To kick off another LONG overdue edition of #PromisingPop, I’ve got 4 up & coming acts I’m excited to share with you. First up, an exciting new synthpop duo out of Minneapolis called FRAEA. Earlier this month, these guys had the pleasure of opening for fellow Minneapolitans, Poliça (currently on their Spring tour with Mothxr) in what would only be their second live show EVER. Pretty impressive, especially considering how polished they sound on their first single, “Criminal.” Comprised of Jessie Daley and Drew Preiner, Fraea take their name from Freyja; the Norse goddess of beauty, love, sex…oh, and death, war and the underworld—an idea that comes together very clearly in the duo’s music, in which two opposites “come together to create beauty, compassion and catharsis.” On “Criminal” (listen BELOW) light merges with darkness as Jessie’s dreamy vocals emanate out from under the song’s gloomy, menacing beat and heavily distorted, haunting background vocals. According to the press release, the heart of Fraea‘s sound is “years and years of lonely love songs scribbled on notebook pages, floating on top of an ethereal synthesis of earworm hooks and heavy beats.” Debut EP, Bend Your Bones is set to be released April 29th, followed by a very special EP release show at Ice House in Minneapolis on April 30th (Tickets). “Criminal” is available on iTunes / Spotify.
JOME is a mysterious (for now) artist, based in Los Angeles. On his debut single, “Brushstroke,” there’s definitely more than meets the eye—or ear in this case. On the surface, “Brushstroke” is a beautifully sung, less-is-more, light & wispy synthpop mid-tempo, but beneath the song’s rolling melodic waves, there’s a sadness lurking. JOME sings in an almost mournful tone against a light drum beat and subtle synths, his tear-stained falsetto sounding like an emotionally difficult goodbye. Never singing with the full force of his instrument, JOME‘s voice is clear and honest, firm on the outside, delicate in the middle. In discussing “Brushstroke,” JOME describes his creative intentions with the song and what it means to him.
“I wanted to make something tangible, something of substance. A song you can wrap your hands around and hold, feel it’s weight. Creating the song was like an excavation. I was interested in digging up textures and rhythms that fit together like bones. To me, “Brushstroke” is about how quickly things can change.”
I was recently introduced to a promising new NYC-based alt-indie-pop duo called KNGDAVD and I have to say, I’m really excited about this project. While we don’t know much about KNGDAVD just yet, expect this to change in the coming year. “Cigarette,” the duo’s latest release, packs a helluva lot into a slick-little pop package—sleek, polished production, sing-a-long-friendly melody, a massive radio-ready hook and—oh yeah, POWERHOUSE vocals from the outfit’s charismatic frontman. Really, what more could you ask for in a pop song? KNGDAVD worked on “Cigarette” with friend and multihyphenate (songwriter-producer-musician) Elliot Jacobson, who produced and co-wrote on Vérité‘s exquisite 2014 Echo EP. When “Cigarette” premiered on Pop On And On earlier this month, David, my fellow purveyor-of-pop described it as “larger than life,” with a “sweeping chorus that hits like nicotine” and I have to agree. The chorus on this song is EXPLOSIVE. Shame that we only have two songs online at the moment (Listen to previous release, “Watercolors“), but these guys are just getting started, so all in good time my pretties.
New York-based, Jordanian up & comer King Deco is someone you should DEFINITELY keep an eye on. Her current SMASH, “Castaway” is making waves worldwide, landing the attention of popular retailers including Hollister and H&M, both of which feature the song on their current in-store playlists. The bubbly, summer-fresh ditty has been swimming through my head ever since Billboard premiered the track earlier this month. While not King Deco‘s first release, “Castaway” has all the makings of an early summer hit—humorous, yet earnest lyrics about impending lost love, youthful, breezy vocals immersed in a rolling sea of warm tropical beats—”To keep you on my island, what do I have to do? Because an ocean view without you is just a view,” she sings, sticking with that aquatic theme that can be heard throughout the song, both in the lyrics and in the production. In talking about her songwriting, King Deco discussed common themes that she finds herself writing about again and again, namely—breaking free.