New York-residing singer-songwriter and producer JANEX began her career at age 14, 6 years on; she’s bringing nuance by the aural bucketful to the airwaves with alt-pop tracks such as ‘Vulnerable’.
If you could imagine what it would sound like if Kate Nash started working with London Grammar, you will be close to the mark getting an idea of what’s on offer in this conversationally immersive track that plays with dark trip-hop textures. But at its core, it’s a stunning exhibition of JANEX’s talent in orchestrating intimate, sonically flawless pop tracks.
Vulnerable is available to stream via the artist’s official website. The official video which premiered on March 27th, is available to stream via YouTube.
Opening with some very voodoo-y, lynch-type imagery, the superb video for PleasePrettyLea’s new single ‘You’re Home Finally’ firmly sets the scene for our heroine’s witchy, lustful intent. Flipping easily between disdain and flirtation, PleasePrettyLea works her magic to seduce her ex-lover back to the warmth of her bed – soft piano chords and a deliciously tempting smoky, sultry cajun voodoo-blues n’ jazz-inspired vocal draws us in as much as her tantalizing dance-moves and wicked, bewitching lyrics. There’s no doubt about her intent here, the NSFW lyrics setting out very clearly what PleasePrettyLea would like to do to us, over a backing of deliberately discomforting, disquieting bass, drums, and piano. It’s dirty, it’s sexy, it’s entrancing, and it’s very, very, good.
Well, all of a sudden the 1980’s turned up, kicked in the door with a lacy sleeve-cuff and some Adam Ant eyeliner, popped their pixie-booted feet up on the table, and announced their intention to stay with a New Romantic frock-coat thrown firmly onto the back of the sofa. And, with ‘We Are The Emperors’, what an entrance it is; a three-piece electro-pop beaut writ large in gated, reverb-heavy snare beats, chocky guitar, and driving bass.
Drawn together by legendary Killing Joke bassist Martin ‘Youth’ Glover (producer for everyone from Bananarama to Pink Floyd, Edwin Collins, Siousxie and the Banshees, and The Verve), there’s some serious writing skills and musicianship behind the frills and blusher; touches of Pet Shop Boys and Yazoo electronica mixed with Spandau Ballet, Kate Bush, Gary Numan, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and The Human League, but there’s some serious pop sensibilities too – Bananarama, again, Fun Boy Three, Go West, A-Ha, and Duran Duran, for sure. You get the picture – a United Colours of Benetton picture, framed in Black Ash and lit with neon, at the same time bang up to date and spectacular, pop-driven, and absolutely explosive. Make no mistake – there’s a retro-tinged influence here, for sure, but this is no simple regressive homage to the past; it’s cutting edge, stellar, and absolutely right now – with a superb video to match, ‘We Are The Emporers’ is simply a fabulous pop record.
With such a vast array of artists joining the airwaves, phenomenal releases can be overlooked, such as Californian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Reese Taylor’s 2020 standout single, ‘After the Party’.
At the age of 17-years-old, she not only has the ability to appeal to the human psyche by her eerie, ethereal dark pop melodies, but she can also scathingly berate toxic behaviour that people seem to exhibit without repercussion.
After the Party poignantly attacks hedonists intent on living the high life with little mind to what their behaviour does to people around them. We all know them, the ones desperate for the world to see just how much fun they’re having when anyone with emotional intelligence know they’re trying to fill a gaping hole with superficial pleasure.
There may be a moody edge to Reese Taylor’s take on pop, but she doesn’t hide behind a pretence in the same way that many dark pop artists do. Her sense of vulnerability is still perceptible, but her astute wit dominates the soundscape all the same.
The official video to After the Party is available to stream via YouTube.
There was no forgetting Aimee Saturne after her audaciously titled debut single ‘Don’t Tell My Boyfriend’, although it was hard to see how the sophomore release could top the entrancing seduction. We clearly underestimated the dark pop songstress who is hell-bent on leaving her sultry mark on the airwaves and on the lascivious streets of LA.
With “I think I’ve finally lost my fucking mind because I think about you all of the time” as the opening lyric in ‘Silver Screen Lover’, you can’t help but be drawn in by the candid lyricism which Aimee Saturne’s seductive vocal range wraps around as bass-riding notes blazon beneath.
It would be an edgy track, if the empowering feat of sexually charged pop wasn’t so flawlessly produced. What you hear in Silver Screen Lover is an admission of someone entirely in command of their sexual agency. It’s the ultimate antidote to crass faux feminist pop.
Silver Screen Lover is now available to stream via Spotify.
Enigmatic Eastern European pop singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, ZØLTAN, has released the 3rd single from their highly anticipated forthcoming EP, the seductively poetic release is the perfect introduction to ZØLTAN’s timeless symphonic approach to semi-orchestral electro-pop.
No Deal drenches the airwaves with romanticism while celebrating contemporary urban culture by playing with dark and theatrical elements, allowing No Deal to serve as a powerful reminder that love can thrive in the darkness just as well as in the light.
The pull of the classical strings gives the single a panoramic feel while the lyrics spill powerful imagery which won’t fail to draw you in to the mesmerising feat of avant-garde pop.
The official video to No Deal premiered on February 5th. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.
If you’re as aurally sensitive as me and your dreams are more lucid than your waking life lately, Jessamine Barham’s latest single ‘Only a Dream’ is going to sting.
The singer-songwriter wrote the theatrically baroque ballad with the same intent which simmers behind each of her works; to offer resonance to the lonely, ignored and “those who wish to know the hidden world behind the sound of silence”.
Any fans of Tori Amos, Amanda Palmer, and Abney Park will definitely want to get acquainted with Jessamine Barham’s consoling talent.
Only a Dream was released on January 22nd; it is now available to stream via YouTube.
After the fascinating dark-pop marvel of Yack from 2020, PleasePrettyLea returns to our lives to bring us a 2nd tale in her 3-part series on Voldermortis called ‘Birthday Card‘.
PleasePrettyLea is a spellbinding indie artist from Dudley in the West Midlands (UK), who sings with a mysteriously alluring style that makes your heart beat a bit faster than usual. She has different characters locked away for now and unleashes them when she feels the need.
This is a truly unique creative who doesn’t fit into any neatly-tied box at all. She is the one wrapping others into the box, if they have the unwise audacity to mess her around that is.
Her vocals grip you and make your whole body shiver as it feels like she is singing right at you. With an enthralling energy that has you frozen in time, the story of being played has you listening so closely. She is now watching her former lover who has decided that he no longer wants to be with her. Big mistake. She bought him a card for his Birthday but threw it away as she grew sick of his games and a new woman decided to rise up to haunt him into place.
Her vivid storytelling is absolutely incredible and you can only admire her honest style that is fused together perfectly by the spooky beat- that has you nervously looking around your room at times.
‘Birthday Card‘ from Midlands, UK-based dark-pop singer-songwriter PleasePrettyLea is one of the most bewitching tracks you will ever hear. She is completely original and her trance-like appeal has you wrapped in a state of seduction from head to toe and you can’t move, due to her magnetic energy force field. This is sensationally creative music that stimulates your soul and scares you a bit too.
This is a vital lesson to all men out there to never (ever) make a woman your plan b. Bring on Voldermortis part 3.
Stream this exhilarating heart clench of a track on Spotify and see more of her journey on IG.
If it has been a while since you’ve heard a truly authentic voice, fall into Detroit singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Brian Perrone’s, moody alt-indie folk sophomore release, ‘Be This Way’.
If you could imagine the vocal stylings of Morrisey, Peter Murphy, Chris Isaacs and Elvis all melding over a piano-led art-rock instrumental arrangement, you’ll get an idea of what is in store when you hit play on this evocatively potent release.
The slight vocal vibrato ensures that the single resonates with as much raw emotion as it does with resolving aural comfort while the atypical progressions will leave you utterly transfixed. Quite honestly, Be This Way is up there with Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ and Cat Stevens’ ‘Wild World’ in terms of tracks which can leave you in a catatonic stupor with the sheer soul-driven power.
You can check out Be This Way for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud now.
Any fans of Bowie, Empathy Test, Bauhaus and Type O Negative will want to jump on the latest album ‘I Am the Skeleton King’ from The Dresden Persuasion.
Track 1, ‘The Stars Have Faded,’ is a faultless introduction to the mesmerising German artist. From the first verse, it’s perceptible that their soundscapes are crafted to offer the listener just as much catharsis as they experienced when creating their hypnotic feats of Electronica.
The Darkwave single pairs phantasmal instrumentals with Craig Dickerson’s sensually absorbing vocals which ensure that with each progression, you’re immersed even deeper in the evocatively multifaceted release. The Stars Have Faded captures the complexity of nihilistic emotion while allowing your own emotions to slip away as they’re replaced with the consoling ones relayed to you in resounding whispers.
You can check out The Stars Have Faded via Bandcamp.