Tag: Cherelle

Cousin Kula is a rising Bristol, UK-based sextet, featuring highly active members of their hometown’s progressive jazz scene. Bonding over a shared love of an eclectic range of music that includes pop, psych, prog, disco and Afrobeat, the members of Cousin Kula quickly found themselves living together. And with a rehearsal room in their basement, the band honed a sound and approach that meshed their varied influences and passions, eventually becoming one of their hometown’s hottest bands.

Slated for a November 18, 2019 release through Chiverin Records, the Bristol-based sextet’s forthcoming sophomore effort Stroodles EP follows their opening spot for Japanese rippers Bo Ningen and the announcement of a headlining UK tour to support the new EP in November. The EPs first single “Invitation” is reportedly a slight departure for the members of Cousin Kula, as the song is a shimmering bit of 80s-inspired synth funk and soul that nods at the periods titans — i.e.,  Cherelle, Mtume and others, as well as contemporaries like Tuxedo but with a jazzy edge.

 

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Initially formed in 2007, as the solo recording project of Melbourne, Australia-based DJ and producer Benjamin Plant, Miami Horror eventually expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Daniel Whitechurch (bass, keys, guitar) and Kosta Theodosis (drums) and with their earliest releases — 2008’s Bravado EP  2010’s full-length debut Illumination and 2015’s sophomore effort All Possible Futures —  the Aussie act established their own sound, which drew from Prince, New Order, Todd Rundgren and Pink Floyd, as well as from house music and electro pop. Interestingly, the act’s most recent effort, 2017’s The Shapes EP was a decided change in sonic direction for the act with the material largely indebted to 80s neon-colored pop and New Wave.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Restless,” the first single from the acclaimed Aussie indie electro pop act in over two years, a single that found the project returning to its collaborative and production-based roots, as the act’s new incarnation. “The Shapes was always meant to be a one-off conceptual project, so once that was complete I began moving back towards the original creative process that Miami Horror started with; a simpler approach to production and a continued emphasize on outside vocalists.” Plant says. “For me, music has always been about completing a vision and trying to make something stand out. Allowing outside collaboration really opens me up to complete that vision without being restricted to my own skill set.”

Now, as you may recall “Restless” was a breezy and summery track centered around shimmering synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, tons of hi-hat and a plaintive and sultry vocal contribution Kevin Lavitt. And while retaining the slick, dance floor-friendly electronic production that has won Plant international acclaim, the song seems indebted to 80s Quiet Storm R&B — in particular Cherelle‘s “Saturday Love,” and Mtume‘s “Juicy Love” immediately come to my mind, as the song possessed a similar sophisticated sexiness to it. “Luv Is Not Enough” the acclaimed Aussie act’s second single of this year is centered around shimmering guitars, a funky, two-step inducing groove and Clear Morifee’s alluring vocals, presenting a romantic vision of empowerment and self confidence. While being in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor, Plant cites artists like The Internet, Kaytranada, Anderson .Paak and Calvin Harris‘ 2017 single “Slide,” which he says caused a big shift in perspective.

“We hadn’t really been into much new music. Everything was feeling dull and minimal,” Plant says of the writing of “Luv Is Not Enough.” “Then when I heard ‘Slide,’ it was a seemingly revelatory moment. It was refreshing to hear a song that was based around the simplicity of a good bass line and chords. It made me realize that maybe we’d been overthinking things, as those had always been two of our favorite and highest prioritized elements when we started out.”

Along with the single comes the announcement that the project will be releasing their highly-anticipated, third full-length album next year — and that Miami Horror will be embarking on a 17 date North American tour with an all-star lineup, a sextet that will include vocalists Reva Devito and TC Milan and Melbourne’s Queen Magic on guitar. The tour will include a November 27, 2019 stop at Webster Hall. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
Oct 31: Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club
Nov 1: Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
Nov 2: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Nov 6: San Francisco, CA @ August Hall
Nov 8: Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
Nov 9: Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
Nov 13: San Diego, CA @ Music Box
Nov 14: Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
Nov 16: Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital Festival
Nov 20: Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
Nov 22: Chicago, IL @ Park West
Nov 23: Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
Nov 24: Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
Nov 26: Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Nov 27: New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Nov 29: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Nov 30: Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry

New Video: Tei Shi and Blood Orange Team Up on a Shimmering and Slow Burning 80s Synth Funk-Inspired Ballad

With the release of her critically applauded full-length debut, Crawl Space, the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist and electronic music producer Valerie Teicher, a.k.a Tei Shi quickly established her sound — slow-burning and shimmering, ethereal pop.

Since the release of her debut, Teicher has been rather busy — she’s collaborated with Blood Orange and Diddy on the viral hit song “Hope,” which has amassed over 10 million stream and appears in the accompanying video along with Diddy, A$AP Rocky, Tyler the Creator and Empress Of. And early this year, she joined Blood Orange in a performance of the song at this year’s Coachella Festival. She’s also been busy working on her highly-anticipated and long-awaited sophomore album La Linda, which is slated for a November 15, 2019 release through Downtown Records.

After spending several years in New York, Teicher relocated to Los Angeles last year, and as a result she quickly shifted course on her path as an artist. “I felt like I was closing a chapter in my life that was tied up in a lot of negativity, and reconnecting with open space and my own creativity in a way that I hadn’t in a very long time,” she says. “I wanted this whole project to reflect the feeling of stepping into another world that’s almost surreal or fantastical in its beauty.”

The album’s material reflects that change in artistic path with the album thematically and tone-wise is a purposeful departure. While her full-length debut was centered around emotional claustrophobia and confusion, the material off La Linda was written in the yard outside of her Elysian Park home — a sun-drenched space with roes bushes and berry patches, a herb garden and apple tree. Unsurprisingly, the album, which is Spanish for “the beautiful” also finds Teicher connecting to her Latin roots and cultural identity, with the acclaimed singer/songwriter writing and singing lyrics in her native Spanish. “Moving to L.A. made me feel much more connected to my Latin roots and my cultural identity, in a way that feels really loving,” says Tei Shi, who grew up between Colombia and Vancouver.

While creating La Linda, Teicher took on the role one executive producer and assembled an all-star team of producers that included Blood Orange, who has also worked with Sky Ferreira, Solange Knowles and FKA Twigs; Stint, who has worked with Santigold, HEALTH and Gallant; TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek; Noah Breakfast, who has worked with Christine and the Queens, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ty Dolla $ign, among a list of others. For Teicher, working with such an eclectic array of musicians and producers helped to shake her free from creative stagnation. “Part of the motivation to move to L.A. was wanting to be a part of a community of people who were excited to collaborate,” Teicher says in press notes. “I felt like I’d gotten to the point where I wasn’t learning as much or picking up new things, so I wanted to work with lots of different people and take in as much as I could from their processes.”

Sonically, the album was also influenced by a disparate array of artists including German choreographer Pina Bausch and acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. “With Kurosawa, I was so inspired by how each frame is so well-composed that it almost looks like a painting, and how he used these very simple things like rain or a gust of wind to create emotion,” the acclaimed Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter explains in press notes. Interestingly, she also found nature inspiring the album’s material as well. I think I took nature for granted for a long time, but making this album I was so drawn to the mountains and trees and water—I realized how much nature is another form of art,” Teicher says. ““For me this album is about letting go of the past and moving willingly into the future,” Teicher continues. “I hope it can give people a glimpse of something beautiful, and help them look out into the world in a more loving and intuitive way.”

La Linda’s latest single is the slow-burning, 80s synth soul-inspired, Noah Breakfast-produced single “Even If It Hurts.” Continuing Teicher’s ongoing collaboration with acclaimed synth pop artist and producer Blood Orange, the track is centered around thumping 808-like beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and Teicher’s and Hynes plaintive vocals trading verses on love — particularly how pain in some way or another is always part of love.  And while being a soulful synthesis of Teicher’s and Hynes work, the song also manages to sound as though it were drew from the likes of Cherelle’s “Saturday Love” and Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit”

“I made this song with two of my closest collaborators — Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) and Noah Breakfast,” Teicher shares in press notes. ” It came together in pieces between LA and New York but sprouted from the lyrics Dev and I kept on singing – ‘even if it hurts…I just don’t mind’. The concept is really the realization and acceptance that pain is a natural consequence of love. It’s a duet about the ways in which we make ourselves vulnerable to those we love, sometimes at a high cost. The video was directed by Cara Stricker and with an incredible and almost exclusively female creative crew. It features a multitude of amazing designers like Collina Strada, Vaquera, Christopher John Rogers, Mugler, Maryam Nassir Zadeh . I wanted to capture the romantic and melancholic elements of the song but put them in a world that feels removed from the every day, its own little odd paradise where Dev and I existed parallel to one another but never really together.”

The video’s director Cara Stricker adds, “I wanted to explore the iconography of love in art history through a modern yet romantic lens. Creating stillness and emotive movement to reflect the physical or emotional space in love… vulnerability, numbing immersion, knowing the truth, becoming closer, fighting for it, letting them in…even if it hurts. It’s a conversation between opposing perspectives in a relationship.”

New Video: Napoleon Gold Releases a Hazy and Surrealistic Video for 80s Inspired Pop Confection “Love Don’t Cut Me Down” feat. Haiva Ru

Born Antoine Honorez, the Luxembourg City, Luxembourg-born French electronic music producer and artist Napoleon Gold received attention across the European electronic music scene and elsewhere for as a solo artist, whose ambient electronic production work is generally centered around bewitching arrangements, warm, low-pitched vocal samples and rousing percussion — and for a series of remixes and collaborations with Sun Glitters and Monsoonsiren. Building upon a growing profile across the European Union, Honorez toured across the European Union’s festival circuit, making appearances at Liverpool Soundcity Festival, Nordik Impakt, Galapagai Festival, Rock A Field and others.

After signing to New York-based electronic labels 13 Audio and Cinematic Music Group last year, Honorez released an attention grabbing collaborative EP,  A New Colour with T-Pain. However, 2019 may be a breakthrough year for the Luxembourg City-born producer: his highly anticipated full-length debut Sunset Motel is slated for a September 20, 2019 release. Deriving its title from a fictitious place, where the producer takes refuge from his life-long struggles from insomnia — and the thoughts, desires, regrets and dreams that come during the late night hours, the album thematically is about the inspiration he feels late at night. The album will also further cement his reputation for being an expert curator of collaborative talent, as the album finds him working with an eclectic array of up-and-coming artists including Haiva Ru’s Annie Merrill, Anna Majidson, Madge, Jesus Honcho, PH Trigano, Raquel, Kimberly Tell and Jalen Santoy. 

The album’s first single “Love Don’t Cut Me Down,” a collaboration with Haiva Ru is a decidedly 80s synth R&B two-step centered around thumping beats, layers of arpeggiated synths, brief blasts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a funky bass line, a sinuous and infectious hook and Haiva Ru’s Allie Merrill’s tender and plaintive vocals. And while sonically speaking, the song manages to recall Cherrelle, and even contemporaries like ACES, the song expresses a mix of yearning, longing and desperate hope that seems all too common in any romantic relationship. “I think I associate my first encounters with insomnia to a period of my childhood when my parents were constantly listening to this Belgian radio station called RTL2, on which they’d always play this kind of music. The songs trigger emotions linked to my childhood and they really speak to me. I wanted to add similar textures and vibes into this album” Honorez says in press notes. 

Starring Haiva Ru’s Allie Merrill, the recently released video is a hazy, languid and surrealistic dream that has Merrill in a hotel room that’s both decadent and dilapidated. We see her intimate moments, dancing to a song and reminiscing — before bathing with her clothes on. 

David Halsey is an up-and-coming Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist, who grew up listening to his parents recording collection, which included Madonna, Depeche Mode and Soft Cell. His brothers introduced him to Bay Area hip-hop. Unsurprisingly, both of those things managed to heavily influence his attention-grabbing solo recording project Petticoat, a musical project that finds Halsey meshing early 80s New Wave, experimental club music and bubblegum bass into a unique, futuristic-leaning take on electronic music. “I love the music from eras that have had an eye towards futurism,” Halsey says. “Things like 2000s RnB and modern club/pop music.”

Earlier this year, the Bay Area-based producer and electronic music artist released a Pharrell Williams-inspired rework of Internet pop sensation Slayyter‘s “Mine,” and building upon a rapidly growing profile, his latest single “Fantasy” is an swooning and flirty, 80s synth pop and synth funk-inspired bop centered around shimmering synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a sinuous bass line and a big, infectious hook. And while sonically recalling the likes of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Cherelle’s “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” and Beverly Girl, the song possesses a familiar, retro-futuristic air.

“Fantasy,” as Haley describes in press notes is “a song centered around the act of presenting through dating apps and websites. The lyrics play into the consequences of shallowness and miscommunication through online profiles. I chose to go with 80s New Wave mixed with dance pop for the instrumental. To me, that era of 80s synth pop was inherently futuristic for its time with its synthesizers, experimental voice mixing, and subject matter. It was a perfect match to get across the feeling and message of modern love; like an eye towards the future through a lens of retrospection.”

 

New Video: Acclaimed Indie Electro Pop Act Miami Horror Releases a Sepia-Toned Visual for “Restless”

Initially formed in 2007, as the solo recording project of Melbourne, Australia-based DJ and producer Benjamin Plant, Miami Horror eventually expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Daniel Whitechurch (bass, keys, guitar) and Kosta Theodosis (drums) — and with the release of 2008’s Bravado EP, 2010’s full-length debut Illumination and 2015’s All Possible Futures, the band established a sound that drew from Prince, New Order, Todd Rundgren and Pink Floyd, combined with contemporary electronic production techniques, including house and electro pop. Interestingly, the act’s most recent recorded output, 2017’s The Shapes EP was a decided change in sonic direction with the band’s sound being indebted to 80s pop and New Wave — in particular, Talking Heads, Blondie and the like. 

Two years have passed since the acclaimed Australian indie electro pop act has released material and the act’s latest single, “Restless” finds the project returning to its collaborative and production-based roots. Plant champions this return to his roots as Miami Horror’s new incarnation. “The Shapes was always meant to be a one-off conceptual project, so once that was complete I began moving back towards the original creative process that Miami Horror started with; a simpler approach to production and a continued emphasize on outside vocalists.” Plant says. “For me, music has always been about completing a vision and trying to make something stand out. Allowing outside collaboration really opens me up to complete that vision without being restricted to my own skill set.”

Interestingly, “Restless” is a breezy and summery track centered around shimmering synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, hi-hat led drumming and a plaintive and sultry vocal contribution from Kevin Lavitt. And while retaining the slick, dance floor-friendly electronic production that has won Plant international acclaim, the song sounds indebted to 80s Quiet Storm R&B — in particular Cherelle’s “Saturday Love,” and Mtume’s “Juicy Love” immediately come to my mind, as the song has a similar sophisticated sexiness to it. “I love putting two people in a room that wouldn’t normally work together and seeing what comes of it,” Plant says of his collaboration with Lavitt. 

Directed by Keenan Wetzel, the recently released sepia-toned video for “Restless” features an assortment of quirky characters coming together for tennis training and some meet-cute lust — before ending with a menacing and suggestive air. “When I heard ‘Restless’ I was struck with a nostalgic feeling of starting out a relationship; those first feelings of anxiety coupled with the uncertainty whether or not the attraction is mutual,” Keenan Wetzel says of his video treatment. “I wanted to take these familiar feelings and add Miami Horror’s style to create a bright but strange world for these young people to find each other. I have always been interested in 1970’s culture and how people turned to communities, often ritual-based, to find a sense of belonging. So the idea for the ‘Restless’ music video was to put a pair of young people into a tennis playing community where they were looking for meaning. Only, instead of finding purpose in this community, they find each other, which leads to both love and realization that the nature of the community was not going to give them any more sense of belonging.”

Comprised of Nick Wisdom and AstroLogical, the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based hip-hop and electro pop production duo Potatohead People can trace their origins to when they first met in a high school, community baseball league in high school and bonded over their mutual love of J. Dilla and Madlib. In 2008 Wisdom and AstroLogicla began working together in the hip-hop collective Elekwent Folk; but soon after, the duo formed Potatohead People and began focusing on creating forward-thinking instrumental music.

After releasing a series of EPs digital through Vancouver-based net-label Jellyfish Recordings, the renowned New York-based label Bastard Jazz re-issued 2012’s Kosmichemusik EP and released a 7 inch, which quickly became collector’s item; in fact, the Vancouver-based production team’s association with Bastard Jazz helped land their song “Back to My Shit,” featuring Frank’n’Dank‘s Frank Nitty on a Powerade-produced Lebron James documentary. Adding to a growing profile, the duo have been championed by the likes of OkayPlayer, Kaytranada, Soulection, Nightmares on Wax, Pomo, Exmag, Big Boi and the late Phife Dawg among others.

Last year, the duo released their groundbreaking sophomore album Nick & Astro’s Guide to the Galaxy, an album that found them continuing an ongoing collaboration with Illa J, as well as a collection of other artists. Building upon the momentum of their sophomore album, the Canadian production duo will be releasing Nick & Astro’s Instrumentals, Remixes & B-Sides EP through Bastard Jazz Records on April 26, 2019 and the EP features a collection of instrumentals, B-sides and a handpicked collection of their favorite producers from around the world remixing their material. Additionally, the members of Potatohead People held a remix contest from which they picked one winner from an overwhelming number of submissions.

The soon-to-be released EP’s latest single is the New Jack Swing and Quiet Storm-inspired original track “Iced Tea.” Centered around a thumping, club friendly production featuring handclap-led percussion with thumping and shuffling beats, a sinuous bass line, layers of arpeggiated synths and a slick hook, the single reminds me of Cherrelle‘s “Saturday Love,” and “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” and G-funk era hip-hop. giorgi and Radina Vee contribute sultrily delivered vocals that are part late night, come hither come on, part you’ve been friendzoned — but with someone who’s actually pretty awesome.

 

 

 

86’d from Neon Indian on Vimeo.

Alan Palomo is a Mexican-born, Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer and film maker, best known for his acclaimed solo recording project Neon Indian. And with the release of four full-length albums and an EP — 2009’s Psychic Chasms, 2013’s Era Extraña, the Errata Anex EP and 2015’s Vega Intl. Night School, Palomo established a reputation for crafting a slickly produced synth pop sound that sounds indebted to PrinceThrillerBad and Dangerous-era Michael Jackson and the synth funk/synth R&B sounds of the late 70s and early 80s – in particular think of The Whispers  Heatwave Evelyn “Champagne” King’, Cherelle and an even lengthier list of others.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve written about Palomo and Neon Indian and as it turns out that Palomo had spent the past couple of years working on 86’d, his first narrative short. As Palomo says in press notes, 86’d is “a love letter to New York cinema and in a way, a final recapitulation of the Night School universe. Shot on 16mm over the course of three nights, it was an ambitious undertaking for all parties involved but honestly making it was such a blast that at times felt like just that, a party. I’m eternally grateful to all the wonderful people that came together to realize this kooky project and proud to finally be able to share it with music and movie goers alike.

Directed by Palomo, written by Palomo and Kai Flanders, edited by Pete Ohs and Dustin Reid, the film stars Buddy Duress (Good Time, Heaven Knows What), Lindsay Burdge (Easy, Thirst Street, The Midnight Swim), Seaton Smith (Top Five, Mulaney), Chase Williamson (John Dies at The End), Mitzi Akaha (Lowlives, Dark Side of The Moon) and musician Alex Frankel (Holy Ghost) as well as Palomo. Set in Ed Koch-era NYC, Max takes a mouthful of mescaline and desperately tries to make it home before it kicks in. On his way, he decided to stop at an all-night deli for a quick, late night meal. After numerous order delays and full-on trip stampeding into his psyche, he is made to pay witness to the colorful cast of lower east side weirdos, visualizing their stories through his newly altered lens: A Times Square dominatrix meets up with one of her regulars to reveal an answering message left by his wife. Two punks discuss an ultimatum as one reveals his connection to a pistol found in a drug bust. A recording engineer convinces an aspiring singer to re-record a destroyed vocal take from a canonic 80s group and attempts to pass it off as the original. Visually speaking, the short reminds me quite a bit of Martin Scorcese’s After Hours as it describes a New York and New York characters that are sadly long gone.

Along with the film, Palomo wrote and recorded the short’s theme song “Heaven’s Basement,” a fittingly 80s inspired, dance floor friendly track, centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, a scorching distortion pedal effect-drenched guitar solo paired with Palomo’s dreamy falsetto. Interestingly, while the new track will further cement Palomo’s reputation for crafting slickly produced, dance floor friendly synth pop, it possesses a lysergic, mind-altering air.