New Video: The Sensual Visuals and Sounds of French Electro Pop Act Juveniles Latest Single “Someone Better”

With the release of their 2012 debut EP We Are Young through renowned French electronic music label Kitsune Records, the-then French electronic production and artist duo Juveniles, which featured Thibault Doray and its sole remaining member Jean-Sylvan Le Gouic, best known as Jean Sylvain quickly received attention for slick, hypermodern, super-computerized, dance floor-friendly productions. Building upon a rapidly growing profile among electronic music circles, the duo released their 2013 Yuksek-produced full-length debut, which expanded the then-duo’s profile across the European Union, Southeast Asia, China and South America.

Since the release of the project’s full-length debut, the project has gone through several significant changes — Doray left the project, leaving it solely under the helm of Sylvain and his sophomore full-length effort Without Warning, which officially was released today through Paradis/Capitol Records finds Sylvain releasing music on a new label after several years with Kitsune Records. Produced and recorded by Joakim at Crowdspacer Studios here in NYC, Without Warning finds the French electronic music artist going through a radical change in sonic direction and approach as he abandons the fully computerized sound of his previously released work to embrace a much more human approach, complete with organic instrumentation, featuring contributions from The Juan Maclean’s, Holy Ghost!’s and Yeasayer’s Christopher Berry (drums) and Big Data’s Ben Campbell (bass), along with pre-digital and traditional mixing and production techniques.

Without Warning’s latest single “Someone Better” features a sinuous and propulsive bass line paired with blocks of arpeggio organ and synth chords, four-on-the-floor drumming, and Sylvain’s sensual and seductive crooning with some of the sharpest, most dance-floor friendly hooks I’ve heard in quite some time. And while arguably being one of the warmest, most soulful, the French electronic music artist has released to date, the song clearly draws from classic disco, bearing a resemblance to Cheryl Lynn’s “Got To Be Real,” Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” but with a subtly modern production sheen.

Produced by Rodrigo Huarte, the recently released music video for “Someone Better” is comprised of a behind the scenes look at anti-hero cop movie in which its main character has a highly-stylized and dramatic love affair with a presumed “hooker with a heart of gold” type character and while the actors “on screen” play up a steamy relationship that they clearly don’t have — at various points, you can tell that both actors are wondering when they’re getting paid or thinking about what they’re doing once the scene is finally over — behind the scenes, two members of the crew, discretely hook up as the rest of the crew films the movie’s key love scene.

With the release of their first two full-length albums 2012’s self-titled debut and 2014’s Adorn, the Canadian experimental pop/ambient electro pop/dream duo You’ll Never Get To Heaven — comprised of Alice Hansen, a classically trained pianist and violinist and Chuck Blazevic, a studio obsessed tone-sculptor and monome performer — quickly received attention nationally and internationally for a staunchly DIY/independent ethos and for lush, deeply textured compositions that are roomy enough for Hansen’s ethereal cooing.

And as a result of their growing profile, they caught the attention of Yellow K Records, the label home of Eskimeaux and Japanese Breakfast, who officially released the band’s third full-length effort Images today. And while the album’s fourth and latest single “White Light” will further their reputation for crafting lush and textured pop, it offers a subtle expansion into their sound as the slow-burning single features gently swirling electronics, twinkling synths and percussion, brief bursts of industrial clang and clatter to create a fever dream-like vibe — in which the narrator and the listener can’t quite discern if they’re completely asleep and or dreaming or awake and hallucinating.

Interestingly, while the Canadian dream pop duo have in the past been rather reclusive,  they’re currently planning their first European and north American gigs to support Images over the course of the Spring and Summer of this year, so be on the lookout; however, in the meantime, if you’re in Ontario over the next few weeks, you can catch them live. Check out dates below.

Tour Dates
03/31/17 – London, ON – First Spiritualist Church
04/07/17 – Toronto, ON – The Baby G
04/16/17 – Ottawa, ON – Le Temporaire
04/18/17 – Sarnia, ON – Refined Fool Brewing
04/19/17 – Hamilton, ON – The Casbah

Julian Japser is a San Diego, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has publicly describes his own sound as being a 21st century Steely Dan or a lapsed Todd Rundgren after he had crossed paths with Ariel Pink — and although maybe to some that may be true, to my ears “2AM,  Chinatown” and “I Don’t Mind,” the first two singles off his forthcoming 2AM, Chinatown/I Don’t Mind EP remind me quite a bit of Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT, Tame Impala and Milagres as both singles possess soaring and infectious hooks, swaggering strutting vibes and a funky bass line; however, both singles thematically focus on a desperate and gnawing loneliness and isolation — in particular “2AM, Chinatown” has its narrator reminiscing over a lover he hasn’t seen or spoken to in some time, and as a result, the lonely narrator of the song is desperate to connect with that lover or with anyone really, as long as he felt some connection with someone, even if it were brief. “I Don’t Mind” possesses a funky, 70sAM rock feel that evokes a lazy morning with a lover — the sort in which limbs and sheets are hopelessly entangled and entwined, and you spend much of the day making love and chatting about all manner of things big and small. And as a result, it’s the sexiest song of the two; but underneath the surface there’s this sense of all things coming to its inevitable conclusion. All things lead to the same result — the endless search to not be as lonely as you were before, and both songs capture that with an uncanny verisimilitude.

 

 

Over the past couple of years, the world renowned soul label, Daptone Records. the label home of the late (and great) Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, has released a series of albums documenting and preserving the spirituals, gospel and church-based music from the Mississippi River Delta region — in particular, the small rural town of Como, MS located in the northern Hill Country, about 50 miles south of Memphis, TN. Historically speaking, the small Northern Mississippi, rural town has long struggled with the legacy of slavery, segregation, discrimination, agricultural decline; however, Como has simultaneously been known as a creative hotbed of sorts, as Fred McDowell, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Napoleon Strickland, Othar Turner, Luther Perkins (best known as Johnny Cash’s guitarist), Joe Henderson and a lengthy list of others have claimed roots in Como, MS.

Now, earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about The Walker Family Singers’ Jesus Gave Me Water,” off the familial unit’s debut effort, Panola County Spirit. Comprised of Raymond and Joella Walker, three of their four daughters, Alberta, Patricia and Delouse and their two sons Robert and Booby, the well-regarded gospel quintet not only have a long-held history of preaching and singing the gospel that goes back several generations, the patriarch of the family, Raymond at one point was so well-regarded as a vocalist, that he was once recruited by both Fred McDowell and the legendary Sam Cooke to back them on tour for what would have been a rather significant amount of money. And although seemingly apocryphal, as the story goes, Raymond Walker refused unless McDowell and Cooke gave up singing the blues and took up gospel. McDowell refused and the rest is history. . .

Daptone Records gospel music series continues with Move Upstairs, the forthcoming  effort from the Como, MS-based gospel trio The Como Mamas, slated for a May 19, 2017 release. Comprised of Ester Mae Smith and siblings Angelia Taylor and Della Daniels, the trio have been singing together in church since they were children. Much like Como’s other renowned musicians and vocalists, Della and Angelia come from a distinguished line of musicians themselves — their grandfather would frequently play music on their porch with a group of musicians that included the aforementioned Fred McDowell. In fact, the sisters remember when the famed folklorist and writer Alan Lomax, best known for his Land Where The Blues Was Born, stopped by their home in 1959 to record some of these jam sessions.  Now, interestingly enough with their appearance on The Voices of Panola County: Como Now! and their Get an Understanding, the trio quickly established themselves as an up-and-coming, powerhouse act in contemporary gospel. Interestingly enough, I actually caught the trio play their first show outside of their hometown at the legendary Apollo Theater as part of the Daptone Super Soul Revue back in 2015, an incredible showcase that featured many of the labels top names including Charles Bradley, the aforementioned Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Antibalas and others.

Naturally, taking advantage of the ladies time in New York, the folks at Daptone invited them to the House of Soul Studios to record with a backing band featuring some of the best musicians in their immense stable of musicians — including Jimmy Hill, Thomas Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss and Bosco Mann, who came together as The Glorifiers Band for the Move Upstairs session.

Album title track and first single “Move Upstairs” possesses a raw, dusty, classic blues and R&B-leaning sound — and by that think of Bo Diddley “and Muddy Waters’ Muddy Waters Folk Singer and others — that’s so incredibly period specific, that it sounds as though it were written and recorded sometime in 1947-1954 or so and was somehow surreptitiously discovered by an obsessive record collector. As as the actual song, a churning and propulsive arrangement consisting of guitar, drums and organ that’s comfortable and roomy enough for the Como Mamas using call and response vocals, to belt and shout with joy about how God’s love set them free from life’s drudgery and suffering.  And it’s a song that shuffles and struts as it does so.

Of course, unsurprisingly, much like the Walker Family Singers’ “Jesus Gave Me Water,” the Como Mamas’ makes an obvious yet forceful suggestion — that the the Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll, R&B and hip-hop can trace their origins in some fashion to the gospels, spirituals and folk music of the Mississippi Delta while actively preserving some of America’s musical traditions.

 

 

Guy Brown is a Sydney, Australia-based producer and electronic music artist, best known as Mammals — and as Mammals, Brown has seen attention both nationally and internationally for a production style and sound that effortlessly bridges and shifts between indie rock and electro pop. In fact, if you had been frequenting this site earlier this year, you may recall his shimmering, slow-burning and spectral cover of Telepopmusik‘s “Breathe,” as part of Istanbul, Turkey-based dream pop/electro pop label Drug Boulevard‘s debut compilation, DRUG BLVD.

Adding to a growing profile, Brown’s collaboration with renowned electronic music artist and producer Goldroom “‘Til Sunrise” has received 9 million Spotify streams, has had his work playlisted in the Lost in the Woods (UK), Deep Dark Indie, Evening Chill and Boho + Chill Spotify Playlists and as a result, his own work has received over 7 million Spotify streams. Along with that Brown has opened for internationally acclaimed electro pop/electronic dance music production and artist duo PNAU during their March national tour, and he’ll be opening for fellow countrywoman, singer/songwriter Vera Blue during her national tour, before his headlining tour to support his soon-to-be released EP Chase Your Bliss later this year.

Interestingly enough, Brown has managed to achieve his early successes without having management, without being on a label, having a publisher or a publicity firm to back him. And considering that I had written about him a little while ago, receiving an email from him about his latest single, EP title track “Chase Your Bliss,” was a pleasant surprise. The new single features Brown’s tender and aching falsetto floating over a glistening and shimmering production that features layers of arpeggio synths, buzzing guitar chords, a sinuous bass line, cowbell and handclap-led percussion and a soaring hook — and while further cementing his reputation for a sound that meshes indie rock and electro pop, the single manages to sound as though it draws from In Ghost Colours and Free Your Mind-era Cut Copy and Tame Impala, as the song manages to subtly nod at psych pop.

 

 

 

Over the course of the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay post-punk act The Harrow. Deriving their name from a name of a device used to punish and torture prisoners in the Franz Kafka short story “In the Penal Colony,” the band can trace a portion of their origins back to 2008 when its founding member Frank Deserto (bass, synths and electronics) started it as a solo recording project that expanded into a full band in 2013 when Deserto recruited Vanessa Irena (vocals, synths and programming), Barrett Hiatt (synth, programming), and Greg Fasolino (guitar) to flesh out the project’s sound. As a quartet, the Brooklyn-based act released the “Mouth to Mouth”/”Ringing the Changes” 7 inch and their full-length effort Silhouettes to critical praise across the blogosphere including The Deli MagazineThe Big TakeoverImposeAltSounds as well as this site for a sound that is deeply indebted to The CureSiouxsie and the BansheesJoy Division, and others —  although with Silhouette, the material, which was mixed by friend and frequent collaborator, Automelodi’s Xavier Paradis revealed a band that had been subtly experimenting with and expanding upon their sound, as their sound took on a bit of an industrial feel, as though nodding at Depeche Mode and New Order.

Up until relatively recently, some time had passed since I had written about them; however, in the last few weeks, the band announced that they will be releasing a remix album Points of View, which would be comprised of remixes, re-workings and re-imaginings of the material off Silhouettes by various friends, collaborators and associates as part of a “living” album that will grow as they receive additional contributions to the album.  And fittingly, the album’s first single was Xavier Paradis’ propulsive, dance floor-friendly remix of “Kaleidoscope” in which industrial clang and clatter and tweeter and woofer rocking beats are paired with the original’s shimmering guitars and Irena’s ethereal vocals — and as a result, the remix retained the spirit and mood of the original, while being a subtle new take.

Interestingly enough, if you had been following the site since the early days, you may recall that I wrote about the Brooklyn-based synth pop duo Azar Swan. Comprised of singer/songwriter Zohra Atash, who was a touring vocalist with A Storm of Light and multi-instrumentalist and producer Joshua Strawn, who was a member of Blacklist, Vaura, Vain Warr and others, the duo’s current project can trace its origins to when Atash and Strawn ended their previous project Religious to Damn in 2012. And much like it, The Harrow it had been some time since I had written about them — that is until now, as the duo remixed The Harrow’s “Secret Language,” giving an already stark minimalist song an even moodier, retro-futuristic John Carpenter soundtrack vibe.

Initially members of Swedish melodic punk/dark pop collective Vånna Inget, Karolina Engdahl (vocals/bass) and Tommy Tift (guitar) can trace their latest musical project, the Malmo, Sweden-based post-punk quartet True Moon to a mounting frustration with what they felt was an increasingly sanitized and homogeneous Scandinavian music scene. “Karolina and I are bored with the Swedish music scene at the moment,” Tift explains in press notes. “It feels like everyone has the same blueprint, like there’s an industry rulebook now for how bands must sound. We wanted to do something different. With the last Vånna Inget (2013’s critically acclaimed, Swedish Grammy-nominated Ingen Botten) we got more and more into dark wave and new wave, so we felt we wanted to explore than more.”

“We were listening to artists such as Joy Division, Killing Joke, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and early Cure,” Tift notes. “There is a purity and honesty and integrity to that music that’s missing from the current scene. Those bands weren’t making music to be pop stars or rock stars, it is pure expression and pure art, and that’s the aesthetic we were pursuing.” Once the duo settled on the band’s overall aesthetic, they recruited  Frederik Orevad (drums) and Linus Segerstedt (guitar) to complete the band’s lineup.
The Malmo, Sweden-based quartet’s self-titled full-length debut was recorded by producer Jari Haapalainen, known for his work with Ed Harcourt and The (International) Noise Conspiracy live to analog tape at Tift’s Studio Motion with the producer and band actively aiming for a raw, unpolished feel and sound reminiscent of Martin Hannet’s legendary work with Joy Division — and in a similar fashion to those legendary recordings, the members of True Moon recorded their debut album’s material in single takes, which gives the album’s material a forceful immediacy; in fact, Engdahl completed the vocals for the album in about 90 minutes.
Slated for an April 28, 2017 release through Lovely Records, the band and their label recently released the album’s first single “Sugar,” and while sonically speaking the song — to my ears, at least — sounds like what would happen if Siouxsie and the Banshees had covered Joy Division, complete with a roaring and rousingly anthemic hook, and an undeniably forceful, almost primal and explosive “you-were-there” immediacy that sets them apart from they countrymen and from their counterparts internationally.

 

 

 

New Audio: The Trippy and Psychedelic Sounds and Visuals of The Seshen’s “Colors Collide”

Throughout the end of last year, I wrote quite a bit about San Francisco Bay Area-based electro pop/electro R&B/electro soul act The Seshen. Interestingly, the act comprised of founding members Lalin St. Juste (vocals) and Akiyoshi Ehara (bass, production) with Kasha Rockland (vocals), Mizra Kopelman (percussion) and Kumar Butler (sampler) have recede attention both across the Bay Area and elsewhere for a sound and aesthetic that draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including Erykah Badu, Jai Paul, James Blake, Radiohead, Broadcast, hip-hop, indie rock, electronica — with the result being a sound that managed to be simultaneously contemporary and retro-futuristic.

Now you may recall that I had written about the first two singles off the act’s sophomore full-length effort Flames and Figures — “Distant Heart,” a slickly produced, sleek and sensual, synth-based single that sounded as though it were influenced by 80s synth-based R&B and pop and “Already Gone,” a sultry and sensual track that subtly nodded at Giorgio Moroder’s legendary and incredibly sexy productions. However, the album’s third and latest single “Colors Collide” finds the Bay Area-based act pairing St. Juste’s nostalgic, stream-of-consciousness lyrics and sultry vocals with hazy mellotron, layered rhythms, a distorted and chopped up vocal sample, swirling electronics and shimmering synths to craft a sound that nods at trippy, 60s-inspired psych pop, experimental pop and prog rock thanks to a song structure that consists of several shifting and morphing sections held together by the song’s hazy vibe and a deep longing for more.

Interestingly, as the band’s St. Juste explains in press notes, “Colors Collide is about the illusory spaces that are created for us, and how we wrestle with the identities and experiences that grow out of those creations. It reflects the journey of leaving this current space for another. Perhaps in this next place, I can be free. It’s not a physical space, but rather, the place within myself that I hope to reach.”

Directed by Jesse Cafiero, the recently released music video for “Colors Collide” employs the use of classic, stop-motion animation to create a detailed yet surreal world that adds and emphasizes the song’s psychedelia-tinged take on pop