JOVM pays tribute to David Bowie on what would have been his 71st birthday.
Comprised of founding duo and romantic couple, Puerto Rican-born, Los Angeles, CA-based (by way of Atlanta, GA) Maria Zardoya (vocals, guitar) and Los Angeles, CA native Josh Conway (production, drums, vocals), along with fellow Los Angeles, CA native Jesse Perlman (lead guitar, vocals), Canadian-born, Berklee College of Music-trained and Los Angeles, CA-based Carter Lee (bass, vocals) and Edward James (keys), The Marias formed in late 2016. And while the band draws inspiration from their vastly diverse backgrounds and the intimacy of their Hollywood Hills commune, their sound meshes jazz, psych pop, funk, lounge pop and 70s AM rock with subtly modern production.
With an early SoundCloud demo being spun by Chris Douridas on KCRW’s Eclectic 24 and then the Anne Litt Show, the members of the Los Angeles-based quintet saw a growing local and regional profile that resulted in an appearance on KRCW’s concert series School Night. Building upon a growing profile, the band released their debut EP Superclean, Vol. 1 during the fall of 2017. The band’s forthcoming Superclean, Vol. 2 is slated for release early this year and along with that, The Marias will be playing at Coachella this year, which should result in much more attention on the band. But in the meantime, “Dejate Llevar,” off the band’s Superclean, Vol. 1 is a breezy, pop confection that will further cement their growing reputation for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop, dream pop and 70s AM rock, complete with sultry hooks, underpinned with a hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia.
Directed by Mimi Raver, the visuals for “Dejate Llevar” further emphasizes the hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia, as the cinematically yet Instagram filter-like footage focuses on the band hanging out on a glorious, Southern California, summer day.
Deriving their name as a commentary on society’s objectification of women, the London-based punk rock trio Dream Wife, comprised of Icelandic-born, London-based Rakel Mjöll (vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals) and Bella Podapec (bass, vocals) met while the trio were attending art school in Brighton, UK — with Mjöll, Go and Podapec forming the band in 2015 as part of an art project conceptualized around the idea of a band born out of one girl’s memories of growing up in Canada during the 1990s. And since their formation, the trio quickly developed a national profile, as they’ve received critical praise for their earliest releases and their live shows from the likes of NPR, DIY, Stereogum, Nylon, Entertainment Weekly and others. Adding to a growing profile, the trio have toured across the European Union, opened for Sleigh Bells and The Kills during their respective US tours, and have played a number of the world’s biggest festivals, including SXSW.
Dream Wife’s highly anticipated self-titled debut is slated for a January 26, 2018 release through Lucky Number Music and from the album’s latest single “Hey! Heartbreaker,” the British based punk trio’s sound features stomp and shout in the mosh pit worthy hooks, fuzzy and angular guitar chords and a steady backbeat in a fashion that’s reminiscent of Is Is and Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Elastica, complete with a brassy, kick ass and take names self-assuredness and bratty mischievousness at its core.
Animated by Joe Prytherch, a former art director of Boiler Room, best known as Mason London, the recently released video envisions a dystopian yet familiar future inspired by anime, Akira, Josie and the Pussycats and Jem, in which the members of the band are depicted as robot performers held in a sleazy bar against their will, where they perform in front of bored customers. But when we catch them in the world of the video, the trio violently escape and lead the police through a breakneck escape from the city.
As the members of the band said in press notes about the video and its concept, “We were super excited to work with Mason London to bring the world of ‘Hey! Heartbreaker’ to life. Collaboration is integral in our approach to Dream Wife, and we encourage different creative ideas and paths to mix with our own vision.
“It’s uncanny to watch these mechanical, parallel versions of ourselves rock out and then break out. We like to think that in another reality our robot versions are continuing their adventures; perhaps in the forest, perhaps plotting for a robot revolution, perhaps playing wild, secret rock shows to other robos.”
Matthew Stubbs is a Boston, MA-based guitarist and songwriter/composer, who has been Charlie Musselwhite’s touring guitarist since 2007, and as a solo artist has released two solo instrumental record, drawing from the Memphis, TN soul/blues tradition, 2008’s Soulbender released through Vizztone Records and 2010’s Medford and Main released through Chicago, IL-based Blue Bella Records. In 2016, Stubbs, along with Just Lopes (organ), Chris Rivelli (drums) and Marc Hickox (bass) as an instrumental, psych rock-based project inspired by the desire of bringing back popular instrumental work along the lines Duane Eddy, Link Wray, Booker T and others, mixed with elements of garage rock, the blues, movie soundtracks and Afrobeat, — all while focusing on the vibe and energy of the live performance.
The band’s self-tiled full-length debut is slated for a January 26, 2018 release and from “Death Grip” and ” Unwinder,” two singles off the soon-to-be released album, the material on the band’s self-titled debut manage to have a decidedly retro vibe, sounding as though they could have been part of the soundtracks to late 60s and early 70s B movies but with a tight groove; in fact, as Stubbs says of “Death Grip,” “The song was inspired by the wild scenes in those cult, car racing movies of the ’70s. I wrote it with that cinematic, yet frenetic approach in my mind.” “Unwinder,” on the other hand finds Stubbs and company, drawing from 60s psych rock and surfer rock and blues, complete with that soaring organ sequence — and they do so in a way that nods at The Castaways’ “Liar Liar” but with a subtle nod at shoegaze and dub.
Although the Richmond, VA-based quintet Spooky Cool, comprised of founding members Zac Hryciak (guitar, vocals), Lee Spratley (drums) and Sean Williams (bass) along with Paula Lavalle (vocals) and Zavi Harman (lead guitar) officially formed in 2015, the […]
Alice Phoebe Lou is a Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has developed a reputation for a fiercely independent, almost punk rock-like DIY approach to her ethereal indie folk music. Although her parents were documentary filmmakers, Lou took piano lessons as a child and then as a teenager, taught herself to play guitar. As the story goes, when the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was 16, she spent a summer vacation visiting her aunt in Paris. Armed with an acoustic guitar, the young singer/songwriter met a number of buskers and other street performers — some who taught her poi dancing.
Upon graduation, Lou went to Europe — first landing in Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer, before relocating to Berlin, where she became a popular busker, performing interpretations of popular songs and her own original material, and eventually developing her own unique sound. With the release of her 2014 self-released debut EP Momentum, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began receiving international attention — and as a result, she spent the following year performing at a number of TED events in London and Berlin, as well as Exponential Medicine.
Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Lou released her critically applauded, 2016 full-length debut Orbit, which saw her garner a nomination for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards, as well as a set at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda. Additionally, Lou spent much of 2016 on the road, touring to support her debut effort, sharing bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, Allen Stone and Crystal Fighters. During the course of that year, she played three multimedia sold out events at the Berlin Planetarium — and by demand, she added two additional planetarium shows to her 2017 tour itinerary.
Along with the Berlin Planetarium shows, Lou saw a live version of “She” with the live performance video, shot during two different Berlin area shows going viral — and as of this post, the video has received over 2.5 million YouTube streams. Interestingly, the song is also featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story , with the song recently being shortlisted for an Oscar for Best Original Song. Adding to an incredible run of critical success, Lou released her latest EP, Sola at the end of last year.
As for “She,” the song will further cement the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based artist’s reputation for her ethereal and tender soprano — but in this case, paired around what may be the most shoegazer rock-like arrangement, she’s ever produced as the song features looping and shimmering guitar chords, thundering and tribal-like drumming, gently swirling electronics and an anthemic hook. And while at points the song is reminiscent of the likes of Wolf Alice, Lightfoils and others, it possesses a restless longing at its core.
A studio version of “She” is slated for a February 23, 2018 release, and after the single’s release, Lou will embark on a international tour that will include a Stateside run. And a new album is currently in the works, too.
Currently comprised of Jesse Tabish (piano, guitar, vocals), Jonathon Mooney (piano, guitar, percussion, trumpet) and Josh Onstott (bass, keys, percussion, guitar and backing vocals), the Portland, OR-based indie rock trio Other Lives initially formed in Stillwater, OK back in 2004, recording and releasing an album under the name Kunek before changing their name, as they went through a decided change in sonic direction and approach that necessitated a rebranding. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its almost 8 year history, you may recall that the trio have received both national and international attention for a lushly orchestrated sound reminiscent of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The National and Ocean Rain-era Echo and the Bunnymen while nodding at Joy Division ,The Darcys and Caveman.
Much like JOVM mainstays Warhaus, the members of Other Lives were invited to perform an intimate and career spanning set of their gorgeous, genre defying yet accessible and emotionally immediate material for Music Apartment.
Maarten Devoldere is Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has received national and international attention for both his primary gig fronting Balthazar and his side project Warhaus. And if you had been frequenting this site over the course of 2017, you may recall that Devoldere’s side project has managed to further cement his growing reputation for deftly crafting urbane and hyper-literate and decadent art rock with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility in a way that’s reminiscent The Church, Sting’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun, Edith Piaf, Leonard Cohen and the poetry of William Blake. In fact, unsurprisingly, Warhaus’ debut We Fucked a Flame Into Being derives its title from a line in DH Lawrence’s seminal, erotic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover — and naturally, the material on Warhaus’ debut thematically focused on lust, desire, the inscrutability of random encounters, bittersweet and aching regret with a deeply personal, confessional nature of someone baring the sinew and fiber of their soul as you would have heard on an album track like the slow-burning and soulfully sensual “Machinery.”
Interestingly, the material on Warhaus’ self-titled, sophomore effort reportedly found Devoldere’s work at points giving way from decadence, lust and sin towards sincere, honest, hard-fought and harder-won love, with songs partially inspired by Delvodere’s relationship with backing vocalist Sylvie Kreusch. “We’ve very different people,” says Devoldere. “She’s this natural force which I don’t understand at all and I’m the guy who thinks everything through. It’s an interesting combination.” Reportedly, the recording sessions for the self-titled album was a much more spontaneous affair, heavily influenced by Dr. John‘s legendary The Night Tripper period, as you’ll hear hints at voodoo rhythms and hints at jazz — and although his touring band, aren’t technically known for being jazz musicians, as Devoldere says of his band, “they’re good at faking jazz.” And as you may recall, album singles “Love’s A Stranger,” and “Mad World” are slow-burning, ruminative songs with a late night, boozy vibe — after all, “Love’s a Stranger” focuses on love’s fleeting and impermanent nature while “Mad World” focuses on unfulfilled lust and desire but within an angst-filled world that’s gone mad. And while focusing on different things, the songs seem to focus on our own desperate escape from loneliness in a bitterly cruel, uncaring universe.
I recently came across some live footage of Warhaus performing a set featuring material off both of their albums live in an intimate and gorgeously shot showcase for Music Apartment back in 2016. Simply put, more people should know about this act.
Originally comprised of Paul Caveman (vocals), Jack Caveman (guitar, vocals), Nick Caveman (bass) and Jake Caveman (drums), the Auckland, New Zealand-based punk rock quartet The Cavemen formed while in high school — with the band’s founding members bonding over a shared love of glue and wild rock ‘n’ roll. And as the story goes, after spending several years drinking and loitering around their hometown’s basements, graveyards and packing lots, the members of the band honed their sound, recording their full-length debut over the course of 2014-2015 or so, with the material receiving attention for being furious, face-melting punk that drew from The Ramones, The Cramps, The Stooges, The MC5 and others with songs that focused on grave-robbing, necrophilia and other weird shit with a sneering sense of humor, and for developing a reputation for being infamous — or as the band once claimed that they were a “great band to clear a party.”
As the story goes, two weeks before the members of the band were to relocate to London, they went on an equally infamous national tour to support their debut, and the tour included a now, ill-fated show in a graveyard was canceled when the tour van’s engine exploded and a passing motorist collided with the band’s bassist, Nick Caveman. British record label Dirty Water Records are re-releasing the Auckland, New Zealand-based punk rockers debut album for release in Europe and elsewhere, and from album single “Stand By Your Ghoul,” the band’s sound is a filthy, troglodyte stomp, complete with layers of fuzzy power chords and howled lyrics. And honestly, every single time I’ve heard it, I keep thinking of how it would fit in the dank and dirty dive bars that I spent so much time in during my 20s and 30s.
Starring Florence D’Hay and The Cavemen, the video for “Stand by Your Ghoul” draws from 60s B movies — but with a ridiculous, tongue in cheek vibe, complete with zombies, graveyards and weird rituals.
Born in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Nicola Vasquez, a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who performs under the moniker Nicola grew up in low-income projects, sharing toys with her baby brother. Her father was a mechanic and her mother a nurse, and while neither was musically inclined, they shared their appreciation and love for all types of music with their children. “Music was always playing in our house . . . we grew up with the sounds of Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles,” Vasquez recalls. When she turned 7, Vasquez started to learn the guitar; by the time she was 11, the piano, and by the time she was a teen, she attended the The Fiorello LaGuardia School of Art and Music and the Performing Arts, famously known as the school Fame was based on. She was classically trained at the Manhattan School of Music and Queens College, while studying dance and acting on the side. Shortly after graduating, Vasquez landed roles in the Broadway and National Road Companies of Les Miserables.
Leaving the theater to embark on a music career based around her own original material, Vasquez started her own record label Hot Cherry Records in 2002 and over the following few years, spent time living and performing in Europe and South America, and touring across the US refining her sound, which can be best described as a sultry mix of pop, rock, soul and Latin music. With a the release of five independently released albums, the New York-born and -based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has seen her work chart on over 200 national radio stations, been featured on ABC, CBS and NBC News, Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club, MTV, VHI, Women Who Rock Magazine, Songwriter Universe Magazine, National Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Songcircle Music and twice in Billboard Magazine’s Underground section, opened for the likes of Eve 6 and Edwin McCain and has even shared stages with Ricky Martin and Living Colour’s Muzz Skillings.
Over the past decade, Vasquez has simultaneously been a professional busker and musician, performing as part of the MTA’s Music Under New York program, where she’s managed to get crowds of busy New Yorkers to stop what they’re doing and listen to her perform. Yes, seriously. Now, it’s been some time since I’ve written about her — over the past couple of years, she’s been busy on the development and performance teams writing several original prospective Broadway-bound musicals; however, her latest single “Back in Pieces” will further cement her reputation for writing thoughtful, lush and anthemic pop but interestingly enough, it finds the JOVM mainstay with a much more stripped down approach and sound, reflecting the song’s deeply introspective and ambivalent nature. After all, the song ends with an open-ended question of what happens once you pick up the smashed pieces of a life, after heartbreak or some other traumatic experience and what it does to you.
The music video is split between some highly symbolic imagery including broken glass, Nicola walking on the beach and the like, cut with footage of Nicola performing the song on the beach and in a park.