Formed back in 2014, the Matlock, Derbyshire, UK-based electro pop trio Patawawa — multi-instrumentalist and producer Rory Lovatt, vocalist Sam Wilmot and vocalist Beth Garrett — burst onto the international dance music scene with an effervescent blend of disco, funk and pop that draws influence from the likes of Pet Shop Boys and Prince. Since their formation the trio have built up a massive profile and following: they’ve received airplay and praise from BBC Introducing; they’ve collaborated with French producer Tez Cadey on a Spotify viral hit; they’ve played sold-out shows in Japan; they’ve participated in a band partnership with KRK Systems; and lastly, they’ve crafted a soundtrack for Millie Bobby Brown’s fashion brand.
Building upon a rising national and international profile, the British dance trio’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Power Up is slated for a March 26, 2021 — and reportedly, the album will further cement their winning sound, which manages to be simultaneously nostalgia-inducing yet contemporary. Album single “Just Not With You”is a late 70s/early 80s disco and New Wave-inspired strut centered around a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, and percussive polyrhythm, shimmering analog synths and soulful yet determined vocals. Sonically while recalling things like Fear of Music-era Talking Heads, Chic, Tom Tom Club, and 80s synth funk, the song is a self-empowerment anthem featuring a narrator, who has built up the confidence and self-assuredness to move on from a relationship.
Recently, French producer Anorraak remixed “Just Not With You.” While the original was a slick and nostalgia-inducing mix of disco and New Wave, Anoraak’s remix. While retaining Beth Garrett’s soulful and self-assured vocals and brief blasts of the original’s guitars Anorrak gives the song a throughout reworking: most of the original’s instrumentation is replaced by dense layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, a funkier and punchier bass line and some dub effects while retaining Beth Garrett’s soulful and self-assured vocals. The original’s message still hods but the new take, manages to remind me a bit of Yaz’s “Situation.”
“We got in contact with Anoraak through Instagram and absolutely loved his work,” the rising British trio say of their collaboration with the rising French producer. “It just seemed like a no brainer to work together and we are absolutely chuffed with the result.”
“I really loved working on this remix,” Anoraak adds. “The vocals on the track reminded me a little of CSS so I tried to give a bit of that feeling with some dirty synth sounds on top of a disco base.”
Tomode is an emerging Swedish funk act founded by Carl Leanderson and Viktor Westerberg. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to Leanderson’s and Westerberg’s mutual love of funk and disco. After spending a couple of years developing and honing their sound, the Swedish duo’s debut single “Destiny, No. 20” firmly establishes their sound and approach: featuring Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line and shuffling four-on-the-floor, and an enormous hook, “Destiny, No. 20” will command comparisons to Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky,” and Chic’s “Good Times.” And much like those songs, the song is centered around a wistful and aching desire to escape — in nostalgia, as much as it is to escape to the dance floor.
“We want to make music that can act as a remedy to the slight despair we all feel, living
through the 2020’s,” the members of the emerging Swedish funk pop act say in press notes. ” Destiny No. 20 opens the door to everything we love – it’s got vibrant
drums, pulsating arpeggios, disco guitars and a funky bassline. It’s as much ‘Good Times’ with Chic as it is ‘Dancing On My Own‘ with Robyn. Hopefully it ignites a spark somewhere out there in the darkness.”
The band plans to release material throughout the summer — with their debut EP slated for release during the fall.
Over the course of the past year, I’ve written a lot about the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based singer/sgonwriter, electronic music producer, electronic music artist, indie rock musician and JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin. And as you may recall, Aucoin spent time as a guest musician in his older brother Paul’s band Hylozoists before developing a reputation as a solo artist in his own right with the release of his debut EP, 2007’s Personal Publication, a concept effort written as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Personal Publication EP was also the first of an ongoing series of collaborations with charitable foundations, as he supported the EP with a cross Canada tour made entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. After completing his first solo tour, he went on to join his brother’s band while they were on tour; however, Aucoin suffered a debilitating iron deficiency that cut his time on the tour short. But once he recuperated, Aucoin went on the road again, running partial marathons between tour stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. During both of those early tours, the Halifax-born and-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist, electronic music producer and indie rock musician spent time writing the material that would eventually comprise his full-length debut, 2011’s We’re All Dying to Live, an effort that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. Adding to a rapidly growing profile. the album was long-listed as a nominee for a Polaris Music Prize — and the video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” won a Prism Prize in 2013.
Building upon a growing profile, the Nova Scotian producer and electronic music artist released his critically applauded sophomore effort, 2014’s Ephemeral. Several years passed before the release of last year’s Hold EP, and with singles like the sprawling and propulsive “Release”, the swooning M83-like “The Middle,” the jangling guitar pop meets synth pop “The Fear.” and the slow-burning and wistful “The Dream,” the EP further cemented Aucoin’s reputation for crafting slickly produced, infectious and thoughtful pop.
Slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Haven Sounds, Aucoin’s third full-length album Release was co-produced by the Halifax-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer, electronic music artist and indie rock musician and drummer Joel Waddell. Inspired by the work of David Bowie, Holly Herndon, Fatboy Slim, Bjork, John Lennon, Future Islands, Caribou and Chic among others, the album finds the JOVM mainstay further cementing his growing reputation for his own unique blend of organic and electronic instrumentation — while thematically, the album finds Aucoin grappling with mortality, by using Alice in Wonderland as a metaphor for life’s journey.
“The Mind,” Release’s first single is a pulsating instrumental track is centered around a slow build up of increasingly textured sounds including arpeggiated synths, chopped up and ethereal vocal samples and propulsive drumming that finds Aucoin drawing from drum ‘n’ bass and Kraftwerk-like minimalism before an explosive conclusion. “This track is about the mind and therefore has no lyrics,” Aucoin explains in press notes. “Musically, this song has two drum sets on it. The main kit is played by Jeremy Malvin (aka Chrome Sparks) and the second is carried over from the Release session by Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff. Ben Talmi played the very rare Therevox slide theremin on the track down at his Virtue & Vice Studio in Brooklyn. While Jenn Grant was recorded by Daniel Ledwell at his Echo Lake Studio in Nova Scotia. The vocal melody seamlessly switches from male to female vocals with Jenn and my voices being the samples.”
Directed by Meghan Tansey Whitton, the recently released video follows a mysterious and otherworldly figure covered in a metallic blanket, striding on a beach at sunset and as the video progresses, the figure is subjected to the elements, facing them with a preternaturally zen-like calm.
With the release of their critically applauded debut single “Blue & The Green” back in 2016, the Brighton UK-based collective LOYAL, comprised of James Day, Laurence Allen and Alex Cowen, quickly emerged into the national scene, receiving regular rotation on BBC Radio 1. The act’s lineup began to expand with the release of “House For You,” which found the then-trio collaborating with fellow Brighton-based artist Beth Molly Moore — and as result of that successful collaboration, the act eventually expanded to a septet.
Interestingly, over the course of an expanding catalog, the band has increasingly moved from standard house music songwriting approaches and digital production towards a disco-influenced sound, focusing on groove and analog production and instrumentation, at points drawing influence from R&B, indie rock pop and funk. Now, as you may recall, I wrote about the Nile Rodgers and Chic and Daft Punk-like “Everything (She)” off the collective’s forthcoming Patterns That Fall EP, a track that featured a wobbling synths, a soaring hook, a funky bass line and guitar line, making it a winning combination of anachronistic vibes, old-timey production and sound and club-banging grooves.
Centered by twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, soaring strings, a choral-like vocal delivery by the act’s lead and backing vocalist and an infectious, dance floor-friendly hook, the EP’s latest single “Crave It Still” manages to bring Nile Rodgers and Chic, Escort and Studio 54 to mind, but with subtle electronic flourishes that include arpeggiated blasts of synth and a thumping, muscular kick. Much like its preceding singles, the track is a slickly produced, anachronistic synthesis of 70s disco and funk, electro pop and contemporary neo-disco. “Lyrically, ‘Crave It Still’ started as a poem, a stream of consciousness about craving nothing in particular; maybe a lost love, a drug, a partner you shouldn’t be with but can’t help going back to. We held the poem in our back-pocket for a while, then eventually fashioned the New York disco sound while we were on our first-ever writing trip to the city itself. We recorded in a beautiful studio tucked away in an industrial park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, alongside some fantastic local writers and musicians. They laid out a killer foundation, all New York, and we built from there.”
Look for LOYAL’s Pattern That Fall on April 26, 2019.
Last year, Pitchfork, one of the premier music websites; October, a beer culture-centric website that aims to capture the spirit, ambition, making and drinking of the precious and beloved stuff through essays, travelogues and events; and Bon Appetit, the award-winning food lifestyle brand teamed up for what may arguably be one of the most unique festivals I’ve come across in some time: OctFest, a beer, music and food festival. 2018’s edition of OctFest, which will take place on Governor’s Island on September 8, 2018 and September 9, 2018 will feature a food lineup curated by Bon Appetit , a music lineup curated by Pitchfork that will include Vince Staples, The Flaming Lips and dozens of other music acts, 90+ craft breweries from all around the world – and with arguably some of the most gorgeous views of Manhattan you’ll see in your life.
So let’s talk a bit about each aspect of the festival, huh?
10 Barrel Brewing Co. (Bend, OR)
Austin Eastciders (Austin, TX)
Breckenridge Brewery (Littleton, CO)
Elysian Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
FiftyFifty Brewing Company (Truckee, CA)
Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA)
Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI)
Four Peaks Brewing Co. (Tempe, AZ)
Golden Road Brewing (Los Angeles, CA)
Goose Island Beer Co. (Chicago, IL)
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter, MI)
Karbach Brewing Co. (Houston, TX)
Kona Brewing Company (Kailua-Kona, HI)
Live Oak (Austin, TX)
Monkless Belgian Ales (Bend, OR)
On Tour Brewing Company (Chicago, IL)
Rogue Ales (Newport, OR)
The Shop Beer Co. (Tempe, AZ)
Virtue Cider (Fennville, MI) North America – East
Blue Point Brewing Company (Patchogue, NY)
Brasserie Archibald (Canada) Braven Brewing Company (Brooklyn, NY)
Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY)
Brickworks Cider (Canada)
Circa Brewing Co. (Brooklyn, NY)
Cisco Brewers (Nantucket, MA)
Collective Arts Brewing (Canada)
DC Brau (Washington, D.C.)
Devils Backbone Brewing Company (Roseland, VA)
Flying Dog Brewery (Frederick, MD)
Hanging Hills Brewing Company (Hartford, CT)
Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers (Framingham, MA)
Keegan Ales (Kingston, NY)
Lamplighter Brewing Co. (Cambridge, MA)
LIC Beer Project (Long Island City, NY)
Lord Hobo Brewing Company (Woburn, MA)
M.I.A. Beer Company (Doral, FL)
Microbrasserie Gainsbourg (Canada)
Mill Street Brewery (Canada)
Narragansett Brewing Company (Pawtucket, RI)
Sand City Brewing Co. (Northport, New York)
Springdale (Framingham, MA)
Stanley Park Brewing (Canada)
Sunday Beer Co. (Brooklyn, NY)
The Bronx Brewery (Bronx, NY)
Veza Sur Brewing Co. (Miami, FL)
Wicked Weed Brewing (Asheville, NC)
Zero Gravity Craft Brewery (Burlington, VT) Europe
Aktien Brewery of Kaufbeuren (Germany)
Birra del Borgo (Italy)
Brasserie La Binchoise (Belgium)
Brouwerij Bosteels (Belgium)
Brouwerij DeKroon (Belgium)
Camden Town Brewery (UK)
Hertog Jan (Netherlands)
La Virgen (Spain)
Laugar Brewery (Spain)
Wild Beer Co (UK) Latin America
Bogota Beer Co (Colombia)
Cervecería Urbana (Mexico)
Cervecería Wendlandt (Mexico)
Cerveza Patagonia (Argentina)
Lohn Bier (Brazil)
Melas Beer (Colombia)
Nicaragua Craft Beer Co. (Nicaragua) Pratinha (Brazil)
Wals (Brazil) Asia, Africa, Oceania
Bira 91 (India)
4 Pines Brewing Company (Australia)
Balter Brewing Co (Australia)
Boxing Cat Brewery (China)
Cape Brewing Co. (South Africa)
Good George (New Zealand)
Newlands Spring Brewing Company (South Africa)
Pirate Life Brewing (Australia)
Playground Brewery (South Korea)
Taihu Brewery (Taiwan)
The Hand & Malt Brewery (South Korea)
While I’ll definitely have interest in the food and beer, my primary interest is the music and I’m looking most forward to catching sets from the following:
Saturday, September 8
Vince Staples: Staples is a 25 year-old, North Long Beach, CA-born and-based emcee and actor, who first rose to prominence as member of hip-hop collective Odd Future, which also featured Mike G, Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler The Creator – and the collaborative Mac Miller-produced Stolen Youth mixtape. October 2014 saw the release of his solo debut EP, Hell Can Wait, which included attention grabbing singles “Hands Up” and “Blue Suede.”
Building upon a growing profile, Staples’ full-length debut 2015’s Summertime ’06 was released to critical applause – with Staples being featured as part of XXL’s 2015 Freshman Class. Staples’ critically acclaimed sophomore album, 2017’s Big Fish Theory found the acclaimed, young emcee expanding upon his sound as the album’s production incorporated avant-garde, dance and electronic influences. Additionally, Staples’ made a guest appearance on Gorillaz’s latest effort Humanz.
Staples is headlining Saturday night and I’m looking forward to hearing material off both Summertime ’06 and Big Fish Theory live.
BADBADNOTGOOD: Currently comprised of founding members Matthew Tavares (keys), Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinski (drums) with newest member Leland Whitty (saxophone), the Toronto, Ontario, Canada instrumental act BADBADNOTGOOD derive their name from an abandoned comedy TV project that Tavares was working on before the band formed – and whether as trio or a quartet, the band has developed a reputation for a sound and compositional approach that draws from hip-hop, electronica, jazz, prog rock; but they’re perhaps best known for their jazz-based interpretation of hip-hop tracks, which have allowed them to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, Danny Brown, Mick Jenkins, Ghostface Killah and others. Interestingly, the band can trace its origins to when the band’s founding trio bonding over a mutual love of hip-hop – in particular MF Doom and Odd Future.
As the story goes, the then-trio played a piece based on Odd Future’s music for a panel of their jazz performance instructors, who didn’t believe it had much musical value – but interestingly enough, after they released the track as “The Odd Future Sessions, Part 1,” the track caught the attention of Tyler The Creator, who helped the video go viral. The Canadian act followed that up with the 2011 release of their full-length debut BBNG, which featured interpretations of A Tribe Called Quest, Waka Flocka Flame and Odd Future. Building upon a growing profile, the members of BADBADNOTGOOD recorded a live jam session with Tyler The Creator in Sowinski’s basement, with videos from the session amassing more than a million views each.
2012’s sophomore effort BBNG2 was recorded over the course of a ten-hour studio session and featured Leland Whitty (saxophone) and Luan Phung (electric guitar) and featured their own original material, as well as renditions of sons by Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine, James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt and Feist. That year, the band was the official Coachella Festival house band, backing Frank Ocean and Odd Future over the course of its two weekends.
2013 saw the release of III, which featured “Hedron,” a track that was also featured on the compilation album Late Night Tales: Bonobo; “CS60” and “Can’t Leave the Night,” which was released with the B-side “Sustain,” and they were involved on the soundtrack for The Man with the Iron Fists, assisting with the production and composition.
2015 saw the release of the band’s fourth, full-length album Sour Soul, and the album found them collaborating with Ghostface Killah – and interestingly, the album is more of a hip-hop album that nods at jazz. They ended the year with covers of a handful of holiday standards, including “Christmas Time Is Here” with Choir! Choir! Choir!
Leland Whitty joined the band as a full-time member in early 2016, and followed that up with producing “Hoarse” off Earl Sweatshirt’s full-length debut Doris and “GUV’NOR,” a remix, which appeared on JJ DOOM’s Keys to the Kuffs (Butter Edition). By the middle of that year, BADBADNOTGOOD released their fifth full-length album IV, an album that featured guest spots from Future Islands’ Sam Herring, Colin Stetson, Kaytranada,Mick Jenkins and Charlotte Day Wilson, and was named BBC Radio 6’s #1 album of the year.
Live the act, which also includes keyboardist James Hill can easily shift between jazz, acid jazz, jazz fusion, hip-hop, prog rock, advant-garde jazz, funk and rock with an effortless and seamless fashion – and seemingly at will. I saw them earlier this summer at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at the Prospect Park Bandshell and they are a must see.
Preoccupations: Now throughout the past handful of years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about Canadian post-punk act and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations, and as you may recall, the band which is comprised of Matt Flegel (bass, vocals), Mike Wallace (drums), Scott Munro (guitar) and Daniel Christiansen (guitar) initially formed under the highly controversial name Viet Cong – and as a result of their original name, the members of the band found themselves in the middle of a furious and frenzied debate around cultural appropriation and the usage of terms, names and symbols closely associated with historical groups and actions that evoke the horrors and brutality of despotism, fascism, war, genocide and so on. Ultimately, the band decided it was best to change their name before the release of their sophomore album, an effort that found each of the individual members of the band in unsteady and uncertain positions – at the time, each of the individual members of the band had relocated to different cities across North America, which forced the band to change their long-established creative process.
Unlike their previously recoded material, the band went into the writing sessions without having a central idea or theme to consider or help guide them along, essentially making the recording sessions a collective, blind leap of faith. Interestingly, the band’s sophomore, self-titled album wound up drawing from that mix of anxiety, despair and regret that creates sleepless nights. New Material, the band’s third full-length album was released earlier this year, and the album builds upon the Canadian post-punk act’s growing reputation for crafting dark and moody post-punk centered around themes of anxiety, uncertainty, futility, frustration, creation and destruction but as the band’s Matt Flegel says of the self-recorded album, the album is “an ode to depression. To depression and self-sabotage, and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred.” And while the material is dark, murky and deeply introspective, the members of Preoccupations have developed a reputation for having an intense and energetic live show, which reveals the material’s anthemic nature.
Sunday, September 9
The Flaming Lips: Currently comprised of founding members Wayne Coyne (guitar, vocals) and Michael Ivins (bass), with Steven Drozd, Derek Brown, Jake Ingalls, Matt Duckworth and Nicholas Ley, the Norman, OK-based psych rock/psych pop/indie rock act The Flaming Lips formed back in 1983 with Coyne (guitar), Coyne’s brother Mark (vocals), Ivins (bass) and Dave Kotska (drums). Interestingly, after Kotska joined the band, Richard English joined the band – and that year, they recorded the only full-length album with Mark Coyne, the band’s self-titled effort.
After Mark Coyne left the band, Wayne assumed vocal duties and the and released their 1986 full-length debut Hear It Is on Pink Dust Records, a psych rock imprint of Engima Records. With that initial lineup, the band released two more albums, 1987’s Oh My Gawd!!! and 1989’s Telepathic Surgery, which was originally planned to be a 30-minute sound collage. From that point on, the band has gone through a series of lineup changes – 1989’s Dave Fridmann-produced In a Priest Driven Ambulance featured Nathan Roberts (drums) and Mercury Rev’s Johnathan Donahue (guitar), and saw the band expanding upon their sound with further experimentation with tape loops and effects, as well as Coyne making a transition to vocal style inspired by Neil Young.
Back in 1990, the members of The Flaming Lips caught the attention of Warner Brothers Records and were promptly signed when an AR rep witnessed a show in which the band almost burned down the American Legion Hall in their hometown with the use of pyrotechnics. In 1991, the members of the band started recording their major label debut Hit to Death in the Future Head, which was delayed for nearly a year because of their use of a sample from Michael Kamen’s score from the major motion picture Brazil, which had a lengthy clearance process. After the recoding of the album, Donahue left the band to focus on his work with Mercury Rev and Roberts leaving the band, citing creative differences.
Ronald Jones and Steven Drozd joined the band and with that lineup they released Transmissions from the Satellite Heart, their only full-length album in which their longtime producer and collaborator Fridmann wasn’t involved; however, because of the success of album single “She Don’t Use Jelly,” the band was featured on Beverly Hills 90210, Late Show with David Letterman,Charmedand Beavis and Butthead. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a lengthy stint of touring opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers and Candlebox.
1995’s Clouds Taste Metallic was released to critical fanfare in 1995 although it didn’t achieve the same commercial success of its predecessor. In 1996, the band went through another lineup chance with the depature of Ronald Jones. The three remaining members of the band felt a growing dissatisfaction with stand rock music, led to the extremely experimental Zaireeka, a four CD album intended to be heard by playing all four CDs in four separate CD players simultaneously. Sonically, the material incorporated traditional musical elements, found sounds often manipulated by contemporary recording studio techniques and electronics.
And while their experimental efforts received, the band received mainstream success with 1999’s The Soft Bulletin, which meshed catchy melodies with synthetic strings, hypnotic and carefully manipulated beats, booming cymbals and weird but deeply philosophical lyrics. Critically, the album has been compared to The Beach Boys’ Pet Soundsas it featured the entire studio as an instrument to be manipulated. The Soft Bulletin’s critically applauded follow-up, 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots featured guest musician Yoshimi P-We and found the band incorporating the increasing use of electronics and computer manipulation – and the album is generally considered their first critical and commercially successful album after 20 years as a band; in fact, “Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)” won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, and the album was certified Gold in 2006. Since then the band has been considered one of those must-see acts, thanks in part to a show that has largely been described as a pure spectacle.
Rodgers is arguably one of the more influential and important figures of pop music and dance music of the past 40+ years, and he’s had a role on some of the most beloved albums and singles, and I gotta admit I’m looking forward to hearing all of those old Chic songs live.
Yo La Tengo: Yo La Tengo is Spanish for “I have it” — referring to a female-gendered object or person, in which it would be “I’ve got her,” but the Hoboken, NJ-based indie rock band actually derive their name from an old baseball anecdote. During the New York Mets‘ inaugural season in 1962, centerfielder Richie Ashbury and Venezuelan-born shortstop Elio Chacon found themselves colliding in the outfield. As the story goes, whenever Ashbury went for a catch, he wold scream “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” but Chacon spoke Spanish and had a limited understanding of English. During a game later that year, Ashbury yelled “Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!” instead and saw Chacon backing off on the play, avoiding further collisions; however, left fielder Frank Thomas, who didn’t understand Spanish and missed the team meeting that proposed using “Yo la tengo!” to avoid outfield collisions, collided into Ashburn. After getting up from their collision Thomas reportedly asked Ashburn, “What the hell is a Yellow Tango?”
As far as the band, the New Jersey-based indie rock band, which is currently comprised of founding members Ira Kaplan (guitar, piano, vocals), and Georgia Hubley (drums, piano, vocals), along with James McNew (bass, vocals) can trace their origins back to 1984. When Kaplan and Hubley formed the band, they played an advertisement to recruit other musicians, who shared their mutual love of The Soft Boys, Mission of Burma and Arthur Lee and his band Love, and as a result, the band’s first lineup featured Kaplan, Hubley, Dave Schramm (lead guitar) and Dave Rick (bass) with whom they released their debut 7 inch “The River of Water,” which featured a cover of Arthur Lee’s “A House Is Not a Motel.” After the band recorded “Private Doberman” for the Coyote Records compilation Luxury Condos Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon, the band went through a number of lineup changes before settling on their current lineup in 1992 — although the band’s original guitarist Dave Schramm joined the band during the sessions for their 14th record, Stuff Like That There.
Despite achieving limited mainstream success, Yo La Tengo have developed a reputation for being a critically applauded act while maintaining a devoted cult following, thanks in part to their live shows, which reveal an almost encyclopedic repertoire of covers — their SummerStage set last year began with a cover of Ace Frehely‘s “Back in the New York Groove“– and for their annual Hanukkah residency at Maxwell’s that featured a shit ton of covers and special guests, including their parents. Live, they manage to walk a tightrope between power and lush beauty, irony and sincerity within the turn of a phrase.
No Age: Comprised of Randy Randall (guitar) and Dean Allen Spunt (vocals, drums), the Los Angeles, CA-based noise rock duo No Age can trace their origins to the breakup of their previous band Wives, in which Spunt played bass and sang while Randall played guitar. The duo’s first official release was an extremely limited release collection of 5 vinyl singles and Eps that they released on 5 different labels on or around the same day – March 26, 2007. Designed by Brian Roettinger and the members of No Age, the back of each record’s sleeve was a different color and had a different letter that when put together spelled out the band’s name. Half of the songs on the singles and EPs wound up comprising their full-length debut Weirdo Rippers.
Since the release of Weirdo Rippers, Randall and Spunt have developed a reptaution for relentless touring, frequently playing shows at unusual locations – they once played a show at the Los Angeles River and they famously accompanied video artist Doug Aitken and Chloe Sevigny to Athens, Greece and Hydra Island, Greece to perform a multimedia piece “Black Mirror.” The performances took place on an old Greek barge at the Port of Piraeus, off the Island of Hydra and a final performance with the barge driven to the middle of the ocean. Additionally, they’ve found new and interesting ways to pair art around the release of their music – 2009’s Losing Feeling EP was released with a limited edition “Losing Feeling” companion zine; 2012’s “Collage Culture” 12 inch was a soundtrack to readings of excerpts of Aaron Rose, Mandy Kahn and Brian Roettinger’s Collage Culture, split in two channels – one side with readings from the book, the other side with No Age music written specifically for the release.
The acclaimed noise rock act is currently touring to support their latest effort Snares Like a Haircut, which was released earlier this year through Drag City Records.
Check out the full musical lineup below.
Saturday, September 8
Standing on the Corner
Sunday, September 9
The Flaming Lips
Nile Rodgers & CHIC
Yo La Tengo
Tickets are still available, please check out OctFest.co for information.
You can check out information and updates on the festival at Oct.co, and on Twitter by following @Pitchfork and @ReadOctober.
I’ll be covering the festival through my various social accounts, so feel free to check me out through the following:
Born Zaakir Muhammad, Fullee Love, (formerly known as Soup) is best known for his work as a founding member of renowned West Coast hip-hop act Jurassic Five, and during their lengthy seven year hiatus, Muhammad struggled to make ends meet, working in retail. Naturally, during that period, Muhammad reflected on his life, where it had gone and what he needed to do. When Jurassic 5 reunited at 2013’s Coachella, Muhammad quickly recognized that it was sink or swim for him — and his solo recording project, Fullee Love was created so that he could continue his path in music.
Interestingly, with the release of his debut EP Still in Fullee Love, Muhammad’s Fullee Love project developed a reputation for a sound that drew from disco, soul, funk and synth funk — all of which he listened to and loved as a child. Muhammad’s Nick Green-produced Fullee Love full-length debut Free, White & 21 is slated for release this Friday, and the album’s latest single “Nile Rodgers (Git on Down)” finds the Jurassic 5 founder paying homage to one of the more prolific and influential characters of pop music — Nile Rodgers. Sonically, the song is centered around a shimmering, disco-like guitar line, a sinuous bass line, stomping percussion and an infectious hook, and it manages to be heavily indebted to Rodgers’ legendary mid/late 70s and early 80s output with Chic, the song also brings Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories to mind — “Get Lucky” anyone?
And yes, while the track is a dance-floor and radio friendly track, there’s much more to it; the track finds Nick Green and Fullee Love aiming at the anachronistic, as the song sounds as though it could have been released in 1977, 1982, 2015 or last week but also in the sense that the duo are trying to capture something timeless. People will always seek the safety, comfort, escape and freedom of strobe lights, thumping bass and sweaty bodies — and when the world seems so dangerously close to crossing the precipice of disaster, those few moments on a dance floor are seemingly heaven sent.
James Clifford is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and creative mastermind of the recording project Primaveras, which was once known as Modern Howls. As the story goes, Clifford grew up in a rather musical family; in fact, Clifford began playing guitar in his early teens and throughout his high school years, he played in a number of garage bands. Foregoing a formal musical education, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is largely self-taught with his passion for playing and writing stemming from a lifelong passion for everything music, as he’s been known to scour music stores for vintage guitars and synths or to stay up into the wee hours listening to records. Unsurprisingly, Clifford has cited the likes of David Bowie, Prince,The Clash, Funkadelic,Chic,Todd Rundgren, Roxy Music, Steely Dan, and The Beach Boys as some of his greatest music inspirations. Thematically, Clifford and Primaveras draws influence from the stretch of the famed Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to Santa Monica — warm breezes through cracked car windows, the soft sound of waves crashing and receding into the Pacific, and the silhouette of the Los Angeles skyline. For many it’s timeless and almost dreamlike; but those who haven’t stuck around long enough fail to notice the effects of salt air on the surroundings — in the form of rust and erosion. In some way, it evokes faded dreams and hopes of a paradise that never really was there in the first place, and in another sense, the faded surroundings evoke a lonely introspection. Clifford’s Primaveras debut Echoes in the Well of Being was written in a way to embody that dualism — with the album’s material generally being sunny psych pop yet possess an underlying longing and introspection.
Interestingly with Clifford’s previously released material and Echoes in the Well of Being‘s latest single, the shimmering and strutting “Better Off,” his sound has been compared favorably to the likes of Tame Impala and Phoenix — and while that is definitely fair, I also hear a subtle nod at Avalon-era Roxy Music as the song evokes bright neon lights, evening faces, Jack and Cokes, the buzz of a coke high and a desperate escape from one’s loneliness and regret. But interestingly enough, Clifford pays loving homage to The Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Dark, Parts 1 and 2” with the song’s intro drum break, which not only ties the song to classic R&B, but gives it a subtle sensuality.
As Clifford says of the song, “While most people will immediately interpret as a breakup song, I see the core sentiment as trying to grow up and move on from any sort of worn-out relationship.”
Throughout most of the course of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based produced, DJ, remixer and longtime JOVM mainstay Rhythm Scholar, and as you may recall, he has received attention for slickly produced, crowd-pleasing mashups and remixes of classic hip-hop, soul, pop and New Wave. Earlier this year, I wrote about Rhythm Scholar’s remix/reworking of Bill Withers‘ beloved classic “Use Me Up” featuring a backing band, which features Marcus Horndt contributing soulful blasts of Fender Rhodes, Jason Spillman contributing a 70s soul and disco-inspired bass line, Sami Turune, contributing some bluesy guitar paired with Withers warm vocals and rhythm guitar, and some insane scratching and production from Rhythm Scholar. And what I loved about that remix was that it was a lovingly anachronistic take that walked a difficult tightrope between the original’s 70s soulful roots and contemporary production.
The New York-based producer, DJ and remixer has continued to be remarkably prolific, and with his latest single, he takes on Chic‘s classic, smash hit “Good Times” with a breezy, funky house-leaning remix featuring layers of arpeggiated keys, twinkling Fender Rhodes, thumping beats and a muscular bass line while retaining the song’s infectious hook. Much like his “Use Me Up” remix, the “Good Times” remix updates the song in a way that breathes a different life into it, while retaining some of the most familiar and beloved elements of the original.
Earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about Juveniles, the now-solo recording project of French electronic music artist and producer Jean-Sylvan Le Gouic, best known as Jean Sylvain. Initially formed as a duo featuring Sylvain and former member Thibault Doray, the project’s debut EP, We Are Young, which was released through renowned French electronic music label Kitsune Records, received attention slick, hypermodern, super-computerized, dance floor-friendly productions. Building upon a rapidly growing profile among electronic music circles, the duo released their 2013 Yuksek-produced full-length debut, which expanded the then-duo’s profile across the European Union, Southeast Asia, China and South America.
Now, as I’ve not so subtly hinted at, since the release of their full-length debut, the project has gone through some significant changes — Doray left the project, leaving it solely under the helm of Sylvain and his sophomore full-length effort Without Warning, which was released earlier this year through Paradis/Capitol Records finds Sylvain releasing music on a new label after several years with Kitsune Records. Produced and recorded by Joakim at Crowdspacer Studios here in NYC, Without Warning finds the French electronic music artist going through decidedly radical changes both in sonic direction and approach as he abandons the fully computerized sound of his previously released work to embrace a much more “human” approach, featuring live instrumentation from The Juan Maclean’s, Holy Ghost!’s and Yeasayer’s Christopher Berry (drums) and Big Data’s Ben Campbell (bass), along with pre-digital and traditional mixing and production techniques.
“Someone Better,” Without Warning’s preceding single features a sinuous and propulsive bass line paired with blocks of arpeggio organ and synth chords, four-on-the-floor drumming, and Sylvain’s sensual and seductive crooning with some of the sharpest, most dance-floor friendly hooks I’ve heard in quite some time. And while arguably being one of the warmest, most soulful, the French electronic music artist has released to date, the song clearly draws from classic disco, bearing a resemblance to Cheryl Lynn’s “Got To Be Real,” Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” but with a subtly modern production sheen. “Love Me” continues in a similar vein, nodding at Nile Rodgers’ work with Chic, Zonoscope-era Cut Copy and DFA Records as the song features an arrangement consisting of shuffling funk guitar, a sinuous bass line, cowbell-led percussion and squiggling synths and some incredibly dance floor-friendly hooks. But just under the surface is a plaintive yearning to be desired and loved that’s innately human.
Directed by Aube Perrie and David Moerman and starring Laure Berend-Sagols and Flore Gandiol as the video’s very pregnant leads and love-struck couple, the recently released and lushly shot video pairs surrealistic and psychedelic-tinged animation and impossibly vibrant colors to evoke the leads swooning passion and desire for one another. And while placing the video’s central pair in surreal situations, the pair radiate sweetness, light and the sort of love that feels (and looks) as though they may be the only people in the entire world, if only for a moment. Certainly, in light of our current political climate in which a presidential administration is in a vicious war against women (in particular single mothers), our dear friends, lovers, colleagues and associates in the LGBQT community, non-Christians and anyone not White, Berend-Sagols and Gandiol’s dignity and decency feel powerful and revolutionary. One day love will be simply that — love.