Category: Indie Synth Pop

I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed, New York-based electro pop duo Sofi Tukker over the past handful of years, and as you may recall with the release of their debut EP Soft Animals and a lengthy list of blogosphere dominating singles, including “Awoo,” a mischievous collaboration with vocalist Betta Lemme; as well as recently released singles “Energia,” “Fuck They,” international smash hit “Best Friend,” which received a Grammy nomination and was featured in an ad campaign for the iPhone X; and Baby I’m a Queen,” which they performed on Conan

Building on a growing internationally recognized profile, the duo comprised of  Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut, Treehouse next week, and interestingly the album’s latest single “Batshit” finds Halpern taking up lead vocal duties within a swaggering house music production, which features tweeter and woofer rocking beats, blasts of disco-tinged guitar, subtle hints of tribal percussion and heavily arpeggiated synths — and while the song is a sinuous and seductive, it furthers the duo’s reputation for mischievous club bangers; but at the same time, the track finds Halpern introducing himself to the world as being absolutely out of his gourd. 

Along with the release of the album’s latest single, the duo announced the first part of their world tour to support their full-length debut, and the tour includes a sold out April 21, 2018 stop at Brooklyn Steel. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
4/18: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
4/19: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
4/21: Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel (SOLD OUT)
4/21: Brooklyn, NY @ Schimanski (DJ SET)
4/23: Providence, RI @ The Met
4/25: Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair (SOLD OUT)
4/26: Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair (SOLD OUT)
4/27: Montreal, QC @ Théâtre Corona (SOLD OUT)
4/27: Montreal, QC @ Newspeak (DJ SET)
4/28: Toronto, ON @ The Danforth Music Hall (SOLD OUT)
4/30: Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
5/1: Detroit, MI @ El Club
5/2: Chicago, IL @ Metro
5/4: Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Café
5/5: Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
5/7: Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (Upstairs)
5/8: Dallas, TX @ House of Blues (SOLD OUT)
5/9: Austin, TX @ Vulcan Gas Co
5/11: Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre
5/12: Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
5/14: Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
5/16: Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre (SOLD OUT)
5/17: Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
5/18: Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
5/20: Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
5/21: Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
5/22: Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
5/23-5/28: Bradley, CA @ Lightning in a Bottle Festival
5/26 Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
5/27: San Diego, CA @ Observatory North Park
6/7: Tel Aviv, Israel @ Hangar 11
6/8-6/9: Kaltenberg, Germany @ PULS Open Air
6/29: St. Gallen, Switzerland @ OpenAir Festival
7/11-7/14: Bern, Switzerland @ Gurtenfestival
7/13: Madrid, Spain @ Mad Cool Festival
7/27: Moscow, Russia @ Park Live Festival
8/11: Budapest, Hungary @Sziget Festival
8/11-8/12: Buftea, Romania @ Summerwell Festival
8/17: Kiewet, Belgium @ Pukkelpop Festival
8/17-8/19: Biddinghuizen, Netherlands @ Lowlands Festival
9/8: Berlin, Germany @ Lollapalooza
9/21-9/22: Ithaca, NY @ Cayuga Sound Festival

 

 

 

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays No Joy with Sonic Boom Release Surreal and Experimental Visuals for Their Most Unusual Song To Date

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you would have seen that I’ve written quite a bit about Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based shogeaze duo No Joy, and as you may recall, the duo, which is comprised of primary songwriter Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd can trace their origins to when White-Gluz, who was then living in Los Angeles began collaborating with the Montreal-based Lloyd via email — and their collaboration eventually lead to White-Gluz returning to Montreal, so that they could play their first show, with Husker Du’s Grant Hart. As the story goes, after that show, White and Gluz continued collaborating, playing a number of shows locally, including with Best Coast, whose frontwoman Bethany Cosentino became an early champion of the act. 

Building upon the growing buzz surround the Montreal-based duo, White-Gluz and Lloyd signed to renowned indie label Mexican Summer, who released their debut 7 inch single “No Summer”/”No Joy,” an effort that allowed them to book their own national headlining tour with Katy Goodman’s, La Sera. The 7 inch quickly sold out, and by November 2010, the duo released their full-length debut Ghost Blonde to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork, AllMusic.com, The New York Times, Brooklyn Vegan, The Guardian and others. No Joy followed that with the British release of the “Hawaii” 7 in, a release that featured a remix of “Indigo Child,” by Stereolab‘s Tim Gane, which they supported with a UK tour with  Surfer Blood, an opening spot in London for Wire, and an appearance at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival.

The  members of No Joy spent the better part of 2011 touring across North America — and it included a busy SXSW schedule, a tour with Vivian Girls, and a co-headling tour with Marnie Stern with whom they released a split single, which featured No Joy’s cover of the Shangri-La’s “He Cried.” Since then, the band has released 2012’s Negaverse EP and Wait to Pleasure, 2013’s Pastel and Pass Out EP, 2015’s More Faithful, 2016’s Drool Sucker, the first of a planned series of EPs and last year’s Creep, which was released through the band’s new label Grey Market Records.

Interestingly, this year finds No Joy’s White-Gluz collaborating with Spacemen 3‘s and E.A.R.’s Sonic Boom (a.k.a. Peter Kember), and although the collaborators can’t accurately remember how they met or when they met, what they do clearly remember is that the idea of collaborating together was brought up in an email exchange back in 2015. At the time, No Joy had finishing touring to support their third album More Faithful, an album that the duo has considered one of their most difficult and demanding efforts they’ve worked on together, and White-Gluz was eager to try new ideas and do something different. “No Joy functioned as a four-piece ‘rock band’ for so long,” White-Gluz explains in press notes. “I wanted to pursue something solo where I collaborated with someone else who could help me approach my songs from a completely different angle. Pete is a legend and someone I’ve admired for a long time. Being able to work with him on this was incredible.”

Initially, the collaboration began as a bit of exploration between two friends, who admired each other’s work with each one passing songs back and and forth with White-Gluz writing and producing songs in her hometown of Montreal and Kember writing, arranging, and producing in Portugal. The end result was their collaborative EP together — four tracks that reportedly walk the tightrope between electronica, trip hop and experimental noise.  As White-Gluz says in press notes, “I wrote some songs that were intended for a full band and handed them off to Pete, who helped transform them. I barely knew how to use MIDI so I was just throwing him these experiments I was working on and he fine-tuned my ideas. There are barely any guitars on this album, because I was focused on trying to find new ways to create sounds.”

The EP’s latest single “Triangle Probably,” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor “Slorb,” as it features a minimalist production featuring swirling wobbling electronics, twinkling and droning synths and industrial clang and clatter paired with  Gluz-White’s ethereal crooning, which make the song one of the most experimental songs not the EP, as it finds the duo nodding at Amnesiac and Kid A-era Radiohead — but with murky feel. 

Created by Jacob Cooper and Ride or Cry, the recently released video for “Triangle Probably,” features live screen grabs from independent, open source and free Unity/3D simulators and the hodgepodge nature further emphasizes the experimental tone and vibe of the song.

New Video: Up-and-Coming Finnish Electronic Music Producer and Artist NightStop Releases Creepy Visuals for Brooding Album Single “Under the Killing Moon”

Last month, I wrote about the  Jyväskylä, Finland-born and-based, up-and-coming Finnish electronic music producer and artist Ere Ek, who started the 80s cyberpunk soundtrack-inspired project NightStop back in 2012. Since then, Ek has seen a growing profile across Europe and Russia’s tight-knit DIY scene, steadily touring and releasing both cassette and vinyl releases. Now, the Chicago, IL-based label No Trend Records, the label home of Ganser, Absolutely Not and others will be releasing a vinyl edition of NightStop’s most recent effort, Dancing Killer on March 30, 2018 — and as you may recall, although the album has already seen a digital release, Ek included a pulsating John Carpenter meets Umberto-like single “Phantasmagoria,” as a bonus digital track for the album. Interestingly, while that track cemented his reputation for crafting brooding and cinematic retro-futuristic electro pop; however, it may arguably be one of the most dance floor friendly tracks he’s released to date. 

Building upon the buzz surrounding the vinyl release of Dancing Killer, the up-and-coming Finnish electronic music producer and artist recently released the incredibly creepy, stop animation based video for “Under the Killer Moon,” by Tommi Niukkanen. As far as the single, it’s a retro-futuristic and broodingly cinematic track featuring layers of shimmering, arpeggiated synths and thumping beats — and while clearly being indebted to the aforementioned John Carpenter and Umberto, it may also be the most menacing track of the entire album. 

New Audio: Acclaimed, Indie Electro Pop Act Colouring Release an Anthemic, Club Friendly Banger

Colouring is an acclaimed London-based indie pop quartet, who will be releasing their highly anticipated full-length debut later this year, and the forthcoming album’s latest single “Time” manages to further reputation for crafting soulful and infectious hook-driven pop that’s equally arena and radio friendly — and in a way that will likely remind some listeners of United and Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix-era Phoenix; but while pairing it with lyrics that focus the dizzying frustration of writer’s block with a psychological realism of someone who has suffered through it quite a bit. 

New Video: The Stark Sounds and Visuals of The Soft Moon’s “Give Something”

Luis Vasquez is an Oakland, CA-based singer/songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the critically applauded industrial/dark wave/post-punk recording project The Soft Moon. Vasquez’s latest Soft Moon album, the recently released Criminal is reportedly one of his most confessional albums he has released to date, as the material is written through a stark lens of shame and guilt, in which the material thematically focuses on a man at war with himself, battling with self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement paired with the fear of those things transforming him into the type of person he normally despises.

Criminal’s latest single is the broodingly stark and atmospheric “Give Something,” a track that pairs his falsetto with thumping beats, razor sharp synths and industrial clang and clatter. Interestingly, as Vasquez explains in press notes, the track focuses on his inability to reciprocate love and tenderness to another person. “Having no control over the constant urge to sabotage all things that are good for me, there is irony and frustration in knowing that in the end, the impossibility of love is what ultimately will save me from my myself.” It’s a plaintive and gut wrenchingly urgent call for help from a deeply troubled, emotionally damaged yet incredibly self-aware person.

Directed by Kelsey Henderson and featuring video effects and color by Victoria Keddie, the recently released video for “Give Something” focuses on a split screen throughout — one the left, a topless woman with her back to the screen and a couple seemingly in the middle of intense coitus, with the same woman from the left hand side grabbing and scratching the back of her lover with a desperate, painful grip that leaves marks. At points the visuals go through stuttering visual effects that on one level makes it look as though the woman may be abusing herself  — or her lover — out of selfish motivations.

New Video: The Dramatic and Vivid Visuals for Uppermost’s “Perseverance”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Paris, France-based electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist, Behad Netjabakshe, best known in electronic music circles as Uppermost. And as you may recall, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist has developed an internationally recognized profile with the release of material through renowned labels like Sony BMG, Ministry of Sound, BugEyed Records, Starlight Records and his own Uppwind Records; in fact, singles like “Equivocal” landed at #3 back in 2009 and his Biscuit Factory EP landed at #1 on the JunoDownload electro-house charts. Additionally, Netjabakshe has received attention for his remixes of  Daft Punk, deadmau5, Burial, Crystal Castles, Jonathan Coulton, Syl Johnson, Congorock and others — and he’s had his work playlist by a number of superstar producers and artists including  Tiesto, Armin van Buren and Steve Angello.

Las year, saw the release of Origins 2011-2016, a comprehensive compilation that featured ed some of Netjabakshe’s most popular tunes, including “Flashback,” “Beautiful Light,” “Reminder” and “Mistakes,” as well as new, original material including the shimmering and anthemic M83-channeling singles “Thousand Colors,” and “Emotion,” the Pink Floyd-channeling,  cinematic “Reminder,” the 45:33 and Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem-leaning “Alive,” and a lush, cinematic rendition of “Constellation” performed with members of the Paris Symphonic Orchestra. Origins 2011-2016‘s highly anticipated follow up, Perseverance officially dropped today, and the album reportedly features some the most personal and impassioned material Netjabakshe has released to date while collaborating with vocalists with backgrounds in folk, hip-hop and pop.

Last month, I wrote about the album track “Atoms,” a collaboration with Birsen that paired her gossamer-crooning with arpeggiated analog synths, a motorik-like groove and an infectious hook — and while being both dance floor and radio friendly, the song possessed an aching humanity, as it pointed out humanity’s vulnerability and smallness in an incomprehensibly immense universe.  Building upon the buzz around the album, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist released the album’s latest single, the swaggering “Perseverance,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter Harry Pane, that pairs Pane’s soulful vocals with an ominously thumping production consisting of twitter and woofer rocking beats and arpeggiated synths and an anthemic hook; but despite the seemingly ominous vibes, the song is actually extremely uplifting, as it features lyrics that focus on determination, dedication and — well yeah, perseverance in the face of life’s obstacles.

Directed by Joseph B. Carlin, the recently released video, which features live action and animation follows as a frustrated yet determined painter (Sebastian Iturria) through both his daily routine, commuting to his cramped studio. Despite the fact that throughout most of the video, it’s implied that Iturria’s painter is extremely talented, he’s in the middle of a creative rut in which he either feels uninspired or everything he tries to create feels uninspired before a deep dive into the artist’s bright and Dada-eqsue inner world.

 

Palace Winter is a Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo, comprised of Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born and-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager. Individually, Coleman and Hesselager have played in a number of different bands over the years, but they were familiar with each other, and along with a mutual appreciation of a strong melody and melodic sensibility, and a mutual appreciation for each other’s writing styles, the duo were encouraged to start writing together.

2015 saw the release of their debut single, which followed-up with 2016’s debut EP Medication and their full-length debut Waiting for the World to Turn, all of which were released through Copenhagen-based label Tambourhinoceros to critical applause from the likes of The Guardian, NME, The Line of Best Fit, and airplay from KCRW, KEXP, Norway’s P3, Denmark’s P6, as well as by BBC Radio personalities Guy Garvey, Lauren Laverne and Tom Ravenscroft. Oh and let’s not forget, they have a Hype Machine #1 under their belts. Adding to a growing profile, they’ve opened for Noel Gallagher, played sets on the European festival circuit, including Meltdown Festival curated by the aforementioned Guy Garvey, Roskilde Festival, Green Man Festival, Sziget Festival, Latitude Festival and Secret Garden Party among others.
Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of Palace Winter will be releasing their sophomore album Nowadays on May 4, 2018 and the album will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting atmospheric and melodic synth pop that decidedly nods at 80s synth pop and Junip, as their material is largely centered around ethereal synths/keys, strummed rhythm guitar and an insistent, propulsive beat
as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Empire.” However, underneath the breezy, radio friendly yet cinematic air is material that thematically focuses on the loss of innocence and the tough, and sobering life lessons of adulthood — but with the recognition of the freedom and power of taking charge of your life.

 

 

 

White China is an up-and-coming indie pop act, currently comprised of Gianluca Buccellati, who is based in New York and his brother Sanj Buccellati and Aaron Bernards, who are both based in Los Angeles, and with the release of a handful of singles, the trio have received attention for a sound that’s been described as “boujee cowboy music.” Although with “Freak Dreams,” the latest single off their forthcoming full-length debut, I, strikes me as eerily atmospheric and introspective pop, that brings to mind the likes of Beacon, Seoul and others as shimmering and gently undulating synths and ethereal crooning float over a motorik groove.

Interestingly, the song as the band’s Gianluca Buccellati explains was inspired by “a phase where I was saying out late. I would see the sunrise frequently,” and asking yourself “are we going to keep this up, or is it time to go home?” Certainly, if you’re a night owl, that question is a familiar one, as you’re stumbling home yet again at 6am from some club or some bar, with the sad recognition that you’re not getting any younger.

 

 

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Paris, France-based electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist, Behad Netjabakshe, best known in electronic music circles as Uppermost. And as you may recall, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist has developed an internationally recognized profile with the release of material through renowned labels like Sony BMGMinistry of SoundBugEyed RecordsStarlight Records and his own Uppwind Records; in fact, singles like “Equivocal” landed at #3 back in 2009 and his Biscuit Factory EP landed at #1 on the JunoDownload electro-house charts. Additionally, Netjabakshe has received attention for his remixes of  Daft Punkdeadmau5BurialCrystal CastlesJonathan CoultonSyl JohnsonCongorock and others — and he’s had his work playlist by a number of superstar producers and artists including  TiestoArmin van Buren and Steve Angello.

Las year, saw the release of Origins 2011-2016, a comprehensive compilation that featured ed some of Netjabakshe’s most popular tunes, including “Flashback,” “Beautiful Light,” “Reminder” and “Mistakes,” as well as new, original material including the shimmering and anthemic M83-channeling singles “Thousand Colors,” and “Emotion,” the Pink Floyd-channeling,  cinematic “Reminder,” the 45:33 and Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem-leaning “Alive,” and a lush, cinematic rendition of “Constellation” performed with members of the Paris Symphonic OrchestraOrigins 2011-2016‘s highly anticipated follow up, Perseverance is slated for release this Friday, and the album reportedly features some the most personal and impassionaied material Netjabakshe has released to date while collaborating with vocalists with backgrounds in folk, hip-hop and pop.

Last month, I wrote about the album track “Atoms,” a collaboration with Birsen that paired her gossamer-crooning with arpeggiated analog synths, a motorik-like groove and an infectious hook — and while being both dance floor and radio friendly, the song possessed an aching humanity, as it pointed out humanity’s vulnerability and smallness in an incomprehensibly immense universe.  Building upon the buzz around the album, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist released the album’s latest single, the swaggering “Perseverance,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter Harry Pane, that pairs Pane’s soulful vocals with an ominously thumping production consisting of twitter and woofer rocking beats and arpeggiated synths and an anthemic hook; but despite the seemingly ominous vibes, the song is actually extremely uplifting, as it features lyrics that focus on determination, dedication and — well yeah, perseverance in the face of life’s obstacles.

 

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo dream pop/electro pop project Summer Heart has received attention for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop in a way that’s been compared favorably to CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others, and for being considered among the first wave of Sweden’s renowned contemporary electro pop and dream pop movement, which also includes MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

Alexander with his 12 Songs of Summer has added his name to an increasing list of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series, and as you can imagine doing so, manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively, the artist isn’t constrained by having to write material with a cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would be required to do in terms of writing for a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with songs within strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Interestingly enough, the monthly song series manages to capture the emotional highs and lows of a year of the artist’s life in a way that can feel like an audio journal. Financially, artists who are struggling to find ways to fund their efforts recording and touring can split their costs over the course of a year, while stretching the recording process to a few days over the course of a year. And in the fickle blogosphere age, releasing a single every month can assure in some fashion that the blogosphere will pay attention to you and your work over the course of a year. As Alexander explains in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”

“Yeah You” is the second single of the 12 Songs of Summer series, and it finds Alexander leaning towards a thumping house meets In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy-like production featuring arpeggiated synths, woofer and tweeter rocking beats and anthemic hook — and while being a rousing, crowd pleasing track that features Alexander’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix; but while being a club banger, the song possesses a plaintive ache over a dysfunctional and somewhat unrequited love affair while accepting it as an unchangeable part of the past that the song’s narrator will eventually move forward from. As Alexander says of the song, it’s “about feeling alive and having no regrets! It’s about trying to ignore the past since you can’t change. But most of all, it’s about having fun, living in the present.”