Category: Synth Pop



Initially comprised of founding duo Jennifer Grady, a classical music teacher and Justin Hosford, a film and tv music composer, the Joshua Tree, CA-based duo Chelan (pronounced sh-lan) can trace their origins back to 2007. And since their formation, the duo released three full-length albums that the band’s founding members have described in press notes as a “mostly electronic, subdued, indie aesthetic;” however, last year, the duo recruited Chad Austinson (drums) to further flesh out their sound and as the newly formed trio began writing, performing, revision and recording the material that would wind up comprising their soon-to-released, fourth full-length album Vultures, the band’s sound went through a change of sonic direction as the trio’s sound began to employ the use of analog synths, guitar, drums, cello and piano to create a lush, wall of sound-like sound as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Beams.”

In the case of “Beams,” the trio layers of pairs jagged synth stabs, propulsive, motorik-like groove, Grady’s ethereal vocals, which bear a bit of a resemblance to Kate Bush, and shimmering guitar chords in a cinematic, lush and urgently swooning song that lyrically focuses on both the desire to connect with someone and the difficulties to connection once you consider the weight of one’s past and how it impacts their present.







New Video: The Lighthearted and Ironic Visuals for Adult Karate’s “So Low”

If you’ve been frequenting this site a bit over the past few months, you may be somewhat familiar with KC Maloney, who is perhaps best known as being one-half of renowned electro pop act Radar Cult, and his solo side project Adult Karate, which expands upon the sound that his primary project gained across the blogosphere — and while arguably being much more minimalist at times, the project’s sound clearly draws from several styles and sub-genres of electronic music including house music, acid house, techno and ambient electronica. “So Low,” a collaboration with up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter Adaline was the first single off Maloney’s LXII EP. And the single consists of Maloney’s sleek, hyper-modern and minimalist production featuring gentle cascading of shimmering synths, stuttering drum programming, led by finger snaps, a wobbling bass line, swirling electronics, wobbling low end and an anthemic hook featuring duetting boy-girl vocals towards the song’s last third — but with Adaline’s sultry and smoky vocals propelling the song forward.

The recently released music video features a man awkwardly preparing for a date with a beautiful woman, and an already uncomfortable meeting goes even worse when the man rebuffs his date’s advances — that is until they share a moment of some super white people dancing and some surreal lighting effects; however, the video ends with a wildly ironic twist.

Comprised of Ryan McGroarty, Cheylene Murphy and Aimee Williamson, the Belfast, Northern Ireland-based synth pop/dream pop trio Beauty Sleep have quickly received attention from The Irish TimesThe Sun, several blogs and airplay from BBC Radio 1 for a sound that’s been compared to Washed Out, Teen Daze and Summer Heart. And as you’ll hear on the trio’s latest single “Living Right,” you’ll see why as the trio pairs gorgeous and ethereal melodies with shimmering synths, reverb-filled guitars, a propulsive rhythm section and an upbeat, anthemic hook in a carefully crafted song that’s summery and extremely radio-friendly — but with a subtle and underlying wistfulness at its core.






New Video: The Swooning and Heartbreaking Visuals and Sounds of Charlotte Cardin’s Latest “Like It Doesn’t Hurt”

Big Boy’s latest single “Like It Doesn’t Hurt” will further cement Cardin’s burgeoning reputation for aching jazz/soul and pop vocals — and in this case paired with a sparse yet extremely contemporary production featuring twinkling and moody keys, undulating synths and electronics and stuttering boom bap-like drum programming and a guest spot from Montreal-based emcee Husser; while lyrically, the song describes a turbulent and dysfunctional relationship full of ecstatic highs, crushing lows, bitter and aching separations. And as a result of both Cardin’s vocals and the production, the song possesses a swooning almost drunken urgency — and it should remind the listener of young, foolish, passionate, heartbreaking love.

Directed by Kristof Brandl, the recently released video for “Like It Doesn’t Hurt” features the song’s collaborators Charlotte Cardin and Husser as the video’s central couple and with a series of frenetic cuts and flashbacks, the video emphasizes the turbulent and tumultuous relationship at the core of the song as you’ll see a couple who fight and love passionately and are separated after a violent incident, which has Husser arrested and sent to jail.

Earlier this month, you may have come across a post about “Westside,” the latest single from the somewhat mysterious Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Sibling, a single that built on the buzz that they’ve received with the release of their debut single “Easy,” as the duo paired a sparse production consisting of shimmering cascades of synths, an anthemic hook and pop belter vocals in a radio friendly song that swooned with a bittersweet longing. The duo’s latest single “Revolve” may arguably be the most dramatic and cinematic song they’ve released so far as they pair a production featuring twinkling piano keys, undulating synths and swirling electronics with sultry pop belter vocals in a song that is as much of a tell off as it is a song in which its narrator asserts her strength and resolve.





Comprised of Menomena and Lacktherof‘s Danny Seim, The National‘s Bryan Devendorf and David Nelson, who has had stints in the touring bands for  David Byrne and St. Vincent and Sufjan Stevens, the members of Pfarmers can trace the project’s origins to when The National and Menomena toured together back in the early 2000s — and as a result of frequently running into each other Seim and Devendorft quickly became friends. And while Seim and Devendoft were playing with their respective primary projects at a festival, Devendorf played Seim a series of severely damaged synth-based drumbeats he had worked on with Nelson, who at the time was playing as part of the horn line in David Byrne’s live band. Seim was so intrigued that he joined into the project, which released their debut effort Gunnera last year; in fact, if you had been frequenting this site at some point last year, you may recall that I wrote about the album’s first single “The Ol’River Gang,” a moody, atmospheric track consisting of horns, boom-bap like beats and ethereal vocals that felt like an undulating fever dream.

Pfarmers’ sophomore effort Our Purim was written as Seim relocated from his hometown of Portland, OR to Louisville, KY. Initially wanting to make the album’s material conceptually about Oregon, where he had spent the majority of his life, he chose to focus on Rajneeshpuram community of Wasco County, OR he had learned about as a child. As an adult, he recognized the tragic nature of their story and as a result of contemporary events, began to find himself relating to members of the religious community in a different fashion than he had imagined. And much of the material began to be written from the perspective of a Rajneeshee leaving the compound — for good. Interestingly, it wasn’t until he had finished the album that he also realized that the album also managed to cover what he subconsciously felt was his own exodus from the only home he had known up until recently.

“Red Vermin,” the album’s latest single pairs gently undulating synths, industrial electronic-like drums, twinkling keys and plaintive yet ethereal vocals that describes the sensation of being ridiculed for one’s beliefs and outcasted with a profound sense of empathy  —  so much so that you can feel the sting of the insults hurled at the song’s narrator while possessing a cinematic quality.






Earlier this year, I wrote about young, up-and-coming,  Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Charlotte Day Wilson, who initially began her recording career as the frontwoman of locally renowned act, The Wayo. And with the release of “After All,” the Canadian singer/songwriter quickly emerged out of her hometown’s jazz, soul and R&B scenes, adding herself to a growing list of nationally and internationally known acts including friends and collaborators  BADBADNOTGOOD and River Tiber.


Wilson’s highly-anticipated debut effort CDW is slated for an August 26, 2016 release and the effort will include the critically applauded singles “After All” and “Work,” as well as the slow-burning, soul ballad “Find You,” which features the Canadian singer/songwriter’s effortlessly soulful vocals over a contemporary and minimalist production consisting of twinkling keys and synths, gently swirling and fluttering electronics, finger snap-led percussion and stuttering drum programming in a song that evokes a plaintive and urgent need. And as much as the song is celebration of finally feeling ready to love someone else and desiring love from someone, it’s equally a celebration of finding one’s true self and place within the world — both of which are incredibly difficult, no matter how strong and sure of yourself you may feel. Certainly, for a singer/songwriter as young as Wilson is, her vocal range and her lyrics betray a wisdom and experience far beyond her years.





With the release of two critically applauded EPs, We Are Sound and Everything You Imagine Is Real, the New York-based electro pop duo Corbu received praise from the likes of NYLONStereogumThe GuardianNME and others for a sound that’s heavily influenced by the Warp Records roster, sci-fi imagery,  psychedelia and their own dreams. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of weeks you may recall that I wrote about the cinematic “Battles,” one of the first singles off the duo’s highly-anticipated, soon-to-be released, full-length debut effort Crayon Soul; a track that has the band pairing a soaring and anthemic hook with a shimmering and breezy melody and plaintive vocals in a way that’s reminiscent to Moonbabies and M83.

Crayon Soul‘s latest single “Better Better Off” is a lush and shimmering psych pop, psych rock track that has the duo pairing angular guitar chords fed through gentle reverb and delay pedals, layers upon layers of gorgeous harmonies, shimmering synth cascades,  a soaring and anthemic hook, and a propulsive rhythm section in a song that sounds indebted to trippy 60s psych rock as much as it does to the likes of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and the dream pop of the aforementioned Moonbabies, Summer Heart – but with a palpable bittersweet wistfulness under the song’s breezy surface.



New Video: The Disco and Synth Pop Inspired Visuals and Sounds of Chrissy and Hawley’s Feminist Anthem “I Got A Life to Lead”

Now as you may also know, as the story goes both Chrissy and Shoffner are originally from Kansas, which the duo immediately bonded over and they began working on material that effortlessly meshes both of their unique styles into something rather seamless. Their self-titled debut’s latest single “I Got A Life to Lead” has the duo pairing Shoffner’s bitterly and frankly incisive lyrics telling off a selfish, needlessly combative, soon-to-be former lover, with a sleek and sensual production that would make the legendary Giorgio Moroder proud — as tambourine, shimmering and undulating synths, a propulsive motorik groove, stuttering drum programming, a sinuous bass line, a subtle yet noticeable string sample and an anthemic hook to craft a song that’s not only a certified disco-influenced club banger and a great tell off to any asshole soon-to-be former lover, who you’ve gotten sick and tired of and a decidedly feminist anthem in the veins of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” — but while openly saying “I’ve moved on from the foolish bullshit.”

The recently released video borrows liberally from 80s tropes and follows Shoffner singing and swaying along to the song as though she were in a karaoke bar — but shot in a seductive and hazy hues of purple, green and red, complete with views from several different TVs and a brief appearance by Chrissy pressing buttons. And in some small way, the video should remind folks of how deeply influenced the Chicago-based duo are by late period disco and 80s synth pop but while putting a subtle modern feel on it.