Category: New Single

 

Over the last half of 2015 and the beginning of this year, you’d likely come across one of JOVM most recent mainstay artist, Raleigh, NC-based funk and soul artist Jamil Rashad and his solo recording project Boulevards. Describing his sound as “party funk jams for the heart and soul to make you move,” Rashad’s work caught my attention as it draws from the classic funk sounds of Earth, Wind and FirePrinceRick JamesChic, the production work of Quincy Jones – most notably Off the Wall and Thriller-era Michael Jackson, as well as Talking HeadsGrace Jones, and Cameo among others. Unsurprisingly, those acts were the sounds that he listened to as a child — although his teenage interest in punk, hardcore and metal also influenced his own songwriting and production work. And with the release of his Boulevards EP, Rashad quickly put himself on the map as part of a growing neo-disco/neo-funk movement that includes several other JOVM mainstays including Dam-FunkEscortRene Lopez, and several others.

April 1 will mark the highly-anticipated release of Rashad’s Boulevards full-length debut, the aptly titled Groove! Now you may recall that last month, I wrote about Groove!‘s first single “Cold Call,” an 80s synth R&B and pop-inspired single comprised of layers of wobbling and shimmering synth stabs paired with a sinuous bass line, Rashad’s seductive cooing, warm blasts of horn and an anthemic hook in a slow-burning jam that channels Cameo’s “Word Up!” and “Candy,” Oran “Juice” Jones‘ “The Rain” Adding to the period specific feel, are the brief interludes with Rashad seemingly flirting and coming on to the listener. The album’s second and latest single “Up On On Your Love” continues Rashad’s burgeoning reputation for dance party worthy, sensual funk as it pairs shimmering synths, propulsive drumming, shimmering Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar chords, handclaps around the infectious hook and Rashad’s sexy come ons — and although the song sonically manages to resemble The JacksonsCan You Feel It?,” it may arguably be the sexiest single on the album to date. Like the rest of Rashad’s work it’s sexy yet incredibly danceable, especially around the percussive “Burn This Disco Out” like bridge.

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John Carpenter is a director, screenwriter, producer, editor and composer most commonly known for working in some of the most beloved and influential, horror and science fiction films of the 70s and 80s, including Dark Star (1974), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978),The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981)The Thing (1982), Christine (1983), Starman (1984), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987), and They Live (1988) — with the Halloween theme being one of the most recognizable themes in movie history.

Last year, Carpenter released his first album of non-soundtrack based music, Lost Themes to critical praise from an impressive array of major media outlets including The GuardianThe New York TimesThe TimesUncutThe WireThe Los Angeles TimesNPRPitchforkVanity FairNewsweekBillboardEntertainment WeeklyArtforumThe Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and others. Additionally, the album was one of the most commercially successful albums released in Sacred Bones Records history, as the album debuted on the Top 100 Charts in both the UK and US.

Unsurprisingly, the album, which was recorded with his son Cody Carpenter and the fameddirector, producer and composer’s godson Daniel Davies, the album confirms the fact that John Carpenter’s sound and aesthetic was not only ahead of its time but manages to be timeless and powerfully influential — with the work of artists like Red Traces, Umberto and others being deeply indebted to John Carpenter and his film scores. Now interestingly enough Carpenter closed out the last half of 2015 with the release of Lost Themes Remixed, an album that featured remixes from the likes of Zola JesusSilent ServantFoetus‘ JG Thirwell, Skinny Puppy‘s ohGr, PAN Records‘ Bill Kouligas, and Uniform.

The incredibly prolific Carpenter will be releasing a sequel to Lost Themes Lost Themes II which is slated for an April 15 release through Sacred Bones Records. The material on Lost Themes II is inspired by a change in the creative process with Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies and the acclaimed producer writing, working revising and recording in the same studio — and with all three collaborators working together, the result was a more focused effort, completed on a compressed schedule, in a similar fashion to Carpenter’s early films. Additionally, the material is much more nuanced and lush, as the trio of collaborators added acoustic and electric guitar to flesh out the material, as well as add texture.

Lost Themes II‘s first single “Distant Dream” pairs John Carpenter’s unmistakable minimalist synths with live drums, bursts of angular guitar and bass chords, and swirling electronics in a moody and tense composition that sounds as though it could be part of a taut, psychological thriller set in a dystopian future.

 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about  Atlanta-based trio  and JOVM mainstay The Coathangers. In the the decade since their formation, the band has released four full-length albums and have gone on a number of North American and European tours, which have cemented their reputation for writing incredibly catchy songs — and for unruly live shows. Back in 2014, during the recording sessions for Suck My Shirt, the band went through a lineup change as Candice Jones left the band, making the band a trio comprised of Julia Kugel (vocals and guitar), Meredith Franco (bass), and Stephanie Luke (drums). Naturally, as a result of the lineup change, the newly-constituted trio’s fourth full-length effort, Suck My Shirt revealed a refined songwriting approach in which the album’s material still retained the raw, seemingly spontaneously simplicity and fury that has won them national and international attention — but with streamlined, more direct arrangements that made the material feel more urgent.

Make It Right,” the first single off the band’s soon-to-be released fifth full-length album Nosebleed Weekend continued in the same lines of their previous effort as it possessed a similar primal simplicity — in other words although it nodded at garage rock and surfer rock, there was an underlying sneering, “we don’t give a fuck” attitude. The album’s latest single and album title track “Nosebleed Weekend” pairs their signature sneering “zero fucks given” attitude with an anthemic hook that you can imagine a room full of sweaty concertgoers lustily yelling along with upraised fist and in a way that’s reminiscent of 90s alt rock.  In particular, I’m reminded of L7, Hole and Bikini Kill but angrier and seemingly fueled on whiskey.

 

Tomorrow marks the release of Mavis Staples’ latest album Livin’ On A High Note and the album will reportedly reference and draw from her 60+ year musical career influencing and defining gospel, soul, folk, pop, R&B, blues rock and even hip-hop — and that shouldn’t be surprising.  But the most interesting and compelling aspect of Livin’ On A High Note is that Mavis recruited a number of diverse and critically applauded contemporary artists to write songs specifically for her including Neko Case, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Nick Cave, Ben Harper, tUnE yArDstUnE yArDs, Aloe Blacc, Benjamin Booker, The Head and the Heart and M. Ward — with Ward also taking up production duties. As the legendary soul singer explained in press notes “I’ve been singing my freedom songs and I wanted to stretch out and sing some songs that were new. I told the writers I was looking for some joyful songs. I want to leave something to lift people up; I’m so busy making people cry, not from sadness, but I’m always telling a part of history that brought us down and I’m trying to bring us back up. These songwriters gave me a challenge. They gave me that feeling of, ‘Hey, I can hang! I can still do this!’ There’s a variety, and it makes me feel refreshed and brand new. Just like Benjamin Booker wrote on the opening track, ‘I got friends and I got love around me, I got people, the people who love me.’ I’m living on a high note, I’m above the clouds. I’m just so grateful. I must be the happiest old girl in the world. Yes, indeed.”

Now you might recall that I wrote about album single “High Note.” The single focuses on something that’s much easier said than done for most of us — taking the higher road despite how hurt, betrayed and disgusted you might be over a particular person or a particular situation, and doing so with grace and dignity. At the same time, the song’s narrator points out that taking the higher road requires wisdom and experience — sometimes embittering and hurtful ones to know when and how to do so. Sonically, the song pairs a loose and bluesy guitar line with Mavis’ legendary vocals in a song that radiates a comforting and soulful warmth that says “hey, I’ve been there, too.”

Recently, two more singles from the album were released — the Nick Cave penned “Jesus Lay Down Beside Me” and the tUnE yArDs penned “Action.” “Jesus Lay Down Beside Me” pairs slow-burning and bluesy guitar chords with Mavis Staples’ unmistakable vocals in what may arguably be the most gospel-leaning song on the entire album as the song’s narrator offers Jesus comfort for his suffering — with the understanding that even for the most religious their faith can seem both distant and easily questioned. “Action” is a shuffling and upbeat call and response-based song in which its narrator says that desperate times often require desperate measures — and that when you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, that you’re getting up off your ass and doing something. And much like Charles Bradley‘s “Change For The World,” “Action” points out that civilization’s current plight is untenable and unsustainable until we’ve had enough and change it. It seems like we all need to listen to the old-timers, huh?

 

KCPK is a French production and electronic music artist trio, who have have been making a name for themselves as pioneers of the Rémoise scene along with the likes of Yuksek, Brodinski and The Shoes, as well as their frequent collaboration with PANIK, a club night best known for hosting the likes of Groove Armada, Laurent Garnier and Amon Tobin. And adding to a growing international profile, the act has collaborated with the likes of Woodkid, The Chemical Brothers and Two Door Cinema Club.

February 26 will mark the release of their Who Wants It remix EP and the EP’s first single “Who Wants It” pairs KCPK’s club rocking production consisting of huge, propulsive arena rocking beats, kick drum, handicaps, buzzing guitar chords, chilly staccato synths with swaggering, braggadocio-filled bars from Philadelphia-born emcee and producer STS. Interestingly, the song manages to bridge festival-friendly house music with trap hop/trap house in a way that feels playfully inventive and fresh.

 

 

Over the six year history of this site, I’ve written quite a bit about New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rene Lopez, who is not only among a group of artists I first wrote about when I started things here, he is also one of JOVM‘s earliest mainstay artists. And throughout the past six years, Lopez has uncompromisingly refused to be pigeonholed into one particular genre — Lopez has managed to mesh salsa, boogaloo, old-school hip-hop, meringue and electronica into one cohesive whole on E.L.S. (short for Electric Latin Soul); salsa and 7os Brazilian music on his most deeply personal effort Paint the Moon Gold; and slinkily seductive synth-based R&B and funk, inspired by Prince, The Gap Band, Rick James, Chic and others on Love Has No Mercy and its subsequent releases. This shouldn’t be surprising as Lopez has told me in an interview, he grew up in a household where salsa, merengue and disco were frequently played — and his first band The Authority was deeply influenced by his love of Prince and funk. So in some way, Lopez has come back full circle.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM you may recall that I’ve written about Lopez’s “Heavy, Baby Heavy” and “Trouble Lovin’ Lady,” the first and third singles of his continuing Jam of the Month Series. Interestingly, monthly single series allows artists to be incredibly creative without concerning themselves with the strict thematic and lyrical structures of an album — while having firmly set deadlines to complete and release material. The latest single in the series “Watch Me Turn It Up” is a warm, strutting and marching New Orleans meets Parliament Funkadelic and The Meters funk that features Lopez teaming up with the legendary George Porter, Jr. and Ivan Neville, and a ridiculous horn section. If it doesn’t make you want to get up and shout from your seat, nothing in this life will.

 

 

Originally known for her work in electro pop projects Her HabitsGemology and others, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist Joanie Wolkoff has been a JOVM mainstay artist before striking out on her own last year with her solo recording project Wolkoff. In fact, 2015 was a very big year for the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based artist — she collaborated with renowned electronic act The Hood Internet on “Going Back,” a single released to massive praise across the blogosphere, including several major media outlets, including Vice Noisey and Billboard — and as you can imagine resulted in a growing national profile for Wolkoff.

Interestingly, Wolkoff’s previously released work channeled the contemporary electro pop sound of acts like BeaconSeoul (both of whom are also JOVM mainstays) and others — in other words eerily minimalist productions consisting of icy synth stabs and woofer and tweeter rattling bass paired with plaintive vocals. However, her ongoing collaboration with young, up-and-coming producer Icarus Moth, which started with the release of the Talismans EP has set the duo apart from the pack as Icarus Moth’s production reveals a deliberate and painterly approach. While drawing from contemporary electro pop and world dance music, the young producer has developed a reputation for pairing big beats, swirling electronics and lush layers of synths with medieval-sounding instrumentation in a way that evokes brushstrokes across a canvas — as you’ll hear on EP single “Curve Appeal,” and others.

Building upon the buzz the duo received last year, Wolkoff and Icarus Moth are set to release Wolkoff’s full-length debut Without Shame on April 15. Lyrically and thematically, the material on the album explores the role shame has in our lives and perhaps more importantly the possibility of sidestepping its grip on us through breaking rank and venturing into the unknown. And as a result, the material on the album may be among the most deeply personal — and yet profoundly universal — material she’s released to date. Without Shame‘s first single “The Homecoming” pairs big tweeter and woofer rattling bass with skittering drum programming, swirling and ambient electronics, Eastern-tinged instrumentation and Wolkoff’s coquettish cooing, and in some way the song possesses the dreamy and ethereal feel of Swedish dream pop — think of Moonbabies‘ excellent Wizards on the Beach and The Knife but subtly filtered through chip tune and old school house music. Thanks to its accessibility, the song manages to be both radio-friendly and club-friendly — but it also reveals Wolkoff and Icarus Moth’s collaboration to be one of the most unique sounding collaborations I’ve come across in some time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up until last year, there hadn’t been many comprehensive photo-metal, pre-stoner rock compilations, until the Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA-based distributor Permanent Records record store, along with  RidingEasy Records released a carefully curated compilation of incredibly rare photo-metal and pre-stoner rock singles from the 60s and 70s on Brown Acid: The First Trip. Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi and RidingEasy Records’ Daniel Hall have complied a second volume of rare proto-metal and pre-stoner rock from the 60s and 70s, Brown Acid: The  Second Trip, which is slated (fittingly enough) for release on April 20.

Much like the first volume, the duo not only spent time collecting, compiling and then curating the material, they also spent a great deal of time tracking down the songs creators, often bands who haven’t been together in over 30 or 40 years, and encouraging them to take part in the entire process.  As Barresi explained in press notes for the first compilation, “All of (these songs) could’ve been huge given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.” And by having the artists actually participate in the entire process, it can give the artists and their songs a second chance at some much deserved attention — if not a second chance at success.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site, you may recall that just a few weeks ago, I wrote about The Second Trip‘s first single, Ash’s “Midnight Witch.” That single would likely remind many listeners of Mountain‘s “Mississippi Queen,” Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” and early Black Sabbath as layers of huge, sludgy and bluesy power chords were  paired with a driving rhythm and soulful vocals — but with a deeply psychedelic feel. Amazingly, although the song was originally released more than 35 years ago, it sounds and feels as though it could have been released today as several contemporary bands have adopted a similar sound, including the likes of Ecstatic Vision. The compilation’s second single Crossfield’s “Take It” manages to sound and feel like a surreal yet sensible amalgamation of Black Sabbath, The Rolling Stones, The Animals (in particular, “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”) and The Doors and others as blistering and scorching guitar chords are paired with soaring keyboard chords and thundering drumming with unusual tempo changes and chord progression changes that make the song feel and sound as though it were a prog rock precursor — all while giving the song an expansive, tripping off hallucinogens in the desert feel and tone.

 

 

Kine Sandbæk Jensen is a producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist, who has spent time in a number of musical project; however her latest solo recording project Pieces of Juno has Jensen exploring new musical territory. Her latest single “Valentine,” which she dedicates to “all the people who there who chose to be alone” and are “spending this day doing their own thing” pairs a gorgeous and cinematic melody created by chiming and shimmering synths with swirling electronics and tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap drum programming in a subtly Eastern-tinged production reminiscent of Icarus Moth‘s work with JOVM mainstay Wolkoff but with a house music sheen.
 

 

Over the almost six year history of this site, Katy Goodman and her current musical project   La Sera have become a JOVM mainstay. And over that period, La Sera, which was initially begun as a solo side project from Goodman’s time with Vivian Girls and All Saints Day developed a growing national profile with the release of three critically applauded albums — the project’s self-titled debut, Sees the Light and Hour of the Dawn. Each successive album had Goodman expanding upon and experimenting with her sound — with 2014’s Hour of the Dawn being the most punk-leaning album she had released to date. Goodman’s fourth and upcoming album, Music For Listening To Music To will further cement her reputation for continually expanding upon her sound, while revealing an artist show has gone through major personal and artistic transitions. In fact, one of the biggest personal transitions that has informed and inspired the album thematically and sonically is the fact that Goodman’s husband Todd Wisenbaker,  best known as a member of Music For Listening‘s producer Ryan Adams‘ backing band, has joined the project as a guitarist and cowriter.

Now, if you’ve been on this site in the past month or so, you may recall that I wrote about Music For Listening‘s first single “High Notes,” a song that paired the 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. “High Notes” makes a vital connection between punk, post-punk and renegade country that countless others have done before but while pointing out an irony at the heart of any relationship that’s busted up — that you may be take the high road, not because you actually believe it’s the best thing or the adult thing to do but because you want to appear as though you’re not as petty as you might really be and feel and because on another level you want to make sure that you’re the only one who could get the last word. And it may be the most honest and heartfelt sentiment you’ll come across in a song in some time.

The album’s latest single “I Need An Angel” is reminiscent of The Smiths “This Charming Man” and “Hand In Glove” as it pairs gorgeous and shimmering guitar chords and a propulsive rhythm with swooning and lovelorn lyrics sung from the prospective of the achingly and desperately lonely and unloved. Certainly, if you’ve ever been alone on Valentine’s Day — or if you’re alone, now — it’s a sentiment that feels deeply familiar.