Category: Synth Pop

Perhaps best known as the keyboardist and guitarist of Twin Cabins, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist Drew Straus’s solo recording project Onsen recently released his full-length debut Earthquake Weather through Cosmic Dreamer Music. Straus’ solo project and debut effort was inspired by a major career change in which he went went from international police to music, a re-examination of sexuality and a relocation to another city — and as a result, the material captures an artist and a life in transition.

Straus’ latest single “My Own Advice” pairs shimmering and angular guitar chords, propulsive drumming and shimmering and ethereally atmospheric synths ad Straus’ plaintive falsetto in a song that Straus explains to the folks at Culture Collide is about “the end of first love. Written to myself from the perspective of the one I lost.” And as a result, the song possess a wistful “if I had known now what I had known then” vibe while the narrator also recognizes that the experience, despite the heartache, taught him something profound that he’ll take it on to his next relationship.




Perhaps best known as being one-half of electro pop act Radar Cult, KC Maloney’s solo side recording project Adult Karate expands upon the sound that first captured the attention of the blogosphere as his solo project — and although arguably much more minimalist, the project’s sound and aesthetic draws from several styles of electronic music, including house, acid house, techno and ambient. Maloney’s solo debut “So Low” off his forthcoming LXII EP is a collaboration with Toronto, ON-based vocalist Adaline that pairs the up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter’s sultry and smoky vocals with a sleek, hyper-modern and minimalist production consisting of gentle cascades of shimmering synths, stuttering drum programming, a Nile Rodgers funky guitar line, wobbling bass line, swirling electronics and an anthemic hook in a breezily club-friendly and radio-friendly track.



New Video: The Breezy Visuals and Sounds of Quebec City’s Men I Trust

With the release of their sophomore full-length effort Headroom, the newly constituted quartet began receiving international attention as their material landed on Hype Machine’s charts, as well as several Spotify and SoundCloud playlists. Building on the increasing buzz around the Quebec City-based quartet, their first single of 2016, “Humming man” was released to critical praise across the blogosphere; however, I suspect that the act’s latest single “Lauren” may arguably be their breakout single as the band pairs a sinuous and sleek bass line, shimmering guitar chords and skittering drum programming with hauntingly ethereal vocal melodies to craft a song that sounds as though it were equally influenced by 70s funk and R&B, 80s synth pop and contemporary electro pop. Interestingly enough, the song sounds as though it should have been released through Cascine Records, a label that specializes in releasing silky smooth and breezy 70s and 80s inspired pop while being the sort of song you’d do a little two step to in the club.
The recently released music video follows an extremely fair skinned woman bicycling down a country road while hinting at the follow-the -bouncing ball/karaoke-styled video which fits the song’s breezy yet sensual air.


Comprised of Kacee Hedit, Benny Tamblyn and Oli Kirk, Adelaide, Australia-based indie rock/indie electro pop trio Flamingo have developed a reputation both locally and nationally for a sleek, downtempo electronic sound with the release of their first two EPs, with their second EP Drip Drip being released to widespread critical praise. And as a result, the trio not only embarked on their first national tour with stops in their homeland’s largest cities — Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and their hometown — they’ve found their profile growing opening for BonoboRüfüs, Giraffage and The Kite String Tangle, as well as appearances at Splendour on the Grass and Groovin’ the Moo.

Interestingly, the trio’s latest single is about a topic that has been in the international spotlight for some time — refugees, who arrive by boat to a new and perhaps unforgiving and unwelcoming land. And as the band’s vocalist Kacee Heidt explains “Leaving your home and everything you have ever known to travel to the other side of the world in search of a life free from tyranny and devastation with nothing but your family and the clothes on your back. This is one of the hardest things a person can possibly go through and something most Australians couldn’t possibly imagine.”  And as a result, the song portrays refugees with a profound sense of empathy — an empathy the the members of the band feel has long been missing from their national conversation on the issue. Sonically speaking, the trio pairs shimmering guitar chords, skittering beats, gently undulating synths and Heidt’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics that point at asylum seekers’ plight with a bitterly sarcastic irony at its core, opening suggesting that those who were desperate enough to risk everything for the chance at asylum need not just the most empathy but the most assistance.





Atlanta, GA-born and New York-based indie soul/indie pop artist John Chandler much like a lot of pop artists grew up signing in church — and by the time he had turned 17 he had signed his first record deal; in fact, his first band 6Piece’s first single was released through a major national promotion through McDonald’s and as a result he and his band made appearances on MTV, BET and Nickelodeon, and he’s opened for or shared stages with the likes of NSYNC, Alicia Keys, Jagged Edge, Trisha Yearwood and others. As a solo artist, Chandler has developed a reputation for accompanying himself on piano; however, his latest single “Beat Of Our Love” off his forthcoming EP 24HRS is indebted to Prince and Bruno Mars as Chandler’s sensual vocals are paired with incredibly anthemic hooks and a slick electronic production consisting of a sinuous bass line, layers of stuttering and choppy synths and drum programming, brief bursts of strummed electric guitar in a song that possesses an urgent and visceral sense of desire while being a summertime club-friendly and radio-friendly banger that you want to hear while you’re with that special someone.


New Video: The Gorgeous and Psychedelic Visuals and Sounds of The Galaxy Electric’s “Please Come Home Soon”

Last month, I wrote about “Temporal” off their recently released full-length everything Everything Is Light and Sound, a single that had the duo pairing Caruso’s gorgeous vocals with twisting and turning synth chords, bop-era jazz syncopation and a sinuous bass line filtered through gentle layers of reverb and echo. And as I wrote last month, the single simultaneously focused on both the nature of time and our experience of it while evoking a similar vision of the future presented by the 1964 World’s Fair — a hopeful world that has used science and technology to solve humanity’s greatest problems in an efficient and timely fashion. The album’s latest single “Please Come Home” continues in the same path as its preceding single — although it’s slightly less jazz-leaning; however, more importantly, the song manages to possess a plaintive longing and heartache, as its narrator is begging her lover to come home because they’re so desperately needed.


Comprised of Thad Cockrell (vocals) and Jeremey Lutito (drums, production and programming), the Nashville, TN-based electro pop duo Leagues captured the attention of both mainstream media outlets and the blogosphere with the 2012 release of their self-titled debut EP and its follow-up You Belong Here — thanks to the massive success of singles “Spotlight” and “Walking Backwards,” which saw significant radio airplay. Other songs from both the EP and You Belong Here also made appearances in several TV shows, films and commercials.

Although slated for a September 9, 2016 release through Dualtone Records, You Belong Here‘s highly anticipated follow-up Alone Together can actually trace its origins back to 2014 when the duo of Cockrell and Lutito wrote, revised and recorded it almost immediately after the release of their critically applauded debut; however, as soon as the duo finished the album, they had an unshakable, sinking feeling that the album wasn’t right. As Thad Cockrell explains in press notes “It’s hard to see when you’re in the middle of that process, but I think we both had this growing feeling that we weren’t saying everything we wanted to say and weren’t pushing each musically to do all we could do. So we had to wipe the slate clean and start over.” Wholly produced by Lutito, the duo set around reworking and re-imaginging some of the previously recorded material off the initial Alone Together sessions and completely new songs — and as you hear on the album’s latest single “Lipstick Coffee,” the duo have come up with material that’s accessible and anthemic while being sonically dense and challenging as the duo pack the song with buzzing and undulating synths, a sinuous bass line, complex syncopation, Cockrell’s seductive, come-hither crooning, distorted electronic bleeps, beeps and bloops, and an incredibly surprising trap house bridge consisting of enormous boom-bap beats and bass drops. Sonically, the latest single reminds me of the sense of awe I had when I first heard Garbage‘s first two albums — in which every single time I hear the song I notice some deeper nuance that I somehow hadn’t noticed; however, you wind up hearing a wild array of influences from hip-hop, funk, soul, electro pop, trap being seamlessly meshed into something strangely familiar and alien.











Brika is a Miami, FL-based pop artist, who initially received attention across the blogosphere and this site for an electro pop sound that possessed elements of trip-hop, jazz and several other genres, a slow-burning, neo-soul leaning reworking of Shaggy‘s “It Wasn’t Me” and her debut effort Voice Memos. And although it’s been about a year since I’ve last written about her, the Miami-based artist has been pretty busy; in fact, she went into the studio with producer Julio Reyes Copello to record new material, including her latest single “You,” a summer rooftop party evoking single that pairs Coppello’s sleek and modern production consisting of a stuttering synths, finger snap-led percussion, boom-bap beats and a funky bass line with Brika’s sultry and self-assured vocals — but while expressing desire, lust, longing and a surprising devotion with her signature old school, jazz-like phrasing. Based on this single, Brika’s forthcoming new material may reveal a decided expansion of the sound that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and this site.







New Video: The Psychedelic, 1980s Leaning Visuals for Promise Keeper’s “Porous Silk”

With the release of Side Decide” and other singles, London-based producer and electronic music artist Promise Keeper started to receive attention across the blogosphere for a sound that possesses elements of classic Chicago house, blue-eyed soul and 80s electro pop. And his latest single “Porous Silk” will further cement the British producer’s already burgeoning reputation for crafting slick, dance-floor friendly pop as androgynous yet sultry cooed vocals are paired with a production consisting of a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like guitar chords, propulsive and stuttering drum programming, twinkling keys and shimmering synths. Sonically, the new single evokes the sensation of silk running across naked skin, cool yet pliant –while being reminiscent of a slightly downtempo and house music-leaning version of Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait.”

The recently released music video employs the use of a grainy, VHS-styled psychedelia as the video follows its brooding protagonist observing ancient Greek-inspired art, drinking wine. Visually, it looks as though it could have appeared on a version of Ralph McDaniel’s Video Music Box back in 1987 or so.

Although initially comprised of founding members Marcus Admund (vocals) and Albin Wesley (bass), along with Nikki Nyberg (guitar) and Erik Fritz (drums), Stockholm, Sweden-based quartet Honeymilk formed back in 2012, the band could actually trace their origins to the formation and eventually breakup of Urmas Plant, a band which featured several of the members of Honeymilk. With the release of “It Might Be,” a single produced by Linus Larsson, best known for his work with Peter, Bjorn and JohnMercury Rev and Anna Ternheim, the band quickly received praise across the blogosphere and received radio airplay on several radio stations including Amazing Radio and Oxford College Radio. Interestingly, after the release of “It Might Be,” the band decided to go to the DIY route, recording and producing their own work, including their critically applauded, full-length debut Lean on the Sun.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting over the past couple of years, you may recall that I wrote about Honeymilk and their single “A Scene in Between,” a single that sonically sounded as though it were indebted to Brit pop and British psych rock – in particular, The Stone RosesThe Jesus and Mary ChainThe Verve, and Oasis. Over that time, the renowned Swedish act has gone through yet another lineup change with the band turning into a duo featuring the band’s co-founding member Edmund, along with Nyberg — and understandably with such a massive lineup change, the band has gone through a major change of sonic direction as you’ll hear on their latest single “Time Will Kill You.” With the latest single, the duo sounds as though they were subtly channeling Vampire Weekend and others as ambient synths are paired with a loose, looping guitar line played through reverb and delay pedal, a slinky bass line, an ethereal yet catchy melody and harmony and Admund’s plaintive vocals. And while being incredibly breezy, the song thematically speaking focuses on a profound metaphysical truth that we’re all aware — that time will relentlessly continue onward with or without us.