DFNSE is a Parsian electronic music producer, whose work frequently meshes elements of French touch, funk and pop. He has participated in producer battles alongside emerging artists like BlackDoe, Ikaz Boi, and Varnish La Piscine before releasing his debut EP, 2015’s Pandorium, an effort inspired by the SoundCloud Future House scene.
In 2016, the rising Parisian producer released material through Darker Than Wax, Souletiquettte and Nowadays Records, who released a single on their Oceans compilation and his sophomore EP Moonrock, which featured his biggest song to date, “Show You.”
Released earlier this year, the rising French producer’s latest EP Symphony Road features:
“Getaway,” a breezy, 80s-inspired summertime bop featuring Aussie vocals AKA Lui’s plaintive falsetto floating over twinkling keys, a strutting bass line, some Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, an irresistible, two-step inducing groove and an infectious hook. And while being a club friendly banger, the song is an escapist fantasy of summer, full of seemingly carefree, sultry days and nights, hanging out with friends, vacations and meet-cutes at rooftop bars, the beach and clubs.
“Good Enough,” is a sultry and strutting bop seemingly indebted to French touch, alt pop, and R&B centered around a slick production featuring glistening synth arpeggios, skittering beats, and an euphoric hook paired with Senpu’s achingly vulnerable delivery. The song details a swooning, flirtatious and vulnerable declaration of desire, love and human need — whether for a night or forever.
“Let It Go,” Symphony Road‘s latest single is a slickly produced and breezy bop featuring French musician Hoodie Boy that’s sonically one-part French touch, one-part disco, one part-funk centered around tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap, some Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, glistening synth arpeggios and a strutting bass line paired with DFNSE’s uncannily unerring knack for infectious hooks. It’s the sort of upbeat bop that should shake you out of the doldrums and get you working towards a dance floor.
Hull, UK-based post-punk act Low Hummer — Daniel, Aimee, Steph, Jack, John, and Joe — can trace their origins through the individual members’ connections to their hometown’s DIY scene. After meeting and bonding over mutual interests, the sextet quickly established a regular rehearsal home at DIY venue The New Adelphi Club, where they were able to develop and hone a danceable take on post-punk that thematically focuses on their lives in East Yorkshire, their place in a consumerist world and bad news stories sold as gospel.
September 2019 saw the release of the their debut single “Don’t You Ever Sleep” through Leeds-based label Dance To The Radio. They quickly followed up with their second single “I Choose Live News” the following month. Both singles received rapturous praise from the likes of Clash,Dork, Gigwise and BBC 6 Music Recommends — with airplay on BBC 6.
Last year, the Hull-based post-punk outfit released their full-length debut Modern Tricks for Living, which featured “The People, This Place,” an angular post-punk that’s simultaneously danceable yet full of the seething disgust and frustration of someone who lives in a dead-end town, with dead-end people and no real options or opportunities.
Low Hummer’s latest single “Panic Calls” continues a remarkable run of incisive, coolly effortless and jittery post-punk built around propulsive Gang of Four-like bass lines and angular guitars and call and response vocals. The song evokes the anxious and jittery despair of someone at the end of their rope with an uncanny psychological realism.
The band explains that the song references the futility of mental health support by imitating the generic, automated answer machines of crisis lines.
Poughkeepsie-born, New York-based emcee El Gant has carved out a name for himself for his witty and often rapid-fire delivery — and for being one third of the hip-hop group Jamo Gang, which also features Ras Kass and J57.
With his long-awaited solo debut, O.S.L.O., the Poughkeepsie-born, NYC-based emcee boldly steps into the limelight as a solo artist. The album features production from the legendary DJ Premier, Marco Polo and the aforementioned J57 and collaborations with Atmosphere‘s Slug and Slipknot’s Sid Wilson, Jamo Gang bandmate Ras Kass, Killah Priest, Planet Asia, King Magnetic and more.
O.S.L.O.‘s latest single, the DJ Premier-produced “Leave It Alone” pairs the Poughkeepsie-born, NYC-based emcee’s rapid-fire witty word play and dexterous wordplay with a the producer’s world renowned tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap, a menacing bass line, twinkling keys and a soulfully delivered vocal hook. Simply put, it’s an anachronistic banger; it sounds as though it could have been released in 1995, 2005 — or today.
Transatlantic indie duo Luminous Wavez — British-born artist Leaone (pronounced Lee-own) and Patience Gloria‘s Mike Dobbins — can trace their origins back to the long days and nights of COVID pandemic lockdowns.
Their sophomore EP together, Ashes of the Artists features Dobbins penned lyrics informed by binge listening sessions of Johnny Cash, Chris Cornell,Leonard Cohen, and Nick Cave and demonstrate the hard-won maturity from lived-in experience. This is paired with Leaone’s haunting baritone delivery and remarkable knack for catchy melodies.
Ashes of the Artist EP‘s latest single, “Have No Fear” is a Nick Cave meets The National-like track built around a hauntingly sparse and cinematic arrangement of sharply arpeggiated strings, strummed acoustic guitar and dramatic, padded drumming paired with Leanoe’s brooding baritone. Interestingly, “Have No Fear” may arguably be the most hopeful song on the EP as it features a narrator, who manages to persevere in the face of a variety of obstacles.
Asheville-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Secret Shame can trace their origins back to summer 2016 when Matthew (bass) and Lena (vocals) met through mutual friends. As a duo, the band released their self-titled debut EP, but they mostly stuck to hometown DIY shows.
Nathan, who had released the band’s debut EP, later joined on drums and not long after, Aster joined on guitar. The Asheville-based outfit’s full-length debut, 2019’s Dark Synthetics was released to widespread critical acclaim with album single “Calm” being featured on The New York Times‘ playlist, and the album landing on a number of that year’s Best-of-lists, including landing at #77 on Bandcamp Daily and #1 on Post-Punk.com.
Building upon that momentum, the band embarked on an East Coast tour, which kicked off at Hopscotch Festival. They also recorded a split 7″ single “Dissolve/Pure” with Aster as the band’s sole guitarist.
Throughout the band’s growing catalog, they’ve maintained a steadfast refusal to a single genre, but pull from a wide range of influences including post-punk, death rock, shoegaze and dream pop among others. But at the core of their sound is a palpable and uneasy tension between rage and melancholy, the beautiful and the bleak that finds some resolution in the way the music reflects the lyrics’ mood.
2022 has been a busy year for the Asheville-based JOVM mainstays: They headlined this year’s Dark Spring Boston and they’ve quickly become a regular presence at Hopscotch Music Festival. They’ve also spent much of the year touring extensively, opening for the likes of Xiu Xiu, Wednesday, Soft Kill, Choir Boy, and Vision Video.
Secret Shame’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Autonomy is slated for an October 28, 2022 release. Recorded at Asheville’s Drop of Sun with engineer/producer Alex Farrar, the album reportedly sees the JOVM mainstays reaching a new level of maturity both musically and lyrically: While the 11-song album may be diverse and yet cohesive, the album’s material is centered with lyrics that directly confront the realities of addiction, body dysmorphia, abuse and mental illness with an unvarnished honesty.
Autonomy‘s latest single “Color Drain” sees the JOVM mainstays taking up a dreamy, shoegazer-like take on post punk, in a way that recalls Cocteau Twins and others paired with Lena’s achingly plaintive vocals and enormous, catharsis-inducing choruses. Lyrically, the song features some of the most painfully honest lyrics in the band’s growing catalog: The song details Lena’s long battle with anorexia and how it feels to walk through the world in an apathetic and dissociative state after realizing that they both wanted help and didn’t want to accept that help.
Secret Shame will be embarking on a month-long East Coast tour throughout October and November that includes a November 13, 2022 stop at The Meadows. Check out the tour dates below.
Portuguese DJ and production duo Bubba Brothers — Eliseo Correia and Justino Santos — formed back in 2015. And since their formation, the electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays have released a prolific array of dance floor rocking hits, including a batch of singles I’ve written about over the course of this past year.
The JOVM mainstays latest single “Tribe” is a hypnotic and euphoric banger centered around tribal percussion, glistening synth arpeggios, chopped up vocal samples, skittering twitter and roofer rattling thump paired with the duo’s unerring knack for enormous, crowd-pleasing hooks. And while continuing a run of infectious club bangers, “Tribe” may arguably be among their most soulful to date.
Although best known for being one-half of Toronto-based indie electro pop duo Phédre, Dan Lee is also a solo artist in his own right, under the moniker Lee Paradise. And with the release of his Lee Paradise debut, 2020’s The Fink, Lee quickly established a sound that’s typically widescreen and is indebted to polyrhythmic psychedelia.
Lee’s sophomore Lee Paradise album Lee Paradise & Co. is slated for an October 28, 2022 release through Telephone Explosion Records. The album’s material started off as a set of mood-focused instrumental sketches. But the sketches became fleshed out songs after he sent the tracks to a an eclectic array of collaborators including Jane Inc.‘s Carlyn Bezic, Scott Hardware’s, No Frills‘ and Ducks Ltd.‘s Jonathan Pappo, Scott Hardware, Isla Craig,New Chance‘s Victoria Cheong, Jay Anderson, Mother Tongues‘ Charise Aragoza and Lukas Cheung and Moon King‘s Daniel Woodhead. The end result is an album in which every aspect of its creation eventually became open to collaboration, from musical performances, lyric writing and vocals all the way through to mixing and mastering, all while featuring material that defies genre and style conventions with a soulful panache.
“Not Practical,” Lee Paradise & Co.‘s latest single is a woozy yet accessible synth pop-leaning banger centered around copious amounts of DFA Records/LCD Soundsystem-like cowbell, layers of glistening and whirring synths and skittering beats paired with Victoria Cheong’s beguiling vocal. While being remarkably dance floor friendly, “Not Practical” evokes the swooning and wildly illogical of love.
Sloan Struble is the 20-something Aledo, TX-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind behind the critically applauded and rapidly rising indie rock/indie pop project Dayglow. Dayglow can trace its origins to when Struble was a teen, growing up in a Fort Worth suburb that he has referred to as a “small football-crazed town,” where he felt irrevocably out of place.
Much like countless other other hopelessly out of place young people across both this country and the globe, Struble turned to music as an escape from his surroundings. “I didn’t really feel connected to what everyone else in my school was into, so making music became an obsession for me, and sort of like therapy in a way,” Struble recalled in press notes. “I’d dream about it all day in class, and then come home and for on songs instead of doing homework. After a while I realized I’d made an album.”
Working completely on his own with a minuscule collection of gear that included his guitar, his computer and some secondhand keyboards he picked up at Goodwill, Struble worked on transforming his privately kept outpouring into a batch of songs — often grandiose in scale. “Usually artists will have demos they’ll bounce off other people to get some feedback, but nobody except for my parents down the hall really heard much of the album until I put it out,” Struble recalled. With the self-release of 2018’s Fuzzybrain, the Aledo-born, Austin-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer received widespread attention and an ardent online following — with countess listeners praising the material’s overwhelming positivity.
In 2019, Struble re-released a fully realized version of Fuzzybrain that featured Can I Call You Tonight,” a track that wound up being a smash-hit back in 2020, as well as two previously unreleased singles “Nicknames” and “Listerine.”
Continuing upon that momentum, Struble released his Dayglow sophomore album Harmony House, an album that was inspired by the 70s and 80s piano-driven soft rock that he had captured his ears. Interestingly, around the same time, he had been watching a lot of Cheers. “At the very beginning, I was writing a soundtrack to a sitcom that doesn’t exist,” Struble recalls. And while actively attempting to generate nostalgia for something that hadn’t ever been real, as well as something most of his listeners had never really experienced. Thematically, the album concerns itself with a deeply universal theme — growing up and coping with change as being an inevitable aspect of life.
Struble’s third Dayglow album, People In Motion is slated for an October 7, 2022 release through AWAL. Entirely written, played and produced by Struble, the 10-song album continues upon the JOVM mainstay’s reputation for crafting upbeat, optimistic, hook-driven pop rooted in his desire to steer clear of conflict and offering someone something to love.
People In Motion‘s third and latest single “Second Nature” may arguably be the funkiest and most dance floor friendly single Struble has released to date. Sonically seeming like a synthesis of 80s pop, Daft Punk, The 1975, and LCD Soundsystem, “Second Nature” is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, Struble’s plaintive vocals, an infectious vocoder’ed vocal-driven hook and an irresistible feel good vibe meant to get your ass on the dance floor.
“‘Second Nature’ is one of the most ambitious songs I’ve made so far. I didn’t think it would be a ‘Dayglow’ song until the rest of People in Motion started to take shape,” Struble says in press notes. “I made so many versions of it— I just kept writing more and more melodies and ideas. The Logic file ended up being like this 15 minute jam that I eventually condensed to be the near 6 min song it is.
I was really inspired by songs like Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long,’ Michael Jackson’s ‘Wanna Be Starting Somethin’, and of course Daft Punk. I just love songs that have repeatable chord progressions that never seem to even reach their potential— they just keep going on and on. Lyrically and musically I wanted to create a song that felt like that. A song that just celebrates itself and the joy of dancing and making music. It doesn’t even feel like ‘Second Nature’— it feels completely innate and natural to make music to me. I love it more than anything and it feels like what I was made to do, and ‘Second Nature’ just grasps that idea and runs with it confidently.”
After a sold-out Australian tour and a packed house set at this year’s Outside Lands, Struble will be embarking on a North American tour that includes a November 7, 2022 stop at Terminal 5. Check out rest of the tour dates below.
Ryan Lee West is a critically acclaimed, London-based electronic music producer, best known as Rival Consoles. Over the course of his 15-year career, the London-based electronic music producer’s work has diversified from the challenging electronic output of his early EPs to gradually become more conceptual and metamorphic: 2020’s Articulation used drawings and sketches to imagine and developed each track while last year’s Overflow explored themes of the human and emotional consequences of life surrounded by advancing technologies, including social media — and was composed for horeographer Alex Whitley‘s contemporary dance production of the same name.
West’s consistent desire to create a more organic, humanized sound often sees the acclaimed British producer often developing early ideas on guitar or piano; forming pieces that capture and evoke a sense of songwriting behind the electronics. His eighth album Now Is, is slated for an October 14, 2022 release through Erased Tapes. Reportedly featuring some of the most playful and melodic material of his catalog in some time, the album draws from music, as well as art, film, colors, shapes and human emotions.
“The title of the record Now Is interests me because it is the beginning of a statement, but it is incomplete. I like art that is open and suggestive of ideas even if they are inspired by very specific things,” West explains. “With my previous record Overflow being very dark, heavy and almost dystopian, I wanted to escape into a different world with this music and ended up creating a record which is a lot more colorful and euphoric.”
So far I’ve written about two singles off the forthcoming Now Is:
The Autobahn-era and Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk-like album title track “Now Is,” which features a a relentless motorik pulse and glistening synth arpeggios that manage to evoke prismatic bursts of color exploding before the listener’s eyes.
“World Turns,” which also features a relentless motorik pulse built from a propulsive bass lines, glistening synths and twitter and woofer rattling industrial thump paired with a gently morphing song structure that sees tempo and tone shifts throughout. The end result is soulful, thoughtful electronic music with a human soul and beating heart.
Now Is‘ latest single, “Running” is a deceptively simple composition centered around a single melodic idea built from a glistening synth line that subtly morphs and bends throughout. The synth melody is paired with skittering thump and a motorik pulse that propels the song towards its conclusion — a gentle fade out.
“I am very into classical music and the kind of structures and ideas they often use, and love the works which take a single melodic idea and create multiple variations from it,” West explains. “That is what I tried to do with this piece, where every single thing is a variation on the opening ten second theme. I spent over one year exploring a huge amount of variations from light to very heavy. Over much time I ended up being more inspired by the subtler, gentler variations, which allow the idea to breathe, which is a theme on this record.”
Vincent Bugozi is a Tanzanian-born, London-based artist and bandleader. Along with his backing band, Bugozi specializes in a genre-defying and infectious take on Afro Pop that meshes elements of of Afrobeat, reggae, Afro-Cuban music and pop among others. The Tanzanian-born, London-based artist and his backing band aim to combine the sounds of different cultures to connect people through music and an energetic live show — and help bring positivity and unity in a world that desperately needs it.
Bugozi and company will be releasing their latest album AFRICAN SEBA! later this year. Inspired by Tanzanian Tinga Tinga art, AFRICAN SEBA! sees the act drawing inspiration from an eclectic array of sources and collaborating with a collection of musicians from the United Kingdom and European Union, while still deeply rooted in the sounds and styles of Africa. Thematically, the album’s material touches upon the “big themes” — love, sorrow and joy. Interestingly enough, the album will be his first multilingual album.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the breezy and summery bop “Tinga Tinga,” a genre-smashing, banger featuring skittering dancehall-meet-trap beats, 80s Quiet Storm soul-like saxophone and twinkling keys paired with Bugozi’s plaintive vocals and an infectious, razor sharp hook. While pulling from sounds across the African Diaspora, “Tinga Tinga” manages to be distinctly African while simultaneously being and pop-leaning, accessible banger that will get a lounge and/or a club rocking and grooving.
AFRICAN SEBA!‘s latest single “Bossa Nova” is a slickly produced, breezy bop that seamlessly meshes elements of Afro-pop, reggaeton and Bossa Nova while cementing Bugozi and company’s unerring knack for infectious hooks. As Bugozi explains, the song tells a nostalgic tale about an Afro-Latina woman named Fatuma, who had the ability to make people dance to bossa nova.