After spending seven years traveling, Vincent Gerard returned to the Grand Est region of France in 2019 — formerly known as Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine — and reconnected with his childhood friends Etienne “Bob” Blanchard and Martin “CHE” Chevrier and started the French indie rock act Wildation.

Deriving their name from what they believe is a utopian balance of nature and civilization, the band’s work is inspired by Gerard’s experiences traveling — and the observations and feelings that he frequented jotted down in his journals. With their debut EP First Seeds, the band quickly established their thematic concerns with material that touched upon humanity’s constant development and its impact on nature, confronting your fears and getting out of your comfort zone and the essential things in life.

Released earlier this year, the French band’s latest single “Blow Your Mind” is a bold and decided change in sonic direction: First Seeds found the band playing acoustic indie rock in the vein of Love Is Here-era Starsailor, while “Blow Your Mind” is a brooding arena rock friendly anthem centered featuring shimmering guitars, thunderous drumming, a rousingly anthemic hook paired with earnest yet ambitious songwriting and urgent performances. The end result is a song that sonically — to my ears, at least — that reminds me of Snow Patrol.

 

New Audio: French Artist MHUD Releases a Gritty and Brooding, Garage Rock-like Single

Initially beginning his creative career as a painter, the mysterious Strasbourg-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer professionally known as MHUD got into music as a creative outlet relatively recently. And within a very short period of time, the Strasbourg-born, Paris-based artist quickly established genre-defying work that thematically touches upon man’s spiritual, emotional and intellectually split from himself.

MHUD’s full-length debut was released last March, and as you may recall, the album featured the slickly produced, “Cheval de Bataille,” a track that meshed elements of trip hop, electroclash, electro pop and arena rock. The French artist’s latest single, the slow-burning and brooding “Il ne s’évapore pas” further cements his growing reputation for a genre-defying sound and approach — with the song finding MHUD adopting a fuzzy and distorted power chord driven garage rock sound. Unlike his previously released material, “Il ne s’évapore pas” possesses a raw, on-the-fly, improvised vibe, which gives the song a gritty air.

Steven Colyer is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, the Los Angeles-based artist is the creative mastermind behind the emerging and eponymous solo recording project Colyer.

Colyer’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut is slated for release this fall and the album sonically finds the emerging Los Angeles-based artist adopting a nothing is off limits approach with the album’s material drawing from 60s soul, shoegaze and everything else while thematically, the album finds the emerging artist being vulnerable and approachable.

The forthcoming album’s latest single “Pet Names” is slow-burning and brooding bit of late night, vibey, Nick Hakim-like soul with the song featuring reverb-drenched guitars, shimmering synths and a steady backbeat. The arrangement serves as a silky bed for Colyer’s sultry and vulnerable vocals, crooning lyrics longing for someone’s touch. In light of the isolation and loneliness of the past year of quarantines, this song will strike close to home for most of us.

“This song wrote itself, basically visceral vomit,” Colyer explains. “I had come out of a four year relationship wanting to focus on myself. Still, cooped up in my tiny Hollywood apartment, I missed the intimacy and company of someone else. Anyone else.”

True Loves is a rising Seattle-based instrumental soul outfit that can trace its origins to a jam session back in 2014 between three of the city’s best players — David McGraw (drums), Bryant Moore (bass) and Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio‘s Jimmy James (guitar). Since then, the band has expanded into a globalized unit with the addition of Iván Galvez (percussionist), Odesza‘s, Monophonics‘ and Polyrhythmics Jason Cressey (trombone), Mackelmore‘s Greg Kramer (trombone), Gordon Brown (sax) and the acclaimed Skerik (sax). The band has developed a reputation as a must-see live act locally — and they’ve amassed millions of streams on YouTube.

The act’s full-length debut, 2017’s Famous Last Words received praise locally and as a result, the act landed sets at a number of regional festivals including Sasquatch, Doe Bay and Upstream. The members of the Seattle-based act followed the release of their full-length debut, with a handful of singles including 2018’s “Dapper Derp”/”Kabuki” 45RPM single and 2019’s “Famous Last Words”/”Mary Pop Poppins” 45RPM single.

The Seattle-based group’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Sunday Afternoon is a sort of soundtrack for a Sunday afternoon block party that brings the entire neighborhood out. Co-written by Greg Kramer and Bryant Moore with the intention of writing classic using just four chords, Sunday Afternoon‘s fourth and latest single “Yard Byrds” is a slow-burning G funk-like pimp strut, centered around a regal horn melody, a sinuous bass line, shimmering guitars, fluttering flute and a steady yet propulsive beat. Every time I’ve played this song, I’ve closed my eyes and pictured myself strutting and flossing down the street, as you head to the block party or the swap meet.

The Tell is a new collaborative project that features:

  • Noah Dickie: The Henderson, NV-based singer/songwriter co-founded Coastwest Unrest back in 2019 with his older brother Josh. The band released a series of albums through their own Reclaim Records with their last album, 2017’s The Crazed Ones found the band sonically creating an uneasy balance between roots Americana and stripped-down punk folk.
  • James McAllister: The much sought-after Los Angeles-based programmer and touring dummer, who has worked with The National, Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver. McAllister has worked with The National’s Aaron Dessner on Taylor Swift‘s last two critically acclaimed albums. He has collaborated with Stevens, Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner on an album titled Planetarium, which was released through 4AD Records back in 2017. As as a solo artist, McAllister has released material through Justin Vernon’s and Dessner’s label 37d03d. And he has contributed to the soundtracks of a handful of Oscar-nominated films, including The Big Sick, The Two Popes and Call Me By Your Name.

Dickie and McAllister explain that the project’s name is a sort of double entendre, referring to poker players, who are easy to read and the sonic narrative of their musical work, an aural journey from borderline despair to well-being, using music — and of course, it’s creation — to try to heal psychic and physical wounds. The project pairs Dickie’s narrative songwriting and folk roots with McAllister’s buzzing soundscapes. Sonically and aesthetically, the duo manage to reflect live lived in a pandemic.

The duo who have individually worked on a number of critically applauded projects have been friends for many years — and their new collaboration together can trace its origins back to 2018 when they originally started working on a series of songs, which would eventually comprise their full-length debut, slated for release later this year. The duo finished the album this year, recording most of the album’s material themselves in their respective home studios, adding producer Luke Vander Pol for two tracks from his home studio in Burbank.

“Clap Clap” is the duo’s first single — and a bit of a taste of what we should expect from the forthcoming album. Prominently featuring Dickie’s Odelay-era Beck-like delivery, the song is centered around an atmospheric and buzzing soundscape that includes twinkling synths, looping guitars and boom bap-like drumming. What makes the song interesting to me is that it manages to simultaneously be trippy and upbeat. “Musically, James and I created this tension in the song’s verses and pre-chorus with the release coming in the chorus…There’s a way through the trap but we can never go back’… Only by letting go (‘going through the trap’) can we move on.” 

 

Clap Clap” was created specifically by Noah and James to curate a shifting, sonic world of metaphysics and magic that becomes increasingly urgent as it goes along. The lyrics start with a question and ignite a rhythmic journey for the listener. The two hope that the song will break through peoples’ insular cocoons to ultimately bring everyone closer together. Even though many people are still separated and at home in quarantine, they can all connect through music. The Tell strategically used the Zen sound of one hand clap-clapping throughout the new song to evoke music’s power to heal and transport audiences to new places. Noah shares, “It’s hard to describe…but after writing ‘Clap Clap’, especially lyrically, it felt like such a release. Something being let go of… There’s this feel like the song is in full-blown chaos…a darkness…pandemic, George Floyd, a rioting country, political and social upheaval. Describing these things, not in a generic way, but with a personal story to coincide with this underlying buzz of turmoil.

New Video: Saskatoon’s Slow Down Molasses Releases a Hilariously Absurd Visual for “120 Minutes”-like “Street Haunting”

Led by Tyson McShane, the Saskatoon-based indie rock act Slow Down Molasses have developed a reputation for a constantly evolving sound as a result of a series of lineup changes and for an anxious and frenetic live show, which they’ve taken around the world in support of 2016’s 100% Sunshine.

The band’s latest single “Street Haunting” is the first bit of new material from the band since the release of 100% Sunshine and the new single manages to further cement the band’s reputation for an ever-changing sound Featuring angular and propulsive rhythms, explosive power chords, tons of feedback and fuzz and a supple bass line, “Street Haunting” brings 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind — in particular, Pavement and Sonic Youth with some sprinklings of Gang of Four. And as a result, the song is underpinned by a throbbing anxious energy. “Musically, we were excited to capture some the anxious energy of our live show, while still keeping the song very focused,” the band’s Tyson McShane says. “It nicely rides a line between the concise garage pop that some of us love and the feedback drenched chaos that our live shows tend to dwell in.”

The song’s punchily delivered lyrics draw some inspiration from Virgnia Woolf’s essay of the same name. “Lyrically the song ruminates on the casual, but oft-underappreciated beauty of the urban environment and the predictability of a person’s daily tasks,” the band’s McShane explained. “Taking  some inspiration from Virginia Woolf’s essay of the same name and mixing that with the sense of isolated other-ness that comes from living in a city far from the world’s major cultural cities.  A place sometimes overflowing with creative energy, but where it often necessary to remind oneself of the casual brilliance of one’s peers and the places we typically tend to haunt.”

Directed by Aaron Scholz, the recently released video features the band’s members wearing raccoon masks while performing routine human activities, like going through their record collection and shaving and typical raccoon activities, like rooting through garbage, scratching at doors and exploring abandoned, suburban homes. They also manage to play music. The video makes the mundane seem absurd and ridiculous.

New Video: Montreal’s Paupière Releases a Trippy “Groundhog’s Day”-like Visual for Infectious and Breezy “Coeur monarque”

With the release of 2016’s Jeunes instants EP, 2017’s full-length debut À jamais privé de réponses and 2019’s Jettatura EP, the rising Montreal-based indie electro pop duo Paupiére, visual artist Julia Daigle and Polipe’s and We Are Wolves‘ Pierre-Luc Bégin, established their sound, a sound that meshes elements of 80s English synth pop and New Wave — i.e., The Human League, Depeche Mode and others — with French chanson. But just under the breezy pop melodies and catchy hooks, the duo’s work thematically touches upon naive, adolescent and hedonistic romanticism and a contemporary disenchantment. 

Slated for a May 7, 2021 release, the duo’s sophomore album Sade Sati continues their ongoing successful collaboration with We Are Wolves’ Vincent Levesque, who produced their previously released work. Album single “Coeur Monarque” is an infectious and sugary sweet pop confection centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering polyrhythmic beats and boy-girl harmonies. Sonically, the song is a playful, hook-driven mix of Phil Spector-era pop and Ace of Base-like synth pop — but thematically, as the duo explain the song is much darker: “‘Coeur Monarque’ is an imaginary tale about a girl, who lives her life according to her moods. Her freedom contributes to her isolation and she loses herself in it. ‘Coeur monarque’ is a light and poppy piece, just like the protagonist of the story.

Directed by Kevan Funk, the recently released video for “Coeur Monarque” follows a a brash and very stylish woman, who’s caught in a Groundhog’s Day-like loop in which she endlessly repeats the same actions in generally the same fashion with minor — yet very important — differences: the seasons change, which require different outfits and outerwear and a few times the time of day changes. What we wind up encountering is this protagonist preparing for a night out with her usual rituals: making sure her makeup and outfits are just right, smoking a cigarette and/or pre-gaming with a quickly gulped glass of wine or a can of beer. Sometimes a friend stops by to hang out or to pick her up; but generally, she seems to be on her own and heading to meet someone. Much of the behavior is escapist and destructive without much rhyme or reason, except maybe boredom. “We really liked the idea of ​​being caught in a time loop, reliving that same routine over and over again,” the video’s director Kevan Funk says of the new video. “The idea was to focus on the cycle of a festive lifestyle, which in some way drives away the alluring fantasy that we often imagine. Evocative of a life synonymous with the monotonous and destructive treadmill on which our main character sits. “

Chiara Foschiani is a Paris-born-and-based singer/songwriter and pianist. Although she’s just 17, the Paris-born artist can trace the origins of her music career to learning the piano when she turned eight. Foschiani started signing when she was 13, joining local bands and performing on small stages and local music festivals before she started writing her own original material. 

Her first two singles “Queen of Disaster” and the cinematic, Dummy-era Portishead-like “My Glass of Wine” amassed 45,000 and 61,000 YouTube views in a week — and building upon a growing profile, Foschiani released her debut EP Trouble Maker earlier this month. “I wanted this first EP as a journey into the twists and turns of the subconscious,” the rising Paris-based singer/songwriter explains in press notes. “A sometimes painful journey that reminds us that all encounters are not always simple or healthy, but that there is always hope and that all experiences build us and strengthen us.”ght

The EP’s third and latest single “God Damn” is a slickly produced track centered around skittering boom bap beats, twinkling and reverb-drenched synths, Foschiani’s clear and soulful vocals and a shout-along-worthy hook. Interestingly, unlike its two immediate predecessors, “God Damn” may be the most straight forward, summery pop confections she has written to date. But at it’s core, the song is fueled by earnest songwriting seemingly born from lived-in experience.