Pairs Well With…The xx, Crystal Castles, King Krule
It’s rare to see this much restraint in pop music, let alone something parented from electronic dance music. British trio Dems’ finely detailed tracks pull back at just the right moment, leaving ears to free-float for just a few seconds before a clever melody gently guides you back into a verse. Dems stick mostly in the down-tempo throughout their series of singles over the past two years (five songs and a cover so far), but there are moments to groove to – this is a heady listen, but far from a sleepy one. Top that with some really inventive production, rhythmically and melodically, and Dems is set up for a head-turning SXSW if this aural beauty translates to the stage. Lastly, Dems feature some stunning vocals (guest vocals aside), influenced as much in soul and R&B as traditional synth-pop.
Electronic pop takes the top picks on today’s set - be on the lookout for these couple of inventive experimenters with electronic and organic insturmentation alike. Highlights:
Dems (9) - Dems stick mostly in the down-tempo throughout their series of singles over the past two years (five songs and a cover so far), but there are moments to groove to – this is a heady listen, but far from a sleepy one.
Fe (8) - Fe is an intriguing new electronic soul duo from London, led by an R&B crooner with an inventive ear. Musically, Fe’s two early singles, “Time” and “She Came” present an even meld of minimal electronic pop, soul-R&B and nostalgic new wave rock.
Claire (6) – Mid-tempo electronic pop trio Claire have a winner in latest single “Broken Promise Land”, one of the stronger upbeat anthems on the SXSW run so far. The rest of their LP and EP seem to follow dance and new wave patterns to mixed results, but there are some potential hit-makers amongst these young lads from Germany.
Fences (6) – I’m a little early on the Fences preview, as tracks from Lesser Oceans, due sometime this year, have yet to hit the web. From the band’s 2010 debut, Fences has shown a good ear for soft, indie rock-pop music, but something tells me they’ll have more invention up their sleeves for 2014.
Fismoll (5) – It’s hard to find much in English surrounding singer-songwriter Fismoll, but high YouTube views and a few other indicators show that he must be a pretty big deal in Poland. Fismoll has a very pretty voice and sings over minimal acoustic fingerpicking – there’s definitely a significant Bon Iver influence at work here, but with cool European twist on that introspective sound.
Fly Golden Eagle (5) – Fly Golden Eagle’s 2011 debut has all sorts of different sounds on their debut record Swagger, a spaghetti-at-the-wall vibe that has some real moments of invention in a lo fi, psych/rock/synth/pop musical concoction.