Tag: Cut Copy

New Video: Los Angeles-based Indie Act Elle Belle Writes a Break Up Letter to America

Led by its acclaimed creative mastermind and primary songwriter the New Hampshire-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Christopher Pappas, who’s best known for his work in The Everyday Visuals and has assembled and conducted his own orchestra to play his original orchestral compositions, and has written compositions for NASA, Elle Belle is a Los Angeles-based synth pop/garage rock act  — and with the band’s forthcoming, sophomore album No Signal slated for a June 29, 2018 release through Little Record Company, the album sonically finds the band drawing from synth pop, krautrock and indie rock while being among the most politically charged material they’ve released to date.

Interestingly enough, the album’s latest single “The Real World” pairs a slick, dance floor friendly production that brings Tame Impala, In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Uncanny Valley-era Midnight Juggernauts with an extremely cynical and pretty hopeless take on how Pappas believes that Americans have fallen asleep at the political wheel. “The Obama years felt like such a triumph that we failed to stay politically diligent,” Pappas says. “The video shows these tales of us letting our guard down as told between two men living in a now-destroyed world. The song explores the reality that, to a certain extent, the Trump presidency is something that we let happen, not something that happened to us. Then people were dying, all we did was stop and stare. Now it seems so silly, but I guess you had to be there. Trump was a punchline, but it’s not so funny anymore.”  

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Now, over the past few years, I’ve written a quite a bit about  JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and as you may recall, his solo electro pop recording project  Summer Heart has received attention both here and across the blogosphere for a sound that at points has been compared to CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others. Along with that, Alexander has long been  considered among the first wave of Sweden’s contemporary electro pop/dream pop/pop movement, which also includes MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

With his 12 Songs of Summer, Alexander adds his name to an increasing number of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series over the past couple of years, and as you can imagine doing so manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially, and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively speaking, the artist isn’t constrained by having the pressure of writing material with a  cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would if they were writing for an EP or a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with material within relatively strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Financially, independent artists, who may be struggling to find ways to fund their efforts to record and tour, can put out material quickly — and in the blogosphere age, it can ensure that the artist can receive some sort of attention over the course of year, outside of the album cycle. As Alexander explained in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”

“I Got This Thing For You” is the latest single in Alexander’s 12 Songs of Summer project and the single meshes slickly produced thumping house music with arpeggiated synths and anthemic hooks, bursts of Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and swooning dream pop. Interestingly, both lyrically and sonically, the track is the sort of track that manages to simultaneously be an early blast of summer while reminding the listener of the first, uncertain pangs of a summer fling. As Alexander says of the song ” It is a track that during a short period of time has changed a lot! It started as a small loop and the lyrics ‘I got this thing for you.’ I wasn’t sure where to take the track so I showed it to my friend Joakim Buddee, who asked if he could play around with it. I gave him a carte blanche, and he came back to me with a version of the track that we both really liked. Big ups to Joakim Buddee for all his work on this one!”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo dream pop/electro pop project Summer Heart has received attention for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop in a way that’s been compared favorably to CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others, and for being considered among the first wave of Sweden’s renowned contemporary electro pop and dream pop movement, which also includes MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

Alexander with his 12 Songs of Summer has added his name to an increasing list of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series, and as you can imagine doing so, manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively, the artist isn’t constrained by having to write material with a cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would be required to do in terms of writing for a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with songs within strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Interestingly enough, the monthly song series manages to capture the emotional highs and lows of a year of the artist’s life in a way that can feel like an audio journal. Financially, artists who are struggling to find ways to fund their efforts recording and touring can split their costs over the course of a year, while stretching the recording process to a few days over the course of a year. And in the fickle blogosphere age, releasing a single every month can assure in some fashion that the blogosphere will pay attention to you and your work over the course of a year. As Alexander explains in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”

“Yeah You” is the second single of the 12 Songs of Summer series, and it finds Alexander leaning towards a thumping house meets In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy-like production featuring arpeggiated synths, woofer and tweeter rocking beats and anthemic hook — and while being a rousing, crowd pleasing track that features Alexander’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix; but while being a club banger, the song possesses a plaintive ache over a dysfunctional and somewhat unrequited love affair while accepting it as an unchangeable part of the past that the song’s narrator will eventually move forward from. As Alexander says of the song, it’s “about feeling alive and having no regrets! It’s about trying to ignore the past since you can’t change. But most of all, it’s about having fun, living in the present.”

 

Comprised of husband wife duo Aslyn and Kalen Nash, the Joshua Tree, CA-based synth pop duo DEGA features two accomplished, veteran musicians: Ashlyn had released two solo albums, Lemon Love through Capitol Records and The Dandelion Sessions through Lemonade Records, and she has a stint was a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for Grammy nominated artist Kesha. Kalen Nash was guitarist and vocalist for Athens, GA-based indie rock act Ponderosa, a band that released their critically applauded, Joe Chiccarelli-produced album Midnight Revival, which was released through New West Records.

Unsurprisingly, the origins of the Nashes latest project can be traced back to 2008 when they first met and eventually fell in love — and although they married in 2011, they were so busy with their own respective musical projects, that they hadn’t seriously considered working together. Eventually, the loneliness of the road led the Nashes to consider a different path. “I remember a phone call when I was out with Kesha and Kalen was on tour with Ponderosa,” recalls Aslyn. “We were a country apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. I told him that we needed to start collaborating so, at the very least, we could see each other more often.”

Ashlyn and Kalen Nash formed DEGA with the idea that they could shed any and all of their preconceived notions about their previous work and freely explore new sounds and musical ideas — in this case anthemic, synth-based indie pop in which they merged their talents and ideas into a unique sound and approach. Now, as you may recall, the duo’s self-titled debut effort is slated for release later on this month through Lemonade Records, and the album reportedly is one of the most personal either has released to date as it focuses on the highs and lows of their lives together; in fact, album single “Phoenix” focuses on Asyln’s pregnancy and miscarriage during the recording sessions. With both Asyln and Kalen touring with their various projects, the duo would record whenever they were both in the same city and had free time, and as result, the album took two years to complete with sessions helmed by  Justin Loucks and Jon Ashley at various studios across the States.

Don’t Call It,” which I wrote about late last year was a carefully crafted yet urgent song that remind some quite a bit of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy as layers of shimmering synths were paired with a sinuous bass line, African-inspired percussion and a soaring hook. The duo’s latest single “Mirrors” continues the 80s vibes of its predecessor — but in this case Purple Rain and 1999-era Prince, as well as A Flock of Seagulls as the song features some blistering guitar work paired with propulsive drumming, layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a rousingly anthemic hook. And while being a remarkably slick, radio friendly track, it reveals some incredibly ambitious and earnest songwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Dana Janssen, a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a member of renowned indie act Akron/Family, and long-time collaborator Justin Miller, Dana Buoy is a decided change of sonic direction for those familiar with Janssen’s work with Akron Family. In fact, Dana Buoy finds the duo of Janssen and Miller focusing on sweaty, late night, dance floor-friendly, analog synth-based, pop that is frequently equal parts lysergic and sensual, as you’ll hear on the duo’s exuberant yet deeply introspective and shimmering, Neon Indian meets Cut Copy and Painted Palms-like new single “Ice Glitter Gold,” off the duo’s forthcoming album of the same name, slated for a February 23, 2018 through Everloving Records.

 

 
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New Video: The Soaring 80s Inspired Pop Sounds and Visuals of Husband and Wife Duo DEGA

Comprised of husband wife duo Aslyn and Kalen Nash, the Joshua Tree, CA-based synth pop duo DEGA features two accomplished, veteran musicians: Ashlyn had released two solo albums — Lemon Love through Capitol Records and The Dandelion Sessions through Lemonade Records, as well as spending some time as a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for Grammy nominated artist Kesha. Karen Nash was guitarist and vocalist for Athens, GA-based indie rock act Ponderosa, a band that released their critically applauded, Joe Chiccarelli-produced album Midnight Revival, which was released through renowned indie rock/roots rock label New West Records. Interestingly, the origins of the Nashes latest project can be traced back to 2008 when they first met — and although they got married in 2011, they were so busy with their own projects that they hadn’t really considered working together. Eventually, the loneliness of the road led the Nashes to consider a different path. “I remember a phone call when I was out with Kesha and Kalen was on tour with Ponderosa,” recalls Aslyn. “We were a country apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. I told him that we needed to start collaborating so, at the very least, we could see each other more often.”

The Nashes then formed DEGA with the idea that they could shed any of their preconceived notions about their previous work and freely explore new sounds — in this case, anthemic, synth-based indie pop in which they merged their talents and ideas into a unique sound and approach. Their forthcoming self-titled debut is slated for a February 23, 2018 release through Lemonade Records and the album reportedly is one of the most personal works either have released to date, as it focuses on their highs and the lows, as well as the love they have for each other; in fact, album single “Phoenix” focuses on Aslyn’s pregnancy and miscarriage during the recording sessions. With both Aslyn and Kalen touring, the duo would record whenever they were in the same city and had free time and although the album took two years to complete with sessions helmed by Justin Loucks and Jon Ashley at various studios across the States. 

The self-titled album’s latest single “Don’t Call It” is a an ethereal, 80s inspired synth pop confection reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy as layers of shimmering synths are paired with a sinuous bass line line, propulsive yet African-inspired percussion and a soaring hook. And while being slickly produced, the song possesses an urgent and swooning romanticism that belies a careful attention to craft. 

Directed by Scott Lansing, the recently released video for “Don’t Call It” consists of a fairly simple premise — the duo performing the song in a darkened room, in front of bright, lysergic lighting effects. 

New Video: The Hazily Psychedelic Visuals for The Babe Rainbow’s “Monkey Disco”

Throughout the fall, I’ve written quite a bit about the up-and-coming Bryon Bay, Australia-based band The Babe Rainbow. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Bryon Bay, Australia-born and-based founding members Jack “Cool-Breeze” and Angus Darling The Hothouse Flower with Venezuelan-born pianist Lu-Lu-Felix Domingo can trace their origins to when its founding duo started a songwriting partnership while in middle school; however The Babe Rainbow started in earnest in late 2015 when the founding duo met Venezuelan-born pianist Domingo while they were traveling in France.

The trio’s self-titled debut was produced by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Stu Mackenzie, and from album single “Johny Stays Cool,” the band specializes in lo-fi, off-kilter funk inspired by African Diaspora-like rhythms and breezy, Tropicalia-like melodies, while being reminiscent of The B52s. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Monkey Disco” finds the Australian band meshing sweaty, tribal house, Afropop, psych pop and lo-fi New Wave in a way that’s reminiscent of Fear of Music-era Talking Heads and Zonoscope-era Cut Copy, but while possessing an off-kilter, quirky quality. 

The recently released music video was written and directed by S.L.Kristofski and The Babe Rainbow in conjunction with the Y.P.S.M.C (Young People’s Society of Music for Chameleons) and features hazily lysergic imagery and vibrant colors — and much like the sounds that accompany it, it manages to be mischievously anachronistic. 

Rohan Newman is a a Melbourne, Australia-based producer and electronic music artist, best known in electronic music circles as Roland Tings, and back in 2012, as a relative newcomer, the Australian producer and electronic music artist caught the attention of renowned electronic dance music label, 100% Silk Records, who released his debut EP.  And unsurprisingly, thanks to the cosign from the renowned Southern California-based label and the international attention he received, Newman quickly became one of Melbourne’s go-to producers and DJs, performing at some of the city’s most raucous house parties and basement jams. With an even larger profile, Newman quickly signed to renowned Norwegian electronic music label Internasjonal, founded by alt-disco, electronic music star Prins Thomas, and the label released Newman’s 2015 full-length debut, an album that Triple J named their Feature Album of the year.

Newman’s sophomore Roland Tings effort, Each Moment a Diamond was released earlier this year, and the material revealed a subtle yet decided change in his songwriting approach: Newman rented a studio located in Melbourne’s industrial backstreets and treated the entire songwriting and production process, much like a 9-5 job in which he deliberately developed a routine around a repetitive and dependable schedule — every morning, Newman ate the same breakfast, rode his bike along the same route to the studio, spent hours writing and revising and when finished, he’d hang out with the same group of friends at the same places. Being at the studio all day every day was psychologically demanding. For each good idea I had, there were maybe 30 bad ones, which is hard to face when you look back on months of work and realize the majority of the material will never make the record. Eventually though I was able to see each ‘failure’ as a crucial contribution to overall whole,” Newman reflected in press notes.  “The routine also allowed me to grasp good ideas when they surfaced -– when something was different, when something sounded great, I quickly noticed and was able to follow each thread. Another valuable realization from this process was knowing when to stop, when to let go of an idea, power down the studio, get on my bike and head home.”

Now if you were following this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about two of Each Moment a Diamond’s singles — the Zonoscope-era Cut Copy inspired house music track “Higher Ground” and the Larry Levan-era house meets Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves-like track “Garden Piano.”  Interestingly, Newman has managed to make 2017 an extraordinarily busy year, as he just released follow up single “Eyes Close,” a song  inspired by his recent relocation from Melbourne to New South Wales’ Central Coast, and the song which features layers of shimmering arpeggiated synths,thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and twinkling, cosmic ray-like electronics will further cement his reputation for crafting sleek, assertive yet chilly house music; however, unlike his previously released material, this particular single manages to swoon with a sense of exhilaration and freedom, as though a weight as been slowly lifted — or of closing your eyes on a sunny day, craning your head towards the sun to feel its warmth on you, and then opening your eyes to bursts of light.

As Newman explains in press notes, “I wanted to make a song that would capture what I could only describe as cold euphoria. The exhilaration of being feeling untethered after a long time in the same routine. The intoxicating smell of eucalyptus after a long time in the city.” He continues,  “I wanted to make something that captured the beauty of that coastal landscape in winter. The way the trees on the windward side of the headland grow with twisted branches, braced against the southerly storms. I wanted to make something that sounded like total release, coming out of a dark place into somewhere filled with light.”

New Video: Miami Horrors’ Joshua Moriarty Releases Surreal and Dream-like Visuals for “R.T.F.L.”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the years, you’ve come across a few posts featuring the Melbourne, Australia-based, internationally renowned, indie electro pop act Miami Horror, and as you may recall, the act, which initially formed as a quartet comprised of founding member Benjamin Plant (production), along with Joshua Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Aaron Shanahan (guitar, vocals and production) and Daniel Whitchurch (bass, keys, guitar) released two critically praised albums — their 2010 full-length debut Illumination, which was praised for a sound that drew from Cut Copy, New Order, Prince, Michael Jackson, E.L.O., and their 2013 sophomore effort All Possible Futures, a breezy and summery club banger, inspired by the time the quartet spent in Southern California.

After touring to support All Possible Futures, the band went on an informal hiatus with the band’s Benjamin Plant becoming an in-demand songwriting, co-writing tracks for Client Liaison and Roland Tings, among others. And somehow, the exceptionally busy Plant managed to also find time to write new Miami Horror material — material that would eventually comprise their conceptional EP, The Shapes, an effort that found the newly constituted trio’s sound drawing from Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, Caribbean funk and African percussion while retaining elements of the sound that won them international attention, as you’d hear on the hook-heavy single “Lelia.”

Interestingly, although he’s best known as the vocal behind Miami Horror, Joshua Moriarty has stepped out from behind the band with the release of his solo debut album, War Is Over and while the album’s second single “All I Want Is You” leans much more towards the his work with Miami Horror with nods to Giorgio Moroder-era disco and Tame Impala-like psych pop, the album’s first single “R.T.F.L.” is a decided change in sonic direction with the song leaning towards contemporary electro pop and electro soul — and while there is a plaintive and carnal sensuality within the song that feels expected, the song also manages to possess a thoughtful earnest, based on actual, lived-in, personal experience.

Directed by Thomas Russell and filmed by David McKinner, and starring Joshua Moriarty and Morgan Rayner, the recently released video is  a surreal and feverish dream that undulates with a carnal vulnerability and need.