Category: Indie Synth Pop

 

Over the last half of 2015 and the beginning of this year, you’d likely come across one of JOVM most recent mainstay artist, Raleigh, NC-based funk and soul artist Jamil Rashad and his solo recording project Boulevards. Describing his sound as “party funk jams for the heart and soul to make you move,” Rashad’s work caught my attention as it draws from the classic funk sounds of Earth, Wind and FirePrinceRick JamesChic, the production work of Quincy Jones – most notably Off the Wall and Thriller-era Michael Jackson, as well as Talking HeadsGrace Jones, and Cameo among others. Unsurprisingly, those acts were the sounds that he listened to as a child — although his teenage interest in punk, hardcore and metal also influenced his own songwriting and production work. And with the release of his Boulevards EP, Rashad quickly put himself on the map as part of a growing neo-disco/neo-funk movement that includes several other JOVM mainstays including Dam-FunkEscortRene Lopez, and several others.

April 1 will mark the highly-anticipated release of Rashad’s Boulevards full-length debut, the aptly titled Groove! Now you may recall that last month, I wrote about Groove!‘s first single “Cold Call,” an 80s synth R&B and pop-inspired single comprised of layers of wobbling and shimmering synth stabs paired with a sinuous bass line, Rashad’s seductive cooing, warm blasts of horn and an anthemic hook in a slow-burning jam that channels Cameo’s “Word Up!” and “Candy,” Oran “Juice” Jones‘ “The Rain” Adding to the period specific feel, are the brief interludes with Rashad seemingly flirting and coming on to the listener. The album’s second and latest single “Up On On Your Love” continues Rashad’s burgeoning reputation for dance party worthy, sensual funk as it pairs shimmering synths, propulsive drumming, shimmering Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar chords, handclaps around the infectious hook and Rashad’s sexy come ons — and although the song sonically manages to resemble The JacksonsCan You Feel It?,” it may arguably be the sexiest single on the album to date. Like the rest of Rashad’s work it’s sexy yet incredibly danceable, especially around the percussive “Burn This Disco Out” like bridge.

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New York-based electro pop duo Sofi Tukker can trace their origins to when members Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, who were both attending Brown University  met at an art gallery. Hawley-Weld and Halpern quickly started writing music together, based around their desire of crafting accessible world music that could reach a wider audience. Upon the duo’s graduation, they relocated to New York, where over the following year the duo worked on the material that comprised their self-titled EP.

Last June, I wrote about “Drinkee,” the first single off the New York-based electro pop duo’s self-titled debut EP. The song paired Halpern’s breezy production consisting of looping, angular and distorted guitar chords, congos, swirling electronics, thick, syrupy synth chords, a pitched down and a looped vocal sample with Hawley-Weld’s vocals singing lyrics in Brazilian Portuguese that were inspired by Brazilian poet Chacal. Sonically, the song nodded at Brazilian samba, the angular funk of Talking Heads and Las Kellies.

“Matadora,” the latest single of the duo’s upcoming Soft Animals EP pairs flamenco style guitar with tweeter and woofer rattling beats, ambient electronics, warm blasts of horn, animal noises and Hawley-Weld’s sensual cooing in a song that nods at the breezy tropicalia of Brazil and South America and shimmering dance-floor ready house music. Recently, Medina remixed the track — and the remix pushes the song towards more straightforward house music territory as the looped flamenco sample is replaced with an additional layer of ambient electronics, twinkling keys and harder hitting beats while retaining Hawley-Weld’s sensual cooing.

New Video: Majid Jordan’s New Video Cements The Duo’s Reputation For Slick and Seductive Visuals

  Over the past couple of years, the Toronto, ON-based electro pop production and artist duo Majid Jordan have had a rapidly growing international profile — before the release of their A Place Like This EP and the recent release […]

Originally known for her work in electro pop projects Her HabitsGemology and others, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist Joanie Wolkoff has been a JOVM mainstay artist before striking out on her own last year with her solo recording project Wolkoff. In fact, 2015 was a very big year for the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based artist — she collaborated with renowned electronic act The Hood Internet on “Going Back,” a single released to massive praise across the blogosphere, including several major media outlets, including Vice Noisey and Billboard — and as you can imagine resulted in a growing national profile for Wolkoff.

Interestingly, Wolkoff’s previously released work channeled the contemporary electro pop sound of acts like BeaconSeoul (both of whom are also JOVM mainstays) and others — in other words eerily minimalist productions consisting of icy synth stabs and woofer and tweeter rattling bass paired with plaintive vocals. However, her ongoing collaboration with young, up-and-coming producer Icarus Moth, which started with the release of the Talismans EP has set the duo apart from the pack as Icarus Moth’s production reveals a deliberate and painterly approach. While drawing from contemporary electro pop and world dance music, the young producer has developed a reputation for pairing big beats, swirling electronics and lush layers of synths with medieval-sounding instrumentation in a way that evokes brushstrokes across a canvas — as you’ll hear on EP single “Curve Appeal,” and others.

Building upon the buzz the duo received last year, Wolkoff and Icarus Moth are set to release Wolkoff’s full-length debut Without Shame on April 15. Lyrically and thematically, the material on the album explores the role shame has in our lives and perhaps more importantly the possibility of sidestepping its grip on us through breaking rank and venturing into the unknown. And as a result, the material on the album may be among the most deeply personal — and yet profoundly universal — material she’s released to date. Without Shame‘s first single “The Homecoming” pairs big tweeter and woofer rattling bass with skittering drum programming, swirling and ambient electronics, Eastern-tinged instrumentation and Wolkoff’s coquettish cooing, and in some way the song possesses the dreamy and ethereal feel of Swedish dream pop — think of Moonbabies‘ excellent Wizards on the Beach and The Knife but subtly filtered through chip tune and old school house music. Thanks to its accessibility, the song manages to be both radio-friendly and club-friendly — but it also reveals Wolkoff and Icarus Moth’s collaboration to be one of the most unique sounding collaborations I’ve come across in some time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kine Sandbæk Jensen is a producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist, who has spent time in a number of musical project; however her latest solo recording project Pieces of Juno has Jensen exploring new musical territory. Her latest single “Valentine,” which she dedicates to “all the people who there who chose to be alone” and are “spending this day doing their own thing” pairs a gorgeous and cinematic melody created by chiming and shimmering synths with swirling electronics and tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap drum programming in a subtly Eastern-tinged production reminiscent of Icarus Moth‘s work with JOVM mainstay Wolkoff but with a house music sheen.
 

Over the past couple of years, Los Angeles-based, indie electro pop duo Pr0files have not only become JOVM mainstay artists, they’ve also developed a growing national profile for a sound that possesses elements of R&B, pop and electronic dance music — especially with the release of Call Yourself A Lover,”  and “Luxury.”

February 23 marks the release of the duo’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated full-length debut Jurassic Technologie and from the release of the album’s first three singles “I Know You Still Care,Empty Hands” and “Like A Knife,” the duo’s material has revealed an urgent, insistent sensuality reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder‘s legendary work in the 1970s while at other times being incredibly anthemic in a way that owes a debt to 80s synth pop and more contemporary fare, such as Haerts and St. Lucia. Jurassic Technologie‘s fourth and latest single “Abuse U (Feel It)” pairs Sternbaum’s gauzy Quiet Storm meets 21st century production consisting of skittering drum programming, swirling electronics and layers of shimmering and cascading synths with Pardini’s sultry come hither vocals and brief bursts of guitar.  Sonically and lyrically the song sounds as though it draws from Prince‘s incredible 80s work — think of “I Will Die 4 U,” “When Doves Cry,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Little Red Corvette” in particular, as the song may arguably be the most sensual and outright sexual song that the duo has released to date.

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you may have stumbled across a post on recent JOVM mainstay, Copenhagen-born, London-based vocalist and electro pop artist Marie Dahlstrøm— and in fact, you might recall that I’ve recently written about her collaborative project with Canadian producer Mwahs — Hans Island. However, Dahlstrom, a three-time Scandinavian Soul Award winner has developed a reputation as an up-and-coming solo artist, who has received attention across both Scandinavia and the European Union for her silky smooth, effortlessly soulful vocals with covers of Phil Collins, Chris Brown and Rihanna, as well as her debut EP, Feelings. 

2016 looks to be a big year for the Danish-born, London-based artist as the follow-up to Feelings is slated to be released later this year. Now you might recall that early last year I wrote about  the EP’s first single “Look the Other Way.” Produced by DK The Punisher, who’s best known for his work with Justin Beiber on Beibers’s “All That Matters, the track had Dahlstrøm teaming up with Brighton, UK-based vocalist Sophie Faith in a song that thematically nodded at Brandy and Monica’s 1998 duet/battle “The Boy Is Mine” as the single has Dahlstrøm and Faith alternating vocal responsibilities on each verse and teaming up on the chorus, as the song’s dueling narrators openly question the state of their romantic relationships with the love interest at the center of the song. Sonically speaking, the song paired Faith’s equally effortless soulful vocals and Dahlstrøm’s cooing with icily cascading and twinkling synths and hip-hop influenced beats.

Produced by Joe Garrett, who has worked on Zayn Malik‘s “Pillowtalk,” the EP’s second single and latest single “Crashing Down” is a gauzy, Quiet Storm-inspired yet contemporary track that paris Dahlstrøm’s silky smooth vocals with swirling electronics, Mary J. Blige What’s the 411? inspired hip-hop soul beats and stuttering percussion. As Dahlstrøm explained in press notes the song “is about the feeling of always searching, instead of being present in the moment. It’s about giving in and realizing that you’re exactly where you need to be.” Truer words have yet to be spoken this year at least, and the fact that the Copenhagen-born, London-based artist’s material is presumably based around lived-in experience sets her apart from countless soulless and prepackaged contemporary pop artists.

 

 

Electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Grant Eadie and his solo recording project Manatee Commune has received regional attention across the Pacific Northwest and a growing national profile for a carefully and organically molded electronic sound that pairs natural overtones extracted from field recordings with slick and nuanced electronic production.

Eadie’s soon-to-be released EP, Thistle, slated for a February 26 release marks two new developments in the young producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist’s career — it’s his first release through renowned Brooklyn-based label Bastard Jazz Recordings, the label home of Illa J, Lord Echo and several others; and the effort is the result of Eadie radically changing his songwriting, production and recording process as he  opened his studio and gear to friends, collaborators and loved ones, gaining inspiration from the energy of each of those interactions. As Eadie explains in press notes “Learning how to share my creative process with my friends completely revolutionized the last of year of music for me. Inviting those I trusted and loved into my studio to spend even just an hour talking or jamming opened fountains of inventive energy for me, especially from the ones who lacked any musical knowledge. I soon found myself incredibly inspired by the originality of even the smallest interactions with people, and so I pointed my field mic at anyone who had a story, a melody, or a stumbling beat they had been absentmindedly drumming, all in the hopes of capturing their individuality and framing it with my ever expanding insight into audio production.”

Thistle’s first single “Clay” pairs a stuttering yet breezy and coquettish production consisting of twinkling and chiming percussion, a looped flute sample, layers of shimmering synths and swirling electronics with Marina Price’s flirtatious and sultry vocals to craft a song that reminds me quite a bit of Sylvan Esso — but bouncier and slightly more dance floor friendly. Considering the Arctic weather we’re soon to have in New York, “Clay” is a brief yet lush and necessary blast of summer.

Catch Eadie live throughout March and April as he tours the Pacific Northwest with Blackbird Blackbird and Chad Valley. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates 

3.3 Bellingham, WA Wild Buffalo (EP Release Party)
3.10 Portland OR, Mississippi Studios ^
3.11 Seattle WA, Nectar Lounge ^
4.19 Tucson, AZ Club Congress *
4.20 San Diego, CA The Hideout *
4.21 Los Angeles, CA The Echoplex *
4.22 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst *
4.23 San Francisco, CA Social Hall *
4.30 Vancouver, BC Alexander *
^ with YPPAH
* with Blackbird Blackbird & Chad Valley

 

New Video: Check Out the Retro-Futurist Visuals and Sounds of Holy Ghost!’s “Crime Cutz”

With the release of their 2011 self-titled debut, 2013’s Dynamics through renowned indie dance label DFA Records and their 2015 self-released remix album, Work For Hire, the NYC-based electro funk/neo-disco production and artist duo Holy Ghost!, comprised of […]

Last December, I wrote about Sophie Stern, the Los Angeles-based creative mastermind behind the (mostly) solo recording project Sophie and the Bom Boms. Initially, Stern’s career began behind the scenes as a songwriter, who was signed to mega-hit producer and songwriter Dr. Luke’s camp. After spending couple of years as a go-to songwriter, Stern decided that it was time for her to go out on her own as a solo artist.

 

Inspired by a diverse array of artists including diverse array of artists including Erykah BaduTom Tom Club and a lengthy list of others, Stern began collaborating with two rather renowned producers, David Elevator, who won 3 Grammys for his work on Beck‘s Morning Phase and Dan Dare, who’s best known his work with Marina and the DiamondsCharli XCX and M.I.A. for her debut EP. The EP’s first single “Big Girls” was a breezy and infectious pop confection that paired big boom-bap beats, cascading synths, anthemic hooks and Stern’s effortlessly soulful vocals in a way that was reminiscent of Nu Shooz‘s “I Can’t Wait” while sounding remarkably contemporary.

The EP’s second and latests single “Appetite” will further cement Stern’s reputation for crafting incredibly infectious, breezy and anthemic pop as you’ll hear boom bap beats, handclaps, twinkling synths and an anthemic, hashtag worthy hook paired with Stern’s ballsy and bratty vocals in a song that’s a tell off to fuckboys, deadbeats, drama kings and queens and parasites everywhere — with the sort of sense of humor that would likely remind you of things you may have heard or said back in the schoolyard.

Sonically and thematically speaking the song manages to nod at Australian-born, Berlin-based indie pop artist Phia, Gwen Stefani‘s “Ain’t No Holla Back Girl,” and TLC‘s “No Scrubs” as it possesses the same “girl power/girl, drop that loser/girl, drop that deadbeat friend” air but backed by slick, modern production techniques.