“Among more literal translations, ‘Luxe’ is the short form of Luxembourg – the city in which the nexus of the song was created,” the members of Holy Fuck explain in an extensive statement. “On this particular night, during soundcheck, we had a pulsing minimal synth loop we’d been tinkering around with. (We were listening to lots of TRAX Records stuff on that tour.) We decided that if the crowd demanded an encore we’d go for it. ‘Luxe’ was the result. Or – as it was then called on the live recorded MP3 – ‘Luxembourg Encore’. Once home from tour we took all the live demos back to the drawing board. We shared everything with our friend Kieran Hedben aka Four Tet. His always-intuitive advice was that he heard a great club track in his ‘very favorite thing here’: ‘Luxembourg Encore'”.
With the release of their debut single “Visions of You,” feat. Electric Youth, the up-and-coming Stockholm and Los Angeles-based electronic production and electronic music artist duo ROOM8 — Ezra Reich and Nic Johns — quickly established a reputation for crafting a sound that draws from electro pop, electronic dance music and film soundtracks. Building upon a growing profile, the duo produced, wrote and/or cowrote a series of attention-grabbing singles including Electric Youth‘s “Without You” which was praised by NPR, as well as “No Hard Feelings,” feat. King Deco and “This Place Again,” feat. Polina, which received praise form Neon Gold, Huffington Post, Noisey, Blackbook, Flaunt and elsewhere. “Better Than Music,” a collaboration with acclaimed British electro pop artist Little Boots premiered on Billboard.
Now, as you may recall, this year has been an incredibly busy and productive year for the duo: they produced the score for the forthcoming motion picture Cuck and their latest album Transduction is slated for an October 11, 2019 release. Earlier this year, I wrote about the atmospheric and slow-burning “Only You.” Transduction‘s latest single is the shimmering and nostalgic “Jasmine Nights.” Centered around pulsating mini-moog basslines, shimmering synths and Jesika Miller’s delicate vocals and a soaring hook, the uptempo song manages to be cinematic while nodding at Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back” — but at its core is an expression of devotion to a loved one in there time of need.
“‘Jasmine Night,’ was written at a time when a family member was battling a serious illness. Sometimes in Los Angeles, while you sit out at night, there is an incredible scent of jasmine that drifts through the air and canyons,” the duo explains.
Led by its Pembroke, Ontario-born and-based creative mastermind, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jordon Zadorozny, Blinker the Star initially began as solo recording project that eventually expanded into a trio that released two albums through A&M Records — 1995’s self-titled debut and 1996’s A Bourgeois Kitten. Throughout that period, the band toured steadily, building up a profile nationally and elsewhere.
In 1997, Zadorozny relocated from Montreal to Los Angeles, where he worked with Courtney Love, helping craft songs for Hole’s acclaimed Celebrity Skin. He also began soaking up new influences and became progressively fascinated with production. Signing with Dreamworks in 1999, the band, which featured Zadorozny, Failure’s Kelli Scott (drums), longtime bassist Pete Frolander and a collective of Southern California-based session musicians recorded and released their critically applauded August Everywhere. The band toured across North America with Our Lady Peace, Sloan, Failure and The Flaming Lips.
Returning to Pembroke in 2002, Zadorozny built his first commercial recording studio and began working with Sam Roberts, producing and contributing drums on Roberts’ breakthrough debut EP The Inhuman Condition. The Pembroke, Ontario-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer also worked on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Chris Cornell, Lindsey Buckingham and others.
During the winter of 2013, Zadorozny wrote and recorded Still In Rome as a duo with Kelli Scott. Following a brief tour, he quickly settled into the production side, working on a number of collaborative projects including Digital Noise Academy, SheLoom, Abbey and The Angry Moon. He was also kept busy with production work with an eclectic array of artists.
We Draw Lines was the first Blinker The Star album that Zadorozny wrote and recorded as a solo project in quite some time. He followed We Draw Lines with Songs from Laniakea Beach, a one-off single “Future Fires” the 11235 EP and 2017’s 8 of Hearts. Continuing a run of recent prolificacy, Zodorozny’s latest Blinker The Star album Careful With Your Magic is slated for a September 20, 2019 release.
Careful With Your Magic‘s latest single is the synth-driven and anthemic “Sweet Nothing.” Centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, blasts of shimmering guitars, a soaring hook and Zadorozny’s plaintive crooning, the song seems indebted to 80s synth pop — in particular Thompson Twins and Tears for Fears immediately come to mind. And while there’s a similar attention to craft, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place, as the song’s narrator recognizes that they’re at a crossroads: do they grow up and take a chance on a relationship that could transform their life — or do they retreat back to single life? At some point, we all face this and the uncertainties of that decision.
“My new single ‘Sweet Nothing’ was written by myself and my good friend Bob Wilcox,” Jordon Zodorozny says in press notes. “The song started as an instrumental track that I completed where I was sort of aiming for a Thompson Twins vibe. Bob heard the music and immediately had melodic and lyrical ideas. Although Bob wrote all of the words, I feel he was tuning into some things that were happening in my life that made it quite easy for me to get behind when the time came to sing it.”
Jude Woodhead is a London-based electronic music producer and electronic music artist, who emerged into the national scene with release of his first two singles “Beautiful Rain” and “For The Birds,” both of which revealed a young, upstart producer whose sound was compared favorably to the likes of Floating Points, Four Tet, Joy Orbison, and RJD2. But since the release of those two earlier singles, Woodhead started a new recording project Saint Jude, which was partially inspired by the tinnitus he developed while spending his formative years as a DJ and club-goer. And as a result, Woodhead turned from the euphoria and strobe light of the dance floor and towards the bedroom, where he began working on much more intimate material.
Woodhead’s forthcoming, self-titled Saint Jude debut is a decided sonic evolution that finds the up-and-coming British producer moving from the loop-heavy EDM-styled production for a sound that may recall Caribou and others — propulsive rhythms paired with shimmering guitar lines. The EP’s first single “Deaf Ears, Blind Years” is centered around hushed, reverb-drenched vocals ethereally floating over a lush and moody production featuring shimmering guitars, twinkling keys, four-on-the-floor like beats — and while recalling Paracosm-era Washed Out, the track evokes an aching nostalgia for a rapidly-passing youth full of excitement and waywardness. In press notes, Woodhead describes the song as “a bit of breakthrough for me in terms of songwriting: I was writing about real stuff rather than abstract ideas.”
Born Jennifer Hays, the Tucson, AZ-born, Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Jenn Champion can trace the origins of her music career to when she met her then-future Carissa’s Wierd bandmates Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke at the local pizza shop, where they all worked. In 1997, the trio first moved to Olympia, WA for about a year, before settling in Seattle, where the trio formed Carissa’s Wierd. The band released three albums before splitting up in 2003 — but interestingly, the trio cultivated a rabid cult following, which has resulted in the release of three compilation albums of their work, including 2010’s They’ll Only Miss You When You’re Gone: Songs 1996-2003, which was released through Hardly Art Records.
Since Carissa’s Wierd’s breakup, the Tuscon-born, Seattle-based Champion has focused on several acclaimed solo projects such as the guitar and vocal-based pop project S, with which she has released four albums, including 2010’s I’m Not As Good At It As You and 2014’s Chris Walla-produced Cool Choices. While critics and fans have applauded and gushed over her open-hearted lyrics and willingness to eschew conventions while crafting sad songs meant to be cried to and with. Now, as you may recall, the last half or so of Champion’s last S album found her moving towards an electronic-based sound with “No One” being a complete embrace of electronics. “I feel like a door got opened in my mind with electronic and digital music. There was a room I hadn’t explored before and I stepped in,” Champion said at the time. And although she intended to follow up Cool Choices with “a rock record — guitar, a lot of pedals, heavy riffs,” her plans had changed. “I couldn’t pull myself away from the synthesizers and I realized the record I really wanted to make was more of a cross between Drake and Billy Joel than Blue Oyster Cult.”
After the release of “No One,” Champion’s music publisher partnered her with Brian Fennell, an electronic music artist, songwriter and producer best known as SYML and the pair co-wrote “Leave Like That,” which was featured on SYML‘s Hurt For Me EP. Champion and Fennell hit it off so well that after Champion had written the demos for last year’s Single Rider, she enlisted Fennell as a producer. Fennell agreed and they spent the next five months working on and refining the material on Single Rider. As Champion recalls, “In the studio with Brian, I was more open than I had ever been,” and as a result the material evolved into a slickly produced, anthemic dance floor friendly album; however, the new album reportedly finds Champion maintaining the earnest emotionality and vulnerability that has won her attention — but this time, the album’s material finds the acclaimed Seattle-based singer/songwriter imploring the listener to dance, dance, dance, dance, dance heartache, outrage and disappointment away, for a little bit at least.
Turntable Kitchen has spent the past few years with the Sounds Delicious vinyl club. Over the course of its 13 previously released editions, a carefully curated collection of bands have released a full-length cover album. Interestingly, Jenn Champion has joined the ranks of an eclectic array of artists — and her cover album, the 14th of the series will find her taking on Weezer‘s 1994 full-length debut, The Blue Album. The first single off Jenn Champion’s The Blue Album cover is an icy, New Wave-like synth-based reworking of “Undone — The Sweater Song.”
Although Champion replaces the fuzzy power chords with layers of shimmering and atmospheric synths and propulsive industrial synth pop-like beats, she retains the song’s enormous and beloved hook creating a modern rework without erasing the original’s social unease, awkwardness and longing. The Jenn Champion cover reminds the listener that despite its release over 25 years ago, it’s a crafted bit of incredibly anthemic fuzzy power pop that manages to still sound contemporary and relevant, which is a rare thing for most of the material released during the same decade.
“I knew I wanted to take a synth heavy approach to this album, and in my mind The Blue Album was pretty straight-forward indie power pop,” Champion says in press notes. “But as I was deconstructing all the parts and putting the songs back together, I realized how much nuanced there is to [Rivers] Cuomo’s songwriting style. It’s a testament to his talent that he can make an entire record of songs we want to sing along to and don’t realize just how weird those songs are.”
“I will say it was a challenge, a really fun challenge (!) to keep true to what makes these songs so great while putting them through an electronic lens.”
Arron Davey is British multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer, electronic music artist and DJ, best known for his acclaimed and attention-grabbing solo recording project Astronomyy. Interestingly, Davey first made a name for himself with one of his earliest singles “Don’t Need U,” which quickly established his sound — guitars fused to R&B styled beats. With the track going viral, the British multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer, electronic music artist and DJ landed a major label deal. And although, it wasn’t the right fit for him, signing to a major label allowed him to build a home studio, where he recorded his first two EPs, There For U and When I’m With You. His own original material has received praise from Noisey, The Line of Best Fit, IndieShuffle, Earmilk and countless others while amassing over 40 million streams. Simultaneously, Davey developed a reputation as a highly sought-after collaborator. He co-wrote the triple-platinum, international smash hit “Never Forget You” for Zara Larsson and MNEK. He also released a remix of Billie Eilish‘s “Ocean Eyes,” which eventually amassed over 100 million streams.
After the release of 2017’s “Rest in Paradise” 12 inch, Davey decided to take a sabbatical. “I was overwhelmed by the industry,” he admits. “I never got into this for money; I just love creating. I decided to put my head down and lock myself away in the studio for as long as it took to re-ignite the fire. I had to ignore other people and really feel it for myself. My life was imbalanced, and I needed to focus my headspace. I started physically working out. I feel like a much more balanced person now. I’m finally I’m ready.”
“I’m focusing on moods now,” Davey continues. ““Before, I was trying to paint a perfect picture. I wasn’t allowing the chaos to exist in my songs, but I’ve welcomed the contrast. There’s a yin and yang. The new music has duality. There are a lot of raw and natural performances. There’s variety in tone. It’s wavy and it has more depth. It just comes with trusting my instinct and my ears. If you strip something of its flaws and fix every blemish, you take away the character, so I backed off from the polished sound.”
“Flamingo” is the first bit of new material from Davey in over two years. Centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, stuttering beats, Davey’s plaintive falsetto, stuttering beats, and an infectious hook, the new single is one part 80s synth R&B and one part Teddy Riley New Jack Swing-like jam. And while the brooding track manages to possess a breezy and nostalgic quality that’s befitting for a late summer, club banger the song is underpinned by several layers of irony. “I had the side somebody can be like a flamingo,” Davey explains. “A flamingo is very pretty, but if you try to cage it, you realize it’s a live animal and shouldn’t be contained. It’s also tough-in-cheek and pokes fun at people in Britain, because ‘bird’ is a slang word for ‘girlfriend.’ It’s the first song I wanted to share with the world in a couple of years, because it’s got so many elements that represent me. It’s moody, it’s broody, it’s weird, it’s funky, it’s textured and it’s also quite pretty.”
As for an August 30 release Davey says, “I’ve always been obsessed with space and as I’ve spent the last two years rebalancing myself and my sound, it seemed only right to release the first single under a new moon. Which also happens to be a super black new moon.”