Tag: Boulevards

New Video: Vapor Caves’ 80s Inspired Video for Funky, Feminist Anthem “Bitch To The Boys”

With the release of their debut single “The Chase,” which was featured on Comedy Central‘s hit TV show Broad City and its follow-up “Hurry Up & Wait,” which landed on a Spotify‘s Ready for the Day playlist, the rapidly rising Austin, TX-based synth funk act The Vapor Caves — vocalist Yadira Brown and producer BoomBaptist — quickly emerged into the national scene. Deriving their name from a rare, naturally-found phenomenon: an underground cave that billows mineral-rich steam known for its healing properties, the duo pay homage to the phenomenon, by creating sonic medicine for those who enter.

Building upon a growing profile, the duo’s full-length debut, Feel Yourself, saw a limited vinyl-only release earlier this year that quickly sold out. The album further establishes their sound and approach with material that’s simultaneously dance floor friendly, funky and introspective. Interestingly, as a result of their growing profile, the act has opened for JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk.

Feel Yourself’s latest single, the slinky “Bitch To The Boys” is centered round shimmering synth arpeggios, Brown’s sultry and self-assured vocals, a sinuous dance floor friendly groove and an infectious hook, the track sonically reminds me of classic, 80s synth funk like Cherelle, I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, etc., and of contemporary purveyors of the dance floor friendly sound like Dam Funk, Boulevards, Bruno Mars and the like. But more importantly, the song is a defiant, sashaying and strutting feminist anthem and tell off to wack ass fuckboys: the song’s narrator pretty much says “I don’t need your corny ass. I do it for myself anyway.” 

Directed and produced by Side Label, the recently released video is a fittingly 80s-inspired romp that features a crew of wack ass fuckboys, who get told off by the video’s protagonist and her crew. Disses are served — hot, cold and 24 hours a day in this one. 

With the release of their debut single “The Chase,” which was featured on Comedy Central‘s hit TV show Broad City and its follow-up “Hurry Up & Wait,” which landed on a Spotify‘s Ready for the Day playlist, the rapidly rising Austin, TX-based synth funk act The Vapor Caves — vocalist Yadira Brown and producer BoomBaptist — quickly emerged into the national scene. Deriving their name from a rare, naturally-found phenomenon: an underground cave that billows mineral-rich steam known for its healing properties, the duo pay homage to the phenomenon, by creating sonic medicine for those who enter.

Building upon a growing profile, the duo’s full-length debut, Feel Yourself, saw a limited vinyl-only release earlier this year that quickly sold out. Interestingly, the album features material that’s simultaneously dance floor friendly and introspective. And as a result of their rapid rise to national acclaim, the act has opened for Dam Funk.

Interestingly, the album’s latest single is the slinky, “Bitch To The Boys.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, Brown’s sultry and self-assured vocals, a sinuous dance floor friendly groove and an infectious hook, the track sonically reminds me of classic, 80s synth funk like CherelleI Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, etc., and of contemporary purveyors of the dance floor friendly sound like Dam Funk, Boulevards, Bruno Mars and the like. But at its core, the song is a sashaying and strutting tell off to wack ass fuckboys.

 

 

 

 

I wrote quite a bit about  Raleigh, NC-based funk and soul artist and JOVM mainstay Jamil Rashad, best known for his acclaimed solo recording project Boulevards several years ago — and because some time has passed since I’ve personally written about him, I feel that it’s necessary for a bit of a refresher.

As the son of renowned jazz radio DJ, Rashad grew up in a musical household in which a passionate interest in music was fostered and encouraged. Unsurprisingly, a young Rashad listened to a wide variety of music including jazz, blues, R&B and funk. When the Raleigh-based JOVM mainstay was in his teens, he became a self-confessed “scene kid” and got into punk, hardcore and metal, which he admitted later influenced his solo production work.

After attending art school and playing in a couple of local bands, Rashad wound up returning to the sounds that first captured his heart and imagination — funk. Rashad began writing and recording what he has described as “party funk jams for the heart and soul to make you move.,” developing a reputation for a sound that’s heavily indebted to 70s and 80s funk that has helped add his name to a growing list of artists in a contemporary neo-disco/neo-funk movement that includes acts like Dam-Funk, Escort, Mark Ronson, and others through the release of two full-length albums — 2016’s Groove and 2017’s Hurttown, USA.

Slated for a June release, Rashad’s forthcoming, third Boulevards album YADIG! is reportedly a world-building effort that paints aural portraits of love found on the dance floor, nights you hope will never end and the adrenaline-meets-sleep-deprived in-betweens as the sun is rising. The album’s latest single “Take It To The Top” is a funky strut centered by a sinuous bass line, scorching blasts of psych rock meets Prince-like guitars, thumping beats and Rashad’s self-assured yet sultry crooning that sonically brings Rick James, Prince and others to mind.

 

 

 

Comprised of Los Angeles-born and -based musicians Daniel Davila and Cooper Bell, the pop and funk duo Fabriq with their latest single “Electric Flow,” have an sexy, attention-grabbing sound that clearly draws from contemporary electro pop, 80s synth pop and synth funk in a way that’s reminiscent of Dam-Funk, Boulevards and others, as the song possesses a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming and a slick, dance floor rocking hook.

 

 

 

New Video: Atlanta-born Artist Fusilier Releases Politically Charged Visuals for His Sultry Club Banger “Make You”

Starting his musical career as the bassist for the Boston-based indie rock band RIBS, an act that quickly rose to national prominence and opened for The Joy Formidable and Queens of the Stone Age, the Atlanta-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Blake Fusilier grew up having a similar experience that I did as a child, teenager and young adult — of not quite fitting in with your contemporaries. As a teenager while many of his peers aspired to sign to LaFace Records and SoSoDef Records, Fusilier picked up the violin, dreamt of being the black Itzhak Perlman and was obsessed with the work of Edgar Allen Poe. And of course, like odd teenagers everywhere — especially very odd, black teenagers — Fusilier quickly learned that when you’re a square peg, you can be equally hated and ridiculed. Around that time, the Atlanta-born multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer had begun writing his own material.

As RIBS started to achieve national attention, someone asked Fusilier about his experience being black and gay, and at the time, the Atlanta-born artist began to realize two very important personal truths — that he had been running away from those questions for most of his adult life, and that the world’s perceptions and assumptions of him and about him were spiritually and emotionally exhausting. And from that point forward, Fusilier decided that he wanted and needed to make music that would not only drain those questions about his experience and those of others of their power, but to also make them permanently irrelevant. As Fusilier explained in press notes, “I have this theory that if people knew who we really were in their minds, we probably would all have a lot more respect for one another. This applies to everyone: friends and acquaintances and bandmates. I think it’s our duty to ourselves to make sure that those around us have a chance to allow others to see our glorious, true selves. I finally feel like I’m beginning to live by those words. The songs I’m wrapping up have been floating around for years. I had been anticipating the moment when people could actually hear even 20 seconds of my potential.”

The early response so far to Fusilier’s work has been wildly positive with one critic describing his sound as being a synthesis of James Brown and Nine Inch Nails — although his latest single “Make You,” immediately brings to mind the work of Prince, Jef Barbara, Boulevards, and Gordon Voidwell as Fusilier pairs his sultry and sensual cooing with a slick, hyper modern production featuring a sinuous and propulsive bass line, tambourine-led percussion bolstered by stuttering drum programming, arpeggio synth chords, a funky brass sample and a deeply infectious hook. And while being a sultry, club banger the song possesses an ironic and withering sociopolitical commentary that ridicules and obliterates racial stereotypes in a fashion similar to Sly and the Family Stone’s “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey.”

Certainly, when we have a presidential administration that has emboldened supremacist and racist groups to flourish and be as hateful as they once were, having a wider variety of black voices, frankly discussing their unique experiences — and helping to tear down racist assumptions. But it also should serve as a powerful reminder that pop, dance music and funk have long been full of sociopolitical messages; after all, music, art and comedy are some of the best weapons against autocratic, power hungry governments.

As for the video, the Atlanta-born multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer/songwriter explains “I look at my body and what little I know of my family’s story and can’t help but think that I am a most American thing. I’m talking about the mixture of marriages and what I can only assume to be rapes amongst oppressors, the enslaved and the original inhabitants that gave me my coarse hair, jawline and skin and this name, ‘Fusilier.’ The ‘Make You’ video is a very public exorcism of my inner turmoil knowing that people will always see in me themselves and the other, friend and enemy, lust and aversion.”

Comprised of Greg and Jeremy Pearson, Thrillers is a Los Angeles, CA-based sibling duo that have received attention for a slickly produced, anthemic synth pop and dance rock-leaning sound that draws from 80s synth pop, funk and contemporary R&B and indie pop. The duo’s full-length debut Break Free is slated for an April 28, 2017 through Lights and Music Collective, the folks behind the nation-wide indie dance party, Dance Yourself Clean. The album features collaborations with renowned indie pop artist Twin Shadow and producer Back Talk — and the album’s first single “Can’t Get Enough” will further cement the Pearson Brothers’ growing reputation for crafting slickly produced, club bangers, reminiscent of JOVM mainstay Boulevards and St. Lucia, complete with anthemic hooks featuring sinuous bass lines and Nile Rodgers-like guitar, thumping beats and sultry vocals.

The Pearson Brothers will be touring with Dance Yourself Clean’s North American tour  for 14 dates, including a March 31, 2017 stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates
Feb 17 – Boston, MA – Middle East
Feb 18 — Austin, TX — Empire

Feb 24 — San Diego, CA — Music Box
Feb 25 — Phoenix, AZ — Crescent Ballroom
Mar 03 — San Francisco, CA — Mezzanine
Mar 04 — Vancouver, BC — Biltmore Cabaret
Mar 10 — Dallas, TX — Trees
Mar 11 — Chicago, IL — Double Door
Mar 17 — Washington, D.C. — Black Cat
Mar 23 — London, ON — London Taphouse
Mar 24 — Toronto, ON — Lee’s Palace
Mar 25 — Denver, CO — Larimer Lounge
Mar 31 — Brooklyn, NY — Music Hall of Williamsburg 
Apr 01 — Philadelphia, PA — Underground Arts

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout all or a portion of its history, you’d likely be somewhat familiar with New York music scene vet Kelsey Warren as Warren has spent time as a sideman, frontman and studio hired gun in a number of projects including Denise Barbarita and the Morning Papers, pILLOw tHeORY and a number of others. Warren’s solo recording project Blak Emoji received attention earlier this year with the release of Sapiosexual,”a change of sonic direction for Warren, as the power chord-based pyrotechnics have been pushed to the background for slinky synths and a dance floor friendly sound — while gently nodding at Nine Inch Nails. Warren’s second and latest single continues on a similar vein as “Sapiosexual” as the New York-based music scene veteran’s seductive cooing is paired with slinky synths, a sinuous bass and guitar lines, four-on-the-floor drumming and an infectious hook in a slickly produced, dance-floor friendly song. But underneath the sensual and slick production is a some really smart songwriting that simultaneously focuses on a romantic/sexual relationship, and a decadent and alcohol-fueled night out on the town, hitting up dive bars and trying to get into pulsating clubs — all while nodding at funky contemporaries including Boulevards, Tuxedo and others.

 

 

Growing up in Atlanta, Blake Fusilier didn’t quite fit in with his contemporaries — while many of his peers aspired to sign to LaFace Records and SoSoDef Records, as a teenager Fusilier picked up the violin, dreamt of being the black Itzhak Perlman and was obsessed with the work of Edgar Allen Poe. And much like odd teenagers — especially odd black teenagers —  a young Fusilier learned that sometimes when you’re extremely different, you can be hated and ridiculed, and around that time he began writing his own music. By the time, he relocated to Boston for college, Fusilier had learned to play the bass and was a member of moody rock band RIBS, which eventually rose to national prominence; in fact, they’ve opened for The Joy Formidable and Queens of the Stone Age, and have been written about across the blogosphere. 

As the story goes, as the band was achieving quite a bit of success, someone asked Fusilier about being black and gay, and the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer began to realize that running away from those questions and the world’s perceptions of him was spiritually and emotionally exhausting. From that point forward, he wanted to make music that would not only drain those questions of their power but to make them permanently irrelevant. As Fusilier says in press notes, “I have this theory that if people knew who we really were in their minds, we probably would all have a lot more respect for one another. This applies to everyone: friends and acquaintances and bandmates. I think it’s our duty to ourselves to make sure that those around us have a chance to allow others to see our glorious, true selves. I finally feel like I’m beginning to live by those words. The songs I’m wrapping up have been floating around for years. I had been anticipating the moment when people could actually hear even 20 seconds of my potential.” 

So far the response from the blogosphere and music critics has been wildly positive with one critic in particular describing Fusilier’s sound as being a synthesis of James Brown and Nine Inch Nails — although as soon as I heard his latest single “Make You,” I immediately heard Prince, Jef Barbara, Boulevards, Gordon Voidwell and quite a bit of contemporary electro pop as the former RIBS bassist’s sultry and sensual cooing is paired with a slick, hyper modern production consisting of a sinuous bass line, propulsive drum programming led by finger snaps, layers of buzzing synths and electronics, and an incredibly infectious hook in a club banging song that possess an unresolved sexual tension and a sly and ironic commentary on racial and sexual identity. And it all should be a reminder that you can pair some deeply personal and political messages in dance music — and the most important that music can be one of the most powerful weapons imaginable.  

 

New Single: Check Out the Slinky, Seductive and Soulful Electro Pop Sounds of Michigan’s Daniel Wilson

  Up-and-coming, 24 year-old, Michigan-based singer/songwriter and producer Daniel Wilson much like a number of pop artists grew up in a gospel music-loving home. Feeling inspired to create by using file-sharing programs, the Michigan-based Wilson […]