New Audio: 2Crimes Shares a Euphoric Banger

Niccolo Messeri is an emerging Italian electronic music producer best known as 2Crimes. As an electronic music producer, Messeri’s goal is to push the boundaries of melodic techno, techno and tech house — with a 90s twist.

His latest single “Do You Feel It?” is a sleek, club banger built around glistening synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rattling thump, skittering beats, euphoria inducing hooks paired with robotic vocals. While sonically bringing JOVM mainstay LutchamaK to mind, the song is meant to get you on the dance floor to dance and sweat away your troubles for a bit.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Robert Finley Shares Slow-Burning Ballad “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely”

69 year-old Winnsboro, LA-born, Bernice, LA-based singer/songwriter and JOVM mainstay Robert Finley‘s highly-anticipated fourth album, Black Bayou is slated for an October 27, 2023 release through Easy Eye SoundBlack Bayou sees the JOVM mainstay continuing his wildly successful collaboration with Dan Auerbach. Much like its immediate predecessor, the new album’s material is a deeply personal portrait — but this time of Finley’s Louisiana, from an insider, who has lived there all of his life. Sonically, the material coalesces all of the vibrant sounds of the bayou, including gospel, blues, rock and more. 

The result is a vivid collection of songs that depicts life in North Louisiana — with Finley playing the role of charismatic and knowledgeable tour guide. “I think that’s one of the biggest things about the album is it tells the truth and the truth will set you free,” Finley told American Songwriter.

“It’s amazing to realize how much of an impact Louisiana has had on the world’s music,” Dan Auerbach says in press notes, “and Robert embodies all of that. He can play a blues song. He can play early rock and roll. He can play gospel. He can do anything, and a lot of that has to do with where he’s from.”

Recorded at Auerbach’s Nashville-based Easy Eye Sound Studio, Black Bayou saw the pair adopting a much different creative process. Rather than write songs beforehand, as they did on 2017’s Goin’ Platinum and 2021’s Sharecropper’s Son, they devised everything in the studio, with Auerbach leading a backing band of some of the world’s best players, including: Auerbach’s Black Keys bandmate Patrick Carney (drums), G. Love & Special Sauce‘s Jeffrey Clemens (drums), Eric Deaton (bass), legendary Hill Country blues guitarist Kenny Brown and vocalists Christy Johnson and LaQuindrelyn McMahon, Finley’s daughter and granddaughter.

They worked quickly, devising their parts spontaneously and usually getting everything in one take. “I started singing, and they started playing,” Finley explains. “That’s how we made the album. It wasn’t written out. Nobody used a pencil and paper. We just sang and played together in the studio.”  The album and its material reveals Finley as a truly original Louisiana storyteller, who evokes the place and its unique — and deeply influential culture — for the rest of the world. 

In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

What Goes Around (Comes Around),” a swampy, blues rocker that subtly recalls Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Green River” built around an irresistibly funky and shuffling 12 bar blues-driven groove paired around the collaborators’ unerring knack for anthemic hooks and choruses. The song serves as the perfect vehicle for his whiskey soaked gospel-like croons and shouts warning the listener about the weighty impact of karma.

“You gotta reap what you sow… do to another what you would have done to you. Be real, tell the truth. For all those out there hurting, you just have to keep the faith,” the JOVM mainstay says of the song. “I’ve seen it over the years, especially with my career – you got to put joy out into the world and it will come back. It’s never been anything short of the truth for me.” 

Sneakin’ Around” is a classic blues and soul tale of deception, deceit and a bit of deserved comeuppance, featuring Finley’s heartbroken yet defiantly proud narrator describing how he found out his lover was repeatedly cheating on him. This is paired with a swampy and gritty, Motown-meets-Muscle Shoals-like groove complete with a big horn line, and a scorching guitar solo. 

“Whatever is in the dark is gonna come to the light, so don’t play around,” Finley says. 

Black Bayou’s third and latest single “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” is an old school, fried slice of deep southern soul built around R&B/soul guitar licks, a laid back funky groove and a steady drum pattern paired with Finley’s achingly tender vocal. The song offers a message of understanding, resilience and hope in the face of isolation, aging — and our inevitable mortality. Although rooted in some of Finley’s experiences and those of folks he knows, the song speaks of a universal, deeply embittering experience.

“This song is about the many people who have been forgotten,” Finley explains. “Their kids drop them off and go with their lives. I go down occasionally and perform at the old folks home in Bernice. Just take my guitar and play for thirty minutes or so, try to get them to dance, try to bring some joy to them.”

Continuing his ongoing collaboration with director Tim Hardiman, the accompanying video begins with Finley waking to a Dear John letter from his lover. But all is not lost. Throughout there’s a sense of hope: We see Finley reunite with a bunch of old pals to play the song. Sunlight streams through the dark halls that Finley walks down, as well.

Andrew Sands is a London-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind rising shoegaze project SANDS. Influenced by Neil YoungDavid BowieThe SmithsDavid LynchTalk TalkEcho and the Bunnymen and a long list of others, Sands’ own music sees him seamlessly blending rock, psych rock and elements of pop. 

Since starting the project back in 2017, the London-based artist has released a handful of EPs and singles, including 2017’s S/T EP and “Let’s Run”/”Echoes,” 2018’s Waves Calling EP and “Tomorrow’s Gone”/”Burning Man” and 2019’s Nothing Can Go Wrong EP.

Sands’ highly-anticipated full-length debut, The World’s So Cruel is slated for an October 13, 2023. In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve managed to write about two of its singles:

Written and produced at several London studio locations. including Hackney, South Bermondsey and his apartment, the album’s first single, the high energy “Transmission” featured glistening synths, buzzing guitar riffs, a relentlessly propulsive rhythm, a rousingly anthemic series of hooks and choruses paired with Sands’ plaintive delivery and managed to bring The Stone Roses and the Madchester sound to mind — but with a subtly modern take.

“Transmission” is inspired by the busy and eclectic Northeast London neighborhood that Sands once lived in. The lyrics capture the restless energy and activity of the neighborhood in a way that feels very familiar to me as a native New Yorker. And it does so in a way that feels a bit like a contented sigh of being home, and of awe of everything going on around you.

Built around reverb-drenched guitars, skittering and swaggering boom bap-like drum patterns, along with a glitchy bridge and a scorching guitar solo, The World’s So Cruel‘s second single “When It Starts to Rain” is a slick Stone Roses-like vehicle for the London-based artist’s plaintive vocal and his penchant for crafting remarkably catchy hooks and choruses. The track sonically evokes the sense of daydreaming your way through busy, crowded streets, completely immersed in your thoughts and memories, as though you were in a hallucinatory fever dream of the present and your nostalgia.

The album’s third and latest single “Through This Avenue/The Game” is a road trip anthem built around shimmering and hypnotic guitar work, delicate cymbal-driven percussion, bursts of soaring keys, twinkling organ and the London-based artist’s yearning and vulnerable delivery paired with rousingly anthemic, sing-along friendly choruses.

“‘Through This Avenue /The Game’ is a tribute to 13th Floor Elevators and Roky Erikson. I love his music, voice and the look in his eyes. Fierce and vulnerable at the same time, which I hope can be two traits to describe this track too,” Sands explains. “As in Transmission it draws inspiration from life in that London neighbourhood, but more in a nocturnal setting to the whole picture, like being the soundtrack to that.”

New Video: Phoenix Shoegazers MRCH Share Anthemic “Cherry Painted Eyes”

Phoenix-based shoegazer outfit MRCH (pronounced as March) — Mickey and Jess Pangburn — can trace their origins to when the duo met at a music store. Their backgrounds at the time were polar opposites. Mickey was a singer/songwriter and Jesse was a prog metal musician. But their differences became a strength — not only in regards to their genre backgrounds, but also their personalities: Mickey longed to make an emotional connection while Jesse loved to experiment with new sounds.

The pair studied jazz in Phoenix before shared influences like Cocteau Twins, New Order, Metric, Phantogram, St. Vincent, Purity Ring, and Beach House led to the creation of MRCH.

Their forthcoming EP, TV Bliss is slated for an October 13, 2023 release through Vertex Music Ltd.. The follow-up to 2020’s No-Holds-Barred EP, the Phoenix-based shoegazer outfit’s forthcoming EP reportedly represents a bold new era for them: The duo delved deeper into collaboration, first developing demos with the help of Jimmy Eat World‘s Jim Adkins. They also enlisted the assistance of Grammy-nominated producer Tony Hoffer and mastering by Dave Cooley.

The EP’s lyrical themes and visual aesthetic were inspired by Mickey Pangburn’s childhood memories of being lost in the escapism of television. Fittingly, the band has had songs appear in a number of TV shows including Shameless, Guilt, The Vampire Diaries, Famous in Love, Search Party, 13 Reasons Why, and The Twilight Zone.

TV Bliss‘ third and latest single “Cherry Painted Eyes” is a dreamy bit of sheogaze that brings back memories of 120 Minutes. The song is built around glistening synth arpeggios, Mickey Pangburn’s yearning delivery, buzzing guitars, thunderous drumming and rousingly anthemic, shout-along worthy choruses. But as the band explains, the upbeat nature of the song is actually deceptive.

“‘Cherry Painted Eyes’ is a song riddled with anxiety. Describing a series of panic attacks and bloodshot eyes . . .,” the band explains. “We wanted to make the video a little more lighthearted than that thought. Set in the void of space, complete with near hit from a passing comet, and a drink to take the edge off. This vid is a DIY playful nod to classics from The Cure and Smashing Pumpkins.”

The video sees the pair employing AI — for good. “We built the sets out of paint, paper, quilt batting, and insulation boards. Then coupled it with AI-generated fill and sketches on ProCreate to help expand the world,” the Phoenix-based duo say. “There’s been a lot of talk in the arts lately about the negative aspects of AI. And there are for sure elements of it that are scary. Ones that can lead to really negative outcomes. But, we’re interested in using it as an opportunity to create beyond our budget. A lot like the approach we take with our music. We use whatever tools we can. Whether it’s the cheapest gear or the newest techniques. It’s all fair game. Some of this new tech kind of gives us a way to realize bigger ideas. The song and video are both a bit about bridging those gaps between fear and opportunity.”

New Video: The Joy Formidable Share Expansive, Mind-Bending “Share My Heat”

Splitting their time between Northern Wales and Utah, the celebrated alt rock outfit The Joy Formidable — Ritzy Bryan (vocals, guitar), Rhydian Daybed (bass, vocals) and Matt Thomas (drums) — have managed to remain close to their loyal fanbase: Back in 2019, they launched TJF Music Club with members able to request backstage access, watch online shows and get exclusive songs and merchandise. During the pandemic, with a lack of live shows and touring, the club grew and evolved.

Their last album was 2021’s critically applauded Into The Blue. Since then, the Welsh band have followed up with a recent a collection of singles that include “Cut Your Face,” “The Hat” and the third and final single of the series “Share My Heat,” which were released through Enci Records across North America, Full Time Hobby/Hassle in Europe and Soundly Distro across the rest of the world.

Clocking in at an epic 15:10, “Share My Heat” is an arena rock friendly, prog rock ripper featuring thunderous drumming, angular and propulsive bass lines, dexterous, scorching riffage and shimmering synth arpeggios within a mind-bending song structure that bends, twists and turns before closing out with a face-melting, headbang worthy coda.

throughout the song’s run-time. “‘Share My Heat’ is about true connection & love. Deep, selfless love between humans is a beautiful part of our existence, but I’m also singing about our inherent love for nature, the living world & our kinship to everything : plants, animals, mountains & lake,” The Joy Formidable’s Ritzy Bryan explains. “Can we repair our relationship & bring more reciprocity, compassion and companionship to a world that already gives us so much?”

The accompanying, animated video by Vids Invader touches upon the themes of the song while being a hallucinogenic journey through both love and our current dystopian hellscape.

The Joy Formidable are currently on tour in the UK tour with all remaining shows listed below. The band plans to return to North America in 2024. 

New Video: Salimo Shares Breezy “Jelly”

Montréal-based artist Salimo is a rising Francophone emcee. In a relatively short period of time, he has captured the attention of media outlets across both his hometown and Québec, and he has already amassed an impressive array of live dates under his belt: The Montréal-based artist has opened for Niska, Youssoupha, MAES, Gims, Sofiane, Soolking and a list of others. He has also played Francofoiles de Montréal — including a headlining set at the festival, making him the youngest artist to date to ever headlining in the festival’s history. He has also played Festival Marocain de Laval, Fête Nationale du Maroc au Parc Jarry and M for Montréal.

Salimo has amassed over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms and millions of views on YouTube, adding his name to a growing list of Quebecois rappers, who have received attention across the Francophone world.

The Montréal-based rapper’s sophomore album is slated for a November 4, 2023 through Kartel Music Group/Sony Music Canada. The album’s latest single “Jelly” is a breezy, hook-driven, club and lounge friendly bop featuring an ethereal, reggaeton-inspired production featuring skittering and shuffling beats, a looped, strummed Flamenco-like acoustic guitar sample serving as a lush bed for Salimo’s effortless, subtly Autotuned delivery. May this one be a reminder of summer warmth — and flirting with pretty young things at the club.

Directed by Disjoncté Productions, the slick and stylishly shot accompanying video for “Jelly” follows the rising Montréal-based rapper through some gorgeous locales in one of my favorite cities, including a stunning view of Montréal’s skyline and Vieux Port from the other side of the St. Lawrence River.

New Video: Neon Valley Shares Breezy and Hook-Driven “Fortune Cookie”

French singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Deji Seigert is the mastermind behind the emerging synth project Neon Valley. Inspired by late 70s and early 80s pop, Seigert’s work, which is created in his home studio, has a decidedly nostalgic feel — with a modern twist.

After working on Disiz‘s latest album L’Amour, the French singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist returns with his latest single “Fortune Cookie” a moody, hook-driven bit of synth pop built around glistening synth arpeggios, a funky and propulsive bass line paired with Seigert’s punchy yet plaintive delivery. While sonically bringing St. Lucia to mind, the song thematically touches on disillusionment and nostalgia for seemingly better times.

Directed by Baptiste Erondel and starring Agathe Bokja & Nicky Naudé, the accompanying video for “Fortune Cookie” is a slick sendup of infomercials and commercials, while featuring a disillusioned women seeking answers — and not quite getting them.

New Audio: SHOLTO Returns with Breathtakingly Gorgeous “The Pearl That Glitters”

London-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Oscar “Sholto” Robertson grew up with a deep and abiding love of jazz, soul, krautrock and 60s and 70s soundtracks. Roberton may be best known for being one-half of indie outfit Sunglasses for Jaws. He honed his production skills under the guidance of Allah-Las‘ Nick Waterhouse and Inflo.

Three years ago, Robertson stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with his latest project SHOLTO, which sees him crafting a unique take on cinematic, instrumental soul. 2023 looks to be a big year for the rising London-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer: He signed to Deep Matter imprint Root Records, who will be releasing Robertson’s SHOLTO debut, The Changing Tides of Dreams EP

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Vampire,” an expansive and cinematic arrangement that featured twinkling percussion, swirling Wurlitzer organ, cascading harp, lush strings, bursts of fluttering flute, a supple and propulsive bass line, a soulful horn solo and skittering boom bap drumming paired with a strutting groove. The result is a song that reminds me a bit of the gorgeous, widescreen instrumental soul of The Ironsides with the trippy grooves of L’Eclair and Mildlife.

The Changing Tides of Dreams EP‘s latest single, the breathtakingly gorgeous “Pearl That Glitters” is built around a lush string and cascading harp arrangement with bursts of twinkling keys and reverb-drenched bursts of guitar. Inspired by soundtrack composers like Piero Umiliani and David Axelrod, the composition is fairly literal in its meaning, with the music being written to evoke the reflection of sunlight shimmering and reflecting off the iridescent insides of a pearl.

Ugandan-born, Brussels-based producer and musician, born Alban Murenzi is best known as a founding member of successful sibling indie R&B outfit YellowStraps. The accomplished duo released their 2018’s Blame EP through Majestic Casual. They performed on the tastemaker platform COLORS back in 2019. 

They followed that up with 2020’s Golddress EP and last year’s tentacle which saw Murenzi adopt the moniker Halibab Matador, before he stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist. 

Murenzi’s full-length debut as Halibab Matador, Souvenirs is slated for release this year, and the album sees the Ugandan-Belgian producer and musician focusing on largely instrumental and beat-driven material that fuses elements of hip-hop, jazz and soul. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about album single “Lili,” which saw the acclaimed Brussels-based musician and producer collaborating with Léa Kadian, who contributes a supple bass line, twinkling keys from Tim de Fontaine and soulful vocal harmonies from Stacy de Bruges. The result is a vibey, neo-soul lullaby of sorts that evokes the comfort of a warm blanket on a chilly day — or seeing your lover smile after a period of absence. 

“This song is dedicated to my lover. For me, it represents light, warmth and freedom,” the Ugandan-Belgian producer and musician explains. “It represents the good fortune of being alive and experiencing beautiful moments of joy.

“Léa Kadian on bass and Stacy de Bruges on vocal harmonies. I love what they do and feel privileged to be able to collaborate with such talented people.  My friend Tim de Fontaine also chipped in with some sweet piano notes.”

“White Pages,” Souvenirs‘ latest single is a built around a looped, finger-plucked, shimmering guitar melody paired with atmospheric synths. While seemingly being a synthesis of Nick Drake-like folk and ambient electronica, the ethereal “White Pages,” possesses a wistful and nostalgic air.

“This track is the most nostalgic track on the project. It was created two years ago with my friend Tim when we were flatmates. Tim came up with these chord ideas and I instantly loved it,” the acclaimed Ugandan-Belgian artist explains. “Then we started playing this loop with two guitars and just jammed on it. It was a great feeling. We both love the nostalgic feels of music in general – it always has some beauty in it I think. 

“For me it was a nice track to conclude the album because it’s an accurate summary of what I tried to share with those  tracks. In this album I tried to share a feeling of nostalgia linked to the souvenirs we can have in a lifetime. A happy nostalgia that reminds us how lucky we are to have experienced all these moments, and the hope of reliving many more in the future. 

I also like the fact that the song ends with this ‘reverse’ effect, as it gives the impression of a flashback to the past.”