As is probably apparent through this column (or maybe not), I’ve a penchant for pop music, particularly of the unconventional variety. I literally just stumbled across this week’s Artist of the Week approximately 30 minutes ago, but I already know that I’m going to be a long time fan. Kero Kero Bonito combines everything I like in a good bop: maximalist and punchy pop beats, sickly sweet vocals, and bleeps and bloops that sound as if they were lifted directly from a 90s video game.
The North is a fairly new London-based duo who have already been able to put out an impressive self-produced demo of their song, “Violent Heart.” With a wide range of musicians involved, such as guitarist Phil Renna (has gigged with Mumford and Sons) and the London Youth Gospel Choir, their sound is self-described as “dark ambient pop.” An apt description, this demo is definitely catchy, but it’s also tinged with tones of despair and the expectation of an optimistic future, giving the song a fullness that most pop songs can’t capture. Check out the demo in the video above or visit them on Facebook–with a new music video coming out in a few weeks and upcoming demos, they’ll definitely be on my radar.
Amirali Shahrestani, recently an unknown to the world of electronic music, has shown considerable ingenuity as one of Crosstown Rebels’ newest rising stars. His spellbinding style caught the attention of Crosstown Rebels boss Damian Lazarus, who quickly signed the Iranian expatriate for an artist album. The product of that arrangement, In Time, successfully lives up to the label’s underground and alternative modus operandi, striking a sophisticated balance between moody synths, dance-pop sensibility, and deep house grooves.
I caught up with Amirali before his DC debut at U Street Music Hall. Here are his thoughts on touring, design and outer space: