For the past decade or so, the outer edges of the dance-music scene and the very center of the mainstream synth-pop galaxy have been on a fascinating slow-motion collision course powered by a feedback cycle of influence linking the underground and the overground—synth-pop artists can now leap from popularity on the hipster fringe to ubiquity in Gold Coast dance clubs with just the subtlest shift in their fortunes. At the moment Scottish band Chvrches are on the same cusp that Icona Pop and Ellie Goulding recently crossed over. Last year they released a string of digital singles that accumulated a thunderous amount of buzz, which made this past spring’s Recover
EP seem like a far more important release than an extended single with three songs (and two remixes) from a previously unknown act. Chvrches’ upcoming debut album, The Bones of What You Believe
(Glassnote), teased by the throbbing, hooky single “Gun,”
could be a hit if the wind blows right. —Miles Raymer
Maybe the best thing to do when people call you a prodigy is take it lightly. Seventeen-year-old Marcel Everett, aka XXYYXX
, doesn’t seem overly impressed that people are fawning over his experimental electro—he spent much of a 2012 interview with Noisey
ruminating about his alleged upper-level role in the Illuminati and referring to Bon Iver as “Bonny Bear.” On the recent single “Pay Attention” and on the two albums he released last year—a self-titled record for the Relief in Abstract label and a self-released collection called Mystify
—the Orlando-based young ’un cunningly dices his minimalist beats in such an off-kilter way that it almost negates their danceability, requiring you to dig for the groove and thus thoroughly explore what you’re listening to. It’s mind-boggling to think he’s only been at it for a couple years. His bedroom tracks are sometimes cosmic, with sharp-edged washes of samples speeding past one another, and sometimes seething, with a dark underbelly that crackles and pops while a distorted beat tries to burrow to the surface. Teenagers, am I right? —Kevin Warwick Chvrches headline; XXYYXX opens. Both acts also play a sold out show at Metro on Wed 9/11.