With her recently released debut EP La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil, the emerging Lille, France-based singer/songwriter Julia quickly establishes her sound and approach  — a slick synthesis of jazzy neo-soul, hop-hop inspired beats paired with the French singer/songwriter’s  powerhouse vocals singing and rhyming lyrics in her native French and English.  “I’m just trying to make you feel my  feelings. The rest is all yours,” the Lille-based singer/songwriter says in press notes.

EP title track and opener “La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil” is a swaggering and slow-burning, neo-soul track with twinkling Rhodes, thumping beats, atmospheric electronics and Julia’s effortlessly soulful and sultry vocals. The EP’s second single “Hangover” is a hip-hop soul-like track featuring some more twinkling Rhodes, boom-bap beats, a sinuous bass line and Julia singing in a jazzy and seductive French. Seemingly inspired by Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others, with a Quiet Storm vibey-ness, these two tracks — to my ears, at least — reveal a young superstar in the making. The EP’s two singles possess a remarkable self-assuredness and confidence with the material being ambitious, accessible — and centered around earnest, lived-in experience.

 

 

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LutchamaK · Back To Finland

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past six or seven months or so, you’ve seen a handful of posts covering the rising French electronic music artist, producer and JOVM mainstay LutchamaK. The French JOVM mainstay grew up as a voracious music listener and fan with eclectic and wide-ranging tastes that includes 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 first two EPs, which he managed to write during lunch breaks at his day job featured material that possessed elements of techno, house and EDM among others.

Over the same period of time that I’ve been covering him,  the rising French electronic music artist and producer has developed a reputation for being remarkably prolific, frequently releasing new material through an increasing number of EPs and singles. “Back to Finland,” the prolific French producer’s latest single is a club banger centered around layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, distorted and vocodered vocal samples and industrial clang and clatter.  Interestingly, “Back to Finland” may arguably be the most straightforward techno track he’s released to date, as it sounds as though it could have been played during Limelight’s heyday.

 

 

 

 

Tomode is an emerging Swedish funk act founded by Carl Leanderson and Viktor Westerberg. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to Leanderson’s and Westerberg’s mutual love of funk and disco. After spending a couple of years developing and honing their sound, the Swedish duo’s debut single “Destiny, No. 20” firmly establishes their sound and approach: featuring Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line and shuffling four-on-the-floor, and an enormous hook, “Destiny, No. 20” will command comparisons to Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky,” and Chic’s “Good Times.” And much like those songs, the song is centered around a wistful and aching desire to escape — in nostalgia, as much as it is to escape to the dance floor.

“We want to make music that can act as a remedy to the slight despair we all feel, living
through the 2020’s,” the members of the emerging Swedish funk pop act say in press notes. ” Destiny No. 20 opens the door to everything we love – it’s got vibrant
drums, pulsating arpeggios, disco guitars and a funky bassline. It’s as much ‘Good Times’ with Chic as it is ‘Dancing On My Own‘ with Robyn. Hopefully it ignites a spark somewhere out there in the darkness.”

The band plans to release material throughout the summer — with their debut EP slated for release during the fall.

New Video: Emerging Saudi-born British-based Artist Alewya Releases a Sensual Visual for Club Banging Debut “Sweating”

Dubbed “this decade’s triple threat” by Love Magazine, Alewya is an emerging London-based singer/songwriter, producer and artist. Born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian-Sudanese father and an Ethiopian mother, the rising British singer/songwriter, producer and artist has spent her life surrounded by diaspora immigrant communities: she grew up in West London and after spending several years in New York, the emerging Saudi-born, London-based multi-disciplinary artist returned to London. At home, Alewya developed and honed her ear for music: through the sounds of the Ethiopian and Arabic devotional music of her parents, and the ambient alternative rock albums her brother would play. 

Interestingly, the translation of the emerging Saudi-born, British-based artist’s name from Arabic means “most high” or “the highest” so it’s fitting that her music thematically is centered around the idea of transcendence. In fact, she sees her music as an accessible space for her and her listeners to connect on a spiritual level, with her work challenging the listener to remember the last time they felt truly connected to themselves and their emotions. “I want to move people to themself. 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. I want people to feel that.” 

Earlier this year, the emerging Saudi-born, British-based multi-disciplinary artist had an attention-grabbing feature on Little Simz’s “where’s my lighter.” Building upon a growing profile, Alewya signed to renowned British label Because Records, who will be releasing her debut single, The Busy Twist-produced “Sweating.” Centered around twinkling synth arpeggios, skittering trap beats, reggae-influenced riddims and a self-assured and sultry vocal from the rising Saudi-born, British artist, the track — to my ears, at least — will draw comparisons to Timbaland’s forward-thinking, futuristic work with Missy Elliot, Aaliyah and others. It’s the sort of song that would (and should) inspire you to grind and wine into the wee hours with that pretty young thang at the club.“It’s about feeling chemistry with someone but also about a female who is not afraid of her prowess and power,” Alewya says in press notes. “It’s a mood.” 

Directed by Jack Bowden, the recently released visual exudes with a raw, carnal energy as we see dancers in an industrial space wining and grinding. We see the emerging British-based artist confidently owning the screen while hinting at her wide-spanning talents. 

New Video: Mike Edel Releases a Hook-Driven and Joyous Single

Mike Edel is a Linden, Alberta, Canada-born singer/songwriter and guitarist, who currently splits his time between Seattle, WA and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Since  2008, Edel has released two EP’s 2008’s , 2008’s Hide from the Seasons and 2012’s The Country Where I Came From and three full-length albums 2011’s The Last of Our Mountains, 2015’s India, Seattle and last year’s Chris Walla-produced THRESHOLDS.

Now, as you may recall, THRESHOLDS was a decided change in sonic direction for the Canadian-born signer songwriter and guitarist.  Shortly before he went went into the studio, he adopted a “consistency-is-boring” mantra, which helped him transform his sound and songwriting approach towards hook driven rock anthems centered around earnest songwriting. 

Co-written by Edel and Parker Bossley, Edel’s latest single  “Hello Universe” is a decidedly upbeat and optimistic anthem centered around boom bap beats, atmospheric synths, shimmering guitar, Edel’s plaintive vocals and a rousing, arena rock friendly hook. While continuing a run of hook-driven rock paired with earnest songwriting, “Hello Universe” focuses on finding life’s joys. 

The recently released video for “Hello Universe” was shot in Morocco and follows Edel, accompanied with an old school boom box, as he traveled through the North African country. And while giving the viewer a small glimpse into Moroccan life, the video reminds us all that although we all may have different cultures, languages and even different religions, we can all bond over simple yet profound things —  a smile from a kind face when you’re a stranger in a foreign land, a favorite song blasted on a boom box and so on.

“Somehow, Jordan Clarke and I ended up shooting the best music video we’ve ever made in Morocco – a single day before all the borders shut down due to the pandemic,” Edel says in press notes. “We were chased by a snake charmer for filming, but the people we met during the shoot loved the boombox. We almost didn’t make it home!”

New Audio: Indianapolis-based ICE Releases a Shimmering Arena Rock Friendly Single

Over this site’s 10 year history — 10! — Brown Acid, Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records‘ ongoing collaborative proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations from the 1960s and 1970s have become a regularly occurring biannual feature. Each individual edition of the series is based around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking own songs’ creators. The Brown Acid series proves that there’s a massive amount of heavy psych and proto-metal that has managed to be lost to the sands of time, including Indianapolis-based act ICE, who were prominently featured on Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip.

Formed during the late 1960s, the members of the Indianapolis-based quintet — Barry Crawford (vocals, keys) Jim Lee (lead vocals, bass), Mike Saligoe (drums), John Schaffer (lead guitar) and Richard Strange (rhythm guitar, vocals) — grew up in Indianapolis’ West Side. In a relatively short period of time, the members of ICE became one of the first emerging bands from their hometown to tour across the Midwest, playing a set of originals at high schools, college campuses and small clubs. Eventually the band built up enough of a profile regionally that they wound up opening for nationally touring acts like Three Dog Night, SRC,Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others in arenas and theaters.

Back in 1970, Crawford, Lee, Saligoe, Schaffer and Strange recorded 10 songs of original material at Chicago’s 8-Track Studios. But shortly after the sessions, the band split up. Confusingly, two of tracks recorded during those sessions were eventually as a 45 in 1972   — but under a completely different band name, Zukus! That 45 managed to receive regional airplay: the A side of that 45 was “Running High.” While Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records were going through the process to license “Running High,” they discovered that ICE had an entire album of material, recorded on 2 inch tape that had languished for over 40+ years on a shelf somewhere. 

RidingEasy Records then converted the analog tape tracks to digital files, remixed them to preserve the original vocals and instrumentation. Packaging the material as The Ice Age, the material will see the light of day for the first time in 50 years. The album is 10 songs of hard-edged rock with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks that may remind some listeners of the Grand Funk Railroad, The Guess Who, The Move and others. Now, as you amy recall, earlier this year, I wrote about the album’s explosive first single “Run To Me,” which managed to bring Steppenwolf and The Guess Who to mind.  

The Ice Age’s second and latest single is album opener “Gypsy.” Centered around a chiming and glistening 12 string guitar line, copious amount of cowbell, shimmering organ arpeggios and an enormous yet melodic hook, “Gypsy” manages to sound as though it were indebted to The Byrds — but with a subtly gritty undertone. Throughout the song’s 2:50 or so run time, there’s this gnawing sense that in an alternate universe, that it would be a classic rock radio staple. But alas, fate works in its own way. 

 

Abroad · Alright OK

Featuring members split between Sydney, Australia and Melbourne, Australia, the rising Aussie indie electro pop duo Abroad — Will Cruger and Jack Dawson — have managed to explode into the national and international electro pop scenes in a relatively short period of time. 2018’s London and New York, helped to establish the duo’s sound — a synthesis of organic, indie rock instrumentation and slick dance floor friendly production while amassing over a million streams.  Building upon a growing profile, the Aussie electro pop duo released two singles last year, “All I Want” and “Slide,” which also amassed over a million streams. Interestingly, those two singles continued a run of material that’s informed and inspired by the duo’s experiences traveling and living overseas.

The band’s released material has been featured on a number of popular, internationally recognized playlists including Front Left, Just Chill, New Dance Beats, The Local List and Indie Arrivals. Building upon a growing profile, the duo released “Home,” earlier this year, and the track has continued a run of attention-grabbing singles. Additionally, the band has opened for Boo Seeka, which may have led to Abroad’s Will Cruger co-written Boo Seeka’s latest single ‘Take A Look.”

The duo’s second and latest single of this year, is the euphoric and swooning club banger “Alright, OK.” Centered around a slick production featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, skittering beats, an enormous hook and achingly plaintive, multi-part harmony-led vocals, “Alright, OK” — to my ears at least — reminds me quite a bit of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and White Lies, if they managed to cover Stevie Nicks‘”Stand Back.”  Arguably, one of the most anthemic tracks they’ve released to date, “Alright, OK” is a decidedly ambitious track delivered with swaggering self-assuredness and a heart-on-your-sleeve earnestness.

“I think this is our best work yet,” the band’s Jack Dawson says in press notes.. “We are huge believers in taking people somewhere, whether it is a memory of a loved one, being in love with someone, or just dancing by yourself we want to cover all dem feels!”

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: French Composer Christophe Menassier Returns with an Atmospheric and Brooding New Composition

Christophe Menassier is a French-born and-based composer for TV, movies and online features — and since 2001, he has created scores for some of the world’s most prestigious and important brands, including Louis Vuitton, Jaeger-Lecoultre, Bulgari, Yves Saint Laurent and others. But interestingly enough, Menassier can trace his career back to the 1990s, when he started his career as a drummer and frontperson of French alt rock act STICKBUZZ, which played over 300 shows across France.

As a composer, Menassier has been rather prolific: In 2003, he founded COLLECTIF K, a ten member band, which released one album, Resurrection. The following year, he released his solo debut, Marseille Marseille, a ten song album featuring compositions that were written to evoke life in the French Mediterranean city.

2008’s Picture Shop, a collaboration with Quentin Leroux that was inspired by American movies and it further established Menassier’s sound and aesthetic. In 2011, Menassier and his life partner founded the electro pop act LOO & MONETTI, an act that has released two albums — 2012’s Marla’s song and last year’s Broken Inside, as well as a handful of EPs. Capping off a very busy period, Menassier created the score for Vianney Lebasque’s 2012 film Les Petits Princes.

Released earlier this year, Menassier’s latest effort The Unknown Movie is arguably the  most personal album in his catalog. Although he started writing the album’s material back in 2015, the bulk of the album was written between 2017 and 2020 — and the album is the culmination of Menassier’s search for cinematic, lush and atmospheric textures and sounds crafted to be the soundtrack of its creator’s “inner film.” Since the album’s release in April, The Unknown Movie has received attention from the French Press, with the album’s material receiving airplay on international radio stations across the States, UK and Italy. 

Now, as you may recall earlier this month, I wrote about “Melancholic Therapy,” a cinematic track centered around twinkling piano arpeggios in a track that builds up in intensity about halfway through with the addition of atmospheric synths. The track evokes an aching sadness — of the recognition of the passing of time; of our impending mortality lurking around the corner; and of everything’s impermanence. The Unknown Movie’s latest single is the brooding and atmospheric “Theme from the unknown movie.” Centered around twinkling and arpeggiated keys, shimmering synths and metronomic-like beats, “Theme from the unknown movie” manages to evoke lonely and contemplative drives — while bringing Mogwai and Remember Remember to mind. 

Speaking of lonely drives, the recently released video features looped footage of the interior of a cab, as it travels down a street. We never see the driver their car actually reach their destination — and that seems so far from the point. Much like its predecessor, the video is a mediation on mundanity and repetition that should feel startling in the age of COVID-19.

New Audio: Human Love Returns with a Trippy Motorik Groove-Driven New Single

Formed in 2010, the critically applauded New York-based act The Dig — Emilie Mosseri (vocals, bass), David Baldwin (vocals, guitar), Erick Eiser (keys, guitar) and Mark Demiglio (drums) released two albums and two EPs — 2010’s full-length debut Electric Toys, 2012’s Midnight Flowers and 2013’s Tired Hearts EP and You & I EP. Last, the member of the New York-based act relocated to Los Angeles. and the move managed to spark  a major period of transformation for each of the individual bandmembers — with each member pursuing their own creative projects. 

Notably, Emilie Mosseri established himself as a film and television composer, who earned widespread acclaim for crafting the score  for A24 Films‘ critically applauded Last Black Man in San Francisco, as well as the scores for the TV series Homecoming, which currently stars Janelle Monae and Kajillionaire, which will star Miranda July.

Ironically, working separately proved to have a unifying effect on the band’s individual members — they were emboldened to take new risks, which resulted in a completely new musical project for its longtime collaborators — the newly named Human Love. Black Void EP, Human Love‘s Sonny DiPerri-co-produced, four song debut EP is slated for a July 10, 2020 release, and the effort sees the longtime collaborators completely altering the creative process they were used to through their run as The Dig. “In the past, one person would bring in an idea and we’d build everything from there, but now the process is so much more collaborative, with everyone bringing in their specific perspective to everything we make,” the band’s David Baldwin says in press notes. “I think there’s something beautiful about us going in different directions and then coming back together like this,”EmilIe Mosseri adds “We’re taking what we’d explored on our own and feeding it back into this music, and pushing everything forward to create something completely new.”

Reportedly, Black Void will see the band crafting cinematic material with a pulsating, dance floor friendly energy and a psychedelic vibe — all while revealing the idiosyncratic impulses of each individual member of the band. Last month, I wrote about the  This Is Happening-era LCD Soundsystem-like “Goldmine,” a track centered around a sinuous and strutting, disco-influenced groove paired with Baldwin and Mosseri’s ethereal vocals singing surrealistic lyrics. “‘Goldmine’  is the song that inspired us to start Human Love,” the members of the band explain in press notes. “When the four of us are together, one of our favorite things to do is jam on one riff endlessly.  To us this song conjures up a feeling of transition.  When we first started writing it we were still in our previous band together, and by the time we finished it we had decided to start something new.  It has a feeling of leaving something behind.  Deciding to move away from what’s comfortable and familiar, and embrace the unknown.”

“Lemon Dove,” Black Void’s second and latest single is trippy song featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, a shuffling four-on-the-floor led motorik groove and ethereal vocals — and while centered around an improvised, free-flowing and summery air, the the song manages to bring Kraftwerk and Evil Heat-era Primal Scream to mind. 

“The process of making Lemon Dove was spontaneous,” the band’s Erick Eiser recalls in press notes. “All of the ideas came out fluidly without music second guessing. It’s really exciting to work on music when spontaneity reigns over deliberation. The harmonies and music in the first section of the song were inspired and adapted from a Debussy Prelude and there’s a spirit to the music that connects with the name of the band as a lyric that we found really special. It’s about love. It’s about summer.”