Category: synth funk

New Video: Lyon, France’s Da Break Releases a Cinematic Visual for Hook-Driven and Funky New Single

Da Break is a Lyon, France-based funk and pop project centered around its core trio, producer Bruno “Patchworks” Hovart, vocalist Jen “Hawa”  Zonou and drummer Remy Kaprielan. The act’s 2018 self-titled full-length debut established the act’s swaggering and soulful aesthetic and sound — one that drew heavily from 90s hip-hop, hip-hop soul and R&B. 

Building upon the attention their full-length debut received, the Lyon-based funk and pop act released, their full-length debut’s highly-anticipated follow-up Burning EP. Burning EP found the members of Da Break expanding upon their sound, incorporating elements of jazz, reggae, G-funk and disco — while the act’s Jen “Hawa” Zonou boldly stepped forward as a powerhouse frontperson. 

Da Break begins 2020 with the sultry, hook-driven funk bop “Miss Rosa.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, some Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, Zonou’s self-assured and soulful vocals and a propulsive drumming, the track may arguably be the most ambitious and radio friendly they have released to date, while broaching more serious subjects in a way that brings  Crystal Waters smash-hit “Gypsy Woman,” to mind.

Directed by Arnaud Ly Van Manh, the cinematically shot video for “Miss Rosa” stars Lego Adilo, Nadine Charvolin, Nicolas Mondon, Bruno Patchwork, Julien Espinoza, Pierre Vadon and Antonin El Camino. Starting in media res, we follow a Black man being chased through the countryside by a Ku Klux Klan-like trio. The titular Miss Rosa, nervously waits for her boy to come home but we also see her make a cup of tea, pull out a shotgun and then shoot two of her boy’s tormentors. Not only is she a badass, but there’s something about racist idiots getting their comeuppance that’s entertaining to me. The video ends with an ironic yet well-deserved twist. 

Advertisements

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Thundercat Releases a Hilarious Visual for Shimmering and Funky Jam “Dragonball Durag”

Throughout the course of this site’s almost 10 year history  I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the critically applauded, Grammy Award-wining singer/songwriter, bassist and JOVM mainstay artist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner. Bruner has long been a Brainfeeder Records cornerstone, releasing critically applauded material including  Golden Age of Apocalypse, 2013’s Apocalypse, 2015’s The Beyond/Where Giants Roam EP and 2017’s Drunk while also establishing himself as a highly sough-after collaborator, contributing to Kamasi Washington’s aptly titled 2015 effort, The Epic and to Kendrick Lamar‘s 2016 commercial and critical smash hit, the Grammy Award winning To Pimp A Butterfly. And in 2018, he teamed up with Flying Lotus to compose an original score for an episode of Donald Glover’s Golden Globeand Emmy Award-winning TV series Atlanta.

Drunk, Bruner’s most recent album was conceived and written as an epic journey into the bizarre, hilarious and sometimes dark mind of the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and bassist, but importantly, the album represented a major career transition — from virtuoso bassist and collaborator, to globally recognized star while further cementing his reputation for arguably being one of the past decade’s most unique, genre-defying voices. Thundercat’s fourth full-length album, the Flying Lotus-produced It Is What It Is is slated for an April 3, 2020 release through Brainfeeder Records. Much like its immediate predecessor, the album features a who’s who list of collaborators and guest spots from the likes of Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, The Internet‘s Steve Lacy, Slave‘s Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole and Zack Fox among others.

“This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that,” Bruner says in press notes. “It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at different points in life you come across places that you don’t necessarily understand… some things just aren’t meant to be understood.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Black Qualls,” It Is What It Is‘ first single, which found Bruner teaming up with Slave’s Steve Arrington and The Internet’s Steve Lacy on a strutting and strolling pimp bop, centered around Bruner’s sinuous bass lines, four-on-the-floor drumming and an infectious hook. The end result is a song that manages to be classic Thundercat while sounding as though it could have been on Slave’s Just a Touch of Love. The album’s second and latest single “Dragonball Durag” is a mid-tempo strut of a song centered around Bruner’s chunky and wobbling bass lines and his velvety falsetto — and while recalling Quiet Storm-era funky soul, the song is mischievous and funny song that details its creator’s sense of humor and obsession with Dragon Ball Z and the confidence boosting power of the durag.

“I have a Dragon Ball tattoo… it runs everything. There is a saying that Dragon Ball is life,” Bruner explains. As for the durag: “There are two types of people in the world, the guy with the durag and the guy who doesn’t know what a durag is. The durag is a superpower, to turn your swag on… it does something, it changes you. If you have one in the wardrobe, think about wearing it tonight, and it may pop off because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Directed by Zack Fox, the recently released video features cameos from HAIM, Kali Uchis, and Quinta Brunson and stars Bruner, as a desperate and impossibly horny loser, who stumbles upon the titular durag, and when he puts it on, he unleashes his newfound mojo and attempts to charms the ladies in a hilariously awkward and creepy fashion. And although he constantly gets rejected, he never lets it dull his spirit or his hopes.  

 

Although they’ve proudly boasted of their long-held reputation for crafting left of center pop and adhering to doing things in their own way, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based pop act Little Dragon, comprised of Yukimi Nagano (vocals), Hakan Wirenstarnd (keys), Fredrik Wallin (bass) and Erik Bodin (drums), have managed to achieve an enviable level of mainstream success and recognition: 2014’s full-length effort Nabuma Rubberband received a Grammy nomination and they’ve developed a reputation for being a highly sought-after collaborative unit, as they’ve worked with an impressive array of genre-defying, difficult to pigeon-hole artists and acts including BADBADNOTGOODGorillaz, SBTRKT, Flying Lotus, Kaytranada, Big Boi, De La Soul, DJ Shadow, Tinashe, Mac Miller, Future, Raphael Saadiq, Faith Evans and many more.

The acclaimed Swedish pop act can trace their origins back to when they would meet up after school to jam and play A Tribe Called Quest and Alice Coltrane records and reportedly the band’s forthcoming album New Me, Same Us finds the band going back to the basics and falling back in love with their instruments while crafting some of what may arguably be the most focused material of their growing catalog. Interestingly, the material thematically touches upon transitions, longing and saying goodbye. And as a result, it may also be among the most reflective and thoughtful of their careers. “We are all on our own personal journeys, full of chance, yet still we stand united with stories we believe in, that make us who are we are.”

The album which was entirely self-produced and recorded at the acclaimed Swedish pop act’s home-built Gothenburg-based studio “has been the most collaborative for us yet, which might sound weird considering we’ve been making music together for all these years, but we worked hard at being honest, finding the courage to let go of our egos and be pieces of something bigger,” the members of Little Dragon explain in press notes. Centered around shimming synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, propulsive polyrhythm  an infectious two-step inducing hook and Nagano’s soulful crooning, “Hold On,” Same Me, New Us‘ sultry first single manages to recall Fragile-era Cherrelle, with subtle house music flourishes.

The song as the band explains is a centered around a message about breaking away and moving on. It started out as a slick house track but transformed once Fred played the base through it and we all worked it together,” the band explains. “It became something raw and soulful. It’s a simple groove that makes us dance. We can’t wait to play it live because once we play it live it most certainly will change again.”

The acclaimed Swedish pop act will be embarking on a headlining international tour throughout the bulk of the Spring. The tour includes a two-night stand at Brooklyn Steel — April 17, 2020 and April 18, 2020. The April 18 show is already sold out. Check out the tour dates below.

2020 TOUR DATES
Mar 09 Stockholm, Sweden – Berns
Mar 10 Copenhagen, Denmark – VEGA *SOLD OUT
Mar 12 Berlin, Germany – Festsaal Kreuzberg
Mar 13 Warsaw, Poland – Niebo
Mar 15 Prague, Czech Republic – Roxy
Mar 16 Vienna, Austria – Flex
Mar 18 Zurich, Switzerland – Mascotte
Mar 19 Milan, Italy – Santeria Toscana 31
Mar 21 Brussels, Belgium – Botanique
Mar 23 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg
Mar 25 Paris, France – Gaîté Lyrique
Mar 26 London, UK – 02 Brixton Academy
Apr 15 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
Apr 17 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
Apr 18 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel *SOLD OUT
Apr 20 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Apr 21 New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall
Apr 22 Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
Apr 24 Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
Apr 25 Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
Apr 27 Detroit, MI – Majestic Theater
Apr 28 Chicago, IL – The Vic Theatre
Apr 29 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
May 01 Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
May 02 Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
May 04 Seattle, WA – Showbox *SOLD OUT
May 05 Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
May 06 Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre
May 08 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
May 09 Los Angeles, CA – Palladium
May 11 Santa Ana, CA – Observatory OC
May 12 San Diego, CA – House of Blues
May 16 Guadalajara, MX – Corona Capital Guadalajara
Bad Dylan is a Montreal-based synth funk/electro pop outfit, comprised of T-Spoon (bass, synth), Jalouse (guitar, synth) and Dr. Fill (drums).  Formed back in 2015, the act has developed a genre-defying take on retro-futuristic funk that draws from the ’70s, the ’80s, the 90s’ and 2000s, synth pop, krautrock, Daft Punk, elevator music, spa music and more. The Montreal-based funk/electro pop outfit starts the new year with Astrology, a public, pre-production exercise in which the trio shares their creative process with their audience while challenging themselves to write, record and release a song every month, revealing both the good ideas and the bad ideas.
They’ll then rework each piece — focusing on the good ideas — and compile the results into the best album they could make. The album will also be accompanied by an art book, done in collaboration with visual artist Alexandra Bilodeau.
Centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats and found vocal samples, Astrology‘s latest single “Bourritos” which features additional synths and effects from Gary Cobra, is a slow-burning, strutting pimp walk of a track that brings JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk and others to mind.

New Video: Vapor Caves’ 80s Inspired Video for Funky, Feminist Anthem “Bitch To The Boys”

With the release of their debut single “The Chase,” which was featured on Comedy Central‘s hit TV show Broad City and its follow-up “Hurry Up & Wait,” which landed on a Spotify‘s Ready for the Day playlist, the rapidly rising Austin, TX-based synth funk act The Vapor Caves — vocalist Yadira Brown and producer BoomBaptist — quickly emerged into the national scene. Deriving their name from a rare, naturally-found phenomenon: an underground cave that billows mineral-rich steam known for its healing properties, the duo pay homage to the phenomenon, by creating sonic medicine for those who enter.

Building upon a growing profile, the duo’s full-length debut, Feel Yourself, saw a limited vinyl-only release earlier this year that quickly sold out. The album further establishes their sound and approach with material that’s simultaneously dance floor friendly, funky and introspective. Interestingly, as a result of their growing profile, the act has opened for JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk.

Feel Yourself’s latest single, the slinky “Bitch To The Boys” is centered round shimmering synth arpeggios, Brown’s sultry and self-assured vocals, a sinuous dance floor friendly groove and an infectious hook, the track sonically reminds me of classic, 80s synth funk like Cherelle, I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, etc., and of contemporary purveyors of the dance floor friendly sound like Dam Funk, Boulevards, Bruno Mars and the like. But more importantly, the song is a defiant, sashaying and strutting feminist anthem and tell off to wack ass fuckboys: the song’s narrator pretty much says “I don’t need your corny ass. I do it for myself anyway.” 

Directed and produced by Side Label, the recently released video is a fittingly 80s-inspired romp that features a crew of wack ass fuckboys, who get told off by the video’s protagonist and her crew. Disses are served — hot, cold and 24 hours a day in this one. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Beverly Girl Returns with a 80s Synth Pop Inspired Banger

With a series of critically applauded and commercially successful singles, the Helsinki, Finland-based synth pop/synth soul trio and long-term JOVM mainstays Beverly Girl have developed a reputation for being at the forefront of Scandinavia’s highly-regarded and rapidly growing nu-disco, synth pop and synth soul scenes while establishing a sound that will remind listeners of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Cherrelle, The Gap Band, Cameo, Atlantic Starr  and fellow JOVM mainstays Escort. The Finnish pop trio have received attention from a number of blogs across the world (including this only one), regular airplay on Finnish radio, as well as placement on a number of Spotify playlists. 

Adding to a growing international profile, they’ve also built up a profile for an energetic live show led by their charismatic frontwoman Yohannna that has resulted in playing shows across the States, France, Norway, Sweden and Estonia, including headlining slots at Los Angeles’ Modern Funk Fest, Flow Festival and Pride Festivals across Scandinavia.

The Helsinki-based JOVM mainstays are currently putting the finishing touches on a long-awaited album, slated for release in early 2020, and the album’s latest single “I’m Your Girl” continues the act’s incredible run of self-assured,  80s inspired synth pop and funk, centered around enormous radio friendly hooks — but in this case, the slickly produced “I’m Your Girl” manages to bear an uncanny resemblance to Deneice Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” and Cherelle’s “Saturday Love.”

Shot in an incredibly cinematic fashion, the recently released video for “I’m Your Girl” is rooted around live footage of the act performing the song in front of a rapturous crowd.   

New Audio: Melbourne’s Karate Boogaloo Takes on an 80s Synth Soul Classic

Featuring the rhythm section of the acclaimed, Melbourne-based soul act The Cactus Channel, Karate Boogaloo have quickly developed a reputation for sitting in a their own lane, a lane they’ve proudly and defiantly created: when it comes to creating material, they follow their own rules; frequently recording and mixing on tape with no plugins and no edits, with the material released exclusively in mono. And they do so not because of an adherence to anachronism but about a specific creative manifesto — one in which they abide by a chosen set of limitations to force a specific outcome. 

Their KBs Mixtape No. 1: songs that were sampled into your favourite hits was a cult success in their native Melbourne. Building upon the rapidly growing profile, the much-anticipated follow-up to KBs Mixtape No. 1, KBs Mixtape No. 2: songs from the 80s that were sampled into your favourite hits! expands upon the theme developed from the first mixtape — while further developing their unique sound and approach. Mixtape 2’s latest single finds the Aussie funk act taking on the Mtume’s oft-sampled, slinky synth funk classic “Juicy Fruit.” While Karate Boogaloo’s version is purely instrumental take, they retain the song’s slinky melody — but while turning into a breezy mid-tempo bop with shimmering and wobbly synths and bluesy slide guitar. 

Born in the early 70s, the Pasadena, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer/songwriter and producer Damon Garrett Riddick, best known as JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk came of age during the heyday of acts like Uncle Jamm’s Army and Egyptian Lover, two of the area’s pioneers of electro hip-hop and what would become West Coast hip-hop — and of course, the legendary Prince.

Riddick’s parents encouraged and nurtured his interest in music: he learned drums and then drum machine. A chance encounter led to an apprenticeship under funk songwriter/producer Leon Sylvers III, and by the mid-90s, the height of West Coast, G-funk hip-hop, Riddick was a highly-sought, local session musician, playing on tracks by Mack 10 and MC Eiht. “Everybody was trying to do the live instrumentation thing, so then you got cats like me playing on records,” Dam-Funk explained on his Stones Throw Records artist bio.

Sideman status wasn’t enough for him though. While watching gold plaques be handed out to everyone but him, Riddick decided that it was time to go “full-funk” and make a do-or-die try to become an artist on his own terms. In 2006, he and a few friends launched the popular Funkmosphere party. Around then, the Pasadena-born, Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer/songwriter and producer caught the attention of Stones Throw Records. Unsurprisingly, the label related to Riddick’s insistence that funk needed to be saved from cartoonish and devilish caricature — and that funk was a way of life.

Stones Throw Records released his first two full-length albums — 2009’s Toeachizown and 2015’s Invite the Light, as well as a  compilation of his early production, 2010’s Adolescent Funk. 2013 was a big year for the Pasadena-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay — his collaboration with Steve Arrington Higher was released that year, and he teamed up with Snoop Dogg in the funk and hip-hop act 7 Days of Funk, who also released their debut album that year.

Each of those releases helped to establish Dam-Funk’s signature sound and aesthetic — synth-based funk that draws from G-Funk era hip-hop and 80s synth funk. However, over the past couple of years, Riddick has been experimenting with the warmer sides of deep house and techno with material released through his own imprint Glydezone Recordings while spending time DJ’ing, and working on remixes and mixes.

Slated for release next week through his own label, the Pasadena-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay’s forthcoming effort STFU II while being a follow-up to last year’s Architecture II is reportedly a gradual return to his old-school funk roots — and a long-awaited sequel to 2015’s free all-instrumental EP STFU. Now, as you may recall, clocking in at over 7 minutes, the EP’s first track, the strutting EP closer “On Code.” Centered by tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of arpeggiated bass synths, keytar and atmospheric electronics that gave the affair a subtle cosmic glow.

“Compos Mentis,” the EP’s second and latest single is centered around a lush and jazz-tinged funk arrangement featuring arpeggiated bass synths, atmospheric electronics, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and twinkling keys — and much like its immediate predecessor, the track possesses a similar, subtle cosmic glow and an deep melodic sensibility.