Category: Synth Pop


Comprised of Darius Byrne (vocals), Brian Ireland (beats, production) and Andrew Eyles (bass), Adult Future is a Toronto, ON-based trio, whose forthcoming full-length effort In The News draws from the contemporary feeling of disconnect and alienation that many of us feel so very deeply. As the members of the band mention in press notes, “the band wanted to make a record that emphasized the singular stories that we all have and share as human beings. All of the songs on this record were inspired by personal stories and were utilized as a method to reconcile those feelings of estrangement. It was an attempt to bridge those feelings of isolation that seemingly contradicts a shared environment where people are literally living on top of each other. Drug abuse, mental and physical illness, violence and love — all of these things impact us individually, but when seen as an amalgamation == is the totality of human history.”

 In The News‘ first single “The Leaf House” doesn’t shy away from the fact that we live in dangerous and fearful times but at its core, is a love song — an urgent call for love in the face of a world that seems hopeless and insane; while suggesting as the Buddhists would suggest that opening oneself up to love when things are at their most precarious is an act of true bravery and the most important weapon we have in such fucked up times. Sonically speaking, the Canadian trio pair a looped strummed acoustic guitar line, boom bap beats, twinkling synths and plaintive vocals — and in some way, the song reminds me quite a bit of Jose Gonzalez and his work with Junip but with a desperate and forceful urgency.




If you’ve been frequenting this site for the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a  handful of posts about renowned violinist, vocalist, composer and producer K. Ishibashi and his solo recording project Kishi Bashi. And with the release of two critically applauded full-length efforts  — 151a and Lighght — Ishibashi has developed a reputation for decidedly crafted and swooning orchestral pop in which he employed the use of samplers, looping machines and other electronics for a lush and densely layered sound. Ishibashi’s third, full length effort Sonderlust was produced by Grizzly Bear‘s Chris Taylor, engineered by Pat Dillet, who has worked with Angelique Kidjo and David Byrne, and features the contributions of drummer Matt Chamberlain, who has been in the backing bands of Morrissey and Fiona Apple, as well as having a stint in of Montreal, and the album is a radical sonic departure from the sound that first caught the attention of the blogosphere as the material leans heavily towards hook-laden, electro pop as you would have heard on Sonderlust‘s earliest released single “Say Yeah.” Interestingly, this massive change in sonic direction came about from two different sources — the first being that Sonderlust‘s material didn’t come immediately or through his usual creative processes.  “As I sat down to write songs last summer, I went to all my usual conduits of creation: violin loops, guitar, piano and I came up with the musical equivalent of fumes,” Ishibashi explained in press notes. “I tried to create orchestral pop recordings that I assume were my forte, and in turn, I found myself standing in front of a creative wall of frightening heights.” Second was that along with a period of creative uncertainty, Ishibashi also faced faced significant changes in his personal life, the sort of changes that had him questioning everything he thought he knew about being in love, loving another and desiring another. And as a result, the album’s material focuses on heartbreak, the difficult struggle to move forward and the how that heartache influences every subsequent relationship.

The album’s latest single “Can’t Let Go, Juno,” is comprised of shimmering and cascading layers of synths, a gorgeous and soaring string arrangement, Ishibashi’s aching and plaintive vocals, propulsive, four-on-the-floor like drums in what may arguably be some of Ishibashi’s most danceable, seemingly straightforward and hook-laden pop-leaning material he’s released to date. However, lyrically speaking, “Can’t Let Go, Juno” focuses on the lingering ghosts of a past relationship that has haunted the song’s narrator, a narrator who recognizes that he’s had a difficult time letting go and moving forward — and as a result, the song possesses a bittersweet sense of unfinished business, all while sounding as though it drew from New Order and Cut Copy.

You can catch Kish Bashi on a lengthy North American tour this fall, and it includes an October 2, 2016 stop at Webster Hall. Check out tour dates and ticket information below.

Tour Dates
9/27: Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre (tickets)*
9/28: Charlotte, NC @ Visulite (tickets)*
9/30: Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle (tickets)*
10/1: Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore – Silver Spring (tickets)*
10/2: New York, NY @ Webster Hall (tickets)*
10/3: Boston, MA @ Royale (tickets)*
10/4: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer (tickets)*
10/6: Toronto, ON @ MOD Club (tickets)*
10/8: Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom & Tavern (tickets)*
10/9: Pontiac, MI @ Crofoot Ballroom (tickets)*
10/10: Chicago, IL @ Vic Theatre (tickets)*
10/11: St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall (tickets)*
10/12: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue Mainroom (tickets)*
10/14: Omaha, NE @ Slowdown (tickets)^
10/15: Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre (tickets)^ 
10/16: Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge (tickets)^
10/18: Seattle, WA @ The Showbox (tickets)^
10/19: Vancouver, BC @ The Fox Cabaret (tickets)^
10/20: Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom (tickets)^
10/21: San Francisco, CA @ The Masonic (tickets)^
10/22: Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium (tickets)^
10/23: San Diego, CA @ Irenic (tickets)^ 
10/24: Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco Theater (tickets)^ 
10/26: Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress (tickets)+
10/28: San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger (tickets)+
10/29: Austin, TX @ Mohawk (tickets)+ 
10/30: Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (tickets)+
11/1: New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks (tickets)+
11/2: Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse (tickets)+
*  w/ Twain
^  w/ Busman’s Holiday
+  w/ Laura Gibson


Comprised of Chelsey Hice (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist and producer Brent “The Noise” Watters, the Bay Area-based duo Chelsey and the Noise specialize in a murky and sensual electro pop sound that draws from dream pop, electrogaze and other genres as you’ll hear on their latest single off their Losing Landscapes EP, the glitchy, boom-bap beat driven “Edge of Infinity.” Sonically speaking Hice’s sultry yet ethereal come-hither vocals are paired with a dense production featuring the aforementioned boom-bap beats, cascades of stuttering and fluttering synths — and interestingly enough the duo’s sound reminds me quite a bit of New York-based sibling duo Zambri as it possesses a menacing tone just under the surface.


With the release of their first two tracks “Margarita” and “Dark ‘N’ Stormy,” the mysterious production and electronic music artist duo The Modern Strangers quickly emerged into the blogosphere. Building on the buzz the mysterious electronic music duo have received, the duo recently released their latest single “Vanilla,” a densely layered, slickly produced track that features handclap and cowbell-led percussion, enormous boom bap beats, a sinuous and ridiculously funky bass line, angular, Nile Rodgers-like guitar and a rousingly anthemic hook comprised of buzzing power chords, swirling electronics paired with falsetto vocals in an arena rock-friendly bit of electro pop that’s reminiscent of Big Data and The Crystal Method among others.



With the release her sultry and bluesy debut single “Keep Lying,” New Jersey-born pop artist Donna Missal first captured the attention of listeners and the blogosphere, and she followed that up with a soulful and jazzy single “The Keeper,” and a bluesy take on Drake‘s mega-hit “Hotline Bling,” that turned up the vulnerable and urgent need of the original. Now, it’s been a little bit since I’ve personally written about Missal; however, her latest single “Slide” was written as a reminder for Missal “to relax and not take everything so seriously and personally. ” And as Missal explains “I would say that I’m very passionate and can get all in my feelings. When anyone listens to this little jam, I hope it makes them feel good. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is throw up your hands, breathe, brush your shoulders off and remember that it’s ok to have fun — no mater how imperfect the circumstances around you.” Sonically, the song consists Missal’s sultry and self-assured vocals with a production that nods at 90s hip-hop infused R&B as a looped horn sample paired with twinkling keys and atmospheric electronics and stuttering drum programming in a silky smooth, sensual and slow-burning song.






Comprised of founding members Matthew Young and Grant Wheeler, along with Ian Chang and vocalist Angelica Bess, the Brooklyn, NY-based indie dance pop sensation Body Language can trace its origins to when its founding duo Young and Wheeler had began making their own mixes and remixes at a weekly party they curated/DJ’d when they were both in Hartford, CT. Shortly, after their weekly party had begun, they met and then recruited Angelica Bees and the trio began writing their own original material together — with the end result being their debut effort Speaks. As the trio began work on Speaks‘ follow up, Social Studies EP when they began collaborating with Theophilus London. Interestingly enough, their collaboration with London was how the trio met its newest and fourth member Ian Chang. Now, whether as a trio or a relatively new quartet, the act which eventually relocated to Brooklyn have received attention across the blogosphere for crafting sleek, dance floor-friendly synth pop.

And with the release of “Addicted,” the first single off the Brooklyn synth pop act’s forthcoming effort Mythos, the act reveals that the quartet has gone through a subtle change in sonic direction, as the single draws from New Jack Swing and classic house as shimmering and cascading layers of synthshandclap-lead percussion and stuttering beats paired with Angelica Bess’ sultry, come-hither vocals. Is it love? Is it lust? Maybe it’s both? And we’ve all been there — and as confusing as it could be, the possibilities both contain are endless and fun, and the song manages to capture that all with aplomb.


If you’re a child of the 80s like me, you’d likely remember Kate Bush collaborating with Peter Gabriel on “Don’t Give Up,” as well as her solo career — in particular her smash-hit “Running Up That Hill.” Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site since it’s inception 6 years ago, you’d likely know that I’m frequently multi-multi-multitasking while working on blog posts so it’s not uncommon for me to be watching a ballgame, listening to tracks and writing emails. And as a result, I’ve stumbled upon a number of singles that caught my attention — including Vancouver, BC-based electro pop duo Mu’s gorgeous and fair faithful cover of “Running Up That Hill.”

If you’ve been frequenting this site for the better part of the past year, you may recall that I’ve written about London-based indie duo Ten Fe. With the release of their critically praised single “Make Me Better,” the duo comprised of Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan took the blogosphere by storm for a sound that my fellow critics internationally have described as darkly Romantic and anthemic electronic-based rock. Moorhouse and Duncan  closed out 2015 with “In The Air,” a single that paired the duo’s earnest harmonies with a driving, motorik-like groove, layers of shimmering and atmospheric synths and soaring, anthemic hooks.



The duo’s latest single “Turn” is a slow-burning song that gently nods towards R&B and soul as swirling, ambient electronics are paired with shimmering guitar chords and plaintive vocals that express vulnerability within a turn of a phrase, and stuttering drum programming in what may arguably be one of the duo’s most restrained single they’ve released to date. And while being a taste of what the duo’s forthcoming and highly-anticipated full-length debut, which was recorded during a year-long exile in Berlin, the song lyrically speaks about a relationship fraught with bitterness,  uncertainties, miscommunications and perceived deceit. Throughout the song, the song’s narrator isn’t quite sure if there’s someone else that has taken his lover’s heart or if his lover is hiding something altogether much worse.



Crush Club is an up-and-coming New York-based indie electro pop act and their debut single “Get Me Off” manages to channel Nu Shooz‘s “I Can’t Wait” and Tom Tom Club‘s “Genius of Love” as the act pairs a sinuous disco funk bass line, Nile Rodgers-like guitar, shimmering and tumbling cascades of synths, sultry, come hither vocals and an infectious, anthemic hook in a sexy, club-friendly track.

Crush Club makes their live debut this Friday at Rough Trade, opening for Bright Light Bright Light.


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),  the San Francisco Bay Area electro pop/R&B act The Seshen can trace their origins to when its founding duo St. Juste and Ehara met in Ghana during a study abroad program and instantly bonded over their shared love of music. After returning home and completing college, the duo lived in Los Angeles before relocating to Ehara’s hometown of Richmond CA, where they started to collaborate together on music and gradually built the band through jam sessions with their closest friends.

The San Francisco Bay Area-based act have received attention across the Bay Area and elsewhere for an aestehtic that draws from a diverse array of influences including Erykah Badu, Jai Paul, James Blake, Radiohead, Broadcast, hip-hop, indie rock, electronica and 70s dub to craft a sound that uncompromisingly defies easy categorization  while carefully and gently walking the tightrope between sounding remarkably contemporary and retro-futuristic; in fact, to my ears, their sound sometimes sounds as though it were influenced by slick and sleek 80s synth-baesd R&B and pop.  And that sound is paired with St. Juste’s soul-baring lyrics drawing from both her own personal experiences and her imagination as the material typically explores femininity, power, illusion and loss. With the release of their 2012 self-titled debut, which was released through Bandcamp, the Bay Area-based octet quickly built a devoted local fanbase. And by 2014, they signed to renowned indie label Tru Thoughts Records, who releaed their critically applauded 2014 EP Unravel, an effort that quickly became a favorite of well-known and highly-regarded DJs and tastemaker media outlets and personalities including  BBC Radio 6‘s Tom Ravenscroft, OkayPlayer, Earmilk and The Line of Best Fit. Building on the growing internationally received buzz, the Bay Area based act released the Unravel Remixes EP, which featured remixes from AK/DK, Astronauts, etc., Uhuru Peak, Tru Thoughts Records’ Jonny Faith and Lost Midas; in fact, the Unravel Remixes EP received airplay from BBC Radio 6’s Lauren Laverne, Nemone, Steve Lacmaq and several others.

The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore, full-length sophomore effort is slated for an October 14, 2016 release through Tru Thoughts Records and the album’s material reportedly reflects a band expanding upon their sound and lyrical content; St. Juste sings lyrics in a stream of consciousness fashion and as you’ll hear on the album’s first single “Distant Heart,” the group pair cascading layers of ambient, squiggling and shimmering synths with stuttering and off-kilter percussion with St. Juste’s plaintive and ethereal vocals to craft a sultry, sensual song that possesses an underlying heartache at it’s core – and in some way the song manages to gently nod at 70s and 80s synth funk and R&B.