Tag: indie electro pop

New Video: Paris’ Premier Métro Shares a Slow-Burning, Nostalgia-Inducing Bop

Rising Paris-based synth pop outfit Premier Métro — Dimitri, Sébastien, Alexandre and Enzo — specialize in a nostalgia-inducing, synth driven sound that seemingly draws from 80s pop, Flavien Berger, The Weeknd, and others.

Interestingly, with a handful of singles under their belts, the French quartet landed slots at We Love Green last June — and an appearance on Culturebox. Building upon a growing profile, the quartet’s latest single “Pour Quelques Secondes” is a slow-burning. hook-driven bop centered around glistening synths, thumping beats paired with ccihgl plaintive vocals that capture the few minutes that a performer or a band will feel like gods while performing on that stage. But it also scans as a bittersweet ode to fleeting youth.

Shot on an iPhone, the accompanying video follows the band in post-show glow, goofing off, getting on a metro and heading to karaoke spot before the phone finally dies.

Me.Kai is a singer/songwriter and guitarist, who began her career busking on Santa Barbara‘s streets covering an eclectic array of artists including Ella Fitzgerald and Dua Lipa, among others. Gradually transitioning from cover artist to solo artist, she became a staple in her hometown’s music scene, collaborating with of Area 51, Everything’s Fine, and a number of up-and-coming producers, including Gold Man and Burko. She has developed and honed a genre-blending style and sound that draws from Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks, and her love of bass heavy, indie electro pop.

Some of her songs have landed on Insomniac’s In/Rotation Label list, and several high-profile Spotify playlists. She has also had some of her work appear in the Netflix series All American. Building upon a growing profile, the Santa Barbara-based artist plans to be very busy: a number of collaborations with popular EDM producers and her debut EP are slated to on the horizon in the upcoming months.

But in the meantime, her latest single “Bump in the Night,” is a sultry and accessible bop centered around the Santa Barbara-based artist’s coquettish, come hither delivery and a breezy production featuring looping and glistening guitars, wobbling tweeter and woofer rattling low end, dancehall-like riddims and twinkling synths. Seemingly drawing from contemporary pop, dancehall and Quiet Storm soul, “Bump in the Night” is a song full of carnal longing and desire with a narrator boldly expressing that she has sexual needs that need to be fulfilled — tonight.

New Video: Montreal’s Naomi Shares an Accessible and Infectious Banger

Naomi is a Montréal-based multi-disciplinary artist, who after studying theater, first made a name for herself when she began to land roles on both the small and big screen by the time she turned 14. She also went on to study dance at École de danse contemporaine de Montréal

As a dancer, the Montreal-based multidisciplinary artist has appeared in and/or choreographed music videos for RihannaMarie-MaiCoeur de Pirate and others, as well as for local dance performances. While she was establishing herself as an actor and dancer, the Montreal-based artist quietly developed a passion for singing — without fully giving herself permission to explore it fully. Interestingly, Coeur de Pirate’s Beátrice Martin saw star potential in the Montreal based multi-disciplinary artist and took her under her wing. 

Encouraged by Martin’s mentorship and encourage, Naomi began to realize that she was never far off from making her own music. All that she needed was a bit of a push.

She signed with Bravo Musique, an acclaimed, local tastemaker label, and then began writing her own original material. Since then, she has taken a bold leap into a career as a pop singer and artist. Her first two singles “Tout à nous” and “Zéro stress” have received airplay on WKNDRouge FMArsenal, POP, CVKMand several other regional radio stations across Quebec.

Now, as you might recall, the rising French Canadian artist has also released two more singles this year:

  • The club friendly, Rowan Mercille and Naomi co-written “Semblant,” which I wrote about earlier this year. Centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering trap-meets-Carribbean beats paired with her sultry delivery and an infectious hook, “Semblant” is a remarkably self-assured summertime banger, that also reveals a bonafide superstar in the making. 
  • Pas le temps de jouer,” a slickly produced and self-assured banger centered around shuffling reggaeton-meets-trap beats, glistening synth bursts paired with the rising Canadian artist’s sultry delivery and her seemingly unerring knack for crafting a big, razor sharp hook. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Pas le temps de jouer” is an accessible, summertime bop that will help launch a bonafide superstar into the stratosphere.

Naomi’s latest single “Okay Alright” is a sultry, genre-defying, bop centered around skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap, bursts of strummed guitar and rumbling low end paired with the rising French Canadian’s sultry vocal delivery singing the song’s verses primarily in French and the song’s infectious hook in English. “Okay Alright” continues remarkable run of slickly produced, accessible club bangers, with the English hook seems to have the rising Montreal-based artist reaching for a bigger, global audience outside of the Francophone world. And she does so while retaining the elements of her sound and approach that have won her audiences at home.

Directed by Élise Lussier, the accompanying video for “Okay Alight” stars Naomi and a collection of friends at an abandoned summer camp site, have water gun and water balloon fights, dancing the day and night away, and goofing off. The fun that they have is infectious. And it should remind you of easier, warmer, carefree days.

New Audio: FIOR Shares a Sultry New Bop

Zoe Fioravanti is a rising, self-taught singer/songwriter and pop artist, who can trace the origins of her musical career to her childhood: Fiovaranti’s father, who managed bands in the ’90s gifted her a toy piano that she learned to play by ear when she was just eight. Early on, her self-taught style was heavily influenced by Billy JoelAmy WinehouseAdele, and Michael Jackson

As a teenager, Fiorvanti began writing her own lyrics and making beat-driven pop with elements of funk, soul, disco, electro pop and rock on her computer — while honing her lush and sultry vocal delivery. Drawing from her own life, her material celebrates the kind of vulnerability that leads to true strength while encouraging listeners to not just accept their emotions but to also embrace the importance of speaking their mind. 

Fiorvanti, who writes, records and performs as FIOR spent the past two years writing, recording original material and sharing that music — including her attention grabbing and defiant single “Let Me Go” and the Scott Storch-produced “YOYO (You’re On Your Own),” a sleek, slickly produced, summery banger featuring glistening synths, a strutting disco-inspired bass line, some squiggling Nile Rodgers-like guitar, skittering beats paired with Fioravanti’s self-assured and coquettish delivery and a razor sharp hook.

While being both club and radio friendly, “YOYO” is simultaneously a celebratory tell-off and a relishing of freedom: While the video implies that it’s a celebration of pushing off a dysfunctional and overbearing lover or love interest, it can also be a shitty friend, who’s a cockblock — or an overbearing paramour, who doesn’t quite get that you’re not interested.

The rising pop artist’s latest single “Undercover Lover” continues her ongoing collaboration with Scott Storch — and much like its predecessor will appear on an EP that is currently slated for an early 2023 release. Centered around twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, tweeter and woofer rattling thump paired with Fiorvanti’s sultry delivery and a remarkably catchy hook, “Undercover Lover” has a decidedly 90s synth pop/90s pop sound and feel. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Undercover Lover” serves as a slickly produced vehicle for an artist about to explode into the mainstream.

Lyric Video: Magi Merlin and Fernie Team Up on Sultry and Laid Back “DOLLA BILL”

With the release of her first two EP’s 2019’s On My Way to the Listening Party and last year’s Drug Music EP, along a handful of standalone singles, the rising Montreal-based artist Magi Merlin (pronounced MADGE-eye) exploded onto the Canadian national scene: Her work has received praise from from CRACK Magazine. She has opened for Lido Pimienta and played at Osheaga Festival alongside ODIEJessie Reyez and others. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past year, you might recall that the rising Montreal-based artist released the Funkywhat-produced “Free Grillz,” a track that featured Merlin’s mix of fiery, self-assured bars and sultry crooned hooks gliding over icy, trap hi-hats, skittering snares, glistening synth arpeggios and a tweeter and woofer rattling bass line. “Free Grillz” found Merlin hoping to aspire to at least some of the tropes of hip-hop fame while simultaneously reflecting on a series of bitterly harsh and seemingly inescapable daily realities — including having obvious and clueless people carelessly mispronouncing your name, casual misogyny, and kicking clingy, stupid men out of your life with a mix of humor and world-dominating swagger.

You also also recall that Merlin’s third EP Gone Girl was released through Bonsound/AWAL earlier this year. The EP’s material may arguably be Merlins most personal and audacious effort to date: Merlin grew up in Saint Lazare, a suburb of Montreal, created by Canadian Nixon types in 70s. A place for white folks by white folks. Much like here in the States, the suburbs are viewed as the epitome of all that’s good “right and “normal.” Of course, unless you’re a young Black, Queer women — and suddenly that perceived, long-held normalcy is challenged. Thematically, the EP’s material draws from this personal experience, and sees the rising Montreal artist talking about casual racism, fake friends, generational angst and more.

Sonically, the EP continues her ongoing collaboration with Funkywhat and is informed by 90s house, drum ‘n’ bass, Motown and acid flecked hip-hop to create a sound that evokes smoky, after hours clubs — but with rumbling bass lines and thunderous 808s. EP single “Pissed Black Girl” was a perfect example of the EPs themes and overall sound with the single being a sleek and hyper modern bop featuring Merlin’s assured delivery gliding over icy synth arpeggios, skittering trap beats and a sinuous bass line. The song is rooted in the familiar pent up frustration with fake white progressives and phony liberals — but while playing with the cliched, racist trope of the angry Black woman; the song is a dance floor friendly banger that sees its narrator telling those fake, closet racists to sit down and shut the fuck up, while the rest of us take our rightful place on the dance floor.

“I wrote this song summer 2020,” Merlin says. “I was made to really look at my identity as a Black woman and what that identity means to the people I surround myself with. I didn’t realize a lot of the people I had around me at the time that identified as progressive, leftist and ‘allies’ were not as supportive as they made themselves out to be. Talking with them just resulted in arguments instead of compassion and understanding. This made me very angry and the only thing I was able to do to vent my frustrations and arrive at some form of catharsis was by singing about it.

“The title of the track references a story an ex-friend recounted to me as well as what I and many other black women who speak their minds are reduced to: an ‘angry black woman.’ This ex-friend told me about a time they went to a predominantly white party in the suburbs and one of the party-goers, while staring out onto the front lawn of the house, said: “wow, there’s a N***er on the lawn” – one of many atrocious acts that go unchecked in white suburbia and various other white spaces. If there is anything I’ve learned from my experiences with ignorant and bigoted people, it is how unapologetic I need to be about my existence. I’m a girl; I am pissed and I’m Black. What about it?”

Merlin’s latest single sees her collaborating with longtime collaborator Funkywhat and rising Montreal-based Brazilian-Canadian, queer artist of color, Fernie. Last fall, Fernie released their critically applauded, full-length debut, Aurora, an album that featured a blend of emancipatory soul, melodic R&B and vulnerable lyricism paired with subtle nuances of 90s melancholia. Fernie worked on the album over the course of a three-year period, in which they also sought to be perceived as a whole person. The music they were working on created a safe space for them to reveal, share and affirm themselves.

Over the past few months, Merlin and Fernie have run into each other quite a bit: They’ve played some of the same festival lineups, and have attended the same shows and parties. Interestingly, they’ve often talked about collaborating on working on a song together. So when Funkywhat sent his longtime collaborator an unfinished version of “DOLLA BILL,” which he recorded with Fernie — and she immediately jumped on board. The end result is a soulful and strutting bop centered around skittering trap-inspired beats, atmospheric synths, a supple and propulsive bass line serving as a silky, grown and sexy, two-step inducing frame for two rising artists to push each other to new territories.

New Video: Welsh Artist Bethan Lloyd Shares Trance-Inducing “Cutting Circuits”

Bethan Lloyd is a Welsh singer/songwriter, composer, television present, performance artist and vocal teacher at some of the best Earth-based practice schools. Lloyd also performs with experimental vocal project SoundingBody and ritualistic beats duo Jet Pack Dog. But as a solo artist, the Welsh artist pairs trance-inducing vocals with harmonic layering and rave-inspired production to craft material infused with an otherworldly ecstasy.

Thematically, Lloyd’s work sees her engaged deeply in the art of relinquishing control and exploring the spiritual and emotional realms — and meshing them into something playful yet danceable. Her latest single, the woozy “Cutting Circles” see Lloyd pairing her plaintive, pop belter-like delivery with a lush and hypnotic production featuring skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling beats, buzzing synths and enormous hooks. Sonically, the song is a slick and futuristic synthesis of Kate Bush, Princess Century and Bjork — but in the 23rd Century.

The accompanying video features Lloyd dancing and singing along to the song with a spectral aura surrounding her. It’s as trippy and trance-inducing as the song.

Deriving their name from the French word for coffin, cercueil, French experimental electro pop duo Cercueil — Pénélope Michel and Nicolas Devos — formed back in 2005 and features two extraordinarily talented members: one members attended the National School of Fine Arts near Lille, France, and was a member of math rock outfit Milgram; the other studied music theory while also playing in experimental performance groups.

Their debut EP released back in 2006 went largely unnoticed, but their full-length debut, 2009’s Shoo Straight Shout won them quite a bit of attention with the album being released to critical acclaim. That led to the band winning a Best Newcomer Award at the Qwartz Electronic Music Awards. Shoo Straight Shout saw the duo firmly establishing a sound that draws from coldwave, New Wave, krautrock, techno and trip-hop among others.

The French duo’s sophomore album, 2011’s Erostrate saw the band adding elements of dark techno to their sound. Around this time, the band had begun building an international profile with touring across Belgium, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, The Netherlands and even North America — with stops on the international festival circuit., including The Great Escape, Transmusicales de Rennes, Printemps de Bourges and M Pour Montréal. Adding to a growing profile, they opened for Alan Vega and WhoMadeWho.

Released through Clivage Music, the duo’s latest EP Bad Posture is influenced by Nina Childress’ paintings, Charles Freger’s anthropological photos, the films of Michel Haneke, David Lynch and Kenneth Anger, as well as the the works of Black Dice, The Knife, Harmonia, Kraftwerk and Onoehtrix Point Never. Letting their creative process guide them throughout, Michel and Davos went whenever the music took them while forbidding nothing — to a point that they were frequently surprised by the directions the material went. “We don’t really think about where it is we want to take things. Often, we develop our sound based on our experience and familiarity with our instruments, and just let things flow depending on the track, the sounds. That is what directs things, more than an actual conscious thought,” the French duo explain. That wild, unpredictable creative freedom is infused throughout the EP.

“Suchness,” Bad Posture‘s latest single is a hypnotic mix of propulsive tribal beats, trip-hop, industrial techno and atmospheric synths centered around a relentless motorik groove. Michel’s ethereal vocal glides over a menacing and uneasy production that sounds like it would rock a club in the year 2222 — if humans and clubs are still a thing by then.

Platinum-selling British electro pop outfit Years & Years formed back in 2010 as a full-fledged band featuring Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy, Emre Türkmen, Noel Leeman and Oliver Subria. Between their founding and the release of their first two singles — 2012’s “I Wish I Knew” and 2013’s “Traps,” Leeman and Subria left the band.

As trio Years & Years wrote and recorded their full-length debut, 2015’s Communion, which debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Charts — and was the fastest-selling debut album of the year from a British signed band. Communion single “King” reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart and was on the Top Ten Charts in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland. “Shine” reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart.

Their sophomore album, 2018’s Palo Santo was set in a dystopian world, where androids were the majority and humans were the minority. The album featured singles “Sanctify” and “If You’re Over Me” — with “If You’re Over Me” reaching Top 10 on the UK Singles Chart.

Last March, the acclaimed British pop outfit announced that their third album, the 11-song album Night Call was in production. That same day, the band announced that Goldsworthy and Türkmen had stepped down as active members — and that the outfit would continue as Olly Alexander’s solo project.

Released earlier this year, Night Call debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart. Thematically, the album talks about embracing submission and twisting power play to reclaim your strength. And as a result, songs about heartbreak are few; traditional ballads are almost non-existent. “A lot of the songs are patchworks inspired by random memories and hook-ups, or men that I’ve met,” Alexander explains. Album singles “Crave,” “Starstruck” and “Sweet Talker” feat. Galantis have proven to be pulsating queer anthems.

Adding to a big year for the British pop outfit, Years & Years just shared a cover of Crystal Waters’ 90s house/dance pop classic “100% Pure Love,” which will soundtrack Target’s 2022 holiday ad campaign. While still being an enormous club banger, the Years & Years cover is a subtle reimagining that somehow feels and sounds even more 90s house than the original.

“I knew right away that I wanted to work with Georgia and Mark Ralph to bring this cover to life,” Alexander says. “Crystal’s vocal in the original is so captivating, she has such a special energy and that really inspired me when I came to record my vocals. I’m really hoping people enjoy it, it has such a positive message and liberating feel to it…I love it!” 

New Video: Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul Share a Skittering Banger

Ghent, Belgium-based electronic duo Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of 2019’s critically applauded David and Stephen Dewaele-produced Zandoli EP, which featured Paténipat” and “High Lights,” tracks that received airplay on UK Radio and were playlisted by  BBC Radio 6

Adigéry and Pupul’s official full-length debut as a duo, Topical Dancer was released earlier this year through Soulwax‘s own label DEEWEE. Co-written and co-produced by Soulwax and the acclaimed duo, Topical Dancer is deeply rooted in two things: The duo’s perspectives as Belgians with immigrant backgrounds with Adigéry proudly claiming Guadeloupean and French-Martinique ancestry and Pupul proudly claiming Chinese ancestry — and the wide-ranging conversations the duo have had touching upon cultural appropriation, misogyny, racism, social media vanity, post-colonialism, and more.

While being a snapshot of their thoughts and observations of pop culture in the early 2020s, the album also further cements their sound and approach: They manage to craft thoughtful songs that bang hard but are centered around their idiosyncratic, off-kilter take on familiar genres and styles. “We like to fuck things up a bit,” Pupul laughs. “We cringe when we feel like we’re making something that already exists, so we’re always looking for things to combine to make it sound not like a pop song, not like an R&B song, not a techno song. We’re always putting different worlds together. Charlotte and I get bored when things get too predictable.”  

Topical Dancer’s 13 songs are fueled by a restless desire to not be boxed in — and to escape narrow perceptions of who they are and what they can be. “One thing that always comes up,” Bolis Pupul says, “is that people perceive me as the producer, and Charlotte as just a singer. Or that being a Black artist means you should be making ‘urban’ music. Those kinds of boxes don’t feel good to us.” But they manage to do all of this with a satirical bent. For the Belgian duo, it’s emancipation through humor. “I don’t want to feel this heaviness on me,” Charlotte Adigéry says. “These aren’t my crosses to bear. Topical Dancer is my way of freeing myself of these issues. And of having fun.”

In the lead up to the album’s release, I wrote about four of Topical Dancer‘s singles: 

  • Thank You,” a sardonic, club banger featuring skittering beats, buzzing synth arpeggios and Adigéry’s deadpan delivery destroying mansplainers and unwanted, unsolicited and straight up dumb opinions and advice from outsiders. 
  • Blenda,” a club banger, centered around African-inspired polyrhythm, wobbling bass synths, skittering beats and Adigéry’s deadpan. Informed by Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, “Blenda” focuses on colonialism and post colonialism through Adigéry’s experience as Black immigrant in an extremely white place. 
  • HAHA,” a track built around a chopped up sample of Adigéry making herself laughed paired with twinkling synths, skittering beats and a relentless motorik groove that feels improvised and unfinished yet somehow simultaneously polished. 
  • Ceci n’est pas un cliché,” a slick dancer floor friendly bop centered around a strutting bass line, finger snaps, skittering beats and glistening synth arpeggios paired with Adigéry cool delivery of clichéd pop lyrics in a series of non-sequiturs that’s surreal yet displays a weird sense of logic.

“Mantra,” Topical Dancer‘s latest single is an off-kilter, dance floor friendly banger centered around skittering clang and clatter, glistening synth oscillations, tweeter and woofer rattling thump paired with Adigery’s sultry and insouciant delivery singing surrealistic, stream of consciousness non-sequiturs as a series of mantras.

“‘Mantra’ is a reworked version of our Yin Yang Self-Meditation, the audiovisual meditation tape which we released back in 2019,” the duo explain. “We used elements from this original recording in ‘Mantra’ such as the stream of consciousness and the heartbeat which we sped up to use as one of the bass drums in ‘Mantra.’ Whereas ‘Yin Yang Self-Meditation’ invites you to look inward, we invite you to express yourselves with ‘Mantra’.”

The accompanying video features re-edited footage shot from the Yin Yang Self-Meditation audiovisual mediation tape.

Although he’s best known for being one-half of Toronto-based indie electro pop duo Phédre, Dan Lee is also a solo artist in his own right, writing, recording and performing under the moniker Lee Paradise. And with the release of his Lee Paradise debut, 2020’s The Fink, Lee quickly established a sound that’s typically widescreen and is indebted to polyrhythmic psychedelia. 

Lee’s sophomore Lee Paradise album Lee Paradise & Co. is slated for an October 28, 2022 release through Telephone Explosion Records. The album’s material started off as a set of mood-focused instrumental sketches. But the sketches became fleshed out songs after he sent the tracks to a an eclectic array of collaborators including Jane Inc.‘s Carlyn Bezic, Scott Hardware’s, No Frills‘ and Ducks Ltd.‘s Jonathan Pappo, Scott HardwareIsla Craig, New Chance‘s Victoria Cheong, Jay Anderson, Mother Tongues‘ Charise Aragoza and Lukas Cheung, and Moon King‘s Daniel Woodhead. The result is an album that sees Lee and company crafting material that defies genre and style conversations with a soulful panache — and in which every aspect of its creation became open to collaboration, from musical performances, lyric writing and vocals, all the way through mixing and mastering.

Late last month, I wrote about “Not Practical,” a woozy yet accessible synth pop-leaning banger featuring copious amounts of DFA Records/LCD Soundsystem-like cowbell, layers of glistening and whirring synths and skittering beats paired with Victoria Cheong’s beguiling vocal. And while being remarkably dance floor friendly, “Not Practical” evokes the swooning and illogical nature of love.

“Leaving,” sees Lee dialing into his self-described cyborg-funk with the song being centered around laser gun blast-like synths, twinkling keys, skittering and clunky thump paired with Lee’s dreamy and meditative delivery and a saccharine-laced, pop chorus. At points, the song evokes the dread and unease of the work week; the desire to escape that life and to never have to do it again; the desire to just up and leave.