Tag: Grammy Award

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Black Pumas Release an Intimate and Gorgeously Shot Visual for “Colors”

Over the course of this past year, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act, Black Pumas. And as you may recall, the JOVM mainstays released their self-titled, full-length debut earlier this year, and since its release the had has rapidly built up a national profile and following through a relentless touring schedule that has included three separate New York stops this year:   The Knitting Factory, back in May; Mercury Lounge, back in July; and Brooklyn Bowl in September. 

Album single “Colors” exploded nationally when a live version of the song amassed over 4 million YouTube views — and since then, the song has become the most added song to Adult Album Alternative (AAA) radio. None of that should be surprising as the song is a decidedly old school singer/songwriter soul-inspired track centered around a looping 12 bar blues guitar line, twinkling Rhodes, some gospel-like backing vocals and Burton’s incredibly soulful and expressive vocals, which manage to express hurt, yearning, pride and awe simultaneously. As Burton, Quesada and company explained to The Fader by email, “‘Colors’ was written while the sun was going down on a rooftop in New Mexico. Finding inspiration in the multicolored hues of the night sky. The song is a message of togetherness, but there’s awareness of mortality mixed in . . .”

Directed by Kristian Mercado, the recently released video for “Colors” is an intimate and profoundly empathetic look at a young and very beautiful Black family — mother, father and son — who hit hard times, and wind up homeless. It’s a heartbreaking and seemingly lived-in display of how easily and quickly one family can lose everything for no fault of their own but the main takeaway from the video is that while they’ve lost material things  and are struggling to survive, they have each other, their essential decency and their humanity.  

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Throughout the bulk of this site’s nine-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker, best known for his acclaimed psych pop/synth pop recording project Tame Impala. Now, as you may recall Parker’s third full-length album, 2015’s Currents was a critical and commercial breakthrough: released to wide-ranging critical applause, the album was a Grammy-nominated, RIAA Gold-Certified effort that reflected a decided change in songwriting and approach that featured emotionally direct lyrics paired with an increasingly nuanced and textures sound that drew from psych rock, psych pop, synth pop, prog rock and R&B.

Earlier this year, Parker released the first bit of new Tame Impala material in over four years — “Patience,” a decidedly upbeat banger that seamlessly bridged 90s house and 70s funk while being a thoughtful meditation on the cycles and phases of life and “Borderline” a blissed out, shimmering mid-tempo track with house music flourishes and a razor sharp hook. These two tracks were unofficially the first two singles off Parker’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated fourth album, The Slow Rush. Slated for a February 14, 2020 release through Interscope RecordsThe Slow Rush reportedly conjures the feeling of a lifetime in a lightning bolt, of major milestones whizzing by you while you’re looking at your phone. Thematically, the album focuses on the rapid passing of time and the unending cycles of creation and destruction in life.  “A lot of the songs carry this idea of time passing, of seeing your life flash before your eyes, being able to see clearly your life from this point onwards. I’m being swept by this notion of time passing. There’s something really intoxicating about it,” Parker told the New York Times earlier this year.

“It Might Be Time,” the album’s latest single is centered around layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, a rousingly anthemic hook and Parker’s plaintive falsetto. And while being a swaggering prog rock meets psych pop banger, the song possesses an underlying sweaty paranoia about getting older and being forced to accept a sad and fateful inevitability — that you’ve lost it and not as cool as you used to be, and that maybe you were never really cool in the first place. If you haven’t had this moment yet, you will. Trust me.

 

 

The acclaimed New York-based electronic duo and JOVM mainstays Sofi Tukker — comprised of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — have been widely celebrated for an inclusive, global take on electronic music that thematically is centered around self-empower, unity and liberation. The debut single “Drinkee” received a Grammy Award-nomination for Best Dance Recording — and they continued an extraordinary run of success with their full-length debut, Treehouse receiving a Grammy Award-nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
Building upon a growing international profile, the duo’s releases have gone Gold or Platinum on every continent on this planet, excluding Antarctica. They’ve played sold out shows and festival stops across the planet, and they’ve performed on some of the world’s most beloved shows including Italy’s X-Factor, the UK’s Sunday Brunch, Russia’s Late Show and Japan’s BuzzRhythm, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and most recently Good Morning America.  Additionally, the duo have a long-held reputation for being passionate activists, who have raised funds an awarenesses for a number of different causes including Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, and March For Our Lives.
Slated for a September 20, 2019 release, DANCING ON THE PEOPLE EP is the duo’s much-anticipated follow-up to their highly-successful full-length debut. And the EP’s latest single “Purple Hat” is a joyous, club banger that stars with a breezy Brazilian Tropicalia intro before quickly turning into a thumping club banger centered around tweeter and woofer rocking low-end, a funky, strummed and looped guitar line, an enormous, crowd pleasing hook and Bhangra-like percussion while Hawley-Weld and Halpern trade vocal lines about a wild and joyous party, in which the attendees let go of pretense and facades and let their freak flags proudly flow. It’s a joyous song that says “come all, be yourself — and most important, shake that ass and show ’em what you working with!” Considering the hate and opposition we’ve been inundated with over the past few years, this song feels necessary.
“We wrote ‘Purple Hat’ the day after our first Animal Talk party,” the duo explains. “We started throwing these parties to bring back the wild and inclusive dancing vibe to the nightclub experience. Tuck was literally wearing a purple hat and a cheetah print shirt, people were climbing on top o people, it was over-sold and sweaty, our favorite people were packed in the booth, everyone was loose AF and feeling themselves. It was wild. Every Animal Talk party since then has been like that, and we wanted to capture that raw feeling in a song. If there was a song that included everything we are about, this would be the one.”
The duo will be embarking on a lengthy North American and European tour that they’ve dubbed The R.I.P. Shame World Tour to support the release of their new EP to close out the year. This tour, Hawley-Weld and Halpern are on “a mission to kill shame one loose dance party at at time.” Up-and-coming Aussie dance pop act Haiku Hands and DJ/producer LP Giobbi will be opening for the acclaimed JOVM mainstays for all of their North American tour dates, which includes an October 24, 2019 stop at Avant Gardner’s Great Hall. You can check out the tour dates below, along with a link to buy tickets. 
This tour finds the duo supporting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization decided to building better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness and their local affiliates. $1 from each ticket sold during each US stop will go to support NAMI and heir programs and services through PLUS1. For the Vancouver show, $1 from each ticket sold will go to support Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA)’s Native Youth Health and Wellness Centre, providing culturally-relevant, welcoming, accessible health and wellness services to Indigenous youth. The centre is a safe, accessible health clinic, where Indigenous youth can feel comfortable seeking support for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. And in Calgary, $1 from each ticket sold with go to a local organization that supports mental health initiatives, bringing dignity, equity, and access to communities who need it.
Tour Dates:
North American Headline Tour
10/2: Calgary, AB @ The Palace
10/4: Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
10/6: Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
10/7: Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo
10/9: Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
10/10: Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Expo Hall
10/13: Tucson, AZ @ The Rialto Theatre
10/15: Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
10/16: Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
10/17: Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
10/19: New Orleans, LA @ The Joy Theater
10/21: Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
10/23: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
10/24: Brooklyn, NY @ Avant Gardner Great Hall
11/17: Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital
European Headline Tour
11/20: Dublin, Ireland @ Vicar Street
11/22: Manchester, UK @ Gorilla
11/23: London, UK @ Electric Brixton
11/25: Frankfurt, DE @ Gibson Club
11/26: Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
11/27: Rotterdam, NL @ Maassilo
111/28: Paris, FR @ Elysee Montmartre
12/1: Hamburg, DE @ Markthalle
12/2:  Cologne, DE @ Carlswerk
12/3: Munich, DE @ Technikum
12/5: Vienna, AT @ Arena Wien
12/6: Bern, Switzerland @ Bierhubeli
12/9: Zurich, CH @ Harterei Club
12/10: Brussels, BE @ Botanique Orangerie
​​​​​​​12/12: Berlin, DE @ Tempodrom

Live Footage: Burna Boy Performs “Anybody” for Vevo CTRL

  With the release of 2013’s Leriq-produced full-length debut L.I.F.E., which featured attention-grabbing singles like  “Like to Party,” “Tonight”, “Always Love You”, “Run My Race” and “Yawa Dey,” Burna Boy, a Nigerian Afro-fusion singer/songwriter, born Damini […]

Live Footage: the bird and the bee Cover Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” with Dave Grohl on “The Late Late Show with James Corden”

Comprised of singer/songwriter Inara George and seven time Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin, who has worked with the likes of Sia,Adele, Beck, Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters and Paul McCartney, the Los Angeles-based indie pop act the bird and the bee can trace their origins to when they met  while working on George’s 2005 solo debut All Rise. Bonding over a mutual love of 80s pop and rock, the duo decided to continue to work together in a jazz-influenced electro pop project.

The Los Angeles indie pop duo’s debut EP Again and Again and Again and Again was released in late 2006. They quickly followed that up with their self-titled full-length debut in early 2007 — and with their earliest releases George and Kurstin quickly developed a reputation for bringing a breezy elegance to their work, which finds them putting their own idiosyncratic twist on time-bending indie pop.

Although serving as the long-awaited follow up to 2015’s Recreational Love, the bird and the bee’s fifth album, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen actually closely follows 2010’s critically applauded Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Hall & Oates. And while Van Halen‘s most anthemic and beloved work may initially seem like an unlikely vessel for the Los Angeles-based duo’s sound and approach, George and Kurstin are both lifelong fans of David Lee Roth-era Van Halen. As the story goes back in 2007, George caught her first-ever Van Halen show, during the first tour to feature David Lee Roth as the band’s frontman since 1985. George was so charmed by Roth’s presence, that after that show, she approached Kurstin about writing a song for Roth. The end result was the swooning serenade “Diamond Dave,” which appeared on their 2008 sophomore album Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future. “We asked him to be in the video, but instead he signed a picture and gave me the yellow top hat he’d worn at the show I saw, which I thought was very sweet,” George says in press notes. “When we were trying to figure out who to cover for the second volume of Interpreting the Masters, we were both a little bit like, ‘Oh my god, can we really do it?’ But then we just went for it.”

Slated for an August 2, 2019 release through No Expectations/Release Me Records, the duo’s fifth album features an impressive backing band of guest musicians including Justin Meldal Johnsen (bass), who has worked with Beck and Nine Inch Nails; Joey Waronker (drums), who has worked with R.E.M and Elliott Smith; and Omar Hakim(drums), who has worked with the David Bowie and Miles Davis assisting the duo in making familiar David Lee Roth-era Van Halen anthems completely their own, imbuing even the most over-the-top tracks with a slinky intimacy.

Interestingly, for Kurstin, an accomplished jazz pianist, who once studied with Jaki Byard, a pianist that once played in Charles Mingus‘ band, one of the greatest challenges he had translating Eddie Van Halen’s virtuoso guitar work into piano arrangements that kept some of the spirit and vibe of the original. “I know there’s a jazz influence with the Van Halen brothers, so I tried to channel some of the things that I felt might’ve influenced Eddie,” Kurstin notes. “In a way ‘Eruption’ is almost like a piece of classical music, so I mostly treated it that way as I interpreted it for piano,” he adds, referring to the iconic instrumental guitar solo from Van Halen’s self-titled debut. 

While creating arrangements around Eddie Van Halen’s guitar work will reveal the duo’s ingenuity and playfulness as interpreters and arrangers paired with a deeply nuanced reading of the material, which is influenced by their deep and profound emotional connection to the band.“I remember being 10-years-old and seeing their videos and feeling both excited and totally terrified—I responded to them in this very visceral way,” George says in press notes. Kurstin, who also is a lifelong fan, actually got a chance to work with Eddie Van Halen in the early 80s when the Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist was a 12 year-old member of Dweezil Zappa’s band. “I got to hang out with him in the studio and go backstage when Van Halen played The Forum, which was a really big moment for my younger self,” Kurstin recalls.

Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen‘s album’s second single “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” is a slinky New Wave-like take on the original, centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, atmospheric electronics, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to New Order and It’s Blitz!-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the track is imbued with a feverish quality.

While much of Van Halen’s material, whether it was David Lee Roth-era or Sammy Hagar-era is seemingly familiar to the point of well-worn, the first two singles off Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen finds the duo crafting a loving and thoughtful take on beloved material. And they manage to do so in a way that retains familiar elements but within a playful, post-modern, decidedly feminist fashion. 

The duo were recently on The Late Late Show with James Corden, where they performed their sultry rendition of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” with a special guest — Dave Grohl, who played drums.