Tag Archives: Dance pop

Zhala – “Prophet”

19 Feb


Right up near the top of our list of favourite pop artists of all time is Robyn. No fooling, she is an incredible performer and writer of amazingly evocative, emotional and infectious pop songs. By all accounts she is also incredibly smart, savvy and knows more than just a thing or two about music and the industry. So when she says a new artist is good, you know you should take a listen. When she says of that artist, “When [she] sings the heavens open and the stars come down to hover over my head and I feel like anything is possible”, you know you need to stop what you are doing and pay full attention. When Robyn not only says those things but also makes this new artist the first ever signing to her own Konichiwa Records, it’s time to disconnect the phone.

Listening to Zhala’s new track (and the title track from her debut EP) “Prophet”, it’s not hard to understand why Robyn loves her fellow Swede so much. It’s breakneck speed dance pop full of electronic flourishes and tumbling twinkles of synths that were prominent on the Body Talk series. But it’s darker; so much darker, like there’s a strange unseen force at work kind of dark.

And it’s bonkers. Fantastically, brilliantly and overwhelmingly bonkers.

It’s a cosmic fairground of pop music, with rides and games of all shapes and sizes to play amongst the stars. It opens like the arrival through a wormhole to this crazy, bright and mutli coloured universe with Mos Eisley looking inhabitants and intergalactic carnival stalls. A fairly gentle and melodious opening soon bleeds into our first rollercoaster ride of the day as it gets a bit hectic and the beat begins to crash and surge. Then calm again as we move over to the teacups or the genteel undulations of the carousel before the lure of adrenaline takes hold and its back to the big dogs.

The keys go nuts, the beat explodes and the car hurtles amongst the stars, round planetary rings and overtakes comets as they race by. Scream if you want to go faster!

The ‘Prophet’ EP is out today via Konichiwa Records.

Stalk Zhala: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Free Download: Gabriel Martins – “Falling Debris”

27 Feb

Gabriel Martins

Think of Brazil and a number of things probably spring immediately to mind. For example, Carnival, Samba, Rio, Sun, Beaches and Pele are the most likely thoughts people would have: Capoeira, coffee and shanty towns maybe slightly less likely. What is unlikely to feature on many people’s list is blistering, indie dance-pop. Yet that is exactly what Rio’s own Gabriel Martins is delivering with “Falling Debris”.

It begins in much the same way as many modern electro-pop tunes do; a bit of a beat, some twinkling synths and some swirling atmospherics. Then the keys and vocals come in and the tone is changed, the emphasis is more on rhythm with the drum patterns crashing and rolling around incessantly. Then we shift again, just as the track appears to fade away the guitar kicks in and drives us home in an energetic finale.

As you would expect from anything Brazilian, bar perhaps Ronaldinho, it is pretty sexy and will no doubt be the cause of many writhing, sweaty bodies crowding the dancefloor to get their groove on.

”Falling Debris” is the third track from Gabriel Martin’s Silence EP, which is also available for free download from his SoundCloud page.

Stalk Gabriel Martins: Facebook / SoundCloud

In Review: Save The Clocktower – Through The Glass

28 Sep

Regular readers, heck even casual readers, may well have noticed that we really like Pop music, in all its myriad of forms. Electro, synth, indie, dream, hip, ambient, dance, folk, 80s-esque, the list runs on and on and it is this love of pop that has led to Chicago’s Save The Clocktower getting a lot of repeat play on the stereo recently. Specifically their sophomore album, Through The Glass.

Following on from their 2011 debut, Carousel, which showed signs of the band’s pop appreciation but was steeped much more in shoegazey, hazy electro sounds, Through The Glass is dripping in psychedelic dancibility. Despite being together for three years by the time Carousel came out (and with an EP release under their belts already), the album felt a little introverted, a little unsure of itself, like a kid on the first day of school. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, it really was, but by comparison Through The Glass is much more rounded, like the kid is about to graduate.

Sounds are bigger, richer and bolder. Holding their head high, big smile beaming on their face. These are sounds to be shared, to be danced to, lyrics to be sung along with. We don’t know if the addition of a fourth band member, bassist Chris Newton, earlier this year is responsible for this evolution, this sonic emergence if you will, but we know we like it. “Better Than Ever”, for example, which features guest vocals from Company Of Thieves’ Genevieve Schatz, has a sweet hook and a chorus that borders on anthemic. We didn’t get that before, we love that we do now.

Through The Glass embraces the best of pop, from across the genres. At every turn there are snippets of influences, wafts of half remembered melodies or beats from the past. This element of familiarity no doubt helps the record get under the skin of the listener but it is the never ending mobius-groove running throughout that will get you. Even on slower jams like “It Happens” there is still enough to have you swaying from side to side. A welcome respite before the brilliant Human League/Pet Shop Boys hybrid “What If?” kicks in and the dance begins once more.

Through The Glass is out now and available for download from the Save The Clocktower Bandcamp page.

Stalk Save The Clocktower
Website / Facebook / Twitter

‘R’ is for Ronika

22 Sep

Here at Alphabet Bands, we believe that we deserve another Bank Holiday, Monday 3 October to be precise; and that it should be renamed Ronikaday. Why would we suggest such a seemingly stupid thing? Simple, one of the UK’s most exciting new pop stars, Ronika, is releasing her latest EP, Only, Only / In The City, and we feel it is only right that the day she begins her ascent to global domination* be celebrated.

Hailing from Nottingham, Ronika has already been dubbed the ‘Madonna of the Midlands’, which does a disservice to both really. Madge was never as downright groovy as Ronika, and for all her eccentricities, Ronika is unlikely to ever strip off with Vanilla Ice for a book.

Her music is manna from disco-synth heaven. Reminiscent of the very best 80’s electro pop, but rather than make you want to wear suit jackets with gargantuan shoulder pads and the sleeves rolled up, these tunes were made to make you dance. As well as behoving you to cut shapes, there is a simplistic infectiousness to Ronika’s sound that will not only weave its way into your biological make up, but that also belies the intelligence and heart used in its craft.

Naturally there will be some who will scoff and claim that she is just an 80’s rip-off merchant. To those naysayers we simply say; ‘Ronika has not so much ripped-off a genre of music from the 80’s; more she has travelled back in time, imbibed the very essence of underground disco-pop and returned to make it something fresh and new for the 21st century. Besides, she’s way skill’.

The EP is out on 3 October and you can see the video for “In The City” below and “Only Only” on NME.com.

* By Global domination, we mean critical and chart success. We are not suggesting that she is some crazed megalomaniac, hell bent on taking over the world and enslaving us all to program beats for her new tracks. Though we wouldn’t put it past her.