Tag: Grammy Award

Throughout the course of this site’s decade-plus history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the acclaimed New York-based Grammy Award-nominated, electro pop duo and longtime JOVM mainstays Sofi Tukker. Sofi Tukker — Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — can trace their origins to when the duo met while studying at Brown University and since their formation, they’ve been widely celebrated for crafting an inclusive, global take on electro pop/dance pop centered around self-empower, unity and liberation.

The longtime JOVM mainstays cap off 2020 with a new single “Caröl Von Holz,” which finds them collaborating with HOLZBLÄSER, a.k.a. Holz. The collaboration has rather unique origins: HOLZBLÄSER initially emerged as a mysterious member of the Freak Fam, a devoted community that has emerged around the New York-based duo’s daily DJ set livestreams.

After some time, HOLZBLÄSER began sending the members of Sofi Tukker edits of their songs, featuring his dryly German accented vocals. Hawley-Weld and Halpern loved his work so much that they began to include his edits into their DJ sets — and it eventually grew into a collaboration between the trio. The end result is a swaggering, fierce as fuck, house music take on a beloved Christmas classic — “The Carol of the Bells,” with a tweeter and woofer rocking temp. House music all night long, even during Christmas.

“Never did we ever think we would do a Christmas song, let alone a Christmas song with a mysterious stranger over email. But when in 2020!” The members of Sofi Tukker share in press notes.

Live Footage: Amsterdam’s Altin Gün Performs “Ordunun Dereleri”

Deriving their name from the Turkish phase for “Golden Day,” the Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gün — founding member founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s deep and abiding passion for 60s and 70s Turkish psych pop and folk and to frequent tour stops in Istanbul with a previous band.

As a result of his tour stops in Istanbul, Verhulst wound up discovering a lot of music that wasn’t readily available in his homeland. But as the story goes, he wasn’t just content to listen as an ardent fan, he had a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admitted in press notes. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.” The Dutch act actively interpret and reimagine this beloved material through a contemporary 21st century lens. “Of course, since our singers are Turkish, they know many of these pieces. All this is part of the country’s musical past, their heritage, like ‘House of The Rising Sun’ is in America,‘” Verhulst explains.

The act’s sophomore album, last year’s Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded Gece helped the Amsterdam-based act win further worldwide acclaim for their reimagining of traditional Turkish folk through the lens of psych rock and pop. The band’s highly-anticipated third album Yol, the third album from the Dutch act in three years, finds the act continuing to draw upon the rich and diverse traditions of Turkish and Anatolian folk music. But as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of the Dutch act was forced to write music in a new way: they traded demos and ideas built around Omnichord, 808 and other elements, including field recordings and New Age-like ideas by email.

“We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir says in press notes. “The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”

As a result of arrangements featuring Omnichord and 808 — and the new songwriting approach, the album finds the band crafting material that’s a bold, new sonic direction: a sleek, synth-based Europop sound with a dreamy quality that may have been informed by the enforced period of reflection. Additionally, Yol finds the members of Altin Gün enlisting Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album, marking the first time that the band has collaborated with outsiders.

“Ordunun Dereleri,” Yol‘s mesmerizing first single finds the Dutch act pairing an old folk standard with an arrangement centered around atmospheric and glistening synth arpeggios, four-on-the-floor drumming paired with Mediterranean-like polyrhythmic percussion, shimmering bursts of guitar, a sinuous, motorik groove and plaintive vocals. And while, being a sleek and futuristic push in a new sonic direction, the track finds the band balancing careful and deliberate attention to craft with a dreamy introspection.

The members of Altin Gün filmed a livestream concert for Dekmantel Connects that will air December 17, 2020 at 8:00PM Central European Time/2:00PM Eastern Standard Time/1:00PM Central Standard/12:00PM Mountain Standard Time and 11:00AM Pacific Standard Time. The livestream will feature a sneak peek at the band’s forthcoming album, including this gorgeously shot live footage of the aforementioned “Ordunun Dereleri” filmed in what looks like an abandoned factory.

Yol is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through ATO Records/Cadence Music Group.

New Video: Los Angeles’ Lauren Lakis Releases a Brooding and Uneasy Examination of a Dysfunctional Childhood

Lauren Lakis is a Baltimore-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician, who specializes in a brooding and churning take on shoegaze paired with authentic and honest lyricism. So far her work has been praised by Earmilk, who said that her material are “a refreshing change from today’s polite rock . . .”

The Baltimore-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician and her backing band have toured the West Coast extensively, playing bills with Drowse, Coastland, Elizabeth Colour Wheel’s Emmet Palaima, Flor and Winnetka Bowling League. Lakis and her band have played in front of a sold-out Doug Fir Lounge and at Santa Cruz’s The Catalyst. Adding to a growing profile, Lakis has played two solo sets opening for Grammy Award-nominated rocker Tracy Bonham.

Much like countless other acts, Lakis and her backing band had plans for a momentum changing 2020: they were scheduled to play at this year’s cancelled SXSW and they had hopes of setting up further tour dates. However, they’ve remained busy, releasing new material, including their latest single “Sail Away.” Centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, dramatic drumming, a sinuous bass line, darkly Romantic vibes and Lakis’ plaintive yet ethereal vocals,” Sail Away” is a brooding track that reminds me — to my ears at least — of PJ Harvey, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Chelsea Wolfe.

Interestingly, the song is an uneasy and brooding examination of Lakis’ own dysfunctional and painful childhood and a desire to reconnect to a lost yet much-needed innocence. “Thematically, ‘Sail Away’ explores the idea of running away with my inner child, protecting and parenting her,” Lakis explains in press notes. “It’s me becoming my own mother, which was something I had to do at a young age.

“As the daughter of my mother, I had to learn how to take care of myself and grow up quickly. She struggled with addiction until I was almost 10 years old; I don’t have many memories of my childhood before that age. I’ve spent some years in Alanon, connecting to my inner child and learning how to ‘re-parent’ her as a way of healing those wounds,” Lakis continues. “The inner child is the part of us that is innocent, vulnerable, playful, full of wonder, freely trusting and loving. It hasn’t always been easy to connect with that side of myself.

“I didn’t feel like I had a voice as a kid, and I had no control over what was happening around me. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, I grew into an extremely strong, resilient, capable adult. This song explores my longing for having had an adult like me around, when I was a child…as well as the anger I’ve carried with me for having missed out. I’ve had to accept that no one can go back in time and fix that for me.”

The recently released video is a cinematic and equally brooding visual with a fever dream-like quality that finds Lakis is a lace full-body suit.

New Video: Amsterdam’s Altin Gün Releases a Cinematic and Feverish Visual for “Ordunun Dereleri”

Deriving their name from the Turkish phase for “Golden Day,” the Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gün — founding member founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s deep and abiding passion for 60s and 70s Turkish psych pop and folk and to frequent tour stops in Istanbul with a previous band.

As a result of his tour stops in Istanbul, Verhulst wound up discovering a lot of music that wasn’t readily available in his homeland. But as the story goes, he wasn’t just content to listen as an ardent fan, he had a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admitted in press notes. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.” The Dutch act actively interpret and reimagine this beloved material through a contemporary 21st century lens. “Of course, since our singers are Turkish, they know many of these pieces. All this is part of the country’s musical past, their heritage, like ‘House of The Rising Sun’ is in America,‘” Verhulst explains.

The act’s sophomore album, last year’s Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded Gece helped the Amsterdam-based act win further worldwide acclaim for their reimagining of traditional Turkish folk through the lens of psych rock and pop. The band’s highly-anticipated third album Yol, the third album from the Dutch act in three years, finds the act continuing to draw upon the rich and diverse traditions of Turkish and Anatolian folk music. But as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of the Dutch act was forced to write music in a new way: they traded demos and ideas built around Omnichord, 808 and other elements, including field recordings and New Age-like ideas by email.

“We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir says in press notes. “The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”

As a result of arrangements featuring Omnichord and 808 — and the new songwriting approach, the album finds the band crafting material that’s a bold, new sonic direction: a sleek, synth-based Europop sound with a dreamy quality that may have been informed by the enforced period of reflection. Additionally, Yol finds the members of Altin Gün enlisting Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album, marking the first time that the band has collaborated with outsiders.

“Ordunun Dereleri,” Yol’s mesmerizing first single finds the Dutch act pairing an old folk standard with an arrangement centered around atmospheric and glistening synth arpeggios, four-on-the-floor drumming paired with Mediterranean-like polyrhythmic percussion, shimmering bursts of guitar, a sinuous, motorik groove and plaintive vocals. And while, being a sleek and futuristic push in a new sonic direction, the track finds the band balancing careful and deliberate attention to craft with a dreamy introspection.

Directed by Bob Sizoo and Najim Jansen, the recently released visual for “Ordunun Dereleri” is an incredibly cinematic fever dream that follows the Dutch act’s Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz driving a white BMW through a sodium and fluorescent-lit cityscape and into an eerie forest where he encounters the rest of the band. Even stranger things occur.

Yol is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through ATO Records/Cadence Music Group.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Tame Impala Releases a Lysergic and Feverish Visual for “Breathe Deeper”

Over this site’s decade-plus history, I’ve managed to spill quite of virtual ink covering Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker, best known as the creative mastermind behind the multiple Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded and commercially successful psych pop/synth pop at Tame Impala.

Parker’s fourth Tame Impala effort, The Slow Rush was released earlier this year, and the album continues an impressive and downright enviable run of critically applauded and commercially successful material. But thematically the album focuses on the rapid passing of time and life’s infinite cycles of creation and destruction — with the material conjuring the feeling of a lifetime in a lighting bolt, and of major milestones and events whizzing by you, while you stare at your phone. “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.

So far I’ve written about five of The Slow Rush’s singles:

“Patience,”an upbeat meditation on the cycles and phases of life, centered around a sound that seamlessly meshed 70s funk and 90s house.
“Borderline,” a hook-driven, blissed out track with house music flourishes.
“It Might Be Time,”a swaggering prog rock meets psych pop anthem featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats and an enormous hook.
Lost in Yesterday,” a woozy and lysergic, disco-tinged banger that explores time’s distorting effect on perspective and memories
“Is It True,”a swooning, dance floor friendly banger that focuses on the countless paths our lives can take with just one single decision — and the confusion and uncertainty of love.

2020 has managed to be a momentous year for the Aussie JOVM mainstay in terms of accolades:

Earlier this year, Parker was nominated for two Billboard Music Awards and an American Music Award.
Last month, Tame Impala won 5 of the 7 categories he was nominated for at this year’s ARIA Awards: Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Rock Album, Best Engineer and Best Producer.
Parker recently received nominations for two Grammy Awards — Best Alternative Album and Best Rock Song for “Lost In Yesterday.” The latest Best Alternative Album Grammy is Parker’s third, after receiving nominations for Currents and Lonerism.

And to cap off a busy year, Parker has released the sixth single off The Slow Rush, “Breathe Deeper,” a woozy pop banger, centered around shimmering synths, twinkling keys, skittering beats, and a sinuous bass line and Parker’s plaintive cooing. And much like its immediate predecessors, “Breathe Deeper” finds Parker crafting a hook-driven and seamless synthesis of synth pop, psych pop, house music and Quiet Storm soul.

Directed by Butt Studio, the recently released video is a lysergic fever dream that follows two brightly colored, CGI mosquitos flying through an otherworldly landscape.


Formed almost 20 years ago, the Brooklyn-based act Dub TrioGrammy Award nominated-Stu Brooks (bass), DP Holmes (guitar) and Joe Tomino (drums) — have firmly established a critically applauded boundary pushing approach to dub that incorporates metal, punk rock, alt rock and shoegaze through the release of four albums, 2004’s full-length debut Exploring the Dangers Of, 2006’s New Heavy, 2008’s Another Sound Is Dying and 2011’s IV.

During that same exact period, the members of Dub Trio have been rather busy: they’ve done studio work with Mike Patton and Lady Gaga; they’ve toured alongside the likes of Clutch, Gogol Bordello, and The Dillinger Escape Plan — and they’ve toured as the backing band for Peeping Tom. After extensive touring to support IV, the Brooklyn-based trio went on hiatus.

Reconvening for a two week reunion at a tiny Brooklyn rehearsal room in 2018, the trio began working on the material for their fifth album, The Shape of Dub To Come. Featuring collaborations with Melvins‘ King Buzzo, Mastodon‘s Troy Sanders, Meshell Ndgeocello and an impressive array of others, The Shape of Dub To Come finds the act actively pushing dub into as many new sonic territories as possible — while serving as their first release through New Damage Records.

“Them Thing Deh,” The Shape of Dub To Come‘s latest single finds Dub Trio collaborating with Skindred’s Benji Webbe on a strutting single featuring sinuous and propulsive bass line, twinkling keys paired with Webbe’s soulful vocals, shuffling reggae riddims and reverb-drenched effects. And while seemingly centered around the prerequisite irie vibes,
“Them Thing Deh” is fueled by the sociopolitical concerns of our current moment.

“We’re putting this song out for the love of it. We knew we wanted to do a track that paid homage to our fore-fathers of reggae and dub, rhythm section greatness, Sly & Robbie,” Dub Trio’s Stu Brooks says in press notes. “They have been an endless source of inspiration to us as a band from the beginning. So, as helicopters swarmed over Hollywood during BLM protests, my wife and I felt compelled to finally break quarantine. As we approached Hollywood and Vine to join in solidarity with the protesters, ‘Them Thing Deh’ happened to be the soundtrack in my headphones. Feeling the anger we share with the BLM movement, the lyric ‘got to keep your cool; really spoke to me as I could feel the tension in the air.  That week, we quickly put the rhythm tracks together, recording from 3 different states, with the help of Roger Rivas on organ and keys and hit up our old friend, legend Benji Webbe from the UK band, Skindred. Benji is the ultimate genre-masher, soulfully clashing metal, reggae, punk, dub, dancehall…all the sh*t we love!” 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Black Pumas on Tiny Desk (at Home)

Over the past year or so, I’ve spilled a ton of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act and JOVM mainstays, Black Pumas over the past year. Led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada and San Fernando Valley-born singer/songwriter and guitarist Eric Burton, the acclaimed act can trace their origins back to 2017.

Burton, who grew up singing in church and in musical theater, started busking at the Santa Monica pier, where he brought in a few hundred dollars a day while developing the stage presence, that would later win attention both nationally and internationally. He then traveled across the Western US, eventually relocating to Austin, where he set up a busking spot on 6th Street and Congress, a prime location in the city’s busy downtown neighborhood for maximum exposure.

Meanwhile Quesada was looking to collaborate with someone new. He had been reaching out to friends in Los Angeles and London but nothing seemed to fit. Serendipitously, a mutual friend recommended Burton to Quesada, with that friend telling Quesada that Bruton was the best vocalist he had ever heard. As the story goes, Quesada had reached out to Burton, but it took the San Fernando Valley-born, Austin-based singer/songwriter a while to respond. “My friends were like ‘Dude, you’re a mad man, you need to hit that guy back!’” Burton recalls. When Burton did call Quesada, he sang to him over the phone. “I loved his energy, his vibe, and I knew it would be incredible on record,” Quesada says. “From the moment I heard him on the phone, I was all about it.”

Last year, the duo along with a talented cast of collaborators released their breakthrough full-length debut. And since the self-titled debut’s release, the album has sold 155,000+ album equivalents worldwide, with smash hit “Colors” hitting #1 on Adult Album Alternative (AAA) radio and has been streamed over 60 million times. They also maintained a relentless tour schedule across North America that brought their uplifting and powerful live show to New York three times: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, the band began to make stops across the nationally televised, talk show circuit, playing Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen Show and others.

And adding to a breakthrough year, Black Pumas earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist along with fellow JOVM mainstay Yola — with both acts anti-climatically losing out to Billie Eilish.

This year has seen the release of a deluxe version of their breakthrough self-titled album — and it features new artwork, previously unpublished in-studio and live performance photographs and a bonus 7 inch featuring three previously unreleased originals, live in-studio versions of popular album singles “Colors,” “October 33,” and “Confines;” a live version of “Know You Better,” recorded at C-Boys Heart & Soul, the Austin club, where the band first made a name for themselves, as well as attention-grabbing covers of The Beatles‘ “Eleanor Rigby,” (a staple of their live shows), Death’s “Politicians in My Eyes,” Bobby “Blue” Bland‘s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City,” and Tracy Chapman‘s “Fast Car,” which they premiered on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Continuing upon an enviable run of success, Black Pumas recently received three nominations for the 2021 Grammys — Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best American Roots Performance for “Colors.” And they’ve capped off the year with an NPR Tiny Desk (At Home) session that featured album singles “Fire,” “Oct 33,” and “Colors,” as well as set opener “Red Rover.” And although they’re performing in an empty studio — it’s a pandemic after all — the NPR set is fueled by the same passionate and soulful spirit of their live sets.

New Audio: Los Angeles’ Total Brutal Releases a Shimmering Pop Confection

Emily Moore is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who may be best known as a touring musician, who has shared stages with Grammy Award-winning act fun., Børns, Ella Vos, X Ambassadors and a lengthy list of others. Moore is also the creative mastermind behind the indie pop, solo recording project Total Brutal. And withTotal Brutal, Moore’s goal is to spread positivity and self-empowerment, based on an ethos of standing up for yourself in order to be heard and seen, facing fears head on –and most importantly, being comfortable in your own skin.

Inspired by a series of strong female artists, Moore is determined to help other young women make their worth known and their voices heard. “It took me a really long time to understand that I am allowed to speak up, have opinions and speak directly,” Moore explains. “I’m starting to realize that I can be myself and be liked and professional all the same. I want to help foster that adventurous spirit and confidence in young women!”

Moore’s latest Total Brutal single “Egypt” is a slickly produced, dance floor friendly, pop confection centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like guitar, an infectious hook and Moore’s self-assured yet coquettish vocals. Seemingly indebted to 80s New Wave and synth pop, the track finds its narrator desperately trying to connect with the feeling of childhood excitement over what the future could hold. Of course, the past year has had us feeling fearful and uncertain — but the infectious track manages to remind the listener that there’s hope for something better, as long as you’re still here.

Moore confides, “I constantly need to remind myself to play more and lighten up. It’s easy to get lost in the seriousness of life but I want to go through life having fun and viewing everything with curiosity.”

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Thundercat Performs “Them Changes” at Adult Swim Festival with Ariana Grande, JD Beck, and DOMi

Throughout the course of this site’s decade-plus history, I’ve mangled to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the critically applauded, Grammy Award-wining singer/songwriter, bassist and JOVM mainstay artist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner. Bruner has long been a cornerstone of the Brainfeeder Records universe, releasing an incredibly prolific amount of critically applauded material including 2011’s Golden Age of Apocalypse, 2013’s Apocalypse, 2015’s The Beyond/Where Giants Roam EP, 2017’s Drunk and this year’s It Is What It Is. Along with that, Bruner has established himself as a highly sought-after collaborator, contributing to Kamasi Washington’s aptly titled, critically applauded 2015 effort, The Epic and to Kendrick Lamar‘s 2016 commercial and critical smash hit, the Grammy Award winning To Pimp A Butterfly. He also worked with Flying Lotus to compose an original score for a 2018 episode of Donald Glover’s Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning TV series Atlanta.

Because of the pandemic, concerts and festivals as we remember and love them aren’t possible -and as a result, this year’s Adult Swim Festival was a virtual event — but still chock full of awesome music, comedians and never-before-seen Adult Swim exclusives. Recently, the critically acclaimed JOVM mainstay played a stomping and strutting rendition of one of my favorite songs off 2015’s The Beyond/Where Giants Roam EP “Them Changes” with Ariana Grande, and JD Beck and DOMi that also features an extensive acid jazz fusion break.

“It feels like Ariana and I are forever connected through Mac [Miller] and this is part of the healing process,” Thundercat says.