Category: Synth Pop

Formed in 2014 and inspired by Romance music, CAN and the films of Stanley Kubrick, VTCN Radio is a mysterious Parisian artist and production duo that pairs analog synthesizers with field recordings to create an eerily atmospheric sound as you’ll hear on thee “Late Night Shuttle”/”Venus Flytrap” EP.

“Late Night Shuttle” consists of a twinkling and cascading keyboard-based melody, a sultry but chopped up vocal samples and propulsive boom bap beats to craft a song that sounds like an eerie, Portishead and Sneaker Pimps-inspired lullaby, complete with a subtle bit of dread and unease. “Venus Flytrap” begins with an equally slow-burning track that has the duo pairing stuttering drum programming with electronic bleeps and bloops before turning into drum ‘n’ bass track with a subtle cosmic sheen for the song’s second half. And while clearly specializing in an atmospheric and ambient production, the duo subtly nods at drum ‘n’ bass and house with a moodily sleek and seductive, cinematic fashion.








New Video: The Dark and Moody Sounds and Visuals of Swedish Electro Pop Sensation Kite

Comprised of Nicklas Stenemo and Christian Berg, Kite is a Swedish electro pop act, who have become superstars, who routinely sell out shows in their native Sweden — all while uncompromisingly doing things their own way, as they’ve only released EPs. The duo of Stenemo and Berg are set to embark on a short Stateside tour, which includes a NYC stop at Le Poisson Rouge on Sunday, and to build up buzz for the tour, they recently released the video for “Count The Days.” And when you hear the single, you’ll see why they’re huge in Sweden, as the duo pairs vocals that express desperate longing, self-loathing and self-doubt with a tense industrial/electro pop production featuring icy synth stabs, menacingly swirling atmospherics, enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and an infectiously anthemic hook that will likely remind some listeners of Depeche Mode and others.

The recently released video features the moody background lighting the duo has developed a reputation for in their native Sweden and naturally it emphasizes the mental state of the song’s narrator — a narrator, who sounds as though they’re at the very end of their rope, both mentally and emotionally.

Comprised of signer/songwriter Max Greenhalgh, multi-instrumentalist Bryce Outcault and a revolving cast of musicians and collaborators, San Diego, CA-based project Inspired and the Sleep emerged locally and regionally with the 2015 release of Eyelid Kid, a collection dream pop; however, with “Sweet Company,” the Southern California-based duo have turned towards a breezier and lighter sound with the band returning to self-production combining electronic production techniques with live instrumentation. And in fact, you’ll hear a buoyant melody and hook paired with layers of shimmering and gently undulating synths, Greenhalgh’s plaintive vocals, subtle layers of guitar to craft a song that feels both wistful and yet deeply appreciative over both the good and bad times of one’s life and how they all influence and inform one’s life; after all, even in the most miserable of breakups, there was something positive — those relationships and their heartaches taught you something about yourself and what you want,  and even the lingering ghosts of those past lovers can serve to remind you that even if you’re not in love now, you had been and you will be again.



Comprised of Phoebe Lou and Joey Clough, the Melbourne, Australia-based duo Two People‘s debut single “Falling” received over 700,000 streams, was on regular rotation on renowned, Australian radio station Triple J and reached the Top 10 on Hype Machine‘s Popular Charts. Building on the buzz they’ve already received, the duo’s second and latest single “If We Have Time” pairs Phoebe Lou’s aching vocals with an atmospheric production comprised of swirling electronics, stuttering drum programming, twinkling keyboards and guitars played through reverb in a song that manages to  be simultaneously intimate and cinematic in a way that reminds me quite a bit of both Portishead and Goldfrapp‘s gorgeous Tales of Us.



New Video: The Film Noir-Inspired Visuals for ASTR’s Sensual, New Single

Building upon a growing national profile, the duo recently released their highly-anticipated sophomore EP Homecoming, which features “Bleeding Love” and have completed a North American tour with Ryn Weaver and Holychild. “Get So High,” the duo’s latest single pairs Silverman’s sultry and soulful pop-belter vocals with a slick and chilly production consisting of Silverman’s chopped up vocals to create a lushly layered harmonies, stuttering and skittering drum programming, subtly ominously swirling electronics and an anthemic hook to craft a hyper-modern, radio-friendly song that manages to be a bit of a lament and an urgent plea as the song’s narrator seems to be losing a realistic view of their relationship.

Produced by Dre Films, the video for “Get So High,” “continues my visceral obsession with horror film noir and twisted dark fantasy. The song is about crossing the line and losing site of reality. In this instance my character poses as an undercover bandit who takes it too far and kills her victim. This video tells a black widow tale, what starts as a fun night turns south and we question the illuslsion of who we really are. False Intentions shift from good times and cocaine highs to a murder and take all,” the duo’s Silverman explains about the seductive and fucked up video.

Best known as Goldroom, Josh
Legg is a prolific, Boston, MA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, electro pop artist and producer, who has taken the blogosphere by storm with the release of two EPs, 2011’s Angeles, 2013’s Embrace and a series of singles  — all of which have been influenced by Daft Punk, Phoenix, Alan Braxe, LCD Soundsystem and others.

September 23 will mark the release of Legg’s long-awaited full-length effort, West of the West, an album title inspired by Teddy Roosevelt, who popularly referred to California as “West of the West” during his presidency. And as Legg explains in press notes “It’s always resonated with me because it feels like a destination past the Wild West – an oasis where anything is possible. To me, West of the West is also the Pacific Ocean, where so much of my life and inspiration lies.” But more importantly as Legg explains further in press notes, the album and its material is centered around honest songwriting. “I was aching to write something more simple and earnest, devoid of cynicism,” Legg says.

West of the West‘s first single “Silhouette” sounds as though it were inspired by Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and 80s synth pop and R&B as a sinuous and sensual bass line is paired with atmospheric electronics, shimmering, cascading, arpeggio synth stabs, an anthemic hook and Legg’s plaintive and aching crooning to craft a dance floor and radio-friendly jam that manages to be both breezy and sexy.

Over the fall, Goldroom will be on a co-headlining 30+ date tour North American tour with Autograf that includes a NYC area stop at Terminal 5 in October. Check out the tour dates below.

Goldroom’s and Autograf’s National Tour Dates:
Nashville, TN
Atlanta, GA
Portland, ME
Boston, MA
Philadelphia, PA
New York, NY
Washington, DC
Montreal, QC
Toronto, ON
Columbus, OH
Detroit, MI
Chicago, IL
Madison, WI
Omaha, NE
Denver, CO
Boulder, CO
Kansas City, MO
St. Louis, MO
Oklahoma City, OK
Austin, TX
Albuquerque, NM
San Diego, CA
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
Arcata, CA
Eugene, OR
Portland, OR
Vancouver, BC
Seattle, WA
Basement East
Aisle 5
Port City Music Hall
The Theatre of Living Arts
Terminal 5
Fairmount Theatre
Mod Club
Park Street Saloon
Majestic Theatre
Boulder Theatre
Riot Room
OKC Farmers Market
El Rey
Observatory North Park
The Novo
The Fox
Arcata Theatre
HiFi Music Hall
Wonder Ballroom

Comprised of Phenomenal Handclap Band‘s Daniel Collas (keyboards, production) and Morgen Phalen (vocals guitar) and members of Stockholm, Sweden-based bands Dungen and The Amazing, indie psych pop act Drakkar Nowhere can trace their origins to when Collas and Phalen had been making music in the kitchen of a rented apartment in Stockholm. And in a relatively short period of time, Collas and Phalen’s kitchen-based music project caught the attention of the members of Dragen and The Amazing, who then joined the project to flesh out its sound, a sound that’s largely influenced by cosmic jazz, soul, jazz fusion, prog rock and psych pop among others — while being influenced by their direct surroundings, including the forests that surround the Bagarmossen and Midsommarkransen neighborhoods of Stockholm.

“How Could That Be Why?,” is the first single off the band’s forthcoming self-titled effort slated for a September 23, 2016 release through Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records — and the shuffling and trippy single has the band pairing twisting and turning synths and keyboards, a sinuous bass line, an infectious sense of melody  to craft a song that sounds as though it could have been released in 1973. And in some way, the song naturally reminds me a bit of Collas and Phalen’s work with Phenomenal Handclap Band as well as Shawn Lee‘s collaborations with AM and Tim “Love” Lee with a subtle nod to Afrobeat — but with a subtle, cosmic glow at its core.








Pusher is a Toronto, ON-based electronic music artist, producer and DJ who specializes in a style that he has dubbed “neon,” which is comprised of elements of trap, electro pop, house music, 90s R&B, jazz and other genres in a slickly produced mix that manages to be simultaneously retro-futrutistic and futuristic while being wildly crowd pleasing.

“Tell You” is the first single off the Canadian producer’s forthcoming New Laces EP is a propulsive bouncy production consisting of skittering drum programming, cascading layers of synths, twinkling keys and wobbling bass lines and pairs it with Hunnah’s soulful 90s R&B-leaning vocals in a summery and club-friendly track that sonically reminds me of SWV with a slick, neon polish.





Comprised of Daniel Ellsworth and the Great Lakes’ Daniel Ellsworth and Kyle Andrews, Nashville, TN-based electro pop duo Chaos Emeralds specialize in a sensual and swooning electro pop paired with earnest, heart-wrenching lyrics. As the duo’s Ellsworth explains in press notes “We wanted to make dreamy, sexy, sad, evocative pop music that sounded like it was dipped in gold.”

The duo’s latest single “Untied” pairs Andrew’s sultry cooing with an enormous yet slick production consisting of thundering tom drums, shimmering and cascading layers upon layers of synths and subtly buzzing low end with the sort of anthemic hook you can imagine deliriously shouting along to while at the club — while being incredibly radio and club-friendly.




Last month, I wrote about Adult Karate, the solo recording project of Radar Cult‘s KC Maloney. Sonically, Maloney’s solo project expands upon the sound that first captured the attention of the blogosphere with his primary gig  — by being much more minimalist, while still drawing from several styles of electronic music, including house, acid house, techno and ambient electronica. “So Low,” the first single off Maloney’s  forthcoming LXII EP was a collaboration with Toronto, ON-based vocalist Adaline that paired the up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter’s sultry and smoky vocals with a sleek and hyper-modern production consisting of gentle cascades of shimmering synths, stuttering drum programming, a Nile Rodgers funky guitar line, a wobbling bass line, swirling electronics and an anthemic hook in a breezily club-friendly and radio-friendly track.

LXII‘s latest single “Chased” is an intimate and eerily chilly track that pairs Maloney’s achingly plaintive vocals with an ambient, house music leaning production consisting of skittering drum programming, clattering snares fed through reverb, horror movie-like minor piano keys, tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats and subtle hints of other instrumentation to craft a song that’s full of lingering regret, self-flagellation and guilt; in some way, it feels like the sort of self-examination and recurrent doubt that seems to naturally come about after a particularly bitter and heartbreaking end of a relationship.