Category: Indie Pop

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Genesis Owusu Releases a Trippy Visual for “Waitin’ For Ya (Remix)”

With the release of his debut EP, 2017’s Cardrive, the acclaimed and rising Ghanian-born, Canberra, Australia-based, artist Genesis Owusu — born Kofi Owusu-Anash — quickly established a reputation for being a restless, genre-blurring chameleon with an ability to conjure powerful and deeply personal storytelling.

The EP eventually garnered an ARIA Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul Release and praise from Sir Elton John (!), NMEi-Dmixmag and others. Owusu supported the EP by opening for Dead PrezCol3traneSampa The GreatCosmo’s MidnightNonameAniméRuel and others in Australia.

Last year, Owusu-Anash released a couple of highly-celebrated singles — the fiery street shit meets mosh pit ripper “Whip Cracker” and the ARIA Award-nominated smash hit “Don’t Need You,” which quickly became the #1 most played song on triple J radio and eventually international airplay on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 and here in the States on KCRWKUTXThe Current and Alt98

Owusu-Anash’s critically applauded full-length debut Smiling With No Teeth was released earlier this year. The album as the acclaimed Ghanian-Aussie artist explains is essentially about “performing what the world wants to see, even if you don’t have the capacity to do so honestly. Slathering honey on your demons to make them palatable to people, who only want to know if you’re okay, if the answer is yes. That’s the idea, turned into beautiful, youthful, ugly, timeless and strange music.

Each of the album’s 15 tracks can trace their origins back to studio jam sessions with a backing band that features Kirin J. CallinanTouch Sensitive’s Michael DiFrancesco, World Champion‘s Julian Sudek and the album’s producer Andrew Klippel. 

In the lead-up to the album’s release, I wound up writing about three of Smiling With No Teeth‘s singles:

  • The Other Black Dog,” a mind-bending production that meshed alternative hip-hop, industrial clang, clatter, rattle and stomp, off-kilter stuttering beats and wobbling synth arpeggios that was roomy enough for Owusu-Anash’s breathless, rapid-fire and dense flow. Managing to balance club friendliness with sweaty, mosh pit energy, the song is a full-throttled nosedive into madness that reminds me of the drug and booze fueled chaos of ODB, and the menace of DMX.
  • Gold Chains,” a brooding yet seamless synthesis of old school soul, G Funk and Massive Attack-like trip hop centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths, stuttering boom bap beats, squiggling blasts of guitar and the rising Ghanian-born, Canberra-based artist’s Mos Def/Yasiin Bey-like delivery, alternating between spitting dense and dexterous bars and crooning with an achingly tender falsetto. “‘Gold Chains’ got me thinking about the flaws of being in a profession where, more and more, you have to be the product, rather than just the provider of the product, and public misconceptions about how luxurious that is,” Owusu-Anash explains in press notes. “Lyrically, it set the tone for the rest of the album.” 
  • Same Thing,” a jolting and uneasy future funk banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering beats, bursts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a propulsive bass line and infectious hook serving as a silky bed for Owusu’s alternating dexterous and densely worded bars and soulful crooning. But at its core is an unflinchingly honest — and necessary — view of mental health struggles. 

In July, the Ghanian-Aussie JOVM mainstay released the Missing Molars EP, a five-track accompaniment to his full-length debut. Recorded during the Smiling With No Teeth sessions, the Missing Molars EP material didn’t make the album — but further continue the soul-baring narrative of the album. “Missing Molars is an extension of Smiling With No Teeth,” Owusu-Anash explains. “A small collection of tracks from the SWNT sessions that take the already established world-building groundwork of the album, and expand that universe into new and unexplored places. These are all tracks that I felt were special in their own right and needed to be shared. This is music without boundaries.” 

In the lead up to Missing Molars‘ release, I wrote about “The Fall,” a slick and pulsing synthesis of industrial house, hip-hop and future soul centered around Owusu-Anash’s silky falsetto that manages to convey a restless and uneasy energy while being a banger.

Originally commissioned to be part of a global ad campaign, Jagwar Ma’s Jono Ma gave album track “Waitin’ On Ya,” the remix treatment. The original was sultry bit of neo-soul centered around shimmering and arpeggiated Rhodes, a sinuous bass line and Owusu’s silky smooth delivery. The Jono Ma remix retains the acclaimed JOVM mainstay’s silky smooth delivery but pairs it with skittering drum ‘n’ bass-like beats and glistening synths and buoyant horns, turning the song into a trippy yet club friendly bop.

The “Waitin’ On Ya (Remix)” caps off a wildly successful year for the Ghanian-Aussie JOVM mainstay: Owusu-Anash has firmly secured himself atop international “emerging artists to watch in 2021.” Smiling With No Teeth has received critical acclaim internationally from NPR Music, i-D, Paste Magazine, Hypebeast and countless others. The album has also received over 50 million streamed globally while landing on a number of Spotify and Apple Music playlists.

The video for the “Waiting On Ya (Remix)” was directed by Riley Blakeway, who directed the award-winning video for “The Other Black Dog.” The video continues the narrative developed from “The Other Black Dog” but through a fever dream-like prism that features that visual’s main character running a complex and crazy scam that seems him travel to all kinds of paradisal locations — but while appearing and being a menacing and uneasy look at someone, who might be slowly going mad.

With the release of his full-length debut, 2019’s CounterglowMontreal-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Reno McCarthy quickly received attention for his remarkably self-assured songwriting. The Montreal-based artist also received praise for his debonair stage presence — and for having a backing band that plays a groove-heavy live set. 

Following the loss of his father last year, McCarthy wound up writing and recording a moving and deeply moving EP, Angels Watching Us Down, which found the Montreal-based artist crafting much more stripped down and strikingly sensitive material.

Late last month, McCarthy released his sophomore album, RUN UP RIVER, which features the introspective yet upbeat “Sundown,” and the slickly produced, St. Lucia-like ode to hesitation and indecisiveness, “For A Moment.” The album’s latest single, the atmospheric “Nothing Less, Nothing More” is a slow-burning song featuring shimmering and reverb drenched guitars, skittering beats with a trippy Tame Impala-like coda with glistening synth arpeggios, held together with McCarthy’s delicate croon. The song manages to evoke the uneasy swoon of a new relationship with both sides entering uncharted waters with themselves and each other.

Centered around introspective, lived-in lyrics, the song as McCarthy explains “offers an honest look at the unstable nature of early relationships. It’s about accepting both ourselves and our loved ones for who we are.”

 

Live Footage: JAWNY Performs “Take It Back” on Vevo DSCVR

Initially known as Johnny Utah, the rising Bay Area-born, Los Angeles-based self-taught bedroom pop producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist JAWNY has begun to win over the blogosphere through restless reinvention: Since the release of “Honeypie,” JAWNY has released material, in which at one moment, he might be playing a funky pop banger and in another, a distortion-fueled ripper born of an instinct-driven creative process he describes as “very scatterbrained and manic and all-over-the-place,” that’s equally inspired by Luther Vandross and STRFKR.

Vevo, one of the world’s biggest music video networks recently released their complete list for their DSCVR Artists to Watch 2022 campaign: Vevo received over 500 submissions from a variety of acts across the globe — and Vevo selected 21 of them, who the video network believes will break through into the mainstream. Those 21 acts will film two performances in visually unique settings. Appearing on the Artists to Watch list help the artists and bands on it receive critical exposure and promotion that help propel their careers to the next step: All 21 ATW artists and bands will be marketed and featured on Vevo’s expertly curated music video programming — through playlists and editorial features across Vevo’s network. including YouTube and connected TV platforms like Pluto TVSamsung TV Plus, and Apple TV. Rapidly rising Isle of Man-based duo Wet Leg was one of those 21 acts selected for Vevo’s DSCVR Artists to Watch 2022 campaign.

The latest artist on that list is the aforementioned Bay Area-born, Los Angeles-based multi-hyphenate artist. And for his live session, JAWNY performs the Local H-like “Take It Back.” Centered around a classic grunge rock song structure — quiet-ish verses, rousingly anthemic, power chord-driven choruses, thunderous drumming, “Take It Back” is a mosh pit friendly ripper, featuring a fed-up, lovelorn narrator tired of being played around. We’ve all been there and the song’s universality will likely lead to countless kids shouting along to the chorus in sweaty mosh pits around the country.

“Since taking the internet by storm with ‘Honeypie,’ JAWNY has held our attention by propelling himself into project after project where in one instance, he may be grooving through a funky pop banger and in another he’s shredding on a distortion-heavy, lovelorn track,” James Mecker, Vevo’s Manger/Music Programming, shares. “It’s hard not to be reminded of Beck’s constant reinventions, this time through the voice of a 25-year-old who has experienced global events and personal heartbreak in the span of two tumultuous years. With his first tour since the pandemic currently underway, we’re excited to watch the next chapter of the artist formerly known as Johnny Utah get written in front of our very own eyes.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Miles Francis Confronts Male Privlege in “Good Man”

Over the past decade, New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Miles Francis has developed a reputation as a musician’s musician — and arguably one of New York’s best kept secrets. Interestingly, the longtime JOVM mainstay can trace the origins of their career to when they learned the drums at six, then guitar, bass, keys and percussion.

As a working musician, Francis has toured the world with Arcade Fire‘s Will ButlerAntibalas,  EMEFE and Superhuman Happiness — and has collaborated and performed with  Sharon JonesAmber MarkAngelique KidjoAllen ToussaintTV on the Radio‘s Tunde Adebimpe and a lengthy list of others. And as a result of those collaborations, the New York-based JOVM mainstay has has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Francis stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with the release of 2018’s debut EP Swimmers, which earned praise from The FaderStereogum and KCRW for material that saw the New York-based artist blending an eclectic array of influences including David BowiePrince, Afrobeat and a childhood obsession with early 2000s boy band pop.

Earlier this year, Francis released two singles “Service” and “Popular.” Both tracks continue an ongoing collaboration with Lizzie Loveless and Lou Tides (best known as TEEN‘s Lizzie and Teeny Lieberson).

The New York-based artist has released two singles this year — “Service,” which was released earlier this year and “Popular,” which features Lizzie Loveless and Lou Tides (best known as TEEN‘s Lizzie and Teeny Lieberson). Both tracks will appear on Francis full-length debut, Good Man.

Whereas the Prince meets Afrobeat-like “Service,” is a darkly ironic send up of the over-the-top obsequiousness of boy band pop, “Popular” is its anthesis, featuring an ego-driven, narcissist, who craves undivided attention. “Popular” manages to be simultaneously breezy and full of the dangerous sort of menacing anxiety and insecurity — that of a man.“I grew up with Backstreet Boys posters lining my bedroom walls, floor to ceiling,” Francis recalls. That era of music is dear to my heart, but upon closer look those songs are ridden with anxiety, songs about male adolescence written by grown men. That anxiety and impulsiveness is the place from which ‘Popular’ grows out from.” 

Francis goes on to say that “Service” and “Popular” are “my own little Jekyll and Hyde. “One minute, it’s ‘I’ll do anything for you’ – the next minute, it’s ‘I don’t care for you.” They addd “I am interested in man’s two-faced-ness – our ability to show one thing to the world and someone completely different in private.” And as a result, at their core, both songs are about the male ego. “Power is essential to the male ego. That ego is a house of cards, of course, threatened by even the slightest loss of control. These songs and videos are meant to illustrate that delicate balance between control and disarray.” About “Popular,” in particular, Francis says ““Everyone indulges in having an ego and wanting to be recognized, but men seem particularly bent on the power element — whether it’s taking up space in a room or leading a country.”

Whereas the Prince meets Afrobeat-like “Service,” is a darkly ironic send up of the over-the-top obsequiousness of boy band pop, “Popular” is its anthesis, featuring an ego-driven, narcissist, who craves undivided attention. While centered around Francis’ unerring ability to write a rousingly infectious hook, “Popular” manages to be simultaneously breezy and full of menacing anxiety and insecurity, evoked through rapid-fire drumming, slinky and angular guitars, buzzing bass synths and twinkling keys. “I grew up with Backstreet Boys posters lining my bedroom walls, floor to ceiling,” Francis recalls. That era of music is dear to my heart, but upon closer look those songs are ridden with anxiety, songs about male adolescence written by grown men. That anxiety and impulsiveness is the place from which ‘Popular’ grows out from.” 

Francis goes on to say that “Service” and “Popular” are “my own little Jekyll and Hyde. “One minute, it’s ‘I’ll do anything for you’ – the next minute, it’s ‘I don’t care for you.” They addd “I am interested in man’s two-faced-ness – our ability to show one thing to the world and someone completely different in private.” And as a result, at their core, both songs are about the male ego. “Power is essential to the male ego. That ego is a house of cards, of course, threatened by even the slightest loss of control. These songs and videos are meant to illustrate that delicate balance between control and disarray.” About “Popular,” in particular, Francis says ““Everyone indulges in having an ego and wanting to be recognized, but men seem particularly bent on the power element — whether it’s taking up space in a room or leading a country.”

“Service” and “Popular” will appear on Francis’ full-length debut, Good Man. Slated for a March 4, 2022 release, the album’s material explores and questions masculinity, male conditioning and even the New York-based artist’s own gender identity — all of which led to Francis coming out as non-binary earlier this year. “At the start of the protests and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter last year, I realized the most direct way I could help was to get a drum and go out to marches and keep a beat for organizers,” says Francis, who soon assisted a friend in the founding of a New York-based collective called Musicians United. “In the beginning the goal was to get involved with anti-racist work, but the experiences I had and the people I met through the Black Trans Lives Matter movement opened up my whole world. It gave me a new mirror to see myself in, and helped me to find my own queerness and nonbinaryness.” 

From those experiences, Francis finally realized: “When I’m in my studio, it feels like being completely free of the outside world, free of gender, free of everything except me. I feel like I’m finally figuring out how to take that freedom beyond my musical expression and bring it into every aspect of my life. Now I want to share that feeling with everybody.”

Good Man‘s latest single, album title track “Good Man” is centered around Francis’ unerring knack for crafting infectious hooks paired with buzzing bass synths, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, wiry post-punk guitars,, big horns, skittering drums and beats, and the New York-based artist’s dryly ironic delivery. Sonically. the song nods at Talking Heads and Bowie while being a seething indictment of prototypical “progressive-minded” men, who — well, are still men blinded by their own privilege.

Francis explains that the title track came from conversations with “progressive-minded” men who still had blind spots around issues like the #MeToo movement: “‘Good Man’” is about a particular patriarchal phenomenon that I’ve grown increasingly mindful of in the men around me. It’s sung by a man who preaches progressive values, who identifies as ‘one of the good ones’ – -yet he fails to recognize his perpetuation of patriarchal behavior in his own life. There are lots of outwardly ‘bad’ men out there – but it’s the ones who claim their ‘good’-ness that can be particularly troublesome and capable of causing real harm. The songs on my album follow someone wrestling with their true nature, and at the heart of that process is the question of what ‘being a man’ even means.” 

The recently released video for “Good Man” continues Francis’ ongoing collaboration with director Charles Billot: The video features the JOVM mainstay as the visual’s protagonist and villain facing himself in a distorted mirror — and the end result is the video’s main character slowly cracking up as a result.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Returns with an Intimate Visual for Breezy Pop Confection “Mona Lisa”

During the course of this site’s 11-plus year history, I’ve spilled a lot of (virtual) ink covering the acclaimed indie synth pop outfit Yumi Zouma. Last year, the JOVM mainstay act, which features members residing in New Zealand, the States and the UK signed to Polyvinyl Record Co, who released their critically applauded, self-produced, third album Truth or Consequences, an album that thematically focused on distant — both real and metaphorical; romantic and platonic heartbreak; disillusionment and feeling (and being) out of reach. 

Of course, if you really follow and love music, you’re well aware of the fact that touring is often the most important — and necessary — part of the promotional camping for an artist’s or a band’s new release. Before they hit the road, that artist or band will figure out how to re-contextualize their new material and some previously released material for a live setting, imagining how a crowd will react to what — and how — they’ll play in a live a set. Like countless acts across the world, who were touring — or about to tour — as COVID-19 struck across the world, the members of Yumi Zouma were forced to cut their tour short and head home, leaving scores of their fans without the opportunity to hear the new album in a live setting.

Last October the JOVM mainstays released Truth or Consequences (Alternate Versions), an album conceived as the band’s response to the lost opportunity to re-contextualize and explore the boundaries of the original album’s material through live engagement with fans. Interestingly, since the release of Truth or Consequences (Alternate Versions), the members of the acclaimed indie pop outfit have been busy: Earlier this year, they released the standalone single “Give It Hell,” an essentially classic Yumi Zouma track featuring wistful and melancholy lyrics `paired with breezy arrangement featuring glistening synth arpeggios and a gentle yet persistent motorik groove. But underneath the song’s bittersweet air is a subtle celebratory note, a reminder that even in the most difficult of circumstances, we need to be grateful for being here now — and as an old song once said “all things will pass.”

“Mona Lisa,” the second single of 2021 by the acclaimed indie pop outfit may arguably be the most expansive song of their growing catalog: Beginning with an introduction featuring acoustic guitar, rapid fire drumming and Simpson’s imitably ethereal vocals, the song morphs into a breezy pop confection that nods at New Order and Bruce Springsteen — in part to a sultry saxophone-led coda. The song’s expansive and unusual arrangement evokes a shifting and complicated emotional state, seemingly influenced by our incredibly uncertain moment.

“’Mona Lisa’ came to us gradually over a long period of time – so its story has changed and shifted, developing new relevance with each new phase of our lives,” Yumi Zouma’s Christie Simpson explains in press notes. “It’s a song that ruminates on conflicting, shifting uncertainty – of wanting someone that maybe you can’t have – of uncertain boundaries, of confusing interactions, misunderstanding, yearning. Trying to forget an obsession – or shifting between losing all hope and giving in to the obsession – lured back by the excitement and promise – the moments of feeling so alive. The terror and joy of a big crush. And so we wanted the video to feel like a mirror to all those emotions along the passage of time – except in isolation. A year stuck inside (as we have been), alone with the big feelings, the big highs, and the low lows – dancing around your bedroom, losing it a little bit. Moving in, making it yours, moving out again. The strange phase we’ve been existing in, trying to thrive in (occasionally succeeding, but often not). The joy, the sadness, the conflict, the chaos – without ever really leaving your bedroom.”

The self-directed and recently released video for “Mona Lisa” stars the band’s Christie Simpson and is informed by real life events — namely, the jubilation, claustrophobia and mayhem of months in lockdown in both the UK and her native New Zealand: Simpson had just moved back to New Zealand after making the fortuitous decision to head to London the week before the outbreak of COVID-19. And in the video, which was filmed in Lyttleton, New Zealand, we see Simpson move into the studio apartment, make it her own and gradually lose her mind. Interestingly. the room was built by the band to match the artwork for the single.

With the release of 2016’s Waiting For The World To Turn, 2018’s Nowadays and last year’s . . . Keep Dreaming Buddy, the acclaimed Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie duo and JOVM mainstays  Palace Winter — Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born, Copenhagen-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager — have received critical acclaim for an effortlessly genre defying sound described by some as a country krautrock and cinematic pop. inspired by an eclectic array of influences including Kendrick LamarEnnio Morricone, and Little Richard.

During pandemic-related lockdowns, Palace Winter’s Carl Coleman kept busy by watching horror films. And naturally, it wasn’t long before similar themes started serving as inspiration for new material: The paranoia, fear and uncertainty of the movies he was watched, seemed to reflect our current moment with an eerie accuracy. “Slasher,” the Danish JOVM mainstay act’s latest single was inspired and informed by the horror movies that Coleman watched during lockdown. And as a result, the song thematically is about a serial killer roaming the streets and killing unsuspecting victims.

For the Copenhagen-based duo, “Slasher” was also a long-anticipated return to songwriting together in person since their sophomore album. But unfortunately, the creative process was soon interrupted when Coleman discovered he had contracted COVID, a literal killer, roaming across the world. “While we were making the song, I got COVID and had to isolate for a week in a small Corona-hotel room,” Coleman recalls in press notes. “The bizarre situation made me reflect on the fact that there’s this ‘killer on the streets’, and for many of us there’s a slim chance of avoiding it. Suddenly I had 3 meals a day left at my door, no contact with any other people and could only get fresh air in this super bleak shopping mall carpark. It was so dystopian, like a zombie flick.”

Centered around nods to Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western soundtracks, 80s New Wave and synth pop, and 90s drum ‘n’ bass and house music, “Slasher” further cements the Copenhagen-based JOVM mainstay act’s wide-screen and genre-defying take on pop paired with their unerring knack for crafting razor sharp hooks. But unlike their preceding material, “Slasher” finds the duo thematically at their darkest — and simultaneously at their campiest with the song featuring the final line “But my soul keeps dancing.”

“After all the heaviness of 2020 and COVID etc., we wanted to make something fun and danceable. So we developed a beat inspired by 90’s drum ‘n’ bass and things like The Prodigy, Portishead, etc.” Palace Winter’s Casper Hasselager says about the song’s creation impress notes. Hesselager, actively seeks to incorporate disparate influences in the band’s music and aesthetic adds “I was thinking, what if we put Palace Winter into a slasher movie? What would it look like? What would it sound like?”

Palace Winter is currently in the middle of their first international tour across the European Union and the UK in three years. Tour dates below.

Tour Dates

Nov. 15 @ Nochtwache, Hamburg, DE
Nov. 16 @ Privatclub, Berlin, DE
Nov. 18 @ Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL
Nov. 20 @ Omeara, London, UK
Nov. 22 @ The Hope & Ruin, Brighton, UK
Nov. 23 @ Thekla, Bristol, UK
Nov. 24 @ Gorilla, Manchester, UK
Nov. 26 @ King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, UK
Nov. 27 @ The Wardrobe, Leeds, UK

New Video: JOVM Mainstay MUNYA Builds a Spaceship and Travels to Space in Playful Visual for “Voyage”

I’ve managed to spill a copious amount of virtual ink covering Québec-born and-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Josie Boivin, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded recording project and JOVM mainstay act MUNYA over the past couple of years. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over that same period, you might recall that when Boivin was asked to play at 2017’s Pop Montreal, she had only written one song. Ironically, at the time, Boivin never intended to pursue music full-time; but after playing at the festival, she quickly realized that music was what she was meant to do. So, Boivin quit her day job, moved in with her sister and turned their kitchen into a home recording studio, where she wrote every day. Those recordings would become part of an EP trilogy with each individual EP named after a significant place in Boivin’s life: Her debut North Hatley EP derived its name from one of Boivin’s favorite little Québecois villages. Her second EP, the critically applauded Delmano EP derived its name from Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based bar Hotel Delmano. The third and final EP of the trilogy, Blue Pinederived its name from the Blue Pine Mountains in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

Since the release of that critically applauded EP trilogy, the Québec-born and-based JOVM mainstay has been busy: She released a string of singles, including the Washed Out-like “Pour Toi,” a single centered around the aching and unfulfilled longing of being forced to speak to a loved one from a distance. And she worked on her highly-anticipated full-length debut Voyage to Mars

With a background in opera and jazz, Boivin’s life has been centered around two big dreams: to be a musician — and to go to Mars. “I love space. I love aliens. I love thinking that we’re not alone in this big strange universe,” she says. “Those things give me hope.” Naturally, that hope led to Voyage to Mars, an album that derives its title from Georges Méliès’ classic silent film Le Voyage dans la Lune. Slated for a Friday release through Luminelle Recordings, the album’s material often feels as though it were beamed in from another, more beautiful and whimsical world. 

In the lead-up to the album’s release later this week I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released, official singles:

  • Deriving its title from the name of a Florida town, located about 15 miles from the John F. Kennedy Space Center, “Cocoa Beach” features a driving and funky bass line, four-on-the-floor, squiggling Nile Rodgers-like guitar, glistening synth arpeggios and Boivin’s dreamily coquettish vocals singing lyrics in English and French. The song is centered around the JOVM mainstay’s unerring knack for crafting a razor sharp, infectious hook — and fittingly, a ton of space and space travel-related imagery. 
  • A slow-burning cover of The Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Tonight, Tonight” that sees the JOVM mainstay stripping some of the original’s bombast away for an intimate, bedroom pop-like production centered around shimmering and reverb drenched guitars and skittering beats paired with Boivin’s ethereal and plaintive vocals.

“Voyage,” Voyage to Mars‘ latest single is an upbeat bop centered around glistening synth arpeggios, squiggling rhythm guitar, a driving and funky bass line, handclap driven percussion and the JOVM mainstay’s ethereal cooing. Further cementing Boivin’s unerring knack for crafting infectious hooks paired with earnest songwriting, “Voyage” manages to tie the album’s themes together while being a celebration of the journey that led her to the release of the album. But it’s also about the importance of taking the time to enjoy your dreams as they — finally! — come true. “‘Voyage’ is about willing your seemingly impossible-to-achieve dreams to come true…like building a ship and traveling to space to meet up with an old friend on Mars,” the JOVM mainstay explains.

Directed by Ashley Benzwie and Boivin, the recently released and playful video for “Voyage” begins with Boivin reminiscing about her dear Martian friend. She then researches and builds a spaceship out of wood, reclaimed metal and other scraps to visit her friend. The video ends with Boivin blasting off towards her destination.

New Video: Jess Chalker Returns With a Trippy Visual for Sultry “Cynical”

Sydney-born, London-based singer/songwriter and producer, Jess Chalker started her music career as the frontman of Aussie New Wave act We Are The Brave. And since We Are The Brave’s breakup, Chalker has become a highly sought-after collaborator: She has worked with Sam FischerVintage Culture, IsamachineGold Kimono, and Passenger — and she was part of the Grammy Award-winning songwriting and production team that cowrote Lisa Loeb‘s lead single on the acclaimed artist’s kids record Feel What U Feel. Additionally, the Aussie-born, British-based artist wrote “Darkest Hour” for the Amazon Original series Panic, performed by Tate McRae.

Chalker finally steps out into the spotlight as a solo artist with her full-length debut Hemispheres. Slated for a November 5, 2021 release through her own imprint 528 Records, the album was completed under the massive weight of the pandemic, and as Chalker grappled with the loss of her day job and heartbreaking health issues. 

Much like countless others across the globe, she found herself spiraling and turned to music for the creative outlet she needed. Collaborating with friends across Sydney, Los Angeles and London, including Dan Long, Josh Humphreys and Chalker’s former We Are The Brave bandmate Ox Why, Chalker wound up finishing what would turn out to be a deeply emotional album. And interestingly enough, she managed to find much longed-for freedom in the process: “Releasing this album is terrifying and thrilling to me,” the Aussie-born, British-based artist says in press notes. “I grew up in a religion that discouraged us from pursuing career success, where women weren’t allowed on stage to address an audience directly. I think it’s why I’ve always tried to avoid the spotlight but, after the year we’ve all had, my perspective on things has changed quite a lot. I’m not wasting any more time doubting myself.”

Sonically, the album reportedly finds Chalker and her collaborators crafting material featuring guitar-driven hooks and retro synths paired with the Aussie-born, British-based artist’s expressive vocals. Thematically, the album deals with themes that explore the dichotomy between depression and hopefulness, self-doubt and self-love and more. 

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

  • The Chalker, Rich Jacques and Martjin Tinus Konijnenburg co-written “Don’t Fight It.” Centered around glistening synth arpeggios, reverb-drenched drums. Chalker’s expressive vocals, the track hints at Peter GabrielKate Bush and Prince, while full of the bittersweet longing and uncertainty of a narrator who’s physically and emotionally lost. 
  • The breezy and defiantly upbeat “Stupid Trick.”Centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths, Chalker’s plaintive vocals, the song thematically focuses on the innocence and desperately intense feelings of teenaged love, before gradually learning what love really is and what it really means. And while bringing up memories of Pat Benetar‘s “Love is a Battlefield,” Rod Stewart‘s “Young Turks” and others, the song continued a run of material driven by Chalker’s unerring knack for paring earnestly written material with a razor sharp hook. 

“Cynical,” Hemisphere‘s latest single is a smoky pop song centered around Chalker’s achingly tender vocals, twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, a sinuous and propulsive bass line, and a bluesy guitar lines. But while being sultry and full of longing, “Cynical” possesses an underlying tension, tumult and tension that should feel familiar to anyone, who has been in a complicated, dramatic relationship full of fiery passion that will burn out or blow up in everyone’s faces,

“Musically this song feels quite drama-filled,” Chalker says, “There’s a tension in it that’s familiar, like the tumult of being in one of those relationships you know won’t go the distance but feels good in the moment.”

Directed by Thomas Calder, the recently released video for “Cynical” is part lyric video, part music video in which we see Chalker rendered in blown out, psychedelic colors,.

Pre-order the album now via Bandcamp (https://jesschalker.bandcamp.com)