Category: Synth Pop

 

Ronald Kaufman is a Los Angeles, CA-born and based producer and multi-instrumentalist, who began his solo electronic music recording project Kauf after his early experimental rock bands split up and a return back to his hometown. When Cut Copy‘s Dan Whitford released Kaufman’s critically applauded As Much Again through Whitford’s highly-regarded indie dance/indie electronica label Cutters Records, Kaufman quickly received international attention; in fact, Kaufman has toured with the likes of Cut Copy, Maribou State and others — and he’s remixed the work of Poliça, The Big Pink and Public Service Broadcasting and others.

His forthcoming full-length debut Regrowth reportedly will explore the small fractures that come about within one’s closest relationships — the ones that have long been there but have either been willfully ignored or conveniently missed until you recognize that you should try to repair it before it shatters to pieces before your eyes. And as a result much of the material also explores the related themes of denial and doubt but with a sense of hope — that you can actually get things right if you’re truly honest with yourself and about your motivations. The album’s first single “Through the Yard” sonically bears a resemblance to Zonoscope-era Cut Copy as the song possesses an ethereal tropicalia — shimmering synths are paired with sweaty, tropical beats and Kaufman’s plaintive and yearning vocals. In some way the song feels like a sweaty and lingering fever dream; the sort of fever dream that at its core possesses a palpable sense of regret and doubt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Internet can be a wonderful and thrilling place as it can inspire the sort of serendipitous discovery that’s necessary if you’re an audiophile or a music blogger; however, the Internet can also be a powerful reminder of the relentless passing of time — and that no matter what, you’re not getting any younger.  Now, as a child of the 80s, Nena‘s “99 Red Balloons” or if you preferred the original German version, “99 Luftballoons” was a mega-hit back in 1984 as it captured and evoked everyone’s fear of nuclear annihilation.

Back in 2013, I wrote quite a bit about Anika Henderson, best known under the mononym that she writes, records and performs under, Anika . Initially, Henderson spent her professional career as a political journalist, who split time between Berlin and Bristol, UK when she was introduced to Geoff Barrow, who’s best known for his work with Portishead. At the time Barrow was looking for a vocalist, who would work with his band Beak> for what would be a side project. And as the story goes, Henderson and Barrow bonded over a mutual love of punk, dub and 60s girl groups. About a week later, Barrow, Henderson and the members of Beak> went into the studio to record what would eventually turn out to be Henderson’s 2010 self-titled full-length debut, completely live with Henderson and the band in the same room without overdubs — and in 12 days.

2013 saw the release of Henderson’s self-titled EP, a collection of covers and remixes that included Henderson’s murky, Portishead and The Velvet Underground and Nico-inspired cover of Chromatics’ “In the City.” And what the self-titled EP revealed is that Henderson, Barrow and company have a way of covering a song with a unique take that makes a song their own — and in the case of Chromatics’ “In The City,” their cover feels as though it was always their song. That’s a rare thing, indeed.

Recently Invada Records, run by Barrow released an icy, lo-tech analog synth electro pop and dub-leaning cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” by the mysterious Invada All Stars featuring Anika on vocals as part of this weekend’s Stop Trident National anti-nukes demonstration in London, a demonstration protesting the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system. Proceeds from the digital single will go to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Additionally Henderson is part of a new project Exploded View which will release their debut single in March and play SXSW. The project’s debut effort is slated for release later this year through Sacred Bones Records.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Melancholic Visuals and Sounds of WILDHART’s “We Made Up A Dream”

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Gothenburg, Sweden-based indie electro pop trio WILDHART, and with the release of “Stuck In A Second,” the trio comprised of  Ylva Homdahl (vocals), Kiwi Berg (synths) and Josefin Runsteen (drums) quickly […]

Over the course of last year, Detroit, MI-based duo Gosh Pith have become JOVM mainstays while gaining a rapidly growing national profile for a sound that possessed elements of hip-hop, electro pop, stoner rock, dub, trap music, drum ‘n’ bass and other genres — and for a songwriting approach that generally focused on capturing and evoking a specific feeling or sensation, rather than a concrete narrative. Interestingly, over that same period of time, the prolific duo have been experimenting with their sound and songwriting approach as their overall sound has become increasingly warmer and R&B-leaning with guitar taking a much more prominent role on subsequent 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 26 release through B3SCI Records and with a set opening for Girlyboi at Rough Trade. Earlier this year, I wrote about the EP’s second single “K9,” a single that continued 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. The EP’s third and latest single “New Balance,” featuring Martez  continues to be a gentle expansion and revision of their sound as the duo pair swelling and undulating synths, trap and wobbling, footwork-inspired beats, spectral atmospherics with chopped up vocals briefly busting out of the ether and explosive bursts of guitar in what may arguably be the most shimmering yet propulsive track the duo have released to date.

 

Mikey Wax is a New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, whose profile has exploded nationally and internationally as a number of his singles and albums have achieved commercial success and placement in a number of major TV series. After “In Case I Go Again,” off his debut effort Change Again won South Florida-based WRMF 97.9 FM‘s Unsigned Artist contest, the song was featured on CBS‘s Ghost Whisperer, NBC‘s 2012 Summer Olympics coverage and ABC Family‘s Pretty Little Liars  — and the music video was featured as part of YouTube‘s Music Tuesday spotlight, which garnered over 500,000 views. Wax’s 2011 self-released sophomore effort Constant Motion landed at number 6 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart, number 47 on Billboard Heatseekers Chart, with album single “Counting On You” receiving major radio airplay on major Adult Top 40 stations across the country.

As as a result of his rapid success, Wax was selected by New Music SeminarNew  as one of their “Artists on the Verge” and was featured by iHeartRadio as an “Artist To Watch” in 2012 — and “Counting On You” was featured during the elimination montage on every episode of Fox’So You Think You Can Dance that season. Additionally, the song was featured in the trailer for the major motion picture Playing for Keeps which lead to coverage from USA Today and Young Hollywood. “For Better Or Worse” was featured on Lifetime‘s Dance Moms while “So Crazy” appeared in a promo teaser for Brazilian TV network GNT, which led to the song charting on the Top 100 iTunes Pop Chart Brazil and a sub-publishing deal with Warner/Chappell South America.

 

The New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s self-titled, third full length effort was released in 2014 and featured “You Lift Me Up,” which debuted on iTunes US Top 200 Pop Charts and has since been placed on MTV‘s The Real World and The Challenge: The Battle of the Exes II, the season 10 promo for E! Entertainment‘s Keeping Up With The Kardashians and all Fox Sports NBA games throughout the second half of the 2015 season. Building on the success he’s received to date, Wax’s “Love Always Wins (#LoveWins)” was also featured on the promo for E! Entertainment’s I Am Cait and on the SoundHound app homepage.

I have to add that the New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has toured with the likes of Parachute, Andy Grammer, Jon McLaughlin, Matt Wertz, Rachel Platten, Howie Day, Tyler Ward, Ryan Cabrera, Tyler Hilton, Tony Lucca and others.

“Bottle of Jack,” Wax’s most recent single pairs Wax’s soulful vocals with a neo-soul-like arrangement of shimmering keyboard chords, loose and funky guitar chords, propulsive drumming, soaring synths and a sinuous bass line to craft an radio-friendly pop confection that has its narrator describing the sensation of being in love to drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels. And at points, it certainly can feel that way! In any case, Achtabahn released a house music remix of “Bottle of Jack” that pairs Wax’s effortlessly soulful vocals with a warm, Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk production consisting of a sinuous bass line, warm blasts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar shimmering neo-soul like keys, handclap-led percussion, swirling electronics, bleeps and bloops and wobbling, tweeter and woofer wobbling drops that makes the song dance floor friendly while retaining the radio-friendly pop confection spirit of the original.