JOVM celebrates what would have been David Bowie’s 75th birthday.
MD ONE — Marc Vindret (multi-instrumentalist, production) and David Bernard (lyrics, vocalist) — is a French indie electro pop/electro rock duo, who derive their name from the names of the project’s individual members — M for Marc Vindret, D for David Bernard and ONE for the unity between the duo. The duo’s full-length debut Twelve Stars is slated for a June 11, 2021 — and the album finds them quickly establishing their sound and songwriting approach Vindret aims for simplicity and strength through chord changes while Bernard’s lyrics thematically find him reflecting on his personal quest for serenity and spirituality while reflecting on his past and present emotions, his relationship to life and love.
Twelve Stars’ three previously released singles have amassed over 800,000 views on YouTube and continuing upon that momentum, MD ONE recently released the album’s fourth and latest single, the arena rock-like anthem “Espérance.” Deriving its title from the name of an Australian fishing port named Espérance,” the song is centered around rousingly anthemic hooks, buzzing power chords, twinkling keys and four-on-the-floor, Vindret’s plaintive vocals and a relentless motorik groove that makes the song sound — to my ears, at least — like a slick synthesis of early New Order and Violator-era Depeche Mode. But thematically, the song is ardent and politically charged in a way that may remind some of early U2 — with the song’s narrator delivering a call of arms to the listener to fight inequality and unfairness — and to make the world a better place.
The recently released Kevin Adler-directed video for “Espérance” can trace its origins to MD ONEs Bernard being moved by a news report on Miracles Foundation and their mission to reunite houseless Americans with their often long-lost families and friends. At its core, the video aims to remind the viewer of the dignity of all people — and that there’s hope even in the most desperate of times.
Emerging Toronto-based indie act MONOWHALES, three self-described “weirdos” as they say on their Facebook page, released their latest effort Daytona Bleach earlier this year. The album, which according to the band was a long time coming, was the result of a painful yet rewarding period of introspection and personal growth for the trio: “This album is about accepting who we are, and holding it up for all to see,” MONOWHALES explain. “We are a group of people that deal in extremes. We’re either way up, or way down, but no matter what we are always moving forward.”
“He Said/She Said (I Wait)” Daytona Bleach’s latest single is a rousingly anthemic and dance floor friendly bit of electro rock that reminds me quite a bit of Version 2.0-era Garbage with the track being centered around scorching guitars, drum machine enhanced four-on-the-floor, buzzing bass synths and sultry vocals. But despite the swaggering, take-no-shit delivery, the song is underpinned by personal experience of modern life in a pandemic:
“Seems like we are all running around on our hamster wheels at home,” the band says. “As we look around surrounded by fake news and sickness, I sit frozen, feeling catatonic in my body. Yet, my mind can’t stop running. My thoughts race in perpetual anxiety as I wait for life to resume its course.
“He Said/She Said (I Wait)” is about delusionally interpreting and trying to accept what is going on around me while constantly immersed in a dissociative state.
Directed by Ievy Stamatov, the recently released video is a surreal journey through time and space, seemingly inspired by a nostalgic fascination with 80s graphics and technology.
Cole Koch is an emerging Toronto-based producer. His debut single, “Lockdown NYC” was part of a batch of material originally conceived as a way to keep busy and sane during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns. The project began to take a life of its own — to the point that it became a full-time endeavor.
Centered around scorching guitars, tweeter and woofer rattling 808s, squiggling synths and a rousingly anthemic hook, Koch’s urgent and forceful debut single manages to nod at The Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan and John Carpenter soundtracks. Fittingly for a song that sounds as though it could be part of the soundtrack for our dystopian present, “Lockdown NYC,” is inspired by real life events: Last March, Koch was booked to play The New Colossus Festival. While the festival mostly continued as planned, with the occasional venue closure and cancelled artist, it wasn’t until he finished his set, which was coincidentally at the end of the festival, when the urgency of the moment snapped into focus. With shops, restaurants and most travel shut down, Koch and his friends found themselves in the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns without food, money or their passports.
After a handful of nights sleeping whenever they could, Koch and his friends decided that the only way they could do to get back home was to hitchhike — but with the complete lack of traffic on the roads, that was easier said than done. Eventually, the group of friends came upon a young couple heading back to Toronto. That couple snuggled them across the border under blankets and suitcases.
The new single, which was released by Kanine Records is a the beginning of a batch of material the Toronto-based producer will be releasing throughout the year. And I’m looking forward to hearing what’s next.
Seattle-based indie electro pop act Jupe Jupe — My Young (vocals, synths), Bryan Manzo (guitar, bass, sax), Patrick Partington (guitar), and Jarrod Arbini (drums, percussion) — have released four albums since their formation in 2010 — Invaders, Reduction in Drag, Crooked Kisses, and Lonely Creatures — that have firmly established their sound: an infectious, dance floor friendly sound influenced by post-punk, synth pop and Americana. Adding to a growing profile, the act has collaborated with the likes of The Afghan Whigs‘ Rick G. Nelson, Lusine, Mike Simonetti, Erik Blood and a number of others on their remix album Cut Up Kisses.
Released earlier this year, the Seattle-based quartet’s Matt Bayles-produced Nightfall EP was recorded at Seattle-based Studio Litho and continues their ongoing collaboration with Bayles, who produced and engineered their last album. Meticulously written over the course of a year, the five song EP features five hook-driven upbeat yet simultaneously melancholy songs that thematically focuses on yearning and desire — with the addition of a saxophone to their sound.
EP single “Leave You Lonely”is a shimmering and decidedly New Order-like track centred around shimmering synth arpeggios, angular guitar blasts, a propulsive bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming, My Young’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook. And while being a pop-inspired confection with ambitious songwriting, the song evokes a swooning and earnest yearning.
The recently released video features a meshing of three distinct visual styles — line animation, live footage shot in a high contrast negative and a lyric video — while being decently 80s influenced — and in a way that brings A-Ha’s “Take On Me” to mind.
Carré is a Los Angeles-based indie electro rock act featuring:
Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that Justice, Soulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels Cline, Jonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.
Deriving their name for the French word for “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed last year. And as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”
Aesthetically, the act specializes in blending aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops inspired by French electronica. Thematically, their work is generally about conception, abstraction and distortion of reality, inspired by a geometric shapes and patterns and a surrealistic outlook on our world. The act’s debut single “This is a not a band” is a propulsive, club banger centered around layers of synth arpeggios, explosive and angular guitar squiggles, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, four-on-the-floor drumming, some industrial clang and clatter, shouted vocals, a distorted vocal loop and an arena rock friendly hook. Sonically, the song finds the trio’s sound somewhere in between Factory Floor, The Rapture, Primal Scream, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method– but with a primal and furious intensity.
Directed by Patrick Fogarty the recently released video is hypnotic and mind-bending visual shot features glitchy and explosive blasts of color that undulate with the music, glowing geometric shapes and more.
Initially cutting their teeth as a pop rock leaning band crafting material around rock band arrangements, the Paris-based act FOAMS amassed a fanbase with their debut EP, 2017’s Waves, which they eventually supported with a live shows around France, including most famously a March 2018 stop at La Boule Noire.
A few months after their La Boule Noire show, an unexpected flood destroyed all of their instruments, and as a result the members of FOAMS were left with no choice but to recreate their previously released and write new material with computers and electronics. Interestingly, the flood also forced the band into a radical new sonic and aesthetic direction: electronic-led music centered round heavy bass, mellow pop melodies and pop belter vocals. After releasing two singles as an electro rock act, the band shares the first of four live sessions in which the band plays surround by another artists’ creation.
“Losing My Mind,” the first in the four part live series is an expansive track is centered around layers of synth arpeggios, thumping tweeter and woofer beats, a shimmering and atmospheric bridge, enormous arena rock-like hooks, and pop belter vocals that sonically recalls Version 2.0 era Garbage, Paramore, and Portishead. The live session finds the band performing around Beatrice Bonnafous’ paintings in an empty loft, which add to the song’s eerie vibe.
Los Angeles-based duo Carrousel — Joel Piedt and Sharon Piedt — have developed a reputation for crafting a unique sound that draws from a broad and eclectic array of genres and styles including blues, psych rock, shoegaze and New Wave, centered around pop melodies. 2020 looks to be a very busy year for the members of Carrousel: they released the I Wasn’t Well EP earlier this year, and their full-length album Magnificent Desolation is slated for release this Spring.
Now, as you may recall, I Wasn’t Well’s lead single, the brooding “Psychobabble Drama” managed to recall Primal Scream, Portishead, Garbage and The xx. Inspired by Joel Piedt’s recurring nightmares, the song possessed a feverish and anxious quality, which was emphasized through the song’s anthemic hooks, shimmering synth arpeggios, industrial clang and clatter, stuttering beats and Sharon Piedt’s plaintive vocals. Interestingly, I Wasn’t Well’s second and latest single “A Solitary Soul” is an expansive and genre-defying song that features elements of shoegaze, contemporary R&B and pop and experimental pop in a way that brings Bells Atlas, Hearts Hearts and others to mind.
Directed and shot entirely on iPhones by the member of Carrousel, the recently released video for “A Solitary Soul” managed to “spark something creativity” for them. We follow the duo in ’50s-styled sci-fi spacesuits, as lost aliens exploring earth — at one point, they’re wandering the same location used for some of Star Wars’ famous Tatooine scenes. As a result, the the video manages to feel like an old-school space invasion, sci-fi movie — but with a level of absurdity to it.
With the release of their first two albums, 2015’s 63610 and 2017’s La Nuit, the members of Super Besse — Minsk-based Alex Sinica (bass) and Minsk-born and Berlin-based Maksim Kulsha (vocals) — went on tours across the European Union, Russia and China, developing a profile nationally and internationally as a post-punk outfit. Building upon a growing profile, “Holod” appears in the major motion picture Hotel Mumbai.
Interestingly, since the release of La Nuit, the duo have radically reinvented their sound, with the end result being the band’s forthcoming third album Un Reve. Slated for a March 13, 2020 release through Riga, Latvia-based label I Love You Records, the album which was record in Berlin and Minsk finds the act moving heavily towards an electronic-based sound featuring rapid-fire techno-like beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and motorik grooves — as you’ll hear on Un Reve’s P.I.L.-like first single “Rodina.” ‘We wanted to change our sound, to bring something fresh and unusual. Over the last years we were listening to a lot of electronic music,” the band’s Alex Sinica says in press notes. “So as a result we decided to move into this direction and created something more digital, but still true to our own spirit.” The band’s Maksim Kulsha adds, “Also, I moved to Berlin, and all the creation process from music to lyrics was something new for us, because Alex is based in Minsk. We rethought the process of creating music, as well as the semantic and textual presentation of our material. It was an enjoy- able but also tough work, and a great experience.”
Much like the rest of the album, “Rodina,” which translates into English as homeland features lyrics written and sung in Russian that thematically touch upon existential topics including self-identification in our increasingly smaller, globalized world — and in this case, while the song is a propulsive, club friendly anthem, the track is centered around an urgent warming message.
Produced by Anastasiya Limantava, and edited by Yauheni Sinichenko, the recently released video for “Rodina” is centered around slickly edited found footage and footage shot by friends and fans in Belarus and of the duo’s live shows.
Los Angeles-based duo Carrousel — Joel Piedt and Sharon Piedt — have developed a reputation for crafting a unique sound that draws from a broad and eclectic array of genres and styles including blues, psych rock, shoegaze and New Wave, centered around pop melodies. 2020 will be a busy year for the duo: they released the I Wasn’t Well EP last month, which will be promptly followed by the forthcoming full-length album Magnificent Desolation during the Spring.
I Wasn’t Well EP’s lead single, the brooding “Pyschobabble Drama” features rousingly anthemic hooks, shimmering synth arpeggios, industrial clang and clatter, stuttering and Piedt’s plaintive vocals — and while seemingly recalling Primal Scream, Portishead, Garbage, The xx and others, the track is largely inspired by Joel’s Piedt’s recurring nightmares. And as a result, the song possesses a feverish and anxious quality, as though its narrator has just awoken from a sweat-inducing and horrifying dream.
Directed by Dylan Plyfair, the recently released video is split between old-timey horror film footage and performance video of Joel Piedt and Sharon Piedt performing the song with their backing band, which emphasizes the song’s surreal and nightmarish air. “The idea was to integrate footage from Dracula with us as we were playing,” Joel Piedt explains in press notes, “on the walls, on our instruments and faces, so that we’re totally immersed in it.”