We’re super pleased to have teamed up with the fantastic writers over at music website The 405. With a shared passion for discovering new music, they’ll be making the most of the Last.fm Hype Chart by doing a weekly exploration of the latest rising artists, based on the scrobbles of Last.fm music lovers. So without further ado, it’s over to The 405’s Larry Day:
We love finding new music at The 405. It’s pretty much the main thing that gets us out of bed in the morning (that and breakfast). However, sometimes it’s a bit of a slog to trawl through the Internet’s vast offerings – if only there was an easier way. That’s where Last.fm comes in. They’ve got some brilliant, intuitive Hype Charts, allowing you to search by genre or region (or both) for the sounds making waves at any given moment. Here’s some of the treasures we found from those charts. This week in our trend-hunt, we scrutinised the rising synthpop artists in Germany
Alison Valentine (36,332 scrobbles)
Alison Valentine’s ‘Curious’ is dangeously funky. Seriously, it should come slapped with a government advisory sticker. Aping the early 00’s dance-pop of Sophie Ellis-Bextor and similar ilk, Valentine combines thunderous shuffling beats, seismic bass riffs and vocals as faint and sweet as pastel-pink candyfloss. The NYC citizen has a fair few ace cuts available – ‘Curious’ stands out, but so does ‘Peanut Butter’. Stuffed with euphoric Kanye autotune, industrial slap bass licks and Blood Diamonds-esque production (including steel pans), it’s one of many efforts that’ll get embedded in your head like a Trojan from some skeevy pop-up.
RÜFÜS (360,977 scrobbles)
Hailing from way down under, Sydney’s RÜFÜS had a monumental 2013. With a well-received EP, featuring the massive ‘Desert Night’ (which sounds like a bit like Mausi or CLAIRE if they were fronted by a dude), and an Australian number one album (Atlas), as well as gigs in front of LCD Soundsystem, they’ve solidified their strangehold over Oz’s indie-dance scene. Germany are apparent fans of the foursome, but it beggars belief that we in the UK not had them storming our ears.
Former Ghosts (879,961 scrobbles)
Defunct now for over two years – the band apparently “broke up on Christmas Day 2011, broken and penniless with their shoes busted apart like a goddamn Charles Dickens character,” – Germany are still reppin’ Former Ghost. Fronted by Freddy Ruppert (This Song Is A Mess But So Am I), it was(/is – more on that in a second) a collaborative project, featuring aid from Zola Jesus, Xiu Xiu and Tearist. The experimental electropop collective may have called it quits a while back, but the Soundcloud profile is remarkably active, including posting non-album tracks. Interesting.
Electric Youth (366,196 scrobbles) (pictured above – credit butijustlikemusic.com)
Torontoan pairing Electric Youth got their initial kicks imitating the pop gold of the mid-’80s, but soon progressed into spinning their own sonic threads. Most will probably recognise the duo as part of the force (alongside French producer College) who created ‘A Real Hero’ for the Drive OST. A handful of tracks and lauded EPs has led to their upcoming debut LP, due out at some point this year. Expect it to be the dreamiest synthpop this side of Empress Of. They’ve maintained a pretty solid base of listeners on Last.fm, averaging around 1000 at any given time, but, for some reason, they hit the big time in late November, tripling their fanbase for a week. Hmm.
Frank (Just Frank) (148,857 scrobbles)
“Brutal Wave” act Frank (Just Frank), hailing from the South of France, straddle the tri-genre area between post-punk, coldwave and synthpop. It’s a brittle sound they peddle, not unlike classic post-punk of the ’80s, with new wave guitars and maudlin baritone vocals drifting over the top. There’s krauty motoriks and lo-fi production – it’s deliciously imperfect. ‘Do The Soviet’ is their most popular effort on Last.fm, a single from the Valerie EP released a while back. Think Joy Division-meets-Blondie-meets-Franz Ferdinand. But with lots of digitalisms.