Tag: synth pop

New Video: New York-based Artist Kinlaw Releases a Cinematic and Dramatic Visual for Slow-burning “Blindspot”

Kinlaw is a New York-based composer, choreographer, multimedia artist and singer/songwriter who is known locally for her solo work and multimedia productions that feature as many as two-hundred performers and contributions from Devonte Hynes (a.k.a Blood Orange), Caroline Polacheck, SOPHIE, Dan Deacon and others, as well as a number of renowned dancers and performance artists.

The New York-based artist’s full-length debut The Tipping Scale reportedly finds her showcasing her work in a new light. The album’s lyrically bridges the deeply personal with universal themes revealing a songwriter bravely exploring loss, regret, confusion, strength, identity and change. She explains that The Tipping Scale is an ideal metaphor for the record, the idea of an ever-present slipping in and out of change, and an acceptance of this kind of change.

The Tipping Scale finds her unifying her multidisciplinary practice. Writing with the goal for finding entry points for storytelling that felt honest and authentic to her practice, she often saw her music relating to motion. “I would start with a gesture and let it build into something until a memory attached itself to it,” the New York-based artist says. “The memory would become a story and the story would reveal itself as something important that needed to be expressed in this album.”

Sonically speaking, the album’s material features ornate flourishes, dance floor ruminations and slick production with a refined, compositional sensibility. The album’s first single “Blindspot” is a slow-burning, tense, and dramatic track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering beats and Kinlaw’s ethereal crooning that reminds me of a atmospheric, synth-based take on Softspot’s dreamy Clearing — with a dark and brooding air.

Director by Kathleen Dycaico, the recently released cinematically shot video shows the adult Kinlaw in a futuristic enclosure, reckoning with her much younger self through an incredible series of dramatic choreographed moves — with the initial interaction being aggressive and forceful before going through a tender acceptance and acknowledgement between the adult and child.

“‘Blindspot’ is an excavation of the psychological mind that analyzes the link between our relationships with the people around us and our acceptance of self,” the New York-based artist explains in press notes. “I started doing a really cool therapy called EMDR while in process of developing this video with director Kathleen Dycaico and was able to recognize that the refusal to accept time, mainly myself during some of those times, was reflected in the way I was speaking about relationships. Our child selves are so brilliant — they are resilient, tricky, explosive, expressive. I needed to start off this album by giving a nod to the dynamic ways we perceive not only the people around us, but our integrated self.”


New Audio: Introducing the Swaggering and Infectious Pop of France’s LMLM

LMLM is a mysterious and masked French producer. singer/songwriter and music video director. His latest single, the swaggering and infectious “hate u all” is centered around twinkling keys, thumping beats, shimmering synths, an infectious, radio friendly hook and the French artist’s equally swaggering part rhyming, part crooning delivery. Aesthetically. the mysterious French producer’s sound seems indebted to Drake and to slickly produced, Top 40 pop — but with a bit of an edge.

“‘hate u all’ is about all the things we have to fight in these trouble [sic] times: racism, sexism, global warming, etc. . . I want the best for the world. I wanna make people feel good and free. That’s why I sing ‘i hate you all’ in a groovy-catch song,” LMLM explains in press notes.

New Video: Montreal’s Eyesha Teams up with Nigeria’s Slimcase on a Sultry Banger

Montreal-born DJ, producer, singer/songwriter, choreographer, dancer and model Soph-eye Richard has spent the past 15 years either living in or performing in several dozen countries across five continents. The Montreal-based artist radically reinvents herself and her career with her latest solo recording project Eyesha.

Richard’s debut single as Eyesha, the Fancy Beats-produced “Dámelo” is centered around a minimalist production consisting of stuttering and thumping staccato beats, atmospheric synth arpeggios, and an infectious club banger meets Top 40 hook. Featuring a guest verse from emerging Nigerian artist Slimcase, “Dámelo” is a globalist, border blurring song with elements of Afro pop, electro pop, house music and Latin pop — with Spanish, French and English lyrics delivered in a sultry, come-hither coo by Eyesha and a swaggering reggae-inspired verse by Slimcase in English and Yoruba. And at its core is an irresistible yearning and desire that will have you coming back for more. In fact, so far, the track has been gaining a lot of attention: as of this writing, the track has amassed over 100,000 Spotify streams since its release.

Shot last year, the recently released. incredibly sexy video for “Dámelo” features the Montreal-based act and a diverse array of beautiful people dancing at a backyard party and a club — and while emphasizing the sensual quality of the song, the video also reveals some of the Montreal-born artist’s immense talents.

Slow Magic is a mysterious and masked electronic producer and electronic music artist, who has garnered both critical and commercial success with the release of his first three albums — 2012’s Triangle, 2014’s How to Run Away and 2017’s Float have managed to amass over 200 million streams globally. Adding to a growing profile nationally and internationally, the masked producer and electronic music artist has toured with ODESZA, Giraffage and XXYYXX — and has released critically applauded remixes of the work of ODESZA, Gold Panda and Delorean. 2018 saw Slow Magic play a set at Coachella, which he followed up with a North American tour with shallou and a headlining European tour.

Earlier this year, Slow Magic released the Closer 2 U EP, an effort which was released to praise fray the likes of NPR, NAKID Magazine, Dancing Astronaut, This Song is Sick, and a long of list of others. Featuring collaborations with shallou, Manila Killa, Woven in Hiatus and others, the EP found the mysterious producer and electronic music artist firmly establishing himself as a go-to collaborator, and as a rising talent and tastemaker in the electronic music world. Building upon the momentum he earned with Closer 2 U EP, the acclaimed masked producer fourth album it’s the end of the world, but it’s ok is slated for a December 9, 2020 release through Moving Castle.

Thematically, it’s the end of the world, but it’s ok explores and touches upon uncertainty, community, resilience and communication — all things that have been a part of our daily lives in some fashion or another over the past seven months or so. The album’s first single is the upbeat anthem “Carry On.” Centered around several layers of lushly shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, euphoria-inducing drops and an enormous hook,. the track which features guest vocals from Paperwhite has a much-needed and uplifting message (and reminder) to listeners: look inward, calm yourself and love yourself, look towards building a brighter, better future — and find solace in carrying on to the best of your ability.

“‘Carry On’ came from a session with Katie Marshall from Paperwhite and Jeremy Silver in 2019,” Slow Magic explains in press nots. “Coincidentally enough, the concept I was working on at the time for it’s the end of the world, but it’s ok, was a post-apocalyptic narrative where the focus was on getting through it and striving toward what was ahead. I had no idea the lyrics we came up with that day would ring so true in 2020. The line ‘If the stars burn out tonight we’re gonna carry on’ really echoes what I see happening all around the world right now amid such crazy times: people are carrying on with their lives and it is beautiful to see.” 

“’Carry On’ came together quickly on a summer day in LA where Slow Magic and I just happened to both be visiting,” Paperwhite recalls. “It was one of those songs that unfolded easily within our first hour of writing. I’m thrilled to see how Slow Magic explored our idea and gave it new life.” 

New Video: Brittany Campbell and Phil. Team Up on A Bold Declaration of Queer Love and Desire

Brittany Campbell is a Los Angeles-based R&B artist, animator and actor and activist. Joining the Metropolitan Opera at an early age, Campbell went on to act in and star in a number of Broadway productions including a little one by the name of Hamilton, where she met her girlfriend Candace Quarrels — and formed the R&B and folk duo Mermaid, whose forthcoming full-length album features production by Matt Otto and Sam Hoffman.

Campbell has also released material as a solo artist, releasing her full-length debut, 2018’s Stay Gold, which revealed a songwriter, who could craft earnest, lived-in songs paired with a self-assured vocal range. The Los Angeles-based artist, animator, actor and activist’s creative passion and curiosity led her to become a self-taught animator, who has created videos for supermodel/vocalist Shaun Ross, as well as for her work.

Born Philip Johnson-Richardson, Phil. is a Charlotte-born, New York-based singer, emcee, dancer and actor, who immediately upon finishing his degree in musical theater at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music joined the cast of the Chicago production of Hamilton, where he eventually starred in the titular role. Since starring in Hamilton, the rapidly rising talent has managed to land a number of prominent acting gigs, appearing in TV shows like Chicago P.D., Proven Innocent, The Other Two and the the horror film Haunt. He was also cast as a series regular in the Sara Bareilles and JJ Abrams created Apple TV+ series Little Voice. And adding to a incredibly busy period, the Charlotte-born, Chicago-based singer, emcee, dancer and actor will be releasing his debut EP Different Cities, an effort that will help to further showcase his talents.

Recently Campbell and Phil. teamed up on the slickly produced and empowering pop anthem “Champion.” Centered around stuttering trap beats, shimmering and layered synth arpeggios, Campbell’s sultry vocals, an inspired guest spot from Phil., who quickly alternates between staccato spitting fire and achingly tender soul crooning and an infectious hook, “Champion” is a sensual and joyous ode to queer love, desire and devotion that was specifically released for National Coming Out Day. “I’ve written a few songs about making love but none that were inspired by making love to a woman,'” Campbell explains. “The song and video is my attempt at capturing some of the feelings it inspires in me. . . the euphoria and joy in making love.”

The brightly colored, intergalactic — and downright trippy — visual for “Champion” captures Black, queer love with a boldness that’s defiant yet tender, as it suggests that for the song’s narrator making love to her girl is a transcendent and otherworldly experience.

New Audio: Penguin Prison Releases an Upbeat and Hopeful New Banger

Chris Glover is a New York-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and electro pop artist best known as Penguin Prison. With Penguin Prison, Glover has a critically applauded discography that includes 2011’s self-titled debut and 2015’s Lost In New York — and a handful of viral hits including “Don’t Fuck With My Money,” “Show Me The Way” and RAC’s “Hollywood.” Additionally, Glover has released acclaimed remixes of Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, and Imagine Dragons.

Glover’s latest Penguin Prison single “Better” is the first bit of new material from the acclaimed pop artist since last year’s “The Heat.” Beginning with a arpeggiated piano and soulful vocal-led intro with the quick addition of layered harmony, handclaps and shimmering synths, the track turns into a rousingly anthemic banger with the addition a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and an even more uptempo, two-step inducing groove. Subtly nodding at soul and gospel spirituals, the song was written with the direct intention of uplifting listeners and inspiring them to hold on to the hope of a better world — even if it’s just for the duration of a fun pop song. Honestly, considering the dire state of everything, the song offers a necessary escape, as all great pop songs inevitably do.

“This song is my response to the times we find ourselves in,” Glover explains. “The global pandemic, social injustice, climate change; it’s overwhelming. I wanted to write about rising above it all. I want the listener to feel hopeful that we can find a way to get through even if it’s just for the duration of the song.”


New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO Returns with a Gauzy Pop Hook-Driven Single

Over the course of this site’s ten-plus year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Thomas Fec, best known as TOBACCO. During his two-plus decade music career, Fec has used analog synthesizers and tape machines to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement, pleasure, and menace as the frontman and creative mastermind of JOVM mainstays Black Moth Super Rainbow, as a solo artist and through his production work with other like-minded artists.

Since the 2016 release of Fec’s fourth TOBACCO album Sweatbox Dynasty, the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly busy: Fec reconvened with the members of Black Moth Super Rainbow to write and record the gauzy fwhich was supported with tours with The Stargazer Lilies and Nine Inch Nails. Last year, Fec produced The Stargazer Lilies’ abrasive and trippy Occabot — and he collaborated with Aesop Rock in Malibu Ken, a project that released their critically applauded debut album. Additionally, TOBACCO penned the theme song to HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Earlier this year, the JOVM mainstay released his first batch of solo material since Sweatbox Dynasty, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch which featured Fec’s woozy and scuzzy take on Eric Carmen‘s Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written smash hit “Hungry Eyes.” But as it turned out, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch may have been a bit of a preview of the JOVM mainstay’s forthcoming full-length Hot Wet & Sassy.

Slated for an October 30, 2020 release through Ghostly International, Hot Wet & Sassy reportedly oozes with anti-love, self-hate and disappointment in others — while further refining the pop impulses that have underpinned his unique sound — blown out, bass, fuzzy analog synths, drum machines and Fec’s analog gurgle and hiss. “I feel like it’s the most I’ve been able to refine what I’m doing,” says Fec. “For the past decade I’ve had this motherfxcker on my shoulder that makes me pick away at structure and melody. Purposely covering up moments because I can. That really came to a peak on Sweatbox. So I wanted the opposite this time. Write the songs without ripping them in half. I went from ‘what would the Butthole Surfers do?’ to ‘what would Cyndi Lauper do?’”

I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s first three singles so far: Hot Wet & Sassy’s second single, “Babysitter,” a collaboration with Nine Inch Nails’ mastermind and fellow Pennsylvanian Trent Reznor, which was a deranged and unsettling lurch between a menacingly saccharine bridge and what sounds like someone gleefully running a rusty manual lawnmower through someone’s carpet paired with laser hot hi-hats, thumping tumps, scorching synths, gurgling and bubbling hiss and distortion and the most accessible, pop-leaning hooks of Fec’s recorded output. The album’s third single “Jinmeknen,” was a slow-burning and atmospheric Quiet Storm-like ballad of sorts centered around glistening synth arpeggios, bouncy beats, Fec’s heavily vocoder’ed vocals and some of the most earnest songwriting of his lengthy — and often extremely weird — career.

“Headless to Headless,” Hot Wet & Sassy’s fourth and latest single clocks in at a little under three minutes and is centered around glistening synth arpeggios,. blown out stuttering beats, brief staccato bursts of forcefully buzzing guitar, Fec’s heavily vocoder’d vocals and some infectious hooks. And while arguably being one of the album’s more gauzier songs, it sounds a bit like a mm murky and downright swampy take on 80s R&B — the drumbeats at point remind me of Cherelle’s “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” for some reason. Much like the previously released singles, the track sees the JOVM mainstay playfully refining his overall sound without scrubbing or altering the weird elements that have won him attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere.

New Audio: Los Angeles’ Peel Release a Brooding and Atmospheric New Single

Los Angeles-based duo Peel is a new collaboration between multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Sean Cimino and multi-instrumentalist and producer Isom Innis. The project can trace its origins to a month-long recording session the duo held at Innis’ concrete loft above the The Orpheum Theatre. The loft’s cavernous space, which once held fleets of sewing machines thrumming and humming served as the perfect setting for musical experimentation through drums, amps and modular synthesizers.

Last month, I wrote about Peel’s debut single “Rom-Com,” which interestingly enough, was the first song that Innis and Cimino wrote together. Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a woozy guitar solo and a hypnotic, motorik groove, the track may remind some listeners of Gary Numan and Antics-era Interpol to mind while thematically focusing on the difficulty of finding one’s existential footing in the cyclical information spiral. Building upon the attention they’ve received for “Rom-Com” and “Catch and Release,” Innis’ and Cimino’s third and latest single “Citizen X” is an atmospheric and meditative track, featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, a slow-burning groove, stuttering beats, shoegazer-like guitar lines played through delay and reverb pedals paired with a soaring hook and plaintive vocals that reminds me of The Veldt and Cocteau Twins but with a subtle hip-hop nod. “Citizen X” may arguably be the most cinematic leaning track off the duo’s soon-to-be released self-titled, full-length debut, which is slated for an October 16, 2020 release through Innovative Leisure. And interestingly enough, the track appears on EA Sports’ FIFA 2K21 Soundtrack.

“’Citizen X’ was an outlier to our usual stream of conscious lyric writing process— the framework began more conceptually,” Peel’s Isom Innis explain in press notes. “It has a tongue in cheek tone and is coming from a disillusioned place. Originally, it was a slower shoe-gaze inspired track, but Sean had the idea to re-imagine it, speed it up and really emphasize the groove and treat the guitar more like Robin Guthrie [Cocteau Twins].”

New Video: Italy’s My Gravity Girls Release a Cinematically Shot and Brooding Visual for “Daybreak”

Emilia-Romagna, Italy-based act My Gravity Girls — founding members Mattia Bergonzi (vocals) and Pietro Ruggeri (drums) along with Francesco Carlucci (keys, synths) and siblings Claudio (bass, synths, backing vocals, piano) and Simone Calandra (drums) — can trace their origins back to their formation 12 years ago. About four years ago, the band went on an extended hiatus, which put the future of the band in doubt.

Inspired by Lambchop’s FLOTUS, My Gravity Girls’ Mattia Bergonzi was re-inspired to create and spend time in the studio experimenting with recording techniques and new sounds. Eventually Bergonzi built a home studio from scratch, so that he could experiment with complete freedom. “I would spend nights at home recording voice loops and transforming them into synth sounds; or recording guitar riffs only to go and destroy them with digital effects making them unrecognizable.” Finishing the studio about a year later, Bergonzi reformed the band with its current lineup — and with a new assortment of instruments, which he hadn’t previously written material for. The end result is the band’s first full-length album in four years, I Miss Something and Everyone, which was released earlier this year.

With the new instrumentation to their band’s sonic palette, much of the album’s material features electronic beats, organic drums, synth lines created from processed vocal samples and tons of reverb. The end result is material that’s dark, moody and yet ethereal and emotional. Interestingly, I Miss Something and Everyone’s latest single “Daybreak” is a brooding song, centered around reverb-drenched clang and clatter, shimmering and wobbling synths and plaintive vocals. And while recalling Beacon, Seoul and others, the track as the band explains is about the literal and metaphorical scratches and wounds of our lives and how they reverberate throughout our lives.

Directed by The Beard Hunter, the recently released video for “Daybreak” is feverish and slow-burning dream shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white that’s full of longing and heartache.

New Video: Psymon Spine Teams Up with MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden on a Glittery Club Banger

Rapidly rising Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop act Psymon Spine can trace its origins to when founding duo Noah Prebish and Peter Spears met while attending college. Bonding over mutual influences and common artistic aims, the duo went off to tour Europe with Prebish’s electronic act Karate. While in Paris, Spears and Prebish wrote their first song together and when they got to London, they were offered a record deal.

Upon returning to the states, Spears recruited Micheal “Brother Micheal” Rudinski and their Karate bandmates Devon Kilbern, Nathaniel Coffey to the band — and with that lineup they fleshed out the demos, which would eventually become their full-length debut, 2017’s You Are Coming to My Birthday. The members of the rising Brooklyn-based act then supported the album with immersive art and dance parties through their Secret Friend series across Brooklyn, as well as relentless touring.

Simultaneously, Prebish’s work with rising Brooklyn-based dream pop act Barrie began to receive quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere with a handful of buzz-worthy singles and their critically applauded full-length debut, last year’s Happy to Be Here. Interestingly, this led Prebish to meet his Barrie bandmate, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sabine Holler, who then joined Psymon Spine.

“Milk,” a collaboration with their former bandmate Barrie was the first bit of new material by the Brooklyn-based act inn three years — and it’s the first recorded output with their newest member Sabine Holler. Since the single’s release, it has received airplay on BBC Radio 6 and earned praise from a number of media outlets including Vanyaland, High Clouds, Echowave Magazine, The Revue, Hype Machine and a list of others. The track also landed on a number of YouTube channels including David Dean Burkhart‘s. Nice Guys‘ and Birp.fm, as well as Spotify playlists like Undercurrents, All New Indie and Fresh Finds. Additionally, Apple Music’s Matt Wilkinson featured the track. None of this should be surprising: the track sonically recalls In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Soft Metals‘ Lenses –but with a mischievously coquettish air that makes it a club friendly banger.

The Andrew VanWyngarden-produced and cowritten “Modmed” is a glittering and strutting disco-tinged track, centered around wobbling low end, glistening synth arpeggios and a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook. While drawing from 80s New Wave and classic house music, the track interestingly enough, is deceptively and ironically upbeat: the track actually captures the ambivalent and confusing mix of frustration, doubt and relief of a relationship that’s finally come to a conclusion. In particular, the song actually describes Prebish’s and Holler’s decision to leave Barrie and focus on Psymon Spine full-time.

“Psymon Spine invited me into the studio one winter’s day and we had a fun and funky time ripping Juno basslines and dialing in lush tones,” Andrew VanWyngarden recalls in press notes. “I like that their dj and record digging knowledge comes through distinctly on this track.”

Directed by the band and edited by Noah Prebish, the recently released video for “Modmed” is a delirious and playful lo-fi visual in which we see the members of the band goofing off and rocking out to the song in a variety of situations. This is split with footage of the members of the band actually performing the song. It’s all run through trippy filters and VHS-styled graininess, which also helps enhance the track’s retro-futuristic vibe.