It may come as a shock to some, but we here at Electronic North have a weakness for Scandinavian electronica, from pure pop to doomy drone. And while this week there’s a very American feel to the roundup, it won’t surprise many of you that the first track on this weekend’s roundup comes from Sweden. Let’s give it, and the rest of our roundup for this week, a listen.
Unholy Romance by Bishat shows that there’s plenty of scope for originality within the Scandi sound. With a flavour of modern R&B, a pinch of left field Nordic electronica and a voice that just reaches the hidden parts of your soul; the track was written in collaboration with the Platinum-certified artist and producer Damian Ardestani better known as XOV and carries all the hallmarks of his polished take on electronic soul.
Next up we cross the Atlantic for a very different sound. Villows creates a pensive take on the downtempo electronica style with his new track Someone Like You. Fragile indie-infused vocals and a gently chiming guitar float over an 80’s tinged synthpop bassline and soft percussion, giving the listener the sensation of being inside someone’s half formed thoughts. The track features on Lost – the new Villows EP which is out now.
Kid Coyote is the musical brain-child of Boston-based musicians Clara Berry and Joe O’Neill who are celebrating the release of their new album with an accompanying single. Riverbed is airy with a slightly trippy ambiance, with Berry’s vocals hanging like a friendly spectre over delicately droning synths and a piano that makes the soul ache with its sweet slivers of melancholy. The track features on the band’s On Borrowed Lawns album which you can listen to right now on Bandcamp.
Lonesome Blues is the first single from Datenite, which sees vocalists Caroline Calaway and Anna Steinle, along with drummer Phil Hamilton deliver a track which is sophisticated and thoughtful. Rich vocals duel playfully with a tender but tricky arrangement, with Hamilton’s percussion providing a sense of strength and to a track that lyrically lays on feelings of fragility and longing.
Returnees to the blog Bronze Whale deliver a slight change in style with new track Exposure. The duo says they wanted to explore melodic and beat-driven music that relied less on vocals, but it has the same sweeping feel as previous release Call Me Out. But whereas that track had nuances of synthwave in amongst the dance and trap elements, Exposure lays on some chemical beats with a side order of attitude and a dash of downtempo. If you remember the heyday on the UK 90’s rave scene, you’d agree that they’ve managed to capture a lot of the spirit of that time in an up to date package.
Superior French disco outfit Savaan hit all the sweet spots on Like Fire: at times smooth and sensual, subtly changing tone and tempo to be sassy and a bit frisky, it’s another track that references 90’s rave but within a modern dance template. The track oozes class and a knowing air – you won’t find yourself dancing to this in a field at five in the morning and that adds to its charm. The track is out now via Yunizon, click here to find out more.
American Caiti Patton delivers a personable and personal electro anthem on Animals. You can take the song as a reflection on greater affairs or something closer to home, but the arrangement gives it a magnificently brooding feel and the lyrics are tough and a bit bleak without being maudlin or melodramatic. You’ll like Animals because it hits you right in the emotional and social feels, like all great pop songs.
LA-based artist/producer neek has followed up her well received 2017 electro soundscape but why? with her new song let her go. Like her previous release, it plays with the notions of what a synthpop track should be. There’s soothing sounds, soft vocals and an almost mystic air to the song – but delve into the lyrics and something darker emerges, as a sonic blackness bubbles under the superficially light arrangement, occasionally breaking through the song’s sunny tones like a storm cloud in the distance.
Norway’s Band of Gold are another act that play with the parameters of pop and electronica. Well Who Am I is a delirious trip through musical genres, 70s glam and Eno-esque experimentalism wrapping themselves round a delicious bassline and a frankly sexy percussion. Nina Mortvedt’s vocals heighten the drama and eccentricity of the track, making Well Who Am I a brilliant but bewildering three minutes of catchy anti-pop. The track is the second single from the duo’s upcoming Where’s The Magic album – out soon on Jansen Records.
Last up this week is Utah quartet The Aces. Volcanic Love channels the upbeat sounds of CHVRCHES and the languid see-it-all air of Hurts. It’s a love song that captures the intensity and emotion of the first days, lyrically ratcheting up the temperature whilst glacial synths and shimmering guitars take some of the heat of the steamy lyrics and vocals. The track will feature on the upcoming When My Heart Felt Volcanic album which is up for pre-order now.
That’s it for this week, there’s plenty in those ten songs to please the fussiest of music fans and I should know, there’s not many that are harder to please than me! Until next week then!