Category: New Audio

Long-time friends Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams conceptualized their current band, Ulrika Spacek during a single night in Berlin, a project that would be influenced by Television, Pavement, Sonic Youth and krautrock. Upon their return to their house KEN, a former art gallery in Homerton, the duo of Edwards and Williams began working on the material, which would eventually comprise their forthcoming full-length debut, The Album Paranoia slated for a February 5, 2016 release through Lefse Records and Tough Love Records. Three expert musicians were recruited to flesh out the project’s live sound and to complete their live show, which combined art installations with music.

The Album Paranoia’s first single “She’s A Cult” consists of angular and chugging guitar chords played with a gentle amount of reverb,  a tight rhythm section comprised of a propulsive drum beat and a throbbing bass line paired with soaring and anthemic hooks and ethereal vocals that float over an overall grungy mix. Although incredibly contemporary, the song sounds as though it could have been released during the 120 Minutes-era of MTV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comprised of long-time friends and collaborators, the Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist production duo Intergalactix have a long-held reputation behind the scenes producing material for a number of renowned artists including Jason Mraz, Heart, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Kelis, Allen Stone, Ariana Grande, The Fugees‘ Pras MichelCool & Dre, fellow countrymen Jimmy Barnes and PNAU, as well as  Cash Money Records.

Last year, the production duo began to establish themselves as artists  with the release of their debut EP I.W.S.O.M, which featured the single “Tuesday.” Building upon an already growing national profile, the duo toured extensively to support the EP — and it included a set at Firefly Music Festival. (Interestingly, the festival may have had one of the biggest and most star-studded lineups of this past year’s festival season as Intergalactix played a bill that included Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, Snoop Dogg, The Killers, Morrissey, and several others.)

Thursday marks the release of the Australian-born, Los Angeles-based duo’s sophomore EP S.T.S. – R.N.D.  and the EP’s latest single “Right Next Door” featuring Capital Cities‘ Spencer Ludwig will further cement Intergalactix’s reputation for sleek, retro-futuristic synth pop that channels The Gap Band‘s “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” and “Outstanding,Rick James and The TemptationsStanding On The TopThe WhispersAnd The Beat Goes On” and “Rock Steady,” and Cameo‘s “Word Up,”as well as more contemporary fare including Dam-Funk, Rene Lopez‘s most recent return to all things funk, Boulevards, ISHI, and a growing list of others.

Growing up listening to a ton of synth funk back in the 80s, it isn’t surprising that a number of contemporary artists have revived that sound — both eras specialize in slick production based around sinuous bass lines, shimmering arpeggio synths, four-on-the-floor drumming (or drum programming), anthemic hooks paired with an incredible sense of memorable melody and sensual vocals. You can’t help but recognize how sexy the song is — but it’s also a certified club banger, that should make you get up out of your seat and to the dance floor.

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Comprised of Vincent Davies (vocals, guitar and bass), Ranald MacDonald (vocals, keys, guitar and bass), Josh Lewis (guitar and bass) and Oscar Robertson (drums), the London-based quartet Hidden Charms formed last year and with the release of their double A single “Dreaming Of Another Girl”/”Long Way Down,” the London-based quartet quickly received attention nationally as the the single received extensive airplay from the likes of radio personalities Zane Lowe of Beats 1, Annie Mac and Huw Stephens of BBC Radio 1 and John Kennedy of XFM (aka Radio X).  And of course, as a result of their growing national profile, the band has opened for Benjamin Booker, Hanni El Khatib and X Ambassadors and had a four-week Club NME Koko residency.

Building on their rapidly growing the British quartet’s latest single “Love You ‘Cause You’re There” consists of buzzing and bluesy guitar chords, propulsive drumming, anthemic hooks and howled vocals in a song that sounds as though it were directly influenced by The Black Keys and 60s mod rock (think of early The Who, The Kinks and The Animals) — and possesses a similar self-assuredness that belies their youth. Of course, at its core is an aching longing — the sort of longing that comes up from lonely nights drinking in shitty dive bars, reminiscing over someone who may not be right for you and yet you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few months, you may recall that I wrote about the British and Brazilian industrial rock band Plastique. Comprised of vocalist Anelise Kunz, multi-instrumentalist Fabio Couto and producer Gabriel Ralis, formed back in 2010 and with the release of their self-titled debut and their sophomore effort, #SocialScar, the trio received both national and international attention for a sound that’s inspired by Nine Inch NailsGarbagePJ HarveyGoldfrappBrody Dalle, The Smashing PumpkinsThe Prodigy and The Beastie Boys. Adding to a growing national and international profile, the band was named one of the Top 5 in Marshall’s Ultimate Band Contest in 2013.

Naturally, wanting to build upon the steadily growing buzz around the band, the members of the trio initially went into the studio with the intention of expanding upon the sound that had won them attention. But once they started writing material they realized that they all feeling an inordinate amount of pressure to come up with something new, and as the story goes they went on a hiatus with the hopes that some time off would help. As the band’s Anelise Kunz mentioned in press notes their first single in some time “Quake,” “came out as a sign of hope . . . there was no pressure, the vocal jam just happened, and soon we were all involved in getting this one ready to go!”

“Lips,” Plastique’s latest single is informed by a series of demos the band had recorded while working on their previous single “Quake,” and in many ways that spirit of experimentation informed the track. Sonically, the song pairs layers of scuzzy, heavy metal-like guitars, industrial clang and clatter, propulsive drum programming and anthemic hooks that you can imagine a crowded club of enthusiastic fans shouting along to paired with Kunz’s sneering, growling punk-leaning vocals. In some way, the song (to my ears, at least) reminds me of the punishing forcefulness of Ministry (in particular, “What About Us?” one of my favorite Ministry songs) with the attitude of Garbage (in particular, “Supervixen“). Throughout the song you can tell that the band does not fuck around; they’re going to take names and kick ass — but with an irresistible sultriness.

 

 

Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of artists who have become mainstay artists on this site. And interestingly over the past week or two I’ve been primarily (and unwittingly) focusing on many of those mainstay artists, as some of them had been releasing videos or new material. Adding to that growing list is the New York-based electronic duo Beacon, who will be releasing their latest effort, Escapements through renowned indie electronica label, Ghostly International on February 5. Now if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few years, you may be familiar with the New York-based duo comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gusset (production), but I know that there will hopefully be some new readers and listeners and there will be some folks whose memories will need to be refreshed so some backstory is a little necessary. With the release of their debut EP, For Now and its follow-up efforts, The Ways We Separate and L1, the duo have received attention across the blogosphere for a sparse R&B-leaning electro pop driven by big bass and big beats that frequently explores human relationships — perhaps more important, the dark and fucked up aspects of broken and failed relationships including the confusion between lust and love, obsession and longing and so on. And at its core a haunting sense of dread and regret as a reminder that ghosts linger — and linger in unsettling, uncomfortable ways. Although initially sparse and icily minimalist, the duo’s material has become increasingly warmer and dance-floor ready while remaining as subtle and nuanced as ever. In many ways, the material captures complex mental and emotional states that we all have known at some point.

Interestingly, the Beacon’s forthcoming effort Escapements is about time and the baggage it inevitably brings. And it’s title is reportedly taken from clock mechanics; escapements are timekeeping regulators designed to transfer energy at a constant and regular pace. As the duo’s Mullarney explains in press notes. “I was attracted to this concept because of the entropy it implies. Friction and changes in amplitude over time mean[s] every escapement, no matter how well crafted, will lose its accuracy and effectively slow down time via its own decay.”

Featuring drumming from Tycho‘s Rory O’Connor, the material on Escapements was written, revised, refined and recorded over the course of about nine months at Beacon’s Brooklyn-based home studio and Gary’s Electric and interestingly, their forthcoming effort reveals that the duo in a period of restless experimentation that includes changing their songwriting and production approach wherever their muses take them. And as the members of Beacon note, it meant trying out new studio tricks and recording techniques — sometimes on the fly, essentially capturing the free-flowing energy of the creative process.

Escapements‘ first single “Preserve” begins with woofer and tweeter rattling bass, layers of undulating and cascading synths and skittering and stuttering drum programming paired with Mullarney’s aching falsetto in what may arguably be the most dance-floor ready, classic house music-leaning song they’ve released to date while remaining incredibly nuanced both emotionally and sonically. But at it’s core the song glistens with an urgent, plaintive need.
The band will be on tour next February and March to support the new album and it’ll include a hometown show in February. Check out tour dates below.
Tour Dates
02/04 Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s Tavern*
02/05 Detroit, MI @ Majestic Cafe*
02/06 Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel*
02/10 Boston, MA @ Great Scott*
02/11 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom*
02/12 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle*
02/13 Washington, DC @ Song Bird*
02/16 Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5*
02/17 New Orleans, LA @ Hi-Ho*
02/18 Houston, TX @ Rudyard’s*
02/19 Austin, TX @ The Parish*
02/20 Tlaltizapán, MX @ Bahidora*
02/22 El Paso, TX @ The Lowbrow Palace*
02/23 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar*
02/24 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar*
02/25 Los Angeles, CA @ Bottom of the Hill*
02/26 San Francisco, CA @ Noise Pop*
02/27 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios*
02/28 Seattle, WA @ Nectar Lounge*
03/01 Boise, ID @ Treefort*
03/02 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court*
03/03 Denver, CO @ Lost Lake*
03/04 Wichita, KS @ Barleycorns*
* w/ Natasha Kmeto

With the release of their first two singles “Brontos” and “Snowboy,” Emmecosta, a Gothenburg, Sweden-based electronic trio have quickly received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a dreamy, jazz-based electro pop sound that evokes the sensation of being half-awake and walking home from the club as the sun is rising. And over the past few months, the Swedish electronic trio’s profile has been on the rise as they’ve received praise from several internationally recognized websites and publications including Clash Magazine, Vice’s Noisey and Complex — and they’ve seen increasing radio play from Scandinavian radio stations P3, P4 and YleX, as well as several others across the globe.

“Thousands of Me,” the third and latest single from the Gothenburg-based trio is a moody track consisting of handclaps, stuttering and skittering drum programming, sparse piano chords and a mournful horn line. Sonically speaking the song seems to draw influence from Portishead, Amnesiac-era Radiohead and Chet Faker — and much like the work of those acts, “Thousands of Me” has confessional and deeply personal feel, while delving deeply into the psyche of its narrator.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you may recall that I’ve written about Brothertiger, the solo recording project of Brooklyn-based electronic musician and producer John Jagos. The project can trace its origins to when Jagos was a sophomore at Ohio State University. His debut EP, Vision Tunnels was released to critical praise from No Fear of Pop and Pitchfork. Building upon the early buzz he received, Jagos wrote and recorded his debut full-length Golden Years, which was released through Mush Records in 2012.

Future Splendors, the follow-up effort to Golden Years was a change in sonic direction as the material was reportedly his darkest and moodiest effort to date — and it was his first effort that he supported with a tour. Lagos’ forthcoming third, full-length effort Out of Touch is slated for a December 4 release and with the release of the album’s first single, album title track “Out of Touch” and its latest single “Beyond The Infinite,” Jagos is set to firmly put himself on the national map for an 80s synth-pop based sound that channels the likes of Tears for Fears as well as, contemporary artists such as St. Lucia and Washed Out.

In particular, “Beyond The Infinite” consists of layers of propulsive and cascading synths paired with four-on-the-floor drumming and rousingly anthemic hooks with soulful vocals in a song that’s plaintive yet remarkably cinematic. Much like the album’s previous single “Out of Touch,” the album’s latest single is informed by the Jagos’ desire to create an auditory journey through a metaphorical jungle of emotional states — tribulation, despair, fatigue, serenity, joy, tranquility, etc. In this case, the song focuses on the sensation of making a connection with someone and discovering that person has been deceitful and has betrayed you. And as a result, at the core of such a breezy, pop confection is the sort of heartache that should feel profoundly familiar.

At one point, comprised of Marko Nyberg (vocals and production), Antony Bentley (composer and musical director) and Johanna Kalen (vocals), the Finnish electronic music act Husky Rescue have developed a reputation across their native Finland and Scandinavia for relentless experimentation  — and for material that walks a careful tightrope between an anxious tenseness and a childlike innocence.

Their last album The Long Lost Friend is being re-issued worldwide as a double album — the first album consisting of the original album’s first eight tracks; however, since the initial recordings and release, vocalist Johanna Kalén has left the band because of health issues, and the second album consists of Husky Rescue’s most recent work between the duo of Nyberg and Bentley.

According to press notes, there is a real story of a long lost friend that informs much of the material on the first album. As the story goes, the long lost friend in question was someone Nyberg was particularly close to throughout most of his childhood — in fact, the two played music together and had a deep mutual understanding that comes from very close friendships. Sadly, the two friends lost touch with each other through most of their twenties, but while Nyberg was writing the songs on Long Lost Friend, he had regained contact with his dear friend. Reportedly, the material as a whole blends the literal and metaphorical, so the material manages to be about more than just one individual friendships — but varying states of emotional intimacy and how difficult and confusing it is to attain them.

Album single “Deep Forest Green” pairs Kalén’s smoky vocals with a sinuous bass line, propulsive drum programming, gently undulating electronics, and a looped whistling sample to create a song that’s tense and anxious and simultaneously breezy. It’s by far some of most eccentrically unique and yet accessible pop I’ve heard to date, sounding as though it owns a sonic and thematic debt to the work of Bjork, Talking Heads and others.

Best known by his stage name j. viewz, Jonathan Dagan is a New York-based songwriter, producer and visual artist, who has developed a reputation  for employing analog synthesizers, analog tapes, recordings of nature and sounds sent in to him from his fans to craft a sound that has frequently been described as nostalgic, intricate and detailed as well as collaborating with a number of guest vocalists, producers and musicians throughout his career. But perhaps just as important, Dagan has also had a long-held reputation for relentless experimentation — in fact, the New York-based multi-discipline artist gained attention for presenting a rendition of Massive Attack‘s “Teardrop” on an assortment of fruits and vegetables.

Eagan’s latest experimental project is the DNA Project, a website which, pulls the curtains open by presenting a step-by-step look at the making of his next album slated for release sometime next year — in real time. Fans and curious onlookers can follow Dagan’s creative process in its entirety, providing access to the people, places, and sounds that inspire each song, as well as exclusive videos of his writing process, recording sessions, and innermost thoughts during his creation of new music.

“Don’t Pull Away,” the latest single from the DNA Project and from the forthcoming and yet untitled album features guest vocals by Rhye‘s Milosh and production assistance from Gotye. (Check out some behind the scenes footage of j. viewz and Goyte collaborating together below. It’s actually quite a bit of fun.) The slow-burning track pairs sputtering, creaky and dusty-sounding electronics with soaring strings and gently swirling electronics with Milosh’s unhurried and sultry vocals — and in a way that’s particular reminiscent of Chet Faker‘s work (in particular “Gold” and his collaboration with Marcus MarrThe Trouble With Us“) as the single expresses an aching need and vulnerability.