Category Archives: Synth pop

Hear Plaitum’s glittery synthpop on single “Carousel”

The duo of Plaitum has been busy these days. Producer Matt Canham creates these glittery synthpop and electronic hooks, which curl and ebb around Abi Dersiley’s dramatic, vixen-y vocals. The London group have been friends since they were kids who connected through horror films, Massive Attack and Talking Heads.

Check out “Carousel,” the second release off their upcoming EP, listen below:

Dersiley told Stereogum that ” ‘ Carousel’ is basically about drowning in someone else’s deception,” and according to Canham, “Abi played these massive climatic chords on the keyboard and we just ran with the idea of making a really ’80s crescendo around it.”

 

Plaitum’s self-titled EP is out Dec. 4 on Wolf Tone records.

Tracklist:
1. LMHY
2. Carousel
3. Higher
4. Sway

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Filed under Electro-pop, Electronic, New Music, Synth, Synth pop, Uncategorized

Cold Beat’s sophomore album “Into the Air” shows a band in sync

After a strong showing with their debut LP “Over Me” just last year, punk and electro-pop band Cold Beat is back with “Into the Air.”

Already, the band seems deeply in sync, a feat that could take more than a few albums for a new band to master before they can focus on pushing personal boundaries.

Bassist, vocalist and primary songwriter Hannah Lew, previously with the San Francisco surf-rock trio Grass Widow, easily carries the weight of Cold Beat’s vocals. Her strong yet angelic sound acts as a guiding light for the album’s dark points. Add the rest of the band’s playful pop/synth style, and Cold Beat can embody the punk-crossover rebellion of Blondie or the bleeding-heart shoegaze of Dum Dum Girls.

Lew’s lush voice soars throughout the album — it radiates romantic warmth, mirroring Debbie Harry’s opulent style.

Haunting, isolating melodies and moody soundscapes are what Cold Beat does best, evident in the synthwave wanderings of the instrumental “Clouds” and the drum-machine and space-rock album closer “Ashes.”

But the band can also change its attitude within a song. They build tension with a guitar clang and propulsive drumming on the protopunk “Sisters,” a song that later finds solace in a flowing melody, which was somehow there all along. Compare those textures with the brisk guitar strumming of the straightforward “Am I Dust,” or Lew’s heartbreaking indecision on “Broken Lines,” and Cold Beat’s broad versatility on “Into the Air” becomes even clearer.

The new album, “Into the Air” was on Lew’s label Crime On the Moon on Sept. 4.

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Filed under Dream pop, Electro-pop, Indie Rock, New Wave, Post-punk, Punk, Review, Space rock, Synth pop

Psych-pop band Gardens & Villa share a video for “Everybody”

gardens and villa

Psychedelic-pop group Gardens & Villa have released a video for their Beatles’ throwback tune “Everybody,” the second single off “Music For Dogs.”

Its rolling, whimsical piano melody and marching, shuffling drum beat mimics the fluctuating sound between late-era Beatles and John Lennon’s early solo work, which keeps the tone light. By the bridge, it breaks into a progressive and whimsical piano melody that is purely vintage.
As the song builds, synth notes, piano melody and drums fall in on themselves, adding to the layered sound.

Watch the video below for “Fixations,” which takes place in a hippy LSD party, where everyone’s tripping out. Later there’s a drone-like thing on the attack and possibly an android, but it’s all a blur.

“Music For Dogs,” Gardens & Villa’s third studio album, was just released last week on Secretly Canadian. The band will head out on tour next month, with supporting acts like Palehound, De Lux, James Supercave and American Wrestlers.

GARDENS & VILLA TOUR DATES
Tue. Sept. 15 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom w/ James Supercave
Thu. Sept. 17 – Austin, TX @ The Parish w/ Palehound
Fri. Sept. 18 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada w/ Palehound
Sat. Sept. 19 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues/Bronze Peacock w/ Palehound
Sun. Sept. 20 – New Orleans @ Gasa Gasa w/ Palehound
Tue. Sept. 22 – Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5 w/ Palehound
Wed. Sept. 23 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle w/ Palehound
Thu. Sept. 24 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel w/ Palehound
Fri. Sept. 25 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Palehound
Sat. Sept. 26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle w/ Palehound
Tue. Sept. 29 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Wed. Sept. 30 – Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB w/ Palehound
Thu. Oct. 1 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison w/ American Wrestlers
Fri. Oct. 2 – Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory w/ American Wrestlers
Sat. Oct. 3 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall w/ American Wrestlers
Sun. Oct. 4 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry w/ American Wrestlers
Tue. Oct. 6 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
Wed. Oct. 7 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge w/ James Supercave
Thu. Oct. 8 – Las Vegas, NV @ Bunkhouse Saloon w/ James Supercave
Fri. Oct. 9 – San Diego, CA @ IRENIC w/ James Supercave
Sat. Oct. 10 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriet’s w/ James Supercave
Thu. Nov. 12 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy w/ De Lux
Sat. Nov. 14 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub w/ De Lux
Mon. Nov. 16 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile w/ De Lux
Tue. Nov. 17 – Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt w/ De Lux
Wed. Nov. 18 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ De Lux
Fri. Nov. 20 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent w/ De Lux

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Filed under Indie pop, Indie Rock, Psychedelic rock, Synth pop

Enjoy this stream of Cold Beat’s new album “Into the Air”

The punk electro-pop band Cold Beat is streaming their new album “Into the Air.” The new album, their second LP and out Sept. 4 on Crime On the Moon, shows off the group’s wide range of influences.

Strong vocals throughout, from bassist and vocalist Hanna Lew, embody the rich-sounding youth of early Blondie’s pop nuggets and that punk rock sound, as on “Broken Lines.” Lew’s voice may be the closest to Debby Harry’s as you can get, while still maintaining her own identity. Her vocals soar freely throughout the album, emitting a dreamwave warmth.

The vintage synth sound of “Am I Dust” and the ragged guitar intro and propulsive drumming of the punk-driven “Sisters” both show the band’s broad versatility on the album. They can be haunting, as on the instrumental “Clouds” and moody, on the space-rock closer “Ashes.” Through it all is Lew, who makes the whole thing sound easy. The San Francisco native‘s previous project was with the all-girl outfit Grass Widow.

Cold Beat only has a handful of tour dates, so you’ll have to head to Brooklyn to see them.

COLD BEAT NEW YORK DATES:

Fri. Sept. 18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool

Sat. Sept. 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium

Sun. Sept. 20 – New York, NY @ Other Music (7PM)

Sun. Sept. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn

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Filed under Dream pop, Electro-pop, Indie Rock, New Wave, Punk, Space rock, Synth pop

DJ Andrew Weatherall remixes Gwenno’s “Chwyldro”

DJ, producer and remixer Andrew Weatherall has remixed electro-pop artist Gwenno Saunder’s song “Chwyldro” off Gwenno’s recent release, “Y Dydd Olaf” (“The Last Day”).

Gwenno, who was a dancer in her youth and was formerly leader of the Pipettes, sings almost the entire album in Welsh, a language only about 500,000 people in the world speak.

gwenno Y Dydd Olaf album cover

Gwenno has also culled her new music from a 1976 sci-fi novel by Owain Owain, billing “Y Dydd Olaf” as a political-concept album. The record is, at its core, a modern, refreshing take on ‘80s electro-pop and vintage-Cure and Krautrock styles.

Weatherall, as a producer, has worked with Beth Orton and Primal Scream, as well as remixed songs by Bjork, Siousxie Sioux, New Order, My Bloody Valentine and James.

Weatherall keeps alive the astro-rock elements of the original “Chwyldro,” while transforming Gwenno’s voice to a sultry whisper in a song that’s already breathy and dreamy. Weatherall adds frantic synth notes and Indian beats that lead you into Gwenno’s peaceful vocals.

Gwenno’s “Y Dydd Olaf” is out now on Heavenly Recordings.

Listen to the Andrew Weatherall Remix:

Watch Gwenno’s psychedelic/kaleidoscopic video for “Chwyldro”:

You should also check out the vintage sound of Gwenno’s “Fratolish Hiang Perpeshki.” It moves between early Cure via their “Seventeen Seconds,” with a pulsing synthesizer wave; it’s a slower take on the likes of Berlin’s “The Metro”:

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Filed under Dance-Synth, Electro-pop, Kraut rock, Space rock, Synth, Synth pop

Night Beds’ upcoming “Ivywild” streaming now on NPR

night-beds_ivywild wide

The incredible band Night Beds is streaming their upcoming album, “Ivywild,” on NPR.

The startling synth-pop single from earlier this year, “Me, Liquor and God,” promises good things from the new album. It’s the sophomore project by Winston Yellen, who said in May that his first impressions of the “sad sex jams” of Kanye West’s “Yeezus” influenced him on “Ivywild.” We can only imagine how that was channeled.

“Ivywild” is out Aug. 7 on Dead Oceans.

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Filed under Dance-Synth, New Music, Synth pop

AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To the Top” gets a ghostly remake from Susanna

Norway’s Susanna covers AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To the Top,” and she’s stripped that classic rock anthem to the bone.

Susanna’s delicate singing about “one-night stands,” “gettin’ stoned” and “gettin’ beat up” never sounded more isolating and so beautiful. It’s doubtful her version would ever make rock-and-roll-hungry musicians reconsider that roach motel and dive bar, but it’s fantastic to hear AC/DC’s manly music getting stripped bare.

Listen to Susanna’s version on Soundcloud, performed live from Tomba Emmanuelle, taken from a concert with Morten Qzenild and Helge Sten at Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, Norway. Susanna is part of Susanna and the Magical Orchestra — their 2005 album “Melody Mountain” reinterpreted songs by Leonard Cohen, Sandy Denny, Kiss, Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and Depeche Mode.

Susanna has also interpreted songs by Dolly Parton, Thin Lizzy and ABBA.

Listen to “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and just see if you can easily float back to the original without being changed in some way.

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Filed under anarcho noir, Noir Pop, Synth pop, World Music

Remember when Caribou gave away a giant fish? We have a winner

In April, Caribou held a contest in which a colorful flying fish was going to be given away.

Dan Snaith, aka Caribou, explained how the winner was chosen:

We received over 500 emails from every corner of the world proposing myriad purposes for it – including an aeronautical engineering student who wanted to attach it to a rocket and fire it into space. 

But right from the first time we read it, one proposal in particular grabbed our attention, and after researching the logistics of transporting this gentle giant halfway around the world, we are proud to announce the winner today: 

Harry Marshall emailed us on behalf of a group of students at the Welsh School of Architecture, planning to help build a playground on the island of Koh Rong in Cambodia, together with non-profit organisation Friends of Koh Rong.

The Cambodian island of Koh Rong is certainly not the only island that is dealing with the effects of increased tourism but is one such example, where rapid change is presenting the local community with overwhelming challenges.

Friends of Koh Rong was set up in 2013 to help deal with exactly those problems through increasing ( the previously limited ) access to education, healthcare and increasing the community’s capacity to deal with the strain brought by more tourism:

“Our organisation aims to help in mitigating the negative impacts of the tourism industry, and to enable our beneficiaries to stand in the best possible position to benefit from the changes that have arrived on this island, their home.”

As tourist infrastructure has encroached on more and more space on the island, there is no place for the school aged children on the island to play. The playground, sitting next to the school set up by Friends of Koh Rong, will provide an area for the children to play and be safe. The creature will provide a centrepiece for the playground. 

Harry and his team are raising money to complete this playground right now with construction due to begin towards the end of July – right around the time the multicoloured creature, which is just now being crated up and in preparation for its transpacific journey, will arrive on the island.

You can learn more and support the Friends of Koh Rong playground project by visiting their Kickstarter.

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Filed under Synth, Synth pop

Mas Ysa releases the tempo-jumping dance song “Arrows”

Canadian composer Mas Ysa today released a new song, “Arrows.” Thomas Arsenault, aka Mas Ysa, says this about the synthpop creation:

“Arrows is sort of a Euro club banger, but also a very personal love song. It comes out of me wanting to make a universal, club-ready track but unwittingly giving into emotion.”

His debut “Seraph,” named for a type of angel, is out July 24 on Downtown Records and was created in Arsenault’s home studio over a year. More of his music can be found at Mas Ysa on Soundcloud.

Arsenault also explained how sounds like clapping and flutes affected him personally.

“Thematically, there’s a lot of Catholic guilt and shame. I don’t set out to use specific sounds, but looking later at the pallet of choirs, clapping, castanets, flutes—I’ve realized that they are just comforting to me. I think that comes from going to church and coming from very large and close Ecuadorian and French-Canadian families. I don’t actively reference any culture’s sound or instruments, when I noticed later they were all over the place.”


Mas Ysa on tour :
6/26 Millvale, PA – Mr Smalls Theater *
6/27 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop *
6/28 Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch *
6/30 Covington, KY – Madison Live *
7/01 St.
Louis, MO – Firebird *
7/02 Lincoln, NE – Vega *
7/03 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge *
7/05 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge *
7/07 Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl *
7/08 Seattle, WA – Neumos *
7/09 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios *
7/11 San Francisco, CA – Phono Del Sol *
7/13 Los Angeles, CA – Bardot #
7/14 Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory *
7/15 Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar *
7/17 Austin, TX – Red 7 *
7/18 Dallas, TX – Club Dada *
7/19 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s *
7/21 Atlanta, GA – The Earl *
7/22 Ashville, NC – The Mothlight *
7/23 Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall *
7/24 Philadelphia, PA – Voyeur *
7/25 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair *
7/27 Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right ^

* w/ Tanlines
# Free School Night! w/ Phantoms, Corsica Arts Club & Fort Lean
^ RECORD RELEASE PARTY w/ Wish, Michael Baharie & Kelsey Lu

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Filed under New Music, Synth pop, Tour Dates

Telekinesis debuts “A Future World” on Seattle’s KEXP

telekinesisTelekinesis’ new song, “A Future World,” comes as Benjamin Lerner’s settling down into spousal bliss and reassessing life’s priorities.

According to a press release:

“I went down to the basement,” Lerner recalls, “and started playing the same chords I always play… I just felt like I’d exhausted everything I knew. I was not excited at all. I just could not make another power-pop album.”

“A Future World” could not be considered power pop, that much is true. It lays heavy on the side of synth-pop but with plenty of bright heart.

The song debuted on Seattle’s KEXP today, and the link includes a trailer to the new album, “Ad Infinitum.”

Telekinesis, otherwise known as Benjamin Lerner, has been making music since 2009 with a self-titled debut. This will be the band’s fourth album.

The new album by Telekinesis, “Ad Infinitum,” is out Sept. 18. The band is going on tour with Say Hi in October in Washington with a possible European tour over the winter.

Check out their much different sound on “Power Lines” from 2013:

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Filed under New Music, Synth, Synth pop