Steel Gemini

Steel Gemini: “Only Freak”

If you’re a fan of that synth pop section of indie electronica in the ilk of Goldfrapp, Grimes, and CHVRCHES…there’s a relatively recent artist right here in town that’ll absolutely scratch that itch.

And that’s Steel Gemini, the Austin-based project of singer-songwriter-producer Joy Baldwin. Ever since her December 2022 debut, Baldwin’s been a real joy to listen to thanks to everything we mentioned last March. With a brand already as strong as her metal namesake and a standard of quality consistent enough to match, Steel Gemini’s standalones have left us patiently waiting for a fuller collection of tunes.

But that’s in no way meant to knock her sixth single “Only Freak” that just dropped last weekend. Its introductory four-bar coupling of sampled vocals and electric guitar almost misdirects you into thinking the rest’ll sound like The xx. But really, that’s more of an atmospheric backdrop throughout “Only Freak”‘s four minute runtime, where minimalist drum programming, massive bass synths, shimmering pads, and Baldwin’s featherweight vocals end up stealing the show. Safe to say, the only thing freaky about this is if it ended up being Steel Gemini’s sole output of the year.

Steel Gemini: “Twin Flames”

For wannabe solo acts, the endlessness of electronic music and accessibility of home studios offers an appealing amount of autonomy; rather than recruit a rag-tag rhythm section or accompanist and tease out tunes take after take, you can hunker down, sequence all sorts of sounds out, quantize if needed, and call it a day. And like Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick with his dance alter ego Les Sins, Austin producer-singer Joy Baldwin’s been intermittently stepping away from the guitar-pop court of King Air to reign over retro synth tones, samples, and loops as Steel Gemini.

Steel Gemini pairs Baldwin’s penchant for sassy and accessible pop formulas with ’80s-style drum programming, alternative-inspired chord progressions, and a ton of LFO love. Contrastingly titled, “End of It All”, Steel Gemini’s debut single dropped midway through last December. Just before SXSW, Steel Gemini’s second installation “What Would Your Girlfriend Say” cemented Baldwin’ as ‘s coquettish creativity within the electro-pop crowd. There haven’t been any overt suggestions of a full Steel Gemini record release quite yet, but we’ll buddy up and throw elbows the second there are.

Today Steel Gemini torched us with brilliantly bombastic 808s, Timbaland-derived MIDI choices, club-ready snaps, hazy harmonies, and untethered melodies with the hot to the touch “Twin Flames”. Only way to get burned by “Twin Flames”? By not cranking it all the way up and letting the bass rattle you right out of the work week.