Everyone can let out a larger than life sigh of relief; The glorious and ever-so-sweet synth-pop princess, Empress Of is back with a serious vengeance.
Lorely Rodriguez aka Empress Of is a lovely 25-year-old, LA-raised, Brooklyn-based artist with the dreamiest of voices and the most bumpin’ beats, which she apparently started making at the age of 17. According to this interview in Fader, Rodriguez also studied production and audio engineering at Berklee College of Music in Boston before moving to NYC in 2011.
Some extremely talented artists come along, release a couple of obsessive-worthy tracks, disappear, and you hope like hell they reappear once again, but they never do. This luckily isn’t the case with Empress Of.
Have a listen to four amazingly slammin’ synth-pop tracks found on Me and rejoice in her reemergence. (p.s. The album is premiering and playing in full over at Hype Machine right now)
Empress Of – Kitty Kat
Empress Of – Standard
Empress Of – Water Water
Empress Of – How Do You Do It
It’s refreshing to hear that Trust aka Robert Alfons, the insanely talented Toronto-hailing goth synth-pop God can consistently keep up with his dark, seductive, drug-sick lurching-like music producing ways. Since the release of his stunning debut album, TRST, back in 2012, Alfons has been on what seems like a never-ending tour, but he’s back to making new music and blowing everyone’s minds and ears, per usual.
Trust‘s sophomore album, Joyland, described as “an eruption of guts, feels, and joy,” is due out March 4 via Arts & Crafts. He’ll also be embarking on tour with none other than the amazing electro-pop Queen, Mozart’s Sister. Could this get any better!? Have a listen to “Capitol” and “Rescue, Mister,” two new tracks off of Joyland, then commence to weep black tears of synth-pop joy:
Trust – Capitol
Trust – Rescue, Mister
Emilíana Torrini is an Icelandic electro-pop songstress, but don’t call her “new” or “emerging,” as this isn’t her first rodeo. Torrini has as many as 8 albums under her belt (mostly released in Iceland only), and another on the way. Plus, get this, Torrini also sang “Gollum’s Song” in Peter Jackson’s, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – say what!?
The lady’s got an impressive rap sheet, including her latest release, “Speed of Dark.” It’s an addictive and infectious 80s synth-pop gem worthy of serious repeat action. The track can be found on Torrini’s forthcoming LP, Tookah due out September 9th via Rough Trade Records (The Strokes, Arcade Fire Jarvis Cocker, etc.)
Word on the street, however, is that the album will only be released in the UK, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland – Well, thank God for streaming on SoundCloud! The songstress is also currently on tour throughout Europe for the month of November. Have a listen to Torrini’s enchanting new track, “Speed of Dark” now:
Emilíana Torrini – Speed of Dark
The weather warmed up in San Francisco this past week for a hot minute – Our (one and only) glimpse of a true summer. So naturally, all San Franciscans piled into parks, crammed onto bar patio benches, threw on floppy hats and maxi dresses, and put our instagramming hands in the air to capture the clear blue sky, like we REALLY care. Alas, the moment has passed us, and our real “Summer is Coming,” which means chilly wind and eerie fog thicker than Turkish coffee. So with that, I bring to you a fresh track roundup of hot new tracks for cool days, or for cooler heads, depending on your geographical preference:
Joywave is a Rochester, New York-based electro/experimental group mastering in mixtapes. They released their mixtape, 77777, back in March of ’11 and just released a follow-up with, you guessed it, 88888. According to Interview Magazine, “The process behind Joywave‘s upcoming mixtape is an intriguing exercise in self-improvement. … frontman Daniel Armbruster, created a record that is not comprised of new material, but rather rethinks and reintroduces material from the band’s debut EP, Koda Vista. This idea is rooted not only in the dance and hip-hop tradition of the remix, but also in the paintings of Expressionist painter Edvard Munch, who famously remade the same painting several times, in order to best communicate with his audience.”
The rework and re-visitation of Joywave‘s previous material is obviously doing them justice, as “Tongues,” a new single found on 88888, is sickeningly addictive and has fiercely shot up to the top the blogosphere charts. Have a listen to “Tongues” and download 88888 for free on Joywave’s site:
Joywave – Tongues (feat. KOPPS)
Dead Ghosts is a quad garage rock band hailing from the depths of Vancouver, British Columbia whose sound has been described as, “raunchy lo-fi, country-esque, sweet guitar pluck-and-jangle.“ Listen to “Roky Said” a nostalgic-inducing, rockin’, “garage fuzz” psychedelic jam found on their recently released LP, Can’t Get No, via Burger Records:
Dead Ghosts – Roky Said
Ooh Wampire. Let me count the ways in which I’ve idiotically missed you play, and how I’m always kicking myself for doing so. The Portland, Oregon-based indie-pysch-rock-pop band was created by longtime bffs, Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps. The two “started jamming in 2001” while in middle school. Now, Wampire is signed to Polyvinyl and has been on tour with friends, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (who also produced their debut). Wampire won me over with their trippy track, “The Hearse,” and I’ve been throughly addicted since. Wampire‘s new LP, Curiosity, is due out May 14 and you can stream the entire album in advance on Pitchfork. Don’t miss these guys!
Wampire – Trains
Wampire – The Hearse
Hot & Cold is the collaboration of two young 20-something Canadian brothers, Josh and Simon Frank. The boys produce trippy, abstract, catchy, drone synth-rock and apparently made their first live debut in Beijing, of all places. According to an interview with Vice, the transnational brothers, while in Beijing, “earned a spot alongside the Rose Mansion Analog crew, joining the ranks of the Offset:Spectacles and Soviet Pop.” Have a listen to “Out of the Grey” an addictive single from Hot & Cold’s new LP, Border Area, via Moniker Records:
Hot & Cold – Out of the Grey
Phèdre is one of my all-time favorite wacky electro Canadian duo/bands, and that’s saying a lot ‘cus there are so many to choose from! Phèdre released their self-titled debut album just last year and left many hungry for more. Luckily, they’re currently in the album-producing mood and are in the process of finalizing another LP, Golden Age. “We spent the darkest days of the winter writing a new record in Berlin. We made a collage for each song. We’re gonna put this out into the universe real soooooon.” They’re also currently producing a spontaneous “ongoing record,” Eterna, in which they’re “droppin’ tracks as they come.” Listen to “Zenith,” the first track from, Eterna:
Phèdre – Zenith
Kisses is an LA-based electro-pop duo made up of Jesse Kivel & Zinzi Edmundson. Their sophomore album, Kids in LA, is due out May 14th via Cascine and was produced by Saint Etienne’s Pete Wiggs. Kisses is also currently and appropriately on tour with Chad Valley – A surefire dance party in the making. Have a listen to “Air Conditioning,” Kisses‘ synthtastic gem from the new LP:
Kisses – Air Conditioning
Yeeehaaw! It’s officially official: coco stereo‘s goin’ to SXSW! In a series of amazing (and in some cases, extremely lucky) events, everything seemed to come together oh so perfectly and I will be in Austin, Texas for the Interactive + Film and Music festivals. So now that universe has aligned in my favor, I present to you a plethora of new jams from hype-worthy bands:
James Blake, the 24-year-old London-based, “post-dubstep” electro producer has been blowing the blogosphere away this week with his return. Blake recently released an amazingly smooth, crooning, falsetto-hinged and emotionally driven new track, “Retrograde,” which debuted on BBC Radio 1. His sophomore album, Overgrown, is due out April 8th. Listen and watch the video for “Retrograde,” James Blake‘s dynamic return to the music realm:
G3NESIS is a brand spankin’ new and thoroughly addicting female rap/hip-hop group consisting of Kelin Kaardal and Genesis Mohanraj (formerly of Juice). The Vancouver-based duo don just a handful of tracks, “Yes Daddy” being their newest and strongest of the lot, and I’m already eager to hear more.
G3NESIS – Yes Daddy
It’s no secret that people have gone ape-shit crazy for the UK hailing electro-pop trio, CHVRCHES, since their conception merely 6 months ago. The group only dons (now) three songs, their latest track, “Recover” found below, yet their fairytale story of Indie stardom is still going strong and they’re headed to the US. They’ll also be playing with MØ in LA at The Echo, for a spectacular combination of electro-pop hype-mania. Be sure to look for them at SXSW and listen to their catchy new synth-tastic release “Recover.”
CHVRCHES – Recover
Lorde is an up-and-coming New Zealand native singer-song writer with an apparent talent and knack for creating catchy pop-tracks that’ll appeal to just about anyone. She’s released a strong debut EP, The Love Club, which you can stream in completion on SoundCloud. Listen to “The Love Club” and “Royals,” two tracks I just can’t seem to get enough of:
Lorde – The Love Club
Lorde – Royals
iamforest is moniker of Vancouver-based chillwave producer Luke Hartle. His latest beauty of a single and release, “Structures” is full of ambient bliss, yet still maintains a strongly defined beat. Find iamforest on SoundCloud, and/or listen + download his tracks on bandcamp.
iamforest – Structures
Azekel is an East Londoner and alternative R&B producer who may be giving Frank Ocean a run for his money. Have a listen to Azekel’s debut single, “That Feeling,” which officially releases, February 25th.
Azekel – That Feeling
Coma is the alias of pop-infused electro synth masters, Marius Bubat and Georg Conrad. They’ll be releasing a new album, Technicolor, due out in April via Kompakt, and “Hoooooray” is their first single from their debut LP.
Am I jumping on The Knife bandwagon? Yes, yes, I am… but at least it’s legitimate.
The Internet was all a buzz last week leaking some, dare I say, shite two-minute blips/webrips and crappy bootleg videos all for an eager listen to new sounds from The Knife. Alas, The Knife has luckily and officially dropped a full 10 minute track via SoundCloud AND a Marit Östberg-directed video for their latest release, “Full of Fire.” – It’s a massive, sexy, sensual, synth-tastic banger of a jam that has everyone easily in a frenzy.
The Knife will be dropping a triple LP, Shaking the Habitual, April 18th, 2013 – their first studio album since Silent Shout seven years ago. The album, (tracklist found below), also features an 11 minute track with Shannon Funchess of Light Asylum (!!) – I can only imagine how unbelievably amazing and intense that track alone will be.
Have a listen to “Full of Fire,” watch the official video, and pre-order Shaking the Habitual here.
The Knife – Full of Fire
Shaking the Habitual tracklist and count courtesy of Gorilla vs. Bear:
A Tooth for an Eye — 6:04
Full of Fire — 9:17
A Cherry on Top — 8:43
Without You My Life Would Be Boring — 5:14
Wrap Your Arms Around Me — 4:36
Crake — 0:55
Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized — 19:02
Raging Lung — 9:58
Networking — 6:42
Oryx — 0:37
Stay Out Here (feat. Shannon Funchess) — 10:42
Fracking Fluid Injection — 9:54
Ready to Lose — 4:36
The days are cold (at least in San Francisco), and the new music flow is kinda slow. But (!) despite these hurry-up-and-wait times where new music production seems to be on a fierce hold, I present to you a fresh track roundup! Let’s get on with it:
Foxygen is on just about everyone’s radar. They’ve been deemed a “band to watch in 2013” by many, and all ears are open. The singer/songwriter LA-based duo consists of Sam France and Jonathan Rado. They’re young, yet create the essence of a Velvet Underground/Bob Dylan/Kinks persona.
Foxygen‘s latest release, “No Destruction” will be found on Their forthcoming album, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, out January 22nd via Jagjaguwar.
Best line of the song: “There’s no need to be an asshole, you’re not in Brooklyn anymore.” Enjoy:
Foxygen – No Destruction
Mike Tucker, the blonde, giant (almost 7 foot-tall) producer also known as Blood Diamonds (and one of Grimes’ many BFFs) has collaborated w/ex-A$AP member, Dominic Lord. The result? Some seriously funky hip-hop. Have a listen to “Barcode” now:
Blood Diamonds – Barcode ft. Dominic Lord
*This track’s apparently been put on ‘Private’ now – Don’t you just love that? Listen to it on SoundCloud then.
Karen Marie Ørsted aka MØ, the Copenhagen-hailing electro-pop princess who’s made serious waves amongst the blogosphere with just a couple of tracks, has graced us with, “Glass,” yet another gem. Some are calling her the ‘Scandinavian Grimes’ though I think the two have sounds, and personalities entirely of their own, both of which are still entirely addicting. Have a listen to MØ‘s third song to date:
MØ – Glass
I can hardly contain my excitement for Doldrums‘ upcoming album, “Lesser Evil” (out 2/25 on Souterrain Transmissions/Europe, and 2/26 on Arbutus Records/North America). Airick Woodhead is the Canadian mastermind behind Doldrums, and he’s stead-fast to producing some of the freshest, most interesting experimental/electro music out there. “Anomaly” is Doldrums‘ latest release from his highly anticipated forthcoming album:
Doldrums – Anomaly
Brothers in Law is a new lo-fi, shoegaze, indie-pop outfit out of none other than Pesaro, Italy. According to The 405, Brothers in Law have recently gone from duo to trio and will soon release their second EP, Gray Days, on 7″ vinyl, limited edition, via We Were Never Being Boring, CF-records and MattaLab. “Holy Weekend” can be found on Gray Days due out February 16th. Stream below:
Brothers in Law – Holy Weekend
I stumbled upon Widowspeak via Captured Tracks, and boy, I’m glad I did. The “western-tinged” indie-pop/rock n’ roll group composed of Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas transcends you into a dreamy bliss. Their second LP, “Almanac,” is due out January 22nd, (but you can stream the entire album on SoundCloud right now).
Windowspeak – Thick as Thieves
Flight Facilities is a funky electro pop production based out of Australia. Remember their 2011 jam, “Crave You” featuring Giselle? Regardless, the duo has recently released, “Clair De Lune,” a breathtakingly beautiful track featuring Christine Hoberg, with haunting video to match:
Flight Facilities – Clair De Lune (ft. Christine Hoberg)
The Swedes are insanely talented music producing masters and they’re especially synonymous with eclectic electro. From The Knife, to iamamiwhoami, jj, Little Dragon, Niki & The Dove, The Sound of Arrows, even Robyn (and don’t you even try to forget) Ace of Base, addictive electro-pop music is a Swedish forte.
This month, we get to add yet another talented Swedish act to the electro-pop pool: Kate Boy. With just one strong song, “Northern Lights,” Kate Boy thrusts us into nostalgia for The Knife, and in doing so, has quickly topped music blog charts. If the mysterious (supposed 3 parts Swedish, 1 part Aussie) group continues to produce synth superbness, they’re steadfast to becoming electro super stars.
With a bouncing, dark, ambient beat, metallic synth and righteous vocals, listen to Kate Boy‘s debut track, “Northern Lights” and stay tuned:
Kate Boy – Northern Lights
I find it amusing, surprising, and equally awesome that a band member (Ben Cook), from a hardcore punk group, (Fucked Up) can completely switch modes and successfully produce smooth 80s inspired synth-pop jams. The result: Yacht Club.
The new Toronto-based side project of two has released a mixtape, Nonnavera, a slew of tracks including “Tropicana,” and “Flash” on Pretty Pretty, Burger, and soon a “cute little perverted song with hopefully a cute little perverted music video,” via Daps Records. Their latest release, “Fail to Cry” is the most addictive of the lot, and may possibly be part of a forthcoming mixtape – We can only hope!
Yacht Club – Fail to Cry
Yacht Club – Tropicana
Yacht Club – Flash
If you didn’t think Robert Alfons, the Toronto hailing electro-goth synth-pop God (aka Trust), could get any more talented, he busts out an acoustic piano version of his beloved track, “Sulk.” The kaleidoscope-esque video, directed by Petra Collins, displays Alfons’ raw talent and beauty as a musician. The acoustic version of “Sulk” adds layers of delicateness to Trust‘s expected and addictive “drug-sick” lurching electro-goth that typically oozes with sex and synth.
Trust (sometimes a two-piece with Maya Postepski of Austra) has had quite a year. They released a debut album (and one of the best of 2012), TRST, and an EP, Dressed for Space. Having finished a whirlwind tour with Yeasayer, and a headlining tour in Europe, Trust is now currently on tour supporting The Faint (which I personally think it should be the other way around).
Watch and listen to Trust‘s acoustic version of “Sulk” now:
Trust – Sulk [Piano Version]