Category: Synth Pop

With the release of lead single “Atlantis,” off her forthcoming and highly-anticipated EP NemesisLos Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and actress Bridgit Mendler first caught the attention of the blogosphere for a sound that possesses elements of hip hop, glitchy and contemporary electro pop, R&B and dancehall — and as a result, the track hit #2 on Spotify‘s Viral Chart, #1 on Hype Machine , garnered over 3 million streams across all digital streaming services and received praise from the likes of MTVNylonStereogum and Pigeons and Planes. And when you hear the song you’ll see why it burned up the internet charts as the slow-burning song pairs Mendler’s breathy coos with a slick, hyper modern production featuring stuttering drum programming, vocoder fed vocals, glitchy electronics, various bleeps, bloops and blips and twinkling synths and a flirtatious verse from Kaiydo. Sonically, the song is reminiscent of Abby Diamond‘s “Love to Watch You Leave” while nodding at Timbaland‘s revolutionary production — in other words, stuttering and bizarre angles while being airy and coquettish but underneath there’s an aching vulnerability.

Recently, young and renowned, Philadelphia, PA-based producer Tunji Ige remixed Mendler’s blogosphere burning single, pairing Mendler’s breathy coos with swaggering, tweeter and woofer rattling beats, glitchy electronics turning the song into a stomping, trap music-leaning club banger while retaining the original’s vulnerability. Check out how it differs from the original below.

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With the release of “Cold” and “Thread,Melbourne, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Matt Connelly’s solo recording project Retro Culture went viral for a hazy, 80s synth pop that sound as though it could have been part of the soundtracks for the major motion picture Drive and Netflix‘s hit series Stranger Things — and as a result both singles received more than 1.2 million streams on Spotify , appeared on Spotify‘s New Music Friday playlist and others and have been championed tastemakers like Majestic Casual.

Connelly’s latest single “Fading” will further cement the Australian multi-instrumentalist and producer’s growing reputation for a retro-futuristic, synth pop sound as the single, which was co-produced by Jack Arentz, who has worked with Kult Klyss and I know Leopard and mastered by Huntley Miller, who has worked with Bon Iver and Sylvan Esso, pairs Connelly’s plaintive vocals with swirling electronics, shimmering synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, a sinuous bass line and an anthemic hook. Interestingly, the song sonically speaking will remind some listeners of St. Lucia and the Cascine Records roster, as the song manages to be danceable but just under the surface is a thoughtful, contemplative nature.

 

 

Fading’ builds on Connelly’s previous thoughtfully curious and hazy pop debut releases ‘Cold’ & ‘Thread’, which were released earlier in 2016 to early and unexpected international success. Full of fuzzy beats & shoe gaze sounds, both ‘Cold’ & ‘Thread’ went viral and achieved an impressive 1.2 million streams on Spotify, appearing on several Spotify playlists including New Music Friday and championed by tastemakers including Majestic Casual.

Brought to life by a kaleidoscope of inspirations and experiments with live-recorded drums, guitar, bass and synths, his new single ‘Fading’ finally took form as an ode to the nostalgic and 80-gazing soundtrack to Netflix TV hit ‘Stranger Things’.  The single was co-produced with Jack Arentz (Kult Klyss, I Know Leopard) and mastered by Huntley Miller (Bon Iver’s, Slyvan Esso).

Influenced by the likes of Daft Punk and The 1975, Connelly describes the inspiration for ‘Fading’ as being inspired by, ‘The film Drive has played a big part in my musical inspiration recently so I guess that’s where that comes from. Also I was watching Stranger Things at the time of writing Fading and it has this really amazing synth sound track. It reminded me of Drive. That 80s sound is my current obsession. Lyrically, I tend to draw from what’s going on around me or from my own life’

Retro Culture will be coming over to the UK to debut live early next year. More info to follow.

New Video: The Bittersweet and Contemplative Sounds of Norwegian, Synth Pop Trio Chain Wallet

Comprised of Stian Iversen, Christian Line and Frode Boris, the Bergen, Norway-based electro pop trio Chain Wallet specialize in a shimmering, reverb-heavy and deeply 80s inspired synth pop tinged with bittersweet nostalgia, and the trio’s full-length, self-titled effort, which was released by renowned Oslo, Norway-based label Jansen Platerproduksjon thematically explores themes of betrayal, idleness and crushed dreams against the backdrop of an existential breakdown. And while loosely portraying different aspects of the quarter-life crisis, the album reportedly manages to capture the almost universal feeling of creeping unease and uncertainty of our time, as you’ll hear on the hauntingly moody and shimmering single “Faded Fight.”

The recently released video for the song captures a group of 20 somethings goofing off in bars an house parties with a youthful, exuberant urgency — but underneath that exuberance are a bunch of awkward, uncertain and dysfunctional adults, who have to recognize that no one ever really has it together; that people generally pretend to have their shit together until life inevitably breaks their hearts.

With the release of “Swedish Guns,” off their soon-to-be released fourth, full-length album Running Out of Love, Stockholm, Sweden-based electro pop production and artist duo The Radio Dept. received quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere, and as a result the track shot up the Hype Machine charts, landing at number 1. Running Out of Love‘s second and latest single “We Got Game” will further cement the duo’s burgeoning international reputation for crafting slickly produced electro pop that channels mid 80s New Order and classic house but paired with socio-politically charged lyrics. Interestingly, the Swedish electro pop duo’s fourth album focuses on how life in their homeland seems to be quickly moving backwards politically, intellectually, socially — and about how a sense of impatience and privilege has lead to anger, hate and apathy. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Check out the song’s lyrics below:


There’s a choice to be made
We never used to blindly disobey
But now, make some noise
Never fade
Retrace the steps of millions before us
What is fair to get ahead?
It’s not an even game if you can’t bid
They don’t care
Never did
If we want it we will have to take it from the overfed

We got game
And we were put to shame
Acting kind
So we came to speak our minds
And what else?
What else?
What else could we do?
Jumpcut
Horses
Riots

You keep talking middle ground
So sick of hearing about that middle ground
This is it, you can’t go ’round
There’s just no other middle to be found
Like with this bunch of racist loons
The kind of guys you wouldn’t like to spoon
If in power
One whisky sour
And everyone I love would be jailed within the hour
So…

We got game
And we were put to shame
Acting kind
So we have changed our minds
And now what?
Now what?
Now what will they do?
Jumpcut
Horses
Riots
Is it true?
Laser beam
Swat team
Not a dream

I believe Paris Grey
Singing “the sun will chase the clouds away”
I believe what she say
Because I want and have to believe that way

Is it true?
Paycuts
Gunshots
Riots
Yes it’s true
It is true
Mind you
It’s true

 

The band will be embarking on a North American tour next winter and it includes two NYC are dates — March 8, 2016 at Bowery Ballroom and March 9, 2016 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.


North American Tour Dates

Feb 14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Feb 15 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
Feb 16 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Feb 17 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Feb 18 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
Feb 19 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
Feb 20 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda
Feb 22 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
Feb 24 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
Feb 27 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
Feb 28 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
Mar 1 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
Mar 3 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
Mar 4 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
Mar 5 – Toronto, ON @ The Mod Club
Mar 6 – Montreal, QC @ Théâtre Fairmount
Mar 7 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
Mar 8 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Mar 9 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Initially beginning his creative career as a renowned video producer, Dutch electronic music producer, artist and video director David Douglas, Douglas released a critically acclaimed full-length effort Moon Observations, an effort inspired by a renowned 18th century explorer and naturalist with the same name, who was known for detailed writings and observations on astronomical phenomenon.  Interestingly, Douglas’ latest single “Lucine” is a shimmering and shimmering bit of electro pop that manages to hint at Kraftwerk — but possessing a breezy and summery quality.

 

 

 

With the release of two previous EPs and “Sly,” featuring Winston Surfshirt, the first single off the soon-to-be released Friends EP, Sydney, Australia-based production and electronic music artist duo Polorgaphia have gained a rapidly growing national profile; in fact, the duo’s latest single “Feels Alright,” a collaboration with psych pop act Looks Fade was released as the duo announced a national tour to support their third EP.  Interestingly, the duo’s latest single will further cement the duo’s burgeoning reputation for thematically focusing on wistful nostalgia, growing up and rapid passing of time while sonically the sound was inspired by 90s R&B ballads and 80s synth pop as the duo pair lush and shimmering synths and piano with, plaintive falsetto vocals, old school home-inspired percussion and a wobbling bass line. And while nostalgic, the song manages to be anthemic and hopeful for a bright future.

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a number of posts about Detroit, MI-based electro pop duo Gosh Pith. And in that period of time, the act has not only become a JOVM mainstay, they’ve seen a growing national profile for a sound that seamlessly meshes elements of hip-hop, electro pop, stoner rock, indie rock, dub, trap music, drum ‘n’ bass, indie rock and several other related  genres.

Interestingly, the duo’s guitarist and vocalist Josh Smith has a solo side project under the simple mononym Joshua. Influenced by Morrissey, Frank Ocean, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Jean-Luc Goddard, Jim Jarmusch and others, Smith’s first single as Joshua is a mash up/cover of The Weeknd‘s “Starboy” and Kiiara’s “Gold,” that he has dubbed “GOLDBOY.” Smith’s mash up/cover retains the glitchy and stuttering production of “Gold” but pairs it with Smith singing The Weeknd’s sultry lyrics. Admittedly, I’m not a big mainstream pop guy but after listening to both songs, my immediate thought was similar to the folks at All Things Go  — “Holy shit, those two songs work together. How come no one has done that before?” Sonically speaking, will further the reputation Smith developed while with Gosh Pith while gently and subtly breaking their mold.

Last month, I wrote about San Francisco Bay Area-based electro pop/electro R&B act The Seshen, an act comprised of Lalin St. Juste (vocals), Akiyoshi Ehara (bass, production), Kasha Rockland (vocals), Mirza Kopelman (percussion), Chris Thalmann (drums), Mahesh Rao (keys, synths), Mirza Kopelman (percussion) and Kumar Butler (sampler), that has received attention across the Bay Area and elsewhere for an aesthetic that draws from a diverse array of influences including Erykah Badu, Jai PaulJames BlakeRadioheadBroadcast, hip-hop, indie rock, electronica and 70s dub to craft a sound that walks a tightrope between sounding remarkably contemporary and retro-futuristic. Interestingly enough, “Distant Heart,” the first single off the act’s soon-to-be released sophomore effort Flames and Figures reminded me quite a bit of the slickly produced, sleek synth-based R&B and pop of the early 80s. 

“Already Gone” the second and latest single off Flames and Figures finds the act pairing St. Juste’s sultry and plaintive cooing with glitchy and stuttering drum programming, swirling ambient electronics and layers of cascading, shimmering synths, some reverberating industrial clang and clatter in the background and a sensual hook to craft a song that manages to feel both deliberately crafted and improvised — all while subtly nodding at Giorgio Moroder’s legendary and incredibly sexy productions.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’ve come across a few posts on NYC-based electro funk/neo disco production and artist duo Holy Ghost!, comprised of Alex Frankel and Nicholas Millhiser. And with the release of their 2011 self-titled debut, 2013’s Dynamics through renowned indie dance label DFA Records and their self-released remix album Work For Hire, the duo quickly earned a national and international profile; in fact, as a result, the duo have remixed the work of Katy PerryLCD SoundsystemMoby and a lengthy list of others; made national TV appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Show with David Letterman; toured with the legendary New Order; and played sets at some of this country’s and the world’s biggest festivals including CoachellaOutside LandsPrimavera Sound and Bonnaroo.

Earlier this year, the duo released their Crime Cutz Ep and from the EP’s first single and title track, “Crime Cutz,” the material further cemented the duo’s burgeoning reputation as artists for crafting slickly produced, retro-futuristic electro funk as Frankel and Millhauser paired shimmering synths, 808-like breakbeats, 8b it electronics and a sinuous bass line with sensually cooed vocals. And as I said of the song at the time, “Sonically, the song seems to draws so much influence from Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rockit,’ that it sounds as though it could have been easily released back in 1983″

Recently, Frankel quietly released his solo debut EP Negative Space, an effort that was mixed and mastered by the renowned, super-producer and electronic music Alex Epton, who has worked with and/or remixed the work of Bjork, TV on the Radio, FKA Twigs, Spank Rock and others, and interestingly enough, the EP was released to praise from the likes of Stereogum. Interestingly, the EP’s second and latest single “Get Back” will further Frankel’s reputation for crafting retro-futuristic electro funk as the single pairs Frankel’s sensual cooing with enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking 808-like beats, cascading layers of shimmering synths and Nile Rodgers-like guitar in a swaggering, dance floor friendly song that sounds as though it could have been released in the early 80s.