Category: singer/songwriters

New Video: Whose Rules Share Breezy and Anthemic “I Don’t Care”

Marius Elfstedt is a Norwegian producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who grew up on a flower farm in a Hasler, Norway, a rural area roughly an hour outside of Oslo. Four years ago, while exploring his family’s farm, he came came across an abandoned cabin and then re-purposed it into a recording studio, where he writes. produces and record music with his friends and artists like Dev Lemons, Tigerstate, Selmer, Ralph Castelli, Elah Hale, Isabelle Eberdean, Mall Girl, Svømmbesseng, Joe’s Truly, Bikelane, Fish, Overcity, Pikekyss, and others.

Elfstedt works and records his own material as Whose Rules. Back in 2020, the Norwegian producer and artist released his self-titled debut EP, which he followed up with a handful of collaborative releases with Dev Lemons.

The Norwegian producer and artist’s full-length debut, Hasler is slated for a February 22, 2023 through 777 Music. The album was created from the solitude found within the walls of pandemic-related isolation within the walls of his Hasler, Norway-based studio, in the middle of the Scandinavian wilderness. Wooden log walls, haplessly strewn posters, old second-hand couches and a teeming collection of guitars and synths helped create a perfect environment to escape into a world of creation.

Written and produced entirely by Marius, Hasler is the culmination of years of sonic experimentation and rumination — both melancholic and hopeful — over adolescence gradually blossoming into adulthood. Thematically and lyrically, the material touches upon loneliness. love, friendship and self-doubt while sonically the album pairs whiting electronics and indie rock.

Hasler‘s third and latest single “I Don’t Care” is a woozy yet breezily melancholic bop featuring shimmering, strummed acoustic guitar-driven melody, fluttering synths, and a buzzing guitar solo paired with Elfstadt’s languid, delivery, instantly catchy melodicism and a penchant for easy-going yet anthemic hooks. “This is the first track I made for this LP. After a long time with writer’s block, this song pops out of nowhere,”Elfstadt explains. “The dissonant guitar melody reminded me of Weezer’sUndone’ and ‘Say it Ain’t So‘ which I thought was dope.”

Directed and shot by Fabio Enzo, the accompanying video for “I Don’t Care” follows the Norwegian producer and artist on the family farm, at the studio and while watching a glorious sunset.

Gabriel da Rosa is a Cruz Alta, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist. Growing up in rural, southern Brazil with a radio DJ for a father, de Rosa was exposed to a wide variety of music from his his homeland. But it wasn’t until he moved to Los Angeles that he began curating Brazilian records and DJ’ing himself. 

da Rosa wound up bonding with Stones Throw Records‘ label head, founder, artist and DJ Peanut Butter Wolf over their shared love of Brazilian music. The Brazilian-born artist began writing his own bossa nova, inspired by traditional bossa nova but with a contemporary edge with Pedro Dom, a musician, who has worked with some of Brazil’s best, internationally known artists like Seu JorgeRodrigo Amarante, and Latin Grammy Award-winner Ian Ramil

The Brazilian-born artist signed to Stones Throw last year. The label released his debut single, “Jasmin parte 1,” a song that details the enchanted feelings of first meeting someone, but doubting whether that connection will actually last. As de Rosa puts it, “the song is about “wanting to remain in an eternal fairytale.”

His second single “Bandida” was a swooning and swaying, wine-drunk Bossa nova rooted in its creator’s thoughts while in solitude, featuring strummed guitar, da Rosa’s heartbroken and weary delivery and a mournful sax line parried with the genre’s traditional, shuffling rhythms. As da Rosa explains, the song came about after an idle night spent in, drinking wine and strumming his guitar. “The wine and my guitar brought out some bittersweet thoughts — all day, I’m surrounded by amazing people, real friends and acquaintances, but at the end of the day, I’m alone,” he says. 

da Rosa’s full-length debut, É o que a casa oferece is slated for a February 17, 2023 release through Stones Throw Records. For Gabriel da Rosa, the appeal of bossa nova is its emotional as well as musical depth. He says, “When you listen to it, you feel blissful – it evokes happy memories. That’s what I’m trying to do on the album.”

The album’s latest single “Cachaça” is named for Brazil’s most popular spirit, and as a result, it evokes being in a Brazilian boteco (bar), swaying drunkenly to the music, lost in your thoughts and memories. But it’s not a sad song. Rather, it’s celebratory. It’s a song celebrating both love won and lost — and well, drinking a bit too much.

New Audio: Polar Mind Shares 80s Synth Pop-Inspired “Am I The One”

Polar Mind is a mysterious and enigmatic Swiss-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who can trace the origins of his musical project back to three years ago: The Swiss-born and-based artist was a scientist, who was part of a scientific expedition to Antarctica. Assigned to the Palaoa Research Station, where sounds from the sea are recorded and tracked, the mysterious Swiss artist lived as a hermit.

During his time at Palaoa Research Station, the Swiss artist listened to whales breathing and marveled when ice floes collide — around the clock. He became a local celebrity among the 4,000 scientists stationed in Antarctica when he made a surprising scientific discovery: He detected a pulsating bubble about a kilometer below the surface that emitted an unusual signal. An initial sample of the bubble reveals that it consists of ammonia, methane and hydrogen — all components that played an important role in Earth’s early days. In the gas mixture, small lightning bolts seem to be discharging, which allows the bubble wall to emit signal waves that appear to communicate with a yet to identifiable force.

According to the Swiss artist, teams of experts from different parts of the world are trying to recover the strange discovery because they suspect he stumbled upon something major. Others believe that his discovery is suspicious.

He becomes the pawn of various different interests and returns home to Switzerland, where he focuses on music full-time. “Am I The One,” Polar Mind’s remarkably cinematic debut single features glistening synth arpeggios, gated reverb drums and a sinuous paired with plaintive vocals and enormous hooks. While sounding indebted to 80s synth pop and New Wave the song is rooted in slick modern production, deliberate craftsmanship and earnest performance.

New Audio: Naomi Teams up with Mike Clay on a New Version of Swaggering “Okay Alright”

Naomi is a rising Montréal-based multi-disciplinary artist, who after studying theater, first made a name for herself when she began to land roles on both the small and big screen by the time she turned 14. She then went on to study dance at École de danse contemporaine de Montréal

As a dancer, Naomi has appeared in and/or choreographed music videos for RihannaMarie-MaiCœur de Pirate and others, as well as for local dance performances. While she was establishing herself as an actor and dancer, the Montreal-based artist quietly developed a passion for singing — without fully giving herself permission to explore it fully. Cœur de Pirate, a.k.a. Beátrice Martin saw potential and took Naomi under her wing.

Encouraged by Martin’s mentorship, the rising Canadian artist began to realize that she was never far off from making her own music. All she needed was a bit of a push.

She signed with Martin’s Bravo Musique, the label home of JOVM mainstay Thaïs, Cœur de Pirate, Chocolat and lengthy list of local Francophone acts, and began writing her own original material. Since then, the rising Montréal-based artist has taken a bold leap into a career as a singer/songwriter and pop artist. Her first two singles “Tout à nous” and “Zéro stress” received airplay on WKNDRouge FMArsenal, POP, CVKMand several other regional radio stations across Quebec.

Naomi went on to release three more singles, which I managed to write about on this site:

  • The club friendly, Rowan Mercille and Naomi co-written “Semblant,” which I wrote about earlier this year. Centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering trap-meets-Carribbean beats paired with her sultry delivery and an infectious hook, “Semblant” is a remarkably self-assured summertime banger, that also reveals a bonafide superstar in the making. 
  • Pas le temps de jouer,” a slickly produced and self-assured banger centered around shuffling reggaeton-meets-trap beats, glistening synth bursts paired with the rising Canadian artist’s sultry delivery and her seemingly unerring knack for crafting a big, razor sharp hook. Much like its immediate predecessor, “Pas le temps de jouer” is an accessible, summertime bop that will help launch a bonafide superstar into the stratosphere. 
  • Okay Alright,” a sultry bop that continued a remarkable run of slickly produced, genre-defying, accessible pop bangers. But with an English language hook, the song seems to show an artist reading for an audience outside of the Francophone world –but while retaining the elements of her sound and approach that have won her fans at home and abroad.

The Canadian JOVM mainstay starts off the year with a new version of “Okay Alright” that features a guest spot from Mike Clay, the frontman of Clay and Friends. Retaining the slick production and fun air of the original, the new version adds a bit more swagger and fun to the proceedings, and a reminder that Naomi is a star in the making.

New Audio: Reno McCarthy Shares Wintry “Picture in Picture”

With the release of his full-length debut, 2019’s CounterglowMontréal-based singer/songwriter, producer, and JOVM mainstay, Reno McCarthy quickly received attention for his remarkably self-assured songwriting.

Following the death of his father in 2020, McCarthy wrote Angels Watching Us Dance EP, an effort which saw the Canadian artist crafting stopped down, strikingly sensitive material informed by loss and heartbreak.

McCarthy’s sophomore album, 2021’s Run Up River featured three singles I wrote about on this site:

  • The introspective yet upbeat “Sundown,”
  • The slickly produced, St. Lucia-like ode to hesitation and indecisiveness, “For A Moment.”
  • Nothing Less, Nothing More” is a slow-burning song that manages to evoke the uneasy swoon of a new relationship with both sides entering uncharted waters with themselves and each other. 

The Montréal-based JOVM mainstay began the year with the recently released Picture in Picture EP, which features title track “Picture in Picture.” Featuring strummed acoustic guitar, gently padded yet skittering drum beats, a sinuous bass line paired with fluttering and atmospheric synths paired with McCarthy’s plaintive crooning and his unerring knack for big, razor sharp hooks, “Picture in Picture” sees the Canadian artist balancing folk intimacy with pop bombast. Thematically, the song touches upon the existential threat of environment damage and the alienation of modern life, while evoking cold Montréal nights.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Laure Briard Shares ’70s-Inspired “The Smell of Your Hair”

Laure Briard is a Toulouse, France-based singer/songwriter, who has a had a highly uncommon path to professional music. Briard bounced around several different interests and passions for some time: She studied literature and criminology and even acted a bit, before concentrating on music full-time in 2013.

After the release of her debut EP, 2013’s Laure Briard chante la France, Briard met Juilen Gasc and Eddy Cramps, and the trio began working on the material that would eventually become her full-length debut, 2015’s Révélation. Inspired by Françoise HardyMargo Guryan and Vashti BunyanRévélation featured modern and poetic lyricism. 

Briard then signed with Midnight Special Records, who released her sophomore album, 2016’s Sur la Piste de Danse. Repeated trips to Brazil inspired and informed her next three efforts –2018’s Coração Louco EP, 2019’s Un peu plus d’amour s’il vous plâit and 2021’s En Voo EP, which were heavily indebted to Bossa Nova and saw the Toulouse-based artist writing and singing lyrics in Brazilian Portuguese and French. Those three efforts were rooted in a successful series of collaborations between the Toulouse-based JOVM mainstay, the equally acclaimed JOVM mainstays,  Latin Grammy Award nominated, Brazilian psych rockers Boogarins, Marius Dufflot, and her longtime collaborators Vincent “Octopus” Guyot

The JOVM mainstay’s fourth album Ne pas trop rester bleue is slated for a February 10, 2023 release through Midnight Special Records. Inspired and informed by Joshua Tree, a remote national park that’s a no man’s land, where space and time seem to stretch on forever. An odd fantasy land, where America’s simultaneously obsolete and haunted by its myths and past legends. But ultimately, the album celebrates rebirth and letting go.

Although Ne pas trop rester bleue took three long years to finish, the album was enriched and informed by her travels, and as a result, the effort was liberating. Reportedly much lighter and more optimistic than Sur la piste de dance, an album rooted in broken destinies, disillusionments and heartbreaks, Ne pas trop rester bleue is a cathartic, deeply autobiographical effort that allows the Toulouse-based JOVM mainstay to essentially free herself from lingering ghosts — and to conjure new ones.

The album’s material is influenced quite a bit by the legendary Carole King, Lee Hazlwood, the poet Don Gibson and Bobbie Gentry. Briard continues her ongoing collaboration with Julien Gasc and Vincent “Octopus” Guyot, who assisted in the material’s arrangements. Sonically, the result is an album that draws from soul, pop and country featuring string and brass arrangements paired with the JOVM mainstay’s breezy delivery.

Featuring twinkling keys, brooding and shimmering strings and soulful brass arrangements paired with Briard’s coquettish delivery, Ne pas trop rester bleue‘s latest single “The Smell of Your Hair” sounds as though it could have been a unreleased track from the Tapestry sessions that was cut from the album. And much like Tapestry, “The Smell of Your Hair” tells a story about a heartbreaking encounter — but in this case, with a lonesome cowboy type in Joshua Tree, where fleeting passion under the desert sun was lulled by birdsong and the sound of wind. And instead of lamenting over the inevitable separation and giving into bitterness, heartbreak or even melodrama, the song’s narrator attempts to turn heartbreak into a playfully sunny and sensual memory.

Directed by Benjamin Marius Petit, the accompanying video for “The Smell of Your Hair” features Briard and her band playing in a full, behind-the-scenes styled visual. Fittingly, Briard and band are in ’70s-inspired costumes, playing in a ’70s-styled white box studio. Shot from four different camera perspectives, the clip utilizes diverse image styles and distortion effects (wide angle, fisheye, 360 tracking…), evoking “a psychedelic LSD trip in Woodstock, but also a mixing of eras, with visual references that could belong at once to the 70’s and to contemporary times,” explains the director Benjamin Marius Petit. “The goal was not to make a strictly ‘retro’ clip but, to best reflect the atmosphere of Laure’s music, to keep one foot in the past and the other in the present.”

Live Footage: Dayglow Performs “Then It All Goes Away” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

Sloan Struble is a 20-something  Aledo, TX-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay best known as Dayglow. Struble can trace the origins of Dayglow back to when he was a teen, growing up in a Fort Worth suburb that he has referred to as a “small football-crazed town,” where he felt irrevocably out of place. 

Much like countless other hopelessly out of place young people everywhere, Struble turned to music as an escape from his surroundings. “I didn’t really feel connected to what everyone else in my school was into, so making music became an obsession for me, and sort of like therapy in a way,” Struble recalled in press notes. “I’d dream about it all day in class, and then come home and for on songs instead of doing homework. After a while I realized I’d made an album.”

Working completely on his own with a minuscule collection of gear that included his guitar, his computer and some secondhand keyboards he picked up at Goodwill, Struble worked on transforming his privately kept outpouring into a batch of songs — often grandiose in scale. “Usually artists will have demos they’ll bounce off other people to get some feedback, but nobody except for my parents down the hall really heard much of the album until I put it out,” Struble recalled. With the self-release of 2018’s Fuzzybrain, Struble received widespread attention and an ardent online following — with countess listeners praising the material’s overwhelming positivity. 

In 2019, Struble re-released a fully realized version of Fuzzybrain that featured Can I Call You Tonight,” a track that wound up being a smash-hit back in 2020, as well as two previously unreleased singles “Nicknames” and “Listerine.” 

2021 saw the release of Stubble’s sophomore album  Harmony House, an album that was inspired by the 70s and 80s piano-driven soft rock that he had captured his ears. Interestingly, around the same time, he had been watching a lot of Cheers. “At the very beginning, I was writing a soundtrack to a sitcom that doesn’t exist,” Struble recalls. And while actively attempting to generate nostalgia for something that hadn’t ever been real, as well as something most of his listeners had never really experienced. Thematically, the album concerns itself with a deeply universal theme — growing up and coping with change as being an inevitable aspect of life. 

The album featured the infectious and sugary pop confection “Close to You,” a track indebted to 80s synth-led soul — in particular Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald‘s “On My Own” Cherelle’s and Alexander and O’Neal‘s “Saturday Love” and other duets, but imbued with an aching melancholy and uncertainty. He then made his national late night TV debut on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he, along with his backing band, played “Can I Call You Tonight.” 

Last year, Struble released his third Dayglow album, People In Motion. Entirely written, played and produced by Struble, the 10-song album continues his reputation for crafting upbeat, optimistic, hook-driven pop rooted  in his desire to steer clear of conflict and offering someone something to love. 

The album featured “Second Nature.” Arguably the funkiest and most dance floor friendly single Struble has released to date,””Second Nature,” is sort of like a slick synthesis of 80s pop, Daft PunkThe 1975, and LCD Soundsystem, with glistening synths, Struble’s plaintive vocal, an infectious vocodered vocal-driven hook and an in irresistible, feel good vibe.

“‘Second Nature’ is one of the most ambitious songs I’ve made so far. I didn’t think it would be a ‘Dayglow’ song until the rest of People in Motion started to take shape,” Struble says in press notes. “I made so many versions of it— I just kept writing more and more melodies and ideas. The Logic file ended up being like this 15 minute jam that I eventually condensed to be the near 6 min song it is.

I was really inspired by songs like Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long,’ Michael Jackson’s ‘Wanna Be Starting Somethin’, and of course Daft Punk. I just love songs that have repeatable chord progressions that never seem to even reach their potential— they just keep going on and on. Lyrically and musically I wanted to create a song that felt like that. A song that just celebrates itself and the joy of dancing and making music. It doesn’t even feel like ‘Second Nature’— it feels completely innate and natural to make music to me. I love it more than anything and it feels like what I was made to do, and ‘Second Nature’ just grasps that idea and runs with it confidently.”

The JOVM mainstay was recently on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where he performed album single “Then It All Goes Away,” an exuberant, feel good, pop anthem, which sees Struble harmonizing over a strutting bass line, twinkling keys, copious, DFA Records amounts of cowbell and the JOVM’s unerring knack for big hooks. Even in a live setting, Struble and his backing band are having themselves a helluva time, playing a fun song.

“I made “Then It All Goes Away” after coming home from my Fall 2021 North America tour. I started writing the bassline during my morning coffee and I finished the full composition by the end of the day. It felt so fresh and natural to write-I was just having fun honestly. It felt like a year’s worth of unconscious ideas all came to the front of my brain at once and just spilled out. I was really just thinking of my fans the whole time making it and imagining ‘how can I make a Dayglow song that feels so familiar, yet feels like a brand new experience entirely?”