Category: Synth Pop

 

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 a specific feeling or sensation, rather than capturing a concrete narrative. Interestingly over that same period, the duo has been experimenting with their sound and songwriting approach with their sound gradually becoming warmer and R&B-leaning with guitar becoming much more prominent on later releases.

Now you may recall that the duo closed out what turned out to be a huge 2015 with the release of “Gold Chain,” the first single and title track off the duo’s forthcoming EP, Gold Chain, which is slated for a February 25 release through B3SCI Records and with a set opening up for Girlyboi at Rough Trade. The EP’s second and latest single “K9” continues where the first single left off as skittering drum programming, wobbling bass, guitar chords fed through reverb and delay pedals and sultry hip-hop and R&B inspired vocals in a way that subtly hints at Timbaland — but much more atmospheric. And much like the preceding single, the song is a a “ratchet” love song, in which the narrator and the object of his affections being in love and doing sleazy things together because they enjoy them.

 

Comprised of Broken Social Scene‘s Lisa Lobsinger, The Beauties‘ Paul Pfisterer and Transistor Sound and Lighting Co.’s Martin Davis Kinack, the Toronto, ON-based self-described galactic dream pop trio Laser quickly won the attention of major media outlets such as Nylon, Spin and BUST Magazine with the release of “Leaving It Too Late” and “Do We All Feel It” the first two singles off the trio’s soon-to-be released debut full-length album Night Driver. Reportedly, the band’s sound — and in turn, the sound of their debut effort — takes cues from electronic and atmospheric albums and late night, country drives from Lobsinger and Pfisterer’s Toronto home to Kinack’s remote “studio in the forest.” And as a result the material on the album meshes electronic and analog elements and was written as though it were particularly designed to be the soundtrack for a introspective and meditative drive into the country.

Night Driver‘s third and latest single “Disconnect” pairs Lobsinger’s sultry yet ethereal vocals with twinkling synths, boom-bap drum programming, angular guitar played through gentle reverb, equally angular bass and a steady, motorik groove in a song that possesses brooding atmospherics while radiating both an effortless cool and a comforting warmth; after all, the song is about the disconnect (and resulting confusion) within an intimate relationship and puts in terms in a way that says “we’ve all been there at some point — and holy shit does it ever suck the life out of a relationship that may have been going well up to that point.”

 

 

 

 

Comprised of husband and wife duo, Keith Kenniff (multi-instrumentalist/producer), also known for his work as Helios and Goldmund and Hollie Kenniff (vocals and primary songwriter),  Portland, OR-based duo Mint Julep started in 2007 with relatively modest intentions –an attempt to get the normally shy Hollie Kenniff to sing more. Initially, the duo’s sound drew from early 90s shoegaze but eventually their sound gradually became influenced by electronic music through the duo’s admiration of rough edged sounds of industrial electronica, which Hollie was a big fan of, and punk rock, which Keith was a big fan of. As Keith Kenniff explained in press notes, “It took us a while to suss out whether this was something we were just going to have fun with, or if we’d actually release our music. But we ended up keeping at it, and now we’re at the point where we’ve created something with its own sound that’s very unique to us.”

The Portland-based duo’s sophomore effort, Broken Devotion was written over a four year period with the duo’s sound reportedly being more lush and intricately layered than their debut effort, Save Your Season while thematically the material explores both the light and dark dimensions of love. “White Hot Heart,” Broken Devotion‘s first single pairs a driving, motorik groove, layers of shimmering and undulating synths and Hollie Kenniff’s ethereal coos in a slickly produced and moody pop song with a shimmering and breezy melody. Sonically, the song is clearly indebted to the synth pop of Pet Shop Boys — think of “West End Girls” for example — as the song possesses a hazy nostalgia over a love affair that has slowly unravelled before the narrator’s eyes while being danceable.

 

 

 

Jonathan Hoard is a Columbus, OH-born, New York-based singer/songwriter, vocal arranger and teacher, who has had a lengthy history performing and recording with a number of Grammy Award-winning artists and producers including Regina Belle, Tracy Pierce, Richard Smallwood, Rashad McPherson and DivinePURPOSE and his father, Stellar Award– nominated artist Ronald Hoard as a background vocalist. And with as the frontman of his own act, J. Hoard and The Greenhouse People, Hoard and company has opened for Dwele; however, I’m actually most familiar with Hoard through his work with Gentei Kaijo, the backing band to the popular soul/funk/hip-hop residency The Lesson.

Here’s where things get interesting. Earlier this month, I was at the Women In Music Holiday Party at Le Poisson Rouge when I ran into Melany Watson and a producer/songwriter and guitarist Greg Seltzer. And while chatting with Seltzer, he told me that he recently produced a song by J. Hoard featuring Rabbi Darkside. “Tidal Wave” pairs subtle soul clap-percussion and skittering drum programming with icily swirling synths, guitar chords played through reverb and twinkling keyboards with Hoard’s soulful falsetto which express ache, desire, and joy within a turn of a phrase. Rabbi Darkside contributes a silky smooth 16 bars at the song’s bridge about being in a seemingly turbulent situation and at the mercy at something far larger than yourself in a song that metaphorically views a tidal wave as both destructive and as a cleansing force — all while possessing a a quiet, understated self-determination.

 

 

 

 

Over the past two years or so, Vancouver, BC-based producer, electronic music artist, Pat Lok has quickly built an international profile. Lok’s 2013 remixes of Cashmere Cat and Justin Timberlake, along with his own original single “Remember” received BBC Radio One airplay – and an AlunaGeorge bootleg, which was praised by the renowned electronic act received over 300,000 plays. Original singles like “Move Slow” and “Same Hearts” were released to critical praise from the likes of Vice’s THUMP and iTunes — and at at one point, the Canadian electronic music artist received over 1 million Soundcloud plays. Adding to a growing international profile, Lok has played clubs across Canada, Western Europe, Mexico, Columbia and the US.

Lok has been rather prolific this year, releasing a number of high profile singles that have captured the attention of this site and other blogs — and he ends the year with the release of “Your Lips” feat. Dirty Radio, a single that has seen airplay from BBC Radio 1Xtra, as well as spins by a number of renowned DJs including Tensnake, Moon Boots, Goldroom, Just Kiddin, Nick Catchdubs and others. And when you hear the song, you’ll see why it’s received such attention early on as the song pairs layers of cascading synths and skittering drum programming with Dirty Radio’s sultry vocals to create a song that possesses a seductive and dance-floor ready groove — while nodding to synth pop and R&B. Sonically, the song reminds me a little bit of a house music-version of Michael Jackson‘s “I Can’t Let Her Get Away.

The Vancouver, BC-based producer and electronic music artist recently announced the release of the “Your Lips” remix package, which features remixes from Dutch producer Tony Tritone, Leeds, UK-based artist Crvvcks and renowned Chicago-based duo Christian Rich.  The Tony Tritone remix (below) retains the soulful vocals but pairs them with hard hitting drum and bass and atmospheric synths to give the song an airy and  funky soul-leaning feel that makes the song sound as though it were drawing from Dam-Funk and 80s synth R&B — all while remaining dance-floor friendly.