Tag: electro pop

New Video: Hungarian Electro Pop Duo Paperdeer Releases a Trippy and Symbolic Visual for “Regularity”

Rising Budapest-based electronic music production and artist duo Paperdeer — Benjámin Kiss and Norbert Biró — will be releasing a new album later this year, written and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns.

Earlier this year, the duo dropped a taste of the new album with “Fortress.” Featuring longtime collaborator, Hungarian pop artist Böbe Szécsi, “Fortress” is a sleek and slickly produced track centered around arpeggiated and twinkling synths, atmospheric electronics, skittering beats, a soaring hook and Szécsi’s plaintive vocals. And although the song is bracingly chilly, it’s rooted in the tense uncertainty of our moment as it evokes a pent-up frustration and desperation for necessary change — right now.

The Hungarian electro pop duo’s latest single “Regularity” is a collaboration with ALUMNA centered around looping acoustic guitar, skittering beats, brooding and atmospheric electronics and ALUMNA’s achingly tender vocals. The song’s narrator initially celebrates regularity and predictable routine — but slowly and shakily begins to realize a desire to break out from the security of their mundane routines. Sonically, the song builds up from a melancholic dream to a feverish and pent-up distraction and frustration of someone desperate to break free. “We tried to illustrate the duality of perceptions between young and older generations that is musically accompanied by heavy bassline, agile guitars, and ALUMNA’s fragile voice, which builds from a dream-like melancholy into the feeling of insanity,” the members of Paperdeer explain. ‘The song was inspired by the rigid flip side of the Scandinavian comfort, and an idea of everyday life in a utopic [sic] environment.

Directed by lyricist and longtime collaborator Márton István Szabó, the highly symbolic and trippy visual for “Regularity” employs a carefully picked color platte — deep greens, earthy browns, dark grays — and follows a young boy and a middle-aged man, being chased by wolves in the forest. As the duo explain of the video treatment “‘Regularity’ aims to put you in the perspective of a man, who is bound to his safety and comfort, while feeling an increasing desire to experience danger and excitement, and to live by his heart. The middle-aged man (played by Sándor Tóth) is the soberness that tries to fight against your instincts and drag you back home. Lyricist Márton István Szabó interpreted the concept of the song as “a warning that we tend to grow lazy into our relationships and we almost cage ourselves to the familiarity.” He thinks that the song is also an invitation ‘to roam free, find ways out, to nature, to the conscious rediscovery of ourselves and the world around us.'”

New Video: Montreal’s Paupière Releases a Trippy “Groundhog’s Day”-like Visual for Infectious and Breezy “Coeur monarque”

With the release of 2016’s Jeunes instants EP, 2017’s full-length debut À jamais privé de réponses and 2019’s Jettatura EP, the rising Montreal-based indie electro pop duo Paupiére, visual artist Julia Daigle and Polipe’s and We Are Wolves‘ Pierre-Luc Bégin, established their sound, a sound that meshes elements of 80s English synth pop and New Wave — i.e., The Human League, Depeche Mode and others — with French chanson. But just under the breezy pop melodies and catchy hooks, the duo’s work thematically touches upon naive, adolescent and hedonistic romanticism and a contemporary disenchantment. 

Slated for a May 7, 2021 release, the duo’s sophomore album Sade Sati continues their ongoing successful collaboration with We Are Wolves’ Vincent Levesque, who produced their previously released work. Album single “Coeur Monarque” is an infectious and sugary sweet pop confection centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering polyrhythmic beats and boy-girl harmonies. Sonically, the song is a playful, hook-driven mix of Phil Spector-era pop and Ace of Base-like synth pop — but thematically, as the duo explain the song is much darker: “‘Coeur Monarque’ is an imaginary tale about a girl, who lives her life according to her moods. Her freedom contributes to her isolation and she loses herself in it. ‘Coeur monarque’ is a light and poppy piece, just like the protagonist of the story.

Directed by Kevan Funk, the recently released video for “Coeur Monarque” follows a a brash and very stylish woman, who’s caught in a Groundhog’s Day-like loop in which she endlessly repeats the same actions in generally the same fashion with minor — yet very important — differences: the seasons change, which require different outfits and outerwear and a few times the time of day changes. What we wind up encountering is this protagonist preparing for a night out with her usual rituals: making sure her makeup and outfits are just right, smoking a cigarette and/or pre-gaming with a quickly gulped glass of wine or a can of beer. Sometimes a friend stops by to hang out or to pick her up; but generally, she seems to be on her own and heading to meet someone. Much of the behavior is escapist and destructive without much rhyme or reason, except maybe boredom. “We really liked the idea of ​​being caught in a time loop, reliving that same routine over and over again,” the video’s director Kevan Funk says of the new video. “The idea was to focus on the cycle of a festive lifestyle, which in some way drives away the alluring fantasy that we often imagine. Evocative of a life synonymous with the monotonous and destructive treadmill on which our main character sits. “

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Joseph W. Salusbury is a rising Toronto-based singer/songwriter and producer, who started off his professional career with a number of songwriting and production credits include cowrites on Majid Jordan‘s “Something About You” and Illangelo‘s “Your Future’s Not Mine, and vocal production on Nelly Furtado and Blood Orange‘s “Hadron Collider.” Back in 2017, Salusbury stepped out from behind the production booth and the relative anonymity of being a go-to songwriter with his solo recording project Joseph of Mercury. That year, he released three singles “Without Words,” “Young Thing” and “Find You Inside,” which quickly established the Canadian singer/songwriter and producer’s sound — slow-burning synth pop that drew from the likes of  David BowieElvis PresleyFuture Islands and Lower Dens among others, paired with his baritone crooning.

Since the release of his debut EP Find You Inside, the Toronto-based Salusbury has been prolific, releasing a number of singles, including his latest single “Pretty Blonde Boy.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, strummed reverb-drenched guitar, a languid backbeat and Salusbury’s achingly plaintive baritone, “Pretty Blonde Boy” is a slow-burning Tears for Fears meets The Smiths-like track inspired by it’s creator’s deeply personal and devastating experience of loss. “Two of my oldest, closest and dearest fiends, both taken too young and barely years apart. If there’s a word beyond ‘brother’ than that’s what they were,” Salusbury explains. “Love wasn’t just enough to balance out all that they carried on their shoulders. Their losses were devastating, breaking me in a way that I’m not sure will ever heal. It was in such eerie succession. They were mirrors of one another, both drawn into this senseless and tragic spiral of prescription pain meds and heroin, combined with fentanyl. Often the brightest lights go out the fastest . . .

“Overwhelmed with grief, I recorded the vocal performance in between tears and clenched fists. As time passed and I gained a resigned joy and acceptance among the sadness, ‘Pretty Blonde Boy,’ began to like an open road, rolling hills… the sun rising, or maybe setting, with that warm magic hour glow and a cool breeze, driving with nowhere to be. In tribute and memorial, for those burdened with pain or crisis, this is a testament to trying to be okay again. To find beauty, appreciation and gratitude in what feels hurtful, hollowing and unfair. ” 

New Video: Yelle Serves Up Looks in Sultry and Campy Visual for “Noir”

Acclaimed French electro pop act Yelle — Julie “Yelle” Budet (vocals) and Jean-François “GrandMarnier” Perrier (production, percussion) can trace their collaboration back to around 2000 when Budet and Perrier first met and became friends. But the duo didn’t start working on music together until 2005. Initially formed under the name YEL, an acronym for the phrase “You Enjoy Life,” the duo learned of a Belgian band with the same name, and were forced to change their name, eventually feminizing their original name to “Yelle.”

The duo quickly received attention when they posted a song they originally titled “Short Dick Cuizi,” which originally was a written as a mock diss track that referred to Cuiziner of acclaimed French hip-hop act TTC. The song eventually became “Je veux te voir,” which charted at #4 in their native France, and as a result of the buzz surrounding them, they caught the attention of Source Etc Records, who then signed the act. Interestingly, around the same time that the duo had started working on their full-length Perrier met the band’s now-former third member Destable, who at the time was working full-time as a journalist. As the story went, Baudet and Perrier were desperate for a touring keyboardist to flesh out their live sound, and they somehow managed to rope Destable into joining the band.

2007’s full-length debut Pop Up was released to widespread critical acclaim and was a commercial success as a result of “A cause des garçons,” which landed at #11 on the French Singles Chart and “Parle a ma main,” a collaboration with Fatal Bazooka that landed at number 1. Building upon a growing international profile, Baudet, Perrier and Destable spent a three year period between 2006-2009 touring to support Pop Up — with the band being named as MTV‘s Artist of the Week during the last week of March, 2008.

After taking a few months off, the members of Yelle returned to the studio to began work on their sophomore album, and by February 2010 they started their own label Recreation Center, headed by Perrier. Yelle’s sophomore album, 2011’s Safari Disco Club found the act focusing on harmonies, melodies and Budet’s vocals, and was released to generally positive reviews — including  The Independent, who wrote that the album was “essential for anyone, who appreciates dancefloor-friendly European synth pop.” The album caught the attention of Katy Perry, who invited the act to open for her during the British leg of her  California Dreams tour. After they completed that tour, they went on a European tour and went on a Stateside tour that fall. 

The French electro pop act’s third album, 2014’s Completement fou was co-produced by Dr. Luke and a team of producers that included Kojak, AC, Billboard Mat, Oliver, Cirkut, Mike and Madmax. Dr. Luke learned about Yelle through their remix of Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold” — and after catching them live, he signed them to his label. The album was supported by extensive international touring, which included their third stop at Coachella, an extremely rare feat for a Francophone act, as well as tours across Europe, South American and China.

The acclaimed French act’s fourth album  L’Ère du Verseau (The Age of Aquarius) was released last September — and much like countless acts across the globe, Baudet and Perrier were gearing up for extensive touring to support the album, and to celebrate their 15th year together. In lieu of touring, the band released incredible visuals for album singles “Je t’aime encore” and “Vue d’en Face,” a breezy yet melancholy track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, finger snaps, stuttering beats and Budet’s ethereal and achingly plaintive vocals.

L’Ere du Verseau’s latest single “Noir” is a dance floor friendly bop centered around thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, funky bass line and Baudet’s sassy delivery. Interestingly, the song is meant to inspire the listener to strut like they’re on the catwalk, serving fools looks — hard.

Directed by Giant, the recently released video for “Noir” is a campy and fierce as fuck take on haute couture that features beautiful people serving up looks with fierceness while looking like behind the scenes footage of a photo shoot.

New Video: People Museum Releases an Infectious Club Friendly Bop

People Museum is a rising New Orleans-based art pop/dance pop act largely inspired by Afrobeat, hip-hop and choral and marching music. The duo — Jeremy Phipps (trombone, production) and Claire Givens (vocals, keys) — can trace their origins back to 2016: Phipps and Givens were eager to start a music project that incorporated the feelings and vibes of their hometown. Founded with the expressed intention of bringing nature to the future, the New Orleans-based duo’s sound and aesthetic seamlessly meshes their hometown’s beloved and world famous brass band tradition with the Crescent City’s synth heavy, progressive underground scene. 

Givens and Phipps’ soon-to-be released effort I Could Only See The Night EP is slated for release next week through Community Records and Strange Daisy Records. The new EP features a mix of songs made during last year’s pandemic-related quarantines and restrictions and songs the duo initially created during the first few months of their collaboration together. Thematically, the EP is a contemplation of our past, how we’re making sense of where we have ended up — and as a result, learning how to be more malleable with our visions of what the future could and should be. As the duo explains in press notes, the songs are an attempt to offer a bit of light in our very dark times while opening space for the listener to reflect, dance or just feel some sort of joy.

Last month, I wrote about “Forever” a Larry Levan-era house music influenced club banger that’s full of late night regret and trepidation centered around shimmering Giorgio Moroder-like synth arpeggios, skittering beats, Phipps’ mournful and melodic trombone played through reverb and delay pedal and Givens’ achingly plaintive vocals. You can literally feel the song’s narrator spiraling into indecision, regret and despair — although they’re desperately trying not to do so. 

“Rush,” I Could Only See The Night’s latest single continues a run of house music inspired bangers, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering beats, Gaines coquettish vocals, explosive bursts of fluttering and melodic trombone and a euphoria-inducing hook. The end result is a much-needed escape to the dance floor, where there’s true liberation and equality.

“‘Rush’ was written in July of 2020 during quarantine with our drummer and co-producer, Mopodna. It is a dance anthem about letting go of the expectations we had for where we thought would be right now and reframing our thoughts and words to rebuild a better environment socially and emotionally. It’s intended to be this idea of a mourning that’s moving us toward evolving personally and globally. We have second-lines here in New Orleans which are basically street parades that are for deaths and for parties – I think it’s that’s a huge vibe of ‘Rush.’ We cry, we dance it out, we move on together and celebrate what we have and help each other.”

Directed, filmed and edited by People Museum’s Claire Givens, features black and white footage of a horn player walking to the beach with his horns, the band’s Phipps conducting an informal march, the recording of the song and Givens singing and dancing along to the song. It’s a playful and feverish visual that captures aspects of life in a quarantine.

With the release of their debut single “Island of Promise,” the Budapest-based electronic music production and artist duo  Belau — Peter Kedves and Buzas Krisztian — quickly exploded into their homeland’s scene for establishing a buoyant, summery and dance floor friendly sound that according to the band meant to evoke “cheerful places, filled with sunshine, where one can relax, unwind and find peace and harmony.” Since its release, “Island of Promise” landed at #1 on Deezer Hungary, one of the country’s largest string services, amassed over 500,000 streams, was featured in the HBO Hungary series Aranyélet, and in an international  Pepsi ad campaign shown in 33 countries.

Belau’s full-length debut, 2016’s The Odyssey won a Hungarian Grammy for Best Electronic Music Album. The duo supported the album with an intense touring schedule — 120 shows in 19 countries with stops across the international festival circuit with sets at Eurosonic, SzigetReeperbahnUntold, and SXSW. After The Odyssey, the JOVM mainstays released a series of remixes of The Odyssey tracks, which they followed up with their sophomore album, 2019’s Colourwave featured a number of singles I’ve written about, including:

  • Breath,” a sultry, dance floor friendly collaboration with Sophie Lindinger centered around glitchy beats and a sinuous yet anthemic hook
  • The Massive Attack-like “Natural Pool.”
  • Rapture,” a collaboration with Blue Foundation‘s Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg centered around a trip hop-inspired production featuring shimming synth arpeggios, wobbling low end and Stubbe Teglbjærg’s sultry vocals. 
  • Essence,” a collaboration with Sophie Barker that features Barker’s sultry vocals gliding over a shimmering production centered around looping, reverb-drenched guitar shimmering synths, skittering beats and an enormous hook that brought Third-era Portishead and Octo Octa to mind  – but a with a brooding air.

Although the duo haven’t been able to tour as a result of the pandemic, they’ve been busy: earlier this year, they released “Luz,” a one-off single with Sexto Sentido that was decided sonic departure for the duo: the single reminded me quite a bit of fellow JOVM mainstays Ibeyi. Interestingly, as the duo explained in press notes, “’Luz’ is kind of a bridge to our future album; it’s a bit different from our earlier releases.,” the Budapest-based JOVM mainstays explain. “This single is a harmonic blend of traditional Afro-Cuban folk music and modern electronica, the lyrics in yoruba and spanish. This song is a spiritual journey for us, it will be the part of Colourwave DLX album with some remixes, reimagined versions and live sessions in April.

For Colourwave DLX‘s latest single, the Budapest-based JOVM mainstays recruited Ohxalá to remix album single “Breath” with Sophie Lindinger. Interestingly, the Ohxalá remix meshes dub and house music by retaining Lindinger’s sultry vocals paired with a chopped up hook, skittering beats and shimmering synths,. Interestingly enough, the remix gives the song a subtle yet completely different feel: in this case, the Oxhalá remix possesses a bracing chilliness that reminds me quite a bit of Octo Octa’s Between Both Selves.

“‘Breath’ was one of the first single from the album and also one of our favourites. We had some nostalgic feelings about that era, for example the day when we got the final master, that was the first time when we ever met with Sophie,” the Budapest-based JOVM mainstays recall. “Fun fact it was in Texas, where we played at SXSW. After the success of the song, we thought it would be great to have an alternative version, and asked Ohxalá to make a remix. We love their style because they blend traditional folk music with modern electronica, and they made a unique song which also has a new mood.”

Throwback: Happy 53rd Birthday Damon Albarn!

Thanks to a friend’s music history blog, I was reminded that today is Blur frontman and Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn’s 53rd birthday. I’ve been a huge fan of Albarn’s genre-defying work with Gorillaz since their debut album back in 2001. I’ve even seen them twice: once at The Meadows Festival, on which was one of the best music festival days I’ve ever experienced and at the Barclay’s Center about a year later. Both shows were phenomenal displays of animation and some genre-defying, incredibly dance floor friendly material.

So for his 53rd birthday, I wanted to thank Albarn for creating some weird yet infectious music that’s part of my own life story. Thank you, man. Happy birthday! May there be many many more!

Angel Ez is a Chicago-based indie singer/songwriter and producer, who currently creates music inspired by his own life experiences and emotions and anything else that may come at the moment. He recently finished a batch of material that’s slated for release at the end of this month — and the project will include his latest single, “When I’m With You,” a hook-driven slick pop song centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rattling beats and Ez’s plaintive vocals. Sonically, the track is a slick yet soulful synthesis of 80s synth pop and contemporary indie electro pop paired with lived-in lyrics.

Deriving their name from the chain of curves made by the overhead cables seen suspended from pylons or above electric trains, the Kent, UK-based act The Catenary Wires — founding members Amelia Fletcher (vocals, harmonium) and Rob Pursey (vocals, guitar) with Fay Hallam (Hammond organ, backing vocals), Ian Button (drums, backing vocals) and Andy Lewis (bass, production) was founded in 2014 after its founding duo had spent lengthy stints in beloved British cult acts like Tallulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap. The then-duo’s full-length debut, 2015’s Red Red Skies was a marked departure from the fuzzy, ’60s-inspired, girl-group pop of their previous work, as it featured acoustic-leaning material that was much more melancholy and emotive.

The duo followed up with a one-off 7 inch single, 2018’s “What About The Rings?”/”Was That Love.” But by the time the Pursey and Hallam began writing and recording their sophomore album, 2019’s ‘Til The Morning, the band expanded into a quintet with the additions of Hallam, Button and Lewis. The album’s material was centered around a much bigger sound while retaining the focus on the dual, boy-girl vocals of Fletcher and Pursey.

The newly-minted quintet have just completed their third album, Birling Gap, which is slated for a June 2021 through Shelflife Records here in the States and the band’s own label Skep Wax throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Their forthcoming album will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting songs for grown-up indie kids: maybe their knees and the backs hurt a bit from time to time, maybe their hair is receding or they’re bald or have some other sign of getting older. So, they’ll openly admit that their 20s are far in the rearview mirror –but they fondly remember what it was like. Fueled by their experience and wisdom, their material touches upon innocence and the loss of innocence, joy, egret, experience and so on.

The members of The Catenary Wires will be guest DJ’ing at a virtual indie pop disco held by the folks at How Does It Feel To Be Loved next Saturday — March 27, 2021 — and to promote the DJ set, the act released a cover of The Human League’s smash hit “Fascination” that sees the band rearranging the song so that the main synth-based melody with harmonium and strummed guitar while retaining the dueling boy-girl vocals. And as a result of the new arrangement, the song possesses a nostalgic feel, as though its narrators are looking back at their younger selves through the bittersweet prism of experience. Of course, the bigger point here is that great songs manage to be timeless — to the point that a completely different generation can find something of themselves in it.

You can check out more information about the DJ set here: https://www.facebook.com/events/448872316317961

 

Deriving her stage name from the Idlewood district of San Andreas in Grand Theft Auto: San AndreasEleanor Idlewood is an emerging, 23 year-old, Bordeaux-based electronic music producer and artist, who can trace the origins of her music career to when she was 14: Idlewood explains that her best friend received music programming software and they shared the software with her. Ever since then she’s been making her own original music, inspired by the sounds of the 80s and 90s — including Depeche ModeFrankie Goes to Hollywood, The Human LeagueKraftwerkVangelisPet Shop BoysMadonnaJean-Michel JarreMobyTelepopmusikTestu InoueStephane PompougnacWilliam Orbit and a lengthy list of others. (Unsurprisingly, the emerging French electronic music artist and producer proudly admits that she’s obsessed with the 80s: she owns some vintage synthesizers from the 80s and owns vintage dresses, boots and other items from the 80s that she regularly wears.) 

After releasing a handful of singles that found the young, emerging, French electronic music producer and artist experimenting with darkwave and New Wave, Idlewood released her full-length debut, last year’s Little Secrets, which featured the brooding, John Carpenter soundtrack-like “Not Your Fault.” Building upon the attention she received with Little Secrets, Idlewood will be releasing its follow-up, Little Secrets: Remixes and Fantasies. Little Secrets: Remixes and Fantasies‘ first single “Akito’s Madness” is a decidedly Tour de France-era Kraftwerk-inspired single, centered around a hypnotic, motorik groove, shimmering synth arpeggios and thumping beats.

“Kraftwerk is a major influence for this electronica track,” Idlewild says. “Made with some sequencer, vocalic for the vocal, Korg MS-20, Volca Modular and other sound design.”