Tag: ACES

New Audio: Introducing the Ethereal 80s Synth Pop Sounds of Barrie

While now currently based in Brooklyn, the individual members of the up-and-coming indie pop act Barrie, comprised of founding trio featuring lead songwriter Barrie Lindsay, who worked as a studio assistant for a sculptor; Spurge and Noah, who both work at The Lot Radio, a community-run online, radio station, where the band’s founding trio met through a mutual friend and eventually connected with their drummer Dom; and their bassist Sabine, who was recruited through a Tinder profile set up by the band to meet a bassist, each individual member can claim the following as their hometowns — Baltimore, Boston, Sao Paulo, Brazil, London, and Upstate New York. 

“Canyons,” the Brooklyn synth pop act’s debut single is a slow-burning track that finds them pairing gossamer vocals with wobbling arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, propulsive drumming and a feathery and ethereal hook in a minimalist song that draws from 80s synth pop but possesses an underlying bittersweet barb similar to Yumi Zouma, as well as JOVM mainstays ACES and Beacon. 

Tiny Fireflies is an indie electro pop/dream pop duo that initially began when two Chicago, IL-based electronic music producers and artists Lisle and Kristine, who were best known for their own solo projects,  Fireflies and Tiny Microphone were invited to contribute to “Between Two Waves,” an Eardrums Pop Records compilation series centered around the concept of two musicians collaborating together to write and record a song together. Their song together, “Don’t Wait Until I Fall Asleep” paid homage to the Factory Records synth pop/post punk-era sound and was a fan favorite.

In October 2010, Tiny Fireflies became the first act to release a single for the label’s single  club with the three song offering being voted as one of Eardrum Pops favorite releases and featured one of the favorite singles of the singles club, “Snow.” And since then, the duo have played at New York City Popfest, toured the UK and Spain, and opened for Memoryhouse during the renowned indie act’s Midwest tour. Building upon a growing profile, the duo released their Ian Catt-produced, 2015 full-length debut The Space Between to critical applause from the likes of AllMusic.com and CMJ. 

Late last year saw the release of “2040,” the first single off a forthcoming vinyl 7″ single slated for release during the first few months of this year, and the new single will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting smoky and gossamer-like synth pop, reminiscent of JOVM mainstay ACES and others, complete with a soaring hook and achingly tender vocals.

 

Comprised of Irish-born, Los Angeles-based producer Mike Slott and New York-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and composer Diane Badie, the electro pop duo Lesser Pieces can trace their origins to when the duo began collaborating together on writing sessions for their own individual solo efforts while they were both in Brooklyn. Their first track together “Nightingale” caught the attention of renowned producer Paul Epworth, who’s worked with the likes of Adele and FKA Twigs, and who would not only work with Slott and Badie on another project, he would also introduce them to their future producer and collaborator Patrick Ford.

Slott’s and Badie’s latest single, the slow-burning and atmospheric “Texas” finds the duo pairing Badie’s ethereal, siren-like vocals with a slick and contemporary production consisting of arpeggiated synths, stuttering boom bap-like beats and a soaring hook. And while being reminiscent of For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon and ACES, the track as the duo explains sums up the feeling of “future/past promises and the wish for something eternal” — that most likely may never be possible. And as a result, the song possesses an enigmatic and ambivalent nature; in some way it’s chilly yet comes from a deeply personal place. Interestingly enough, as the duo note, the song was inspired by a close friend, who had contacted them with some tough and heartbreaking news. As the duo says in press notes, what was happening in her life “just felt so incredibly heavy ad also strangely bittersweet that it naturally came out in our music.”

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay ACES Releases With Cinematic Visuals for EP Single “Stranger”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months of the site’s history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay electro pop artist, filmmaker and photojournalist Alexander Stewart and her solo recording project ACES, and as you may recall with the release of her first three singles, the achingly vulnerable “What Do You Think They’ll Say About Me,” the part torch song, part wistful and tender farewell “I’m Already Gone” and the slow-burning Quiet Storm-era R&B inspired pop song “Find Me Out,” established a reputation for a subtly modern and atmospheric take on cinematic, 80s synth pop. 

Earlier this year, Stewart released her highly-anticipated Ian Miller-produced debut EP, Stranger, and with the release of the EP’s first two singles — the tender and contemplative “If I Could Be Your Girl,” which features a narrator, who has recognized that her object of accession isn’t good for her, and that she may have to make the painful and difficult decision to end the relationship for good; and the icily ambivalent tell off “Baby, I Don’t Mean to Ignore,” which possesses an push and pull between longing and devotion, wanting to be left alone and of being hopelessly stuck in one’s own head and not quite knowing how to express themselves in a way that makes sense or offends someone. 

Stranger’s third and final single, EP title track “Stranger” will further cement Stewart’s growing reputation for crafting Quiet Storm-like, atmospheric synth pop that thematically focuses on the complex and confusing intricacies of romantic relationships — and in this case, Stewart’s latest single focuses on the surreal sensation of coming across  a former lover for the first time in a while and recognizing that the person you used to know so well has become a total stranger. And while that’s a familiar theme in pop music, “Stranger” possesses a bitterly plaintive ache over a lost relationship that has become an accumulation of one’s growing past. Along with that there’s an anxiousness over being uncertain over how you should respond to this former lover, who still causes your heart to swoon but who also has engendered a deep bitterness. We’ve all been there at some point or another, and even with some age and experience, it never stops being profoundly strange and embittering. 

Directed by frequent collaborator Oresti Tsonopolous and produced by Stewart, the gorgeously shot black and white video was reportedly completely improvised and filmed in a single night while Stewart was jet-lagged from an extended international trip she took as a travel and style photojournalist. And as you’ll see, Stewart busily goes through a  text exchange and gets ready for what turns out to be a made up night out but while capturing the uncertainty and bitterness of seeing that stranger from the past — seemingly evoking the ambivalent emotions and anxiety one would typically feel about such a situation. 

New Video: British Electro Soul Act seyr’s Psychedelic Visuals for Spectral New Single “crowds”

seyr are a rather mysterious London-based duo, who received attention locally and elsewhere for a spectral take on electro soul before going on a lengthy, self-described hiatus. Interestingly enough, the duo recently returned with One of Very Few, the duo’s latest EP, which was released on their new label Glass Ivy in collaboration with Back To Future Sounds — and the EP’s first single, “crowds” features a moody and spectral production consisting of shimmering and fluttering synths and stuttering drum programming paired with achingly tender and soul vocals reminiscent of Bilal, JOVM mainstay ACES and others. 

While employing the use of both old timey stock footage with psychedelic imagery, the recently released visuals for the “crowds” further emphasizes the song’s aching loneliness and icy vibes. 

New Video: ACES Returns with Symbolic and Cinematically Shot Visuals for “If I Could Be Your Girl”

With the release of her first three singles  — the achingly vulnerable “What Do You Think They’ll Say About Me,” the part torch song, part wistful and tender farewell “I’m Already Gone” and the slow-burning Quiet Storm-era R&B inspired pop song “Find Me Out,” the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based electro pop artist and filmmaker Alexandra Stewart and her recording project ACES quickly became a mainstay artist on this site, as well as received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a subtly modern and atmospheric take on cinematic, 80s synth pop.

Although Stewart’s highly-anticipated Ian Miller-produced Stranger EP dropped earlier this year, the EP’s first official single “If I Could Be Your Girl” was released towards the end of last year, and as Stewart explained at the time in press notes, the single “is the true  ACES getaway track, but today, I’m not sure where we’re heading. ‘I Could Be Your Girl’ is about being honest with yourself and realizing when you deserve more. I hope it can be a voice for all of us doing some self-reflection right now . . . the future is female!” Unsurprisingly, the single will further cement Stewart’s reputation for her tender and breathy cooing being paired with an sparse, atmospheric yet cinematic production featuring gently trembling synths, hi-hat flashes, thumping beats and gently swirling electronics. And while the song is slow-burning, Quiet Storm-like ballad, it possesses an emotional urgency — after all, the song’s narrator has recognized that while she may have profound emotional attachment to her object of affection, that person isn’t good for her, and as a result, she’s making the painful decision of ending it for good; but underneath the steely reserve, there’s a palpable sense of trepidation, as though the song’s narrator is putting on a brave face to prevent anyone from seeing the uncertainty she actually feels.

The recently released video is a collaboration with director Chelsy Mitchell and the concept behind it comes from a mutual admiration for each other’s work. Using colored filters as a way to dramatize and to abstract the narrative, the video features Stewart shifting between light an dark at an artfully shot, French New Wave-inspired party/prom scene. At the party, the video’s protagonist meets eyes with a potential love interest, who slowly transforms her into a doppelganger of the silent Greek chorus-like women wearing pink, who watch from every angle. And as you can imagine, the new video will also further cement Stewart’s reputation for paring her work with highly symbolic and cinematically shot visuals.

 

New Video: The Noirish and Cinematic Visuals for ACES’ Slow-Burning and Atmospheric “Baby I Don’t Mean To Ignore”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, you may recall that with the release of four singles over the course of 2015 and 2016 — the achingly vulnerable “What Do You Think They’ll Say About Me,” the part torch song, part wistful and tender farewell “I’m Already Gone,” the slow-burning Quiet Storm-era R&B inspired pop song “Find Me Out,” and the swooning “I Could Be Your Girl,” ACES, the recording project of Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based pop artist Alexandra Stewart, featuring contributions from Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based guitarist Russ Flynn received quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere, including this site, for an atmospheric and subtly modern take on 80s synth pop.

This year began with Stewart releasing “Just Cut It Out,” a single that appeared on the DRUG BLVD compilation, the first release from Istanbul, Turkey-based dream pop label Drug Boulevard, founded by Kubily Yigit, who has also founded renowned Turkish progressive/trance electronica label Blue Soho Records. And interestingly enough, I think that “Just Cut It Out” will cement Stewart’s growing international profile for crafting slow-burning and atmospheric pop that feature her breathy and achingly tender vocals while focusing on a narrator who’s heartbroken over a relationship that’s ended and yet doesn’t want to give it up. Stewart’s latest single, the slow-burning and aching “Baby, I Don’t Mean To Ignore” continues in a similar vein — sparse and atmospheric arrangements with swirling electronics paired with Stewart’s breathily tender vocals. And much like her preceding singles, “Baby, I Don’t Mean To Ignore,” the first official single from her soon-to-be released debut EP Stranger manages to convey a complex array of emotions — in this case a push and pull between longing and devotion, wanting to be left alone, of being hopelessly stuck in one’s own head and not quite knowing how to express themselves in a way that makes sense.

The recently released and extraordinarily noir-ish and cinematic video was created by Alex Stewart and her video team of Alex Munro and her husband Oresti Tsonopoulous. Based primarily around footage Tsonopolous and Stewart shot while on a date. As Stewart explains in press notes, the footage wasn’t even intended to be used for a music video but once she started to go through it, the concept of the video immediately came to mind. “I love the motion in driving and walking scenes and that’s where I tend to do my best thinking. The song was an idea I had about a person in their most vulnerable moment. Some time before they’re in a relationship or be before they’ve even decided what they’re going to do about their feelings. They’re really mulling things over. The video took shape from those images, and I think you get the sense that this is a girl on a mission. She’s ready to make her move.”

Over the past month or so, I’ve written about the first two singles off the border-crossing, synth pop compilation DRUG BLVD —  ACES‘ slow-burning and tender “Just Cut It Out,” and Astronautica‘s lush and dreamy “Reasons.” Interestingly, the album, which was mastered Barry Grint, who has worked with David BowieRadioheadPrinceOasisBeastie BoysMadonnaGuns ‘N’ Roses and others, the compilation will be the first release from new,  Istanbul, Turkey-based dream pop label Drug Boulevard, founded by Kubily Yigit, the founder of renowned Turkish progressive/trance label Blue Soho Records.

Serving as a Drug Boulevard’s in a attention-grabbing introduction, the record label’s compilation will also introduce global audiences to some up-and-coming talents within electro pop and dream pop including Sydney, Australia‘s Guy Brown. Best known as Mammals, Brown has received a growing profile for a production style that effortlessly shifts between indie rock and electronica, and Brown’s contribution to the compilation is shimmering, slow-burning and atmospheric cover of Telepopmusik’s “Breathe” that’s possesses a haunting, spectral feel.

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of her debut EP, Where’s Your Love?, the up-and-coming, NYC-based pop artist Khodara received attention across the blogosphere for a soulful take on electro pop that according to some critics evoked the likes of Diana Ross, Kylie Minogue and Donna Summer.  Building upon the buzz, she received with her debut EP, Khodara along with producer and collaborator Billy Pavone wrote and recorded material, which would eventually comprise her soon-to-be released EP Billie. And with “Anxious,” the second single off the EP, the New York-based  up-and-coming pop artist along with her collaborator Billy Pavone, reveal that the EP will be comprised of slow-burning and atmospheric synth pop that to some ears has been compared to the XX and Phantogram, although to my ears I’m reminded of the likes of ACES (if they did Quiet Storm-like R&B) and others — while lyrically, the song deals with its narrator overcoming her own self-doubts and anxiousness in a very human and imperfect fashion.