Tag: Bon Iver

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Hearts Hearts Release Symbolism-Filled, Animated Visuals for “Sugar/Money”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Vienna, Austria-based indie rock/experimental rock band Hearts Hearts, and as you may recall, with the release of  “I Am In” and “AAA” off their critically applauded debut album Young,  the Austrian act, comprised of David Österle, Daniel Hämmerle, Johannes Mandorfer, and Peter Paul Aufreitet, initially developed a reputation for crafting brooding, slow-burning and elegiac electro pop that drew comparisons to the likes Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus, The Darcys and Radiohead from critics and media outlets internationally. 

As the story goes, after the release of Young, the band’s Peter Paul Aufreiter and Johannes Mandorfer sent two radically different sound snippets to their bandmate David Österle — an aggressive and jazzy piano loop titled “Phantom” and an electronic drum take recorded overseas titled “Island,” which interestingly enough is the German word for the country of Iceland. Upon receiving those two sound snippets from his bandmates, Österle frantically began attempting to put these disparate pieces together; to synchronise what was never meant to be unified, and then started singing over the results. Goods/Gods, the Austrian act’s genre-defying sophomore album reportedly draws from the work of Bon Iver, Jamie XX and Son Lux while taking its thematic cues from the in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning, symbolized by the slash in every title on the album. And as a result, the material finds the band exploring emotional and moral ambiguities, and the ineffectiveness and confusions that the dichotomies and borderlines that define modern society. As the band’s Hämmerle says, the band prefers to think “think in options,” seeing the slash as representing an openness and flexibility in meaning; in similarities as much as in difference.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the aforementioned album single “Phantom/Island,” a wildly experimental track that possessed elements of jazz, electronica, indie rock and experimental pop in a way that brings to mind Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead, Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington— but while conjuring a mix of anguish and ecstasy, yearning and desire within a turn of a musical phrase. “Sugar/Money,” the  album’s latest single is a bit more straightforward than some of its predecessors as the song finds the band drawing from early 80s New Wave, ambient electronica and indie rock in a way that feels dimly familiar but not quite, while focusing on an accessible and infectious hook that gives the song a sense of immediacy. As the band’s frontman David Österle says in press notes, “Living sometimes seems to be a permanent process of self-discipline. We are all constantly running for a jam tomorrow. Sugar keeps us highly energetic. Life doesn’t encourage us to experience the future as a blind joyride. Let’s catch some moments of exhilaration, damn, let’s feel the thrill of immediateness.”

Created by Shorsch Feierfeil, the recently released video for “Sugar/Money” employs the use of incredibly fluid line animations that quickly morph into different arrays of symbolic imagery  that further emphasizes the song’s longing. 

Advertisements

New Video: Austria’s Hearts Hearts Release Gorgeously Shot Surreal Visuals for Album Title Track “Goods/Gods”

With the release of “I Am In” and “AAA” off their critically applauded debut album Young, the  Vienna, Austria-based quartet Hearts Hearts, comprised of  David Österle, Daniel Hämmerle, Johannes Mandorfer, and Peter Paul Aufreitet, initially developed a reputation for crafting brooding, slow-burning and elegiac electro pop that drew comparisons Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus, The Darcys and Radiohead among others. Thematically, Young focused on tension and release — in the sense of someone desperately attempting to break through and out of the familiar and debilitating patterns of their own life.

After Young’s release, the band’s Peter Paul Aufreiter and Johannes Mandorfer sent two radically different sound snippets to their bandmate David Österle — an aggressive and jazzy piano loop titled “Phantom” and an electronic drum take recorded overseas titled “Island,” which interestingly enough is the German word for the country of Iceland. Upon receiving those two sound snippets from his bandmates, Österle frantically began attempting to put these disparate pieces together; to synchronise what was never meant to be unified, and started singing over it. It resulted in the Austrian act’s highly-anticipated, genre-defying sophomore album officially drops today, and the album reportedly finds the band drawing sonically from Bon Iver, Jamie XX and Son Lux while thematically focusing on the in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning, symbolized by the slash on all of the album’s song titles. Interestingly, the material finds the band exploring emotional and moral ambiguities, and the ineffectiveness and confusions that dichotomies and borderlines that define modern society. As the band’s Hämmerle says, the band prefers to think “think in options,” seeing the slash as representing an openness and flexibility in meaning; in similarities as much as in difference.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Phantom/Island” a genre-mashing and genre-defying track that possessed elements of jazz, electronica, indie rock and experimental pop in a way that brings to mind Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead, Flying Lotus, and Kamasi Washington  and “Sugar/Money,” Goods/Gods’ most straightforward track as there’s a decided focus on accessible and infectious hooks while nodding at early 80s New Wave. Goods/Gods’ latest single, album title track “Goods/Gods” is centered around stuttering beats, an arpeggiated synth loop, some industrial clang and clatter, while revealing soaring hooks and a tight groove within a song that sounds deeply indebted to Flying Lotus. 

Directed by Rupert Höller, the recently released video for “Goods/Gods” continues a run of gorgeous and cinematically shot and surrealistic visuals — in particular, the new video balances a hypnotic vibe with a contemporary sense of isolation and anxiousness. 

Live Footage: Hearts Hearts Perform “Sugar/Money” at Hotel am Brillantengrund, Vienna

With the release of “I Am In” and “AAA” off their critically applauded debut album Young, the  Vienna, Austria-based quartet Hearts Hearts, comprised of  David Österle, Daniel Hämmerle, Johannes Mandorfer, and Peter Paul Aufreitet, initially developed a reputation for crafting brooding, slow-burning and elegiac electro pop that drew comparisons Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus, The Darcys and Radiohead. Thematically, Young focused on tension and release — in the sense of someone desperately attempting to break through and out of the familiar and debilitating patterns of their own life. 

As the story goes, after the release of Young, the band’s Peter Paul Aufreiter and Johannes Mandorfer sent two radically different sound snippets to their bandmate David Österle — an aggressive and jazzy piano loop titled “Phantom” and an electronic drum take recorded overseas titled “Island,” which interestingly enough is the German word for the country of Iceland. Upon receiving those two sound snippets from his bandmates, Österle frantically began attempting to put these disparate pieces together; to synchronise what was never meant to be unified, and start singing over the results. Goods/Gods, the Austrian act’s genre-defying sophomore album reportedly draws from the work of Bon Iver, Jamie XX and Son Lux while taking its thematic cues from the in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning, symbolized by the slash in every title on the album. And as a result, the material finds the band exploring emotional and moral ambiguities, and the ineffectiveness and confusions that the dichotomies and borderlines that define modern society. As the band’s Hämmerle says, the band prefers to think “think in options,” seeing the slash as representing an openness and flexibility in meaning; in similarities as much as in difference.

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about the trippy album single “Phantom/Island,” a genre-mashing and genre-defying track that possessed elements of jazz, electronica, indie rock and experimental pop in a way that brings to mind Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington — but while conjuring a mix of anguish and ecstasy, yearning and desire within a turn of a musical phrase. “Sugar/Money,” the soon-to-be released album’s latest single is a bit more straightforward as the song finds the band drawing from early 80s New Wave, ambient electronica and indie rock in a way that feels dimly familiar but not quite, while focusing on an accessible and infectious hook. 

New Video: Hearts Hearts Returns with Feverish and Surreal Visuals for Genre-Defying Single “Phantom/Island”

Comprised of David Österle, Daniel Hämmerle, Johannes Mandorfer and Peter Paul Aufreitet, the Vienna, Austria-based quartet Hearts Hearts developed a reputation for crafting brooding, slow-burning and elegiac music indebted to classic musical and electro pop that drew comparisons to Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus, The Darcys and Radiohead as you would have heard on “I Am In” and “AAA” off their critically applauded debut album Young, an effort that thematically focused on tension and release — in the sense of someone desperately trying to break through and out of the familiar and debilitating patterns of their own life. 

During the release of the Austrian act’s debut Young, the band’s Peter Paul Aufreiter and Johannes Mandorfer sent two radically different sound snippets to their bandmate David Österle — an aggressive and jazzy piano loop titled “Phantom” and an electronic drum take recorded overseas titled “Island,” which interestingly enough is the German word for the country of Iceland. And as the story goes, Österle frantically began attempting to put these disparate pieces together; to synchronise what was never meant to be unified, and start singing over the results. The genre-defying album reportedly draws from the work of Bon Iver, Jamie XX and Son Lux while taking its thematic cues from the in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning, symbolized by the slash in every title on the album — with the band exploring both emotional and moral ambiguities, the ineffectiveness and confusions that the dichotomies and borderlines that define modern society. As the band’s Hämmerle says, the band prefers to think “think in options,” seeing the slash as representing an openness and flexibility in meaning; in similarities as much as in difference. 

The album’s first single “Phantom/Island” offers a heady and trippy taste of the overall aesthetic and sound of the album, as the band draws from jazz, electronica, indie rock, experimental pop in a way that immediately brings Kid A-era Radiohead, Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington — and while being at their most sonically expansive and genre-defying, the track finds the band conjuring a mix of anguish and ecstasy, yearning and desire within a turn of a musical phrase, as you’ll hear a propulsive, almost dance floor friendly motorik groove during the song’s verses and a soaring, cinematic hook that conveys yearning and ache. The song finds the band at their most intimate yet cinematic,  experimental yet accessible, feverish and frenetic in what is arguably one of the most gorgeous and transcendent songs I’ve heard this year. 

Filmed and directed by Austrian artist Gabriel Hyden, the breathtakingly gorgeous visuals are a surreal and feverish dream inspired by Iceland’s equally surreal and gorgeous landscapes.  

New Video: Britney Spears, Boy George, and Nicki Minaj in Auditioning for a Gig in New Visuals for Hook Laden, New Track by Up-and-Coming Leeds-based Electro Pop Duo Krrum

Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-an-coming Leeds, UK-based, indie electro pop production and artist duo KRRUM. Comprised of Derbyshire, UK-born Leeds, UK-based producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex, who grew up on punk rock and ska and Leeds-born and-based singer/songwriter Harrison, who’s largely influenced by Bon Iver, Radiohead and Thom Yorke. And as you may recall, the duo can trace they their origins to when they met while studying at Leeds School of Music. Within a relatively short period of time, the duo has seen both commercial and critical success — the duo has  had singles land at number 1 on Spotify’s Viral Chart, Hype Machine and Shazam, received regular airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1, collaborated with with salute and Lao Ra, and have performed at last year’s Pitchfork Paris Festival.

“Moon,” the Leeds-based duo’s first single of the year, found the duo pairing a club banging production featuring enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, stuttering and glitchy electronics, a soaring hook, chopped up and distorted vocal samples with Harrison’s plaintive and soulful vocals giving the song a thoughtful, fatalistic sort of introspection; that shouldn’t be surprising as the song “deals with the ritual of wanting to pursue a relationship withs someone, but not wanting to jump the gun and ruin it. It’s an uncomfortable place to be because you have no control and you’re probably gonna mess it all up, like you always do.” 

Interestingly enough, the duo’s first single “Evil Twin” was their first single and although it caught on virally, the duo reworked and fleshed out the song in a way that makes them feel as though the song is finally completed; in fact, the song features a production consisting of a cinematic, looped horn arrangement, a chopped up, soulful, house music-like vocal sample, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Harrison’s vocal taking on a gravelly ache. And while the song is rooted upon a  swaggering hook, it possesses an underlying aching uncertainty — the sort of uncertainty of someone who’s swaying between a good life, and a life of sin and vice. Sonically, the track manages to further cement their reputation for crafting hook-laden pop but while gently pushing their sound in an avant-garde leaning direction while remaining playfully accessible. 
As the band’s Alex explains of the song, the song toys “with the duality of wanting to be healthy, productive and find some long-term stability, but wanting to throw all of that away and indulge your vices. Individually, they are comforting but they are always competing with each other to come out.”

Directed by Camille Summers-Valli, the video as the duo’s Alex notes is a strange realization of the competition between one’s good, healthy side and one’s vice-loving, trouble-seeking side, as it stars Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Boy George and Michael Jackson lookalikes auditioning for a gig for Krrum’s lead producer and co-vocalist Alex, who appears both unimpressed and confused. Interestingly, the visuals give these world famous superstars a desperate and ridiculous humanity, as they’re auditioning for a role they don’t fit for. 
 

Comprised of Derbyshire, UK-born Leeds, UK-based producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex, who grew up on punk rock and ska and Leeds-born and-based singer/songwriter Harrison, who’s largely influenced by Bon Iver, Radiohead and Thom Yorke, the Leeds, UK-based electro pop production and artist duo Krrum can trace its origin to when the duo met while they were studying at the Leeds School of Music.  Within a short period time, the duo has seen a rapidly growing profile — the duo’s has had work land at number 1 on Spotify’s Viral Chart, Hype Machine and Shazam, received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1, collaborated with salute and Lao Ra, and have performed at last year’s Pitchfork Paris Festival.

The Leeds-based duo’s first single of 2017, “Moon” pairs enormous, tweeter and woofer rock beats, stuttering and glitchy electronics, a soaring hook, a chopped up and distorted vocal sample, and Harrison’s plaintive and soulful vocals in a song that the duo says “deals with the the ritual of wanting to pursue a relationship with someone, but not wanting to jump the gun and ruin it. It’s an uncomfortable place to be because you have you control and your’e probably gonna mess it gallup, like you always do.” And as a result, the song possesses an aching vulnerability and longing, but an underlying fatalism while simultaneously being radio and dance floor friendly.

New Video: The Understated Beautiful Visuals and Sounds of Bay Uno’s “Black Beauty”

It’s been over a year since I’ve last written about him and his work but he’s been playing a number of shows across town — including a December 7, 2016 set at The Slipper Room, which benefits Barc, a no-kill shelter. In any case, his latest single “Black Beauty” is a thoughtful and gorgeously hushed single featuring strummed guitar, twinkling percussion, bursts of accordion and a cinematic sweep paired with Bay Uno’s earnest and thoughtful crooning in a song that evokes the swooning sensation of being swept up in profound love and of finding oneself through a connection with nature. And much like his previously released singles there’s a sense of childlike awe and wonder that’s infectious — and should remind the listener of their own forgotten inner child.

The recently released video was shot on a grainy Instagram-like filter and shows the singer/songwriter riding a beautiful black horse, with whom he seems to have a profound connection, and of being in nature. And much like the song it possesses a simple and understated beauty.

With the release of “Cold” and “Thread,Melbourne, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Matt Connelly’s solo recording project Retro Culture went viral for a hazy, 80s synth pop that sound as though it could have been part of the soundtracks for the major motion picture Drive and Netflix‘s hit series Stranger Things — and as a result both singles received more than 1.2 million streams on Spotify , appeared on Spotify‘s New Music Friday playlist and others and have been championed tastemakers like Majestic Casual.

Connelly’s latest single “Fading” will further cement the Australian multi-instrumentalist and producer’s growing reputation for a retro-futuristic, synth pop sound as the single, which was co-produced by Jack Arentz, who has worked with Kult Klyss and I know Leopard and mastered by Huntley Miller, who has worked with Bon Iver and Sylvan Esso, pairs Connelly’s plaintive vocals with swirling electronics, shimmering synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, a sinuous bass line and an anthemic hook. Interestingly, the song sonically speaking will remind some listeners of St. Lucia and the Cascine Records roster, as the song manages to be danceable but just under the surface is a thoughtful, contemplative nature.

 

 

Fading’ builds on Connelly’s previous thoughtfully curious and hazy pop debut releases ‘Cold’ & ‘Thread’, which were released earlier in 2016 to early and unexpected international success. Full of fuzzy beats & shoe gaze sounds, both ‘Cold’ & ‘Thread’ went viral and achieved an impressive 1.2 million streams on Spotify, appearing on several Spotify playlists including New Music Friday and championed by tastemakers including Majestic Casual.

Brought to life by a kaleidoscope of inspirations and experiments with live-recorded drums, guitar, bass and synths, his new single ‘Fading’ finally took form as an ode to the nostalgic and 80-gazing soundtrack to Netflix TV hit ‘Stranger Things’.  The single was co-produced with Jack Arentz (Kult Klyss, I Know Leopard) and mastered by Huntley Miller (Bon Iver’s, Slyvan Esso).

Influenced by the likes of Daft Punk and The 1975, Connelly describes the inspiration for ‘Fading’ as being inspired by, ‘The film Drive has played a big part in my musical inspiration recently so I guess that’s where that comes from. Also I was watching Stranger Things at the time of writing Fading and it has this really amazing synth sound track. It reminded me of Drive. That 80s sound is my current obsession. Lyrically, I tend to draw from what’s going on around me or from my own life’

Retro Culture will be coming over to the UK to debut live early next year. More info to follow.

Tomorrow marks the release of Mavis Staples’ latest album Livin’ On A High Note and the album will reportedly reference and draw from her 60+ year musical career influencing and defining gospel, soul, folk, pop, R&B, blues rock and even hip-hop — and that shouldn’t be surprising.  But the most interesting and compelling aspect of Livin’ On A High Note is that Mavis recruited a number of diverse and critically applauded contemporary artists to write songs specifically for her including Neko Case, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Nick Cave, Ben Harper, tUnE yArDstUnE yArDs, Aloe Blacc, Benjamin Booker, The Head and the Heart and M. Ward — with Ward also taking up production duties. As the legendary soul singer explained in press notes “I’ve been singing my freedom songs and I wanted to stretch out and sing some songs that were new. I told the writers I was looking for some joyful songs. I want to leave something to lift people up; I’m so busy making people cry, not from sadness, but I’m always telling a part of history that brought us down and I’m trying to bring us back up. These songwriters gave me a challenge. They gave me that feeling of, ‘Hey, I can hang! I can still do this!’ There’s a variety, and it makes me feel refreshed and brand new. Just like Benjamin Booker wrote on the opening track, ‘I got friends and I got love around me, I got people, the people who love me.’ I’m living on a high note, I’m above the clouds. I’m just so grateful. I must be the happiest old girl in the world. Yes, indeed.”

Now you might recall that I wrote about album single “High Note.” The single focuses on something that’s much easier said than done for most of us — taking the higher road despite how hurt, betrayed and disgusted you might be over a particular person or a particular situation, and doing so with grace and dignity. At the same time, the song’s narrator points out that taking the higher road requires wisdom and experience — sometimes embittering and hurtful ones to know when and how to do so. Sonically, the song pairs a loose and bluesy guitar line with Mavis’ legendary vocals in a song that radiates a comforting and soulful warmth that says “hey, I’ve been there, too.”

Recently, two more singles from the album were released — the Nick Cave penned “Jesus Lay Down Beside Me” and the tUnE yArDs penned “Action.” “Jesus Lay Down Beside Me” pairs slow-burning and bluesy guitar chords with Mavis Staples’ unmistakable vocals in what may arguably be the most gospel-leaning song on the entire album as the song’s narrator offers Jesus comfort for his suffering — with the understanding that even for the most religious their faith can seem both distant and easily questioned. “Action” is a shuffling and upbeat call and response-based song in which its narrator says that desperate times often require desperate measures — and that when you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, that you’re getting up off your ass and doing something. And much like Charles Bradley‘s “Change For The World,” “Action” points out that civilization’s current plight is untenable and unsustainable until we’ve had enough and change it. It seems like we all need to listen to the old-timers, huh?

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that I’ve written about San Francisco, CA and Big Sur, CA-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer Jenny Gillespie. Gillespie can trace her musical career to he childhood — during drives to and from the Springfield, IL area, where she was born and raised, she spent quite a bit of time harmonizing in the backseat with her sister, who is a gifted and renowned pianist. When the San Francisco and Big Sur-based singer/songwriter was 13, she picked up her mother’s Martin guitar and began putting the poems she had been writing to her own original music. Gillespie’s life was further changed when a local record store clerk gave her album from three of the 90s most renowned singer/songwriters Tori AmosSarah McLachlan and Shawn Colvin — all of whom quickly became major influences on Gillespie’s music and songwriting.

After stints living in Virginia, Paris and Texas, Gillespie relocated to Chicago, where she self-produced and then released her sophomore album, Light Year, a folk and alt-country album that received quite a bit of praise. And as a result the attention Light Year received, Gillespie met Darwin Smith, an Austin, TX-based multi-instrumentalist, with whom she wrote her third full-length effort, Kindred, a sparse, experimental, electronica-based effort recorded in an old house in Wilmette, IL with contributions from Steve Moore, who has worked with Tift Merritt and Laura Veirs and Dony Wynn, who has worked with the legendary Robert Plant.

Inspired by a volunteer trip to Kenya that led her to an African fingerpicking class at the Old Town School of Folk Music and studying for an MFA in Poetry at North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College, Gillespie found her sound and songwriting approach expanding and becoming more refined. By the fall of 2011, she traveled to NYC to record the EP Belita with Shazard Ismaily, a multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Lou ReedBonnie Prince Billy, and St. Vincent. Interestingly, that effort possesses elements of pop, folk music, African and Asian rhythms and tones.

Featuring contributions from Emmett Kelly (Bonnie Prince Billy) on guitar and Joe Adamik (CalifoneIron and Wine) on drums, her last full-length effort Chamma was released to critical praise, including landing on Billboard Magazines Top 25 Albums of 2014 List. Naturally, that has seen Gillespie’s profile grow nationally — and continuing on that buzz, the singer/songwriter is set to release Chamma‘s follow-up, Cure for Dreaming through Narooma Records at the end of the month.  Recorded over the past couple of months and featuring contributions from Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann), drummer Jay Bellerose (Robert Plant and Allison Krauss’ Raising Sand), guitarist Chris Bruce (Meshell Ndgeocello), guitarist Gerry Leonard (David Bowie), and pedal steel player Greg Leisz (Lucinda WilliamsBon Iver), the album  reportedly possesses elements of folk, progressive jazz, and 60s and 70s AM pop.

The album’s first single “No Stone” paired Gillespie’s unhurried and husky vocals with a spacious and subtly jazz-like arrangement of keys, guitar, bass, gently buzzing electronics and hushed drumming in a song that felt as intimate as a lover whispering sweet nothings in your ear. And at the song’s core was a conversational lyricism that possessed a novelist’s attention to detail — both physical and psychological — as you can picture a woman who hides her face by the ocean, cherry blossoms in bloom, and someone peering through a keyhole to see a depressed woman struggling to just start her day. And as a result the song’s narrator feels like a fully-fleshed out person, desperately struggling to push forward.
The album’s second and latest single “Part Potawatomi” pairs Gillespie’s unhurried and ethereal vocals with a hummable melody, a deceptively simple arrangement of guitar, drums, bass and ambient electronics that sonically bears a resemblance to Junip — and their frontman, Jose Gonzalez‘s solo work.  And much like much like the album’s first single “No Stone,” “Part Potawatomi” reveals a Gillespie’s remarkable attention to detail, as the song frankly discusses the slow and seemingly inevitable dissolution of a romantic relationship metaphorically described as a storm brewing over the shore. The song’s narrator seems to evoke the sensation of being trapped in a relationship that’s going nowhere out of familial and moral obligation — and as a result, the song possesses a subtle yet increasing feeling of frustration and regret, while being one of the more beautiful songs I’ve heard in the past 10 days.