Tag: synth pop

New Video: Up-and-Coming Austrian Pop Duo Leyya Releases Quirky and Surreal Visuals for Their Genre-Bending Single “Drumsolo”

With the release of their debut single Spanish Disco, the Vienna, Austria-based indie electro pop duo Leyya, comprised of Sophie Lindinger and Marco Kleebauer quickly received both national and international attention, thanks to the success of viral hit single “Superego,” which received nearly 3 million streams on Spotify. Adding to a growing profile, the duo played some of the European Union’s biggest music festivals including The Great Escape, Liverpool Sound City, Tallinn Music Week, Primavera Sound, Reeperbahn Festival, Iceland Airwaves and a headlining set at Popfest. Along with that the duo have received airplay on Huw Stephens‘ and Phil Taggart‘s BBC Radio 1 shows and Lauren Laverne‘s BBC Radio 6 show, been playlisted on Germany’s Radio 1, as well as praise from Pigeons and Planes, Wonderland Magazine, Clash Magazine, Konbini, The 405 and Consequence of Sound among others.

The duo’s highly anticipated sophomore effort Sauna is slated for a January 26, 2018 release, and the album’s latest single “Drumsolo” will further cement their reputation for crafting ambient and moody electro pop but while revealing that the duo have expanded their sound quite a bit, as the song finds the duo with a subtly layered sound nodding at hip-hop, R&B and jazz in a way that reminds me of BRAIDS andSoftspot but with a coquettish and swaggering self-assuredness.

“‘Drumsolo’ is one of our favourite tracks of the new album, ” the duo told NOISEY. “On the one hand, it’s very complex (at one point, it doesn’t even make sense ‘music theoretically’). But, on the other hand, the melody is very catchy, so you don’t notice its quirkiness; that’s what we always wanted our tracks to be like: different layers to discover depending on the listener’s mood.”

Directed by All Most Famous, the recently and released and brightly colored video possesses a surreal, Dadaesque dream-like nature as it features an Oscar the Grouch meets car wash brush machine-like character rocking out on the drums in a variety of settings, bubbles, balloons that are inflated and popped, fast-forwarded and rewound scenes, colored water and more. And while initially, it may strike some viewers as some insane and mischievous fashion commercial that they can’t quite comprehend, it also manages to further emphasizes the song’s overall quirkiness. 

Adrian Underhill is a Vancouver, British Columbia-born, Toronto, Ontario-based singer/songwriter, who has a number of stints in indie rock bands in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, before the low-key release of his solo debut EP in 2012; however, sometime after that, Underhill completely revamped his songwriting process, employing keyboards, synths and drum machines, which found him gravitating towards a slinky R&B-inspired pop sound but paired with a simple and very direct, earnest lyricism.

Describing the writing process for forthcoming album, CU Again, Underhill says “I sat with a keyboard and one drum machine and tried not play much with production ideas. The tunes have a classic, 70s songwriter vibe, even though we ultimately pushed the production into a very different realm. This simple, direct way of songwriting is me at my best.”

The recording sessions for CU Again found the up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter collaborating with British electronic production Kindness (also known as Adam Bainbridge), best known for his work with Robyn, Solange and Blood Orange with the renowned producer and Underhill working on electronic elements in Montreal before they went to Los Angeles for at three-day session with a live, funk supergroup that included JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk (drums) Keith Eaddy (bass) and Brandon Coleman (keys). And the end result finds the material being a seamless blend of Kindness’ electronic production with warm, organic instrumentation as you’ll hear on CU Again‘s swooning “Weather,” which pairs a looped and chopped keyboard sample with stuttering and skittering drum programming, arpeggiated synths and Underhill’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics on how time changes people and their moods, like the weather.  What makes the song interesting to me is that it walks a careful tightrope between sincerity and playfulness, familiarity and complete strangeness.
As Underhill adds, “On ‘Weather’, I love how the production came out. Adam (Bainbridge) took my original demo and just kinda warped it and morphed it, almost like a remix, adding new drums and changing the keyboard sounds I had played. Then we added the live piano and synth bass from Brandon Coleman (Kamasi Washington) and Keith Eaddy (DāM-FunK). In the end it’s quite playful and strange – it’s a great combination of sounds.”

Born Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, the up-and-coming, 15 year-old, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Billie Eilish can trace the origins of her musical career to when the homeschooled O’Connell joined the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus when she was 8, where she perfected and honed her vocal abilities, and then when she was 11, she began writing and singing her own songs, much like her brother Finneas, who had been writing and performing his own original songs with his band. Interestingly, by 2015, the siblings had written and released two songs together on SoundCloud — “sHE’s brOKen,” and “Fingers Crossed,’ which were released for fun and to have their friends listen to.

As the story goes, in late 2015, Finneas O’Connell tells his sister of a song he had been playing with his band, “Ocean Eyes.” Billie recorded the song and sent it to her dance teacher, who hoped to choreograph a dance to it. Released on SoundCloud the following year, under the name Billie Eilish, “Ocean Eyes” quickly became a viral hit, and along with follow-up single “Six Feet Under,” the young, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist developed a growing fanbase. With an official release, through Darkroom and Interscope Records in late 2016 to critical applause from the likes of Stereogum and others, Eilish was sensation — an building upon a growing profile, she released an EP featuring four remixes of “Ocean Eyes.”

This year has proven to be an even bigger year than last, as she released her highly-anticipated and critically applauded debut EP, dont smile at me, which has received attention both nationally and internationally, thanks to sold out, headlining tours across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, a number of national daytime and late night television appearances here in the States, as well as being named VEVO dscvr Artist To Watch 2018, longlisted for BBC’s Sound of 2018 and a spot in Apple’s Up Next Artist campaign.

Just on the heels of an announcement of a lengthy 2018 world tour, which includes a March 23, 2018 set at The Mercury Lounge, Eilish released her latest single “bitches broken hearts,” a soulful and incredibly self-assured yet swooning track that features Eilish’s sultry cooing over a contemporary production featuring arpeggiated synths, stuttering drum programming and percussion — and while sonically, the song nods at both 90s neo soul and contemporary electro pop, the song is actually an ode to the bitterness of lost love and the excitement of fresh starts, even if its dysfunctional and fucked up.

Check out tour dates below.

EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
02/14 – Heaven – London, UK – SOLD OUT
02/16 – Petit Bain – Paris, France
02/18 – Dude Club – Milan, Italy
02/19 – Debaser Strand – Stockholm, Sweden
02/20 – Melkweg Oude Zaal – Amsterdam, Netherlands
02/23 – Botanique / Rotonde – Brussels, Belgium
02/26 – Lido – Berlin, Germany
02/27 – Jungle Club – Cologne, Germany
03/01 – By:Larm Festival – Oslo, Norway

NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
03/07 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
03/08 – Great American Music Hall – San Francisco,  CA
03/10 – Music Box – San Diego, CA
03/11 – The Observatory, CA
03/17 – Terminal West – Atlanta, GA
03/20 – Black Cat – Washington, DC
03/21 – Coda – Philadelphia, PA
03/23 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
03/24 – Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
03/27 – Theatre Fairmount – Montreal
03/28 – The Mod Club – Toronto
03/30 – El Club – Detroit, MI
03/31 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
04/03 – 7th Street Entry – Minneapolis, MN
04/04 – The Record Bar – Kansas City, Missouri, MO
04/06 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
04/07 – Grand at the Complex – Salt Lake City, UT

With the release of their debut EP in 2013, Dream Lake, the Stockholm, Sweden-based dream pop duo comprised of Isabella Svärdstam (vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Niklas Willar Lidholm (production and instrumentation) received attention for crafting ethereal and incredibly catchy pop songs, and for being among a small group of internationally recognized Swedish electro pop/dream pop acts. Since then, the duo have released a number of singles, including critically applauded singles “Let Us Stay In The Light” and “World Of Dreams,” as well as their highly-anticipated full-length debut Lux, which was released earlier this year. And from the album’s latest single “Crystals,” the single — and in turn, the album — further cement the duo’s reputation of nostalgic and  cinematic pop with soaring hooks paired with shimmering and arpeggiated synths, and Svärdstam’s achingly tender and ethereal vocals; but interestingly enough, the song possesses an underlying intimacy as it focuses on a romantic couple, who may be either space travelers who have landed on a strange, new planet of a glorious, and blissfully endless summer of raining crystals — or a Dadaesque dreamscape. No matter, it’s a song to get lost in and contemplate one’s existence and being in love in an enormous universe.

 

As the duo’s Niklas Willar Lidholm explains in press notes “‘Crystals’ is about looking into another person’s universe –letting your emotion speak and becoming one with the moment. We should live and love today because tomorrow, it could all be gone.”

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay ACES Releases With Cinematic Visuals for EP Single “Stranger”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months of the site’s history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay electro pop artist, filmmaker and photojournalist Alexander Stewart and her solo recording project ACES, and as you may recall with the release of her first three singles, the achingly vulnerable “What Do You Think They’ll Say About Me,” the part torch song, part wistful and tender farewell “I’m Already Gone” and the slow-burning Quiet Storm-era R&B inspired pop song “Find Me Out,” established a reputation for a subtly modern and atmospheric take on cinematic, 80s synth pop. 

Earlier this year, Stewart released her highly-anticipated Ian Miller-produced debut EP, Stranger, and with the release of the EP’s first two singles — the tender and contemplative “If I Could Be Your Girl,” which features a narrator, who has recognized that her object of accession isn’t good for her, and that she may have to make the painful and difficult decision to end the relationship for good; and the icily ambivalent tell off “Baby, I Don’t Mean to Ignore,” which possesses an push and pull between longing and devotion, wanting to be left alone and of being hopelessly stuck in one’s own head and not quite knowing how to express themselves in a way that makes sense or offends someone. 

Stranger’s third and final single, EP title track “Stranger” will further cement Stewart’s growing reputation for crafting Quiet Storm-like, atmospheric synth pop that thematically focuses on the complex and confusing intricacies of romantic relationships — and in this case, Stewart’s latest single focuses on the surreal sensation of coming across  a former lover for the first time in a while and recognizing that the person you used to know so well has become a total stranger. And while that’s a familiar theme in pop music, “Stranger” possesses a bitterly plaintive ache over a lost relationship that has become an accumulation of one’s growing past. Along with that there’s an anxiousness over being uncertain over how you should respond to this former lover, who still causes your heart to swoon but who also has engendered a deep bitterness. We’ve all been there at some point or another, and even with some age and experience, it never stops being profoundly strange and embittering. 

Directed by frequent collaborator Oresti Tsonopolous and produced by Stewart, the gorgeously shot black and white video was reportedly completely improvised and filmed in a single night while Stewart was jet-lagged from an extended international trip she took as a travel and style photojournalist. And as you’ll see, Stewart busily goes through a  text exchange and gets ready for what turns out to be a made up night out but while capturing the uncertainty and bitterness of seeing that stranger from the past — seemingly evoking the ambivalent emotions and anxiety one would typically feel about such a situation. 

With the release of her self-titled, full-length debut earlier this year through Smalltown Supersound, the London-based electronic music artist and producer Kelly Lee Owens has quickly exploded into the international scene, as she’s received attention from the likes of Pitchfork, Rolling StoneEntertainment Weekly, Stereogum and other— and interestingly enough, she’s ending a breakthrough year with a sleek and retro-futuristic-leaning cover of Aaliyah’s “More Than A Woman,” (which you can check out below), reworks of Mount Kimbie‘s “You Look Certain” and Tegan and Sara‘s “Soil Soil,” and a deluxe edition of her full-length debut, which will include bonus tracks and is slated for release on Black Friday.  And to celebrate the release of the deluxe album, Owens and Smalltown Supersound released “Spaces,” a bonus track from the soon-to-be released deluxe album, and the single will further cement the British electronic music artist and producer’s growing reputation for crafting eerily spectral synth pop  — but interestingly enough, the single subtly reveals an artist and producer, whose sound also possesses elements of techno, and krautrock paired with deeply introspective lyrics.

 

New Video: Danish Electro Pop Duo Tan Returns with Dream-like Visuals for Their Chilly

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may come across a post featuring the Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo TAN. And as you may recall the duo comprised of Mathias Riss and Andreas Bengsten have had stints in several local post-punk and psych rock bands, which makes their collaborative project together a marked change in direction for them; in fact, their previous single “PANORAMA” found the duo leaning towards the chilly, retro-futuristic synth-based compositions of  John Carpenter, Umberto and countless others while subtly nodding at  early house music.

The Danish electro pop duo’s latest single “BARBARA” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting chilly, retro-futrustic synth compositions — in this case, the cinematic and radio friendly track is a bit more straightforward as it features shimmering, arpeggiated synths, propulsive drum programming and a soaring hook. And interestingly enough, the recently released video further emphasizes the single’s chilly and creepy vie, as it stars Danish drag queen PROXY, who the duo met when they saw her dancing during one of their sets. As the story goes, the duo realized that PROXY’S appearance is much more than just putting on a costume, and they wanted to capture that on film.

“In the video, PROXY gets a crush on a synth playing mannequin. Brought together by a mutual love of synthesizers, their attraction slowly grows to the point where it dissolves boundaries and norms into insatiable lust and attraction for each other. Love works in mysterious ways, and rather than trying to understand it, they just surrender and go with it.” As a result, the video possesses a swooning, dream-like logic.

New Video: Introducing the Soaring and Anthemic Synth Pop of Up-and-Coming Italian Synthwave Act YOOP

Comprised of Luca Sammartini and Valentina Sicco, YOOP are an up-and-coming Vicenza, Italy-based synthwave/synth pop act, who released their full-length debut effort Take Shelter earlier this month, and with the release of slickly produced album single “Rainbow,” the duo’s sound that seems to draw influence from Tears for Fears and contemporaries like Moonbabies, St. Lucia and Washed Out, as they pair soaring and anthemic hooks with a production featuring shimmering arpeggiated synths, propulsive, tweeter and woofer rocking, industrial-like beats, a sinuous bass line and angular guitar chords — and while managing to be arena rock friendly and a club banger, the track possesses an aching yearning at its core.

The recently released video follows a dream-like logic in which a woman wakes up to find herself tied to a chair and as soon as she escapes, where she spends a dizzying period seeking something just out of her grasp through a series of rooms and staircases.

Cal Young is a Hobart, Australia-based electronic music producer and artist, who began his career as one-half of the applauded The Scientists Of Modern Music, an act that once received praise for an energetic and engaging live set, playing at some of their homeland’s biggest festivals, opening for national touring acts, as well as headlining clubs across Australia.

Although they received some success, The Scientists Of Modern Music split up with its members going on to pursue their own creative pursuits with Young famously collaborating with fellow Hobart, Australia-based singer/songwriter Asta, who received national acclaim with “My Heart Is On Fire,” a track helped her win Triple J’s Unearthed High and landed at number 50 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 Countdown, and its follow up “I Need Answers.

Building upon the success he received working with Asta, Young felt inspired to go solo with his own recording project KOWL, a project that finds Young combining the creativity of hardware and select sound formats from other projects and melding them together with a pop sensibility in what he believes is a fresh, new approach to songwriting and production. Young’s latest single as KOWL, “You & Me” is a swaggering and slickly produced track which features a looped, funky bass line, stomping beat, shimmering arpeggiated synths — and interestingly enough, the track manages to sound as though it nods at 80s synth funk, Illumination-era Miami Horror and others.

 

New Audio: Jono Ma’s Lysergic Remix of The Babe Rainbow’s Sweaty Dance Floor Friendly Single “Monkey Disco”

Earlier this fall, I wrote about the Bryon Bay, Australia-based band The Babe Rainbow. The up-and-coming act which is comprised of Bryon Bay, Australia-born and-based founding members Jack “Cool-Breeze” and Angus Darling The Hothouse Flower and Venezuelan-born pianist Lu-Lu-Felix Domingo can trace their origins to when its founding duo started a songwriting partnership while in middle school; however, the project started in earnest in late 2015 when the founding duo met Venezuelan-born pianist Domingo while they were traveling in France.

Now, as you may recall, the trio’s self-titled debut was produced by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Stu Mackenzie, and from album single “Johny Stays Cool,” the band specializes in lo-fi, off-kilter funk inspired by African Diaspora-like rhythms and a breezy, Tropicalia-like melody and much like The B52s, the song found the trio managing to mischievously evoke 60s psych pop and surf rock. However, album single “Monkey Disco” finds the trio nodding at sweaty, tribal house, Afropop and Fear of Music-era Talking Heads, with the Australian band pulling their lo-fi sound into the early 80s while retaining its off-kilter, quirky quality. 

Interestingly, Jagwar Ma’s Jono Ma recently remixed the song and while retaining the sweaty tribal house feel of the song, he adds thumping drum beats and extends the song’s infectious hook and driving groove, adding a lysergic sheen to an already dance floor friendly song.