Category: singer/songwriters

Notelle · Bugs

Notelle is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter, topliner and pop artist, who has worked with an eclectic array of DJs and producer across the globe since 2014. Her work as a songwriter and vocalist has amassed over 12 million Spotify streams — with her material appearing on a number of playlists including Spotify‘s FreshEDM, Hot New Dance, Friday Cratediggers, Heart Beats, Sad Beats, Pop Chillout, Study Break, Fresh Finds, Fresh Finds: Poptronix, Italians Do It Better, Shisha Lounge, Stepping Out, New Music Fridays and Deep Delight, as well as Apple Music‘s Pop Rising and Breaking Dance playlists. Adding to a growing profile, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter, topliner and pop artist has been covered by EDM.com and has received airplay on Sirius XM Radio.

Throughout her career, the Nashville-based artist has signed and released material on 15 different electronic music labels including Armada, Monstercat, Proximity, Lowly, Hinky, AtLast, Seeking Blue, Thrive Music, Ultra Music, Ophelia and Knight Vision (Warner Music) — while remaining fiercely independent.

After spending the past handful of years as a go-to collaborator, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter and pop artist has decided to step out into the spotlight as a solo artist: over the past year, she’s been writing material and honing her take on “dark industrial pop” while catching the attention of Nashville Scene as a Nashville Artist to Watch in 2020. Building upon the rapidly growing buzz surrounding her, her solo debut single “Power” premiered on Lightning 100‘s The 615 and her third “Out of Love” was put on the station’s regular rotation.

“Beyond The Grave” found Notelle exploring a grittier sound than her previously released material, while fearlessly eschewing standard pop song structures and defying genre conventions and this has helped the Nashville-based artist develop a reputation for crafting forward-thinking, difficult to categorize pop. Interestingly, within the first couple of weeks of the song’s release, the track landed on Spotify’s “Study Break,” “Fresh Finds” and Fresh Finds: Poptronix” lists organically.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Alive.” The Nine Inch Nails and Billie Eilish-like track continued a remarkable run of slickly produced, genre-defying, sultry pop with elements of industrial electronica, alternative pop and trip hop centered around fearlessly adventurous and ambitious songwriting based around unsettling personal experience. The Nashville-based artist’s latest single “Bugs” is a dark and seductive song centered around wobbling synths, handclap-led percussion, thumping beats, a distorted string sample, an infectious hook and Notelle’s sultry cooing — and while radio friendly, the song feels a bit like the creeping, anxious dread of a bad trip.

“I wrote ‘Bugs’ during a break up where it felt like that person was still in my body in some capacity,” Notelle says in press notes. “The impact of someone else’s choices left literal and metaphorical residue on me, and I felt dirty. I kept imagining it as a bad hallucination – like bugs. Was this person capable of hurting me more? Was the worst of it over? Or was another bomb going to be dropped on me when I felt like I was out of the woods? I wanted this song to embody that level of paranoia, you know? When you check behind doors or shower curtains when you’re alone in your house – or when you can’t tell if the noises in you hear in the silence are in your head or are real. That’s a bizarre place to be, and ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t out of my mind. In fact, they were.”

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Throwback: Happy 81st Birthday Mavis Staples!

Throughout the course of this site’s almost ten year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the legendary Chicago-born singer, actress, and civil rights activist Mavis Staples. Going into a deep dive into her career as a member of the Staple Singers and and a solo artist will be a bit gratuitous — but throughout her career, she has received commercial and critical success, as well as a proverbial boatload of accolades. Stapes has received eight Grammy Awards nominations with the Staple Singers, winning one — a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2004. She also received a Grammy nod for a collaboration with longtime friend Bob Dylan. And as a solo artist, she’s been nominated for five Grammys, winning two — Best Americana Album for 2010’s You Are Not Alone and a Best American Roots Performance for  2015’s ”See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.”

She also has been nominated for 11 Blues Music Awards, winning nine, including Album of the Year for 2004’s Have A Little Faith, which featured Song of the Year and album title track “Have A Little Faith.” She’s also won three Soul Blues Female Artist Awards — one in 2004 and back to back wins in 2017 and 2018. Staples was also inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Staple Singers in 1999, was a Kennedy CenterHonoree in 2016 and inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2017.

Today is the legendary vocalist’s 81st birthday and I personally wanted to wish the national treasure a very Happy Birthday. May there be at least another 80 more!

New Video: Acclaimed Aussie Artist Peter Bibby Releases a Fiery Examination of Rural Australian Life

Peter Bibby is a rising and critically applauded Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, whose career started in earnest when he turned 19: he quit the unfulfilling job he was working at the time to busk, eventually landing a few paying gigs. Sometime later, Bibby landed a high paying job that he wound he losing because he would show up hungover from the gigs he’d play the night before. So, he wound up playing even more gigs with a series of different backing bands including Frozen Ocean, Fucking Teeth and Bottles of Confidence while developing a unique, rough and tumble sound and approach — one that many have described as being like Shane McGowan screaming at bleeding laudanum and typhoid hallucinations while his guitar playing has been described as being like a dog drunk on rum.

With the release of his first two albums 2014’s Butcher/Hairstylist/Beautician and 2018’s Grand Champion, Bibby has been championed for being an inherently working class and wholeheartedly independent artist, further documented in greater detail in the 2018 film Chasing Palm Springs, which followed Bibby on a cross-country trip from Perth to Melbourne in a  temperamental van. Since then, the Fremantle-based artist has begun to build a growing profile and reputation as a must see act, as a result of a rowdy and raucous live set —  and through headlining shows and international festival circuit stops at Laneway, Falls and SXSW.

Earlier this year, Bibby released “Oceans,”  the first bit of new material since the release of Grand Champion. Featuring his latest backing band Dog Act — “Strawberry Pete” Gower (bass) and “Dirty Dave” Taylor (drums) — “Oceans” is disorderly, boozy and wobbly take on garage roc that’s full of spittle, fury and howled inventive, fuzzy and lurching power chords, thunderous drumming and drunken, shout worthy choruses that reminded me a bit of Johnny Thunders‘ “Born to Lose,”and John Cale‘s “Pablo Picasso”  — but much more unhinged. 

“Oceans” will be included on Bibby’s  forthcoming third album, Marge. Slated for a September 18, 2020 through Spinning Top Records, the album features Dog Act as his backing band. Reportedly, Marge, which derives its name from Dave Taylor’s grandmother Marge, and is an album of splintered, volatile Australiana written as a sort of soundtrack to a surf movie from hell — the sort where there’s blood in water; a dirt road leading to a dirt end; and everything is covered in diesel fumes and dust. “The Dog Act and I recorded this album in a week off in Perth between two Australian tours. We were match fit and full of beans,” Bibby says of the album. “It features a selection of songs, some fun, some completely bloody miserable. It was made better by the involvement of the fourth Dog, Mitch McDonald, who engineered the record and offered endless energy and ideas. I love this record.” 

The titular Marge is prominently featured on the album’s cover art,  smoking a cigarette on a beach in Darwin, Australia, seemingly watching her corner of the world go by.  “I felt there was no better image than a smoking nanna to be the face of this album,” Bibby says. 

“Whyalla,” Marge’s second single derives its name from name of a South Australian steel town that had been in decline for years. Centered around churning  power chords, thunderous drumming and an unhinged spittle and invective delivered vocal and a classic grunge rock song structure, the track is simultaneously a love letter and a fiery condemnation of rural Australia, pointing out the hopelessness, small-minded thinking and boredom of rural life in a way that feels full of the sort of lived-in hate, despair and abiding love you’d feel for a dysfunctional and fucked-up family member. The song’s spoken word bridge features Bibby telling some tall tales about some of Whyalla’s notable legends — but drenched with irony. 

“I wrote this song a few years back after my mate Racoo asked me to write a song for a road trip compilation she was putting together. I don’t think it saw the light of day. I had a lot of help from Wikipedia,” says Bibby of the track. 

Directed by Brendan Hutchens, the video is sort of a hitchhiker’s guide to nowhere in particular; the sort of nowhere in particular that somehow feels, well — American. We see Bibby getting up from camp, walking alongside a deserted road, hitchhiking until two guys — the members of his band — pick him up, They pull over to the side of the road to play and pay homage to Whyalla’s legends. Much like the video for “Oceans,” the accompanying video for “Whyalla” feels like a slow-burning fever dream. 

“We shot this thing out in Glen Eagle’s Rest, due to COVID 19 we couldn’t shoot it in Whyalla,” Bibby says in press notes. “It came together nicely with the help of great friends, a great crew and a weird toilet cleaner who hung around telling us strange and creepy facts about the location. He said he was disappointed that we weren’t shooting a porno.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Adeline Returns with an Intimate Visual for Slow-Burning “Just Another Day”

Since initially making a name for herself as the frontwoman of the equally acclaimed dance music/nu-disco outfit Escort, the New York-based singer/songwriter, bassist and producer and JOVM mainstay Adeline has developed a reputation as a solo artist of note, releasing her self-titled, full-length debut to critical praise from the likes of Vogue, NPR, Refinery 29, Rolling Stone, The Fader and many others.

The JOVM mainstay has opened for Anderson .Paak, Lee Fields, Chromeo, Big Freedia and Natalie Prass among a lengthening list of artists, which  which has helped to further cement her reputation for dazzling audiences with her beauty, her captivating live show and energetic presence. Adding to a growing profile as a solo artist, the Parisian-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and bassist, has made appearances across the national festival circuit, including Afropunk, Funk on the Rocks and Winter Jazz Fest. She’s also a member of CeeLo Green’s touring band, making her — arguably — one of the hardest working women in New York’s music scene. 

Officially dropping today, Intérimes EP, the highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut features seven tracks that are a future-facing nod to old school soul, funk, R&B and neon that will include “Middle,” which she performed on CBS This Morning,  the sultry Quiet Storm-like “Twilight,” the disco-tinged Jonathan Singletary co-written “After Midnight,” the and the EP’s latest single, is a slow-burning, neo-soul strut “Just Another Day.” Centered around a sinuous bass line, the JOVM’s sultry vocals, her unerring knack for an infectious hook and some twinkling Rhodes, the track recalls Erykah Badu — but as the JOVM mainstay explains in press notes “‘Just Another Day’ is about questioning your place in the world, not feeling accepted, pretending to be in someone else’s shoes, so I wanted to show characters that exude confidence and self-acceptance as a message of hope for the LGBTQ people out there who feel rejected and misunderstood.”

The recently released accompanying video features the JOVM in a couple of stylish outfits and a bikini on the beach, playing her bass and three of her dearest friends — Yussuf, Gitoo and Bambi. Each of the video’s subjects reveals a bit of their personality and humanity in a way that’s endearing: one of the men has kind eyes and a mischievous smile, another is fierce as fuck, the other serves up moves — hard.  “The video features 3 beautiful friends of mine, Yussuf, Gitoo and Bambi. They are some of the people in my life who I look up to the most when it comes to confidence and style,” the JOVM mainstay explains. 

New Audio: Meridian Brothers Release a Chiptune Inspired Take on Cumbia

Eblis Alvarez is a Bogota, Colombia-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed and forward-thinking recording project Meridian Brothers.  Alvarez’s forthcoming Meridian Brothers album  Cumbia Siglo XXI is slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Bongo Joe Records — and the album, which is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the act’s critically applauded (largely  acoustic) ¿Dónde estás María? continues the Colombian artist’s long-held reputation for relentlessly pushing his sound and approach in new and radical directions. 

Inspired by Cumbia Siglo XX’s experimentation with traditional cumbia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which led to a completely new form of the genre, Cumbia Siglo XXI sees Alvarez using a multitude of guitars, synths, algorithmic software, vintage drum machines and whatever tech that the acclaimed Colombian artist could get his hands on. And while the album’s material sonically seemingly to draw a bit from Kraftwerk, the album reportedly is a sonic blend of EDM “sidechain” techniques and traditional cumbia.

Earlier this year, I wrote about Cumbia Siglo XXI‘s first single “Puya del Empressario,” an infectious yet let field take on cumbia that sounded a bit like like eThe Man Machine-era Kraftwerk meets JOVM mainstay El Dusty — with a mischievous sense of adventurousness.  “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia,” Cumbia Siglo XXI’s latest single is a mischievous synthesis of chip-tune, electro pop and cumbia that sounds like came straight from the Island of Misfit Toys. 

The recently released Bibiana Rojas-edited video for “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia” features a split screen — the left-hand side of the screen we see a man, text people, receive a phone call and take selfies. On the right-hand side, we see some surreal drawings by Mateo Rivano. 

New Video: Rising Hawaii-born Los Angeles-based Artist Lionel Boy Releases a Lysergic Visual for “Lately”

With the release of  critically applauded singles “Summer Fun” and “Lost” earlier this year, the rapidly rising Hawaii-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Lionel Boy quickly received attention for crafting a unique sound that mixes spacey synths and breakbeats with bedroom-produced pop.

Building upon a growing profile, Boy’s highly anticipated debut EP Who Is Dovey? was released last month through Innovative Leisure Records. The EP’s third and latest single “Lately” is a slow-burning and breezy, yacht rock-like track featuring twinkling synths, soulful horns, blown out backbeats, shimmering guitar and Boy’s plaintive vocals. But despite its nostalgia-inducing vibes, there’s something much murkier under its placid surface.

“Last year (2019), we had a week of rain in Long Beach. It was then that I wrote ‘Lately,’” Boy says in press notes. “I just begun learning how to incorporate samples into my songwriting, and ‘Lately’ was the first project I was able to complete doing so. There was gloom, smoke and a feeling of monotony in the air— I think that comes through in the music. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I was feelin some type of way.”

The recently released video features some cinematically shot and trippy footage shot while the rising Hawaii-born, Los Angeles-based artist were on a road trip to visit friends, and as result, it evokes the song’s wistful nostalgia — with a sense of doom just underneath it all. 

“Two summers ago, Casey (Lui Liu) and I drove up the Oregon coast to visit some friends in Seattle,” the Hawaii-born, Los Angeles-based artist explains in press notes. “We documented our drive with the intention of making a music video for a completely different project but the clips didn’t end up working. Nearly a year later, when I had just finished demoing ‘Lately’ from home, Casey decided to mess around with the old footage to the song. She threw up a 20-second clip on Instagram for fun that we pretty much forgot about until the single‘s release this past June. With not much else to do on lock down, we decided to play around one more time. We had all of these random clips of Casey running or kicking sand and I guess I spent 5 minutes filming a flying kite. When we found a way to fit them into the video, it was a really accomplished feeling. We were such different people on that trip and yet, I guess not much has changed. What we ended up with was a visual representation of the moments that make up a great trip.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Nana Adjoa Releases a Cinematic and Symbolic Visual for Shimmering “No Room”

I’ve written quite a bit about the rising Amsterdam-born and-based Ghanian-Dutch singer/songwriter  and multi-instrumetnalist  Nana Adjoa over the past few years. And with the release of her debut effort Down at the Root, Part 1, the Ghanian-Dutch singer/songwriter received attention across the European Union for an easy-going, 70s singer/songwriter soul sound and approach that brought Bill Withers and others.

The Dutch-born JOVM mainstay can trace the origins of her music career to when she joined her first band as a teenager. At the time, she chose to play bass because “every other instrument had been claimed,” she recalls with a laugh. Unbeknownst to Adjoa, her mother had once played bass in a Ghanian Highlife band and still happened to have her guitar.

Adjoa went on to the prestigious Amsterdam Conservatory, where she studied jazz — electric bass and double bass; however, she found the experience wasn’t what she imagined it to be. “It was very much like school,” she says in press notes. “We thought we wanted to go to the most difficult department, that we wanted to be the best, but it wasn’t a very fun experience.” Interestingly, around the same time, Adjoa bean to experience a growing divide between the restrictive and theoretical compositions she was studying in school and the melodic, free-flowing music she’d play while jamming with friends, outside of school.  She quickly realized that pursuing a solo career was the best direction for her, so she recruited local musicians and started recording her own material.

Since the release of Down at the Root, Part 1 and its follow-up, Down at the Root, Part 2, Adjoa has developed a reputation for being a restless sonic explorer, who has crafted material centered around deft poeticism and an adventurous yet accessible sense of musicianship. Adjoa set out to write her full-length debut at the beginning of last year. Working in her own studio, she not only had the freedom to write and record songs nearly simultaneously, she had a wide palette of instruments at her disposal. The end result is her forthcoming full-length debut, the Wannes Salomé-produced Big Dreaming Ants, slated for a September 24, 2020 release. 

Reportedly lush yet delicate, intimate yet expansive and moody yet hopeful, the album’s material is features a diverse array of multi-layered tonal textures — including thumb piano, vibraphone and a vintage harmonium along with guitar, bass, vocals, etc. Although Adjoa — who, typically plays guitar on stage — handled, the majority of the album’s instrumentation herself, the album features a collection of Amsterdam’s finest players collaborating with her, including the members of her live band: Mats Voshol (drums), Daniel van Loenen (trombone), Tim Schakel (guitar), Jonas Pap (strings) and Eelco Topper (vibraphone). Thematically,  the album reveals a young artist poised to make a clear and concise artistic statement, in which she continues an ongoing search for identity while pondering life’s great philosophical questions. “For me,” she says, “music is a way to believe in something deeper.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single, the shimmering “Throw Stones.” Centered around a radio friendly hook, fluttering flutes, fuzzy synths, and a looping guitar line, the song features a narrator, desperately trying to calm themselves and their emotions in the face of internet trolls, digital clashes and overall uncertainty. Big Dreaming Ants’ third and latest single “No Room” is a decidedly trippy affair featuring  shimmering guitars, a strutting and sinuous  bass line, atmospheric electronics, twinkling blasts of keys, an expansive song structure, and Adjoa’s gorgeous vocals, the song may be the most expansive song of her career, as it has elements of shoegaze, indie rock and Afro pop. 

Directed by Rudy Aisbey, the recently released video for “No Room” is a cinematic and highly symbolic visual that make connections between Adjoa’s Ghanian roots and her Dutch upbringing, the passion for music that she can trace back to being small, the cultural misunderstandings between child and parent — especially when the child does something unusual. 

“The vision was to bring Nana’s duality in culture and music together,” Rudy Aisbey says in press notes. “Her name stands for so much more in Ghanaian culture. Nana means king/queen and Adjoa is her day name (Monday) which stands for peacemaker. For me, Nana’s music is a journey to finding the answers to life. Nana guides us with music to help us find those answers. I wanted to bring that journey to life in the visuals. In this video we see more of her Ghanaian culture and a journey to finding self— even though people want to put you in a box or want you to become someone else. In the end, she chooses herself. As Nana’s name represents, I hope her music guides people to choose for themselves, to learn more about their heritage in order to gain learnings from heritage and grow. Especially in these times, it is important to know where you’re from, in order to know where you’re going. We could all use a peacemaker.”

Live Footage: Nick Hakim Performs “QADIR” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Washington, DC-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, guitarist Nick Hakim over the past handful of years. Hakim’s critically applauded full-length debut, 2017’s Green Twins can trace its origins back to when he finished his two critically applauded EPs Where Will We Go Part 1 and Where We Will Go Part 2. Armed with the masters for those efforts, Hakim relocated from Boston, where he was then based to Brooklyn.

As soon as he got himself settled, he quickly went to work, spending his spare time writing and recording sketches using his phone’s voice memo app and a four-track cassette recorder, fleshing the material out whenever possible. He then took his new demo’d material to various studios in NYC, Philadelphia and London, where he built up the material with a number of engineers, including frequent collaborator Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering and production), who were tasked with keeping the original spirit and essence of the material intact as much as humanly possible.

Thematically, the album’s material focused on specific experiences, feeling and thoughts he had during the time he was writing and composing it, making the album feel like a series of different self-portraits. Much like Vincent Van Gogh’s famed self-portraits, the material sometimes captures its creator in broad strokes, with subtle gradations in mood, tone and feeling. Sonically, Green Twins drew from a broad array of influences including Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye, Shuggie Otis and My Bloody Valentine and others. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green’s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and we were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins,” Hakim said in press notes at the time.

Since the release of Green Twins, Hakim developed a reputation as a highly sought-after, go-to collaborator working with Lianna La Havas, Anderson .Paak, Onyx Collective, Sporting Life, IGBO, Nappy Nina, Ambrose Akinmusire, Slingbaum, FKA Twins and Oumou Sangare.

The JOVM mainstay released his highly-anticipated sophomore album WILL THIS MAKE ME SOUND GOOD earlier this year through ATO Records. Interestingly, the album’s material manages to be distinctly Hakim while being a tonal shift from its predecessor: his sophomore album reflects the ideas with which he grappled with while writing and recording the album. To prepare listeners for the experience, Hakim shared the following statement about the record:

“I feel the people simmering, on our way to the boiling point. There’s a lot of madness going on around us and this world can feel so cold. It can get hard to remember what makes it worth it. The people around me and the music I love helps.

For a while, I couldn’t write. I worked on new music but couldn’t find the right words. But that time was just a build-up to the three months of expression that led to this album. I hope this music will raise awareness about where we are right now. About how we are living on this planet. About how we treat our neighbors. About community. About depression. About what can heal us and what can’t. About overmedication, overstimulation and manipulation. About respecting and loving the people around us, because one day they won’t be here-or you won’t.

But it’s also true that I’m still trying to figure this record out. People have told me that it’s confusing or that it’s messy-that’s fine. There’s so much pressure on artists to commit to being one thing, or to restrict an album to exploring just one subject or sound. But my life isn’t like that, and so my music can’t be like that either. I’m not thinking about this music as a product to be bought and sold, or how I’ll buy your interest. This is my world; a lot of friends touched this record, and that makes me feel lucky and proud. These songs are glimpses into my community. I’m exploring, but I’m not alone. It’s a journey in progress; it’s an experiment, every day.”

“QADIR” is a slow-burning and atmospheric single, centered around a repetitive and hypnotic arrangement featuring shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar, a sinuous baseline fluttering flute, stuttering beats and Hakim’s expressive and  plaintive vocals — and as a result, the track is a fever dream full of ache and longing, partially written as an ode to a late friend and an urgent reminder to check in on your loved ones before it’s too late. ”If I really sink into a recording, I don’t want it to end,” Hakim says. “[‘QADIR’] is repetitive and hypnotizing, like a trance — that’s intentional. The song is my ode to him. It’s my attempt to relate to how he must have been feeling.”

Recently Hakim and his backing band performed a socially distant rendition of “QADIR” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which features Hakim singing the song on a cartoon-background that’s one part hood, one part Sesame Street. 

New Video: Acclaimed Scandinavian Artist Ane Brun Releases a Shimmering, Wistful, and Infectious Pop Banger

Throughout her 15+ year recording career, the acclaimed Norwegian-born, Stockholm-based singer/songwriter Ane Brun has been rather busy:  she has released 12 albums of gorgeous and cinematic folk and art pop through her own label Balloon Ranger Recordings, including her sophomore album 2005’s A Temporary Dive, which led to a Norwegian Grammy Award win for Best Female Artist; 2008’s critically applauded Changing of the Seasons, which was praised by The New York Times; 2015’s When I’m Free, which NPR’s All Things Considered called “best record yet . . . her most sonically ambitious . . .;” and 2017’s Leave Me Breathless, a collection of covers and reinterpretations of hits by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, and others.

Now, as you may recall Brun’s forthcoming — and still untitled — 13th full-length album is slated for a fall release through her own label. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles, the cinematic “Trust,” which featured an atmospheric arrangement of strummed acoustic guitar shimmering synths and Brun’s expressive and plaintive vocals — and the ethereal and hazy “Feeling Like I Wanna Cry,” a song that expresses a deeply heartbreaking sorrow and sense of despair, centered around an uncannily prescient awareness of the dire and uncertain times we’re currently facing.  Interestingly, while Brun’s latest single “Honey” continues a run of ethereal synth-based pop, it may arguably be the most straightforward and dance floor friendly songs she has released from the album to date. Centered around shimmering synths, skittering beats, a sinuous bass line, an infectious hook and one of the more sultry vocal performances of Brun’s career, the song is full of wistful nostalgia and love for a past — and perhaps more innocent and naive — version of one’s self. 

Brun explains that “Honey” was inspired by a cassette tape she found of her 18-year-old self talking. “Her energy struck me, and I was was filled with love for this young, and in many ways innocent version of myself — this girl talking non-stop in a boundless flow of words and emotions.” 

Directed by Stefan Ekström, the recently released video for “Honey” is split between footage of Brun listening to music on her headphones and dancing to music through the streets of Stockholm and two dance crews of young women, who battle each other to the same music, being played on an old school boombox, back in the 90s. Although there’s a sweet and loving  juxtaposition between the young women and the adult woman, you can see the girl in the woman and the women within the girls. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Brothertiger Releases an Achingly Sad Visual for Shimmering “Livin'”

John Jagos is an Ohio-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed, JOVM mainstay act Brothertiger. Since he started the act as a sophomore at  Ohio State University, Jagos has released a handful of EPs including his critically applauded debut Vision Tunnels EP and  Out of Touch, which featured  “Out of Touch” and “Beyond The Infinite,” and last year’s A Chain of Islands EP, as well as three full-length albums 2012’s Golden Years, 2013’s Future Splendors and 2015’s Out of Touch. Each of those efforts helped to establish Jagos sound — a sound influenced by Tears for Fears,  St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy.

Jagos has also released a Tears for Fears cover album, 2017’s Brothertiger Plays: Tears for Fears’ Songs from The Big Chair and a collection of instrumental material, Fundamentals, Vol. 1. Slated for a September 11, 2020 release, Jagos forthcoming Brothertiger effort Paradise is his first full-length album of original material in five years. “This record was, for me, the culmination of a lot of time and development,” Jagos says in press notes. “Since my last album was released 5 years ago, I had been building on top of that sound, trying to make it even more dynamic and distinct. This record is also my most personal, and I think that shows not only in the subject matter, but in the choice of sounds as well. I find that in electronic music, you can capture an emotion honestly with synthesized sound, not just with lyrics.”

Sonically, Paradise Lost reportedly finds Jagos expanding upon the sound that has won him critical applause with the material ranging from hook-driven indie pop to club-thumping electronica centered around the JOVM mainstay’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics that thematically touch upon aging, longing for purpose and celebrating life’s simple pleasures among others. Paradise Lost’s first single is the the ethereal and atmospheric “Livin’.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering beats, a soaring hook and Jagos plaintive vocals, “Livin'” manages to recall Within and Without and Paracosm-era Washed Out — but at its core, the song expresses a familiar crisis to many of us: confronting the weirdness and uncertainty of life as you get older. 

Directed by Trevor Naud and made during COVID-19 quarantines, the recently released video employs digital and analog technologies as it follows a planetary rover as it lands on a planet teeming with life. Adding to the trippy vibes of the video, we follow things from the prospective of the rover: dispassionate yet curious until the rover has a major malfunction and essentially dies. 

“What if a planetary rover–destined to land on a dead planet–accidentally lands on a planet teeming with life?” Naud says of the video’s concept. “I wanted to keep everything very tight and almost impressionistic, where we see what’s happening inside of the rover’s “brain” interspersed with what it’s recording, and then juxtaposed with very high-definition nature show footage. Maintaining a jarring contrast between those worlds. Then, eventually, there’s a malfunction and the magnetic tape comes unwound.

We used all kinds of crazy filming techniques–from VHS to Cinema-grade digital, a semi-functional 1977 Commodore computer, a weirdo rig that allowed us to film with a lens rolling across the ground, and we snuck onto a closed freeway for the final shot.

What I like is that there’s an implied sadness to the rover. By the end of the video, you may feel something for it.”