If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years of its seven year history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the work of Stockholm, Sweden-based electronic music producer, electronic music artist and Labrador Records label head Johan Angergård, who’s best known for his work with Karolina Komstedt in Club 8, with Rose Suau in Djutstin and his solo recording project The Legends. Now, Club 8 Angergård’s collaboration with Komstedt has a long-held reputation for a being difficult to pigeonhole sonically or aesthetically.  The duo, which initially formed in 1995 began as a Bossa Nova-inspired act with the release of their debut effort, Nouvelle; however, their 1998 sophomore effort The Friend I Once Had, the duo went through a complete and radical change in sonic direction, with the album’s material being entirely electronic and electronic dance music-leaning. Further cementing a reputation for being musical chameleons, the duo’s next three albums, released between 2001 and 2003 were featured old school soul-leaning material.

Throughout the bulk of Club 8’s catalog, Angergård had been the taken up all production duties — until 2013’s Above the City, which had the band working with an outside producer for the first time. However, Angergård returned to producing the duo’s work with 2015’s Pleasure, an album that Karolina Komstedt explained was about “love, sex and jealousy.” And you may recall that I wrote about album singles, “Late Night” a melancholic look at a love affair that starts off passionate before eventually cooling off; “Skin,” a decadent song that channeled Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.”

2017 has been an extremely busy year for Angergård. His solo project The Legends released a solo album earlier this year, Djustin released their long-anticipated full-length debut Voyagers last month and Club 8 released their ninth, full-length effort Lost yesterday.  Lost‘s latest single, the slow-burning and moody album title track “Lost” pairs Komstedt breathily tender vocals with a production featuring chiming percussion and a chopped up and distorted vocal sample. As Komstedt explains in press notes “We’ve tried to step away from standard instrumentation and perhaps sound a little less typically western on ‘Lost.'” In fact, because of its chiming and propulsive percussion, the song possesses a hypnotic and Eastern-inspired quality reminiscent of Wolkoff‘s work with Icarus Moth — but a chilly yet sultry vibe.

 

 

 

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Nicole Atkins is a Neptune, New Jersey-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter, arguably best known as one for her time in Asbury Park, NJ — and perhaps more important for a sound that draws influence from 50s crooner pop, 60s psych rock and psych pop, soul music and Brill Building pop; in fact, some critics have compared her and her sound favorably to the likes of Roy Orbison and others. This shouldn’t be surprising as Atkins has publicly cited the favorites of her parents’ record collection as being major influences on her, including The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, The SundaysHarriet Wheeler and Cass Elliot.
Atkins started playing piano when she turned nine and taught herself to play guitar at 13 and by the time she was attending Belmar, NJ’s St. Rose High School, she was playing in pick-up bands and playing gigs at local coffeehouses. Upon graduating from high school, Atkins attended the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where she studied illustration and ingrained herself within the city’s independent music scene. And while in Charlotte, she began writing original songs and befriending a number of local musicians; in fact, at one point, she was a member of a local supergroup Nitehawk that, at one point had close to 30 members. She also joined Los Parasols and released an EP with them, The Summer of Love in 2002; however, later that year, she moved to Brooklyn, where she began to be influenced by the Rainbow Quartz Records roster, and began writing songs more along the lines of Wilco and Roy Orbison.

 

By early 2005, Atkins ran into keyboardist Dan Chen, who she had known from her days playing at The Sidewalk Cafe. Chen approached her about forming a new band, a band which eventually became Nicole Atkins and The Sea. During a residency at Piano’s, the band won the attention of music industry attorney Gillian Bar and quickly found herself in a bidding war between several record labels before signing with Columbia Records in early 2006. A the end of that year, Atkins and her backing band went to Sweden — Varispeed Studios in Kalegrup, Sweden and Gula Studion in Malmo — to record their Tore Johansson-produced debut effort Neptune City, which was released in October 2007 to accommodate re-mastering of the album. The album was a critical and commercial success, debuting at number 20 on Billboard‘s Top Heatseekers Chart and reached number 6 on the Heatseekers Middle Atlantic Chart.

2011 saw the release of her critically applauded, Phil Palazzolo-produced sophomore effort Mondo Amore. Recorded at Brooklyn’s Seaside Lounge Studio, Atkins’ new backing band The Black Sea featured Irina Yalkowsky (guitar), Mike Graham (drums) and Jermey Kay (bass). Atkins and her backing band played that year’s SXSW and were named by Spin Magazine as “the best live band of the festival,” and Mondo Amore received attention from the The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

During the winter of 2012 Atkins returned to Malmo, Sweden to record her third full-length effort Slow Phaser with Tore Johansson. Released in February 2014 to critical applause, the album landed at number 143 on the Billboard 200 based on the strength of singles “Girl You Look Amazing” and “Who Killed the Moonlight?” Adding to a big 2014 Atkins appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, where she performed a new rendition of “War Torn” off her Live from the Masonic Temple, Detroit album, an album which was recorded while she toured as the opener for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Recoded at Fort Worth, TX‘s Niles City Sound, with a production team featuring Austin Jenkins, Josh Block and Chris Vivion and mixed by the Alabama Shakes‘ Ben Tanner, Atkins’ fourth album Goodnight Rhonda Lee marks two different things — the first being her first album in three years, the second a marked sonic departure from her previous work. The album’s first single, co-written by Chris Issak, “A Little Crazy” was a delicate and soulful ballad that clearly nods to many of Atkins’ early influences — in particular, Roy Orbison with a hint of Patsy Cline. However, the album’s second and latest single “Darkness Falls So Quiet” is a stomping and soulful track that nods at Dusty Springfield — and much like Springfield’s legendary work, Atkins’ incredible vocals, which manage to simultaneously express swaggering self-assuredness and aching loneliness are paired with a warm and soulful arrangement that features a gorgeous string section, twinkling keys and a Daptone Records-like horn section. And if weren’t for the subtly modern production, you may have mistaken the song for being released in 1963.

Goodnight Rhonda Lee is slated for a July 21, 2017 release through Single Lock Records, and Atkins will be touring throughout the summer and fall to support the new album. The tour will include a September 9, 2017 stop at Mercury Lounge. Check out the rest of the tour dates below — and if she’s playing at a venue near you, go see her. She’s fantastic live.
Tour Dates:

7/20 – Lexington, KY – The Burl
7/21 – Florence, AL – WC Handy Festival
7/23 – Nashville, TN – 3rd and Lindsley
7/25 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head on Stage w/Robert Ellis
7/26 – Fairfield, CT – Stage One
7/29 – Freehold, NJ – Monmouth County Fair
7/30 – Newport, RI – Newport Folk Festival w/Steelism and Ruby Amanfu
8/7 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
8/8 – Chicago, IL – Space
8/10 – Davenport, IA – The Raccoon Motel
8/11 – Iowa City, IA – The Mill
8/12 – Minneapolis, MN – Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
8/18 – Asheville, NC – Altamont Theatre
8/19 – Athens, GA – Wildwood Revival 2017
8/26 – Arlington, VA – Lockn’ Festival
9/8 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
9/9 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
9/10 – Asbury Park, NJ – Shadow of the City Festival @ Stony Pony Summer Stage – Shadow of the City Festival

 

New Audio: The Rosebuds and Gayngs Frontman Howard Ivans Returns with a Sultry and Soulful New Single from Long-Awaited Solo Debut

Perhaps best known for being the frontman of The Rosebuds and Gayngs, Howard Ivans stepped away from his primary gigs to write and record the “Red Face Boy”/”Pillows” 7 inch through Richmond, VA-based indie label Spacebomb Records  — and if you were familiar with his work with his primary projects, Ivans’ solo work has a bold and decided change in sonic direction with his solo sound leaning heavily towards a sultry blue eyed soul reminiscent of The Righteous Brothers, Michael McDonald/Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers and Hall and Oates while nodding at 70s AM pop; in fact, Ivans once recorded a song-by-song remake of Sade’s Love Deluxe.

Now, four years have passed since I’ve last written about Ivans and if there’s one thing that’s true in the blogosphere age, it’s this — four years is an eternity. But interestingly enough Ivans long-awaited Trey Pollard and Cameron Ralston co-produced solo debut Beautiful Tired Bodies is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through Spacebomb Records, and as Ivans explains in press notes, while he could have recorded the album’s material at any point over the past four years, he felt very strongly that it just wouldn’t be the same without the Spacebomb Records house band, so he waited until everyone was available at the same time.

Beautiful Tired Bodies’ latest single “Come On” will further cement both Ivans and Spacebomb Records’ growing reputation for deliberately crafted, sultry pop that simultaneously nods at 70s AM pop and Quiet Storm soul and much like the sources that inspired it, at the heart of “Come On” is the vulnerable, aching, sensual need of a broken man, desperately seeking the electric touch of a lover — right now without delay. But along with that, the song’s narrator is making a plea to open himself up more, to be more vulnerable in the face of love. Such sentiment is rare; but it’s rare because it comes from a truly adult perspective.

Certainly, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year of its seven year history, you’ve come across a nubmer of posts featuring Brooklyn-based post-punk duo and JOVM mainstays NØMADS. Comprised of Nathan Lithow  (vocals, bass) and Garth Macaleavey (drums), the duo have a rather accomplished history both separately and together, and with the release of their 2014 full-length debut, the duo received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that drew and/or nodded at Nirvana, Fugazi and Girls Against Boys while also nodding at Zack de la Rocha’s post-Rage Against the Machine project, One Day As A Lion  and Japandroids.

After a year-long hiatus from touring and writing, the Brooklyn-based duo spent the better part of 2016 writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their sophomore album PHØBIAC, a concept album in which each song focuses on a different phobia, approached in an abstract, almost clinical fashion, while capturing the innermost thoughts, anxieties and fears of someone in the grips of their own deepest fear; but at the core, is a cautionary message for our heightened and uncertain times — that whenever we succumb to the irrationality of our fears, chaos and self-destruction will be the end result. Throughout the course of the year, the duo have released a new single off the album every month with the complete, full album being slated for a 2018 release.

Last month’s single “Chronometrophøbia” was a slow-burning and moody instrumental composition focused on the fear of clocks, watches and passing time in which buzzing and distorted bass chords evoked the grinding mechanisms of gears inside of a clock and the metronomic-like drumming evoked the clicking of watch hands moving around the clock’s face as it moves second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour. And throughout the composition there’s a creeping and unsettled anxiety of being aware of time’s relentless march forward — and being constantly reminded of the fact that time marches forward with or without you. As the band’s Nathan Lithow explained in press notes “The fear of clocks is a very compelling to me as a soundscape metaphor. As a physical object, a clock not only “tells” time, but also represents the passing of time, and the concrete idea of the present tense. Chronometrophobia is tangentially connected to Chronophobia, the fear of time or of time’s passing, but as a compositional theme I think the clicks/ticks/tocks/beeps and bells provide a bit of a textual context to the song as a whole.”
PHØBIAC‘s latest single “Dementophøbia” focuses on the most common fear any one of us would have — the fear that your your tenuous grip on reality and sanity may slowly be slipping. And when there are so many things both big and small in our daily lives that have seemingly gone insane, it would be far more likelier to start asking yourself “is it me — or is it everyone around me?'” And as a result, the song may be the most tense and anxious track they’ve released to date, as the song’s narrator seems to recognize that at some point there’s only so much anyone can take before they crack; the problem is that we don’t know what will cause it.

Happy 7th Birthday to The Joy of Violent Movement

I usually don’t spend a ton of time thinking about these things, because I typically have 456 different things on my mind at any given time — and I’m not particularly nostalgic;  but today is a big occasion for me and for JOVM. You see, I started the site 7 years ago today.  And when I started this thing I thought maybe I’d have a handful of friends and immediate family read it on occasion but to see that readers across several different countries including Canada, the UK, Germany, Sweden, Australia, France reading on a regular basis and knowing that so many people have decided to spend a few moments of their lives with me has been a profound honor — and a source of great pride for me personally, especially since JOVM is a (mostly) one-man operation. But perhaps more important, this site has been one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. Some of my earliest and most powerful memories are tied into music and as long as I could remember, music has been one of the centers of my intellectual and emotional life as a child and as an adult. And to be able to focus on a childhood obsession on a daily basis makes me one of the luckiest bastards in the entire world.

Of course, there’s an obvious question that should come up — namely this: well, what’s next? There’ll be more of the things you’ve come to love throughout the years but I’ve been thinking of some new features here and there, including possibly a podcast. Of course, that involves figuring out how to squeeze a 40 hour day into a 24 hour day; but I’ve done well with that so far. There’s much work to do and there’s so much music out there to cover, love and bring to your attention — with the hopes that you too will love it. So let’s get to it!

 

 

 

 

With the release of last year’s Language EP, Hypoluxo, a Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet currently comprised of Samuel Cogen, Marco Ocampo, Cameron Riordan, and Eric Jasso quickly received attention for crafting lush melodies with clever, somewhat cynical and perhaps at points coy humor; however, the band’s latest effort, Taste Buds finds the band stripping their sound down quite a bit, with the focus and guiding point being Cogen’s moody Matt Beringer-like baritone — and with their latest single “Nevada,” Cogen and company manage to sound as though they were slyly drawing from High Violet-era The National, complete with jangling guitars but while retaining the sly humor that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and elsewhere. And interestingly enough the song will further the band’s growing reputation for a sound and aesthetic that’s difficult to pinpoint, let alone pigeonhole as it’s not quite dream pop, nor is it twee and a bit too humorous to be typical indie rock while drawing from each one.

 

 

 

Arguably best known as one half of  Los Angeles, CA-based indie electro pop act Sad Robot, with Long Beach, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist Nick Perez, Connecticut-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Kat Leon developed a reputation for material that focused on her obsessions with death and the occult. With both of her parents suddenly dying within months of one another, Leon was plunged into a period of profound and heartbreaking grief. And after taking some necessary time to grieve, Leon began her latest, solo recording project Holy Wars, influenced by what may have been some of the darkest days of her life to date; in fact, the project in many ways to her is a way to extrapolate the tumultuous feelings and thoughts she had felt and thought during that period — with the result being her Holy Wars debut, double EP Mother, which will released at the end of this month and Father, which is slated for release later on this summer. Of course, both EPs are dedicated to her respective parents and while being dark and at points foreboding, the material isn’t completely nihilistic; in fact, Mother‘s first single “I Can’t Feel A Thing” is a cathartic release, rooted around an anthemic arena rock-like sound reminiscent of Paramore —but with profoundly adult angst, from the recognition that death is a permanent and inconsolable loss, a wound that can never really be healed, and that the only thing anyone can do is figure out a way to move forward.

Mother‘s second single “Orphan” is a slower burning, mid-tempo track that focuses on what may be the darkest, saddest and yet most true aspect of life: that everyone you ever know and love will one day die, and the survivors reeling from inconsolable loss have to piece together their lives, and with her backing band, Leon pairs that sentiment with a stormy and forceful arrangement within a 90s alt rock structure — quiet verses, stormy and loud choruses; however, much like “I Can’t Feel A Thing,” the song isn’t completely negative. Yes, it’s a weary acceptance but within that acceptance is a paradoxical vulnerability and strength.

 

New Video: The Dark and Cinematic Visuals for Up-and-Coming Scandinavian Pop Artist Louise Lemón’s “Appalacherna”

Louise Lemón is an up-and-coming Uppsala, Sweden-based pop artist, who has developed a reputation in her homeland and elsewhere for a dramatic, moody and dark sound that some have compared favorably to PJ Harvey, Lana Del Rey and others. Interestingly, her debut EP Purge was recorded in a reportedly haunted cabin with Randal Dunn, who has worked with Sunn O))) and Thurston Moore — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the spectral and eerie feel within the studio has influenced the EP’s material; in fact, “Appalacherna,” Purge’s latest single pairs Lemón’s soulful and expressive vocals with a sparse and equally moody arrangement featuring swirling feedback, brief and explosive bursts of drum and piano. And just under the brooding and mysterious surface is a desperate and aching longing — the sort of longing that will ultimately be unfulfilled, as the song’s narrator recognizes the inherent difficulties of a relationship with an equally broken and dysfunctional person. 

Directed by Edward John Drake, who has directed the videos for Yolanda Be Cool, DCUP and Rodriguez’s “Sugarman” and Flora Cash’s “California,” and starring Louise Lemón and Sien Gay, the recently released visuals are cinematically shot but brooding and nightmarishly matter of fact about the brutality of its central character. The story begins with Lemón playing with a crystal necklace while daydreaming about a lover, who has hurt her after playing a successful show. A bodyguard type comes in after her show, and informs her “we’ve found him” and the video quickly becomes set in the California desert, where Lemón encounters the “him” they found — and the ending is as disturbing as any scene in Goodfellas. As Lemón explains “’Appalacherna’ was recorded in the Californian desert with the theme: An artist kills her past to save her future. This really made making this video a cleansing process. The necklace with the crystal plays an important role in the video and it turned out to play an even greater role to me. I was really happy to bring it back home with me as a memory so I tucked it away safely, but back from the shoot it was gone, I was liberated from the past and wasn’t supposed to bring anything with me from it.”

Initially formed in Bryon Bay, Australia the members of up-and-coming synth funk/dance pop act Parcels, comprised of Patrick Hetherington, Louie Swain, Noah Hill, Jules Crommelin, and  Anatole Serret relocated to Berlin, Germany after they all graduated from high school to seriously pursue music and to hone their sound in one of the most culturally thriving and diverse cities of Europe. As soon as they relocated, the quintet quickly developed a reputation for a sound that paired slick studio production with deliberate attention to live performance, and as a result the act caught the attention of renowned Parisian electronic label Kitsune Records and the members of world famous electronic music production and artist duo Daft Punk, who caught the band play a set in Paris, and was so impressed by the Australian-born, German-based act that they decided to mentor the up-and-coming act.

Earlier this year, the members of Parcels along with the members of Daft Punk wrote and recorded their latest single “Overnight” in a secret location in Paris, and the single is a breezy, easygoing, summertime anthem that subtly reveals a careful attention to craft, as the band pairs infectious, razor sharp hooks with a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and shimmering arpeggio synths — and while clearly nodding at Daft Punk’s “Get Ready,” the song possesses a mischievously sensual swagger.

The Bryon Bay-born, Berlin-based members of the band are touring throughout the European Union and the UK during the year and the tour will include two Glastonbury Festival sets this weekend.

Comprised of TV on the Radio‘s Kyp Malone, Samiam‘s Sean Kennerly, Fuckemos‘ and Surfbort’s Sean Powell, Midnight Masses‘ Giselle Reiber, Wild Yaks‘ Dan Scinta and B.A. Miele,  no-wave, noise-punk act Ice Balloons features an who’s who of contemporary indie rock. Although it’s a side project from each of their full-time gigs, the project find each member bringing sometimes disparate  elements from their pasts into their songwriting process and as you’ll hear on “Calypso Heartworm,” the latest single off the band’s forthcoming full-length debut Fiesta, the band specializes in a fuzzy and washed out dissonance paired with a difficult to discern song structure. There are hints at familiar elements though — there’s something like a bridge and there’s even something like a hook and even verses — and it’s held together by a propulsive and angular bass line, buzzing guitar chords and washed out sounds. And while possessing a trippy and kaleidoscopic vibe underneath the cacophony of noise, it’s a song that manages to feel simultaneously chaotic, slack and anxious.