Category: Indie Pop

Lo Ersare is a Umeå, Sweden-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter and musician, best known as Lucky Lo. Ersare relocated to Copenhagen in 2014 and quickly made a name for herself as a busker and as an integral part of the city’s underground music scene, performing everything from folk to experimental jazz to improvisational vocal music. Throughout the years, her love for Japan and its music and culture has brought her to the island nation, where she has performed a number of times, grown a devoted fanbase and has gathered inspiration, which naturally has seeped into her music.

Supercarry Ersare’s full-length debut was released earlier this year through Tambourhinoceros Records. The album featured “Heart Rhythm Synchronize,” a song about synching heartbreaks through love and song. I’ve personally written about two other album singles:

  • Album title track “Supercarry,” a sleek and seamless synthesis of Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel, that thematically finds Ersare quickly establishing a major thematic concern in her work — the transformational power of radical love.
  • Ever,” a swooning and infectiously optimistic pop song centered around glistening synth arpeggios, a strutting disco-inspired bass line, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, a rousingly anthemic hook and Ersare’s plaintive pop belter vocals. Arguably, the most dance floor friendly of the album’s released singles, “Ever!” brings Talking Heads, and Annie Lennox to mind paired with the euphoria of Sylvester‘s queer anthem “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” 

Supercarry has received praise from the likes of KCRW, Clash Magazine, Amazing Radio, Radio Eins, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, The Revue, Swedish P3 and P4, BR Puls, Gaffa Denmark, P6 Beat, NRK, and others. 

Ersare closes out a big year with the standalone single, and Supercarry follow-up, “I Will Always Be You.” Centered around the Swedish-born, Danish-based artist’s gorgeous and expressive vocal literally dancing over a buoyant, ebullient production featuring propulsive and pulsating percussion, ambient electronics, looping Afrobeat-like guitar, enormous, euphoria-inducing hooks and a subtle nod to Bulgarian folk music, inspired by her childhood in Sweden: Her mother used to play Bulgarian folk music on the home studio when Ersare was a girl.

The song invites the listener to remember the playfulness, imagination and lightness of childhood, to take care of yourself — and to find that same childhood playfulness, imagination and lightness in adult life. “Children’s gut feeling is more intact and they are great at following their intuition. When we grow up, we tend to forget our ability to listen to what our body and subconscious are trying to communicate”  Lo Ersare explains. 

“I would encourage people to take a break and look back at their childhood. What can we learn from it?” says Lo Ersare, who personally experienced how gut instinct and immediacy took over when “I Will Always Be You” was created in the studio. 

“We were in a situation of trying to be serious adults. But it evolved into an experiment where we let ourselves be childlike, playful and humorous. We went with our gut feeling and instantaneous nature, which succeeded in evolving into this track”, Ersare says of the first days in the studio with producers Frederik and Fridolin Nordsø, who later continued the same process with Lucky Lo’s drummer Casper Henning Hansen and guitarist Mads Nørgaard.

Ultimately. the song is a loving tribute to the intuition of magic and childhood and a call to bring that magic into adulthood. It’s also a call to push boundaries wherever possible and not put restraints on yourself. And it’s a reminder to “find your way home, to find your way within,” the Swedish-born, Danish-based artist explains — both in everyday life and in tense situations. It’s often necessary to take a breath, rewind the tape and feel from the beginning.

New Audio: Swiss Producer Panaviscope Teams Up with Thaïs and Alvin Chris on a Woozy Banger

Swiss producer Panaviscope has developed a reputation for being restlessly prolific. His latest single, “De l’autre côté” is a slick and woozy synthesis of hip-hop, electro pop and R&B centered around glistening spaceship-like synth arpeggios, skittering tweeter and woofer rattling thump that features guest spots from rising Montreal-based pop artist and JOVM mainstay Thaïs and Alvin Chris, who croon and spit fire, revealing to the world that they’re both budding superstars.

New Video: Sophie Jamieson Shares Hauntingly Gorgeous “Boundary”

Rising British singer/songwriter Sophie Jamieson released two EPs back in 2020 that caught the attention of Bella Union Records, who signed Jamieson — and then released her Steph Marziano-produced full-length debut Choosing today.

Choosing is a subtle rework of the sound that Jamieson quickly established through her first two EPs: While those EPs flirted with playful experimentation, Choosing‘s sound is simultaneously more organic, simpler and intimate, centered around arrangements of live drums, bass, cello and piano, which are roomy enough for Jamieson’s mesmerizing vocals to take the spotlight.

Jamieson has described the songs on her first two EPs as “black holes,” and while Choosing manages to cover similar ground, it never takes its eyes from what lies beyond, never fully releases its grip when its telling her to let go. The album is deeply personal documentation of a journey from the painful rock bottom of self-destruction to a safer place, and imbued with a faint light of hope. Focusing on the bare bones of each song, the album’s material is influenced by songwriters like Elena TonraSharon Van Etten and Scott Hutchinson, and sees Jamieson singing openly about longing and searching, of trying, failing and trying again, and the strength of love in its varying forms. 

“The title of this album is so important,” Sophie explains. “Without it, this might sound like another record about self-destruction and pain, but at heart, it’s about hope, and finding strength. It’s about finding the light at the end of the tunnel, and crawling towards it.” 

Ultimately, the album asks the listener to look deep within themselves and to show them that they can take whatever pain they’re experiencing, and choose, to some extent, how they let it affect them; whether they let it burn them down or whether they choose to look it straight in the face. “The songs are bursting with something, and that energy just needs to be reshaped into love for the self,” Sophie explains. “I can say this from a place of having learned now how to love and care for myself. The love that reverberates through this album is like the green shoots of something I have happily learned to nurture into my present day.” 

“The few times I have listened to this album from start to finish, I have realized that there is a huge amount of love in it,” Jamieson says “I think there is a strong potential for real, healthy, healing love. It’s like a line of relief that runs along through all the songs. It’s never unleashed, it hasn’t yet learned how, but it’s present in an underlying tension and potential.” 

Earlier this year, I wrote about Choosing‘s devastating first single “Sink.” Centered around a sparse arrangement of twinkling and wobbling keys that seem simultaneously childlike and ironically detached, skittering boom bap-like drumming, “Sink” is roomy enough for Jamieson’s weary and heartbroken delivery to take the lead. The song is an unflinchingly honest look at someone on the edge — and not quite know what’s next. “Sink” was written as a love letter to alcohol amid an increasing dependence upon it, informed by a recurring image Sophie had of herself on a desert island, a quiet, calm place that was just too good to be true. “’Sink’ presents a purgatory between being able to choose and begging not to be pulled under,” Sophie explains. “It’s about teetering on the edge, looking over the cliff, asking not to be pulled over before realising you only have to choose not to jump.” 

The album’s latest single “Boundary” is a slow-burning, meditative and sparsely arranged track centered around strummed guitar, and subtle bursts of keys before paired with Jamieson’s gorgeous, achingly yearning vocal. The first time I heard this one, I stopped dead in my tracks, stopped everything and got lost in her

“This song comes from a kinder place than some of the others on this record. It steps back and acknowledges self-inflicted pain and the repeated effort to heal,” Jamieson says. “It’s about trying and failing, knowing there is something you’re trying to grasp but that keeps slipping out of your reach. The journey isn’t smooth or pretty but it’s hopeful, and the light starts to creep in once you choose to be honest with yourself.

Directed, edited and shot by Jamieson, the accompanying video captures both the endless passage of time and of change. “I filmed this video over 4 months, between February and May 2022 in my garden, on my cycle journey to work through South East London and several stops along that journey,” Jamieson says. “It started with an interest in how things change, the idea that nothing ever lasts and the healing effect of time – and ended up being a joyous documentation of spring unfolding. The process of making this video has been incredibly healing, and an act of choice in itself – to stop and look up, to find beauty and become intimate with how time moves nature. I noticed details as though I’d never seen them in my life, things I’d always struggled to see from the pit of self-destruction.”

New Audio: Belgian Duo Portland Releases an Atmospheric Ode to Heartbreak and Resolve

Belgian indie pop duo Portland — Jente Pironet and Sarah Pepels — can trace their origins back to when the duo lived at the same student housing unit while studying at Hasselt, Belgium‘s PXL Music School. The duo also a shared the same love of music with a specific soft spot for Elliott Smith. In fact, the project’s name is a nod to Smith’s hometown. From the start, it was clear that the duo had a palpable chemistry: Their voices blend and complement each other perfectly.

The duo took part in and won several local talent competitions before signing to [PIAS] back in 2018. Their full-length debut, 2019’s Your Colours Will Stain was released to critical and commercial acclaim with the album peaking at #6 on the Belgian album charts, thanks to success of the melancholy and dreamy sound of singles like “Killer’s Mind, “Ally Ally” and “You Misread Me.” Adding to a growing profile, the Belgian pop duo made the rounds of the national and international touring circuit with sets at Rock Werchter, Pukklepop, and The Great Escape, as well as several festivals across the Benelux region (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) and France.

Earlier this year, the duo relocated to the UK to record their highly-anticipated, 12-song, sophomore album Departures with Oliver Baystom. Slated for a March 17, 2023 release, the album reportedly sees the duo growing into their own as performers and songwriters. The material is more direct and to the point, while displaying more intricate melodies and arrangements. Casting aside the need to show off their vocal range or tricks on every song, the duo let the songs guide them to find the perfect tone and harmonies to complement the melodies and rhythms. The end result is an album of moving, beautiful and dream-like music.

Departures‘ latest single, the Sarah Pepels-penned “Stardust” is a slow-burning and beguiling song featuring an atmospheric and brooding arrangement of organ, keys and woodwinds. Pepels’ delicate vocal gently tiptoes through the arrangement, with the song and vocalist slowly growing louder and gaining confidence while getting to the song’s chorus. The song is rooted in deeply personal yet universal experience: lost love, lives turned upside down and putting the pieces of a broken life and heart back together while being a celebration of one’s inner strength and resolve.

“In January 2021, I was heartbroken, I had to leave a lot of memories and a part of my life, my love, behind,” Portland’s Sarah Pepels explains. “I didn’t know where to go, but I knew, I had to write music to put those thoughts and heavy emotions into. I needed to be alone, so I went cat-sitting at my niece’s apartment. I locked myself up for four days with nothing but the warmth and company of the furry kittens. It turned out to be a very intense and cathartic journey. And so ‘Stardust, a song that means the world to me, was born.”

M. Byrd is a German-born and based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalists and producer, who can trace the origins of music career, and his passion for music to when he was small: When Byrd was three, he played drums in front of the TV. Eventually, he found his dad’s guitar. Encouraged by a teacher, he picked up electric guitar and attended countless roots jam sessions at local joints. Influenced by Alice Coltrane, Tom Petty, Elliott Smith and David Lynch, Byrd began writing his own material.

The German-born and-based artist turned heads back in 2020 with the release of “Mountain” and “Morning Sun,” tracks that amassed millions of streams and praise from Ones to Watch, Earmilk, Atwood Magazine and several others while firmly cementing his sound and approach: Byrd’s work pairs intensely personal songwriting with shoegazer textures and pop accessibility.

At the end of 2020, Byrd along with producer Eugen Koop holed up in Detmold, Germany in a WWII-era British Corps squash hall, turned recording studio, where they worked on The Seed, the German artist’s forthcoming, full-length debut, an effort that sees Byrd personally playing guitar, synths and bass. The album’s material reportedly draws you in to inspire your own evolution. As Byrd says ““When you listen to the album, I hope you feel like you can grow with me. Maybe you’ll find confidence in yourself. We’re planting this thought with The Seed.

The German artist’s latest single “Over You/Over Me” features Byrd’s plaintive and balmy vocals floating over a textured, shoegazer-like soundscape paired with a motorik groove and an enormous hook. Much like his previously released work, the new single is rooted in a bright, hopeful sense of the future.

“I dreamt there were snakes all over my apartment,” Byrd recalls. “A snake is a symbol for drastic change in your life and you’re repressing it. There’s a lot of change for  me.  I’m  starting  to  be  a  full-time  musician.  There’s  still  a  pandemic.  I  tried  to  dress  up  this darkness nicely. I talked to a friend who is into interpreting dreams, and she said that snakes in dreams meant that I was going through a profound change in my life. I remembered a quote I once read in an essay by Freud:  ‘A  dream  is  the  liberation  of  the  spirit  from  the  pressure  of  external  nature,  a detachment of the soul from the restraints of matter.”

The Seed is slated for release next year through Nettwerk Music Group.

Me.Kai is a singer/songwriter and guitarist, who began her career busking on Santa Barbara‘s streets covering an eclectic array of artists including Ella Fitzgerald and Dua Lipa, among others. Gradually transitioning from cover artist to solo artist, she became a staple in her hometown’s music scene, collaborating with of Area 51, Everything’s Fine, and a number of up-and-coming producers, including Gold Man and Burko. She has developed and honed a genre-blending style and sound that draws from Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks, and her love of bass heavy, indie electro pop.

Some of her songs have landed on Insomniac’s In/Rotation Label list, and several high-profile Spotify playlists. She has also had some of her work appear in the Netflix series All American. Building upon a growing profile, the Santa Barbara-based artist plans to be very busy: a number of collaborations with popular EDM producers and her debut EP are slated to on the horizon in the upcoming months.

But in the meantime, her latest single “Bump in the Night,” is a sultry and accessible bop centered around the Santa Barbara-based artist’s coquettish, come hither delivery and a breezy production featuring looping and glistening guitars, wobbling tweeter and woofer rattling low end, dancehall-like riddims and twinkling synths. Seemingly drawing from contemporary pop, dancehall and Quiet Storm soul, “Bump in the Night” is a song full of carnal longing and desire with a narrator boldly expressing that she has sexual needs that need to be fulfilled — tonight.

New Video: Aussie Artist Matt Corby Shares an Absurd and Hilarious Visual for Funky “Problems”

Matt Corby is a multi-award winning Australian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Corby’s latest single “Problems” is the first bit of new material from the acclaimed Aussie artist since 2020’s standalone singles “If I Never Say A Word” and “Vitamin” — and the first single on his new label, UK-based Communion Music

“Problems” can trace its origins to earlier this year: On the day Corby was going to start recoding his new album, he and his family were rescued by a neighbor. Their home had been engulfed by floodwaters that raged through Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. After nervously watching his very pregnant partner and young son be whisked away in a small, inflatable dinghy, he got to work ferrying provisions to stranded neighbors and locals and digging rotting mud out from beneath his home. 

Within a week of the flood, Corby returned to the studio, and wound up writing and recording “Problems,” a funky R&B-inspired bop centered around a strutting bass line, twinkling keys and boom bap-like drumming paired with the Aussie artist’s plaintive crooning and his unerring knack for well-placed, razor sharp hooks. Sonically, “Problems” sounds indebted to D’Angelo and Mayer Hawthorne — but while rooted in personal, lived-in experience and astute observation of human behavior and character. The song’s message is a simple and profound one: While maybe your own world is on fire or about to sink under water, the most important thing is that you and your loved ones are alive — and mostly well.

“It’s about how funny humans are creating our own problems and issues that we then have to solve. Or creating problems so difficult we then can’t solve,” Corby says. “And how people talk so much shit and don’t do anything – how we’re setting ourselves up for failure. People want to point the finger but nobody wants to carry anything themselves.” 

Directed and edited by Murli Dhir, the accompanying video for “Problems” stars Rob James McLean, as its protagonist, who projects an absurd ignorance and perhaps even joy in the face of profound, hyperreal disaster: He crawls out of a totaled car with a gleeful glint in his eyes, which he follows with a dance; dancing on a dinghy that’s rapidly taking on water — in the middle of a lake; being taken to a hospital for a potential procedure; and even arrest. Throughout the video, McLean’s expression and body language in the face of disaster and oblivion seems to say “As long as I still have life, I’m good. There’s hope as long as you’re breathing.”

“When I first heard ‘Problems,’ I knew I wanted to make a bright and funny video that showed someone grooving completely oblivious to their problems around them,” Murli Dhir explains. “I thought it’d be interesting to portray serious events in a way that ultimately shows, ‘well, even though nothing is going well right now, I’m still alive and everything will be okay, so i guess it’s not really that bad.’”

New Video: Montreal’s Naomi Shares an Accessible and Infectious Banger

Naomi is a Montréal-based multi-disciplinary artist, who after studying theater, first made a name for herself when she began to land roles on both the small and big screen by the time she turned 14. She also went on to study dance at École de danse contemporaine de Montréal

As a dancer, the Montreal-based multidisciplinary artist has appeared in and/or choreographed music videos for RihannaMarie-MaiCoeur de Pirate and others, as well as for local dance performances. While she was establishing herself as an actor and dancer, the Montreal-based artist quietly developed a passion for singing — without fully giving herself permission to explore it fully. Interestingly, Coeur de Pirate’s Beátrice Martin saw star potential in the Montreal based multi-disciplinary artist and took her under her wing. 

Encouraged by Martin’s mentorship and encourage, Naomi began to realize that she was never far off from making her own music. All that she needed was a bit of a push.

She signed with Bravo Musique, an acclaimed, local tastemaker label, and then began writing her own original material. Since then, she has taken a bold leap into a career as a pop singer and artist. Her first two singles “Tout à nous” and “Zéro stress” have received airplay on WKNDRouge FMArsenal, POP, CVKMand several other regional radio stations across Quebec.

Now, as you might recall, the rising French Canadian artist has also released two more singles this year:

  • The club friendly, Rowan Mercille and Naomi co-written “Semblant,” which I wrote about earlier this year. Centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering trap-meets-Carribbean beats paired with her sultry delivery and an infectious hook, “Semblant” is a remarkably self-assured summertime banger, that also reveals a bonafide superstar in the making. 
  • Pas le temps de jouer,” a slickly produced and self-assured banger centered around shuffling reggaeton-meets-trap beats, glistening synth bursts paired with the rising Canadian artist’s sultry delivery and her seemingly unerring knack for crafting a big, razor sharp hook. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Pas le temps de jouer” is an accessible, summertime bop that will help launch a bonafide superstar into the stratosphere.

Naomi’s latest single “Okay Alright” is a sultry, genre-defying, bop centered around skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap, bursts of strummed guitar and rumbling low end paired with the rising French Canadian’s sultry vocal delivery singing the song’s verses primarily in French and the song’s infectious hook in English. “Okay Alright” continues remarkable run of slickly produced, accessible club bangers, with the English hook seems to have the rising Montreal-based artist reaching for a bigger, global audience outside of the Francophone world. And she does so while retaining the elements of her sound and approach that have won her audiences at home.

Directed by Élise Lussier, the accompanying video for “Okay Alight” stars Naomi and a collection of friends at an abandoned summer camp site, have water gun and water balloon fights, dancing the day and night away, and goofing off. The fun that they have is infectious. And it should remind you of easier, warmer, carefree days.

New Audio: FIOR Shares a Sultry New Bop

Zoe Fioravanti is a rising, self-taught singer/songwriter and pop artist, who can trace the origins of her musical career to her childhood: Fiovaranti’s father, who managed bands in the ’90s gifted her a toy piano that she learned to play by ear when she was just eight. Early on, her self-taught style was heavily influenced by Billy JoelAmy WinehouseAdele, and Michael Jackson

As a teenager, Fiorvanti began writing her own lyrics and making beat-driven pop with elements of funk, soul, disco, electro pop and rock on her computer — while honing her lush and sultry vocal delivery. Drawing from her own life, her material celebrates the kind of vulnerability that leads to true strength while encouraging listeners to not just accept their emotions but to also embrace the importance of speaking their mind. 

Fiorvanti, who writes, records and performs as FIOR spent the past two years writing, recording original material and sharing that music — including her attention grabbing and defiant single “Let Me Go” and the Scott Storch-produced “YOYO (You’re On Your Own),” a sleek, slickly produced, summery banger featuring glistening synths, a strutting disco-inspired bass line, some squiggling Nile Rodgers-like guitar, skittering beats paired with Fioravanti’s self-assured and coquettish delivery and a razor sharp hook.

While being both club and radio friendly, “YOYO” is simultaneously a celebratory tell-off and a relishing of freedom: While the video implies that it’s a celebration of pushing off a dysfunctional and overbearing lover or love interest, it can also be a shitty friend, who’s a cockblock — or an overbearing paramour, who doesn’t quite get that you’re not interested.

The rising pop artist’s latest single “Undercover Lover” continues her ongoing collaboration with Scott Storch — and much like its predecessor will appear on an EP that is currently slated for an early 2023 release. Centered around twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, tweeter and woofer rattling thump paired with Fiorvanti’s sultry delivery and a remarkably catchy hook, “Undercover Lover” has a decidedly 90s synth pop/90s pop sound and feel. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Undercover Lover” serves as a slickly produced vehicle for an artist about to explode into the mainstream.

New Video: Enisa Shares Flirty “Just A Kiss (Muah)”

Rising Albanian-American, Brooklyn-born and-based singer/songwriter, pop artist Enisa is a first generation American, who has spent her whole life preparing for a career in music: Following her graduation from Edward R. Murrow High School, Enisa went on to attend Brooklyn College, where she further honed her sound — a sound that sees her meshing contemporary soul pop with Balkan and Middle Eastern flourishes and a touch of Europop.

The Brooklyn-based artist released a series of distinct covers, which went viral while earning critical acclaim from Complex, XXL, ThisSongIsSick and more. Building upon a growing profile, singles like “Burn This Bridge” and “Wait for Love,” and a guest spot on Scridge and Glenda’s viral smash “Karma (Remix)” amassed over 16 million views and over 3 million streams globally.

Last year was a big year for the rising Brooklyn-based artist: She appeared on the cover of Out Now and made her debut live performances as S.O.B.’s and Sacramento’s Lost In Riddim Festival. She closed out the year amassing over 8 million total followers globally — with 3.8 million on TikTok and over one million YouTube subscribers.

Earlier this year, Enisa released the Fake Love EP, an effort that she describes as “empowering” and “authentic” and features “Tears Hit The Ground and “One Thing.” She also made her television debut on NBC’s American Song Contest, representing her home state of New York. Since then she has over 41 million streams globally and more than 198 million total video views — with her material topping the charts in Nigeria, Gambia, Portugal, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Sri Lanka, India and more.

Building upon growing momentum, her latest single, the Enisa and acclaimed production and songwriting duo Space Primates (Marc Sibley and Nathan Cunningham) co-written “Just A Kiss (Muah)” is a sultry banger, centered around tweeter and woofer rattling thump, bursts of strummed guitar and glistening synth arpeggios and a slick string section and melodic nod to Tarkan’s “Kiss Kiss,” a crowd-pleasing banger over in Turkey. Enisa’s sultry come-hither vocals effortlessly glide over the dance floor friendly, genre-defying production. If there’s one thing to say about the track it’s this: Enisa is about to be a breakout star — and real soon.

“I grew up loving music from all around the world and this one track by Tarkan had a chorus melody that always randomly played through my head growing up, so I knew one day I wanted to put it in a song but make a whole new version with a different concept!” Enisa explains. “I went to the studio with that song in mind and created ‘Just a Kiss (Muah).’ I’d love for the new generation to listen to my song and feel the same way I did with the Tarkan one. “‘Just a Kiss (Muah)’ is about the fun of being a tease when it comes to dating & knowing you have the power to say yes or no! I wanted to make a really catchy, fun, lighthearted song that people can dance to, that also has the element of nostalgia!”

Directed by Azzie Scott, the accompanying video stars the rising Brooklyn-based artist in a flirty and fun nod to Tarkan’s “Kiss Kiss,” that further emphasizes the sultry teasing and desire at the core of the song.