Category: New Single

 

 

The up-and-coming Winnipeg, MB-based quartet Living Hour can trace their origins to basement jam sessions, writing dreamy songs inspired by the cinematic sky of their hometown. And as a result their sound, which possesses elements of shimmering guitar pop, swirling synths and ethereal vocals draws equally from classic shoegaze, dream pop and chillwave is both stunningly gorgeous and dramatic, as you’ll hear on their  latest single “Seagull,” a single that sounds as though it could have been released during 120 Minutes-era MTV — in particular think of Mazzy Star‘s “Fade Into You” and you’ll see exactly what I’m getting at.  (In other words, it’s the sort of song that would have been the soundtrack of an intense and fervent make out session — or would have been the soundtrack of a teenaged breakup.)

It’s been a busy year or so for the Canadian quartet. They contributed two songs to Family Portrait II, a vinyl compilation released by the London/Bristol-based label Art is Hard Records back in April and released a limited run cassette tape of their self titled debut effort through Bloomington, IN-based Tree Machine Records. But 2016 looks to be a breakout year for the band as they signed with Lefse Records, and will be releasing their full-length debut on February 19, 2016, which will be followed by a tour to support the effort. Check out some of the early tour dates below.

 

TOUR DATES:


March 3    Winnipeg, MB    The Good Will Social Club
March 4    Fargo, ND    The Aquarium
March 6    Des Moines, IA    Des Moines Social Club
March 7    Rock Island, IL    Rozz Tox
March 9    St Louis, MO    Foam
March 11    Denver, CO    Lion’s Lair
March 13    Phoenix, AZ     Trunk Space
March 18    Santa Barbara    CA    FUNZONE
March 19    Fresno    CA    Peeves Pub
March 22    Santa Cruz    CA    Bocci’s Cellar
March 25    Davis    CA    Third Art Space Collective
March 29    Portland    OR    The Analog Cafe
March 31    Bellingham    WA    Loudhouse
April 2    Rossland    BC    The Flying Steamshovel
April 3    Kamloops    BC    Zacks Coffee

Guaranteed that if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month or so, that you would have come across a couple of posts on the Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms. Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is probably best known for his work with AwolnationLiz PhairKelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, the duo have been thrust into the national spotlight for a sound that owes a debt from classic garage rock and pop such as Connie FrancisPasty ClineRoy OrbisonJohnny Cash, the girl groups of the early 60s and others —  but with a subtly modern (and anachronistic) twist that makes the sound seem as though it could have been part of a a Quentin Tarantino film.

The duo’s debut single “Betty” first gained the attention across the blogosphere for a subtly scuzzy, lo-fi-like garage-based guitar rock sound that would make you think of the aforementioned Roy Robison and Buddy Holly the song possesses a similar urgent and swooning Romanticism. The heartache expressed by Marlene’s aching vocals is a heartache that we all have known at some point — being desperately in love with a fickle and thoughtless lover, who you know will inevitably break your heart. Following up on the buzz from “Betty,” the duo released a hushed and spectral alternate version of Betty that featured Marlene’s vocals paired with a sparse arrangement that includes a subtly Bossa Nova guitar line. Sonically, the alternate version channels Patsy Cline — in par — in particular, “Crazy” and “Walkin After Midnight.” And as a result, the alternate version aches with a similar desperate loneliness and longing.

Pom Poms latest single “123,” is a swinging and swaggering 60s-inspired soul song in which the song’s narrator describes playing a cat-and-mouse game with a potential suitor, who the song’s narrator sets upon having as hers and hers only. And as a result, Marlene’s sultry and soulful vocals possesses a come hither and stop wasting my damn time quality. Sonically, the song pairs Marlene’s vocals with period specific staccato bursts of organ,  propulsive rhythms and some funky guitar chords; thematically (and to my ears), I’m reminded of several songs including Amy Winehouse‘s “Rehab,” and Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” as the song possesses a similar brassy confidence.

 

 

Adelaide, Australia-born and Palm Springs, CA-based singer/songwriter Sia has had quite a career, as she can trace her career’s origins to when she was the vocalist in Adelaide-based acid jazz act Crisp in the mid 1990s. After the band’s breakup in 1997, Sia released her debut effort, OnlySee through Flavoured Records and relocated to London, where she provided vocals for British duo Zero 7.

After the release of Healing Is Difficult, an album inspired and informed by the death of her-then boyfriend Dan Pontifex and Colour the Small One, the Australian-born singer/songwriter, who was deeply displeased with the fact that her work was struggling to connect with a mainstream audience, relocated to NYC and began touring the US. During a two year break in which she “retired” as a pop performer and focused on being a pop songwriter, Sia developed a reputation as go-to co-songwriter and songwriter as she’s credited with writing or co-writing songs for and by an incredibly diverse and impressive list of mega-hit artists. A short list of her writing credits include Ne-Yo‘s “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),Rihanna‘s “Diamonds,” Kylie Minogue‘s “Sexercize,”  Beyonce‘s “Standing On The Sun,” Katy Perry‘s “Double Rainbow,” Britney Spears‘ “Perfume,” Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts,” Christina Aguilera‘s “You Lost Me,” Lea Michele‘s “Cannonball,” Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte‘s “We Are One (Ole Ola),” and countless others. (This shouldn’t be terribly surprising as Sia’s sound and aesthetic draws from hip-hop, funk, soul and pop while managing to sound unlike any of her contemporaries.)

Interestingly, Sia’s first taste of international stardom came in a rather unexpected fashion. She initially wrote “Titanium,” for Alicia Keys but the song wound up being sent to EDM superstar David Guetta, who included Sia’s demo vocals on the song and released it as single in 2011. The song was a massive commercial success as it peaked on the top of record charts across the US, Australia and Europe. But it was “Chandelier,” the breakout hit off her sixth, full-length effort, 1000 Forms of Fear was a commercial and critical success. The single was nominated for four Grammys last year — Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video; and she nabbed several ARIA Awards and MTV Music Awards, which established the Australian-born singer/songwriter as an internationally-recognized star, in the same lines of the artists she had written for during her “retirement.”

Sia’s seventh, full-length album This Is Acting is slated for a January 29, 2016 release, and in an interview with NME, she has mentioned that the forthcoming album is much more pop-orientated than its predecessor. And interestingly enough, the album’s third and latest single “Alive” was co-written by Adele and was intended to be on Adele’s latest album 25. When you hear the song, you can actually hear Adele’s influence on the song — the piano-led introduction and the song’s soaringly anthemic hooks; however, as gorgeous as Adele’s voice is, the song just feels and sounds as though it just had to be Sia’s. Not to say that Adele hasn’t had profound experiences at a young age but lyrically, the song conveys a sense of wisdom, pride and triumph over life’s fucked up circumstances — deprivation (financial and emotional), heartache, despair, loneliness and worse. And when you hear Sia’s voice crack ever so slightly when she sings  “I’m still breathing/I’m still breathing/I’m alive,” during the song’s anthemic hook, it feels like a punch right in the ribs or in the solar plexus. Of course similarly to Gloria Gaynor‘s “I Will Survive,” the song possess an infectious “you can and will get through anything/you go-girl” optimism. It’s honestly the sort of song that the women of your life will lustily yell along to while driving to or from the club.

Recently Sia announced a remix package of “Alive” that features remixes and reworks from Maya Jane Coles, AFSHeeN, Boehm, Cahill and fellow Australian, Plastic Plates. In a recent interview with The Fader, the Australian producer was asked how the “Alive” remix came about, and as he explained to the publication, “Sia and I first met in Sydney 2001. Sam Dixon and I shared an apartment in Bondi and Sia crashed at our place. Until 2010, I played drums on Sia’s albums and toured around the world in her band. This is my 3rd remix for Sia, “Cloud” in 2010, “Chandelier” in 2014 and now “Alive.”Given our musical history, reinterpreting Sia’s vocals is effortless and pure joy for me.”

Plastic Plates’ rework turns the torch burning pop song into a slickly produced synth-based club-banger  as his production includes stuttering drum programming, cascading synths, wobbling and tumbling low-end, sirens and other assorted bleeps and bloops while retaining the song’s anthemic hooks and Sia’s achingly heartfelt vocals.

 

Typically, the majority of most Americans — hell,  most Westerners, really — are largely unfamiliar with music scenes and artists outside of the usual bastions of popular music — i.e., the US. the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Iceland and maybe a few outside of that sphere, such as Nigeria, South Africa, Mali and a few others. Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, there has been a increasing focus on presenting and covering artists from diverse backgrounds from all over the globe. And interestingly enough, one of those acts has been the Istanbul, Turkey-based indie rock/dream pop quartet The Away Days. Inspired by The Cure, Tame Impala and others, the quartet have developed a reputation in their homeland as being among the forefront of a Western-inspired indie rock scene. Their How Did It Start? EP was released to critical praise internationally from the likes of Seattle‘s renowned indie radio station KEXP, The Guardian, SPIN Magazine, Noisey, and the blogosphere. And with a growing international profile, the quartet went on a tour of the UK and made an appearance at SXSW.

It’s been close to 18 months since I’ve last written about them but in that time, they’ve been working on the material, which would eventually comprise their long-awaited and forthcoming full-length debut, slated for release sometime next year. The yet unnamed debut’s first single “Less Is More” is a lush and atmospheric song that features plaintive vocals paired with four-on-the-floor drumming, shimmering guitar chords, brief bursts of cascading synths, a sinuous bass line and soaring, anthemic hooks that sounds indebted to 80s New Wave and post-punk.

2016 looks to be a big year for the Turkish quartet as the band has been confirmed to make a return appearance at SXSW in March and will be announcing additional tour dates to support their debut. Hopefully, there will be a New York tour date or two!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Susie Wedderburn, Rick David, Jana Tyrrell, and Hannah Ashman, the London-based alternative  electro pop quartet Liskka have developed a reputation across the UK for a sound that draws from electro pop, contemporary R&B, glitch, dub step and other electronic music genres while managing to sound nothing like any of them. The British quartet’s latest single “Keep Me Awake” pairs warm blasts of horn, oboe and piano with glitchy synth stabs, stuttering kick drum and drum programming, swirling electronics, layers of vocals fed through vocoder and other effects with soulful vocals in a song that sounds inspired by Timbaland‘s influential production work with Missy Elliott think of a song like “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” Aaliyah‘s “Try Again,” Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” and others — but somehow even more futuristic, as though the song was produced in the year 2321.

 

The song manages to possess an eerie and otherworldly quality that stems from an overall sound that’s dense and yet incredibly delicate. To my ears, the instrumentation and the vocals sound as though they could snap if you were to put gentle pressure on them.

 

 

 

Finish electronic music act Husky Rescue have developed a reputation across both their native Finland and Scandinavia for a songwriting approach that focuses on restless experimentation — and for material that sonically and aesthetically walks a very careful tightrope between anxious tenseness and childlike innocence.  The band’s last album The Long Lost Friend will be re-issued worldwide on December 11 as a double album — the first album is comprised of original album’s eight previously released tracks; however, since the initial recording sessions and release of Long Lost Friend, vocalist Johanna Kalén left the band because of health issues, so the second album consists of material written by Marko Nyberg (vocals and production), and Antony Bentley (composer and musical director).

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month, you may recall that I’ve written about Husky Rescue and Long Lost Friend‘s first single “Deep Forest Green.” But some backstory may be a little necessary: According to press notes, there actually is a real story of a long lost friend that informs the material on original album. As the story goes, the long lost friend in question was someone Nyberg was particularly close to throughout most of his childhood — in fact, the two played music together and had a deep mutual understanding that comes from very close friendships. Sadly, the two friends lost touch with each other through most of their twenties, but while Nyberg was writing the songs on Long Lost Friend, he had regained contact with this dear friend. Reportedly, the material as a whole blends the literal and metaphorical, so the material manages to be about more than just one individual friendships — but varying states of emotional intimacy and how difficult and confusing it is to attain them.

Whereas album single “Deep Forest Green” seemed to sound as though it owed a sonic and thematic debt to the work of Bjork, Talking Heads and others, the album’s latest single “Far From The Storm,”pairs Kalén’s lovely yet ethereal vocals with gently strummed guitar chord sample, twinkling keys and gently undulating synths. The song concludes with coda that’s one part psychedelic and one part ominous as it features a towering and buzzing guitar solo. Sonically and structurally, the song seems as though it draws from Moonbabies fantastic Wizards on the Beach and Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” — or in other words, cinematic dream pop with an even breezier nature and catchy hooks.

 

 

 

 

 

Over the better part of the past year,  Detroit, MI-based duo Gosh Pith have become JOVM mainstays while winning the attention of the blogosphere for a sound and songwriting approach that focusses on capturing a specific feeling or sensation, rather than capturing a concrete narrative. considering that the duo, comprised of Josh Smith (vocals, guitar and production) and Josh Freed (samples, synths and production) reportedly started the project after a drunken and psychedelics fueled late night walk through the streets of Paris in which they found themselves moved and marveled by the sounds of their voices echoing of narrow streets, the focus on capturing mood before anything else shouldn’t be surprising. However, interestingly enough, over the past year the duo have been experimenting with their sound and songwriting approach over that same period of time — with their sound gradually becoming warmer and guitar becoming much more prominent and obvious throughout.

The Detroit-based indie electro pop duo close out a big 2015 with a set at Rough Trade on December 17 and with the release of their latest single “Gold Chain,” which the duo have described as “. . . a ratchet love song about the constant conflict between the meaningful and the meaningless.” Sonically the song pairs swirling electronics, bleeps and bloops, boom bap beats, skittering drum programming, strummed bluesy guitar chords with Freed’s earnest falsetto signing lyrics about longing for a particular lover, comparing them to a gold chain, which clearly has a financial value but doesn’t necessarily have a deep emotional meaning; in some way it’s a bizarre pick up line that’s both ridiculous and kind of endearing. Interestingly, the song may be the most R&B-leaning song the duo have released to date.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Mark Dobson, the creative mastermind behind the British electronic music sensation Ambassadeurs has developed a reputation as a producer and electronic music artist for a sound that employs the use of samples that have been processed beyond recognition and that’s informed by dub, hip-hop, jazz, and drum ‘n’ bass. And as result of his signature sound and production style, Dobson has also become a go-to producer as he’s done work for a number of renowned labels including Tru Thoughts, Ninja Tune, Moshi Moshi, Fat Cat, Wah Wah 45s, Universal, and Rough Trade — all while heading his own label, Lost Tribe Records and releasing a number of free singles for his rapidly growing fanbase. (He currently has 35,000 followers and his singles on SoundCloud have exceeded over 7 million plays.)

Dobson has received airplay from several BBC Radio 1 personalities,  as well as praise from the likes of The Fader, Mixmag, Vice, i-D, Clash, XLR8R and others, and as a result he has opened for the likes of renowned artists such as  ODESZA, Machinedrum, The Gas Lamp Killer, Danny Brown, Gold Panda, Daedelus and Kelpe, had a 15 date co-headline tour across North America with Daktyl and played at festivals such as Hard Day Of The Dead, Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, and The Sound You Need Festival.

2015 has been a rather busy and prolific year for the London-based electronic music artist and producer as his debut effort Patterns was released to critical praise earlier this year, along with a number of EPs. Building up on the increasing buzz and serving as a teaser for his forthcoming 2016 efforts, Dobson recently released his latest single “Halos,” which was written and recorded during a vacation in the country — and in some way that vacation has influenced the single’s sound as it is reportedly much more organic than his previously released work as layers of staccato synths are paired with skittering drum programming, swirling electronics and soulful vocal samples with warm bursts of strings and twinkling keys. Sonically, the song seems to be equally influenced by Peter Gabriel (think of “Shock the Monkey” and “Biko“) as it is by house music; as I listened to the song I was reminded of Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves. In other words, the material manages to be atmospheric and melodic, while possessing a cinematic quality.

 

 

 

Comprised of  Juan Ledesma, Charlie Woods, Alex Lopez, and Robert Villar, the Miami, FL-based indie dance pop quartet Krisp formed back in 2011, and over the past few years they’ve developed a reputation for a groove-based, 80s inspired synth pop sound that possesses elements of indie electro pop, chill wave and indie rock.

Their debut EP, Mamani Vice was released in 2012 to critical praise from the likes of Earmilk and Indie Shuffle, and as a result they’ve opened for the likes of LCD Soundsystem‘s Nancy Whang, Miami Horror, Junior Boys, Blood Orange and Holy Ghost! among others, which has expanded their profile nationally. Their follow-up EP Sonic Monarch which South Florida-based talent house Gummdrops will be releasing in January will be comprised of material that is a subtle change of sonic direction. As the band’s Alex Lopez mentioned to the folks at Indie Shuffle, “On our first EP, Mamani Vice, we used a lot of synths and electric drums. For the new material on Sonic Monarch EP, it’s more organic, because its instrument-driven. We’re still using Charlie Wood’s synths, but not Juan’s or mine. We’ve got a funk/indie/electronic style going.”

The EP’s first single “167” pairs layers of  atmospheric, shimmering and cascading synths, four-on-the-floor drumming, angular funk guitar chords, a sinuous bass line and plaintive vocals in a song that sounds indebted to 80s New Wave and post-punk — in particular, the song reminds me quite a bit of an atmospheric and propulsive version of The Fixx’s “The Sign of Fire,”and “Red Skies at Night” with a slight surf rock leaning; it’s a danceable and goofily fun song that manages to evoke watching American Bandstand in the mornings and singing along to your favorite songs.

Over the course of this site’s history, the profile, New York-based DJ, producer and remixer Rhythm Scholar has become a JOVM mainstay artist for a series of wildly inventive remixes, which featured his signature, genre-mashing, psychedelic-leaning sound packed with a number of obscure and recognizable samples throughout.  His latest work is a Girl Talk-like mashup that mashes two 80s mega-hits — Herbie Hancock‘s “Rockit” and Michael Jackson‘s “Bad,” that the producer, DJ and remixer has dubbed “Bad Rockit” which interestingly enough possesses a retro-futuristic and club banging feel and a larger-than-life, kick ass and name-taking swagger.