Category: World Music

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: 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: 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.” 

New Video: French Artist Haya The Hellcat Takes Viewers on a Tour of Paris in Trippy Visual for Punchy “Histoire De Se Revoir”

Haya The Hellcat is a Nancy, France-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who writes and records out of a basement studio of an artists’ house called AXLV — All Exclusive. The Nancy-based artist grew up spitting his time between Reunion Island and France, where he studied music and began writing instrumentals when he turned 14. When he turned 26, the emerging French singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began writing his own lyrics — and recording material singing his own lyrics.

The Nancy- based artist’s debut EP Quarante-Six Kilomètres Dans Les Sable was released earlier this month, and the EP touches upon several themes including travel, emotions and others. The EP’s latest single “Histoire De Se Revoir” is a decidedly post-punk influenced tune centered around a punchy and propulsive bass line, shimmering guitars, plaintive vocals and a razor sharp hook. Interestingly, the song sees the French artist deftly balancing wistful nostalgia with a breezy, radio friendly accessibility.

The recently released, gorgeously shot black and white visual for “Histoire De Se Revoir” follows Haya The Hellcat through Paris — sometimes forward, sometimes backward.

New Video: French Duo Cuarto Mundo Takes Viewers on a Journey Through Time and Space

Cuarto Mundo, which translates into English as “Fourth World,” a term coined to describe the various groups of the world’s indigenous peoples is a French electronic music duo featuring Thomas Lavernhe, who has played in a number of solo projects and band, and Chilean-born Cosmo Gonik, a DJ, who has toured with Arcade Fire.

Lavernhe and Gonik’s work as Cuarto Mundo sees the pair drawing inspiration from traditional sounds across the world, to shape a journey to music’s mysterious — and perhaps mystical — roots.

The duo’s first single “Sabi Lulu” slick, electronic production centered around skittering beats and glistening synths with a traditional, percussive melody from West Java, Indonesia, written by Mang Koko. The end result is a song that’s accessible yet mischievously anachronistic: ancient sounds are paired with modern production — and in a way that’s trippy yet slaps hard.

Directed by Jade de Brito, the recently released video for “Sabi Lulu” follows the stunningly beautiful Devi Yohanita Qorina as she walks down a Paris street to an Indonesian store with traditional instruments, clothing and food. And for a moment, we see Qorina be suddenly taken back to the homeland. We then see her do traditional dance moves in the store and on the streets of Paris, followed by otherworldly and hallucinogenic sequences in which Qorina is wearing the traditional garb of the homeland in front of colorful backgrounds. This one is a bit of a journey through time and space, y’all.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ibeyi Release a Dreamy and Symbolic Visual for Swaggering “Made of Gold”

Deriving their name from the Yoruba word for twins ibeji, the acclaimed French-Cuban, London-based twin sibling duo Ibeyi (pronounced ee-bey-ee) — Lisa-Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz — can trace the origins of their music career to growing up in a deeply musical home: their father, Anga Diaz, was best known for his work as a member of the intentionally acclaimed Buena Vista Social Club and for collaborating with Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez and Compay Segundo. Sadly, Anga died with the Diaz Sisters were 11.

Upon their father’s death, the Diaz Sisters began studying Yoruba folk songs and the cajon an Afro-Caribbean drum that their father played throughout most of his music career. Interestingly, although Yoruba is primarily spoken throughout Nigeria and Benin, the African language has been spoken in some fashion in the Diaz Sisters’ native Cuba since the 1700s, when the slave trade brought Africans to the Caribbean. When the sisters began studying their late father’s musical culture and heritage, they had a deeper understanding of their father as a person; but they also were in touch with their ancestral history.

The duo’s 2015 self-titled debut was released to widespread critical praise. Thematically, the album dealt with the past — the loss of their father, their relationship with each other, their father’s origins, their own origins and connecting with their roots. The album’s saw the duo quickly establishing a unique sound that meshes elements of electro pop, hip-hop, jazz, the blues and Yoruba folk music. The JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album, 2017’s Ash found the duo writing songs firmly rooted in Afro-Cuban culture and history while being among the most visceral, politically charged material of their catalog to date, with the album thematically touching upon race, gender and sexual identity.

Earlier this year, the twins headed back into the studio to begin work on their third, full-length album. Understandably, feeling a sense of chaos, informed by the chaotic state of our world, the acclaimed twins set out to invoke the age-old teachings of their ancestors to remobilize the power of their birth-given destiny as Ibeyi.

The duo are currently working on the album, which is slated for release next year. But in the meantime, “Made of Gold” is the first bit of new material from the London-based JOVM mainstays since the release of Ash. Centered around a lush and textured production featuring atmospheric synths, buzzing bass synths, skittering tweeter and woofer rattling beats that evokes unease and menace while meshing contemporary Afro pop/Afrobeats, electro pop and trap in an infectious fashion. While being one of the few songs of the sibling duo’s growing catalog with lyrics sung in English, the song features swaggering verses delivered by Gambian-British emcee Pa Salieu.

“The first song we produced in the studio was ‘Made of Gold.’ Whilst we were creating the layers of the backing vocals, we could feel that we were making contact with our ancestors; that what we were recording was calling on the brujas and our ancestors for their ancient knowledge,” says Lisa-Kaindé Diaz. “‘Made of Gold’ is about connecting to our ancestors’ knowledge, to the truths of the past and the power of the ancient. The line is not broken, nor is it lost. Protected by these spells, our third album will see us conveying our reconnection to that power and channeling that magic into our new music.”

Directed by Daniel Sannwald, the recently released video for “Made of Gold” is a highly symbolic, gorgeously shot visual conceptualized by Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi. The video is inspired by Frida Kahlo’s The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Diego, Me and Señor Xolotl. The video features Naomi as the Queen of Thunder, a referrence to her Yoruba god, Shango — and Lisa-Kaindé as the Queen of Water, a reference to her Yoruba goddess, Yemaya, Emerging from the sky to join the sun and the moon is Pa Salieu. It’s trippy fever dream but much like their music rooted in their Yoruba heritage and tradition.

Post punk outfit Sei Still — Sebastián Rojas (organ, synths), Mateo Sánchez Galán (guitar), Jerónimo Martín (drums, percussion) and Lucas Martín (vocals, guitar) — can trace its origins to when the members of the band decided to take a random trip to some desolate woodlands outside of Mexico City to work on a couple of songs. Those sessions were so productive that it led to the quartet starting the band in earnest. 

With just a couple of singles under their collective belts — 2017’s “Oto” and 2019’s “Tacticas de Guerrilla Urbana” — the band quickly earned a rapidly growing profile in their native Mexico, sharing stages with StereolabKikagaku MoyoInstitute, and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete. As a result of the growing buzz surrounding them, the Mexican post-punk outfit signed to London-based label Fuzz Club Records, who released their self-titled full-length debut last year. The album quickly solidified a new European fanbase for the Mexican post punk outfit, while selling out its initial vinyl pressing. 

The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album El Refugio is slated for a November 26, 2021 release through Fuzz Club Records, and the album marks a number of major changes for the Mexican post-punk quartet: The band relocated to Berlin, where they wrote and recorded El Refugio. And sonically, the album represents an evolution in the now-Berlin-based band’s sound. Whereas their self-titled debut was heavily indebted to the Krautrock sounds of Can and Neu!El Refugio reportedly sees the band eschewing the expansive and hypnotic tendencies of their previously released work for a wiry, post-punk inspired sound, that’s still centered around a motorik pulse. Additionally, the songs are shorter and unapologetically to the point, while bristling with tension and anguish.

“The biggest influence on this record was the fact that our personal lives had a radical change and we felt the need to do something different, to dig deeper into the possibilities of what the band was about,” the members of Sei Still explain. “We never wanted to make the same record twice.” Understandably, the move from Mexico to Germany would normally be a massive upheaval culturally, emotionally and personally — but the band managed to move a few weeks before COVID-19 struck across the world and forced shutdowns and lockdowns. And as a result, the material possesses a visceral unease,

More expressionist than psychedelic, the and explains that El Refugio thematically  “alludes to childhood, dreams, desire, loneliness, paranoia and hope. A longing for a different reality that breaks the monotony of daily life. It’s more about sensations than something you can describe in words. I think what makes music great is that it has to be experienced so we try to part from a specific mood or emotion, which is something very abstract that people can interpret in their own way.”

Last month, I wrote about “Extraradio,”a brooding,  Joy Division-like take on post-punk centered around Lucas Martín’s dry sprechgesang delivery in Spanish, an angular bass line, bursts of wiry, delay pedaled guitar and an insistent motorik pulse. The song to me managed to evoke the profound loneliness of being an Other in a foreign land and surrounded by a culture and language you can’t speak or understand.

El Refugio‘s latest single “Exilo” is a taut and brooding bit of post-punk centered around a relentless motorik pulse, wiry bursts of guitar, glistening synths, mathematically precise electronic drum paired with forceful kick drum paired with Martín’s dry vocal delivery. Reportedly indebted to Spanish New Wave, “Exilo” personally reminds me of endlessly gray, German skies, damp rainy nights in Frankfurt’s Romer and Haupwatche sections with the seemingly permanent costume of foreigner, of man from far away.

Moscow-based instrumental funk outfit The Diasonics — Anton Moskvin (drums), Maxim Brusov (bass guitar), Anton Katyrin (percussions), Daniil Lutsenko (guitar) and Kamil Gzizov (keys) — formed back in 2019 and in a relatively short period of time, the Russian quintet quickly amassed a cult following, honing what they’ve dubbed “hussar funk,” a blend of hip-hop rhythms, 60s and 70s psychedelia, Eastern European flavor within cinematic arrangements.

Since their formation, The Diasonics have released ten highly celebrated singles and various in-demand 45 vinyl records through funk labels like Funk Night Records and Mocambo Records. The Russian funk outfit’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Origins of Forms is slated for a January 28, 2022 release through Italian funk and soul purveyors Record Kicks. Recorded on an Otari MX-5050 MK III at Moscow’s Magnetone Studio and mixed by The Cactus Channel‘s and Karate Boogaloo‘s Henry Jenkins in Melbourne, the album’s overall aesthetic is firmly rooted in the early 60s and 70s.

“Gurami,” Origins of Forms‘ first single is a slow-burning and soulful strut, centered around shimmering wah wah pedaled guitar that sounds inspired by Turkish psychedelia, boom bap breakbeats, soaring keys, and at trippy groove rooted in a sinuous bass line. While we all know the composition was written and recorded by a contemporary act, “Gurami” sounds as though it could have been part of the soundtrack of a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western or an deep instrumental soul obscurity sampled by the RZA and then later played by El Michels Affair.


 

New Video: Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul Release a Feverish Visual for Infectious and Off-Kilter Banger “Blenda”

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 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 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.”  

The album’s 13 songs are also 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.”

Earlier this year, the duo released “Thank You,” an off-kilter banger, centered around Adigéry’s deadpan delivery, skittering beats, layers of buzzing synth arpeggios an an enormous hook. And at its core, the song’s narrator seeks revenge against all mansplainers and all unwarned, unsolicited and dumb opinions from outsiders.

Topical Dancer‘s second and latest single “Blenda” is an off-kilter banger centered around African inspired polyrhythm, wobbling bass synths, skittering beats, Adigéry’s trademark deadpan delivery slightly giving way to incredulousness paired with the duo’s unerring knack for crafting a razor sharp, infectious hook. “Blenda” references how “I am a product of colonialism,” Adigéry says “and I feel guilty for taking up space in a white country. The song also draws some influence from Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race. “It talks about the colonial past and post-colonial present in the UK,” Adigéry continues, “but that isn’t merely a British or American problem, Belgium is part of that as well.” She says that her home country is likewise “oblivious to a big part of its history” which “results in general ignorance and a lack of understanding and empathy towards Belgian inhabitants of immigrant descent.” 

Directed by Bob Jeusette, the recently released video for “Blenda” continues a run of visuals that are feverish mindfucks: we see two young children, a Black child and an Asian child, presumably stand-ins for Adigéry and Pupul, watching a TV show that shills cheap foreign shit, interspersed with a Black woman being chased by men wearing pigeon masks and other wild and inexplicable goings-on. Racism and self-hate are culturally ingrained y’all — and it’s fucking awful.