Tag: Firefly Festival

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Deal Casino Releases a Brooding Single Paired with Cinematically Shot Visuals

I’ve managed to spill a bit of virtual ink covering the Asbury Park, NJ-based indie rock band Deal Casino over the past couple of of years of this site’s almost ten year history. And as you may recall, the Southern New Jersey-based act — childhood friends Joe Parella (vocals), Jon Rodney (bass) and Joe Cowell (keys, guitar)  — formed back in 2013 and released a series of EPs before releasing 2017’s self-titled full-length debut to critical praise from Stereogum, New Noise and others. 

The members of Deal Casino released their sophomore album 2018’s LLC. And from album singles “Happy People,” and “Baby Teeth,” the JOVM mainstays managed to expand upon the sound, approach and thematic concerns that won them attention and praise across the blogosphere with the material walking a tight-rope between lo-fi bedroom recordings and studio polish while thematically focusing on living in a uncertain, horribly fucked up world.  Building upon a growing profile, the band has made appearances at Governor’s Ball, Firefly, Sea.Hear.Now., and The Front Bottoms’ Champagne Jam. Last year, they supported LLC through tours with The Wrecks, Badflower, The Happy Fits, The Parlor Mob and The Technicolors– and it included the band’s first European tour with the aforementioned Badflower. 

2020 began with the release of a cover of Frank Sinatra’s iconic “My Way,” a tour to build up buzz for their then-unreleased five song EP Woof and the release of the EP’s first single “Chicken Head.” Interestingly, while the single retains the hook-driven nature of the band’s previously released work, it reveals a decided change of sonic and thematic direction. Influenced by the members’ lifelong obsessions with Pixies and Radiohead, the material draws from the band’s experiences over the past two years. And as a result, the material may arguably be the most introspective they’ve written and released to date. Interestingly, “Chicken Head” is a slow-burning and brooding track centered around boom bap-like drums, buzzing guitars, atmospheric synths, Parella’s plaintive crooning and an enormous hook. In some way, the track — to me, at least — manages to evoke the uncertainty and unease of current moment, as well as the utter weirdness of being an artist at this juncture.

The recently released, cinematically shot video for “Chicken Head” features the members of the band in a classic, black convertible Oldsmobile with concert amps hooked up to the backseat, driving around suburban emptiness. At some point, we see the band goofing off and doing donuts in an empty parking lot. Of course, through the video, the members of the band look like the coolest dudes on the face of the earth.  

The band recently announced that they’ll be going on a Quarantour, in which they’ll team up with local bands to give fans a unique concert experience through Instagram Live. Of course, merch will be available to help support the bands in a difficult time — and there’ll be the option to donate to Feeding America. 

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New Video: JOVM Mainstay Geographer Releases a Wistful Visual for Soaring and Plaintive “Summer of My Discontentment”

JOVM mainstay Mike Deni is a New Jersey-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electro pop artist and producer, best known for his solo recording project Geographer. As the story goes, Deni relocated to San Francisco while living in the aftermath of the sudden and tragic death of his sister — and then the equally unexpected death of his father. While sleeping on a floor of a friend’s Haight-Ashbury apartment, Deni serendipitously found a synthesizer on the street and began to channel his grief and optimism into the songs that would eventually comprise his full-length debut 2008’s Innocent Ghost. And through the release of two more full-length albums 2012’s Myth, 2015’s Ghost Modern and three EPs, 2010’s Animal Shapes EP, 2015’s Endless Motion EP and last year’s Alone Time EP, Deni has received attention across the blogosphere for his unique, textured and soulful blend of analog, electronic  and acoustic elements, a sound that he has described as “soulful music from outer space.” 

Building upon a growing profile, Deni has toured with the likes of K. Flay, The Flaming Lips, Young The Giant, Tycho, Ratatat, Betty Who and Tokyo Police Club, and he played sets at Outside Lands Festival and Firefly Festival. Interestingly, last year the JOVM mainstay gave up his San Francisco apartment and hopped between tours and friends churches for the next six months, including a month stay back in Jersey and a few weeks in Italy (where both sides of his family are from). And he did that before finally relocating to Los Angeles. During that period of shiftlessness in which he was in limbo between his old life and new life, Deni wound up writing the material, which would eventually comprise his recently released New Jersey EP. 

Many of the songs of the New Jersey EP began in his childhood home and were finished at a friend’s Los Angeles home while he was looking for an apartment; in fact, the EP’s first two singles “Love is Wasted in the Dark” and its latest single “Summer of My Discontentment” were part of the first batches of material written during that period. “Summer of My Discontentment” is a perfect example of the JOVM mainstay’s specialty — swooning and earnest 80s-inspired synth pop, centered around a twinkling and arpeggiated piano, thumping beats, a soaring hook and Deni’s plaintive and aching vocals; but unlike some of his previously released material, the song possesses a wistful air that comes from nostalgia for a long-gone, seemingly simpler time that you can’t have ever again — and the dreams your younger self may have given up for the compromises of adulthood. 

Directed by Patrick Mattes, the recently released accompanying video follows a group of young people, full of youthful hopes and dreams on a gloriously sunny day while Deni broodingly sings the song from a different vantage point, during sunset. In some way, the video implies that the action are the reflections and reminiscing of the video’s central character — from the perspective of a complicated adulthood. 

Comprised of two childhood friends, who discovered that they had independently embark on electronic music careers while in college, the mysterious, Chicago-based electronic production and artist duo The White Panda have dominated the electronic music blogosphere with the release of five, critically applauded full-length albums — all of which have resulted in 35 #1 singles on Hype Machine, over 60 million SoundCloud streams and 25 million YouTube plays while being dubbed “the mash-up kings” by Vibe Magazine, and “a veritable party-mashup machine” by Entertainment Weekly. (At one point, The White Panda was one of SoundCloud’s top five most played artists — ever.)

Adding to an already immense and growing national profile, the duo has headlined several US tours, have played some of the country’s largest festivals including LollapaloozaFireflyElectric Zoo, and Bamboozle, and have opened for the likes of Flo RidaWale, NellyTwenty One PilotsDispatchSteve Aoki, TiestoMac MillerMike Posner, Benny BenassiMGMT and others. And while working on their own original production work, the duo had also spent their time working on and releasing a number of remixes including a gigantic, festival rocking rework of Powers‘ “Beat of My Drum,” that I wrote about a couple of years ago. Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them; however, the Chicago-based duo have been rather prolific since then, including their latest single, a sultry, club-rocking and anthemic cover/re-work of The 1975‘s “Somebody Else,” that features a guest spot from Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Verite — and while being a bold, tweeter and woofer rocking rework, the cover manages to retain the atmospheric original’s ache and longing.