Filipa Marinho is a Lisbon, Portugal-born singer/songwriter, who grew up in an emotionally abusive household with plenty of early exposure to American cartoons, mid-90s movies and a growing intimacy with Hollywood notions of love, relationships […]
With the release of 2015’s self-titled debut and 2016’s Tunnel/New Pastoral Life EP, the Tokyo-based krautrock act Minami Deutsch, comprised of Kyotrao Miula (guitar, vocals, synthesizer), Taku Idemoto (guitar) and Keita Ise (bass), quickly established themselves with their homeland’s growing and incredibly vital psych scene. Much like their contemporaries, the band meshes the best influences from the global psych rock scene and meshes that with a delicate touch of Japanese music tradition.
Their latest effort, Can’t get there, a six song EP, which was released through Höga Nord Rekords earlier this year marks their second release through the Gothenburg, Sweden-based label, and interestingly the EP’s material is meant to crush negativity, sorrow and depressive energy while continuing their long-held adherence to a sound and approach that’s defiantly anachronistic. There are only small hits and elements of modernity throughout; however, the new album finds the band going along and trying some new paths, as the EP features a cover of Index’s 1968 song “Israeli Blues” and two remixes from Hoga Kord labelmates and mainstays Jamie Paton and Mythologen.
Clocking in at a little over seven minutes, Can’t get there’s latest single, EP title track “Can’t get there” is an expansive and trippy composition that’s a seamless synthesis of classic krautrock and psych rock. Centered around a performance that feels like a free-flowing jam and tightly rehearsed, the track features shimmering and angular bursts of guitar wrapped around a forceful, motorik groove making it the rare song that’s perfect for speeding down the Autobahn — and for getting high and for trying to get on a different astral plane.
Directed by Ryohei Kumamoto, the recently released video stars Lou Andreasu as a paranoid woman, wandering the streets of Tokyo, as though someone has been following her. Oddly enough, her moments are almost perfectly synched with the movement of the song.
I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed and rapidly rising Austin, TX-based soul act, Black Pumas throughout the course of this past year, and as you may recall, the act which is led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and guitarist drian Quesada and 27 year old singer/songwriter Eric Burton and features a cast of collaborators can trace its origins to when Burton, a popular street performer in his native Los Angeles busked his way across country to Austin, where he met Quesada.
Black Pumas released their self-titled, full-length debut earlier this year, and since its release the act has been on a relentless touring schedule that has included three separate stops in New York alone: The Knitting Factory, back in May; Mercury Lounge, back in July; and Brooklyn Bowl last month. Album single “Colors” exploded nationally when a live version of the song amassed over 4 million YouTube views — and since then, the song has become the most added song to Adult Album Alternative (AAA) radio. None of that should be surprising as the song is a decidedly old school singer/songwriter soul-inspired track centered around a looping 12 bar blues guitar line, twinkling Rhodes, some gospel-like backing vocals and Burton’s incredibly soulful and expressive vocals, which manage to express hurt, yearning, pride and awe simultaneously. As Burton, Quesada and company explained to The Fader by email, “‘Colors’ was written while the sun was going down on a rooftop in New Mexico. Finding inspiration in the multicolored hues of the night sky. The song is a message of togetherness, but there’s awareness of mortality mixed in . . .”
Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band made their nationally televised debut last night, performing “Colors” on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Currently comprised of founding members and married duo Mandy Gurung (vocals, guitar, production) and Diwas Gurung (guitar, production) with the band’s newest ember Steven Bartashev (drums), the Brooklyn-based indie pop act The Rungs was initially created by Diwas Gurung as a music therapy project for his spouse. Bartashev was recruited to complete the band’s lineup and flesh out their sound during the writing and recording project of their most recent EP, last year’s Everyday Visions, which was recorded by the band at the Gurung’s home studio, nicknamed the Well of Yells.
“King of Books,” Everyday Visions’ third and latest single is a slow-burning and atmospheric track, centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a soaring hook, buzzing and distorted guitar lines and Mandy Gurung’s ethereal cooing. At its core, the song’s narrator has finally realized that they need to let go of the person or thing that’s holding them back — and as a result, the song is the bitter tell off of someone who’s about to move forward. “This song is so personal, but it touches on something dark that I feel a lot of people can relate to in different ways, about recognizing and letting go of something that’s holding them back,” The Rungs’ Mandy Gurung explains in press notes. “It could be a person, a place, a habit, it could be anything that derails you or even makes you sick. “You’re no good for me” is like a twisted mantra for waking up and seeing it. It’s the first step to moving on.”
Directed by Justin Sindone, the recently released, sensual and incredibly intimate video for “King of Books” is set at a burlesque show with the members of the band playing music while Danielle Saint Velvet seductively dances to the music. “I had seen Danielle Saint Velvet perform a few times in upstate NY and in some clubs in the Lower East Side. Her dances stood out to me because she does such versatile routines and always manages to move so effortlessly,” Mandy Gurung says in press notes. “Every detail, her facial expressions, choreography, costume design, they all flow together. She’s just so talented in that way. When she agreed to do the video we were so psyched! Our video director and crew put a lot of thought into how to capture the choreography, not just filming the dance but really creating something subtle and delicate. They followed her routine in a way that to me feels so captivating and intimate.”
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.
Formed back in 2014, the Helsinki, Finland-based JOVM mainstays Lake Jons, comprised of Jooel Jons and Mikko Pennanen, have developed a reputation for walking a fine line between production tandem and full-fledged band, while crafting delicate, electro folk-tinged dream pop. Last year’s self-titled debut, which was primarily written and recorded in an isolated cabin deep in the Finnish forest thematically and sonically aimed to examine, capture and represent whatever tenuous connection still exists between the natural world and the human world. The album won attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere — including this site — with JaJaJa showcasing the band in London, Berlin and Hamburg.
The rising Finnish duo’s sophomore album The Coast finds the duo further reconnecting with their roots and delving even deeper into the Towars Forest. Thematically, The Coast is the duo’s endeavor to dismantle life, space and time. And sonically, the album finds the JOVM mainstays radically re-inventing their sound — the songs are centered around rough instrumental parts, layered with harmony-driven toplines with the material seemingly assembling again in a seamless fashion. Now, as you may recall, last month I wrote about “It’s Too Bright.” Built around a sparse production featuring twinkling keys, hi-hat led boom-bap-like percussion, a driving bass line and an ethereal and plaintive falsetto floating over the mix, the song sonically displayed elements of R&B, electro pop, jazz, folk and experimental pop — and while being forward thinking, the material retained the hook-driven nature that won them attention across the blogosphere.
The Coast’s latest single “Simone” will further cement the Finnish duo’s unusual and forward-thinking approach to pop music: the track is centered around a hazy and dusty production featuring strummed guitar, fluttering and arpeggiated synths, wobbling low end and stuttering beats with Jons’ plaintive vocals ethereally floating over the mix. And much like their previously released work, thee song is imbued with a sense of loss and longing simultaneously. In press notes, the band’s Jooel Jons explains that the central concept of the song is how connections can sometimes transcend physical loss. “You know the feeling someone close to you has moved on to another time and space? You’re still feeling these sensations of their presence and wonder if all is not lost after all,” Jons says in press notes. “Maybe you’re in denial. But you’ll only know if you stop and try reaching out to something that only you sense. From feelings arise experience; that is vital to our feeling of existence.”
Directed by Petra Lumioksa, the recently released video for “Simone” and stars Minna Karttunen and Maria Autio expressively dancing in a sun-dappled and extremely suburban apartment. Through most of the video, the dancers rarely see one or connect with one another — just barely out of sight, just barely out of touch and yet feeling each other’s presence. And as a result, the visual further emphasizes the song’s palpable sense of longing.
I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based hip-hop trio Clipping over the past few years of this site’s nine-plays year history. And as you may recall, the act — production duo Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson and frontperson Daveed Diggs — never expected to achieve much in the way of critical or commercial success: their earliest releases were built around Snipes’ and Hutson’s sparse and abrasive productions featuring industrial clang, clink and clatter and samples of field recordings paired with Diggs’ rapid-fire narrative driven flow, which is full of surrealistically brutal and violent imagery and swaggering braggadocio.
Sub Pop Records signed the Los Angeles-based trio and released 2014’s clpping. an effort that received attention across the blogosphere, including here. When Diggs went on to star in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton, winning a Tony Award for his dual roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette, the act was on an informal hiatus. But during that time, the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays reconvened to write and record 2016’s critically applauded effort Splendor & Misery, a Sci-Fi dystopian concept album that is futuristic and yet describes our increasingly frightening and bizarre present.
Clipping.’s latest full-length effort, There Existed an Addiction to Blood is slated for an October 18, 2019 release, and the album, which features guest spots from Ed Balloon, La Chat, Counterfeit Madison and Pedestrian Deposit among a list of others, finds the acclaimed act interpreting another rap splinter sect through their own singular lens — in this case, horrorcore, a purposefully absurdist and significant sub-genre that flourished for a brief few moments in the mid 1990s. Some of its pioneers included Brotha Lynch Hung, Gravediggaz, which featured The RZA — and it included seminal releases from Geto Boys, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and pretty much most of Memphis cassette tape rap.
Interestingly, There Existed an Addiction to Blood is partially inspired by Ganja & Hess, the 1973 vampire cult classic, regarded as one of the highlights of the Blaxploitation era — the title is derived from the film and the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays sampled part of the score on the album. (More on that later.) Over the past month or so, I’ve written about two of the forthcoming album’s previously released singles: the menacing and cinematic “Nothing Is Safe,” a track that loving employs the tropes of gangsta rap and horror films in a way that recalls Geto Boys’ hallucinogenic “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me.” — and “La Mala Ordina,” a collaborative track featuring guest spots from The Rita, Benny The Butcher and Elcamino that’s full of mayhem, copious gore paired with boom bap-like beats that’s part Mobb Deep’s “Get It Twisted“ and part DMX.
There Existed an Addition to Blood’s third and latest single “Blood of the Fang” is built around a chopped up sample from Sam Waymon’s score to the 1973 blaxploitation vampire film Ganja and Hess paired with a production featuring stuttering beats, wobbling low end and fluttering synths. Lyrically, Diggs conjures an alternate history of black political and social struggle in the 60s and 70s, name-dropping a who’s who of radical activists — and then reimagining them as a sort of undead superhero team continuing the necessary fight against systems of oppression and racism. Whereas the album’s two previously released singles were full of menace and mayhem, “Blood of the Fang” is full of fitting righteous (and necessary) fury.
Directed by multidisciplinary artist Lars Jan, the recently released video for “Blood of the Fang” is inspired by a famous of Huey Newtown — co-founder of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense — handcuffed to a hospital gurney while being treated for a gunshot wound in the stomach after a gun battle with Oakland police in October 1967. The video set in an eerie hospital operating room, features the members of Clipping. performing a series of bloody surgical procedures.
Last month, I wrote about Anna Morsett, Olympia, WA-born, Denver-based singer/songwriter, musician and creative mastermind behind the up-and-coming indie rock act The Still Tide. Her work with The Still Tide has largely been inspired by her experiences growing up in the Pacific Northwest, living in Brooklyn in her 20s and traveling the world as a guitar tech for the likes of critically applauded acts like Kaki King, The Tallest Man on Earth and The Devil Makes Three among others. As a solo artist, she has landed opening spots for Cat Power, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats and Margaret Glaspy.
Now, as you may recall her latest The Still Tide EP Between Skies is slated for a January 20, 2020 release through Mod y Vi Records and the EP is largely inspired by the duality she regularly experiences as a magnetic front woman and a self-described introspective loner while touching upon love, loss, opportunities won and closed doors of our lives. The EP’s first single “Change of Address” was a shimmering, hook-driven bit of guitar pop that subtly recalls The Smiths and The Pretenders while managing to be an introspective song centered around the sense of loss and defeat after the embittering end of a long-term relationship — and yet, the song was imbued with a glimmering hint of optimism over the new possibilities of a new start. Interestingly, Between Skies’ second and latest single “On The Line” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor — shimmering and introspective pop with a mournful bursts of sax and Morsett’s gorgeous vocals. Written as a reflection of her experience falling in love and being in a long distance relationship, the song captures the longing and ache of those sorts of relationships. And as a result, the song is imbued with the hope and anxiousness that comes about when you’re falling in love.
“The phrase ‘on the line’ was such a perfect fit for how I wanted to capture both the act of being on the phone with someone and also the act of putting yourself out there — of putting your heart on the line in the hope of love,” Morsett says in press notes.
Directed by Gabriel Jacobson, the recently released video focuses on Morsett in a sparsely furnished room writing and performing the song and on the phone with that long distance love interest. And it manages to capture the sweet ache and longing at the core of the song in an unadorned, unvarnished fashion.
Toronto-based electronic act Holy Fuck — Brian Borcherdt, Graham Walsh, Matt McQuaid and Matt Schultz — have developed a long-held reputation for playing by their own rules, frequently using miscellaneous instruments and non-instruments including a 35mm film synchronizer, toy keyboards and toy phaser guns to achieve electronic-sounding effects without the use of laptops, programmed backing tracks, splicing and so on. And perhaps more important, the act has never been overly concerned about chasing the limelight or any genre-based trend.
“Luxe” is the first batch of new material from the acclaimed Canadian electronic act since the release of 2017’s Bird Brains EP and interestingly, the single was born out of the quartet’s desire to revisit old and trusted methods of creating new material — primarily by experimenting live on the stage. Centered around a pulsating, minimal synth loop, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping kick drum, the expansive song, which clocks in at a little over six minutes and bears a bit of a resemblance to Tour de France-era Kraftwerk can trace its origins back to a spontaneous encore jam at Luxembourg, Belgium. As the story goes, once they had the early elements of the track worked on in the studio, they sent it to to their good friend and casual musical mentor Kieran Hebden, best known as Four Tet, who picked the early version of “Luxe” as a standout. The Canadian quartet then invited Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor to contribute vocals. Taylor not only jumped at the opportunity but went to Jack White‘s Third Man Studio in Nashville to record his vocals on White’s 1947 Voice-O-Graph.
“Among more literal translations, ‘Luxe’ is the short form of Luxembourg – the city in which the nexus of the song was created,” the members of Holy Fuck explain in an extensive statement. “On this particular night, during soundcheck, we had a pulsing minimal synth loop we’d been tinkering around with. (We were listening to lots of TRAX Records stuff on that tour.) We decided that if the crowd demanded an encore we’d go for it. ‘Luxe’ was the result. Or – as it was then called on the live recorded MP3 – ‘Luxembourg Encore’. Once home from tour we took all the live demos back to the drawing board. We shared everything with our friend Kieran Hedben aka Four Tet. His always-intuitive advice was that he heard a great club track in his ‘very favorite thing here’: ‘Luxembourg Encore’”.
The next moment of discovery came when Graham suggested the band scrap Brian’s vocals and give it to Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip. When we presented Alexis with the concept our reference notes to him, based around Brian’s temporary vocals, were ‘like an old sample you’d dig up off an old folk record… and approached more like a classic house track’. He responded, ‘We could try to record the vocal in a Voice O Graph booth (an obsolete 1940s coin operated phonograph booth) if we can access one…’. As far as we’re aware, there are only two in the world – one in Liverpool (that apparently doesn’t work anymore) and the other at Jack White’s Third Man studio in Nashville. And that is where Alexis sang ‘I’d like to scrap all of this and start over again.’ Fittingly, it was New Year’s Eve.”
Interestingly, “Luxe” also is the first official single off the acclaimed Canadian electronica act’s forthcoming, fifth album Deleter. Slated for a January 17, 2020, the material reportedly finds the band pushing their signature sound in a new direction — with it being polyrhythmic and pleasure focused, as they seamlessly mesh krautrock, deep house and motorik percussion. Thematically (and spiritually), Deleter reportedly explores what happens when humanity and technology coalesce into one big, semi-organic celebration of the joys of spontaneity, repetition and individuality. As the band puts it, “the robots are smarter than ever, and the algorithm knows more and more what we like as individuals, but we have to remind ourselves that there is music in the margins that can go missing and that that music is more important than ever.”
Directed by Rapapawn, Óscar Raña and Cynthia Alfonso, the recently released video is a mind-bending and hallucinogenic visual featuring floating geometric shapes, and animated version of the band performing the song.