Tag: Chicago IL

New Audio: Haiku Hands Release an Infectious Club Banger

Featuring a core trio comprised of Claire Nakazawa, Beatrice Lewis and Mie Nakazawa, the Australian indie electro pop act Haiku Hands is split between Melbourne and Sydney, and together the members of the act who are influenced by hip-hop, pop, electro pop dance music and more, curate, perform and work as part of a larger collective that engages with and explores social norms with their lyrical, musical and visual content. Interestingly, last year was a big year for the Aussie electro pop act as their previously released, high-energy bangers “Squat,” “Jupiter,” and “Not About You” amassed over 3.5 million streams — and as a result, each single landed spots on iTunes charts across the globe; in fact, “Jupiter” was included on Matt Wilkinson’s Best Songs of 2018 So Far list, and received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Radio X. 

Building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile, the Aussie electro pop act are about to embark on a month-long tour of North America with CHAI that features stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and the Market Hotel, as well as an opening date for Cupcake in Chicago. (You can check out the tour dates below.) They’re also making appearances at several SXSW showcases. But in the meantime, their latest single, the brash and infectious “Dare You Not To Dance,” will further cement their reputation for crafting club bangers that mesh elements of riot grrl punk, hip-hop, house music, drum ‘n’ bass, EDM and trap music with enormous, shout along worthy hooks in a way that brings M.I.A. and Gwen Stefani to mind. 

SXSW APPEARANCES
03/12 – Roologic Records / CS Disco at The Main @ 12:00 AM
03/13 – Ladiez Showcase at Scoot Inn @ 5:00 PM
03/13 – DIY Magazine showcase at Swan Dive @ 12:00 AM
03/14 – Aussie BBQ at Australia House @ 5:15 PM
03/15 – Panache showcase at Hotel Vegas @ 9:00 PM
03/16 – Do512’s The Big One at Barracuda @ 2:30 PM

Tour Dates
03/12 – Roologic Records / CS Disco at The Main @ 12:00 AM $
03/13 – Ladiez Showcase at Scoot Inn @ 5:00 PM $
03/13 – DIY Magazine showcase at Swan Dive @ 12:00 AM $
03/14 – Aussie BBQ at Australia House @ 5:15 PM $
03/15 – Panache showcase at Hotel Vegas @ 9:00 PM $
03/16 – Do512’s The Big One at Barracuda @ 2:30 PM $
03/18 – DC9, Washington DC *
03/19 – Market Hotel, Brooklyn *
03/20 – Velvet Underground, Toronto *
03/21 – Thalia Hall, Chicago #
03/25 – Moroccan Lounge, LA *
03/27 – Rickshaw Stop, SF *
03/29 – Vera Project, Seattle *
03/30 – Holocene, Portland *
04/26 – 05/11 – Groovin the Moo Festival, AUS

$ = SXSW
* = supporting CHAI
# = supporting Cupcakke

New Audio: Ibibio Sound Machine Releases a Slow-Burning, Quiet Storm-Inspired New Single

Throughout the first few months of this year, I’ve written a bit about the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine and as you may recall, the act, which is fronted by Nigerian-born vocalist Eno Williams and features Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth) and Max Grunhard (sax, synth) over the course of their first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2017’s Uyai — have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that’s influenced by golden era West African funk and disco and contemporary post-punk and electro pop.

Slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Merge Records, the London-based electro pop act’s third full-length album Doko Mien derives its title from an Ibibio phrase that translates into English as “tell me,” and the album reportedly finds the collective crafting a sonic world of entrancing specificity and comforting universality, essentially blurring the lines separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and the future. The album’s first single, album title track“Doko Mien,” was centered around a glimmering, hook-driven club banger  featuring 80s synth funk meets disco-like beats, arpeggiated synths, African polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and pizzicato guitar and an explosive horn arrangement. Sonically, the song is a wild, genre-bending amalgamation of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin‘,” Chicago house and Fela Kuti — and adding to the globalist vibes, Williams soulfully sings lyrics in both English and Ibibio, the Nigerian dialect from which the London-based act derives its name. Doko Mien’s second single “Wanna Come Down” is a club-banger centered around a rubbery, Bootsy Collins meets Flea bass line, an explosive horn line, arpeggiated synths and propulsive beats and Williams powerhouse vocals singing lyrics in her native Ibibio and English. Sonically, the song is a wild and seamless synthesis of 80s synth funk, Afrobeat and JOVM mainstays Escort — all while feeling like a sultry come on.

“Guess We Found A Way,” Doko Mien’s third and latest single is a slow-burning ballad featuring shimmering guitars, a simple yet propulsive back beat, a funky bass line and Williams’ sultry vocals that immediately brings Quiet Storm-era soul to mind. “It’s a song about trying to speak to people in words that no-one understands, conveying your feeling with just the music which is what we try to do in many of our songs,” the band’s Eno Williams says in press notes. 

New Video: Moon King Releases an 80s Computer Generated Visual for Shimmering and Hazy Club Banger “Neon Lights”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto, ON-born and-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded solo electro pop project Moon King. Now, as you may know, the act initially began as a solo recording project but may be best known for a several year period in which Benjamin collaborated with Maddy Wilde (vocals, guitar); but with Wilde’s departure a few years ago, Benjamin returned to his roots — writing and recording as a solo project. Coincidentally around the same time, Benjamin relocated to Detroit, MI, where he spent a year working and living in the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck. .

Benjamin’s stint in Hamtramck inspired the Hamtramck 16 mixtape, a mixtape that not only documented his arrival into a new, unfamiliar place but was also a radical change in sonic direction and songwriting approach with the material capturing his increasing obsession with electronic dance music. His forthcoming album, Voice of Lovers is the first full-length album of new material since he began fully embracing underground house, techno and electro pop — and the material finds the Canadian-born songwriter, producer and electronic music artist in a state of discovering and experimentation in which he synthesizers something fresh and unexpected out of dollar bin disco, new wave, eurotrash and more.  “There are a lot of quick cuts and transitions and the songs are pretty short, it’s meant to feel a bit breathless or disorienting, like driving around and dropping in at a few different clubs in a night. Lyrically the songs are little stories from the last couple of years…… trying to live in the US as a non-citizen, listening to records at the apartment in Hamtramck, late nights out at parties like Freakish Pleasures and Macho City, trips with the crew to Montreal, being on tour during the 2016 US election, spending the holidays alone in Detroit, the deaths of George Michael & Prince and the unfinished Moon King record from 2015. It’s dark and fun and a little nihilistic but ultimately positive.”

Voice of Lovers’ first single is the 80s synth funk meets Teddy Riley/New Jack Swing meets classic Chicago house track “Neon Lights.” Centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering boom-bap-like drum programming, soulful vocals from Vespere and a rousing hook, the song manages to sound as though it were released in 1983 or so. And while evoking sultry and hazy summer nights, the track actually has an achingly lonely quality to it — as though the song’s narrator was spending time playing their favorite albums to gear themselves up to head out to the club. 

The recently released retro futuristic video by Stacie Ant uses computer-generated 3D figures dancing and singing along to the song in 80s-inspired clubs and outfits, complete with period-specific special effects to boot. 

Look for Voice of Lovers on April 2, 2019 through Arbutus Records. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Matthew Stubbs Teams Up with Pat Faherty, Charlie Musselwhite, and Luther Dickinson on a Boogie Blues Number

Last year, I wrote a bit about the Boston-based bandleader, songwriter, composer and guitarist Matthew Stubbs. Stubbs has spent the past 11 years as a member of Charlie Musselwhite’s backing band, and he’s played in the backings bands for a number of other blues legends including of John Hammond, James cotton, Junior Watson and James Harman. Stubbs has also released two solo instrumental albums 2008’s Soulbender released through Vizztone Records and 2010’s Medford and Main released through Chicago, IL-based Blue Bella Records that drew from the  Memphis, TN soul/blues sound. And as you may recall, Stubbs formed his own band The Antiguas, a Duane Eddy, Link Wray, and Booker T meets garage rock, B movie soundtracks and Afrobeat-inspired act that features Just Lopes (organ), Chris Rivelli (drums) and Marc Hickox (bass). 

The Boston-based composer, songwriter and guitarist’s latest musical project GA-20 is a collaboration with his longtime friend Pat Faherty. Formed last year, the project is centered around the duo’s mutual love of traditional blues, R&B, 50s and 60s and their love of the work of Lazy Lester, J.B. Lenoir, Earl Hooker, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Junior Wells. Feeling a void in contemporary music, the duo set out to write, record and perform a modernized version of the blues — with the same sort of passion and earnestness on stage and in the studio of the genre’s heyday.

GA-20’s full-length debut is slated for release later this summer through Karma Chief Records, and the album’s latest single is the shuffling, “Naggin’ On My Mind.” Indebted to Earl Hooker and John Lee Hooker, the track features the imitable and explosive harmonica playing of Charlie Musselwhite, and from North Mississippi All Stars’ Luther Dickinson — and is built around a looping 12 bar blues, a slide guitar solo and a stomping rhythm. Simply put, it’s blues the way I love it — a boozy boogie stomp. 

Last month, I wrote about the Chicago-based psych rock act Lucille Furs, and as you may recall, the act comprised of Patrick Tsotsos,  Nick Dehmlow, Brendan Peleo- Lazar, Trevor Newton Pritchett and Constantine Hastalis initially formed in the Logan Square section of Chicago and in a relatively short period of time, the band added themselves to a growing list of attention-grabbing indie acts from the Chicagoland area, thanks in part to a sound that borrows liberally from the likes of The Zombies, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Temples, Love, Diane Coffee, Charles Bradley and others.  Interestingly, since their formation, half the band has relocated to Los Angeles, and as the band mentions, listeners will likely hear the sounds of their new home within some of their work.

Recently pushed back to a March 15, 2019 release through Requiem Pour Un Twister Records, Lucille Furs’ forthcoming sophomore album Another Land was written back in September 2017 and was recorded direct to tape before being completed at Treehouse Records. Rather than being topical, the album’s material is rooted in the surreal and esoteric — perhaps sin a way to aim at the timeless. The bouncy early 60s-inspired stomper “Paint Euphrosyne Blue,” was centered around jangling guitars, twinkling organs and infectious and soaring hook that recalled The Monkees and The Doors. And while a perfect soundtrack for a road trip, the band noted that the song referenced the goddess of mirth, with the song being about the human need to adapt to the point of becoming unoriginal.

Another Land‘s latest single is the shimmering Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles and The TurtlesHappy Together“-like “All Flowers Before Her” and much like its predecessor, the song is centered around a bouncy and buoyant hook and lysergic, 60s vibes — but with a blazing guitar solo and a subtly modern touch.

 

Last month, I wrote about the Southern Holland-born, London-based visual artist and electronic music artist and producer, Nick van Hofwegen, best known as Young & Sick. Initially van Hofwegen attempted the traditional route of being an artist by going through design school, but he found its cookie-cutting leanings discouraging and it led him to drop out after finishing his first year. He began working at a car parts factory in rural Holland and quit, eventually relocating to London. When he arrived in London, his friend Mark, the frontman of internationally recognized band Foster the People, introduced him to comedian Andy Dick, who came across some of his visual art and championed it. Additionally, Mark asked van Hofwegen to do the artwork for his band’s 2011 debut Torches.

Although the Southern Holland-born, London-based visual artist, electronic music artist and producer released a full-length album back in 2014, last year was a breakthrough year for him: He released his Ojai EP, an attention-grabbing effort that served as a reintroduction to van Hofwegen’s sound and aesthetic. Adding to a growing profile, van Hofwegen was profiled in NYLON — and EP title track “Ojai” was featured in an ad campaign for Apple Watch.  van Hofwegen followed Ojai EP with the release of the No Static EP, which received praise from The Fader and Variety. He closed out a big year with a cover of Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” for Neon Gold Records‘ 10 Year Anniversary compilation.

The Dutch-born, London-based visual artist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer played a run of critically applauded SXSW sets, including Neon Gold’s Neon Golden showcase. He played his first Stateside headlining shows in over 4 years with a pair of Los Angeles and NYC dates that featured an interactive multimedia experience. And as an artist, van Hofwegen had his first ever fine art gallery show last August, which featured a series of his original visual and sculptural pieces — and he designed the album art for Maroon 5‘s Overexposed, Mikky Ekko’s “Kids,” as well as for his work.

Building upon a breakthrough 2018, van Hofwegen will be releasing a new EP that’s slated for a spring release through Neon Gold Records/B3SCI Records. Now, as you may recall, the EP’s first single “Bitter End,” nodded heavily at Teddy Riley-era New Jack Swing, classic Chicago house and C+C Music Factory as it was centered by a production that featured tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, soulful vocals, a rousingly anthemic hook and a “you got this, man” positive vibe. The EP’s latest single “Jet Black Heart” is a swooning and summery bit of synth pop centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, chopped up vocals, a sinuous bass line, stuttering beats and van Hofwegen’s plaintive vocals. Sonically, the slickly produced track is straightforward pop leaning bit of house that van Hofwegen says is “about all consuming love. The kind who’s intensity paralyses you. The sort that makes you lose it completely. It’s the LOVE I feel for making music and art.”

van Hofwegen is currently  opening for The Knocks during their 2019 North American tour during the winter. The tour will include a February 23, 2019 stop at Brooklyn Steel. Check out the tour dates below.  Also tickets are on sale here.

 

Tour Dates
Feb 9 // Austin, TX @ Historic Scoot Inn
Feb 10 // Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock Room
Feb 12 // St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
Feb 14 // Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
Feb 15 // Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar
Feb 16 // Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Feb 17 // Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Feb 20 // Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
Feb 21 // Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Feb 23 // Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel

New Audio: Ibibio Sound Machine Releases a Shimmering and Funky Club Banger

Earlier this year, I wrote about the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine, and the act, which is fronted by Nigerian-born vocalist Eno Williams and features Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth) and Max Grunhard (sax, synth) over the course of their first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2017’s Uyai — have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that’s influenced by golden era West African funk and disco and contemporary post-punk and electro pop. 

Now, as you may recall, the London-based act’s third, full-length album Doko Mien is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Merge Records, and the album which derives its name from the Ibibio phase that translates into English as “tell me,” reportedly finds the act crafting a sonic world of entrancing specificity and comforting universality, essentially blurring the lines separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and the future. Album title track  and first official single, “Doko Mien,” was centered around a glimmering, hook-driven club banger  featuring 80s synth funk meets disco-like beats, arpeggiated synths, African polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and pizzicato guitar and an explosive horn arrangement. Sonically, the song strikes me as a wild, genre-bending amalgamation of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin‘,” Chicago house and Fela Kuti — and adding to the globalist vibes, Williams soulfully sings lyrics in both English and Ibibio, the Nigerian dialect from which the London-based act derives its name.

Doko Mien’s second and latest single “Wanna Come Down” continues in a similar, club-banging vein as its predecessor as its centered around a rubbery, Bootsy Collins meets Flea bass line, an explosive horn line, arpeggiated synths and propulsive beats and Williams powerhouse vocals singing lyrics in her native Ibibio and English. Sonically, the song is a wild and seamless synthesis of 80s synth funk, Afrobeat and JOVM mainstays Escort — all while feeling like a sultry come on. In line with the track’s beckoning title, the band’s frontwoman Eno Williams says, “The Ibibio lyrics of the track are about the healing power of the river and the chorus. ‘Wanna come down, get ready ‘coz we’re gonna go’ is inviting people to come, dance and get involved with what’s going on.”

New Audio: Good Fuck Returns with an Atmospheric New Single

Late last year, I wrote about Good Fuck, a self-described exploration of experimental literary techniques and adventurous production and beats, comprised of Tim Kinsella, a Chicago, IL-based musician, author and film director, who’s best known for stints in a number of bands, including Cap’n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Make Believe, Owls, Friend/Enemy, Everyoned and others, and for an extensive solo career, releasing material under the name Tim Kinsella(s) and Jenny Pulse an electronic music producer and artist, who has released two full-length albums — 2017’s Spa Moans/Obedient Vibrations and  Marmalade, which was released earlier this year. 

Seeking an intimate creative environment to develop their aesthetic and sound, the duo decided that they needed to be in total isolation. “We packed the car and drove 13 hours to The Millay Colony in upstate New York: an artist’s colony in The Berkshires, miles down a private road, next to 100,000 acres of national forest,” Kinsella says in press notes. As soon as they arrived, the couple devised a unique artistic process to work from. Described by Kinsella as a “collaborative conscious alignment,” lyric writing was centered around 12 books, including Don Quixote, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and others that the couple felt were relevant. Then they came up with various systems to collapse and collage them into each other in different combinations. The result was a sort of literary mash up in which content and structure were scrambled into a totally new product. “We might take the form of an Eskimo genesis myth, but use words from Anaïs Nin,” Kinsella explains.

Sonically speaking, the project draws from Kinsella’s extensive background in genre-pushing rock and Pulse’s ear for minimalist electronic sounds — and interestingly enough, they managed such an artistic symbiosis together that “To a large degree we don’t even know who programmed what beat, and who programmed what synth line,” Kinsella reflects.  According to Kinsella, he and Pulse were “stunned” by what they had created, the entire process was far from perfect. “Of course there were snags, technological and psychological. And of course we threw a good amount away. But what was left was not the result of trying to write songs, but the effortless evidence of what emerged when we got clear in our intentions and then just let it out,” Kinsella says. 

Now, as you may recall, the self titled album’s first single “Secret Meetings” was centered around a minimalist electronic production featuring whirring, buzzing and industrial clang and clatter, brief blasts of arpeggiated synths, chanted lyrics and a sensual and sweaty groove — with the end result being a track that was esoteric and cryptic, wildly adventurous and yet accessible. Interestingly, “Jenny Dreams of Pies,” the self-titled album’s second and latest single is a slow-burning, atmospheric track with thumping beats and glitchy electronics. Sonically speaking the song nods at The Fragile-era Nine Inch Nails and The Beat Escape’s Life’s Short The Answer is Long — but while superficially placid, the song possesses a tense and anxious undertone, that gives the song a nightmarish feel. 

 

Comprised of Patrick Tsotsos,  Nick Dehmlow, Brendan Peleo- Lazar, Trevor Newton Pritchett and Constantine Hastalis, the up-and-coming psych rock act Lucille Furs initially formed in Logan Square section of Chicago — and in a short period of time, the band added themselves to a growing list of attention-grabbing psych rock and indie rock acts in the Chicagoland area, thanks in part to a sound that borrows liberally from the likes of The Zombies, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Temples, Love, Diane Coffee, Charles Bradley and others. Since the band’s formation, half the band has relocated to Los Angeles, and as the band notes, listeners will likely hear those influences within their work.

Slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Requiem Pour Un Twister Records, Lucille Furs’ forthcoming sophomore album Another Land was written back in September 2017 and was recorded direct to tape before being completed at Treehouse Records. Rather than being topical, the album’s material is rooted in the surreal and esoteric — perhaps sin a way to aim at the timeless. Interestingly, the album’s latest single is the bouncy and stomping “Paint Euphrosyne Blue,” a track that sonically sound as though it could have been released sometime between 1964-1968 as the track is centered around jangling guitars, twinkling organs and an infectious and soaring hook that recalls The Monkees, The Doors and others. And while arguably being a perfect road trip song, the band notes that the song references the goddess of mirth — and that the song is about the human need to adapt to the point of becoming unoriginal. It’s about chasing Van Gogh’s depression because it makes you feel like a better painter.  So at its core the song is rooted in a bitter yet hilarious irony.