Cardiknox is an American indie pop band. Formed in 2013, the duo consists of Lonnie Angle (vocals) and Thomas Dutton (backup vocals and keyboard). The group's singles have been reviewed by magazines and newspapers that have included Billboard, MTV, AV Club, and The Guardian. Cardiknox signed with Warner Bros. Records in 2015 and released their debut album Portrait in March 2016, reaching #13 on the Billboard Spotify Viral 50 chart with the song Wild Child.
Both Lonnie Angle and Thomas Dutton grew up in the suburbs of Seattle. They were introduced through a mutual friend. Angle was a theater major and singer, while Dutton was a musician and the lead singer of Forgive Durden. Dutton had written a concept album called Razia's Shadow, and the duo started working together to adapt it into an off-Broadway theater production with The Public Theater. The musical was a success, but the duo made the decision to leave it behind and form a band in 2013. The band name is a play on Dutton’s mother’s maiden name of Cardinaux.
Two of the band's singles made the Hype Machine Top 10 in 2013. Technicolor Dreaming became an "under-the-radar" hit, with its video premiering on The A.V. Club. With Technicolor Dreaming, the band moved in the direction of synth and 1980s sound.
Throughout 2015, Cardiknox played at big festivals in the United States, Canada, and Europe, including Lollapalooza, Firefly, Sasquatch, Reading, Leeds, and Pukkelpop. The band signed with Warner Bros. Records. In November, Cardiknox released "On My Way", a "dance-y pop banger". Its video, a mash-up of vintage fashion runway footage, was premiered by Vogue.
Before releasing their debut album, Cardiknox published four singles from the album: Doors, On My Way, Wild Child, and Into the Night. Wild Child hit #13 on the Spotify Viral 50 chart. After six months spent in Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood, the album Portrait was released on 11 March 2016. It was produced by Grammy-winning producer John Shanks and the cover was designed by street artist Tristan Eaton.
The band went on tour in early 2016, first touring with The Knocks and then joining Carly Rae Jepsen on her Gimmie Love Tour. They also toured with Bleachers.
The music of Cardiknox has been described as "dance-pop". The duo cites Peter Gabriel, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Drake as influences. Vogue commented that they "give the impression of having one foot in the indie world and one in the pop world. But they are leaning pop." Angle herself described their sound as "indie, electronic, epic, cinematic, nostalgic, and even a little eighties-inspired."
Portrait mixed 1980s beats with modern pop elements. The album has been described as "edgy and innovative", with "inventive and experimental" tracks. The songs' subject matters include relationship breakup (Souvenirs), youthful rebellion (Wild Child), rejection (Doors), and family breakup (Shadowboxing).
Reviewing the appearance of Cardiknox at CMJ Music Marathon, The Guardian described their sound as "glittering, skittering electro-pop (...) with songs in the vein of bands like Chvrches and The Naked and Famous." Commenting their single Wasted Youth, MTV said Angle sounded "like a mix between Icona Pop and Sky Ferreira with an electro-pop/dub jones."
The duo has very different musical backgrounds: Angle had classical piano training, while Dutton's first musical education was punk rock.