventions, lead us to instruments and sounds,” the brothers say of their process.

Since the release of their Elizabeth EP, the duo’s material have amassed over 26 million streams and have been featured on a numerous Spotify playlists, including New Music Friday, Pop Rising, Indie Pop, Chill Vibes, Viral Hits — and was selected by Taylor Swift on her Songs Taylor Loves playlist.

The duo closes out 2020 with their latest single, “Better as Friends.” Centered around a lush arrangement of glistening synth arpeggios, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, thumping beats paired with Abner James’ yearning, ethereal falsetto and an infectious hook, “Better as Friends” is a radio friendly pop confection that brings JOVM mainstays like Washed Out, Summer Heart and Cones to mind. But despite the breezy pop vibes, the song is underpinned by the bitter recognition that both platonic and romantic relationships can be confusing and uncertain.

“Better as Friends” is the second official single off the New York-based duo’s Gian Stone-produced, sophomore EP slated for release next year. In the meantime, the duo released a cinematic and decidedly minimalist video for their new single that’s split between intimately shot performance footage of the band in their studio and the act’s frontman on a rooftop during golden hour in New York. Interestingly, the video manages to capture the brooding and heartache at the core of its accompanying song.

New Audio: Paris-born, New York-based Artist Lizzy Young Releases a Trippy Visual for “CooCoo Banana”

Originally from the Parisian suburbs, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lizzy Young spent a few years in Barcelona before eventually relocating to New York, where she’s currently based. The Paris-born, New York-based artist’s work draws from her own personal experiences while being influenced by Leonard Cohen, Louis Malle, Bette Davis, and Molly Nilsson.

Young’s full-length debut, the 10 song CooCoo Banana finds the Paris-born, New York-based artist crafting a refreshingly unique take on modern pop: sardonic humor-laced lyrics paired with lo-fi, bedroom recording — i.e, Casio keyboards and driving, dance floor friendly beats. Thematically, Coocoo Banana finds Young boldly diving into the beauty and ugliness of life. So far, Young has had her music played by BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 personalities Janice Long, Tom Ravenscroft, Jack Saunders, Cerys Matthews, and Steve Lamacq. Additionally, Tom Ravenscroft named her a Spotlight Artist and invited her to play a Selector Spotlight showcase.

CooCoo Banana’s latest single, album title track “CooCoo Banana” may remind some listeners of a narcoleptic take on Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl;” handclap-driven beats are paired with shimmering and tinny Casio synth arpeggios and Young’s self-deprecating vocals delivered with an ironic detachment. And while being a decidedly artsy take on pop, the song manages to accurately capture the mindset of a modern woman with all of her strengths and flews with a novelist’s attention to psychological realism.

Produced by GFY, the recently released video for “CooCoo Banana” is centered around a trippy and lo-fi concept: we see Young’s disembodied lips singing the song’s opening lines. We pull out of a lysergic, neon pink haze to see Young from the neck up singing the song in front of an equally neon pink background. As the song progresses, Young rubs a lotion that turns her entire face and hair into a fuzzy, electric rainbow before fading out. It’s trippy as hell.

New Audio: Los Angeles’ Total Brutal Releases a Shimmering Pop Confection

Emily Moore is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who may be best known as a touring musician, who has shared stages with Grammy Award-winning act fun., Børns, Ella Vos, X Ambassadors and a lengthy list of others. Moore is also the creative mastermind behind the indie pop, solo recording project Total Brutal. And withTotal Brutal, Moore’s goal is to spread positivity and self-empowerment, based on an ethos of standing up for yourself in order to be heard and seen, facing fears head on –and most importantly, being comfortable in your own skin.

Inspired by a series of strong female artists, Moore is determined to help other young women make their worth known and their voices heard. “It took me a really long time to understand that I am allowed to speak up, have opinions and speak directly,” Moore explains. “I’m starting to realize that I can be myself and be liked and professional all the same. I want to help foster that adventurous spirit and confidence in young women!”

Moore’s latest Total Brutal single “Egypt” is a slickly produced, dance floor friendly, pop confection centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like guitar, an infectious hook and Moore’s self-assured yet coquettish vocals. Seemingly indebted to 80s New Wave and synth pop, the track finds its narrator desperately trying to connect with the feeling of childhood excitement over what the future could hold. Of course, the past year has had us feeling fearful and uncertain — but the infectious track manages to remind the listener that there’s hope for something better, as long as you’re still here.

Moore confides, “I constantly need to remind myself to play more and lighten up. It’s easy to get lost in the seriousness of life but I want to go through life having fun and viewing everything with curiosity.”

Elizabeth Woolf is an up-and-coming Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of her music career to her childhood: she spent drives in her mom’s minivan singing along to Frank Sinatra — and as she got older, she found her voice belting and sobbing along to the work of Sara Bareilles and Bon Iver while driving her dad’s hand-me-down car. After finding the sounds of Stevie Wonder while commuting on BART, Woolf realized that she needed to mesh those influences into her own sound.

Over the past two years or so, Woolf has been busy developing, refining and honing her sound and songwriting. Interestingly, the emerging Los Angeles-based artist’s latest single, the slow-burning and charming “yellow turtleneck” finds her collaborating with emerging producer, songwriter kidgloves (a.k.a. Cody Aledia). Centered around dusty and soulful production featuring thumping boom bap-like beats and shimmering acoustic guitar paired with Woolf’s and kidglove’s soothing and breathy vocals, “yellow turtleneck” is an emotionally ambivalent song that’s part swooning meet-cute and part nostalgic ode to lost love, and their lingering ghosts. Sonically and thematically, the song — to my ears at least — evokes fall in New York.

New Audio: Pearl Charles Releases a Pop Confection with a Dark Undertone

Pearl Charles is a rising, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has been playing music since she was five. When she was 18, she formed the country duo The Driftwood Singers with Christian Lee Hutson, contributing vocals, guitar and autoharp. By the time Charles turned 22, she joined The Blank Tapes, playing drums.

After a handful of years in which she fully immersed herself in the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. she decided it was time to pursue a solo career, and she began writing the material that would eventually comprise 2015’s self-titled debut EP and 2017’s full-length debut — both of which were released through Kanine Records. Building upon a growing profile, Charles toured internationally and nationally as an headliner and as an opener, sharing stages with Best Coast, Sunflower Bean, Mac Demarco, Conor Oberst and others. The Los Angeles-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has also played across the national festival circuit with stops at Austin City Limits, Huichica, and Desert Daze.

Interestingly, Charles’ work can be seen as a sort of chronological progression in which she has played and written 60s garage rock and psych rock — and most recently 70s pop country and AM radio rock. Drawn to catch pop hooks and choruses, the Los Angeles-based artist’s work generally draws on what she has loved about each era’s sound and approach while developing a unique take and voice.

Slated for a January 15, 2020 release through Charles’ long-time label home, Magic Mirror is a reflective album that follows a woman that has lived a full and occasionally messy life, gaining self-reflection and wisdom through the natural progression of love and heartache — and eventually finding new love as a result.

“Imposter,” Magic Mirror’s second and latest single is a breezy bit of AM radio rock centered around twinkling Rhodes, a blue-eyed soul-inspired horn line, a sinuous bass line, Charles’ gorgeous vocals and an infectious, hook. And while the song may seem like a breezy and sun-dappled, pop confection, the song has a darkness that lurks just below the surface — if you pay close attention.

“On the surface ‘Imposter’ sounds like a sun-soaked day,” Pearl Charles explains, ” but there is a darkness that lurks beneath. An experience reminiscent of Ram Dass’ first trip in Be Here Now, ‘Imposter’ tells the story of someone wrestling with their larger cosmic identity beyond the human form and deals with the general idea of ‘Imposter Syndrome’, feeling like a fraud despite your qualifications and accomplishments, which many professional women struggle with.”