Emerging Italian indie duo Alaska Blue — singer/songwriter Elisabeta Giordano and musician Davide Cast — will be releasing their full-length debut, the eight-song Under the weather, an effort that sees the duo establishing a slow-burning, lightly produced and sparse take on pop centered around Giordano’s warm and soulful vocals.
According to the Italian duo, Under the weather‘s latest single, the slow-burning, Francesco Roncalli-proudced “Blue Shelter” is one of the most produced songs on their soon-to-be released album with the song being built around the harmonizing around the main melodic vocal line paired with delay and reverb pedaled bluesy guitar lines, atmospheric synths, and gently padded percussion. While serving as a silky and dreamy base for Giordano’s effortlessly soulful delivery, the end result is a dreamy song full of aching longing
The duo explain that “Blue Shelter” is “about the struggle of expressing emotions and the inability to explain exactly what we feel inside. That is what inevitably makes the protagonist of the song feel misunderstood and alone.”
Though born in London, acclaimed singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and frontman of The Veils, Finn Andrews spent his teenaged years attending high school in Auckland. Largely disinterested in school, Andrews spent the bulk of his free time playing in several bands — and writing the material that would later comprise The Veils full-length debut, 2004’s The Runaway Found. When he was 16, a set of demos he sent to record companies created some buzz and led to invitations for him to return to London to record an album.
Andrews and The Veils were signed almost immediately to Blanco y Negro, an indie/major hybrid imprint led by Rough Trade label head Geoff Travis. The band released a handful of singles including the promo-only single “Death & Co,” their commercial single debut, “More Heat Than Light,” and “The Leavers Dance,” a single distributed exclusively at gigs. By 2003, increasing contractual disparities and creative differences between the head of Warner and Travis wound up delaying plans for the band’s full-length debut.
Blanco Y Negro closed up shop and the dispute turned into a court battle with The Veils regaining ownership of their masters from Warner. By mid-2003, Travis signed the band to Rough Trade. The band went on to record four more songs with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, including “Guiding Light,” “Lavinia,” and “The Wild Son,” which led to the release of the band’s full-length debut, The Runaway Found. Although the album was released to rapturous critical applause, Andrews felt unhappy with the band’s creative direction — and after alleged altercations between him and the other members, The Veils’ first lineup split up two months after their debut album’s release.
In early 2005, Andrews went on a solo tour of the States and Japan, eventually returning to New Zealand, where he rehearsed with high school friends Liam Gerrard (keys) and Sophia Burn (bass) in Gerrard’s bedroom, quickly amassing an album’s worth of material. When the trio returned to London, Dan Raishbrook (guitar) and Henning Dietz (drums) joined the band, completing the band’s second lineup.
Early the following year, then-newly minted quintet started recording sessions with Nick Launay in Los Angeles, which resulted in their sophomore album, that year’s Nux Vonica. Released to critical applause, with the album landing on the Best of Year lists of both American and British journalists, Nux Vonica had a darker, heavier and much more complex sound, bolstered by string arrangements by former Lounge LizardJane Scarpantoni.
Over the course of the next 16 months, the band played over 250 shows across 15 countries. But during the Stateside leg of the tour, the band announced that Liam Gerrard was leaving the band to return home, due to personal reasons. The band continued onward as a quartet, and while living out of a classic garage in Oklahoma City, started recording demos at The Flaming Lips‘ studio between Stateside tour dates of the East and West coasts.
By mid-2008, they returned to London to work on their third album with Graham Sutton. The three-week session at West Point Studios resulted in 2009’s Sun Gangs, an album that continued a remarkable run of critically applauded material — with the album appearing on a number of Best of Lists that year.
2011’s Finn Andrews and Bernard Butler co-produced Troubles of the Brain EP marked several major changes for the band: They had left Rough Trade, their longtime label home of nine years and started their own label Pitch Beast Records.
2013’s Time Stays, We Go was recorded in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles and was supported with a 150-date world tour with sold shows across North America, Europe and New Zealand. Once the tour ended, Andrews told NME in an interview that the band had moved into their own studio in East London and had already begun work on a new record, slated for release in 2016. He also mentioned that he had been commissioned to write an orchestral piece to commemorate the Antipodean dead of World War I, which would be performed in Belgium.
2016’s Total Depravity was recorded in Los Angeles, London, NYC and Porto and features production by El-P,Adam Greenspan and Dean Hurley. The same month of the album’s release, David Lynch announced that Andrews would appear in the Twin Peaks reboot. The band with Andrews performed album single “Axolotl,” on episode 15.
Following the release of Total Depravity, Andrews released a solo album and supported it with a world tour. One night, while lashing out at a particularly intense moment on piano, he broke his wrist on stage. “It sounds wild and Jerry Lee Lewis-esque, but it was an absolute fucking nightmare,” Andrews says. He played on and finished the tour, but it wasn’t until after he got the wrist examined much later, that he learned that was a major mistake. “The scaphoid bone in my wrist had died, which I didn’t know was possible. My sister said that at least it was a really ‘on brand’ injury for me.”
Andrews’ convalescence necessitated a lengthy hiatus from touring, so he spent his free time at home writing songs. “I was in a cast and couldn’t use my right hand. I sang the melody lines, then recorded the right hand piano part, then the left hand part,” Andrews recalls. “It might have been an interesting, avant-garde process if it wasn’t also just profoundly annoying.”
When his wrist had healed enough to allow him to play again, The Veils also found themselves in need of a new label, but in the meantime Andrews was determined to write and record an album regardless. Tom Healy invited Andrews to his studio, where they listened to the massive amount of songs he had written throughout the previous year. “Tom was incredibly patient. It was a really laborious process,” Andrews says. “I brought a lot of junk down there and we had to sift through it all to try and find the parts worth saving.”
During the past two years of intermittent recording between pandemic-related lockdowns, Andrews wife gave birth and he wound up writing even more songs. By the time the songs were recorded with a backing band that featured Cass Basil (bass), Joseph McCallum (drums) and longtime bandmates Liam Gerrard (piano) and Dan Raishbrook (lap steel, guitar) and guest spots from NZTrio, who play string arrangements by Victoria Kelly and Smoke Fairies, who contribute backing vocals, it was clear that the album’s material should be split into two halves to best suit such varied songs. But for a while, the overall meaning of the songs was eluded Andrews. “Then my daughter was born, and suddenly the whole record made sense to me,” he says. The music was telling a story, and somewhat strangely for The Veils, it seemed to have a happy ending.
The Veils’ forthcoming album . . . And Out of The Void Came Love is informed by and is the result of the past two-plus years of convalescence confinement, uncertainty and questioning. Structurally, the album is meant to listened in two sittings with a short break in the middle. Or as Andrews instructs us, “Make a coffee or smoke a cigarette – but don’t mow the lawn or go to the movies or something, that takes too long.”
. . . And Out of The Void Came Love‘s first single “Undertow,” is an atmospheric and brooding song centered around an arrangement of twinkling keys, reverb-drenched, guitar textures, dramatic, glistening bursts of pedal steel, padded drumming paired with Andrews’ hushed delivery. As The Veils’ frontman explains, “In the year before I started writing this album, I really didn’t think I’d ever write another album again. I was done. I’d irreparably broken my wrist on stage. Then this song came shimmying down the drainpipe, and it really seemed to be willing me to carry on. It is, embarrassingly enough, a song about writing songs, written at what I admit was a pretty low ebb for me emotionally. Both my parents are writers, and though I am grateful to it for the life it continues to afford me, it is a complex genetic inheritance.”
Brisbane-based electro pop duo Alta Falls — Nathanael (vocals) and Matt (synths) — specialize in a nostalgia-inducing take on pop featuring melodic hooks, soaring harmonies and vintage 80s synth and guitar sounds.
After the announcement of a now-currently ongoing October-November national tour, the duo released their latest single, the Aidan Hogg-produced “I’m At A Loss.” Centered around glistening and atmospheric synths, propulsive drumming from Sebastian “Baz” Jennings Hingston and soaring hooks paired with Nathanael’s achingly plaintive vocal, “I’m At A Loss” is an upbeat, hook-driven bop that sonically brings St. Lucia and others to mind.
“The words, “I’m at a loss” came to me out of the blue while Matt was showing me a new song idea he had been playing around with,” Alta Falls’ Nathanael explains in press notes. ““The phrase intrigued me, so I reached out to our followers on Discord, and asked them what ‘I’m at a loss’ means to them. Their answers formed the inspiration for the lyrics of the song.” Interestingly, the end result is a song rooted in some rather astute observations on the swooning and uncertain feeling of loss, the overwhelming waves of grief — and in some cases, the sense of hope and possibility of a new start.
Matt Corby is a multi-award winning Australian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Corby’s latest single “Problems” is the first bit of new material from the acclaimed Aussie artist since 2020’s standalone singles “If I Never Say A Word” and “Vitamin” — and the first single on his new label, UK-based Communion Music.
“Problems” can trace its origins to earlier this year: On the day Corby was going to start recoding his new album, he and his family were rescued by a neighbor. Their home had been engulfed by floodwaters that raged through Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. After nervously watching his very pregnant partner and young son be whisked away in a small, inflatable dinghy, he got to work ferrying provisions to stranded neighbors and locals and digging rotting mud out from beneath his home.
Within a week of the flood, Corby returned to the studio, and wound up writing and recording “Problems,” a funky R&B-inspired bop centered around a strutting bass line, twinkling keys and boom bap-like drumming paired with the Aussie artist’s plaintive crooning and his unerring knack for well-placed, razor sharp hooks. Sonically, “Problems” sounds indebted to D’Angelo and Mayer Hawthorne — but while rooted in personal, lived-in experience and astute observation of human behavior and character.
“It’s about how funny humans are creating our own problems and issues that we then have to solve. Or creating problems so difficult we then can’t solve,” Corby says. “And how people talk so much shit and don’t do anything – how we’re setting ourselves up for failure. People want to point the finger but nobody wants to carry anything themselves.”
Vincent Bugozi is a Tanzanian-born, London-based artist and bandleader. Along with his backing band, Bugozi specializes in a genre-defying and crowd-pleasing take on Afro Pop that meshes elements of of Afrobeat, reggae, Afro-Cuban music and pop among others. The Tanzanian-born, London-based artist and his backing band aim to combine the sounds of different cultures to connect people through music and an energetic live show — and help bring positivity and unity in a world that desperately needs it.
Bugozi and company will be releasing their latest album AFRICAN SEBA! later this year. Inspired by Tanzanian Tinga Tinga art, AFRICAN SEBA! sees the act drawing inspiration from an eclectic array of sources and collaborating with a collection of musicians from the United Kingdom and European Union, while still deeply rooted in the sounds and styles of Africa. Thematically, the album’s material touches upon the “big themes” — love, sorrow and joy. Interestingly enough, the album will be his first multilingual album.
So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:
“Tinga Tinga,” a breezy, genre-smashing banger featuring skittering dancehall-meet-trap beats, 80s Quiet Storm soul-like saxophone and twinkling keys paired with Bugozi’s plaintive vocals and an infectious, razor sharp hook. Pulling from a variety of sounds and styles across the African Diaspora, the song manages to be a wildly accessible bop that will get a lounge or a club rocking and grooving.
“Bossa Nova” is a slickly produced, seamlessly mesh of elements of Afro-pop, reggaeton and Bossa Nova that further cements Bugozi and company’s unerring knack for catchy hooks.
“African Fever,” the latest single off AFRICAN SEBA! continues a remarkably run of crowd-pleasing bops featuring elements of dancehall, Afropop, Afrobeats and contemporary electro pop centered around a sultry, dance floor rocking groove. If this one doesn’t make you want to get up and move, then something is very wrong with you.
There are only a handful of artists I’ve written about more than the wildly prolific, French electronic music producer and JOVM LutchamaK.
Capping off a busy year, the French JOVM mainstay recently released the 10-song album Younger than Yesterday through TERMusik. LutchamaK describes the album as “tech house atmospheric, minimalist techno sprinkled with some breaks.”
Yesterday, I wrote about album track “I Believe in U,” a melodic and hypnotic, house music banger that sonically seemed to be a crowd-pleasing synthesis of Between Two Selves-era Octo Octa and Chicago house.
“Higher Amplitude,” Younger Than Yesterday‘s latest single continues a remarkable run of hypnotic and woozy deep house but with subtle elements of drum ‘n’ bass, French touch and dub.
Chloe Florence is an emerging, Montreal-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who can trace much of the origins of her music career to growing up in a family of musicians: Her innate ability to visualize a song both instrumentally and lyrically is something that her great-grandmother excelled at.
The emerging Montreal-based artist cites Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith, Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa and Doja Cat as influences on her work. And much like those artists, Florence’s work is centered around authentic songwriting rooted in lived-in personal experience. But she pairs that with a a sound that effortlessly bridges pop and R&B in a way that’s completely her own.
Her latest single, the Lucas Liberatore-produced “Synergy” is a woozy and swooning bop built around wobbling and glistening synth arpeggios, rubbery bass lines and skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling thump paired with well-placed, razor sharp hooks. The production serves as a silky and sumptuous bed for the Montreal-based artist’s sultry, self-assured delivery and a guest spot from Myles Lloyd. The song focuses on a familiar scenario with a lived-in specificity — a situationship that’s seemingly stuck between hook-ups and disguised/hidden feelings.
“Sonically, ‘Synergy’ embodies the tipping point, right before one confesses their feelings for the other. They’re addicted to playing with fire as they haven’t been burned (yet),” Chloe Florence explains. “There are feelings hidden under covers and subliminal messages found between the lines of their late-night conversations – in bed and during late night drives. The lyrics depict the situationship as lustful, mysterious, dangerous, and intense.”
“I knew I wanted to write about this recurring experience, this place I kept getting stuck in while dating,” Florence adds. “It’s a topic I knew a lot of my friends would relate to.”
Over the past couple of years of this site’s almost 13 — 13! — year history, I’ve managed to spill a copious amount of virtual ink covering the wildly prolific, French electronic music producer and JOVM mainstay LutchamaK.
Capping off a busy year, the French JOVM mainstay recently released the 10-song album Younger than Yesterday through TERMusik. LutchamaK describes the album as “tech house atmospheric, minimalist techno sprinkled with some breaks.” Younger than Yesterday‘s latest single “I Believe in U” is a melodic and hypnotic. house music banger centered around glistening and atmospheric synths, tweeter and woofer rattling thump paired with a soulful vocal sample.
While continuing a remarkable run of bangers, “I Believe in U” sonically strikes me as being a slick and crowd-pleasing synthesis of Between Two Selves-era Octo Octa and Chicago house.
Deriving their name from the French word for coffin, cercueil, French experimental electro pop duo Cercueil — Pénélope Michel and Nicolas Devos — formed back in 2005 and features two extraordinarily talented members: one members attended the National School of Fine Arts near Lille, France, and was a member of math rock outfit Milgram; the other studied music theory while also playing in experimental performance groups.
Their debut EP released back in 2006 went largely unnoticed, but their full-length debut, 2009’s Shoo Straight Shout won them quite a bit of attention with the album being released to critical acclaim. That led to the band winning a Best Newcomer Award at the Qwartz Electronic Music Awards. Shoo Straight Shout saw the duo firmly establishing a sound that draws from coldwave, New Wave, krautrock, techno and trip-hop among others.
The French duo’s sophomore album, 2011’s Erostrate saw the band adding elements of dark techno to their sound. Around this time, the band had begun building an international profile with touring across Belgium, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, The Netherlands and even North America — with stops on the international festival circuit., including The Great Escape, Transmusicales de Rennes, Printemps de Bourges and M Pour Montréal. Adding to a growing profile, they opened for Alan Vega and WhoMadeWho.
Released through Clivage Music, the duo’s latest EP Bad Posture is influenced by Nina Childress’ paintings, Charles Freger’s anthropological photos, the films of Michel Haneke, David Lynch and Kenneth Anger, as well as the the works of Black Dice, The Knife,Harmonia,Kraftwerk and Onoehtrix Point Never. Letting their creative process guide them throughout, Michel and Davos went whenever the music took them while forbidding nothing — to a point that they were frequently surprised by the directions the material went. “We don’t really think about where it is we want to take things. Often, we develop our sound based on our experience and familiarity with our instruments, and just let things flow depending on the track, the sounds. That is what directs things, more than an actual conscious thought,” the French duo explain. That wild, unpredictable creative freedom is infused throughout the EP.
“Suchness,” Bad Posture‘s latest single is a hypnotic mix of propulsive tribal beats, trip-hop, industrial techno and atmospheric synths centered around a relentless motorik groove. Michel’s ethereal vocal glides over a menacing and uneasy production that sounds like it would rock a club in the year 2222 — if humans and clubs are still a thing by then.
Kolbotn, Norway-based dream pop outfit MARBLES — Ferdinand Widmer (vocals, bass), Marius Ringen (drums), Adrian Sandberg (synths) and Marcus Widmer (guitar) — features members, who come from a variety of musical backgrounds with many of the band’s member also playing in the black metal bands that the city is best known for internationally.
When the band started, its members were initially unsure exactly what sound and genre this new music would be, but they quickly discovered a shred interest in dream pop, indie and disco styles, and they were able to capture a unique vibe together in their jam sessions. That unique vibe was immediately present on their debut single “European Dream.” And from there, the Norwegian outfit quickly honed and built upon the blueprint that song set out for their overall sound.
2020’s self-titled, full-length debut featured songs like “Woman,” She’s So” and the previously released single “Baby Don’t You Get It.”
The band has released two singles this year, which will appear on their soon-to-be announced sophomore EP which is currently slated for an early 2023 release through Playground Music. “World Inside Me,” is MARBLES’ third and latest single of the year — and will also appear on the forthcoming album. “World Inside Me” is deliberately crafted, mid tempo that brings Washed Out and Brothertiger to mind, centered around atmospheric synths textures, a chugging groove, a glistening guitar solo paired with the act’s unerring knack for well-placed hooks and dreamy vocals. But underneath it’s breeziness, the song is underpinned by a deep-seated — and perhaps hard won — introspection
“‘World Inside Me’was written in our most isolated period through the pandemic. It tries to describe a feeling of loneliness that is mostly conjured by our own mind. Even though there are options and offers from the outside world, sometimes you just feel better in your own sphere,” the Norwegian dream pop outfit explains. “Living in your own little world (or bubble) can feel both pleasant and safe, but also quickly turn into a lonesome and desperate state of mind.”