Category: New Audio

Comprised of Stephanie Chan (vocals, guitar), a former member of Finally Punk and The Carrots; Kate Hall (drums), formerly of Mika Miko; Mark Greshowak (guitar, synths), formerly of Talbot Tagora; and Dave Reichardt (guitar, bass, synths), Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk quartet Dunes features members of some of Southern California’s most renowned, defunct punk bands.

The Los Angeles, CA-based quartet’s forthcoming sophomore effort Bitter Charm is slated for a March 12 release and the album, which was produced by Alex DeGroot, best known for his work with Zola Jesus has the band expanding upon their sound while being deeply informed by personal experiences — including Greshowak’s near fatal bike accident, which occurred the same day that they were slated to play with No Age at the Eagle Rock Center for Performing Arts. As Greshowak explains in press notes, the album in some way represents “the process of coming to terms with all transitions in life, voluntarily or involuntarily.”

 

The album’s latest single “Runner” pairs shimmering guitars played through gentle amount of reverb, a driving and propulsive rhythm with ethereal vocals to craft a melancholy and wistful song that sounds as though it could have been released during 4AD Records heyday.

 

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Nigerian-born, Montreal-based producer Teck-Zilla emerged as an up-and-coming producer with the release of Son of Sade: An Ode, an 18 minute instrumental mixtape that was intended as a tribute to both the renowned British-Nigerian vocalist Sade and the producer’s mother, who coincidentally is also named Sade. Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past two years or so, you might remember that I wrote about the Nigerian-Canadian producer’s Afro Bootleg EP, an EP that had the producer revisiting his birthplace, as he remixed some of Nigeria’s biggest hits with a populist, globe-spanning, crowd-rocking sound that would get asses moving in clubs across New York, Montreal, LagosLondonIbiza an others.

Although it’s been a little while since we’ve heard from Teck-Zilla, the Nigerian-born and Montreal, QC-based producer has been prolific, as he’s released a number of mixtapes, including the aforementioned Son of Sade and Afro Bootleg EP, as well as Souled Off: A Dedication to Molly Molls. His third and latest instrumental mixtape Joe Jackson Kids has the producer paying homage to Michael Jackson — mostly Jackson 5-era Michael Jackson as the mixtape features snippets of interviews with Michael Jackson and his family, as he was becoming increasingly uncomfortable and uncertain about his fame, and a variety of chopped up samples of Jackson 5 songs and Michael’s solo work. While reminding the listener that Michael Jackson’s ghost looms large in contemporary pop — hell, contemporary music in general — the mixtape also manages to create nuanced and empathetic portrait and interpretation of the young Michael Jackson. But ironically, the EP’s title comes from a playful, inside joke that the Nigerian-born, Montreal-based producer had with his brother. As Teck-Zilla explains in press notes “I got the title from one of my favourite Jeru the Damaja records, ‘Whatever,’ off his Wrath of the Math LP. That line always cracked me and my brother up every time, so it was kinda like an inside joke for both of us. Just remember to say ‘check it out’ after the title.”

Probably the biggest highlight on the mixtape is “Human Nature (Jackson Jones Flip)” which not only turns the original song on its head, but also reminds the listener of how influential the song has been to hip-hop and to R&B as Teck-Zilla weaves bits of Nas‘ classic Illmatic including “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” “The World Is Yours” and others songs while subtly nodding at Off the Wall.  “Letter to Michael” is a headbanging take on Michael’s work that sounds as though it were indebted to J. Dilla while “Goodbye (Last Call)” is a sensual closer that features twinkling percussion, handclaps and chopped up bits of Michael singing in a way that creates an entirely different song. “JJ Kids” features the sample that inspired the title before quickly turning into the warm, twinkling soul instrumental that’s nods to J. Dilla and Pete Rock. But perhaps most important, the entire mixtape reveals Teck-Zilla to be a remarkably playful yet thoughtful producer, whose sound has become increasingly warm and soulful.

 

 

 

Last summer, I wrote about the electro pop duo Hans Island, comprised of Canadian producer Mwahs and Danish-born, based vocalist and electro pop artist Marie Dahlstrom, who has received attention across both Scandinavia and the European Union for her silky smooth vocals. And with the release of “I’m Yours,” the duo of Mwahs and Dahlstrom quickly received international attention for a sound that possessed elements of contemporary R&B, pop as it paired Dahlstrom’s sultry and plaintive vocals with Mwahs’ slick production consisting of swirling electronics, skittering and stuttering drum programming and twinkling keys to evoke hopeful and swooning sensation of newfound love.

The duo’s latest single “Break Free” consists of Mwah’s ethereal, bouncy production featuring swirling electronics, shimmering and cascading synths and propulsive drum programming and an anthemic hook paired with Dahlstrom’s yearning and effortlessly soulful vocals in an upbeat song about breaking free from one’s past, and starting anew — it’s a timeless sentiment that we’ve all felt at some point, bolstered by the hope that things will get better, once we can move forward.

 

 

I’ve been under the weather the past few days and haven’t been able to do as much as I would have preferred; however, with the massive snowstorm we received here in the NYC area, there wasn’t much that could have been done anyway, and I honestly needed the rest. Now, earlier this monthI wrote about Atlanta, GA-based indie rock band Flower. And as the story went, the band’s frontman and primary Jack Fowler had written the material off the band’s soon-to-be released album Waste of Life, while his life had felt as though it were in a holding pattern. Although he had a busy year as the frontman of exwhy, who had signed to Other People Records and toured with renowned indie acts Pujol and Knox Hamilton, Fowler desperately wanted to focus on revealing his vulnerable side — and in turn, felt a need to write material that was informed and inspired by other aspects of his own life; in fact, Waste of Life is heavily informed by Fowler’s experience as a 9-5 officer done. As Fowler has explained in press notes “I was working a pretty decent office job and doing absolutely nothing beyond working and getting depressed. I was just spinning my wheels and growing bored and really depressed. I was struggling with talking to people, being social at all. That’s the core of this album—anxiety and not being sure how to define yourself. ” Certainly, if you’re creative or just didn’t quite know what you wanted to actually do with yourself, those feelings of depression, anxiety and utter worthlessness is familiar. Odds are that you’ve lived that every single moment of your waking life — and you’ve dreamt of quitting to write a book, record an album or to just regain your dignity.

Dreams,” which I wrote about three weeks ago possessed a pent up frustration over ambitions, hopes and a life that seem indefinitely stalled from some larger, unmoving (and unrelenting), outside force and not having an idea as to what would be the best thing to do next; so the song’s narrator winds up sitting inert and inactive on the sidelines out of fear of fucking everything up — and yet, hating himself for his inability to do anything at all. And despite the song’s desperation and hopelessness, there’s a subtle sense of hope; that things will get better and that somehow life will push you in the direction you need to be going even if you were unaware of it. Sonically, the song was reminiscent of  The Smiths and 80s post-punk as it paired bitter and confused sentiments with anthemic hooks, layers of shimmering guitar and driving rhythms.

Wasted Life’s latests single “Deadly Ill” may arguably be one of the more deceitfully straightforward post-punk songs on the album, as the anthemic hooks the band seems to specialize in are paired with thundering and propulsive drumming, angular guitar chords and an urgent desperation of someone who seems to be at the end of their rope with everyone and everything. But the irony at the core of the song is that the song’s narrator is trapped between a terrible certainty and an unknowable, unpredictable uncertainty. If you’ve been there the song feels as though it’s talking about your own personal experience in some way.

 

 

 

 

Up-and-coming Australian producer and electronic music artist Arona Mane has developed a reputation across their homeland for a sound that is heavily indebted to 80s synth pop, funk and sultry, classic house music in a production consisting of finger-snap led percussion, undulating synths, warm blasts of horns, propulsive drumming, sinuous bass and guitar lines paired with distorted yet soulful vocal samples as you’ll hear on “Things You Do,” a single that got recently got its first airplay on Australia’s biggest radio station, Triple J.

And although the single reportedly draws from French house and early German electronic music, sonically the song reminds me quite a bit of Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves, as Arona Mane specializes in a similar, soulful electronic music.  

 

 

With the release of their 2012 self-titled debut and its follow up 2014’s Mountain, the Visalia, CA-based quartet Slow Season, comprised of Daniel Rice (vocals, guitar), David Kent (guitar), Hayden Doyel (bass), and Cody Tarbell (drums), the Visalia, CA-based quartet Slow Season quickly developed a regional profile for a bluesy and heavy rock sound that’s heavily indebted to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and others — but without the being soulless mimicry. RidingEasy Records released a remixed and remastered version of their self-titled debut at the end of last year, and while working on their third full-length effort, the Visalia, CA-based quartet released a 7 inch featuring covers of Black Sabbath and Cactus; however, the band released two singles from their debut — the Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” channeling guitar line, thundering drums and howled drums of “Heavy” and the slow-burning, bluesy, harmonica-led “Bring It on Home” meets Howlin’ Wolf channeling “DayGlo Sunrise.”

Certainly, if you didn’t know that the band was contemporary, you’d probably think that these two singles were recorded in 1967 and were recently re-discovered by someone who had been digging through the crates of a used record store somewhere.

The band is playing a couple of live dates across Southern California. Check them out below.

LIVE DATES:
02/19 San Diego, CA @ The Merrow  w/ JOY and OVVL
02/20 Visalia, CA @ The Cellar Door  w/ Beastmak

Up-and-coming, Los Angeles, CA-based alternative R&B/electro pop artist Brooke Aulani has already worked with an impressive array of music industry heavyweights as a student at USC’s Popular Music Program including — multi-Grammy Award-winning producer and Grammy Foundation Chairman Emeritus Jimmy Jam and Grammy-nominated artist Daniel Bedingfield, who has praised the young artist’s vocal range and stage presence, saying in press notes “Brooke has the power to take a room of people and make them focus on her, and draw them into where she wants to be. Whatever she sings, I’m blown away.” Aulani has also opened for Tony Award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth at USC’s annual Widney Gala, performed for Chaka Khan, sang accompaniment for David Foster and has been a backup vocalist for the legendary John Fogerty.

“Shame,” the second single off the Los Angeles-based artist’s debut EP will likely cement her already burgeoning local and regional reputation for a sound that possesses elements of contemporary and old school R&B, soul and experimental pop — and for her effortlessly soulful and sultry, pop-belter vocals. In fact, “Shame” pairs Aulani’s vocals with a slickly modern and seductive production consisting of bluesy guitar chords played with subtle reverb, skittering drum programming and swirling electronics in a song about lust, dishonesty and betrayal going both ways in a sexually charged and confusing relationship — a relationship that the song’s narrator has a difficult time leaving.

 

Initially emerged in 2014 as the recording project of Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop production sibling duo Alex and Ben Kazenoff, Mood Robot expanded to a trio when they enlisted vocalist Jenny Helms (no relation to yours truly) to complete the project’s sound. And from what I understand, the early buzz across the blogosphere has been favorably comparisons to CHVRCHES and The Naked and Famous among others.

Continuing on the early buzz that they’ve received over the past year, the Los Angeles-based electro pop trio will be releasing their debut EP, The Story We Tell Ourselves next month, and the EP’s first single “Drip” pairs Helms’ buoyant, pop starlet vocals with a densely layered production featuring layers of shimmering and undulating synths, electronic bleeps and bloops, blasts of funky and angular guitar chords, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and an infectiously anthemic hook. Admittedly, comparing the trio’s sound to the likes of CHVRCHES is a fair one — although to my ears I also hear the likes of White Prism, Class Actress, and several others, and as as a result of such a crowd pleasing, club-friendly and radio-friendly sound, I expect that the blogosphere will be big on them throughout 2016.

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I’ve been a bit under the weather over the past day-day-and-half or so with a nasty cold and a sore throat, and as a result things have been much slower going than normal for me; in fact, I’ve spent a good part of today in bed, watching episodes of Law and Order, Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen and Forensic Files and texting friends  throughout the course of Winter Storm Juno. But as I’m writing this post, I feel good enough to sit up in my bed with my Macbook, go through several emails and write a post or two. After all, I do feel a duty to you dear friends.  . .

Comprised of Superhumanoids‘ Sarah Chernoff, Kisses‘ Jesse Kivel, and Classixx‘s Michael David, Mt. Si is a collaborative side project that can trace its origins to when David and his bandmates in Classixx were working on their first album. As the story goes, the trio of Chernoff, Kivel and David had been writing songs that were meant to appear on Classixx’s debut album. “Mike and I wrote a track that I was supposed to sing,” Kivel explains in press notes, “but Sarah came in and stole the show, From there we realized that we had good chemistry as a trio, writing and producing in a subtle, refined way.”

“Either/Or” is the trio’s breezy and summery debut single and the song pairs a production consisting of skittering drum programming, shimmering and cascading synths and keyboards with Chernoff’s ethereal cooing floating over a two-step worthy mix. Sonically, the song channels early 80s synth pop and funk; in fact, I’m somehow reminded of a breezier versions of Patrice Rushen‘s “Forget Me Nots” and Oran “Juice” Jones’The Rain” — but with an urgent and plaintive sense of longing just below its shimmering surface.

 

 

 

Comprised of Nicolaaas Oogjes, Andrew Noble,  Adrian Vecino, Mitch McGregor,
Daphne Camf, Kieran O’Shea,  Cayn Borthwick, Becky Sui Zhen, the Melbourne, Australia-based octet NO ZU have developed a reputation in Australia for a sound the consists of elements of no wave, funk, house, African and indigenous percussion — and as you’ll hear on “Spirit Beat,” the first single off Afterlife, the follow up to their acclaimed 2012 release, Life, the single manages to sound as though it were released in early 1980s as old school, hip-hop-leaning breakbeats, sinuous bass lines, sultry female vocals and pitched down male vocals chanting in call and response, shimmering synths and warm blasts of horns are paired together in a way that channels Tom Tom Club, early house music and synth funk in a way that feels dimly familiar yet alien — and yet oh so dance floor worthy.