Dreamy, enchanting, with just a hint of darkness. Not only does this describe BLSHS‘ overall sound but also their new music video for the single ‘Gave It Away’ off of their debut EP, Abstract Desires. We follow frontwoman Michelle Miears’ character as she is being controlled by a lurking stranger with good looks. What we don’t know is if mystical forces are at work. What we do know is that that the hypnotic beats and dreamy synths paired with Miears’ ethereal vocals make for something both haunting and beautiful. Whether the man truly had her heart or if it was all just a spell, we may never know.
Papercuts’ (aka singer/songwriter/producer Jason Quever) self-directed music video for ‘Life Among the Savages‘ explores the kind of universally personal moments of ennui that mean nothing and everything. Contrasting shots of the zoo with intimate moments between friends behind closed doors, these savages are given a vulnerable glow. Jason Quever’s melancholic dream pop instrumentation compliments the mood generously. This sound is enhanced by arrangement contribution from Beach House’s Alex Scally. His lyrics wade openly in the verses but cut right through with the salty chorus lines “I’m hearing all the savages/life is a gas.” Like someone recounting a painful story for the 100th time, he both lets you in and skates over the significantly insignificant details. His vocals follow suit, knowing exactly when to play it cool and when to gently explode with a vocal crack here and there. This is a wonderfully wistful summer track that packs enough subtle bite to travel all seasons.
Honeyblood’s music video for their single ‘Killer Bangs’ is a lesson in simplicity. Like an idling summer drive through the neighborhood, both fast and lulling, the tune has a warm intensity. The video (Dir. Nicola Collins) has a DIY-feel to back up the duo’s noise pop sound. Shot in black and white and alternating between them playing their instruments and playing outside, it feels intimate through straightfoward lyrics like “I don’t wanna have to go without you/I made this with you.” Out of Glasgow, Stina Tweeddale and Shona McVicar have built some traction lately with an opening slot on Courtney Barnett’s tour. In classic garage rock style they feature guitar, drums and vocals. Their sound is tight but with freedom to roam. Just when a bridge would seemingly come around the corner, out of nowhere veers a surf-rock influenced musical interlude that slows down only to speed up for the final chorus. This moment in their song sets them apart and showcases their musical potential very nicely. The rest of the song is solid, but this part elevates the rest with its subtle change in pace and style. It shows what they’re capable of, and hopefully what the rest of their upcoming album will continue to expand upon.
A summertime single demands a certain level of optimism in its sound – a track that evokes the quintessential carefree days in the sweltering sun; a sound that Cage The Elephant achieves in their recent single release Take It or Leave It/Jesse James. The band released the single as a 7” vinyl for National Record Store Day on April 19. The title track, ‘Take it or Leave It’ appeared on their third studio album Melophobia. ‘Take It or Leave It’ is a fun, danceable tune about the proposition of a new relationship. Matt Shultz sings, “I’ve been tripping over you/So tell me something new/Take it or leave it” in the opening lines. A funkified bass line and poppy guitar riffs carry through the song, the instrumentals echoing the playful lyrics of the song.
The B-side of the single, ‘Jesse James’, is a previously unreleased upbeat rock pop track. Heavy handed drums race through the song, accented with staccato clapping and a strong rock guitar. Together, ‘Take it or Leave it’ and ‘Jesse James’ constitute a solid summer single, the former carrying the carefree weight of summertime, and the latter the night rally chant of all summer adventurers. The single is available only on vinyl, but proves itself more than worthy of a trip to your own local record store.
My favorite thing about synth pop is its tendency to stay with me long after the songs have ended. The first moment I heard ‘Ava’ by Data Twins, I knew I was in for one of those moments. It has all the hallmarks of a great pop song: Memorable vocals/lyrics that speak to the romantic in me, catchy synths, and a beat that makes you want to groove. I suspect most of you will feel the same once you’ve heard it.
The idea for the music video for this song came from a friend. While most of you might recognize Andrew McCarthy from Pretty In Pink, you may have forgotten him in the genius that was 1987′s Mannequin. The love story that plays out between window dresser and mannequin-turned-woman-for-some-reason is as pure a love story as it is completely improbable. As you can see, they’re a natural pair in a lot of ways and was one of the easiest videos to put together because of that. Be sure to pre-order Data Twins’ debut Let’s Make It Tonight out May 27th on Synth Records.