Tag: Baby’s All Right

New Video: Working Men’s Club Share a Hook-Driven Banger

Led by frontman Syd Minksy-Sargeant, the rising British outfit Working Men’s Club exploded into the national and international scene with the release of 2020’s self-titled, full-length debut. Featuring some songs written when Minsky-Sargeant was 16, the album saw the Working Men’s Club frontman processing a teenage life in Todmorden in England’s Upper Calder Valley. “The first album was mostly a personal documentation lyrically, this is a blur between personal and a third-person perspective of what was going on,” Minsky-Sargeant explains in press notes.

Working Men’s Club highly-anticipated Ross Orton-produced sophomore album Fear Fear is slated for a July 15, 2022 release through Heavenly Recordings. Featuring songs created in the shadow of terror and loss, the album bristles, crackles and pops with defiance while exploring juxtaposition: life and death, acceptance and isolation, hope and despair, environment and humanity, the real world and the digital world. And while Fear Fear reportedly documents the past two years with all its bleakness and uncertainty, the album’s material is rooted in hope and empathy. “I like the contrast of it being happy, uplifting music and really dark lyrics. It’s not a minimal record, certainly compared to the first one,” Minsky-Sargeant says. “That’s because there’s been a lot more going on that needed to be said.”

Fear Fear‘s latest single “Ploys” has received praise internationally from BrooklynVegan, Northern Transmissions, Vanyaland, NME and a lengthy list of others. And that’s not surprising. The song is a decidedly 80s New Order inspired banger, centered around a dense layered production featuring tweeter and woofer rattling 808s, glistening synth arpeggios, a relentless groove and Minsky-Sargeant’s irony-drenched vocals paired with an enormous hook.

But despite the retro sound and feel, the song is rooted in a deeply modern sense of disconnection, uncertainty, crippling insecurity and anxiety; the song essentially is the theme song to a Tinder/Hinge/OKCupid date gone terribly off to the point of not being salvageable.

The accompanying video follows a determined woman in the gym as she dead lifts. But it’s shot through a grainy and glitchy VHS-like fuzz and effects that find the weights being dropped in unison with the 808s of the song.

New Video: Say She She Shares a Mind-Bending Visual for Sultry “Blow My Mind”

Deriving their name as a silent nod to the legendary Nile Rodgers — “C’est chi-chi! It’s Chic!” — the emerging NYC-based funk and disco act Say She She features three accomplished, strong female lead vocalists: founding members Piya Malik, who has spent time in El Michels Affair79.5 and Chicano Batman; and Sabrina Cunningham; along with Nya Gazelle Brown, a former member of 79.5. 

Say She She can trace their origins to when Malik and Cunningham found themselves living in the studio apartments directly above and below each other. The pair would hear each other singing through the floorboards and quickly became friends. “I knew the girl below me had the most beautiful voice as I would hear her early in the morning and she would hear me late at night. Between the two of us I don’t think we got a wink of sleep. Then again I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they moved to New York City to sleep,” Malik says in press notes. 

After spending years singing in other people’s bands, Malik and Cunningham felt they were finally ready to step out into the spotlight with their own project, at first writing tongue-in-cheek songs about bad boyfriends, band breakups and bad politics.  Shortly after, they started writing much more serious and vulnerable tunes, like much-needed therapy sessions, detailing the lives of post-modern women. The result is material that touches upon love, lust, sex, heartbreak, betrayal and hope.

A few years after starting the project, the duo recruited their close friend and Malik’s former 79.5 bandmate Nya Gazelle Brown to join them. At that point, the act’s core lineup was settled. 

Sonically, Say She She’s sound nods at 70s girl groups — multi-part female harmonies paired paired with funky, disco-inspired arrangements played by a backing band featuring some of New York’s most talented and accomplished players, featuring former members of  AntibalasCharles Bradley and His ExtraordinariesSharon Jones and The Dap KingsThe ShacksTwin Shadow and others. Locally, they’ve developed a reputation as a must-see live act, playing sold out shows at Bowery Ballroom, Nublu 151Brooklyn BazaarC’Mon Everybody and Baby’s All Right among others. 

Slated for release this fall through Karma Chief Records, an imprint of Colemine Records, Say She She’s self-titled, full-length debut was recorded on old tape machines in the basement studios of friends. The album features guest spots from The Dap Kings‘ Joey Crispiano and Victor Axelrod, The Shacks’ Max Shrager, Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez, Antibalas‘  Superhuman Happiness‘ and Low Mentality’s Nikhil Yerawadekar, Twin Shadow’s Andy Bauer and NYMPH‘s Matty McDermot. 

Last month, I wrote about “Forget Me Not,” the New York-based act’s debut single and their forthcoming debut album’s first single. Featuring a strutting bass line, glistening wah wah pedaled funk guitar, fluttering flute and dreamy three part harmonies “Forget Me Not” is one part Patrice Rushen, one part Tom Tom Club’s “Gangster of Love,” one part ESG, one part Mary Jane Girls, centered around righteous feminist lyrics. 

Building upon a growing profile, the disco and funk outfit’s latest single is the slow-burning, sultry “Blow My Mind.” Centered around the trio’s yearning and impassioned cries, shimmering Bollywood-inspired riffage and a strutting bass line, “Blow My Mind” is a song about returning to a former flame, with who you’ve managed to hold feelings for — even after some period of years. “‘Blow My Mind’ is about a love that you can’t seem to get rid of and you can’t quite get enough of,” Say She She’s Nya Gazelle Brown explains.

Directed by Spencer Bewley, best known as Reelloopy, the accompanying video for “Blow My Mind” is fittingly mind-blowing as it’s chock full of trippy imagery. Bewley predominately works in found and self-produced 16mm film footage, which he culls, reframes and radically re-contextualizes, juxtaposing as many four projected images at a time to create reckless, riddling and yet fully synthesized visual poems. “Blowing minds is a subject very close to my heart and the fact this was a rare case of me liking the song EVEN MORE after the dozens of times during editing I had to listen to it made this an absolute joy to work on,” Bewley adds.

As I mentioned, the band’s full-length is forthcoming but in the meantime, they’ll be releasing their debut 45rpm “Forget Me Not”/”Blow My Mind” through Colemine/Karma Chief on May 20, 2022.

Live Footage: HolyShit Sessions: Balthazar Performs “Moment”

A few years back, acclaimed Belgian indie rock act and JOVM mainstays Balthazar –songwriting duo Maarten Devoldere and Jinte Deprez, along with Simon Casier, Michiel Balcaen and Tijs Delbeke — went on a hiatus that allowed the band’s songwriting duo to pursue their own critically applauded, attention grabbing solo projects: Devoldere’s brooding and hyper literature Warhaus and Deprez’s old school R&B-inspired J. Bernardt. And while Devoldere and Deprez found the ability to pursue their own individual whims and muses liberating, they found the time apart from each other and the band sparking an undeniable urge to work together, propelled by a greater mutual respect for each other’s individual work — and a desire for a much broader artistic vision for the band.

When the members of the JOVM mainstay act reconvened to work on 2019’s Fever, they did so without any particular plan. But their hope was that they improve upon their previously released work, show deeper artistic growth and further the band’s story. And when Devoldere and Deprez began working on Fever, they mutually agreed that the album’s material would have a less serious, less melancholy tone. And as a result, Fever may arguably be among the loosest and most playful of their careers while maintaining the deliberate craftsmanship and razor sharp hooks that have won them attention both nationally and internationally.

Balthazar supported Fever with a relentless touring schedule that included a stop at Baby’s All Right. Feeling invigorated from playing Fever on tour, Devoldere and Deprez started working on a new batch material that included the sultry, Quiet Storm-like “Halfway,” a track that found the band continuing where their last album left off — but while pushing the overall sound and aesthetic in an even more accessible, pop-leaning direction. 

The JOVM mainstays fifth — and latest — album Sand finds the band fully embracing the soulful alt pop/R&B sound while being what the band believes may be the most cohesive album of their growing catalog to date. “There’s a theme running through these tracks, waiting, restlessness, not being able to live in the moment or putting your trust into the future,” Balthazar’s Deprez and Devoldere explain in press notes. “We’re at a point in our lives when we have to consider these aspects of life, that’s why the album is called Sand – after the sand in an hourglass.”

“The idea was always to drop another album as soon as possible after Fever. It was fun and we wanted to build on that,” Jinte Deprez says in press notes. “We did a lot of things that we haven’t done previously – we’ve never used as many drum samples or used bass synths before. So that was an exciting step for us. It was a very modern way of making an album, due to the constraints of the pandemic and we had to work remotely and converse electronically rather than in a studio.” “I can’t wait to play this album live because on the Fever tour we pushed the groove element further,” Maarten Devoldere adds.

So far I’ve written about four of Sand‘s officially released singles:

The aforementioned “Halfway,” a shimmering, blue-eyed soul take on the Quiet Storm sound.
“Losers,” a slinky, disco-tinged yet sophisticated track centered around Devoldere’s sultry baritone, shimmering synth arpeggios and an infectious hook, but at its core, the song captures the anxious uncertainty of our moment, a moment in which most of us feel as though our personal and professional lives have been in an indefinite stasis.
“You Won’t Come Around,” a slow-burning and cinematic, R&B-inspired track featuring shimmering strings, strummed acoustic guitar, skittering beats and Devoldore expressing a confusing yet familiar series of emotions: regret and heartache that a romantic relationship has ended, relief that the relationship has ended and guilt that maybe they’ve moved on a bit too quickly; or in other words, the gnawing sense that you might be a selfish, uncaring asshole.
“On A Roll,” a strutting yet seamless synthesis of their pre-Fever sound with their recent R&B-influenced leaning centered around Deprez’s crooning falsetto.

The band released a great teaser for the film, a loose live version of album single “Moment” that finds the members of the band joyously expanding its groove and relishing playing music together — all while being a smooth yet cinematic take on R&B.

Sand is out now through Play It Again Sam. Additionally, Sand Castle Tapes will have its livestream premiere on June 3, 2021. You can buy tickets here:https://www.momenthouse.com/co/balthazar-sand-castle-tapes.

New Video: Follow Balthazar on A Stylish Trip to a “Groundhog’s Day”-like Hell

Acclaimed Belgian indie rock act and JOVM mainstays Balthazar led by songwriting partners Maarten Devoldere and Jinte Deprez went on a hiatus several years ago that allowed for the duo to pursue their own, critically applauded solo effects — Devoldere’s brooding, hyper literature Warhaus.and Deprez’s old school R&B-inspired J. Bernardt. And while Devoldere and Deprez found the ability to pursue their own individual whims and muses liberating, they also found the time apart sparking an undeniable urge to work together again, propelled a greater mutual respect for each other’s individual work and a much broader artistic vision.

When the members of Balthazar reconvened to work on 2019’s Fever, they did so without any particular plan. Their hope was to improve upon their previously released work, show deeper artistic growth, and to further the band’s story. Interestingly, when the band’s primary writing team began to write Fever’s material, they mutually agreed that the album would have a less serious, less melancholy tone. And as a result, the album’s material may arguably be among the loosest and most playful of their careers while maintaining the deliberate craftsmanship and razor sharp hooks that have won them national and international attention.

Balthazar supported Fever with a relentless touring schedule that included a stop at Baby’s All Right. Feeling invigorated from playing Fever on tour, Devoldere and Deprez started working on a new batch material that included the sultry, Quiet Storm-like “Halfway,” a track that found the band continuing where their last album left off — but while pushing the overall sound and aesthetic in an even more accessible, pop-leaning direction.

Interestingly, the JOVM mainstays’ fifth album Sand reportedly finds the band fully embracing the soulful alt pop/R&B sound of “Halfway” while crafting what the band believes is the most cohesive album of their careers to date. “There’s a theme running through these tracks, waiting, restlessness, not being able to live in the moment or putting your trust into the future,” Balthazar’s Deprez and Devoldere explain in press notes. “We’re at a point in our lives when we have to consider these aspects of life, that’s why the album is called Sand – after the sand in an hourglass.”

“The idea was always to drop another album as soon as possible after Fever. It was fun and we wanted to build on that,” Jinte Deprez says in press notes. “We did a lot of things that we haven’t done previously – we’ve never used as many drum samples or used bass synths before. So that was an exciting step for us. It was a very modern way of making an album, due to the constraints of the pandemic and we had to work remotely and converse electronically rather than in a studio.” “I can’t wait to play this album live because on the Fever tour we pushed the groove element further,” Maarten Devoldere adds.

So far I’ve written about two of Sand’s official singles:

“Losers,” a slinky, disco-tinged yet sophisticated track centered around Devoldere’s sultry baritone, shimmering synth arpeggios and an infectious hook, but at its core, the song captures the anxious uncertainty of our moment, a moment in which most of us feel as though our personal and professional lives have been in an indefinite stasis.
“You Won’t Come Around,” a slow-burning and cinematic, R&B-inspired track featuring shimmering strings, strummed acoustic guitar, skittering beats and Devoldore expressing a confusing yet familiar series of emotions: regret and heartache that a romantic relationship has ended, relief that the relationship has ended and guilt that maybe they’ve moved on a bit too quickly; or in other words, the gnawing sense that you might be a selfish, uncaring asshole.

Clocking in at a little under four minutes, “On A Roll,” Sand’s latest single finds the JOVM mainstays crafting a strutting and seamless synthesis of their pre-Fever sound with their recent R&B-influenced leanings with the track featuring buzzing bass synths, slinky guitar lines, glistening synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, a mournful horn arrangement and skittering beats, Deprez’s soulful crooning and falsetto.

Directed by Pieter De Cnudde, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video for “On A Roll” was shot at the NH Hotel in Bruges, Belgium, and follows Balthazar’s songwriting duo in a Groundhog’s Day-like hell.”The song and video is about the repetitive lack of control you have on situations, your life, your own ways,” Deprez explains in press notes. “Even for a moment when you think you can escape your own loop, you find yourself right back at the start again, finding out the changes didn’t change the outcome, or you.”

Sand is slated for a February 26, 2020 release though Play It Again Sam.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Balthazar Go on a “French Connection” Styled Adventure

Throughout the last couple of years, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Belgian-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maarten Devoldere, Delvodere is best known for being the frontman of two internationally recognized, critically applauded, JOVM mainstay acts Balthazar and Warhaus.

While Devoldere was busy with Warhaus, at one point writing much of the project’s sophomore album in a remote retreat in Kyrgyzstan, his longtime friend, songwriting partner and Balthazar bandmate Jinte Deprez remained in Ghent, focusing on his old school R&B inspired solo project J. Bernardt. During Balthazar’s hiatus, the band’s songwriting duo enjoyed the ability to indulge their individual whims and creative muses, crafting commercially successful and critically applauded work — and Deprez and Devoldere found it liberating. The duo found that the time apart with their own creative endeavors created an undeniable urge to work together again, propelled by a much broader artistic horizon and an even greater mutual respect for each other’s individual work.

When the members of Balthazar reconvened to work on last year’s Fever, they did so without any particular plan beyond just desiring to improve upon their previously released work and to further the band’s story. Interestingly, as Deprez and Devoldere started to write Fever’s material, they mutually agreed that the album would have a less serious, less melancholy — and while arguably finding the band at their loosest and most playful, the album retained the deliberate craftsmanship and razor sharp hooks that have won them national and international attention.

Last year also saw the band on a relentless touring schedule to support Fever that included a stop at Baby’s All Right in May. Feeling invigorated from the material and touring, the act wrote a batch of new material that began with the sultry-old school R&B-like “Halfway,” which found the band continuing the sound and aesthetic of Fever but while pushing it in an accessible, pop-leaning direction.

Interestingly, Sand, the JOVM mainstays’ forthcoming album reportedly finds the band fully embracing soulful alt pop — and crafting what may arguably be their most cohesive album of the careers. “There’s a theme running through these tracks, waiting, restlessness, not being able to live in the moment or putting your trust into the future,” Deprez and Devoldere explain. “We’re at a point in our lives when we have to consider these aspects of life, that’s why the album is called Sand – after the sand in an hourglass.”

“The idea was always to drop another album as soon as possible after Fever. It was fun and we wanted to build on that,” Jinte Deprez says in press notes. “We did a lot of things that we haven’t done previously – we’ve never used as many drum samples or used bass synths before. So that was an exciting step for us. It was a very modern way of making an album, due to the constraints of the pandemic and we had to work remotely and converse electronically rather than in a studio.” “I can’t wait to play this album live because on the Fever tour we pushed the groove element further,” Maarten Devoldere adds.

Sand’s latest single is the slinky, late night jam “Losers.” Centered around Devoldere’s sultry baritone, falsetto backing vocals, funk polyrhythm, shimmering synth arpeggios and an infectious hook, “Losers” may arguably be the slinkiest and most disco-influenced songs of their growing catalog, but while retaining a cool, seemingly European sophistication. But at its core the song captures the anxious uncertain of this particular moment: most of us feel like our professional and personal lives are in indefinite stasis without any idea of what’s next — hell, if there’s anything beyond this.

Directed by Pieter De Cnudde, the recently released video for “Losers” was filmed in the band’s native Belgium and follows the band in various guises on a French Connection-like crime story that depicts most of the song’s narrative in a literal fashion.

Sand is slated for a January 29, 2021 release through Play It Again Sam.