Tag: indie electro pop

New Video: JOVM Mainstay RALPH Releases a Sassy Tell Off to an Obsessed Ex

Over the better part of the past year, I’ve written a bitt about Raffa Weyman, a Toronto-born and-based singer/songwriter, best known as RALPH. Weyman quickly emerged into both the national and international pop scene with the release of her bittersweet, disco-inspired debut single “Trouble” in 2015. Building upon a rapidly growing profile. Weyman released a series of attention-grabbing singles that found the Canadian pop artist restlessly bouncing around different genres and styles — i.e., the country and western-tinged “Young Hearts Run Free” and “Girl Next Door. ” a radio friendly hip-hop/pop crossover track.

Since then, Weyman received an IHeartRadio’s Much Music Video Awards Best New Canadian Artist nomination and released her RALPH full-length debut A Good Girl. , “I wrote ‘A Good Girl’ over the course of a year, maybe a little more…and a lot happened in that year,” Weyman explained in press notes. “Because I use songwriting as a type of therapy and a way to explore my feelings, the songs naturally began to reflect everything that was happening in my life. Sometimes I was hurting, other times I was the one hurting someone else, and then to make it more complicated, sometimes I’d be both, like in the last song ‘Cereal’. The album name is a tongue in cheek way of reflecting upon the tracks and their stories, because they represent a multi-faceted character who is good hearted but makes mistakes – no one is ever one thing, we’re not good or bad and shouldn’t feel guilty about it. ​​​​​​”

Now, as you may recall Weyman’s highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut is slated for release later this year. And “Gravity,” the first official single off that forthcoming release was a club-friendly and loving house music homage that brings Daft Punk and others to mind. “No Muss No Fuss,” the EP’s second and latest single is a sassy brush off of a creepy ex, whom she can’t seem to get rid off, centered around thumping beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths an infectious, ear worm of a hook and Weyman’s self-assured and coquettish vocals. 

Directed by longtime collaborator Gemma Warren and shot on 16mm film, the video follows RALPH exuberantly singing and dancing along to the song in some 90s-inspired club outfits in a variety of different locations. “We just wanted a feeling of effortless fun to translate. We didn’t overthink the shoot,” Weyman says of the video’s filming. “We scouted the day before and drove through Gem’s favorite neighbourhoods (Atwater Village, Silver Lake, Echo Park), just taking pics of interesting looking spots. We wanted vivid colours and weird landscapes that would pop on film – like the golden yellow straw and the stacks of rubber tires. The song has a bounciness to it that makes you want to move, so we wanted to focus on organic, quirky movements instead of actual choreographed dances — playing with hand motions and kicks and spins. The lyrics in the track aren’t supposed to be mean, they’re just honest and a little sassy, so that was the mood we tried to capture.”

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David Halsey is an up-and-coming Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist, who grew up listening to his parents recording collection, which included Madonna, Depeche Mode and Soft Cell. His brothers introduced him to Bay Area hip-hop. Unsurprisingly, both of those things managed to heavily influence his attention-grabbing solo recording project Petticoat, a musical project that finds Halsey meshing early 80s New Wave, experimental club music and bubblegum bass into a unique, futuristic-leaning take on electronic music. “I love the music from eras that have had an eye towards futurism,” Halsey says. “Things like 2000s RnB and modern club/pop music.”

Earlier this year, the Bay Area-based producer and electronic music artist released a Pharrell Williams-inspired rework of Internet pop sensation Slayyter‘s “Mine,” and building upon a rapidly growing profile, his latest single “Fantasy” is an swooning and flirty, 80s synth pop and synth funk-inspired bop centered around shimmering synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a sinuous bass line and a big, infectious hook. And while sonically recalling the likes of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Cherelle’s “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” and Beverly Girl, the song possesses a familiar, retro-futuristic air.

“Fantasy,” as Haley describes in press notes is “a song centered around the act of presenting through dating apps and websites. The lyrics play into the consequences of shallowness and miscommunication through online profiles. I chose to go with 80s New Wave mixed with dance pop for the instrumental. To me, that era of 80s synth pop was inherently futuristic for its time with its synthesizers, experimental voice mixing, and subject matter. It was a perfect match to get across the feeling and message of modern love; like an eye towards the future through a lens of retrospection.”

 

New Video: Winona Oak Releases Feverish Visuals for Soaring Ballad “Break My Broken Heart”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-and-coming, Solleron, Sweden-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Winona Oak. And as you may recall, Oak who was born Johanna Ekmark has a rather unique backstory: Growing up  on the small, Swedish island known to Swedes as the Island of the Sun, the up-and-coming Solleron-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist spent much of her childhood encountering more animals than people. As the story goes, she grew up as a trained horse acrobat and because she grew up in a musical home, she was encouraged to pursue creative endeavors as much as possible: Ekmark began playing violin when she was 5, piano when she was 9, and she wrote poetry and songs at an extremely young age. 

Ekmark eventually moved to Stockholm to pursue a career in music, but a leap of faith that had her attend a Neon Gold Records writing retreat in the Nicaraguan jungle led to her to meet Australian-born and based hit making producer and pop artist What So Not. And from this serendipitous meeting, she went on to co-write ““Better” and “Stuck In Orbit,” before stepping out into the spotlight as both the writer and featured artist on the Aussie producer and pop artist’s “Beautiful,” which was released last year.

Adding to a busy 2018, Ekmark covered HAIM‘s “Don’t Save Me” for Neon Gold Records’ 10th anniversary compilation, NGX: Ten Years of Neon Gold. She then closed out the year with a co-write and vocal contribution of The Chainsmokers viral hit “Hope,” a track that has amassed over 250 million streams across all digital platforms globally — including over 100 million streams on Spotify. And as a result of a rapidly growing profile, Oak signed to Warner-Chappell Music Publishing and to Neon Gold/Atlantic Records.

Oak’s long-awaited debut single “He Don’t Love Me” revealed an ambitious songwriter, who has an uncanny knack for a sultry and infectious hook paired with a sleek, hyper modern production and an achingly bittersweet air. Her latest single “Break My Broken Heart” is a slow-burning and anthemic ballad featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths, Oak’s yearning vocals and a soaring hook. And while the track sonically manages to recall the atmospherics of JOVM mainstay ACES, it’ll also further cement Oak’s reputation for crafting earnest pop with enormous hooks. “You have to be brave to love someone with all of your heart,” Oak says. “But the biggest risk is not to take any risks at all. As long as we’re breathing, what’s one more scar?”

Directed by Andres Ohman, the recently released video for “Break My Broken Heart” continues their ongoing collaboration, it continues a bit in the vein as its predecessor — cinematically shot but while evoking a feverish dream. 

Over the last few months of last year, Liam Brown, an up-and-coming songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as pizzagirl quickly became a mainstay on this site. And as you may recall, with the release of last year’s An Extended Play EP, Brown was championed by Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. Brown also opened for the acclaimed — and all too tragic — British indie act Her’s, during one of their last UK tours.

Building upon a growing profile, the release of his sophomore EP, season 2 further cemented Brown’s reputation for crafting swooningly heartfelt, shimmering synth pop with a decidedly anachronistic sound and feel. But 2019 may be the JOVM mainstay’s biggest year to date, as his highly-anticipated full-length debut, first timer is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Heist or Hit Records, the label home of the aforementioned Her’s, Baywaves and Honey Moon among others.

first timer‘s second and latest single “ball’s gonna keep on rollin” is a hook-driven, 80s synth pop bop with shimmering synths, explosive blasts of horns, dramatic drum rolls and Brown’s pop star vocals — and while sounding as though it could be part of the soundtrack of Stranger Things, the track details the journey of a showbiz wannabe — from wide-eyed, hungry and humble origins to buzz-worthy artist to superstar to broke, washed up and bitter former star. In many ways, the success that the song’s protagonist desperately wanted to attain was his worst nightmare.

“It’s a Twilight Zone-type of tale of hunting for the big ‘success’ whatever that may be,” Brown explains in press notes. “Anyways, just remember that if the grind is getting you down, that ball’s gonna keep on rollin.”

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno Releases a Club Friendly Bop

Currently comprised of founding trio Tom Meighan (vocals), Serge Pizzorno (guitar, vocals) and Chris Edwards (bass) along with Ian Matthews (drums) the Leicester, UK-based act Kasabian derive their name from Linda Kasabian, a member of the infamous Charles Manson cult. As the band’s Chris Edwards explained in an interview with Ukula, their former guitarist Chris Karloff had been reading up on Charles Manson, and the name Kasabian just stuck with him. “He thought the word was cool, it literally took about a minute after the rest of us head it . . . so it was decided.” And since their formation, the act has become one of the more commercially successful acts in British music history: the last five consecutive of their six full-length albums have hit the #1 spot on the UK Albums Charts, a feat accomplished by only a handful of artists. Adding to their accolades they’ve been nominated for nine BRIT Awards, winning Best British Group in 2010; they’ve been nominated for 13 Q Awards winning four including 2009 Best Album for West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, 2014 Best Live Act and Best Act in the World Today and 2017 Best Track for “You’re In Love with a Psycho.” 

Perhaps best known as Kasabian’s creative mastermind during their enviable and unprecedented run, the band’s Serge Pizzorno has gone the solo route with his new recording project The S.L.P.  Slated for an August 30, 2019 release through The Orchard, Pizzorno’s solo debut, The S.L.P. reportedly draws from hip-hop, psych funk, New Wave, EDM and electro pop and others — and finds Pizzorno collaborating with an eclectic array of artists including the acclaimed London-based rapper Little Simz. “Moving forward, I’d like to collaborate more and open that door more,” Pizzorno says of his new project. “The S.L.P. project will become this sort of place I can go and just do whatever. It’s so important to have that.” Continuing he says “My life in the band and my boys, that’s part of me that will be there forever, but then there’s something else I have to get that out or I won’t be able to move forward.” 

The S.L.P.’s third and latest single “The Youngest Gary” initially seems like an extension of Pizzorno’s work with Kasabian — distorted guitar riffs, a motorik groove, boom bap drum programming, a sinuous bass line and Pizzorno’s imitable vocals —  and while the stadium rock bombast is turned down quite a bit, the track manages to be a hook-driven club friendly bop. 

New Video: Rituals of Mine’s Queer “Space Jam” Themed Visuals for Sultry “Burst”

Initially formed in 2009 as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo  Rituals of Mine, currently comprised of singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and percussionist Adam Pierce have received attention for a sound that draws from 90s trip hop, footwork and  downtempo R&B — and for years of relentless touring up and down the West Coast, playing house shows, DIY venues and basements with the likes of The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree and others. Adding to a quickly growing profile, the Los Angeles-based duo’s first two albums — 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic — were released to critical acclaim. 

2015 was a profoundly harrowing and difficult year for Lopez: her father committed suicide and several moths later, her best friend Lucas Johnson tragically died in an accident. Reeling from the grief of inconsolable and unexpected loss, Lopez in a period of deep reflection felt the need to reassess her life and her work in Sister Crayon. She decided to put the Sister Crayon name to rest, moving forward with a new moniker  — Rituals of Mine. As Terra Lopez wrote at the time, “It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times. Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”

After years of obscuring her own story and emotions through metaphorical lyrics, Lopez felt a sudden confidence to write much more directly about her experiences and life as a queer woman of color. Lopez began fleshing out the material on what would become her Rituals of Mine debut Devoted with her longtime collaborator and producer Wes Jones, who helped turn her heartfelt writing on her trauma and personal growth into urgent and pulsating electronic tracks. Lopez then enlisted Adam Pierce to play drums, knowing that their background in metal percussion would provide an intensity that could match her own.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you might recall that last year was a very busy year for Lopez and Pierce. They opened for a handful of dates for The Afghan Whigs and Built to Spill’s co-headliing tour, including a Chicago area stop last April. They also opened for Garbage during the multi-plantium Grammy Award-winning band’s US tour. They also went on their first UK tour with JOVM mainstay Geographer and The Seshen. 

Interestingly, the duo’s highly anticipated Wes jones and Neal Pogue co-produced follow-up to Devoted, Sleeper Hold EP is slated for an October 4, 2019 release through Carpark Records — and the EP will include the urgent anti-Trump anthem “No Time To Go Numb,” a track that forcefully reminded the listener that now isn’t the time to slink back from the horrors of a power mad, greedy and hateful administration; that we have to be fueled by righteous anger and fight like hell for the things that truly matter.  “Burst,” Sleeper Hold’s second and latest single is a glitchy and hyper-modern bit of electro R&B that’s centered around stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and Lopez’s sultry, self-assured vocals. And while the track may recall Timbaland’s forward-thinking work with Aaliyah and Missy Elliott, Rituals of Mine’s latest single is driven by Lopez’s commitment to unvarnished emotional honesty.  “I made a promise to myself that I’m no longer going to play small or hide behind metaphors, that I’m going to really lean into self-confidence, self-reliance and take up space,” Lopez says in a statement to Billboard. “‘Burst is the beginning of that.” 

Co-directed by Kris Esfandiari and Colette Levesque, the recently released video for “Burst” features Rituals of Mine’s Terra Lopez playing basketball against a team of evil and monstrous figures. At one point, her younger self appears and helps Lopez win the game. According to the statement Lopez wrote to Billboard, the recently released video represents overcoming past trauma to effectively move on in your life, with the young protagonist representing a younger version of herself. “The opponents all represent obstacles I’ve had to face being a queer woman of color in this industry … this video was a way for me to confront both my childhood traumas and adulthood obstacles through the activity that has always grounded me,” she says. “Also, I just really wanted to create our version of a Queer Space Jam for 2019.”

I’ve written a bit about the indie electro pop act DGTL CLR over the past few years and as you may recall, the project, which initially began as a the music project of a mysterious Southern California-based electronic music production and artist duo; however, the cloak of mystery has been gently pulled off, revealing its creative mastermind, the San Diego-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Devereaux Jennings.

Since I’ve last written about Jennings and DGTL CTL, the act has developed a reputation for specializing in a relatively new subgenre of electro pop  next wave, which generally features a mix of vaporwave synths, electronic dance beats and organic instrumentation — i,e. guitars, saxophone and the like; but Jennings’ take finds him meshing elements of house music and indie rock to the mix, essentially adding a live aspect to the club. Interestingly, his latest single, the swaggering and glitchy banger “Carry On” is centered around a speak-sing vocal delivery reminiscent of Butthole Surfers, Cake, and Soul Coughing, industrial clang and clatter, tweeter and woofer rocking beats to create a sound that’s one part industrial electro pop, one part hip-hop and one part spoken word — all while focusing on an uplifting message to the listener. And while being a bold, new sonic direction for the JOVM mainstay, the new single manages to retain his uncanny ability to mesh avant-garde sounds within radio friendly pop bangers.

“‘Carry On’ is a blend of electronic, and indie. Taking that butthole surfer vibe and mixing it with some low dance bass,” Devereaux Jennings explained in an email to me. “The lyrics just plopped out, seeing as I did them on one take as improv about some shit I was going through. I have always felt like this outsider trying to do what I love and be who I feel I am, but always feeling like I am failing or just a lost cause. But we fail, we lose, we fuck up sometimes and we have to carry on. You are the only person that has the power to make something happen, no matter what holes or hills you face. The moment you give up, is the moment your dream dies. Don’t question your failures, learn from them and grow. Carry On…”

Caroline Kingsbury is an up-and-coming, 23 year-old,. Florida-born, Los Angeles-based pop artist, best known as KingsburyAnd with her latest single “U Take It Back,” the up-and-coming pop artist’s sound has evolved to an atmospheric, hook-driven 80s synth pop-like sound that recalls Kate Bush, which perfectly complements Kingsbury’s big, earnest vocal s and shimmering guitar work.

Kingsbury will be touring with Alex Lahey throughout August and the tour will include an August 23, 2019 stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
8/13 – Los Angeles, CA – The Troubador
8/14 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
8/16 – Austin, TX – Antones
8/17 – Dallas, TX – Deep Ellum Art Co.
8/19 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
8/20 – Nashville, TN – Exit/In
8/22 – Washington D.C. – U Street Music Hall
8/23 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall Of Williamsburg
8/24 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brendas
8/25 – Allston, MA – Great Scott
8/27 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
8/28 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
9/1 – Vancouver, B.C. – Biltmore Cabaret
9/3 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir

 

With the release of their debut single “Visions of You,” feat. Electric Youth, the up-and-coming Stockholm and Los Angeles-based electronic production and electronic music artist duo ROOM8 — Ezra Reich and Nic Johns — quickly established a reputation for crafting a sound that draws from electro pop, electronic dance music and film soundtracks. Building upon a growing profile, the duo produced, wrote and/or cowrote a series of attention-grabbing singles including Electric Youth‘s “Without You” which was praised by NPR, as well as “No Hard Feelings,” feat. King Deco and “This Place Again,” feat. Polina, which received praise form Neon Gold, Huffington Post, Noisey, Blackbook, Flaunt and elsewhere. “Better Than Music,” a collaboration with acclaimed British electro pop artist Little Boots premiered on Billboard.

This year has been an incredibly busy and productive year for the duo. They’ve produced the score for the forthcoming motion picture Cuck — and their latest album, Transduction is slated for an October 11, 2019 release. The album’s latest single is the slow-burning and atmospheric ballad “Only You.” Centered around shimmering synths, trembling beats, the achingly plaintive vocals of The Sound of Arrows and a soaring hook, the song manages to sound as though it could easily be on the soundtrack of at least a dozen different 80s films, while also recalling JOVM mainstays ACES and others. But at its core. the song is a contented sigh — the sort that comes when you’ve discovered that one person, who understands everything about you, when you feel the most out of place and misunderstood.