This week’s roundup features an electro-pop singer-songwriter’s triumphant return to form, a bouncy club cut from one of the most promising new U.K. pop princesses, and the shiver-inducing summer anthem by pop’s best DJ-meets-electro-violinist pairing.
1.) Frankmusik, “Chasing Shadows”
It’s been almost two years since U.K. electro-pop prince Frankmusik laid out his latest studio effort, Do It In The AM, and a lot has changed since. He’s undergone a few brief name swaps (he’s back to Frankmusik!), decided to go the indie label route, released a slew of demos, and now we’ve finally arrived here with Between, his gorgeous new LP. The album really feels like a return to the singer’s roots: sharply crafted pop ditties with stinging, glitchy, aching melodies, including lead single “Chasing Shadows.” “I keep chasing shadows/ I have been for years/ You wouldn’t exist if I wasn’t here,” he croons with all his might atop the glacial synthesizers on the arena-size power ballad — something like Jonsi meets M83. It’s further proof that despite label drama and industry foolery, Frankmusik’s got plenty to offer as the talented songwriter we first fell in love with back in 2009.
Listen to more Must-Hear Pop Songs after the jump.
2.) A*M*E, “Heartless”
London starlet and BBC Sound of 2013 finalist A*M*E first got us buzzin’ back in November with her phenomenal debut single, “Play The Game Boy,” a K-pop-friendly burst of glitchy ’80s video game beats and a ferocious strut. Now signed to Epic/Sony Records, the skyrocketing chanteuse is back with a brand new solo single: “Heartless.” A club-ready cut exploding with the kind of bursting, bossy EDM-pop energy of Nicki Minaj‘s “Pound The Alarm” and the infectious melodies of a 2NE1 or Girls’ Generation smash, it’s got smash written all over its crunchy beats — it’s fit for domination both overseas and beyond.
3.) The Dolls, “Summer of ’93″
DJ Mia Moretti and electro-violinist Caitlin Moe, known collectively as The Dolls, have been touring and performing together for years, DJing for chic fashion parties and opening for acts like Mika. Now, they’re finally dropping a proper debut in 2013: “Summer of ’93.” But don’t let the title deceive you: It’s the antithesis of a typical shimmering, party-friendly summer anthem, instead full of chilly layers and frigid lyrics. “I wanna love/ but my heart turns cold whenever I meet your eye,” Moe lightly coos above atmospheric Massive Attack-like textures, stuttering trip-hop beats, and, of course, violins. It’s nostalgic, moody, and gorgeously crafted indie-pop tune, like the ghost of Miley Cyrus‘ “Party In The USA” creeping through the speakers 20 years later.
4.) Joistarr, “Seven Sevens”
As a longtime backup singer for Kanye West and songwriter for Brandy and Chris Brown, self-professed “Art & Beat” chanteuse Joistarr‘s already had her fair share of exposure in the industry. Now, she’s stepping out into the spotlight with the release of her new single, “Seven Sevens,” a sensual slice of slinky electro-R&B. “Do you think about me?/ ‘Cause I been thinking ’bout you,” the multi-talented singer croons, recalling a touch of Toni Braxton‘s husky-voiced soulfulness. “Why don’t you call me?/ (7-7-7 7-7-7-7).” The track’s superslick and sexy. Plus, that number seems pretty easy to remember. So call her, maybe?
5.) Leonard Friend, “Gatorade and Tylenol”
Brooklyn-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Leonard Friend‘s got some food (and medicine) for thought. “Gatorade & Tylenol,” one of the tracks off of his latest EP, LXLF, is an infectious electro-pop ditty that name-drops Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe,” borrows a moment from Madonna‘s “Like A Prayer,” and sounds something like a cross between Passion Pit and Scissor Sisters. The accompanying “found footage” clip doubles as a critique of today’s self-obsessed Insta-Tumbl-Tweet-aholic culture (he also wrote an article about it for Huffington Post), full of Twitter screenshots, frenzied party footage, and vintage news reports. For those who like their pop with a slice of social commentary, definitely give this one a go.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Bradley Stern is a writer from New York. In his spare time, he enjoys organizing his Britney Spears CD collection in reverse chronological order and writing impassioned letters to Congress urging that Madonnalogy be taught in all public schools. But most of all, he spends his time tweeting and musing daily about pop music on his blog, MuuMuse.