Category: Indie Synth Pop

 

Perhaps best known as a designer and creative director of footwear and accessory company Ivy Kirzhener New York, Vero Faye’s footwear line can claim a long list of celebrity clientele including Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Kesha, Lily Collins, Cassie, Jamie Chung and Tori Kelly. And interestingly, as Faye was developing her career as a renowned designer and creative director, she also has a stint as the frontwoman of local metal band AIKOSTAR; however, with her solo recording project CZARINA, Faye has reinvented herself as she’s been crafting synth-based music.

In fact, Faye’s latest CZARINA single “Blaze” is a brooding yet swooning pop track centered around arpeggiated synths and thumping beats manages to sound as though it draws from John Carpenter soundtracks but with a rousingly anthemic hook that gives the song an unexpected radio friendliness.

 

 

 

 

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With the release of her critically applauded full-length debut ABYSS, the Oakland, CA-born, Austin, TX-based electronic music producer and artist Pastel Ghost quickly received attention for an ethereal, genre-defying sound that meshes elements of dream pop, post-punk, EDM and electronica, Building upon a growing profile, the Oakland-born, Austin, TX-based electronic music producer and artist’s sophomore album Ethereality is slated for an October 5, 2018 release through Cleopatra Records and the album’s latest single “Mercury” will further cement Pastel Ghost’s growing reputation for crafting gauzy, shoegazer-like club music that possesses a deeply cinematic bent.

 

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the New Orleans-based pop act People Museum, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of producer/trombonist  Jeremy Phipps, who grew up playing in New Orleans brass bands, marching bands and traditional jazz groups; and Claire Givens, the daughter of an operatic singer and Baptist music minister, who’s a classically trained pianist and choral teacher, who began singing in the churches of rural Northern Louisiana can trace their origins to when they met in 2016.  As the story goes, the duo were eager to start a new musical project that incorporated the feelings and vibes of their hometown but in a non-literal, sincere fashion while drawing from their own personal and professional experiences — Phipps has toured with the likes of Solange, AlunaGeorge and JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket, and Givens’ work continues to draw from  her classical music training.

The duo’s full-length debut I Dreamt You In Technicolor is slated for a September 28, 2018 release and album single “Eye 2 Eye,” which was centered around a regal horn line, stuttering boom bap-like beats, shimmering synths, Givens’ ethereal vocals and a sinuous hook managed to sound as though it drew influence from Omega La La-era Rubblebucket, Superhuman Happiness and Hiatus Kaiyote, as it reveals a duo, who have begun to receive attention for  carefully crafted and breezy, left-field pop. “Bible Belt,” Dreamt You in Technicolor‘s latest single is an atmospheric and moody track centered around twinkling synths, a wobbling horn line, a sinuous hook and Givens’ ethereal vocals fed through distortion and effects pedals. But unlike its predecessor, the song thematically focuses on the sobering loss of innocence and belief in an organization or institution that comes from having the curtains pulled back, seeing its contradictions and hypocrisy and being disgusted. As the duo’s Claire Givens explains “Loss of innocence can come very quickly when you are given the chance to see the politics behind the curtain of an organization. That happened for me with the church, and I saw many beautiful things but also many contradictions with what people said and what they really did. ‘Bible Belt’ came from a realization that I was still so much like these religious people in power that I grew up around and criticized, and I had become just as contradictory in many aspects of my own life and needed to find a way out.”

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Canadian Producer Sleepy Tom Releases a Sultry and Swaggering New Single

Cam Tathem is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based DJ, producer and electronic music artist, best known as Sleepy Tom — and with the release of his 2013 debut EP The Currency, which featured lead single, EP title track “The Currency,” Tathem quickly received attention both nationally and internationally; in fact, by the following year, the Canadian DJ, producer and electronic music artist  played at the Squamish Valley Music Festival and went on to remix tracks by Zeds Dead, Martin Solveig and Diplo, with whom Tatham would later collaborate on Tatham’s 2015 UK chart topping single “Be Right There.”  

“In My Head,” is the first batch of new material from the acclaimed, chart topping Canadian electronic music artist, and sonically its a subtle but noticeable refinement on the sound that first caught international attention the finds the producer collaborating with Youngblood — it’s still dance floor friendly, the sleek and sensual production is both  that finds the modern and unfussy consisting of thumping beats, arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line but ultimately, it’s centered by deliberate attention to crafting a sultry hook to create a song that radiates a Giorgio Moroder-like sensuality but while managing to be simultaneously radio friendly and old-timey. 

Directed by Sophie Jarvis, the recently released video visually nods at film noir and Alfred Hitchcock as it possesses a sweaty, anxious paranoia — rooted in the very real possibility that someone or something is following you and that something horrible could happen just around the corner. As Jarvis says in press notes “’In My Head’ navigates the consuming nature of paranoia, shifting between one woman’s hyper-aware state in the aftermath of a murder, and her fragmented memory of the crime itself. Shooting on 16mm film and using innovative lighting techniques, we externalize her state of mind in surreal and unsettling ways.” Adds, Tathem, ““I wanted to create a visual for In My Head that reflected the narrative of the song, but also led the story to an exaggerated alternate-ending. Alexis’ voice holds this retro quality throughout the song so the throwback design Sophie produced fit perfectly.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Beacon Release Hazy and Up-Tempo “Be My Organ”

Now, throughout this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. And as you’ll recall, the act, which is comprised Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gusset (production) have received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound and a generally minimalist production approach that subtly draws from R&B, house music and electro pop paired with Mullarney’s aching and tender falsetto. Up until recently, a couple of years had passed since I had personally written about the duo but they quietly returned with the somber, “Losing My Mind,” a bold and decided sonic departure centered around a sparse arrangement of piano, a brief burst of synths and Mullarney’s aching and mournful falsetto.

As the duo’s Jacob Gusset explained in press notes, the song was originally written on piano but eventually swelled into a full-bodied arrangement before reverting back to its original shell. “I came back from a trip and Tom had a new edit that was completely stripped back. Sometimes, it just takes those infinite iterations to finally crack the code.”  By stripping down their sound to its most essential — Mullarney’s vocals and a simple arrangement, it reveals the vulnerability that’s always been at the core of their material while finding I’m singing longingly of stability — whether romantic or spiritually, and of the comfort of knowing that a loved one would remain by your side in the darkest and most desperate of times.

Interestingly, “Losing My Mind” turned out to be the first single from the duo’s third full-length album, Gravity Pairs, slated for a November 2, 2018 release through their longtime label home, Ghostly International.  And as the story goes, after recording a couple of EPs, their first two full-length albums and going on several tours to support their recorded efforts, Mullarney and Gossett returned home, knowing that the new material they would soon write wound find the duo going off into a completely different direction. Together, they embarked on open-ended writing sessions, adopting a more linear style of songwriting instead of the loop and texture-driven method they had long used. The demos they wrote were essentially built around piano chords and guitar phrases with vocal melodies, which they edited in a number of iterations, which found them looking through each from a multitude of angles and directions. Naturally, some songs expanded and others they pared back. Like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract and deeply patient process, find the material they wind up writing outlined a space and space in which seemingly separate colors — minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist at different speeds, spreading out like a spectrum. With each iteration, the duo also found themselves expanding upon how they can be present the material within alive setting. They could play the material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play the same material in a different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances. 

“All matter is created by dividing gravity into pairs,” the 20th Century scientific mystic once wrote. Interestingly, his “new world thought” writings and musically-informed schematic drawings were idiosyncratic, and were incredibly fringe for their time. As Beacon’s Mullarney details a bit further in press notes, “’Gravity Pairs’ is how Walter Russell describes the rhythmic order of the universe. I kept reading ‘pairs’ as both a noun and verb; simultaneously the elemental units of Russell’s balanced universe and the process that brings us together.” 

“Be My Organ,” Gravity Pairs’ latest single is centered around a foggy yet up-tempo production centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths four-on-the-floor beats, Mullarney’s tender falsetto and an alternating quiet-loud-quiet song structure that gives the song a rippling and swooning feel — simultaneously. While finding the JOVM mainstays pushing their songwriting and sound in a unique and new direction, much like its predecessor there’s an underlying vulnerable and aching yearning. 

Directed by Beacon’s Jacob Gossett and Danny Scales, the visuals continue a running commentary on spiritual and emotional yearning as it features the duo’s Thomas Mullarney in the center of a religious ceremony in which its practitioners are whipped up into a frenzy — perhaps making a connection between music and spirituality. 

Comprised of Matt Cusack, Vince Federici, Charlie Heim and Will Tobin, the Philadelphia, PA-based indie act Batting Cages formed last year — and interestingly, the up-and-coming band’s latest single “Feels So Good” is an anthemic synth pop/synth rock single that draws from classic 80s synth pop while also bringing St. Lucia and countless others to mind, as the song is centered around some arena rock-like bombast, earnestly swooning emotionality, soaring hooks and shimmering and arpeggiated synths.  And naturally, the song sounds as though it should be part of a soundtrack to a Breakfast Club-like movie.

 

Live Footage: Bülow Performs the Bitter Torch Song “You & Jennifer” on Vevo DSCVR

Earlier this year, I’ve written about Megan Bülow, an up-and-coming teenaged pop artist, who writes and records as Bülow, and as you may recall, she’s truly a citizen of the world, as she’s spent time living in the States, Canada, the UK, Germany and The Netherlands. With the release of viral singles like “Not A Love Song,” “Like This Guy” and “Lines,” off her debut Damaged, Vol. 1, Bülow received praise from NME, Vice Noisey, Pigeons and Planes and this site — and she cracked the Spotify Global Viral charts.
Vevo DSCVR is Vevo’s emerging artist platform that curates the best up-and-coming artists — acts that the site believes will have a significant impact on the future — to perform their best material. Unsurprisingly, Vevo has a lengthy history of promoting emerging artists and helping them break through to new and wider audiences; in fact, past alumni of the Vevo DSCVR series has included Jack Garratt, James Bay, Years & Years, Wolf Alice, Sam Smith, Jorja Smith, Maggie Rogers, Alessia Cara and Ella Eyre among others. Recently, Vevo DSCVR invited Bülow to perform some of her material, including the torch song/tell off “You & Jennifer,” a single that’s full of the up-and-coming pop artist bitter recriminations to a cheating, no good boyfriend over a sparse production centered around stuttering boom-bap beats and twinkling keys to create a song that bridges both old school R&B and contemporary electro pop. From the performance, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place that should feel familiar to just about anyone. 

Evalyn is an up-and-coming Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, and her forthcoming EP Salvation, which is slated for a September 28, 2018 release, thematically explores the seven deadly sins, centered around the concept of trying to find something to save you, whether it was religion or a cult, or anything else you might worship. Big Bad City,” the EP’s latest single features an almost arena rock-like production consisting of thumping drums, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook and chorus and while the song manages to subtly nod at the enormity and emotional heft of an old school spiritual, the track is an examination of pride — in particular, an unapologetic passion for a sinful, greedy and vapid way of life.
What makes the song interesting to me is that it reveals a self-assured songwriter, who can craft the sort of infectious, radio friendly hook that could take over the world.
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New Audio: Yumi Zouma Releases a Breezy Yet Bittersweet Summer Jam

Comprised of Christchurch, New Zealand-born Christie Simpson, Sam Perry, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess, the members of internationally renowned synth pop act Yumi Zouma have been spread across the world with most of the band’s members relocating to New York and Paris after the massive 2011 earthquake. Primarily writing by email, the project wasn’t initially meant to be a live project — but interestingly enough over the years, they’ve received attention for breezy yet bittersweet 80s synth pop centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal vocals. Since the release of their Turntable Kitchen released cover of Oasis’ 1995 full-length effort, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the renowned synth pop act has been busily writing and recording an EP trilogy — with the last part of the trilogy EP III slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Cascine Records.
EP III’s first single is the swooning synth pop “In Camera,” a single that will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting summery yet bittersweet pop centered around Simpson’s ethereal vocals, a soaring hook, shimmering synths and guitars. Sonically speaking, the song nods at a bit at A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran (So Far Away)”, complete with reverb fed instrumentation but with a cinematic air and a clean, modern production sheen. But interestingly enough, the material is underpinned by a careful attention to craft with the members of the synth pop act revising and bouncing ideas off each other until each song is absolutely perfect.

As the band says in press notes “There’s something really special about the EP format. It’s been so long since we worked on one that we all had forgotten how fun and liberating they can be.”

This EP, both in its material and how it was written and recorded, feels really close to EP I & II. Spread again between three countries, bouncing endless revisions of a song until it’s right, falling asleep on FaceTime trying to write lyrics together and the exhilaration of waking up to NEW SONG VERSION 5 – it threw us back to how we worked on material when we thought no one would ever listen.

We’ve completed our EP family. It’s the little sibling none of us had growing up and none of us knew we could love so much.”

Currently comprised of founding members David Schnitzler (vocals) and Elias Foerster (bass) with newest, touring member Tilman Ruetz (drums), the indie electro pop/psych pop act Sea Moya was formed back in 2014 with its founding members writing material between shipping containers in a German harbor. As a duo, they released two well-received EPs and building upon a growing profile, the act’s full-length debut Falmenta is slated for an October 12, 2018 release through Golden Brown Records and Majestic Casual Records.

Falmenta was written and recorded in a reclusive cabin in the Italian Alps above Lago Maggiore, and unsurprisingly, the material is the restful of a total withdrawal from everyday life, the distractions of technology and any influence from outsiders. Such reclusiveness allowed the members of the band to completely immerse themselves in their surroundings, to be more introspective and to bounce ideas off one-another until their creative output became one; in fact, each song and every lyric on the album was a collaborative effort — and interestingly enough, while being effortless, manages to be experimental and deeply personal.

Sonically, the material on Falmenta finds the act drawing from a wide-ranging and diverse array of influences including Krautrock, Afrobeat, electronica, electro pop and psych pop underpinned by a mischievous sense of experimentation in which analog instrumentation is filtered through saturated tape, modular systems and a complex array of effect pedals. Interestingly, the forthcoming album’s latest single is the breezy “The Long Run, a single centered by twinkling synths, a sinuous and funky bass line, stuttering drumming, a throbbing, motorik groove and ethereal melodies that recalls Tame Impala, Toro Y Moi and Fela Kuti among others but in an upbeat, neon-bright, difficult to pigeonhole fashion.

Following the recording of their full-length debut, the members of Sea Moya spontaneously relocated to Montreal, where they have quickly embedded themselves into that city’s DIY underground scene, playing shows across Canada and the States. Of the spontaneous move, the explains in press notes,  “At that time we listened to a bunch of great artists from Montreal like Homeshake, TOPS, Suuns or Project Pablo. It felt like there was a free spirited and open-minded music and arts scene going on. Even though none of us had ever been to Canada before, we just decided to give it a shot.

And here we are, moved in early 2018, already played a whole bunch of shows in Canada and the States, dived into the music scene in Montreal which is incredibly rich of DIY spirits, mesmerizing artists and an amazing mixed-up and buzzing culture of ALL couleurs. It feels like you can find your spot for every tiny niche you want to experiment with and all that pretty easy going and not too serious. It’s an inclusive and yet far out scene which makes it wild, buzzing and forward thinking. The move to Canada has been one of the most inspiring steps we took in our lives for now.”