Browsing Tag

Retro Pop

SAL delivered a ‘Bullet in the Heart’ in her latest retro pop earworm

It was only a few days ago that Amanda Palmer’s tweet “all I can handle right now is Enya” deservedly went viral; the up-and-coming artist, SAL may just be an exception to that rule with her latest 80s-inspired pop earworm, Bullet in the Heart.

The smooth release is as heavy on the nostalgia as it is on the soul as it moves through the retro synth chord progressions and endlessly cathartic melodies which fuse with SAL’s sweeter than honey vocal timbre that brings a vibrant and vital sense of warmth to Bullet in the Heart. The indie RnB pop nuances also bring yet another intimately hypnotic element to the single that deserves to be on every radio station’s A-list.

Bullet in the Heart officially launched on April 8th. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Love prevails in Phil Dutra’s retro pop single, It’s Not Enough

It's Not Enough (Falling For Your Love) by Phil Dutra

Break free of your ennui with the old school romanticism in Phil Dutra’s latest retro country-pop single, It’s Not Enough (Falling for Your Love). The Austin Texas artist’s sway-worthy guitar-driven melodies provide a sure-fire nostalgia hit as they croon through the crescendos as Dutra goes all-in with his robustly romantic vocals.

If you cranked up the intensity in Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love by 1000%, it still wouldn’t come close to the stridently visceral release that is the aural equivalent to holding a boombox up underneath an ex paramour’s bedroom window. Romance will never be dead, for as long as there are songwriters in the same gorgeous vein as Dutra.

It’s Not Enough is available to stream and purchase via Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Magenta Dusk has made his retro synth-wave debut with ‘Give It Up’ featuring Sevda B.

For their retro pop debut, Magenta Dusk teamed up with Sevda B and released the synth-wave track, ‘Give It Up’. It’s exactly the kind of track that you’d want to be born in the wake of a global pandemic. It fits the mood with almost serendipitous accuracy; within the reverb-laced progressions, you’ll feel a sense of deep longing, reflecting and trepidation-infused hope.

The Nottingham-based synth-pop producer who seeks to find harmony within dark textures is sure to make waves with his debut single. He pulled plenty of soul-awakening harmony to the surface with Give It Up while simultaneously creating the perfect platform for Sevda B’s tentatively optimistic vocals that will undoubtedly speak those with a tendency to lean towards existentialism.

Give It Up is available to stream and download via Magenta Dusk’s official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Emporers introduce themselves in no uncertain terms with ‘We Are The Emporers’


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.

Check out Emporers on Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

River Mara brings us the ‘Lockdown Love’

River Mara

Eighties-inspired, funky soul pop with a jazzy bent; if Paula Abdul and Quincy Jones got together to produce a nascent, ‘Holiday-era’ Madonna it might sound something like ‘Lockdown Love’ by Romania’s River Mara. Fun, flashy, with an immensely danceable groove and deliciously catchy hook, it’s evocative of big hair, sequins, and glitter-balls, a time of velvet-roped night-clubs (remember those?), Ray-Ban Wayfarers, and ecologically dangerous amounts of hairspray.

A classically-trained pianist and composer, Mara is currently studying classical composition at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, but that’s still left her time to garner a collective 350 Million YouTube views for her songs ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Lie To Me’ for Andra, one of Romania’s biggest singing stars. On the basis of ‘Lockdown Love’, with its insane little ear-worm chorus and effervescent upbeat enjoyment , it’s really not hard to see why.

Check out River Mara’s website here.

Review by Alex Holmes

Project Rod Williams have released their synth-driven 80s pop serenade ‘Spin Me’

‘Spin Me’ is the latest track to be released by Washington-based electro dance-pop outfit, Project Rod Williams, any fans of the 80s retro vibe won’t want to let the euphorically animating track pass them by.

The disco and synth pop fusionists succeeded in bringing a fresh slice of lascivious pop to the airwaves while allowing their sensual synth-driven serenade to pay ode to acts such as Dead or Alive and Wham. The single is a promise of big things to come from Project Rod Williams in 2021 and beyond.

Spin Me is now available to stream via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Danni Jackson opens up on ‘Too Much’

Opening up with some gentle picked electric guitar before the vocal and full-on musical arrangement kicks in, ‘Too Much’ is a perfect pop song, a mix of modern dance-able R&B with some older indie-rock stylings and a clever little set of pop sensibilities.

Recognisable from Comedy Central’s ‘Bad Cramps’ (which she writes and stars in), ‘Too Much’ is the follow-up to Jackson’s 2016 debut EP which included the BBC Introducing ‘track of the day’ ‘We Ain’t Got Love’. ‘Too Much’ is an honest, truthful first-person narrative on the problems of mental health, social pressure, and body image, an empathetic and open storytelling vibe in the style of Lily Allen or Anne-Marie, with maybe a little of the bounce and groove of Fergie thrown in for good measure. It’s fresh, vulnerable, and uplifting all at once.

Check out ‘Too Much’ on Spotify; follow Danni Jackson on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Slip away from the monochrome present-day with Georgia and the Vintage Youth’s single ‘Colour Blind’

We can’t fast-forward 2021, but we can escape it by delving into the past, Georgia and the Vintage Youth’s latest single ‘Colour Blind’ is the perfect aural TARDIS to jump into. While you’re consoled about the state of present-day, the comfort from the anachronistically styled soul will abstract you from it.

Anyone lucky enough to hear it will be able to better understand their own lockdown-inspired feelings after hearing Colour Blind. With lyrics as strong, meta and almost serendipitously astute as ‘I don’t wanna die, I’m just tired of feeling colour-blind’, Colour Blind isn’t a track which you can listen to half-heartedly.

Unlike many retro-inspired singles, Colour Blind isn’t a tea-stained faded photograph of the past. Georgia’s vocals carry the same grace as a 50s chanteuse. Sure, there’s a nod to Winehouse in her sound, but her sound stretches right back to the roots of dreamy blues pop. It’s the kind of track I could imagine Dolly Parton having on her playlists.

Colour Blind is available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Violette – Eos: Ukulele-led Retro Americana Pop

The very talented Violette Remington – daughter of a musical family from Orange County, California – is a 19-year-old singer-songwriter with a penchant for vintage dresses, rockabilly stylings, ukulele, and guitar. With ‘Eos’, her third single, she delivers a cute little slice of retro Americana set to ukulele, but the star of the show here truly is Violette’s voice; lilting, soaring, and sing-song, with maturity and timbre far belying her tender years, Violette’s delivery is clearly honed by her years performing in musical theatre and performing for friends and family.

Listing influences as diverse as Linda Ronstadt, Debbie Harry, and Aretha Franklin, and taking inspiration from the 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll scene and the 1960’s musical revolution, ‘Eos’ is an absolute delight, a touch of the unique and genuine in a world of carbon-copy dance-pop and manufactured X-Factor bands.

Check out ‘Eos’ on Spotify, and follow Violette on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Lance Houck swings back to the 60s with their single ‘With All My Heart’

Upbeat, poppy, light and airy, with a distinct sixties/seventies vibe, carried in on a wave of woo-hoo-hoos and jingly clean guitar, comes ‘With All My Heart’, the new single from Californian singer-songwriter Lance Houck. Sunny, uplifting, and full of those happy West Coast vibes, ‘With All My Heart’, from Houck’s seven-track album ‘Unborn’, is a gem of a single, catchy, vibey, with as-you-might-expect elements of the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and The Lovin’ Spoonful.

There’s some nice guitar work too, Houck playing all instruments as well as taking on vocal duties, pushy drums, and a cute little rolling bassline, Houck’s vocal is well-delivered and tuneful, the track overall a proper little summery ear-worm which might be a nice little antidote to current UK Tier 4 Lockdown restrictions.

You can hear ‘With All My Heart’ on Bandcamp, and follow Lance Houck on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes