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New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Releases a Dance Floor Friendly Meditation on Acceptance and Closure

Originally formed in  Christchurch, New Zealand, the internationally acclaimed synth pop act Yumi Zouma, currently features members spread out across the globe with Josh Burgess (guitar, vocals) based in New York, Charlie Ryder (guitar, bass, keys) based in London and Christie Simpson (vocals, keys) based in Christchurch. Writing and recording by email out of necessity, the band wasn’t meant to be a live project — and yet, they received attention and praise for a breezy yet breezy yet bittersweet, 80s synth pop inspired sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal and achingly tender vocals. 

The acclaimed indie electro pop act recently signed to Polyvinyl Record Co., and to to celebrate the occasion, they released their self-produced new single “Right Track/Wrong Man” through their new label home. And while continuing an extraordinary run of breezy synth pop, the new track is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like guitar lines, a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming and ethereal harmonies, the song is actually an upbeat, disco-tinged meditation on the closure gained by accepting that it’s time to move on and forward. 

“‘Right Track / Wrong Man’ comes from a place of uncertainty – of not knowing if you should stay in the comfort of a slightly unfulfilling relationship, or branch out and make the most of the youth you have left; meet new people, go out more, dance, live,” the band’s Christine Simpson explains. “In the last year or so I’ve found myself switching between these modes, unable to work out what makes me happier, left feeling a little lost – but I’ve always found solace in the knowledge that at least I’ve been going out more, meeting new people, dancing – and living. As Yumi Zouma we often write songs that we want people to dance to, and that we ourselves would want to dance to – this is our dancefloor anthem to the confusion of living through your twenties.”

 

Brian Collins is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the creative mastermind behind the rising, indie recording project Hurt Valley. With Hurt Valley, Collins crafts shambling and rollicking songs that sound heavily indebted to AM Radio rock, as they frequently feature elements of folk and psych rock — and while sounding as though it were released in 1967, “Apartment Houses,” off Collins soon-to-be-released Hurt Valley debut, Glacial Pace, the shimmering track is centered around a sense of being lost and lonely in an unfamiliar and new place. And yet, the song’s narrator finds a way to push onward.

I’m writing this post in a Starbucks, looking at the snow out  of the window and I’m reminded of my recent trip to Montreal. And as soon as I landed atMontreal-Trudeau International Airport, I was aware of the fact that I was yet again in a strange, unfamiliar place where no one really knew me — and where I didn’t speak or comprehend the language. But I’ve always managed to push onward and thrive. So as you can imagine, the song hits a real personal spot at the moment.

 

 

 

 

New Video: Rising British Pop Artist Jordan Mackampa Releases a Symbolic Visual for “Parachutes”

Jordan Mackampa is a rising London-born and-based Congolese-British singer/songwriter. With the release of “Under” earlier this year and 2016’s Physics EP, and 2017’s Tales From The Broken EP and Live from the Grand Cru EP, Mackampa has received critical praise from NME, The 405, The Line of Best Fit, Clash, Indie Shuffle, Wonderland and others — with all of his previously released material amassing over 50 million Spotify streams.

Mackampa’s work is inspired by his Congolese roots and his mother’s love of legendary soul singers like Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield. And much like his influences, Mackampa has a developed a reputation for pairing an old school singer/songwriter soul-like vocal delivery with earnest songwriting and catchy melodies with a modern approach. Building upon that momentum, Mackampa’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Foreigner is slated for a March 13, 2020 release. Along with that the rising Congolese-British artist is currently on tour opening for Amber Run  and he has been confirmed to play at next year’s SXSW.

Mackampa’s latest single, “Parachutes” is a breezy yet deliberately crafted track centered around a radio friendly and loose arrangement of twinkling keys, shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line and propulsive drumming. But the star of the show is Mackampa’s easygoing and expressive vocals — in this case, Mackampa’s voice evokes the soaring high of being in love and the embittering low of heartache and betrayal within the turn of a phrase.

“‘Parachutes’ encapsulates those situations with people you’ve come across in life; who aren’t who they pretend to be and the person they are with you, isn’t someone you want to be around,” Mackampa explains in press notes. “However because you love them, either platonically or romantically, you’re conflicted by your feelings for them until it gets to a point where you don’t want to be hurt anymore… Nobody is perfect, but if you were trapped in an airplane with them and they had a parachute but you didn’t you would jump out regardless, because any pain you would experience afterwards, won’t be as bad as what you’ve already gone through.”

Directed by Tom Ewbank, the recently released and deeply metaphoric captures the psychological and physical battles of any relationship — essentially saying that sometimes other people can be hellish and torturous. “I wanted this video to capture the mental, and sometimes physical battles we go through in relationships, whether they are platonic or romantic with people in our lives,” Mackampa explains in press notes. “It can sometimes feel as though you’re dealing with two different people, but no one else sees the other person you encounter who brings you pain and hurt, rather than joy. You become inwards within yourself until you can’t take it anymore and have to walk away from them, even if it’s hard.”

New Video: San Antonio’s Fea Releases an Anthemic Ode to the Working Class

With the release of 2016’s self-titled, full-length debut, the San Antonio, TX-based punk outfit Fea, which features Girl In A Coma’s Phanie Diaz and Jenn Alva with Letty Martinez and Sofi Lopez, quickly developed a reputation for a trailblazing and proudly genre-defying aesthetic that meshed Chicana Punk, fuzzy power chords and three-part vocal harmonies with Riot Grrl ethos. 

Now, as you may recall, the San Antonio-based punk quartet’s Alice Bag-produced sophomore album No Novelties is slated for a November 15, 2019 release through Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records, and the forthcoming album features bilingual material that thematically focuses on a number of hot-button topics, including sexism, the toxic self-awareness, self-promotion and vapidity of social media and others — with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and feministic punk sensibility. Additionally, the material may arguably be the most intricate in the band’s history — to date, at least. 

Last month, I wrote about No Novelties’ first single “Let Me Down,” a blistering takedown of modern society’s dependance on social media and reality TV that calls out the obsession with fame, constant praise, instant gratification, self-absorption, self-promotion, sex and consumerism at its core. Sonically, the song found the act meshing classic ’77 era punk with power pop in a way that was infectious and defiant. The album’s second and latest single “Ya Se,” is a blistering, old school punk anthem, centered on the plight of the constantly exploited working class sung entirely in Spanish. Considering the constant torrent of racist bullshit coming from our current administration that’s aimed at our brothers, sisters and friends in the LatinX community, the song possesses a deeper sense of righteous fury. 

“The title is Spanish for ‘I know,’ vocalist Letty Martinez says in press notes. “Most of our generation is living paycheck to paycheck. Getting caught up in that cycle where you spend the money you don’t have on vices just to feel relief from the financial stress.” Guitarist Sofi Lopez adds, “When you just work work work, you get into this groove that you can’t escape. But it drives you mad in the end.“

The recently released video stars the members of the band as frustrated blue collar mechanics, who are exploited by their white collar — and very male — boss. The band members work hard for very little money and to escape their dreary lives, they spend what they earn on vices — booze, weed, gambling, cigarettes. But at the end, they all revolt against the dreaded time clock, which enslaves them. 

New Video: Rising French Pop Act Isaac Delusion Releases an Achingly Tender Visual for Breezy and Nostalgic “pas ‘habitude”

Deriving their name from a playful, Anglophile nod towards the famed physicist Issac Newton, the Paris-based electro pop act Isaac Delusion was formed back in 2010 by its core duo, longtime friends Loïc Fleury (vocals, guitar) and Jules Paco (keys). Shortly after their formation, the project expanded to incorporate a rotating cast of musicians. With the release of 2014’s self-titled debut effort, the act received attention for a sound and approach that meshed the acoustic instrumentation with a bold use of electronics — while nodding a bit at dream pop. 

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them in the French electro pop scene, the act toured extensively across France and Europe to support their full-length debut. Interestingly, the band’s sophomore effort, 2017’s Rust & Gold found the act’s sound shifting away from ethereal and atmospheric dream pop and focusing on tangible emotions and soulful rhythms paired with insightful observations on love and the human condition. 

Since the release of the French electro pop act’s first two albums, they’ve amassed over 500,000 Spotify streams a month, played Pitchfork Paris, as well as sold-out headlining shows at venues like  L’Olympia and Elysee Montmarte. 

Slated for a November 8, 2019 release through Microqlima Records, the rapidly rising French electro pop’s forthcoming, third album uplifters is the highly-awaited follow-up to 2017’s Rust & Gold, and the album is reportedly centered around a misplaced nostalgia for long-passed youth, which is fitting for the act’s core duo, as they’ve inched into their 30s. And as a result, the material is imbued with a longing for the freedom and unguarded honesty of their younger selves — and a regret for the missed opportunities you can never get back. Much like its predecessors, most of uplifters is written and sung in English with a handful of songs written and sung in their native French. 

Interestingly, uplifters latest single “pas ‘habitude” is one of the few album tracks written and sung in the act’s native French, and while being a breezy synth pop song built around shimmering synth arpeggios, plaintive and dreamy vocals,  a sinuous bass line and an infectious, razor sharp hook — but the song’s breeziness is at best superficial, as it’s possess an underlying bittersweet nostalgia and heartache. 

Directed by Leo Chadoutaud, the recently released video for “pas ‘habitude” follows touches upon ideas of isolation and acceptance, as it follows the behind-the-scenes life of  living and breathing Hollywood monster, who’s painfully lonely and desperately seeking connection with others. And even in his loneliness, the video’s protagonist finds moments of sublime, childlike joy. 

New Video: Molina Releases a Feverish and Surreal Visual for Atmsopheric and Synth Driven “Parásito”

Rebecca Maria Molina, is an emerging Chilean-Danish singer/songwriter, electronic music artist and producer, who can trace the origins of her career to when she was eight. As the story goes, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based Molina began writing her own music, inspired by the music her mother frequently played for her, including Bjork, Kate Bush and Royksopp. “I remember wanting the Basement Jaxx’ Rooty album for my birthday at the same age as I was dancing to children’s music.” Molina recalls.

When Molina was in her teens, she furthered her musical education by searching the corners of the Internet and following a trail of like-minded bands and artists, eventually becoming obsessed with the work of Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, 70s-80s new wave and punk , shoegaze and the work of Miharu Koshi and Mariah among others. Unsurprisingly, all of those disparate sounds and styles have influenced the Chilean-Danish artist’s work. 

With the release of her debut EP Corpus, Molina received attention internationally from BBC Radio 6, Beats 1 Radio, The 405, The Line of Best Fit and countless others for a songwriting approached that openly embraces experimentalism — but while sonically drawing from late 70s and early 80s synth pop. Building upon a growing profile across Scandinavia and elsewhere, Molina has released three singles “Mike” “Venus and “Hey Kids” off her highly-awaited, forthcoming sophomore EP Vanilla Shell that have not only established her as a unique voice in the alternative pop scene, but have also received attention from a number of media outlets across the globe, including Gorilla vs. Bear and Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber, who highlighted “Venus” among the best tracks of this year. 
Slated for a January 24, 2020 release, Vanilla Shell finds Molina weaving layered vocals, string and flute arrangements and fretless bass into a synthetic universe, frequently characterized by inventive and challenging song structures, catchy melodies and brooding production. “Parásito,” Vanilla Shell’s latest single is centered around layers of ethereal and achingly plaintive vocals, a chilly, motorik-like groove with warm bursts of organic instrumentation — primarily strummed, acoustic guitar, fluttering flute and wobbling fretless bass lines. Sonically, the song is an exploration of the contrasts between hard and soft and the organic and the synthetic that will draw comparisons to Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. But thematically, the song focuses on two familiar emotions — that mix of longing and absorption for another that makes it feel impossible to get as close to that person as you’d want and the desperate, intense urge for that person that makes you feel as though you were a parasite, as though you couldn’t survive without them. In other words, it suggests that love can be kind of parasitical and confusing. 

“Parásito,” is the first song of Molina’s career written and sung in Spanish and interestingly when she wrote the song, she felt a deeply inherent power and energy than in either Danish and English. “I feel Spanish amplifies my message,” Molina explains in press notes. “The drama in the language makes it easier and more natural for me to be an extrovert and emotional.” 

While being a decidedly 80s-era MTV inspired visual, the recently released video possesses a surreal and feverish air that emphasizes the song’s longing at the song’s core. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Cones Release a Behind the Scenes-like Visual for Breezy Album Single “Seeing Triple”

Throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones. The duo which is comprised of Jonathan Rosen, an acclaimed, pop music influenced, hand-drawn animator, who has created music videos for Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve,  and played Johnny Thunders on the HBO series Vinyl; and Michael Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial and film composer and experimental sound artist, can trace the origins of their band back to their stint playing together as members of the New York-based indie act Icewater, an act that at one point became Friedberger’s session and touring band during New View. As the story goes, while touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, ultimately deciding that their project would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation.

After releasing a string of critically applauded singles, which they followed up with their debut EP, the Rosen Brothers went into a friend’s studio to collaborate with a producer for the first time in their history.  They recorded what they initially thought would be their full-length debut but ultimately, they decided to scrap it, as it didn’t feel like a proper Cones album to them. So they went back to their home studio and started working on the full-length debut from scratch. The end result wound up being their full-length debut Pictures of Pictures. 

Now, as you may recall, earlier this month, I wrote about “Moonstone,” a breezy bit of psych pop that struck me a being a sort of seamless synthesis of Steely Dan and MGMT, but while being a swooning and delicate love song. “Seeing Triple,” Pictures of Pictures’ latest single is a shimmering and breezy New Wave-like track, that kind of reminds me of The Cars and of The World’s Best American Band-era White Reaper, complete with a soaring hook and plaintive vocals. But at its core, the song evokes the ambivalence and confusion of getting older.  

Interestingly, the recently released video for “Seeing Triple” is arguably their first live-action video, centered around the duo performing the song in a studio in front of psychedelic-tinged lighting. The video reveals, the behind-the-scenes of a video filming and of the brother’s relationship — like most siblings, they fight and fuss but there’s a profound amount of love there.