New Audio: JOVM Mainstays R.I.P. Releases a Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper

Over the past handful of years, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Portland, OR-based doom metal act and JOVM mainstays R.I.P. And as you may recall, with the release of their first two albums, 2016’s In The Wind and 2017 ‘s Street Reaper, the Portland-based doom metal act quickly established a grimy, punishing and depraved take on metal that they dubbed Street Doom.

The Portland-based JOVM’s long-awaited, third album Dead End is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album’s sound is the result of the band going through a massive lineup change that involved the addition of a much more aggressive rhythm section. while also drawing from a broader and more diverse array of influences, including John Carpenter films, grungy professional wrestling and lo-fi hip-hop among others. In many ways, the album’s material is a decided move away from their earliest influences — i.e., Pentagram and Saint Vitus — and yet it may arguably be the most hook-driven batch of songs of their growing catalog. However, despite all of the other changes, R.I.P.’s thematic concerns have remained the same as always: death, insanity — and leather.

So far I’ve written about two of Dead End’s previously released singles — the Black Sabbath-like “Out of Time,” and the Headbanger’s Ball/Kill ‘Em All Metallica-like album title track “Dead End.” Dead End’s third and latest single “Moment of Silence” is another Headbanger’s Ball-inspired ripper, centered around enormous power chords, howled vocals and a mosh pit friendly hook — but with a cinematic quality that belies the scuzz and grime. d

Currently based in Oakland, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lauren Hulbert has had a rather nomadic life, spending time living on both the East Coast and West Coast, as well as Thailand and Ecuador, among other places. Interestingly, Hulbert’s career has revealed an artists who has specialized in genre-defying diversity: as a child, the Oakland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was a classically trained pianist, who competed in Bach and classical festivals. As she got older, she taught herself guitar, eventually becoming a folk/pop artist, whose work sonically features elements of folk, alternative, country rock and pop — and thematically explores the human experience, while drawing from her own experiences. As a result, Hulbert’s work is deeply personal yet accessible, and reveals an article, who has her feet planted in the classical training of her youth and the folk and pop of her adulthood, while centered around her dreamy and soulful vocals.

Superbloom, the Oakland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s forthcoming EP is slated for an October 30, 2020 release, and some of the EP’s sound and approach was inspired by Hulbert figuratively blooming back to life: Hulbert suffered a serious foot injury while on a surfing trip in Indonesia. For the next six months, she was immobile and it was unclear if she would ever be able to walk again. Understandably, it was a very dark period for her — life as she had knew it, had seemingly ending and whatever artistic and creative momentum was quelled as a result. Fortunately, over a year later, Hulbert has healed and she credits the experience as terrifying but ultimately beneficial, as it forced her to reassess her life and align herself with what’s really important. Additionally, the experience has also made her much more grateful for her health and the opportunity to write, perform, and share her music again.

Superbloom EP’s latest single is the Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea-era PJ Harvey-like “Gone in One.” is centered around jangling guitars, propulsive and shuffling drumming, subtle Flamenco handicapping and Hulbert’s expressive vocals within an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure. Sonically and thematically, the song is meant to evoke the sensation of being pushed away and pulled back in a romantic relationship that’s dysfunctional and unhealthy — but while featuring a narrator, who develops the strength to run as fast as she could from it.

“This song is a vulnerable, personal account of unknowingly losing oneself in someone else, which is lonely, confusing, and scary,” Hulbert explains in press notes. “It was like being stuck in a fog not knowing how to get out, looking to others to show me the way but just becoming more lost. I was constantly running internally, but getting nowhere, until I was exhausted into total indifference and I felt like the real me had been erased. Eventually, I realized I was the only one that could really save myself, so I dug really deep and found the strength to get out, which was incredibly hard. I didn’t know when or how I’d heal, but I knew I was on the right path.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Brothertiger Releases an Atmospheric New Single

I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Ohio-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and electronic music artist John Jagos. Best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed JOVM mainstay act Brothertiger, Jagos started the project while he was studying at Ohio State University — and since then Jagos has released a handful of critically applauded EPs including Vision Tunnels, Out of Touch and last year’s A Chain of Islands EP and three albums 2012’s Golden Years, 2013’s Future Splendor and 2015’s Out of Touch. Each of those releases helped established the project’s sound, a sound that seems indebted to Tears for Fears, St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy.

Released last Friday, Paradise Lost is Jagos’ first full-length album of original material in five yeas. “This record was, for me, the culmination of a lot of time and development,” the JOVM mainstay says in press notes. “Since my last album was released 5 years ago, I had been building on top of that sound, trying to make it even more dynamic and distinct. This record is also my most personal, and I think that shows not only in the subject matter, but in the choice of sounds as well. I find that in electronic music, you can capture an emotion honestly with synthesized sound, not just with lyrics.”

Sonically speaking, the album reportedly finds Jagos expanding upon the sound that has won him critical applause — with the album ranging from hook-driven indie pop to club-banging electronica centered around the Ohio-born, Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics that thematically touch upon aging gracefully, longing for purpose and celebrating life’s simple pleasures among others. I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles, Washed Out-like “Livin‘,” which thematically focused on comforting the weirdness and uncertainty of life as you age — and “Shelter Cove,” a bracingly chilly track that evokes dipping into colder than expected water for the first time.

Paradise Lost’s third and latest single is the atmospheric and cinematic album title track “Paradise Lost.” Centered around glistening synth arpeggios, stuttering beats, Jagos’ plaintive vocals and a soaring hook, the song sounds — to my ears, at least — as though it would fit in a scene in which the protagonist reminisces about a beautiful moment with a loved one, that they may never get back, while continuing a run of bracingly chilly material.

New Video: Psymon Spine Teams Up with Barrie on a Shimmering Pop Confection and Playful Visual

Rising Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop act Psymon Spine can trace its origins back to when founding and core members Noah Prebish and Peter Spears met while attending college. Bonding over mutual influences and common artistic aims, the duo went off to tour Europe with Prebish’s electronic act Karate. While in Paris, Spears and Prebish wrote their first song together and when they got to London, they were offered a record deal.

Upon returning to the states, Spears recruited Micheal “Brother Micheal” Rudinski and their Karate bandmates Devon Kilbern, Nathaniel Coffey to the band — and with that lineup they fleshed out the demos, which would eventually become their full-length debut, 2017’s You Are Coming to My Birthday, which they supported with immersive art and dance parties through their Secret Friend series across Brooklyn and some relentless touring.

Simultaneously, Prebish’s work with rising Brooklyn-based dream pop act Barrie began to receive quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere with a handful of buzz-worthy singles and their critically applauded full-length debut, last year’s Happy to Be Here. Interestingly, this led Prebish to meet his Barrie bandmate, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sabine Holler, who then joined Psymon Spine.

“Milk” feat. Barrie is the first bit of new material from the Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop act in three years — and it’s the first recorded output with their newest member Sabine Holler. Since the single’s release, it has received airplay on BBC Radio 6 and it has earned praise from a number of media outlets including Vanyaland, High Clouds, Echowave Magazine, The Revue, Hype Machine and a list of others. The track also landed on a number of YouTube channels including David Dean Burkhart’s. Nice Guys’ and Birp.fm, as well as Spotify playlists like Undercurrents, All New Indie and Fresh Finds. Additionally, Apple Music’s Matt Wilkinson featured the track. And when you hear the new track, the attention its earned shouldn’t be surprising: the track is centered around an angular bass line, shimmering guitars, glistening synth arpeggios, thumping beats, a punchy and anthemic hook, and Barrie’s sultry vocals. Sonically, the track may remind some listeners of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Soft Metals’ Lenses –but with a mischievously coquettish air that makes it a club friendly banger.

Directed by Maya Prebish, Noah’s sister, the recently released video for “Milk” uses the wildly popular video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons and features each member of the band as a game avatar. And of course, each member of the band does something within the game — including play (sort of) an outdoor set, fish, sit in cafes and daydream.

“We were trying to come up with a way to shoot a music video together during a pandemic, with Sabine stuck in Germany and Barrie being god-knows-where,” Noah Prebish says of the new video made during pandemic-related social distancing and quarantine guidelines. “I remembered that my sister is a genius wizard and Nintendo dork and thought: ‘what’s more quarantine than a hap-hazard Animal Crossing video organized via a bunch of confusing Zoom calls?'” The video’s director, Maya Prebish, adds: “When Noah came to me with the idea, I jumped onboard right away. It was a lot of fun turning Psymon Spine and Barrie into villagers, and I think it was a super fun way to bring everyone together even though they’re dispersed all over the world at the moment. I don’t think any of them know how to fish in real life, but that’s creative license.”

New Video: Crammed Discs to Re-issue Zazou Bikaye’s Forward-Thinking Electro Take on Afrobeat/Afrofunk Originally Released in the 80s

Tracing their origins back to an encounter between Congolese vocalist and composer Bony Bikaye, French musician and producer Hector Zazou and modular synth act CY1, Zazou Bikaye released a groundbreaking Afro pop/experimental electronic album with their 1983 full-length debut Noir et Blanc, an album that has since garnered cultish devotion by music cognoscenti, musicians and fans.

After the release of Noir et Blanc, Zazou Bikaye turned into a proper band that started to develop and hone their own special brand of digital Afrobeat/Afrofunk. Zazou took on writing and programming duties while Bikaye expanded on the extroverted side of his vocal stylings. They then set out to record a large batch of material with five tracks eventually being released in 1985 as the 32-minute mini album Mr. Manager, an effort released to acclaim through Crammed Discs in Europe and through Pow Wow in Japan and the States. The act toured Europe and played a couple of shows in New York — and two of the album’s tracks “Angel” and “Nostalgie” became underground club hits across the States and Europe.

With a backing band that featured Philipe “Pinpin” de la Croix Herpin (woodwinds), Tuxedomoon’s Luc van Lieshout (trumpet and harmonica), Vincent Kenis (guitar), Chris Jouris (percussion), Bigoune (percussion), Mwamba Kasuba (backing vocals), Nicole MT (backing vocals) M’Bombo K (backing vocals) and Marc Hollander (sax), the Hollander, Zazou Kenis produced sessions recorded between 1985 and 1986 were supposed to be appear on a full-length album. But as it turned out, the members of Zazou Bikaye moved on and recorded an entirely different album of material, 1988’s Guilty. Some of the tracks from those 1985-1986 sessions came out as remixes but most of the material was left aside, unfinished.

Slated for an October 16, 2020 release through Crammed Discs, the expanded and remastered reissue of Mr. Manager features the mini-album’s original five tracks plus nine rediscovered tracks recorded during those abandoned 1985-1986 sessions. And to celebrate the occasion, Zazou Bikaye and Crammed Disc re-released album single “Nostalgie. Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated blocks of synths, thumping polyrhythm, call-and-response vocals, an ebullient, Branford Marsalis-like sax solo and an enormous, crowd pleasing hook, “Nostalgie” may strike some listeners as a sleek and mischievous synthesis of 80s Peter Gabriel synth pop, Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and Fela Kuti. But interestingly enough, it actually presages the wildly experimental dance pop coming out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — i.e. Kokoko! and Tshegue among a growing list of others.

Mr. Manager also featured a colorful album cover art and the recently released video for “Nostalgie” features animation by Sylvia Baldan that draws from the album’s artwork, which she originally designed.

New Audio: Funk Legend Steve Arrington Releases a Shimmering and Much-Needed Bit of Spiritual Uplift

Dayton, OH-born and-based singer/songwriter and drummer, Steve Arrington got his start with the acclaimed Dayton-based funk and soul act Slave in the 70s, eventually becoming known for singing lead vocals on the act’s smash hits “Watching You,” and “Just a Touch of Love.” Continuing an incredible run of professional success, Arrington went solo, releasing a handful of albums before leaving the secular music world in 1991 to focus on spiritual and ministerial work.

As Arrington focused on the spiritual matters, an impressive and eclectic array of artists have been influenced by his work, with artists like Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest, Pharrell, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, N.W.A. and a lengthy list of others sampling his work in Slave and as a solo artist.

After nearly two decades away, Arrington returned to secular music in 2009 with the release of that year’s Pure Thang, which he followed up with 2013’s collaborative album with Dam-Funk, Higher, released through Stones Throw Records. Since then the Dayton-born and-based funk legend has had a number of attention-grabbing guest spots and collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Kool Moe Dee, George Clinton, and Thundercat.

The funk legend’s first solo full-length album in 11 years, Down To The Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions is slated for a Friday release through Stones Throw Records, and the album reportedly sees Arrington finding peace with himself and God, while casting an easygoing yet razor-sharp critical eye on the world around him. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: the slow-burning Quiet Storm-like pimp strut “Soulful I Need That In My Life,” a song that offered prescriptive advice for listeners in a time of heightened anxiety, uncertainty, stress and despair — and proud and defiantly hopeful and shimmering “Make a Difference,” which reminds the listener that while we have achieved so much, we still have a lot of hard work to do to achieve Martin Luther King’s and John Lewis’ vision of America.

“The Joys of Love,” Down to the Lowest Terms’ fourth and latest single is a shimmering, neo-soul strut, centered around twinkling Rhodes, boom bap-like drumming, an infectious two step-inducing hook and Arrington’s imitable crooning. Considering the bleak and unending Kafkaesque hellscape that is our current world, this song is frankly a much-needed blast of spiritual uplift.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay LutchamaK Releases a Swaggering Banger

I’ve managed to spill quite of virtual ink covering the French electronic music artist, producer and JOVM mainstay LutchamaK over the past year. And as you may recall, the French JOVM mainstay grew up as a voracious music listener and fan with eclectic and wide-ranging tastes that include hip-hop, rock. techno and countless others. As a solo artist, LutchamaK’s work is deeply influenced by and generally draws from techno — but while reflecting his lifelong devotion to eclecticism: his work generally possesses elements of techno, deep house and EDM among other electronic music genres and subgenres.

During that same year period, LutchamaK has been incredibly prolific, releasing new material through an increasing number of EPs, standalone singles and a couple of albums, which now includes his latest album. the recently released Moments. The French electronic music artist and producer has released three singles off the album, and I’ve already written about two of them — the album’s opening track Moment,” and “Their Future.” The album’s third single “Won’t Be Scared” continues a run of sleek, futuristic productions. Centered around rapid fire, stuttering beats, glistening synths and a sultry vocal sample, the JOVM mainstays latest club banger manages to add a hip hop-like swagger to an enormous house anthem.

New Video: Los Angeles-based Duo Peel Releases a Brooding Visual for Hypontic “Rom-Com”

Los Angeles-based duo Peel is a new collaboration between multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Sean Cimino and multi-instrumentalist and producer Isom Innis. Interestingly, the project can trace its origins back to a month-long recording session the duo held at Innis’ concrete loft above The Orpheum Theatre. The cavernous space, which once held fleets of sewing machines thrumming and humming served as the perfect setting for musical experimentation through drums, amps and modular synthesizers.

Interestingly, the duo’s debut single “Rom-Com” was the first song the duo wrote together, and the track is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a woozy guitar solo and hypnotic, motorik groove that brings Gary Numan and Antics-era Interpol to mind. “We are obsessed with records like Second Edition (Public Image Ltd.) and The Pleasure Principle (Gary Numan); records where spirit and improvisation guide expression,” Peel’s Isom Innis explains in press notes. “The lyrics, deriving from a stream-of consciousness, are from the perspective of trying to find your existential footing in the cyclical information spiral.”

Directed by Taylor Giali, Robbie Jeffers and the members of Peel, the recently released video for “Rom-Com,” is a live recording shot in a stark, industrial-like black and white while capturing the duo through different arrays of photographs and hazy analog, security cam-like video — but with an interactive twist in which the viewer can scroll through a split screen of the band performing.

Peel’s self-titled effort is slated for an October 16, 2020 release though Innovative Leisure. Be on the lookout