Tag: Berlin Germany

 

Sophie Colette is an up-and-coming Brooklyn-based indie pop artist. Initially relocating to New York to pursue fashion design, Colette pivoted her ambitions to music after being scouted at a high school reunion by The Party Faithful‘s bassist. About month later, Colette wound up contributing vocals, keys and synth for the band, playing with the band at venues across the New York metropolitan area. Interestingly, during that time she met Degraw Sound producer Ben Rice, who she later presented with a stack of sketchbooks filled with lyrics and visual palettes, which eventually became the genesis of her solo work.

“Tonite,” off her debut EP Strangers and Lovers was featured at Jasmine Chong’s runway presentation to the editors of VogueWWD, Elle and others during 2017’s New York Fashion Week. Selected footage from her Stephen Dirkes-directed music video for “Get Close’ was nominated for Best Creative Concept, Art Direction and Visual Effects at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. And building upon a growing profile, Colette supported Strangers and Lovers with a European tour with Berlin-based indie-folk project The Crystal Elephant.

Since then the New York-based indie pop artist has released a handful of shimmering pop singles that have caught the attention of the blogosphere, including my dear friends at Glamglare and elsewhere, as well as airplay on French radio station Déclic Radio 101.1FM. Her latest single “Would You Like It?” continues an ongoing run of dreamy synth pop centered around Colette’s plaintive and vulnerable vocals, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook. But underneath the slick disco-tinged production, the song’s narrator is plagued by a familiar self-doubt — the self-doubt that comes about when you’ve fallen for someone and you can’t quite figure out if you should tell that person how you feel. Putting your heart on the line is nerve racking in itself; but the possibility of rejection seems like the end of your world. 

“I fell in love – again. It took me a while to admit that to myself, and even longer to figure out how to handle it,” Colette explains in press notes. “It’s such a vulnerable, intense, confusing, and heart-shaking experience, compounded by the risk of rejection. What if it’s just a fabricated mind game and completely unrequited? When should I say something, if at all? I was overwhelmed and having conversations with myself on what to do and how to say it, and writing this song was a way to get out of my head and connect with reality. No more hiding.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie Colette’s single “Would You Like It?” – slated for July 19, 2019 release – explores the emotional dilemma of deciding whether or not to tell someone how you feel – namely, that you’ve fallen in love. Produced by Ben Rice (The Candles, Elliot & The Ghost, Queue) at Degraw Sound in Brooklyn, New York, the track builds from a simple chord progression to a dreamy holographic soundscape, supporting Colette’s lyrical love letter with layers of vocal effects, electronic keys, guitars, and a driving pulse. 

“I fell in love – again. It took me a while to admit that to myself, and even longer to figure out how to handle it. It’s such a vulnerable, intense, confusing, and heart-shaking experience, compounded by the risk of rejection. What if it’s just a fabricated mind game and completely unrequited? When should I say something, if at all? I was overwhelmed and having conversations with myself on what to do and how to say it, and writing this song was a way to get out of my head and connect with reality. No more hiding.” 

Sophie will support “Would You Like It?” with a music video directed by Karina Vidal, and performances at festival showcases this summer – Independent Venue Week in July in New York City, and Degraw Fest Unplugged at Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, New York on August 2 at 6:00pm. 

“Would You Like It?” is the latest in a series of singles from Colette. Her most recent release “Version,” an intimate cinematic track inspired by a toxic relationship, premiered on Asymmetric Magazine for its “dreamy, lush sound [and] captivating vocals,” and has been compared to Tangerine Dream by Sound Thread Music Blog for its “gently pulsing, down-tempo atmosphere.” “Version” was added to TuneCore’s Spotify playlist, “TuneCore Presents: Music Made Me,” and aired on indie French radio station Déclic Radio 101.1FM alongside Dido, upon release. Her live debut at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall cemented “Version” as “Colette’s most stunning work to date.” (glamglare

Colette’s former releases have premiered on influential blogs such as Popdust, glamglare and CelebMix. Her single “Run Around,” released in late 2018 about challenging lip service in relationships, was selected as glamglare’s “song pick of the day,” and lauded by Emerging Indie Bands as an emotionally intense track with a “wistful melancholic…romantic demeanour…a testament to both composition and vocal ability.” 

Her single “That Kind Of Love,” which Colette released to coincide with her summer performance at Degraw Fest 2018, has been featured by media platform ULTRA as the exclusive soundtrack for their videos. 

Previous tracks have aired on indie French radio station Déclic Radio 101.1FM and playlisted at New York Fashion Week, and her accompanying short films have received nominations and acclaim from fashion film festivals including the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival.

 

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New Video: Introducing the Brash Style-Defying Sounds of South Africa’s Sho Madjozi

Sho Madjozi is an up-and-coming, indie rapper from Shirley Village, Limpopo South Africa – – and with the release of her critically applauded, full-length debut Limpopo Champions League late last year, Madjozi emerged both nationally and internationally for her writing and rhyming in both her native Xitsonga and English, her vibrant fashion sense and for crafting material that at points focuses on being a young African woman, a proud member of the Tsonga tribe. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Madjozi was nominated for a Nigeria Sound City Award for Best New Artist, was named Apple Music’s Artist of the Month for January and played a critically praised set at the CTM Festival in Berlin — and her Edcon Fashion clothing line debuted across 22 Edgars Fashion shops across South Africa. 

Limpopo Champions League’s latest single is the infectious “Idhom” is centered around Madjozi swaggering and self-assured rhymes in Xitsonga and English over a tweeter and woofer rocking production featuring blocks of shimmering, arpeggiated synths and thumping beats and an enormous hook — and while indebted to grime an trap, the song possesses a brash, youthful and coquettish energy paired with a proud, defiant Blackness /African-ness.

Directed by Sho Madjozi, the recently released video was shot in Madjozi’s home village Shirley Village and features the kids in her home village, in an extended selfie with their local hero with a group of kids passing along a cell phone to each other, capturing day to day life in a small African village, paired with some bold animation from PUKS. 

Micheal Lane is a German-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who was raised in the States. As the story goes, he began singing at a very young age, using music as an escape from the troubles he was going through at any point during his life. After spending six years in the Army with three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Lane realized that his life was going in a very different direction from the dreams he had. And in 2012, Lane left the States and returned to Germany, where his mother’s family still resides.

Lane participated in the second season of The Voice of Germany, eventually finishing third. His cover of Sarah McLachlan‘s “Angel” and his own original song “Mrs. Lawless” both placed in the Top 50 of the German Music Charts — and with a growing national profile, the Berlin-based singer/songwriter wound up playing at some of Germany’s largest, best known venues. Since then, Lane has released three albums and toured across Europe with his work amassing over 2 million Spotify streams and 1 million YouTube views to date.

 

Slated for release this fall, his self-produced, fourth album Traveling Son thematically finds Lane sharing intimate moments about both his childhood and his adulthood — while sonically, the material is subtly influenced by jazz. Traveling Son‘s latest single “Believe” is a carefully crated, beguiling pop song centered around Lane’s crystalline and plaintive vocals, strummed, acoustic guitar, blasts of shimmering electric guitar, and a huge, anthemic hook. And throughout, the song encourages and dares the listener to stop sitting on the sidelines and go for their dreams.

 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Alice Phoebe Lou Performs “Galaxies” at Berlin’s Zeiss Planetarium for Majestic Casual Sessions

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and JOVM mainstay  Alice Phoebe Lou. And as you may recall, Lou grew up in a very creative home — her parents were documentary filmmakers, who took a young Lou to piano lessons. As a teen, Lou taught herself guitar; but when she turned 16, she went on a life-altering trip to Paris to visit her aunt. While in Paris, armed with an acoustic guitar, the young artist met some of that cit’s buskers and street performers — eventually learning poi dancing from some of them.

After completing her studies, Lou returned to Europe, first landing in Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer. She then relocated to Berlin, where she quickly developed a reputation as a well-regarded busker and for a fierce, punk rock-like DIY approach to her musical career. With the release of 2014’s self-released debut EP, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began to receive national and international attention, which resulted in performances at a number of  TED events in London and Berlin during the following year.

Lou’s sophomore effort, 2016’s Orbit was nominated for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards. And building upon a rapidly growing profile both nationally and internationally, she played at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda and shared bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, and Allen Stone before ending the year with three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium. (The Berlin Planetarium shows were so popular and in such high demand that she had to add two additional shows there to her tour schedule in 2017.)

Additionally, the live version of “She” amassed over 4 million views on YouTube and was featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Heady Lamar Story — all before the studio version of the single was even recorded or released. But for most of 2018, Lou worked on her Noah Georgeson-produced sophomore effort Paper Castles, which was released earlier this year. And as Lou explains, the album is “about nostalgia, about growing into a woman, about the pain and beauty of the past, about feeling small and insignificant but finding that to be powerful and beautiful, about acknowledging that childhood is over but bringing some of it with you.”

“Something Holy,” the album’s first single was a slow-burning 70s AM rock meets 70s soul-like track centered around shimmering guitar line, hushed drumming, a sinuous hook, a psychedelic tinged bridge and Lou’s aching vocals with the song’s narrator taking a deeply introspective and unvarnished look into her complicated relationships with sex, love, men and ultimately, with herself. The song reflects, as Lou explained in press notes, “the moment that I managed to get over the main hurdle of my past traumas with sex, with men and with my own deeper understanding of intimacy and what it means to be intimate.” 

Paper Castles’ latest single is the gorgeous and expansive “Galaxies.” Beginning with a shimmering and spacey introduction and Lou’s plaintive wailing, before the song turns into a spacey 70s jazz funk number, centered by a sultry, reggae-like bass line and a mournful saxophone solo and then morphs back into a shimmering and spacey coda — and while the song seamlessly shifts back and forth in a fashion reminiscent of Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights,” the song is imbued with a cosmic sheen. 

Majestic Casual invited the JOVM mainstay for a live session of “Galaxies” that was fittingly shot at Berlin’s Zeiss Planetarium.  Game of Throes star Maisie Williams opens the live session with a spoken word piece musing on humanity’s place within the cosmos directly inspired by the song. 

New Video: Gemma Ray’s Creepy Visuals for Slow-Burning and Gothic “Death Tapes”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Basildon, Essex, UK-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Gemma Ray, and as you may recall, Ray has collaborated with the likes of SparksAlan Vega and members of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds while releasing 8 full-length albums that have found the Basildon-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist meshing a number of disparate genres into what’s been described pop-noir, sideway blues and gothic folk.G

Bronze Rat Records, the Basildon-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter’s longtime label home released her latest effort Psychogeology earlier this year, and the album which was recorded at Candybomber Studios and Ray’s Berlin-based studio found her expanding upon her sound and approach throughout the incorporation of elements of sci-fi synthscapes, girl group dramarama, gothic surf disco, blues cantatas, Melody Nelson-era Gainsbourg groove, and harmony-laden reverb-drenched folk-pop among other things. Album single “Blossom Crawls” was a Stevie Nicks meet Phil Spector Wall of Sound-era bit of girl pop that revealed some ambitious songwriting, centered around a careful attention to craft.

The Basildon-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist is gearing up for a 2 part evening of music that will feature two audio installations presented for the first time and for one night only — Psychotic Gemmation: A sonic tapestry process, progress, madness and form, which is a psychedelic and personal appendix to the new album and ‘The Gemmatron, an interactive instrument/choir generator. Musically,. the night will feature Ray and her backing band playing material from the new album as well. But in the meantime, Psychogeology‘s latest single is the Western gothic-tinged “Death Tapes.” The brooding track is centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, buzzing synths, Ray’s sultry delivery and some girl group harmonies — and while bearing a bit of a resemblance to PJ Harvey and The Black Angels, the song possesses a swooning, Edgar Allan Poe-like Romanticism.

Directed by Ziska Riemann, the recently released video is split between sequences of Ray wearing an elaborate headdress with her backing band performing the song in the studio and what appears to be a mass grave robbery among other weird goings-on.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Amsterdam, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and multi-disciplinary artist, Tessa Rose Jackson, who’s perhaps best known for her solo recording project Someone. Now, as you may recall, her debut EP Chain Reaction was an ambitious and creative undertaking that involved an accompanying short film. Unsurprisingly, the Amsterdam-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and multi-disciplinary artist’s forthcoming sophomore EP, Orbit may arguably be her most ambitious undertaking yet:  the material finds Jackson exploring the intensity with which art and music can be fused and how they can fully enhanced.

Thematically, the material incisively comments on our overstimulated digital age, suggesting that we spend so much time on our phones and on social media being exposed to external distractions that we’re essentially orbiting  around each other and our passions, rarely touching, resting or even focusing long enough to truly connect to anything or anyone.  Jackson also created an interactive augmented reality exhibition that combines her music with cutting edge technology and hypnotic art, which employs elements reminiscent of space and planets, with the exhibition being presented in gallery spaces in Amsterdam, London, Berlin, and Paris.

When viewed through a tablet or a smartphone, the artwork comes to life, and the song linked to that particular piece will be played through the viewer’s headphones. The artworks each react differently and react to the music, dynamically building as the songs progress. They will also react to touch from the viewer on their tablet screens, allowing full interaction and immersion. Trippy, huh?

Orbit‘s first single, the dreamy and ethereal “Get It Together” was centered by shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, buzzing power chords and a soaring hook that in some way brought Tame Impala and Air to mind. Centered around an infectious groove, shimmering guitars, four-on-the-floor like beats, the EP’s latest single “I Can’t Remember How To Talk To You” will further Jackson’s growing reputation for crafting breezy and buoyant hooks.

Orbit EP will see a May 1, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings.

 

New Video: The KVB Releases Dreamy Visuals for Shimmering “Violet Noon”

Initially formed back in 2010 as a solo recording project of its founding member, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Wood, the British shoegazer act The KVB stated off with a number of limited cassette and vinyl releases that included “The Black Sun,” which was released through FLA Records and the Into the Night EP, which was released through Downwards Records. Vocalist, keyboardist and visual artist Kay Day joined Wood the following year, and the newly constituted duo released their full-length debut Always Then through Clan Destine Records. 

2013 was a busy year for the duo, as that year saw the release of their sophomore effort, Immaterial Visions, which was released through Cititrax that February. Wood and Day followed that up with a remix EP featuring contributions from Regis and Silent Servant that May — and a reissue of 2011’s limited edition cassette release Minus One through The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe’s label, A Recordings.

The following year, Wood and Day went to Newcombe’s Berlin studio to track what would eventually become the Out of Body EP, which A Records released later that year. Interestingly, those sessions marked a couple of firsts for the duo — the first time that they worked outside of their home studio and the first time that they worked with Joe Dilworth, a dummer known for his work with Stereolab and Cavern of Anti-Matter. The more experimental material they recorded the year, would up comprising 2015’s Mirror Being, which was released through Invada Records. 

2016’s Of Desire found the duo’s sound moving in a more experimental, electronic-leaning direction, as they recorded with vintage synths from Invada Records head and  Portishead and Beak> mastermind Geoff Barrow’s collection. Continuing at a busy pace, the duo’s Fixation/White Walls EP was release in 2017 and they released a re-masted, fifth anniversary edition of Always Then. Interestingly, last year’s Only Now Forever finds the duo returning to their DIY roots, with the duo recording in their Berlin apartment over the course of 2017. 

The album’s atmospheric, “Violet Noon” will further cement the duo’s reputation for pairing reverb-drenched shoegaze, 60s pop inspired boy-girl harmonies and minimalist  electronic production — but within a swooning and achingly hazy dream-like song.  “Influenced by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, ‘Violet Noon’ is a dark love song set against the backdrop of the apocalypse. While the world falls apart, all you can think of is the person you want to spend those last moments with,” The KVB say of the song and its accompanying video. “We shot the video last October, on the last unseasonably warm day of the year on the Jurassic coast in Dorset on the south coast of England. For us, the dreaminess of the video perfectly reflects the otherworldliness of this song, it feels like a hazy memory, timeless and romantic.”

New Video: Sarah P. Returns with a Surreal and Symbolic Video for Disco-Influenced “Maenads”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Athens, Greece-based artist and activist Sarah P. and as you may recall, although she’s perhaps best known as a former member of international acclaimed electronic music production and electronic music duo Keep Shelly in Athens, Sarah P has developed a reputation as a solo artist and collaborator who released her critically applauded full-length debut Who Am I back in 2017 — and she has worked with the likes of Sasha, Mmoths, The New Division, Plastic Flowers, Holly, Hiras, The Bilinda Butchers and a lengthy list of others. 

Sarah’s P’s much-anticipated follow-up to Who Am I, the Maenads EP is a collection of songs celebrating both feminine power (particularly its magic, strength and imperfect perfection) and the artist’s Greek heritage. “Lotus Eaters,” a moody and atmospheric track with four-on-the-floor drumming, shimmering synths, a propulsive and sinuous bass line and Sarah P’s ethereal crooning — and sonically speaking, the track immediately brought to mind Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Kate Bush and the early 80s 4AD Records roster while arguably being the most sensual song I’ve come across within the early part of this year.

Maenads’ latest single, title track “Maenads” is a propulsive, disco-influenced track built around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a funky bass line and thumping beats — and unlike its predecessor, the song manages to remind me a bit of Niki & the Dove and several others. Interestingly, the song as Sarah P explains in press note is about nights that are empty of feelings. 

Shot in Berlin, the video is a surreal fever dream that stars Sarah P. and Sabina Smith-Moreland as a bird that meat to symbolize mental illness. The video shows the importance of coming to terms with own struggles while not letting them overtake one’s life. “I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety for a long time, but I’m convinced that it’s possible to control one’s mental health, rather than living a life controlled by mental illness,” Sarah shares.

“Mental illness never truly goes away, but learning more about it can help understand what’s going on inside your body and mind and therefore, control it better.

“For the last part of the Maenads trilogy, I decided to film in Berlin – where it all started for me. This video is perhaps my least “ethereal” work-to-date – with “ethereal” being a word that’s often used to describe my work. Berlin isn’t ethereal – it’s boxy and well structured in its chaos. Berlin’s light is very different compared to the light in Athens; in Berlin, the light is moody and arrogant – especially during the winter, where it makes rare appearances. Maenads was filmed at Theaterhaus Berlin – a space that felt homely and brought me closer to my drama school years. I had the pleasure to work with photographer and visual artist Colette Pomerleau and dancer Sabina Smith-Moreland. For the coloring of the video, I worked once again with David Hofmann who previously colored the other two parts of the Maenadstrilogy. Although the concept and set are meant to symbolize my life in Berlin, my “Greek Maenads” (Clio “Lil Cli” Arvaniti, Dora Pantazopoulou, Rania Ainiti, Marianna Pagrakioti) make a special appearance on Maenads TV. The additional visuals were filmed & edited by George Geranios, on a rooftop in Athens – the concrete jungle. Lastly, Apostolia Gogara is responsible for the fantastic hair and makeup of the additional visuals.”