The first taste of Lali Puna's first album in over five years comes in the understated electronic pop of "Remember." Per usual, singer Valerie Trebeljahr's soft-spoken voice provides an ideal counterpart to the song's pulsing bass synths and clicking drum beats. "Remember" manages to be upbeat without being giddy, somber without being sullen, and altogether memorable. Our Inventions is out April 1 on Morr Music.
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Sounding something like a lush combination of Hudson Mohawke's stuttering productions and Top 40 radio's sugary hooks, "Ceja De Carnival," from Spain's BFlecha, is a surprisingly brilliant original track to be coming from such a young artist, especially one whose native stomping grounds in Galicia aren't exactly known as a hotbed of wonky beats. The talented female producer seems to not only know her way around a solid hip-hop beat, but also the kind of synth work that makes those kinds of productions flow so well. You can grab "Ceja De Carnival" along with its B-side, "Kosmic Lovers," from Arkestra in February.
One of numerous remixes on the upcoming Weapons EP by classically trained singer/composer Ryan Lott (a.k.a. Son Lux), Polyphonic's version of "Weapons III" utilizes tumbling synth melodies and droning atmosphere to create a tense noise composition not unlike something from Matmos' Supreme Balloon album. The song helps round out a varied release that also features re-works from Nico Muhly and Alias alongside Son Lux's original tracks.
Brooklyn duo Blondes spent much of the past year perking up ears with their lo-fi, hands-on approach to synth-driven dance music and techno, and now the boys are getting ready to step up their profile with an appearance at New York's Unsound Festival. The festival runs February 4th through the 14th and Blondes will be performing on the 11th as part of a special Brooklyn Electronic Music Showcase with Morgan Geist and Neurotic Drum Band. The pulsing keys of "You Mean So Much to Me (Acid Redux Cut)" can actually be found on a free compilation put together by Brooklyn record shop Halcyon, which also features cuts from fellow Unsound acts like Carl Craig, FaltyDL, Derek Plaslaiko, and Tomas Bednarczyk.
Ontario native Dan Snaith has gone through plenty of transformations over the years, including changing the name of his long-running project Manitoba to Caribou. Yet Snaith's ability to craft engaging pieces of electronic psychedelia has remained constant, and if "Odessa" is any indication, more of the same can be expected when his new album, Swim, is released on April 20. The song finds Snaith boiling his varied talents as a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter and producer into a relaxed-yet-snappy slice of dance-pop, and "Odessa" also scores major bonus points for effectively channeling a bit of Kings of Convenience and Arthur Russell.
Philadelphia's Golden Ages is another one of these bedroom producers whose actual identity is shrouded in mystery. Yet although we're not sure what his mom calls him, we do know that he's coaxing his undoubtedly lo-fi equipment into producing some of that obnoxiously named yet undeniably pleasant chillwave (no, we don't like the name either) à la Memory Tapes, Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, and the rest of the glo-fi gang. Comparisons and internet buzz words aside, "Everything Will Be All Right" is a soothing slice of spacey electronic pop powered by swirling synths, blown-out low-end, and Mr. Ages' ghostly vocals. His debut album, Tradition, comes out this spring.
If the steady stream of club heaters is any indication, the Top Billin collective appear to have Finland's party scene on lock. The latest offering comes from Helsinki 78-82, a new project from crew members Flipper and Koobra. The duo's self-titled EP marks a creative left turn of sorts for Top Billin, as the guys eschew heavy bass and B-more beats in favor of sunny synth disco. While most listeners will gobble up "So Lifelike," a vocal remake of Lifelike's choice 2007 electro tune "So Electric," we prefer "Cruising," as its warbling keys and relaxed vibe are the sonic equivalent of sucking on an Otter Pop in a July heat wave. It's just the thing to perk us up in the dead of winter.
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