Category: Indie Synth Pop

New Video: Introducing the Soaring and Anthemic Synth Pop of Up-and-Coming Italian Synthwave Act YOOP

Comprised of Luca Sammartini and Valentina Sicco, YOOP are an up-and-coming Vicenza, Italy-based synthwave/synth pop act, who released their full-length debut effort Take Shelter earlier this month, and with the release of slickly produced album single “Rainbow,” the duo’s sound that seems to draw influence from Tears for Fears and contemporaries like Moonbabies, St. Lucia and Washed Out, as they pair soaring and anthemic hooks with a production featuring shimmering arpeggiated synths, propulsive, tweeter and woofer rocking, industrial-like beats, a sinuous bass line and angular guitar chords — and while managing to be arena rock friendly and a club banger, the track possesses an aching yearning at its core.

The recently released video follows a dream-like logic in which a woman wakes up to find herself tied to a chair and as soon as she escapes, where she spends a dizzying period seeking something just out of her grasp through a series of rooms and staircases.

Cal Young is a Hobart, Australia-based electronic music producer and artist, who began his career as one-half of the applauded The Scientists Of Modern Music, an act that once received praise for an energetic and engaging live set, playing at some of their homeland’s biggest festivals, opening for national touring acts, as well as headlining clubs across Australia.

Although they received some success, The Scientists Of Modern Music split up with its members going on to pursue their own creative pursuits with Young famously collaborating with fellow Hobart, Australia-based singer/songwriter Asta, who received national acclaim with “My Heart Is On Fire,” a track helped her win Triple J’s Unearthed High and landed at number 50 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 Countdown, and its follow up “I Need Answers.

Building upon the success he received working with Asta, Young felt inspired to go solo with his own recording project KOWL, a project that finds Young combining the creativity of hardware and select sound formats from other projects and melding them together with a pop sensibility in what he believes is a fresh, new approach to songwriting and production. Young’s latest single as KOWL, “You & Me” is a swaggering and slickly produced track which features a looped, funky bass line, stomping beat, shimmering arpeggiated synths — and interestingly enough, the track manages to sound as though it nods at 80s synth funk, Illumination-era Miami Horror and others.

 

New Audio: Jono Ma’s Lysergic Remix of The Babe Rainbow’s Sweaty Dance Floor Friendly Single “Monkey Disco”

Earlier this fall, I wrote about the Bryon Bay, Australia-based band The Babe Rainbow. The up-and-coming act which is comprised of Bryon Bay, Australia-born and-based founding members Jack “Cool-Breeze” and Angus Darling The Hothouse Flower and Venezuelan-born pianist Lu-Lu-Felix Domingo can trace their origins to when its founding duo started a songwriting partnership while in middle school; however, the project started in earnest in late 2015 when the founding duo met Venezuelan-born pianist Domingo while they were traveling in France.

Now, as you may recall, the trio’s self-titled debut was produced by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Stu Mackenzie, and from album single “Johny Stays Cool,” the band specializes in lo-fi, off-kilter funk inspired by African Diaspora-like rhythms and a breezy, Tropicalia-like melody and much like The B52s, the song found the trio managing to mischievously evoke 60s psych pop and surf rock. However, album single “Monkey Disco” finds the trio nodding at sweaty, tribal house, Afropop and Fear of Music-era Talking Heads, with the Australian band pulling their lo-fi sound into the early 80s while retaining its off-kilter, quirky quality. 

Interestingly, Jagwar Ma’s Jono Ma recently remixed the song and while retaining the sweaty tribal house feel of the song, he adds thumping drum beats and extends the song’s infectious hook and driving groove, adding a lysergic sheen to an already dance floor friendly song. 

With the release of their debut single Spanish Disco, the Vienna, Austria-based indie electro pop duo Leyya, comprised of Sophie Lindinger and Marco Kleebauer quickly received both national and international attention, thanks to the success of viral hit single “Superego,” which received nearly 3 million streams on Spotify. Adding to a growing profile, the duo played some of the European Union’s biggest music festivals including The Great Escape, Liverpool Sound City, Tallinn Music Week, Primavera Sound, Reeperbahn Festival, Iceland Airwaves and a headlining set at Popfest. Along with that the duo have received airplay on Huw Stephens‘ and Phil Taggart‘s BBC Radio 1 shows and Lauren Laverne‘s BBC Radio 6 show, been playlisted on Germany’s Radio 1, as well as praise from Pigeons and PlanesWonderland MagazineClash Magazine, Konbini, The 405 and Consequence of Sound among others.

The duo’s highly anticipated sophomore effort Sauna is slated for a January 26, 2018 release, and the album’s latest single “Drumsolo” will further cement their reputation for crafting ambient and moody electro pop but while revealing that the duo have expanded their sound quite a bit, as the song finds the duo with a subtly layered sound nodding at hip-hop, R&B and jazz in a way that reminds me of BRAIDS and Softspot but with a coquettish and swaggering self-assuredness.

“‘Drumsolo’ is one of our favourite tracks of the new album, ” the duo told NOISEY. “On the one hand, it’s very complex (at one point, it doesn’t even make sense ‘music theoretically’). But, on the other hand, the melody is very catchy, so you don’t notice its quirkiness; that’s what we always wanted our tracks to be like: different layers to discover depending on the listener’s mood.”

 

 

New Video: The Retro-Futuristic Sounds and Visuals of Gel Set’s “Bounce”

Gel Set is the solo recording project of Los Angeles, CA-based multimedia artist, producer and electronic music artist Laura Callier, and with singles “Don’t You Miss Me” and “Bounce” off her recently released album Body Copy, Collier specializes in a minimalist synth pop that simultaneously nods at the Manchester sound, early house music, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and Soft Metals‘ chilly yet sensual Lenses complete with an appropriate dance floor friendly thump — but paired with deeply personal, almost journal-like lyrics, delving into the psyche and psychology of its narrator.

Directed by Jason Ogawa, the recently releaed video for “Bounce” features animation by Justin Thyme projected onto an enormous screen in an empty studio, and throughout people are seen just on the outskirts cleaning or fixing things, and fittingly enough, the video manages to evoke a similar retro-futuristic vibe. 

Sacre is a Parisian electro pop production and artist duo, who have started to receive attention across the blogosphere for a slick production featuring cosmic ray-like synths and tweeter and woofer rocks that’s been described by several sites as being reminiscent of Daft Punk and Justice, among others — and while that may be debatable, the duo’s latest single “Stereo” is an incredibly self-assured track that manages featuring a coquettish and ethereal, female-led hook, shimmering arpeggiated synths and tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a soulful male vocal and a swaggering 16 bars or so from up-and-coming French rapper Dopize. But underneath the swaggering nature of the song manages to capture the swooning, first realization of being stupidly, madly in love with someone — all while being a radio friendly, club banger.

New Video: The Funky Retro-futuristic Visuals and Sounds of Austin’s Neosho

Comprised of Missouri-born Jackson Bennett (vocals, production) and Oklahoma-born Justin Bernard Williams (production, samplers, synths, saxophone), the Austin, TX-based electronic music production and artist duo Neosho can trace their origins to when the duo met on an online forum for introspective, extroverted Ableton artists called solipsism. Once Bennett  and Williams realized that they were different types of weird, they tentatively agreed to start a band — and initially, they started out as a duo and later expanded into a quartet on two different occasions before finally settling as a duo. Interestingly, the duo derive their name from the river and town Neosho, which is on the border of Oklahoma and Missouri. 

Sonically speaking the duo have received attention across Austin for a strutting and swaggering sound based around driving grooves, boom bap-like drum programming, stuttering samples, shimmering synths and soulful blasts of horns as you’ll hear on “Time Traveler,” a single off the duo’s recently released debut effort Borderline — and while reminding listeners of Detroit’s Griz and others, the song reveals a duo whose sound draws from hip hop, house music and John Carpenter soundtracks.

Directed by the duo’s Justin Bernard Williams, the recently released video consists of computer generated animation cut with footage of a jeans and cowboy boot wearing man walking forward and backwards, as though they entered a wormhole. It’s trippy yet swaggering visuals that emphasize the song’s swaggering nature. 

If you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of the year, you’ve likely come across a few posts featuring San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones, and as you may recall, the duo comprised of Jonathan Rosen, a pop music influenced, acclaimed hand-drawn animator,  who has created music videos Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve, whose own rock ‘n’ roll dream started in earnest when he played Johnny Thunders for the HBO series Vinyl; and Michael Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial/film composer and experimental sound artist can trace the origins of their collaborative project together to when they began playing together as members of NYC-based indie rock Icewater. Eventually. the members of Icewater began playing as the session and touring band for Eleanor Friedberger’s New View.

While touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, and ultimately, they decided that the project should fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation. Shortly after the tour to support New View, the Rosen Brothers along with a bunch of friends, associates and collaborators wrote and then recorded the material that comprised their debut EP Whatever You’re Into, which featured single “Echoes On,” a single that paired Jonathan’s dreamy falsetto with a twangy, psych country-like arrangement with a breeziness reminiscent of 70s AM radio. “Back In The Brain” further cemented their growing reputation for crafting breezy and ethereal synth pop with soaring hooks — but with that song, there was a darker undertone, as it was an ode to solitude.

The duo’s latest single “Later” while retaining the shimmering and atmospheric synth-led arrangements that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere, may arguably be one of their most dance floor friendly with the duo subtly nodding to disco and electro pop thanks to a two-step inducing bridge, which gives the song a playful, funky air; however, as the band’s Jonathan Rosen explains, the song is much more ambivalent than what you’d expect, “I wrote ‘Later’ a few years ago when I was moving back home to California from New York. I finished it on Highway 1. It captures that moment in a breakup when you finally start to find peace, but some of that bitterness is still hanging around. It was originally a bit somber, but Michael and I realized it worked pretty well as a dance track, so we went for it.”

 

Megan Bülow is a 17 year-old Dutch pop artist, best known as Bülow, who recently released her debut Damaged, Vol. 1 and its lead single “This Is Not A Love Song” is an an incredibly self-assured and sultry track consisting of Bülow’s smoky crooning over a slick and contemporary production featuring finger snaps, layers of arpeggiated synths and tweeter and woofer rocking beats. And the first time I heard the song, I was immediately reminded of Phoebe Ryan, Chelsea Lankes and others, as the song is rooted around a fearlessly unvarnished honesty, capturing the messiness, uncertainties, insecurities of a young woman trying to maneuver love, life and her independence; in fact, as Bülow explains “This Is ‘Not A Love Song’ is about the excitement of meeting someone for the first time. Initially it feels so new and overwhelmingly good, but eventually I decided I wasn’t ready for that commitment. Or at least that’s what I told myself. You can’t let lust fool you. Be honest with yourself, If it’s not meant to be it’s not meant to be, but doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!”

 

 

 

 

Rue Snider is a Brooklyn-based folk singer/songwriter, who since his debut in 2012 has developed a reputation for writing material with an unvarnished honesty, a relentless touring schedule of more than 100 shows a year, opening for the likes of Lydia Loveless, Squirrel Nut Zippers‘ Tom Maxwell, Superhuman Happiness, Benjamin Scheuer, Blue Healer, Donna Missal and The Silos‘ Walter Salas-Humara, and for collaborating with the likes of Jon Estes, who’s played with Ruby Amanfu and Steelism, Rubblebucket‘s David Cole, Derrek C. Philips and others. Adding to a growing profile, “Speak My Mind,” the EP title track of his most recent Andrija Tokic-produced EP, Speak My Mind was featured as song 80 of the politically charged, 1,000 Days, 1,000 Songs project.

Interestingly, Snider was impressed by Brooklyn-based producer and electronic music artist Brothertiger‘s re-imainging of Tears for FearsSongs from the Big Chair and asked  him to remix the EP’s sole love song, “Moving Me,” and Brothertiger turns the sparsely arranged, singer/songwriter ballad into a decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired track featuring shimmering arpeggiated synths and big, gated reverb-based beats over which Snider’s plaintive vocals float ethereally — and while further cementing the Brooklyn-based producer’s reputation for a sound that’s reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Washed Out and Moonbabies, Brothertigter retains the song’s swooning Romanticism and honesty.

 

 

 

 

 

The new single releasing November 3 is called “Moving Me (Brothertiger Remix).” The original version was part of a very political EP. We took the one love song from that package and had Brothertiger give it a chill wave makeover. Brothertiger’s reimagining of “Songs From the Big Chair” by Tears for Fears is what made us want to work with him.