Category: Synth Pop

New Video: Up-and-Coming Aussie-born Los Angeles-based Pop Artist Zenya Releases a Slick Visual for 90s Inspired Bit of Synth Pop

Zenya is a Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, best known for a stint inJustin Timberlake’s backing band The Tennessee Kids. Recently. the Aussie-born, Southern Californian-based artist has stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist, with the release of her Lash-produced and co-written debut single “Holdin’ On.” Much like the previous post, “Holdin’ On” is radio and dance floor friendly pop, centered around propulsive Caribbean-tinged polyrhythm, shimmering synth arpeggios and the Aussie-born, Southern Californian-based pop artist’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook. At its core, the song is imbued with a desperate and urgent hope that defies common sense and logic. 

“Holdin’ On’ is an island influenced pop song about hope,” Kenya explains in press notes. “Holding that thin thread left between two loves that may or amy not get back together after ab breakup that seemed like it might have been a mistake. It’s a song of vulnerability and honesty, and how it can be hard to let go of habits of the heart.” 

Directed by Mark Lecky, the recently released video follows a pensive Zenya, as she conducts a cleansing ritual, writing and desperately waiting for a lover to come back home — but there’s a sense that this lover may never come back. It’s a decidedly 90s inspired visual for a 90s pop inspired song. 

New Audio: Oslo’s Das Body Releases a Sultry 80s Synth Pop-Inspired Banger

Oslo, Norway-based electro pop act Das Body — Ellie, Kim, Patrik, Didrik — has a long-held reputation for crafting catchy 80s-influenced pop that has been praised byThe Line of Best Fit,who once wrote  that the Norwegian pop outfit creates “the best parts of pop without making it overly saccharine in its delivery.” The Norwegian act’s latest single, the Jorge Elbrecht-produced “Against the Glass” is the second single the act has released this year — and while marking the first bit of new material since the release of “Taller Than The Average Man” earlier this year, “Against the Glass” is a slick synthesis of Quiet Storm-like synth pop and contemporary electro pop, as sultry vocals lay against a bed of atmospheric synths, stuttering and tweeter and woofer rocking beats and an incredibly infectious hook. 

The song as the band explains “is about the claustrophobic feeling when you realize what you’ve been working towards and finally achieved is only a result of the people around you looking out for their own interests.” 

The rapidly rising Norwegian pop act’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced full-length debut is slated for a Spring 2020 release. 

New Video: Genre-Defying French Artist MHUD Releases a Bloody Commentary on Violence and Toxic Masculinity

Initially beginning his creative career as a painter, the mysterious Strasbourg-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer MHUD got into music as a creative outlet relatively recently. And in short period of time, the Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist has developed a reputation for material that thematically focuses on man’s spiritual, emotional and intellectual split from himself — paired with a sound that’s genre defying. 

The mysterious Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist’s full-length debut is slated for a March 2020 release, and the album’s latest single “Cheval de Bataille” is a slickly produced track that possesses elements of trip hop, electroclash, electro pop and arena rock as its centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, buzzing, distortion pedal-fueled guitar lines, a motorik-like groove, expressive blasts of horn and arpeggiated synths. Sonically speaking, the song — to my ears, at least — reminds me a bit of synthesis of fellow countrymen Black Strobe, Dystopico-era Kriget, Third-era Portishead, Evil Heat-era Primal Scream and The Deltahorse.  

Produced by David Garnacho and Nicolas Bouf, the recently released video for “Cheval de Bataille” follows the violent fantasies of a nerdy and relentlessly bullied office drone, who gets his revenge at a team-building paintball game. In the face of psychological violence in relation to economic and societal pressures, some people feel as though the only response they have is to respond with physical violence, the Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist says of the video treatment. The directors and the artist went with a hyper realistic take on violence — so that the impact it has on people can’t be trivialized or glorified. But on another level. it points out how toxic masculinity can lead to increasing amounts of brutal and senseless violence. 

I’ve written quite a bit about Stockholm, Sweden-based indie electro pop act Club 8 throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history. The act, which features Labrador Records label head and incredibly prolific and eclectic producer and electronic music artist Johan Angergård and vocalist Karolina Komstedt has a long-held reputation for being difficult to pigeonhole sonically: With the release of their debut album 1995’s Nouvelle, the duo initially was a Bossa nova-inspired pop act. However, with 1998’s The Friend I Once Had was a decided sonic left turn for the duo. with the material primarily being electro pop and electronic dance music.  The duo’s next three albums, which were released between 2001 and 2003 found them dabbling in old school soul.

2017 began an incredibly prolific and busy period for Angergård: his solo recording and production project The Legends released an album; Djustin, his collaboration with Rose Suau released their full-length debut Voyagers; and Club 8 released their ninth album Lost. Now, some time has passed since I’ve last written about the Stockholm-based JOVM mainstays — but this year has been busy for the acclaimed duo. They released a single earlier this year that landed on Hype Machine‘s Top 5. And following up on the momentum of that single, the duo’s latest track “The Hospital” may arguably be the most industrial/goth-leaning bit of material they’ve released in some time. Centered around thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths and Komstedt’s breathy and ethereal vocals, the club banging track manages to subtly recall the likes of Depeche Mode and Soft Metals. And while being a dance floor friendly anthem, the song finds the duo at their most contemplative: the song’s narrator is in a hospital bed, acutely aware that the end may be near — but desperately hoping that it isn’t.

 

 

 

New Video: Brisbane’s Confidence Man Releases an Occult Themed Visual for 90s House-Inspired “Does It Make You Feel Good?”

With the release of last year’s full-length debut, Confident Music for Confident People, which featured a handful of breakthrough singles, the Brisbane, Australia-based dance pop act Confidence Man — led by Janet Planet and Sugar Bones and featuring Clarence McGuffie and Reggie Goodchild — received attention nationally and internationally for a crowd-pleasing, club friendly sound seemingly inspired by Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and Deeee-Lite-era house music. 

Adding to a growing profile and busy summer, the rapidly rising Aussie dance pop played across the international festival circuit, including a stop at Glastonbury Festival — and amazingly earning an opening slot for the legendary New Order. Interestingly, Confidence Man’s latest single, the shimmering, club anthem “Does It Make You Feel Good” continues on the momentum of the past year. Centered around a slick production featuring  a thumping and propulsive beat, shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line and a rousing hook, the song manages to be heavily indebted to late 80s and early 90s house and Club MTV-era MTV — i.e., Black Box, C+C Music Factory, the aforementioned Deeee-Lite and others. But instead of ascribing to soulless mimicry, the song reveals an act with a careful  and deliberate attention to craft. 

Directed by the Aussie dance pop act’s longtime visual collaborators Schall and Schanbel, the recently released visual is s striking fever dream that’s reminds me quite a bit of the work of Dario Argento — but with an extensive dance sequence in between the gore, ecstatic occult rituals and laser shooting boobies and cute animals. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about the rapidly rising Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, Luna Shadows.  Interestingly, the Los Angeles-based pop artist began her career as a touring member of the acclaimed New Zealand-based synth pop act The Naked and Famous — but Shadows went solo, because she felt she had a voice that demanded to be heard on its own terms.

Since then, Luna Shadows has developed a reputation for a staunchly DIY approach, as she writes, performs, records, produces, edits and engineers every single note of her work — and for crafting sultry, melancholy pop that Billboard has called “. . . refreshingly soulful and haunting .  .  . ,” and compared by some critics as Lana Del Rey taking Lorde to the beach.

Adding to a growing profile, the Los Angeles-based artist’s work has amassed over 35 million Spotify streams with tracks landing on tastemaker playlists like New Music Friday, Indie Pop, Weekend Beats and Weekly Buzz and landing as high as #7 on the US Charts and #18 on the Global Viral Charts. Her live debut. which took place at the renowned Los Angeles indie music showcase School Night was a sell-out — and she also has received airplay on a nubmer of radio stations globally, including  including KROQ, BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1. And amazingly, she accomplished all of that without the support of a label.

Now, as you may recall this past year has been a momentous year for the Los Angeles-based pop artist: She recently began collaborating with two highly-acclaimed mainstream indie pop producers — s Now Now‘s Brad Hale and The Naked and Famous‘ Thom Powers to help shoulder the production and editing load — and she signed to +1 Records, who released her first single of the year, “lowercase,” a track imbued with the bitterness, heartache and confusion of a dysfunctional relationship full of power plays, recriminations and accusations paired with a sleek and hyper-modern, trap-leaning production. “god.drugs.u” continued in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor but while centered around a plaintive and unfulfilled yearning.

“practice,” Luna Shadow’s third and latest single of the year continues a run of sleek, hyper modern, radio and club friendly bangers, as its centered around the sort of synth arpeggios reminiscent of Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back,” Shadow’s plaintive vocals and tweeter and woofer rocking beats. And while being a rumination on love and loss meant to remind the listener that every love affair throughout your life is essentially practice for the next one, it’s also a reminiscence on the one that might have worked — but somehow didn’t. And instead of harboring bitterness, the song suggests that it’s all a part of being human.

“Like all songs in this series, this song involves a breakdown or barrier in communication both in the digital and physical worlds,” Shadows says of the song. “In the most literal interpretation, ‘practice’ is an imaginary conversation with a bridge jumper, beginning with a retroactive plea for them to check their Twitter mentions as they might’ve seen the outpouring of love left for them before they made an irreversible decision. The chorus is a sentiment that someone once expressed to me in a dark hour: that love is a process, something in constant refinement, something never damaged beyond repair, somewhere that you can always return. This message reached me at a necessary moment, and I wanted to forward it musically with the hope that it might reach someone who needs to hear it right now.”

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Introducing the Sleek and Propulsive Synth Pop of Vlossom

Vlossom is a new electro pop collaboration between two acclaimed Australian musicians — Nick Littlemore, best known for his work with multi-platinum acts Empire of the Sun and PNAU and Alister Wright, the frontman of Aussie indie rock act Cloud Control.  Interestingly, the project can trace their origins to rather a serendipitous moment: while walking down the street in Adelaide, Littlemore bumped into Wright and immediately proposed that they make an album together. “He had this exuberance that shone through as he approached me, and right away I felt compelled to offer myself up for the slaughter,” Littlemore says in press notes. 

Several months later, the duo met up for their first writing and recording session, during which Littlemore played a nubmer of backing tracks he’d recently created, including a few pieces made with Tim Lefebvre, best known for his work with David Bowie. “Without really talking or anything, Nick threw me straight in and had me sing over all these instrumentals,” Wright recalls. “I ended up getting so lost in it, and just singing whatever came into my head at the time.” The end result is trance-inducing material that effortlessly meshes pop, psych rock and electronic music into something that’s strange and multi-sensory — a body of work that reportedly possesses a distinct texture, temperature, color and even smell. 

The duo’s Vlossom debut EP is slated for release next year, and the EP’s first single is the lush and hypnotic “Catch Your Breath.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, a motorik-like groove, Wright’s ethereal and plaintive vocals and a dance floor friendly hook that sonically brings Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories to mind, as the duo meshes sleek, electronic production with with warm, live instrumentation featuring musicians Littlemore met through his work with Elton John. And while being a club banger, the track thematically speaks to a metaphorical loss of composure. “It’s that feeling of seeing a thing of absolute beauty, whether it’s a girl or guy or plant or animal, and being brought into a heightened reality,” Littlemore says in press notes. “For the most part our everyday lives are fairly menial, so those moments when we do lose our breath are really something to dwell on.” 

Directed by Nicolas Randall, the recently released video for “Catch Your Breath” is a vividly colored and gorgeous fever dream, filmed at a haunting and eerie mausoleum in Los Angeles. 

“The clip was directed by the incomparable Nicolas Randall, a visionary director whose understanding of colour and movement is second to none,” Littlemore says of the video treatment. “It was shot in an amazing mortuary; the song deals with crossing over to parallel dimensions. Nicolas played with this concept in this location, breathing wondrously strange energy into a lifeless place, uber-styled and choreographed by masters in their field.”