With the release of their full-length debut, 2016’s Erasing Rock, the Trento, Italy-based soul/funk act Les Juex Sont Funk — currently Michele Bazzanella (bass, sound effects, percussion and production), Carlo Nardi (guitar, talk box, keys, flute, tenor sax, percussion and production), Maurizio Brugnara (keys), Stefano Malchiodi (drums, percussion), Emiliano Tamanani (trumpet, flugelhorn), Lorenzo Sighel (alto sax, soprano sax, rap), Marco Pisoni (tenor sax, baritone sax), Greta Marcolongo (vocals) and Shanthi Kumari Roat (vocals) — quickly established a sound centered around dance floor friendly grooves and propulsive basslines.

Since the release of Erasing Rock, the Italian funk outfit’s lineup has expanded with the addition of its horn section — while still being faithful to the groove. Interestingly. during a writing retreat, the expanded lineup decided to spark their musical chemistry by jamming in the style of acts like The Meters, Shuggie Otis, Roy Ayers, Parliament-Funkadelic and others. They created a groove centered around bass and guitar paired with tight-hitting drums and a touch Latin jazz-like horns. The end result was a composition that spiritually recalled The JBs, James Brown‘s legendary backing band titled “A Tribute to the J.B.s.” Centered around shuffling guitar, a sinuous bass line, funky drumming and a Maceo Parker-like horn line before hitting into its dance floor friendly groove, the song manages to recall the Godfather of Soul’s legendary hit-making period with an uncanny accuracy.

New Video: Piroshka Releases a Brooding Meditation on Loss

ustin Welch (drums) — features members, best known for their work with some of the most acclaimed and beloved indie acts of the past 30 years. Their collaboration together can trace its origins to the knotted and complicated web connections between each of the band’s members: Individually Berenyi and McKillop are considered shoegaze pioneers with their own respective bands, releasing a number of applauded albums before getting married and starting a family. With 1995’s acclaimed self-titled debut, Elastica quickly became internationally recognized Brit Pop stars — and as a result Berenyi and McKillop were intimately familiar with Welch’s work. Conroy joined McKillop’s band Moose after Modern English broke up the second time. Welch eventually joined the reunited Lush in 2015. And when Lush needed a bassist for their final show in Manchester, Conroy filled in.

As it turned out, the rehearsals for the Manchester show are what laid the foundations for Pirsohka to happen — but I must add some much needed background: After Lush’s Chris Acland committed suicide in 1997, his grieving and devastated bandmates felt that it was impossible to continue as a band. The band split up. Berenyi was so heartbroken by Acland’s death that she quit music and spent the next 20 years as a working mother. Because of personal and professional obligations, Berenyi didn’t agree to a Lush reunion and touring until 2015. Welch, who coincidentally was a close friend of Acland was a logical choice to lovingly fill in. And as the story goes, at some point Welch asked Berenyi if she’d be up to doing something new after the final Lush show. As Berenyi recalled in press notes up until that point in eh life, she hadn’t made music outside of Lush and solo work never really appealed to her. “I need someone else to motivate me, and in this case it was Justin. He sent drum tracks with guitar parts and odd words, so I wrote some vocals and lyrics, which became ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ and ‘Never Enough.’ When Mick added bass, it sounded great. When Moose added guitar and keyboards — I’d never written like that before, it was such good fun.”

“We sounded great!” Welch added in press notes. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Conroy agreed, adding “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed and it was good fun, too. And with Moose available, we thought, ‘let’s all have a bash, see what happens.’”

There are several more layers of that entangled and complicated web of personal, professional and creative connections at the heart of Piroshka, of course: Bella Union’s label head Simon Raymonde was among the first people to hear the Brickbat demos and he quickly signed the band to the label. Raymonde’s former Cocteau Twins bandmate Robin Guthrie produced Lush’s debut album. And Raymonde’s current Lost Horizons bandmate Richie Thomas was a former member of Moose.

Brickbat managed to have a deeper symbolic meaning for the band: the title also hit upon the fact that the album was a marked departure from the individual members’ best known work. Written through the anxious prism of parenthood in a world gone made, the album lyrically and thematically touches upon the fear, loathing, envy and strife at the heart of our current — and ongoing — sociopolitical moment. 

The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Love Drips and Gathers derives its title from a line of a Dylan Thomas poem. Slated for a July 23, 2021 release through Bella Union, Love Drips and Gathers reportedly follows a more introspective line, with the album thematically focusing on the ties that bind us — in particular, as a lovers, parents, children, friends. Berenyi and McKillop split lyric writing duties, and the album features songs about Berenyi and McKillop’s relationship, their family, the deaths of McKillop’s mother and father and the death of longtime friend and 4AD in-house art director Vaughan Oliver, who died suddenly at the end of 2019. Sonically, the album finds the indie rock legends employing a much more ethereal sound while still reveling in energy and drama. “If Brickbat was our Britpop album, then Love Drips And Gathers is shoegaze!” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi says in press notes. “It wasn’t intentional; we just wanted a different focus. I’ve always seen debut albums as capturing a band’s first moments, when you really have momentum, and then the second album is the chance for a more thoughtful approach.” The band’s Mick Conroy adds “Brickbat was a classic first album; noisy and raucous. On Love Drips And Gathers, we’ve calmed down and explored sounds, and space.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Scratching at the Lid,” a shimmering and ethereal pop anthem centered around Berenyi’s imitable vocals, twinkling keys, a rousingly anthemic hook and a forceful motorik groove. But underneath the big hooks and breakneck gallop, the song is a deeply conflicted meditation focusing on McKillop’s relationship with his father and one’s relationships with their parents. Love Drips and Gathers’ second and latest single, the brooding “V.O.” is dedicated to the band’s longtime friend and collaborator Vaughan Oliver. Centered around arpeggiated synths, shimmering guitars, Berenyi’s wisps of smoke-like delivery, a propulsive rhythm section and soaring strings, “V.O.” fittingly is a Cocteau Twins-like track full of heartache and unfathomable loss delivered in an impressionistic fashion.

put a vocal on it,” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi explains in press notes. “The lyrics are snapshot snippets of Vaughan Oliver’s funeral in January 2020 – lines from the speeches, fleeting impressions of the day. I’m getting to the age where the people I grew up with are dying and I find funerals a comfort in the sadness, formal but emotional, a celebration of a life, a space for the living to reconnect.” 

The recently released video continues Piroshka’s ongoing collaboration with director Conor Kinsey. The video follows an ominous and shadowy being and its relationship with a woman. Throughout the video there’s love, sacrifice, dedication, heartbreaking loss and fear. “We wanted to put this ominous-being centre frame and allow the viewer to reflect on fear and loss whilst also embracing hope and futurity through its life experiences,” Conor Kinsey explains. “Giving the subject no recognisable features meant that it’s emotional journey through the different timelines felt more relatable to a wider audience.”

Live Footage: METZ Performs “A Boat to Drown In” at Toronto’s The Opera House

Over the course of this site’s almost 11 year history — it turns 11 next week — i’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink covering Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. With the release of their third album, 2017’s Strange Peace, the trio — Alex Eadkins (vocals, guitar), Chris Slorach (bass) and Hayden Menzies (drums) —  pushed their songwriting in a new direction, as they crafted some of their most personal and politically charged work with the material capturing the anxiety, uncertainty, fear and outrage of the 2016 election cycle.

r themselves and for the album before they set to work on it: that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they navigated life’s trials and tribulations.r themselves and for the album before they set to work on it: that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they navigated life’s trials and tribulations.

hem attention and hearts across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind.  Much like its predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory. And as a result, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simple of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. So in some way, the album find the band tackling what’s inevitable for all of us — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

, Atlas Vending closing track “A Boat to Drown In” was the album’s first official single and while continuing the band’s long-held reputation for crafting enormous, aural assaults centered around layers of distortion fueled powered chords, thunderous drumming, a mosh pit friendly hook and Eadkins urgent and howled vocals. But unlike their previously released material, “A Boat to Drown In” finds the band moving away from their grunge influences with their most expansive track to date, a track that finds them at their most oceanic. According to Eadkins, “A Boat to Drown in.” is “. . . about leaving a bad situation behind. About overcoming obstacles that once held you back, rising above and looking to a better future. The title refers to immersing yourself fully into what you love and using it as a sanctuary from negativity and a catalyst for change.”

Recently, the JOVM mainstays released a furious and urgent live version of “A Boat to Drown In” filmed as part of a live stream the band released last year at Toronto’s The Opera House that should serve as a reminder of their explosive live show — and of what many of us miss about live shows. Interestingly, with the release of the live footage, the members of METZ announced a co-headlining North American tour THIS fall with fellow JOVM mainstays Preoccupations. The tour will include two NYC area dates: December 9 at Elsewhere Hall and December 10 at Bowery Ballroom.

April and May 2022 sees the Canadians touring across the European Union.

“We are incredibly excited to be announcing a real in-person tour for later this year!” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says in press notes. “We cannot wait to share Atlas Vending with you and to reconnect with our musical friends and family worldwide.”

New Audio: Paris’ QLAPs releases an Infectious Club Banger

QLAPs is a Paris-based electro pop trio that features members QLAPs is a Paris-based electro pop trio — Zuvey, Emmanuelle Trance and Tom Miles — that features members, who come from very different backgrounds but have managed to create accessible, pop-leaning dance music.

The French trio’s latest single “I Can’t Wait” is an infectious and swaggering club friendly banger centered around skittering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, sultrily delivered vocals, a shout-a-long chorus and an enormous hook. The end result is a song that brings Yelle and JOVM mainstays L’Imperatice to mind.

New Video: Follow Haitian-Canadian Artist Wesli and Paul Cargnello on a Trip Through Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Haiti-born, Montreal-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer Wesli– born Wesley Louissant — has had the sort of musical journey that should be made into an inspiring biopic: he’s gone from stringing up an oil can with nylon fishing line to becoming a critically applauded, award-winning artist who has developed and honed a sound that features elements of voodoo, rara, roots reggae, Afrobeat and hip-hop through the release of three albums 2011’s Liberté dans le noir, 2015’s Immigrand and Ayiti Ètoile Nouvelle and 2018’s Rapadou Kréyol. Those four albums have found him collaborating with a talented collection of Canadian artists including Tiken Jah Fakoly, Paul Cargnello, and Malika Tirolien.

Since winning the Radio Canada Revelation Award back in 2009-2010, Louissant has collected a bevy of various awards including the Babel Med Music Prize in 2010, SOCAN’s Hagood Hardy Award in 2016, an award from the Académie Charles Cros in 2019, a World Music JUNO Award in 2019, a Félix Award for Album of the Year in World Music and a Canadian Folk Music Award (CFMA) for World Solo Artist of the Year in 2020. Adding to a rising international profile, Louissant has toured across North America, Colombia, Brazil, Europe and his native Haiti while playing sets at WOMEX, Mundial Montreal and Cape Verde’s Atlantic Music Expo.

Louissant’s fifth album, reportedly will be more electronic leaning and is slated for a fall release through Cumbancha Records. But in the meantime, his latest single “Le Soleil Descend” (The Sun Goes Down” in English) is an infectiously upbeat and breezy synthesis of reggae, traditional Haitian music, reggaeton and hip-hop centered around the rising Haitian-Canadian artist’s easygoing vocals, shimmering guitar, a rousingly anthemic sing-along friendly hook and a equally good times/good vibes verse from Paul Cargnello. It’s a summer anthem that evokes the irie vibes that we all need right this moment.

The recently released and gorgeously shot video for “Le Soleil Descend” follows Louissant through Port-au-Prince and the Haitian countryside as the sun slowly starts to set. The visual offers a simple yet beautiful slice of every day Haitian life, as we see Louissant walking down the streets with his guitar, digging the scenery around him. How can you not fall in love with beautiful young Black folks in a beautiful place trying to live their lives with dignity and joy?

Glasgow, Scotland-based electronic act Union of Knives — currently founding member Chris Gordon (multi-instrumentalist, vocals, production), Dope Sick Fly’s Baton Rouge, LA-born, Glasgow-based Ant Thomaz (vocals) and The Kills‘ and Ladytron‘s Peter Kelly (drums) — can trace their origins back to 2004: Founding members Chris Gordon and Dave McClean met at Glasgow’s Nice ‘n’ Sleazy Bar, where McClean was working as a sound engineer in the bar’s venue space and Gordon was a bartending, while producing and touring with other bands. Gordon and McLean initially started working together as producers and engineers on material for local acts — and on remixes of the work of Snow Patrol and others.

McLean had met Aberdeen-born, Scotland-based singer/songwriter Craig Grant while doing sound for an acoustic night at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy. After meeting one night at the bar, Gordon and McLean invited Grant to work on some tracks they had started — and the early success of those sessions led to the formation of Union of Knives. With the release of their critically applauded full-length debut, 2006’s Violence and Birdsong quickly established a dark and brooding sound that references goth, industrial, trip hop and warped soul. The album also featured drum work from Peter Kelly, who later would join the band as a full-time member — and album single “Opposite Direction,” which appeared in episodes of The Vampire Diaries and Grey’s Anatomy. Their Atticus Ross co-produced sophomore album was recorded the following year and was shelved due to internal issues with their label.

Since then Gordon has been releasing material with other projects and continuing his production work with artists, Kelly went on to tour with The Kills and Layton while also becoming an acclaimed artist with his work being instrumental in the band’s visual aesthetic. Thomas eventually made his way to Scotland, becoming a member of Dope Sick Fly. Gordon produced some of Thomas’ work and after they realized an irresistible musical connection, Thomas officially joined the band last year. Over the course of last year, the newly constituted trio worked on their sophomore album Endless From The Start, which is slated for release through Three Hands Records later this year, ending the project’s 14 year hiatus.

Endless From The Start reportedly finds the band further establishing their brooding and cinematic sound while revealing material that’s diverse yet uplifting — even in its darkest moments. The Glasgow-based trio have released two singles to critical praise, “Like Butterflies” and “A Tall Tale,” which features Ladytron’s Helen Marnie. And building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the album’s third and latest single “There’s A River” is a brooding and dystopian track centered around ambient synths, thumping industrial beats, reverb-drenched vocals, sampled Eastern-like vocals and a soaring hook. While sonically bearing a resemblance to Massive Attack, the track reveals the’s act carefully sculptured layered production style.

“‘There’s a River’ is a song about going forward with clarity and pushing through the surrounding noise by simplifying the complex,” the band’s Anthony Thomaz says in press notes. The band’s Chris Gordon adds “If you like your dystopian soundscapes with a sprinkling of hope and a dream-like narrative then ‘There’s A River’ is the track for you.”

  .

Kekko is a Singapore-based psych rock/dream pop duo and married couple — multi-instrumentalist Tim Kek and vocalist Cherie Ko. Ko spent her teenaged years covering dream pop and shoegaze classics on YouTube, earning a cult following from fans of Slowdive, Beach House and My Bloody Valentine. But her musical career started in earnest with a stint as the frontperson of Bored Spies, an act that featured members of Seam.

Bored Spies managed to tour the US and Europe, including a notable stop at Primavera Sound Festival. But interestingly according to the band’s Cherie Ko, Kekko marks the first time that she has been able to fully embrace her authentic wholeness. And without self-imposed expectations and ideas of what music — in particular her music — should be, Ko feels the she now sings from a place of “warm transcendence,” where the music fully embodies who she is deep inside. Kekko’s Tim Kek is tasked with with the paradox of expressing the inexpressible through his compositions. Deeply steeped in Eastern philosophy, Kek’s work often “starts with just one night and a quiet contemplation” of how the sound makes him feel. He then builds and crafts melody-driven arrangements from his “heart cave,” a term that Ram Dass describes as “a place beyond all forms and lists, a place for letting go.” The end result is work that attempts to envision and encapsulates the expansiveness and magic of all realms of existence.

The Singaporean duo have exploded out the gate with their debut single “Past Lives,” which received praise from NME, Obscure Sound and Nevermind. The duo’s debut EP Dreaming Life is inspired by an ancient introspective musing by the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi: Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.” The EP’s material reportedly feels strangely familiar yet simultaneously exciting and surreal.

Dreaming Life‘s second single, the slow-burning and painterly EP title track features Ko’s ethereal and plaintive vocals paired with shimmering synth arpeggios, an almost motorik-like groove and a soaring hook. While sonically, some critics have compared their sound to Tame Impala and Melody’s Echo Chamber, “Dreaming Life” reminds me of Young Narrator in the Breakers-era Pavo Pavo. But as the duo explain, the song offers a reminder to the listener: that being in control of our lives is an illusion and that this futile pursuit can be very stressful and tiresome. The song calls for an different view of our existence — that life actually happens through you and because of you and that all we can do is appreciate each and every moment we’ve got.

.

and the

Kennedy One is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and radio show host, who has developed and honed a cinematic take on electronic music. As a ghostwriter, Kennedy One’s material has received airplay globally, as well as placements on film and television. Interestingly, Kennedy One recently stepped out into the limelight as a slo artist with the release of his full-length debut, last year’s Metropolis.

Thematically, Metropolis‘s material is an introspective journey that tackled the challenges of leaving the past behind in search of something new — most often a path that is often taken alone. Since the release of Metropolis, the rising multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer has been busy: earlier this year, he released the chart topping collaboration with Shelley Harland “Calling You” through Black Hole’s Avanti.

His latest single “Drive” was released through Symphonic today — and the track, which is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, a relentless motorik groove, skittering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a chopped up vocal sample reminds me quite bit of a slick synthesis of Between Two Selves-era Octo Octa and Tour de France-era Kraftwerk. And as a result, the song manages to evoke being on the road late night and being hypnotized by the white lines ahead of you.

.