Category: Single Review

If you’ve been frequenting this site over its nearly six year history, you’d likely know that I often go through a number of potential singles while multitasking. Usually, I’ll be listening to things while watching sports or some true crime story on Investigation Discovery (I’ve lately been obsessed with Homicide Hunter, Lt. Joe Kenda and Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen) and I get so caught up in everything that I’m doing that I’ll wind up listening to an entire Soundcloud related artist playlist. As a music blogger, it’s a pretty good way of discovering new artists out of my normal means of PR firm, label, band manager or artist finding me and contacting me; in fact, that’s exactly how I stumbled on to the Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Sego. Comprised of the Mapleton, UT-born Spencer P. and Thomas C., the members of Sego relocated to L.A. to seriously pursue careers in music. And since relocating to the West Coast, Sego has quickly developed a reputation for a sound that employs modern and contemporary production techniques while maintaining an eccentric and human touch.

Now you may recall that I wrote about “Townland,” a Talking Heads and Superhuman Happiness channelling single that paired breathy vocals with angular guitar chords, a sinuous bass line, swirling ambient electronics and four-on-the-floor-like drumming with an infectious earnestness and honesty that belied the song’s ironic neuroticism. “Obscene Dream,” the percussive and angular first single off the duo’s hotly-anticipated full-length debut, Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Out is reminiscent of Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundystem, as it’s a danceable track consisting of angular guitar chords, shimmering and cascading synth chords, tons of cowbell and other percussion, a shouted vocals on an anthemic hook and lyrics that often sound like ironic non-sequiturs and observations. And much like Sound of Silver, the song manages to accurately captures the feelings, hopes and thoughts of constantly connected young people.

 

 

 

 

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Initially starting her career as the frontwoman of Toronto, ON-based band The Wayo, Charlotte Day Wilson is a 23 year old classically trained singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who has since emerged out of her hometown’s  jazz, soul, and R&B as a solo artist of note, adding herself to a list of growing artists including friends and collaborators BADBADNOTGOOD and River Tiber. Wilson’s debut single “After All” is reportedly about re-socializing after spending some time inside cocooning while also suggesting the freedom of embarking towards new endeavors, and sonically the song pairs Wilson’s husky and effortlessly soulful vocals with an ethereal production — which consists of staccato stabs of organ, warm blasts of horn, skittering drum programming, gently swirling electronics. Interestingly, Wilson’s vocals and the song reminds me quite a bit of The Brand New HeaviesNever Stop” but breezier and moodier.

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 14 months or so, you may have come across a post or two on Luis Vasquez’s solo electronic music recording project, The Soft Moon. After the release of Zeroes, Vasquez’s sophomore Soft Moon album, Vasquez announced that it would be the last solo Soft Moon album. However, after relocating to Venice, Vasquez changed his mind. Living in almost complete solitude, as a strange in a foreign land, Vasquez retreated into his thoughts and his work. And the result was what was arguably the most visceral and emotional material Vasquez has ever written, his third full-length album, Deeper. 

Album single “Feel” consists of layers of staccato synths, wobbling low end, ominously swirling electronics, followed by buzzing synths and subtly industrial clang and clatter  paired with Vasquez’s aching vocals. Although the song possesses the sort of sound that could rock a huge club, it’s intimate as it delves into the psyche of a self-eviserating  narrator, who describes how empty, meaningless and superficial they feel. Recently a number of electronic artists have remixed Vasquez’s Deeper; in fact, Captured Tracks released Deeper Remixed Vol. 1 last year, and February will mark the release of Deeper Remixed Vol. 2. Ninos du Brasil remixed “Feel” and while their remix retains the some of the original percussion and synths as well as Vasquez’s vocals, their remix is a little bit warmer as squiggly guitars, and more propulsive percussion is added; in some way, it pushes the song gently towards the direction of scuzzy, industrial house.

 

 

 

If you were frequenting this site over the last four to six months of 2015, you’d likely be familiar with 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 mainstays including Dam-FunkEscortRene LopezMark Ronson (in particular, his mega-hit “Uptown Funk”) and several others.

April 1, 2016 will mark the anticipated release of Boulevard’s full0-length debut, the aptly titled Groove!, and the album’s first single “Cold Call” is indebted to 80s synth R&B and pop as layers of wobbling and  shimmering synth stabs are paired with a sinuous bass line, Rashad’s seductive cooing, warm blasts of horn and an anthem 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. Simply put, it’s the sort of song that you can do that old-fashioned two step to — while flirting with hat pretty young thing you saw across the club.

 

 

While the States and the rest of the Western world was in the height of “Flower Power,” “The Age of Aquarius,” were protesting for civil rights for people of color and women and against the Vietnam War in 1967, Nigeria descended into a bloody civil war. The rock scene that developed during the bloodshed and destruction would eventually help heal and unite the country, propagate a new ideal of the Modern Nigerian, and perhaps most important for us, help propel Fela Kuti to stardom once the conflict ended in 1970.

Wake Up You!, a compilation that Now-Again Records will be releasing as a two volume book with companion CDs and vinyl, featuring research from renowned musicologist Uchenna Ikonne and an incredible array of never-seen photos that will tell the stories of some of Nigeria’s long-forgotten but best rock bands — bands that specialized in a sound that meshed funk, psych rock and rock in a way that was unique and particularly Nigerian, while being remarkably familiar to Western ears. And on Volume 1 single Ify Jerry Krusade’s “Everybody Likes Something Good,” you’ll hear a sound that’s heavily indebted to James Brown, Jefferson Airplane, Booker T and the MGs and several other things as heavily wah-wah pedaled guitar, soaring organ chords, sinuous and throbbing bass lines, layers of percussion are paired with call and response vocals but what also makes this single and the compilation so important is that sonically the material manages to nod towards Fela Kuti’s early releases; so in many ways, this single and the rest of the compilation will likely fill in the gaps for audiophiles everywhere while introducing new listeners to some of the funkiest stuff out of the late 1960s you’d ever hear.

 

 

 

 

Over the almost 6 year history of this site, Dam-Funk has not only seen his profile grow both nationally and internationally for a sound that channels Parliament Funkadelic, 80s synth-based funk and R&B, Parliament Funkadelic-inspired G Funk and for collaborations with Slave’Steve Arrington and Snoop Dogg in their funk project 7 Days of Funk, but he’s also become a JOVM mainstay artist, who I’ve written about on a number of occasions.

Last year was a rather prolific year for one of Stones Throw Records better known artists as Dam-Funk released a 4 song instrumental EP STFU that he wrote and recorded while on tour opening for Todd Rundgren. His long-awaited solo effort, Invite the Light was one of my favorite albums last year — and I’m looking forward to the sophomore 7 Days of Funk album. But in the meantime, In the meantime, Stones Throw Records and Dam-Funk released album single “O.B.E.” on vinyl with the B side single “Special Friends,” a track that pairs shimmering layers of cascading synth stabs, squiggly and funky bass with handclap led percussion. Sonically, the song will further cement Dam-Funk’s reputation for crafting silky smooth and danceable funk that channels the synth funk that I remember listening to when I was a child.

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM for a while, you may remember that I’ve written about Norwegian electro pop duo, BLØSH. With the release of their breezy and infectious debut single “Can’t Afford to Lose You,” the duo comprised of of Madrid-born, Oslo, Norway-based cellist and vocalist Teresa Bernabé and guitarist Jørgen Berg Svela, an Oslo native, quickly found themselves with an expanding international profile as the duo saw praise and attention from JaJaJa MusicIndie Shuffle and airplay on Amazing Radio.

Give It Away,” which I wrote about last November further cemented the duo’s burgeoning reputation for crafting infectious pop as the song paired an upbeat melody, punchy bass lines, a looping guitar line and a soaring, anthemic hook with with Bernabé’s breezy vocals  while sonically drawing from African music and African-inspired pop  — in particular Paul Simon‘s Graceland, the legendary Ali Farka Touré and Afrobeat. Now the Oslo, Norway-based duo is continuing to build on the buzz of “Can’t Afford to Lose You,” and “Give It Away” with the release of their latest single “When Love Is Alive.” Beginning with a steady bass line, the song pairs reverb-y guitars, propulsive drumming and Bernabé’s ethereal vocals in a slow-burning song that expresses an aching longing and yearning for giving and receiving the love that the narrator desperately wants and deserves — but with the sad realization that love is often short-lived. And as a result, the song possesses the same breeziness as their previous singles but with a subtle sense of mourning.

 

Currently comprised of Pete Baxter, Max Turner, Josh Delaney and Liam Gough SMILE is a Melbourne, Australia-based band, that has cloaked themselves in mystery; in fact, the band has been so mysterious that beyond the fact that there are somewhere between 4 members and that the band formed back in 2012, very little else is know about them. “Holiday,” the second single off the band’s forthcoming album Rhythm Method consists of jangling and shimmering guitar chords, a wobbling bass line, a propulsive bass line and an anthemic hook paired with ironically disaffected vocals in a song that’s reminiscent of classic shoegaze and 90s Brit Pop; in some way, the song reminds me of both of Oasis and The Verve – but with a bluesier swagger. At the core of the song is an extremely modern sense of existential angst, based upon the realization that most people waste away their lives and their time on things they hate and are unfulfilling while consuming useless products until they die.

 

Perhaps best known for this time spent in New England-based psych rock band MMOSS, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Doug Tuttle had developed a reputation as a artist of his own right with the release of his solo debut, an effort that had been praised for possessing a jittery, love-lorn anxiety paired with Tuttle’s dexterous guitar work and his carefully crafted psychedelic-tinged pop. Tuttle’s forthcoming sophomore effort, It Calls On Me, slated for a February 26 release through renowned indie label Trouble In Mind Records will further cement the New Hampshire-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s reputation for crafted psych pop while revealing a subtle yet marked change in sonic direction as the material is dreamier and more ethereal, as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single and album title track “It Calls On Me.” Thanks to some impressive guitar licks played through a variety of effects pedals, paired with cymbal-led propulsive percussion, an equally propulsive bass line, Tuttle’s lilting and cooed vocals, the song sounds as though it could have been released sometime between 1963-1969 as the guitar solo reminds me quite a bit of Robby Kreiger’s expressive and expansive solo in The Doors‘ “Light My Fire,” while the song manages to be subtly modern as it channels contemporary acts such as Raccoon Fighter.

Tuttle and his touring band will play a number of dates throughout February and March to support the new album and it includes a stop in Brooklyn. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates

2/17: Detroit, MI –  Marble Bar
2/18: Chicago, IL – The Owl #
2/19: Cleveland, OH – Happy Dog #
2/20: Cincinnati, OH – The Comet #
2/21: Nashville, TN- East Room #
2/22: Atlanta, GA- 529 #
2/23: Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
2/24: Richmond, VA – TBA
2/25: Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade
2/26: Providence, RI – AS220 ^
2/27: Boston, MA – Lillypad ^
2/28: Portsmouth, NH – 3S Artspace ^
# – w/ Paperhead
^ – w/ Herbcraft

The last few days have been insanely busy in the JOVM world — and as a result I haven’t been able to post as much as I would have liked; however, it’s been a fun weekend of a lot of live music from all over the world and time spent with some very dear friends. Naturally, there are a lot of photos and stuff but expect a ton of stuff over the next couple of weeks . . .

In any case, as you all know, I receive quite a bit of emails from an incredibly diverse array of artists, labels, publicity firms, band managers and other folks from all over the world. I recently received an email from London-based quintet Blank Bibles. The British quintet’s latest single “Abigail West” sounds as though it draws heavily from The Smiths as shimmering guitar chords, propulsive drumming, soaring strings and anthemic hooks are paired with plaintive and lovelorn vocals. Unsurprisingly, the Abigail West at the heart of the song seems to be one of the loveliest women in the entire world — the sort of woman that you’d happily sing and dance in the street without a care in the world.