New Audio: Paris’ Café Bizarre Releases a 90s Alt Rock Sounding Anthem

Café Bizarre — Fabien (vocals), Giles (bass, guitar), Jean-Michel (drums, percussion), Granlu (guitar, bass) and Jean-Marc (guitar) — is a Paris-based indie rock act that can trace its origins back to the 1990s. And since their formation, the Parisian indie rock act have largely been a musician’s musician band, and arguably one of the bigger influences of the indie music scenes of early 90s New York, Hoboken and Chicago.

As the story goes, Mark Ibold, who played bass on a number of Pavement and Sonic Youth albums in the 00s met members of the band in a Lower East Side bar. This chance meeting wound up cementing a deeply rooted 25 year friendship between the Parisian band and the members of Pavement. According to Café Bizarre, Pavement’s “Shoot The Singer” discreetly pays homage to them — but interestingly enough, the band says that the song was originally written the year, as a tribute to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground.

The band’s first recorded output, 1995’s 13 song album Avenue A saw distribution through small shops and then disappeared from public consciousness — until a Télépopmusik fan came across the album on e-Bay. 1997’s four song EP Manipulate Men was originally distributed and sold through their local record store. Much like its predecessor, it disappeared until someone found some copies, 12 years later in a box in the store’s basement.

1998 saw the band’s lineup expanded into a quintet with the addition of a new member. And as the band joke, they continued their musical careers with personal funds and the logistical support of dear and steadfast friends.

1998 saw the band’s lineup expanded into a quintet with the addition fo a new member. And as the band joke, they continued their musical careers with personal funds and the logistical support of dear and steadfast friends. A few years later — 2001, to be precise — the Parisian band wrote and recorded a 3 song effort, aptly tired 3 that wasn’t distributed. By 2002, the band went on hiatus with its members spending time raising families and doing responsible, adult things.

In 2011, Café Bizarre released a CD-DVD boxed set of their Fallentfest Music Festival appearance at La Cigale. The following year, the band gave away the live album portion of the CD-DVD boxed sets to fans upon request.

After several attempts at self-production, the band recruited Mattéo Apher to produce the band’s first vinyl record, a 10 song effort released in 2017. The effort found the band blending 90s alt rock influences with loud, guitar-driven anthems. The album is available is also available digitally through Bandcamp.

Earlier this year,. the Parisian indie rock band released a 7 song EP Don’t Swim Tonight My Love , which boldly recalls 90s rock, complete with enormous hooks. The EP’s latest single, EP title track., “Don’t Swim Tonight My Love” is a shimmering rocker centered around Fabien’s plaintive vocals, a propulsive backbeat and a shout-along worthy hook that sonically brings Pablo Honey-era Radiohead and 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Here Lies Man Releases a Scorching New Ripper

Throughout the past handful of years of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstays Here Lies Man. The act, which was founded by Antibalas’ Marcos Garcia and Geoff Man has developed and honed an attention-grabbing sound that aesthetically (and seamlessly) bridges Fela Kuti Afrobeat grooves with classic Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin-era, power chord-fueled rock through their first three albums — 2017’s self-titled debut, 2018’s You Will Know Nothing and last year’s No Ground to Walk Upon, as well as an EP Animal Noises.

The Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays’ fourth album Ritual Divination reportedly finds the band crafting arguably the best rendering of their long-held aesthetic — with heavier and bluesier guitars while maintaining the rhythmic formula of the clave. “Musically, it’s an opening up to more traditional rock elements, the band’s Marcos Garcia (vocals, guitar) explains in press notes. “It’s always been our intention to explore. And, as we travelled deeper into this musical landscape, new features revealed themselves.” Interestingly, Ritual Divination is the first album recorded as a full quartet, featuring JP Maramba (bass) and Doug Organ (keys).

Here Lies Man’s fourth album continues their ongoing concept of the band writing and crafting the soundtrack to an imaginary movie with each song being a scene. “It’s an inward psychedelic journey, the album is the trip,” Garcia explains in press notes. “The intention and purpose of the music is to create a sonic ritual to lift the veil of inner space and divine the true nature of reality.” And as a result, the album’s material is self-reflexive: “On this album the feel changes within a song,” Garcia continues. “Whereas before each song was meant to induce a trancelike state, now more of the songs have their own arc built in.” But unlike their previously released material, the band actively giving attempting to give the album a live, dynamic feel — with the band eschewing the fuzz pedals and going for a much more direct approach.

“I Told You (You Shall Die)” Ritual Divination’s swaggering first single is an trippy ripper, centered around scorching Black Sabbath-like power chords, Afrobeat-inspired polyrhythm, and enormous arena rock friendly hooks within an expansive, mind-bending song structure. And unlike their previous material, “I Told You (You Shall Die)” reveals a rawer, more forceful sound than ever before.

Ritual Divination is slated for a January 22, 2021 release through their longtime label home RidingEasy Records.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Still Corners Release a Meditative Single and Visual

London-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Still Corners — vocalist and keyboardist Tessa Murray and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes — have sonically bounced between chilly and atmospheric synth pop and shimmering guitar-driven desert noir through four albums: 2012’s Creature of an Hour, 2013’s Strange Pleasures, 2016’s Dead Blue and 2018’s Slow Air.

Slated for a January 22, 2021 release through Wrecking Light Records, the London-based JOVM mainstays’ fifth album The Last Exit sonically continues where its predecessor Slow Air left off — 11 songs centered around shimmering and carefully crafted arrangements of organic instrumentation and Tessa Murray’s smoky crooning. Thematically, The Last Exit takes the listener on a hypnotic journey filled with dilapidated and abandoned towns, mysterious shapes on the horizon and long trips that blur the line between what’s there and not there. “We found something out there in the desert – something in the vast landscapes that went on forever,” Greg Hughes says in press notes.

The album was brought into further focus as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines. “There’s always something at the end of the road and for us it was this album. Our plans were put on hold – an album set for release, tours, video shoots, travel,” Tessa Murray explains. “We’d been touring nonstop for years, but we were forced to pause everything. We thought the album was finished but with the crisis found new inspiration and started writing again.” Three of the album’s songs — “Crying,” “Static,” and “‘Till We Meet Again” were written during this period and they reflect upon the profound impact of isolation and the human need for social contact and intimacy.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the album’s first single, album title track “The Last Exit.” Centered around a cinematic arrangement that evokes large, indifferent skies and dusty, two-lane blacktop, the track sounded as though it could have been part of the Slow Air sessions while subtly leaning towards the direction of Ennio Morricone soundtrack. “Crying,” The Last Exit’s second and latest single, was written during pandemic-related shutdowns and quarantines. The song captures the uncertainty, boredom, loneliness, heartache and regrets of endless hours of not having anything to really do or anyplace to go — and the obsessively neurotic and anxious self-examination of those endless hours. Centered around twinkling keys, shimmering synth arpeggios, shimmering strummed guitar, haunting whistling, Murray’s plaintive and ethereal cooing and a soaring hook. “Crying” sounds like the duo seamlessly meshed the sounds of Strange Pleasures with Slow Air.

Split between footage of Still Corners’ Murray spending time playing cards, reading books and drinking tea, we see the inevitable cycling of the seasons and the immensity of our planet moving through the universe. And while things may be uncertain and frightening, there are a handful of immutable facts: change is inevitable, the season change, we change.

“The only constant in life is change, this song is about a breakup during a difficult time but it’s also about coping with a fast-moving, uncertain world. Our video shows the immense universe and inevitable change of the seasons. Everything is in flux and that’s the only thing that is certain,” Still Corners’ Tessa Murray says of the new single and accompanying video.

New Video: Rising Afro Pop Artist Poundo Releases a Swaggering, Global Club Banger

Poundo Gomis is an emerging Guinea-Bissauan-French singer/songwriter, dancer, writer producer, , blogger and fashionista who currently splits her time between her hometown of Paris and New York, who performs under the mononymic moniker Poundo. Exposed to and influenced by the best of Africa and the West, Gomis immersed herself in the performing arts as a dancer and vocalist — and in fashion.

Over the past few years, Gomis has been incredibly busy. She has worked with some of the world’s top directors and choreographers — including Opéra de Paris’ Marie-Claude Pietragalia, Jérôme Savary, Georges Momboye, and Anne Fontaine. She was a featured danced in the Broadway musical Fela! — and since then, she has worked with Alicia Keys, Bill T. Jones, Spike Lee, The Roots and Cirque du Soleil, Aya Nakamura, Gims, Dadju, Vitaa, Amir, Hyphen Hyphen, Sting and a growing list of others.

As a recording artist Gomis has crafted a global, genre-defying take on pop music. Drawing from trap. pop, hip-hop and Mandingue music, the Paris-born artist’s work draws from her own personal experiences paired with political statements — while being accessible and club friendly. Slated for a November 27, 2020 release, the Guinea-Bissauan-French artist’s debut EP features a collection of touch upon her love of fantasy while bravely exploring her vulnerability.

The rising Guinea-Bissauan-French artist’s latest single “O Wassa Waru,” which means “A Beautiful Soul” in Mandjak is a slickly produced, club banger with a cinematic quality. Centered around looping twinkling kora lines. African polyrhythm, staccato handclaps, stuttering trap beats, staccato handclaps, wobbling low end and an infectious hook paired with Gomis’ self-assured delivery in English and Mandjak. Switching between swaggering rhymed versions and sultrily sung vocals, the track suggests that Gomis may have been influenced by Lauryn Hill and others — but with a brash, global bent and a righteous message. “It’s an ode for girls and women,” Gomis says. “I wrote and produced the track between New York, Paris and Conakry. I sing in English and Mandjak because I couldn’t do it a different way. 🙂 I grew up speaking Mandjak, French, Wolof and later learned English & Spanish at school. That’s why this song shows how international I am.”

Directed by LDITCH, the recently released video for “O Wassa Waru” is a gorgeous and cinematically shot visual featuring some serious black girl magic: beautiful and talented black women being badass in equally gorgeous settings,

Formed back in 2015, the rising  Los Angeles-based punk act The Paranoyds — founding members Staz Lindes (bass, vocals) and Laila Hashemi (keys vocals), Hashemi’s childhood friend Lexi Funston (guitar) and David Ruiz (drums) — derive their name as an apt summery of their general outlook on technology and modern culture. But ironically, the act can trace its origins to the friendship its founding duo forged through MySpace when they were in their early teens. Initially bonding over their shared interest and passion for local. underground music, Lindes and Hashemi eventually became friends in real life. Eventually the duo recruited Funston and Ruiz to complete the band’s lineup.

Since their formation, the band has developed a reputation as one of Los Angeles’ most exciting bands as a result of tours with the likes of DIIVWhite ReaperAlbert Hammond, Jr., Sunflower BeanTacocat,BRONCHO and others, and for playing major festivals like Coachella. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Los Angeles-based quartet released their critically applauded full-length debut Carnage Bargain, an album that was a raucous blend of gritty garage rock, New Wave, horror movie camp and a other left-of-center influences delivered with a sneering wink.

With the world literally burning down with us, the members of the acclaimed Los Angeles-based quartet return with a much-needed dose of musical levity. Slated for a November 27, 2020 release through Suicide Squeeze Records, the “Pet Cemetery”/”Hotel Celebrity” 7 inch is the first bit of new material from the band since Carnage Bargain. And reportedly, the effort is an embodiment of all of their influences. Interestingly, the 7 inch’s A side — and first single — firmly cements their identity and reputation for being a band fueled by campy horror movies and garage rock. Centered around sharply arpeggiated organs, a chugging guitar line, thunderous drumming and an expansive song structuc, “Pet Cemetery” is a Halloween-themed headbanger that’s become a staple of the band’s live sets. But while arguably being among the heaviest songs of their growing catalog, the song possesses a mischievous sense of humor: the song thematically focuses on undead lovers partaking in streamy PDA sessions. It’s an anthemic love song for the underworld.

“When your honeymoon phase has the strength to extend to the underworld – ‘Pet Cemetery’ will be playing. If you are lucky enough to experience the type of love that feels deep enough to follow you underground with you and your lover- you know what ‘Pet Cemetery’ is saying. It is the ultimate love song with a message of passion strong enough for both life and afterlife,” the band’s Staz Lindes explains.

New Video: Plumes Releases an Earthy and Sensual Visual for “Golden Gourmande”

Veronica Charnley is an acclaimed Montreal-born Paris-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, and the creative mastermind behind Plumes, a solo recording project that draws from contemporary pop and classical music techniques. And while most of her work is centered around her own original lyrics, she has also set poems by Emily Dickinson, Goethe and Marina Tsvetaeva to music.

\Her third album Oh Orwell was released earlier this year — and the long awaited album finds Charnley reinventing the project after her breakup with romantic partner and colllaborator, multi-instrumentalist and arranger, Goef Holbrook. The album’s latest single “Golden Gourmande” is centered around a hauntingly sparse arrangement: Charnley’s gorgeous and expressive vocals, shimmering, strummed guitar and gently droning feedback. The end result is a song that simultaneously manages to evoke the sensation of being roused from a pleasant dream — and savoring it deeply with a euphoric sigh. “‘Golden Gourmande’ is a song about returning to love after having almost lost it and savoring it like a creme brulee,” Charnley explains.

Directed by Pixie Cram, the recently released video for “Golden Gourmande” is an earthy and sensual visual that splits between someone foraging for mushrooms, plucking them from the forests and the Montreal-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter performing the song in an intimate studio.

New Audio: Ruido Selecto Remixes Tremor and Soema Montenegro’s “Cuando Oigo Sonar La Caja”

Soema Montenegro is a Buenos Aires-based experimental singer/songwriter. Arguably one of South America’s most unique artists, Montenegro’s work mixes the sounds and images of the jungle and mountains with her original poetry, which is primarily centered around a theatrical and emotional narrative — and transports listeners to her native Argentina.

Tremor — Leonardo Martinelli, Geraldo Farez and Camilo Carabajal — is an acclaimed South American trio that meshes electronic production and sound manipulation with traditional folkloric instrumentation and influences. Featuring rhythms and sounds known across the region, the trio’s sound fits component parts of varying traditions together in a way that crosses and defies genre-borders.

Medelin, Colombia-based experimental. electronic music artist, producer and guitarist Juan Esteban Herrera is the creative mastermind of Ruido Selecto, an electronic music project that’s largely influenced by Jamaican and tropical rhythms, and other black music.

Tremor and Soema Montenegro collaborated together on “Cuando Oigo Sonar la Caja,” which appeared on a tribute album to Argentine singer/songwriter Leda Valladares, El Caimon de Leda (Un Tributo a Leda Valladares). Centered around undulating and atmospheric synths, traditional indigenous percussion, twinkling guitar, and flute paired with thumping beats and Montenegro’s sing-song vocals, the track is a brooding synthesis of the ancient and the modern.

Ruido Selecto’s remix is a subtle, dubby remix, featuring finger-snapped percussion, wobbling low end while retaining most of the dreamy and brooding instrumentation and Montengro’s vocals. The end result is a remix that feels like a slow-burning psychedelic trip.

Patrick Kapp is a Chicago-based signer/songwriter, guitarist and creative mastermind behind the solo recording project Midwestern Dirt. Since the project’s formation in 2017, the Chicago-based Kapp has written, recorded and self-released three full-length albums including his most recent, this year’s Sayonara.

Midwestern Dirt’s sound is informed by Radiohead, Deerhunter, Wilco, and Pavement: reverb-drenched guitars paired with propulsive drumming and lyrics that thematically concern themselves with both personal experiences and the world at large.

Sayonara was recorded last May in Atlanta’s Sleeping Partner Studios on 16-track tape machine. The album finds Kapp continuing to make Midwestern Dirt a family affair: “We recorded over four steamy days in Georgia on a 16-track tape machine with two of my wife’s other brothers playing bass and drums. This has essentially been our recording setup for all three Midwestern Dirt LPs to date,” Kapp says in press notes. Additionally, the studio was run by Kapp’s brother-in-law.

The album’s latest single “Black Lotus” is a slow-burning track centered around reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drumming, Kapp’s plaintive falsetto and an alternating quiet-loud-quiet structure and slowly builds up in intensity until the song’s euphoric coda. Sonically, “Black Lotus” reminds me The Bends-era Radiohead with a shoegazer-like quality to it. “The chords to this track were written the day after David Bowie died and sat around for awhile sans lyrics as a voice memo on my phone,” Kapp recalls. “Years later the words started to take shape. Musically, the verses have a meditative energy while the drums slowly build in expression, intricacy, and power as the song grows, with the final chorus being a burst of sonic euphoria.”

New Video: Catalan Singer-Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist Magalí Sare Releases a Gorgeous and Intimate Visual

Magalí Sare is a rising 23 year-old, Vallès, Spain-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Growing up in a family of musicians, Sare learned how to play piano, flute and percussion at an early age. Back in 2013, the Vallès-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, enrolled at the Superior Conservatory of the Liceu, where she studied jazz.

Since graduating, Sare quickly developed a unique sound and approach that features elements of jazz, classical music, pop, alt-pop and experimental music with lyrics written and sung in her native Catalan and English. She’s also been rather busy: Sare regularly performs with a quarter that features Marta Pons (cello), Vic Moliner (double bass) and Arnau Figueres (percussion) and with a duo featuring a dear friend, who has accompanied her since the beginning. Over the past year, she’s been further honing a genre-fluid sound:

She collaborated with Sebastiaà Gris on A Boy and a Girl, an album that found the duo reworking classical and folk tunes in a way that incorporated electronics. The album was nominated for Best World Music album on the World Music Charts Europe (WMCE).
Sare contributed her vocals to Clara Peya’s Estomac.
The Catalan-born artist was nominated for an Emerging Artist Award by the Catalan Music Academy and Best New Artist at the ARC Awards.
Magalí Sara was nominated for the first International Award of Suns Europe Festival, which she won.
She also toured with with Quartet Mèlt, an act that won TV3’s Oh happy day’s third season.

Sare’s latest single “Beber de ti” is a slow-burning track and atmospheric featuring twinkling piano, stuttering trap beats, the rising Catalan artist’s ethereal and plaintive vocals, shimmering synth arpeggios and an enormous hook. Sonically, the track will further establish her sound as it’s a slickly produced mesh of classical music, electro pop and trap, centered around earnest songwriting. “Stagnant water rots. To be clean and transparent it needs to flow. The same goes for feelings; Communicating fully is not easy at all,” Sare explains. “Sometimes opening up as people can be painful, but it is something that frees us. Showing fears, letting out crying, as well as empathizing and giving thanks when appropriate, are things that make human relationships flow.”

The recently released and intimately shot video follows a couple, who struggle to truly connect with each other — but when they follow the philosophy of the song, they find themselves much closer, and much more at peace with each other.