Tag: Billy Ocean

New Video: JOVM Mainstays New Bleach Return with a Trippy Visual for Deceptively Breezy New Single

Quebec City-based indie pop act and JOVM mainstays New Bleach features a duo known throughout Quebec for their work in acclaimed Francophone indie rock act Caravane — — Dominic Pelletier and Raphaël Potvin. And with the release of New Bleach’s first four singles, Pelletier and Potvin’s newest project proved to be a marked sonic departure from their work in Caravane:

“Awake,” the duo’s debut as New Bleach was an Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT-like single centered around a profound philosophical question: “What if death was just a dream?”
“Silver Lining,” a Quiet Storm R&B meets Beacon-like track that’s one part old-school love song and one part plea for hope in a seemingly hopeless and bleak world. 
“High.” Kraftwerk meets 80s New Wave-like track centered around the age-old desire to get into the car for a road trip — and maybe pull over to do some hallucinogens and daydream. 
“You,” a slow-burning and atmospheric track full of the aching longing and regret of one’s lingering ghosts that featured Ghostly Kisses‘ Margaux Sauvé. 

The JOVM mainstays started 2021 with a gorgeously cinematic live session filmed in the Le Massif de Charlevoix, Quebec. Filmed in a mountainous forest cleaning, just off the coast of the St. Lawrence River, with a morning fog gently lifting, the sessions take place over the course of a day and night with the duo performing behind a futuristic lighting rig. The session features three singles I’ve written about previously — “Awake,” Silver Lining,” and “High.” The setting is breathtakingly gorgeous — in a way that only could be Quebec. 

Building upon a growing profile, the Quebec City-based duo’s debut EP Impressions is slated for a May 14, 2021 through Coyote Records. “Stranger,” the first single off the soon-to-be released EP is a breezy and vaporous synth pop number centered around delicate and shimmering synth arpeggios, ethereal vocals, skittering polyrhythm and a sinuous bass line. Sonically, the track reminds me of 80s synth soul and pop like Billy Ocean, but the song’s breeziness is deceptive. The song thematically asks big, existential questions — namely if true happiness is actually possible.

Directed by the members of New Bleach and Maxyme Gagné, the recently released video for “Stranger” is a stylish and trippy visual that features one of the band’s member several bandaged up as though he barely survived through a horrible accident while watching a series of commercials and terribly tragic news events on an old portable TV.

Rachel Huggins is an emerging London-based singer/songwriter, soul and R&B artist, who has had a lifelong passion for music. Although some of her earliest musical memories are of performing at school and at church, her roots in music may have even earlier origins: “My mother had a dream whilst she was pregnant with me,” Huggins explains in press notes, “and in it, she says that she remembers me being a baby, running across a large room to a white piano, where I started playing it. Perhaps this is why they wanted me to learn piano, who knows?”

Throughout her studies, the emerging London-based singer/songwriter, and soul and R&B artist performed across town, eventually founding a gospel choir. While studying music business and production and sociology at the University of Westminster, Huggins began to form her identity as a singer/songwriter and musician — and as a performer, with a stint as a backing vocalist for Billy Ocean and singing the National Anthem for Nelson Mandela.

Since then, Huggins has been extremely busy: she has been a two-time finalist in the BBC’s Gospel Choir of the Year competition, featured as a backing vocalist for DJ Vadim and Sola Rosa — and she has played at Glastonbury Festival, Green Man Festival, Kendal Calling and Secret Garden Party, while finishing up a Masters of Arts in Culture, Language and Identity in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Huggins’ forthcoming EP Keep Dreaming is slated for release later this year. Inspired by and grounded in gospel, soul and jazz, Huggins’ solo work is centered around tales of love and aspiration, with the hopes of lifting and inspiring listeners. The EP’s first single “Take Control” was written after she made the decision to leave a stressful and unfulfilling day job to pursue her dreams. “It’s about acquiring freedom to express without inhibition,” the emerging London-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Sometimes we care so much about the thoughts of others we lose ourselves and momentarily become what others want or expect whilst suppressing who we really are.  I choose to fight and encourage people along the way.”

Keep Dreaming‘s second and latest single “Feels so Good” is a sultry, mid-tempo ballad, centered around a classic soul-inspired arrangement that’s roomy enough to let Huggins’ easygoing yet self-assured and soulful vocals guide the song forward. At its core, the song is a sweet and swooning, old-fashioned love song that sounds as though it could have been released during Motown‘s heyday — or on Daptone Records. “‘Feels So Good’ is an old-fashioned love story,” the rising London-based artist explains in press notes. “It’s an expression of love similar to that which would have been once shared in a love letter. Sometimes we admire people from a distance, and the other person never really knows how valued they are to someone else. If someone makes you feel good, tell them!”

 

 

 

Live Footage: Burna Boy Performs “Anybody” for Vevo CTRL

  With the release of 2013’s Leriq-produced full-length debut L.I.F.E., which featured attention-grabbing singles like  “Like to Party,” “Tonight”, “Always Love You”, “Run My Race” and “Yawa Dey,” Burna Boy, a Nigerian Afro-fusion singer/songwriter, born Damini […]

Although he can trace the origins of his musical career to a lengthy stint as the frontman of a local punk rock band,  the Copenhagen-born and-based singer/songwriter Mattis Jakobsen has begun to see both national and international for his solo recording project MATTIS, a decided and radical sonic departure from his previous work; in fact, if you had been frequenting this site last year, you may recall that I wrote about the Danish pop artist’s debut single “Loverboy,” a “viking soul” track that features a haunting spectral yet low-end heavy production with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a sinuous bass line, hand clap-led percussion, brief, smoky blasts of guitar and an infectious, club banging hook paired with Jakobsen’s sultry and achingly tender vocals, capturing a heartsick narrator, who has fallen into a deep, emotional and spiritual abyss in which he’s desperately alone and disconnected.

“The Chain,” the up-and-coming Danish artist’s second single will further cement his growing reputation for crafting melancholy and heartbreaking pop anthems; however, the new single finds him is an old fashioned torch song that finds Jakobsen expanding upon his sound as it features a stomping and insistent beat with hand clap-led percussion and a propulsive baseline while lyrically, the song features ominous and sinister lyrics focusing on a relationship in which both sides may have clandestine and uncertain motives. And throughout the song, its narrator essentially tells his love object, that he shall soon break the chain that binds them together; that he will move on” — but interestingly enough while doing so, the song managed to remind me of a sinister and dysfunctional version of Billy Ocean‘s “Caribbean Queen” with an equally razor sharp and infectious hook.

 

 

 

Live Footage: Xiu Xiu Covers ZZ Top on AV Club “Undercover”

I’ve long been a fan of The Onion AV Club, as I think they’ve consistently offered some of most incisive and hilarious criticism of movies, movies and pop culture, written by some of the country’s smartest critics and writers. And it shouldn’t be surprising that for a long time I longed to write for them. Now, since moving exclusively to the interwebs, the folks at The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series.  The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to hear some contemporary artist or band cover.

The website’s staff then invites artists and bands over to their Chicago studio, where the invited band chooses a song from the AV Club’s list for that particular session — and then the band or artist records it in a live session. Here’s where things get truly interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again.

And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as  They Might Be Giants’ boisterous  cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females‘ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car),”  and  Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like  Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger in its entirety.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this very strange year, you may recall that to start off the eighth season of Undercover, The A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” Adding to a pretty interesting season of covers, The A.V. Club invited renowned and incredibly prolific experimental indie rock act Xiu Xiu into the studio, where they contributed a tense, manic, almost Devo “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”-like cover of ZZ Top’s smash hit “Sharp Dressed Man,” complete with a wild drum accompaniment that brings new life to an oft covered song. 

Along with their John Congleton-produced 11th full-length effort FORGET, which was released earlier this year, the members of Xiu Xiu will be releasing a split 7 inch with Italian band (r) and it’ll feature both bands covering ZZ Top. 

As Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart explains in press notes, “It took me a long time to come around to ZZ Top. When I was a kid i thought they were a joke band and their beards and campy sexuality freaked me out. Later on Xiu Xiu tours we would and still do always listen to the Black Flag tour diary Get In The Van wherein Henry Rollins mentions playing ZZ Top to all the punks in England, telling them it was the new Exploited record and watching them cry. 

This was funny and I thought hmmm .  . .

Then after watching a long jag of music documentaries, Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top, time and time again was a commentator. He was always incredibly smart, clearly deeply devoted to the history of music and insane looking.  

We were asked by the AV Club cover’s series to play a song from a list they had chosen. Everything on the list was a bunch of 90s RnB that I was never into or lame-o indie rock EXCEPT for ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’

The stars had aligned. I had no idea what a radical guitar part it was and what a pleasure it was to learn, by the end of the song I had to have 4 different fuzz and distortion pedals on to make it as zonked out as it needs to be. 

Walking down the streets of Torino on tour and talking with dear friend and long time collaborator Fabrizio Palumbo of (r) and his husband Paul Beauchamp. I mentioned we were covering the song. They said very matter of factly, “‘Xiu Xiu as ZZ Top and (r) as ZZ Bottom. Let’s do a split 7 inch.’”

He sent in his perfect minimal, experimental, goth, cabaret version of ‘Gimme All Your Lovin.’ A perversion made in heaven was born. “

Live Footage: Minus the Bear Covers Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” on A.V. Undercover

Going back to their print days, I’ve long been a fan of  The Onion AV Club, as they’ve consistently offered some of the smartest, most incisive, funniest criticism of movies, music and pop culture around. Since moving exclusively to the web, the folks behind The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series.  The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to have contemporary artists cover. The website’s staff then invites a bunch of artists and bands to stop by their Chicago studio, where they have the invited band choose a song from the AV Club’s list for that season — and then they record it in a live session. Now, here’s where things get really interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again. And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as  They Might Be Giants’ boisterous  cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females’ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Out of My Dreams (And Into My Car),”  and  Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like  Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger. 

To start off the eighth season of Undercover, the A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.”