Tag: Elsewhere

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TR/ST Returns with an Industrial House-Inspired Banger

I’ve written quite a bit about the  Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, and his solo electro pop recording project TR/ST over the years, and as you may recall Alfons has released two critically and commercially successful albums — 2012’s self-titled album and 2014’s Joyland. Interestingly, Joyland was a decided change in sonic direction for the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay as the album found him crafting pop orientated, muscular club bangers.

Five years have passed since Joyland‘s release, and during that time, Alfons had been writing and recording new material in a farmhouse in Southern Ontario and in Los Angeles, where has since relocated. Working with an all-star list of collaborators that included Austra’s Maya Postepski, with whom he collaborated with on his self-titled debut — with Postepski co-writing and co-producing six songs. Alfons also worked with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor to further refine the album’s overall sound.

During the writing and recording process for Destroyer, Alfons learned that patience would be a major ingredient and influence on his songwriting approach and the album’s sound. “The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me. I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” Alfons says in press notes. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction. My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one. They just poured out of me.” With The Destroyer, the process was entirely different. “It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”

Destroyer 1‘s first single was the “Bizarre Love Triangle”-like “Gone,” a radio friendly and accessible track centered around a swooning and urgent Romanticism. “Unbleached,” the album’s second single, was a collaboration with longtime collaborator Maya Postepski was a decidedly industrial track inspired by the sound of rats running back and forth on the roof, complete with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of arpeggiated synths and an enormous hook. The album’s third single, “Colossal,” continues his ongoing collaboration with Austra’s Postepski — and in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor: a tweeter and woofer thumping, industrial house-leaning production centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, shuffling beats and enormous hooks that evokes early morning mist slowly rising in the horizon.

“Such a special collab with Maya, we wrote it together while in different parts of the world,” Alfons explains in press notes. “This song was written during long walks I would take in the middle of the night around the hills in my neighborhood, watching the mist rise as the sun came up.” Postepski adds “I was coming home on the train with my music on random when a TR/ST song came on from the first album we made, I started crying, it brought back so many memories. I sent Robert the sketches for ‘Colossal’ that night. He wrote back and we rekindled our relationship, so I find it deeply emotional every time I hear it. Had I not taken the chance and sent it who knows if we would be working together again. Overcoming fear and being brave have become the focus of my work and this song underlines that — if one is willing to look into the lion’s mouth the rewards can be astounding.”  

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Currently comprised of founding members Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, along with Owen Clarke, Al Doyle, and Felix Martin, the critically applauded, Grammy Award-nominated, London-based electro pop act Hot Chip can trace its origins back to when its founding duo of Taylor and Goddard met while studying at Elliot School, Putney. Bonding over a shared love of R&B and house music, Hot Chip’s founding duo started collaborating together musically as early as 1998.

After releasing 2001’s Mexico EP, 2002’s San Frandisco EP and a handful of other material through small labels and independently, the act caught the attention of Moshi Moshi Records, who signed the band in 2003 and subsequently released their full-length debut, 2004’s Coming on Strong. Interestingly around this time, the project expanded to a full-fledged band with the additions of Owen Clarke, Felix Martin and Al Doyle. And with their new lineup, the act began working on their sophomore album The Warning while signing a UK and US record deal with DFA Records and EMI Records, which resulted in Astralwerks releasing their full-length debut in the States in 2005.

Released in 2006, The Warning earned the band a more mainstream following while being critically applauded — the album featured two UK Top 40 singles  “Over and Over” and “Boy from School,” before eventually being shortlisted for that year’s Mercury Prize and Mixmag‘s Album of the Year. Adding to a growing national profile. “Over and Over” was named the best single of that year by NME.

The acclaimed London-based electro pop act’s third, full-length album, 2008’s Made in the Dark featured “Ready for the Floor,” which peaked at #6 on the UK charts. Building upon the buzz the single received, the band made appearances on Friday Night with Jonathan RossJimmy Kimmel Live! and Last Call with Carson Daly — with the song receiving a Grammy nod for “Best Dance Recording,” eventually losing out to Daft Punk’s “Harder Better, Faster, Stronger (Alive 2007).

After completing a lengthy world tour to support Made in the Dark, the members of Hot Chip returned to London and began writing and recording their fourth full-length album, 2010’s disco and early house music influenced One Life Stand, which found the band collaborating with This Heat‘s and Camberwell Now’s Charles Hayward, The Invisible’s Leo Taylor and Trinidadian steel panist Fimber Bravo.

Since then the band released two more albums: their fifth album, 2012’s In Our Heads, an album that the band’s Alexis Taylor said was written and recorded in a speedier fashion with less pressure and more fun — and 2015’s Why Make Sense, which featured album single “Huarache Lights.”

Hot Chip’s seventh full-length album A Bath Full of Ecstasy is slated for a June 21, 2019 release through Domino Records — and while being their third album for Domino, the album reportedly finds the band firmly cementing the sound they’ve been celebrated for — bringing euphoria and melancholy with breezy and colorful melodies, plaintive vocals and propulsive beats. Interestingly, the album which was recorded in Paris and London finds the act opening themselves up to a more adventurous and collaborative songwriting process, choosing to work with outside producers for the first time in their history —Cassius‘ Philippe Zdar, who has worked with Phoenix and Rodaidh McDonald, who has worked with the likes of The xx, David Byrne, Sampha and others.

Clocking in at 6 minutes, the album’s first single  “Hungry Child” is centered around glistening synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, finger snaps, plaintive vocals, an anthemic hook and a motorik-like groove — and while clearly being indebted to classic house and sultry French electronica, the track also subtly recalls JOVM mainstay Beacon. And as a result, it has a bittersweet air; the sort that comes from the recognition that joy is often paired with pain.
2019 will also see the members of Hot Chip embarking on what may arguably be the biggest tour of their entire history with a number of club shows during the Spring across Europe and North America, including a sold out April 29, 2019 stop at Elsewhere — before making stops across the European festival circuit. They return to New York in the fall with two dates — September 3, 2019 and September 4, 2019 at Brooklyn Steel. Check out the tour dates below.
Tour Dates
4/4 – London @ Village Underground SOLD OUT
4/5 – Brighton @ Concorde 2 SOLD OUT
4/6 – Bristol @ Trinity SOLD OUT
4/8 – Paris @ Trabendo SOLD OUT
4/9 – Brussels @ Botanique Orangerie SOLD OUT
4/11 – Cologne @ Luxor SOLD OUT
4/12 – Hamburg @ Mojo SOLD OUT
4/13 – Berlin @ Columbia Theatre SOLD OUT
4/14 – Amsterdam @ Paradiso Noord SOLD OUT
4/29 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere SOLD OUT
5/1 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre SOLD OUT
5/2 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’s SOLD OUT
5/4 –  San Francisco, CA @ August Hall SOLD OUT
5/24 – London @ All Points East Festival
6/1 – Egeskov Castle, Denmark @ Heartland Festival
6/8 – Helsinki, Finland @ Sideways Festival
6/14 – 6/18 – Mannheim, Germany @ Maifeld Derby Festival
6/28 – 6/30 – Somerset @ Glastonbury Festival
6/4 – Catalonia Spain @ Vida Festival
6/5 – Six-Fours-les-Plages, France @ Pointu Festival
6/11 – Lisbon, Portugal @ NOS Alive Festival
6/11 – 6/13 – Bilbao, Spain @ Bilbao Live Festival
6/19 – 6/21 – Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield @ Bluedot Festival
6/19 – 6/21 – Biarritz, France @ Biarritz en été Festival
6/26 – Aulnoye-Aimeries, France @ Les Nuits Secrètes Festival
8/2 – 8/4 – Waterford, Ireland @ All Together Now Festival
8/4 – Glasgow @ Playground of Sound Festival
8/16 – St Malo, France @ La Route du Rock Festival
8/16 – 8/18 – Hasselt, Belgium @ Pukkelpop Festival
8/30 – Vlieland, Netherlands @ Into The Great Wide Open Festival
Autumn 2019 headline tour
9/3 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
9/4 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel,
9/7 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
9/8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
9/9 – Boston, MA @ Royale
9/10 – Montreal, QC @ MTELUS
9/12 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
9/13 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
9/14 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
9/17 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
9/18 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
9/19 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
9/20 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater,
9/24 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
9/25 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
9/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Auditorium
10/17 – Dublin @ Olympia
10/18 – Birmingham @ O2 Institute 1
10/21 – Bristol @ O2 Academy
10/22 – Nottingham @ Rock City
10/24 – Norwich @ LCR
11/30 – Milan @ Alcatraz
12/2 – Amsterdam @ Melkweg
12/3 – Berlin @ Columbiahalle
12/4 – Luxembourg @ den Atelier
12/5 – Lausanne @ Les Docks
12/7 – Paris, @ Elysée Montmartre
12/11- Hamburg @ Docks
12/14 – Stockholm @ Vasateatern
12/15 – Oslo @ Rockefeller

New Video: JOVM Mainstays ESCORT Team Up with NYC Disco Legend Fonda Rae on a Glittering and Joyous Club Anthem

Throughout this site’s almost nine-year history, I’ve written a lot about the New York-based electro pop/dance music act and longtime JOVM mainstays ESCORT. Initially founded by production team Eugune Cho and Dan Balls and featuring powerhouse vocalist and bassist Adeline Michele as a core members of an act that routinely expanded from anywhere from 5 to 17 members, the acclaimed pop act have received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that draws from classic disco, house music, soul and funk. Adding to a still-growing profile, the members of ESCORT have played across North America’s festival circuit, including sets at Sasquatch Festival, Okeechobee Festival Montreal Jazz Festival, Full Moon Festival and others — and have shared stages with The Internet, Charles Bradley, Digable Planets, De La Soul and Cody ChesnuTT.

Since the release of the longtime JOVM mainstays last single “Josephine,” the group has gone through a major lineup change with the act’s longtime vocalist Adeline leaving to pursue a solo career, and eventually being replaced with new vocalist Nicki B, who contributes both lead and backing vocals. Unsurprisingly, ESCORT’s long-awaited album City Life, which is slated for an April 12, 2019 finds the acclaimed electro pop act may arguably be their most expansive and collaborative album they’ve worked on and released to date, as the album features guest spots from longtime Gil Scott-Heron collaborator Brian Jackson; NYC disco and soul legend Fonda Rae, best known for her classic single “Over Like a Fat Rat;” renowned dub producer Lone Ranger; and their long-time vocalist Adeline, who appears on several tracks. Sonically speaking, the album reportedly finds the band attempting to evoke the kinetic and frenzied energy of New York — with the album’s material drawing from dub, house music, Brazilian pop and disco made for turning up with your headphones while commuting or while burning up the club. 

City Life’s first single, album title track “City Life” features the legendary Fonda Rae teaming up with the act’s new vocalist Nicki B on the glittering disco banger. Centered around glistening and shimmering arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like guitar, stuttering drum programming and a motorik-like groove, the track sonically may remind some listeners of a seamless synthesis of Fonda Rae’s classic tunes, Chaka Khan and Rufus’ “Ain’t Nobody,” 80s synth funk and classic house music — with a hedonistic thump. “We tried to put something together evoking the feeling of Fonda’s records,” Eugene Cho says in press notes, about collaborating with Fonda Rae. “We were nervous to send it to her—here’s something that’s inspired by you!—but she was totally into it. It was great.”

Directed by Bridget Barkan, the recently released video captures a night out with Escort’s Nicki B that includes meeting up with a buddy, goofing off as you ride the subway to meet the rest of the crew and heading to your favorite club to shake your ass all night to some dope DJs, followed by a stop at the diner (inevitably in this case, Kellogg’s Diner in Williamsburg) and a sleepy yet satisfied subway ride back home. It captures a wild night on the town, full of fun and possibility. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TR/ST Releases a Murky Industrial-like Single off Forthcoming Third Album

Over the past few years of this site’s almost nine year history, I’ve written quite a bit about Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, best known for his solo electro pop recording TR/ST. Now, as you may recall, Alfons has released two critically and commercially successful full-lengths 2012’s self-titled effort and 2014’s sophomore effort Joyland. Interestingly, Joyland was a decided change in sonic direction for the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based electronic music producer and artist with the material  being much more pop orientated while possessing a muscular, club banging thump.

Five years have passed since the release of his sophomore album and as it turns out, the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay had been writing and recording new material in a farmhouse in Southern Ontario and Los Angeles, where he recently relocated. During those writing and recording sessions, which resulted in his forthcoming two album effort Destroyer 1 and Destroyer 2, Alfons worked with a cast of all-star collaborators  that included Austra’s Maya Postepski, with whom he collaborated with on his self-titled debut; Postepski co-wrote and co-produced six of the album’s songs. Alfons also worked with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor to further refine the album’s sound. As Alfons eventually learned during the Destroyer writing and recording process was that patience would wind up being a major ingredient and influence on his songwriting approach and the album’s overall sound. 

“The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me. I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” Alfons says in press notes. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction. My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one. They just poured out of me.” With The Destroyer, the process was entirely different. “It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”

Destroyer 1’s first single “Gone” was built around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, a motorik groove and a soaring and incredibly anthemic hook. And while managing to have a radio friendly accessibility, the song is centered around a swooning and urgent Romanticism that recalls 80s synth pop and New Wave — in particular, New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” comes to mind. “Unbleached,” Destroyer 1’s second and latest single is a murky single co-written by Maya Postepski that features layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, explosive hi-hat, and an infectious and anthemic hook paired with Alfons’ plaintive vocals ethereally floating over the mix. Interestingly as Alfons says in press notes “So happy to share the first collaboration song that me and Maya wrote for the album. This was an ode to the sound of rats running in the roof!’ 

The Destroyer 1 is slated for an April 19, 2019 release through Grouch/House Arrest Records with The Destroyer slated for a November release.

Last year, I wrote about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. And as the story goes, when he started releasing music, Phillips was practically homeless, living in a room the size of about a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, he has amassed a growing national profile that has included amassing several million streams across the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complex.

Now, as you may recall, “CEPHALØTUS,” a single that derived its name from the Latin name of a small, carnivorous plant was a sensual and atmospheric bit of synth pop centered around a production featuring shimmering guitar chords, Phillips’ reverb-drenched, ethereal falsetto paired with dramatic bursts of industrial clang and clatter. And while possessing a surrealistic and almost painterly quality in which the artist slowly layers sound for a specific emotional effect, the song is also a deep dive into the depth of its creator’s psyche.

Slated for a March 22, 2019 release Phillips’ sophomore Crywolf album, widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] and the album’s first single is the urgent, frantic and downright trippy “DRIP.” Centered around a swooning and wobbling production thumping beats, a cacophony of industrial clang and clatter, a looped vocal samples, and plaintive vocal delivery and atmospheric synths, the song is a dramatic and decided push into a new direction sonically. But at its core, the song evokes a narrator whose mind and sanity have begun to fray at the seams, thoughts, observations and feelings seem to rapidly ping pong back and forth throughout. Interestingly, while in the middle of working on his sophomore album, Phillips was forced to take a break, as an entire album worth of material and over $5,000 worth of gear was stolen while he was in Chile. Heartbroken, Phillips headed to Patagonia, where he began to write in a small, wooden cabin in the Huilo Huilo rainforest, which has long been rumored to be haunted with thousands upon thousands of lost souls. Upon his return to the States, Phillips spent time in Twin Peaks, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Reno, NV and the forests just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — overall a period that the acclaimed producer and electronic music artist has dubbed his “quarter life crisis.”

As Phillips writes about the new single and the forthcoming album, “one of the themes of this album is the exploration of the shadow – the darker, more difficult aspects of the human psyche. People often think they have one unified ‘personality,’ but the truth is that we are made up of up to a dozen different personalities that are only loosely tied together. We feel like we have so much control over our actions and personality characteristics, but often when we pay close attention and are honest with ourselves, we can see that we can’t actually control or even explain large parts of who we are. ‘DRIP’ is the my process of staring into my brain and being brutally honest about some of the really difficult aspects of what I see there. It might not be, but it’s uncomfortably real.”

Phillips will be touring throughout the Spring to support his new album, and it includes an April 5, 2019 stop at Elsewhere‘s Zone One. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

March 22 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop/Popscene
April 4 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
April 5 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere (Zone One)
April 7 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop
May 2 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird
May 3 – Dallas, TX @ RBC Deep Ellum
May 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ 1720

New Video: Bedstudy’s Shimmering and Woozy Take on Electro Pop

Founded in 2016 by founding members David Plakon (production) and Peter Baldwin (vocals), along with newest member Ranson Vorpahl (drums), the Brooklyn-based electro R&B/electro soul act Bedstudy can trace their origins to when the act’s founding duo met at Plakon’s Florida studio, where Baldwin was working on his debut album. After independently moving to Brooklyn, Baldwin and Plakon reconnected at a Tall Juan show at Berlin Under A and decided they should start a band together.

Within their first year together, the duo quickly wrote and released four singles, including “Arms Away,” which Paper Magazine called “gorgeously woozy.” Vorphal joined the band in 2017 to complete the band’s lineup. The newly constituted trio  then spent another year writing and revising their sound before signing to Grand Jury Music, who will be releasing their highly-anticipated EP dot wave on February 15, 2019. Primarily recorded at David Plakon’s Crown Heights home studio with some additional sessions at Braund Studios and Black Rock Studios, the effort reportedly finds the act expanding upon the sound that first won them attention. Interestingly, the EP’s latest single “12” is centered around twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, thumping drumming and Baldwin’s plaintive vocals, the track is a shimmering and woozy take on contemporary electro pop that brings to mind JOVM mainstays Beacon and No Kind of Rider’s Savage Coast but with a decidedly hip-hop swagger. 

Directed and edited by Tess Lafia, starring Riley Cedar and Sebastian Borberg and featuring animation by David Herrera, the recently released video for “12” features some incredibly hallucinogenic visuals that nod at several different decades at once that to my eyes evoke a trip that’s disorientating and woozy. 

New Video: Los Angeles’ Warbly Jets Release An Enormous Power Chord-Based Brit Pop-Inspired Single

With the release of their self-titled, full-length debut the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock act Warbly Jets, comprised of Samuel Shea, Julien O’neill, and Dan Gerbang quickly emerged into the national and international scene; in fact, their critically applauded effort found the band opening for Liam Gallagher and making three separate world tours to support it.

After a whirlwind year, the members of the Los Angeles-based indie rock trio returned to the studio to write and record the material that would eventually comprise their self-recorded, self-produced, recently released EP, Propaganda. As the band’s frontman Samuel Shea says about the EP in press notes, “On this new collection of songs, we made an effort to set no particular stylistic boundaries. I believe it’s extremely important to make drastic differences as you transition through phases. That was something that Julien [O’neill] and I talked about from the conception of this band. I hope you always hear what you’re not expecting when you listen to a new release from us.”

Thematically speaking, the material explores our modern, globalized, algorithm-ruled, data-based society, where the lines between what’s public and private are frequently blurred beyond recognization — and where the hive mind masquerades as marketable individualism with Big Brother being welcomed with open arms in the name of convenience. And as a result, we should constantly ask ourselves a few questions: what’s human connection? How easily are we (and our lives, ideas and souls) bought and sold? Can we cut through the noise and bullshit? Does anyone care? Does music fit into it at all? As the band’s multi-instrumentalist Julien O’neill adds “‘Propaganda’ is a term as much as it’s a cultural ethos that’s been widely accepted. Anything from advertisement to self-aggrandizement qualifies.From social media, push notifications, targeted ads—we’ve openly elected to carry around miniature billboards, playing our part under the promising guise of a sense of ‘connection.’ We feel empty without it.”

Building upon last year’s success, Propaganda’s latest single “Alive” was featured in the opening scene of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4. But in terms of this site, the track finds the band drawing from classic rock, psych rock, and Brit Pop — or in other words: enormous power chords fed through distortion pedals, rousingly anthemic hooks and pummeling drums delivered with the swaggering self-assuredness of road-tested old pros. Directed by Steven Johnson, the recently released video employs a relatively simple concept — the band performing the song in the studio with some trippy special effects.