The Nashville Alt-Pop trio, Nikol, seared their authenticity across the defiantly autonomous latest single, Not Like You. After hearing the disjointed electroclash instrumentals pulsate against the hypersonically sticky sweet vocal lines, you will never think of individually the same ever again.
After a turbulent storm of distorted electronica sets an instantly anthemic tone, the confessional lyricism fed through effect-laden pop vocals affirms that true outliers don’t colour outside of the lines through an edgy wanton desire to create a difference from the mainstream. The lyric “It’s not that I don’t want to fit in, life is better with imagination” poignantly says it all.
Any fans of Dead Disco and Shiny Toy Guns will undoubtedly want to discover Nikol before they get even bigger. So far in their career, they’ve hit the stages at The Vans Warped Tour twice and secured multiple licencing offers, which placed their alt-pop hits on hit shows, including The Real World and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. If any act has what it takes to blow up like an atom bomb in 2023, it is Nikol.
Not Like You was officially released on January 6th. Stream it on SoundCloud.
‘Nightmare’ is the phantasmically demure electro-pop hit from Sarah Anne Fernandez, which slices through the vulnerability with razor-sharp wit to help anyone coming to terms with romantic loss to leave their feelings of loss in the dirt.
The artfully moody hit definitively proves that clever meta-wordplay goes a long way in quashing the usual feelings of grief. How could anyone feel sad when succumbing to the vision of haunting their ex in their nightmares while they are lying next to their new romantic victim?
It’s the ultimate antithesis to the usual pop breakup track that affirms your sadness as it flips the script and liberates you with seductively dark imagery. The NYC artist is definitively one to watch in 2023.
Taken from his 2022 album, Sunsneezer,Steve Twinley’s standout single, Time Has Always Been a Friend of Mine, is an indie electroclash earworm awash with 90s nostalgia. With a beat that pulsates with the same ferocity of Emerge by Fischerspooner paired with melodic choral increments that allow you to appreciate Twinley’s softer side, his seminal single inspires you to delve into it time and time again to re-appreciate the seamless shifts in tone and emotion.
The DIY Alt-Rock singer-songwriter hails from the South Coast of the UK and takes his influence from the alt-90s greats, including Weezer, Radiohead, Green Day, Eels and Feeder, but clearly, their inspiration was just a fraction of the creativity of the single that concludes on a psytrance-Esque outro in the same vein of Infected Mushroom.
Stream and purchase Steve Twinley’s single, Time Has Always Been a Friend of Mine, on Bandcamp.
Alt-electro-pop artist, Tontine grabbed a pack of matches and set hearts alight with his debut EP, I. For all the diehard romantics out there, come and feel the heat of this evocative triumph of a 3-track release which radiates stylised soul.
The opening single, If I Could, goes in heavy on the exotic euphoria in the uniquely layered single. As the bass oscillates around the reverb-heavy synth lines and soft angular guitar work, the romanticism within Michael Walden’s vocal lines elevates the release to transcendent heights.
In track two, NIFE, Tontine revolutionises and reforms the pop ballad with the ethereal textures, flurries of intricate piano keys and yearning vocals that meld into the blossoming synthetics to prove the beauty in vulnerability. Grief is a deeply personal experience, but the losses mourned in NIFE share a universal resonance.
The concluding single, Only the Once, is a glitchy avant-garde dream-pop lullaby that allows soul to simmer through the complex chord progressions and lyrics, which crave a repetition of an act never destined to become a reprise.
“This is the first of three EPs I’ll be putting out over the next 12 months consisting of music I’ve been working on for a few years now. I want to showcase what I can do as an artist who writes, records, produces, and mixes everything themselves. This first collection of songs is centred around the theme of loss in various forms, and is a taste of bigger things to come.”
Someone may want to let Ru Paul know that there’s a new world-ruling pop artist on the scene under the moniker Kouvaris The Universal Prince. The singer-songwriter and composer is fresh from the release of their self-titled album, The Universal Prince, which effervesces with the infectious charisma of Shakira while pushing even further back into pop for the rhythmic influence.
With the blazing dance-worthy beats propping up Kouvaris’ unfalteringly energetic vocal lines in the title single, it is impossible not to be taken in by the fusion of soul, pop, and pulsating electro-synthetics. Since making his debut, Kouvaris has garnered over a million streams and views in addition to gracing platforms such as Fox, CBS and NBS. The airwaves are his domain now. I for one accept our new ruler.
Kouvaris The Universal Prince’s 2022 album is now available to stream on Spotify.
Embracing the perpetual promise of change, Chris Koehn composed his most introspective single to date, Melancholia. If there’s any lyric that truly epitomises the proclivity of melancholy while advocating mindfulness, it’s the poignantly rendered line, “It’s only life, everyday we die”, that reprises through this gentle dream pop exposition of ennui.
The atmospheric layering of the male and female vocal harmonies above the swirling electronic synthetics and intense percussion creates a sobering soundtrack for reflection. But the sense of soul that matches the contemporary gravitas of Perfume Genius and Cigarettes After Sex ensures that the ultimate effect is an enlivening one.
Inspired by the death of his brother, Chris Koehn is helping others through their grieving processes while processing his own grief. As someone that has recently experienced the loss of their mother, I can attest to the efficacy of this stunning reminder to live in the moment; while we still have one.
Melancholia is now available to stream on Spotify.
With scratchy Covenant-Esque synths and atmospheric beats that build a portal of 80s nostalgia, Autoleisureland’s seminal electro-pop single, Infiniti Drive, is a ride you will want to take time and time again. While the crooned vocals bring the stylistic indie soul, the brooding groove-deep beats take the steering wheel with your rhythmic pulses.
Autoleisureland may be new on the retro-modern synth-pop scene, but the Sunderland, UK-based founding members Paul Woods and David Brewis earned their electro stripes in the critically-acclaimed indie-soul band, The Kane Gang before launching the title single from their upcoming debut album, which is due for release on November 25th.
Infiniti Drive was officially released on October 14th. Check it out for yourselves on YouTube.
The Danish breakthrough artist Martin Buster laid it all bare in his panache-pierced feat of modernist pop, Drop. Atop the world music rhythms that add vivid colour to monochromatically dark electro-pop soundscape, Buster implants lyricism that encompasses the pain that transpires through giving everything and still not giving enough.
“Hurts with every drop that falls” around the hymnal non-lexical vocals beautifully epitomises how much of yourself you can lose in a relationship that constantly tells you that you’re not enough. Ironically, you just can’t help falling in love with him in this masterfully produced release that shows the true beauty in vulnerability.
Drop will officially release on October 21st. Check it out on Spotify.
The up-and-coming solo alt-pop artist, Shards, became the voice of melancholic reason in his latest spacey electro-pop track, I Know You Feel the Same, which contrasts dark EBM-style beats with classic pop harmonies as it cries out for mutuality.
The line “I’m so in love I don’t want to be alone” is a poignant testament to his inhibited approach to lyricism, an approach that will undoubtedly see him go far with his romantically scorned fans.
While there is some room for improvement on the mastering of the single and the synergy between the vocal melodies and the beats could be improved, I Know You Feel the Same is still a hard hitter of a single that is powerful enough to test your soul’s capacity to feel.
I Know You Feel the Same is now available to stream on Spotify.
LA pop artist, Daisyjimes, poured soul into scorn in her latest single, Trading Places; the luxe lyrically driven electro-pop single utilises minimalist instrumentation to give her vindicating words plenty of room to attack the type of protagonists that we love to look back on and see how far we’ve come from our dependence on them.
Tackling themes of loneliness and the emotional growth that comes as a result of involuntary independence, Trading Places is a tender outpour of vulnerability, one that many people will undoubtedly resonate with in an increasingly individualistic society. The mellifluous cadence of her harmonies takes the sting out of the harsh truths, but this demure hard-hitter is all too efficacious nonetheless.
Stream the official music video on YouTube, which premiered on September 16th, or check out the track on apple music.