Tag: dance pop

With the release of their first two albums — 2013’s ATLAS, which landed at number 1 on the Australian charts and earned platinum status and 2016’s critically and commercially successful follow up, Bloom, which featured smash hits “You Were Right” and “Innerbloom,” the Sydney, Australia-based electro pop trio RUFUS DU SOL, comprised of Tyrone Lindqvist, Jon George and James Hunt quickly became international sensations — and over the course of a two year long international tour, developed a reputation for combining the DIY live aesthetics of indie rock with the euphoria of classic club culture.
The Australian trio spent the past year in Venice, CA writing and recording their highly-anticipated third full-length album SOLACE, and as the trio notes, the album is largely influenced by the dichotomy of the stark desert landscapes and coastlines of California while being a much fuller exploration of their evolving sound, and a deeper, more intimate glimpse into both melancholy and transcendence. It feels like a new RÜFÜS,”the trio says. “We are inspired by our new home out here, by the people we’ve met and the music we’ve heard along the way. We’ve got a refreshed sense of ambition and cannot wait to share our creation with the world.”

 

SOLACE’s second and latest single “Underwater” will further cement the Australian trio’s growing reputation for forward-thinking, boundary pushing production as the track is centered around arpeggiated and propulsive Giorgio Moroder-like synths, a soaring choral hook and verses that express an aching longing. And from the latest single, it shouldn’t be surprising that the act manages to walk a tightrope between arena and club rocking bombast with an earnest and intimate emotionality, as though the song is confession between the listener and the song’s narrator.

The internationally renowned electro pop trio will be on a month long North American tour during the fall and it includes three New York City area dates — November 23, November 24 and November 25 at Terminal 5. Check out the tour dates below.

 

SOLACE North American Fall Tour Dates (with more dates to be announced):
Oct 24th – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
Oct 25th – Atlanta, GA – Coca Cola Roxy
Oct 26th – New Orleans, LA – Voodoo Music & Arts Experience
Oct 27th – Houston, TX – House of Blues (Houston)
Oct 28th – Austin, TX – Emo’s
Oct 30th – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
Oct 31st – San Diego, CA – Valley View Casino Center
Nov 1st – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 2nd – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 3rd – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 6th – San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Nov 9th – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
Nov 10th – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium
Nov 11th – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium
Nov 13th – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Nov 14th – Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom
Nov 15th – Detroit, MI – Royal Oak Music Hall
Nov 16th – Toronto, ON – The Danforth Music Hall
Nov 18th – Montreal, QC – MTELUS
Nov 20th – Boston, MA – House of Blues (Boston)
Nov 21st – Boston, MA – House of Blues (Boston)
Nov 23rd – New York, NY – Terminal 5
Nov 24th – New York, NY – Terminal 5
Nov 25th – New York, NY – Terminal 5

 

 

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New Video: Jenn Champion’s Whimsical Rival Crew Dance Off

Born Jennifer Hays, the Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Jenn Champion grew up in Tucson, AZ, where in the mid 90s, she worked at a local pizza shop with future bandmates Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke. In 1997 the trio moved to Olympia, WA for about a year, before settling in Seattle and forming Hays’ first band Carissa’s Wierd. Although they only released three albums before splitting up in 2003, the band had a cult following that has resulted in the release of three compilation albums of their work, including 2010’s They’ll Only Miss You When You’re Gone: Songs 1996-2003, all of which have ben released through Hardly Art Records.

Since the breakup of Carissa’s Wierd, Champion has focused on several acclaimed solo projects including, the sparse, guitar and vocals-based pop project S. And with S she has released four albums, including 2010’s I’m Not As Good At It As You and 2014’s Chris Walla-produced Cool Choices. Critics and fans have applauded her open-hearted lyrics, technical skill and willingness to eschew conventions — and perhaps more important for writing sad songs meant to be cried to (or should I say be cried with?).  Interestingly, the B side of Champion’s last S album found her moving towards a more electronic-based sound; however, her single “No One” found Champion fully embracing electronics.  “I feel like a door got opened in my mind with electronic and digital music. There was a room I hadn’t explored before and I stepped in,” Champion says in press notes. While she’d initially intended to follow Cool Choices with “a rock record – guitar, a lot of pedals, heavy riffs,” plans changed. “I couldn’t pull myself away from the synthesizers and I realized the record I really wanted to make was more of a cross between Drake and Billy Joel than Blue Oyster Cult.”

After the release of “No One,” Champion’s publishers partnered her with Brian Fennell, an electronic music artist, songwriter and producer best known as SYML and the pair co-wrote “Leave Like That,” which was featured on SYML‘s Hurt For Me EP. Champion and Fennell hit it off so well that after Champion had written the demos for her recently released full-length Single Rider, she enlisted Fennell as a producer. Fennell agreed and they spent the next five months working on and refining the material on Single Rider. As Champion recalls, “In the studio with Brian, I was more open than I had ever been,” and as a result the material evolved into a slickly produced, anthemic dance floor friendly album; however, the new album reportedly finds Champion maintaining the earnest emotionality and vulnerability that has won her attention but this time, the album’s material finds the acclaimed Seattle-based singer/songwriter imploring the listener to dance, dance, dance, dance, dance heartache, outrage and disappointment away, for a little bit at least. And goddamn it, sometimes strobe light, thumping bass and shimmering synths are so absolutely necessary to your basic survival.

Single Rider‘s latest single “Time To Regulate” is a slickly produced, sultry and propulsive bit of dance pop centered around layers of shimmering, arpeggiated synths, cowbell-led percussion, thumping beats and an anthemic hook that reminds me of Soft Metals‘ Lenses, Cut Copy‘s In Ghost Colours, of 80s synth soul and Giorgio Moroder; but underneath the slick production, thumping beats and razor sharp hooks, there’s a desperate person trying to put on a brave face on a daily basis — with the acknowledgment that sometimes just being can be difficult in itself, and that adds a triumphant, “well, fuck man, keep it going  as best as you can” vibe to the shimmering proceedings.

Directed by  Rhea Bozzacchi, the recently released video for “Time to Regulate” is a whimsical and joyous back alley dance off battle royal between two rival crews, one headed by Jenn Champion of course — with the end result being that the two rivals dance together as one fun-loving unit. Underneath the whimsy though is a series of imagery in which a marginalized group bands together for camaraderie and empowerment. 

Throughout the course of this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn dance pop act and JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket. Although the band has gone through a number of lineup changes and iterations, there’s one thing that’s been consistent — founding duo and primary songwriters Alex Toth (trumpet, vocals, percussion) and Kalmia Traver (lead vocals, tenor sax and baritone sax). Toth and Traver can trace the origins of their collaboration to when they met while playing in  Burlington, VT-based Latin jazz act. Quickly bonding over being horn players, a love of Afrobeat and Afro pop, and their preternatural connection, the duo relocated to  Boston in 2006, where they did fairly respectable things to survive  — Traver spent time as a nude model for art classes, while Toth spent time hustling $50 a performance marching band gigs. And while being completely broke in Boston, the duo began Rubblebucket.

Relocating to Brooklyn some years later, Toth and Traver, along with a fully-fleshed out band emerged on to the national scene with the release of 2011’s critically applauded sophomore album Omega La La, and an already established reputation for a relentless touring schedule full of ecstatic, energetic and mischievous, dance party-like live sets. Since Omega La La, Rubblebucket’s recorded output has revealed a band that has graduated crafted, then cemented a signature sound — and with their most recent releases, subtly expanding upon it. Simultaneously, Traver fully stepped into the role of the band’s frontperson with a growing self-assuredness.

Slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Grand Jury MusicSun Machine, Rubblebucket’s fifth full-length album may arguably be among the most personal that Traver and Toth have ever written as the album’s material is largely inspired by the end of the duo’s longterm romantic relationship and the duo’s deep and lasting connection both personally and creatively but the album also draws from a number of major life-changing events over the past few years — namely Kalmia Traver’s diagnosis with ovarian cancer back in 2013, followed by rounds of surges and chemotherapy treatments; Alex Toth’s decision to get sober after a long struggle with alcoholism; and the couple’s three-year-long attempt at maintaining an open relationship. Reportedly, the end result is something strange, complex and beautiful in its own right, as the material still finds the duo crafting ebullient party jams rooted in a radical mindfulness while also an aching breakup album, imbued not with bitterness and accusation, but with a palpable love, making it the rare album with a truly kind and adult sensibility. Musically and sonically speaking, the album reportedly finds Rubblebucket’s duo tapping back into their jazz training with many moments throughout the album completely driven by improvisation. “There’s a lot of moments on this album that happened from us being in a trance-like zone, and coming up with weird sounds in the middle of recording, sometimes by accident,” Alex Toth says in press notes. But at its core, the duo hope that the album will encourage listeners and fans to see the possibility of transformation in painful experiences. ” When I got cancer and Alex quit drinking, that was the beginning of a huge journey for both of us,” Kalmia Traver says. “So much of that journey has been about giving myself the freedom to exist on my own terms, believing in my ideas instead of self-editing. I think this album represents both of us allowing ourselves that freedom in a totally new way, and hopefully it’ll give people inspiration to be creative in their own lives, and to just soften up a bit too.”

The album’s second single “Lemonade,” was written by Toth, who notes, “As the lyrics came together I realized I was kind of writing the song from Kal’s perspective, singing to me. I didn’t know what project the song was for (my solo record, a friend’s band, a pop star?) but when Kal and I realized Rubblebucket wasn’t ending with our breakup, but gaining new life, this song made perfect sense.” As a result, the song manages to convey a confusing array of emotions — wistful and bittersweet reminiscing over what once was and will never be again; the joy of knowing rare, sweet, frustrating and profound love and always having that connection with someone, even if they may have been an asshole at some point; the realization that the closure that everyone talks about is utterly impossible in this life; and the hope of maybe one day stumbling upon that sort of love again. Sonically, the song meshes swinging jazz, thumping and breezy pop with an aching, old school ballad in a way that’s vivacious and life affirming in a necessary way. We all know that life can be wondrous and heartbreaking — sometimes simultaneously, sometimes independently; but love and music make it all easier in the end.

Traver and Toth are in the middle of a tour to build up buzz, and then to support their new album. Check out the remaining tour dates below.

Tour Dates

7/5: Burlington, VT @ Battery Park (The Point Summer Series)

7/7: Portland, ME @ Thompson’s Point^

7/13: Canandaigua NY @ Lincoln Hill Farms#

8/1: Troy, NY @ WEQX Riverfront Event+

8/2: Dennis, MA @ Cape Cinema+

8/3: Westerly, RI @ Paddy’s Beach Club

8/4: Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes+

9/8: Holyoke, MA @ Gateway City Arts

10/6: Arrington, VA @ The Festy

10/25: Fairfield, CT @ Warehouse

10/26: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

10/27: Washington, DC @ Black Cat

10/29: Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle

10/30: Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge

10/31: Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West

11/2: Burnett, TX @ Utopia Fest

11/4: Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom

11/6: Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom

11/7: San Francisco, CA @ August Hall

11/9: Seattle, WA @ Neumos

11/10: Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom

11/12: Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory

11/13: Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge

11/14: Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre

11/17: Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge

^ w/ Lake Street Dive

# Star Rover supports

+ And the Kids supports

New Video: Free Love Releases a Mischievous Take on 120 Minutes-era MTV Videos

Since their formation under the name Happy Meals in 2014 at Glasgow, Scotland’s The Green Door Studio, best known for being the birthplace of a number of local DIY bands, including renowned acts Golden Teacher and Total Leatherette, Free Love, comprised of Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook quickly established themselves as one of their homeland’s most acclaimed dance pop acts, as their 2015 full-length effort Apero was nominated for Scottish Album of the Year. Adding to a growing profile, the band opened for the likes of Liars and The Flaming Lips, and played sets at festivals in Austin, TX, Moscow, and Bangalore. Despite their recent change in name, the duo further cements their reputation for utopian and somewhat brainy dance pop experiments with their dance floor friendly. shimmering, 80s synth pop and New Wave-inspired single “Synchronicity.” While the track may remind some listeners of Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait,” and New Order’s “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle,” the song is about breaking from the binds of culturally dictated self-limitation, coupled with the vertigo of complete freedom.

Shot by Harrison Reid and Omar Aborida and edited by Gary McQuiggan, the recently released video for “Synchronicity” was filmed at Carlton Studios and features friends of the band as four different “bands” with four different backdrops. But as the band’s Lewis Cook explains to The Quietus, “I wanted it to look like a Sparks video or something like that. I like videos where it’s just a band playing. But because the track is all electronic music, it’s just us with drum machines and synthesizers. So we thought it’d be cool to do this thing you used to see in the 90s where people had clearly made a track on a sampler.” As Suzi Rodden adds, “but they’re kidding on that they’re playing all these instruments in their video. Big bass guitars and full drum kits and maracas and stuff.”
 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays NVDES Returns with a Breezy and Hook-Driven New Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’ve likely been made familiar with the Los Angeles-based collective and JOVM mainstays NVDES, and as you may recall the collective, fronted by founding member and primary songwriter Josh Ocean with the release of 2016’s Life’s  With Lobsters received over 10 million streams across all digital platforms, landed on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart, and as a result of rapidly growing buzz, the project’s debut saw praise from The Fader, Nylon and others for glitchy, breezy and anthemic pop.

Building upon the buzz of their full-length debut, the act released the  La NVDITÉ EP earlier this year and from the EP’s first three singles, the breakneck Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem-like “Turning Heads,” the breezy, yet anthemic “Dancer From New York, and the glitchy and angular “Sugar,” Ocean and company have continued to further cement their reputation for crafting off-kitller, genre-defying pop that will remind some listeners of Damon Albarn and Gorillaz.   

“May and June”  La NVDITÉ EP’s fourth and latest single continues in the same vein of its predecessors with the single revealing a carefully crafted, slickly produced and hook-driven song that finds the act drawing from thumping, contemporary pop, funk, Tropicalia and 60s French pop in a mischievously seamless fashion — but underneath the seemingly post-modern irony and scuzzy pop vibes is a swooning and earnest Romanticism. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its seven-year history, you’ve likely come across a few posts featuring the internationally renowned Melbourne, Australia-based indie electro pop act Miami Horror. 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), the Aussie pop act exploded into the international scene with the release of 2010’s Illumination, an effort that was praised for a sound that drew from fellow countrymen Cut Copy, as well as New OrderPrinceMichael JacksonE.L.O. and others. The members of the quartet then spent the next three years shuttling back and forth between their hometown, Los Angeles and Paris writing and recording the material that would comprise 2013’s critically praised sophomore effort All Possible Futures, a breezy and summery, dance floor-friendly effort that was deeply inspired by the time the band spent writing and recording in Southern California — and while continuing to draw from 80s synth pop, the material hinted at 60s surf pop.

After touring to support All Possible Futures, the band had been on an informal hiatus as the band’s Benjamin Plant spent time as a go-to songwriter, co-writing tracks for fellow Aussie pop acts Client Liaison and Roland Tings. Somehow, the exceptionally busy Plant found time to write new material — material that would eventually comprise their conceptual EP The Shapes, which was released earlier this year.  Before the recording sessions for The Shapes, the band went through a lineup change as they went from a quartet to a trio; but perhaps more important, The Shapes found the newly constituted trio expanding upon their sound with the EP’s material drawing from  Talking Heads, Caribbean funk and African percussion while retaining elements of the sound that won them international attention; in fact, the EP’s dance floor friendly first single “Lelia” nodded at Tom Tom Club, Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, but with a soaring and rousing hook, shimmering synths and a ridiculously funky bass line, which Moriarty’s plaintive vocals float over.

Although he’s best known as the voice behind Miami Horror, the act’s Joshua Moriarty has stepped out from behind the band with the release of his solo debut album War Is Over. And interestingly enough, War Is Over‘s first single “R.T.F.L.” was a decided departure from his primary gig’s sound as the single leaned heavily towards contemporary electro pop and electro soul. The album’s second and latest single “All I Want Is You” manages to lean much more towards his work with Miami Horror, with the slickly produced song drawing from Giorgio Moroder-era disco and Tame Impala-like psych pop, complete with rousingly anthemic hooks and a sinuous dance floor — but the main difference to me is that Moriarty’s solo work possesses a plaintive and carnal sensuality.

 

New Video: The Trippy 80s-Inspired Visuals for Park Hotel’s “Going West”

Centered on its founding and primary songwriting duo Tim Abbey and Rebeca Macros-Roca, the London, UK-based post-electronic dance act Park Hotel have developed a reputation for a sound that meshes neo-disco and dance punk with off-kilter, downtown art scene-based songwriting — and unsurprisingly, the duo’s sound has been favorably described as a joyfully communal face-off between LCD Soundsystem, Earth, Wind and Wire with flashes of Talking Heads and a sprinkle of Steely Dan. Along with that, they’ve developed a reputation for a live show in which the project expands to a sextet featuring three-way vocal harmonies, rhythm and lead guitar, drums and lots of cowbell.

Produced by Eliot James, mixed by Nathan Boddy and mastered at New York’s Sterling Sound, the act’s debut single “Gone as a Friend” was recorded after playing a number of critically applauded, buzz-worthy shows across London before officially releasing it earlier this year. And building upon their growing buzz, the act’s latest single “Going West,” is an off-kilter, dance floor-friendly track that sounds inspired by Tom Tom Club‘s “Genius of Love,” Talking Heads’ “Making Flippy Floppy,” Miami Horror‘s “Leila” and The Rapture‘s “House of Jealous Lovers” as the song possesses an infectious, ear-worm worthy, hook paired with boy-girl harmonizing, shimmering synths, a Nile Rodgers-like guitar line and an even funkier bass line, but they manage to do so in a fashion that feels like a fresh and mischievous take on a familiar, crowd pleasing fashion.

Collaborating with mononymic artist Henry, the recently released video for “Going West” manages to draw from two different eras  — 60s psych pop and early 80s pop and rock videos, as we follow the members of Park Hotel on a rooftop with neon bright backdrops featuring Basquiat-like art and expansive and trippy blue skies.