Category: Indie Synth Pop

New Video: Nashville’s Sundaes Specializes in Scuzzy Take on Dance Floor Friendly Pop

Sundaes is a recording project fronted by a rather mysterious New York-born, Nashville, TN-based multi-instrumentalist and producer, influenced by early aughts indie rock,  blues and genre assorted hits of all eras, as well as Steel Magnolias and the work of Lana Del Rey. The band made their live debut back in the spring of 2015 with two sold out sets at the Chelsea Hotel Storefront Gallery — and adding to a growing profile, “Walk My Street,” appeared in the soundtrack of that year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Spotlight.

Last year saw the release of the Nashville-based act’s self-titled debut EP, and their latest single “Pretty Wife” is the highly anticipated follow up to their EP. Sonically, the act employs the use of arpeggiated synths, blasts of strummed guitar, thumping, tweeter and woofer beats, a sneak and infectious hook and breathily delivered vocals. Sonically speaking, the Nashville-based act’s latest single will likely bring to mind Black Moth Super Rainbow, NVDES, Bottoms and others — but with a mischievous, dance floor friendly accessibility.

Featuring cinematography by Monique Juliette Baron and choreography by Amanda Hameline, the recently released video for “Pretty Wife” stars Sundaes dressed as a ballerina wearing a crown with several other dancers. As Sundaes explains in press notes about the video’s concept: ” I’d been watching the Kirov’s performance of Swan Lake on YouTube a lot around the time I was thinking about video ideas. It’s amazing how ballet dancers take something that requires such precise, intense discipline and make it appear so delicate and effortless. I love how much emotion they can express with the softest gestures. I wanted to do sort of a dreamy modern ballet gone awry. Somewhere between Tchaikovsky and Rocky Horror; equal parts ‘Waltz of the Snowflakes’ and ‘Sweet Transvestite.'”

New Video: Introducing the Bittersweet and Anthemic Pop of Jack River

Holly Rankin is a Forster, New South Wales, Australia-born, Sydney, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and label head and overall boss, who has received national attention with her solo recording project Jack River. Rankin’s first Jack River single “Fool’s Gold,” amassed over 3 million steams and landed at number 64 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 earlier this year, and has opened for the likes of Midnight Oil. Along with that, she’s the founder of the Electric Lady concert series, which has featured women artists such as Ali Barter, Alex Lahey and Gretta Ray, the founder of the Grown Your Own Music Festival, a community-enhancing music festival and the founder of Hopeless Utopian, a production company and label that houses all of those various projects.

Rankin’s forthcoming album Sugar Mountain is slated for a June 22, 2018 release and the album derives its title after Neil Young’s bittersweet ode to youth and the loss of innocence, and as the up-and-coming Australian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and mogul says of the album “It’s the souvenir of my youth, the wish of what it could have been.” As for the aforementioned, attention grabbing “Fool’s Gold,” the single is a shimmering and atmospheric track with a soaring and anthemic hook and thumping beats; but underneath the shimmering surface is heartache over a failed relationship in which the song’s narrator recognizes that she was ultimately at fault to some degree. Sometimes, the hardest thing about getting older is accepting when you’ve behaved poorly, foolishly and selfishly and that it can have dramatic, life-altering consequences.

Directed by Matt Sav, the recently released video for “Fool’s Gold” possesses a swooning, dream-like logic that centers over a longing for a failed relationship that the song’s narrator cannot get back.

 

 

Scott Hansen is a San Francisco, CA-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and electronic music artist, best known for his critically applauded and commercially successful solo recording project Tycho, and with the release of  2006’s Past Is Prologue, 2011’s Dive, 2014’s Awake and 2016’s Epoch, Hansen has developed a reputation for crafting material centered around vintage, analog synthesizers, ambient melodies, organic instrumentation and the frequent use of samples of the human experience, including weather broadcasts, talking, breathing and the like.

“Horizon” off Hansen’s Grammy-nominated 2016 full-length Epoch is a funky yet moody and introspective track centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line and an atmospheric melody.

Interestingly enough Hansen recruited Poolside, a Los Angeles-based electronic music artist, production and DJ duo, comprised of Filip Nikolic and Jeff Paradise, best known for crafting breezy, pop-tinged disco to remix “Horizon.” And the result is a breezy and summery, cosmic disco track with handclaps, a looped chorus sample, tribal percussion that creates a club banging vibe while retaining the atmospheric melody of the original. As Poolside’s Jeffrey Paradise explains “”It’s tricky to approach a Tycho remix because there are no vocals. By definition a remix would typically strip away the textures and layers, which are the signatures of Tycho, and use the vocals. We kept the original melody as the fingerprints and added classic Poolside synths and percussion. This remix essentially became a Poolside B-side through the process.”

Hansen and his backing band will be touring through the summer and it’ll include stops at Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and SummerCamp Music Festival. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates:

15 MAY Sacramento, CA – B Street Theater

16 MAY Eugene, OR – McDonald Theater

17 MAY Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory

18 MAY Boise, ID – Knitting Factory

19 MAY Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot

21 MAY Morrison, CO – Red Rocks +

22 MAY Albuquerque, NM – Villa Hispana *

23 MAY Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren *

24 MAY San Diego, CA – Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater *

27 MAY Chillicothe, IL – Summercamp Music Festival

02 AUG Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza

11 AUG San Francisco, CA – Outside Lands

 

* w/ Phantogram

+ w/ Phantogram & Poolside

 

 

 

Polo & Pan are a Paris-based electronic music production and DJ duo, comprised of Paul Armand “Polocorp” Delille, and Alexandre “Peter Pan” Grynszpan, both of whom are acclaimed artists in their own right. Grynszpan has developed a reputation for being an insatiable crate digger, who has been known to collect a wide and diverse array of records from musical gems of the early 20th century to contemporary electronica and electro pop to 70s Nepalese psych rock and so on. Unsurprisingly Grynszpan is one of the founders of Radiooooo, an online encyclopedic radio station that was launched back in 2013. Delille is best known for his work with MAD Agency creating workspaces for artists in industrial warehouses but also as a renowned DJ; in fact, both Grynszpan and Delille were resident DJs at Le Baron, and when they met, they discovered a common musical interest — creating a genre- and time-defying sound that manages to be dance floor friendly. 

The duo’s first release Rivolta found the duo meshing 30s Italian standards with 70s Giorgio Moroder-inspired disco, and their full-length debut Caravelle, which was released earlier this year will further cement the duo’s meshing of genres and time periods to create their difficult to pigeonhole yet wildly crowd pleasing sound. The album’s material draws from the sounds of South America, Tajikistan, China, Congo Africa and elsewhere — and the album’s latest single “Canopee” is a breezy and sultry song that draws from French chanteuse-styled pop, flamenco, thumping Italian disco and African percussion with an effortlessly seamless and slick yet soulful production.

The renowned French electronic duo will be embarking on their first Stateside tour ever, and as a result of the album already amassing more than 23 million streams, their June 12, 2018 Bowery Ballroom stop; their June 19, 2018 Los Angeles stop at the Echoplex; and their June 20, 2018 San Francisco stop at The Independent are already sold out. Check out the tour dates below.
Tour Dates: 
6/12 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
6/14 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
6/16 – Montreal, QC – MTELUS
6/17 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell
6/19 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex (SOLD OUT)
6/20 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent (SOLD OUT)

 

 

John Glenn Kunkel is a Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and producer, who has released three critically applauded albums, four EPs and a number of remixes with his solo recording project The New Division. Kunkel’s work has received millions of Spotify streams, and adding to a growing profile, Kunkel has been covered in major media outlets like Pitchfork and The Guardian.

Kunkel’s soon-to-be released Fader EP will further cement the Los Angeles-based electronic music artist and producer’s reputation for crafting cinematic and moody synth pop that immediately brings Depeche Mode, New Order, Umberto and others to mind; in fact, the EP’s first single, the dance floor friendly, opening track “One Night in Tokyo” is centered around slick production featuring a motorik-like groove, propulsive boom bap-like beats, shimmering, arpeggiated synths and a soaring hook; but underneath the dance floor friendly sounds are melancholy lyrics based on a failed trans-Pacific love affair that has haunted the song’s narrator, which create an interesting and ironic juxtaposition within the song.

New Video: Introducing the Sultry 80s-Inspired Synth Pop of Brooklyn’s Saint Marilyn

Comprised of Che Houston (vocals, synths, drums) and Kevin Marksson (bass, synths), the up-and-coming, Brooklyn-based synth pop duo Saint Marilyn can trace its origins to when Houston and Marksson met while in college. And as the story goes, the duo flirted with the idea of starting a band, eventually collaborating together as a drums-and-guitar power duo back in 2013 — until a period of experimentation with vintage synthesizers led to a change in sonic direction, a new name and regular gigs across NYC.. 

Throughout 2015, the duo quietly self-released demos before entering the studio to record their Josh Benash-produced debut single “Frustrate Me,” a single that caught the attention of Earmilk and Indie Shuffle as it revealed a band whose sound drew equally from 80s New Wave and contemporary electronic music. Over the course of the next couple of years, the band wrote new material, enlisted Will Haywood Smith (drums) for live shows, and further honed their material through a rigorous series of live shows before entering the studio to record their Chris Coady-produced debut EP Tangle, which is slated for release next week, and the EP’s latest single is the slickly produced, dance floor friendly “Standard,” which finds the band further cementing their reputation for a sound that draws from early 80s New Wave, 80s synth pop and  modern electronic music that pairs Houston’s sultry vocals with shimmering, arpeggiated synths, four-on-the-floor drums and a sinuous bass line. Interestingly enough, the song to my ears brings to mind Madonna’s “Everybody,” and “Holiday,” Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” complete with an infectious hook. 

The recently released video for the song employs a familiar and beloved concept — it features the band performing the song in a neon-lit studio space. 

New Video: Los Angeles-based Indie Act Elle Belle Writes a Break Up Letter to America

Led by its acclaimed creative mastermind and primary songwriter the New Hampshire-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Christopher Pappas, who’s best known for his work in The Everyday Visuals and has assembled and conducted his own orchestra to play his original orchestral compositions, and has written compositions for NASA, Elle Belle is a Los Angeles-based synth pop/garage rock act  — and with the band’s forthcoming, sophomore album No Signal slated for a June 29, 2018 release through Little Record Company, the album sonically finds the band drawing from synth pop, krautrock and indie rock while being among the most politically charged material they’ve released to date.

Interestingly enough, the album’s latest single “The Real World” pairs a slick, dance floor friendly production that brings Tame Impala, In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Uncanny Valley-era Midnight Juggernauts with an extremely cynical and pretty hopeless take on how Pappas believes that Americans have fallen asleep at the political wheel. “The Obama years felt like such a triumph that we failed to stay politically diligent,” Pappas says. “The video shows these tales of us letting our guard down as told between two men living in a now-destroyed world. The song explores the reality that, to a certain extent, the Trump presidency is something that we let happen, not something that happened to us. Then people were dying, all we did was stop and stare. Now it seems so silly, but I guess you had to be there. Trump was a punchline, but it’s not so funny anymore.”  

New Video: Introducing the Dark and Surreal Pop of Sydney Australia’s Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders

Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders  is the solo recording project of Sydney, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and composer Tim Rogers, and with the release of his first four albums: 2005’s Not Worth Waiting For, 2008’s Love is Gone, 2011’s Hurtsville and 2014’s chart topping Playmates, Rogers have developed a reputation for being a singular presence in contemporary Australian music, as his material typically centers around tales of beauty, love, hope, redemption and the sincerity and absurdity of the human condition with a tone that can be frequently sentimental and mournful, sardonic and surreal. Along with that, Rogers has a rich, sonorous baritone that conveys a plaintive, masculine vulnerability and need — but with a slight bit of ironic detachment. 

Rogers’ fifth Jack Ladder album Blue Poles officially dropped today, and from the album’s  latest single, the 80s-inspired, minimalist synth pop track “Susan,” the song will further Rogers reputation in his homeland for crafting detailed, novelistic narratives, with fully fleshed out characters —  but within dark, fucked up milieu; in the case, the Susan at the heart of the song, is literally haunted by the spectral (and perhaps physical) presence of her late lover Richard, who she longs for, and is desperate to join. Throughout there’s a sense of Susan trying to find answers to why her Richard and if she could go on without him, and naturally, the song leaves that as an open-ended question for the listener to figure out. Sonically and thematically, “Susan” reminds me quite of the work of JOVM mainstay Daughn Gibson, whose work pairs slick yet dusty electronic production with dark themes and lyrical concerns, as well as O Children, who work had a similar quality. 

Directed by Leilnai Croucher, the recently released video for “Susan” is largely inspired by 1980s psychic hotline informercials, as it’s based upon her interpretation of the song, as someone trying to find answers and in the process “losing themselves in the desire to be someone else; to become something else. The video exists in a world where people are looking for answers through a television set”, Croucher continues. “They hear a voice supposedly calling to them from the other side. These infomercials are a truly fascinating reflection on our constant desire to find the answers. They are combination of over-the-top melodrama mixed with real people trying to better themselves.”

New Video: The Decadently Shot Visuals for Monogem’s Soulful New Single “Get You High”

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the critically applauded JOVM mainstay act Monogem, the solo electro pop recording project of Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Jen Hirsch, and as you may recall the project derives its name from a unique cosmic phenomenon — a monogem ring, the leftover glow of an supernova explosion. Interestingly, one of the largest monogem rings in the observable universe is located near the Gemini and Cancer constellations. For Hirsch, whose birthday is on the cusp of the astrological signs of Gemini and Cancer, the project’s name has a deeply personal and special meaning for her. 
Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about her, but her latest single “Get You High” will further cement Hirsch’s reputation for crafting slickly produced,  Quiet Storm-influenced synth pop centered around Hirsch’s sultry vocals, shimmering synths and a sinuous bass line — and much like her previously released material, the song evokes a lingering yet plaintive need that hasn’t been completely fulfilled. 

Directed by Finders Motion Pictures and starring Hirsch, Julia Barna, Shane Allen and Shanina Morse, the recently released video for “Get You High” featured decadent and stylishly shot visuals, focusing on the idle yet beautiful rich — and in a way that’s reminiscent of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.