Comprised of Jordan Rose Brzezinski (vocals), Philip Shoemaker (synths, keys and guitar). Russell Augustin (guitar) and Bryan Hart (drums and samples), the Chicago, IL-based quartet Sexy Fights specialize in a slick, dance floor ready sound that […]
Comprised of brothers Adam Lyons (vocals) and Nathan Lyons (keyboards), along with Patrick Huerto (guitar), Tommy Davis (bass), James Alexander (drums), the Gold Coast, Australian-born and now Manchester, UK-based sextet Fairchild have developed a growing international profile for an 80s inspired, hook-laden synth pop sound. The sextet’s latest single “Breathless” further cements the band’s reputation for 80s inspired synth pop; however, while their previously released material was rousingly anthemic, the new single is slow-burning, sensual, and moodily atmospheric in a way that’s reminiscent of The Fixx’s “Saved by Zero” as four-to-four drumming, swirling electronics, slowly cascading synths, shimmering guitar chords played through layers of reverb are paired with Adam Lyon’s soulful crooning and a slinkily sexy groove.
Produced by friend and frequent collaborator Catherine Marks, best known for her work with Foals, The Killers and Wolf Alice, the single not only reveals a subtle refinement of the sound that first won them international attention, it also inspired a change in their songwriting process. As the story goes, the time the members of the band spent writing “Breathless” actually inspired a series of pre-production jam sessions and songwriting sessions over the course of four months that had each band member contributing ideas unencumbered and unhindered by genre expectations. At times members of the band worked individually and in small groups, sometimes swapping instruments, sharing ideas and thoughts on bits of grooves, riffs and beats and as they did so they began to see and feel even more parallels between their recorded efforts and their influences.
From listening to “Breathless,” I can tell you that the song is arguably the most self-assured, loosest and sexiest song that they’ve released to date, and that seems to stem from the songwriting sessions that birthed it. Granted, if you were familiar with them before, it’s a subtle refinement of their sound but the hooks are sharper and laser focused. And while their material had always been emotionally direct, the new single pairs that directness with a deeper commitment to setting a particular mood. Be on the lookout for a new EP from the Australian-born, British-based band sometime in 2016.
Originally begun as a solo side project from her time with Vivian Girls and All Saints Day, Katy Goodman’s current musical project La Sera has developed a national profile with three critically applauded albums, her self titled debut, Sees the Light and Hour of the Dawn, which were released through Hardly Art Records. Goodman’s last album, 2014’s Hour of the Dawn was very much a punk-inspired album; however, with the release of “High Notes,” the first single from her forthcoming album, Music For Listening To Music To reveals an artist, who has gone through both personal and artistic transitions. Sonically and structurally, the song reveals that Goodman has returned to an elegant and solid simplicity — it pairs the sort of shimmering guitar chords of The Smiths and the propulsive, old-school chugging rhythm of Johnny Cash (in particular, think of “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Jackson” and countless others) with Goodman’s wistfully ethereal coos. And interestingly enough La Sera has added personnel to flesh out the project’s sound — Goodman’s guitarist, cowriter and husband Todd Wisenbaker, who is probably best known as a member of Listening To Music To‘s producer Ryan Adams‘ backing band.
Of course, “High Notes” makes a vital connection between punk, post-punk and renegade country that countless others have done before while possessing a sneering, real life irony that many of us have faced before — after a breakup, taking the high road not because you actually believe that it’s the best thing but for appearances and because you want to get the last word. It’s probably the most honest and heartfelt sentiment I’ve come across in quite some time.
Bloodline is an extremely mysterious production group who have received quite a bit of buzz across electronic music and electronic dance music circles for a sound that’s deeply influenced by 90s house, as you’ll hear on their slickly produced latest single “Tribute,” a song club-rocking classic house song comprised, looped vocal samples, layers of staccato synths and tweeter and woofer rocking beats. Sonically, the song manages to bear an uncanny resemblance to a club banging, house music standard, Inner City‘s “Good Life.”
The mysterious production group’s debut effort, EP1 has received quite a bit of attention, as it reached Traxsource‘s Top 10 List, and building upon that buzz, the group will be releasing its follow up, EP2 shortly.
Much ink has been spilled on the London-based quartet The Psychedelic Furs of the course of their almost 40 year recording career. And if you were a child of the 80s as I was, the band will likely hold a dear place in your heard — especially if you loved Pretty in Pink. “Love My Way” is one my favorite Psychedelic Furs songs — and interestingly, Grace Vonderkuhn, a Wilmington, DE-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, developing a reputation for a sound that meshes psych rock, garage rock and pop recently covered “Love My Way.”
Vonderkuhn’s cover retains the song’s familiar melody and anthemic hooks but slows the song’s tempo down to a slow-burning, trippy shuffle consisting of layers of feedback, blistering guitar work and thundering drum, turning the song into a broodingly bluesy wail.
Comprised of Oso Dope, Shine Sinatra, Shadow the Great and Kidaf, the New York-based hip-hop collective Loaf Muzik formed back in 2011 and have built up a growing national profile as they’ve been praised by the likes of The Source, Complex, Green Label, Hip-Hop DX and others for a sound that pairs soul and jazz samples, modern, tweeter and woofer rocking beats with an attention to dope rhymes and lyricism. And as a result they’ve shared stages with the likes of renowned acts including Vince Staples, Danny Brown, Theophilus London, D’Angelo, and Mos Def and others.
Produced by Brooklyn-based producer Harry Fraud, best known for his work with Wiz Khalifa, The Weeknd and French Montana, the collective’s latest single “Pastor Spliff” pairs a slick production consisting of twinkling keys, skittering and stuttering drum programming and brief bursts of shimmering guitar with emcees with tongue-twisting flows full of complex inner and outer rhyme schemes and word play, as the song subtly channels golden age-era hip-hop.
With the release of their debut single “Can’t Afford to Lose You,” the Norwegian electro pop duo BLØSH, comprised of Madrid-born, Oslo, Norway-based cellist and vocalist Teresa Bernabé and guitarist Jørgen Berg Svela, an Oslo native, the duo quickly found themselves with an expanding international profile, thanks in part to a breezy and infectious pop-leaning sound. Already, the duo have seen praise and attention from JaJaJa Music, Indie Shuffle and airplay on Amazing Radio.
Building on the buzz that they’ve already received, the duo’s newest single “Give It Away” is “about not taking life — or the situations that life puts you in — too seriously,” as the duo explained in press notes. The song will likely cement the duo’s burgeoning reputation for crafting infectious pop as the song pairs an upbeat melody, punchy bass lines and a looping guitar line with Bernabé’s breezy vocals and soaringly anthemic hooks. Sonically speaking, the song draws from African music and African music-inspired pop — in particular Paul Simon‘s Graceland, the legendary Ali Farka Touré, and to my ears Afrobeat as the song and its funky and playful melody is built around the looping and angular guitar line. Simply put, the song is crafted and pure pop confection.
Over the past 24-26 months or so, the Gary, IN-based emcee Freddie Gibbs has joined a lengthy list of JOVM mainstays as I’ve written quite a bit about him. With the release of his 2009 compilation of […]
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.
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 Michel, Cool & 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 Temptations “Standing On The Top” The Whispers “And 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.