Tag: Beacon

 

White China is an up-and-coming indie pop act, currently comprised of Gianluca Buccellati, who is based in New York and his brother Sanj Buccellati and Aaron Bernards, who are both based in Los Angeles, and with the release of a handful of singles, the trio have received attention for a sound that’s been described as “boujee cowboy music.” Although with “Freak Dreams,” the latest single off their forthcoming full-length debut, I, strikes me as eerily atmospheric and introspective pop, that brings to mind the likes of Beacon, Seoul and others as shimmering and gently undulating synths and ethereal crooning float over a motorik groove.

Interestingly, the song as the band’s Gianluca Buccellati explains was inspired by “a phase where I was saying out late. I would see the sunrise frequently,” and asking yourself “are we going to keep this up, or is it time to go home?” Certainly, if you’re a night owl, that question is a familiar one, as you’re stumbling home yet again at 6am from some club or some bar, with the sad recognition that you’re not getting any younger.

 

 

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New Audio: Black Summer’s Subtle Yet Moody Remix of Australian-born Viral Sensation Xavier Dunn

Xavier Dunn is an up-and-coming, Sydney, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, producer and electronic artist, who first came to international prominence with a series of acoustic covers that included 3 Hype Machine #1s, a Spotify Global Viral Charts #2, a Spotify US Viral Charts #1, a Spotify Australia Viral Chart #1 and over 22 million Spotify streams to date. Last month, Dunn released the critically applauded “Isic Tutor,” an ethereal bit of neo soul that features Dunn’s tender and aching falsetto paired with a ambient production consisting of thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and gently swirling synths and electronics within a song that immediately brought to mind Beacon’s For Now EP and The Ways We Separate — but centered around the ebbs and flows of a rather tumultuous relationship and in part the strange wisdom of Isic, an AI character from the video game Battleborn.

Recently, one of Australia’s most exciting up-and-coming producers — and perhaps one of their youngest to reach national attention, Black Summer, a 14 year old EDM producer, who was first discovered by Triple J when he was 11, remixed Dunn’s ambient “Isic Tutor,” and while retaining the aching and tender falsetto vocals of the original and some of the ethereal and ambient electronics of the original, adds skittering drum programming and a live drum sample, which manages to gently speed up the tempo while remaining unhurried and moody. 

New Video: Married, Art Pop Duo, The Parlor Releases a Thoughtful Meditation on Grief

With the release of their critically applauded sophomore album Wahzu Wahzu, the Altamont, NY-based art pop duo The Parlor, comprised of multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, production and husband and wife team of Jen O’Connor and Eric Krans further cemented a growing reputation for a fearless willingness to explore a variety of sound palettes and styles while crafting intimate and thoughtful pop music; in fact, the Altamont, NY-based duo have progressed from indie folk to stomp and clap trance folk to “campfire disco” as Pitchfork described Wahzu Wahzu.

Slated for an April 13, 2018 the Altamont, NY-based art pop duo’s forthcoming, third full-length effort Kiku derives its name for the Japanese word for chrysanthemum. According to O’Connor and Krans, chrysanthemum began blooming in their farmhouse garden immediately following their second miscarriage, and for the couple, the flower became a symbol of their grief, despair, resilience and faith. Sonically speaking, the album represents a continued evolution of their overall sound, as Kiku is the duo’s first foray into trigged samples and orchestral synth soundscaping. “Kiku grew into something we never anticipated,” the couple admits in press notes. As they were grieving, they turned to their art and began writing and recording material inspired by what they were feeling and thinking, as the couple says they felt themselves “reaching out across the plane of the living and the dead, where we stumbled upon the tiny hand of the soul we lost. We brought a pice of her, of Kiku, back with us.”

Understandably, the material on Kiku sounds gloomier and more anxious than their previously released work while reportedly balancing a playful and relaxed air at points that suggests that while profoundly serious, the album can be coquettish, sexy and earnest; in some way, the album is meant to be the inner world of a couple, who keep trying over and over again — perhaps, because as cheesy as it may sound to some, they have each other.

Kiku’s first single, album opener “Soon” draws from dream pop, contemporary electro pop, movie soundtracks, jazz and experimental pop in a heady and swooning mix — and while to my ears, bringing to mind the work of Moonbabies, Beacon, Softspot, Mazzy Star and Flourish//Perish-era BRAIDS, the members of The Parlor manage to specialize in incredibly slick and lush production featuring soaring hooks paired with fearlessly heartfelt lyrics and sentiment. Yes, it’s meant to break your heart time and time again, but with a deeper purpose — to remind the listener of their empathy. Grief is grief is grief. We all know this and we all experience it at various points in our lives, and we try to move froward; that is what people do after all.

As O’Connor and Krans explain in press notes, “‘Soon’ was intended as a metaphor for the stages of grief. The chrysanthemums represent grief itself. We carry grief around with us, often to unlikely places. We try at times to let it go, to fling our grief from great heights or hope it’s carried off by time — an offering to the flowing waters of the hills. But ultimately we find ourselves steeping in it, drowning in it, and ideally cleansed by it in a baptism of intentional release. Allowing ourselves to stop fighting forces us to experience things that, as humans, we often try desperately to avoid. Allowing ourselves to dance in glowing sunlight empowers us to reclaim our spirit. And we are transported to a deeper place of understanding of one’s self and of the human experience as we know it. ‘Soon’ is an expression of painful hope and illuminated heart.”

The duo directed, shot and edited the video for “Soon” and naturally, the video prominently features chrysanthemums throughout — sometimes the husband and wife duo proudly and defiantly carrying them about, at other points, the flowers are being offered to the proverbial flowing waters of time or treated as a sort of sacrifice; but no matter what the flowers and their grief is inescapable — until they accept it.

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. 

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.”

 

 

 

 

Comprised of  Amber Lane-Mcivor, Jake Blythe and Oliver Lamb, the Manchester, UK-based electro pop trio Ambiere have received attention from the blogosphere and BBC Introducing over the past year for a sound that’s drawn comparisons to the likes of Portishead and The xx among others. Building upon a breakthrough year and a growing profile, the Manchester-based electro pop act’s latest single “I See Faces” finds the act pairing strummed, electric guitar and Lane-Mcivor’s gorgeous and soulful vocals with a lush and effortlessly slick production consisting of arpeggiated and shimmering synths, propulsive yet stuttering beats and a soaring hook. And while their latest single manages to simultaneously be both radio and club friendly, their sound — to my ears at least — reminds me of Ways We Separate and Escapements-era Beacon, as the British trio manages to evoke similar, lingering ghosts.

 

 

New Video: King Artur, One-Third of Finnish, Electro Pop Act Beverly Girl Releases Atmospheric, Solo, Single

King Artur is a singer/songwriter and steel guitarist, who splits time between his Helsinki, Finland and New York, and is best known as being a member of renowned Finnish electro pop/electro funk act Beverly Girl — although he has collaborated with the likes of Bill Laswell, James Chance, Defunkt’s Joseph Bowie and The Campbell Brothers and others, as well as played at SummerStage, Flow Festival and Pride Helsinki; however, as a solo artist, King Artur’s work finds him pairing his steel guitar with unorthodox synth and electronica-leaning soundscapes as you’ll hear on his atmospheric, solo debut “Talk My Shadow,” a single, which interestingly enough reminds me of Beacon’s For Now EP and The Ways We Separate as swirling synths are paired with finger snaps, thumping beats and King Arthur’s breathy cooing to create a song that’s darkly seductive. 

Directed by renowned Finnish director Jarno Marjamäki, the slick, hyper modern video features King Arthur and Finnish dancer Sanna Hoang in a series of artsy yet surreal scenarios. 

New Video: The Melancholy Sounds and Visuals of Amsterdam’s Nambyar

Nambyar is a half-Fijian, half-Dutch, Amsterdam, The Netherlands based alt R&B/electro pop singer/songwriter, whose music career was initially centered around guitar-driven melodies and band-leaning projects; however, the Amsterdam-based singer/songwriter can trace the origins of his solo recording career to when he began writing songs on an PolySix and Prophet analog studios in his own studio — and interestingly enough, the solitary time resulted in his uninhibited and bracingly honest, new single “Once More,” a bold statement of an artist and a man, finally letting go of his past and moving forward to a new and uncertain future, alone. In fact, as the Dutch-born singer/songwriter explains “Alone for the firs time, I didn’t need to listen to others and was able to focus on what I wanted to tell,The stripped-down production was layered with three synths, while the high-pitched vocal samples are taken from an old Italian singer, which I pitched to create the grid of the whole song.” 

Sonically speaking, Nambyar’s latest single reminds me quite a bit of Beacon’s initial releases — namely For Now EP and The Ways We Separate, as his achingly tender vocals singing deeply confessional, viscerally honest lyrics are paired with a sparse, ambient-leaning production to create an overall aesthetic that’s eerily spectral and mournful; it’s the sound of someone, who’s lead a full and messy life, reflecting back on it and being haunted by the ghosts of it; of someone who’s readily recognized that we often are drawn to people and situations for reasons we can never really explain; of someone, who recognizes that the relationship at the center of the song is heading towards an inevitable finality; but underneath the surface is a narrator, who’s desperate to free himself and live the life he feels fit — at all costs. 

Directed by Theo Captein, the recently released video for “Once More,” is based around a fairly simple concept that Nambyar came up with, as the video features the Amsterdam-based singer/songwriter earnestly brooding in a stark, white room but shot with slow-motion techniques, shallow depth of field, a shattered mirror and an animated bleeding-heart — all of which further emphasize the melancholy  nature of the song. 

Emmit Fenn is Berkeley, CA-based indie electro pop artist, who describes his sound and aesthetic as being at the intersection of Flume and James Blake — and as you’ll hear on his latest single “Woman,” Fenn pairs his tender and aching crooned volcano with a minimalist production consisting of propulsive, boom-bap like drumming and gently swirling electronics and shimmering synths to create a sound that reminds me quite a bit of The Ways We Separate-era Beacon but with a plaintive sensuality at its core.

So if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring New York-based, JOVM mainstays and electronic music duo Beacon. Comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gusset (production), the duo have received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that draws from R&B, house music and electro pop as Mullarney’s aching and yearning falsetto vocals are paired with generally spacious, minimalist productions consisting of chilly, arpeggio synths and wobbling low end.

Last year’s sophomore effort Escapements thematically was about time and the baggage it both creates and brings, and unsurprisingly, the album’s title was inspired by clock mechanics; in fact, escapements are timekeeping regulators specifically designed to transfer the kinetic energy of the clock’s parts at a constant and regular pace. As Mullarney explained in press notes at the time, “I was attracted to this concept because of the entropy it implies. Friction and changes in amplitude over time mean[s] every escapement, no matter how well crafted, will lose its accuracy and effectively slow down time via its own decay.”

Featuring drumming from Tycho‘s Rory O’Connor, the material on Escapements was written, revised, refined and recorded over the course of about nine months at Beacon’s Brooklyn-based home studio and Gary’s Electric and the album revealed that the duo restlessly experimented with their songwriting and production approaches, following wherever their muses and instincts took them, including trying out new studio techniques and recording techniques. And occasionally, they tried things on the fly, which meant that the recordings captured much more of the free-flowing feel and energy of the creative process — while at points being subtly cinematic.

On the heels of a Coachella appearance with Tycho, Mullarney and Gusset released their first single of 2017, “Marion.” At the core of the song is a hammered dulcimer, a percussive, stringed instrument in which the musician strikes the strings with small, hand-held hammers — coincidentally, the hammered dulcimer is an ancestor of the modern piano that sounds a bit like cross between a harp and a piano. The chiming, hammered dulcimer sample ebbs and flows, and occasionally recedes for Mullarney’s achingly tender falsetto vocals to float over the production, which also features stuttering boom-bap beats. And while being subtly warmer than some of their previously released material, their latest single will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting minimalist yet pulling material that possesses a wistful and yearning ache.