Our Picks for Top Singles of the Year 2011

December 20, 2011

Although comprising our list of top albums of the year was relatively painless, narrowing our list of singles, was daunting. It is purely a subjective list, captured at this moment in time (We are fully aware that if you asked us a month from now, the list may change). This list is also very personal. Since we started the bop2pop blog last March, we have covered nearly 300 singles, a few concerts and caught up with a few of our 80s idols. All of these songs are winners in our book, so to narrow the list to 20, exlcuding some in order to place others, was often very painful. But we had to do it, so like it or not (most likely you will not agree with everything or anything on our list), here are picks for top singles of the year.

20. Simulover: Tourniquet
Squeaking in on our list is the debut single by Simulover, the brilliant collaboration of SIRPAUL and Alex Lauterstein. We confess we love the S/M theme, which makes us feel oh so slightly dirty.

19. Holy Ghost: I Wanted To Tell Her
Our favorite remake of the year by Brooklyn duo, Holy Ghost which we like better than the original. Check out the really RAD video.

18. Fil OK: Fall In Love
We fell in love with this haunting ballad that sounds like the twisted love child of Felt Mountain era Goldfrapp and Marc Almond at his most ironically sleazy

17. Tie: The Good Natured: Video Voyeur / Icona Pop: Manners
We group these two bands together because they both bring an energy to their stage presence and we predict great things next year. The Good Natured’s Video Voyeur kind of reminds us of early Missing Persons (which is a very good thing) and they are a band to watch out for. We are including Icona Pop’s neontastic Manners video which seems inspired by the 80s cult film, Liquid Sky.

16. Tie: Garcon Garcon: Stay In Touch / Patrick Wolf: Together
We love this Garcon Garcon video that looks like something director Derek Jarman would create if he wanted to create an early Erasure video. Also stunning is the new Patrick Wolf single.

15. OMD: History Of Modern
Taken from last year’s album of the same name, this was the song OMD should have released first since it is the track that most captures the spirit and energy of OMD’s heyday.

14. Tie: Penquin Prison: Fair Warning (Oliver Mix) / Starlings – Sirens (Sanfernando Remix)
Two great songs made brilliant by simply stunning remixes. We will be featuring Sanfernando soon on our 2011 remix recap.

13. Electric Youth: Fade Away
Our top b-side pick by the band that got major exposure by appearing on the Drive soundtrack. Pure pop bliss!

12. Tie: Johan Agebjörn: The Last Day of Summer / Queen of Hearts: Where Are You Now
Both tracks simply sublime. Johan Agebjorn you may recognize from his work with Sally Shapiro and as for Queen of Hearts, she is our pick for breakout artist and who, in addition to creating great music herself, has collaborated with a who’s who at bop2pop (Johan Agebjorn, The Sound of Arrows, Monarchy, Fear of Tigers, Bright Light Bright Light)

11. Lana Del Ray: Video Games/Blue Jeans (Nikon Remixes)
Regardless what the cynics say, these are two beautiful songs made even more so by the gorgeous remixes by Nikon.

10. Beth Ditto: I Write the Book
Why did it make our top 10? Because Beth Ditto is fierce and she completely reinvented herself for the dance floor and outshined Madonna – Got to love it.

9. Monarchy: I Won’t Let Go
Our favorite track off of one of our top albums of the year, I Won’t Let Go updates the classic Chris Isaak track, Wicked Games (also check out number 11 which does the same).

8. Washed Out: Amor Fati
chilled synthpop at it’s finist (think A-Ha on Vicodin), we adored this track off of Washed Out’s Within and Without album. Best of all, he gave away the single for free!

7. Queen of Hearts: Freestyle
This was the song that started our love of all things Queen of Hearts and it is still our favorite. Queen of Hearts, if you are reading us, you enticed us with a fantastic video teaser, but then broke our hearts by never releasing the full video. Can we have a full video please?

6. Hurts: Sunday
Sunday was the last single taken off of the excellent debut album by Hurts. It’s our favorite track off the album and the video is simply stunning.

5. Marsheaux: Can You Stop Me
We think Marsheaux could record them practicing scales and it would still make our list. Can You Stop Me was a change in direction for Marsheaux (kind of a “harder” synthpop sounding Delerium) and we love it. We were hoping for an album, but alas it has yet to materialize.

4. Sound of Arrows: Nova/My Shadow
We would include the new version of Into the Clouds and M.A.G.I.C., but they both made our lists in previous years. Their debut album, Voyage, made our choice for album of the year.

3. Mirrors: Into The Heart
We loved, love, loved this single by Mirrors that should have gotten more exposure and been a bigger hit. Recent lineup changes had us a little worried about where the direction of the band would be going, but a couple of new tracks prove they are still the ultimate conveyors of quality synthpop.

2. Daybehavior: Silent Dawn
Simply epic track by a band we have been eagerly awaiting their new third album, Follow That Car, for awhile now. For the unconverted, Daybehavior incorporates cinematic dreamscape vocals and haunting melodies that would fit comfortably in a french 1960s spy film soundtrack. Their last single, It’s a Game, got remix treatment by our faves, Marsheaux.

1. Kid Kasio: Over and Over
Sounding like something Howard Jones would come up with if he was comissioned to write Depeche Mode’s Shake the Disease, Over and Over, tugged at our heartstrings and was the track, more than any other, we played…over and over. Kid Kasio promises his debut album will be out next year.

The Best of the Rest
Arcade Fire presents Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Austra – Spellwork
Bachelorette – Polarity Party
Bunny Lake – Young Lovers
Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons
Chart Music – All My Life
Citizens! – True Romance
Class Actress – Weekend
Computer Magic – The End Of Time
Faker – Dangerous (CSS remix)
Fiorious – I’m In Love With A German Film Star
Florrie – I Took A Little Something
GusGus – Over
Human League – Sky
Icona Pop – Nights Like This
Jessica 6 Prisoner Of Love (ft. Antony)
Johan Agebjörn & Le Prix (Feat. Fred Ventura & Sally Shapiro) – Alice (Energy Mix)
John Maus – Head for the Country
Kites – The Disappearance of Becky Sharp (The Sanfernando Sound Remix)
Ladytron – Mirage
Mint Julep – Why Don’t We
Miracle – The Visitor
Mirrors – Shooting Stars
Neon Indian – Polish Girl
Nightlife – On the Run
Niki & The Dove – Mother Protect (Goldroom Remix)
Northern Kind – Dreams
Northern Kind – Euphonic
Oh Land – Sun of a Gun
Queen of Hearts – Shoot The Bullet
Rimer London – Put Your Gun Away
Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend
Ronika – Only Only (Fear Of Tigers Remix)
Selebrities – Surrounded By You
Sisely Treasure – That You Like
Soft Metals – Psychic Driving
Space March – American Girl
Space March – Space Cowboy
Starlings – Dark Arts (The Sanfernando Sound Remix)
Starlings – Sirens (Sanfernando Remix)
Tesla Boy – Waste My Body
The Golden Filter – Mother (Cosmonaut 3AM Remix)
The Good Natured – Wolves
The Opiates – Anatomy of a Plastic Girl
The Scientists of Modern Music – Because If I Die
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Trouble
Vanbot – Make Me, Break Me (Video)
Voltaire Twins – Animalia
Will Young – Jealousy
YELLE – Safari Disco Club
YELLE – Le Musique
Yuksek – On A Train

Exclusive! bop2pop Interviews Simulover

September 1, 2011

It was a collaboration made in the electronica heavens. Charismatic lead singer SIRPAUL, who earlier this year gave us the sexually-charged anthem, “Give It Up”, and super hot, superstar dj, Alex Lauterstein have come together to create Simulover, an electronic outfit that embraces the soulful sleaziness of Soft Cell and updates it with club friendly beats to win over a new generation. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Simulover about their new collaboration and irresistible debut album.

Hi guys, I am wondering how the two of you met and came together to form Simulover?
SIRPAUL: We met 15 years ago when Alex was DJ’ing at a club in NYC called Twirl. I had just pressed my first piece of vinyl and Alex was the first DJ to ever play my song.
ALEX: Soon after we met again on the beach at the Winter Music Conference in Miami and we’ve been friends ever since. We had always flirted with the idea of making music together…that’s how Simulover came about…15 years later!

Can you explain the meaning behind your name? It could be read as simulation lover or simulation OVER?
ALEX: I never thought about it like that! For us, it’s all about living in the virtual world and putting ourselves into different realms through music.
SIRPAUL: The name “Simulover” refers to how intimate our relationship with music feels…It’s almost sexual.
ALEX: …and we just like the sound of it.

Can you explain the dichotomy in your music? On the surface, the embracing of computers and electronics to alter your vocals may come across as cold and apathetic, but there is an emotional core to your lyrics. For example, “Tourniquet” explores the rush of emotions associated with raw (sexual) desire while “Unbroken” is about an undying, bordering on obsessive, love.
ALEX: It’s true. We embrace the computer, electronics and anything that can be manipulated through technology.
SIRPAUL: I think we are both really tech-geeks deep down inside. We share an obsession of discovering possibilities when creating new sounds. There is definitely a strong emphasis on solid song writing and the importance of lyrics that actually “SAY SOMETHING”.

Speaking of “Tourniquet”, We are in love and in lust by the video. Can you elaborate on the filming process?
SIRPAUL: (Director) Andreas Anastasis fell in love with this song and had an image in his mind as to how he wanted to bring it to life. The song is very sexual and Alex and I both wanted to express that energy without making it pornographic. Suggestive is usually much sexier to us.
ALEX: With our first video, we wanted to present ourselves in such a way that people could understand who we are as artists, and at the same time explore the themes of the song.
SIRPAUL: The process of filming this video took us an entire day and we loved every second of it! Alex and I are both so excited to bring this song to life and to be able to tell a story through the video.

As out artists, have you found any obstacles in getting your music out there and having industry respond to it?
ALEX: It’s always hard when there’s soooo much out there. But on the other hand, it’s great that technology has allowed us to release our music in the way we had intended it to sound, look and feel.
SIRPAUL: I honestly don’t think anyone cares if the person singing a song is gay or straight…if the song is good, then that’s all that matters. The music industry is full of closeted people…we’re just not into hiding who we are.

You embrace social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogs like bop2pop. How important is it for bands now to embrace these technologies to promote their music? What have you learned from the experience?
ALEX: It has changed everything. Today it is not necessary for a band to be signed to a major label. A band needs to be accessible through social networking to engage their fans. I love this way much better because you can communicate directly with the people who like your work.
SIRPAUL: We’ve definitely learned a lot from social networking and have had to be careful as to how much we reveal and how much we engage our fans. For some people, one minute they are loving our music and the next minute they show up outside our door. It can be a bit scary! We love our fans, but we are also both very private people and appreciate that people respect that.

There is a definite 80’s influence to your debut album. We have already mentioned Soft Cell, but “Tourniquet” seems like a modern take on Front 242’s “Headhunter” and you included a remake of the Love and Rockets hit, “So Alive”. How do you guys know this stuff when in all likelihood you weren’t even born when it was originally released?
SIRPAUL: You are officially our new favorite person in the world! We are both children of the 80’s and couldn’t escape the influence even if we tried…it’s in our blood.
ALEX: If you dissect our music, there’s a little bit of every musical genre in there. I personally love Duran Duran.
SIRPAUL: He is obsessed with Duran Duran. I mean STALKER obsessed. LOL
ALEX: Especially Nick Rhodes!

What’s in store for you and how can our readers find out more about you?
ALEX: The Tourniquet Remix EP will be out on iTunes on September 13th and features some stellar remixes from 7b, Candy Apple Blue, Keven Maroda and Jerome Farley! It will also feature remixes of our first single Unbroken and possibly more…it’s gonna be a huge package!
SIRPAUL: I did some mixes for this project as well… I just can’t keep my hands to myself! We are about to start storyboarding and searching for a director for our next music video. We also have a party at G Lounge in NYC every 2nd & 4th Friday of the month where Alex spins and I host.
ALEX: We’ve already started recording our next album. Besides taking Simulover to the clubs through DJ’ing, we are also working on a live show that will be part art installation and part sound manipulation. We will have live instrumentation and include vocalists Devlinelle and Cherylyn, who are featured on our album. We would also like to release a physical copy of our album sometime in the near future.

The self-titled debut album from Simulover is out now on iTunes and Amazon.

The Tourniquet Remix EP will be out on September 13th on iTunes.

For more information about Simulover visit www.simulovermusic.com
Become a fan of Simulover on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/simulover
Follow Simulover on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/simulover

Simulover gives a shout out to Bop 2 Pop

September 1, 2011

Exclusive interview to come soon!

Simulover – Tourniquet

August 27, 2011

Simulover is the brainchild of DJ Alex Lauterstein and SIRPAUL. Together, they create the perfect pop mix of clubby dance beats and sleaze with debut single/video, Tourniquet, a tour de force of sexual desire and tease. It’s a style that immediately conjures up comparisons to Dangerous Muse and Soft Cell, but these guys bring a fresh, clubbier take on it. The fetish themed video has a Bruce La Bruce feel to it, with our boys recreating fantasies of domination and submission, but mostly submission (it is NYC after all). we were hoping that they would strip down and go at it in the video, but this was not meant to be, and something tells us it’s because they enjoy being all tease.


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