New Releases

Surrija Premieres “Minotaur”

At once feral and seductive.


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Electro-pop singer-songwriter Surrija, formerly known as Jane Lui, introduces the music video for "Minotaur," from her recent self-titled album.

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R3hab Teams Up with ZAYN and Jungleboi on "Flames"

A dazzling blend of electro-pop and gospel flavors.

R3hab, ZAYN, Jungleboi

R3hab, ZAYN, Jungleboi

Dutch-Moroccan DJ and producer R3hab, a.k.a Fadil El Ghoul, and Jungleboi ran into each other in London, in 2017.

Combining their talents, the two artists began working on a new song, "Flames," featuring an elegant piano, gentle electro rhythmic pulses, and a fat bassline, all topped by ZAYN's sumptuous voice.

R3HAB & ZAYN & Jungleboi - Flames (Lyric Video)

R3hab made big waves in 2017 with the release of his debut album, Trouble, amassing 500 million streams worldwide, followed by his sophomore effort, The Wave, collecting 250 million streams on Spotify. In 2019, he released "All Around the World," featuring A Touch of Class. The song hit gold and platinum in eight countries.

"Flames" reveals complex layers and intense emotional lyrics: "Well, well / You better run from me / You better hit the road / You better up and leave / Don't get too close."

Follow R3hab Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Twitter


Newcomer Terez Considers Heartbreak in "La. La. La." Video

The Canadian pop artist's debut single has a new music video, a sweet companion to her breakup track.

Terez debuted her first single "La. La. La." earlier this summer, and her new music video is a dreamy reminder of her burgeoning talent.

The Canadian artist's first release exists somewhere between bubblegum-pop and a modern-R&B sound, melting a trap drum into her light vocals. It's a perfect fit for the dreaminess of the video: designated as a "visualizer," it's a collection of images set against the same shade of pink as Terez's hair color. She dismissively pushes a set of Polaroids off a table, gingerly picks up a wine glass, moves slowly to the music balanced precariously on a file cabinet; all of these smaller moments are broken up by her melancholy gazes into the camera. The video loops as the song goes on, providing an interesting visual rhythm.

To have Terez tell it herself, the video "touches on the heaviness of any break up - wine, tissues, old photographs, and all the tears that come along with it." These moments, the video for "La. La. La." itself, underline the least-sung but most relatable parts of heartbreak: the small motions Terez takes, the little pieces she picks up in her attempt to move on.

Follow Terez on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


Carly Rae Jepsen's Album "Dedicated" Is a Mature Pop Masterpiece

The singer's follow-up to the hit Emotion dives into the mess of love and heartbreak, making the most of Jepsen's shimmering pop sensibility.

Four years ago, Carly Rae Jepsen reminded us of everything pop music could be.

Jepsen's third studio album EMOTION was a revelation, even though it's cliche to say it now. Jepsen crafted a pop record that understands the authentic human joy pop is meant to celebrate, without the industrial hollowness that's often associated with the term "pop music." Its synth-pop-nostalgia grounds her lyrics and expressive voice in a vibrant and effortless sound that addresses romance and longing with effusive theatricality. In the years since the album's release, EMOTION has become an authority on how to make the most of the pop template, a testament to the genre's potential without losing the universal power that pop can communicate.

That's how E•MO•TION helped shape the music world that we live in now, and it's the one that Dedicated, Jepsen's newest album, has come into. The follow-up to her hit album is far more interior, even painful, in its scope, but its ardent pop is just as expressive as its predecessor. "Julien," the album's opener and one of the first singles released, has a jaunty disco vibe, filled out with a familiar '80s-style electropop. But "Julien" is an ode to a lover who left her behind and whose absence has colored her world a lonelier shade of blue. "You must believe / Julien, it was more than a fantasy," Jepsen pleads with synths simmering behind her voice. It's the first of many tracks that don't shy away from exploring times when love isn't enough and what's left after love leaves. There's still buoyant energy to the album, and Jepsen's vocals are still impressively versatile yet soothing, but Dedicated breaks new ground for Jepsen in that it confronts love's imperfection and embraces the fear and insecurities that come with intimacy.

The first half of the album is powered by this search, by a willingness, even desperation, to hold onto the feeling of falling in love. Early on, Dedication shows fascination with the way love can suddenly take up space in one's life, with its breathless sound delighting with its unpredictability. "No Drug Like Me" captures head-over-heels infatuation above a methodical beat, as Jepsen promises the world to someone who makes her feel seen. "I think I'm coming alive with you," she realizes on "Now That I've Found You." Jepsen's desire is also more frank than ever before, especially on "Want You In My Room," a coquettish and sultry invitation sung from an open bedroom window: "Baby, don't you want me, too?" It's a sweet plea for human touch, focused on making the most of a new relationship, seizing the present for everything it can offer.

The album's first twist comes on "Happy Not Knowing": "I don't have the energy to risk a broken heart / When you're already killing me," she confesses. The song magnifies the album's preoccupation with the possibility of new love by mourning that love can fall apart as abruptly as it begins. Dedication wants to measure the pain of heartbreak alongside the rush of new love, as well as celebrate its captivating power while remaining fearful of its double-edged emotions. For Jepsen, love can take as much as it can give.

From there, Jepsen reflects on how love can fall short and the ways she's forced to make up for it. "I'll Be Your Girl" becomes a lovelorn anthem, as Jepsen tries to shape herself to fit someone else's wants, while in "Too Much" she demands recognition for how worthy she is of love. The album's pace slows around this point, transforming Jepsen's moments of pain into feverishly potent dance tracks. "The Sound" does this the best: It's a perfect dance-pop ballad, but it carries the message of the album. "Love is more than telling me you want it / I don't need the words, I want the sound," she sings, and the building instrumentation breaks briefly around her voice to let the last word echo. On Dedication, Jepsen argues that, for all its exhilaration, love is something that has to be sustained and cultivated. This space, between love's euphoria and its hard work, comes to a head on "Right Words Wrong Time," which is already one of the most heart-wrenching songs of 2019. It's a slow, percolating break-up song, a mournful send-off of someone who's taken her for granted: "Only want me when I'm leaving you," she sings. She will no longer shape herself into who and what he wants her to be, as painful as it might be for her to let go.

When the album closes on "Real Love," it feels like a cautious new beginning in the same way "No Drug Like Me" was. With a greater understanding of herself and what she needs, even after all the hurt, she's still willing to try something new. "I don't know a thing about it / All I want is real, real love," she sings. Dedication is clear-eyed look at what love does, what happens when it absorbs you, and what happens when it leaves you. EMOTION was a celebration of how love can feel, but Dedication is a reminder of what can be learned from it. It's an invigorating step forward for a talented artist, and Carly Rae Jepsen more than proves she can handle its implications. Jepsen is someone who's made a career out of deep respect for what stories pop music can tell, and Dedication is the latest, greatest example of this: something beautiful, something heartbreaking, something endlessly and unabashedly fun.


Popdust Presents

Popdust Exclusive: Young & Sick Talks New EP "Size of Relief"

The Dutch artist and musician's newest release is buoyant dance music inspired by nighttime bike rides.

You might recognize some of the art created by Nick van Hofwegen, aka Young & Sick. It's adorned the covers of Foster the People's Torches and Mikky Ekko's Kids, among many other albums.

You might also recognize his music—and if you don't, you very well may be hearing him everywhere soon. His newest EP, out May 3, is a collection of dance music that's as atmospheric and complex. With its crystalline production, pumped-up rhythms, and dreamy loops of synths and keys, it's tailor-made for clubs, bike rides, or for any time you need a pick-me-up or an excuse to take off and drive. Ultimately, it's the product of a mind that's clearly enamored with its own ability to distill color and sound into shapes and tunes.

The music has a buoyancy to it, a clarity that belies meticulous attention to detail but still meshes well with its sense of electric intensity and free-spirited energy. Standout tracks include "JET BLACK HEART," a track that—despite its brooding lyrics—feels like the sonic equivalent of making it to the top of a mountain after a long trek; the thrilling, bittersweet "IT'S A STORM," and "SIZE OF RELIEF," which layers van Hofwegen's angelic, slightly overdriven vocals over an arrangement of reverb-drenched horns, cool synths, delicate strings, and tense rhythms.

Popdust talked to Young & Sick about the relationship between visual art and music, inspirations for his upcoming EP, and the importance of listening to albums all the way through.

Can you tell me a little bit about your upcoming EP, and the inspiration behind it?

YOUNG & SICK: This collection of work was made right before I went on tour with the Knox. In the back of my mind, while knowing I was gonna be on tour with them, I got really in the mood to make something more uptempo and uplifting, so that drove me to be faster in BPMs than I usually am. I'd also been making a lot of remixes for people, so it tied in with that, too. I took European dance roots and made something more sample-heavy and dancey.

At the time, I was also living in the valley in Los Angeles, and when I was making all the songs I was going on long bike rides in the evening. The songs I'd listen to while riding also shaped what I was creating—it was more dance music, so it made me shift towards that.

Are there any other inspirations, sonically or in terms of place, that you feel influenced your new work?

This EP is very largely inspired by the emotion of the city passing by on the bike. A lot of my inspiration—especially with this record—is drawn from sampling; I'd find a nice little piece of music that I'd chop up, and it would guide me to the next spot.

Have you always been into dance music? Did you grow up going out and dancing?

Growing up in the Netherlands, dance music was always pretty prevalent. I grew up a rock kid. Nirvana was my first love. There was always a lot of dance music around me, though, and when acts like the Chemical Brothers came out and started merging rock music with dance, a lot of people like me got very into that. Dance music has always been around me, and I've always had a big love for it, but it hasn't necessarily always come out in my music before.


I know you do a lot of art as well, and it's pretty unique to see someone doing such high-quality work in two fields at once. Which did you start out with—art or music—and how do you see those two fields relating to each other?

That's really kind. I've always done both, as long as I can remember. I've been drawing as long as I've been playing guitar. I always say I feel like they come from the same place, and anyone's brain that can do one can do the other—it's multidisciplinary. They feed off each other so well. If I get stuck in either, I just switch up and keep going. I don't think there was one before the other; it was a chicken-and-egg kind of thing.

Your art and music seem to fit so well together. Do you have any sort of synesthesia? Do you see music in colors, or see them related in that kind of way?

I do think they tie into each other incredibly. I know people have full-on synesthetic things where they actually see color in sound—I don't have that to the full degree, but if I do artwork for my music or others' I tend to listen to it while creating the artwork, to really shape them around each other. I do see a very strong connection between them. When a band or artist gets that connection right, it makes me very happy—when someone's just getting it when the music and art live in the same world, it's such a gratifying feeling.

Did you feel pressure to choose between them? Was there a moment when you decided you weren't going to pick one of the two fields?

I wouldn't say I was pressured to ever choose. There were early moments where I was thinking, I want to use this name for both fields, for doing art for other people and for myself and also for making music, and there were definitely moments where people were kind of wary of that. But I never had to choose, luckily.

Your music and art are very psychedelic. Is that something you're interested in and do you explore spirituality in any way, or where does that imagery come from?

My work draws from 70's psychedelia, and obvious bands like the Grateful Dead that I've always looked up to, in terms of their art and how well they made an insane brand for themselves. I'm a big proponent of that type of art, going that far in detail and tying everything together that well. I'm not necessarily a very spiritual person but I do tend to like the occasional psychedelic… I definitely draw inspiration from that.

What's happening next with your music?

I'm working hard on a follow-up. A lot of musicians like me, as soon as you finish something, it's kind of out of your system. I'm working to follow it up with something different, but in a similar line.

What's the inspiration behind your band name?

My manager used to throw a lot of parties in New Orleans when he was going to Tulane University. He'd ask me, do you know a good name for a party? I'd come up with one and make a flyer, and he'd start passing them out. One day I saw those two words [young and sick] together, sitting next to each other, and I made a poster for him with that name, and he said that was one of his favorite parties. I had that poster up in my bedroom in London when I was living there, and I was looking at it and thought, I kind of need that name. I started putting out songs and making art with it, and it kind of stuck. It's a simple, striking name—you just have to tell someone once and they remember.

Are you going on tour soon?

There's going to be a few shows—LA and New York and some festivals—and I'm doing a bunch of DJ sets as well. We're figuring out what the next tour is because we just came off of one.

You do a lot more than visual art and songwriting. What other fields do you work in?

Remixing is something I've been very fond of lately. Obviously, the art for festivals and other people and that kind of thing has been amazing. Fine art and making things, in general, is definitely a big passion. With music and art, there are so many little nuances within each field.

Are you particularly excited about any of the songs on the upcoming EP?

Every time you make a release, there are a lot of songs that don't end up on it—usually I make about triple the amount, and we send them to the people we work with at the label and they come up with their favorite lists, which were pretty close to what I had in mind for this one. Sometimes it's hard to pick between the songs because you made all of them, so it works well when somebody on the outside picks one and it aligns with your choices. My favorite songs all ended up on this EP. The song that's about to come out, which will close the EP, is called "SIZE OF RELIEF," which is also the name of the EP. I wrote it in New Orleans in such a short time—maybe a two-hour window of making the first loops and all the vocals—and it just felt so right. I just had to change a few things, and detailing and mixing took a lot more time—but initially, it just took a few hours, and when that happens, I just feel so good. That one is definitely one of my favorites.

Anything else you want people to know?

I know it's hard for a lot of people these days to take in more than a few songs at once, but I'd encourage people to take off 20 or 25 minutes and listen to the EP in full.

It seems like kind of a lost art to go through and listen to a full album, but it's super rewarding when you do.

That's kind of how it was meant to be heard. If anyone's able to do that, that'd make me happy.

Young & Sick's debut album was released in 2014. "Size of Relief" is now available on streaming services. Listen here.

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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FRENSHIP Reckons With Love on "Keep You Close"

The L.A.-based duo focuses their electropop sound on a volatile relationship on the third single from their upcoming debut, Vacation.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

"A jealous heart does all it can," FRENSHIP warns on their newest release "Keep You Close."

The Los Angeles electro pop duo, comprised of DJ-producer James Sunderland and singer-songwriter Brett Hite, follows up the success of their single, "Capsize," and their 2016 EP Truce, with Vacation, their debut full-length due out next month. "Keep You Close," the third single off the album, crafts an electronic loftiness over lovelorn lyrics, detailing a relationship defined by its conflict.

"Keep You Close" is a love song dedicated to what's lacking: the presence of a lover and the strength required to change for them. A muted guitar adds a nostalgic element to the song's opening notes, expanding into a steady drumbeat and synth riffs around the harmonizing vocals. FRENSHIP, and electropop as a discipline, depends on the proliferation of a mood to keep a listener invested, and "Keep You Close" manages to strike a balance between its careful lyrics and a sense of building sonic drama to generate its ambience. Working double-time as a love song reckoning with itself, and as a preview of FRENSHIP's upcoming debut, the track adds an appealing sense of depth to the duo's sensibility and their progression on Vacation.

Keep You Close

Matthew Apadula is a writer and music critic from New York. His work has previously appeared on GIGsoup Music and in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Find him on Twitter @imdoingmybest.

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