Tag: Dam-Funk

Adrian Underhill is a Vancouver, British Columbia-born, Toronto, Ontario-based singer/songwriter, who has a number of stints in indie rock bands in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, before the low-key release of his solo debut EP in 2012; however, sometime after that, Underhill completely revamped his songwriting process, employing keyboards, synths and drum machines, which found him gravitating towards a slinky R&B-inspired pop sound but paired with a simple and very direct, earnest lyricism.

Describing the writing process for forthcoming album, CU Again, Underhill says “I sat with a keyboard and one drum machine and tried not play much with production ideas. The tunes have a classic, 70s songwriter vibe, even though we ultimately pushed the production into a very different realm. This simple, direct way of songwriting is me at my best.”

The recording sessions for CU Again found the up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter collaborating with British electronic production Kindness (also known as Adam Bainbridge), best known for his work with Robyn, Solange and Blood Orange with the renowned producer and Underhill working on electronic elements in Montreal before they went to Los Angeles for at three-day session with a live, funk supergroup that included JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk (drums) Keith Eaddy (bass) and Brandon Coleman (keys). And the end result finds the material being a seamless blend of Kindness’ electronic production with warm, organic instrumentation as you’ll hear on CU Again‘s swooning “Weather,” which pairs a looped and chopped keyboard sample with stuttering and skittering drum programming, arpeggiated synths and Underhill’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics on how time changes people and their moods, like the weather.  What makes the song interesting to me is that it walks a careful tightrope between sincerity and playfulness, familiarity and complete strangeness.
As Underhill adds, “On ‘Weather’, I love how the production came out. Adam (Bainbridge) took my original demo and just kinda warped it and morphed it, almost like a remix, adding new drums and changing the keyboard sounds I had played. Then we added the live piano and synth bass from Brandon Coleman (Kamasi Washington) and Keith Eaddy (DāM-FunK). In the end it’s quite playful and strange – it’s a great combination of sounds.”

 

With the release of their first two singles a cover of Pharrell Williams‘ “Frontin‘” and their Amin Payne-produced debut single “Love Trick,” the Melbourne, Australia-based R&B/Future Soul act La Hazel, comprised of Lucas Miller, Matty Lansdown, Tim Chambers and Anand Sivamalai quickly received attention nationally and elsewhere; in fact, with the release of their cover of “Frontin’,” the Melbourne-based Future Soul act built an online following and played with a number of local acts including Blasko, Zil, 1/6, SO.Crates, Tino, Aaron Creigh, Tail Sing, Noti, Class A and others. Along with that they were included on an international line up of up-and-coming hip-hop acts that included Canada’s Xolisa, New Zealand’s Raiza Biza, and American acts A1 Krashn and Paco while the acts were on tour in Australia. Their official debut, “Love Trick” quickly racked up 30,000 views within the first four weeks of its release on Facebook.

Building upon a growing profile, the Melbourne, Australia-based Future Soul act recently released their second and latest single “Begging” is a slinky and sultry bit of synth-based funk that interestingly enough reminds me of Melbourne, Australia-born, Brooklyn-based Nick Murphy, fka Chet Faker — with hints at D’Angelo, The Roots, Dam-Funk and others, but with rousingly anthemic hooks; but under-pinning the song is an irresistible, yet frustrated carnal need. 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so, you’d certainly come across a handful of posts featuring the  Austin TX/Houston, TX-based electro pop act  Night Drive. Comprised of songwriting and production duo Rodney Connell and Bradley Duhon, the Texan electro pop act can trace their origins to some rather unusual, highly soap-opera-like yet very true circumstances: Connell and Duhon had met and bonded after they had discovered the the woman they had both unwittingly had been simultaneously dating tragically died in a car accident. Regardless of the circumstances behind their formation, the duo  has received attention both on this site and elsewhere for a moody, slickly produced New Wave and synth pop sound that draws from Joy DivisionCut CopyBrian EnoThe KnifeThe DrumsLCD SoundsystemDepeche Mode and others. However, the duo’s last single “Rise and Fall” managed to sound as though it were inspired by  A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away)” and Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” — and interestingly enough, the song thematically focused on the slow dissolution of a relationship that according to the song’s narrator seemed to be nearing its inevitable conclusion; but with the recognition that walking away from a relationship is difficult, even when it’s absolutely necessary. And in some way, you can sense the narrator’s unexpressed and deep seated fears about his life, post-relationship.

Last month, the renowned Los Angeles-based production and DJ duo Classixx remixed “Rise and Fall,” turning the moody, synth-based torch song into a breezy, funky, summery, club banger along the lines of Tuxedo, Dam-Funk, 7 Days of Funk and others, as the duo pairs the original vocal track with twinkling electric piano, a sinuous bass line and thumping beats — and as a result, the heartbreak at the core of the song is reduced to the dull throb of having time pass by. As Connell and Duhon explained to the folks at Billboard “Classixx reinterprets the song through the lens of that same person reminiscing about the incident many years later while chilling on a beach and sipping a martini. Sure it was sad and heartbreaking, but it’s hard to stay sad while in the Cayman Islands.”

As Classixx’s Michael David and Tyler Blake explained to Billboard, their remix of Night Drive’s “Rise and Fall” involved them pulling out electric piano and bass and recording one long take jamming over the vocal track. “We were feeling the groove and liked some of the imperfections, so we left them in. Our initial pass was more abstract, but the band [Night Drive] helped us bring it back a little closer to the original material. It was a pretty collaborative effort through email. I like how it still sounds a little rough around the edges though. Sometimes that’s where the charm lies,” the duo’s Tyler Blake added in an emailed statement to Billboard.

The duo’s self-titled debut is slated for a June 16, 2017 release through Roll Call Records and the album’s latest single “Trapeze Artist Regrets,” and the album’s latest single “Trapeze Artist Regrets” will likely remind listeners of Depeche Mode’s “People Are People,” Yaz’s “Situation,” The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” and others as the song features an effortlessly slick production consisting of layers upon layers of propulsive, undulating synths and tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with an infectious, dance floor-friendly hook and emotionally direct lyrics. However, interestingly enough, as the duo admits “‘Trapeze Artist Regrets’ was never supposed to happen. We were writing something else for a short film and became bored, so we changed the bpm, started shifting things around and all of the sudden we had this groove we liked.  We just started working backwards from there. The title came first, a sorta metaphor for disaster; it’s about watching someone you care about make the same mistake over and over again and not being able to do anything about it. Just hoping they pull through.” And as a result, the song possesses a bitter sense of reality, along with the recognition that the narrator’s friend will do something incredibly harmful to themselves and others.

 

 

 

Comprised of Los Angeles-born and -based musicians Daniel Davila and Cooper Bell, the pop and funk duo Fabriq with their latest single “Electric Flow,” have an sexy, attention-grabbing sound that clearly draws from contemporary electro pop, 80s synth pop and synth funk in a way that’s reminiscent of Dam-Funk, Boulevards and others, as the song possesses a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming and a slick, dance floor rocking hook.

 

 

 

New Video: The Retro-futuristic 80s Visuals and Synth Funk Sounds of Aida’s “Let’s Ride”

Aida is a French-born singer/songwriter who with the release of “Let’s Ride” off her soon-to-be released debut EP, My Retrospective has received attention for a neon bright, funk sound reminiscent of 80s synth funk — i.e., The Whispers “And The Beat Goes On,” “It’s A Love Thing,” and “Rock Steady,” Tuxedo’s self-titled debut, Dam-Funk, Blood Orange, Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You” and others; in fact, “Let’s Ride” which features a slick, dance floor-friendly electro funk production by Fresco Klüb consisting of cascading and propulsive arpeggio synth chords, enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats from Fresco Klüb paired with Aida’s effortlessly soulful and coquettish vocals.

Directed by Xavier Cantin-Lemieux of La Maison Bald Man, the recently released music video consists of pitch-perfect 80s-inspired visuals that cut between Aida going to a local bodega to make a phone call, where she watches a music video featuring three bathing suit-clad dancers on a studio-designed beach, and Aida riding her scooter through a Tron-like landscape; but as the video gets to the hook, it becomes darker, suggesting that Aida is an assassin on an important mission — and she does so with a cool, detached, efficiency.

Currently comprised of founding member Alexander Pavlich, Andrew Murray, Stian Aasen, Christian Balvig, Teodor Dysthe Lyngstad, and Martin Kaasa, Lovespeake is a Sandivka, Norway-based indie electro pop act that with the release of their debut album DNA received international attention — with radio airplay and additions to a variety of Spotify playlists across North America, the UK, the EU, Asia and Scandinavia. Adding to a growing national and international profile, in a relatively short period of time, the Norwegian pop sextet have received more than a million streams across the major streaming services and they were playlisted on Norway’s biggest radio station P3 for 16 consecutive weeks. Along with that, the band had songs featured on several influential Spotify playlists in North America, the UK, the EU, Asia and Scandinavia — an their debut charted highly on CMJ’s college radio charts here in the States. And most recently, they were selected as Tidal Rising Artist.

“Novocaine,” the Sandivska, Norway-based sextet’s sinuous, first single of 2017 is a collaboration with Max Frost that will further cement their growing reputation for crafting slick, hook-laden electro pop that possesses elements of psych pop, dream pop and funk that reminds me quite a bit of Tuxedo, Dam-Funk, Blood Orange and Tame Impala in the sense that while clearly drawing from brightly colored, 80s synth pop and funk, much like those renowned acts, Lovespeake’s sound manages to be a subtly contemporary take on something familiar; however, in the case of the Norwegian act, there’s an underlying quirkiness that manages to set it apart.

 

New Video: FYUTCH’s Hilarious Action Movie-based Take on Rejection

Harold Simmons II is a Gary, IN-born, New York-based (by way of a lengthy stint in Nashville, TN), emcee, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who writes and records as FYUTCH (pronounced Fi-yoo-tch). Simmons can trace the origins of his musical and performing career to when he initially began to receive attention as a public speaker, who had given speeches at a number of impressive and major public events — including Gary’s Mayor Scott L. King’s campaign banquet and on the steps of Congress. When he turned 17, Simmons formed Legendary Biscuits and Gravy a band in which he played alto sax and contributed vocals with friends, Eric Sexton (keyboard), Brandon Holt (drums), Wesley Winfrey (tenor sax) and Brady Surface (bass). The quintet received regional acclaim as they were nominated for Southern Entertainment Awards’ Best Indy R&B Artist of the Year in 2007. And over the subsequent two year period, the band saw a rapidly growing profile as they’ve been on bills that included nationally and internationally recognized artists including The Pink Spiders, Sam and Ruby, as well as opening for Kanye West, GZA and Nappy Roots.

Simmons relocated to Nashville and while using the moniker Future the Artist, Simmons released his self-produced solo debut The Sci Fly EP, which garnered a Nashville Music Award nomination for Best Urban Recording of the Year, which he followed up with his Overnight Mixtape series in which he wrote and recorded six mixtapes — with each mixtape being recorded during an overnight studio session and then released as a free download the next day. The mixtapes caught the attention of renowned site, Nashville Scene, who praised Simmons’ work; in fact, thanks to the growing attention he received, the fourth mixtape of the series found Simmons collaborating with the likes of Bun B and GLC. Additionally, as a solo artist, he has opened for Wale, Pharrell Williams, Little Brother and Afroman.

By late 2012, Simmons changed his name to FYUTCH after discovering that there was another artist who also went by the name Future, who was receiving quite a bit of attention nationally — and internationally. And since changing his performing moniker, Simmons has released several efforts including Mr. Flattop, which was executive produced by DJ Rob “Sir” Lazenby and featured guest spots from Mike Stud, Futuristic, Mello Rello, Whitney Coleman and production by G-Pop, Wick-it the Instigator and The FANS; a psychedelic hip-hop concept EP Peace, Love and FYUTCH which was produced by G-Pop and featured deeply obscure samples and world music percussion. Interestingly, “Funked Up,” the first single off his Philosophy of Love EP was produced by Solar Shield — and the single is a Dam-Funk/Thundercat retro-futuristic -leaning jam featuring shimmering, arpeggio synths and wobbling low end paired with Simmons rhyming and singing a hilarious and very true tale about approaching an attractive woman, who’s been attracted to for some time or has noticed for a little bit and being cruelly rejected for his efforts. On one level, the song is about having the blind courage to risk being made a fool of and being rejected; on another level, the song is a tell off to someone, who in the narrator’s eyes doesn’t see what kind of man he is; but also, the song can be viewed as an admission of how stupid and vulnerable love can make us. And Simmons does all of this in a slick and funky as hell, dance-floor friendly song.

Filmed by Wesley Crutcher, the recently released video for “Funked Up,” is a mischievous take on action movies — in particular, movies like Jumper in which the main character travels through time; in this case, the future FYUTCH winds up traveling through time to see a younger FYUTCH get rejected by one of his first love interests, while the older FYUTCH gets rejected by a love interest, who was sitting near the younger FYUTCH. Trippy, right? But at the same time, it’s goofy and hilarious take on rejection.

As I’ve mentioned a number of times throughout the history of this site, I’m often multitasking while working on blog posts and as a result I frequently wind up serendipitously discovering new things to write about for the site; in this case, I stumbled across a young, up-and-coming DJ and producer, DJ Mestizo‘s contemporary funk, disco and boogie mixtape Unfadable MF (Modern Funk) and make no mistake, the mixtape is a collection of funk that would make The Whispers, George ClintonDam-Funk and others extremely proud.

Gary, IN-born, New York-based (by way of a lengthy stint in Nashville, TN), emcee, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Harold Simmons II, best known as FYUTCH can trace the origins of his musical and performance career to when he first starting to gain attention as a young public speaker, who had given speakers at a number of public events — including Mayor Scott L. King’s campaign banquet and on the steps of Congress. When Simmons (alto sax and lead vocals) was 17, he formed Legendary Biscuits and Gravy along with several friends Eric Sexton (keyboard), Brandon Holt (drums), Wesley Winfrey (tenor sax) and Brady Surface (bass), and the quintet quickly came to regional acclaim — they were nominated for Southern Entertainment Awards Best Indy R&B Artist of the Year in 2007 and over the next two years, the band performed at the Next Big Nashville Festival on bills that included several nationally recognized bands including The Pink Spiders, Sam and Ruby, as well as opening for Kanye West, GZA and Nappy Roots.

In 2009, under the moniker of Future the Artist, Simmons released his self-produced, solo debut The Sci Fly EP which was nominated for a Nashville Music Award for Best Urban Recording of the Year. He followed that up by the Overnight Mixtape series in which he recorded and released six mixtapes, recording each mixtape during an overnight studio session and releasing it for a free download the next day — and the mixtapes caught the attention of Nashville Scene, who wrote that the emcee, singer/songwriter and producer was dominating the local, indie scene; in fact that fourth mixtape of the series features collaborations with Bun B and GLC. And with the attention he was receiving, Simmons opened for the likes of Wale, Pharrell, Little Brother and Afroman.

After graduating from Belmont University, Simmons along with fellow Nashville-based artist Chancellor Warhol recorded “Bonus Lvl/Fly Away,” which appeared the HBO Canada series Less Than Kind and E!’s Khloe and Lamar, adding to a growing national profile, followed by an appearance at 2012’s SXSW.

By late 2012, Simmons changed his name to FYUTCH (pronounced Fuetch) after discovering that there was another artist by the name of Future, who was starting to receive national attention. Since then he has had a number of releases — the Mr. Flaptop, which was executive produced by DJ Rob “Sir” Lazenby and featured guest spots from Mike Stud, Futuristic, Mello Rello, Whitney Coleman and production by G-Pop, Wick-it the Instigator and The FANS; a psychedelic hip-hop concept EP Peace, Love and FYUTCH which was produced by G-Pop and featured deeply obscure samples and world music percussion.

Simmons’ latest single “Funked Up,” produced by Solar Shield is a Dam-Funk inspired jam that pairs twisting, turning and shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line, a propulsive motorik groove and Simmons rhyming a hilarious tell off to a lover, who has fucked with his head and heart and yet still is attracted to — and throughout the song, the song’s narrator expresses frustration, bemusement and lust simultaneously in an incredibly slick, dance-floor friendly song.

 

 

New Video: The Psychedelic Sounds and Visuals of Samiyam’s Collaboration with Earl Sweatshirt

Animals Have Feelings’ third and latest single is a shuffling and kaleidoscopic collaboration with Earl Sweatshirt “Mirror” that also features a surreal array of obscure 60s psych rock and 70s soul samples paired with boom-bap beats paired with Earl Sweatshirt dexterous inner and out rhymes — some dealing with issues of identity vs. how others perceive you and more.