Category: Indie Pop

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Adeline Returns with an Intimate Visual for Slow-Burning “Just Another Day”

Since initially making a name for herself as the frontwoman of the equally acclaimed dance music/nu-disco outfit Escort, the New York-based singer/songwriter, bassist and producer and JOVM mainstay Adeline has developed a reputation as a solo artist of note, releasing her self-titled, full-length debut to critical praise from the likes of Vogue, NPR, Refinery 29, Rolling Stone, The Fader and many others.

The JOVM mainstay has opened for Anderson .Paak, Lee Fields, Chromeo, Big Freedia and Natalie Prass among a lengthening list of artists, which  which has helped to further cement her reputation for dazzling audiences with her beauty, her captivating live show and energetic presence. Adding to a growing profile as a solo artist, the Parisian-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and bassist, has made appearances across the national festival circuit, including Afropunk, Funk on the Rocks and Winter Jazz Fest. She’s also a member of CeeLo Green’s touring band, making her — arguably — one of the hardest working women in New York’s music scene. 

Officially dropping today, Intérimes EP, the highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut features seven tracks that are a future-facing nod to old school soul, funk, R&B and neon that will include “Middle,” which she performed on CBS This Morning,  the sultry Quiet Storm-like “Twilight,” the disco-tinged Jonathan Singletary co-written “After Midnight,” the and the EP’s latest single, is a slow-burning, neo-soul strut “Just Another Day.” Centered around a sinuous bass line, the JOVM’s sultry vocals, her unerring knack for an infectious hook and some twinkling Rhodes, the track recalls Erykah Badu — but as the JOVM mainstay explains in press notes “‘Just Another Day’ is about questioning your place in the world, not feeling accepted, pretending to be in someone else’s shoes, so I wanted to show characters that exude confidence and self-acceptance as a message of hope for the LGBTQ people out there who feel rejected and misunderstood.”

The recently released accompanying video features the JOVM in a couple of stylish outfits and a bikini on the beach, playing her bass and three of her dearest friends — Yussuf, Gitoo and Bambi. Each of the video’s subjects reveals a bit of their personality and humanity in a way that’s endearing: one of the men has kind eyes and a mischievous smile, another is fierce as fuck, the other serves up moves — hard.  “The video features 3 beautiful friends of mine, Yussuf, Gitoo and Bambi. They are some of the people in my life who I look up to the most when it comes to confidence and style,” the JOVM mainstay explains. 

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New Video: JOVM Mainstay Nana Adjoa Releases a Cinematic and Symbolic Visual for Shimmering “No Room”

I’ve written quite a bit about the rising Amsterdam-born and-based Ghanian-Dutch singer/songwriter  and multi-instrumetnalist  Nana Adjoa over the past few years. And with the release of her debut effort Down at the Root, Part 1, the Ghanian-Dutch singer/songwriter received attention across the European Union for an easy-going, 70s singer/songwriter soul sound and approach that brought Bill Withers and others.

The Dutch-born JOVM mainstay can trace the origins of her music career to when she joined her first band as a teenager. At the time, she chose to play bass because “every other instrument had been claimed,” she recalls with a laugh. Unbeknownst to Adjoa, her mother had once played bass in a Ghanian Highlife band and still happened to have her guitar.

Adjoa went on to the prestigious Amsterdam Conservatory, where she studied jazz — electric bass and double bass; however, she found the experience wasn’t what she imagined it to be. “It was very much like school,” she says in press notes. “We thought we wanted to go to the most difficult department, that we wanted to be the best, but it wasn’t a very fun experience.” Interestingly, around the same time, Adjoa bean to experience a growing divide between the restrictive and theoretical compositions she was studying in school and the melodic, free-flowing music she’d play while jamming with friends, outside of school.  She quickly realized that pursuing a solo career was the best direction for her, so she recruited local musicians and started recording her own material.

Since the release of Down at the Root, Part 1 and its follow-up, Down at the Root, Part 2, Adjoa has developed a reputation for being a restless sonic explorer, who has crafted material centered around deft poeticism and an adventurous yet accessible sense of musicianship. Adjoa set out to write her full-length debut at the beginning of last year. Working in her own studio, she not only had the freedom to write and record songs nearly simultaneously, she had a wide palette of instruments at her disposal. The end result is her forthcoming full-length debut, the Wannes Salomé-produced Big Dreaming Ants, slated for a September 24, 2020 release. 

Reportedly lush yet delicate, intimate yet expansive and moody yet hopeful, the album’s material is features a diverse array of multi-layered tonal textures — including thumb piano, vibraphone and a vintage harmonium along with guitar, bass, vocals, etc. Although Adjoa — who, typically plays guitar on stage — handled, the majority of the album’s instrumentation herself, the album features a collection of Amsterdam’s finest players collaborating with her, including the members of her live band: Mats Voshol (drums), Daniel van Loenen (trombone), Tim Schakel (guitar), Jonas Pap (strings) and Eelco Topper (vibraphone). Thematically,  the album reveals a young artist poised to make a clear and concise artistic statement, in which she continues an ongoing search for identity while pondering life’s great philosophical questions. “For me,” she says, “music is a way to believe in something deeper.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single, the shimmering “Throw Stones.” Centered around a radio friendly hook, fluttering flutes, fuzzy synths, and a looping guitar line, the song features a narrator, desperately trying to calm themselves and their emotions in the face of internet trolls, digital clashes and overall uncertainty. Big Dreaming Ants’ third and latest single “No Room” is a decidedly trippy affair featuring  shimmering guitars, a strutting and sinuous  bass line, atmospheric electronics, twinkling blasts of keys, an expansive song structure, and Adjoa’s gorgeous vocals, the song may be the most expansive song of her career, as it has elements of shoegaze, indie rock and Afro pop. 

Directed by Rudy Aisbey, the recently released video for “No Room” is a cinematic and highly symbolic visual that make connections between Adjoa’s Ghanian roots and her Dutch upbringing, the passion for music that she can trace back to being small, the cultural misunderstandings between child and parent — especially when the child does something unusual. 

“The vision was to bring Nana’s duality in culture and music together,” Rudy Aisbey says in press notes. “Her name stands for so much more in Ghanaian culture. Nana means king/queen and Adjoa is her day name (Monday) which stands for peacemaker. For me, Nana’s music is a journey to finding the answers to life. Nana guides us with music to help us find those answers. I wanted to bring that journey to life in the visuals. In this video we see more of her Ghanaian culture and a journey to finding self— even though people want to put you in a box or want you to become someone else. In the end, she chooses herself. As Nana’s name represents, I hope her music guides people to choose for themselves, to learn more about their heritage in order to gain learnings from heritage and grow. Especially in these times, it is important to know where you’re from, in order to know where you’re going. We could all use a peacemaker.”

New Video: Acclaimed Scandinavian Artist Ane Brun Releases a Shimmering, Wistful, and Infectious Pop Banger

Throughout her 15+ year recording career, the acclaimed Norwegian-born, Stockholm-based singer/songwriter Ane Brun has been rather busy:  she has released 12 albums of gorgeous and cinematic folk and art pop through her own label Balloon Ranger Recordings, including her sophomore album 2005’s A Temporary Dive, which led to a Norwegian Grammy Award win for Best Female Artist; 2008’s critically applauded Changing of the Seasons, which was praised by The New York Times; 2015’s When I’m Free, which NPR’s All Things Considered called “best record yet . . . her most sonically ambitious . . .;” and 2017’s Leave Me Breathless, a collection of covers and reinterpretations of hits by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, and others.

Now, as you may recall Brun’s forthcoming — and still untitled — 13th full-length album is slated for a fall release through her own label. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles, the cinematic “Trust,” which featured an atmospheric arrangement of strummed acoustic guitar shimmering synths and Brun’s expressive and plaintive vocals — and the ethereal and hazy “Feeling Like I Wanna Cry,” a song that expresses a deeply heartbreaking sorrow and sense of despair, centered around an uncannily prescient awareness of the dire and uncertain times we’re currently facing.  Interestingly, while Brun’s latest single “Honey” continues a run of ethereal synth-based pop, it may arguably be the most straightforward and dance floor friendly songs she has released from the album to date. Centered around shimmering synths, skittering beats, a sinuous bass line, an infectious hook and one of the more sultry vocal performances of Brun’s career, the song is full of wistful nostalgia and love for a past — and perhaps more innocent and naive — version of one’s self. 

Brun explains that “Honey” was inspired by a cassette tape she found of her 18-year-old self talking. “Her energy struck me, and I was was filled with love for this young, and in many ways innocent version of myself — this girl talking non-stop in a boundless flow of words and emotions.” 

Directed by Stefan Ekström, the recently released video for “Honey” is split between footage of Brun listening to music on her headphones and dancing to music through the streets of Stockholm and two dance crews of young women, who battle each other to the same music, being played on an old school boombox, back in the 90s. Although there’s a sweet and loving  juxtaposition between the young women and the adult woman, you can see the girl in the woman and the women within the girls. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Palace Winter Release a Lysergic Visual for Anthemic New Single “Top of the Hill”

I’ve written quite a bit about the  Copenhagen, Denmark-based pop duo Palace Winter — Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born, Copenhagen-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager — over the past few years. The act can trace its origins to the duo’s mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work throughout a number of different projects. Naturally, that mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work, led to the duo working together. 

Coleman and Hesselager released their Palace Winter debut single in 2015 — but the following year was a breakthrough year for the Copenhagen-based duo: they released their EP Meditation and full-length debut Waiting for the World to Turn to critical praise from The Guardian, NME, The Line of Best Fit, and airplay from KCRW, KEXP, Norway’s P3, Denmark’s P6, as well as by BBC Radio personalities Guy Garvey, Lauren Laverne and Tom Ravenscroft. Adding to a growing profile, the duo have a Hype Machine #1 single under their belts, have opened for Noel Gallagher, and have made appearances across the European festival circuit, including sets at Guy Garvey’s curated Meltdown Festival, Roskilde Festival, Green Man Festival, Sziget Festival, Latitude Festival and Secret Garden Party among others.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Coleman and Hesselager released their sophomore album, 2018’s Nowadays. Arguably one of my favorite albums of the year, the album’s material found the duo expanding upon the sound and songwriting approach that won them praise, as they paired breezy, melodic, radio friendly pop with dark thematic concerns — in particular, the loss of innocence as one becomes an adult, with its accompanying tough and sobering lessons; the freedom and power that comes as one takes control of their live and destiny. But this was all underpinned by the inconsolable grief of profound loss. The album suggests a couple of things that I’ve learned about life in my 41 years : Life is ultimately about accepting immense, inconsolable loss as part of the price of admission, and somehow you have to figure out some way to move forwards, even its in fits and starts. And that a significant portion of our lives will be spent maneuvering the confusing push and pull between love and lust, with the prerequisite remote, anxiety, bitterness and loathing. Life is never easy and there’s never easy solutions. 

Palace Winter’s highly anticipated, third album . . . Keep Dreaming, Buddy is slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Tambourhinoceros Records — and unlike their preceding albums, . . .Keep Dreaming, Buddy’s material was written through a long distance correspondence as the band’s Coleman was residing in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain:“Caspar was sending me these synth hooks and drum loops from Denmark, so I started coming up with melodies and lyrical ideas to record into my phone,” Coleman says of the writing sessions. While Coleman’s lyrics were inspired by Tenerife’s unique landscape, drawing parallels between Mt. Teide, a dormant volcano, which also is one of Spain’s tallest peaks and the looming fear of a relationship disintegrating, Hesselager’s instrumental parts were inspired by Copenhagen’s landscape. And as a result, the album’s material is literally a tale of two cities.

“Top of the Hill,” which features a guest spot from Lowly is a perfect example of the album’s literal tale of two cities: shimmering and icy synths and thumping beats and an enormous, arena rock hook are paired with Coleman’s lyrics, which feature volcanic imagery to describe the broiling and bubbling feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration, deceit and distrust that come up in a failing relationship. And yet, throughout there’s the dim chance it could survive — even if it shouldn’t. 

Starring Carla Viola Thurøe, the recently released video follows the actor on a lysergic-tinged walk around Copenhagen’s parks and streets — and we see Thurøe’s attentive gaze shift from crystal balls to flowers, with the Danish actor carefully examining them and their texture. In many ways, the video mirrors Hesselager and Coleman’s writing process with Hesselager walking around Copenhagen figuring out the unfinished instrumentation and beats ins head and how they fit with Coleman’s phone recordings. 

New Audio: Joe Wong Returns with a Lush and Orchestral New Single

Joe Wong is a Milwaukee-born, Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, who has created the scores for acclaimed TV series like Master of None, Russian Doll, Ugly Delicious, Awkafina is Nora from Queens, and others — and for being host of The Trap Set podcast.

Over the past few months Wong has released material off his Mary Lattimore-produced full-length debut, Nite Creatures, which is slated for a September 18, 2020 release, including two singles I’ve written about so far: the Man Who Sold The World-era David Bowie-like “Dreams Wash Away” and the a Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles-like “Nuclear Rainbow.” “Minor,” Nite Creatures’ third and latest single continues a run of incredibly lush material, but it’s arguably the most orchestral of the album’s singles, and as a result it reminds me a bit of the late, great Scott Walker’s work — brooding, achingly lonely and breathtakingly gorgeous. 

Lyric Video: Montreal-based Pop Artist Thaïs Releases an Ethereal and Shimmering New Single

Thaïs is an emerging Montreal-based singer/songwriter, who specializes in an atmospheric and delicate pop centered around the French Canadian singer/songwriter’s ethereal vocals. Thematically her work focuses on melancholy, loneliness and dysfunctional and confusing love.

“Boréal,” the Montreal-based artist’s latest single finds her further establishing her sound as you’ll hear shimmering synths, thumping beats, warm blasts of looping electric guitar, a soaring hook and Thaïs’ ethereal and plaintive vocals, wobbling low end and skittering beats. Interestingly, the song was inspired by a trip that the French Canadian artist took to Iceland — and as a result, the song evokes the awe-inspiring sense of being in gorgeous, natural spaces, and taking it all deep into your soul. 

 

With her recently released debut EP La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil, the emerging Lille, France-based singer/songwriter Julia quickly establishes her sound and approach  — a slick synthesis of jazzy neo-soul, hop-hop inspired beats paired with the French singer/songwriter’s  powerhouse vocals singing and rhyming lyrics in her native French and English.  “I’m just trying to make you feel my  feelings. The rest is all yours,” the Lille-based singer/songwriter says in press notes.

EP title track and opener “La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil” is a swaggering and slow-burning, neo-soul track with twinkling Rhodes, thumping beats, atmospheric electronics and Julia’s effortlessly soulful and sultry vocals. The EP’s second single “Hangover” is a hip-hop soul-like track featuring some more twinkling Rhodes, boom-bap beats, a sinuous bass line and Julia singing in a jazzy and seductive French. Seemingly inspired by Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others, with a Quiet Storm vibey-ness, these two tracks — to my ears, at least — reveal a young superstar in the making. The EP’s two singles possess a remarkable self-assuredness and confidence with the material being ambitious, accessible — and centered around earnest, lived-in experience.

 

 

New Video: Follow Star Crossed Lovers in a Cinematic and Surreal Visual for Nicolas Michaux’s “Nos Retrouvailles”

Nicolas Michaux is a Brussells-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer, who currently splits his time between Brussels and Samsø, Denmark. Writing and singing material in both English and French, Michaux has received attention for a sound that meshes elements of French chanson, 60s British rock and early New Wave among others while guided by a distinctly personal spirit — and paired with a lush and textured production. 

Earlier this year, Michaux released “Harvesters,” which received praise from The Linen of Best Fit and marked the first bit of original material from the Belgian-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer since 2016’s À la via, à la mort. Building upon the momentum of “Harvesters,” Michaux’s last single “Nos Retrouvailles” continues his ongoing collaboration with Morgan Vigilante. Centered around a lush arrangement featuring shimmering Rhodes, reverb-drenched guitar, a propulsive rhythm section and Michaux’s achingly plaintive vocals, “Nos Retrouvailles” is a charming yet nostalgic track that’s decidedly influenced by French chanson as it touches upon themes of love, grief, separation and reunion — either in this world or in the afterlife. 

“I began writing this song in 2016 when I first went to Samsø,” Michaux says in press notes about the song. “It was sunny in the tiny courtyard of the house that we were renting at the time. I finished it three years later when I returned to Samsø Island and made an acoustic version before producing several months later the version which figures on the album.

“It’s a bit mysterious, the song, but also well balanced. I hardly feel I wrote it. It was always there. Discovered rather than composed. It lends itself to several interpretations and that’s what I like about it. It has more than one voice.”

Directed by Simon Vanrie, the recently released video for “Nos Retrouvailles” was filmed in an industrial park in Belgium. Starring Michaux and Amadine Laval and Habib Ben Tanfous as two star-crossed lovers — and throughout parallels are drawn between the pastoral imagery of the song’s lyrics, the video’s star-crossed lovers and a small bit of natural, bursting from the industrial wasteland with the end result being of a fever dream of longing and loss. 

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstay Nana Adjoa Releases a Forward-Thinking Yet Accessible New Single

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the rising Amsterdam-born and-based Ghanian-Dutch singer/songwriter  Nana Adjoa — and as you may recall, with the release of her debut effort Down at the Root, Part 1, the Ghanian-Dutch singer/songwriter began to receive attention across the European Union for an easy-going, 70s singer/songwriter soul sound reminiscent of Bill Withers and others. 

Adjoa can trace the origins of her professional career back to when she was accepted at the prestigious Amsterdam Conservatory, where she studied jazz — electric bass and double bass; however, however, she found the experience wasn’t what she imagined it to be. “It was very much like school,” she says in press notes. “We thought we wanted to go to the most difficult department, that we wanted to be the best, but it wasn’t a very fun experience.”

Interestingly, around the same time, Adjoa bean to experience a growing divide between the restrictive and theoretical compositions she was studying in school and the melodic, free-flowing music she’d play while jamming with friends, outside of school.  She quickly realized that pursuing a solo career was the best direction for her, so she recruited local musicians and started recording her own material. 

Since the release of Down at the Root, Part 1 and Down at the Root, Part 2, Adjoa has developed a reputation for being a restless sonic explorer, who crafts material centered around deft poeticism and an adventurous yet accessible sense of musicianship. The JOVM mainstay’s highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for release this fall. The forthcoming album’s second and latest single “Throw Stones” features shimmering and looping guitar figure, metronomic-like drumming, brief blasts of handclaps and fluttering flute  and fuzzy synth arpeggios and a brooding string arrangement paired with Adjoa’s plaintive vocals — and it’s all held together with an infectious hook. And while the song manages to be radio friendly, the song is much murkier under its surface, as its narrator is trying to calm a rumbling anxiousness. 

“This song is about me calming myself down in difficult times. To feel, regroup, and reflect,” Adjoa says in press notes. “If you need that right now, to feel it to embrace it and slowly heal, you can listen to this song and count to 10. You don’t always have to be ‘on’, you are allowed to take time, to rest and come back feeling refreshed, better and stronger. I hope this song gives you pause, time to breathe.”

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Adeline Performs 3 Singles for Colors Home/Bred Sessions

Initially making a name for herself as the frontwoman of the equally acclaimed dance music/nu-disco outfit Escort, the New York-based singer/songwriter, bassist and producer and JOVM mainstay Adeline has developed a reputation as a solo artist of note, releasing her self-titled, full-length debut to critical praise from the likes of Vogue, NPR, Refinery 29, Rolling Stone, The Fader and many others.

The JOVM mainstay has opened for Anderson .Paak, Lee Fields, Chromeo, Big Freedia and Natalie Prass among a lengthening list of artists, which  which has helped to further cement her reputation for dazzling audiences with her beauty, her captivating live show and energetic presence. Adding to a growing profile as a solo artist, the Parisian-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and bassist, has made appearances across the national festival circuit, including Afropunk, Funk on the Rocks and Winter Jazz Fest. She’s also a member of CeeLo Green’s touring band, making her — arguably — one of the hardest working women in New York’s music scene. 

Intérimes EP, the highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut was originally slated for a June 12, 2020 release but the JOVM mainstay decided to reschedule the release to July 10, 2020 in order to make room for voices as the Black Lives Matter and police reform movements have been gaining momentum within the mainstream. In the meantime, Adeline will be releasing the #TwilightChallengeEP tomorrow — Juneteenth — on Bandcamp as a celebration of Black Culture and to support Black Lives Matter. 

#TwilightChallengeEP will feature seven artists of color from all over the world, performing the JOVM mainstay’s five favorite selections from her #TwilightChallenge fan competition, a competition in which she invited fans to make new version of “Twilight” using the instrumental version of the track. The artists include:

Jonathan Singletary, a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and musician, whose work meshes elements of R&B, soul and hip-hop while thematically exploring love and  the pursuit of  freedom. Singletary was a co-writer on Adeline’s “Twilight” and he’s a frequent collaborator with the Night Share production duo. Currently, he has plans to release new material this year. 
Lisko, a Nancy, France-based rapper, who has receiving attention for having a jazzy flow —  and for being a kind of “professor of good vibes.” 
Syndee Winters and Paze Infinite: Winters has had a diverse musical career that has included starring as Nala in The Lion King musical on Broadway and writing songs for a number of artists. Paze Infinite, is a rapidly rising beatmaker, producer, songwriter and emcee, who has received attention for crafting radio friendly beats for vocalists and emcees. 
Vilda Ray, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter and producer, who specializes in crafting music that will make your body sway — or leave you teary eyed. 
Lucas Afonso and Roberta Estrela D’Alva: Afonso is a Brazilian-born and-based poet, emcee, art educator, founder and host of acclaimed poetry slam “Slam da Ponta.” He’s also a Brazilian National Slam champion, and one of Brazil’s representatives in the 2016 Poetry Slam World Cup, held in France. Robetra Estrela D’Alva is a Brazilian-born and-based emcee, actress, spoken word artist, director and researcher. Known as one of the pioneers of  her homeland’s slam poetry scene, she’s a founder of Núcleo Bartolomeu de Depoimentos, Brazil’s first hip-hop theater company. 
The EP is part of Bandcamp’s Juneteenth fundraiser, will all donations received by Adeline going to Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice organization rooted in the leadership of diverse people of color to address systemic and racial injustice. All of Bandcamp’s proceeds will go to the NAACP. 

In between being out on the streets with the folks protesting injustice and  systemic racist, Adeline was invited by the internationally acclaimed production company COLORS to perform material off her forthcoming EP for their new Home/Bred sessions. The session includes the funky, Patrice Rushen-like two-stepper “Middle,” the sultry Quiet Storm-like breakup ballad “Twilight,”  and the slow-burning and atmospheric ballad “When I’m Alone,” which brings Thundercat’s “We Die,” to mind.  From this session,  it should be apparent that Adeline is  the real deal — and that you’re watching a soon-to-be superstar in an intimate setting.