Synth Pop

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
Artist: 
Carly Rae Jepsen
Label: 
School Boy/Interscope Records

I’ve been listening to EMOTION SIDE B all week, so I thought it was about time for me to review it. Carly Rae Jepsen has been hiding in her “Call Me Maybe” shadow for too long and it’s time for people to take notice- this album is a pop masterpiece. EMOTION, Jepsen’s second album, was released a year ago and has become almost a cult classic, creating Carly Rae Jepsen stans and countless iconic internet memes. And now she is giving us the songs that didn’t make the cut.

Sounds Like: 
Whitney Houston
Name: 
Amanda Chesin
Date Reviewed: 
09/01/2016
Artist: 
Dear Tracks
Label: 
Dear Tracks

The "Soft Dreams" EP is a very relaxing listen. All of the tracks are a bit more down tempo. The lyrics are out by the synth-y guitar sounds. In order to listen to they lyrics, this album requires a lot of attention. However, this is a great album to put on in the background while doing a stressful assignment because it is a very relaxing experience. I listened to this album while juggling end of the semester chaos, and it definitely helped me to find a bit of inner peace!

Sounds Like: 
Real Estate
Sounds Like: 
Wild Nothing
Name: 
Ryley Tegler
Date Reviewed: 
04/10/2016
Artist: 
Seth Bogart
Label: 
Burger Records

What can’t (T-LOC!!!!) Seth Bogart do? The musician/artist/photographer/ designer
/former hairdresser just released his first LP under his own name, and it is so much
better than I could have ever imagined. The evolution of Seth Bogart from his Hunx
(& His Punx) days to now is remarkably drastic. Looking back at photos of him from
just a couple of years ago when he was fronting the retro garage pop punk band
(alongside Shannon and The Clams’ Shannon Shaw), it’s almost difficult to believe

Sounds Like: 
Peach Kelli Pop + Depeche Mode
Sounds Like: 
bubblegum New Order (???)
Sounds Like: 
new Paellas
Name: 
Emily Beiser
Date Reviewed: 
04/06/2016
Artist: 
ASTRO
Label: 
Nacional Records

This album is one of the most cohesive and polished albums to come out of the Chilean indie pop scene in a while. It’s been a while since ASTRO, one of the original proponents of this indie pop movement, has put out an album (their last was released in 2012), but Chicos de la Luz was well worth the wait. This album is very synth-heavy, just like the previous two, but the band’s sound has developed a great deal and the melodies and lyrics are much more complex. The imagery and lyrical descriptions in the album are incredible.

Sounds Like: 
Alex Andwater
Sounds Like: 
Javiera Mena
Name: 
Zazil Davis-Vazquez
Date Reviewed: 
03/24/2016
Artist: 
POP ETC
Label: