Tove-Styrke_thumb.png

[Audio] Tove Styrke’s ‘Kiddo’

 

Tove Styrke

We may be a little obsessed with this album right now.

We can across Tove Styrke a few weeks ago while browsing the Local paper. Checking, as we tend to do, local gig listings we see Tove Styrke is playing at Start The Bus (a once amazing music venue that has gone somewhat downhill after a failed attempt to go ‘gastro’). The listings include the words ‘Swedish’ and ‘ElectroPop’. We immediately buy tickets. Then we figure we should check out some of Tove’s music. Her just released sophomore album was out first port of call. But before that, some backstory…

Ms. Styrke was runner up on Swedish Pop Idol in 2010 and hastily afterward released her self-titled début, a perfectly enjoyable but slightly bland (although even when bland the Swedish do Pop better than another else) album that Tove herself has since admitted was rushed and that she wasn’t happy with the results (despite going platinum). Fast-forward to 2014, after taking some time out of the limelight Tove returns with the Borderline EP, a preview of the follow-up album to come. It’s was a brash, left-field take on Pop loaded with personality. This wasn’t the work of a post-TV show puppet, this was a self-assured artist grabbing Pop music with both hands and shaking it down.

A year later and this summer Tove released Kiddo, a twelve track musical manifesto that swings between the empowerment of an ex-teen star and outright vitriol against anyone who won’t let her be herself. Tove’s playful and soft vocals comes across as all sweetness and light but with a knife behind her back; and it’s this underlying antagonism amid a sea of perfectly crafted Pop music that gives Kiddo it’s edge. Tove seems to lay out her grievances with the music industry, grievances with anyone who doesn’t like her new music and grievances with anyone who doesn’t understand her new direction and, basically, tells them to fuck off. All to some particularly Scandinavian and eclectic Pop sounds .

Kiddo hits the ground running with opening salvo that kicks off with Ain’t Got No…, a left-field opener that sways to woozy basslines and a juddering beat while Tove croons her policy statement. It’s on Ain’t Got No… that we are introduced to one of the surprising musical themes running throughout the record. Big, dirty, 303 Acid hooks; the album is packed with them. You’ll be settling into a smooth Pop tune and suddenly, from nowhere, this gritty, distorted TB-303 line with inject itself into the track, cutoff and resonance tweaked to the max. It’s one of the many unexpected teats Kiddo has to offer.

Snaren shows off Kiddo’s other musical motif. On more than one occasion Tove weaves a Dancehall flavour into her songs, bringing Dub spaciousness and rolling snares to the mix. Snaren delivers a ballsy party tune with a comfortable Tropical House vibe to the chorus. A vibe that continues into the single Ego, one of the albums more traditional chart friendly moments with it’s big R&B-lite sing-a-long chorus (and , oh look, a burbling Acid line). A mood that is mirrored on the tongue-in-cheek album closer, Brag.

The likes of Samurai Boy and Walk The Line provide typical ScandiPop fare. All crisp synths and thick production while the Dub-Pop of Burn and the majestic anthem of Decay delve deeper into the album’s physiological dark side (and Acid lines. Seriously, they just appear from nowhere!). The height of the Island influence comes on the single Boarderline, a headstrong hymn that mixes aggression and a Dancehall patter with a oddly Folk like elements which contrast nicely with the Pop ballad turned ominous dark SynthPop of Who’s Got News.

Of the album’s other two singles, Number One feels like the earliest track on Kiddo, maybe Tove shedding her former self? while Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You, the records biggest hit, is a crazy, chanted, literal “fuck off” to anyone pretentious to think themselves above Pop music. Possible the most infectious song of the decade.

Sometimes political, sometimes social, always feminist, Kiddo is not just a coming-of-age for Tove Styrke, but the freeing of someone tired of industry manipulation and has zero fuck to give if you like it or not. Which makes for a supremely confident record which is not-at-all hurt by the fact that it is loaded with infectious, expertly crafted, diverse, perfect Pop.

 

♫ Tove Styrke – Snaren

 

♫ Tove Styrke – Decay

Tove Styrke’s Kiddo is out now.

Buy Tove Styrke’s music from:

         

[Audio] AIMES’ ‘Dirtbox’

 

aimes

Brooklyn’s finest is back with another slice of thoughtful, robotic House music. AIMES has been a firm fixture on electronic rumors since he made his début. Sometimes an artist comes along with something about them that makes them stand out from the crowd to us; with AIMES there was both a musicality beyond his contemporaries and a crisp, synthetic, analog sound to his tunes, whether turning his attention to Disco, House or SynthWave his tunes were just that bit more electronic (which obviously appeals to us!).

AIMES has dipped his music toe into a number of genres in his career; but whether Chillwave, Nu-Disco or Indie-Electro his tunes are generally pretty recognisable as he gives the styles his own unique spin. Right about now he’s teamed up with Mexican label Trafico and gone a bit left-field for his latest single. It’s out now, called Dirtbox, and comes loaded with it’s B-side, Prophet Jam, and reMixes from Mexico’s Juan Soto and NYC’s Tunnel Signs.

AIMES keeps things on just the right side of weird on Dirtbox. Hypnotic and undulating, Dirtbox introduces you to the hook early on, amid a sea of hammerfall piano. The hook persists throughout the track, weaving in and out of a symphony of pads, strings and vocal snatches in a tapestry of mysteries dancefloor sounds. Jumping in with some good squelchy Acid riffs is just the icing on the cake. Dirtbox is a track that will draw you in and command you to dance, and even when it’s over it will be ringing round your head and leaving it’s shadow on your feet.

AIMEs is one of a small group of artists who manage to make records that are both full-on funky Disco and House, and yet are quite experimental and intricate in their use of sounds and arrangement. It’s a hard feat to pull off, but AIMEs does it with style.

♫ AIMES – Dirtbox

AIMES’ Dirtbox is out now.

Buy AIMES’ music from:

[Audio] Le Matos & PAWWS’ ‘No Tomorrow’

 

Le Matos

We do love it when two acts that we dig work together. Especially when we had no idea they were connected, in this pairing’s case, at all. Montréal based SynthWavers Le Matos have been cropping up on these pages off and on since way back in 2009. They’re one of a rare breed of SynthWave producers who have managed to keep their tracks consistently top quality and avoid getting repetitive. They’ve also not let himself become to insular on the SynthWave scene, having worked with and reMixed some diverse electronic artists such as We Have Band and Johan Agebjörn & Ercola. Le Matos don’t release new material with the crazy high frequency the SynthWave scene fosters, so when they so it’s something special to pay attention too.

And who have they teamed up with for this new track? Well, it’s none other than Pawws. This North Londoner has also been known to grace these pages on more than one occasion. Lucy Taylor made her way into all our hearts with one of last summer’s best vinyl released, her Sugar EP and we’ve been eagerly awaiting the follow up ever since.

That’s two fine artists right there, opposite sides of the Atlantic, who have both been teasing this collaboration for a while now and have had us itching to hear the results. They’ve brought together to release No Tomorrow, a track taken from form the soundtrack to forthcoming post-apocalyptic BMX flick Turbo Kid. From what we can gather about Turbo Kid it was set to be a retro fuelled thrill ride even before the soundtrack was full of awesomeness. No Tomorrow is out now accompanied by a blue heavyweight vinyl 7” release by Death Waltz, who will be releasing the full Turbo Kid soundtrack later this year.

You know we’re massive fans of Electric Youth here. Bear that in mind when we say No Tomorrow sounds a bit like Electric Youth…but better. Le Matos keep the production light and airy on this one; it’s lead line a raindrop pitter-patter of bright keys flowing gently over a spiky arpeggiated bassline and a wonderfully thick and robust vintage beat. Adding to the tracks breathiness is Lucy’s hushed and lilting vocals with a slightly more typical 80s arrangement than you’d hear on her own Pawws records. The combination of Le Matos’ dreamy, nostalgic sounds and Lucy’s optimistic tone makes for a classic sounding slice of synthesizer euphoria. Effortlessly uplifting and hopeful, No Tomorrow is a ray of musical sunshine with just the right amount of cinematic rhapsody to perfectly soundtrack some kind of beaten-the-odds scene in a movie, which we are presuming it does.

♫ Le Matos (Feat. Pawws) – No Tomorrow

Le Matos’ No Tomorrow is out now.

Buy Le Matos’ music from:

[Audio] Liskka’s self-titled EP

 

liskka

When last we checked Liskka were an all girl trio, now we’re not so sure. Formed from the ashes of Boy/Girl swirly Indie-Electro outfit Happy Hunting, Jana Tyrell enlisted Susie Wedderburn and Hannah Ashman to form her new group, launching with the effervescent As It Goes (I Give). Now, however, it appears that Liskka are, well, a Boy/Girl Indie-Electro outfit (again). The giveaways being copious amounts of male vocals on the new tracks and a Mr. Rick David listed as Jana’s other band member. Anyway, whatever the make up of Jana Tyrell’s band of troubadours; Liskka have just released their début proper EP via Pink Bird Records, a five track affair loaded with experimental Popisms and a wealth of influences.

You’ll find As It Goes (I Give) squeezed onto the end of the EP, a cacophonous Future R&B track wrapped in Chillwave duvet. Eclectic percussion meeting girl harmonies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. As with most of the EP, the track battles with chaos and brings the charm out of the noise; at once alarming and enchanting, the track kinda’ gets under your skin.

Of the new tunes present Cold really stood out for us on the EP, a symphony of broken samples, reverb washed chords and ethereal vocals. Still keeping an R&B swing, but pushing it to it’s most unrecognizable limits as Liskka’s sonic experimentalism layer the organic with the synthetic to haunting effect. The enigmatic arrangement and obscure instrumentation made human by Jana’s versatile voice. Far From Us is more traditionally Shoegaze, a tad to guitary for our tastes and features male vocals prominently; as does the EP’s opener Night Terrors, a perfectly pleasant IndiePop anthem but we do feel Liskka works best with an intangible female voice at the fore.

The self-titled EP’s remaining track, Ghost In The Machine, certainly delivered on everything we love about Liskka and was the other stand out new track in our humble opinion. Building it’s own majesty on an multiform swing groove and a mystical sound pallet. Switching things up a little, Liskka play around with breakbeats and fuller synths as the song builds, resulting in the most powerful track on the EP. Disjointed and dissonant elements coming together in Liskka’s talented hands to create a beautiful whole. Which is much like Liskka in general actually, and the EP in total. Sometimes it doesn’t work, more often it does; and when it does it delivers something truly captivating.

♫ Liskka – Ghost In The Machine

♫ Liskka – Cold

♫ Liskka – As It Goes (I Give)

Liskka’ Liskka EP is out now.

Buy Liskka’s music from:

 

[Audio] Hot Natured’s ‘Off World Lover’

 

Hot-Natured

2013’s Different Sides Of The Sun, by robotic House supergroup Hot Natured is still one of our favourite albums of the decade so far. The outfit, consisting of London SynthPop turned synthetic House master Ali Love, Chicago DJ superstar Lee Foss, Wales’ fines Jamie Jones and CazalsLuca C delivered an instant classic in their début full length record. Sounding unlike anything else around at the time, the album grabbed house and took it down a decidedly 80s Electro alleyway for a good seeing to. Ali Love’s futuristic, Sci-Fi themed vocal performances, paired with a host of quality guests, and an array of stripped down & groovy, analog dance tracks made Different Sides Of The Sun something both compelling and unique. It’s an album that still in heavy rotation round these parts.

It’s been eighteen months since the last new tune from this foursome. We’ve had reMix singles in the meantime (including the amazing Luxry mix of Benediction) but new in terms of original track. Well the wait was finally over with the announcement of Off World Lover. The single is due out in September, as a prelude to the group’s sophomore album that is slated for a 2016 release and will feature a remix from Bristolian producer Will Clarke.

Appropriately released on Jones and Foss’s Emerald City label, Off World Lover continues deeper along their visionary House journey. From a title that brings BladeRunner to mind, to Ali’s interplanetary lyrics, to the otherworldly lead lines this is definitely SynthPop and House music for futurists.

Hot Natured have this knack of making raw, analog sounds sound rich and full. Like most Hot Natured tunes, Off World Lover is quite minimal in it’s arrangement, but never feels like it. In lesser producers hands this synthetic orchestra might sound lacking, but these four maestros can eschew flashy, cheap, modern production tricks and still sound as bombastic as any of today’s big, overproduced, dance tunes. With a growling, rumbling bass undulating over a skippy House beat the foundations are laid for this galactic opus. Synthesizers bleep, sounding like the alerts of a spaceship’s computer while electronic strings zip past like starlight and an otherworldly hook plays in the distance like a half-heard Theremin. Over this Ali’s passionately delivers his long-distance lament, calling out between the planets to his long lost love. Howe Hot Natured manage to sound like this, and never once stop being unbelievably funky is a mystery. But they do, and we’re all thankful for that.

♫ Hot Natured – Off World Lover

Hot Natured’s Off World Lover is released 18th September.

Buy Hot Natured’s music from:

[Audio] Ben Macklin’s ‘Think Of Me’

 

ben-macklin_thumb

We reckon you’d all know London based producer and all-round nice guy Ben Macklin by now. Not only one half of the UK’s answer to Chromeo, Cassette Club, but label boss and particularly talented producer in his own solo right too. Ben delivers the sound of the summer each and every time with warm, laid back tunes that draw on the wealth of Disco, House, SynthWave and SynthPop. Ben’s tune are just…nice. we’re not sure of there’s a better word to describe them, like a sunshiney afternoon spent with good friends and good drinks, for four minutes a Ben Macklin production can make you forget your worries and let you sink into the comfortable groove.

The man is pretty prolific these days, even if there isn’t nearly as much new Cassette Club material as we would like going around. Regular releases have been coming out on his Modal label over the past year and a half or so. Barely a month goes by without a new single and, surprisingly these days, this hasn’t for a second translated into a drop in quality. Take his latest offering, Think Of Me. The track’s release has been perfectly timed to coincide with a break in the UK’s bizarre gloomy mid-summer period and as we write this piece the sun is blazing down and Ben’s new single is the perfect soundtrack. The release sees him once again teaming up with fellow Londoner Emma Brammer (of Dare and It’s Over fame) on vocal duties who’s smoky croon lends an air of enigma to the track.

For such a cosy tune, the bassline in Think Of Me is pretty spikey. A razor sharp digital Funk bass that would impose a robotic dominance over any other track, but Macklin tempers it with washes of glowing and intimate tones that breeze between lush pads and starlight chimes, all rolling over a solid, but unobtrusive House beat. Leading the way on Think Of Me is a soothing electric piano hook and Emma’s enticing vocal. As Ben peppers her voice with the occasional Dub-like effect to weave it in and out of the tune, Emma’s slightly melancholic holiday daydreaming carries you away as much as any element of the music. In the car, in the headphone, on the boombox, DJ’ed by the pool; this one should be enjoyed in the outdoors in good company.

If Think Of Me makes you want to relax in the sunshine, then AIMES stellar reMix of the track will have you heading straight to the dancefloor. injecting the tune with a little Boogie, a little Italo and a little vintage Disco; one of Brooklyn’s finest, AIMES, hits the end of those big snare rolls running with orchestral stabs and the unrelenting machine Funk of the reMixes’ machine gun bassline. Mid-way point the reMix explodes in a symphony of strings and intertwining synth lines, all perfectly crafted to keep the dancefloor energy at it’s highest. Hold tight for the killer synth solo! Likewise, German synthesizer head Final DJs (‘Final DJ’ goddamnit!) delivers a densely layered electronic odyssey.

♫ Ben Macklin (Feat. Emma Brammer) – Think Of Me

♫ Ben Macklin (Feat. Emma Brammer) – Think Of Me (AIMES reMix)

♫ Ben Macklin (Feat. Emma Brammer) – Think Of Me (Final DJs reMix)

Ben Macklin’s Think Of Me is out now.

Buy Ben Macklin’s music from:

[Audio] Chvrches’ ‘Never Ending Circles’

 

chvrches

Whoop! It’s the second new tune, following Leave A Trace, from universal ElectroPop overlords Chvrches forthcoming sophomore album Every Eye Open. We’re fast approaching the mid-September release date and so expecting to hear one or two more new tracks int eh coming weeks. this new one, Never Ending Circles, does even more to dispel our fears of a synthesizer abandonment as the Glaswegian trio go stratospheric with three minutes of chirpy SynthPop.

Revolving around a brittle and piercing hook, Never Ending Circles is a resonant, emotional anthem in that particularly spikey Chvrches vein. Robotic tribal percussion rolls over a solid kick to clear the path for those Scottish crisp clean keys and Lauren’s multi layered, modulated backing vocals; on top of which she belts out another spine-tingling lament. Roll on September 25th!

♫ Chvrches – Never Ending Circles

Chvrches’ second album Every Open Eye is released 25th September.

Buy Chvrches’ music from:

[Audio] Julio Bashmore’s ‘She Ain’t’

 

Julio Bashmore shot by Spiros Politis

Bristolian House master Julio Bashmore’s eagerly awaited début artist album, Knockin’ Boots, is out right now if you fancy the vinyl, or on the 7th digitally. We’ve already checked out bits and bobs from it; Simple Love, Kong, Holding On, and now we’ve got another new one in the lead up to Friday’s release. Most of Julio’s tracks are solid House tunes peppered with a little extra genre spice and She Ain’t is no different,. Listen up.

Flinging the French Touch, She Ain’t is a pounding House tune that revolves around a cheeky Disco loop. Riding the vintage hook is a juggernaut kick drum and chopped up vocal samples either spitting a mantra or having their warbling turned into a hypnotic drone. This one nicely straddles the line between infectiously funky and compellingly stompy. The frantic hats just add to the track’s forward momentum. The album should be cracking!

♫ Julio Bashmore – She Ain’t

Julio Bashmore Knockin’ Boots is released 7th August.

Buy Julio Bashmore’s music from:

[Audio] MiGHty mOUse’s ‘Dusk’

 

Mighty Mouse

One of the UK’s finest, MiGHty mOUse, promised us a string of new dancefloor juggernauts recently with the first in an apparent long line of new single, Luna. And now, true to his word, here’s the second in the mOUse’s Summer series. This one’s called Dusk, it’s out now, and it certainly lives up to it’s name as it brings the easy twilight grooves, ushering you into the night.

A laid back beach House tune with a hint of Cosmic Disco and a hint of a Balearic vibe, Dusk actually takes you on a journey much more intelligent and complex that first appearances would suggest. Powerful and ominous synths growl moodily over a chilled rhythm section, utilises deftly not to suggest darkness, but to build an exciting tension. The track continues to build in this was with hazy vocal samples and droning, but uplifting synths until the breakdown; after which the tune truly explodes with all the anticipation and mystery of night awaiting you. Emotional stuff.

♫ MiGHty mOUse – Dusk

MiGHty mOUse’s Dusk is out 17th August.

Buy MiGHty mOUse’s music from:

[twitter-follow screen_name=’electronicrumor’ show_screen_name=’no’

[Audio] Black Magic Disco’s ‘Break It Down’

 

black-magic-disco

London based House master Black Magic Disco recently released his long awaited new single, Break It Down, after what seems like quite the holiday. Oh sure, the man has steadily released a stream of killer mixtapes and reMixes, but it feels like it;s been ages since we were treated to a brand new original. Break It Down slipped out over a week ago to slightly less fanfare that we would have expected, but hear it is featuring some lovely vocals from Aussie Amber Maxwell.

Break It Down is set to carry you off on waves of enchanting nostalgic bliss. If you know Black Magic Disco you know warm and inviting Chicago House and with this new single he truly delivers. Easing itself into your life with a shuffling drum pattern and a classic piano hook, Break It Down soon ramps up the good vibes with a Deep-y hook and Maxwell’s chopped up vocals. It’s got a touch of London club scene about it, keeping the historic House sound contemporary; but more than anything, this one is just about pure good vibes. Sink into this!

♫ Black Magic Disco (Feat. Amber Maxwell) – Break It Down (Original Mix)

Black Magic Disco’s Break It Down is out now.

Buy Black Magic Disco’s music from: