Music blog list Check our profile on Shuffler.fm

Applauded across the blogosphere for a sound that effortlessly meshes electronica, hip-hop, R&B and soul in a way that sounds familiar while managing to possess the sort of chilly, minimalist air similar to Beacon, the duo of denitia and sene will be releasing their forthcoming EP titled side fx in November, and the EP’s title track “side fx” is sinuous and seductive that evokes a plaintive and urgent carnality — of sweaty skin on sweaty skin and crumpled sheets. 

denetia’s vocals glide over gently pulsating synths with a coquettishness that’s captivatingly charming and ultimately one of the most seductive aspects of the song.  

The Bucharest-based producer and DJ Victor Gunta writes and performs under the decidedly German-sounding moniker, Elektromekanik. And under that moniker, Gunta has specialized in a sound that employs elements of neo disco, deep house and synth pop. Interestingly, his single “Are You Alright” bears a resemblance to Daft Punk, if they were covering the legendary Giorgio Moroder

Interestingly, Rodney Connell and Bradley Duhon’s latest project, the electro pop outfit, Night Drive has been gaining quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere for a sound inspired by the likes of Joy DivisionCut CopyBrian Enothe Knifethe DrumsLCD SoundsystemDepeche Mode and others. Or in other words, their sound can be described as being slickly produced, densely layered synth pop. 

Although the duo have been busily working on the finishing touches of their much anticipated debut full-length, they’ve also had some time to work on and release a cover of Radiohead's “Where I End and You Begin,” off Hail to the Thief, in which the duo turned a brooding and anxious song into a slickly produced, hypnotically pulsating dance pop track, in the vein of Giorgio Moroder while retaining the spirit of the original. They followed that up with a remix of  electro pop act Goldroom’s latest single with Mammals ”Till Sunrise," and the Night Drive remix retained the original’s slow burning sensuality and the vocalist’s smoky croon; however, the gauzy synths of the original were replaced by thick, pulsating synths paired with throbbing bass. The remix gives the song a denser and warmer feel — and makes it even more danceable, all while retaining the song’s seductiveness. .  . .

 Duhon and Connell recently remixed Elektromekanik’s “Are You Alright” giving the track an even deeper futuristic feel with levels of arpeggio synth stabs. explosive blasts of percussion and an Italian disco feel, reminiscent of the likes of Little Boots and others. 

Thurmon Green is a Los Angeles, CA-born and New York-based singer, who has quickly developed reputation for a sound that has been described as owing a debt to D’Angelo, and Laurie Anderson. His latest single “The Grind” off his Adolphus EP is comprised of brief blasts of horn, skittering synths and percussion and Green’s vocals, which bear an uncanny resemblance to D’Angelo. But perhaps unlike most R&B, Green’s sound and vocals are incredibly nuanced. Repeated listens reveal something new. 

With the release of his previous four albums, 1983 (2006), Los Angeles (2008), Cosmogramma (2010), and Until the Quiet Comes (2012), the Los Angeles-based producer, electronic music artist, and emcee Flying Lotus has won critical acclaim for his genre-defying work. And his forthcoming released fifth effort, YOU’RE DEAD will further cement his reputation for a sound that’s accessible and yet incredibly difficult to pigeonhole. The first single “Never Catch Me” featured guest vocals by Kendrick Lamar, and managed to fuse contemporary hip-hop with drum ‘n’ bass electronica, breezy bop jazz and jazz fusion in a seamless fashion. “Coronus, The Terminator,” the latest single off YOU’RE DEAD is something altogether different; in fact, sonically, the song manages sound more like contemporary soul and R&B but slightly psychedelic with subtle elements of dub step and a breezy, almost cosmic feel. 

With the Joy of Violent Movement, I’ve experimented with things here and there. I recently started an audio-based interview segment, which started with an interview with the Austin, TX-based anarchy-electro punk trio BLXPLTN, right before their set at the Afropunk Festival, back in August. 

In the second of what i hope will be a continuing (and expanding) series of audio interviews, I spoke with Rachel Ann Weiss, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who released her latest EP, Always last week. Deeply inspired by the work of the great and tragic Jeff Buckley, Weiss’s sound employs elements of jazz, pop, blues and soul with a vocals that have been compared by some across the blogosphere as being reminiscent of Amy Winehouse and Adele. Comparisons of that order are often arguable, depending on the listener’s personal taste and knowledge, but what I will say is that Weiss has a very soulful, smooth and at times husky vocal that conveys an emotional vulnerability and honesty that seems rare in a very ironic and vapid age. 

Although Weiss is the daughter of Kathleen Turner, Weiss has been working hard to make a name for herself on her own accord, spending large portions of the past year touring in the UK and across the States. And if there’s one thing that’s consistent, the life of an independent (and often unsigned) musician can be extraordinarily difficult and involves quite a bit of hustle and moxie, as Weiss can attest. 

In this interview, I spoke to Weiss at length about how she got into music and learned how to play the guitar; her love and adulation of Jeff Buckley; her songwriting process, including how lyrically, Shakespeare is a big influence; the personal experiences that have influenced her songs; Weiss’s famous mother and her influence on Weiss’s live performance — and if Weiss has felt the need to separate herself from her; and much more. 

Irish-born and currently London-based sisters Hannah and Colette Thurlow are the founders and creative force of the indie pop act 2:54 — and with the release of their 2012 debut effort, the Thurlow sisters and their backing band not only won international attention, they also toured with the likes of the xxWild Beasts and Warpaint. 

Their much-anticipated album. The Other I, which is slated for a November 11 release through the world renowned indie rock label, Bella Union Records, and takes its name from the Romantic-era British poet Percy Shelley, who often called his dear friend Elizabeth Hitchener the “sister of my soul, my other self” in countless letters to Hitchener. 

Interestingly, the album’s first single “Orion: was a gorgeously lush pop song that evokes traveling on the road under enormous skies and bore an uncanny resemblance to Bjork and Kate Bush — thanks to the fact that song possessed a rather haunting, almost spectral quality. The album’s second single, “In The Mirror” was a moody, atmospheric quality that reminded me quite a bit of Turn On The Bright Lights-era Interpol and The Unforgettable Fire-era U2 but with a slow-burning sensuality. The album’s third and latest single, “Blindfold” consists of atmospheric guitars, piano chords and haunting harmonies but with thundering drumming, which gives this particular song a forceful, muscular heft. It’s probably one of the more straightforward and accessible pop songs they’ve released to date — while managing to be arena rock friendly. 

The video was shot at dusk and at night in the curving alleyways, passageways and streets of the Thurlow’s hometown, and it’s shot in a way that makes both of the Thurlows seem larger than life and as though they’re living in part of an extended photo shoot. It’s spliced with performance footage of the Thurlows’ band playing in their rehearsal place. Although artistically done, the video is very straightforward. But I can tell you that there are a couple of sequences that I wish I could have shoot or film myself — the Thurlow sisters in the NYC subway-like passageway, the deserted passageway that evokes the post apocalypse world. 

Elizabeth Ann Clark is  Mojave Desert-based filmmaker and classically trained pianist who began composing melodies which eventually (and perhaps inevitably) evolved into electronic dance songs. Recording, writing and performing under the moniker of VIRGO, Clark’s sound has been compared by some to the likes of GrimesLittle Dragon, CHVRCHES and others; however, Clark’s newest single “ISS” is comprised of layers of futuristic -sounding glitchy synths and vocals fed through vocoder or other effects. In some way the track bears a subtle resemblance to Boys Noize’
"Ich R U" but airier. 

and as you’ll hear on Clark’s latest single “II,” it’s a fair comparison, although VIRGO’s sound is much more hypnotic and atmospheric while the synths and drum programming manage to evoke something deeply ominous and troubled just underneath the surface. 

Sonically, the production creates a compelling sense of tension as Clark sings ‘You’re in head, not in my heart” with a breathy coo. And yet, the song is very danceable. 

Albert Ovadia is a Miami, FL-based musician, producer and electronic music artist, who writes and records under the moniker of Red Traces. As Red Traces, Ovadia has crafted an extremely futuristic sounding electronica. Whereas “Silver Wave” sonically was an icily futuristic track that featured layers upon layers of propulsive, undulating synths. room rattling drums and bass, “Spectre,” Ovadia’s latest single sounds and feels anxious and evokes a dystopian and horrifying future, thanks layers of tightly controlled synths, swirling electronics and clashing and clanging industrial noises. But although very different, “Spectre” also manages to continue Ovadia’s reputation for crafting cinematic movie soundtrack styled soundscapes in the fashion of Umberto and others. 

Although named after NASA's first Space Station, which orbited the Earth between 1973 and 1979, Skylab is a French electronic music production team, whose latest EP, For the Ones Gone manages to possess elements of deep house, disco, funk and rock. The EP title track and first single, “For the Ones Gone” employs the use of layers upon layers of shimmering and glistening synths, shimmering guitar chords and a portion of a sample off Notorious B.I.G.’s “Sky’s the Limit" to create a slickly produced house track that possess both a cosmic glow and a deeply soulful nature as it’s trippy and yet approachable. 

With the release of their critically and commercially successful sophmore album In Ghost Colours, the Melbourne, Australia-based act Cut Copy was put on the international map, thanks in part to a sound that deftly mixes and blurs the lines between psychedelia, synth pop and indie rock in a way that was club friendly and yet earnest and deeply personal. 

Zonoscope, the Australian quartet’s third album — and follow up to In Ghost Colours — was a decided change in sonic direction, as the band wanted to evoke a sweaty, tropical and downright tribal feel to the material. And although I felt that the album was lacking, it did further cement the band’s reputation as an international pop sensation, as they were playing more extensive (and global) tours and larger venues. 

Last November saw the release of the band’s fourth and most recent release, Free Your Mind which sonically may strike the band’s fans as a synthesis of the sound they’ve developed over their previous three albums — and you’ll hear elements of each album throughout; however, at points, the album manages to be some of the most straightforward house music they’ve released to date. In particular, I think of “Meet Me In a House of Love’” which is comprised of layers of shimmering synths, swirling industrial noises, thumping and undulating bass with Dan Whitford’s falsetto croon. And in some way, the track sounds as though it owes a debt to the old school house records of the late 80s and early 90s.

Interestingly, Modular Records receently released a deluxe version of Free Your Mind, completed with three previously unreleased tracks. And I think what makes a deluxe edition of an album with unreleased tracks so compelling is the thought of how different an album would have been with the inclusion of a previously unreleased song. In many cases, you can see why a particular song was left from the album — usually, the discarded track doesn’t quite fit the mood of the album or it isn’t as well written as the album tracks. And in some very rare instances, the discarded track should have been on the album and was somehow forgotten. You see in many ways, a deluxe edition of an album can show you what exactly the band and its respective label were thinking as they were finalizing the original edition of the album, and that can be revelatory, especially if you’re a a fan of the band,

Recently, the Melbourne, Australia-based band have enlisted several folks to remix singles from Free Your Mind. The TJANI to remix of “Meet Me In A House of Love” added hot flashes of cymbals, glistening synths, syrupy piano chords and swirling electronic bloops and bleeps and pairs it with Dan Whitford’s plaintive vocals and makes an old school inspired house track sound like a contemporary house track. Sonically, the remix is a marvel of modern production techniques while being a straight-up club banger.

The Miracles Club recently remixed “Meet Me In A House of Love” and their remix is comprised of hazily swirling samples, propulsive synth stabs, glistening keyboard chords at the hook and a tribal sense of percussion and pairs it with Whitford’s plaintive vocals to create a sweatier, primal version of house music that reminds me of the jungle house craze.

Comprised of singer/songwriter Jen Hirsh, producer/songwriter Scott Smith, along with touring members drummer Nate Lotz and bassist/synth player Thomas Drayton ,electro pop act Monogem have been gaining attention across the blogosphere for a sound that some of my colleagues have described as idling between CHVRCHES and Solange. Personally, I think that after you hear their latest single “Stay With Me,” you’d hear much more of a sickly produced pop-orientated R&B consisting of layers upon layers of sinuous and oscillating synths, precisely programmed drums and Hirsh’s seductive croon; in fact, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the likes of Bear in Heaven's I Love You It’s Cool, Beacon's For Now EP and Ways We Separate and even Steven A. Clark's Fornication Under Consent of the King — but with a dizzying denseness. 

 

Rene Lopez may arguably be one of the most talented, charming and sadly under-appreciated artists i’ve had the unique pleasure of covering and getting to know through this site’s history. As the son of Rene Lopez Sr, the salsa trumpeter who had played with the Ray Barretto Orchestra and Tipica 73,  two of the most highly regarded and beloved salsa acts of their time, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that the younger Lopez was raised in a home where music was a very vital and constant presence; in fact, the younger Lopez learned how to play drums before he could read. But as Rene Lopez grew into his own as a musician, he gravitated towards rock, R&B, soul and funk. With stints in bands such as Wasabi, the Authority and Extra Virgin. Lopez has been involved in New York’s music scene for the better part of two decades as a drummer and frontperson, playing in countless venues including the beloved and dearly departed home of New York’s jam band scene — The Wetlands. (Interestingly, when I had mentioned Rene Lopez to another drummer, who I have written about once or twice, my drummer friend had mentioned catching Lopez in a band or two back in the Wetlands days. Talk about small world, indeed!) 

Interestingly, Lopez artistically has been something of a chameleon throughout the bulk of his career. His fourth and latest full-length effort,  Paint the Moon Gold  is comprised of compositions that are stripped down to live instrumentation only — vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, horns, flute, etc. And in some way, the material possesses familiar elements as it continues to draw from the salsa of Lopez’s youth and of his late father, Rene Lopez, Sr. But it’s not as seemingly straightforward as the uninitiated would likely believe; in fact, the compositions manage to owe an even greater debt to the smooth, breezy, summery feel of 70s Brazilian music. And if you listen to it as a whole, it sounds as though it could have easily been released sometime in 1974 as it could have been released a few months ago.  

However, his forthcoming EP, Love Has No Mercy and it’s first single, the EP title track “Love Has No Mercy” reveals yet another change in sonic direction for Lopez. Featuring a guest spot by Carol C, the track is a slinkily seductive, synth-based R&B and funk track that sounds as though it were inspired by the likes of Prince, The Gap Band, Rick James, Chic and others, down to the sinuous bass line, and cooed vocals. It’s track that’s sexy as hell — and it may be the funkiest, most straightforward party jam Lopez has released to date.