[Audio] Pat Lok’s ‘Your Lips’

 

pat-lok

If your want soulful House of Funkified Disco and you’re in North America you had best be going to Mr. Pat Lok. The Vancouverite (is that a word?) is one of the most consistently amazing producer working in this genre right now. Whether he’s getting smooth and soulful, or getting the party started, Pat Lok always delivers.

He’s gearing up for the release of his second single this year, which we think (taking into account reMixes and whatnot) is a good release schedule. Steady and regular without oversaturation. Pat Lok keeps them wanting more.

The maestro has teamed up with fellow Canadian Electro Soul trio Dirty Radio for his new single, Your Lips. The single follows on from his smooth House collaboration with singer/songwriter Desirée Dawson, the well received All In My Head, from the beginning of this year and by the sound if it, will be doing the same kind of damage.

Your Lips serves up an easy groove. Dirty Radio’s Shaddy’s vocals are a smooth as silk here as he croons over Lok’s analog fuelled groove. Lok eases off of the attack on the synths he uses in this one to give to track a lazy groove; the hooks here have no urgency, they are content to flow with the tide of the tune. Carried along by the laid-back beats, the tune is all about giving room to the vocals, so they can do their thing and weave their sultry and smoky atmosphere throughout.

♫ Pat Lok (Feat. Dirty Radio) – Your Lips

Pat Lok’s Your Lips is released 13th November.

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[Video] Kid Kasio’s ‘The Kodo Song’

 

Kid Kasio   The Kodo Song   YouTube

Nathan Cooper, A.K.A. Kid Kasio is arguably the finest creator of 80s Pop music around today. Everyone one from the SynthWave scene, to the leftovers of the mid-2000’s ElectroPop boom, to today’s Pop-R&B artists are laying claim to the sounds of the greatest decade, but not one of them (even the devoted SynthWave scene) is actually making music that sounds genuinely like it came out in the 80s. But Kid Kasio is.

Emerging from the ruins of (almost massive) Indie-ElectroPop outfit The Modern (nee Matineé Club), Kid Kasio honed his skills on the singles leading up to is début album, Kasiotone. Referencing everything from the SynthPop of The Human League and mid-80s Depeche Mode to the slick Pop of Duran Duran and Nik Kershaw, Kid Kasio’s songs sound like you’ve just changed channels in 1984 and Top Of The Pops is on.

Kid Kasio has been quiet for a while, holed up in the studio, but now he’s back with a new song, and new video. Nathan’s videos are almost as good as his songs themselves, each one painstakingly crafted by Nathan himself (his family has a film making history; his brother being Howard Stark, sorry, Dominic Cooper) and each one looking as authentically retro as his music sounds.

His new one is titled The Kodo Song, it’s actually three years old and a collaboration with his long term writing partner Benjamin Todd, with whom  co wrote the music for Sony pictures’ Tamara Drewe and more recently Miss You Already starring Toni Colette and Drew Barrymore.

Nathan tells the story: “The song tells the story of 2 friends called up to fight in the Anglo – Zulu war. The nonsensical chorus is the mantra the pair would chant on the battlefield. One of the friends dies in battle and his companion is left with the song as a reminder of their friendship, long after his death. I guess it’s all about the intensity of friendship and the power of music and its longevity.

The video is entirely Rotoscoped, inspired by A-Ha’s video for Take On Me,  a process which Kasio begun himself without really considering how much work would be involved (hence the three year delay). Nathan continues: “Unfortunately I had little understanding of how time consuming the process would be. I began animating in October 2013. At one point I was getting up at 6am and drawing continuously until 2am in the morning. I’d get to the end of a day like that and watch back what I’d done, and there would be only 2 seconds of animation to show for it, it was utterly soul destroying, doing this day after day, month after month.

I felt like it was going nowhere, I hadn’t realised the people making this kind of animation were normally working in teams. It wasn’t just Morten Harket sitting in his room, tracing 3000 frames himself! I’d basically bitten off more than I could chew!

Bizarrely Drew Barrymore, who Nathan met on the set of Miss You Already sparked a resurgence of Kasio’s interest in the song: “I gave the 2nd album to her on the set, expecting to never hear anything back and I got this gushing text from her the next day saying how both her and Toni Colette had loved the album and especially that song, and how I absolutely had to release this! It was the impetus I needed to get it finished I suppose”.

And here it is! 3,372 drawings later. The Kodo Song is classic 80s Pop, in the vein of The Riddle with a chorus that makes less sense as it is really catchy. Playing on that particularly 80s strain on pseudo-exotic synth instrumentation and an infectious digital bassline, The Kodo Song leverages it’s solemn subject matter with insightful choruses that make the chant-a-long refrain of the chorus feel like a break in the tension. Militaristic drums underpinning the tracks give way to compelling beats before asserting them selves again as an example of the song as a whole, slipping from stern seriousness to euphoric Pop brilliance.

The video could not be more fitting. Playing with effects that would have been cutting edge in the 80s, Zulu is rotoscoped to perfection with Nathan’s performance highlighted but unobtrusive. With knowledge of the amount of work that went into the clips creation, watching can be exhausting, but massively worthwhile.

We eagerly await Kid Kasio’s sophomore album, due for release in the coming months.

Kid Kasio’s The Kodo Song is out now.

Buy Kid Kasio’s music from:

[Audio] Kickstarter Lovestarrs’ new album and EPs

 

Lovestarrs

UK band Lovestarrs are the Rocky Balboa of the SynthPop world. They keep getting knocked down, and keep getting back up again. Sarah Mackintosh rose to critical acclaim as The Good Natured; starting with her Grandma’s old Yamaha keyboard and ending up as one of Britain’s most hotly tipped Indie-Electro acts. Juggling moody lyrics and a Gothy aesthetic with catchy and rousing ElectroPop tunes, The Good Natured were one of the more interesting and unique acts in a saturated mid-2000’s scene.

The the setbacks begun. Signing to Parlophone seemed like a good thing at the time with the backing of another EP and the announcement of the forthcoming album, to be titled Prism. A good thing short-lived though with the news, after a period of quiet, that The Good Natured had been dropped from the major and had spent the previous few month trying to secure the rights to the Prism masters; to no avail. The album was buried, and The Good Natured died.

In our opinion, this is the biggest dick move a major label can pull. We’ve seen it happen before and we’ll see it happen again. We don’t understand why, if you’re dropping an artist, you can’t just let them release their recordings. Sure, you’ve paid for them; so let them release them themselves and take a cut (surely that way at least you get something back for the recordings you paid for rather than nothing at all). It makes no sense to us and largely just comes across as spiteful.

Anyhoo, you can’t keep a good act down; and with almost a middle finger to the music industry, Sarah came bursting back on our radar as the bombastic Lovestarrs. Backed by her brother Hamish, Sarah’s new output was buoyant and optimistic. Pink replaced back and exuberance replaced gloom; and their début single, Get Your Sexy On, was a party fuelling manifesto proclaiming that Lovestarrs was a different beast to The Good Natured, keeping the lush SynthPop textures but washing them in a lavish, colourful nostalgia (epitomised by 80s Love Song, one of our top tunes of 2014).

Now staunchly DIY (and who can blame them) despite working with indie label Defdisco, Lovestarrs have set up a Kickstarter campaign to cover the release of their next two EPs and début album. The plan is to pay for the releases themselves, and licence them to Defdisco. The desire to pay for, and own, their own records is completely understandable coming from a band who had the last album they recorded held hostage. It’s one of the worthier Kickstarter campaigns we’ve come across. These guys deserve to own their own music, we can imagine how heartbreaking it was to record your début album and then have it disappeared by gangsters.

Lovestarrs are serious about this too; one of the rewards (in exchange for a shit ton of money!) is Sarah’s Grandma’s aforementioned Yamaha keyboard!

The duo have been releasing teasers of what to expect from the releases, you will hopefully find it in your heart it help out with, on their SoundCloud page in the past couple of weeks. From the chant-a-long fun of WTF to the robotic rabble-rousing of Frank Sinatra the album sounds like it’ll be wearing it’s 80s influences on it’s sleeve. Tracks like Somebody Like You sound classic Sarah Macintosh (whether The Good Natured or Lovestarrs) while the likes of Good Girls sound like the will bring something new, and more contemporary, to the table.

Just do it. Go and contribute. Lovestarrs deserve this and, goddammit, we want this album released.

♫ Lovestarrs – WTF (Demo.) (Snippet)

♫ Lovestarrs – Frank Sinatra (Demo.) (Snippet)

♫ Lovestarrs – Somebody Like You (Demo.) (Snippet)

♫ Lovestarrs – Good Girls (Demo.) (Snippet)

Get on board with Lovestarrs’ Kickstarter campaign here.

Buy Lovestarrs’ music from:

[Audio] Bit Funk’s ‘Off The Ground’

 

bit-funk

Brooklyn based groover and all-round nice guy Bit Funk is kinda’ considered somewhat the ‘producer’s producer’. Alongside being a big chunk of the Nu-Disco scene’s go to mastering engineer Bit Funk makes the kind of tune that make other producers say “damn”.

He’s been around for a while too, first coming to prominence around 2009 and since then racking up some top reMix and production credits, with some pretty big names, but his own original releases have been far too rare; the last one must have been 2013’s Soul Satisfaction, the man’s gruelling touring schedule must be something to do with that.Thankfully, for us, though when the man does release a new original tune it’s generally something to be excited about as he mashed genres and brings the funk.

His latest offering is Off The Ground; a track for which he has enlisted the help of UK R&B vocalist Shea Jacobs to inject a little Pop flavour. It was released last week on Universal and looks set to be a slow burner that does big things.

Leading immediately with a soft piano hook and Jacob’s soulful vocals, Off The Ground pulls no punches in letting you in on what to expect. Uplifting and euphoric, with a warm comfortable groove, Off The Ground is effortlessly classy, breezing through with it’s dancefloor focused blend of Disco and Deep House. At it’s heart a Pop tune, Off The Ground comes complete with a catchy chorus and a heartfelt refrain, but works that around an array of modern club techniques, most noticeably a stonkin’ UK Deep House bass drop that pulls the track into a more Disco friendly Gorgon City type territory. Big, summery, anthemic stuff that you’re bound to be hearing more of in the coming months.

♫ Bit Funk (Feat. Shea Jacobs) – Off The Ground

Bit Funk’s Off The Ground is out now.

Buy Bit Funk’s music from:

[Video] Little Boots’ ‘Get Things Done’

 

Little Boots   Get Things Done   YouTube

Little Boots is knocking out the videos these days, isn’t she? Get Things Done is one of our favourite track on the recent third album, Working Girl (now finally out in it’s vinyl form) so we think it’s pretty cool that this slice of catchy, bounce-ified ElectroPop get’s it’s own clip.

The video, directed by Nova Dando, slips comfortable into the Working Girl aesthetic that Ms. Hesketh has build up around the album. The pastels and powersuits showing off just what a tight ship she;s runs at On Repeat.

Little Boots’ Working Girl is out now.

Buy Little Boots’ music from:

[Video] Leo Kalyan’s ‘Get Your Love’

 

Leo Kalyan   Get Your Love   YouTube

Future R&B wrangler Leo Kalyan’s Get Your Love is his first track to make it to the screen, and a good choice for his début video it is too. A catchy, and Leo’s most accessible, tune that lend it’s soulful ElectroPop style well to video form.

Director Jim Barber heaps on the sumptuous visuals as he takes Leo on a road trip around southern France. Looks like fun. Thankfully they have nice weather. Check it out.

Leo Kalyan’s Get Your Love is out now

Buy Leo Kalyan’s music from:

[Audio] Goldroom’s ‘Waiting To Ignite’

 

goldroom

Stop what you’re doing, there’s a new Goldroom track in town. This is always a cause for celebration round these parts. Our history with Goldroom stretched back to the very beginning, and then keeps going. Josh’s previous outfit, NightWaves, turned in a track for the album that kicked off our record label, electronic rumors Volume 1 and before then we were staunch supporters of Josh and crew’s O.G. Dreamwave output. We even ran Binary Week, a seven day celebration of Josh’s record label. That Josh is the toast of the town these days makes us feel a little proud. It couldn’t happen to a nicer, or more talented and hard working, guy.

Speaking of NightWaves; as Josh is no stranger to re-recording his own songs, as evidenced with the recent Embrace version 2.0, we’d love to hear a Goldroom version of NightWaves’ Sweet Carrie. That would be so rad!

Anyhoo, on the Goldroom’s new single. Released on Friday (still hate Friday release dates, make no sense to anyone but the American music industry…) the track is called Waiting To Ignite and we co-written by American singer/songwriter Tinashe. As is customary, Josh as enlisted an up-and-coming vocal star for warbling duties, and this time it’s the turn of fellow LA resident Ren Farren to take a deep breath and step up to the mic.

Possibly the most Pop-House tune Goldroom has ever done, Waiting To Ignite might offer Goldroom his biggest commercial hit to-date. Jubilant, and incredibly optimistic, Waiting To Ignite spins all around it’s easy piano hook and raucous digital Disco bassline. The first Goldroom track that truly strays away from the nostalgia heavy beach Disco track we are used to and embraces glitzy, mirror-balled dancefloors. Ren’s vocals are just the right kind of engaging, really working the songs idealism while riding over Josh’s slick and easy going Disco-House soundtrack.

♫ Goldroom (Feat. Ren Farren) – Waiting To Ignite

Goldroom’s Waiting To Ignite is out now.

Buy Goldroom’s music from:

[Audio] MNDR’s ‘Kimono’

 

MNDR

Has it really been three years since the release of MNDR’s Feed Me Diamonds? It really doesn’t seem that long since Amanda Warner and Peter Wade pushed the boundaries of Electronic Pop music with what is still one of our favourite albums of the last ten years. Following on from a handful of singles and EPs that left us slathering for a long player, Feed Me Diamonds didn’t disappoint. Delivering on the previous release’s promise of intricately crafted, left-field SynthPop tunes, Feed Me Diamonds neatly melded knob tweaking experimental sounds and abrasive with catchy Pop hooks.

Warner and co have been pretty quiet since that 2012 release, she’s been writing and producing behind the scenes for the likes of Charli XCX, Clean Bandit and SOPHIE. There have been a few collaborative records out, but none that really grabbed us much, to the point that we feared for future MNDR tracks. But that fear seems to have been unfounded as MNDR unveils her first original track since the album, and it’s good.

Still with WonderSound Records, MNDR released Kimono over the weekend and is our first taste of what might be to come from MNDR’s sophomore LP. Amanda is still in the process of writing and producing the new album, in-between similar duties for other artists, but we should have more news about the forthcoming record soon.

Hitting the ground running with some spiky, modulated beats Kimono makes a few more nods toward the dancefloor than much of MNDR’s previous output. Not that past releases haven’t been dancefloor friendly, but Kimono’s angular digital bass and nostalgic claps make for a slightly Italo, robotic Disco groove. Amanda taken on a hushed tone for her vocal delivery in the verses this time, with a more recognisable holler in the chorus. There’s an enticing enigma to Kimono, a warm and inviting mystery that is unusual to MNDR’s music, a certain smoothness that’s a welcome addition to Amanda’s arsenal. Dare we say Balearic?, in mood if not in sound. All-in-all a pretty amazing tune, and one that once again as stoked out interest in MNDR’s second album.

♫ MNDR – Kimono

MNDR’s Kimono is out now.

Buy MNDR’s music from:

[Audio] Keep Shelly In Athens’ ‘Silent Rain’

 

Keep Shelly In Athens (2)

Keep Shelly In Athens? Keep us on our toes more like. Amirite? we honestly weren’t sure, or indeed confident, about the future of the Greek chiller cabinet ElectroPoppers when the voice of KSiA, Sarah P, departed the duo to follow her own musical path. When her final track with the outfit, Old Time Glory, dropped we we’re slightly pessimistic that this was the last we’d hear of the group. So often, even with the best intentions to carry on, a bad breakup can spell the end of even the most committed musicians; and even when the music keeps flowing, sometimes it’s just not the same.

With a change of line-up, new singer Myrtha, replaces Sarah P and a new label; the baton being passed from purveyors of good taste Cascine (who released Keep Shelly In Athens début official full lengther At Home) to L.A. based tastemakers Friends Of Friends, there could quite easily be a confusion of direction. It could feel like a whole new band, and as Keep Shelly In Athens unleash some brand new material it’s time to find out if they are still a band we dig.

So it was with some trepidation that we met the recent news of Keep Shelly In Athens sophomore (proper) album, titled Now I’m Ready and due out later this month, and it’s lead single, Fractals. If we’re honest, we were on the fence with Fractals, it was very guitar heavy and very shoegazy; it was nice enough but we missed the waves of hazy synths that made us love KSiA. The album’s second single though, Silent Rain, is more up our street.

We can’t help but feel like Silent Rain is Keep Shelly In Athens with a Post-Punk injection. It’s that The Sisters Of Mercy bassline, chugging away amid a sea of lush Dreamwave style synths, that gives the track a mid-80s Indie urgency. This is more of a ‘live’ sounding KSiA than we have been used to, Even Myrtha’s vocals, as they flit from Shoegaze ethereal to early Indie chants, add to the synthesized floppy haired nostalgia. This whole record could go either way, it could be an exciting excursion in electronic soundscapes that draws it’s influences from the wealth of independent records released in the last three decades, or it could be a Goth-Rock record with a few synths here and there. Silent Rain, thankfully, makes us think it will be the former. If the whole album is filled with similar moments of vintage leaning beauty then we will be happy.

Think Electric Youth meets March Violets meets early Lush meets mid-70s Jean Michel-Jarre. If you can.

♫ Keep Shelly In Athens – Silent Rain

Buy Keep Shelly In Athens’ music from:

[Audio] Soulwax reMixes Hot Chip’s ‘Huarache Lights’

 

Hot Chip

Soulwax have reMixed Hot Chip.

We could pretty much just end the article there really. That initial sentence have got everything you need to know in it, but we made a big deal about writing more and whatnot so strap in; words to follow.

It’s not the first time this awesomeness has happened of course, the Belgian live dance music dominators reworked Hot Chips Ready For The Floor back in 2008, now a classic track. Although having been quite, to the point of retirement, in recent years when it comes to original material, Soulwax/2 Many DJs have been knocking it out of the park recently on the reMix front and with their plethora of side-projects (Klanken, Radio Soulwax,the Deewee label, Despacio nights), so it makes sense that they would return to their Chippy chums for this killer mix.

Hot Chip’s Huarache Lights comes from the Indie-ElectroPop experimentalists sixth studio album, Why Make Sense?, released earlier this year. This particular exclusive reMix is taken from the forthcoming deluxe edition of that album, dropping later this month. The new album collection will also feature Hot Chip’s live favourite cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing In the Dark.

Pushing the tune’s synths to the point of distortion, Soulwax deliver a reMix that tires, and reasonably successfully succeeds, in capturing their live ‘lightning in a bottle’. The beats are a hypnotic expanse of vintage drum machines, ushered along with one of their trademark EBM-lite juggernaut basslines, gruff enough to be powerful, but emotive enough to carry the song. Spikey and immediate, the synth riffs tower over the track, like a repeated mantra. The all perfectly contrasts with Alexis’ soft spoken vocals, which takes this abundance of sparse and abrasive electronic and brings them together in a song. Top stuff.

♫ Hot Chip – Huarache Lights (Soulwax reMix)

Buy Hot Chip’s music from: