Leisure “Gone Again” (exclusive)

12 Nov 2014 — Andi Wilson

Some of my favorite projects reflect pop in a much darker matter. It probably stems from my love for cult-bands like New Order and Pale Saints, but it's thrilling to see new acts twist classic styles into their own essence. Part of the reason Brooklyn-based Leisure aka Jon Jurow emulates so much is due to his live recording style and habitual use of first outtakes. The naturally raw, shadowy vocals mixed with jangly guitars and constant cymbal crashes create an absolutely lush disposition. 

Give "Gone Again" a spin, or maybe a few, since it's under a two minute cut. The Gone Again EP is out November 25 via Portland, Oregon's Track & Field Records and look out for a full-length LP in fall 2015. 

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M-Band “Haust” (exclusive)

12 Nov 2014 — Andi Wilson

Icelandic artist M-Band, moniker of Hörður Már Bjarnason, sheds a new light on how compassionate electronic compositions can be. Throughout his new single "Haust" you're surrounded by surging beats and claps. The beginning quickly unravels as Bjarnason's vocals (somewhat of a mix between Jens Lekman and Dan Bodan) carry endearing lyrics into a vast sea of synths. In its entirety, the track glows with sincere illustrations of wistful desire. Without any doubt, what's so special about M-Band is it's intense, conscious, and full of nurture. Willing to take a listener in with open arms and float to a warm haven.

Expect Bjarnason's debut LP Haust to be released in the UK & Germany November 17. Guided by Projekta in collaboration with Nordic By Nature.

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sonofdistantearth “Parachute EP”

10 Nov 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

The much beloved Lobster Theremin continues to impress my eyes, ears, and techno encyclopedia brain. sonofdistantearth's Parachute EP demonstrates upsurging bass and the right amount of chaotic saturation. The artist title itself suggests some appreciation for noise and/or metal band names, methinks, so this observation is not too far off. While noisy and progressive, the EP is plenty repetitious and minimally melodic. "GAZA2" starts off great, wavers into a slightly silly melodic phase before collapsing into itself to come back with a more refined, beautiful melody. "Koan" is tribal, corrugated, and spacious. Occasionally, a paddy synth sneaks up into the prominent percussion work and tinkles into our ears, readying us for the next thing – whether in life or the stream of music – in a most gentle way. It rocks.

Download and order sonofdistantearth's Parachute EP from Lobster Theremin here.

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Win Tickets for CTM’s Monolake 2015 Live Preview at Volksbühne

10 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Continuing their Berlin Current project, the curators behind CTM (after recently having announced the first wave of artist for the festival's 2015 edition) are set to present project fellow Ame Zek, a Croatia-born artist who's been part of Berlin's electronic music scene since his arrival in 2005. Zek's excellent debut full-length Rostfrei finally arrived in June of this year on Keep It Business, showcasing his highly interesting and challenging approach to contemporary club culture. Structurally reduced yet invariably intricate and complex, Zek's arrangements are the perfect accompaniment to the music of Berlin eminence Robert Henke aka Monolake, who is coming to Volksbühne on Thursday, November 20 to present a sneak-peek at a new project – a bit of a consolation, of course, as the originally scheduled performance of Henke's Lumière project had to be postponed to next year. Joined by Tarik Barri for the visuals, we can be sure that the night will be remarkable enough.

For more details, check out the event's Facebook page. We're giving away 1x2 tickets for the show. Just send an email with the subject "Monolake" to submissions@nofearofpop.net before noon (CET) on Friday, November 14.

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Populous “Fall (Feat. Cuushe) [Blue Hawaii Remix]”

06 Nov 2014 — Andi Wilson

Populous means to draw people together, sometimes creating an overcrowded effect in a particular space. Territories of so-named Italian producer and moniker of Andrea Mangia borders on creating an opposite result. The imagined essence of such aura described parallels running through a tangled jungle and once reaching the end of breath, meets an open plain field hovered by starry skies. "Fall" initiates by highlighting breathy vocals of Kyoto native, Cuushe which amplify the track into a masterpiece comparable to a flower blooming in forward-motion. Blue Hawaii's addition to this dream-cast is like an edgy cherry on top with immediate recognizition of haunting glitches and roomy abstract beats, conveying grimy tension to a sentimental pop statement.

Populous' latest full-length, Night Safari, is available now via Berlin-based label Bad Panda Records. Furthermore, don't miss Blue Hawaii's recent one-off single "Get Happy" along with an edit of the song, "Get Happier"

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Empty Taxi “IRIZAJN EP”

06 Nov 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Get ready for combative, moody electronic pop, likely influenced much by The Knife, My Brightest Diamond, and, yes, perhaps a little by the Lords of Acid. Brussels-based artist Zoë Mc Pherson, aka Empty Taxi, has recently released the IRIZAJN EP, which is delicious, driven, and emotionally wholesome. It has an eye on the bigger picture of the planet, and this comes across through both the lyrics and diverse musicality.

From the opening of the EP, we're confronted with exciteable, seductive percussion along with robotic R'n'B frequencies. These come together to meet world music motifs, like the flute solo towards the conclusion of "Eskimo." Contextually, the lyrics of said song bolster the observation that world music tropes are present, as it is explained how Inuit peoples make sounds to defy language in order to have their spirits better understood. "Éfe Forest" displays a sample that seems like an indigenous song, accompanied by quick and encouraging, ceremonial beats.

Mc Pherson's voice is deep and captivatingly wrapped around her song structures, bearing political and world-aware messages, especially in "Brainsculpt." Meanwhile, "Bending" is a nasty, more Knife-like, techno piece. The EP's closing track is a beautiful, expansive vibe, hosted by a poetic title and zero lyrics: "Bars in Ljubljana Castle."

Stream Empty Taxi's IRIZAJN EP below, or purchase the cassette here.

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Rollercoasterwater “Bog” (exclusive)

05 Nov 2014 — Henry Schiller

Rollercoasterwater’s “Bog” is hides avant-garde music, just barely, behind the driven rhythm of ready-to-dance electropop. The Los Angeles duo (Chuckie Behring and Robin Levy) claim Donkey King and salvia as influences, but instead of a Saturday afternoon in a freshmen dorm, the end result of this combo is a beautiful swirl of digitalized ambient and rhythm-smart pop. “Bog” is a delightfully prickly mess of grinding guitar and electronics; vocals that – like distant smoke signals – act as obscure hints towards language  as opposed to actual speech. This molten experimental structure is garnished with a quick-tempo handclapping rhythm – a noticeable departure from the unspoken rule that tone and melody rest on top of the beat, not the other way around.

Divorced from its athletic beat, “Bog” might be a somber piece of contemporary ambient music in the vein of work like Grouper or Julianna Barwick. But the cheerleader style rhythm work gives the track a more extroverted feel, almost to the point of "Bog" sounding like it could be a remix of itself. The track’s tonal and melodic structures are like a dense bog (I mean fog) that its beat must navigate, all while being clawed at and clasped after by wispy tentacles of vocals and grinding electronics. The influence of Gameboy music is palpable: the beat on "Bog" is sharp enough to be heard clearly over small speakers, and it is prickly enough for tiny ears to grab ahold of and stick to like it's warm, chewed up gum.

Listen to more from Rollercoasterwater here, and check out the exclusive premiere of “Bog” below:


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Gabriel Garzón-Montano “Naeja (Gut Nose Remix)” (exclusive)

04 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann

On "Naeja", Brooklyn's Gabriel Garzón-Montano presented himself at his most soulful and jazzy. Taken from his debut EP Bishouné: Alma del Huila, released in February via Styles Upon Styles, the standout track's smooth and rolling grooves showcase the songwriter's knack for meticulous arrangements. Operating under his Gut Nose moniker, fellow New Yorker Andrew Vagabundo has no intention to change the original's romantic outline – he just happens to embody a way more pragmatic approach to his hometown's realities. Thoroughly roughing up "Naeja", complete with his signatures of distorted 4/4 kicks and vinyl crackle, everything sounds way more New York: there might be love somewhere around, but it takes a certain kind of apathetic cool to actually find it. Whatever you do, just don't show that you actually care.

The Gut Nose remix of "Naeja" is taken from the CD edition of Bishouné: Alma del Huila, out soon on Styles Upon Styles. Gut Nose's own, highly recommended Filthy City is out on the same label and may be streamed in full over here.

Gabriel Garzón-Montano is performing in Berlin tomorrow, November 5, supporting Lenny Kravitz at O2 World.

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