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[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] 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.

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[Audio] Ride The Universe reMix Young Empires’ ‘The Gates’

 

Young Empires

It’s been a few years since we’ve posted anything from Indie-Electro outfit Young Empires. Did they stop releasing stuff for a while? We dunno’. Anyhoo, here they are again back on these pages courtesy of Disco mercenaries Ride The Universe. I refer to RtU as mercenaries ‘cos, like The A-Team, they appear to have gone underground. This is the first hint of new music we’ve had from them in aaaaaaaages. They guys used to be so prolific! Anyhoo, we’re glad of at least something. So sit back, headphones on, and cross you fingers that this means more new tunes from Ride The Universe.

The reMix is actually a bit of a departure for Ride The Universe, especially in terms of tempo. This track is a downtempo, funk laden, almost Future R&B tune as RtU weave their way through Young Empires original brandishing wobbly Moog bass and delicate House hooks. This one is so smooth that we would be surprised if you could even stand up after it’s finished, frankly our legs just melted. the warmest of warm summertime grooves from the transnational soldiers of Disco. More please.

♫ Young Empires – The Gates (Ride The Universe reMix)

Young Empires’ The Gates is out now

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[Audio] IYES’ ‘So Crazy’

 

iyes

Whoop! There’s a new tune from Brighton based ElectroPop experimentalists IYES. Last year this duo really did the business with a string of tunes, such as Breathe and Toys, which were not only catchy and compelling, but also interesting as hell. These guys have a new EP (the first of many to come), as they put it, brewing; and right now you can have a taste of what to expect from the forthcoming release in the form of the first track to be taken from Part One. This is So Crazy.

So Crazy takes it’s time to get started; rocking a minute of intro, an effected vocal and synthesizer brap that eases it’s way into IYES return to ChipTune sounds and an introspective vocal. So Crazy fills itself with IYES particularly unique blend of Future R&B, Bass and ecclectic electronic sound, wrapping you in a smokey and enveloping groove. Vocals spark with passion while the duo use abrasive synthetic sound in a way that creates beauty. We’re very much looking forward to the EP, and the EP after that, and the EP after that…

♫ IYES – So Crazy

IYES’ Part One EP is out soon.

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[Download] Du Tonc’s rework of Aaliyah’s ‘Rock The Boat’

 

Aaliyah

The Matts are at it again. Following their surprise monster of a reMix of Pixies’ Monkeys Gone To Heaven a couple of months ago; the Matt Van Schie and MiGHty mOUse coalition of Du Tonc have rocked up with this slick reworking of the late Aaliyah’s 2002 tune Rock The Boat. The duo have a new single out pretty soon, but until then feat your ears on this bubble and laid back Disco reMix. Free download too; which is nice.

Du Tonc serve up a warm and hazy slice if the most laid back Disco sounds around. Utterly without a care int he world, this reMix of Rock The Boat totally strips you of all your troubles and orders you to flippin’ chill. Du Tonc’s trademark combination of cheeky Tropical licks, robust lazy basslines and blissed out keys transport of to a sunnier and altogether more nostalgic place while they pepper the tune with dreamy synths and a hint of talkbox. Believe us, you’ll feel 100-times better after listening to this tune.

Aaliyah – Rock The Boat (Du Tonc Rework)

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[Audio] Moonlight Matters reMixes Hot Chip’s ‘Need You Now’

 

Hot Chip

We haven’t heard a lot of Moonlight Matters recently. Easily on of our favourite producers to emerge in the last few years, Seba Vandevoorde seems to have been concentrating on his other musical output (with Jochen from Sound Of Stereo as Arches) of late, which is awesome but we’ve been missing the big Italo infused House and Boogie that MM delivers. So we’re excited that there a new MM reMix in tow, not only that but it’s a reMix of an utterly awesome song; the current single from UK Indie-ElectroPop powerhouses Hot Chip, Need You Now.

Moonlight Matters turns the tune into a massive Piano driven House monster. Loaded to bursting point with growling keys, skippy beats and a cinematic progression, Seba’s work here turns the track into a bombastic floorfiller that feels like it has a very physical energy of it’s own. A driving, kinetic quality that makes for a totally compelling dance track. Alexis’ vocals are just to just the right extent to tie the track together while Moonlight Matters tempers the driving, thick synths with gently melodies weaving in and out of the track’s robust core. And then the piano kicks in…..

♫ Hot Chip – Need You Now (Moonlight Matters reMix)

Hot Chip’s Need You Now (reMixes) is out now.

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[Audio] Mindscramble reMixes Belleville’s ‘Capture’

 

Belleville

Coming together in November of last year Belleville are recently formed indie electro act. Comprising of Maria Christofi and Richard Baldwin, of indie outfit kites, the duo launched the new endeavour with the single Capture. Eight months later the single is given a new lease of life by Manchester Synthwaver Mindscramble who has served up some soaring synths for your listening pleasure. Check it out.

Bubbling basslines kick off this remix as Mindscramble drops rumbling arpeggios to back an array of swelling synths. Not before too long he introduces a solid italo beat and pinprick leads to counter the low smoky vocals provided by the original. Mindscramble’s productions appear to have come on in leaps and bounds with a clean mix and well balanced sound. Give this slick reMix of Capture a listen.

♫ Belleville – Capture (Mindscramble reMix)

Belleville’s Capture is out now

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[Video] Parallels’ ‘Civilisation’

 

Civilization by Parallels  Official Video    YouTube

We covered the SynthPop gold that is the new single from Toronto’s Parallels a week or so ago. Civilisation is taken from the EP of the same name, which is out now; as is this lovely new video. See it with your eyes below.

Mark Moliterni directly this shimmering clip; with some softest focus performance shots contrasted with sharp, real world footage and some nice projector overlays.

Parallels’ Civilisation EP is out now.

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[Download] Sunrise HWY cover Happy Mondays’ ‘Kinky Afro’

 

sunrise-hwy

Ahh to be in the late 80s in an Indie club! Before BritPop made British Indie music shit Happy Monday’s were riding the Madchester wave to Indie-Dance glory. On the cusp of a new decade they released Kinky Afro, and now two decades later New York Disco dons Sunrise HWY are giving the track another spin. Not content with a couple of True Romance released EPs, this trio are giving this one away for free. Give your ears a treat.

Sunrise HWY stay true to the groove of the original while making it well and truly their own. The cover has a raw, immediate, Disco feel. Despite being loaded with smooth keys and heavily processed guitars, the track has a gritty, grimy feel that lends itself to the song well. We will admit it’s a little odd to hear those verses not sung by Shaun Ryder, it’s like Rowetta singing the whole song, but it really does work. With a nice little Acidic undercurrent Sunrise HWY have turned in a fine cover version with a slick funk all of it’s own.

Sunrise HWY – Kinky Afro (Happy Mondays Cover)

Sunrise HWY’s Kinky Afro is out now.

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[Audio] Zimmer’s ‘Escape’

 

Zimmer

In the mood for some self-styled Horizontal Disco? Well have no fear because Mr. Horizontal Disco himself, Parisian producer and DJ Zimmer, is back with a brand new tune. Enlisting the help of Norwegian vocalist Emilie Adams, Zimmer has unleashed Escape. Escape is the first track to be taken from his forthcoming EP, Coming Of Age, due out next month via Roché Music. Give it a listen below.

Taking a pinch of Tropical, a hint of Chicago and just a dash of UK Deep, Zimmer serves up one of his trademark beautiful and laid back poolside dancefloor tunes. Escape is loaded with Island riff and a resounding piano hook. Playing out over rooms drums and a percussive bassline Adams’ raspy vocals are neatly interspersed with half heard Sax. This is smokey House music for urban late nights. Summer in the city is here.

♫ ♫ Zimmer (Feat. Emilie Adams) – Escape

Zimmer’s Coming Of Age EP is out next month.

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