Portuguese DJ and production duo Bubba Brothers — Eliseo Correia and Justino Santos — formed back in 2015. And since their formation, the electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays have released a prolific array of dance floor rocking hits, including a batch of singles I’ve written about over the course of this past year.
The JOVM mainstays latest single “Tribe” is a hypnotic and euphoric banger centered around tribal percussion, glistening synth arpeggios, chopped up vocal samples, skittering twitter and roofer rattling thump paired with the duo’s unerring knack for enormous, crowd-pleasing hooks. And while continuing a run of infectious club bangers, “Tribe” may arguably be among their most soulful to date.
Although best known for being one-half of Toronto-based indie electro pop duo Phédre, Dan Lee is also a solo artist in his own right, under the moniker Lee Paradise. And with the release of his Lee Paradise debut, 2020’s The Fink, Lee quickly established a sound that’s typically widescreen and is indebted to polyrhythmic psychedelia.
Lee’s sophomore Lee Paradise album Lee Paradise & Co. is slated for an October 28, 2022 release through Telephone Explosion Records. The album’s material started off as a set of mood-focused instrumental sketches. But the sketches became fleshed out songs after he sent the tracks to a an eclectic array of collaborators including Jane Inc.‘s Carlyn Bezic, Scott Hardware’s, No Frills‘ and Ducks Ltd.‘s Jonathan Pappo, Scott Hardware, Isla Craig,New Chance‘s Victoria Cheong, Jay Anderson, Mother Tongues‘ Charise Aragoza and Lukas Cheung and Moon King‘s Daniel Woodhead. The end result is an album in which every aspect of its creation eventually became open to collaboration, from musical performances, lyric writing and vocals all the way through to mixing and mastering, all while featuring material that defies genre and style conventions with a soulful panache.
“Not Practical,” Lee Paradise & Co.‘s latest single is a woozy yet accessible synth pop-leaning banger centered around copious amounts of DFA Records/LCD Soundsystem-like cowbell, layers of glistening and whirring synths and skittering beats paired with Victoria Cheong’s beguiling vocal. While being remarkably dance floor friendly, “Not Practical” evokes the swooning and wildly illogical of love.
Alewya is an acclaimed London-based singer/songwriter, producer and visual artist. Born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian-Sudanese father and an Ethiopian mother, Alewya has spent her life surrounded and nurtured by diaspora immigrant communities: she grew up in West London and after spending several years in New York, she returned to London. Upon returning home, the rising Saudi-British artist developed and honed her ear for music through the sounds of the Ethiopian and Arabic music of her parents and the ambient alternative rock albums of her brother.
The Saudi-born, Egyptian-Sudanese-Ethiopian, London-based artist’s name translates from Arabic to English into “most high” or “the highest,” and interestingly enough, her work thematically concerns itself with transcendence. She sees her music as an accessible space for her and her listeners to connect on a deeply spiritual level — with her work challenging the listener to remember the last time that they felt truly connected to themselves and their emotions. “I want to move people to themselves. I want them to feel the same way that I felt when I had a taste of a higher power and felt there was a presence over me,” Alewya says. “I want people to feel that.”
Back in 2020, Alewya burst out into the scene with an attention-grabbing feature on Little Simz‘s “where’s my lighter,” which caught the attention of Because Records, who signed the rising artist and released her critically applauded debut, last year’s Panther In Mode, which featured:
The Busy Twist-produced debut single “Sweating,” a forward-thinking Timbaland-like mesh of trap, reggae and electro pop.
“Spirit_X,” which paired elements of Timbaland, trap and drum ‘n’ bass paired with the rising British artist alternating between spitting fiery bars and sultry crooning.
The sultry and defiantly feminist anthem “Play.”
“Channel High” a slick synthesis of grime, contemporary R&B, dancehall, electro pop and Afrobeats that’s roomy enough for the rising British artist to pull out an incredibly self-assured, Lauryn Hill-like performance. Much like its predecessors, “Channel High” is politically charged, calling for music to bring about a much-needed paradigm shift.
The JOVM mainstay’s latest single “Let Go,” is the first bit of new material since last year’s Panther in Mode EP. Centered around skittering beats and wobbling synths paired with Alewya’s raspy delivery. But where the material on Panther in Mode saw the artist at her most poised and controlled, “Let Go” feels feral and uneasy while self-assured.
“I’m freeing myself up, getting more confident in how lost I feel,” Alewya says. “With Panther In Mode, I was coming from a more poised space. The next phase is more wild. I won’t hold back anymore.”
Directed by Rawtape x Lee Trigg, the accompanying video for “Let Go” stars the rising artist and JOVM mainstay frenetically dancing in a variety of rooms and situations, including what appears to be a mental health institution. The video also features original hieroglyphic-style artwork by Alewya.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “Something Between Us,” a breezy and infectious bop centered around a strutting bass line, glistening synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar paired with a dance floor friendly hook and and a seductive falsetto delivery. The end result was a song that sounded like a slick synthesis of the Bee Gees and Tame Impala.
The French psych pop outfit’s latest single “Unlike You” is a swaggering and sultry song centered around glistening synth arpeggios, a strutting, Quiet Storm-like groove and buzzing guitars paired with a plaintive falsetto delivery and the band’s ability to craft an infectious hook. But underneath the sultry facade is something much more uneasy and menacing — the dysfunctional past relationship that you can’t escape from, that you can’t stop obsessively thinking of.
The band explains that the song describes “the trap of memory, the sleepless nights, the false desire to forget, looking for different thins (unlike you) in order to no longer love the past (un-like you).”
Directed by Martin Schrepel, the accompanying video for “Unlike You” begins with pairs of scissors making clean cuts of everything around — but at its core, is the confusing push and pull of emotions love often engenders, and the desire to break free.
Founded back in 2020 by its founder, singer/songwriter and musician Maëve Couderc as a way to work around various gender roles, the Toulouse, France-based indie outfit Edgar Mauer became a full-fledged band when sound engineer Alain Flary and drummer Camille Bigeault joined. Since then, the band has developed a sound that meshes elements of Bristol trip-hop and Kate Bush-like pop with a modern touch.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “Elma Capser,” a slow-burning bit of dream-pop centered around Coudec’s yearning vocal, Bigeault’s tribal-like drumming and Flary’s glistening guitar lines paired with a soaring hook and chorus. Sonically, “Elma Casper” brought The Sundays, The Cocteau Twins and even Mazzy Star to mind. And much like those acts, the song itself is rooted in the deeply personal, with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail.
The band explained, that the song’s inspiration came from a mysterious name scrawled on a wall in Paris — Elma Casper. Couderc wound up writing lyrics, imagining what Elma Casper’s life would be, while also wondering if someone scrawled her name on a random wall, if they would be as a curious as she was. They also add that the song is an ode to the feelings and experience we leave behind when living and leaving a place, accepting our own trajectory.
The Toulouse-based trio’s latest single “By any means” continues a run of gorgeous and introspective dream pop-inspired material featuring shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, Couderc’s achingly plaintive vocal paired with an enormous hook and chorus. While sonically, “By any means” will bring back some fond memories of 4AD Records classic heyday and 120 Minutes-era MTV, the song as the band explains is a self-empowerment anthem.
Directed by Patrycja Toczek and the band, the video stars Edgar Mauer’s Couderc as a bored version of herself in the park on a lovely day, when she encounters a cheery monster played by Léna Base, who spends the day with Couderc. Throughout their time together, they play a variety of games — and we see Couderc eventually cheer up. The video itself possesses a goofy, DIY charm that’s just adorable.
Sloan Struble is the 20-something Aledo, TX-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind behind the critically applauded and rapidly rising indie rock/indie pop project Dayglow. Dayglow can trace its origins to when Struble was a teen, growing up in a Fort Worth suburb that he has referred to as a “small football-crazed town,” where he felt irrevocably out of place.
Much like countless other other hopelessly out of place young people across both this country and the globe, Struble turned to music as an escape from his surroundings. “I didn’t really feel connected to what everyone else in my school was into, so making music became an obsession for me, and sort of like therapy in a way,” Struble recalled in press notes. “I’d dream about it all day in class, and then come home and for on songs instead of doing homework. After a while I realized I’d made an album.”
Working completely on his own with a minuscule collection of gear that included his guitar, his computer and some secondhand keyboards he picked up at Goodwill, Struble worked on transforming his privately kept outpouring into a batch of songs — often grandiose in scale. “Usually artists will have demos they’ll bounce off other people to get some feedback, but nobody except for my parents down the hall really heard much of the album until I put it out,” Struble recalled. With the self-release of 2018’s Fuzzybrain, the Aledo-born, Austin-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer received widespread attention and an ardent online following — with countess listeners praising the material’s overwhelming positivity.
In 2019, Struble re-released a fully realized version of Fuzzybrain that featured Can I Call You Tonight,” a track that wound up being a smash-hit back in 2020, as well as two previously unreleased singles “Nicknames” and “Listerine.”
Continuing upon that momentum, Struble released his Dayglow sophomore album Harmony House, an album that was inspired by the 70s and 80s piano-driven soft rock that he had captured his ears. Interestingly, around the same time, he had been watching a lot of Cheers. “At the very beginning, I was writing a soundtrack to a sitcom that doesn’t exist,” Struble recalls. And while actively attempting to generate nostalgia for something that hadn’t ever been real, as well as something most of his listeners had never really experienced. Thematically, the album concerns itself with a deeply universal theme — growing up and coping with change as being an inevitable aspect of life.
Struble’s third Dayglow album, People In Motion is slated for an October 7, 2022 release through AWAL. Entirely written, played and produced by Struble, the 10-song album continues upon the JOVM mainstay’s reputation for crafting upbeat, optimistic, hook-driven pop rooted in his desire to steer clear of conflict and offering someone something to love.
People In Motion‘s third and latest single “Second Nature” may arguably be the funkiest and most dance floor friendly single Struble has released to date. Sonically seeming like a synthesis of 80s pop, Daft Punk, The 1975, and LCD Soundsystem, “Second Nature” is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, Struble’s plaintive vocals, an infectious vocoder’ed vocal-driven hook and an irresistible feel good vibe meant to get your ass on the dance floor.
“‘Second Nature’ is one of the most ambitious songs I’ve made so far. I didn’t think it would be a ‘Dayglow’ song until the rest of People in Motion started to take shape,” Struble says in press notes. “I made so many versions of it— I just kept writing more and more melodies and ideas. The Logic file ended up being like this 15 minute jam that I eventually condensed to be the near 6 min song it is.
I was really inspired by songs like Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long,’ Michael Jackson’s ‘Wanna Be Starting Somethin’, and of course Daft Punk. I just love songs that have repeatable chord progressions that never seem to even reach their potential— they just keep going on and on. Lyrically and musically I wanted to create a song that felt like that. A song that just celebrates itself and the joy of dancing and making music. It doesn’t even feel like ‘Second Nature’— it feels completely innate and natural to make music to me. I love it more than anything and it feels like what I was made to do, and ‘Second Nature’ just grasps that idea and runs with it confidently.”
After a sold-out Australian tour and a packed house set at this year’s Outside Lands, Struble will be embarking on a North American tour that includes a November 7, 2022 stop at Terminal 5. Check out rest of the tour dates below.