Browsing Tag



Island Empire – Polymath: Captivatingly Conceptual Dream Pop

London based Electronic Dream Pop duo Island Empire have just released their nostalgically steeped debut EP Polymath. Whilst each of 4 tracks is as compelling as the last, it was the title track which blew me away. It’s hard to encapsulate in words just how resounding the synergy is between Island Empire’s domineering vocals and synth beat which wouldn’t be out of place in a Human League track. Yet, Island Empire’s vocals bore more of a reminiscence to the Indie Pop from bands such as London Grammar and Warpaint. Comparisons may be able to be drawn to Island Empire’s soundscapes, but the singer indisputably has a prodigal style which is quite frankly a breath of fresh air.  With such a radio ready sound, I wouldn’t be surprised if Island Empire see’s a short ascension to the top with their chillingly sweet approach to lyricism, production and vocals.

If you’re a fan of bands such as Shiny Toy Guns, Kill Hannah and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, I can guarantee you’re going to want to check out Island Empire’s debut EP Polymath on SoundCloud now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Cleanest Hippie – Who Needs Genres Anyway?

Because we live in a world where everything needs to have an appropriate label and people have gone to war over the wrong sub-genre being attributed to a particular artist or album, lets call this alt-rock-dreamstate-psych-pop. Perhaps throw in some 90’s college rock and that’s probably enough to be getting on with.Some might describe it as dream-pop, but a better term might be term dreamy-pop, for whilst it does wander the same hazy and sonorous pathways of the former, it is built on a confident and robust pop structure, beats are solid, guitar lines chime or soar rather than blur and fuzz and the vocals walk the perfect line between dreamscape and drama.It is a touch of louche and languid brilliance, a hazy torpor of sound that sits on a groove equidistant between Wilco and The Church…if you can imagine such a thing. Well, now you don’t have to!

Dream-pop with a gym membership? Washed through indie without the fashion fixations? Pop music built more from fluidity than hook? Who cares? It’s great and that’s what matters and it also does that rare thing these days of filling a hole in the generic map and also cleverly sits mid way between cultish and commercial. Who would have thought that just one track could join so many dots?


Scuttlebuggs – The Wolf: Ethereally Resounding Dream Pop

Chicago, Illinois based duo Scuttlebuggs have to be one of the most charming pairing of musicians I have ever heard. The lyrics are bordering on absolute genius, they serve as a punch in the stomach through their pensive penning through a style Nick Cave would even approve of. “Well she calls herself a slut, what kind of slut would believe that she’s alone?” It doesn’t get anymore perfect than that. Genre-wise, Scuttlebuggs skate between a Lo Fi Dream Pop sound and throw in some Folk to perfectly round off their ethereally strange combination of sounds. With their single the Wolf, they well and truly set the rulebook to sound on fire. The power of the Jangle Pop guitar harmonies with a little Folkish flair isn’t to be underestimated.

The Wolf is just one of the standout singles from Scuttlebugs album End of the Itch which is available to stream and download via Bandcamp. The rest of the album is just as perfect as the Wolf, if you like your music a little on the stranger side, you won’t want to miss out on Scuttlebuggs.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


“Paper” – Catherine’s Room’s Latest Electronic Dream Pop Track

Catherine’s Room, an experimental music group from Rome, is a band with a sound that is smooth and relaxing yet also strong and in constant motion. Their latest track “Paper” presents their very own dream pop sound through a track which keeps developing through to the end, with constant additions to the instrumental texture as well as a vocal chorus melody that is as clear and clean, somewhat reminiscent of the undistorted reflection on a clear and still sea. Featuring simple phrase shapes and a minimalistic approach to melody creation the song still manages to evolve and develop through to the final notes.

“Paper” starts off with electronic organ carpets that set up the relaxing and atmosphere which develops into a dreamlike sensation as the beat kicks in and the vocal melody starts developing the first verse. Right as the chorus emerges, the vocal melody stands out even more, with long luscious notes accompanied by a build featuring soft string, creating a cinematic sound that it image evoking and delicate. Later on in the song, the entry of the electric guitar shakes things up and the image becomes slightly distorted while the melody remains clear and crisp. Catherine’s Room have a unique artistic vision and know how to craft sound in a truly effective way that is capable of communicating emotion and evoking images. Check it out!

-Sarah Marie Bugeja


A Hope For The Future – Loaded Gun: Wake Up To The Future Of Dream Pop.

Ironically the band Hope for the Future does just that for its genre with their debut hit Loaded Gun.

A Hope for The Future are a futuristic collective of musician’s which hail from Stockholm, Sweden with their effervescent Alternative Dream Pop Sound. Their New track Loaded Gun alludes to their musical influences. The female lead vocalist has all of the powerful synergy of fellow singers from The Cardigans, and The XX whilst the minimalist in part, monstrous in others is a slight nod to other contemporary Alternative artist such as M83 and Arcade fire.

They create an enriched harmony throughout the track through the effect of the jingling guitar which rattles charismatically all through the track to lead it up to an explosive sound in the chorus. A Hope For The Future have definitely created an anthem through Loaded Gun that wouldn’t be out of place on a Made In Chelsea soundtrack.

The collective have created a universally lovable sound with their relatable and resonant styling that shines with euphoric charisma.

You can check out Loaded Gun, and their other new single Friend on the links below!


Mórtola’s Recent Release “Alive” Reminds Me Of Artists Such As Haim Or Daughter

Mórtola is a passionate singer and songwriter with a deep fascination for new wave textures, electronic music punch and plain pop appeal. Her music is rich and really lavish, yet very personal and direct – obviously stemming from the artist’s great dedication to her craft.

“Alive” perfectly portrays the artist’s instinctive and personal songwriting style. Although the sound is big and powerful, it is also very intimate with only a few, yet well-focused elements that embrace a “less is more” philosophy, blending old-school and new school tonal ideas.

One one end, the track echoes back to the principles of classic songwriting. On the other end, however the sound is modern and impactful, featuring powerful drum samples and tight beats with a gritty feel. The rhythm section offers a perfect musical backbone to the excellent synth melodies and far-reaching lyrics. It’s always fascinating to me to hear how artists are able to turn a simple riff or even a simple rhythmic idea into a full-fledge song with a powerful sound.

This is definitely the case of Mórtola;s new single. This talented artist can seamlessly start from a relatively simple concept and build up the foundation to an inspiring and direct tone, which deeply connect with listeners of all walks of life.


Original Swimming Party Announce New Single ‘Biggest Curse’

Original Swimming Party joined forces with Moonchild Sanelly in order to create a lush, unique and fascinating single titled “Biggest Curse”.

The song is immediately striking for its stunning production value and accomplished arrangements. The rhythm section, in particular, is pretty edgy. The kick and snare lock in perfectly, creating a really crisp, yet hypnotic groove. The beautiful thing about the drum arrangement is that it is very dynamic: not just a loop over the song, but a really fluid structure that seems to follow the melodies like a roller coaster – it grows in intensity when needed, but it also knows when to take a step back and allowing other elements in the mix to truly stand out.

The bass locks in with the beats perfectly, creating a really outstanding backdrop for the many layers of synths to truly stand out. The melodic textures are lush and direct, serving the vocal melodies perfectly. Moonchild Sanelly really offers a powerful vocal performance that adds a lot of groove and spontaneity to this track. The vocals are far-reaching, direct and spontaneous, drenched in stunning effects and warm reverb tones that add space and depth to the lead vocal tracks and harmonies alike.

The vocal bridge before the song’s outro is also really remarkable, with great pitch-shifting effects and multi-layered vocals that add a dream-like vibe to this song. The ending is really unexpected, as the song keeps picking up pace and speed, just like a wild rollercoaster ride.

Clocking in at slightly over the 4-minute mark, Biggest Curse feels like a rich, in-depth and extremely textural song with lots of details. A couple of listening sessions in, and you start to notice details you might have missing previously, such as additional layers of drones and melodic synths, bass riffs or harmonized vocal hooks.

Original Swimming Party truly managed to impress me with their incredible blend of dream pop vibes, ambient and afro-beat grooves.

Original Swimming Party

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Lady Katherine’s Dream-pop Track ‘Harmony’

If musical genres such as shoegaze and dream-pop can sometimes be seen as elitist areas defended by earnest, serious music fans looking down their noses at pop music’s more transient and throwaway nature, then Lady Katherine is the bridge that connects the two camps. Harmony is the perfect blend of lush soundscaping and addictive pop; it has all the beat and sass of the latter but also the lush, shimmering trappings of the former.

Harmony is as concerned with textures as it is structures and it is this meeting of sonic beauty and pop groove that has created this wonderful reconciliation between the two musical worlds. I don’t think anyone was expecting that!


A&R Factory Present: Joy Downer

Joy Downer is the new project from Joy Bishop and Jeff Downer, a married duo out of  Los Angeles, CA. Inspired by duality; themes of light and dark, man and woman, mind and matter collide to set the backdrop of the sound.

Their danceable debut single, “Caught In Your Spell,” is a jangle pop love song  that opens with a shimmery, dreamwave synth and is anchored by buoyant drums and groovy rhythms. All the while Bishop’s saccharine voice sings a story of obsessive intentions ending with triumphant blasts of trumpet.  

“Have you ever met someone that made you dance the fine line of being a stalker and letting that person know you’re interested?,” says Bishop about ‘Caught In Your Spell.’

The song is off their debut EP, Radio Dreamer, which was recorded and produced by Rob Kolar (of He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister and KOLARS) at his home studio in Echo Park.

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A&R Factory Present: The Sunset Kids

The Sunset Kids are a unique Canadian Electro Folk/Dream pop music duo created in early 2013 by Josh Palmer (Guitar, Synths, Vocals) and Ally-V (Synths, Vocals). . Beyond providing energetic performances throughout the country, they share their enthusiasm and passion for music and film. Nominated for best Independent Music Video at the 2016 HMMA’s ( Hollywood Music in Media Awards). Their merits as artists also extend internationally, all their main official videos have been produced in California in collaboration with videographers and other crew members from the TV series Breaking Bad.

Ally V , grew in post Soviet /post Berlin wall Siberia, with no money and political unrest for years. She later immigrated to Saskatchewan Canada and her cinematic eye and musical ears were inspired by her journey to Canada. Her other worldly experiences bring a uniqueness to the Sunset Kids music and videos that’s all their own. The Kids make exciting Electro Folk music and also Cinematic music videos  and short films. For their live show they combine this cinematic eye for a multimedia experience with video projection.

The Sunset Kids have become well known for implementing visual art during their performances.  This comes in the form of original videos that capture the attention of their audience by mimicking the essence and mood of their music. To date, The Sunset Kids have played nearly 100 shows, including local, national, and international venues. The Sunset kids are heavily influenced by the New-Wave and Synthesized Sounds of the 80’s and folk pop of today. Their music represents a blend of many genres, from folk to synth electronic and indie.

Other than the most recent Music Video Nomination, one of their exciting milestone was the release of their first EP Seventh Sky on March 23, 2014 in front of a Los Angeles audience at the famous and Historic, House of Blues HOB on Sunset BLVD. Thanks to the overwhelming crowd response.  In fact one of the last performances their before the legendary club closed down.

Find out more here