Currently comprised of founding members Clint Sargent (guitar, vocals) and Luke Strahota (drums), along with Colin Sheridan (bass) and Kaitlyn Ni Donovan (vocals, guitar), the Portland OR-based shoegaze quartet The High Violets can trace their origins to the breakup of The Bella Low, which featured Sargent, Strahota and another founding member Violet Bianca Grace (who left after a few early gigs). After a lineup change that resulted in their current lineup, the quartet released the their EP Dream Away, their full-length debut 44 Downin and their critically applauded third effort To Where You Are through Irish label Reverb Records. And as a result The High Violets saw a rapidly growing profile across North America as they played sets at NXNE in Toronto and SXSW in Austin, TX and then released a remix album, Satellite Remixes, which featured remixes from the renowned Ulrich Schnauss, Carmen Rizzo and others.  

Although the band is currently on hiatus from touring and live shows, they have remained active in the studio. The band’s fifth full-length effort, Heroes and Halos is slated for an April 1, 2016 release through Saint Marie Records and the album’s first single “Bells” has the band pairing layers of shimmering guitars and a propulsive and steady rhythm with Ni Donovan’s gorgeously ethereal and wistful vocals in a way that nods towards The SundaysHere’s Where The Story Ends” but with a cosmic glow that belies a subtly modern production.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past couple of years, Los Angeles-based, indie electro pop duo Pr0files have not only become JOVM mainstay artists, they’ve also developed a growing national profile for a sound that possesses elements of R&B, pop and electronic dance music — especially with the release of Call Yourself A Lover,”  and “Luxury.”

February 23 marks the release of the duo’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated full-length debut Jurassic Technologie and from the release of the album’s first three singles “I Know You Still Care,Empty Hands” and “Like A Knife,” the duo’s material has revealed an urgent, insistent sensuality reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder‘s legendary work in the 1970s while at other times being incredibly anthemic in a way that owes a debt to 80s synth pop and more contemporary fare, such as Haerts and St. Lucia. Jurassic Technologie‘s fourth and latest single “Abuse U (Feel It)” pairs Sternbaum’s gauzy Quiet Storm meets 21st century production consisting of skittering drum programming, swirling electronics and layers of shimmering and cascading synths with Pardini’s sultry come hither vocals and brief bursts of guitar.  Sonically and lyrically the song sounds as though it draws from Prince‘s incredible 80s work — think of “I Will Die 4 U,” “When Doves Cry,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Little Red Corvette” in particular, as the song may arguably be the most sensual and outright sexual song that the duo has released to date.

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you may have stumbled across a post on recent JOVM mainstay, Copenhagen-born, London-based vocalist and electro pop artist Marie Dahlstrøm— and in fact, you might recall that I’ve recently written about her collaborative project with Canadian producer Mwahs — Hans Island. However, Dahlstrom, a three-time Scandinavian Soul Award winner has developed a reputation as an up-and-coming solo artist, who has received attention across both Scandinavia and the European Union for her silky smooth, effortlessly soulful vocals with covers of Phil Collins, Chris Brown and Rihanna, as well as her debut EP, Feelings. 

2016 looks to be a big year for the Danish-born, London-based artist as the follow-up to Feelings is slated to be released later this year. Now you might recall that early last year I wrote about  the EP’s first single “Look the Other Way.” Produced by DK The Punisher, who’s best known for his work with Justin Beiber on Beibers’s “All That Matters, the track had Dahlstrøm teaming up with Brighton, UK-based vocalist Sophie Faith in a song that thematically nodded at Brandy and Monica’s 1998 duet/battle “The Boy Is Mine” as the single has Dahlstrøm and Faith alternating vocal responsibilities on each verse and teaming up on the chorus, as the song’s dueling narrators openly question the state of their romantic relationships with the love interest at the center of the song. Sonically speaking, the song paired Faith’s equally effortless soulful vocals and Dahlstrøm’s cooing with icily cascading and twinkling synths and hip-hop influenced beats.

Produced by Joe Garrett, who has worked on Zayn Malik‘s “Pillowtalk,” the EP’s second single and latest single “Crashing Down” is a gauzy, Quiet Storm-inspired yet contemporary track that paris Dahlstrøm’s silky smooth vocals with swirling electronics, Mary J. Blige What’s the 411? inspired hip-hop soul beats and stuttering percussion. As Dahlstrøm explained in press notes the song “is about the feeling of always searching, instead of being present in the moment. It’s about giving in and realizing that you’re exactly where you need to be.” Truer words have yet to be spoken this year at least, and the fact that the Copenhagen-born, London-based artist’s material is presumably based around lived-in experience sets her apart from countless soulless and prepackaged contemporary pop artists.

 

 

Electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Grant Eadie and his solo recording project Manatee Commune has received regional attention across the Pacific Northwest and a growing national profile for a carefully and organically molded electronic sound that pairs natural overtones extracted from field recordings with slick and nuanced electronic production.

Eadie’s soon-to-be released EP, Thistle, slated for a February 26 release marks two new developments in the young producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist’s career — it’s his first release through renowned Brooklyn-based label Bastard Jazz Recordings, the label home of Illa J, Lord Echo and several others; and the effort is the result of Eadie radically changing his songwriting, production and recording process as he  opened his studio and gear to friends, collaborators and loved ones, gaining inspiration from the energy of each of those interactions. As Eadie explains in press notes “Learning how to share my creative process with my friends completely revolutionized the last of year of music for me. Inviting those I trusted and loved into my studio to spend even just an hour talking or jamming opened fountains of inventive energy for me, especially from the ones who lacked any musical knowledge. I soon found myself incredibly inspired by the originality of even the smallest interactions with people, and so I pointed my field mic at anyone who had a story, a melody, or a stumbling beat they had been absentmindedly drumming, all in the hopes of capturing their individuality and framing it with my ever expanding insight into audio production.”

Thistle’s first single “Clay” pairs a stuttering yet breezy and coquettish production consisting of twinkling and chiming percussion, a looped flute sample, layers of shimmering synths and swirling electronics with Marina Price’s flirtatious and sultry vocals to craft a song that reminds me quite a bit of Sylvan Esso — but bouncier and slightly more dance floor friendly. Considering the Arctic weather we’re soon to have in New York, “Clay” is a brief yet lush and necessary blast of summer.

Catch Eadie live throughout March and April as he tours the Pacific Northwest with Blackbird Blackbird and Chad Valley. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates 

3.3 Bellingham, WA Wild Buffalo (EP Release Party)
3.10 Portland OR, Mississippi Studios ^
3.11 Seattle WA, Nectar Lounge ^
4.19 Tucson, AZ Club Congress *
4.20 San Diego, CA The Hideout *
4.21 Los Angeles, CA The Echoplex *
4.22 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst *
4.23 San Francisco, CA Social Hall *
4.30 Vancouver, BC Alexander *
^ with YPPAH
* with Blackbird Blackbird & Chad Valley

 

Last December, I wrote about Sophie Stern, the Los Angeles-based creative mastermind behind the (mostly) solo recording project Sophie and the Bom Boms. Initially, Stern’s career began behind the scenes as a songwriter, who was signed to mega-hit producer and songwriter Dr. Luke’s camp. After spending couple of years as a go-to songwriter, Stern decided that it was time for her to go out on her own as a solo artist.

 

Inspired by a diverse array of artists including diverse array of artists including Erykah BaduTom Tom Club and a lengthy list of others, Stern began collaborating with two rather renowned producers, David Elevator, who won 3 Grammys for his work on Beck‘s Morning Phase and Dan Dare, who’s best known his work with Marina and the DiamondsCharli XCX and M.I.A. for her debut EP. The EP’s first single “Big Girls” was a breezy and infectious pop confection that paired big boom-bap beats, cascading synths, anthemic hooks and Stern’s effortlessly soulful vocals in a way that was reminiscent of Nu Shooz‘s “I Can’t Wait” while sounding remarkably contemporary.

The EP’s second and latests single “Appetite” will further cement Stern’s reputation for crafting incredibly infectious, breezy and anthemic pop as you’ll hear boom bap beats, handclaps, twinkling synths and an anthemic, hashtag worthy hook paired with Stern’s ballsy and bratty vocals in a song that’s a tell off to fuckboys, deadbeats, drama kings and queens and parasites everywhere — with the sort of sense of humor that would likely remind you of things you may have heard or said back in the schoolyard.

Sonically and thematically speaking the song manages to nod at Australian-born, Berlin-based indie pop artist Phia, Gwen Stefani‘s “Ain’t No Holla Back Girl,” and TLC‘s “No Scrubs” as it possesses the same “girl power/girl, drop that loser/girl, drop that deadbeat friend” air but backed by slick, modern production techniques.

 

 

 

Late last year, I wrote about Liverpool-based shoegaze quintet The Vryll Society. The quintet, comprised of Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson, were discovered Alan Willis, the late founder of Deltasonic Records, who noticed potential in the band and guided the quintet through their development as a band and as songwriters. Over the course of the following year, the British shoegaze quintet locked themselves away in their rehearsal space, where they jammed and began writing material that was inspired by FunkadelicAphrodite’s Child, krautrock and classic shoegaze.

Now if you had been frequenting JOVM around then, you’d recall that I wrote about “Coshh,” the second single off the band’s debut EP Pangea. That particular single had the quintet pairing a tight, motorik groove consisting of wobbling bass lines and propulsive four-on-the-floor-like drumming, shimmering guitar chords played through layers of reverb and delay effect pedals, atmospheric electronics and anthemic hooks with ethereal, falsetto vocals to craft a song that possessed a mesmerizing cosmic sheen.

Sonically, the Liverpool-based quintet’s latest single “Self-Realization” will further cement their reputation for shimmering and anthemic shoegaze as the band pairs the prerequisite shimmering guitar chords, a driving motorik groove, wobbling and undulating electronics, twinkling keys and anthemic hooks with ethereal vocals to craft a sprawling song that structurally twists, bends and turns — while sounding as though it subtly nods at The Verve; in fact, the guitar work bears an uncanny resemblance to Nick McCabe’s expansive and expressive sound, all while bearing the cosmic glow that initially caught my attention.

Although not every single I’ve written about over the course of 2016 was available on Spotify, this month’s playlist continues with what I think is the strength of this site — true diversity of music. And this month’s playlist features tracks from JOVM mainstays METZ and Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Koncept and J57 as well Toronto, ON-based electro pop act Laser, Keith Murray, Main Source, the legendary Mavis Staples, singer/songwriter Jenny Gillespie and many more. This playlist also includes a 50 plus song tribute to David Bowie, who has been a large influence on me and the eventual creation of this site. Check it out and enjoy!