Tag: Hall and Oates

 

Up-and-coming Toronto-based indie electro pop sibling duo SWANES — Michael and Stefan Bildy — have released a handful of tracks through French indie electro pop tastemaker label Kitsune Records that have caught thee attention of Warp Records and Future Classic, as well as a key nod from CBC’s Radio 1 Toronto. Adding to a growing profile, the sibling duo have been featured on Bandcamp Daily and COLORS, and they’ve landed tracks on several extremely popular Spotify playlists — in particular, the Indie All Stars and Fresh Finds among others.

The duo will be playing dates with Los Angeles-based artist Harriet Brown — but before that they released a new single, the silky smooth “The Hard Way.” Centered around shimming guitar, stuttering beats and a sultry vocal delivery, the slickly produced track nods at Quiet Storm R&B, Hall and Oates-era blue-eyed soul and breezy pop — and sonically, the track reminds me a bit Rush Midnight and others. Interestingly, the track was inspired by a trip the Bildy Brothers took to their great uncle Bruce Beach’s bomb shelter, The Ark Two — the largest nuclear fallout shelter in their native Canada. And as a result, the track possesses a subtle yet palpable apocalyptic air.

Advertisements

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Balthazar Return with a Deceptively Straightforward Rocker

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maarten Devoldere, best known as the frontman of two critically applauded, internationally recognized acts and JOVM mainstays Balthazar and Warhaus, which was a side project conceived during a lengthy hiatus. Interestingly, Devoldere’s work with Balthazar was a sonic departure, as the project’s sound could be described as atmospheric, jazz-inspired art rock that may remind some listeners of The Church, Sting’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun, Edith Piaf, and Leonard Cohen — paired with Devoldere’s urbane, decadent, novelistic lyrics.

While Devoldere was busy with Warhaus, at one point writing much of the project’s sophomore album in a remote retreat in Kyrgyzstan, his longtime friend, songwriting partner and Balthazar bandmate Jinte Deprez remained in Ghent, holing himself in the studio, where he indulged his love of old-school R&B, eventually releasing a solo album as J. Bernardt. And during their primary gig’s hiatus, Devoldere and Deprez enjoyed the ability to indulge their whims and follow their individual creative muses — while individually receiving commercial and critical success to be liberating. The duo also found that the time apart created an undeniable urge to work together again, propelled by a broader artistic horizon and their mutual respect for each other’s work. 

So when the members of Balthazar reconvened, they did so without any particular plan, just a desire to improve upon their previously released work and to further the band’s story.  As they were beginning to write material, Devoldere and Deprez agreed that their new material should have an overall less serious, less melancholy feel while leaning towards a looser, refreshed sound that retained the hook driven quality that won the band national and international attention. “Fever,” the first single and album title track off the band’s recently released Fever was inky and sultry track, centered around a strutting bass riff, stomping percussion, a swooping string motif, a sinuous hook, a twinkling bridge and Devoldere’s plaintive baritone to create a song that was playful and infectious.  “Entertainment,” the album’s second single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor but was centered around a swaggering and strutting vibe and an anthemic hook. Sonically, the Jinte Deprez-led song nodded at The Rolling Stones‘ “Sympathy for the Devil, but with some Afro pop-like polyrhythmic percussion. “I’m Never Gonna Let You Down Again,” the album’s third single was a slow-burning, Jinte Deprez led Quiet Storm-like jam that reminded me of Milagres’ “IDNYL” and classic Hall and Oates. As Deprez explained in press notes, “I’m Never Gonna Let You Down Again’ is a breakup song with a twist, a groovy soul ode with a synthesizer, a chorus with a Bee Gee touch. It’s shaking it off, wherever it stuck.”

“Wrong Vibration,” Fever’s fourth and latest single is a Maarten Devoldere song is a  superficially a sultry come-on that slowly reveals frustration and confusion over mixed signals. Much like its predecessors, the song is centered by an infectious and breezy hook, a sinuous yet propulsive bass line while being arguably one of the more straightforward rockers on the album. 

Directed by Benny Vandendriessche, the recently released video for “Wrong Vibration” features the band’s creative duo in a dramatic, slow-motion theatrical stage performance, seemingly rooted  in a series of mixed signals and miscommunications. 

Over the past couple of years of this site’s almost nine-year history, i’ve written quite a bit about the Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maarten Devoldere, best known as the frontman of two critically applauded, internationally recognized acts Balthazar and JOVM mainstays Warhaus. Now, as you may recall, Warhaus is a sonic departure from Devoldere’s work with Balthazar, as the project’s sound was an atmospheric, jazz-inspired art rock the brought to mind The ChurchSting’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the SunEdith Piaf, and Leonard Cohen — all while paired with Devoldere’s urbane, decadent, novelistic lyrics.

While Devoldere was busy with Warhaus, at one point writing much of the project’s sophomore album in a remote retreat in  Kyrgyzstan, his Balthazar songwriting partner, co-frontman and longtime friend Jinte Deprez remained in Ghent, holing himself in the studio, where he indulged his love of old-school R&B, eventually releasing a solo album as J. Bernardt. During Balthazar’s hiatus, the band’s songwriting duo found the ability to indulge their whims and follow their creative muses in different directions — while receiving boy commercial and critical success to be liberating. But it also created an undeniable urge between the two to write together again, propelled by a broader artistic horizon and their mutual respect for real other’s work.

When the members of Balthazar reconvened, they did so without any particular plan, just a desire to better their previously released work and to further the band’s story. Interestingly, the duo of Devoldere and Deprez agreed that the material should have an overall less serious, less melancholy feel, leaning towards a looser, refreshed sound — while retaining the hook driven quality that they’ve long been known for. And the end result is the band’s forthcoming full-length Fever, which is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through Play It Again Sam Records. Interestingly, album title track and first single “Fever” was a slinky and sultry track, centered around a strutting bass riff, stomping percussion, a swooping string motif, a sinuous hook, a twinkling bridge and Devoldere’s plaintive baritone. Interestingly, the single finds the band crafting swaggering and infectious pop that’s accessible, carefree, and flirty. “Entertainment,” Fever‘s second single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor, as it was upbeat, playful and careful but centered around a swaggering and strutting vibe and an anthemic hook — and while while nodding at The Rolling Stones‘ “Sympathy for the Devil, the Jinte Deprez-led song features some Afro pop-like polyrhythmic percussion. “I’m Never Gonna Let You Down Again,” Fever‘s third and latest single is a slow-burning, synth-led Quiet Storm R&B-inspired song led by Jinte Deprez that sonically and thematically reminds me of Milagres’IDNYL” and classic Hall and Oates. As Deprez explains in press notes, “I’m Never Gonna Let You Down Again’ is a breakup song with a twist, a groovy soul ode with a synthesizer, a chorus with a Bee Gee touch. It’s shaking it off, wherever it stuck.” Admittedly, Balthazar’s forthcoming album is something I’m looking very forward to; but perhaps more important, from the album’s first three singles, the band reminds listeners familiar with their sound that they’ve always had an uncompromisingly intellectual band with an accessible approach — all while possessing one of the most unique aesthetics I’ve come across in some time.

 

 

Live Footage: Franz Ferdinand Perform “Always Ascending” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

Currently comprised of founding trio Alex Kapranos (lead vocals, guitar), Bob Hardy (bass) and Paul Thomson (drums, percussion and backing vocals), along with newest members Julian Corrie (keys, synths, guitar and backing band), who joined last year, replacing founding member Nick McCarthy and the recently added Dino Bardot (guitar), the Glasgow, Scotland, UK-based indie rock/post punk act Franz Ferdinand formed back in 2002.  And with the release of their first two singles “Darts of Pleasure” and “Take Me Out” the members of the Glasgow-based indie rock act quickly saw commercial and critical success — with “Take Me Out,” becoming the band’s signature song, as it eventually peaked at #1 the UK Singles Chart, and earning a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. Additionally, their eponymous, 2004 full-length debut received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album and won the Mercury Prize, helping the Scottish indie rockers to establish themselves at the forefront of the early 2000s post-punk revival movement. 

Their 2005 Rich Costey-produced sophomore effort, You Could Have It So Much Better was released to critical and commercial success with the album peaking within the Top Ten Charts in multiple countries, and as a result, the album received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album with album single “Do You Want To” receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. However, with 2009’s Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, the members of the Scottish indie act moved away from the post-punk sound that first won them international attention to a much more dance floor oriented sound — all while continuing an impressive run of commercial and critical success. They promptly followed that up with a remix album of Tonight, titled Blood, which was released that summer.

2013 saw the release of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action but they managed to follow that effort up by teaming up with Sparks to form indie supergroup FFS, which released their self-tiltled album in 2015. Now, you may recall that Franz Ferdinand’s fifth album Always Ascending was released on Friday, and from the album single “Feel The Love Go,” the band has continued with a disco-leaning take on the Gang of Four-like post punk that first won them international attention — but with warm blasts of Hall and Oates/blue-eyed soul era saxophone that gives the song a quirky quality. “Lazy Boy,” much like its predecessor is a sleek, dance floor friendly track with a funky, disco-inspired bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming and a slick hook; but interestingly enough, the song finds the quintet at their most adventurous and mischievous, as the song also features twinkling synths and a loose, Rolling Stones “Emotional Rescue”-like vibe.

Recently, the renowned Glasgow-based post-punk act was on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform album title track Always Ascending, a sleek, dance floor friendly song that in some way seems to nod at Talking Heads’ cover of “Take Me to the River” — but with surprisingly soaring and infectious hook. 

New Audio: Franz Ferdinand Continues Their Run of Shimmering and Quirky Dance Floor Friendly Singles

Currently comprised of founding quartet Alex Kapranos (lead vocals, guitar), Nick McCarthy (rhythm guitar, keys and backing vocals), Bob Hardy (bass) and Paul Thomson (drums, percussion and backing vocals), along with newest Julian Corrie (keys, synths, guitar and backing band), who joined last year, replacing founding member Nick McCarthy, the Glasgow, Scotland, UK-based indie rock/post punk act Franz Ferdinand formed back in 2002.  And with the release of their first two singles “Darts of Pleasure” and “Take Me Out” the members of the Scottish indie rock act quickly saw commercial and critical success — with “Take Me Out,” the band’s signature song peaking within the Top of the UK Singles Chart, and later earning a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. Additionally, not only did their eponymous, 2004 full-length debut received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album and won the Mercury Prize, the band established themselves at the forefront of the post punk revival movement. Along with that, the band has won two Brit Awards — one for Best British Group, as well as one NME Award. 

Their 2005 Rich Costey-produced sophomore effort, You Could Have It So Much Better was released to critical and commercial success with the album peaking within the Top Ten Charts in multiple countries, with the album receiving a nomination for Best Alternative Album and “Do You Want To” receiving a nomination for Best Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. However, 2009’s Tonight: Franz Ferdinand found the band moving from the post-punk sound that first won them international attention to a much more dance friendly sound while continuing an impressive streak of commercial and critical success. They promptly followed that up with a remix album of Tonight, titled Blood, which was released that summer. 

2013 saw the release of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action and they followed that up with teaming up with Sparks to form a supergroup FFS, which released their self-tiltled album in 2015. The renowned Scottish band’s fifth full-length album Always Ascending is slated for a February 9, 2018 release and the album’s latest single “Feel The Love Go,” finds the band continuing with a dance floor friendly, disco-era inspired sound while retaining elements of the Gang of Four-like post punk that first won them international attention as they pair angular guitar chords, sinuous bass lines, four-on-the-floor drumming and thumping beats with arpeggiated synths, warm blasts of soulful, Hall and Oates-like saxophone and razor sharp hooks. And yet interestingly enough, the song also finds the band maintaining their unique ability to craft quirky, white boy funk. 

Portland, OR-based singer/songwriter producer, electronic music artist and multi-instrumentalist Ben Braun grew up in an extremely musical home, as his father once played drums in Hall and Oates‘ backing band — and interestingly enough, the younger Braun is perhaps best known as as one-half of synth pop act Mackintosh Braun, an act that has received attention for a 80s synth pop and New Wave-inspired sound. Unsurprisingly, Bruan’s solo recording project  BRAUN has managed to further cement his reputation for crafting a cinematic, 80s synth pop sound.

Now, if you have been frequenting this site, you may know that Braun’s full-length full-length debut Silent Silence reportedly began from Braun’s awareness of the personal freedoms that he had felt he had sacrificed to live in the comforts of a constantly connecte life full of new technological devices, and as you’d hear on “Prague,” the album’s second single, the material while being slickly produced, manages to be under-pinned by a longing for a much simpler life, all while nodding at Tears for Fears‘ “Head Over Heels” and much more contemporary fare like Rush Midnight.

Silent Science‘s third and latest single “Gardens” continues along a similar path as its immediate predecessor as the track, shimmering and cinematic synth pop, complete with  soaring hooks and sinuous guitar and bass chords; however, unlike its predecessor, the song possess a swooning, Romantic urgency — all while managing to feel mischievously anachronistic, as the song sounds and feels as though it could have been released in the 80s and — well, yesterday.

 

 

Portland, OR-based producer, electronic music artist and multi-instrumentalist Ben Braun can trace some of the origins of his own musical career to growing up in a musical home, as his own father played drums in Hall and Oates‘ backing band. Interestingly enough, the youngest Braun is best known as one-half of synth pop act Mackintosh Braun, an act that received attention for an 80s synth pop and New Wave-inspired sound. And while Braun’s solo recording project B•R•A•U•N will further cement his reputation for crafting 80s inspired synth pop, the project and its forthcoming full-length debut Silent Science began from Braun’s awareness of the personal freedoms that he felt he had sacrificed to live in he comforts of new technology, and as a result, the material possesses a longing for a much simpler life — but while paradoxically revealing his unique production style featuring lush and propulsive synths and chopped up vocal samples.

Silent Science’s second and latest single “Prague” while nodding at Tears for Fears‘ “Head Over Heels” and much more contemporary fare like Rush Midnight and others, features Braun’s production style of layers of propulsive and shimmering synths, boom bap beats,  rousing hooks, and an angular bass line paired with Braun’s breathy vocals but underneath the slickly produced and lush surface is a deeply reflective yearning that gives the material a subtly cinematic vibe.

 

 

New Video: Renowned British-born Singer/Songwriter Miten’s Elegantly Simple Cover of a Beloved Beatles Tune

Miten’s recently released Temple At Midnight is his first solo English language work in over a decade and in many ways the album finds him returning to his musical roots while writing deeply personal material inspired and influenced by his own journey to renewal, faith and love. And interestingly, the album’s latest single is an elegantly simple cover of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” in which Miten’s soulful and wizened vocals are paired with a sparse arrangement that has Miten accompanying himself with guitar, a bit of piano here and there, a mournful string arrangement and some backing vocals from his partner and collaborator Deva Premal. And while radiating a quiet assuredness and tranquility, Miten’s cover also possesses the same wistfulness of the original.

New Audio: Chet Faker’s Reworking of “1998” Features Guest Vocals by Indie Pop Sensation Banks

With the release of his full-length debut, Built on Glass, the Melbourne, Australia-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Nick Murphy, best known as Chet Faker quickly became an international sensation for a silky smooth and soulful electro pop/electro R&B sound that […]