Category: New Audio

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few months, you may recall that I’ve written about Nashville, TN-based electro pop trio BASECAMP. Comprised of Aaron Miller, Aaron C. Harmon, and Jordan Reyes, the trio have quickly developed a reputation for a sound that equally draws from electronic music and the past 10-15 years of R&B and pop music; in fact, “Watch My Back,” arguably one of the best singles I’ve heard this year, and Greater Than‘s opening track paired silky smooth vocals with skittering percussion, glitchy electronics, chilly, swirling electronics, glistening synths and a tight, memorable hook to craft a sound that is reminiscent of Timbaland’s revolutionary work with Missy Elliot and Aaliyah.

The Nashville-based trio’s latest single “In My Veins” features Del The Funky Homosapien one of the more unheralded emcees around and Billie Black on a song that sonically manages to owe debts to classic house music and contemporary R&B as the song pairs arpeggio synths, stuttering and skittering drum programming, strummed guitar, wobbling low end and swirling electronics with silky smooth vocals on a sweaty and sexy dance-floor orientated track that compares lust and love to a powerful addiction. Chemically speaking, love is awfully close to being addicted to chocolate, caffeine and several other drugs.

Billie Black contributes some sultry vocals to the song’s hook while Del The Funky Homosapien contribues about 16 bars that expands on the song’s title. and compares being in love to shooting heroin — and in turn, being incredibly difficult to stop.

What “In My Veins” does is further cement the Nashville-based trio’s for slickly produced, sensual electro pop that clearly draws from R&B and dance music — in this case, house music — while possessing an emotional directness and thoughtfulness that seems all too rare.

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Comprised of Karolina Komstedt and Johan Angergård, the Ahus, Sweden-based electro pop duo Club 8 have a long-held reputation for being incredibly difficult to pigeonhole since their formation in 1995. Initially, the Swedish duo began as a Bossa Nova-inspired guitar pop act with the release of their debut effort, Nouvelle But with the 1998 release of their sophomore effort, The Friend I Once Had, the duo went through a complete and radical change of sonic direction, as that effort had the duo writing electro dance music. The duo’s next three albums, released between 2001 and 2003 had the duo switching things up with material that leaned towards indie soul.

Up until 2010, Angergård had served as produced — until the 2013 release of Above The City; however, Angergård takes up production duties on the duo’s soon-to-be released Pleasure slated for a November 20 release through Labrador Records. And as Komstedt explains in press notes, “Pleasure is an album about love, sex and jealousy. Musically, it is possibly our most focused release to date.” Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Late Night” is a swooningly wistful and melancholic song that looks at a love affair, viewing it as immediately exciting and passionate — that is until that initial excitement wanes and the bright colors of the relationship gently turn grey. At its very core, the song’s narrator clings to seemingly old-fashioned romantic dreams and notions, and their nostalgia, all while desperately wishing that feeling would come back. It seems to subtly suggest that while love is something that we all desperately desire, relationships with other people can be confusing and hellish — and yet, we want so badly that we’ll do anything for it.

Sonically, the song pairs wistful nostalgia with layers of glistening and undulating synths reminiscent of Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back,” and The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me?” and Komstedt’s hushed coos to craft a song that’s a slickly produced pop confection — but from the viewpoint of someone who’s been in a number of love relationships and has seen them repeatedly fail and yet remarkably hasn’t had their hope beaten down.

 

Multi-Grammy nominated, Grammy-winning, Canadian-Jamaican DJ and reggae vocalist Shaggy is probably best known for his mega-hit singles “Boombastic,” “It Wasn’t Me,” “Hey, Sexy Lady” and “Angel.”  More than enough ink has been spilled throughout Shaggy’s career but I will say that “Boombastic” and “It Wasn’t Me” are so hugely popular that you’ll still occasionally hear both of those songs at parties, more than 15 years after their initial releases.

Miami, FL-based pop artist Brika has been something of a mainstay on JOVM as I’ve written about her a number of times over the past year or so. And in that time, Brika received attention across the blogosphere for an electro pop sound that at times seemed to owe a debt to trip-hop and jazz. Interestingly, Brika recently covered Shaggy’s mega-hit “It Wasn’t Me,” turning the uptempo reggae song into a slow-burning, sensual neo-soul-leaning reggae reworking that completely changes the song’s melody while employing the use of strummed guitar, organ, skittering percussion, double bass and Brika’s breathy coos. Certainly, by having a woman sing the song’s lyrics, it creates a completely different interpretation of the song while retaining the original’s spirit.

Comprised of Karen O. (vocals), Nick Zimmer (guitar) and Brian Chase (drums), the New York-based trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been a critically and commercially successful act with the release of their four full-length efforts, Fever to Tell (2003), Show Your Bones (2006), It’s Blitz! (2009), and Mosquito (2014). Interestingly, out of all of their efforts, it’s the trio’s third full-length effort, It’s Blitz! that manages to be a major change in sonic direction for the band as the material primarily employs atmospheric electronics, layers of buzzing and undulating synths. And although the album’s first three or four songs are arguably the most dance-floor ready the trio have ever released, the album’s remaining songs manage to be moodily atmospheric. Interestingly, the entire album is an exercise in restraint as Zimmer’s guitar playing and Karen O’s vocals are carefully reined in.

Album single “Skeletons” is a spectral and atmospheric song that pairs gently undulating synths, gentle yet dramatic drumming and Karen O’s ethereal vocals in a song that gently builds up tension until the song’s quiet conclusion. The song evokes wisps of smoke curling upward and dissipating into the ether . . .

Comprised of three long-time friends, Liz Drummond, Hannah Field, and Annie Hamilton, the Australian-based trio Little May have quickly become one of their homeland’s most buzzed about bands with the release of their debut effort For The Company, which was released last month to critical praise from the likes of WNYC, Stereogum, Noisey, Billboard and others. And over the past month or so, the Australian trio had been on a lengthy North American tour, which ended last night; but before their tour ended, the Drummond, Field and Hamilton released a cover of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Skeletons” that features a gorgeous three part harmonies paired with guitar chords played through reverb, atmospheric electronics and military-styled drumming, which naturally changes the song’s arrangement. It’s a fairly straightforward cover — but it manages to be equally spectral and gorgeous cover nonetheless.

Over the course of this site’s five year history, I’ve written quite a bit about New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rene Lopez, who is among a group of incredibly talented and shamefully under-appreciated artists I’ve covered and have gotten to know in some fashion. And throughout those five years, Lopez has uncompromisingly refused to be pigeonholed into one particular genre. E.L.S. (short for Electric Latin Soul), Lopez’s 2011 release, saw the New York-based artist meshing salsa, boogaloo, old school hip-hop, merengue and electronica to create a sound that was a loving homage to Latino New York and to old school New York I grew up in, but with an inventive, modern re-interpretation. It’s an amiably swaggering, upbeat party album with sounds that grab you by the hand and pulls you towards the dance floor.

Paint the Moon Gold, his last and most recent full-length released in 2014 was comprised of stripped down compositions consisting of live instrumentation only — vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, horns, flute, etc. — while drawing deeply from salsa, and 70s Brazilian music. In some way, that material brought Lopez back to the music that his father played as a member of Tipica 73 — and is just as danceable; but importantly, the material on that album seemed to come from a deeply personal place, as lyrically and thematically,  the material expresses the thoughts, sentiments, regrets, compromises and desires of a worldly, experienced man, who has looked back at his life with a sense of amazement and disbelief and the recognition life is at times remarkably painful, remarkably strange and incredibly, profoundly wonderful — sometimes simultaneously.

Lopez’s most recent recorded effort, Love Has No Mercy was released at the end of last year, and from his previous efforts it would seem to be the most dramatic change of sonic direction in his career as the material is comprised of slinkily seductive synth-based R&B and funk, inspired by Prince, The Gap BandRick JamesChic and others. However, as Lopez had told me in an interview, he grew up in a household where salsa and merengue and disco were routinely played, and his first band The Authority was deeply influenced by his love of the aforementioned Prince. So in some way, Lopez has come back full circle.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of months, you may recall that I wrote about Lopez’s then-recently released single “Heavy, Baby Heavy,” a single that not only continues Lopez’s long-held fascination and love of all things funk, but was also the first released single in his Jam of the Month series. (Presumably, the Single of the Month series is meant to build up buzz for a new recorded effort, which he and his backing band have been working on for quite some time.) The third single of the Single of the Month series, “Trouble Lovin’ Lady” consists of squiggling and trembling synths, a brass section that punctuates the song’s chorus, a sinuous and funky bass line, propulsive drums in a song that channels Rick James’  “Ghetto Life,” “Give It To Me,” and “Superfreak,” The Gap Band’s “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” and others — but with a sexy horn solo at the song’s bridge; in fact, the song sounds as though it could have easily been released in 1982. Simply put it’s a funky, party-friendly song that drive you to the dance floor — right now.

Tale Of Us is a Berlin-based production and electronic music artist duo comprised of Carmine Conte and Matteo Milleri. And over the course of the past five years, the duo of Conte and Milleri have developed an internationally recognized reputation for material that possesses an exacting precision (they’ve been known to discard hundreds of tracks in their search for the perfect beat, the perfect sound) and for techno that’s deeply emotive.

“North Star,” the the first single off their double A side “North Star”/”Silent Space” consists of layers of shimmering and undulating synths, tweeter and woofer rocking low end, skittering percussion to craft a song that’s reminiscent of both Snap!‘s “Rhythm Is A Dancer” and Octo Octa‘s “Please Don’t Leave” in the sense that all three songs are atmospheric yet carefully composed club bangers in which, notes are never wasted.

Innocent? is a New York-based emcee, who first received attention across the blogosphere with the release of the Love It or Hate It double album. The New York-based emcee teamed up with Brooklyn-based Stan Da Man on Love It’s follow-up, Whip Appeal, which T.H.E.M. Recordings released last month.

The EP’s latest single “Old Souls” is a bonus track off Love It and it features Innocent? and the legendary Sadat X rhyming about how things were done back in the day and how today, it’s a much more phony, superficial and distrustful hip-hop industry and scene for artists — and even fans. And they manage to do so over a sample consisting of boom-bap beats and a looped, bluesy guitar that gives the song an old school, stomping, shuffling swagger. It’s yet another example of real hip-hop — of talented emcees spitting fire over dope beats.

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past two months or so, you’d know that I’ve been experimenting with a monthly Spotify playlist, which features the songs I’ve reviewed throughout the past month, as well as the songs I’ve mentioned as references or influences. It should create an extremely eclectic and extensive playlist, and can sever as a way for you to catch up on the past month. In fact, this month we start off with the legendary Lee “Scratch” Perry, cover punk rock, indie rock, indie electro pop and more, before we end with the Danish indie electro pop duo, Reptile Youth.

Of course, there are a few occasions where some songs aren’t available as of the time of posting — and there’s a chance you might see them later on in the process. But in the meantime, check it out; it’s the perfect way to catch up with the goings on over the month.

Sam Shepherd is a London-based composer/producer, whose solo recording project Floating Points will be releasing his debut effort, Elaenia through Luaka Bop Records in the States and Pluto Records in the UK on November 6. And the album’s first single “Silhouettes I,II, III” pairs a jazz fusion-inspired arrangement consisting of keyboards and drums paired with layers of glitchy and undulating, ambient electronics in a way that’s reminiscent of Bonobo‘s The North Borders and Return to Forever‘s Romantic Warrior, as the composition is slow-burning and gorgeous while being simultaneously cinematic and intimate.

Shepherd is embarking on a tour to support the soon-to-be released effort and it’ll including a set during the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. And from what I understand, Shepherd will be performing material of Elaenia with an 11 piece orchestra. So that should be something else, if I must say so, myself.

Check out tour dates below.

Floating Points Live Tour Dates

Oct 30 – Utrecht, NL – Catch Festival
Oct 31 Leuven, BE – Het Depot
Nov 2 – Paris, FR – New Morning
Nov 5 – Turin, IT – Club to Club
Nov 7 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg. Ticket info HERE.
Nov 17 London, UK – Islington Assembly Hall