Tag: Air

New Video: Acclaimed Swiss Electro Duo Klaus Johann Grobe Releases Surreal and Feverish Visuals for Dance Floor Friendly Track “Out of Reach”

With the release of their Basel Prize-winning album Spagat der Liebe, the Swiss electro pop duo Klaus Johann Grobe, comprised of Sevi Landolt and Dani Bachmann quickly received national and international attention for a difficult to pigeonhole, genre-defying sound that meshes elements of electro pop, electronic dance music, komische and others while centered around slinky jazz fusion-like grooves. Adding to a growing profile, the duo with their live backing band have toured with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Growlers and Temples, and have made festival stops in the US, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Spain and their native Switzerland.

Last month, I wrote about the acclaimed Swiss duo, and as you may recall “Discodanken,” off the duo’s soon-to-be released album Bist So Symmetrisch managed to reveal a duo that’s expanded upon the sound that has won them national and international attention, as the song was a breezy arpeggiated synth-led track centered around a sinuous motorik groove and metronomic beats to create a hypnotic, dance floor friendly yet lysergic feel that brings to mind Vinyl Williams, Kraftwerk, Air, and Phoenix — with a retro-futuristic quality. Interestingly, Bist So Symmetrisch’s latest single “Out of Reach” may arguably be the album’s most dance floor friendly tracks, as its centered around a Kraftwerk-like motorik groove, a sinuous, disco-inspired bass line, arpeggiated synths and an infectious hook. Interestingly, the song manages to sound as though it were drawing from De Lux’s Scion AV Presents De Lux EP and Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk. 

Directed by  Ralph Kuehne and starring Patric Gehrig, Remo Seeland, Elvio Yair Avila Kai tha Boy, Regula Bühler and Kathrin Brun, the recently released video is a vividly surreal and feverish dream. 

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New Audio: Introducing the Breezy Synth Funk of Switzerland’s Klaus Johan Grobe

With the release of their Basel Prize-winning Spagat der Liebe, the Swiss electro pop duo Klaus Johann Grobe, comprised of Sevi Landolt and Dani Bachmann quickly received national and international attention for a difficult to pigeonhole, genre-defying sound that meshes elements of electro pop, electronic dance music, komische and others while centered around slinky jazz fusion-like grooves. Adding to a growing profile, the duo with their live backing band have toured with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Growers and Temples, and have made festival stops in the US, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Spain and their native Switzerland. 

Interestingly, the Swiss duo’s forthcoming album Du Bist So Symmetrisch is slated for an October 26, 2018 release through  Chicago-based Trouble in Mind Records — and the album reportedly continues in a similar vein as its predecessor. The album’s second and latest single “Discodanken” is a breezy arpeggiated synth-led track centered around a sinuous motorik groove and metronomic beats to create a hypnotic, dance floor friendly yet lysergic feel that brings to mind Vinyl Williams, Kraftwerk, Air and Phoenix; but with a retro-futuristic quality. 

The recently released video by Jonas Baumann is equally retro-futuristic, featuring visuals that remind me quite a bit of the classic computer animated video for Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” but while also appearing like cells growing and attacking it other. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about the up-and-coming  London-based, up-and-coming shoegaze quintet Cosmic Strip, and as you may recall, the band, which is fronted by  primary songwriter and creative mastermind, Camella Agabalyan, has described their work as “music to watch girls by, music to move the stars,” and with EP title track “Heavenly,” off the band’s recently released debut EP, the band seems to specialize in shimmering and soaring shoegaze that brought Wolf Alice and Lightfoils to my mind.  The EP’s latest single “Sugar Rush” is a decidedly 120 Minutes MTV-era bit of shoegaze, centered around squalling and towering feedback, shimmering guitar chords, ethereal vocals, soaring hooks and an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure that immediately brings Slowdive and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve to mind, complete with a lysergic haze.

“I wanted to write a song about the feeling of addiction whether it’s sugar, love, a drug, whatever your vice is”, Camella Agbalyan says in press notes about the new single. “I personally really connect to dreamy, druggy songs like Air, My Bloody Valentine, Beach Fossils, Slowdive, The Jesus & The Mary Chain, etc., so I wanted to inspire myself from that feeling but also show the darker side of addiction that you might not always get from those types of songs”.

Live Footage: Rafiq Bhatia Performing “Breaking English”

Rafiq Bhatia is a Hickory, NC-born, New York-based composter, guitarist and producer of East African Indian descent. Before joining Ryan Lott and Ian Chang to expand renowned indie act Son Lux from a solo recording project to a fully fleshed out band, Bhatia released two critically applauded solo efforts — 2012’s Yes It Will and Strata. As a guitarist and producer, Bhatia has worked with an impressive and diverse array of artists including Olga Bell, Sam Dew, Marcus Gilmore, Billy Hart, Heems, Helado Negro, Vijay Iyer, Glenn Kotche, Valegir Sigurðsson, Moses Sumney, David Virelles, Lorde, Sufjan Stevens and others. Adding to a growing profile, he’s recored with the chamber ensembles International Contemporary Ensemble, JACK Quartet and Alarm Will Sound, and he’s had work appear on the soundtracks for the major motion pictures The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Air, and Afflicted.  

Bhatia’s third solo album Breaking English is slated for an April 6, 2018 release through ANTI- Records, and the album reportedly finds the renowned composer, producer and guitarist, who has long been influenced by Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Madlib, as well as mentors and collaborators Vijay Iyer and Billy Hart, meshing avant-garde jazz with textured and sculptured electronic composition and production. Because of his experience as a first-generation son of East African-born, Indian Muslim immigrant parents, who can trace their ancestry back to India, and the influence of mentors like Vijay Iyer and Billy Hart, Bhatia sees music as a way to actively shape and represent his own identity, not limited by anyone else’s prescribed perspective.  Interestingly, the album’s overall theme and its title were inspired by a 2008 trip to India that Bhatia took with his sister and parents — the first time he had ever seen the ancestral homeland. “We were driving towards the Taj Mahal, and noticed as we approached that there was an alarming number of signs advertising ‘Shooting Ranges.’ We grew increasingly curious and concerned about why these signs, which were written in English, were so prevalent — could they be targeted towards American tourists and their obsession with guns?” Bhatia recalled in press notes. “But eventually, we realized that ‘shooting’ was intended in the photographic sense. We had a good laugh about it, but then my dad turned to me quite seriously and asked ‘Eventually there will be likely more English speakers out here than there are in the West. At that point, who will get to decide what constitutes a proper use of English?’”

“’Breaking English’ is a ceremony of a song,” Bhatia continues. “Its central theme revealed itself to me in an improvised performance, fully formed, as though it had always existed. The cyclical form of the piece allows it to shed its skin and present itself anew in successive iterations, even as the core idea — or problem, or experience — stubbornly persists.”

Breaking English‘s latest single, album title track, the atmospheric and soulful “Breaking English” which features skittering drums, a sinuous bass line, blasts of bluesy guitar and a wailing chorus — and in some way, the composition nods at an incredible synthesis of the work of JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim, J. Dilla and Flying Lotus but with a soulful weariness and ache.

Live Footage: Acclaimed Russian Electro Pop Act D-Pulse Perform “Get Lost” at Moscow’s New Space

Initially formed in Izhevsk, Russia, when its members Anton Kochnev, Semyon Perevoshikov, Klim Suhanov, and Sam Konyakhin were teenagers, the acclaimed St. Petersburg, Russia-based electro pop act D-Pulse have largely been influenced by French and Scandinavian electro pop, and disco — namely, the likes of Daft Punk, Phoenix, Air and others but with their own unique take, as they’ve been known to experiment with combining live recording sessions, complete with analog synthesizers, guitars and machines with sampling, cutting and processing from their own material.  In fact, when the quartet moved to St. Petersburg, they found their disco-leaning sound out of place within a scene that has been largely dominated by sparse techno but within a relatively short period of time, their sound and approach set them apart; in fact, over the past fe years, the members of the St. Petersburg quartet have released material on Island, Tirk, OM, Kitsune and Ministry of Sound — and they recently signed to Nick Murphy’s Detail Co. Records.

Detail Co. and Downtown Records released D-Pulse’s sophomore effort Serpentine earlier this year, and adding to their growing internationally recognized profile, the quartet recently released a remix EP featuring remixes of album single “Get Lost” by acclaimed electronic music artists and producers Juan Maclean, Photay, Attic Chefs and Babak — but in the meantime, album single “Get Lost” is an incredibly sleek and slick single that features a disco era influenced bass line paired with shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a soaring, feel good hook and a tight groove within a song that finds the act nodding at funk, disco, psych pop and electronica simultaneously.  Interestingly, the song reveals a deliberate attention to craft while being ambitiously crowd pleasing in a “why not have a little bit of everything and make it funky while you’re at it?” fashion.

The live footage of the band performing “Get Lost” at Moscow’s The New Space features the band pairing their dreamy yet funky sounds with a vivid audio-visual display.

With the release of their first two singles, “Loveless” and “This Is It,” the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock trio Lo Moon, comprised off Matt Lowell (vocals, guitar), Crisanta Baker (bass, keys) and Sam Stewart (guitar), quickly became one of their hometown’s most buzzed about bands after receiving early praise from the likes of New York Times, NPR Music, V Magazine, KCRWLos Angeles Times, NPR’s World Cafe and others, and they’ve opened for the likes of Phoenix, Glass Animals, The Lemon Twigs, Air, London Grammar and others. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the band is currently finishing up their Chris Walla and Francois Tetaz-produced full-length debut; but before that, the trio’s latest single “Thorns” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track that sounds indebted to Roxy Music (think of “More Than This” “The Space Between” and “Avalon“), The xx and others.

The band is currently on a lengthy tour that includes a November 6 stop at Rough Trade and a December 15 stop at The Beacon Theatre for WFUV’s Holiday Cheer. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates
October 14: Buffalo, NY @ HRVST Festival (w/ Phoenix)
October 15: New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall (w/ Phoenix)
October 17: Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 18: Leeds, UK @ O2 Academy (w/ London Grammar)
October 20: Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 21: London, UK @ Eventim Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 23: Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy (w/ London Grammar)
October 24: Edinburg, UK @ Usher Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 26: Nottingham, UK @ Rock City (w/ London Grammar)
October 27: Bristol, UK @ Colston Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 29: Newcastle, UK @ City Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 30: London, UK @ O2 Brixton Academy (w/ London Grammar)
November 1: Dublin, IE @ Olympia Theatre (w/ London Grammar)
November 2: Belfast, IE @ Waterfront Hall (w/ London Grammar)
November 6: Brooklyn @ Rough Trade (headline)
November 7: Philadelphia @ Boot & Saddle (headline)
November 16: Los Angeles @ The Troubadour (headline)
November 22: Luxembourg @ Rockhal (w/ London Grammar)
November 23: Amsterdam, NL @ AFAS Live (w/ London Grammar)
November 25: Cologne, DE @ Palladium (w/ London Grammar)
November 26: Berlin, DE @ Velodrom (w/ London Grammar)
November 28: Hamburg, DE @ Mehr! Theatre (w/ London Grammar)
November 30: Zurich, CH @ Halle 622 (w/ London Grammar)
December 4: London, UK @ The Lexington (headline)
December 8: Stuttgart, DE @ Liederhalle Hegelsaal (w/ London Grammar)
December 9: Munich, DE @ TonHalle (w/ London Grammar)
December 11: Antwerp, BE @ Lotto Arena (w/ London Grammar)
December 12: Antwerp, BE @ Lotto Arena (w/ London Grammar)
December 15: New York City, NY @ WFUV Holiday Cheer at Beacon Theatre (w/ Jeff Tweedy and more)

New Audio: Cindy Wilson’s Releases a Slick Disco-Influenced New Single

Unless you’ve been living in an isolated Tibetan monastery, located in a cave you’ve likely been made familiar with the Athens, GA-based  The B-52s, who since their formation over 40 years ago by founding (and surviving members) Fred Schneider (vocals), Kate Pierson (vocals, keys), Cindy Wilson (vocals) and Keith Strickland (drums, rhythm guitar) have a long-held reputation for a sound that draws from 60s garage rock, New Wave, post-punk and dance music, complete with the guy vs. gal, call and response vocals. Copious amounts of ink have been spilled on the band throughout their run together, so it won’t be necessary to delve deeply into the band’s history; however, over the past few years, the band’s Cindy Wilson has embarked on a solo recording career that has managed to be an almost complete departure from her primary gig’s imitable and deeply influential sound. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Ballistic” off her Supernatural EP a single, which revealed that as a solo artist, her sound nodded at much more contemporary sources — i.e., the anthemic and trippy electro pop of Gary Numan, Tame Impala, Air and punk pop, complete with pulsating synths. And interestingly enough, much like the Supernatural EP,   Wilson’s forthcoming solo debut Change, which is slated for a November 17, 2017 through Kill Rock Stars Records was produced and engineered by PacificUV’s and Dream Boat‘s Sun Lyons, and continues her collaboration with some of Athens’ finest and most acclaimed, contemporary, young musicians — including Easter Island‘s and Monahan’s Ryan Monahan, Ola Moon’s and PacificUV’s Lemuel Hayes, and powerkompany’s Marie Davon. “Mystic,” Changes’ first single continued on a similar vibe as “Ballistic,” as “Mystic” was a icily retro-futuristic and dance floor friendly blast of synth rock/New Wave over which Wilson crooned and cooed seductively rather than her world-renowned belting and shouting from the mountains. And what makes the song compelling is that it finds the Athens, GA-based legend at her most adventurous and mischievous while being an earnest and sincere exploration of more contemporary songwriting. 

Unsurprisingly, Changes’ latest single, “No One Can Tell You” continues Wilson’s further exploration of contemporary sound and songwriting — although the album’s latest single manages to nod at 80s synth pop and early house and the neo-disco sounds of Escort, Midnight Magic and others, thanks to four-on-the-floor-like rhythms paired with layers of shimmering and propulsive arpeggio synths and ethereal yet infectious hooks. Of course much like the preceding single, the song features Wilson crooning and cooing seductively in a dance floor-friendly track.  

New Audio: The B52s Cindy Wilson Returns with Another Sleek and Modern Synth Wave Track

Since their formation back in 1977, the Athens, GA-based  The B-52s, their founding (and surviving members) Fred Schneider (vocals), Kate Pierson (vocals, keys), Cindy Wilson (vocals) and Keith Strickland (drums, rhythm guitar) have developed a reputation for an approach that draws from 60s garage rock, New Wave, post-punk and dance music, complete with the guy vs. gal, call and response vocals. Much ink has been spilled on them, so it won’t be very necessary to delve deeply into biographical detail; however, over the past few years, Cindy Wilson has embarked on a solo recording career that has managed to be an almost complete departure from her primary gig’s imitable and influential sound; in fact, earlier this year, I wrote about “Ballistic” off her Supernatural EP a single, which revealed that as a solo artist, her sound nodded at much more contemporary sources — i.e., the anthemic and trippy electro pop of Gary Numan, Tame Impala, Air and punk pop, complete with pulsating synths.

Much like the Supernatural EP, Wilson’s forthcoming full-length, solo debut Change was produced and engineered by PacificUV’s and Dream Boat‘s Sun Lyons, and continues her collaboration with some of Athens’ finest and most acclaimed, contemporary, young musicians including Easter Island‘s and Monahan’s Ryan Monahan, Ola Moon‘s and PacificUV’s Lemuel Hayes, and powerkompany’s Marie Davon. Change’s first single “Mystic” continues on a similar vibe as “Ballistic,” as the song is an icy retro-futuristic, dance floor-friendly blast of synth rock/New Wave that features Wilson crooning and cooing seductively, rather than her world-renowned belting and shouting from the mountains. And in some way, the material finds the New Wave/post-punk legend at her most mischievous and adventurous, as she pushes her sound into a new territory — while being a sincere and earnest exploration of contemporary sound and songwriting. 

As Wilson explained to the folks at Stereogum, “‘Mystic’ was actually one of the last tracks recorded for the LP. It quickly became one of the band’s favorites and maintains its energy on the road. Lyrically, it’s about our personalities — how we’re all multi-dimensional in ways that we will never understand. We all have a hidden mystic quality if we can learn and trust to tap into that power. This song is about how we’re all trying to define ourselves and make sense of ourselves, yet there is an ineffable, indescribable quality to consciousness.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Penelopes Return with an 80s New Wave and Synth Pop Inspired New Single

Comprised of Paris-born, London-based duo Axel Basquiat (composer, vocals, bass) and Vincent T. (production, sound engineering and keys), The Penelopes are an indie electro pop act, production and DJ duo who have developed a reputation for propulsive, Giorgio Moroder-like remixes of Lana Del Ray, Pet Shop Boys, We Have Band, Night Drive, The Ting Tings, Alt J and others, and for their own original material, which critics have compared favorably to the likes of Daft Punk, M83 and Air. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 3 years or so, you may have come across posts on their remixes of The Ting Tings “Do It Again,” Alt J’s “Hunger of the Pine” and an anthemic, club-banging cover of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” that managed to retain the song’s sense of longing.

The duo released a new single package featuring their cover of Bowie’s “This Is Not America,” which received airplay on KCRW, along with several remixes, including Miguel Campbell’s remix, which received airplay on Nemone’s BBC 6 show, and a new, original song “Tina.” The duo’s latest single “Tina” manages to be a decided refinement of the sound that captured both the site’s attention and the rest of the blogosphere; in fact, while retaining a dance floor friendly feel, the song manages to decidedly leans in the direction of 80s New Wave and synth pop — in particular, I’m reminded a bit of Simple Mind’s “Don’t You Forget About Me,” as “Tina” possesses an rousingly anthemic nature that belies a swooning Romantic nature.

The recently released video cuts between footage from Asia Argento’s directorial feature film Misunderstood, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and footage of the band performing the song in a studio, shot in a striking, film noir-like black and white.

Comprised of Andrew Poirier (guitar), Anand Greenwell (saxophone), Chris Mackenzie (drums), William Farrant (bass), and Piers Henwood (guitar), the  Victoria, BC-based quintet Astrocolor decided that they wanted to tackle Christmas songs for their forthcoming album Lit Up: Music for Christmas. Featuring guest vocals from Kandle, Rykka, Jets Overhead‘s Antonia Freybe-Smith, and Abi Rose and co-produced by the Canadian quintet and Colin Stewart, best known for his work with Black Mountain, Dan Mangan and AC Newman, the approach to the album was largely inspired by jazz great Stan Getz’s Getz Au Go-Go, as well as Massive Attack, Air and St. Germain. As the band explained in press notes, Stan Getz’s rendition of “Summertime,” ” became a jumping off point for what we were trying to do, taking the classic ‘summertime and the livin’ is easy’  hook and reshaping it into an exploratory piece. We too wanted to create a sense of familiarity and exploration within the context of a Christmas album.”

“We Three Kings,” the first single off Lit Up: Music for Christmas is a noir-ish and moodily atmospheric song that sounds as though it owes as much of a sonic debt to jazz as it does to dubstep and trip hop as Abi Rose’s seductive, jazz standard vocal stylings are paired with a mournful horn line, swirling electronics, angular, funk guitar and bass, and plinking keys submerged in layers upon layers of reverb to craft a rendition of a familiar song that’s hauntingly mournful and cinematic — while being simultaneously intimate and sensual.

I’ve played the song a number of times before writing this post, and every time I can picture the three kings with their gifts riding through moonlit, desert skies to Bethlehem to see the baby Christ. But perhaps more important, it puts a modern spin on to a song that many of us have heard so much that its meaning and importance has been reduced to background music at the mall or in a commercial.