Category: Indie Synth Pop

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Emma Topolski is a London-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist, who’s best known as a member of Laura Marling‘s backing band, a band that’s collaborated with HAIM, Dolly Parton and Marika Hackman, for playing keys and singing background vocals for renowned British emcee Ghostpoet, and as a member of British indie rock Childcare; however, she’s also begun to receive attention with her solo recording project Saint Clair — and with her latest single “Human Touch,” off her forthcoming Ben Raffertie co-produced EP D2, Topolski has begun to cement a growing reputation for crafting slow-burning, sinuous and soulful electro pop with boom bap drum programming and arpeggio synths paired with earnest, thoughtful lyrics conveying the awkward push and pull when suddenly encountering an old flame in a random fashion.

As Topolski explains in press notes, her latest song is inspired by a real-life, personal experience, “‘Human Touch’ is a straight-up break-up anthem. I was in emotional limbo when an ex suddenly appeared at the back of a venue I was playing at, and it completely off-guard. The song is an exploration of that push and pull between resisting the past and moving on for good.”

 

 

New Video: Miami Horrors’ Joshua Moriarty Releases Surreal and Dream-like Visuals for “R.T.F.L.”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the years, you’ve come across a few posts featuring the Melbourne, Australia-based, internationally renowned, indie electro pop act Miami Horror, and as you may recall, the act, which initially formed as a quartet comprised of founding member Benjamin Plant (production), along with Joshua Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Aaron Shanahan (guitar, vocals and production) and Daniel Whitchurch (bass, keys, guitar) released two critically praised albums — their 2010 full-length debut Illumination, which was praised for a sound that drew from Cut Copy, New Order, Prince, Michael Jackson, E.L.O., and their 2013 sophomore effort All Possible Futures, a breezy and summery club banger, inspired by the time the quartet spent in Southern California.

After touring to support All Possible Futures, the band went on an informal hiatus with the band’s Benjamin Plant becoming an in-demand songwriting, co-writing tracks for Client Liaison and Roland Tings, among others. And somehow, the exceptionally busy Plant managed to also find time to write new Miami Horror material — material that would eventually comprise their conceptional EP, The Shapes, an effort that found the newly constituted trio’s sound drawing from Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, Caribbean funk and African percussion while retaining elements of the sound that won them international attention, as you’d hear on the hook-heavy single “Lelia.”

Interestingly, although he’s best known as the vocal behind Miami Horror, Joshua Moriarty has stepped out from behind the band with the release of his solo debut album, War Is Over and while the album’s second single “All I Want Is You” leans much more towards the his work with Miami Horror with nods to Giorgio Moroder-era disco and Tame Impala-like psych pop, the album’s first single “R.T.F.L.” is a decided change in sonic direction with the song leaning towards contemporary electro pop and electro soul — and while there is a plaintive and carnal sensuality within the song that feels expected, the song also manages to possess a thoughtful earnest, based on actual, lived-in, personal experience.

Directed by Thomas Russell and filmed by David McKinner, and starring Joshua Moriarty and Morgan Rayner, the recently released video is  a surreal and feverish dream that undulates with a carnal vulnerability and need. 

New Video: King Artur, One-Third of Finnish, Electro Pop Act Beverly Girl Releases Atmospheric, Solo, Single

King Artur is a singer/songwriter and steel guitarist, who splits time between his Helsinki, Finland and New York, and is best known as being a member of renowned Finnish electro pop/electro funk act Beverly Girl — although he has collaborated with the likes of Bill Laswell, James Chance, Defunkt’s Joseph Bowie and The Campbell Brothers and others, as well as played at SummerStage, Flow Festival and Pride Helsinki; however, as a solo artist, King Artur’s work finds him pairing his steel guitar with unorthodox synth and electronica-leaning soundscapes as you’ll hear on his atmospheric, solo debut “Talk My Shadow,” a single, which interestingly enough reminds me of Beacon’s For Now EP and The Ways We Separate as swirling synths are paired with finger snaps, thumping beats and King Arthur’s breathy cooing to create a song that’s darkly seductive. 

Directed by renowned Finnish director Jarno Marjamäki, the slick, hyper modern video features King Arthur and Finnish dancer Sanna Hoang in a series of artsy yet surreal scenarios.