TENDER – “Nadir”

With their addictive new single, London electro-pop duo TENDER have officially initiated my quest to find every half-pure pop, half-brooding track for the upcoming summer months. “Nadir,” the newest addition to their already impressive repertoire, begins with synth resembling plucks of sharp metal, then explodes into a multi-textured soundscape, the vocals provided by James Cullen soaked in reverb. Though it explores the emotions felt during a separation, the melancholy adds to the vibrancy, finding immense power in sadness.

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photo courtesy of artist
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Half Waif – “Turn Me Around”

Brooklyn-based Nandi Rose Plunkett is the mastermind of the absolutely gorgeous synth-pop project Half Waif, whosesophomore album Probable Depths was released this past May. Their sophomore album, according to Plunkett, was created when “all [her] identities were fracturing and shifting,” and no track expresses that statement more perfectly than “Turn Me Around,” which sounds like a gorgeous fever dream incessantly morphing in and out of the ideas of pleasure and pain. Everything, from the bouncing drum beats to the half-shriek, half-sigh vocals, are carefully and beautifully orchestrated, but still has an irresistible edge through its brilliant instability, like a rose that proudly presents its thorns as strength rather than fault.

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photo by Adan Carlo