New Artist Spotlight: Ledges Bring Shoegaze up a Level and Gaze at 'The Sun, The Stars, The Moon and Me'
Ledges are a duo comprised of two friends who met in college in Connecticut. At first, producer Anthony Vertullo and Songwriter Stephen Connolly simply bonded over a mutual love of music, as both fell in love with the emerging chillwave scene of the mid-00s. Chillwave was born out of a fusion of dream pop and shoegaze, originally analog disciplines, with trip hop beat structures now merging and rooted in electronica. Over the years, the two friends and now members of Legdes kept in touch, and emails about music soon turned into exchanges of ideas, stems, melodies and eventually tracks.
Music fans first, once Vertullo and Connolly had amassed a large catalog of songs, they reached out to one of their idols in the chillwave and dream pop scene, John Jagos of Brothertiger. Jagos agreed to mix and master a grouping of the friends’ favorite songs, and The Sun, The Stars, The Moon and Me was born, making Ledges an official musical duo. This debut is chillwave but much more, with heavier trip hop beats than the average chillwave track and a wispy vocal contribution from Connolly. In short, it takes shoegaze, trip hop and even dream pop up a level by folding even more indie, jazz and funk into a genre that was already fusion.
It’s clear that Vertullo and Connolly enjoy experimenting with old Casio and other vintage synthesizers to make the base of their tracks. This is really apparent in the track “She’s Talking to Me,” which opens with a classic Casio-like snare. It might even be off of an old organ, so primitive-sounding is that synth snare. A warmer beat supports such experimentation. While Connolly plays with these synths on the production end, Connolly’s songwriting and their shared melodies are done with such quality that Ledges thus has the space for these fun nods to the past.
The vintage elements of the synths and snares combine with modern composition and melodies to create a sound that is definitely unique to Ledges. A highlight which really shows this combination is the album’s opener “Mirabelle (The Flood),” which has a definite root in 80s synths and composition, but the vocals and the way the track moves is clearly modern and chillwave influenced. It also has some great funk elements in the 80s-style synthy bass, and these elements really drive the track so that it’s not completely ambient and shoegazey. It’s a great balance and a great example of the quality of Ledges’s work.
If The Sun, The Stars, The Moon and Me is the bar Ledges have set for their sound, fans of dream pop, shoegaze and chillwave will want to keep an eye on this duo. It sounds like they already have a pretty big catalog ready to go for a second release, not to mention what will happen as they continue to develop their sound.
New Artist Spotlight: MÒZÂMBÎQÚE Invites Fans to Learn the 'Language'
MÒZÂMBÎQÚE, or Andrew Smith to his mother, his favorite critic who says his music is “very nice,” is not necessarily new to music. His upcoming album For Never and Ever is his debut under this MÒZÂMBÎQÚE iteration, but Smith has grown up with music and made his life travelling the world to learn new and different disciplines. Still, with an upbringing in instrumental jazz and having learned multiple drumming techniques in Africa, India and Asia, it’s surprising that he would land on electronica for his first album. With Smith’s fascination with dream pop and ambient artists like Tycho, Aphex Twin and Com Truise, however, that’s exactly where he landed.
It seems Smith as MÒZÂMBÎQÚE made a good choice with For Never and Ever, as it’s a highly polished marriage of dream pop, ambient electronica and more EDM-tinged genres like bass house and even hardstyle. The album comes out in late July, but a series of singles and videos is being released in the meantime. “Language” featuring vocalist Jordan Corey was the first such single, released way back in December. A beautiful intro to MÒZÂMBÎQÚE’s style, “Language” is definitely in the dream pop wheelhouse.
More recently, “Kenopsia” came out more recently in late May. This single is definitely along the lines of Tycho musically, with 80s-inspired synths and drums and a spoken female vocal that is both eerie and sexual. Like its predecessor “Launguage,” the video for “Kenopsia” is full of beautiful fractals but also cutaways to images of mysterious places in the world. Being the lover of travel that Smith is, the video explains itself.
“Bridges” is the newest single for MÒZÂMBÎQÚE to drop just two weeks ago, and it begins to give audiences a glimpse into his EDM chops. Still very dreamy, ambient and 80s-influenced, “Bridges” is definitely made for the dancefloor as it toggles back and forth between tribal house and dubstep beat structures. “Bridges” is in fact perfect for the more psychedelic of the festivals this season, and would be perfect for something like Electric Forest or Lightning in a Bottle. One can almost picture psychedelic lights flashing different colors all around in a beautiful natural setting. The video for this one will likely be gorgeous, if past MÒZÂMBÎQÚE video precedent is anything to go by.
“Language,” “Kenopsia” and “Bridges” provide a good cross-section of the different styles fans will be able to find on For Never and Ever once it comes out. MÒZÂMBÎQÚE’s Soundcloud also features two other singles from the album: the purely ambient “Distance” featuring Lone Kodiak and another housey track called “Chasing Weather.” It seems Smith likes collabs, as there are more than a few on the album, so he will likely also be remixed and it will be really interesting to see what happens once the EDM world gets wind of him. Definitely one to watch for those who love ambient and dream pop/EDM crossover.
For Never and Ever releases July 20, and at least three more singles will drop prior to that full release so keep an eye on MÒZÂMBÎQÚE’s Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages, and especially his YouTube channel for many more videos.
New Artist Spotlight: Heartracer Brings Dream Pop and Electro 'All At Once' [Viedo]
Heartracer is a dream pop or indie pop band started by brothers Chris (vocals and keyboards) and Chip Cosby (guitars) in Virginia. They named their group, which also contains Wes Tatum on bass and Brian “Rico” Reyes on drums, after a heart condition Chris as diagnosed with called tachycardia. The condition causes the heart to beat faster at random. The beats in Heartracer’s music also somewhat mimics the condition, whether on purpose or not, so it makes for a doubly appropriate name.
The group takes influence from a number of sources, ranging from Roxy Music to Coldplay to M83, but Heartracer definitely have their own sound. For reference, they sound a bit like a more electronically-driven Phoenix. While new to EDM, the band is hardly new overall, with their first album In Flight debuting in 2012. Two acclaimed EPs later, Heartracer caught the ear of producer Andrew Lappin, who has produced acts like Passion Pit, St. Lucia and a favorite of the group, M83. The first result of this collaboration is Heartracer’s newest single, “All At Once.”
Based on this single, working with Lappin has really helped Heartracer pin down their sound even more, and give the band a really clear electronic edge. Said edge will likely introduce Heartracer to new venues and genres, hence them being written up in Your EDM. The single opens with a very 80s-inspired synth section which has a touch of ambient reverb a’la, once again, M83. A funk guitar and upbeat drum beat joins the synths to create the full track, which is constructed like a pop song in that it follows the trajectory of Chris Cosby’s vocals. It’s a sweet, poppy tune that while not fully EDM itself, could be easily remixed.
Based on what was clearly a positive experience for Heartracer working with Lappin, it stands to reason that they will record more music with the famed electro/shoegaze producer. If they stay on this trajectory, the band may go into more experimentation and produce even more EDM-friendly tracks. In the meantime, Heartracer’s discography is already extremely polished, diverse and emotive. This band is definitely one to watch, whether your taste is full EDM or you like a little dream pop now and then.
“All At Once” by Heartracer is out now and streamable on Soundcloud and Spotify. Their entire discography is available to stream and purchase on the Heartracer Bandcamp page. Check out the video below of their live performance of “So Close.”