Tag: Cherelle

New Video: Dayglow Releases a Playful Visual for Shimmering Pop Confection “Close to You”

20-something Aledo, TX-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Sloan Struble is the creative mastermind behind the rising, critically applauded indie rock/indie pop project Dayglow. The project aesthetically is centered around a hard-fought, hard-won yet palpably sincere optimism that can trace its origins to Struble’s adolences, growing up in a Fort Worth suburb that he has referred to as a “small football-crazed town,” where he felt irrevocably out of place — and as a result, he turned to music, as a escape from his surroundings. “I didn’t really feel connected to what everyone else in my school was into, so making music became an obsession for me, and sort of like therapy in a way,” Struble said in press notes. “I’d dream about it all day in class, and then come home and for on songs instead of doing homework. After a while I realized I’d made an album.”

Working completely on his own with a minuscule collection of gear that included his guitar, his computer and some secondhand keyboards he picked up at Goodwill, Struble worked on transforming his privately kept outpouring into a batch of songs — often grandiose in scale. “Usually artists will have demos they’ll bounce off other people to get some feedback, but nobody except for my parents down the hall really heard much of the album until I put it out,” Struble recalled. With the self-release of 2018’s Fuzzybrain, the Aledo-born, Austin-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer received widespread attention and an ardent online following — with countess listeners praising the material’s overwhelming positivity.

In 2019, Struble re-released a fully realized version of Fuzzybrain that featured Can I Call You Tonight,” a track that wound up being a smash-hit lat year, as well as two previously unreleased singles “Nicknames” and “Listerine.” With the two new singles, teh album further establishes Struble’s reputation for illuminating emotional pain in a way that not only deeply resonates with listeners but while managing to make that emotional pain feel lighter.

Continuing upon that momentum, Struble kicks off 2021 with the infectious and sugary pop confection “Close to You.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, and a two-step inducing groove, “Close to You” sonically is indebted to 80s synth-led soul — in particular Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald’s “On My Own” Cherelle’s and Alexander O’Neal’s “Saturday Love” and other duets, but imbued with an aching melancholy and uncertainty.

“There is just a certain danceable yet melancholy feeling about 80’s pop duets that I wanted to channel into,” Struble explains. “‘Close to You’ was intended to be performed as a duet, but ended up essentially being a duet with myself (which makes sense in the context of the lyrics).The song itself is about the tension between two people at a party that never said hello. It’s about the excitement and perfect fantasy you play in your head prior to seeing that person, the mediocre and nervous reality of the actual moment you see them, and the let down that always comes afterwards it not being what had always and only been living in your head. I envision the song being played inside someone’s brain— kind of like the movie Inside Out– after they are leaving a party, thinking about what they wish would have happened. But in reality, they are actually just singing to and about themselves.”

Directed and edited by Amos David McKay, the recently released video for “Close to You” manages to dial into the 80s-inspired nostalgia of its accompanying song: we see Struble in a teal suit dancing to the song in a orange lit studio space — and singing to himself in the mirror, making the song a duet with himself. Although it’s subtly implied, the video finds its protagonist essentially attempting to pump himself up and deal with disappointment — with a smile and a positive outlook to it all.

Struble is currently working on his highly-anticipated Dayglow sophomore album, which is slated for release this year. Be on the lookout.

New Video: DYNAH’s Inclusive and Feminist Dance Party

Melody Linhart is a Paris-based singer/songwriter and musician, who started her career playing jazz, folk and soul music. Linhart’s latest musical project, DYNAH, which derives its name from two syllables in her name is a decided — and radical — change in sonic direction for the French singer/songwriter, with her sound leaning towards the electro pop sounds of Clara Luciani, James Blake, Christine and the Queens and ACES among others.

As a result of her recent collaborations with several up-and-coming, French, British, Spanish and Dutch producers, Linhart has adopted a straightforward songwriting songwriting approach fueled by a desire for simplicity. “Songs have to come self-evidently,” Linhart says in press notes. Interestingly, the Parisian artist has found this new approach and new sound to be liberating. “Pop music is a good excuse to talk about love and sensuality,” the rising French singer/songwriter adds.

Thematically, Linhart’s material with DYNAH generally touches upon dreams, pleasure, motherhood and other topics with sincerity and earnestness — while also drawing upon the feelings and thoughts she has experienced in her own life. Earlier this year, I wrote about “Page Blanche,” the EP title track of her DYNAH debut Page Blanche — and the EP title track was a slow-burning, minimalist take on electro pop centered around skittering beats, brief blasts of strummed guitar, layered synth arpeggios paired with Linhart’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics written in English and French.

Page Blanche’s latest single “C’est moi qui chosis” (which translates as “It’s up to me to decide”) is a two-step inducing electro pop number cd featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, an infectious hook and Linhart’s coquettish French vocals. Seemingly indebted to 80s synth funk — i.e., Evelyn “Champagne” King, Cherelle and others — the track is a feminist anthem, celebrating female empowerment in all of its forms.

Directed by Jeremy Vissio, the recently released video for “C’est moi qui chosis” features a diverse array of women and a couple of men singing and dancing along to the song, through shimmering, kaleidoscopci effects. Ultimately, the video gently reminding the listener that the song’s message applies to all, including the fiercest of them all. Also, an inclusive dance party is pretty fucking awesome.

New Video: Paris’ EPHESE Releases a Sultry Visual for Defiant Pop Banger “Silver Lining”

Rising Paris-based electro pop act EPHESE — founding duo Geoffory and Guillaume along with Azalée (vocals) — features members of acts like Yuma Guma, Cannery Terror and others that have toured across the European Union and Mexico. Interestingly, the rising Parisian act can trace its origins back to 2017 when its founding duo met Azalée and felt an instant creative chemistry.

EPHESE’s debut single, 2017’s “La Plage,” which landed on several playlists, eventually amassed over 600,000 streams while establishing their sound : a melancholy take on the disco sound that draws from rock, pop and house music. Building upon a growing profile both nationally and internationally, the members of EPHESE followed up with “Crush,” while writing and recording their debut EP, Prémices.

In the meantime, the French trio’s latest single “Silver Lining” is a decidedly 80s dance pop inspired track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a two-step inducing groove, Azalée’s sultry vocals and a razor sharp hook. While sonically recalling Cherelle, Evelyn “Champagne” King, DRAMA, and Beverly Girl, “Silver Lining” is a dance floor friendly “fuck off” anthem that sees its narrator discovering and experiencing a newfound sense of self-confidence and awareness of the fact that if she could always do better by herself. And as a result, the song captures a modern woman, firmly and defiantly coming into her own.

Directed by Aurélien Grellier-Beker, the recently released video for “Silver Lining” follows a seemingly mousy woman at a job placement center. After getting rudely dismissed by a counselor, who only seems concerned with his next coffee break, the woman — perhaps out of frustration., desperation and or just having enough — gains a newfound confidence that both frightens and inspires those around her. It shouldn’t be surprising that the other women knowingly nod at our protagonist, as though to say “Yep, been there. I’ve felt the same way you do right now. Go get it, sister!” As the video concludes, it’s revealed that there’s a sexual tension between the counselor and our protagonist, which adds an extra layer to the video. “The music video illustrates the liberation that comes with letting go of our self-limiting beliefs. Somewhere between hysteria and euphoria, that’s where the state of freedom lies,” the members EPHESE explain in press notes.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO Returns with a Gauzy Pop Hook-Driven Single

Over the course of this site’s ten-plus year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Thomas Fec, best known as TOBACCO. During his two-plus decade music career, Fec has used analog synthesizers and tape machines to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement, pleasure, and menace as the frontman and creative mastermind of JOVM mainstays Black Moth Super Rainbow, as a solo artist and through his production work with other like-minded artists.

Since the 2016 release of Fec’s fourth TOBACCO album Sweatbox Dynasty, the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly busy: Fec reconvened with the members of Black Moth Super Rainbow to write and record the gauzy fwhich was supported with tours with The Stargazer Lilies and Nine Inch Nails. Last year, Fec produced The Stargazer Lilies’ abrasive and trippy Occabot — and he collaborated with Aesop Rock in Malibu Ken, a project that released their critically applauded debut album. Additionally, TOBACCO penned the theme song to HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Earlier this year, the JOVM mainstay released his first batch of solo material since Sweatbox Dynasty, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch which featured Fec’s woozy and scuzzy take on Eric Carmen‘s Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written smash hit “Hungry Eyes.” But as it turned out, the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch may have been a bit of a preview of the JOVM mainstay’s forthcoming full-length Hot Wet & Sassy.

Slated for an October 30, 2020 release through Ghostly International, Hot Wet & Sassy reportedly oozes with anti-love, self-hate and disappointment in others — while further refining the pop impulses that have underpinned his unique sound — blown out, bass, fuzzy analog synths, drum machines and Fec’s analog gurgle and hiss. “I feel like it’s the most I’ve been able to refine what I’m doing,” says Fec. “For the past decade I’ve had this motherfxcker on my shoulder that makes me pick away at structure and melody. Purposely covering up moments because I can. That really came to a peak on Sweatbox. So I wanted the opposite this time. Write the songs without ripping them in half. I went from ‘what would the Butthole Surfers do?’ to ‘what would Cyndi Lauper do?’”

I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s first three singles so far: Hot Wet & Sassy’s second single, “Babysitter,” a collaboration with Nine Inch Nails’ mastermind and fellow Pennsylvanian Trent Reznor, which was a deranged and unsettling lurch between a menacingly saccharine bridge and what sounds like someone gleefully running a rusty manual lawnmower through someone’s carpet paired with laser hot hi-hats, thumping tumps, scorching synths, gurgling and bubbling hiss and distortion and the most accessible, pop-leaning hooks of Fec’s recorded output. The album’s third single “Jinmeknen,” was a slow-burning and atmospheric Quiet Storm-like ballad of sorts centered around glistening synth arpeggios, bouncy beats, Fec’s heavily vocoder’ed vocals and some of the most earnest songwriting of his lengthy — and often extremely weird — career.

“Headless to Headless,” Hot Wet & Sassy’s fourth and latest single clocks in at a little under three minutes and is centered around glistening synth arpeggios,. blown out stuttering beats, brief staccato bursts of forcefully buzzing guitar, Fec’s heavily vocoder’d vocals and some infectious hooks. And while arguably being one of the album’s more gauzier songs, it sounds a bit like a mm murky and downright swampy take on 80s R&B — the drumbeats at point remind me of Cherelle’s “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” for some reason. Much like the previously released singles, the track sees the JOVM mainstay playfully refining his overall sound without scrubbing or altering the weird elements that have won him attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere.

New Video: Tanners Releases a Disco-Inspired Visual for Glittering “Night Move”

Tanners is a somewhat mysterious and rising Brooklyn-based pop singer/songwriter and producer, who throughout her relatively young professional career has been driven by the urgent need to stand out from a crowded field of pop artists and really connect with listeners, by writing about mental health and other topics with a heartfelt earnestness. 

In the past year, the rising Brooklyn-based artist has played at Rough Trade and at The Playstation Theater for the annual TEDxTeen event — and she her music has been featured in a number of major media outlets. including NYLON, Earmilk, Stereogum, Rolling Stone France and a list of others. Building upon a growing profile, Tanners’ latest single, the dance floor friendly “Night Moves” is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like guitar, and a two-step including groove. And while seemingly indebted to 80s synth funk like Cherelle, Daft Punk and contemporaries like Rush Midnight, the track manages to have a dark underbelly: thematically, the song focuses on the feelings of regret and self-loathing that many people have had over the few months of quarantine for not being as productive as they should be. 

Employing a necessary DIY ethos as a result of of COVID, the recently released video stars Tanners as a character named Mother Disco, who performs the song inside a glittering disco ball, but adding to the 70s vibe are the some trippy kaleidoscopic effects in which we see three Tanners at a time.  “We threw ourselves into this music video with no prep, barely any gear, no storyboard or concept but we embraced the limitations and leaned into this kitschy, low-budget vibe,” said Tanners of the video inspired by The Cher Show. She continues, “For me, there’s nothing better than creating something that’s colorful and aesthetically pleasing and also makes you laugh at the same time.”

New Video: KAYE Releases an Epic Sultry and Cathartic Visual for “Howl”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Charlene Kaye, a rising New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, who spent her childhood in some rather far-flung places across the globe — living in Hawaii, Singapore, Hong Kong and Michigan all before she turned 18. And although she spent time in a number of different places throughout the bulk of her childhood, there was always one consistent thing: her parents’ old soul records and 90s grunge radio, both of which have heavily influenced her own work and career.

Initially starting her career as a solo artist, Kaye is best known for a five year stint as the frontwoman of acclaimed indie act San Fermin, contributing to 2015’s Jackrabbit and 2017’s Belong, which were supported with touring internationally, including sets across the global festival circuit. While touring with San Fermin to support Jackrabbit, Kaye started her latest solo recording project KAYE, releasing a handful of singles and KAYE’s debut EP 2016’s Honey. Last year, Kaye left San Fermin to fully concentrate on her solo career. 

The rising New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer started off the year with the Kirk Schoenherr-co-produced single “Closer Than This,” a bold and self-assured feminist pop anthem indebted to Cherelle, Patrice Rushen, Madonna and Control-era Janet Jackson that thematically touched upon lust, desire, longing, idealization, fantasy, self-preservation and centered around a narrator, who gives herself only on her terms. “Too Much,” Kaye’s second single of the year, continued a run of boldly feminist anthems centered around narrators, who have asserted themselves on their own terms — while being a decidedly electro rock affair that brought St. Vincent and Garbage to mind. 

“Howl,” Kaye’s third and latest single off the year, is a slow-burning and sultry track that finds its creator delving deep into the darkest recesses of her psyche with an unflinching and fearless honesty. And a result, the song’s narrator manages to be boldly self-assured yet insecure, fearless yet afraid to accept a loss of control, as well as accept who she may really be — someone who may not always be willing to sacrifice or settle, if it doesn’t serve her needs or what her particular vision is. “Cheryl Strayed has this quote—‘You can’t fake the core. It’s a god we must obey, a force that brings us all to our knees,'” Kaye says in press notes. “It got me thinking about how we’re always told to listen to our gut, our intuition – but what if our purest impulses are evil or self-serving, that may cause harm to those we love? What is the cost of choosing oneself?”

Interestingly, the release of “Howl” comes with the announcement of the title of her forthcoming and highly awaited full-length album — Conscious Control. “I named this album Conscious Control because my big lesson of the last few years has been abandoning my rational mind to guide my decisions, even if they made no sense at the time…throwing myself into uncertainty for the sake of getting closer to myself, even if it comes at great personal cost,” Kaye explains. “Letting this ethos guide my songwriting as well has yielded the boldest, deepest work I’ve ever done.”

Co-directed and edited by Kaye and Deborah Farnault, the recently released video for “Howl” not only marks the rising singer/songwriter and guitarist’s directorial and editorial debut, the video may arguably be the most disarming and visceral visual piece Kay has released to date: the video follows the rising artist around the California desert with a gorgeous, 40-foot long purple cape, luxuriously billowing behind her, digging into the sand and howling like a feral animal, and shredding on a mirror-covered Flying V guitar that she created. And much like the accompanying song, the visual evokes a unique feminine vulnerability and strength while being cathartic — a howl of grief, rage, self-loathing and passion, shot with a gorgeous fashion forward sensibility. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Howard Ivans Releases a Sultry and Funky New Single Paired with Hand Drawn Animated Visuals

Throughout the bulk of this site’s almost ten year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the prolific Portland, OR-based JOVM mainstay, singer/songwriter  Ivan Howard. Howard may be best known for stints fronting  The Rosebuds the acclaimed indie supergroup GAYNGS and De La Noche, which featured Howard’s longtime friends and Rosebuds bandmates Robert Rogan and Brian Weeks, and writing Kanye West and Bon Iver. He’s also received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere with his solo recording project and alter ego Howard Ivans. 

Yesterday, Ivan Howard released his sophomore Howard Ivans album Riviera. “It feels ridiculous to release music in this mayhem, but just maybe someone will enjoy it and forget about everything that is going on for a little while, like I do when I’m listening to music,” Ivan Howard wrote in a statement. “I had a blast making this record. The songs were written with some really great songwriters while i was living in LA a little while back. We’d meet on the spot, write and sing them in a few hours, then take them home to be finished up musically. Common practice in the LA songwriting world — and both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. You never know how a session would wind up but luckily I think these set of songs ended up pretty great to my ears! Maybe you will dig Riviera too. I give a huge thank you to my co-conspirators: Wallis Allen, Alex & Alex, and Matthew Puckett.

Cowritten by Ivan Howard and Wallis Allen, Riviera’s latest single “It’s Too Late” is a slinky, 80s synth funk-inspired jam centered around a sinuous bass line reminiscent of Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” and Cherelle’s “Saturday Love,” brief blasts of horn, four-on-the-floor-like drumming, atmospheric synths and a funky, two-step inducing hook and Howard’s achingly plaintive vocals. Sonically speaking, the song — to my ears — brings a few different things to mind: Phil Collins’ “Sussudio,” and Tears for Fears in particular, but with late night Quiet Storm-like yearning. It’s a slightly uptempo take on what has been Howard’s established sound and aesthetic. 

Kevin Moran and Ivan Howard created the accompanying hand-animated video for “It’s Never Too Late,” and the video is fittingly 80s-inspired: neon bright colors and explosive child-like energy. 

New Audio: New York-based Pop Artist KAYE Releases a Performance Art Inspired Visual for Anthemic “Too Much”

Charlene Kaye is a New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, who spent her childhood in some rather far-flung places across the globe — living in Hawaii, Singapore, Hong Kong and Michigan before she turned 18. Although she spent time in a number of different places throughout the bulk of her childhood, there was one consistent thing: her parents old soul records and 90s grunge radio, both of which have heavily influenced her own work and career.

Initially starting her career as a solo artist, Kaye is best known for a five year stint as the frontwoman of acclaimed indie act San Fermin, contributing to 2015’s Jackrabbit and 2017’s Belong, which were supported with touring internationally, including sets across the global festival circuit. While touring with San Fermin to support Jackrabbit, Kaye started her latest solo recording project KAYE, releasing a handful of singles and KAYE’s debut EP 2016’s Honey. 

Last year, Kaye left San Fermin in order to fully concentrate on her solo career.  Late last month, Kaye began the year with the Kirk Schoenherr-co-produced single “Closer Than This,” a bold and self-assured feminist pop anthem seemingly indebted to Cherelle, Patrice Rushen, Madonna and Control-era Janet Jackson while thematically touching upon lust, desire, longing, idealization and fantasy and self-preservation, as it features a narrator, who will only give on her terms. “Too Much,” Kaye’s latest single continues an ongoing run of feminist anthems featuring narrators, who have asserted themselves on their own terms. However, unlike its immediately predecessor, “Too Much” is a decidedly electro rock affair that brings St. Vincent and Garbage to mind, thanks in part to some blistering guitar rock and an arena rock friendly hook. 

“I wrote this song to make sense of a period of great emotional confusion in my life,” Kaye explains in press notes. “I had made many drastic changes at the same time regarding my career and my relationships and was left feeling totally unanchored, like I just blew up my life for no reason — even though at my core I knew it was necessary for my own growth.”

Directed by Kaye’s sister Liann Kaye, the recently released video for “Too Much” is inspired by Yoko Ono’s 1964 performance art work “Cut Piece,” in which Ono sits on a stage wearing her best suit, inviting audience members to cut and keep a piece of her clothing until she is completely exposed. Instead of having others remove pieces of her outfit, in the video Kaye is the agent of her metaphorical destruction and rebirth. Kaye’s outfit, which is made up of thousands of individual pieces of fabric that took hours to arrange on her body — and in the video we see pieces of her outfit get torn off, danced off and just fly off until we see the rising pop artist in a nude-colored outfit. 

“I love working with my sister because we’re so in sync creatively, and immediately understand what the other is trying to express.” Liann Kaye shares in press notes. “We shot each part of the song at a different speed, to show how the re-invention of one’s self can feel at once excruciatingly slow and like a freight train of change at the same time.”