Tag: indie synth pop

New Video: The Stark Sounds and Visuals of The Soft Moon’s “Give Something”

Luis Vasquez is an Oakland, CA-based singer/songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the critically applauded industrial/dark wave/post-punk recording project The Soft Moon. Vasquez’s latest Soft Moon album, the recently released Criminal is reportedly one of his most confessional albums he has released to date, as the material is written through a stark lens of shame and guilt, in which the material thematically focuses on a man at war with himself, battling with self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement paired with the fear of those things transforming him into the type of person he normally despises.

Criminal’s latest single is the broodingly stark and atmospheric “Give Something,” a track that pairs his falsetto with thumping beats, razor sharp synths and industrial clang and clatter. Interestingly, as Vasquez explains in press notes, the track focuses on his inability to reciprocate love and tenderness to another person. “Having no control over the constant urge to sabotage all things that are good for me, there is irony and frustration in knowing that in the end, the impossibility of love is what ultimately will save me from my myself.” It’s a plaintive and gut wrenchingly urgent call for help from a deeply troubled, emotionally damaged yet incredibly self-aware person.

Directed by Kelsey Henderson and featuring video effects and color by Victoria Keddie, the recently released video for “Give Something” focuses on a split screen throughout — one the left, a topless woman with her back to the screen and a couple seemingly in the middle of intense coitus, with the same woman from the left hand side grabbing and scratching the back of her lover with a desperate, painful grip that leaves marks. At points the visuals go through stuttering visual effects that on one level makes it look as though the woman may be abusing herself  — or her lover — out of selfish motivations.

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New Video: The Dramatic and Vivid Visuals for Uppermost’s “Perseverance”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Paris, France-based electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist, Behad Netjabakshe, best known in electronic music circles as Uppermost. And as you may recall, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist has developed an internationally recognized profile with the release of material through renowned labels like Sony BMG, Ministry of Sound, BugEyed Records, Starlight Records and his own Uppwind Records; in fact, singles like “Equivocal” landed at #3 back in 2009 and his Biscuit Factory EP landed at #1 on the JunoDownload electro-house charts. Additionally, Netjabakshe has received attention for his remixes of  Daft Punk, deadmau5, Burial, Crystal Castles, Jonathan Coulton, Syl Johnson, Congorock and others — and he’s had his work playlist by a number of superstar producers and artists including  Tiesto, Armin van Buren and Steve Angello.

Las year, saw the release of Origins 2011-2016, a comprehensive compilation that featured ed some of Netjabakshe’s most popular tunes, including “Flashback,” “Beautiful Light,” “Reminder” and “Mistakes,” as well as new, original material including the shimmering and anthemic M83-channeling singles “Thousand Colors,” and “Emotion,” the Pink Floyd-channeling,  cinematic “Reminder,” the 45:33 and Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem-leaning “Alive,” and a lush, cinematic rendition of “Constellation” performed with members of the Paris Symphonic Orchestra. Origins 2011-2016‘s highly anticipated follow up, Perseverance officially dropped today, and the album reportedly features some the most personal and impassioned material Netjabakshe has released to date while collaborating with vocalists with backgrounds in folk, hip-hop and pop.

Last month, I wrote about the album track “Atoms,” a collaboration with Birsen that paired her gossamer-crooning with arpeggiated analog synths, a motorik-like groove and an infectious hook — and while being both dance floor and radio friendly, the song possessed an aching humanity, as it pointed out humanity’s vulnerability and smallness in an incomprehensibly immense universe.  Building upon the buzz around the album, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist released the album’s latest single, the swaggering “Perseverance,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter Harry Pane, that pairs Pane’s soulful vocals with an ominously thumping production consisting of twitter and woofer rocking beats and arpeggiated synths and an anthemic hook; but despite the seemingly ominous vibes, the song is actually extremely uplifting, as it features lyrics that focus on determination, dedication and — well yeah, perseverance in the face of life’s obstacles.

Directed by Joseph B. Carlin, the recently released video, which features live action and animation follows as a frustrated yet determined painter (Sebastian Iturria) through both his daily routine, commuting to his cramped studio. Despite the fact that throughout most of the video, it’s implied that Iturria’s painter is extremely talented, he’s in the middle of a creative rut in which he either feels uninspired or everything he tries to create feels uninspired before a deep dive into the artist’s bright and Dada-eqsue inner world.

 

Palace Winter is a Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo, comprised of Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born and-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager. Individually, Coleman and Hesselager have played in a number of different bands over the years, but they were familiar with each other, and along with a mutual appreciation of a strong melody and melodic sensibility, and a mutual appreciation for each other’s writing styles, the duo were encouraged to start writing together.

2015 saw the release of their debut single, which followed-up with 2016’s debut EP Medication and their full-length debut Waiting for the World to Turn, all of which were released through Copenhagen-based label Tambourhinoceros to critical applause from the likes of The Guardian, NME, The Line of Best Fit, and airplay from KCRW, KEXP, Norway’s P3, Denmark’s P6, as well as by BBC Radio personalities Guy Garvey, Lauren Laverne and Tom Ravenscroft. Oh and let’s not forget, they have a Hype Machine #1 under their belts. Adding to a growing profile, they’ve opened for Noel Gallagher, played sets on the European festival circuit, including Meltdown Festival curated by the aforementioned Guy Garvey, Roskilde Festival, Green Man Festival, Sziget Festival, Latitude Festival and Secret Garden Party among others.
Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of Palace Winter will be releasing their sophomore album Nowadays on May 4, 2018 and the album will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting atmospheric and melodic synth pop that decidedly nods at 80s synth pop and Junip, as their material is largely centered around ethereal synths/keys, strummed rhythm guitar and an insistent, propulsive beat
as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Empire.” However, underneath the breezy, radio friendly yet cinematic air is material that thematically focuses on the loss of innocence and the tough, and sobering life lessons of adulthood — but with the recognition of the freedom and power of taking charge of your life.

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Paris, France-based electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist, Behad Netjabakshe, best known in electronic music circles as Uppermost. And as you may recall, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist has developed an internationally recognized profile with the release of material through renowned labels like Sony BMGMinistry of SoundBugEyed RecordsStarlight Records and his own Uppwind Records; in fact, singles like “Equivocal” landed at #3 back in 2009 and his Biscuit Factory EP landed at #1 on the JunoDownload electro-house charts. Additionally, Netjabakshe has received attention for his remixes of  Daft Punkdeadmau5BurialCrystal CastlesJonathan CoultonSyl JohnsonCongorock and others — and he’s had his work playlist by a number of superstar producers and artists including  TiestoArmin van Buren and Steve Angello.

Las year, saw the release of Origins 2011-2016, a comprehensive compilation that featured ed some of Netjabakshe’s most popular tunes, including “Flashback,” “Beautiful Light,” “Reminder” and “Mistakes,” as well as new, original material including the shimmering and anthemic M83-channeling singles “Thousand Colors,” and “Emotion,” the Pink Floyd-channeling,  cinematic “Reminder,” the 45:33 and Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem-leaning “Alive,” and a lush, cinematic rendition of “Constellation” performed with members of the Paris Symphonic OrchestraOrigins 2011-2016‘s highly anticipated follow up, Perseverance is slated for release this Friday, and the album reportedly features some the most personal and impassionaied material Netjabakshe has released to date while collaborating with vocalists with backgrounds in folk, hip-hop and pop.

Last month, I wrote about the album track “Atoms,” a collaboration with Birsen that paired her gossamer-crooning with arpeggiated analog synths, a motorik-like groove and an infectious hook — and while being both dance floor and radio friendly, the song possessed an aching humanity, as it pointed out humanity’s vulnerability and smallness in an incomprehensibly immense universe.  Building upon the buzz around the album, the French producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist released the album’s latest single, the swaggering “Perseverance,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter Harry Pane, that pairs Pane’s soulful vocals with an ominously thumping production consisting of twitter and woofer rocking beats and arpeggiated synths and an anthemic hook; but despite the seemingly ominous vibes, the song is actually extremely uplifting, as it features lyrics that focus on determination, dedication and — well yeah, perseverance in the face of life’s obstacles.

 

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo dream pop/electro pop project Summer Heart has received attention for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop in a way that’s been compared favorably to CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others, and for being considered among the first wave of Sweden’s renowned contemporary electro pop and dream pop movement, which also includes MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

Alexander with his 12 Songs of Summer has added his name to an increasing list of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series, and as you can imagine doing so, manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively, the artist isn’t constrained by having to write material with a cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would be required to do in terms of writing for a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with songs within strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Interestingly enough, the monthly song series manages to capture the emotional highs and lows of a year of the artist’s life in a way that can feel like an audio journal. Financially, artists who are struggling to find ways to fund their efforts recording and touring can split their costs over the course of a year, while stretching the recording process to a few days over the course of a year. And in the fickle blogosphere age, releasing a single every month can assure in some fashion that the blogosphere will pay attention to you and your work over the course of a year. As Alexander explains in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”

“Yeah You” is the second single of the 12 Songs of Summer series, and it finds Alexander leaning towards a thumping house meets In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy-like production featuring arpeggiated synths, woofer and tweeter rocking beats and anthemic hook — and while being a rousing, crowd pleasing track that features Alexander’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix; but while being a club banger, the song possesses a plaintive ache over a dysfunctional and somewhat unrequited love affair while accepting it as an unchangeable part of the past that the song’s narrator will eventually move forward from. As Alexander says of the song, it’s “about feeling alive and having no regrets! It’s about trying to ignore the past since you can’t change. But most of all, it’s about having fun, living in the present.”

 

New Video: Two Renowned Barcelona-based Electronic Music Scene Vets Release Ominous Visuals for Murky and Industrial Debut Single “Tell Them”

Semiotics Department of Heteronyms (SDH) is the new recording project of two key figures in Barcelona‘s synth wave/industrial scene — Andrea P. Latorre and Sergi Algiz, who are co-founders of renowned Spanish label  C¯njunt¯ Vac̯, as well as members of post-punk act Wind Atlas; however, SDH finds Latorre and Algiz heading towards a decidedly pop-leaning direction sonically while thematically, the duo’s latest project is centered on fiction, make believe and feigned personalities — namely: how fiction is embodied, what fiction really is, and so on.

Interestingly, the Spanish duo’s latest single “Tell Them,” off their recently released digital-release only EP Tell Them while superficially being synth pop finds the duo nodding at cold wave, post-punk, and early house and techno as they pair shimmering yet chilly arpeggiated synths, propulsive, industrial-like drum programming, razor sharp and rousing hooks with Latorre’s sultry and soulful vocals in what may arguably be the most sensual and dance floor friendly single they’ve released to date. Unsurprisingly, with the release of their two previously released singles, the members of SDH have built up quite a bit of buzz as they’ve already opened for artists like Marie Davidson and Merchandise and have played at the Swedish darkwave festival Kalabalik PÂ Tyrolen.

Fittingly shot on grainy VHS tape, the recently released video for “Tell Them” features the duo broodingly walking down dim, late night European streets, emphasizing the song’s murky and ominous air. 

Rachel K. Collier is a Swansea, Wales, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter, producer and electronic music artist, who achieved both commercial and critical success across the UK relatively early in her career; in fact, Collier is credited as a co-writer or producer or several chart-topping, smash hits including Ray Foxx‘s “Boom Boom (Heartbeat),” which peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles chart back in 2013; Mat Zo‘s Grammy-nominated album Damage Control, which peaked at number 1 on the iTunes Dance Album charts; and on pioneering garage producer Wookie‘s comeback single “2 Us.” As a solo artist, she recorded a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s Hard Road to Travel,” which landed at number 79 on the UK Singles chart, and her debut original single “Predictions” was named Sarah Jane Crawford’s “Smash of the Week” on the radio personality’s BBC Radio 1Xtra show. Collier has also received airplay and praise from the likes of Annie NightingaleCapitol XtraTiësto and Oliver Heldens, which has added to the growing buzz surrounding her in electronic music circles.

Building upon a growing national profile, Collier released her self-produced, debut EP Words You Never Heard through Love and Other Records in late 2015 and followed that up with “Ships,” a single she released during the last few months of 2016. Now, as you may recall, last year I wrote about Collier’s “Paper Tiger,” a slick yet un-fussy club banger, which she followed up with extensive touring playing sets at clubs and festivals across the European Union and unsurprisingly, with the release of her latest single “Darkshade,” her experiences touring throughout 2017 have influenced her creative process and her sound, as the new single finds Collier pairing what arguably may be the most emotionally direct lyrics she’s written with a sound that manages to be simultaneously radio and club friendly — all while further cementing her reputation for crafting rousingly anthemic hook.

“I’ve been heavily inspired from playing live at clubs and festivals throughout 2017 -playing my synths on stage at full volume is so satisfying and fulfilling that I’ve been incorporating synth solos and counter melodies way more into my actual production rather than just doing it on stage for fun!” Collier explains in press notes. “Darkshade feels like a song I needed to get off my chest — many of us will go through life hiding, disguising or playing down a physical/emotional element that we have but we don’t like. This song is about that and how I deal with it.”

This year may be a breakthrough year for the Swansea-born, London-based singer/songwriter, producer and electronic music artist as her full-length debut is slated for a September release.

 

 

New Audio: New JOVM Mainstay Rich Aucoin Releases a Dreamy, New Single

Now, over the first few months of the year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist Rich Aucoin. And as you may recall, Aucoin has spent time as a collaborator and guest musician in older brother Paul Aucoin’s band Hylozoists before developing a reputation as an attention grabbing solo artist. Aucoin’s 2007 debut EP Personal Publication was a concept album conceived and written as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Canadian artist supported that effort with a cross-Canada tour entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. Upon completing his solo tour, Aucoin joined his brother’s band and toured with them; but because of a sudden shift from regular and extremely strenuous exercise to virtually no exercise, Aucoin eventually suffered through a debilitating iron deficiency. Once he recuperated though, he went on another solo tour, running partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

During both of his early solo tours, Aucoin spent time writing and recording the material, which would comprise his 2011 full-length effort, We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. We’re All Dying to Live was long-listed as a nominee for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize — and the video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” won a Prism Prize in 2013. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Canadian electronic music artist released his 2014, critically applaud album Ephemeral. 

Released today, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in over 4 years, and the EP features the sprawling and propulsive club banger “Release”, the swooning M83-like “The Middle”  and the jangling, club banging electro pop and indie rock amalgamation, “The Fear.” The EP’s latest single “The Dream” is a slow-burning track in which Aucoin’s tender falsetto is paired with twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, bursts of handclaps, bursts of mournful horns — and in some way, the song seems to evoke something that the song’s narrator longs for, but deep down knows he can never fully achieve; in fact, there are countless times in which it seems as though much of what you’ve desired or felt you deserved is often out of reach, and that such things leave lingering and embittering reminders. 

Interestingly, as Rich Aucoin explains in press notes. “‘The Dream’ is a song about the contentment we can feel at an individual level when daydreaming or imagining a different world. It’s not about the achieving of making that world come to reality but looks at the various therapeutic benefits from such an endeavour. Whether it be imagining a time where you are not heartbroken, in an estrangement, or in conflict with the changes in your life, that power to picture yourself beyond the given moment is a useful tool for accepting the way things are and getting to that new spot, ‘The Dream.’”

Over the last half of 2017, I had written a it about Trent Prall, a Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter and his solo recording project Kainalu, which derives its name for the Hawaiian word for ocean wave. And as you may recall, the music that Prall has created over the past decade or so draws from psych pop, psych rock, dream pop, Tropicalia, synth pop and funk, as well as childhood trips to Oahu, Hawaii visiting his mother’s family. Ultimately, those influences have coalesced and culminated in a breezy, retro-futuristic and somewhat nostalgia-inducing sound that the Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter has dubbed “Hawaii-fi,” as a homage to his Hawaiian ancestry and their influence on him and his work.

 

Prall’s breezy latest single “Folds Like Origami” reminds me a bit of Illumination-era Miami Horror and Tame Impala, as the song finds Prall drawing from late 70s and early 80s synth funk, disco, contemporary synth pop and dream pop in a seamless fashion while crafting crowd-pleasing, dance floor friendly hooks paired with thoughtful lyrics. As Prall explains in press notes, growing up in Hawaiian culture, folding origami was deeply rooted into every wedding he attended. The bride is supposed to fold 1,000 paper cranes symbolizing the patience she will have in the marriage; however, according to Prall, “it’s usually the bride’s family, who actually ends up doing the folding.”  Understandably, a young Trent Prall was amazed but the beauty and complexity of transforming something relatively basic and simple into something beautiful — without changing or adding anything to the material itself.

“I wanted to try and capture this imagery and apply it a person’s worldview. The line of the song for me is ‘The world opens up to you, it folds like origami. So drop the things you knew, they fold like origami.’ Recently, I’ve been getting more and more into meditation. I kind of see a parallel between origami with mediation. By finding peace within yourself, I think you can make your own beautiful in the world around you. Just like by finding a new shape within a flat piece of paper, you can create a beautiful peace of art” the Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter says.