Tag: indie synth pop

New Audio: Finnish Pop Trio Beverly Girl Returns with a Sleek and Sultry Cover of 80s Hit

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past year or so, you may recall that with the release of “Contagious” the Helsinki, Finland-based trio  Beverly Girl received national and international attention for a 80s-inspired synth funk/electro pop/electro pop/R&B sound reminiscent of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Cherrelle, The Gap Band, Cameo, Atlantic Starr and a lengthy list of others, but with a highly contemporary take that brings the likes of  Rush Midnight, St. Lucia, Dam-Funk and others to mind.

Interestingly, the Finnish trio’s latest single is a cover of Millie Scott’s “Automatic,”  and while their version is fairly straightforward, retaining the original’s swooning sultriness, it possesses a heftier bass line and sharper, arpeggiated synths, all of which will further the act’s growing reputation for crafting sleek, dance floor friendly tunes. 

Comprised of Irish-born, Los Angeles-based producer Mike Slott and New York-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and composer Diane Badie, the electro pop duo Lesser Pieces can trace their origins to when the duo began collaborating together on writing sessions for their own individual solo efforts while they were both in Brooklyn. Their first track together “Nightingale” caught the attention of renowned producer Paul Epworth, who’s worked with the likes of Adele and FKA Twigs, and who would not only work with Slott and Badie on another project, he would also introduce them to their future producer and collaborator Patrick Ford.

Slott’s and Badie’s latest single, the slow-burning and atmospheric “Texas” finds the duo pairing Badie’s ethereal, siren-like vocals with a slick and contemporary production consisting of arpeggiated synths, stuttering boom bap-like beats and a soaring hook. And while being reminiscent of For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon and ACES, the track as the duo explains sums up the feeling of “future/past promises and the wish for something eternal” — that most likely may never be possible. And as a result, the song possesses an enigmatic and ambivalent nature; in some way it’s chilly yet comes from a deeply personal place. Interestingly enough, as the duo note, the song was inspired by a close friend, who had contacted them with some tough and heartbreaking news. As the duo says in press notes, what was happening in her life “just felt so incredibly heavy ad also strangely bittersweet that it naturally came out in our music.”

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Up-and-Coming British Duo Gold Fir Releases Vibrant and Surrealistic Visuals for New Single “Sirens”

Gold Fir is a London-based electro pop act comprised of a rather mysterious duo known only as James and Mabel, and if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that that the duo have received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop, classic electronic dance music and classic course music; in fact, “Night Walk”, which was released earlier this year, reminded me quite a bit of a dance floor friendly meshing of George Michael‘s “I Want Your Sex,” Chaka Khan’s and Rufus‘ “Ain’t Nobody,” Chaka Khan‘s “I Feel For You,” and Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait.”

The mysterious British duo end 2017 with their latest single “Sirens,” a track that the duo says is”about welcoming different aspects of yourself to the dance floor,” sounds as though the duo was drawing from the likes of Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life” and “Get A Life,” Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody” and others as Mabel’s effortlessly soulful vocals are paired with a slick, house music-influenced production featuring layers of arpeggiated synths and twinkling keys, boom bap-like beats and an infectious hook. And while warmly nodding back at the sounds of the 80s and early 90s, much like contemporaries GL and others, they do so with a subtly modern take.

Directed by Tegen Williams, the recently released video continues the duo’s reputation for pairing their slick and soulful productions with strikingly surrealistic imagery — in this case, the viewer enters the mind of a music listener, and once instead we’re introduced to a pink-haired dancer, who first dances in an empty and darkened space before meeting some humanoid creatures. But much like its predecessor, there’s live action and hand drawn animation to evoke a dream-like state. As the duo says of the video treatment, “in life you’ve got to be whoever you want to be and the video was an ode to that sentiment; life is a dance like that.”

New Audio: The Gorgeous and Soaring Sounds of Dublin’s Cloud Castle Lake

Currently comprised of Daniel McAuley (vocals, synths), Brendan William Jenkinson (guitar, piano), Rory O’Connor (bass) and Brendan Doherty (drums), along with a rotating cast of collaborators and friends, the Dublin, Ireland-based act Cloud Castle Lake derive their name from a Vladimir Nabokov short story about a voyager, who finds a place so beautiful that he wants to spend the rest of his life there, but is cruelly dragged back to reality. And with their 2014 self-released debut EP, Dandelion, the Irish act received attention for a sound that routinely juxtaposes dark and despairing lyrics with a euphoric catharsis that increasingly draws from the work of Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders while being equal parts pastoral folk and soaring post-rock crescendos. And adding to a growing profile, the band has opened for touring acts such as Glasser, Lisa Hanningan and Ultraisa. 

Cloud Castle Lake had recently re-surfaced with the release of “Twins,” their first single in quite some time and building upon the buzz of that single, the Irish quartet released the stunning and breathtakingly gorgeous, Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like single “Bonfire,” which features twinkling, arpeggiated keys, and jazz-infected drumming and a tender yet soaring melody. As the band’s Daniel McAuley explained in press notes, “Bonfire is based around a pretty simple melody I came up with a few years ago. I kept being drawn back to it periodically and steadily adding and expanding it until it grew out into a full song. Writing it felt like a meditative task – what I’d imagine knitting a scarf is like. The choir parts were performed by our pals Tonnta, a contemporary choral group from Dublin. The giddiest day of recording for me was probably the first day they came in and sang through their parts. Getting to hear such talented musicians turn all that midi data and notation into music feels like magic. The lyrics have to do with doubt and denial and keeping secrets. They’re very loosely based on an old Irish/Welsh myth about rival tribes trying to find out the secret name of the other’s god in order to defeat them.”

Next month, the members of the Irish quartet will be embarking on a 5 date North American tour with stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and a February 6, 2018 stop at Rockwood Music Hall. These tour dates will serve as a bold re-introduction to the band, as well as building up buzz for the band’s Rob Kirwan-produced debut, slated for a Spring 2018 release. 

New Video: The Vibrant Visuals for Up-and-Coming Danish Pop Artist Ea Kaya’s Latest Single “Remedy”

Born Christine Kiberg, Ea Kaya is an up-and-coming Copenhagen, Denmark pop artist, who amassed 1 million YouTube views by the time she turned 15. Kiberg continued to hone her craft with stints in a soul and funk band and an electro pop project before deciding to go solo. And with the release of her debut single “Don’t Complicate It,” the up-and-coming Danish pop artist garnered praise and attention from the likes of Red Bull, Scandipop, Soundvenue, The Line of Best Fit, as well as comparisons to internationally recognized Scandinavian pop artists such as Tove Lo, MØ, Zara Larsson and others. 

Kiberg’s latest single “Remedy” is a slickly produced, radio friendly pop confection that features stuttering drum programming, boom bap beats, sharp, arpeggiated synths and an infectious ear worm of a hook paired with Kiberg’s self-assured and sultry vocals in a woozy, lovesick song that focuses on a toxic and co-dependent love — but with a startlingly unadulterated honesty, as the song’s narrator openly admits that she’s tied into a dysfunctional and fucked up relationship. As Kilberg explains in press notes, “‘Remedy’ is a song about toxic love. In a relationship, it’s rare that both parties want each other equally. As soon as you start catching feelings for someone, you can’t help but get a little addicted. If you’re down, he’s able to make you forget your problems for a little while and he becomes a remedy to your dark sides. It’s risky though, because if he finds out, he might take advantage of the power he has over you…”

The recently released video employs the use of vibrant colors in several different settings — a track and field course, a commuter train, the woods, a sunlit studio, a brightly colored mural as a juxtaposition to the aching nature of the song’s lyrics. 

 

Comprised of  Amber Lane-Mcivor, Jake Blythe and Oliver Lamb, the Manchester, UK-based electro pop trio Ambiere have received attention from the blogosphere and BBC Introducing over the past year for a sound that’s drawn comparisons to the likes of Portishead and The xx among others. Building upon a breakthrough year and a growing profile, the Manchester-based electro pop act’s latest single “I See Faces” finds the act pairing strummed, electric guitar and Lane-Mcivor’s gorgeous and soulful vocals with a lush and effortlessly slick production consisting of arpeggiated and shimmering synths, propulsive yet stuttering beats and a soaring hook. And while their latest single manages to simultaneously be both radio and club friendly, their sound — to my ears at least — reminds me of Ways We Separate and Escapements-era Beacon, as the British trio manages to evoke similar, lingering ghosts.

 

 

New Video: The Breezily Nostalgic Visuals and Sounds of JOVM Mainstays Cones’ Latest Single “First Time”

Throughout this past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones — and as you’d recall, the duo comprised of Jonathan Rosen, a pop music influenced, acclaimed hand-drawn animator,  who has created music videos Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve, and who played Johnny Thunders for the HBO series Vinyl; and Michael Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial/film composer and experimental sound artist can trace the origins of their collaborative project together to when they began playing together as members of NYC-based indie rock Icewater. Eventually,  the members of Icewater began playing as the session and touring band for Eleanor Friedberger’s New View, and while touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, ultimately deciding that their project would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation. 

Shortly after the tour to support Friedberger’s New View, the Rosens along with a bunch of friends, associations and collaborators wrote and recorded the material that would comprise their debut EP, Whatever You’re Into, which featured single “Echoes On,” a single that paired Jonathan’s dreamy falsetto with a twangy, psych country-like arrangement with a breeziness reminiscent of 70s AM radio. The EP’s follow up single, “Back In The Brain” further cemented their growing reputation for crafting breezy and ethereal synth pop with soaring hooks — but with that song, there was a darker undertone, as it was an ode to solitude.

“Later,” which the band released a few months ago found the duo retaining the shimmering and atmospheric, synth-led arrangements that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere — but interestingly enough, it may arguably be one of the most dance floor friendly singles they’ve released, as the song pairs lush atmospherics with a funky, two-step inducing bridge. But underneath the joyous vibes, the song as Jonathan Rosen explained was much more ambivalent than what the listener should actually expect. “I wrote ‘Later’ a few years ago when I was moving back home to California from New York. I finished it on Highway 1. It captures that moment in a breakup when you finally start to find peace, but some of that bitterness is still hanging around. It was originally a bit somber, but Michael and I realized it worked pretty well as a dance track, so we went for it,” as Jonathan Rosen explains in press notes.

“First Time,” the JOVM mainstays latest single is a breezy bubblegum pop-inspired track that manages to nod at early Beach Boys and contemporaries like Pavo Pavo and others while featuring fluttering synths, ethereal vocals and propulsive, four-on-the-floor drumming. As a result, the song has a sincere and wistful nostalgia over a profound universal experience — falling in love for the very first time with an expected naivety. 

The recently released video features Jonathan Rosen’s hand drawn animations with live 8mm footage, specifically chosen to evoke the nostalgic feeling within the song.

New Video: Up-and-Coming, Swedish-born Producer SQRD Releases Swooning and Nostalgic Visuals for New Single “Would Run Wild”

With the release of his critically acclaimed 2016 EP Gold, the up-and-coming Swedish-born, electronic music producer and electronic music artist SQRD, who splits his time between Berlin and Stockholm received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for a sound that effortlessly blended lo-fi, analog electronics within textured and nuanced compositions. Interestingly, over the past few years, the up-and-coming producer has spent his time honing and refining his sound, and his latest single “Would Run Wild” finds the Swedish-born producer leaning towards an industrial-leaning production as layers of propulsive, arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and metallic clang and clatter and razor sharp yet infectious hook are paired with heavily vocodered vocals. While simultaneously nodding at classic, 80s synth pop (i.e., Depeche Mode), early hip-hop, and contemporary electro pop (i.e., Summer Heart, Washed Out and others), the song swoons with a nostalgic yearning for a past just out of reach. 

Directed by Kevin Vinh Doan, the trippy and gorgeously shot,recently released video for “Would Run Wild” follows a young woman, who’s longing for an urgent and passionate love, which ends with the presumed overdose of her lover. And throughout the video, she encounters lingering ghosts and memories within every single step.