Tag: Goldfrapp Tales of Us

Musings: A Decade of JOVM

I started this site 10 years ago today. . .

There aren’t many things in my life that I’ve done for every single day for a decade that I’ve loved as much as this very unique little corner of the blogosphere. When I started this site, I  didn’t — and couldn’t — imagine actually having readers, let alone readers across the US, Canada, the UK, the European Union, Australia and elsewhere. After all, this sort of work is deeply rewarding and yet strangely isolating.

I couldn’t have imagined the over 1,000 shows I’ve covered all across the New York Metropolitan area. I definitely couldn’t have imagined it being possible for be to cover shows for JOVM in Chicago while on a business trip for a day job; nor would I have dreamed of the possibility of covering M for Montreal last fall.

I couldn’t have imagined being a panelist on a Mondo.NYC Festival panel on PR and promotion for indie artists.

I couldn’t have imagined having a cameo in a JOVM mainstay’s video several years ago. (It’s a noticeable and prominent spot towards the end of the video, too. No one has called me up for acting gigs, so I may need more work on that. Or I need to stick to the writing and photography!)

I couldn’t have imagined photographing Patti LaBelle, Snoop Dogg, Charles Bradley  Sharon Jones, Nile Rodgers, Roky Erickson, Philip Bailey and so many others, as well as this site’s countless mainstays.

What will the next decade hold? I don’t know. If you asked me that question last November, I’d probably discuss my the very real possibility of repeated visits to Canada for festivals like Canadian Music Week, Montreal Jazz Fest and M for Montreal — with the hopes of building a deeper Canadian audience. I’d talk about my interest in music from across the African Diaspora. I’d spend time talking about my interest in covering acts outside the US. I’d also speak about my interest in wanting to cover more artists across the diverse LGQBTIA+ community  — particularly those of color. I’d probably also mention my deep and abiding interest in covering women artists and women led acts.

Live music won’t be a thing for quite some time to come. And whenever it does, the landscape will be different — and something we’ve yet to envision. So far, beloved venues have been forced to close because of economics. That will continue for the foreseeable future. What will happen to bands, who no longer have a place to play, where they can hone their sound and their live show? Who knows? After watching an industry-based panel, I don’t feel particularly optimistic about things in the short term. Some of us will figure out a way to adapt and survive; others sadly, won’t.

But in the meantime, JOVM will continue. It’s only the first decade, as far as I’m concerned!

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I also wanted to talk a bit about some of my favorite albums of the past decade. This is by no means a comprehensive list; but I think that they might give some insight into the inner world of JOVM. And

Montreal-based DJ, production and electronic music artist duo The Beat Escape — Addy Weitzman and Patrick A. Boivin — can trace the project’s origins back to a short film they collaborated on when they were both in college. “We made a short oddball work; a video piece that followed two characters through a psychedelic waking dream,” the Montreal-based said of their initial collaboration together in press notes. Interestingly, since that collaboration, Weitzman and Boivin have continued working together on a series of creative endeavors that have combined their interests in music and visual art, including a lengthy local DJ gig, which eventually led to the creation of The Beat Escape.

Released in early 2018, the Montreal-based duo’s full-length debut Life Is Short The Answer’s Long thematically and sonically found the duo returning to their origins — somnambulant, atmospheric art that feels like a half-remembered waking dream. Personally, the album’s material evokes a weird two-and-year period of international and domestic travel, in which I’d wake up in a hotel room and briefly wonder where I was, what time zone I was in and if I was even in the right place. Additionally, it evokes that weird sensation of everything being the fundamentally the same, yet different. If I’m in Grand Central Terminal, I think of Frankfurt-am-Main Hauptbahnhof and of Amsterdam Centraal Station. If I’m traveling underneath an elevated train, I’m reminded of the Chicago loop and so on.

I obsessively played Life Is Short The Answer’s Short through my time in Montreal. And now whenever I play it, I can picture specific locations, specific paths I took to get there, certain Metro stations with an uncanny precision.

Throughout the course of the site’s decade history, I’ve written quite a bit about Superhuman Happiness. The act has managed to survive through a number of different lineup changes and sonic departures necessitated by those lineup changes — and from the act’s core members following wherever their muses took them, Hands though is a joyous, mischievous yet deeply intelligent work that will make you shout and dance. Considering the bleakness of our world, this album may be much more needed than they ever anticipated.

Deriving their name from a Vladimir Nabokov short story about a traveler, who finds a place so beautiful that he wants to spend his life then but who cruelly  gets dragged back to brutal reality, the Dublin, Ireland-based act Cloud Castle Lake — currently Daniel McAuley (vocals, synths), Brendan William Jenkinson (guitar, piano), Rory O’Connor (bass), Brendan Doherty (drums), and a rotating cast of collaborators, friends and associates — received attention with 2014’s self-released debut EP Dandelion, an effort that firmly established the act’s uniquely sound: deeply influenced by and indebted to  Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders, the Irish act pairs McAuley’s tender and soaring falsetto with cinematic arrangements and expansive song structur es.

Released in 2018, the act’s Rob Kirwan-produced debut Malingerer is an ambitious, challenging and breathtakingly beautiful work that’s part film score and part cosmic meditation, full of aching yearning.

A couple of years ago, I caught the Irish act play at Rockwood Music Hall, as part of the Lower East Side venue’s monthly Communion showcase — and their set was met with awed and reverential silence.

Stockholm, Sweden-based garage punk outfit Sudakistan — Michell Serrano (vocals), Maikel Gonzalez (bass), Carlos Amigo (percussion) Juan Jose Espindola (drums) and Arvid Sjöö (guitar) — have one of the most unique and perhaps most 21st Century backstories of any band I’ve ever written about: four of the band’s five members emigrated to Sweden from South America with the remaining member being the band’s only native Swede. With the release of their debut album, 2015’s Caballo Negro, the members of Sudakistan received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for crafting material that draws from Latin-tinged garage punk rock with lyrics sung in English, Spanish and Swedish. Interestingly, the alum is arguably hardest and most mosh pit friendly of the band’s albums to date, the album’s material found the band expanding their sound through the incorporation of non-traditional punk rock instruments — seemingly inspired by the band’s desire to make each of their individual roles to be much more fluid. . “It was much more of a collaboration between the five of us,” the band’s Michell Serrano explains in press notes. . “Things flowed differently. Carlos sings on two or three songs, and Mikael sings on one. We swapped instruments quite a lot, and because we had access to everything in the studio, we were able to use some piano, some acoustic guitar and some mandolin, too.”

Additionally, the album’s lyrical and thematic concerns draws from the band members’ everyday reality with each individual member contributing lyrical ideas. “Our first album was made over five years, rather than five months, so the themes on it weren’t as heavy as this. Now, we’re talking about a lot of the things that we’ve gone through together since we started the band, as well as personal things – like, why do I keep repeating the same mistakes. We talk about pursuing our own Swedish reality, but that’s just because we’re living in Sweden – it’s relatable in any other country, I think,” Maikel Gonzalez says in press notes.

The album’s material resonates in an age of divisiveness, xenophobia, fear mongering and strife because its an urgent and passionate reminder of what’s possible with cultural exchange, empathy and curiosity —  bold new ideas, new takes on the familiar, as well as equality for all with everyone’s story behind heard, understood and championed. One day that will happen but we will have to work our asses off to get there.

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Lyric Video: Dive Index Teams Up with Daughter Darling’s Natalie Walker on a Minimalist and Meditative Song

Will Thomas is a Los Angeles-based composer and electronic music producer best known as the creative mastermind behind the collaborative recording project Dive Index, the minimalist solo recording project Plumbline with which he has released several albums, including two collaborations with ambient music composer Roger Eno. Thomas has also composed scores for film, modern dance pieces and has developed sound installations. 

Thomas’ fifth Dive Index album Waving at Airplanes is slated for a May 29, 2020 release through Neutral Music. Deriving its title from the overly optimistic and childlike act of seeking the fleeting attention of passing strangers for the sake of sheer connection, the forthcoming album will continue Thomas’ long-held thematic interest in exploring both the human condition and the condition of humanity — while also touching upon missed connections, artificial intelligence, contentment, the beauty of the desert and our uncertain political climate. Interestingly, the album continues his ongoing collaboration with Daughter Darling’s Natalie Walker and critically acclaimed English multi-instrumentalist Merz.

The album’s material reportedly finds Thomas setting specific parameters to the material’s overall sound and construction, souring almost everything, including percussion from modular synthesizer with the exception of some piano, acoustic guitar and occasional extraneous sounds — a nail gun and jackhammer — that leaked into the studio and were embraced into the songs. 

Waving at Airplanes’ latest single is the atmospheric and cinematic “Window to Window.” Centered around Natalie Walker’s gorgeous and achingly expressive vocals, twinkling keys, shimmering synths and thumping low-end, is visceral and intimate, and full of regret over lost moments, missed and blown opportunities, passing time and getting older  — and manages to recall Portishead and Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp. 

Tracing their origins to a chance meeting at DIY show in 2015, the Brooklyn-based post rock electronic band and experimental performance art Reliant Tom is centered around its core creative duo, Western Massachusetts-born, Brooklyn-based composer Monte Weber and Dallas, TX-born, Brooklyn-based choreographer and vocalist Claire Cuny. The duo’s collaboration is a seamless synthesis of their individual talents and interests – sound design, wearable technology, modern dance and hook-driven, yet genre-defying songwriting.

“Reliant Tom gives me the outlet to explore both pulse driven works while maintaining the other musical elements which I find fascinating — timbre, aleatoric processes, and interactive technologies,” Weber explains. Adds Cuny, “Our ultimate goal with Reliant Tom is to be a multi-media performance experience that straddles the line between pop and experimental music — and philosophizing about what that even means, and is that even possible as ‘experimental pop’?”

Thematically, the duo’s two previous releases, 2016’s self-released, self-titled EP and 2018’s critically applauded, full-length debut effort Bad Orange, touch upon the pitfalls of digital communication and the generally blasé nature of modern social interaction – through the guise of avant-pop and avant-punk influenced musical devices and arrangements featuring electric guitar, vocals, a hybrid electro-acoustic drum kit, synthesizers and Weber’s Kontrol Instrument, which he developed while studying at the Paris-based Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music as a way to make electronic music more tactile and immersive in its performance.

Slated for a Spring 2020 release through Chicago-based Diversion Records, Reliant Tom’s sophomore effort Rewind & Play is a decidedly bold and self-assured step forward: Cuny’s sultry and expressive vocals while being prominently placed front and center, effortlessly glide over lush yet spacious arrangements of shimmering acoustic guitars, atmospheric electronics and twinkling keys with the material possessing a cinematic air that recalls Dummy-era Portishead, Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp, Radiohead circa OK Computer and others. And while continuing to be tech heavy in their means of sonic production, their thematic exploration of communication and interaction in the digital age takes a back seat. This time taking a more human approach, the material may arguably be the most mature yet accessible, most emotionally honest and vulnerable of their growing catalog, as the album’s central theme is a documentation of Cuny’s descent into grief and depression after her father suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in front of her — on the release of day of Reliant Tom’s debut album.

“Nevermind the Garbage,” Rewind & Play‘s aching and brooding first single is centered around a cyclical arrangement of shimmering and wobbly guitars, twinkling piano and atmospheric synths that makes the song swoon from the dark and overwhelming weight  of loss and grief — and the knowledge that while you will find some way to push forward, that deep down you’ll recognize that your life will never quite be the same. “The song is about trying to return to a semi-normal routine by learning to manage the grief and anxiety that overcame me after the sudden loss of my father,” the band’s Claire Cuny explains. “My state was complex and somewhat guilt ridden because all I could feel was sadness. Even though I was at a good point in my life, with a loving partner, and reminded daily how fortunate I was when seeing the more severe hardships of other people such as chronic health issues and homelessness… all I could feel was despair, not the love or gratitude – but when you’re in the depth of your darkness it’s hard to feel much else.”

As a recently published Harvard Business Review article has suggested, we’re collectively experiencing a universal sense of overwhelming grief and uncertainty. Let’s be honest here, things are pretty bleak: on a daily basis, we’re hearing about hundreds upon hundreds of people dying from a communicable disease that any one of us could catch — and could possibly be carrying unknowingly. In New York, my home borough of Queens has been hit the hardest with the most cases and most deaths. Most of those poor souls have been heading to Elmhurst Hospital, and it means that the victims of COVID-19 live and/or work in (all or parts of) the neighborhoods of Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, Woodhaven, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Corona, Rego Park and Forest Hills. We’re talking about neighbors, coworkers, associates, the grocer, your bodega guy, your FedEx guy and so on. And there’s this sense among us that things will never quite be the same once this is over. How will we move forward? I don’t know. But what I can say is that the song’s creators never would have thought that such an achingly personal song would have such a deeper, universal meaning.

Live Footage: Newcastle’s Lanterns on the Lake Perform “Swimming Lessons” at Blast Studios

Over the past month or so I’ve written a bit about the critically applauded Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based indie rock quintet Lanterns on the Lake. Currently comprised of founding trio Hazel Wilde (vocals, guitar, piano), Paul Gregory (guitar, production) and Oliver Ketteringham (drums, piano) with newest members Bob Allen (bass) and Angela Chan (violin, cello, viola), the band was founded back in 2007. And as you may recall the band self-released two EPs and a single, which caught the attention of Bella Union Records, who signed the band in late 2010.

Shortly after signing to Bella Union, the band contributed a track to the label’s Christmas 10″ EP compilation, which featured tracks from Peter Broderick and Radiohead‘s Phillip Selway. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding, the band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut effort, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home was released to critical applause in 2011.  During that period, the band opened for Explosions in the Sky, Low, and Yann Tiersen.

The band’s sophomore album 2013’s Until the Colours Run was released to critical praise, with most reviewers making special note of the material’s sociopolitical thematic concerns and undertones. The band then supported their sophomore effort with extensive touring across the European Union and their first Stateside tour that went on through the following year.

Interestingly, the Newcastle-based act’s third album, 2015’s Beings continued a run of critically applauded albums with Drowned in Sound calling the band “one of Britain’s most crucial bands of the present moment” and DIY Magazine describing them as “virtually without equal.” Lanterns on the Lake supported the album with extensive tours across the European Union and the UK, playing their largest hometown show to date, at Sage Gateshead, where they were accompanied by Royal Northern Sinfonia, performing orchestral arrangements by Fiona Brice.  The show was recorded and released as a 2017 live album, Live with Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Adding to a growing profile nationally and internationally the band has played sets across the international festival circuit, including End of the Road Festival, Glastonbury Festival, SXSW and Bestival.

The Newcastle-based indie act’s fourth album Spook the Herd dropped today. And as you may recall, the album’s title is derived from a pointed comment at the manipulative tactics of ideologues. Naturally, the album thematically is inspired by, and draws from our turbulent and uncertain time, with the album’s nine songs touching upon our hopelessly polarized politics, social media, addiction, grief, the climate crisis and more.

Interestingly, their latest album marks the the first time that the band left their native Newcastle to record in a studio — Yorkshire‘s Distant City Studios, where the album was engineered by Joss Worthington. Doing such a thing shook up the comfortable mindsets they’ve developed during their relatively young careers. “We are a pretty insular band in how we work, and trusting other people enough to allow them to get  involved is not always easy for us,” the band’s Hazel Wilde admits in press notes.

Recorded live as much as possible, the band’s sound still draws from dream pop and post rock — but with a stripped down approach, which gives the material a stark urgency and immediacy. And it reportedly may be the most intimate feeling album of their growing catalog with the material feeling as though you were in the room with the band. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s released singles: the Portishead meets Beach House-like  “Baddies,” and the Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp-like “When It All Comes True.” 

To celebrate the release of their latest album, the acclaimed British indie act released the album’s fourth and latest single, the shimmering and cinematic “Swimming Lessons.” Centered around a gorgeous string arrangement, strummed acoustic guitar, an enormous hook — and while continuing an amazing run of cinematic singles, the track is a breathtakingly earnest songwriting. 

The recently released video is centered around gorgeously shot black and white live footage of the band performing the song for  The Spook Sessions at Newcastle’s Blast Studios, which was directed, edited and filmed by Ian West.

Live Footage: Newcastle’s Lanterns on the Lake Performs “When It All Comes True” at Blast Studios

Lanterns on the Lake are a critically applauded Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based indie rock quintet, currently comprised of founding trio Hazel Wilde (vocals, guitar, piano), Paul Gregory (guitar, production) and Oliver Ketteringham (drums, piano) with newest members Bob Allen (bass) and Angela Chan (violin, cello, viola).  Founded back in 2007, the band self-released two EPs and a single, which caught the attention of Bella Union Records, who signed the band in late 2010.

Shortly after signing to Bella Union, the band contributed a track to the label’s Christmas 10″ EP compilation, which featured tracks from Peter Broderick and Radiohead‘s Phillip Selway. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding, the band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut effort, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home was released to critical applause in 2011.  During that period, the band opened for Explosions in the Sky, Low, and Yann Tiersen.

The band’s sophomore album 2013’s Until the Colours Run was released to critical praise, with most reviewers making special note of the material’s sociopolitical thematic concerns and undertones. The band then supported their sophomore effort with extensive touring across the European Union and their first Stateside tour that went on through the following year. 

Interestingly, the Newcastle-based act’s third album, 2015’s Beings continued a run of critically applauded albums with Drowned in Sound calling the band “one of Britain’s most crucial bands of the present moment” and DIY Magazine describing them as “virtually without equal.” Lanterns on the Lake supported the album with extensive tours across the European Union and the UK, playing their largest hometown show to date, at Sage Gateshead, where they were accompanied by Royal Northern Sinfonia, performing orchestral arrangements by Fiona Brice.  The show was recorded and released as a 2017 live album, Live with Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Adding to a growing profile nationally and internationally the band has played sets across the international festival circuit, including End of the Road Festival, Glastonbury Festival, SXSW and Bestival.

The band’s highly-anticipated fourth album, Spook the Herd is slated for a February 21, 2020 release through Bella Union. Deriving its title from a pointed comment at the manipulative tactics of ideologies, the album thematically is inspired by and draws from our turbulent and uncertain times in which we’re on the brink of our own annihilation — with the album’s nine songs touching upon our time’s hopelessly polarized politics, social media, addiction, grief, the climate crisis and more.

Spook the Herd marks the first time that the band left their native Newcastle to record in a studio — Yorkshire‘s Distant City Studios, where the album was engineered by Joss Worthington. Doing such a thing shook up the comfortable mindsets they’ve developed during their relatively young careers. “We are a pretty insular band in how we work, and trusting other people enough to allow them to get  involved is not always easy for us,” the band’s Hazel Wilde admits in press notes.

Recorded live as much as possible, the band’s sound still draws from dream pop and post rock — but with a stripped down approach, which gives the material a stark urgency and immediacy. And it reportedly may be the most intimate feeling album of their growing catalog with the material feeling as though you were in the room with the band. Last month, I wrote about Spook the Herd’s second single “Baddies,” a track that found the acclaimed British act balancing a widescreen cinematic bombast with a balladeer’s intimacy with the track centered around soaring strings, dramatic and forceful drumming, shimmering guitar lines and Wilde’s gorgeous and expressive vocals. The end result is a song that sonically recalls Portishead-like trip hop, Beach House-like dream pop and post rock with a narrator making a desperate, last stand against hatred and polarization. 

The album’s third and latest single is the incredibly cinematic “When It All Comes True.” Centered around a soaring hook, Wilde’s gorgeous and expressive vocals, shimmering strings, twinkling keys, forceful drumming, “When It All Comes True” — to my ears, at least — brings Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp to mind, but with a darker, more uncertain undertone. 

“Sometimes when you write a song you are creating a world in the same way a film maker or an artist painting a scene would,” Lantern on the Lake’s Hazel Wilde explains in press notes. “This is a twisted coming-of-age love story where we’re let in on the thoughts of what seems like a deranged narrator with a premonition. They’ve been trying to warn everyone around them of what is to come but nobody takes them seriously. At the time I was writing this one there was a lot of awful stuff on the news about shootings in America and elsewhere and some of that seeped into the story. At the end our narrator promises: ‘through the empty streets in the searing heat I’ll keep my word for you, when the sirens cease and my pulse is weak, I’ll keep my word for you.’”

The recently released video features live footage of the acclaimed British act performing the song for The Spook Sessions at Newcastle’s Blast Studios, which was directed, edited and filmed by Ian West. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming London-based duo Charlotte Spiral Releases a Surreal and Cinematic Visual for Atmospheric “Wide Eyed”

Up-and-coming, London-based indie pop duo Charlotte Spiral, which is comprised of Amy Spencer and Avi Barath can trace their origins to when they met at Goldsmith College and bonded over their mutual love of Rufus Wainright, Julia Holter, Moses Sumney, Patrick Watson, Susanne Sondfør and Beach House among others, all of which have influenced the duo’s work and overall sound. The duo’s debut EP Ideal Life is slated for a February 7, 2020 release through Chapped Lips Records.

Reportedly, the emerging British pop duo’s debut effort thematically explores selfhood, self-doubt and self-belief through an examination of rejection and defeat. The EP’s latest single, the Dan Carey and Charlotte Spiral co-produced “Wide Eyed” is an atmospheric and sparsely arranged song centered around Spencer’s achingly tender vocals, twinkling and ethereal piano, gently padded drumming and a soaring hook paired with a polished production, which may remind some listeners of Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp. 

“‘Wide Eyed’ is about wishing it was easy to enjoy the simple things in life, instead of comparing yourself to the people around you. It’s about wanting to be able to achieve something easily, but being frustrated by the difficulties you face to get to it,” the duo explain in press notes. “Dan’s method of working is based on making quick decisions and committing to them, which resulted in a sound that feels very instinctive and strong in its identity.” 

Directed by Morgan Sinclar, the accompanying video was shot wholly on analog film, giving the lush and dream-like visuals a cinematic and textured feel while representing the struggle to avoid distractions and find joy in simplicity. Beginning with the painting of a chair, the video follows its protagonist on a surreal journey, which manages to play on the idea that achieving something seemingly so simple can often seem like a dream. 

New Video: Introducing the Achingly Intimate Pop of Montreal’s Sophia Bel

Sophia Bel is an up-and-coming Quebec City-born, Montreal-based pop artist, who was musically raised by 2000s skate punk and emo wave. Her own work draws from the blurry outlines of her own childhood while exploring electro pop and trip-hop productions — while balancing candor and melancholy. Earlier this year, Bel released “Time,” a Moby-inspired track of her forthcoming, debut EP Princess of the Dead, Vol. 1.

Princess of the Dead, Vol. 1‘s second and latest single is the ethereal and moody “Don’t Forget.” Centered around softly strummed guitar and chunky synths, the song’s narrator finds herself desperately holding onto the last remnants of a relationship that’s been slowly drifting apart — and white reportedly inspired by Dido and Avril Lavigne, the song reminds me quite a bit of the breezy melancholy of JOVM mainstay (and fellow French Canadian) MUNYA and Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp.

Directed by Jean-François Sauvé, the incredibly intimate video for “Don’t Forget” was shot in the bathroom of Bel’s Montreal apartment in one continuous take, further emphasizing the sense of loss and ache at the core of the song.

 

Suvi is a Finnish-born, Swedish-based singer/songwriter and elecvtronic pop artist, who first emerged nationally and internationally with the release of acclaimed singles “Find You” and “Bleeding For Your Love,” which resulted in  an attention-grabbing European tour. Just as she was ready to release her full-length debut Mad at Heart, everything in her life turned upside down.

The Finnish-born, Swedish-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist had suddenly felt ill and her mood was constantly changing. She began to lose weight and was torn — without understanding what was going on within herself. She stumbled into a black hole that she couldn’t get up from. And as a result, the album wasn’t finished and wasn’t released. “The feeling surrounding all this is very blue. So many feelings that comes to life just by thinking about this time, at the same time it almost feels like a dream from another time and place. It’s unreal. Did it really happen? Another feeling that I get when thinking about it is gratitude, and love, for everyone involved and the journey we did together, it’s shaped me a lot as a person,” Suvi says in press notes. 

Interestingly, Mad at Heart will finally be released in February 2019 and the album reportedly is a journey through love, friendship and betrayal while also being about being broken and finding the will and strength to put the pieces back together again. The album’s first single “Come Out and Play” is centered around a production consisting of a looped string sample, thumping beats, and a soaring hook paired with Suvi’s ethereal yet sultry vocals. Sonically speaking, it’s a cinematic take on trip hop that reminds me a bit of Portishead and Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp — but with a subtle Middle Eastern feel. 

Daniel Isaiah is a Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based singer/songwriter and filmmaker, known for award-winning short films under his full-name Daniel Schachter. The Canadian multimedia artist’s forthcoming album Only One Left is slated for a November 28, 2018 release, and interestingly, the album was written, deeply influenced and book-ended by the saddest and happiest moments of the artist’s life — his mother’s death and his wedding.  Unsurprisingly, the album thematically is centered around the inevitable beginnings and endings of life. Additionally, during that period, Schachter spent nine months traveling across Turkey, Greece, Israel, Italy, the UK, France and The Netherlands with his Nord synthesizer in tow, writing throughout his travels. As Schachter says in press notes, “I recorded in a big house in Istanbul, a tiny hotel room in Amsterdam, and an even tinier bathroom in Tel Aviv (to mute the birds in the backyard).”  Schachter adds that Only One Left is “rooted in my native Montreal, but also in the countries where I went wandering — an outsider looking in. The music itself signals a new phase in my work — still committed to the old craft of songwriting but experimenting with synthesizers and computer to carve out a sound that is my own.”

Schachter returned to Montreal and recruited his friends Brad Barr, Joe Grass and Joshua Teal to play on the album as his backing band — and his friend and frequent collaborator Matthew Lederman to mix the recording sessions. The album’s first single, album opening track “Javelin Fade” is a moody and atmospheric track centered around a sparse arrangement of shimmering electronics, twinkling keys, gently padded drumming  and ethereal vocals — and sonically, to my ears, the song manages to recall Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp and Portishead; however, lyrically, as Schachter notes, the song at points references to the sirens of Greek mythology and to the bomb warning sirens, as the narrator floats over the Earth as the sole witness of nuclear armageddon. Indirectly, the song gently buzzes with the anxiety over the seemingly impending end of the world as we know it.