Ninety’s Story · APO (Unplugged)
Ninety’s Story · APO (Unplugged)
Up-and-coming Toronto-based indie electro pop sibling duo SWANES — Michael and Stefan Bildy — have released a handful of tracks through French indie electro pop tastemaker label Kitsune Records that have caught thee attention of Warp Records and Future Classic, as well as a key nod from CBC’s Radio 1 Toronto. Adding to a growing profile, the sibling duo have been featured on Bandcamp Daily and COLORS, and they’ve landed tracks on several extremely popular Spotify playlists — in particular, the Indie All Stars and Fresh Finds among others.
The duo will be playing dates with Los Angeles-based artist Harriet Brown — but before that they released a new single, the silky smooth “The Hard Way.” Centered around shimming guitar, stuttering beats and a sultry vocal delivery, the slickly produced track nods at Quiet Storm R&B, Hall and Oates-era blue-eyed soul and breezy pop — and sonically, the track reminds me a bit Rush Midnight and others. Interestingly, the track was inspired by a trip the Bildy Brothers took to their great uncle Bruce Beach’s bomb shelter, The Ark Two — the largest nuclear fallout shelter in their native Canada. And as a result, the track possesses a subtle yet palpable apocalyptic air.
Pongo is an up-and-coming Luanda, Angola-born, Lisbon, Portugal-based pop artist. As a child, the Angolan-Portuguese pop artist’s family was forced to feel Angola to escape a lengthy and very bloody civil war that decimated their homeland. Pongo and her family eventually settled in Lisbon, where she’s lived ever since.
The Angolan-Portuguese pop artist got the attention of the acclaimed, Portuguese act Buraka Som Sistema, an electronic dance music act that specialized in a sound that meshed tech beats with zouk, a rapid-fire musical style from Martinique and Guadeloupe and kuduro, an up-tempo dance music genre from Angola that blends elements of soca and samba, in what was dubbed zouk bass and progressive kuduro. In 2008, Buraka Som Sistema released their smash hit, “Kalemba (Wengue Wengue), a single that went on to sell 10 million copies and eventually landed them a MTV Europe Award for Best Portuguese Act. Adding to a growing international profile, the track received co-signs from the likes of Diplo, Hot Chip and Shakira.
Released last year, Pongo’s solo debut Baia EP was a genre-blurring, globalist affair that found the Angolan-Portuguese artist pairing Portuguese lyrics with a sound that meshed elements of Angolan kiduro with Western styles like techno and bass. Released just before her appearance at this year’s Great Escape Festival, the expanded edition of the Baia EP features a new track, “Chora.” Deriving its title from the Portuguese word for “cry,” Pongo’s latest single meshes dancehall, soca and trap within a slick production consisting of glistening bursts of steel drum and snares, stuttering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and self-assured and vaguely trap and hip-hop inspired vocal delivery from the Angolan Portuguese artist. The Baia EP expanded edition also features remixes of “Chora” by 20syl, who has remixed and re-worked material by King Krule, Schoolboy Q, and Rihanna — and a remix by Anoraak, which will be released through renowned French electronic music label Kitsune next month.
Created by French direction and production duo Rush Hour, the recently released video for “Chora” is a pastel-colored, Dadaesque, pan-African dream, centered around a stunningly beautiful, up-and-coming, global star.
Comprised of Kyle McCammon and Stephen Johnson, the Los Angeles, CA-based pop duo Lean can trace their origins to when McCammon relocated from New York to Los Angeles and met Johnson. And as the story goes, the duo bonded over a shared love of 90s hip-hop and indie rock and quickly found a formula that combined those influences. “With Stephen’s ear for hooks it came together effortlessly” McCammon said of the band’s conception.
The band made their live debut last March and within their first year together, McCammon and Johnson released five singles that received critical praise from the likes of NYLON, Indie Shuffle, IMPOSE, Buzz Bands LA, and that lead to several high-profile Spotify and Apple Music Playlists, as well as the attention of renowned electronic music label Kitsune. Building upon a growing profile, the duo will be releasing their full-length debut Years on May 25, 2018, and the album’s latest single “On The Fence” is centered around a motorik-like groove, thumping beats, a slick hook and a decidedly soulful and sultry R&B vibe while reminding me quite a bit of The Helio Sequence and others.
Initially formed in Izhevsk, Russia, when its members Anton Kochnev, Semyon Perevoshikov, Klim Suhanov, and Sam Konyakhin were teenagers, the acclaimed St. Petersburg, Russia-based electro pop act D-Pulse have largely been influenced by French and Scandinavian electro pop, and disco — namely, the likes of Daft Punk, Phoenix, Air and others but with their own unique take, as they’ve been known to experiment with combining live recording sessions, complete with analog synthesizers, guitars and machines with sampling, cutting and processing from their own material. In fact, when the quartet moved to St. Petersburg, they found their disco-leaning sound out of place within a scene that has been largely dominated by sparse techno but within a relatively short period of time, their sound and approach set them apart; in fact, over the past fe years, the members of the St. Petersburg quartet have released material on Island, Tirk, OM, Kitsune and Ministry of Sound — and they recently signed to Nick Murphy’s Detail Co. Records.
Detail Co. and Downtown Records released D-Pulse’s sophomore effort Serpentine earlier this year, and adding to their growing internationally recognized profile, the quartet recently released a remix EP featuring remixes of album single “Get Lost” by acclaimed electronic music artists and producers Juan Maclean, Photay, Attic Chefs and Babak — but in the meantime, album single “Get Lost” is an incredibly sleek and slick single that features a disco era influenced bass line paired with shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a soaring, feel good hook and a tight groove within a song that finds the act nodding at funk, disco, psych pop and electronica simultaneously. Interestingly, the song reveals a deliberate attention to craft while being ambitiously crowd pleasing in a “why not have a little bit of everything and make it funky while you’re at it?” fashion.
The live footage of the band performing “Get Lost” at Moscow’s The New Space features the band pairing their dreamy yet funky sounds with a vivid audio-visual display.
TÂCHES (pronounced TASH) is an electronic music artist and producer, who has released material through a number of renowned electronic music labels such as Desert Hearts, Different Recordings, CRD, Nervous, Kitsune and Majestic Casual — and in fact, that material won him attention across electronic music circles for a sound and approach that’s been described as romantic, exotic and flamboyant; however, with his latest EP Move Mountains TÂCHES the producer and artist reportedly moving towards a much more accessible sound and approach, partially influenced by a relocation from Los Angeles, CA to Spain, as well as moving towards his new label home, Glitter Cowboy Records.
“I Still Think About You,” the EP’s opening track is reportedly influenced by a holiday camp teen crush and the track features a swooning yet minimalist-leaning production consisting of shimmering, arpeggio synths, soulful vocal samples, propulsive beats and brief bursts of Spanish-styled guitar to create a song that manages to be club rocking while being genre mashing as the song nods at breezy Tropicalia and house music.
Initially formed in Bryon Bay, Australia the members of up-and-coming synth funk/dance pop act Parcels, comprised of Patrick Hetherington, Louie Swain, Noah Hill, Jules Crommelin, and Anatole Serret relocated to Berlin, Germany after they all graduated from high school to seriously pursue music and to hone their sound in one of the most culturally thriving and diverse cities of Europe. As soon as they relocated, the quintet quickly developed a reputation for a sound that paired slick studio production with deliberate attention to live performance, and as a result the act caught the attention of renowned Parisian electronic label Kitsune Records and the members of world famous electronic music production and artist duo Daft Punk, who caught the band play a set in Paris, and was so impressed by the Australian-born, German-based act that they decided to mentor the up-and-coming act.
Earlier this year, the members of Parcels along with the members of Daft Punk wrote and recorded their latest single “Overnight” in a secret location in Paris, and the single is a breezy, easygoing, summertime anthem that subtly reveals a careful attention to craft, as the band pairs infectious, razor sharp hooks with a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and shimmering arpeggio synths — and while clearly nodding at Daft Punk’s “Get Ready,” the song possesses a mischievously sensual swagger.
The Bryon Bay-born, Berlin-based members of the band are touring throughout the European Union and the UK during the year and the tour will include two Glastonbury Festival sets this weekend.
Earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about Juveniles, the now-solo recording project of French electronic music artist and producer Jean-Sylvan Le Gouic, best known as Jean Sylvain. Initially formed as a duo featuring Sylvain and former member Thibault Doray, the project’s debut EP, We Are Young, which was released through renowned French electronic music label Kitsune Records, received attention slick, hypermodern, super-computerized, dance floor-friendly productions. Building upon a rapidly growing profile among electronic music circles, the duo released their 2013 Yuksek-produced full-length debut, which expanded the then-duo’s profile across the European Union, Southeast Asia, China and South America.
Now, as I’ve not so subtly hinted at, since the release of their full-length debut, the project has gone through some significant changes — Doray left the project, leaving it solely under the helm of Sylvain and his sophomore full-length effort Without Warning, which was released earlier this year through Paradis/Capitol Records finds Sylvain releasing music on a new label after several years with Kitsune Records. Produced and recorded by Joakim at Crowdspacer Studios here in NYC, Without Warning finds the French electronic music artist going through decidedly radical changes both in sonic direction and approach as he abandons the fully computerized sound of his previously released work to embrace a much more “human” approach, featuring live instrumentation from The Juan Maclean’s, Holy Ghost!’s and Yeasayer’s Christopher Berry (drums) and Big Data’s Ben Campbell (bass), along with pre-digital and traditional mixing and production techniques.
“Someone Better,” Without Warning’s preceding single features a sinuous and propulsive bass line paired with blocks of arpeggio organ and synth chords, four-on-the-floor drumming, and Sylvain’s sensual and seductive crooning with some of the sharpest, most dance-floor friendly hooks I’ve heard in quite some time. And while arguably being one of the warmest, most soulful, the French electronic music artist has released to date, the song clearly draws from classic disco, bearing a resemblance to Cheryl Lynn’s “Got To Be Real,” Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” but with a subtly modern production sheen. “Love Me” continues in a similar vein, nodding at Nile Rodgers’ work with Chic, Zonoscope-era Cut Copy and DFA Records as the song features an arrangement consisting of shuffling funk guitar, a sinuous bass line, cowbell-led percussion and squiggling synths and some incredibly dance floor-friendly hooks. But just under the surface is a plaintive yearning to be desired and loved that’s innately human.
Directed by Aube Perrie and David Moerman and starring Laure Berend-Sagols and Flore Gandiol as the video’s very pregnant leads and love-struck couple, the recently released and lushly shot video pairs surrealistic and psychedelic-tinged animation and impossibly vibrant colors to evoke the leads swooning passion and desire for one another. And while placing the video’s central pair in surreal situations, the pair radiate sweetness, light and the sort of love that feels (and looks) as though they may be the only people in the entire world, if only for a moment. Certainly, in light of our current political climate in which a presidential administration is in a vicious war against women (in particular single mothers), our dear friends, lovers, colleagues and associates in the LGBQT community, non-Christians and anyone not White, Berend-Sagols and Gandiol’s dignity and decency feel powerful and revolutionary. One day love will be simply that — love.
Comprised of Kristin Henry (vocals) and Brad Boettger (production), Seattle, WA-based duo NAVVI have developed a reputation for crafting brooding and propulsive electro pop; in fact, the duo have had their work appear on a compilation curated by renowned French electronic label Kitsune, and they’ve received press from a variety of media outlets including NME, Brooklyn Vegan, Impose, The Line of Best Fit and Jay Z’s Life+Times, among others. Building on the early buzz they’ve received, the Seattle-based duo will be releasing their long-awaited full-length debut Omni later this week through Hush Hush Records.
Now earlier this month, I wrote about “Close,” Omni‘s gorgeously minimalist electro pop first single thad the duo pairing Henry’s sultry and intimately with a sleek and hyper-modern production consisting of crisp, yet stuttering drum programming, ambient, swirling electronics, bleeps, bloops and boops, layers of shimmering and buzzing synths. and a propulsive groove while reminding me quite a bit of BRAIDS’ Flourish//Perish and Octo Octa’s Between Both Selves; in other words, the single possess a bracing and icy chill that belies an urgent and swooning Romanticism. Omni‘s second and latest single “What Reason Do We Need?” will further cement the Seattle-based duo’s reputation for crafting chilly and atmospheric electro pop as you’ll hear stuttering and skittering drum programming, swirling electronics, trembling bleeps and bloops and beeps and tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with Henry’s sultry yet ethereal vocals. Sonically, the song reminds me a bit of Bear in Heaven‘s I Love You It’s Cool but with a plaintive Quiet Storm-like sensuality at its core.
If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past two or three years or so, you may recall that I wrote about Colchester, UK-based electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist Dominc Gentry. Originally starting his career with his solo writing and recording project Attaque, the British multi-instrumentalist and producer has had a rather interesting career trajectory — he initially wrote and produced hard techno singles released to critically praise through some of the world’s renowned electronic music labels including Kitsune, Boys Noize, Turbo and others. However, with the release of his acclaimed full-length Only You — in particular, album single “Only You” — Gentry’s sound had gone through a decided change of sonic direction with his sound becoming breezily ethereal and atmospheric in a fashion that reminded me quite a bit of Octo Octa’s impressive Between Both Sides.
Gentry spent the better part of 2015 touring to support Only You — playing Secret Garden Party and London’s renowned club KOKO among countless others; however, after last November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Gentry felt it was inappropriate to continue with the Attaque moniker and decided it was time for a new direction. And so he starts off 2016 with his latest project Light Falls.
“Prism” the latest single from the British producer pairs shimmering and bubbling cascades of synths with distorted and chopped up vocal samples and stuttering drum programming in a hyper-modern, sleek and sinuous club banger that reminds me quite a bit of the aforementioned Octo Octa’s Between Both Sides and Snap!‘s “Rhythm Is A Dancer,” as the song possesses a swooning Romanticism.