Newbies is a bi-weekly interns series which will look at uncovering some names that you might not of heard yet. Each of these artists are starting out but have delivered tunes that are good enough to compete with the big guns. For each instalment we’ll be looking into a different genre from sugary electronica to auto-tuned hip-hop.
This week we’re exploring the haunting depth of dark electro-pop. There’s a lot of electro-pop flooding Soundcloud but it’s often hard to come across one that really connects. That said, there have been a plethora of artists that have managed to rise to prominence including Halsey, Tove Lo, Empress Of and even CHVRCHES. Here are some names that we believe could be joining them in the future.
First let’s take a moment to admire the name Squidgenini. It may be a mouthful but it’s like nothing we’ve ever heard before and Australian music needs more creative names amid the Vance Joy and JOY.’s of the scene. Fire is a self-produced cut from the Melbourne artist who has only dropped demoes and remakes in the past. It’s a swirling, haunting number with a hard beat that brings an industrial edge to it. The vocal at the centre of it is full of attitude and also layers to make one hell of a harmony. More of this please Lil Squids.
This is the second song in 12 months to come from Belgian artist WARHOLA and it’s a slam-dunk. With the electro-soul of James Blake, the falsetto of Bon Iver and the darkness of The Weeknd, it’s a supremely produced, deeply affecting cut. Lady crams so many sounds into its under-three-minutes duration but each serves a purpose, particularly the horns which build it to a stunning finale. As far as new music goes, this is one of the best you’re going to hear this year.
LA artist MARZ LÉON has been kicking around since mid-2014 but with each release she gets better and her latest ANOMALY has to be one of her best yet. It was produced by Charlie Handsome who had a hand it Kanye West’s Fade and often produces for rapper Post Malone. He’s brought that same kind of stark, after-3am darkness to MARZ LÉON’s track which moves along with a haunting beat surrounded by dizzying, layered vocals. It may take a plays but eventually this song will creep under your skin.
22 year-old Londonder Rachel Foxx is bringing soul into 2016, matching futuristic electronica with honest R&B and it sounds phenomenal. Her latest tune is Remember – a diary-blurting track that sticks it to a past-lover. “I think of all the time you fucked me over,” she sings with her dense, smokey vocals as the beat gets glitchy in the background. It’s no pop in a traditional sense but the melody is so strong that it could easily be a crossover-hit.
There’s a crossover here with one of the artists we’ve already featured on this list. Myth by Belgian artist Tsar B was produced by Oilver Symons who also goes by the moniker WARHOLA. Myth is Tsar B’s second song and it’s an industrial, brooding tune with elongated vocals that linger. It’s got flavours from all around the world infused into it resulting in something majestic but also a little demonic.
If Only Chords
Electro-pop is so often cluttered with noise but it can be delivered best when it’s spacious and minimal. Los Angeles-based artist Morly has figured that out and is dropping stunning tunes that centre around her vocals. If Only Chords is taken from her second EP and it’s a slow building, beautiful tune that doesn’t rush anything. Morly gives plenty of time for the song to naturally evolve and by the time it reaches its flourishing climax, you’ll be completely sold.
From The Knife to Tove Lo, Sweden is a fine purveyor of dark pop and they may have just delivered another artist capable of proving that. Chameleon by Stockholm duo RABBII is an other-worldly pop song defined by off-kilter vocals, pulsating beats and haunting, manipulated samples. It’s sad but there’s also something really euphoric about the way the song builds to the chorus with a throbbing beat. When all the sounds join together at the end the result is nothing less than thrilling.