Category: Indie Pop

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Lake Jons Releases a Cinematic and Brooding Meditation on Life

Since their formation in 2014, the Helsinki, Finland-based JOVM mainstays Lake Jons, comprised of Jooel Jons and Mikko Pennanen have managed to walk a fine line between production tandem and full-fledged band, while crafting delicate, electro folk-leaning dream pop. Last year’s self-titled debut, which was released to praise across Scandinavia and elsewhere was written and recorded in an isolated cabin, deep within the Finnish forest. Thematically and sonically, their self-titled debut found the duo aiming to examine, capture, and represent the tenuous connection that still exists between the natural world and the human world.

Lake Jons’ sophomore album The Coast was released earlier this year, and the album finds the duo further reconnecting with their roots and delving even deeper into the Towars Forest. The album thematically is the duo’s attempting to dismantle life, space and time; but sonically, the Finnish JOVM mainstays radically reinventing their sound: the material is generally centered around rough instrumental parts, then layered with harmony-driven toplines, with the songs seemingly assembling themselves in seamless fashion. 

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written about three of the album’s previously released singles — “It’s Too Bright,” “Simone,” and “Human.” All of these tracks have managed to further cemented the duo’s unusual and forward-thinking approach to contemporary pop. “It’s Too Bright,” which was built around a sparse production  of twinkling keys, shimmering hi-hats, boom-bap like beats, a driving bass line and Jooel Jons’ plaintive falsetto was a seamless meshing of elements of R&B, electro pop,  jazz, folk and experimental pop while retaining the infectious hooks that won them attention across the blogosphere. “Simone” was centered around a hazy and dusty production of strummed guitar,  fluttering and arpeggiated synths, wobbling low end and stuttering beats. And while continuing  to be a perfect vehicle for Jons’ plaintive falsetto, the song was imbued with a sense of loss, longing and the acknowledgement that there are some connections that seem to transcend physical space and time itself. “Human” was a haunting and lingering fever dream, that found the JOVM mainstays walking a fine line between careful and deliberate craft and stream of consciousness-like improvisation. 

The album’s fourth and final single is the hushed  and haunting “Circle.” Centered around a sparse arrangement of strummed guitar, thumping beats, atmospheric electronics and Jons’ achingly tender vocals. But unlike its predecessors, the song is a brooding mediation on existence and its delicacy. “Circle is such a complete shape,” Jons says in press notes. “The essence of existence is so full of intricacies, both delicate and powerful, and the circle of life is among them. It’s something that is maintained, even through humanity’s efforts to break everything. The song tells a small story about a boy, who lived by the waters of Lake Jons, and one day decided to leave the words. It’s a letter to a  dear friend: life is a mysterious circle.” 

“Directed by Raimo Saba, the video does a great job of portraying the theme of the song,” Jons says of the recently released video for “Circle.” “I have my uncle Pekka, who is an actor, featured which makes this video a little more personal to me. Seeing the finished version for the first time, it almost allowed me to gain a new perspective and experience of the song. Raimo has managed to capture and convey the emotions interwoven in the song.”

The video’s director Raimo Saba adds,  “Thinking about freedom in itself brings with it subconscious limitations. I think the concept of freedom is more valuable than one can even understand. It is not just an external concept. It is bound to be a state of yourself and where outside factors have no effect on your state of being.”

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LeRiche is an emerging Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada-based indie pop singer/songwriter. The Newfoundland and Labrador-based singer/songwriter has long had a passion for music — one that can be traced to when he stretched his fingers out on a six-string guitar when he was baby. Since then he has pushed himself to explore musically and creatively, picking up piano, bass and drums. eventually discovering an interest and passion for songwriting.

The emerging Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada-based earned  diplomas in Music Industry and Performance and Recording Arts from the College of the North Atlantic. With close to a decade of playing gigs across the province, LeRiche began to be recognized provincially, winning the province’s Battle of the Bands with a previous band — and later even internationally, when he was chosen to represent Canada at the 2012 Global Village in Qatar.

Interestingly, the Newfoundland and Labrador-based singer/songwriter’s latest single is the slickly produced and breezy, Tame Impala-like confection “Connected.” Centered around a bouncy and propulsive rhythm, shimmering guitars, the rising Canadian artist’s plaintive vocals and an enormous hook. And while revealing an ambitious songwriter who can craft a slick, hook driven bop, the song as LeRiche told me via email, “is a song about communication, or lack thereof.”

“In many ways as a society we have never been more together: closer than ever. Access to the internet creates many opportunities and advantages, but can also have a negative side,” the Newfoundland and Labrador-based artist continues. “Today, in many normal situations we find ourselves feeling disconnected from those around us, because we’ve hired a middle man to help us communicate.Sometimes it just gets in the way of genuine connection.

“Put down your phone. Stay connected to what really matters.”

 

LeRiche begins 2020 with a two week tour across Germany. Check out the tour dates below.

 

2020 Germany Tour

09.01.20 – Husum – Bahnhofsbistro

10.01.20 – Sylt – Friends Bistro

11.01.20 – Stralsund – Buehne Blechwerk

13.01.20 – Luebeck – Tonfink

14.01.20 – Hamburg – Freundlich & Kompetent

15.01.20 – Mittweida – Studentenclub

16.01.20 – Oberhausen – Druckluft

17.01.20 – Dormagen – Pink

18.01.20 – Bielefeld – Cafe Künstlerei

21.01.20 – Nürnberg  – Ludwigs

22.01.20 – Stuttgart – Cafe Galao

23.01.20 – Muenchen – Glockenbachwerkstatt

24.01.20 – Bayreuth – Schokofabrik

25.01.20 – Weilburg – Cozy

26.01.20 – Chemnitz – Kaffeesatz

28.01.20 – Hannover – Cafe Glocksee

New Video/New Audio: Two from Emerging San Francisco-based Indie Pop Artist ZOLA

With the release of her debut EP Everything I Know, an effort that has amassed over 500,000 streams, the San Francisco-based pop artist ZOLA quickly emerged into both the local and national scene for a sound and approach that effortlessly and seamlessly meshes genres, styles and languages.

Building upon a growing profile, the emerging San Francisco-based artist’s latest single, the Tim Vickers-produced “Crystal Floors” is a genre–blurring David Lynch-like fever dream as the track is centered around a breezy, Bossa nova rhythms, shimmering synths, a sinuous hook, and Zola’s alluring jazz-inspired vocals singing lyrics in English and French.

The recently released Andy Omvik-produced video for “Crystal Floors” possesses a surreal and dream-like logic as it features the rapidly rising singer/songwriter, a beautiful chestnut colored horse, an old fashioned telephone and a disco ball. 

Along with the release of the video for “Crystal Floors,” the San Francisco-based pop artist released “Telephone,” the second single off her soon-to-be released sophomore EP, an effort slated for a January 2020 release. While continuing a run of bilingual songs, which feature lyrics sung in English and French, “Telephone” is a straightforward bit of soulful pop, centered around a swaggering arrangement of twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, boom bap-like beats and Zola’s jazz-inspired delivery. Both tracks reveal a young artist, who’s not only self-assured beyond her years, but has one of the most unique voices in contemporary indie pop. 

 

The People Versus is an Oxford, UK-based chamber pop quintet — currently comprised of Alice, Benedict, Danny, Jack and Sean — that can trace its origins to a spontaneously combination of each of its members previous collaborations and projects. Essentially, the project features four singer/songwriters and former lead singers, whose combined vocals and instrumental parts form a perfect vehicle for their lead singer, Alice’s vocals.

Interestingly, while centered on narrative songwriting, the band’s material thematically focuses on love, loss and dreams while drawing from Greek myths and Shakespeare. The up-and-coming British act’s latest single, the hauntingly gorgeous “Ground Opening” features Alice’s beguiling vocals, a shimmering arrangement of acoustic guitar, soaring strings,  a stunning multi-part harmony and a rousing hook that gives the song a cinematic air. To my ears, their latest single reminds me quite a bit of The Cranberries‘ smash hit “Linger” but with a folksy yet classical leaning. As the band explains, the song is a re-telling of the ancient Greek myth of Hades and Persephone, which explains the turn of the seasons but while touching upon love and power dynamics in romantic relationships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since their formation in 2014, the Helsinki, Finland-based JOVM mainstays Lake Jons, comprised of Jooel Jons and Mikko Pennanen have managed to walk a fine line between production tandem and full-fledged band, while crafting delicate, electro folk-leaning dream pop. Last year’s self-titled debut, which was released to praise across Scandinavia and elsewhere was written and recorded in an isolated cabin, deep within the Finnish forest thematically and sonically aimed to examine, capture, and represent the tenuous connection that still exists between the natural world and the human world. Building upon a growing profile, JaJaJa showcased the band in London, Berlin and Hamburg.

Lake Jons’ recently released sophomore album The Coast finds the  duo further reconnecting with their roots and delving even deeper into the Towars Forest. Thematically, the album is the duo’s endeavor  to dismantle life, space and time while sonically, the material finds the Finnish JOVM mainstays radically re-inventing their sound: The album’s songs are generally centered around very rough instrumental parts, then layered with harmony-driven toplines, creating the sense that the songs are assembling themselves in a seamless fashion.

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles — “It’s Too Bright” and “Simone.” Both of those singles further cemented the duo’s unusual and forward-thinking approach to  contemporary pop. “It’s Too Bright,” which was built around a sparse production  of twinkling keys, shimmering hi-hats, boom-bap like beats, a driving bass line and Jooel Jons’ plaintive falsetto was a seamless meshing of elements of R&B, electro pop,  jazz, folk and experimental pop while retaining the infectious hooks that won them attention across the blogosphere. “Simone” was centered around a hazy and dusty production of strummed guitar,  fluttering and arpeggiated synths, wobbling low end and stuttering beats. And while continuing  to be a perfect vehicle for Jons’ plaintive falsetto, the song was imbued with a sense of loss, longing and the acknowledgement that there are some connections that seem to transcend physical space and time itself.

“Human,” The Coast‘s latest single is a haunting and lingering fever dream, centered around a dusty and ancient-sounding production featuring strummed acoustic guitar, fluttering synths, thumping drums and Jons’ plaintive and expressive vocals.  Unlike the album’s previously released singles, “Human” finds the Finnish JOVM mainstays walking a fine line between careful and deliberate craft and stream of consciousness — as it evokes a late fall stroll, lost in thoughts and reminiscences.

“I’m fond of lyrics that tare more like thoughts rather than stories,” Jooel Jons says about The Coast‘s latest single. “This one feels like a stroll in the forest for me. Almost a story but not quite. ‘I wanna turn around’ resembles the idea of turning back from the road we once started as humans. Honouring nature more and more. For me it also means dancing in the forest among the trees and animals like a hippie cliché. This song has evolved from two different songs that I felt were at a dead end. Combining them left some good parts unused but made one whole.”

New Video: London’s Genghar Releases a Dance Floor Friendly Single

Deriving their name from Gengar, one of the original Pokemon, the acclaimed London-based Gengahr, comprised of Felix Bushe, John Victor, Hugh Schulte and Danny Ward can trace their origins to when its members met at the Stoke Newington School. Their debut single “Fill My Gums With Blood” caught the attention ofBBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens — and building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band wound up playing at the BBC Introducing Stage at 2014’s Glastonbury Festival.

Since then the band has released two critically applauded albums — 2015’s debut effort A Dream Outside and 2018’s Where Wildness Grows. The band’s highly-anticipated, third full-length album Sanctuary is slated for a January 31, 2020 release through Liberator Music. Produced by the band’s old friend, Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman, the album reportedly finds the band ambitiously pushing their sound in a decidedly pop leaning direction while recapturing the magic and vibe the quartet felt while writing and recording their debut effort. Influenced by Homer’s Odyssey, the album’s material finds the band’s primary songwriter Felix Bushe tapping into personal pain — but while coming out throwing punches and fighting.

Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Heavenly Maybe” is a slinky and shimmering pop song centered around Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a sinuous bass line, a funky, disco-like groove, four-on-the-floor drumming, Bushe’s achingly plaintive vocals and an infectious radio friendly hook. And while being a slickly produced club banger, the song is imbued with a world weary ennui, as Bushe’s narrator details the experience of partying as a way of distracting him from his serious, real life problems. 

Directed by David East, the video follows a lonely man who heads out to a club to catch a band and to dance his problems away — but it seems only temporary. “‘Heavenly Maybe’ is the second part of a two-part video we made with David East in Berlin earlier this year. Across the two, we wanted to create something which captured the thematic essence of the album as a whole whilst allowing each song its own fitting backdrop. The song itself is essentially about going out and trying to forget all of your troubles, and how ultimately problematic that is as a form of release.” 

Last month, I wrote about ZINNIA,a Toronto-based art pop project featuring its creative mastermind Rachel Cardiello along with James Burrows, Chris Pruden, Connor Walsh and Mackenzie Longpre. And since their formation, the Canadian act has developed a layered synth-based sound with driving beats that’s been recently described as Kate Bush meets Meat Loaf as the material manages to be intimate and fierce.

ZINNIA’s recently released full-length debut Sensations in Two Dot thematically focuses on moments of doubt — in particular, creative, societal and personal, while exploring what it means to hold compassion through the multifaceted grey areas of life. Whether in the real life town of Two Dot, Montana (population 143) or the band’s hometown of Toronto (population 2.6 million), the album’s nine songs attempt to probe the complex, unsettling similarities of the human experience. The album’s latest single, the brooding “Yellowstone” is centered around a shuffling and old-timey arrangement of atmospheric synths, soaring strings, guitar, bass and Cardiello’s expressive and aching vocals  — and while continuing a run of material that brings Aimee Mann, Kate Bush and others to mind, the song is rooted in the intense self-doubt, confusion, unease and a longing for hone.

 

 

 

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New Video: Dayglow’s Hook-Driven and Sincere Pop for Millennials

Sloan Struble is the 20 year-old, Aledo, TX-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind behind the rapidly rising indie rock project Dayglow. The project, which is centered around a hard-fought, hard-won and palpably sincere optimism can trace its origins to Struble’s adolescence, growing up in a Fort Worth suburb that he has referred to as a “small football-crazed town,” where he felt irrevocably out of place — and as a result, he turned to music, as a escape from his surroundings. “I didn’t really feel connected to what everyone else in my school was into, so making music became an obsession for me, and sort of like therapy in a way,” Struble says in press notes. “I’d dream about it all day in class, and then come home and for on songs instead of doing homework. After a while I realized I’d made an album.” 

Working completely on his own with a minuscule collection of gear that included his guitar, his computer and some secondhand keyboards he picked up at Goodwill, Struble worked on transforming his privately kept outpouring into a batch of songs — often grandiose in scale. “Usually artists will have demos they’ll bounce off other people to get some feedback, but nobody except for my parents down the hall really heard much of the album until I put it out,” Struble says in press notes. After self-releasing Fuzzybrain last year, the Aledo-born, Austin-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer received widespread attention and an ardent online following — primarily as a result of the material’s overwhelming positivity.  “People have been really kind about getting in touch with me and telling me that the album makes them happy, or that it’s helped them through a rough time,” he says. “That was my greatest goal for it, so it’s amazing to hear that people feel that way.”

The recently re-released Fuzzybrain is a fully realized version of his full-length debut. And while featuring the attention grabbing “Can I Call You Tonight,” the new version of the album will include two previously unreleased singles “Nicknames” and “Listerine” — while further cementing his growing reputation for illuminating emotional pain in a way that not only resonates with listeners, but somehow manages to make that pain feel lighter. Both those songs were written around the same time as the rest of the album and very much exist in the Fuzzybrain universe,” Struble says. “Each is deeply intertwined into the conceptual universe and purpose of Fuzzybrain, and it just wouldn’t feel right releasing them in a separate body of work.”

“Listerine,” the album’s latest single is an infectious and sincere bit of pop centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, jagged post punk-like guitar, a sinuous bass line and Struble’s plaintive vocals — and while possessing a self-assuredness beyond the Aledo-born, Austin-based artist’s relative youth, the song’s narrator expresses a mix of confidence, anxiety, confusion and hope that’s beguiling and realistic, as it accurately captures the thoughts and feelings of 20 somethings, who have stumbled into adulthood and adult relationships — without fully realizing who they are and what they really  want. 

Directed  and edited by Jackson Ingraham and Sloan Struble, the recently released video for “Listerine” features Struble alternately walking, dancing and air guitar soloing on an empty stretch of road. Sure it’s a simple treatment but it also emphasizes the DIY nature of the project, while being simultaneously playful and sincere.