Vanessa Carlton at City Winery [December 1, 2015]

By Ross Bernhardt, December 3rd 2015

Vanessa 1

Ask a random person to name three Vanessa Carlton songs, and many would probably struggle to name more than the song she’s most associated with, “A Thousand Miles.” I would fit into that category, though I can round out the trio with two of her other hits, “Ordinary Day” and “White Houses.” While I love all three of those songs, as a teenage boy with a twin sister, I never specifically sought out her music, but kept myself familiar enough with the basics.

But Vanessa Carlton is so much more than those popular songs. Those are over a decade old, and with five studio albums out (including her latest release, Liberman, from October of this year) she has a rich discography that showcases her evolution from those early days. On Tuesday, December 1, Carlton played the second of two sold-out album release shows at Manhattan’s City Winery, and I got to see firsthand just how deft a musician and performer Carlton really is.

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Halsey at Boston Calling 2015

By Will Oliver, June 18th 2015

1_Halsey_Boston Calling 2015

Ashley Frangipane seems to have a blossoming career as the rising pop star Halsey. I came into her performance never hearing any of her music before. Her style of pop is hook friendly, with electronic undertones that give her a somewhat different spin on the genre, almost like a radio friendly Purity Ring or Sylvan Esso.

She’ll release her debut album Badlands on August 28 via Astralwerks Records. She’s also booked to open for Imagine Dragons tour later this year, so it’s safe to say that she’s well on her way to much bigger things.
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[new]: POP ETC – Running In Circles

By Will Oliver, January 5th 2015


It’s been a while since we heard from POP ETC. They released their first album as POP ETC in 2012 after changing their name from The Morning Benders. Since then, the trio has kept relatively quiet, aside from releasing a few covers here and there on soundcloud.

Here we are in 2015 and they’re one of the first bands to make a move. They have released a brand new single called “Running In Circles.” It dabbles hard in a 80s synth-led sound, delivering perfect pop hooks with a late night new wave vibe. This would have been a perfect companion while playing GTA Miami Vice.

“Running In Circles” is the first track from a new album that we can hopefully expect later in the year. It just may be the best thing that they boys have released as POP ETC.

I’ve posted the stream below, as well as the music video which stars Wushu master, Sifu Chen Ying. If you like what you hear, go ahead and purchase the track on iTunes.
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Cosby – Heartracer

By Will Oliver, October 27th 2014


Crosby is the synthpop duo out of Richmond, Virgina comprised of brothers Chris and Chip Cosby. It was just last year that they released their debut album In Flight.

They quickly returned with a follow-up single titled “Heartracer” that is an epic ode to 80s snyth-pop that calls to mind acts like Passion Pit and The Killers. Cosby aim big and they hit the mark in all the right ways.

Enjoy “Heartracer” below.
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Artist To Watch: Ryn Weaver

By Will Oliver, September 4th 2014 — with 2 comments

Ryn Weaver

Ryn Weaver sent the internet into a frenzy with the release of her debut single “OctaHate.” While its a good pop song (and features production from a team that includes Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit, Cashmere Cat, and BenZel), it’s “Promises”, the title track of her debut EP Promises that has pleased my ears.

It’s a big song in scope, but it’s done so in such a manner that feels intimate in the sense that she’s singing to you. It’s hard to ignore the similarities in “Promises” to a Florence and The Machine song, from the style to her vocals, but it’s a compliment if anything.

There are a lot of people speculating about her background (she used to release music under her real name Aryn Wüthrich), and how she was able to obtain such big names to produce her as a newcomer, but honestly, who gives a shit? (If you do care, she responded to this very question in the Stereogum comment section) The music speaks for herself, and I’m digging “Promises” quite hard. The EP was released on new indie label Friends Keep Secrets, so take that for what its worth.

Stream both “Promises” and “OcaHate” below. You can also find the entire EP streaming below.



Paperwhite – Take Me Back

By Will Oliver, September 3rd 2014


In a music landscape full of synth-pop bands pumping out 80s-friendly jams, do we really need another one? Well, when you get songs as good as Paperwhite’s “Take Me Back,” then sure, we can make an exception.

Paperwhite consists of brother and sister Katie and Ben Marshall. On “Take Me Back” they are perfectly in sync creating plenty of magical moments. What starts off as a airy and dreamy M83-esque soundscape, turns into a free flowing synth-based journey that is easy on the ears.

Stream it below.
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Band To Watch: Kate Boy

By Will Oliver, September 3rd 2014 — with 1 comment

Kate Boy

Kate Boy started in 2011 when Kate Akhurst moved from Australia to Stockhold, Sweden, looking for a change of pace for her music. It was there that she met producers Markus Dextegen and Hampus Nordgren, and Kate Boy was founded. Soon after, they started releasing music together, grabbing the attention of the music world instantly with successful electro-pop singles “Northern Lights,” “The Way We Are,” and “In Your Eyes.”

Earlier in the summer they came back with their biggest moment yet, the juggernaut pop monster that is “Self Control.” Everything that we love about pop songs is packed into its wonderful world of throbbing synths, pop hooks, and confident delivery. I’ve had this bad boy on repeat all day, and I bet you’ll be doing the same in no time.

You can stream the studio version, as well as the new live version that they just released as a video. Both are posted below.
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Artist To Watch: Shura

By Will Oliver, September 1st 2014


It’s hard to believe that hot on-the-rise pop singer Shura is only 23-years-old. Earlier in the year the London native got the attention of music bloggers and journalists alike with the release of her debut single “Touch.”

She’s followed that up with the equally impressive offering “Just Once,” which dabbles in the construct of 80’s pop-minds such as Phil Collins, while also adding an atmospheric modern spin to create her own feel. She delivers her vocals in a soft endearing sort of way that is brought home by a great natural pop sense. The songs are straightforward enough (in a good way), but Shura adds enough variety to her sound allowing her to stand out from the rest of the pack. Considering the amount of female pop artists that we have on the pop chars, that’s saying something.

I’m calling Shura an artist to watch, and urge you to check out both “Just Once” and “Touch,” both of which are posted for your enjoyment below.
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Banks – Beggin For Thread

By Will Oliver, September 1st 2014 — with 1 comment


Banks set at Governors Ball this summer served as my introduction to the up-and-coming L.A.-based pop star. After checking out her recordings, I’m quite excited for her debut album, Goddess, which comes out on September 5, 2014 via Harvest Records.

“Beggin For Thread” is one of the album’s singles, and it’s a good one. She knows how to submerge you within her atmospheric world, delivering smart, seemingly effortless pop hooks that suck you in completely.

Stream it below.

Jessie Ware – Say You Love Me

By Will Oliver, August 31st 2014 — with 1 comment

Jessie Ware - Say You Love Me

Jessie Ware’s 2012 album Devotion was one of my favorite albums of that year, and one of my favorite pop albums of recent memory. It’s great to see her back at it again so soon, with her follow-up album Tough Love due out on 6th October via Island Records.

We already heard “Tough Love,” and she’s since followed that with “Say You Love Me.” It’s a bit of a slow-jam, but it shows a great deal of growth from Ware, in a short period of time. It’s a fragile love song, one that she actually co-wrote with pop star Ed Sheeran.

Stream it below.
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