JOVM celebrates what would have been David Bowie’s 74th birthday.
With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer Laura Carbone received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound and approach that frequently draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Shana Falana, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent and others. Additionally,. Carbone published a limited-edition book of photography, also named The Empty Sea.
Carbone and her backing band have opened for The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, developing a reputation for a self-assured and explosive live show, which she further cemented with a headlining tour across Europe last year. The Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer then followed that up with a stop at SXSW Levitation Festival/Creem Magazine Showcase and a headlining North American tour with The Natvral that included a stop at Baby’s All Right.
Carbone and her backing band were slated to go into the studio in May to record her highly-anticipated third album — but as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, the rising Berlin-based artist’s plans were placed in an indefinite hiatus, much like countless other artists across the globe. Last year, the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and her backing band performed on the famed German, live concert series Rockpalast — and for Carbone, who grew up in a small town in Southwestern Germany watching the show, appearing on the show was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream: Rockpalast has recorded and broadcasted a who’s who list of influential and important artists, playing some of their most memorable performances, including Siouxsie and The Banshees, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley and the Wailers and an amazing and very lengthy list of others.
As a result of pandemic-related shutdowns, an idea emerged with Carbone and her band: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Released yesterday, Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her Rockpalast set at Harmonie Bonn last October, the live album features a career-spanning set, centered around her first two albums, and an unexpected cover, Hewing as closely as possible to their live sound, the album was mixed in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg‘s Original Mastering with no overdubs.
Last month, I wrote about the live album’s first single, “Who’s Gonna Save You.” The live rendition accurately captures Carbone and her band’s forceful live sound and Carbone’s irresistible stage presence, While the song itself finds the band balancing menace, power and sultriness, it should also serve as an introduction to an artist, who in my book is adding her name to a list of powerful rock goddesses.
To celebrate the release of the album, Carbone released the live album’s second single, “Cellophane Skin.” Performed as the first song of their encore, the live rendition finds the band taking the tension of the original and informing it with a feral and ferocious power, informed by dozens of shows across Europe and North America — and by the occasion. And as a result, the song finds its narrator — and perhaps the artist herself — turning into a seductive and vengeful force of nature, much like the sirens of the ancient myths. At its down core, the song finds its narrator forcefully tearing down the bonds of poisonous social norms that have imprisoned her while demanding that we — particularly men — examine ourselves. Of course, much like its immediate predecessor, the song captures a woman with mighty and fearsome roar.
Directed by Olga Dyer, the recently released video for “Cellophane Skin” is split between gorgeous and seductive footage of Carbone in a black gown being touched by a series of seemingly disembodied hands and black and white footage captured on stage.
“The feminine point of view has always been much more difficult to articulate,” Olga Dyer says in press notes. “And once articulated, alas, quite often it becomes a point of vulnerability, seen through the prism of sexual objectification, helpless stereotypes and indecency. It’s literally stripped of its actual meaning or even possible interpretations. To me, this is what ‘Cellophane Skin’ is about. People jump to conclusions, so quick to assume that they can see through someone. Personally it doesn’t offend me, I only find it banal and boring. I love creating beautiful and dark sequences, inspired by noir surrealism.”
Chris Barker is an Oxford, UK-based singer/songwriter and guitarist best known for playing in Wille J. Heasley’s backing band. Barker is also the creative mastermind behind the rising British recording project Premium Leisure. And with a handful of Premium Leisure releases under his belt, Barker has enlisted a rotating cast of Oxford’s music scene, including Gas Coombes’ and Saint Etienne’s Mike Monaghan (drums) and Palace’s and Razorlight’s Harry Deacon (bass), who contributed to the Oxford-based artist’s latest single “Ready For Forever.”
Centered around shuffling, feel-good vibes, strummed acoustic guitar, Barker’s plaintive vocals and some razor sharp, infectious hooks, “Ready For Forever” sounds as though it draws from 70s AM rock — in particular, I can’t help but think of Man Who Sold The World-era David Bowie and a bit of Gerry Rafferty. “The song describes characters drifting about without any burdens or liability; asking me to give up the guilty conscience and loosen up,” Barker explains.
Directed by Lawrence Pumfrey, the recently released video for “Ready For Forever” begins with Barker waking up from a nap in his car, and stuffing a backpack with necessary provisions — a bong, some flowers and a few other things — before heading into the forest with his guitar in hand. He encounters three ballet-like dancers, who dance to his playing — and their dancing is full of a goofy yet uninhabited freedom that’s infectious.
With the release of her first two albums — 2016’s Sirens and 2018’s Empty Sea — the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and photographer Laura Carbone received attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound and approach that frequently draws comparisons to PJ Harvey, Shana Falana, Chelsea Wolfe, St. Vincent and others. Carbone also published and released a limited-edition book of photography, also named The Empty Sea.
Carbone and her backing band were slated to go into the studio in May to record her highly-anticipated third album — but as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, the rising Berlin-based artist’s plans were placed in an indefinite hiatus, much like countless other artists across the globe. Last year, Carbone and her backing band performed on the famed German live concert series Rockpalast — and for the Berlin-based artist, who grew up in a small town in Southwestern Germany, appearing on the show was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream: Rockpalast has recorded and broadcasted a who’s who list of influential and important artists, playing some of their most memorable performances, including Siouxsie and The Banshees, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Sinead O’Connor, David Bowie, R.E.M., Echo and the Bunnymen, Screaming Trees, Lynard Skynard, Bob Marley and the Wailers and an amazing and very lengthy list of others. And as a music mad teenager, Carbone often spent late Saturday nights watching the show, watching many of those artists play on national TV.
Interestingly, as a result of those pandemic-related shutdowns, an idea emerged with Carbone and her backing band: “What if Rockpalast would let us release that show as a live album?” Slated for a December 4, 2020 release, Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast is just that. Taken from her Rockpalast appearance, recorded at Harmonie Bonn last October, the live album features a career-spanning set featuring material off her first two albums with an unexpected cover. Hewing as closely as possible to their live sound, the album was mixed in Los Angeles by The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Scott Van Ryper and mastered by Philipp Welsing at Hamburg’s Original Mastering with no overdubs.
Laura Carbone — Live at Rockpalast’s first single “Who’s Gonna Save You” accurately captures the band’s dynamic live sound and Carbone’s sultry, self-assured presence — and in my book, the live rendition reveals that the Berlin-based artist is rock goddess you need right this very second. The live rendition finds Carbone and her band balancing menace with sultriness in a way that’s irresistible.
The recently released video for “Who’s Gonna Save You” is split between live footage shot in a gorgeous and broodingly cinematic black and white during last year’s Rockpalast and footage of the gorgeous Carbone in a equally gorgeous red dress wandering around Berlin’s Märchenbrunnen, or “Fairytale Fountain,” in Volkspark Friedrichshain shot by Underground Youth’s Olya Dyer. “To have this immaculate beauty yet melancholic aftertaste blended with the energy of the live performance is incredible. It’s a solitary present mixed with a crowded past.,” Dyer says of the footage he shot.
Throughout the course of this past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Israeli-born, Paris-based psych rock singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer MAGON. And with the release of Out in the Dark, MAGON quickly established a unique sound, which he has described as urban rock on psychedelics, as you would have heard on album singles like the incredibly self-aware and introspective, The Strokes-like “My Reflection,” and the David Bowie and T. Rex-like “Same House.”
Since the release of Out in the Dark, the Israeli-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer has released a couple of one-off singles that included the dreamy meditation on the passing of time “Change.” The JOVM mainstay’s latest single, the jangling “Aerodynamic” is a decidedly glam rock-inspired take on psych rock with a brooding air.
Directed by the Israeli-born, Paris-based JOVM mainstay, the recently released video features MAGON and his backing band playing in the woods — and simultaneously, we followed a lizard man, who goes through a trippy and transcendent journey through space and time with a beautiful woman.
Throughout the course of this year, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of a virtual ink covering Blinker The Star, led by its Pembroke, Ontario-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind, Jordon Zadorozny.
As you may recall after completing a short run of live shows last fall, Zadorozny began working on new Blinker The Star material at this Skylark Park Studio. Interestingly, the solitude of his immediate environment helped informed the material, which eventually comprised his soon-to-be released ninth album Juvenile Universe. “Because the scent of my last album was still fresh in the air, I had been thinking of this album as sort of a continuation of the last one, but when I played it for friends, they all thought it was definitely a step forward,” the Pembroke-born and-based JOVM says in press notes.
So far, i’ve written about four of the album’s previously released singles: The Station to Station-era David Bowie-like “Way Off Wave,” the jangling, 70s rock-like “Only To Run Wild,” the 80s New Wave-like “Silent Types,” and the psych rock-like “Cairo,” which features a gorgeous string arrangement by Chris Church.
Building up buzz for the soon-to-be released album, Zadorozny recently released Juvenile Universe’s fifth and latest single, the brooding yet radio friendly New Wave-inspired “Terror of the Heart.” Centered around shimmering guitars, a propulsive and angular bass line and an decidedly 80s inspired drum sound, “Terror of the Heart” evokes the anxiousness and uncertainty of love — and the inevitable fear of heartbreak and rejection.
Directed by Rémi Frechette, the recently released video for “Terror of the Heart” stars Camille Cloutier as a gorgeous, sun-bather and Blinker The Star’s Jordon Zadorozny as an interstellar astronaut, who have a meet-cute and trippy cosmic dance off after Zadorozny’s spaceship crash lands. The video ends with another spaceship that comes to beam our interstellar traveler up and out.
Throughout the course of this past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the rising Milwaukee-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer, Joe Wong. Wong has had a lengthy career as a drummer — but he has made a name for himself for his scores for a number of acclaimed TV series, including Master of None, Russian Doll, Ugly Delicious, Awkafina is Nora from Queens, and others — and for being the host of The Trap Set podcast.
Earlier this year Wong released his Mary Lattimore-produced full-length debut, Nite Creatures, and so far I’ve written about four of the album’s previously released singles — including: the Man Who Sold The World-era David Bowie-like “Dreams Wash Away,” the Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles-like “Nuclear Rainbow,” the Scott Walker-like “Minor,” and “Day After Day,” a sobering exploration of free will versus fate that doesn’t have easy answers. Continuing an incredible run of stunningly lush yet brooding material, the album’s latest single, album title track “Nite Creatures” is a slow-burning and deliberately crafted track focuses on existential dread with a rapturous and swooning psychedelia. If Wong wasn’t a contemporary artist, you might mistakenly think that “Nite Creatures” was released sometime between 1966-1970.
Directed by Fred Armisen, the recently released video follows a brooding Wong as he enters a vaguely Eastern-styled house. As he wanders through the house, we see some deeply kaleidoscopic and psychedelic effects happen to him and to his surroundings, suggesting that Wong was going through a deeply spiritual awakening of some sort. Much like the song itself, it’s a slow-burning and gorgeously shot fever dream — but with something dark and murky on the fringes.
Interestingly, the collaboration between the duo can trace some of its origins back to the 1990s: Armisen was the dummer for Trenchmouth and Wong was a high-school kid in a math rock band named after an extremely obscure Dune reference. Wong wound up reconnecting with Armisen in 2013: Wong was drumming for Marine Stern. A few years later, Armisen asked Wong to help produce his first comedy special Standup For Drummers.
“It was inspiring to witness how he’d evolved from the drummer I met over twenty years ago to the singular talent he is today,” Wong says. “When I decided to make a video for ‘Nite Creatures,’ I thought Fred would be the ideal person to direct. Because of his sense of narrative rhythm (we’re both drummers, after all), surrealist aesthetic, and ability to make creative decisions on the fly, he proved himself the perfect director, indeed.”
“I love Joe’s album,” Armisen adds, “so when he asked me to work on the video, I was like, ‘YES!’ The song is so sonically rich, I think it makes dreamy videos in everyone’s mind. I just wanted to try to match that feeling.”
With the release of Out in the Dark, the Israeli-born, Paris-based psych rock singer/songwriter and producer MAGON quickly established a unique sound, which he has described as urban rock on psychedelics. Over the course of this past year, I wrote about two of the album’s released singles — the incredibly self-aware and introspective, The Strokes-like “My Reflection” and the David Bowie and T. Rex-like “Same House.”
The Israeli-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter and producer’s latest single “Change” is the first bit of new material since the release of Out in the Dark, and the track is a shimmering and lo-fi bit of psych pop with a subtle nod at glam rock — with the song being centered around shimmering strummed guitar, narcotic drumming, MAGON’s droll, ironically detached vocals and trippy reverb and other fluttering percussion. But at its core, the song is a dreamy meditation on the passing of time, inspired by a year, which saw a number of sea changes in his personal life.
JOVM celebrates Nile Rodgers’ 68th birthday.
Last year saw Aussie electro pop act Haiku Hands — Claire Nakazawa, Beatrice Lewis and Mie Nakazawa — embarking on their first ever Stateside tour, which included a series of critically applauded, attention-grabbing sets at SXSW, opening slots for the likes of Japanese punk act CHAI, JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and Sofi Tukker, Chicago-based emcee CupcaKke and footwork producer DJ Taye.
Building upon a rapidly growing national and intentional profile, the Aussie trio’s highly-anticipated, self-titled full-length debut is slated for a September 10, 2020 release through Mad Decent. Recorded primarily in Melbourne with Joel Ma (a.k.a. Joelistics), the Aussie electro pop trio’s self-titled debut further cements the act’s reputation for being rebellious, experimental and wildly unconventional. While featuring collaborations with Sofi Tukker, Mad Zach, Machine Drum, Mirac, Hermitude‘s Elgusto and Lewis CanCut, the album thematically probes technology, relationships and the absurd — with incisive social commentary. “The record explores an attitude of empowerment, humour and positivity whilst also delving into darker themes and expressions,” the members of Haiku Hands explain. “We aimed to be original in our creative choices, we were influenced by multiple genres and artists but were aiming to create something that sounded new and different.”
“Fashion Model Art,” the self-titled album’s latest single features a collaboration with Sofi Tukker. Centered around twinkling keys, stuttering beats and handclaps, layers of shimmering synths, and chanted, non-sequiturs, “Fashion Model Art” is a euphoric and decidedly 80s inspired house music banger that sounds like a brash and mischievous take on Madonna’s “Vogue” and David Bowie‘s “Fashion.”
“The chorus of ‘Fashion Model Art’ was created on the train coming home from the Sydney Biennale,” the Aussie electro pop act explain in press notes. “It was the moment we swapped from being our composed observant art critiques to our boisterous playful selves. We ended up having half the carriage chanting fashion fashion, model model, art art art art on the train.
“This song celebrates the fashion model art character within ourselves. We revel in the hilarious, tense, fun, ridiculous and utmost seriousness of these moments.
Sofi Tukker jumped on this song after we toured with them for a month in the US.
We ask ourselves, what should we do with our hands?”
“We met Haiku Hands on tour in Australia,” Sofi Tukker says in press notes. “After seeing them literally once live, we immediately asked them to go on tour with us. We’ve been good friends ever since. It was so fun working on this track with them. We love how they build in humor and choreography into their music. ”
Directed by Jasmin Tarasin, the recently released video for “Fashion, Model, Art” is a slick synthesis of high fashion, art and of course, fashion models in a way that’s fiercely and defiantly campy, mischievous, pro womxn and pro queer. “Haiku Hands are in fact a wonderful collide of Fashion, Model, Art in the very best way,” Jasmin Tarasin says. “It was so inspiring to be able to play and create with these women in collaboration with our combined creative community . I enjoyed the process so much and feel that the fun and beauty we found is seen on screen. We had the very best time.”