Synth Pop

Artist: 
Kllo
Label: 
Ghostly International

Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam, AKA Kllo, have come up with an album that is easy to listen to. Kaul's vocals are light and airy but are strong enough to send shivers down my spine. It sounds so effortless but it emits so much passion and feeling. Lam does an incredible job incorporating the instrumentals to give each track another element of depth. I would describe the tracks as quiet--that they require a close ear to truly appreciate and can be easily overlooked. However, when you do pay attention the music calms the heart but also evokes strong feelings of desire, loss and adventure.

Sounds Like: 
Years and Years
Sounds Like: 
Yumi Zouma
Name: 
Hibah Ilyas
Date Reviewed: 
11/20/2017
Artist: 
Stars
Label: 
Last Gang Records Inc.

This album is a banger. the Canadian bad, Stars stretch hushed electro-pop into scrambling electric rock, almost if it blends the Smiths’ guitar romance with bedroom vibel like the product of some some of Tame Imapala's work. "There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light" definitely finds the band with their feet on the streets and their heads scraping the sky, just where they should be. Campbell gets a requisite U2-style burner on “Alone,” and it’s pretty glorious.

Sounds Like: 
Of Monsters & Men
Sounds Like: 
Sugar Candy Mountain
Name: 
Miles Schuk Ehler
Date Reviewed: 
10/23/2017
Artist: 
Mac DeMarco
Label: 
Captured Tracks

Mac DeMarco is back at it again with This Old Dog, which was releaased on May 5, 2017. Mac stays dear and true to himself with every single track in this album. He has mixed his folky vibe with his usual heavy synth sound to create an all encompassing, feel-good album.

Sounds Like: 
HOMESHAKE
Sounds Like: 
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Name: 
Arielle Devorah
Date Reviewed: 
10/23/2017
Artist: 
Poppy
Label: 
Mad Decent

"Interweb", "Computer Boy", and "Let's Make A Video" are three of the synth-pop tracks off of Poppy's album "Poppy.Computer." With her high-pitch angelic voice and glittery pop vibes to match, Poppy is a living bubble gum pop, pastel blog. The themes of Poppy's songs are always based off of the connection our generation has to technology and how that can create artificial connections and happiness. All of the songs sound rather similar in terms of tone. The beats are all up-lifting with synths and house vibes.

Sounds Like: 
KYARY PAMYU PAMYU - Sweet girl voices with glittery pop synths (also similar aesthetics in music videos)
Sounds Like: 
Marina and the Diamonds - Pastel, pastel goth influences like "Electra Heart"
Name: 
Alli Gilbreath
Date Reviewed: 
10/10/2017
Artist: 
Ariel Pink
Label: 
Kemado Records Inc. d/b/a Mexican Summer

Dedicated to Bobby Jameson by Ariel Pink is an album of isolation. Bobby Jameson was an infamous musician dubbed the ‘next big thing’ after the Beatles came out. But, his first album received such bad criticism that Bobby was left with severe depression, and lived out the rest of his days with his mother in California. Ariel Pink’s album forms itself around this central theme. Many of the songs on the album, like Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, Another Weekend, and Feels Like Heaven speak directly to Bobby Jameson.

Sounds Like: 
Atlas Sound
Sounds Like: 
John Maus
Sounds Like: 
R. Stevie Moore
Name: 
Grace Penry
Date Reviewed: 
10/10/2017
Artist: 
Xiu Xiu
Label: 
Polyvinyl

Xiu Xiu has always straddled the line between noise and pop. They've covered Nick Cave, Rihanna, and "Under Pressure" with Michael Gira (Swans). They've collaborated with Merzbow, Deerhoof, Devendra Banhart, Dirty Beaches, Grouper, and more. They've done an album of Nina Simone covers and reinterpreted the Twin Peaks soundtrack. They've even composed songs with a Nintendo DS. If you're unfamiliar with their work, they basically do everything, they always make it sound like Xiu Xiu, and I find that admirable.

Sounds Like: 
Future Islands
Sounds Like: 
Deerhoof
Sounds Like: 
Prurient
Sounds Like: 
Dirty Beaches
Name: 
Andrew Boring.
Date Reviewed: 
02/24/2017
Artist: 
Justice
Label: 
Ed Banger Records

My first impression of JUSTICE’s music is 80’s synth pop. It has some edgier drums in it, but it’s got many synth elements, weaker vocals, and slow fade-outs similar to that of popular 80’s music. These radio ready singles are from Justice’s third studio album. “Randy” is reminiscent of “Don’t You Want Me”, the 1981 hit from The Human League. It’s got a very distinct throwback vibe, and I think it really nails that mark.

Sounds Like: 
The Human League
Name: 
Amanda Chesin
Date Reviewed: 
01/29/2017
Artist: 
Cellars
Label: 
Manifesto Records

Playing Phases is a flashback to 80’s new wave synth pop with the synthesizer, artificial drum beats, and a distortion filter over the female singer’s voice. Some tracks are a little jarring with all of these electro sounds hitting your ears at once while more soothing songs, like “Still in Love”, are fairly balanced. Nevertheless, if I ever need an album to listen to while riding a spaceship through the Milky Way, this would be it due to its psychedelic, exciting, and hypnotic style. This hypnotism hit me as soon as the intro note to “Toys” played.

Sounds Like: 
Grimes
Sounds Like: 
Visage
Name: 
Alli Gilbreath
Date Reviewed: 
09/23/2016
Artist: 
Aquaserge
Label: 
Almost Musique

Guerre EP by Aquaserge is in French. Though there may be a potential language barrier with many of the shows here at KAMP, the EP is very accessible and the muted lyrics are quiet enough and slurred enough to not be an obstacle against being enjoyed by a broader population!

"Les Zouzes" is very muted synth electronic with some slurred vocals and melodious harmonies. The beats are pretty muted, and I think it's a perfect song for a more lowkey choice. 

Sounds Like: 
Stromae if he calmed down and played the trumpet
Sounds Like: 
Hawaiian chill music, but in French
Name: 
Hannah
Date Reviewed: 
09/21/2016
Artist: 
MOTHXR
Label: 
Washington Square Records

MOTHXR is fronted by none other than the Upper-East Side’s Lonely Boy AKA Penn Badgley and let me tell you their debut album, Centerfold, is indie pop gold. G O L D. I didn’t have expectations going into it, but I was blown away by their 80s inspired synth pop. My favorite song is literally the only one you can’t play, “Stranger” it has a moody new wave feel along the lines of a pop-ier Atlas Genius in style.

Sounds Like: 
Atlas Genius
Sounds Like: 
Gossip Girl (Not at all actually I just wanted to put that sorry)
Name: 
Payton Wells
Date Reviewed: 
09/13/2016
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