Tag: pop

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month or so, you’d recall that New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Maura Lynch was a founding member of locally renowned indie rock band Darlings, an act that released three albums and played at the Whitney Museum, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Death by Audio and Shea Stadium — and had a brief stint in blogosphere attention-grabbing act Beverly; but with her latest project, Blush, Lynch was inspired by the her missing the simple act of making and sharing music with friends through a sporadic series of bedroom recorded demos (which she had filed as Blush on her computer). And as Lynch explained in press notes, the material she began writing was inspired by a love of straightforward and simple guitar pop with layered vocals, while lyrically the material reportedly was written as a sort of diary of its creator’s late 20s, with songs that focused on loving people who didn’t deserve it, loving people who did deserve it, of making sense of the monotony of the workday world and perhaps much more important, finding her own unique place in the world.

Last year, Lynch felt ready to finally make those demos into real songs  and she got together with her friends — Pop. 1280‘s Andy Chugg and Pill‘s Nick and Jon Campelo to flesh out the material, which was recorded over a series of nights and weekends at Chugg’s Gilded Audio Studio, and from the album’s first single “Daisy Chain,” Lynch and company specialize in a shimmering guitar pop that seemed influenced by Phil Spector‘s Wall of Sound and Too True-era Dum Dum Girls — but with breakneck conciseness. Building on the attention that the band has received from their first single, their self-titled album’s second and latest single is a jangling, guitar pop cover of Mariah Carey‘s smash hit “Fantasy” that manages to retain the song’s swooning nature while being a unique and coquettish take on a familiar song.

New Video: The Sultry Visuals and Sound of Eliza and Her Latest Single “Wide-Eyed Fool”

With the release of her eponymous debut, the London-born and-based pop artist Eliza Doolittle quickly rose to national attention, as the album went platinum, thanks to the success of  album singles “Skinny Genes” and “Pack Up,”  both of which landed on the UK Top 40 charts. Along with that, her collaboration with internationally renowned electro pop act Disclosure, “You & Me” was one of the duo’s best-selling singles. However, after such tremendous early success spent the past four years attempting to get back to her base and really discover what it was she wanted and needed as a person and as a artist. “When you’re young, you do what you should do, rather than what you really feel. I was always battling between that pull of my gut, and people talking in my ear,” Dolittle explains. 

Now, at the point of her life and career, Doolittle who now writes, records and performs under the mononym Eliza, the London-based pop artist is actively following her own creative instincts; in fact, she recently released the Get In My Head series, which consists of four mixtapes featuring snippets of new music as a way for her fans to get a taste of her change in sonic and creative direction; in fact, her first official single of 2017 “Wide Eyed Fool” is a sultry bit of singer/songwriter pop in which Doolittle reveals the full ranger of her voice, singing deeply personal lyrics paired over piano, soaring strings and swaggering hip-hop-lied beats. While clearly drawing from 90s neo soul, pop and hip-hop soul — What’s the 411?-era Mary J. Blige, in particular — complete with slick, modern production. But at the core of the song is some ambitious songwriting from a woman, who wants to take over the pop world. 

Directed by Charlie Robins, the recently released visuals for Wide Eyed Fool are equally sultry and brooding, while clearly nodding at the vulnerability, pride and strength within the song. 
 

New Video: Soto Voce Returns with a Sensual and Anthemic bit of Industrial Electronica Paired with Feverish Visuals

Late last year, I wrote about the Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Soto Voce. Comprised of Oakland, CA-born, Los Angeles-based vocalist Miguel De Vivo, now known as Mia De Vivo and Colombia-born, Los Angles-based producer Kenny Soto, the electro pop duo can trace its origins to a mutual love of electronic much and industrial music, and to the duo having similar experiences as outsiders — De Vivo, who was born male, grew up gender non-conforming and was relentlessly teased and beaten up “for being like a girl,” and who recently transitioned. Soto on the other hand, fled his native Colombia with his family as a teenager in the 90s, after his port official father refused to collaborate with Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel. When he and his family arrived in the US, they were extremely poor.

Now, as you may recall the duo’s debut single “Better” was quietly released but within a few weeks of is release, the track grabbed the attention of the blogosphere for a brooding, cinematic and difficult to pigeonhole sound that some described with Sade-fronting Radiohead comparison; however, in my opinion that song possessed a deeply personal and aching plea for acceptance both within and without paired with a club-banging yet atmospheric production. And the video specifically focused on the tensions around the Black Lives Matter, Trans Rights Matter and LGBTQ rights movements, how politically and socially things are much more fearful and uncertain for many minority groups across the world.

The duo’s latest single “Pop” will further cement their reputation for crafting propulsive and forceful industrial-leaning electro pop that manages to be sensual yet rousingly anthemic and club-banging. But arguably it may be the darkest, most unhinged and urgent track they’ve released to date.

Directed by Jon Danovic, the recently released music video for “Pop” possesses a surreal, feverish, dream-like logic.

New Video: The Anthemic and Earnest Pop of Up-and-Coming Artist Lynn

Up-and-coming, 18 year-old pop artist Lynn has been singing and performing as long as she could remember; in fact, she started performing on stages by the time she was 5 and by the time she was 9, she began jotting lyrics into a notepad. As a high schooler, the young artist had a difficult time fitting in and like a lot of weird high schoolers, Lynn turned to music as an escape. “It became a habit that anytime I felt upset or mad about something that happened to me, I would just put it in a song,” the up-and-coming pop artist explains in press notes.

​Lynn’s second and latest single “Rise High” was written by the pop artist, along with producer Yoad Nevo, who has worked with Sia, Moby and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and the while the radio friendly track draws from 90s-00s synth pop, the song pairs slightly scuzzy guitars with a rousingly anthemic hook — the sort of hook you’d expect to hear kids shouting along while in their cars. Of course, what struck me about the song is that for an 18 year old, Lynn has a self-assuredness that belies her youth — while focusing on youthful, passionate, ridiculous and complex love and obsession in a visceral and deeply personal fashion.

New Video: Introducing the Classic Jazz and Pop Sounds of Up-and-Coming Atlanta-based Artist Betti

Betti is a mysterious, up-and-coming, Atlanta, GA-born and-based jazz/pop vocalist, who has started receiving attention for a sound and aesthetic that nods heavily at Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse, Ella Fitzgerald, and burlesque; or in other words, for paring equal amounts of grit and grime with an old school elegance as you’ll hear on her debut single “Ordinary,” a single inspired by her own experience, with honest, messy and confusing, real-life love between equally messy, confusing real people. As the Atlanta-based artist explains in press notes “I think it’s important for people to know that the Hollywood impression of intimacy isn’t reality for every day life, especially when it comes to relationships. Every couple goes through ups and downs, and in that rollercoaster, we’re all the same, we’re ordinary.” And while clearly saying that within every relationship we bring our own dysfunctions, messy pasts, doubts, fears, heartaches and egos, and as a result, relationships can be simultaneously confusing, infuriating, joyous and hilarious, it also subtly suggests that in our relationships, we frequently find ourselves drawn to people and situations that we can’t explain.

The recently released music video is a slickly produced and edited –and dare I say, fitting? — take on burlesque and glamorous 40s Hollywood; but while emphasizing the dysfunction at the core of the song’s central relationship.

As you may know, I was in Dordrecht, The Netherlands for business related to my day job and am currently in Amsterdam, The Netherlands for a couple of days to just check things out, maybe catch some live music, and whatever else comes to mind. And from being here a few hours last Sunday morning and returning this afternoon, I can see how easy it could be to fall deeply in love with Amsterdam and this entire country.  So far, the Dutch have proven to be a kind and friendly people. But there’s work to be done so let’s get to it right?

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, you may recall that I wrote about the  Toronto, ON-based DJ, violinist and singer/songwriter Maya Killtron. Killtron first came to attention across both her native Canada and across the States with the release of her 2012 debut EP Hipster/Gangsta — and as a result, Killtron wound up touring the festival circuit across North America with stops at Miami’s Winter Music ConferencePride TorontoThe Halifax Jazz Festival and CMJ. Adding to a growing profile, Killtron’s collaboration with NYC-based production duo Love Taps “Back For More” received attention from the likes of Stereogum and Huffington Post for a sound that meshed moomba and R&B – and for a video that showcased a sadly bygone NYC. Additionally, Smalltown DJs, The Slow WavesEyes Everywhere, Brothers In Arms and City Kid Soul have all have remixed the song — with the City Kid Soul remix being named in the Top 5 at Toronto’s Bestival.

Killtron’s latest single “Bad Decisions” as she explained to me via email “is a review of some of my best romances and worst choices in the field of love. It’s honest but light, real but unapologetic, and always dancy.” But interestingly enough, the single is an expansion of the sound that first caught her attention — you’ll hear a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, squiggling synths and soaring strings paired with Killtron’s sultry vocals in a song that nods both at 80s synth funk, early 80s disco and EDM and the sound of blogosphere darlings Escort.  And that shouldn’t be terribly surprising as Killtron explains in an email “With ‘Bad Decisions,’ as well as my first single ‘Never Dance Alone,’ I wanted to pay tribute to; but not copy my heroes — Teena Marie, Prince, and The Gap Band.”

 

 

 

 

Throwback: George Michael

I suspect that it’s a sign of getting older is when people you admired, listened to or just remembered from your childhood start to die, whether suddenly or after some protracted illness. Certainly, as a child of the 80s, George Michael and his music both with Wham! and as a solo artist informed significant portions of my music listening life; so as you can imagine hearing about the man’s death the other day was both a surprise and a reminder than I’m getting older. Interestingly, a few months ago I had stumbled onto George Michael’s Faith on Spotify and I had forgotten that it was very good pop album with a ridiculous number of chart topping singles. And if you’re unfamiliar with it, give it a spin; it’ll be worth it.

In terms of this post, George Michael had a collection of songs that I remember very fondly and still occasionally play but by far some of my favorites were “I Want Your Sex,” “Careless Whisper,” “Everything She Wants” “Freedom 90” his duet with Elton John “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and his duet with Aretha Franklin “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).” As I mentioned on Facebook, “Holy shit, that was a white boy, who could sing his ass off.”

Live Footage: Joseph Performs “White Flag” on Later . . . with Jools Holland

Writing and recording material comprised of elements of old-school county, singer/songwriter pop and contemporary pop, the Closners have received both national and international attention for crafting soaring and anthemic hooks and for gorgeous three part harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Mamas and the Papas, Pearl and the Beard, Lucius, and others. Now, if you had been frequenting this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about “White Flag,” the first single off the trio’s full-length debut I’m Alone, No You’re Not. The recorded version paired the Closner’s gorgeous three-part harmonies around a slick and ambient production consisting of swirling electronics, handclap-led percussion, folk and country-like guitar chords, and a cathartic, anthemic hook which gave the song’s positive message — that giving up on your dreams and desires should never, ever be an option — a rousing, larger-than-life, urgency.

Earlier this month the Closners were on Later . . . with Jools Holland where they performed an acoustic version of “White Flag” in which they accompany their gorgeous vocals with guitar. Without the slick production, there’s a greater focus on the song’s lyrics, the Closner’s gorgeous harmonies — and while stripped down, the song still packs an enormous emotional punch.

New Video: The Breezy Visuals and Sounds of Quebec City’s Men I Trust

With the release of their sophomore full-length effort Headroom, the newly constituted quartet began receiving international attention as their material landed on Hype Machine’s charts, as well as several Spotify and SoundCloud playlists. Building on the increasing buzz around the Quebec City-based quartet, their first single of 2016, “Humming man” was released to critical praise across the blogosphere; however, I suspect that the act’s latest single “Lauren” may arguably be their breakout single as the band pairs a sinuous and sleek bass line, shimmering guitar chords and skittering drum programming with hauntingly ethereal vocal melodies to craft a song that sounds as though it were equally influenced by 70s funk and R&B, 80s synth pop and contemporary electro pop. Interestingly enough, the song sounds as though it should have been released through Cascine Records, a label that specializes in releasing silky smooth and breezy 70s and 80s inspired pop while being the sort of song you’d do a little two step to in the club.
The recently released music video follows an extremely fair skinned woman bicycling down a country road while hinting at the follow-the -bouncing ball/karaoke-styled video which fits the song’s breezy yet sensual air.