Summer is officially here. Let the Indie Dojo serenades begin.
Latest Synth-pop Posts
Here we are at volume 10 of Saturday Selection. It feels good. What makes this so enjoyable is the fact that we’re lucky enough to get great music released every week, and we’ve got the artists & producers to thank for that! Whenever, wherever, and however you can, support these talented people. They make our lives better and the least we can do is attempt to reciprocate by showing we enjoy what they create. On that note, let’s explore what we’ve found from the last week!
You may have caught this tune in our latest Wednesday Workout segment, but it’s so good that we just had to mention it again! With that being said, San Holo needs no introduction. He’s been on a roll for a while now, especially since his monumental release “We Rise”. He’s taken to bitbird to show off his latest track, and the first taste of the label’s upcoming Gouldian Finch compilation. “Still Looking” is textbook San Holo in the sense that it combines the best of melodic, trap, and bass elements into his festival-ready style. It’s carefree. It’s substantial. It’s innovative. Enjoy this one when you just want to feel good.
Here’s what’s cool about Khai: he’s unapologetic in his ability to detail exactly how he feels in his music and creates something beautiful around that principle. “Alive” is the latest shining example of this and, after his awesome If You EP, we’re just so glad to he’s back at it. There’s an air of optimism amidst the brooding production in this tune, and the balance between the two defines this stellar single as one of Khai’s best releases to date. Play this tune when you’re feeling a little down, but you’re also sort of okay with that.
Jerry Folk has been on an interesting journey with his music as of late. Each release really has been something entirely different from the last, and this is somewhat the mission statement of loosely structured project, The Kids Tape. With “Where I’m Going”, he actually lends his own vocals to the radiant production that juggles prominent and funky slap bass, smooth keys, and an overall sense of positivity. Enjoy this one with the windows down.
Sometimes all we need is a little bit of lo-fi in our lives. Some may find it stale, but when it’s done right, it’s pretty phenomenal. g l u e 7 0 is here to provide some of the best of it. “Conclusions” feels like a hazy and slightly distorted dream world driven by a hip-hop influence while scant vocals flutter every which way across the soundscape. You sort of get drawn in without noticing, and before you know it, you’re digging through the entirety of g l u e 7 0’s material. The magnetism of this sort of music is tough to deny. Listen to this one on a late summer night right as the sun is going down.
M!NT just dropped off his Through Darkness EP and it is NICE. It was difficult to only pick one tune from it to talk about, but “Sleepwalker” stood out after a few listens. It’s part spooky, part chill, and wholly great. Without a doubt, the innate sense of head-bobbing-ness (let’s just pretend that’s a thing) is strong with this one with a smoothly riding beat and big presence that’s tailor-made for a night cruise. Explore the city late night and enjoy the flashing lights with this one.
Hi Fi Cali sprung up as an unintentional side project between two of the members of Bora York. A few unpublished synth-pop tunes later, they began catching people ears, and it encouraged them to continue creating together. With a name like Hi Fi Cali, it’s tough to imagine anything but sun-drenched, pleasant tunes that wistfully waft around in the warm summer. Well, the heat is here, and “Ocean Love” fits that bill with prime material to make the best out of the sunny days ahead.
Inherently carefree and optimistic, this song exhibits the best traits of what synth-driven pop can accomplish, because a lot of it can get lost in 8-bit, 80’s nostalgia. These two pull in just the right amount of pop and alternative elements to eschew the typical styles of this genre. “Ocean Love” is absolutely a pleasant listen. It makes you feel great. We can always use a little more of that.
Some things come and go, but the Indie Dojo is forever. And if you missed last weeks or the months before, you can always go back. Seriously though, unless the internet explodes, count on a fresh new playlist featuring artists from the endless universe of indie, right here, every Tuesday.
For this Ninja’s first time inside the Great American Music Hall, I can’t imagine a better first impression that what was left by Big Black Delta. The stage name of frequent M83 collaborator and Mellowdrone frontman Jonathan Bates, BBD impressed right from the jump. With stylistic and sonic similarities to some of the more recent Neon Indian works, Bates weaved together a dynamic setlist in his headlining slot.
Touring in promotion of his just released album – the first new album in three years – Bates gave attendees plenty of reason to continue supporting and following along his artistic journey. Trágame Tierra builds on his explosive electronic sound, pitting icy Scandinavian beats against acoustic instrumentation. Further, the influence of new wave and synth pop were dotted throughout Bates’ performance. Opening with the crowd pleasing “It’s Ok”, Bates kicked a lively performance into high gear. A steady use of vocal modifier throughout the night added a dynamic aspect to the lyricism, one that is unfortunately not present on the recorded version of Trágame Tierra. A lively rendition of “Kid Icarus” midway through was a personal highlight, containing the loud, catchy chorus that attracted me to BBD in the first place.
With another release and another tour under his belt, we can only expect BBD to rise to greater prominence; his work with the likes of Kimbra, Debbie Gibson and Brandon Flowers will only prove to help refine his nostalgia-inducing sound. Listeners who missed one of the 26 Big Black Delta stops this spring can cure their fomo by getting a copy of Trágame Tierra here and by following along with Bates’ journey and latest developments on his website.