Category: World Music

New Video: Chennai India’s The F16s Return with Feverish and Sensual Visuals for Doo-Wop Inspired “My Baby’s Beak”

Earlier this week, I wrote about the up-and-coming Chennai, India-based indie rock act The F16s, and as you may recall, the act which is currently comprised of Abhinav Krishnaswamy (guitar), Harshan Radhakrishnan (keys), Joshua Fernandez (vocals, guitar) and Sashank Manohar (bass) can trace their origins to when its founding trio met while attending college in 2002. With the release of their debut EP Kaleidoscope, the Chennai-based indie rock quartet received national attention — with the band being named one of Rolling Stone India‘s Artist to Watch For. Since then, the act has released another EP and their full-length debut, 2016’s Triggerpunkte both of which have helped expand their profile nationally and internationally; in fact, the band has managed to play at some of their homeland’s biggest festivals — and recently, they’ve made strides into Southeast Asia with a growing six city tour across Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.

The up-and-coming Indian indie rock act recently signed to Oxford, MS-based indie label House Arrest, who will be releasing the band’s WKND FRNDS EP later this week. ”We were fascinated to discover The F16s writing and performing such relatable pop-rock songs so many miles away. We had to reach out to see what their story is, which eventually led to us working together, ” the label says in press notes. “Their new EP WKND FRNDS is a big step for The F16s and we’re excited to see the reaction in both India and over here in the US.”

“Amber,” the EP’s previous single was centered around glistening synths, Fernandez’s plaintive and ethereal vocals, shimmering and jangling guitars and a soaring hook — and sonically, the song found the band seamlessly meshing elements of dream pop, bedroom pop and indie rock with a swooning yearning for a complicated and uneasy love that’s just ended. “My Baby’s Beak,” WKND FRNDS latest single is a slow-burning, doo-wop meets Beach Boy-era psych pop-like “My Baby’s Beak,” which continues a run of swooning yet deceptively uneasy love songs; in this case, the song details a contradictory and confusing push and pull between two especially damaged partners. Comprised of hazy stock footage, the recently released video is an ecstatic fever dream that manages to be both trippy and sensual, evoking a desperate and urgent longing. 

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New Video: Chennai, India’s The F16s Release a Hallucinogenic and Feverishly Visual for “Amber”

Comprised of Abhinav Krishnaswamy (guitar), Harshan Radhakrishnan (keys), Joshua Fernandez (vocals, guitar) and Sashank Manohar (bass), the up-and-coming Chennai, India-based indie rock act The F16s can trace their origins when its founding trio met while attending college in 2002. With the release of their debut EP Kaleidoscope, the Chennai-based indie rock quartet received national attention — with the band being named one of Rolling Stone India’s Artist to Watch For. Since then, the act has released another EP and their full-length debut, 2016’s Triggerpunkte both of which have helped expand their profile nationally and internationally; in fact, the band has managed to play at some of their homeland’s biggest festivals — and recently, they’ve made strides into Southeast Asia with a growing six city tour across Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. 

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of The F16s recently signed to Oxford, MS-based indie label House Arrest, who will be releasing the band’s soon-to-be released EP WKND FRNDS on May 31, 2019.”We were fascinated to discover The F16s writing and performing such relatable pop-rock songs so many miles away. We had to reach out to see what their story is, which eventually led to us working together, ” the label says in press notes. “Their new EP WKND FRNDS is a big step for The F16s and we’re excited to see the reaction in both India and over here in the US.” 

Interestingly, the EP’s latest single is the slow-burning and wistful “Amber.” Centered by glistening synths, Fernandez’s plaintive and ethereal vocals, shimmering and jangling guitars and a soaring hook, the song finds the band seamlessly meshing dream pop, bedroom pop and indie rock. And at the song’s core is a swooning yearning for a complicated and uneasy love that’s just ended. 

Animated by Deepti Sharma, the recently released video follows a young woman, who’s desperate to fit in, purchasing a new face online; but after trying on her new face, she finds that her purchase isn’t what it was cracked up to be — and that ironically, her situation is much worse. While being a hallucinogenic fever dream full of ache and regret, the video also subtly comments on bullying culture, instant gratification and several other things. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Angolan-Portuguese Global Dance Music Artist Pongo Releases Pastel Colored Surrealist Visuals for Sultry “Chora”

Pongo is an up-and-coming Luanda, Angola-born, Lisbon, Portugal-based pop artist. As a child, the Angolan-Portuguese pop artist’s family was forced to feel Angola to escape a lengthy and very bloody civil war that decimated their homeland. Pongo and her family eventually settled in Lisbon, where she’s lived ever since. 

The Angolan-Portuguese pop artist got the attention of the acclaimed, Portuguese act Buraka Som Sistema, an electronic dance music act that specialized in a sound that meshed tech beats with zouk, a rapid-fire  musical style from Martinique and Guadeloupe and kuduro, an up-tempo dance music genre from Angola that blends elements of soca and samba, in what was dubbed zouk bass and progressive kuduro. In 2008, Buraka Som Sistema released their smash hit, “Kalemba (Wengue Wengue), a single that went on to sell 10 million copies and eventually landed them a MTV Europe Award for Best Portuguese Act. Adding to a growing international profile, the track received co-signs from the likes of Diplo, Hot Chip and Shakira.

Released last year, Pongo’s solo debut Baia EP was a genre-blurring, globalist affair that found the Angolan-Portuguese artist pairing Portuguese lyrics with a sound that meshed elements of Angolan kiduro with Western styles like techno and bass. Released just before her appearance at this year’s Great Escape Festival, the expanded edition of the Baia EP features a new track, “Chora.” Deriving its title from the Portuguese word for “cry,” Pongo’s latest single meshes dancehall, soca and trap within a slick production consisting of glistening bursts of steel drum and snares, stuttering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and self-assured and vaguely trap and hip-hop inspired vocal delivery from the Angolan Portuguese artist. The Baia EP expanded edition also features remixes of “Chora” by 20syl, who has remixed and re-worked material by King Krule, Schoolboy Q, and Rihanna — and a remix by Anoraak, which will be released through renowned French electronic music label Kitsune next month.

Created by French direction and production duo Rush Hour, the recently released video for “Chora” is a pastel-colored, Dadaesque, pan-African dream, centered around a stunningly beautiful, up-and-coming, global star. 

New Video: Seba Kaapstad’s Forward-Thinking Take on Soul and Electro Pop

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the up-and-coming indie electro pop/neo-soul act Seba Kaapstad, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of founding members Sebastian “Seba” Schuster, Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana along with their newest member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel is split between Cape Town, South Africa and Stuttgart, Germany, and can trace its origins to when Schuster landed in Cape Town back in 2013. While studying at the University of Cape Town, Schuster met Modiga and Manana and began working together in an informal setting, in which they jammed playing standards and rearranged songs of their choice. And as they continued working together, the trio recognized a deeper chemistry within their work.

Before Schuster returned to Germany, he asked his future bandmates if they’d be interested in recording material back in his homeland. And over the next few months, Schuster spent time writing and organizing sessions with the focus on what would eventually turn into Seba Kaapstad. After a series of phone calls, emails and trips back and forth to Cape Town, the act’s founding trio had written the material that would eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2016’s Tagore.

The newly-constituted quartet’s highly-anticipated, sophomore album is slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Mello Music Group, and the album finds the act further expanding on a genre-mashing, globalist sound that draws from neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, electro pop and Afro pop — while adding a new member Philip “Pheel” Scheibel. Album single “Africa” was centered around a slick and mind-melting production that features elements of smoky jazz, swaggering hip hop, soul and Pan African vibes that brings Soul II Soul, Erykah Badu, theeSatisfaction, The Roots and Flying Lotus to mind. “Bye,” was centered around glistening and atmospheric production featuring a sinuous bass line, fluttering synths, thumping beats paired Manana and Modiga’s ethereal boy-girl melodies and harmonies describe the self-doubt, anxiety and uncertainty filled moments of attraction at first blush.

The album’s latest single “Don’t” is centered by a trippy Flying Lotus-like production featuring a looped, twinkling piano line, stuttering tweeter and woofer rocking beats, wobbling bass synths, reverb-drenched vocal samples. The song also features Modiga revealing an incredible vocal range, alternating between soulful multi-octave, pop belting solos expressing plaintive yearning and swaggering speak singing — while Manana contributes a plaintive falsetto to the mix. And then song ends with a gorgeous string section. Interestingly, the new single finds the act pushing the soul ballad in a revolutionary new direction. 

The recently released video for “Don’t” continues a run of mesmerizing post-apocalyptic-like visuals featuring grainy, security footage, the act’s vocalists in a variety of different lights and backgrounds and so on, which creates an anxious vibe. 

New Video: Acclaimed Italian Psych Rock Act Juju Releases Glitchy Visuals for Sweaty and Lysergic “I’m In A Trance”

Perhaps best known for stints in Italian indie acts Lay Llamas and his solo folk music recording project Herself, Giole Valenti, is a Palermo, Sicily, Italy-based singer/songwriter and guitarist. Valenti’s latest musical project, Juju derives its name from a West African term, used to designate objects, such as amulets and spells used ceremoniously — but the Palermo-based singer/songwriter and guitarist broadens the scope of the term to encompass a mix of rhythmic psychedelia, ancient myths and Mediterranean neo-paganism.

Through music, Valenti hopes to tell the story of an on-going exodus from Africa that more often than not ends in ignored tragedies at sea, “a total defeat for humanity.” Inspired by sources of Earth magic and soil secret, Valenti’s latest project strives to turn that defeat into a celebration of spirit and modern psychedelia.

With the release of 2016’s self-titled Juju debut, which was released through Sunrise Ocean Bender Records, collaborations with Nicola Giunta in Lay Llamas, a European tour with internationally acclaimed psych rock act and JOVM mainstays GOAT and co-signs from Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue and GOAT’s Goatman, Valenti and his latest solo recording project have developed a profile across the international psych rock scene. Building upon a growing profile, Valenti began an ongoing collaboration with renowned psych rock label Fuzz Club Records that begun back in 2017 with the release of Our Mother Was a Plant — and last year, Valenti played at Liverpool Festival of Psychedelia.

Slated for a May 31, 2019 release through Fuzz Club Records, Valenti’s third Juju album Maps & Territory reportedly finds the Sicilian psych rock musician building upon and expanding the sound that first won him attention. Collaborating with avant-garde composer and improviser, Amy Denio, the forthcoming album’s material reportedly retains the unique blend of psych rock, Mediterranean Folk, New Wave and African polyrhythms but deconstructed with some of the material subtly influenced by jazz and other genres.

Thematically, the album’s material concerns itself with territory — and its physical and ideological representation on map. And unsurprisingly, the material sonically will further cement Valenti’s reputation for a globalist, genre-blurring sound and approach.

The album’s latest single “I’m In A Trance,” which features GOAT’s Goatman is a feverish and lysergic track centered around propulsive African polyrhythm, looping angular attack-based guitar, twinkling keys and chanted, call and response vocals. Sonically the song evokes a stomping, hallucinogenic voodoo ritual in which its practitioners are in a deep trance — while bearing a resemblance to Here Lies Man. The recently released glitchy video follows a hooded and masked man in the woods, foraging for food and running as though he’s being chased; it’s eerie and yet appropriately trippy.

New Video: Speed Through the Streets of Kinshasa in Visuals for TSHEGUE’s Thumping “The Wheel”

Born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Faty Sy Savanet and her family emigrated to Paris when she was eight. In her early twenties, a mutual friend connected Savanet with Robert Wyatt collaborator Bertrand Burgalat, whose label, Tricatel has been referenced as a major influence of the likes of Air and Daft Punk.

Burgalat encouraged and enabled many of Savanet’s formative musical experiments, including a short-lived voodoo ‘n’ roll band. Interestingly, Savanet’s latest project TSHEGUE, which derives its name from her childhood nickname, a Congolese slang term for the boys who gather on Kinshasa’s streets, can trace its origins to when she met her bandmate, French-Cuban producer Nicolas ‘Dakou’ Dacunha.

Their debut EP, 2017’s Survivor thematically explored the challenges faced by the African Diaspora paired with Dacunha’s forward-hthinking, hypnotic, club-banging productions which features elements of Afropunk, garage rock and electro-clash. Survivor EP was championed by the likes of Mura Masa and Noisey, which led to a growing international profile. And adding to a growing profile, the video for “Munapoto,” which was shot on the Ivory Coast received a UK Music Video Award nomination alongside videos for tUnE-YaRdS and Chaka Khan.

“The Wheel,” the first bit of new material from the duo since the release of Survivor EP, and I’m certain that it’ll further cement TSHEGUE’s growing reputation for crafting swaggering, forward-thinking, genre and style-blurring bangers. Centered around a wildly exuberant, hypnotic and percussive production featuring ricocheting industrial clang and clatter, stuttering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, explosive blasts of bass synth paired with Savanet’s commanding flow, the song bears a resemblance to JOVM mainstays Kokoko! as it sounds as though it comes from a sweaty, post-apocalyptic future where the club and the ghetto are one and the same — but delivered with a decidedly punk aggressiveness.

Directed by Renaud Barret, who was also behind the Africa Express documentary featured Damon Albarn, Peter Hook and Tony Allen, the recently released video for “The Wheel” was filmed in a gorgeously cinematic black and white amidst the chaotic traffic of Savanet’s hometown, follows members of the local, mixed-gender, teenaged skating club, Club Etoile Rollers hitching rides on the backs of speeding busses, cars, motorbikes through the heaving megalopolis’ crowded streets. Speaking about the video Barret says ““An ordinary day in Kinshasa. I’m in a taxi on Lumumba Boulevard, when suddenly I’m in the middle of this gang of kids slaloming between cars. We exchange thumbs up, signs of complicity, rolling side by side for a moment. One of them spots my camera, and comes closer to shout ‘Hey sir! Do you wanna shoot something crazy?’ I couldn’t refuse. This is the magic of a limitless city where each and every day brings incredible spontaneous possibilities. Now as I watch the beaming faces of these kids, thrown at full speed on their crumbling rollers, almost out of control, intoxicated by danger and only protected by their faith in good luck; I can only see a metaphor for the Congo’s situation. But also a middle finger to a society trying to maintain an illusion that everything should be controlled, supervised. These free riders remind us that life must be lived in the present.”

The duo has begun to make a name for themselves with commanding live performances, including sets at Lowlands and The Great Escape Festivals and from what I understand the act will be announcing a series of headlining UK live shows to coincide with the release of more new material.

New Video: Acclaimed Japanese Punk Act Releases Cinematic Visuals for Blistering “datsu hike no onna”

Over the past few months of this year, I’ve written a bit about the  Kyoto, Japan-based garage punk act Otoboke Beaver (おとぼけビ~バ~ in Japanese), and as you may recall the act which is comprised of Accorinrin (vocals, guitar), Yoyoyoshie (guitar, vocals), Hirochan (bass, vocals) and Kahokiss (drums, vocals) can trace their origins to when they all were members of Kyoto University’s music club.

Shortly after their formation, the quartet quickly received attention both locally and nationally for pairing incredibly dexterous musicianship with their frontwoman’s confrontational stage presence. Interestingly, when  Damnably Records released the Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver compilation, the Kyoto-based punk act began receiving airplay internationally from BBC Radio 6′Gideon Coe and Tom RavenscroftXFM’s John Kennedy, as well as praise from the likes of PitchforkNPRi-Dand The Fader.

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of the band made critically applauded and attention-grabbing appearances at SXSW and FujiRock Festival, played a sold out show at London‘s 100 Club — and their Love Is Short 7 inch charted in the UK for 4 weeks. Last year, the band went on a tour of the UK that was bookmarked by slots at Coachella.

The band’s newest album ITEKOMA HITS is slated for an April 26, 2019 release through their longtime label home Damnably Records, and from the album’s first three singles “Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi,” “Don’t light my fire” and “I’m tired of repeating your story” the Japanese band revealed that their specialized in feral and defiantly feminist rippers that drew from noise punk, no wave, prog rock and riot grrrl punk, centered around blistering power chords, rapid-fire chord progressions and tempo changes and shouted lyrics. The album’s fourth and latest single “datsu, hike no onna” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor — furious, straightforward punk that bristles with discontent and frustration.

Directed by Haruka Mitani, the video for “datsu, hike no onna” marks an important first for the band — the first time they’ve collaborated with a female director. Shot in gorgeously cinematic 8mm film, the video focuses on a woman who is seemingly suffering from bipolar disorder — at one point manic and joyous, at another point murderous. Interestingly, as the band’s Accorinrin explains, the song “is a second woman’s song similar as my previous song’s themes. hikage no onna means woman in the shadows. It can be [a] metaphor for a mistress, an ‘illegitimate’ woman or a woman without a bubbly, outgoing personality. The message of this song is lamenting the oppression of being a woman in the shadows and about getting out from this suffering.”

New Video: Thievery Corporation Side Project The Archives Set to Release a Reggae Tribute to Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron was a singer/songwriter, poet and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his influential work between the late 1960s and early 80s, which meshed jazz, blues, soul and funk with spoken word and poetry. Lyrically, his work focused on the sociopolitical issues of the Black community, delivered in a style that sort of resembled rapping; in fact, much ink has been spilled on how Scott-Heron’s breakthrough works Pieces of a Man (particularly, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” ) and Winter in America, have had a momentous influence on contemporary music, particularly on hip-hop and neo soul. 

Sadly, during the last decade of his life, Scott-Heron battled drug addiction and as a result  had several stints in and out of prison; however, he managed to remain to be a remarkably prolific artist, writing and recording when he was able. Just before he died, the legendary and influential poet and musician released the critically praised album I’m New Here and finished work on a memoir, which was published posthumously. Interestingly, before he died, he went into the studio and recorded extremely stripped down versions of some of his best known and beloved material, accompanied on piano with no overdubbing or extra studio production that was largely unreleased and unheard until XL Recordings released the material as Nothing New on what would have been the legendary artist’s 65th birthday.  

Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton along with Darryl “Trane” Burke started The Archives as a quest to explore the roots of reggae music. The project’s 2012 self-titled debut was released to critical acclaim. Seven years have passed since their debut, but Burke and Hilton have teamed up to co-produce reggae tribute album celebrating the work of Gil Scott-Heron and his longtime collaborator Brian Jackson that will be released through Hilton’s new label Montserrat House. So what’s the connection between reggae and Gil Scott-Heron, you may be asking? Well, Scott-Heron’s father Gilbert was a famous Jamaican soccer player, who wound up being the first Black player in Scotland’s Celtic League, so the album in some way celebrates the influential poet’s Jamaican heritage, while highlighting his still relevant reflections and thoughts on social justice and chance. “Like Gil’s compositions, reggae contains elements of jazz and soul,“ says Hilton. “It’s the perfect backdrop to Gil’s revolutionary pan-Africanist lyrics.” The album also will feature contributions from Jamaican dub poet Mutabaruka; R&B soul singer Raheem DeVaughn; percussionist Larry McDonald, who was once a member of Scott-Heron’s backing band Amnesia Express; Addis Pablo, the son of reggae legend Augustus Pablo; Kenyatta Hill, the son of Culture’s Joseph Hill; and Brian Jackson, Scott-Heron’s longtime collaborator. 

Released on 1971’s Pieces of a Man, “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” may arguably be one of the most heartbreaking and chilling depictions of the hopelessness of life in the Black ghetto and the toll it takes on the song’s narrator and his neighbors. Centered around a brooding and strutting 70s singer/songwriter soul arrangement, the song fits in perfectly with its time, recalling What’s Going On-era Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers — but with a restless bitterness and disillusionment that should feel unsettling to those who are sensitive to the plight of their fellow humans. Seeing its release on what would have been Scott-Heron’s 70th birthday, The Archives first Gil Scott-Heron tribute album single “Home Is Where The Hatred Is,” is a shuffling and brooding reggae version of Scott-Heron’s famous track, featuring Thievery Corporation’s St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands-born vocalist Puma Ptah. And while putting a subtle spin on a familiar and well-known song, The Archives manage to retain the song’s still-relevant emotional weight — it’s bitter, disillusionment and frustration. While many Americans — particularly, Whites — may think reggae is all good times and smiles by the beach, reggae has always been protest music, describing the deplorable conditions, frustrations, hopes and dreams of some of the world’s proudest yet poorest people. Let both versions remind you of the dashed hopes, expectations and dreams of those in the South Bronx; Jamaica, Queens; Baltimore; Chicago’s South Side; Gary, IN; Newark, NJ; Camden, NJ; Ferguson, MO; and countless similar places across the country. Isla

The recently released video is split between footage of Puma Ptah walking through the abandoned apartments and dirty alleyways of the hood, and Ptah with the members of The Archives recording the song in the studio and performing it.