Chile’s self-proclaimed “space age pop” singer Fakuta (AKA Pamela Sepúlveda) captures a perfectly poptimistic sound in “Tormenta Solar,” a homage to the cult classic film, Carrie. Its flawless upbeat production, ’80s-inspired synth hooks, and danceable guitar inclusion accompanying Fakuta’s splendid, dolce vocals makes this a real glitter pop treat. It’s the first single off her upcoming second full-length, via Quemasucabeza, and can’t expect anything but quality from this Chilean producer/singer-songwriter.
Listen to Fakuta’s “Tormenta Solar” off her upcoming second album, due in October.
Chico Unicornio has always been an enigmatic character of sorts. He’s been known to say that most of his ideas come from dreams including his artistic moniker. He’s not obsessed with Unicorns or anything, nor Scottish EDM producer, Unicorn Kid. The eclectic quality of Chico Unicornio — now accompanied by drummer Andrea Guzmán — doesn’t stop there. His music is refreshingly without categorization: it’s electronic music, it’s pop, it’s salsa, rock and folkloric, all at the same time and without missing a single beat.
Especia started life as a relatively normal idol-pop group. The outfit was assembled via auditions and also by moving around young female performers in other Osaka-area pop acts. So far, so normal for J-pop — even if their name came from their manager, who studied Spanish and simply thought the name of his hair wax would sound cool in a different language. Soon, though, they blurred ’80s Japanese pop sounds, acid jazz, and Internet micro-genres together into an approach that has made them one of the most intriguing pop acts in the country today.
While many pop stars make a clean climb on their way to the top, Toronto’s Lowell has advanced her music career through a series of ups, downs and sketchy detours. After spending only a year studying music at the University of Toronto, she dropped out, immersed herself in drug culture and made ends meet as a stripper. Years later, the young singer-songwriter has surfaced from the squalor with a more critical eye and a candidness that is sorely needed in pop music.
Ballet School’s music offers us a shimmery version of reality — where we’re all just a bit more attractive, and everyone is covered in taffeta and dancing together under a twirling disco ball. (Or is that just the ending to every John Hughes movie ever?) Regardless, the nostalgia-dripping tunes of their debut albumThe Dew Lasts an Hour owes a lot to the 1980s, AKA a simpler time when Elizabeth Fraser was our abstract pop queen.
Protistas easily fall between dream pop and folk, but what really makes their music stand out is the fresh and intricate harmonies they churn out in every track. In their first full-length, Nortina’s War (2010), the band composed a collection of stripped down, folk pop gems with staccato drumming that gently incorporates Chilean folkloric rhythms, accented by guitarist and frontman Solar’s ability to whisper in crescendo. Not only was it beautiful music, but it also carried their distinct personality and poetic whimsy, in English and Spanish.
Armed with rock instruments and clad in neon balaclavas, Pussy Riot made world headlines in 2012 when their members were thrown in prison for performing a “Punk Prayer” against Russian president Vladimir Putin. Now that they’re out of prison, the (now former) Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina continue to resist by founding an independent news source called MediaZona, which will heavily focus on conditions in Russian prisons, courts, and law enforcement. With renowned political journalist Sergey Smirnov named editor-in-chief, this sets a huge precedent within a political climate where independent media is consistently shut down or muffled by the Kremlin.
In a press release Tolokonnikova says, “Because of the heavy censorship by authorities there is no space for anything in the media that criticizes Putin’s policies and tracks human rights abuses by Russian courts and law enforcement. Courts, prisons, arrests, convictions, riots in facilities, political criminal cases, crimes by law enforcement officials — our new media outlet will try to cover it all.”
Alekhina and Tolokonnikova’s valiant efforts serve as a reminder that, no matter where you live, we should all value transparency and accountability of every government and its officials. Though Alekhina and Tolokonnikova’s chosen avenue of dissent may not sound as punk rock as their masked performances, the spirit certainly is.
For all of you animators, filmmakers, and visual artist geeks, behold: London synthpop duo Monarchy needs a video for their newest track “Almost Human” featured below, off their upcoming same-titled EP, out September 8. They’re holding a contest to find one.
To enter, just make a video for the song. The winningvideo will be featured on their official YouTube channel, and the creator will receive a cash prize of £250. Plus, get mad Monarchy swag, such as T-shirts, copies of their last and upcoming releases, and an autographed vinyl recored. That’s not all: If your music video kicks major butt, you also have the possibility of working with Monarchy for other future projects. Not. To. Shabby.
It is with great sadness that we report the death of rock icon, Gustavo Cerati, at 55 years old. He was the lead singer of the legendary Argentine group, Soda Stereo, who brought us hits like “Cuando Pasa el Temblor,” “Canción Animal,” “Persiana Americana,” among countless others. Over three decades of a highly successful career, Gustavo received numerous awards from Latin Grammys to MTV awards.
In 2010, the singer and guitarist fell into a coma during a massive South American tour, right after his performance in Caracas, Venezuela where he suffered a stroke. On May 14th, 2014, family, fans, and friends commemorated the fourth anniversary of his coma.
Pervy Brazilian partymeisters Bonde do Rolê stay dirty on their freshly dropped jam “Vida Loka” featuring Porno Klan. Produced by New York bass head DJ Comrade, the track takes shameless festival trap and pours a Solo cup full of pungent funk carioca all over it. It could induce violent fits of twerking and turning up, even in those who are not typically susceptible. Don’t fight it.
“Vida Loka” will not be on the arty baile funk group’s third official album, which is slated to come out in the early half of 2015, but D’Eyrot tells us it is a “taste of things to come.” He promises the album will be very dance floor friendly. And, judging by the real single art that we aren’t even going to link to here, it’s also going to be nasty.
Listen to “Vida Loka,” which is available for download on Soundcloud.
Michael Brun is kind of a big deal. Internationally, Brun is becoming somewhat of a figure in electronic dance scenes. In fact, the Haiti-birthed, 22 year-old released a banger called “Zenith” where it was showcased at this year’s TomorrowLand in Belgium, and it pretty much became an instant anthem for the festival, or so rumor has it. It’s pretty believable when the DJ/producer keeps dropping über-jams that makes it hard to leave the dance floor, like this one below, for instance, that features beautiful, trance-inducing vocals, electric rave beats, lots of global bass and plenty of feel good moments. It’s perfect for your last summer hurrah.
Listen to “Sun In Your Eyes” in collabo with DubVisions feat. Tom Cane, out via his own Caribbean-inspired label, Kid Coconut.
Since 1999, Tokyo’s MONO has crafted hours and hours of cinematic, post-rock bliss— and they won’t stop anytime soon. Following their 2012 album, For My Parents, the band is releasing not one but two albums: The Last Dawn and Rays of Darkness.
The twin albums stand diametrically opposed both musically and conceptually, posing a test to MONO’s range. The Last Dawn ascends to joyous, ambient pop heights, while Rays of Darknessis described as their blackest album yet, featuring a contribution from Tetsu Fukagawa of Tokyo post-hardcore band Envy. For the first time in 15 years, they are shedding the large orchestral ensemble that’s bolstered their previous albums, challenging themselves to retain their majestic quality as just a four-piece operation.
Their first album single, “Where We Begin” trickles in with hushed, trembling guitars before ballooning into a luminous homage to classic shoegaze. The Last Dawn and its counterpart will both be available October 28 via Temporary Residence Ltd. Listen to “Where We Begin” below: