Category: Indie Synth Pop

New Video: Check out the Love Triangle at the Center of the Video for Gosh Pith’s “K9”

So if you had been frequenting this site over the course of 2015, Detroit, MI-based duo Gosh Pith have become JOVM mainstays while gaining a rapidly growing national profile for a sound and songwriting approach that generally focused on capturing […]

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If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, you may know that the Swedish cities of Umea, Sweden’s third (and most Northern) and Malmo, Sweden’s twelfth (and most Southern) have emerged with reputations as being Sweden and Scandinavia’s newest, most exciting creative hotbeds as an increasing number of artists and bands from both cities have started to receive international recognition — including the likes of JOVM mainstays Moonbabies, Cajsa Siik, Frida Selander and YAST and others.  I have to add to that list, Umea, Sweden-bornsinger/songwriter, producer and sound designer Catharina Jaunviksna, who splits time between her home country, Italy and Ireland and who has received attention with her solo recording project Badlands. With the release of 2012’s Battles Within EP and single “Tutu,” Jaunviksna’s Badlands project received attention from the likes of The 405 and Under the Radar for a sound that many of my colleagues have described as possessing elements of trip-hop and experimental pop.

April will mark the release of her forthcoming full-length effort Locus and album’s first single “Echo” reveals yet another change in sonic direction for Jaunviksna, as the single is a dance floor-ready song consisting of layers of staccato synth stabs and layers of cascading and twinkling synths, swirling electronics and an infectious hook paired with Jaunviksna’s ethereal coos bubbling and floating over the mix’s hazy surface, which give the song an eerie and spectral undercurrent.  Thematically and lyrically the song reportedly discusses self-censorship and the inherent dangers self-censorship can entail. As Jaunviksna explained in press notes “Even though the first intentions might be good, it always ends as a witch hunt and nobody daring to speak their mind.” But sonically speaking to my years, the song channels the likes of Depeche Mode, Still Corners and others as the song possess a captivating pull, begging the listener to come up closer.

 

 

 

 

Sumil Heera, best known within electronic music circles as XO is an up-and-coming 20 year old, Staffordshire, UK-based producer and songwriter, who has quickly received both national and international attention for a sound that possesses elements of neo-soul, funk, hip-hop and deep house with an abstract twist; in fact, in a relatively short period of time, Heera’s work has received attention from the likes of media outlets such as Pitchfork, NME, Annie Mac’s BBC 1 Radio Program, this particular site and countless numbers across the blogosphere, as well as praise from the likes of Diplo and SOHN.

After the release of his first two, critically acclaimed EPs, Heera has returned with the release of “Divine Disaster”/”Night Time Solace,” a collaboration with Australian-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and producer James Chatburn, who has developed a reputation both of his soulful production work, which frequently possesses elements of soul, blues and indie electronica and for his own solo work and work as one-half of The Septembers.

The A-side single “Divine Disaster,” pairs Chatburn’s silky smooth, soulful vocals seemingly floating above the mix with a wobbling house music-leaning production consisting of choppy keyboard chords, and propulsive yet skittering drum programming to craft a song that’s danceable yet soulful, ethereal yet subtly muscular, futuristic yet leaning towards classic house and R&B.

 

 

 

 

 

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Last summer, I wrote about the electro pop duo Hans Island, comprised of Canadian producer Mwahs and Danish-born, based vocalist and electro pop artist Marie Dahlstrom, who has received attention across both Scandinavia and the European Union for her silky smooth vocals. And with the release of “I’m Yours,” the duo of Mwahs and Dahlstrom quickly received international attention for a sound that possessed elements of contemporary R&B, pop as it paired Dahlstrom’s sultry and plaintive vocals with Mwahs’ slick production consisting of swirling electronics, skittering and stuttering drum programming and twinkling keys to evoke hopeful and swooning sensation of newfound love.

The duo’s latest single “Break Free” consists of Mwah’s ethereal, bouncy production featuring swirling electronics, shimmering and cascading synths and propulsive drum programming and an anthemic hook paired with Dahlstrom’s yearning and effortlessly soulful vocals in an upbeat song about breaking free from one’s past, and starting anew — it’s a timeless sentiment that we’ve all felt at some point, bolstered by the hope that things will get better, once we can move forward.

 

 

Initially emerged in 2014 as the recording project of Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop production sibling duo Alex and Ben Kazenoff, Mood Robot expanded to a trio when they enlisted vocalist Jenny Helms (no relation to yours truly) to complete the project’s sound. And from what I understand, the early buzz across the blogosphere has been favorably comparisons to CHVRCHES and The Naked and Famous among others.

Continuing on the early buzz that they’ve received over the past year, the Los Angeles-based electro pop trio will be releasing their debut EP, The Story We Tell Ourselves next month, and the EP’s first single “Drip” pairs Helms’ buoyant, pop starlet vocals with a densely layered production featuring layers of shimmering and undulating synths, electronic bleeps and bloops, blasts of funky and angular guitar chords, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and an infectiously anthemic hook. Admittedly, comparing the trio’s sound to the likes of CHVRCHES is a fair one — although to my ears I also hear the likes of White Prism, Class Actress, and several others, and as as a result of such a crowd pleasing, club-friendly and radio-friendly sound, I expect that the blogosphere will be big on them throughout 2016.

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I’ve been a bit under the weather over the past day-day-and-half or so with a nasty cold and a sore throat, and as a result things have been much slower going than normal for me; in fact, I’ve spent a good part of today in bed, watching episodes of Law and Order, Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen and Forensic Files and texting friends  throughout the course of Winter Storm Juno. But as I’m writing this post, I feel good enough to sit up in my bed with my Macbook, go through several emails and write a post or two. After all, I do feel a duty to you dear friends.  . .

Comprised of Superhumanoids‘ Sarah Chernoff, Kisses‘ Jesse Kivel, and Classixx‘s Michael David, Mt. Si is a collaborative side project that can trace its origins to when David and his bandmates in Classixx were working on their first album. As the story goes, the trio of Chernoff, Kivel and David had been writing songs that were meant to appear on Classixx’s debut album. “Mike and I wrote a track that I was supposed to sing,” Kivel explains in press notes, “but Sarah came in and stole the show, From there we realized that we had good chemistry as a trio, writing and producing in a subtle, refined way.”

“Either/Or” is the trio’s breezy and summery debut single and the song pairs a production consisting of skittering drum programming, shimmering and cascading synths and keyboards with Chernoff’s ethereal cooing floating over a two-step worthy mix. Sonically, the song channels early 80s synth pop and funk; in fact, I’m somehow reminded of a breezier versions of Patrice Rushen‘s “Forget Me Nots” and Oran “Juice” Jones’The Rain” — but with an urgent and plaintive sense of longing just below its shimmering surface.

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over its nearly six year history, you’d likely know that I often go through a number of potential singles while multitasking. Usually, I’ll be listening to things while watching sports or some true crime story on Investigation Discovery (I’ve lately been obsessed with Homicide Hunter, Lt. Joe Kenda and Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen) and I get so caught up in everything that I’m doing that I’ll wind up listening to an entire Soundcloud related artist playlist. As a music blogger, it’s a pretty good way of discovering new artists out of my normal means of PR firm, label, band manager or artist finding me and contacting me; in fact, that’s exactly how I stumbled on to the Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Sego. Comprised of the Mapleton, UT-born Spencer P. and Thomas C., the members of Sego relocated to L.A. to seriously pursue careers in music. And since relocating to the West Coast, Sego has quickly developed a reputation for a sound that employs modern and contemporary production techniques while maintaining an eccentric and human touch.

Now you may recall that I wrote about “Townland,” a Talking Heads and Superhuman Happiness channelling single that paired breathy vocals with angular guitar chords, a sinuous bass line, swirling ambient electronics and four-on-the-floor-like drumming with an infectious earnestness and honesty that belied the song’s ironic neuroticism. “Obscene Dream,” the percussive and angular first single off the duo’s hotly-anticipated full-length debut, Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Out is reminiscent of Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundystem, as it’s a danceable track consisting of angular guitar chords, shimmering and cascading synth chords, tons of cowbell and other percussion, a shouted vocals on an anthemic hook and lyrics that often sound like ironic non-sequiturs and observations. And much like Sound of Silver, the song manages to accurately captures the feelings, hopes and thoughts of constantly connected young people.

 

 

 

 

 

If you were frequenting this site over the last four to six months of 2015, you’d likely be familiar with 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 mainstays including Dam-FunkEscortRene LopezMark Ronson (in particular, his mega-hit “Uptown Funk”) and several others.

April 1, 2016 will mark the anticipated release of Boulevard’s full0-length debut, the aptly titled Groove!, and the album’s first single “Cold Call” is indebted to 80s synth R&B and pop as layers of wobbling and  shimmering synth stabs are paired with a sinuous bass line, Rashad’s seductive cooing, warm blasts of horn and an anthem 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. Simply put, it’s the sort of song that you can do that old-fashioned two step to — while flirting with hat pretty young thing you saw across the club.