JOVM celebrates what would have been the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz’s 95th birthday.
Montreal-born DJ, producer, singer/songwriter, choreographer, dancer and model Soph-eye Richard has spent the past 15 years either living in or performing in several dozen countries across five continents. The Montreal-based artist radically reinvents herself and her career with her latest solo recording project Eyesha.
Richard’s debut single as Eyesha, the Fancy Beats-produced “Dámelo” is centered around a minimalist production consisting of stuttering and thumping staccato beats, atmospheric synth arpeggios, and an infectious club banger meets Top 40 hook. Featuring a guest verse from emerging Nigerian artist Slimcase, “Dámelo” is a globalist, border blurring song with elements of Afro pop, electro pop, house music and Latin pop — with Spanish, French and English lyrics delivered in a sultry, come-hither coo by Eyesha and a swaggering reggae-inspired verse by Slimcase in English and Yoruba. And at its core is an irresistible yearning and desire that will have you coming back for more. In fact, so far, the track has been gaining a lot of attention: as of this writing, the track has amassed over 100,000 Spotify streams since its release.
Shot last year, the recently released. incredibly sexy video for “Dámelo” features the Montreal-based act and a diverse array of beautiful people dancing at a backyard party and a club — and while emphasizing the sensual quality of the song, the video also reveals some of the Montreal-born artist’s immense talents.
Nedelko is an emerging French emcee, author and performer — and a member of the L’Animalerie collective. His latest single, the Lapwass-produced “Or What” is a swaggering, Sofi Tukker-like club banger, centered around wobbling synth arpeggios, thumping tweeter and woofer rocking beats, an infectious hook and the French emcee’s punchy delivery.
The recently released video for “Or What” features live concert footage shot by Romain Battini and a group of young French people partying, goofing off and roughhousing, shot by Miskine Squad. And goddamn it, it makes me miss shows and parting and bullshitting with new friends and old friends. Sigh.
With the release of five full-length albums, 1998’s Direct, 2000’s Heart Experience, 2007’s Flames in the Head, 2009’s She Science and 2018’s Indie Rock Hits, the Sorocaba, São Paulo, Brazil-based rock quartet WRY — Mario Bross (vocals, guitar). Luciano Marcello (guitar), Ítalo Ribero (drums) and William Leonotti (bass) — have developed a sound that’s heavily influenced by Brit Pop. shoegaze and post-punk, paired with lyrics written and sung in English and Portuguese.
The members of the Sorocaba, São Paulo-based quartet also happen to be integral members of Brazil’s indie rock scene: at home, they own a popular rock club, which has frequently hosted internationally acclaimed Brazilian psych rock act, labelmates and JOVM mainstays Boogarins — and as a band, they spent several years in London, successful touring across the UK and Continental Europe, eventually making their rounds on the European festival circuit, with stops at the likes of Barcelona’s Primavera Sound.
Slated for an October 30, 2020 release through OAR, the aforementioned label home of Boogarins, WRY’s 10-song, sixth album Noites Infinitas explores themes of anxiety, despair and unconventional paths towards hope while living in our increasingly divisive world.
WRY has released three singles off their soon-to-be released sixth album, including the album’s first single, “Travel.” Centered around enormous, feedback and pedal effected guitar riffs, thunderous and propulsive drumming, a sinuous bass line and rousingly anthemic hooks “Travel” is a breakneck and energetic burst that’s one part shoegaze, one part Brit pop. Fittingly, the energetic song is paired with an upbeat and positive message about accepting yourself completely, having the strength to face the obstacles thrown in your path — and having the bravery to go on your own, unusual path.
Directed by Ricardo Camargo, the recently released video for “Travel” features WRY’s frontman in front of a series of psychedelic and kaleidoscopic backdrops, and a weird yet trippy ring light/shower head-like contraption and a plastic covering. Adding to the trippy nature of the video, is that it features series of rapid-fire cuts and edits.
Los Angeles– based duo Complicated Animals— singer/songwriter Monica da Silva and multi-instrumentalist Chad Alger — specializes in what the duo have coined Indie Nova, a mesh of Indie Pop and Bossa nova. Complicated Animals can trace their origins back to 2008: the then-Chicago-based da Silva, who had been wanting to steer her music back to her Brazilian roots had stumbled across Alger’s Craiglist ad seeking someone to start a Brazilian music project with. The duo met during the winter and they survived the cold Chicagoland winter by drinking red wine and black coffee — and at some point, during that haze, Alger picked up a guitar and da Silva made up some lyrics. And the songs they began crafting transported them to the beaches of Brazil.
The duo collaborated on da Silva’s solo album 2010’s Bruce Driscoll-produced Brasilissima, which featured songs written and sung in English and Portuguese. Brasilissima‘s first single “Aí Então”, caught the attention of the blogosphere and Cumbacha Records‘ Jacob Edgar, who featured the track on Putunayo World Music‘s Brazilian Beat compilation. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the duo’s psychedelic “That’s Not The Way” pump dup crowds during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Written and recorded in a cabin in the Michigan woods, the duo’s Complicated Animals 2015 debut, the six song In This Game EP was released to critical praise by PopMatters, who called the effort “a 6 song masterpiece” and the “beginning of a new sound.” Since then da Silva released the haunting and cinematic “Soldado de Amor,” which was featured on the BBC TV dramatic series The Replacement . Last year, In This Game single “Phoenix” was featured in the Netflix’s Last Summer.
Complicated Animals’ latest single find the duo tackling one of my favorite Foo Fighter songs, and arguably one of their biggest hits “Times Like These.” Famously, Foo Fighters released an acoustic version of “Times Like These,” in which Dave Grohl accompanied himself on guitar and piano — and while leaning much closer to the acoustic version, the Complicated Animals cover is a breezier, folkier, Fleetwood Mac-like take on the song. In my book, “Times Like These” is the rare Foo Fighter song that works as an arena rock anthem and as an intimate singer/songwriter ballad, which is a testament to how well written the song is.
As da Silva and Alger explain, they gravitated toward the track, because the lyrics are in line with the events of this past year. “This year sure has been crazy. We’ve all had to slow down, and focus on familial relationships, and close friendships. We believe that these challenging times, are the times that shape us,” the Los Angeles based duo explain. “The most important thing we can do right now, is just be there for each other. We hope to inspire people with some positivity. The world needs more of that. We’re collaborating with a talented Brazilian artist named Karla Caprali. She has created the song art, and is working on a powerful visual (animated video) to go with the track. We’re staying hopeful for the future. As Oscar Wilde said, ‘Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.’”
KZ is an emerging French emcee. His latest single “Kiesta,” which derives its title from the French slang word that translates to “What’s Up?” is a slickly produced, club banger centered around shimming synth arpeggios. subtly Arabic instrumentation, thumping beats and thumping beats. And while sonically bringing JOVM mainstay Omar Souleyman to mind, the track prominently features the emerging emcee rhyming in a dexterous and self-assured French.
The song, as the French emcee told me in an email, is all about having fun and trying to spread great energy to everyone. And as a result. the recently release video, which was directed by KZ, is a brightly colored and surrealistic fever dream that takes place during a wild house party. He went on to tell me that because times are so difficult for everyone, it’s his wish for the song to help people escape from their worries — even if it’s just for the length of the song.
JOVM celebrates Fela Kuti’s 82nd birthday.
Muca & La Marquise is a rapidly rising London-based duo featuring Brazilian-born, London-based songwriter and producer Muca and 22-year-old vocalist La Marquise. Their debut single “London.” grabbed the attention of Roberto Menescal and Will Gompertz. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding the London-based duo, their latest single “Blue Moon Bossa” finds Muca, the act’s primary songwriter crafting a João Gilberto and Tom Jobim-inspired bossa nova — for modern times.
Featuring an armament of looping and shimmering acoustic guitar, a sinuous double bass line from Yaron Stavi, stuttering percussion and a breezy melody the track is centered around La Marquise’s achingly melancholic vocals. And at its core, is a longing for home — and a longing for a simpler time, of moonlit nights with the one you let get away . . .
As Muca explains, the track came from a desire to visit his homeland to musically reconnect with his roots. “I have a rock and blues background, but really, I’ve always had the Brazilian music hidden somewhere in me,” Muca says in press notes. “I thought it was time to bring it back to my composition. Having La Marquise singing the song is fantastic, she really grooves, and she added such a magical touch to it.
The songwriting process for “Blue Moon Bossa” was rather straight forward. “Myself and La Marquise have an excellent music connection,” Muca says. “Most of the songs we wrote were quite fast, time flew by, it was so easy. It all starts with guitars and vocals. I bring the first ideas with chord progressions on the guitar and some melodies. She then adds her notebook and begins to add lyrics and add more melodies to it. I was amazed how the track naturally developed into the Bossa Nova/Jazz style, and I’m delighted with the song and album result.”
In terms of production, Muca wanted a much more modern approach. He enlisted the assistance of São Paulo-produced drummer, percussionist and producer Bruno Buarque. “I told him and wanted a different approach for this song, using more electronic elements to this track,” Muca says. “He added some exciting Brazilian style elements, using his MPC to reproduce instruments such as cuica, bumbo, tamborin, ganza, and shakers. He recorded them in Brazil and sent me the files, I worked with the arrangements here in London.”
Animated by Ed Murray, the recently released video for “Blue Moon Bossa” is gorgeous and dream-like visual that features La Marquise as a singing moon before eventually seeing animated version of the duo playing and singing. The result is an old-fashioned view of the cosmos, complete with astrological charts. “The minute I wrote it, I knew it needed an animated music video to follow it,” Muca says of the song and its video treatment. “I had some ideas in mind and decided to contact the incredible illustrator, Ed Murray, who I am a fan of, to develop the concept. I couldn’t be happier with what he created.”
The duo are planning to release their self-titled, full-length debut in early 2021.
Twin Flames is a highly celebrated Ottawa-based husband and wife duo featuring:
Chelsey June, an Ottawa-born singer/songwriter, who is a part of the Mètis, a multi-ancestral indigenous group who can trace their descent from both indigenous North Americans and European settlers and can claim Algonquin Cree ancestors.
Jaaji, a Nunavik-born singer/songwriter who’s part Inuk and Mohawk.
The individual members of Twin Flames have had their own respective critically applauded, multi-award winning and nominated careers when they met, decided to work together, and fell in love during the filming of APTN’s Talent Autochrones Musical (TAM). Since the pair joined together personally and professionally, they’ve had an enviable run of success as a result of work l that meshes the contemporary and traditional with lyrics sung in Inuttitut, English and French:
They’ve been nominated for 25 awards, including two Canadian Folk Music Awards wins and three Native Music Award wins.
They’ve had two #1 hits on the Indigenous Music Countdown’s Top 40.
They’ve played 1000+ shows across Canada, the States, Australia and France
They were selected as artist-in-residence for last year’s Folk Alliance International conference.
The Canadian duo partnered with UNESCO to write the official song celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
“Human” was chosen as part of last year’s CBC’s Music Class Challenge.
The music video for “Broke Down’Ski’Tuuq was the first Inuttitut language video to be featured on Canadian music channel MuchMusic.
The indigenous duo’s third album OMEN is reportedly a sonic departure from their previously released material — with the album finding the duo’s sound incorporating edgier elements of alt pop, and indie rock as the duo explain in press notes is “concept-based around a dystopian reality, global warming, and humankind free of social classes, mental health, and addictions.”
OMEN’s first single, “Battlefields” is a perfect example of what listeners should expect from the album: shimmering and glistening synth arpeggios, big thumping beats, a rousingly anthemic hook, some indie rock-styled guitar lines and the duo’s plaintive boy-girl harmonies singing lyrics in English and Inuttitut. The end result is a slick, radio friendly and accessible pop anthem. But underneath the slick polish, the song possesses a gentle yet urgent plea to the listener — especially those within the Indigenous community — to seek help if they’re struggling. True strength is when you acknowledge you need help, that you can’t face it all alone. Along with that, there’s the tacit understanding that everyone struggles with their mental health at some point; being a caring, kind and thought personal in a morally bankrupt and nonsensical world is difficult as it is.
“Mental health is a battle that many people face in silence,” Twin Flames’ Chelsey June says. ““This song speaks to the stigma associated with it.” Jaaji adds, “In the Arctic of Canada, Inuit People face the highest amount of suicides in the world. ‘Battlefields’ is a song to remind our people we have to fight our own minds to survive, we are fighters, and together, we can feel less alone and win this battle.”
Earlier this year, I wrote about Flem, a rising French emcee, who has developed a reputation for his fluid flows and conscious themes. And as a result, the rising French emcee has become a go-to collaborator, working with an eclectic array of artists including Sages Poètes de la Rue’s DanyDan, Assassin‘s DJ Duke, La MC Malcriado‘s Izé Bosineau and Aethority‘s Mattias Mimoun and a growing list of others.
His latest album Nomades, which was released digitally last month and sees a physical release this month finds the rising French artist collaborating with internationally acclaimed Malian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vieux Farka Touré. The duo can trace their friendship and this collaboration back over a decade to repeatedly crossing paths at a series of festivals in Paris and Timbuktu.
Some time ago, the pair were performing in Niafunké, Mali, a stronghold of the Touré family,. when Flem along with a small group of Westerners were quickly evacuated to Bamako, Mail, narrowly escaping an attack. This strengthened the pair’s friendship and reinforced the need for them to create a new project that was much more urgent, conscious and militant than they had done individually.
Over the better part of the past decade, Mali has been split apart by a bloody civil war between different warring religious and ethnic factions, undermined by unbalanced international relationships, rampant corruption and terrorism. Nomades touches upon the historical and cultural link between Europe and Africa, the ethnic conflicts that have been used and exploited by foreign countries, who have economic interests across the continent, the emigration of African youth for a better way of life anywhere they can, monetary independence, freedom, love and hope and so on.
Album single “Mali,” was a love song to the country and its people, centered around a longing for much simpler days — while being one of the best examples of the album’s overall sound and approach: Touré’s looping, shimmering and expressive guitar, gently padded percussion and Touré’s lilting voice are paired with an infectious hook and Flem’s fiery lyrics, which touch upon his love of Mali, its food and its people, while praying for an end to war, racism, colonial oppression and more.
Centered around a looping and shimmering guitar line, brief blasts of soaring organ, Toure’s lilting vocals and Amy D.’s ethereal vocals singing lyrics in their regional dialects paired with Flem’s rhyming in a dexterous and tongue twisting French, Nomades’ latests single, album title track “Nomades” is a loving and empathetic look at those brave and desperate souls, who are forced to pick up their belongings and their lives are cross international borders however they can. Yes, the song is a call for all of us to be more empathetic to the plight of others, especially refugees — but it’s also an equally urgent call for peace across Mali and elsewhere.
Directed by Mike Jan, the recently released, cinematically shot video for “Nomades” follows a teenaged boy as he makes his way across Mail — first by boat and then by a mule. As we follow this boy, we get an intimate view of daily life in the country: yes, many are poor but they have their dignity, their small joys and pleasures. And from what we can tell through the boy’s journey and his various transactions, the people he encounters are kind and helpful.