Category: women who kick ass

New Video: Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul Return with a Surreal and Abstract Visual for Off-Kilter Banger “HAHA”

Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul are a Ghent, Belgium electronic duo, who exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of 2019’s critically applauded, David and Stephen Dewaele-produced Zandoli EP. Their unpredictable and subversive take on electro pop sees the pair poking and prodding at the pop zeitgeist with a provocative and sly sense of humor. Adding to a growing profile, EP singles “Paténipat” and “High Lights” received airplay on UK Radio and were playlisted by BBC Radio 6

Adigéry and Pupul’s official full-length debut as a duo, Topical Dancer is slated for a March 4, 2022 release through Soulwax‘s own label DEEWEE. Co-written and co-produced by Soulwax and the acclaimed duo, Topical Dancer is deeply rooted in two things: their perspectives as Belgians with immigrant backgrounds with Adigéry proudly claiming Guadeloupean and French-Martinique ancestry and Pupul being of Chinese descent, and the conversations the duo have had touching upon cultural appropriation, misogyny, racism, social media vanity, post-colonialism. 

So while being a snapshot of their thoughts and observations of pop culture in the early 2020s, the album also further cements their sound and approach; they manage to craft thoughtful songs that bang hard but are centered around their idiosyncratic and off-kilter take on familiar genres and styles. “We like to fuck things up a bit,” Pupul laughs. “We cringe when we feel like we’re making something that already exists, so we’re always looking for things to combine to make it sound not like a pop song, not like an R&B song, not a techno song. We’re always putting different worlds together. Charlotte and I get bored when things get too predictable.”  

And as result, the album’s 13 songs are fueled by a restless desire to not be boxed in — and to escape narrow perceptions of who they are and what they can be. “One thing that always comes up,” Bolis Pupul says, “is that people perceive me as the producer, and Charlotte as just a singer. Or that being a Black artist means you should be making ‘urban’ music. Those kinds of boxes don’t feel good to us.” But they manage to do all of this with a satirical bent; for the duo it’s emancipation through humor. “I don’t want to feel this heaviness on me,” Charlotte Adigéry says. “These aren’t my crosses to bear. Topical Dancer is my way of freeing myself of these issues. And of having fun.”

So far, I’ve written about two of Topical Dancer‘s singles:

  • Thank You,” a sardonic, club banger featuring skittering beats, buzzing synth arpeggios and Adigéry’s deadpan delivery destroying mansplainers and unwanted, unsolicited and straight up dumb opinions and advice from outsiders.
  • Blenda,” a club banger, centered around African-inspired polyrhythm, wobbling bass synths, skittering beats and Adigéry’s deadpan. Informed by Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, “Blenda” focuses on colonialism and post colonialism through Adigéry’s experience as Black immigrant in an extremely white place.

Topical Dancer‘s third and latest single “HAHA” continues a remarkable run of off-kilter yet club friendly bangers. Built around a chopped up sample of Adigéry making herself laugh, paired with twinkling synths, skittering beats and a relentless motorik groove, “HAHA” feels improvised and unfinished yet simultaneously polished.

The recently released video by Hugo Campan is as abstract and odd as the single it accompanies with the visual featuring kaleidoscopic footage of Adigéry and Pupul vamping and dancing among chicken and egg imagery. The duo explain that the chicken and egg imagery is a “a visual shorthand for unhatched potential” and is an ongoing motif throughout the album.

New Video: Spaceface Teams Up with Mikaela Davis on the Glistening “Rain Passing Through”

Founded back in 2012 by Jake Ignalls, a former member of The Flaming LipsSpaceface is self-professed “retro-futurist dream rock” outfit split between Memphis and Los Angeles The band features current and past members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. And since their formation, Spaceface has developed a reputation for crafting catchy songs that whirl, twirl, bend and stretch, attract and propel while sonically featuring elements of dream pop, funk, rock and post-disco. 

Spaceface’s forthcoming full-length album Anemoia is slated for a January 28, 2022 release though Montreal-based label MothlandAnemoia is the result of several months spent at Blackwatch Studios in 2019 where the band spent several months working with Jarod Evans writing material inspired by funk rock and the turn of the millennium psychedelia revival. Although the material can be initially perceived as a feat of efficient and minimalistic songwriting by Ignalls and a cast of friends and collaborators, centered around slick melodies, lush arrangements and effortlessly flowing rhythmic grooves, each spin reportedly will reveal a new layer while painting a positive but somewhat critical portrayal of modern life.

In the lead-up to the album’s release next month, Mothland and the self-professed retro-futuristic dream rock outfit have released four singles off the album: “Happens All The Time,” “Earth In Awe,” “Piña Collider,” which featured samples and choir vocals from actual CERN scientists and “Long Time.” Featuring guest vocals from Penny Pitchlynn, best known for her work with BRONCHO and LABRYS, “Long Time” is Tame Impala-like song centered around a breezy and lush arrangement consisting of glistening synth arpeggios, crunchy bass lines and thumping beats. But at its core, the song contemplates life choices and alternate realities through a series of “well, what if I did x instead of y.” 

“Rain Passing Through” Anemoia‘s fifth and latest single is a glistening, Oracular Spectacular era MGMT take on disco centered around Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, four-on-the-floor, a sinuous bass line and lush layers of space alien-like synths serving as a glistening bed for an ethereal yet sultry duet with Mikaela Davis.

“It’s about fleeting moments you have between former or future lovers in passing turbulent times, knowing that you probably shouldn’t take shelter within each other, but knowing that it’s okay to feel good and safe together even if it’s as ephemeral as the rain passing through on a stormy night,” Jake Ingalls explains.

The recently released video is a collaboration between Spaceface’s Ignalls, Erika Mugglin and Mac Hanson and it a trippy but tender look at a teenaged love triangle featuring a mixture of stock footage, material from Hanson’s personal archives and of the video’s three love-crossed protagonists.

New Video: Winnipeg’s Anthony OKS teams up with Begonia on a Soulful Meditation on Adult Love

Initially starting his career as a member of acclaimed Winnipeg-based hip-out outfit The Lytics, Anthony OKS stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist back in 2018 with the releasee of his debut single, “Cadillac,” feat. Cadence Weapon. The collaboration with Cadence Weapon received attention from Toronto-based website Sidewalk Hustle, while further establishing his reputation for delivering on head nodding bangers and introspective and soulful headphone tracks with equal force. He also picks up gigs DJ’ing across his hometown.

Since the release of “Cadillac,” the Winnipeg-based artist has been busy: he’s shared stages with Grand Analog, Shad and the aforementioned Cadence Weapon — and he’s played sets at Real Love Summer Fest, Bastid’s BBQ and Tokyo’s Varit Roppongi Bar.

As a member of The Lytics and as a solo artist, the Winnipeg-based emcee has toured across the world, playing in front of thousands.  His sophomore EP In The Garden is the culmination of years of self-reflection, hard-earned wisdom and an identity shift. The EP’s six songs see the rising Canadian artist digging deep into change, whether in his personal life — in the past year, he was introduced to 50 new family members in Nigeria and Sierra Leone — in his hometown and globally, as the Black Lives Matter movement has grown into communities worldwide. The EP also builds on his 2019 debut Take Time, offering some of the most introspective and honest material to date.

“I use music as a tool to get different things out of me,” Anthony OKS says. “I talk a lot with my people but I don’t always get as deep as I could get. I’m a pretty private person, but music gives me that gateway to let some things go I probably should.

Released earlier this year, through LHM Records, the EP features attention-grabbling singles “Clearly Now” and “All About You.” Continuing upon the momentum of those two previously released singles, the EP’s third and latest single is the duet “Fortified Bond,” featuring Polaris Prize long-lister Begonia contributing her soulful, pop belter vocals for the song’s uplifting hook paired with a Mos Defd-like neo-soul leaning production featuring thumping beats and twinkling Rhodes.

The Winnipeg-based emcee contributes thoughtful and vulnerable verses detailing his own personal growth, of finding a life-sustaining, powerful and meaningful love with someone else in which there’s complementary and mutual growth. And while celebrating that sort of love with a contented sigh that comes from living a full and messy life, the song’s narrators recognize that adult love is lucky and rare.

The gorgeously shot, recently released video employs a vivid color scheme that’s split between footage of Begonia and Anthony OKS rocking out and goofing off in a meadow during golden hour, and of Anthony OKS driving around Winnipeg in a blue Cadillac.

New Video: Carole Cettolin Releases a Swooning Love Song

Carole Cettolin is a Paris-born and-based singer/songwriter, whose career started in earnest with the her acclaimed, solo recording project Et Maxence. And with Et Maxence, Cettolin won the 2010 Crédit Mutuel Young Talent Revelation Award in the French song category. Cettolin also caught the attention of Edith Fambuena, who produced material off Cettolin’s Et Maxence debut EP. And with a growing profile, Cettolin eventually opened for  La Grande Sophie and Sia

A meeting with Nicklaus Rohrback allowed the Paris-born and-based singer/songwriter to pursue a new, synth-based sound — under her own name. The end result is Cettolin’s debut under her own name, the five-song EP Un Garçon. Thematically, the EP touches upon reconnecting with one’s inner child, haunting images and stubborn ghosts.

In the lead-up to the EP’s release, I wrote about, the breezy pop number “Tant que le temps est radieux.” Centered around glinting synth arpeggios, shimmering strings, thumping beats and Cettolin’s yearning vocals, the song is a bit hedonistic while reminding the listener to cherish every moment of life –and those, who are dear to us. But underneath the breeziness is a melancholy awareness that nothing is guaranteed. 

The EP’s latest single “Vaille que Vaille” is a swooning bit of synth pop centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering beats and Cettolin’s achingly plaintive vocals. At its core, the song’s narrator expresss something very rare — a contented sigh of someone who has finally found that deep, meaningful, real love. Lucky and rare are those who find it.

The recently released video for “Vaille que Vaille” is comprised from 30s and 40s movies now in the public domain and was edited to tell queer love stories that we wouldn’t have seen at the time.

New Video: Montreal’s Hélène Barbier Releases a Childlike Visual for Trippy “Lightly”

Montreal-based singer/songwriter and musician Hélène Barbier has developed a reputation for crafting off-kilter yet beautiful pop centered around imbalance through juxtaposition: four simple notes become evocative alongside four disorienting, different notes — and that simplistic rule has become a basis for complex material.

The Montreal-based musician then recruits musicians who are willing to break from tired chords, worn fills and needless flourish — expertise aside. Barbier switches between English and French atop aggressively uncomplicated yet avant-garde pop melodies, while keeping pretension and contrived professionalism far away.

Deriving its name from the brightest stars, seen in the constellation Leo, Barbier’s sophomore album Regulus was released earlier this year. For the Regulus sessions, Barbier brought together dissident players and ideas high and low to create space pop that’s equally unnerving and comforting.

“Lightly,” Regulus‘ latest single is a woozy and mischievous pop song centered around layers of droning guitars, wobbling and shimmering synths, a steady but propulsive backbeat and Barbier’s seemingly detached vocals paired with a razor sharp hook. Sonically, “Lightly” sounds as though it could have been released in the distant future — perhaps the year 3578 — but with a contemporary irony.

Barbier explains that the song is about letting go of things you can’t control. The childlike, animated visual by Gart Darley follows a girl and a sun-like star flying across the world, past oceans, cities, enormous mountain ranges and the like. “Home movies meets Super Mario World in this high-flying video,” Darley says.

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays TEKE: TEKE Release a Frenzied and Mischievous Visual for “Kala Kala”

Initially started as a loving homage and tribute band to legendary Japanese guitarist Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi, the Montreal-based collective TEKE: TEKE – Yuki Isami (flute, shinobue and keys), Hidetaka Yoneyama (guitar), Sergio Nakauchi Pelletier (guitar), Mishka Stein (bass), Etienne Lebel (trombone), Ian Lettree (drums, percussion) and Maya Kuroki (vocals, keys and percussion) —  features a collection of accomplished Montreal-based musicians, who have played with the likes of Pawa Up FirstPatrick WilsonBoogatGypsy Kumbia Orchestra and others. The Montreal-based act quickly came into their own when they started to blend Japanese Eleki surf rock with elements of modern Western music including shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music. Adding to a bold, genre-defying sound, the band’s arrangement meshes rock instrumentation with traditional Japanese instrumentation.

With the release of their debut EP 2018’s Jikaku, the members of the Montreal-based septet came into their own highly unique and difficult to pigeonhole sound that features elements of Japanese Eleki surf rock, shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music. Last year was a momentous year for TEKE: TEKE. They signed to Kill Rock Stars Records, who released the rising Canadian act’s full-length debut Shirushi earlier this year.

In the lead up to the album’s release, I wrote about five of its singles:  

  • Kala Kala:” Deriving its title from a phrase that roughly translates to English as clattering, “Kala Kala” is centered around a mind-melting arrangement and song structure, Kuroki’s howling and crooning. And to my ears, the track accurately captures the band’s frenetic live energy. 
  • Chidori,” a cinematic yet mosh pit friendly freak out that’s one part psych rock, one part Dick Dale-like surf rock, one part Ennio Morricone soundtrack delivered with a frenetic aplomb. 
  • Meikyu:” Deriving its title from the Japanese word for labyrinth, the track is a no bullshit, no filler all killer ripper with menacing guitar work, dramatic bursts of trombone, fluttering flute, thumping tribal drumming and some wild soloing within an expansive, mind-melting song structure.  
  • Yoru Ni,” a fever dream featuring dreamy blasts of flute and trombone, menacing and slashing guitars and intricate Japanese shamisen. Deriving its name from the Japanese phrase for “at night,” the song despite it’s mischievous tone, is a somewhat romantic and spiritual tale about its central character letting go of a long-held delusional quest. 
  • Barbara,” a mischievous and cinematic track with a stomping, punk rock energy that sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a misfit circus — or the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, as each instrumental part seemingly introducing a new and strange character. Much like the previously released singles, “Barbara” captures the frenetic energy of their live sets. The lyrics as the band explained are a twisted take on zashiki-warashi, spirit beings, who like to perform pranks and bring good fortune to those who see them.

The Montreal-based JOVM mainstays just announced a 2022 North American tour that includes a handful of club dates and some Winter festival appearances. Sadly, there aren’t any New York dates on this run. But if you happen to be in or near any of these cities, go and catch them. As always, tour dates are below. But in the meantime, the band released a trippy visual for album single “Kala Kala.”

Directed by the band’s Maya Kuroki and Serge Nakauchi Pelletier, the video is a deft and playful mix of illustrations and old-timey collages by the band’s Maya Kuroki, close-up footage of the band by Lily Pelletier, live footage of the band and more, edited by Serge Nakauchi Pelletier. It’s a frenzied and arresting visual delight, chock full of Easter eggs and sight gags.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The KVB Return with a Hazy and Hallucinogenic visual for “Unbound”

Currently based out of Manchester, UK, the acclaimed shoegazers and JOVM mainstay outfit The KVB initially started in 2010 as the solo recording project of founder, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Wood. Wood released a series of limited cassette an vinyl releases as a solo recording project; but by 2011, vocalist, keyboardist and visual artist Kat Day joined the project. 

In the decade since Day joined the project, The KVB have released several critically applauded albums and EPs through a number of different labels before signing to Geoff Barrow‘s Invada Records,who released 2018’s Only Now Forever. Interestingly, each of the duo’s acclaimed releases saw them crafting a sound simultaneously inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain and Cabaret Voltaire; however, with each subsequent effort, the band has managed to streamline their sound. 

Through extensive touring across the European Union, the UK, China, Russia and Japan, the duo have amassed a devoted fanbase globally. Now, as you may recall during the pandemic, Day and Wood relocated from Berlin to Manchester to work on their sixth album, the Andy Savors-produced Unity. Slated for a Friday release through Invada Records, the duo’s sixth album will reportedly represent a new and exciting development in their sonic development: Through the album’s ten songs, the duo pull together their trademark components, radiant guitars, textured synths and their penchant for moody melodies and brooding vibes paired with a renewed dynamism. 

The initial Unity writing sessions took place in Spain in early 2019, where the duo found influence from the “half built luxury villas, still unfinished from the crash in 2008. There was something eerie and beautiful about the desolate landscapes and concrete in the sunshine,” the band says in press notes. While their sound and approach has always been informed by what seems like our inevitable dystopian future, there is also more of a rapturous release to the material. Thematically, the album combines double meanings and there’s a sleight of hand present. 

In the lead up to the album’s release later this week, I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

  • World on Fire,” a track centered around buzzing and slashing power chords, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a relentless, motorik groove and a euphoric hook paired with the duo’s breathy boy-girl harmonies. The end result was a song, which featured elements that reminded m elf Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and others with a gauzy, New Order-like sheen. 
  • Unité,” a dance floor friendly track, centered around thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, a relentless and hypnotic motorik groove paired Day’s ethereal yet deadpan delivery. The end result is a song — that to my ears — sounded as though it could have been part of the Trans Europe Express or Man Machine sessions.

“Unbound,” Unity‘s final single continues a run of hazy and hypnotic material centered around glistening synth arpeggios, driving motorik grooves, the duo’s ethereal boy-girl harmonies and a euphoric hook. To my ears, the song sounds a bit like how I would imagine Evil Heat era Primal Scream covering Kraftwerk.

Directed by Sapphire Goss, the recently released video for “Unbound” follows the JOVM mainstays as they encounter a decaying monolithic structure in England. The structures seem to radiate a mysterious yet rhythmic signal of color and light — with a seemingly deeper meaning. Interestingly enough, the video manages is inspired by the album’s cover art, drawing influence from it.

“We’ve been fascinated by the sound mirrors that are on the south coast of England for a while now and were very pleased to know that Sapphire [Goss] shared our interest in these decaying, monolithic sculptures!” The KVB explain in press notes. “In fact, they were part of the inspiration for Unity’s album cover. It was great to finally visit one in real life,despite the wind and rain that came with filming there. For us, Sapphire’s dreamlike, analogue aesthetic feels like the perfect complement to Unbound’s hazy sound.”

“The video took the album cover imagery as the starting point, and the band were keen to use the sound mirrors- strange monolithic listening structures along the coastline, made obsolete by radar almost as soon as they were built,” Sapphire Goss adds. “The video reanimates these eerie monuments, showing them pulse out mysterious signals of light and colour. The film is made using a mix of analogue & digital effects- lenticular 3D & stereo loops shot on an 80s Nimslo (35mm) and an old Mamiya passport lens attachment that freeze moments in time & dance around them spatially, adding to the uncanny feeling.”

New Video: Los Bitchos Play a Surreal Game Show in New Visual for Trippy “Good to Go”

Rising, London-based instrumental act Los Bichos — Australia-born, London-based Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguay-born, London-based Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Sweden-born, London-based Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — features individual members with different upbringings, who have developed a unique, retro-futuristic sound that blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos. “Coming from all these different places,” Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

The band can trace its own origins through its members meeting at all-night house parties or through various friends. The London-based outfit’s highly anticipated Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut,  Let The Festivities Begin! is slated for a February 4, 2022 release through City Slang Records

Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! further establishes Los Bitchos’ reputation for crafting maximalist and Technicolor, instrumental party jams with a cinematic quality. The celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at the end of this horrible period to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

Last month, I wrote about “Las Panteras” a funky, mind-bending jam featuring shimmering synths bongos, cowbell, cabasa and wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers and surf rock-like guitars and a sinuous bass line. “Good to Go,” Let The Festivities Begin!‘s second and latest single is another mind-bending, genre-blurring composition: Starting with a decidedly Western-tinged intro with shimmering and twangy and reverb-drenched guitar, the composition quickly turns into a trippy yet chilled out Latin funk meets Turkish psych affair with glistening synths, handclaps and a blazing guitar solo.

Directed and edited by Tom Mitchell, the recently released video for “Good to Go” continues the story began with the visual for “Las Panteras” left off: Los Bitchos have been arrested in their battle against their arch nemesis Los Panteras. The video features album producer and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos as a game show host meets trial judge from hell. The members of the band are trapped in this surreal game show meets court show, where they literally spin a wheel of fortune for their very freedom.

Trapped in a surreal courtroom gameshow and spinning the wheel of fortune for our freedom. This song has always made us think of a ‘70s game show with its light, fun mood coupled with an intriguing western style intro,” the rising London-based act explain in press notes. “We got all our friends to be our jury and our producer Alex to host/judge the show. We had so much fun making this video.” 

Live Footage: Bulgarian Composer and Multi-instrumentalist Maria Karakusheva Performs “Lagrange Points”

Maria Karakusheva is a Bulgarian-born, classically trained pianist, multi-instrumentalist and composer, who completed her musical education at the Bulgarian National Academy — with a full scholarship. Karakusheva has won first prize at several international piano competitions including UFAM International, Bellaria Festival, Montigny le Bretonnuex and Claude Cannes.

Karakusheva has composed and recorded four albums of her own original compositions, which she has supported with six, self-produced live shows for them. And she has played over 100 solo concerts, including shows at Bulgaria Hall and Paris’ Gaveau Hall.

In her native Bulgaria, Karakusheva has composed the scores for several films, including 2018’s A butterfly landed on a shoulder, 2021’s Beaujolais and Speculators, which is slated for a release next fall. And adding to a growing profile, the Bulgarian pianist and composer has been profiled by a handful of publications nationally and elsewhere — and has made a number of appearances on Bulgarian national television.

Admittedly, I’m not as versed in classical music as I feel I should be — but when I came across Karakusheva’s latest composition off her first contemporary classical solo album Hearteclipse,the expansive “Lagrange Points,” I was immediately transfixed. Centered around Karakusheva’s delicate and dexterous playing and soaring strings, “Lagrange Points” manages to possess a lush, cinematic quality while nodding at Tales of Us era Goldfrapp and The North Borders era Bonobo.

“We all have our points of balance and it’s our own mission in life to get to know them and use them as we should. Only then we become ourselves. Lagrange points is a composition based on who I am, what I can and should be,” the rising Bulgarian-born composer and multi-instrumentalist says. “Music, family, love, the stage – these are the things that shape me.”

The rising Bulgarian-born composer released some gorgeous shot footage of “Lagrange Points” in which she’s accompanied by a full string section.