Tag: pop

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.

Last December, I wrote about Sophie Stern, the Los Angeles-based creative mastermind behind the (mostly) solo recording project Sophie and the Bom Boms. Initially, Stern’s career began behind the scenes as a songwriter, who was signed to mega-hit producer and songwriter Dr. Luke’s camp. After spending couple of years as a go-to songwriter, Stern decided that it was time for her to go out on her own as a solo artist.

 

Inspired by a diverse array of artists including diverse array of artists including Erykah BaduTom Tom Club and a lengthy list of others, Stern began collaborating with two rather renowned producers, David Elevator, who won 3 Grammys for his work on Beck‘s Morning Phase and Dan Dare, who’s best known his work with Marina and the DiamondsCharli XCX and M.I.A. for her debut EP. The EP’s first single “Big Girls” was a breezy and infectious pop confection that paired big boom-bap beats, cascading synths, anthemic hooks and Stern’s effortlessly soulful vocals in a way that was reminiscent of Nu Shooz‘s “I Can’t Wait” while sounding remarkably contemporary.

The EP’s second and latests single “Appetite” will further cement Stern’s reputation for crafting incredibly infectious, breezy and anthemic pop as you’ll hear boom bap beats, handclaps, twinkling synths and an anthemic, hashtag worthy hook paired with Stern’s ballsy and bratty vocals in a song that’s a tell off to fuckboys, deadbeats, drama kings and queens and parasites everywhere — with the sort of sense of humor that would likely remind you of things you may have heard or said back in the schoolyard.

Sonically and thematically speaking the song manages to nod at Australian-born, Berlin-based indie pop artist Phia, Gwen Stefani‘s “Ain’t No Holla Back Girl,” and TLC‘s “No Scrubs” as it possesses the same “girl power/girl, drop that loser/girl, drop that deadbeat friend” air but backed by slick, modern production techniques.

 

 

 

With the release of their 2014 debut EP, Magic, the New York-bsased dream pop/electro pop duo Paperwhite, comprised of sibling duo Katie and Ben Marshall exploded into the blogosphere; in fact, they earned the title of “Most Blogged About Artist” twice — and that shouldn’t be surprising as their (highly contemporary) sound pairs lush melodies and anthemic hooks. Building on the buzz that they’ve received a few years ago, the New York-based duo’s forthcoming EP Escape is slated for release this spring. And the EP’s first single “Unstoppable” will further cement the duo’s reputation for pairing lush melodies and anthemic hooks with Katie Marshall’s ethereal in a way that’s contemporary  as it’s reminiscent of St. Lucia and yet is also reminiscent of radio friendly 80s synth pop.

Interestingly, the single as the duo notes is a “reminder to find strength in the chaos and beauty in the unknown.” Certainly, considering life and its brutality and wonder, it’s something that we all need to remind ourselves at some point — while dancing with a bunch of sweaty kids in a club, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, you may know that the Swedish cities of Umea, Sweden’s third (and most Northern) and Malmo, Sweden’s twelfth (and most Southern) have emerged with reputations as being Sweden and Scandinavia’s newest, most exciting creative hotbeds as an increasing number of artists and bands from both cities have started to receive international recognition — including the likes of JOVM mainstays Moonbabies, Cajsa Siik, Frida Selander and YAST and others.  I have to add to that list, Umea, Sweden-bornsinger/songwriter, producer and sound designer Catharina Jaunviksna, who splits time between her home country, Italy and Ireland and who has received attention with her solo recording project Badlands. With the release of 2012’s Battles Within EP and single “Tutu,” Jaunviksna’s Badlands project received attention from the likes of The 405 and Under the Radar for a sound that many of my colleagues have described as possessing elements of trip-hop and experimental pop.

April will mark the release of her forthcoming full-length effort Locus and album’s first single “Echo” reveals yet another change in sonic direction for Jaunviksna, as the single is a dance floor-ready song consisting of layers of staccato synth stabs and layers of cascading and twinkling synths, swirling electronics and an infectious hook paired with Jaunviksna’s ethereal coos bubbling and floating over the mix’s hazy surface, which give the song an eerie and spectral undercurrent.  Thematically and lyrically the song reportedly discusses self-censorship and the inherent dangers self-censorship can entail. As Jaunviksna explained in press notes “Even though the first intentions might be good, it always ends as a witch hunt and nobody daring to speak their mind.” But sonically speaking to my years, the song channels the likes of Depeche Mode, Still Corners and others as the song possess a captivating pull, begging the listener to come up closer.