New Video: JOVM Mainstays La Femme Release a Feverish and Surreal Visual for Genre-defying Freak Out “Disconnexion”

La Femme — currently, founding members Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée, along with Sam Lefévre, Noé Delmas, Cleémence Quélennec, Clara Luiciani, Jane Peynot, Marilou Chollet and Lucas Nunez Ritter — was founded back in 2010, and the-then unknown band managed to hoodwink the French music industry by lining up a DY Stateside tour with only $3,000 euros and their debut EP, Le Podium #1.

After playing 20 gigs across the States, the members of the La Femme returned back to their native France with immense interest from the Parisian music scene. “The industry was like, ‘What the fuck? They have an EP out and they are touring in the US and we don’t know them?” Marlon Magnée told The Guardian. “So the buzz began to start. When we came back to France, it was red carpet. Fucking DIY.”

2013’s full-length debut Psycho Tropical Berlin was a critical and and commercial success, which won a Victoires de la Musique Award while completely reinventing the sound that began to win them attention. Building upon a rapidly growing internationally recognized profile. La Femme’s sophomore album, 2016’s Mystére was released to praise by Sound Opinions, The Line of Best Fit, The Guardian, AllMusic, BrooklynVegan and a lengthy list of others.

Earlier this year, the acclaimed French act released their first bit of new material in four years with the critically applauded single “Paradigme,” They promptly followed up with “Cool Colorado,” the second single off their forthcoming third album, which will be released through the band’s Disque Pointu and distributed through IDOL.“This album does not correspond to one specific period of our lives,” the band explains. “We have always composed songs all along the journey of the band. Therefore, this album is composed with temporality, it has to be seen as a big piece of a puzzle we create. It is an ongoing process, but all this stays in the range of a concept and remains uncertain.”

Featuring a bombastic horn sample, shimmering guitars, blown out beats, insouciantly sung lyrics in French and English and an infectious hook, “Cool Colorado” sounds indebted to Scott Walker and Ennio Morricone soundtracks while being an “ode to the San Francisco of the 70s, which is so rare and precious to us even if we never lived in this period,” and to Colorado, the first state to legalize cannabis.

The members of La Femme closed out 2020 with “Disconnexion,” the third single off their forthcoming third album — and arguably, the oddest and most difficult to pigeonhole track I’ve come across all year,. Centered around a pulsating, motorik groove reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder’s heyday, a fiery banjo solo, atmospheric electronics, twinkling synth arpeggios, a philosophic soliloquy delivered in a dry, academic French and trippy operatic caterwauling “Disconnexion” is a vivid and surreal fever dream of a song that’s full of “what the fuck” and yet completely danceable.

Speaking of what the fuck, the recently released video for “Disconnexion” continues the surreal and mysterious universe of the preceding videos: initially taking place on a Laugh-In meets Top of the Pops and American Bandstand sort of show, the video quickly morphs into a wild parody of an intellectual TV debate that features a bald and pretentious philosopher type who delivers the song’s wild soliloquy before walking into a phantasmagorical orgy, compete with a hellish clown playing the banjo like he was in a Charlie Daniels tune and a lysergic opera singer wailing away. It’s wild and follows a universe that’s wilder and perhaps more interesting than our own.

New Video: Rising NYC-based Pop Act Eighty Ninety Releases a Shimmering Pop Confection

The New York-based pop duo Eighty Ninety — brothers Abner James (vocals, production) and Harper James (guitar, production) — quickly exploded into the national and international scenes with the viral hit, “Three Thirty,” which rose to #2 on Spotify’s Global Viral Charts. Building upon a rapidly growing profile and the buzz surrounding them, followed up the success of “Three Thirty” with their debut EP Elizabeth.

Their debut EP found the duo further cementing their sound and approach: minimalist pop productions featuring a slick mix of electronic sounds and organic instrumentation paired with infectious hooks and sticky melodies, which they’ve dubbed “808s and Telecasters” — a joking shorthand for their sound and their anything goes mentality to their creative process. “We let the emotional arc of the song, rather than any set of genre conventions, lead us to instruments and sounds,” the brothers say of their process.

Since the release of their Elizabeth EP, the duo’s material have amassed over 26 million streams and have been featured on a numerous Spotify playlists, including New Music Friday, Pop Rising, Indie Pop, Chill Vibes, Viral Hits — and was selected by Taylor Swift on her Songs Taylor Loves playlist.

The duo closes out 2020 with their latest single, “Better as Friends.” Centered around a lush arrangement of glistening synth arpeggios, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, thumping beats paired with Abner James’ yearning, ethereal falsetto and an infectious hook, “Better as Friends” is a radio friendly pop confection that brings JOVM mainstays like Washed Out, Summer Heart and Cones to mind. But despite the breezy pop vibes, the song is underpinned by the bitter recognition that both platonic and romantic relationships can be confusing and uncertain.

“Better as Friends” is the second official single off the New York-based duo’s Gian Stone-produced, sophomore EP slated for release next year. In the meantime, the duo released a cinematic and decidedly minimalist video for their new single that’s split between intimately shot performance footage of the band in their studio and the act’s frontman on a rooftop during golden hour in New York. Interestingly, the video manages to capture the brooding and heartache at the core of its accompanying song.

New Video: Emerging French Act Voie 81 Releases a Shimmering, Synth Pop Banger

Deriving their name from the French of word for “track” while simultaneously being a bit of a pun for the French word for voice voix and for 1981, a paradigm shifting year that saw an incredible array of changes in technology and across society, the Paris-band electro pop/New Wave duo Voie 81 prominently features three female vocalists hailing from Paris, Madrid, and Berlin, who sing unifying and socially conscious lyrics in German, English, Spanish and French.

The act’s full-length debut Ralentir which means “slow down” in French finds the act further developing a sound that’s heavily influenced by the analog synth sound of the 80s while thematically touches upon humans’ resistance to an unfair and unjust world and the hope for a better, fairer world. The album’s first single “Nirvana” is a euphoric track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, angular guitars and an arena friendly hook paired with vocals delivered in an ethereal yet sultry French. Sonically, the track finds the emerging French act nodding at early-to-mid 1980s New Order, Giorgio Moroder, Tour de France-era Kraftwerk and even contemporaries like DBFC.

Directed by the members of Voie 81, the recently released video for “Nirvana” is set in an industrial train yard as we follow, a boombox carrying dude and a gorgeous dancer, hang out and dance together before pulling out to follow a train track across the French train ride. The video manages to be playful and decidedly DIY.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Summer Heart Releases a Gorgeous, Animated Visual for Shimmering “Black Jeans”

I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of ink over the course of the past decade, covering the Malmö-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and electronic music artist David Alexander, best known to the world, as the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded, internationally acclaimed recoding project Summer Heart.

Alexander began 2020 signing to renowned Swedish label Icons Creating Evil Art, who released his latest effort, Ambitions EP last month. And much like his previously released work, Ambitions draws from the JOVM mainstay’s daily life — with the material conceptually revealing the story of the man behind the breezy and infectious synth pop tunes. Written during a recent trip to California and Malmö, the EP touches thematically touch upon tales about his love-life and allowing himself to let go and experience life as it happens.

“Before going on tour I always make sure to wrap up all the work I have postponed or ignored so I can come back to a blank slate,” the acclaimed Swedish JOVM mainstay says of the forthcoming EP. “But since my tour got cancelled it was the first time in my adult life I actually didn’t have anything to do. It was very freeing and I could sit down and think about what I wanted to create and what I had struggled with in the past. I realised I’ve just wanted too much and never really been able to slow down and see things from a different perspective. The EP itself is about having high ambitions and wanting to do so many things at the same time but not always knowing where to put your focus.”

“One recurring theme in the lyrics is that it is difficult to live in the present,” Alexander adds. “How would it be if you did everything differently? It is the thought of that the grass is greener on the other side, though you know it is not. You just remember the nice things, even though something might have been crap. Like traveling or going to a festival for example. When you are in it, it is neither how you imagined it before, when you where looking forward to it, nor how you remember it afterwards when you remember it as wonderful. It is very much what the texts are about, that you dream away, it is about relationships and life in general. It’s something I’m trying to practice – living in the present, but it’s hard, unfortunately.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about Ambitions single “Good Together,” a swooning pop confection centered round a breezy and atmospheric poduction featuring shimmering synths, strummed acoustic guitar, stuttering beats, a propulsive bass line and the Malmö-born, Los Angeles-born artist’s unerring knack for an infectious hook paired with his plaintive vocals. EP single “Black Jeans” is centered around shimmering and synth arpeggios, skittering trap beats and a sinuous hook. Sonically, the track strikes me as a slick yet earnest synthesis of 80s Quiet Storm pop and brooding atmospherics, making it one of the JOVM mainstay’s more cinematic tracks of his catalog. Much like its immediate predecessor, the track finds its narrator reliving a relationship that has left him with lingering ghosts and regrets with the sort of nostalgia that takes him away from the present he should be paying attention to right this moment.

Directed and animated by James Edwards, the recently released video follows a white-clad, motorcycle riding Alexander, cruising through town. Eventually winding up in a romantic little bar by himself, the animated Alexander has thoughts on one thing — the beautiful women, who got away.

“’Black Jeans’ is episode two in the animated series about Summer Heart. It takes place in Summer Heart’s hometown Los Angeles,” James Edwards explains. “Still in his white suit and on his red motorbike he continues helping people conquer their negative thoughts. At the same time the protagonist struggles on a personal level as he is falling back into bad habits and bad relationships.”

New Audio: Broadway Star Joshua Henry Releases a Joyous and Souful Single and Visual

Joshua Henry is an acclaimed New York-based actor, musician and singer/songwriter best known for his Tony-nominated roles as Flick in Brian Crawley’s Violet and Haywood Patterson in David Thompson’s The Scottsboro Boys. Henry has also starred in Gerswhin’s Porgy and Bess, Green Day’s American Idiot, Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights and as Aaron Burr in the first national tour of Hamilton. Although his successes on Broadway was fueled by a lifelong passion for music and performing, Henry longed to tell his own story. “I’d been writing songs for nearly a decade, but my incredible wife, Cathryn, pushed me to not waste any time and follow that passion,” Henry recalls. “I continue to love acting, stepping into someone else’s shoes, but this year made one thing super clear to me: We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, so I had to really give it my all.”

Henry’s Theron “Neff-U” Feemster-produced debut EP Guarantee is slated for a February 12, 2021 release through S-Curve Records/BMG and the effort will reportedly showcase the voice that won accolades on Broadway paired with thoughtful, intelligent storytelling-based songs that thematically touch upon vulnerability, love and hope. Written during pandemic-related lockdowns, the New York-based actor, musician and singer/songwriter found that the inspiration and creative process of art became intertwined. As his wife took on nursing shirts caring for COVID patients in the earliest days of the pandemic, Henry would sneak into the music room in the family’s apartment to record vocals. “It was an amazing exercise in watching something grow through constraints — to know what’s possible if you have the right people supporting you,” he says.

Small. intimate, daily events like walking through Central Park, a conversation over breakfast, time with his wife and son proved to be deeply influential on the EP’s material and on Henry’s songwriting. “In the past I’ve been a really private person, but they gave me freedom to break my chest open, to get into conversations about self-discovery and vulnerability,” he explains.

“This EP is full of my heart, but I also want people to jump and groove to it, to feel it cerebrally, spiritually and bodily,” Henry adds. ‘There was a blank canvas that took me back to when I was seven years old, just writing from my heart, with nothing to lose.” The EP’s lead single “Hold Me” is centered around a warm, neo-soul production featuring a rubbery and propulsive bass line, soul clap-led percussion and a spectral backing vocal paired with Henry’s plaintive yet regal falsetto. Unlike most contemporary pop songs, you’ll hear on the radio right now, “Hold Me” is full of a pure ebullient joy that feels like a great gospel tune — and as a result it gives the material a wholesome air.

And while the song may be an infectious, joyful delight, the song is intelligently underpinned by a very deep understanding of romantic relationships: Satisfying and truly adult love requires an immense vulnerability of us. But when it comes to the relentless and uncompromising pursuit of a lifelong there’s a deeper fear of rejection of the much-needed love and support you may need to continue, and of having to make a choice between love and your dream.

The recently released video manages to simultaneously evoke the infectious joy of its accompanying single while also being an intimate look into the loving relationships of a young artist with a big dream.

James Fisher is a Chicago-based electronic music producer, best known as ALIGN. With ALIGN, Fisher has developed a reputation for crafting thought-provoking music for the everyday listener meant to be the soundtrack for your daily commute or a night out with friends. So far he has appeared alongside some of the brightest and biggest names of contemporary indie electro pop and EDM including Louis The Child, Illlenium, Autograf, Hayden James, Thomas Jack, SNBRN, GTA and a list of others. Adding to a growing profile, “All In Our Eyes,” a 2018 collaboration with fellow Chicagoan Mielo landed at #1 on the Hype Machine Charts.

Fisher released two singles earlier this year “Second Thoughts” and “Reflections” through well-esteemed electronic music tastemaker label Lowly Palace and a remix of PINES‘ hit single “Tell Me” for Kygo’s Palm Tree Records. Capping off a big year, Fisher’s last ALIGN single of 2020 “When I’m With You” finds him collaborating with vocalist Martina Lynn. Centered around ambient and textured synth arpeggios, skittering beats., and Lynn’s achingly vulnerable, sultry vocals, the upbeat confection “When I’m With You” manages to be both club and radio friendly. But underneath the slick studio polish, the song is a sweet declaration of longing and desire by a narrator, who has stumbled upon the true love that we all wish we have — the sort in which you can find sustenance and comfort in your lover’s presence and arms.

“I started writing this track by using some guitar plucks and experimenting with a soundscape,” the Chicago-based ALIGN says. “I wanted to create an ambient moment, then transition into more of a rhythmic beat. That soundscape became something that I could write chords on top of and develop a beat and melodies. I loved where it was going, but I knew it needed somebody’s story to accompany it. Martina seemed like the perfect fit for the vibe of this track.” 

“When I first heard the track, I was immediately intrigued to start writing and creating a melody for it because it was an upbeat, EDM type track that I wasn’t used to working with and I was up for the challenge,” Martina Lynn recalls. “My manager, Jeremy Gentry and I spent so much time writing, rewriting and recording all via video call, which was such a challenging, vulnerable process but it was so rewarding. When it comes to the actual writing process, we were both drawn to the idea of creating a healthy and happy story of love for the track, because those seem so rare lately. I think everyone can relate to the idea of only being able to think of one person when it comes to love and being in love and wanting them because of the comfort they bring.”

New VIdeo: Hamburg’s Seasurfer Releases a Surreal and Brooding Visual for “SOS”

Dirk Knight is a Hamburg-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and grizzled scene vet. Knight’s musical career began back in the 90s: his previous band Dark Orange was a pioneering act in the Heavenly Voices scene — and as a result, he collaborated with Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie. With his latest recording project Seasurfer, which he started in 2013, the Hamburg-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist eschews the traditional rock band set up and collaborates with a rotating cast of vocalists and musicians, who help flesh out the project’s sound. Through his first two critically applauded Seasurfer albums, Knight has worked with members of Trespassers William, Whimsical, Jaguwar and Last Leaf Down.

Knight’s third Seasurfer album Zombies was released last month through Reptile Music and the album finds the Hamburg-based act refining the sound that has won them fans internationally: while still retaining the fuzziness and layers of reverb, the German, there has been an increased focus on drawing from cold wave and dark wave influences — with the material employing the use of synths, motorik-like grooves, and synthetic beats in what the act has dubbed “electrogaze for dancers and dreamers alike.”

Written and recorded during tight pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, Zombies thematically crafts a dark and murky portrait of a society on the brink of annihilation. Interestingly, the album is the first Seasurfer album that features Knight playing and recording all of the instrumentation and contributing some vocals. The first part of the album finds Knight collaborating with singer/songwriter Apolonia. As the duo were putting the finishing touches on Zombies, they both had the distinct impression of the world completely losing its mind: Of course, there’s the fear and uncertainty of COVID-19; but there’s also self-serving political leaders ruled by greed, corruption and lust, as well as the largely ignored, yet unavoidable global climate catastrophe. And the entire ordeal made the duo feel as though they were zombies stumbling through a lost world.

Zombies also will feature a digital only eight track mini album release, The Dreampop Days, which finds Knight collaborating with Kirilan Camera’s Elena Alice Fossi. But in the meantime, Zombies’ latest single, is the dark and brooding “SOS.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, motorik grooves, thumping and skittering beats and industrial clink, clang and clatter, paired with Apolonia’s ethereal cooing. Arguably one of the act’s more dance floor friendly and seductive songs, “SOS” immediately brings 80s post punk and goth to mind — but while reminding me a little bit of No Swoon, Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and the rest of St. Marie Records roster.

The recently released video by JH spilt between gorgeously shot footage in black and white, stock footage, psychedelic imagery, digital fuzz, ubiquitous COVID-19 virus and color footage of a political protest/uprising. And it manages to further emphasizes the bleakness of its accompanying audio.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Here Lies Man Return with a Menacing New Ripper

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstays Here Lies Man. Founded by Antibalas‘ Marcos Garcia and Geoff Man Here Lies Man has developed and honed an attention-grabbing sound that aesthetically bridges Fela Kuti-like Afrobeat grooves with classic Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin-era, power chord-fueled rock.

The Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays’ forth album Ritual Divination reportedly finds the band crafting what arguably may 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.”

Ritual Divination marks the band’s first bit of recorded output as a full-time quartet, featuring JP Maramba (bass) and Doug Organ (keys). The album also continues their long-held and ongoing concept that has the band crafting the soundtrack to an imaginary movie with each song describing and being part of a parritucalr 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.” 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.”

Interestingly though, Ritual Divination finds the band focusing on a a live, more dynamic feel with the band eschewing the fuzz and distortion pedals of their previously released work. The end result is a much more direct and forceful approach as you would hear on the album’s first single “I Told You (You Shall Die),” which I wrote about earlier this year. The song was a lysergic 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.

“Come Inside,” Ritual Divination’s second and latest single is lysergic haze of a song centered around chugging power chords, driving drumming and a motorik-like groove and chanted vocals darting in and around the song’s instrumentation. While continuing in a similar vein as its predecessor, “Come Inside” manages to possess a sinister air.

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