Tag: indie pop

New Video: Acclaimed Scandinavian Artist Ane Brun Releases a Shimmering, Wistful, and Infectious Pop Banger

Throughout her 15+ year recording career, the acclaimed Norwegian-born, Stockholm-based singer/songwriter Ane Brun has been rather busy:  she has released 12 albums of gorgeous and cinematic folk and art pop through her own label Balloon Ranger Recordings, including her sophomore album 2005’s A Temporary Dive, which led to a Norwegian Grammy Award win for Best Female Artist; 2008’s critically applauded Changing of the Seasons, which was praised by The New York Times; 2015’s When I’m Free, which NPR’s All Things Considered called “best record yet . . . her most sonically ambitious . . .;” and 2017’s Leave Me Breathless, a collection of covers and reinterpretations of hits by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, and others.

Now, as you may recall Brun’s forthcoming — and still untitled — 13th full-length album is slated for a fall release through her own label. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles, the cinematic “Trust,” which featured an atmospheric arrangement of strummed acoustic guitar shimmering synths and Brun’s expressive and plaintive vocals — and the ethereal and hazy “Feeling Like I Wanna Cry,” a song that expresses a deeply heartbreaking sorrow and sense of despair, centered around an uncannily prescient awareness of the dire and uncertain times we’re currently facing.  Interestingly, while Brun’s latest single “Honey” continues a run of ethereal synth-based pop, it may arguably be the most straightforward and dance floor friendly songs she has released from the album to date. Centered around shimmering synths, skittering beats, a sinuous bass line, an infectious hook and one of the more sultry vocal performances of Brun’s career, the song is full of wistful nostalgia and love for a past — and perhaps more innocent and naive — version of one’s self. 

Brun explains that “Honey” was inspired by a cassette tape she found of her 18-year-old self talking. “Her energy struck me, and I was was filled with love for this young, and in many ways innocent version of myself — this girl talking non-stop in a boundless flow of words and emotions.” 

Directed by Stefan Ekström, the recently released video for “Honey” is split between footage of Brun listening to music on her headphones and dancing to music through the streets of Stockholm and two dance crews of young women, who battle each other to the same music, being played on an old school boombox, back in the 90s. Although there’s a sweet and loving  juxtaposition between the young women and the adult woman, you can see the girl in the woman and the women within the girls. 

New Audio: Joe Wong Returns with a Lush and Orchestral New Single

Joe Wong is a Milwaukee-born, Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, who has created the scores for acclaimed TV series like Master of None, Russian Doll, Ugly Delicious, Awkafina is Nora from Queens, and others — and for being host of The Trap Set podcast.

Over the past few months Wong has released material off his Mary Lattimore-produced full-length debut, Nite Creatures, which is slated for a September 18, 2020 release, including two singles I’ve written about so far: the Man Who Sold The World-era David Bowie-like “Dreams Wash Away” and the a Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles-like “Nuclear Rainbow.” “Minor,” Nite Creatures’ third and latest single continues a run of incredibly lush material, but it’s arguably the most orchestral of the album’s singles, and as a result it reminds me a bit of the late, great Scott Walker’s work — brooding, achingly lonely and breathtakingly gorgeous. 


With her recently released debut EP La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil, the emerging Lille, France-based singer/songwriter Julia quickly establishes her sound and approach  — a slick synthesis of jazzy neo-soul, hop-hop inspired beats paired with the French singer/songwriter’s  powerhouse vocals singing and rhyming lyrics in her native French and English.  “I’m just trying to make you feel my  feelings. The rest is all yours,” the Lille-based singer/songwriter says in press notes.

EP title track and opener “La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil” is a swaggering and slow-burning, neo-soul track with twinkling Rhodes, thumping beats, atmospheric electronics and Julia’s effortlessly soulful and sultry vocals. The EP’s second single “Hangover” is a hip-hop soul-like track featuring some more twinkling Rhodes, boom-bap beats, a sinuous bass line and Julia singing in a jazzy and seductive French. Seemingly inspired by Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others, with a Quiet Storm vibey-ness, these two tracks — to my ears, at least — reveal a young superstar in the making. The EP’s two singles possess a remarkable self-assuredness and confidence with the material being ambitious, accessible — and centered around earnest, lived-in experience.



New Video: Follow Star Crossed Lovers in a Cinematic and Surreal Visual for Nicolas Michaux’s “Nos Retrouvailles”

Nicolas Michaux is a Brussells-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer, who currently splits his time between Brussels and Samsø, Denmark. Writing and singing material in both English and French, Michaux has received attention for a sound that meshes elements of French chanson, 60s British rock and early New Wave among others while guided by a distinctly personal spirit — and paired with a lush and textured production. 

Earlier this year, Michaux released “Harvesters,” which received praise from The Linen of Best Fit and marked the first bit of original material from the Belgian-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer since 2016’s À la via, à la mort. Building upon the momentum of “Harvesters,” Michaux’s last single “Nos Retrouvailles” continues his ongoing collaboration with Morgan Vigilante. Centered around a lush arrangement featuring shimmering Rhodes, reverb-drenched guitar, a propulsive rhythm section and Michaux’s achingly plaintive vocals, “Nos Retrouvailles” is a charming yet nostalgic track that’s decidedly influenced by French chanson as it touches upon themes of love, grief, separation and reunion — either in this world or in the afterlife. 

“I began writing this song in 2016 when I first went to Samsø,” Michaux says in press notes about the song. “It was sunny in the tiny courtyard of the house that we were renting at the time. I finished it three years later when I returned to Samsø Island and made an acoustic version before producing several months later the version which figures on the album.

“It’s a bit mysterious, the song, but also well balanced. I hardly feel I wrote it. It was always there. Discovered rather than composed. It lends itself to several interpretations and that’s what I like about it. It has more than one voice.”

Directed by Simon Vanrie, the recently released video for “Nos Retrouvailles” was filmed in an industrial park in Belgium. Starring Michaux and Amadine Laval and Habib Ben Tanfous as two star-crossed lovers — and throughout parallels are drawn between the pastoral imagery of the song’s lyrics, the video’s star-crossed lovers and a small bit of natural, bursting from the industrial wasteland with the end result being of a fever dream of longing and loss. 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Adeline Performs 3 Singles for Colors Home/Bred Sessions

Initially making a name for herself as the frontwoman of the equally acclaimed dance music/nu-disco outfit Escort, the New York-based singer/songwriter, bassist and producer and JOVM mainstay Adeline has developed a reputation as a solo artist of note, releasing her self-titled, full-length debut to critical praise from the likes of Vogue, NPR, Refinery 29, Rolling Stone, The Fader and many others.

The JOVM mainstay has opened for Anderson .Paak, Lee Fields, Chromeo, Big Freedia and Natalie Prass among a lengthening list of artists, which  which has helped to further cement her reputation for dazzling audiences with her beauty, her captivating live show and energetic presence. Adding to a growing profile as a solo artist, the Parisian-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and bassist, has made appearances across the national festival circuit, including Afropunk, Funk on the Rocks and Winter Jazz Fest. She’s also a member of CeeLo Green’s touring band, making her — arguably — one of the hardest working women in New York’s music scene. 

Intérimes EP, the highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut was originally slated for a June 12, 2020 release but the JOVM mainstay decided to reschedule the release to July 10, 2020 in order to make room for voices as the Black Lives Matter and police reform movements have been gaining momentum within the mainstream. In the meantime, Adeline will be releasing the #TwilightChallengeEP tomorrow — Juneteenth — on Bandcamp as a celebration of Black Culture and to support Black Lives Matter. 

#TwilightChallengeEP will feature seven artists of color from all over the world, performing the JOVM mainstay’s five favorite selections from her #TwilightChallenge fan competition, a competition in which she invited fans to make new version of “Twilight” using the instrumental version of the track. The artists include:

Jonathan Singletary, a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and musician, whose work meshes elements of R&B, soul and hip-hop while thematically exploring love and  the pursuit of  freedom. Singletary was a co-writer on Adeline’s “Twilight” and he’s a frequent collaborator with the Night Share production duo. Currently, he has plans to release new material this year. 
Lisko, a Nancy, France-based rapper, who has receiving attention for having a jazzy flow —  and for being a kind of “professor of good vibes.” 
Syndee Winters and Paze Infinite: Winters has had a diverse musical career that has included starring as Nala in The Lion King musical on Broadway and writing songs for a number of artists. Paze Infinite, is a rapidly rising beatmaker, producer, songwriter and emcee, who has received attention for crafting radio friendly beats for vocalists and emcees. 
Vilda Ray, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter and producer, who specializes in crafting music that will make your body sway — or leave you teary eyed. 
Lucas Afonso and Roberta Estrela D’Alva: Afonso is a Brazilian-born and-based poet, emcee, art educator, founder and host of acclaimed poetry slam “Slam da Ponta.” He’s also a Brazilian National Slam champion, and one of Brazil’s representatives in the 2016 Poetry Slam World Cup, held in France. Robetra Estrela D’Alva is a Brazilian-born and-based emcee, actress, spoken word artist, director and researcher. Known as one of the pioneers of  her homeland’s slam poetry scene, she’s a founder of Núcleo Bartolomeu de Depoimentos, Brazil’s first hip-hop theater company. 
The EP is part of Bandcamp’s Juneteenth fundraiser, will all donations received by Adeline going to Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice organization rooted in the leadership of diverse people of color to address systemic and racial injustice. All of Bandcamp’s proceeds will go to the NAACP. 

In between being out on the streets with the folks protesting injustice and  systemic racist, Adeline was invited by the internationally acclaimed production company COLORS to perform material off her forthcoming EP for their new Home/Bred sessions. The session includes the funky, Patrice Rushen-like two-stepper “Middle,” the sultry Quiet Storm-like breakup ballad “Twilight,”  and the slow-burning and atmospheric ballad “When I’m Alone,” which brings Thundercat’s “We Die,” to mind.  From this session,  it should be apparent that Adeline is  the real deal — and that you’re watching a soon-to-be superstar in an intimate setting. 

Her Songs · Lost a Little (feat. Dani Murcia, Emily C. Browning, Emmavie, Marie Dahlstrom & The Naked Eye)

During the course of this year, I’ve written a bit about Her Songs, a multi-national collective of women artists that features:

  • Dani Murcia (vocals, piano, guitar, production), a Colombian-American, Miami-born, New York-based R&B/pop/soul singer/songwriter, whose lush harmonies and haunting melodies has been influenced by the likes of JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim, Kimbra and Matt Corby. Her latest EP Breaking Light consists of stories focusing on grieving her father’s suicide and searching for beauty in pain.
  • Emily C. Browning (vocals, guitar), a Christchurch, New Zealand-based indie soul artist influenced by the likes of Emily King, Lianne La Havas and Nai Palm. Her work features conversational-style lyrics, that offer a deep perspective and insight into the human experience.
  • Francesca Hole, a French-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, known as The Naked Eye (vocals, guitar). Influenced by Nai Palm, Lianne La Havas, Maya Angelou, Joni Mitchell, D’Angelo, Bruno Major and others, Hole’s work as she describes it, are autobiographical songs about life experiences, relationships and overcoming hardships that meshes elements of jazz, soul, folk and R&B. Her latest EP Love’s Grave was released last April.
  • JOVM mainstay, Marie Dahlstrom (vocals, piano, percussion and production), a Rosklide, Denmark-born, London-based singer/songwriter, who has been largely influenced by the R&B and soul she heard in her home as a child — in particular Edwyn Collins, Womack & Womack and Gloria Gaynor were on regular rotation. Dahlstrom discovered Dwele, Dire Straits, Erykah Badu, Kirk Franklin and Fleetwood Mac in her teenage years.Dahlstrom first gained attention as a solo artist in her native Denmark, eventually becoming a three-time Scandinavian Soul Award winner. Since relocating to London, the Danish-born singer/songwriter she has become an internationally recognized sensation, best known for crafting a warm and ethereal synthesis of jazz, classic soul and R&B. Interestingly, after successful collaborations with Tom Misch and Alfa Mist, the Roskilde-born, London-based singer/songwriter has been busy writing the material, which would eventually comprised her long-awaited full-length debut. Slated for release latest this year, the album was recorded in Los Angeles, Copenhagen, and London and features collaborations with James Vickery, Jeremy Passion, Elijah Fox, Beau Diako and a list of others.
  • Emmavie (vocals production), a London-based singer/songwriter and producer, whose work is an amalgamation of 90s R&B and her love for digital audio experimentation. She has built up a reputation for being a highly sought-after collaborator, working with IAMNOBODI, Buddy, ROMderful, Jarreau Vandal, Alfa Mist, Nick Grant and Jay Prince. Emmavie has had her work featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network-produced series Queen Sugar. And adding to a growing profile, the London-based singer/songwriter and producer was scouted by  DJ Jazzy Jeff, who flew her out to his house in Delaware to write and record music with Mac Ayres, Robert Glasper and Redman as part of the Playlist Retreat.

The collective can trace their origins to a conversation the five women shared on social media. Their debut 2018’s Los Angeles EP found the quintet crafting material that meshed elements of 90s R&B with contemporary electronic production. The collective’s highly-anticipated sophomore EP Toronto, Vol 1. is slated for an August 14, 2020 release. And if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout this year, you may recall that I’ve written about Toronto Vol. 1‘s first two singles: the Emmavie and Marie Dahlstrom co-written “If We Try,”  a sultry 90s neo-soul-like track that manages to sound like a synthesis of Teddy Riley-like New Jack Swing, SWV, and Erykah Badu-like neo soul — and “I Wonder,” an atmospheric and contemplative song in which the collective’s five women envision worrying about what the world would look for their future grandchildren.

“Lost A Little” the EP’s third and latest track is a soulful and uplifting R&B influenced bit of pop that is simultaneously nostalgic and hopeful for the future, as the song’s narrators reflect on their individual pasts while excitedly traveling around the world to reunite with their dear friends — in this case, the collective’s overall excitement to head to Toronto to write and record music together.  The end result is an ode to wanderlust and the excitement of what you’ll learn about yourself in a new place, and of being able to experience that new place with your best pals. “After finally reuniting together in Toronto, we felt so reflective on the entire year since the previous Her Songs retreat in LA and ‘Lost A Little’ turned into a summery, feel-good wanderlust tune about traveling the world just to meet up again,” the collective’s Emily C. Browning says in press notes. The Naked Eye adds, “‘Lost A Little’ was the 1st song written on day 1 of the Toronto week. Exploring themes of creativity and travel, the lyrics describe how we meet once a year, in a new city to create with new eyes and fresh perspectives.”




MYB is an emerging Michigan-based pop duo — Bryce and Scott  — that can trace its origins back to when its members met at a music lesson and bonded over their mutual love of blues, rock, R&B and pop. The band itself formed last year, and in a relatively short period of time, the duo have shared stages with Transviolet, Armors, and CashforGold.

Despite the fact that like countless bands across the globe, they haven’t been able to play a live set in some time, this year has been a big year for the Michigan-based duo: They released their debut EP Tame You earlier this year. Continuing on that momentum, the band’s latest effort, “Getaway” is a breezy and summery jam, centered around shimmering guitars, shuffling beats, atmospheric synths, plaintive vocals and an infectious hook. And while being a two-step inducing and escapist, pop confection. the track as the band explains in press notes “is about feeling struck in life and needing a chance of scenery. We wanted something dreamy and exciting to match the ideas in our heads.”



New Audio: Rising Bedroom Pop Artist Lionel Boy Releases a Yacht Rock-like New Single

With the release of  critically applauded singles “Summer Fun” and “Lost” earlier this year, the rapidly rising Hawaii-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Lionel Boy quickly received attention for crafting a unique sound that mixes spacey synths and breakbeats with bedroom-produced pop. 

Building upon a growing profile, Boy’s highly anticipated debut EP Who Is Dovey? is slated for a June 26, 2020 release through Innovative Leisure Records. The EP’s third and latest single “Lately” is a slow-burning and breezy, yacht rock-like track featuring twinkling synths, soulful horns, blown out backbeats, shimmering guitar and Boy’s plaintive vocals. But despite its nostalgia-inducing vibes, there’s something much murkier under its placid surface. 

“Last year (2019), we had a week of rain in Long Beach. It was then that I wrote ‘Lately,'” Boy says in press notes. “I just begun learning how to incorporate samples into my songwriting, and ‘Lately’ was the first project I was able to complete doing so. There was gloom, smoke and a feeling of monotony in the air— I think that comes through in the music. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I was feelin some type of way.”

Hania (pronounced Hah-n-ya) is an emerging Polish-born singer/songwriter and pop artist, who has been singing, writing and performing throughout her entire life. Last year, the emerging Polish-born singer/songwriter and pop artist was signed to an independent label, which dictated her look, the music she recorded and her artistic identity.

Earlier this year, Hania decided that she needed to take her career into her own hands as an independent artist — and as an independent artist, she has been featured in a number of publications and has had some of work appear on Spotify’s New Music Friday Polska playlist.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the emerging Polish-born artist’s third single of 2020, the MR. HO-produced “Hollywood” is a slow-burning bit of R&B ballad-inspired pop centered around an atmospheric and vibey production featuring twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, soaring strings, an enormous and cathartic hook and Hania’s ethereal vocals — but the song possesses a brooding undertone, full of heartache and bitterness. The track tells the story of lovers, who are forced to make a difficult choice — their career ambitions or their relationship. The end result: the couple decides to pursue their career ambitions at all costs, risking an important relationship.

“The song projects two lovers who decide to prioritize their career over love,” Hania explains in press notes. “The decisions they make serve their personal purpose not the relationship. “Hollywood” is just a metaphor for making that choice and leaving your loved one behind. I wanted this song to paint a picture of an old thriller movie scene. Me and MR. HO wanted to capture that suspensefulness by using vintage sounds and string parts.

Cosima Lamberth is an emerging German-Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, who can trace her passion for music and her music career to her childhood in Malmö, Sweden. Lamberth relocated to Stockholm, where she became a highly-sought after vocalist and instrumentalist, collaborating with the likes of Seinabo Sey, Miriam Bryant, Norrbotten Big Band, Genevieve Artadi, KNOWER, and a growing list of others.

As a solo artist, the Malmo-born, Stockholm-based singer/songwriter is the creative mastermind behind the emerging recording project Cosima Olu, with which she’s released an EP and a handful of singles. Building upon a growing profile, Lamberth will be releasing her forthcoming full-length debut, an effort that was written and recorded on a remote island in Stockholm’s archipelago and at Oda Studios. Sonically, the album finds the emerging Swedish artist crafting warm, organic and retro soul-inspired material that thematically guides the listener on a journey through life’s highs and lows. The album’s first single, the vibey, neo-soul “behold” is centered around shimmering Rhodes, a sinuous bass line, brief blasts of twinkling synths and Lamberth’s effortlessly soulful vocals — and while seemingly upbeat, the song’s narrator describes her difficulty in maneuvering through sorrow and moving forward with a plaintive ache.

“I wrote this track four years ago while going through sorrow and trying to find my way out of my own head,” Lamberth explains. “I felt lost and I started to reach for glimpse of light from.. whatever. After a while, I recognized that I had to go back to myself and stop seeking answers elsewhere”