Category: Indie Synth Pop

New Video: Holy Fuck Releases a Mind-Bending Visual for Shimmering Club Banger “Free Gloss”

Toronto-based electronic act Holy Fuck — Brian Borcherdt, Graham Walsh, Matt McQuaid and Matt Schultz — have developed a long-held reputation for playing by their own rules, never being overly concerned about chasing the limelight or after genre-based trends. They’re also known for employing the use of instruments and non-instruments including a 35mm film synchronizer, toy keyboards and toy phaser guns to achieve electronic-sounding effects without the use of laptops, programmed backing tracks, splicing and so on.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Luxe,” the first bit of new material from the acclaimed Canadian electronic act since the release of 2017’s Bird Brains EP. And as you may recall, the single was born by their mutual desire to resist old and trusted methods of creating new material — primarily by experimenting live and on the stage. Centered around a pulsating, minimal synth loop, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping kick drum, the expansive song, which clocks in at a little over six minutes can trace its origins back to a spontaneous encore jam at Luxembourg, Belgium. As the story goes, once they had the early elements of the track worked on in the studio, they sent it to to their good friend and casual musical mentor Kieran Hebden, best known as Four Tet, who picked the early version of “Luxe” as a standout. The Canadian quartet then invited Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor to contribute vocals. Taylor not only jumped at the opportunity but went to Jack White‘s Third Man Studio in Nashville to record his vocals on White’s 1947 Voice-O-Graph.

“Among more literal translations, ‘Luxe’ is the short form of Luxembourg – the city in which the nexus of the song was created,” the members of Holy Fuck explain in an extensive statement. “On this particular night, during soundcheck, we had a pulsing minimal synth loop we’d been tinkering around with. (We were listening to lots of TRAX Records stuff on that tour.) We decided that if the crowd demanded an encore we’d go for it. ‘Luxe’ was the result. Or – as it was then called on the live recorded MP3 – ‘Luxembourg Encore’. Once home from tour we took all the live demos back to the drawing board. We shared everything with our friend Kieran Hedben aka Four Tet. His always-intuitive advice was that he heard a great club track in his ‘very favorite thing here’: ‘Luxembourg Encore’”.

The next moment of discovery came when Graham suggested the band scrap Brian’s vocals and give it to Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip. When we presented Alexis with the concept our reference notes to him, based around Brian’s temporary vocals, were ‘like an old sample you’d dig up off an old folk record… and approached more like a classic house track’. He responded, ‘We could try to record the vocal in a Voice O Graph booth (an obsolete 1940s coin operated phonograph booth) if we can access one…’. As far as we’re aware, there are only two in the world – one in Liverpool (that apparently doesn’t work anymore) and the other at Jack White’s Third Man studio in Nashville. And that is where Alexis sang ‘I’d like to scrap all of this and start over again.’ Fittingly, it was New Year’s Eve.”

“Luxe” also served as the first official single off Holy Fuck’s forthcoming fifth album Deleter. Slated for a January 17, 2020 release, the album’s material finds the acclaimed Canadian electronic act pushing their signature sound in a new and exciting direction — polyrhythmic and pleasure focused, the members of Holy Fuck manage to seamlessly mesh krautrock, deep house and motorik percussion. Thematically, the album reportedly explores what happens when humanity and technology coalesce into one big, semi-organic celebration of the joys of spontaneity, repetition and individuality. As the band puts it, “the robots are smarter than ever, and the algorithm knows more and more what we like as individuals, but we have to remind ourselves that there is music in the margins that can go missing and that that music is more important than ever.”
 

Clocking in at just under six and a half minutes, the expansive “Free Gloss” features plaintive and ethereal vocals from POND’s Nicholas Albrook and is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, atmospheric electronics, a sinuous bass line and a motorik groove. And much like it’s immediate predecessor, “Free Gloss” is a seamless synthesis of hypnotic and driving pulse, ethereal atmospherics and dance floor friendly thump. 

Directed by Haoyan of America, the recently released video for “Free Gloss” is a trippy and wondrous synthesis virtual reality, video games and reality that’s pulled out of the home, on to the dance floor and back home. And throughout, the individual in all of their strangeness is celebrated. 

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Lyric Video: Alex Iva Teams Up with Los Angeles-based Vocalist Dominic on the Radio-Friendly, Club Banger “Give Me More”

Born Oleskandr Ivanov in Kherson Ukraine, the rapidly rising Barcelona-based electronic music producer and electronic music artist Alex Iva emerged into international indie electro pop scene last year with the release of his first two singles “Let’s Try” and “Tell Me” through his own label Iva Music. 

Building upon a growing profile, which has included support from DJs and other electronic music artists and producers, radio airplay and countless music blogs, as well as placement on over 1,000 Spotify Playlists, the Kherson-born, Barcelona-based artist’s latest single “Give Me More” is a radio friendly club-banger featuring Los Angeles-based vocalist Dominic, who has had his music appear on The Big Bang Theory. Centered around shimmering arpeggiated synths, wobbling low end, stuttering beats, Dominic’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook — and while clearly dance floor friendly, the song manages to reveal a pop-leaning craftsmanship. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Releases a Dance Floor Friendly Meditation on Acceptance and Closure

Originally formed in  Christchurch, New Zealand, the internationally acclaimed synth pop act Yumi Zouma, currently features members spread out across the globe with Josh Burgess (guitar, vocals) based in New York, Charlie Ryder (guitar, bass, keys) based in London and Christie Simpson (vocals, keys) based in Christchurch. Writing and recording by email out of necessity, the band wasn’t meant to be a live project — and yet, they received attention and praise for a breezy yet breezy yet bittersweet, 80s synth pop inspired sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal and achingly tender vocals. 

The acclaimed indie electro pop act recently signed to Polyvinyl Record Co., and to to celebrate the occasion, they released their self-produced new single “Right Track/Wrong Man” through their new label home. And while continuing an extraordinary run of breezy synth pop, the new track is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like guitar lines, a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming and ethereal harmonies, the song is actually an upbeat, disco-tinged meditation on the closure gained by accepting that it’s time to move on and forward. 

“‘Right Track / Wrong Man’ comes from a place of uncertainty – of not knowing if you should stay in the comfort of a slightly unfulfilling relationship, or branch out and make the most of the youth you have left; meet new people, go out more, dance, live,” the band’s Christine Simpson explains. “In the last year or so I’ve found myself switching between these modes, unable to work out what makes me happier, left feeling a little lost – but I’ve always found solace in the knowledge that at least I’ve been going out more, meeting new people, dancing – and living. As Yumi Zouma we often write songs that we want people to dance to, and that we ourselves would want to dance to – this is our dancefloor anthem to the confusion of living through your twenties.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Sofi Tukker Releases a Wild Party Themed Visual for “Purple Hat”

Acclaimed New York-based electronic duo and longtime JOVM mainstays Sofi Tukker — Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — have been widely celebrated for an inclusive, global take on electronic music that’s thematically centered around self-empowerment, unity and liberation. 

“Drinkee,” the duo’s debut single received a Grammy Award-nomination for Best Dance Recording — and they continued an extraordinary run of early successes with their full-length debut Treehouse receiving  a Grammy Award-nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album. Adding to a growing profile of success, the New York electro pop duo’s releases have gone gold or platinum on every continent on the planet — with the exception of Antarctica. They’ve also played sold out shows and festival stops across the planet, and performed on some of the world’s most popular late night talk shows, including Italy’s X-Factor, the UK’s Sunday Brunch, Russia’s Late Show and Japan’s BuzzRhythm, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and most recently Good Morning America.

Released earlier this year, Dancing on the People is Sofi Tukker’s much-anticipated follow up to their highly-successful full-length debut. “Purple Hat,” the EP’s latest single is a joyous and ebullient track with a breezy Brazilian/Tropicalia-like intro that quickly turns into a thumping banger centered around tweeter and woofer rocking low-end, a funky Nile Rodgers-like guitar line, Bhangra-inspired percussion and a rousing and enormous hook while Hawley-Weld and Halpern trade vocal lines about a wild party in which the attendees let go of all pretense and facades and let their freak flags proudly fly. And as long as no one is getting hurt, be yourself, “shake that ass and show ’em what you’re working with!” Considering the hatred, opposition, thievery and bullshit we’ve been inundated with during this current administration, the song is absolutely necessary. 

“We wrote ‘Purple Hat’ the day after our first Animal Talk party,” the duo explains. “We started throwing these parties to bring back the wild and inclusive dancing vibe to the nightclub experience. Tuck was literally wearing a purple hat and a cheetah print shirt, people were climbing on top o people, it was over-sold and sweaty, our favorite people were packed in the booth, everyone was loose AF and feeling themselves. It was wild. Every Animal Talk party since then has been like that, and we wanted to capture that raw feeling in a song. If there was a song that included everything we are about, this would be the one.”

Directed by Charles Todd, a frequent Sofi Tukker collaborator, who also filmed the videos for “Fantasy” and “Swing,” the recently released video for “Purple Hat” was filmed during the duo’s sold out, homecoming show at Avant Gardner earlier this fall. Naturally, the video is split between excited Sofi Tukker fans arriving in cheetah print and purple hat gear, live performance shots and the concert crowd getting sweaty and wild, which further emphasizes the song’s spirit and feel. “This song was literally written about the energy of the crowds at our shows so we wanted to literally capture that energy for the video too,” the duo says of the video.  “It’s always so special playing back in New York, where everything started for us and we thought it would be the perfect show to film the video at. We didn’t want to get actors and have a fake party to recreate the energy — we wanted to do it in real life with real people, like we do most nights of the year. Really happy to relive that night over and over again.”

Initially starting their careers as founding members of long-defunct genre-bending indie act Wildcat! Wildcat!, an act, which crafted the score of the motion picture  Fallen Stars, the latest musical collaboration between Michael Wilson and Jesse Carmichael, Kid Nobody, can trace its origins to when the duo reconnected during a chance encounter in Iceland, several years after the breakup of Wildcat! Wildcat! Interestingly, this particular chance encounter found the duo recognizing that they had a special creative connection — and that there was much more music they needed to make together.

With a sharpened point of view and a hard drive full of musical ideas, the duo’s latest project together Kid Nobody recently emerged with a string ambient-leaning yet hook-driven pop tracks, which will be followed by their debut effort as Kid Nobody, the forthcoming EP discretion. The EP’s material reportedly finds the duo pushing the boundaries of bedroom pop while exploring an aesthetic that’s not quite happy, not quite sad, not quite chill or upbeat — but attempts to find a place between indulgence and restraint.

discretion‘s latest single “ms. stress” is a radio friendly pop confection  centered around shimmering synth and piano arpeggios, hip-hop influenced swagger, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, an enormous hook, and plaintive vocals. And while bearing an uncanny resemblance to St. Lucia, Midnight Juggernauts and a growing list of contemporaries, the song is a slickly produced and swooning balance between earnestness and ambitious songwriting seemingly rooted in lived-in experience.

 

 

 

 

Belau is a Budapest, Hungary-based electronic music production and artist act, comprised of core duo Peter Kedves and Krisztian Buzas. Their debut single was one of Deezer Hungary’s top hits — and as a result, the song appeared in a number of HBO Hungary series and in commercials. The video for the single amassed over 500,000 views while winning the Hungarian Music Video Festival.

The Hungarian electronic act’s debut album, which featured their attention-grabbing debut single won a Hungarian Grammy for Best Electronic Music Album. But since its release, the act’s profile has expanded internationally: a single off their latest remix EP received airplay on BBC Radio 1 — and over an 18 month period, the act (which expands to a quartet featuring Kedves, Buzas and touring members Benji Kiss and Bobe Szesci) played over 120 shows in 19 countries across the European Union, including stops at Eurosonic Nooderslag, Reeperbahn, Sziget Festival, Untold Festival and even SXSW. 

The duo’s latest single “Natural Pool” is centered around stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end, shimmering guitars, atmospheric electronics and chopped up vocal samples. And while seemingly inspired by 90s trip hop — in particular Massive Attack— the song manages to possess a cinematic quality.

 

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Aussie-born Los Angeles-based Pop Artist Zenya Releases a Slick Visual for 90s Inspired Bit of Synth Pop

Zenya is a Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, best known for a stint inJustin Timberlake’s backing band The Tennessee Kids. Recently. the Aussie-born, Southern Californian-based artist has stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist, with the release of her Lash-produced and co-written debut single “Holdin’ On.” Much like the previous post, “Holdin’ On” is radio and dance floor friendly pop, centered around propulsive Caribbean-tinged polyrhythm, shimmering synth arpeggios and the Aussie-born, Southern Californian-based pop artist’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook. At its core, the song is imbued with a desperate and urgent hope that defies common sense and logic. 

“Holdin’ On’ is an island influenced pop song about hope,” Kenya explains in press notes. “Holding that thin thread left between two loves that may or amy not get back together after ab breakup that seemed like it might have been a mistake. It’s a song of vulnerability and honesty, and how it can be hard to let go of habits of the heart.” 

Directed by Mark Lecky, the recently released video follows a pensive Zenya, as she conducts a cleansing ritual, writing and desperately waiting for a lover to come back home — but there’s a sense that this lover may never come back. It’s a decidedly 90s inspired visual for a 90s pop inspired song.