Tag: synth pop

Memory Keepers is the Austin, TX-based electro-punk side project of The Sour Notes‘ Jared Boulanger and Amarah Ulghani.  The duo’s latest single is a propulsive, synth and vocoder-led cover of Brian Eno‘s “Uncle Third” that retains the original’s motorik groove — and in many ways, the original feels like pre-Autobahn-era Kraftwerk while the Memory Keepers cover feels like The Man-Machine

 

 

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rum•gold is a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, who quickly emerged into the local scene with the release of two singles “Where There’s Smoke” and “Cashmere Cage” along with introductory interview on Pigeons and Planes back in June. The up-and-coming local singer/songwriter’s debut EP yaRn is slated for release next year, and to build up further buzz, rum•gold recently released the third and latest single from the EP, “Get Through.” 

Featuring a James Chatburn minimalist yet textured production consisting of a sinuous bass line, a mournful and gorgeous trumpet arrangement (played by the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter)and thumping boom bap-like beats, “Get Through” is centered by rum•gold’s achingly tender and soulful falsetto.  Sonically speaking, the song (to my ears, at least) recalls Maxwell and Moses Sumney, complete with a deeply intimate, emotional honesty and vulnerability.  

As rum•gold says about the song in press notes, “‘Get Through’ is a self revelation. Its about finding that vice to get through a hard place, while also understanding that you wouldn’t be who you are today without going through said hardship. Its about learning to understand that contradiction is natural and if allowed can be incredibly freeing.”

 

Ocean Potion is the Toronto, Ontario, Canada side project of Yukon Blonde‘s Jason Haberman and Zeus‘ Mike O’Brien.  Haberman and O’Brien met while their respective primary bands were touring Canada, and as the story goes they quickly bonded, beginning a bedroom recording project over the course of this year.  Initially, there were no actual songs, just extended free form jams based around looping riffs. As these loops took more of a song shape, a creative process began to emerge — Haberman would record a basic instrumental track, then send it over to O’Brien, who would add words and melodies. 

Throughout the summer, Haberman and O’Brien bounced tracks back-and-forth throughout the summer and after they felt they had a collection of 10 songs that represented the best of what they’d created, Haberman dove into the mixing process, shifting through the many layers of synths, woozy guitars and dreamy vocals to find the purest and best version of each song. 

“Lights Out,” the Toronto-based duo’s latest single will further cement the duo’s growing reputation for crafting dreamy and ethereal pop centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a simple backbeat, shimmering guitars fed through effects pedals and O’Brien’s equally ethereal vocals. Sonically, the song evokes a few things to me — lazy days, sitting around and playing music and driving around aimlessly on gloriously sunny days with music on your stereo. It’s all good vibes and enjoying the eternal now. 

With the addition of Forces’ Dave Azzolini and Brave Shores‘ Jay McCarol, Ocean Potion will be touring as a quartet throughout 2019. So be on the lookout for more. 

 

 

New Video: Omaha’s The Faint Releases Stylish and Menacing Visuals for Club-banging “Child Asleep”

Currently comprised of founding members Todd Fink (vocals) and Clark Baechle (drums), along with Graham Ulicny (keys) and Michael “Dapose” Dappen (bass), the Omaha, NE-based cyber-punk act The Faint can trace their origins back to the mid 1990s. Founded by Fink, Baechle and Joel Petersen, the band’s founding members spent time skateboarding in their free time — until Fink developed knee problems, which shifted their hobbies towards music.

Initially forming under the name Norman Bailer, the band also briefly included Conor Oberst, who left the band shortly after their formation. The band’s founding trio eventually changed their name and signed to Saddle Creek Records, their longtime label home. Interestingly, after releasing a handful of singles that didn’t sell much, the band added Matt Bowen, who was with them for the writing and recording of their full-length debut Media. After the recording of Media, the Omaha-based cyber punk outfit went through a number of lineup changes.

In late 1998, Jacob Theile joined the band, Bowen left and was replaced with Ethan Jones. And with a lineup of Fink, Baechle, Theile and Jones, the band toured across the US, playing the material that would eventually comprised their acclaimed sophomore album Blank Wave Arcade, an album found the band moving towards an electronic dance music and techno influenced sound. Before recording the album, the band went through yet another lineup change with Jones leaving the band and being replaced by Joel Petersen, who played bass and guitar during the album’s recording sessions. 

During the recording sessions for Danse Macabre, the band added Dappen, who was best known for being a member of LEAD. The band’s fifth album, 2008’s Fascination was released through the band’s own label blank.wav.  2012 saw the release of the deluxe and remastered edition of Danse Macabre, which featured bonus and unreleased tracks, a DVD of archival footage, live projections from that album’s tour and live footage. 

In 2016, the band went through another lineup change as Reptar’s Graham Ulicny replaced Thiele. The band’s long-awaited Egowerk is slated for a March 15, 2019 release through Saddle Creek Records. The album, which marks a return to the Omaha-based outfit’s longtime label home, thematically explores the Internet and its impact on modern society and the ego — specifically social media and its dark effects. The album’s first single, album opener “Child Asleep” is a thumping and twitchy industrial house-like club banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, rapid fire beats, and vocals fed through copious amounts of vocoder. And while the song manages to recall Tour de France-era Kraftwerk and Atari Teenage Riot, the song is centered around a simple yet profound message — that “if I were wise, I would see that I’m a child still asleep.” 

Directed and Edited by Nik Fackler, the recently released video manages to be tense, slickly stylish and absolutely menacing; or in other words, it seems to accurately capture our uncertain sociopolitical moment. 

New Audio: Introducing the Synth-Led Funk of Sydney’s Winston Surfshirt

With the release of their full-length debut Sponge Cake, which featured their recently gold-certified debut single “Be About You,” the Sydney, Australia-based sextet Winston Surfshirt was championed by Beats 1 Radio host Zane Lowe, KRCW’s Jason Bentley, BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart, BBC Radio 6’s Lauren Laverne and Elton John, thanks in part to a Australian sextet’s unique and slickly produced blend of synth funk, soul and hip-hop. Adding to a growing profile, Sponge Cake was named a Triple J feature album. 

Building upon a growing national and international profile, the up-and-coming Sydney-based act end 2018 with a new track, the chilled out yet swaggering funky synth-led “For The Record,” which pairs a sleek hip hop-tinged production of thumping beats, arpeggiated synths, crooning horns and neo-soul like vocals. Sonically, the song brings a number of different artists — Thundercat, Timbaland and Dam-Funk immediately come to mind. “‘For The Record’ is a song written for anyone from the perspective of their loved ones, family or friends,” the members of the band explain in press notes. “When you’re feeling down there’s always people who love you and would do anything to make you feel better and be there when you’re in a bad headspace.”

 

Luvia is an up-and-coming Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, who has received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that she describes on her Facebook  page as a mix of Lana Del Rey, Mazzy Star and a hint of Stevie Nicks, brining together a tender ethereal, acoustic sound. Lyrically, the up-and-coming, British pop artist is inspired by spoken word poetry and story-telling — in particular, she’s been deeply influenced by stories of people, who have given into their guilty pleasures and have taken that proverbial walk on the wild side. Luvia’s latest single is the noir-ish “Love Lust,” centered around the young British artist’s achingly tender vocals and an atmospheric and slow-burning production featuring dramatic drumming, twinkling keys and a soaring hook. Sonically, the track bears an uncanny resemblance to JOVM mainstays ACES as it evokes a cinematic air, that recalls 80s movie soundtracks; but interestingly enough the song seems to capture

As Luvia explains in press notes, “’Love Lust’ is a reflection of what it was like growing up for me but also a lot of people I know. Lots of feeling numb and having a lot to deal with and doing things to feel something or anything. I think that’s where the main line ‘even if it kills me it makes us feel alive, even if it thrills me we might as well just try’ came from, an act of teenage thrill seeking perhaps. Although on the flip side the song is also about growing away from that and finding a way to come alive and wake up from the darker side of things and from the dull day to day.”

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Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-and-coming Northern Ireland-born, Dublin, Ireland-based duo Saint Sister. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntrye can trace their origins to when they met while studying at the University of Dublin. They bonded over their mutual desire to create music that represented both their friendship and their “us against the world” mentality. Building upon a growing national and international profile, the duo’s Alex Ryan-produced full-length debut Shape of Silence was released earlier this year, and from album single “Steady,” the duo showcased their ability to craft an atmospheric Portishead-inspired sound centered around the duo’s gorgeous and ethereal yet heartfelt vocals.

Recently, two of Dublin’s up-and-coming underground artistrs Irish DJ and producer Kormac along with Dublin-based emcee Jafaris collaborated with the members of Saint Sister on a subtle remix/reworking of “Causing Trouble” that’s centered around the same shimmering and looped harp sample; however, while the original features big, thumping beats, the remix relies on hi-hat and shuffling beats, which puts a greater emphasis on Doherty and MacIntyre’s gorgeous vocals and Jafaris’ swaggering yet sensitive verses. And it’s done in a way in which all three vocalists sit side by side without interference — and in a way that feels natural and unhurried.  As a result, the remix finds the collaborators pushing Saint Sister’s sound more towards the direction of Tricky and Massive Attack. Interestingly, the collaboration can came about when Three Ireland invited each artist to create visually stunning music videos for one of their songs for their #MadebyMusic initiative.

“It’s good to get out of your own head and collaborate with other people, and it’s something we really enjoy doing. This one felt like it really clicked, each individual voice brought something so different,” the members of Saint Sister say in press notes. “When Kormac first sent through the remix it was like hearing it in a new context with a new lease of life. Hearing Jafaris’ verses for the first time was another brilliant moment. And playing it live is the best part. They bring so much energy to every performance, it’s always a joy to stand beside them on stage.”

“I love the idea of blending two really different artists tonality together to create something a bit different.  Producing this one was a lovely challenge as it was all about creating a space where Saint Sister’s gorgeous melodies and harmonies and Jafaris’ vocals, his delivery could sit side by side,” Kormac says of the remix in press note. “The initial idea just came from playing my piano to a glitchy loop created from one of Gemma’s harp lines. From there, it was all about bringing the sub bass to the fore and creating a couple of drops to really announce Jafaris’ vocals when they came in.”

Neta Tia Ellis is a Tel Aviv, Israel-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, producer, visual artist and experimental pop artist, who has received attention for crafting eerily minimalist electro pop with her solo recording project Tesha. Ellis’ soon-to-be released debut EP Growing Pains II is slated for release later this week, and the EP’s latest single, opening track “Funeral” is an eerily haunted track centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, dirge-like drumming and Ellis’ ethereal crooning.    While possessing a cinematic air, the song is intimate and deeply personal in a way that brings Us-era Peter Gabriel to mind — but with a decidedly positive undertone to it.

Ellis admits in press notes that “This song is about my mom’s funeral. It was very sunny outside, and I knew she wanted me to laugh about this. She definitely didn’t want me to get stuck on the loss, but it hurt and it was also funny at the same time because I was comforting all of her devastated patients (which is why all the contrast in the lyrics exist).”  She goes deeper into the outcome of the song by stating “You might be down, deep in a shitpit, so deep that you can’t see anything positive. But these heartbreaks make us stronger and they will unveil their purpose with time.”

 

Live Footage: Elley Duhe Performs “Savior” on Vevo DSCVR

Elley Duhe is a up-and-coming Mobile, AL-born Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, who was raised in the small Gulf Coast towns of Vancleave, MS and Dauphin Island, AL. Duhe grew up in a rather musical home — her father and uncle were musicians, who are connected to the New Orleans music scene. Her father bought her a guitar when she turned 14 and by the following year, Duhe had begun her music career in earnest, signing in coffee shops. She quickly graduated to playing gigs in bars, restaurants and private parties, gaining enough exposure to be booked to open for a number of national acts. The Mobile, AL-born singer/songwriter was also connected with songwriters in Nashville, Los Angles and Austin, where after dropping out of high school and getting her GED, she spent three years honing her craft. 

Duhe emerged as a solo artist of note in 2016 with the release of two attention-grabbing singles — “Millennium,” a collaboration with electronic producer Tarro that amassed 2 million streams of YouTube and 1.4 million streams on Spotify and “Immortal” which amassed 4.5 million streams on Spotify and nearly 1 million streams on YouTube. Adding to a growing profile, the Snakehips remix of “Immortal” amassed 770,000 Spotify streams. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, she released her ILLA and Cool & Dre co-produced single “Fly” last year. However, 2018 may be the biggest year of the Mobile-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter’s career to date: This summer saw the release of “Happy Now,” an attention-grabbing collaboration with Russian-German producer Zedd and “Tie Me Down,” a collaboration with Gryffin, as well her debut EP Dragon Mentality. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on Vevo’s Vevo DSCVR series, and as you may recall, Vevo DSCVR is Vevo’s emerging artist platform that curates the best up-and-coming artists — acts that the site believes will have a significant impact on the future — to perform their best material. Throughout its run, Vevo DSCVR has featured and impressive and eclectic array of artists including Jack Garratt,James Bay, Years & Years, Wolf Alice, Sam Smith, Jorja Smith, Maggie Rogers, Alessia Cara and Ella Eyre among others. This past year has seen Vevo DSCVR inviting up-and-coming pop artists Billie Eilish, Bülow, Donna Missal and Charlotte Lawrence. Recently, Vevo invited the Mobile-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter to perform the swaggering and anthemic “Savior.” 

Next year looks be a big year for Duhe as she was added to Vevo’s list of 2019’s Artists to Watch.