Category: New Single

 

Born in a musical household in which her mother was a successful vocalist and her father was a professional musician and businessman, Munich, Germany-based singer/songwriter, producer and DJ Sandy Dae followed her parents footsteps as a professional musician and vocalist.

Early in her career, the Munich-based vocalist, producer and DJ relentlessly experimented across a variety of genres to find her creative voice — her first release was melodic house but she followed that up with an R&B and hip-hop-based collaboration with another DJ. Dae also has had stints as a vocalist in an alternative/indie rock project and in a reggae project before eventually returning to electronic music. And when Dae returned to electronic music, she realized that she had been where she needed to be all along.

Sandy Dae’s latest single “Losing Myself” pairs the Munich-based artist’s sultry and jazz-leaning vocal stylings with a slick house music production — gorgeous keys, propulsive, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, distorted vocal samples, layers upon layers and an anthemic hook in a crowd-pleasing and club rocking song that manages to possess a naughty, come-hither quality while simultaneously being a kiss off to a potential lover, who could potentially be a time-waster and heartbreaker.

Renowned house music label Enormous Tunes will be officially releasing the single package on January 15 — and the single package will also have remixes from house duo Milk and Sugar and French, deep house producer Mark Lower.

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the course of 2015, you may recall that I wrote about  Berlin, Germany-based producer, electronic music artist and DJ Lennart Richter. Prolifically releasing a series of singles through renowned electronic music labels Sleazy G, East Project, G-Mafia Records, GUN PWDR, Ensis RecordsBlue Dye, Mondal Recordings and others, Richter quickly developed a reputation across his native Germany and internationally for exploring the gamut of electronic music subgenres including deep house, G house, nu-disco and several others with a slick, crowd-pleasing, club-rocking production. And as a result, Richter can claim several Beatport Top 25 releases under his belt, and his last EP, Berlin Brawling landed at #10 on the Beatport Indie Dance/Nu Disco Charts.

The Berlin-based electronic music artist, producer and DJ closed out 2015 with the release of “Hold Up,” a nu-disco and house track comprised of layers of shimmering and cascading synths, propulsive drum programming led by explosive cymbal shots and a looped vocal sample that comes in and out of the haze. Sonically, the song reminds me quite a bit of Octo Octa’s “His Kiss” an “Please Don’t Leave” off his fantastic Between Two Selves — or in other words, it manages to possess both a bracing iciness and a thoughtful soulfulness.

 

 

If you’ve been following this site at any point during its almost 6 year existence, you would know that I champion an incredibly diverse array of independent artists and labels from all over the world. And as a blogger and music critic, the ease that independent artists and labels can distribute and promote their music has been both wonderful and terrifying. It’s wonderful because independent labels often are at the forefront of reintroducing sadly forgotten yet influential artists or sadly forgotten artists, who were ignored because they were decades ahead of their time — and there are a bevy of artists, who are creating some incredible music that mainstream radio and media outlets just wouldn’t pay much attention to. Shame on them for not providing listeners and fans with the diversity and meaning that they so desperately seek. Let me make it clear, I have nothing wrong with the mainstream or mainstream artists. Jay Z is one of the greatest living emcees in hip-hop and no one can deny that. Beyonce has an incredible voice — and is one of the world’s most beautiful and desirable women. Adele has an incredible voice and I would pay to hear her sing the White Pages. Kanye West is one of the most influential artists and producers of contemporary music, not just hip-hop — and in my mind he’s a lock to the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. But let’s be honest here: those artists receive enough press for their music and exploits and my attention to them doesn’t really matter much.

Personally, I feel a responsibility to shed light on those artists that I think you as a reader would love and would have heard about if mainstream outlets and other sources were much more diverse. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over some time, you may recall that I’ve written about hip-hop act Atmosphere. Initially formed as as trio featuring Slug, Spawn D and Ant, the trio had been a part of the Headshots crew, a collective that also featured acts like The Abstract PackPhull Surkle, Black Hohl, Beyond. Back in the mid 90s, the collective’s profile was growing around hip-hop circles and building on the buzz that the Headshots crew was receiving, a much-anticipated compilation featuring tracks by each artist of the crew was slated for release.  Sadly, the compilation was never released and an opportunity for many of these artists to receive greater attention was squandered; however, to be fair, Atmosphere, in particular are beloved in indie hip-hop circles and they’re still quite prolific.

Atmosphere’s latest single “My Better Half” was written as a tribute to Slug’s wife, who he says he actually met at a German bar on a Wednesday. And as much as its about stumbling upon someone who perfectly complements you and understands you — to the point that you have your own language and rhythms; the song is also uses the same metaphor for how it feels to stumble upon something that’s your life’s calling. And much like Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth‘s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” the song possesses a deeply introspective feel — subtly thrown in is the sweet sense of amazement, wonder and gratitude that some larger force bestowed luck on you, as well as an acknowledgement that finding real and meaningful love is lucky and rare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just in time to close out the year, the members of Radiohead announced that last year, they were approached to write a theme song for the latest James Bond film, Spectre. Knowing that the studio and the film’s director went with Sam Smith‘s “Writing On The Wall,” it’s pretty obvious that someone decided that Radiohead’s “Spectre” just wasn’t going to work out — although to be honest, “Spectre” is a gorgeous,moody and dramatic jazz-inspired composition that sounds as though it could have been on Amnesiac or King of Limbs. To my ears, what makes the song so strange is that Radiohead’s theme song as though it could have been part of an art-house film about consumerism, greed, alienation and regret, while capturing the tone and feel of a Bond film.

 

The Insurrectionists is the solo recording project of  young, up-and-coming 20-something, New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Casey K, who began playing the guitar when he had turned 10. Using songwriting as an outlet for his frustrations and pain of growing up in a broken home, The Insurrectionists actually began as a full-fledged band featuring Casey K., his brother and a friend in 2005 before eventually morphing into its current solo format. But whether as a trio or as a solo act, the project has been largely influenced by a diverse array of acts and genres including Nirvana and Brand New while incorporating elements of piano ballads and piano rock, as well as synths and electronic music.

With the 2013 release of his debut EP, SquarePeg/RoundHole and several other singles, Casey K. has received praise for anthemic alt rock/indie rock with driving rhythms and lyrics that explore and discuss the modern condition — including the hellish company of people, messy lust and desire and more. “Diet Coke,” the first single off The Insurrectionists’ soon-to-be released album, I Gave You The Moon But You Wanted The Stars will likely cement Casey K.’s burgeoning reputation for writing a song with an anthemic and infectious hook, earnest vocals and driving rhythms — but it also sounds as though it draws from New RadicalsYou Get What You Give” but with a harder, grittier edge, while possessing a dreamy feel. The song suggests that the young singer/songwriter and multi-instruemtalist has an innate ability to craft an infectious radio-friendly hook that also manages to be subversive.

 

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If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’d likely know that as this site has developed an increasingly international focus, that I’ve seen an enormous amount of emails from producers, artists, band managers, record labels and label execs from all over the world — and occasionally some rather far-flung places, too. Recently, I received an email from an Uppsala, Sweden-based electronic music trio Bucky.

Comprised of three childhood friends, Fredrik Akogan, Anton Linqvuist and Jonas Skosberg, Bucky’s latest single “Haunting Me” is a slickly produced, anthemic and radio-friendly club banger consisting of shimmering synth stabs, big tweeter and woofer rocking drops paired with sultry vocals and infectious hooks. Listening to the song, it’s the sort of song that you can envision kids lustily shouting along to the hook in a club.

 

 

Comprised of husband and wife duo, Keith Kenniff (multi-instrumentalist/producer), also known for his work as Helios and Goldmund and Hollie Kenniff (vocals and primary songwriter),  Portland, OR-based duo Mint Julep started in 2007 with relatively modest intentions –an attempt to get the normally shy Hollie Kenniff to sing more. Initially, the duo’s sound drew from early 90s shoegaze but eventually their sound gradually became influenced by electronic music through the duo’s admiration of rough edged sounds of industrial electronica, which Hollie was a big fan of, and punk rock, which Keith was a big fan of. As Keith Kenniff explained in press notes, “It took us a while to suss out whether this was something we were just going to have fun with, or if we’d actually release our music. But we ended up keeping at it, and now we’re at the point where we’ve created something with its own sound that’s very unique to us.”

The Portland-based duo’s sophomore effort, Broken Devotion was written over a four year period with the duo’s sound reportedly being more lush and intricately layered than their debut effort, Save Your Season while thematically the material explores both the light and dark dimensions of love. “White Hot Heart,” Broken Devotion‘s first single pairs a driving, motorik groove, layers of shimmering and undulating synths and Hollie Kenniff’s ethereal coos in a slickly produced and moody pop song with a shimmering and breezy melody. Sonically, the song is clearly indebted to the synth pop of Pet Shop Boys — think of “West End Girls” for example — as the song possesses a hazy nostalgia over a love affair that has slowly unravelled before the narrator’s eyes while being danceable.

 

 

 

Jonathan Hoard is a Columbus, OH-born, New York-based singer/songwriter, vocal arranger and teacher, who has had a lengthy history performing and recording with a number of Grammy Award-winning artists and producers including Regina Belle, Tracy Pierce, Richard Smallwood, Rashad McPherson and DivinePURPOSE and his father, Stellar Award– nominated artist Ronald Hoard as a background vocalist. And with as the frontman of his own act, J. Hoard and The Greenhouse People, Hoard and company has opened for Dwele; however, I’m actually most familiar with Hoard through his work with Gentei Kaijo, the backing band to the popular soul/funk/hip-hop residency The Lesson.

Here’s where things get interesting. Earlier this month, I was at the Women In Music Holiday Party at Le Poisson Rouge when I ran into Melany Watson and a producer/songwriter and guitarist Greg Seltzer. And while chatting with Seltzer, he told me that he recently produced a song by J. Hoard featuring Rabbi Darkside. “Tidal Wave” pairs subtle soul clap-percussion and skittering drum programming with icily swirling synths, guitar chords played through reverb and twinkling keyboards with Hoard’s soulful falsetto which express ache, desire, and joy within a turn of a phrase. Rabbi Darkside contributes a silky smooth 16 bars at the song’s bridge about being in a seemingly turbulent situation and at the mercy at something far larger than yourself in a song that metaphorically views a tidal wave as both destructive and as a cleansing force — all while possessing a a quiet, understated self-determination.

 

 

 

 

Istanbul, Turkey-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Gunes Alpman first won the attention of the blogosphere and this site in 2011 with his then-solo recording project Alpman, which was heavily influenced by 60s psychedelia, funk, surf rock, cinematic scores and 60s recording techniques in a sound that he has publicly described as “spychedelic.”

Last year, Alpman recruited Umut Çetin, Ali Somay and Baran Göksu to assist in fleshing out his sound as his backing band, The Midnight Walkers and have been writing, recording and performing across Turkey. His latest single “After Work,” is the second release of a monthly release series, pairs propulsive percussion, handclaps, twinkling synths and a throbbing bass line in a song that not only may arguably be the funkiest single he’s released to date, but also a single that sounds as though it’s indebted to 70s and 80s funk, complete with a dusty, analog-like sound and a cinematic flair. Interestingly, listening to this single reminds me of Shawn Lee and Tim “Love” Lee‘s funky, analog era-sounding collaboration  New York Trouble/Electric Progression.