Category: Synth Pop

New Video: New York-based Artist Kinlaw Releases a Cinematic and Dramatic Visual for Slow-burning “Blindspot”

Kinlaw is a New York-based composer, choreographer, multimedia artist and singer/songwriter who is known locally for her solo work and multimedia productions that feature as many as two-hundred performers and contributions from Devonte Hynes (a.k.a Blood Orange), Caroline Polacheck, SOPHIE, Dan Deacon and others, as well as a number of renowned dancers and performance artists.

The New York-based artist’s full-length debut The Tipping Scale reportedly finds her showcasing her work in a new light. The album’s lyrically bridges the deeply personal with universal themes revealing a songwriter bravely exploring loss, regret, confusion, strength, identity and change. She explains that The Tipping Scale is an ideal metaphor for the record, the idea of an ever-present slipping in and out of change, and an acceptance of this kind of change.

The Tipping Scale finds her unifying her multidisciplinary practice. Writing with the goal for finding entry points for storytelling that felt honest and authentic to her practice, she often saw her music relating to motion. “I would start with a gesture and let it build into something until a memory attached itself to it,” the New York-based artist says. “The memory would become a story and the story would reveal itself as something important that needed to be expressed in this album.”

Sonically speaking, the album’s material features ornate flourishes, dance floor ruminations and slick production with a refined, compositional sensibility. The album’s first single “Blindspot” is a slow-burning, tense, and dramatic track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering beats and Kinlaw’s ethereal crooning that reminds me of a atmospheric, synth-based take on Softspot’s dreamy Clearing — with a dark and brooding air.

Director by Kathleen Dycaico, the recently released cinematically shot video shows the adult Kinlaw in a futuristic enclosure, reckoning with her much younger self through an incredible series of dramatic choreographed moves — with the initial interaction being aggressive and forceful before going through a tender acceptance and acknowledgement between the adult and child.

“‘Blindspot’ is an excavation of the psychological mind that analyzes the link between our relationships with the people around us and our acceptance of self,” the New York-based artist explains in press notes. “I started doing a really cool therapy called EMDR while in process of developing this video with director Kathleen Dycaico and was able to recognize that the refusal to accept time, mainly myself during some of those times, was reflected in the way I was speaking about relationships. Our child selves are so brilliant — they are resilient, tricky, explosive, expressive. I needed to start off this album by giving a nod to the dynamic ways we perceive not only the people around us, but our integrated self.”


New Audio: Introducing the Swaggering and Infectious Pop of France’s LMLM

LMLM is a mysterious and masked French producer. singer/songwriter and music video director. His latest single, the swaggering and infectious “hate u all” is centered around twinkling keys, thumping beats, shimmering synths, an infectious, radio friendly hook and the French artist’s equally swaggering part rhyming, part crooning delivery. Aesthetically. the mysterious French producer’s sound seems indebted to Drake and to slickly produced, Top 40 pop — but with a bit of an edge.

“‘hate u all’ is about all the things we have to fight in these trouble [sic] times: racism, sexism, global warming, etc. . . I want the best for the world. I wanna make people feel good and free. That’s why I sing ‘i hate you all’ in a groovy-catch song,” LMLM explains in press notes.

New Video: Montreal’s Eyesha Teams up with Nigeria’s Slimcase on a Sultry Banger

Montreal-born DJ, producer, singer/songwriter, choreographer, dancer and model Soph-eye Richard has spent the past 15 years either living in or performing in several dozen countries across five continents. The Montreal-based artist radically reinvents herself and her career with her latest solo recording project Eyesha.

Richard’s debut single as Eyesha, the Fancy Beats-produced “Dámelo” is centered around a minimalist production consisting of stuttering and thumping staccato beats, atmospheric synth arpeggios, and an infectious club banger meets Top 40 hook. Featuring a guest verse from emerging Nigerian artist Slimcase, “Dámelo” is a globalist, border blurring song with elements of Afro pop, electro pop, house music and Latin pop — with Spanish, French and English lyrics delivered in a sultry, come-hither coo by Eyesha and a swaggering reggae-inspired verse by Slimcase in English and Yoruba. And at its core is an irresistible yearning and desire that will have you coming back for more. In fact, so far, the track has been gaining a lot of attention: as of this writing, the track has amassed over 100,000 Spotify streams since its release.

Shot last year, the recently released. incredibly sexy video for “Dámelo” features the Montreal-based act and a diverse array of beautiful people dancing at a backyard party and a club — and while emphasizing the sensual quality of the song, the video also reveals some of the Montreal-born artist’s immense talents.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Beacon Release a Driving New Meditation on Desire

Throughout this site’s 10 year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Now,. as you may recall, the act’s third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs found the duo — Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gussett (production, keys, synths) — writing material that was a sonic left turn from their previously released work.

As they continued, they expanded upon some songs and pared others band. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, patient and almost painterly creative process of Gravity Pairs eventually turned the material they wrote into a space in which wildly different colors, tones and textures — in this case, minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds. With each iteration, the duo discovered they could easily expand upon how they presented the material within a live setting: they could play the same material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play the same material in a different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires. And while Gravity Pairs pushed the JOVM mainstays sound and songwriting approach in an adventurous new direction, the album’s material remained imbued with a vulnerability and aching yearning.

Since the release of Gravity Pairs, the members of Beacon have been extremely busy: Last year they opened for Nick Murphy. during his North America tour, which included a stop at Brooklyn Steel. They shared a series of stripped back, live studio sessions and they released a remix album, which featured edits by Elkka, Helios, and CRi. They began 2020 with a meditative, piano-led take on the Pixies‘ “Wave of Mutilation.” Inspired by the slower tempo and phrasing of the UK Surf B-side, which showcased the original’s mutability — and then they went off on a headlining European tour, which stopped in my second favorite city in the entire world, Amsterdam.

“Feel Something” is the first bit of new, original material from the JOVM mainstays since Gravity Pairs and the track finds the duo continuing to prioritize discovery and experimentation in their songwriting approach. Centered around blown out boom-bap beats, a sinuous bass line, atmospheric yet menacing electronics, jagged synth arpeggios, shimmering guitar lines, a motorik-like groove and Mullanary’s plaintive falsetto, the song’s lyrics paint a surrealistic and disturbing vision of desire and control. offering an almost lived-in perspective of a codependent and dysfunctional relationship.

Beacon have released an accompanying visual featuring a kaleidoscopic and undulating array of colors, moving along to the song’s motorik-like grooves. Without touring on the horizon as a result of the pandemic, Mullarney and Gussett teamed up with their friends at inlet.tv to create a 24/7 steaming channel featuring live visuals from the band’s extensive and lengthy touring history, which you can check out on their website — https://www.beaconband.tv. The channel is also syndicated on YouTube, where users can engage in an active chat.

Each week through the duration of the pandemic, the members of the JOVM mainstays will be releasing a new live visualizer from their archives to the channel and will utilize it going forward to broadcast studio sessions, Q&As and premiers, leading up to new music in 2021.

Slow Magic is a mysterious and masked electronic producer and electronic music artist, who has garnered both critical and commercial success with the release of his first three albums — 2012’s Triangle, 2014’s How to Run Away and 2017’s Float have managed to amass over 200 million streams globally. Adding to a growing profile nationally and internationally, the masked producer and electronic music artist has toured with ODESZA, Giraffage and XXYYXX — and has released critically applauded remixes of the work of ODESZA, Gold Panda and Delorean. 2018 saw Slow Magic play a set at Coachella, which he followed up with a North American tour with shallou and a headlining European tour.

Earlier this year, Slow Magic released the Closer 2 U EP, an effort which was released to praise fray the likes of NPR, NAKID Magazine, Dancing Astronaut, This Song is Sick, and a long of list of others. Featuring collaborations with shallou, Manila Killa, Woven in Hiatus and others, the EP found the mysterious producer and electronic music artist firmly establishing himself as a go-to collaborator, and as a rising talent and tastemaker in the electronic music world. Building upon the momentum he earned with Closer 2 U EP, the acclaimed masked producer fourth album it’s the end of the world, but it’s ok is slated for a December 9, 2020 release through Moving Castle.

Thematically, it’s the end of the world, but it’s ok explores and touches upon uncertainty, community, resilience and communication — all things that have been a part of our daily lives in some fashion or another over the past seven months or so. The album’s first single is the upbeat anthem “Carry On.” Centered around several layers of lushly shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, euphoria-inducing drops and an enormous hook,. the track which features guest vocals from Paperwhite has a much-needed and uplifting message (and reminder) to listeners: look inward, calm yourself and love yourself, look towards building a brighter, better future — and find solace in carrying on to the best of your ability.

“‘Carry On’ came from a session with Katie Marshall from Paperwhite and Jeremy Silver in 2019,” Slow Magic explains in press nots. “Coincidentally enough, the concept I was working on at the time for it’s the end of the world, but it’s ok, was a post-apocalyptic narrative where the focus was on getting through it and striving toward what was ahead. I had no idea the lyrics we came up with that day would ring so true in 2020. The line ‘If the stars burn out tonight we’re gonna carry on’ really echoes what I see happening all around the world right now amid such crazy times: people are carrying on with their lives and it is beautiful to see.” 

“’Carry On’ came together quickly on a summer day in LA where Slow Magic and I just happened to both be visiting,” Paperwhite recalls. “It was one of those songs that unfolded easily within our first hour of writing. I’m thrilled to see how Slow Magic explored our idea and gave it new life.” 

New Video: Brittany Campbell and Phil. Team Up on A Bold Declaration of Queer Love and Desire

Brittany Campbell is a Los Angeles-based R&B artist, animator and actor and activist. Joining the Metropolitan Opera at an early age, Campbell went on to act in and star in a number of Broadway productions including a little one by the name of Hamilton, where she met her girlfriend Candace Quarrels — and formed the R&B and folk duo Mermaid, whose forthcoming full-length album features production by Matt Otto and Sam Hoffman.

Campbell has also released material as a solo artist, releasing her full-length debut, 2018’s Stay Gold, which revealed a songwriter, who could craft earnest, lived-in songs paired with a self-assured vocal range. The Los Angeles-based artist, animator, actor and activist’s creative passion and curiosity led her to become a self-taught animator, who has created videos for supermodel/vocalist Shaun Ross, as well as for her work.

Born Philip Johnson-Richardson, Phil. is a Charlotte-born, New York-based singer, emcee, dancer and actor, who immediately upon finishing his degree in musical theater at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music joined the cast of the Chicago production of Hamilton, where he eventually starred in the titular role. Since starring in Hamilton, the rapidly rising talent has managed to land a number of prominent acting gigs, appearing in TV shows like Chicago P.D., Proven Innocent, The Other Two and the the horror film Haunt. He was also cast as a series regular in the Sara Bareilles and JJ Abrams created Apple TV+ series Little Voice. And adding to a incredibly busy period, the Charlotte-born, Chicago-based singer, emcee, dancer and actor will be releasing his debut EP Different Cities, an effort that will help to further showcase his talents.

Recently Campbell and Phil. teamed up on the slickly produced and empowering pop anthem “Champion.” Centered around stuttering trap beats, shimmering and layered synth arpeggios, Campbell’s sultry vocals, an inspired guest spot from Phil., who quickly alternates between staccato spitting fire and achingly tender soul crooning and an infectious hook, “Champion” is a sensual and joyous ode to queer love, desire and devotion that was specifically released for National Coming Out Day. “I’ve written a few songs about making love but none that were inspired by making love to a woman,'” Campbell explains. “The song and video is my attempt at capturing some of the feelings it inspires in me. . . the euphoria and joy in making love.”

The brightly colored, intergalactic — and downright trippy — visual for “Champion” captures Black, queer love with a boldness that’s defiant yet tender, as it suggests that for the song’s narrator making love to her girl is a transcendent and otherworldly experience.

Lyric Video: Acclaimed Canadian Duo Twin Flames Release a Slickly Produced and Empathetic Single

Twin Flames is a highly celebrated Ottawa-based husband and wife duo featuring:

Chelsey June, an Ottawa-born singer/songwriter, who is a part of the Mètis, a multi-ancestral indigenous group who can trace their descent from both indigenous North Americans and European settlers and can claim Algonquin Cree ancestors.

Jaaji, a Nunavik-born singer/songwriter who’s part Inuk and Mohawk.

The individual members of Twin Flames have had their own respective critically applauded, multi-award winning and nominated careers when they met, decided to work together, and fell in love during the filming of APTN’s Talent Autochrones Musical (TAM). Since the pair joined together personally and professionally, they’ve had an enviable run of success as a result of work l that meshes the contemporary and traditional with lyrics sung in Inuttitut, English and French:

They’ve been nominated for 25 awards, including two Canadian Folk Music Awards wins and three Native Music Award wins.
They’ve had two #1 hits on the Indigenous Music Countdown’s Top 40.
They’ve played 1000+ shows across Canada, the States, Australia and France
They were selected as artist-in-residence for last year’s Folk Alliance International conference.
The Canadian duo partnered with UNESCO to write the official song celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
“Human” was chosen as part of last year’s CBC’s Music Class Challenge.
The music video for “Broke Down’Ski’Tuuq was the first Inuttitut language video to be featured on Canadian music channel MuchMusic.

The indigenous duo’s third album OMEN is reportedly a sonic departure from their previously released material — with the album finding the duo’s sound incorporating edgier elements of alt pop, and indie rock as the duo explain in press notes is “concept-based around a dystopian reality, global warming, and humankind free of social classes, mental health, and addictions.”

OMEN’s first single, “Battlefields” is a perfect example of what listeners should expect from the album: shimmering and glistening synth arpeggios, big thumping beats, a rousingly anthemic hook, some indie rock-styled guitar lines and the duo’s plaintive boy-girl harmonies singing lyrics in English and Inuttitut. The end result is a slick, radio friendly and accessible pop anthem. But underneath the slick polish, the song possesses a gentle yet urgent plea to the listener — especially those within the Indigenous community — to seek help if they’re struggling. True strength is when you acknowledge you need help, that you can’t face it all alone. Along with that, there’s the tacit understanding that everyone struggles with their mental health at some point; being a caring, kind and thought personal in a morally bankrupt and nonsensical world is difficult as it is.

“Mental health is a battle that many people face in silence,” Twin Flames’ Chelsey June says. ““This song speaks to the stigma associated with it.” Jaaji adds, “In the Arctic of Canada, Inuit People face the highest amount of suicides in the world. ‘Battlefields’ is a song to remind our people we have to fight our own minds to survive, we are fighters, and together, we can feel less alone and win this battle.”

New Audio: Penguin Prison Releases an Upbeat and Hopeful New Banger

Chris Glover is a New York-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and electro pop artist best known as Penguin Prison. With Penguin Prison, Glover has a critically applauded discography that includes 2011’s self-titled debut and 2015’s Lost In New York — and a handful of viral hits including “Don’t Fuck With My Money,” “Show Me The Way” and RAC’s “Hollywood.” Additionally, Glover has released acclaimed remixes of Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, and Imagine Dragons.

Glover’s latest Penguin Prison single “Better” is the first bit of new material from the acclaimed pop artist since last year’s “The Heat.” Beginning with a arpeggiated piano and soulful vocal-led intro with the quick addition of layered harmony, handclaps and shimmering synths, the track turns into a rousingly anthemic banger with the addition a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and an even more uptempo, two-step inducing groove. Subtly nodding at soul and gospel spirituals, the song was written with the direct intention of uplifting listeners and inspiring them to hold on to the hope of a better world — even if it’s just for the duration of a fun pop song. Honestly, considering the dire state of everything, the song offers a necessary escape, as all great pop songs inevitably do.

“This song is my response to the times we find ourselves in,” Glover explains. “The global pandemic, social injustice, climate change; it’s overwhelming. I wanted to write about rising above it all. I want the listener to feel hopeful that we can find a way to get through even if it’s just for the duration of the song.”


INNR CIRCLE is a rising Toronto-based Panamanian-Canadian R&B artist, who has started to receive attention both locally and nationally for a sound that meshes elements of New Wave, dream pop and R&B paired with a striking and dynamic vocal register and earnest, lived-in songwriting. The rising Canadian artist’s latest single “Take” has begun to receive attention from a number of tastemakers: “Take” has been featured on Spotify’s New Music Canada, YouTube Music’s RELEASED, as well as Next in Queue, Sine Language, Alternative Hotlist and Your New Alternative playlists — and after hearing the single you’ll see why the Toronto-based artist is so buzz worthy.

Centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, a decidedly Tropical air , a shuffling two-step inducing rhythm and INNR CIRCLE’S achingly plaintive and sultry vocals, the track sonically reminds me JOVM mainstay Washed Out to mind while featuring a a narrator, trying to pursue an old relationship that he fucked up. And as a result, the song touches upon loneliness, longing, frustration, despair and self-flagellation in a way that’s neurotic yet familiar.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO Returns with a Gauzy Pop Hook-Driven Single

Over the course of this site’s ten-plus year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Thomas Fec, best known as TOBACCO. During his two-plus decade music career, Fec has used analog synthesizers and tape machines to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement, pleasure, and menace as the frontman and creative mastermind of JOVM mainstays Black Moth Super Rainbow, as a solo artist and through his production work with other like-minded artists.

Since the 2016 release of Fec’s fourth TOBACCO album Sweatbox Dynasty, the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly busy: Fec reconvened with the members of Black Moth Super Rainbow to write and record the gauzy fwhich was supported with tours with The Stargazer Lilies and Nine Inch Nails. Last year, Fec produced The Stargazer Lilies’ abrasive and trippy Occabot — and he collaborated with Aesop Rock in Malibu Ken, a project that released their critically applauded debut album. Additionally, TOBACCO penned the theme song to HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Earlier this year, the JOVM mainstay released his first batch of solo material since Sweatbox Dynasty, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch which featured Fec’s woozy and scuzzy take on Eric Carmen‘s Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written smash hit “Hungry Eyes.” But as it turned out, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch may have been a bit of a preview of the JOVM mainstay’s forthcoming full-length Hot Wet & Sassy.

Slated for an October 30, 2020 release through Ghostly International, Hot Wet & Sassy reportedly oozes with anti-love, self-hate and disappointment in others — while further refining the pop impulses that have underpinned his unique sound — blown out, bass, fuzzy analog synths, drum machines and Fec’s analog gurgle and hiss. “I feel like it’s the most I’ve been able to refine what I’m doing,” says Fec. “For the past decade I’ve had this motherfxcker on my shoulder that makes me pick away at structure and melody. Purposely covering up moments because I can. That really came to a peak on Sweatbox. So I wanted the opposite this time. Write the songs without ripping them in half. I went from ‘what would the Butthole Surfers do?’ to ‘what would Cyndi Lauper do?’”

I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s first three singles so far: Hot Wet & Sassy’s second single, “Babysitter,” a collaboration with Nine Inch Nails’ mastermind and fellow Pennsylvanian Trent Reznor, which was a deranged and unsettling lurch between a menacingly saccharine bridge and what sounds like someone gleefully running a rusty manual lawnmower through someone’s carpet paired with laser hot hi-hats, thumping tumps, scorching synths, gurgling and bubbling hiss and distortion and the most accessible, pop-leaning hooks of Fec’s recorded output. The album’s third single “Jinmeknen,” was a slow-burning and atmospheric Quiet Storm-like ballad of sorts centered around glistening synth arpeggios, bouncy beats, Fec’s heavily vocoder’ed vocals and some of the most earnest songwriting of his lengthy — and often extremely weird — career.

“Headless to Headless,” Hot Wet & Sassy’s fourth and latest single clocks in at a little under three minutes and is centered around glistening synth arpeggios,. blown out stuttering beats, brief staccato bursts of forcefully buzzing guitar, Fec’s heavily vocoder’d vocals and some infectious hooks. And while arguably being one of the album’s more gauzier songs, it sounds a bit like a mm murky and downright swampy take on 80s R&B — the drumbeats at point remind me of Cherelle’s “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” for some reason. Much like the previously released singles, the track sees the JOVM mainstay playfully refining his overall sound without scrubbing or altering the weird elements that have won him attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere.