Category: Indie Synth Pop

Always Never is an up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based electro pop production and artist duo, comprised of Patrick Kirschner (vocals) and Dean Guilbault (production) — and with the release of “Millions,” “No Good,” “Morgan Freeman” and “Dangerous,” off their recently released self-titled debut, the Canadian duo have been compared to the likes of Majid Jordan, Miguel and The Weeknd among others — although with the attention grabbing single “Wylin,” the duo’s sound strikes me as bearing a closer resemblance to For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon, as Kirschner’s soulful yet tender vocals are paired with gauzy, atmospheric and yet super modern productions featuring stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and infectious hooks; in fact, much like Beacon, the duo’s sound possesses a pensive, late night vibe, full of regret, confusion and longing.

 

 

 

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Liam Brown is an up-and-coming, Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl — and with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was championed by the likes of Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.

Building upon a growing profile, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl effort season 2 is slated for a November release, and the EP’s latest single “highschool,” will further cement Brown’s reputation for crafting achingly wistful and pensive, synth pop centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and sinuous hooks — while recalling Washed Out, St. Lucia and classic 80s synth pop, complete with enormous, painfully sincere teenaged sentiment, as the song’s narrator is worried about losing his cool over someone he digs immensely.

 

 

 

Maria Del Pilar is a Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician, whose family immigrated to the States when she was a child. After developing roots in her adoptive hometown, Del Pilar became an integral part of the city’s music scene as the frontwoman of the critically acclaimed local act, Los Abandoned. Pilar’s solo debut Songs + Canciones I was released to critical praise for Del Pilar’s ability to craft infectious pop hooks that possess a rock ‘n’ roll grit that recalled her Riot Grrl roots. Interestingly, Songs + Canciones I‘s lead single “En El Dancefloor” skyrocketed to the top of the Mexican radio charts and led to shows at Vive Latino and Mexico City’s prestigious The Zocalo.

Songs + Canciones II, the highly-anticipated follow-up to Del Pilar’s solo debut is slated for a November 2, 2018 release, and while finishing up the album, Del Pilar has managed to collaborate with a diverse array of renowned artists including Chicano Batman, Francisca Valenzuela, and Tegan & Sara; in fact, the album features collaborations with a virtual who’s who of the Los Angeles music scene, including members of Chicano Batman, No Doubt, Las Cafeteras, Fitz + The Tantrums and others. But in the meantime, the Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter has also performed as a backing singer  during tUnE yArDs’ most recent appearance on Conan. Adding to a growing profile, “Se Me Hace Mas” was recently  featured on the new Starz drama Vida.

“Original Dreamer,” Songs + Canciones II’s latest single is of our current sociopolitical moment, as it was written while the Trump Administration and the Republican led house was busily repealing DACA, which struck a chord both personally and politically. After the introduction and approval of 2001’s DREAM Act, millions of undocumented minors were granted legal residency in the States along with their parents and guardians. Del Pilar’s mother and father were among the first DREAMers — but sadly, her mother died when she was 12.  The stories reminded me of what I saw my parents go through when I was a kid immigrating from Chile to the US,” Del Pilar says in press notes. “I had a chance to thank my father for these sacrifices but never got a chance to thank my mom. This song gives me that chance.”

Produced by Poolside‘s Flip Nikolic, the song features looping, psych rock-inspired guitar lines from Chicano Batman’s Carlos Arevalo — and while centered around a fiercely held belief that no one is an illegal alien, the percussive, deep groove-driven song manages to bring Fear of Music-era Talking Heads to mind; but with a bold, distinctly Latin flavor and vibe, along with some infectious hooks. Of course, at its core is a deep (and much-needed) empathy and understanding of the plight of society’s most vulnerable, reminded the listener that a great deal of Americans are descendants of those who have taken great risks and had enormous dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josie Bolvin is a Quebec-based, classically trained pianist and opera vocalist, as well as an electronic pop producer, singer/songwriter and artist, best known as MUNYA — and as the story goes Bolvin had only written one song when she was asked to perform at last year’s Pop Montreal. Ironically, at the time, Bolvin had never intended to pursue music full-time but after playing at the festival, she quickly realized that what she was meant to do — be a musician. So Bolvin quit her day job, moved in with her sister and turned their kitchen into a home recording studio where she wrote every day. These recordings would eventually become part of an EP trilogy — with each EP comprised of three songs — named after a significant place in Bolvin’s life. Her self-released debut North Hatley derives its name from one of Bolvin’s favorite little villages in Quebec. Her forthcoming second EP, Delmano is slated for an October 5, 2018 release through Fat Possum Records and derives its name from Williamsburg Brooklyn’s Hotel Delmano.

Delmano‘s first single ”Hotel Delmano” is a breezy and mischevious, shimmering synth-based tale of melancholy surrealism, centered by Bolvin’s ethereal vocals singing completely in her native French. And as Bolvin explains in press notes, the song is largely inspired by a dream Bolvin had that was inspired by the video for Vendredi sur Mer‘s “La Femme à la Peau Bleue.” As Bolvin says in press notes, “I watched it so many times that she entered my dreams once we were having a drink at Hotel Delmano. The song is about that dream.”  Sonically, the song sounds as though it should be a part of the soundtrack of a Michel Gondry film in which its sad protagonist gets thrown into a whimsical and colorful world while recalling La Femme, Polo & Pan, and others.

 

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Comprised of Dexy Valentine (vocals, guitar), Coleman Moore (bass) and Phil Galloni (synths, programming), the Los Angeles, CA-based dream pop trio My Ultra Violet can trace their origins to when the trio met at a gig and exchanged numbers — and since their formation, they’ve received some attention for crafting elegant yet moody dream pop. Interestingly, the trio’s latest single, “Wilde As Me” finds the act collaborating with producer Adam Greenspan, who has worked with Nick Cave, Supergrass and Band of Skulls and drummer Malcolm Cross on a decidedly 80s-inspired synth pop jam centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, Valentine’s ethereal vocals and rousing, radio friendly hooks within a hypnotic song that nods at Washed Out, Summer Heart and others.

Valentine takes up the space of a two-dimensional character within the track to highlight the internal irony of the lyrics of pop songs in general, noting that they generally can be shallower and more blatant — and as she admits in press notes, it’s a nod towards Oscar Wilde, one of her famous poets, who once quipped that “only the shallow know themselves.”

 

 

New Video: An Intimate Look Behind the Scenes for Visuals for Mass Gothic’s Soaring 80s-Inspired Synth Pop Single “Keep on Dying”

Mass Gothic is an acclaimed New York-based synth based project comprised of married duo Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri, and the over course of their 18 year relationship, the’ve managed to dip in and out of each other’s creative spaces, advising on their respective projects and supporting one another; but throughout that bulk of their relationship, they never completely committed themselves to collaborating together on an entire album, sharing equal load — that is until, the project’s recently sophomore album, I’ve Tortured You Long Enough, a tongue-in-cheek title based around the fact it took way too long for the duo to finally collaborate together. 

Interestingly, Heroux started Mass Gothic back in 2016 as a solo project, after the breakup of his previous band Hooray for Earth. Reportedly plagued by his own insecurities and anxieties, Heroux wasn’t yet ready to deal with putting his trust and confidence into a shared, collaborate project — and perhaps most importantly, he wasn’t ready to do so with someone so close and so fundamental to his life. But before work began on the second Mass Gothic album, the phrase “I’ve Tortured You Long Enough” had reverberated through his head and quickly became both a mantra and a premonition. “It just popped into my head,” Heroux explains in press notes. “You can say it to a loved one or to a friend. Or You could wish someone say it to you. It covers so many basses but it’s taken on extra meaning in the past couple of years, while everybody is at each other’s throats; frustrated and confused all the time.” At the time, Heroux was in need of forcing himself out of his comfort zone and letting go of his prior, deep-seated stubbornness — and by the fall of 2016, circumstances forced him to face his biggest fears head on. “We rented a small tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. We put ourselves away and worked on music all day, wondering what it would feel and sound like,” Jessica Zambri recalls in press notes. 

The first song they wrote together was an early iteration of “Keep On Dying.” Zambri had the melody and lyrics while Heroux had arranged the chords. From there, things snowballed and while the writing began in New York, early last year the duo threw caution to wind, got rid of their Brooklyn apartment, purged most of their belongings and relocated to Los Angeles to write and record their album. They then bought a car, drove to L.A. where they lived out of duffle bag with co-producer Josh Ascalon, and they spent the bulk of their time writing. “The entire record from start to finish was done without having our own place to live,” Heroux recalls. Maybe we wouldn’t have been able to do it if we were anchored at home. We were forced into it. Jess was trying to open me up and if we could have just sat on a couch and thrown on the TV it probably wouldn’t have worked.”

Working as a duo helped to evolved the project’s sound, with the duo’s sophomore album being a more intentional meeting of the minds, centered round a complete openness to work together without rules or conditions — although last spring, when they initially thought they had finished the album, Heroux and Zambri separately realized that the material had way more potential; in fact, while they were preparing to go on tour with Zambri’s sister Cristi Jo and her boyfriend Jospeh Stickney when Heroux woke up one morning, turned to his spouse and said “Oh God, we have to fucking re-record the whole album.” The duo quietly agreed that it was required and during the final ten days, they made sure that the material was perfect but felt alive. Reportedly, the album’s material basks in and celebrates the acceptance of co-dependence and independence simultaneously — and while being autobiographical (it’s rooted around the relationship of its creators), it’s not so autobiographical and a conversation between its creators but while not being  alienating to the listener. 

I’ve Tortured You Long Enough’s latest single”Keep On Dying,” is a  hook driven song that features brief blasts of horn, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Zambri’s ethereal vocals — and while sonically the song brings to mind Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks, it possesses a swooning Romanticism that’s tethered to the real world; vulnerable but with the recognition that love, like all things doesn’t make much sense and can be simultaneously easy and difficult yet so necessary in an increasingly stark, cynical world. 

Co-directed by the band and Nira Burnstein, the recently released video is an look of the band while on tour, goofing off, practicing — and with a profound, behind the scenes intimacy of a touring band.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.”