Gold Coast, Australia-based indie pop duo GENIIE BOY — Alisha Todd and Scott French — can trace their origins to earlier this year when the duo, who both come from different musical backgrounds were sitting in Lovestreet Studios decided that “music sounds better with you” and that working together would be something that they wouldn’t regret. Interestingly, the heart of their collaboration is their desire to find balance between the feminine and the masculine, the strange and the familiar, tension and release.
in a relatively short time together, the duo have quickly established a unique sound in which Todd sings lyrics tacking the dark and light aspects of the human psyche are paired with French’s multi-instrumental experimental and sophisticated productions. The duo’s forthcoming EP is slated for release next month — but in the meantime, “Fool’s Play,” which was released earlier this year, is a slickly produced, pop confection featuring Todd’s self-assured and sultry vocals paired with woozy production centered around a sinuous bass line, a fuzzy yet expressive guitar solo and atmospheric electronics. The end result is a song that sonically — to my ears, at least — is a slick and soulful synthesis of Tame Impala and Haitus Kaiyote, while thematically the song tackles affairs of the heart.
Harvey Causon is a rising Bristol, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-intrumentalist and producer. With the release of “London Stock,” “Worn You,” and “Artifice,” Causon exploded into the national scene, receiving attention across the blogosphere and airplay from BBC 1’s Annie Mac and Huw Stephens for a sound that seems to be the result of constant and uneasy paradoxes: rough field recordings within polished, modern productions featuring a mix of analog and synthetic. Inspired by Mount Kimbie, FKA Twigs, Kendrick Lamar, and Delia Derbyshre, among others, his work aesthetically meshes R&B, jazz and skittering electronica, while featuring catchy hooks and his soulful and melodious vocals.
Lyrically, his work reveals a thoughtful and novelistic approach with material touching upon philosophy, quantum physics and architecture. And as a result, Causon has become a highly sought-after collaborator.
Building upon a growing profile, Causon’s forthcoming EP Fourth Wall is slated for a June 26, 2020 release. So far, three singles have been released from the EP — “Half Hour Verve,” “Blind Eye,” and the EP title track “Fourth Wall.” The EP’s fourth and final single “Extended Present” further cements the EP’s overall sound: warm, singer/songwriter soul-inspired electronica featuring twinkling keys, atmospheric electronics, skittering beats and Causon’s soulful vocals. Sonically, “Extended Present” may bring comparisons to Bonobo, Amnesiac-era Radiohead, Gravity Pairs-era Beacon, and Hiatus Kaiyote among others.
Harvey Causon · Fourth Wall
“‘Extended Present’ is a song about spacetime and gravity inspired by theories of theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli,” Causon explains in press notes. “The almost chimerical realisation that time is merely a construct, nonlinear and that gravity and time are interwoven into the fabric of the universe. It was really interesting to work with different people across the globe recording the strings from isolation.”
Beiju is an up-and-coming French-American musician, who splits her time between New York and Paris. And as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about the Bells Atlas and Hiatus Kaiyote-like “Lost at the Beach,” a nostalgia-tinged track that was inspired by a weekend trip to the Rockaway with friends. Her latest single “Let’s Go Home” further establishes the emerging pop artist’s unique sound and approach: much like it’s predecessor, the track features Beiju’s alluring vocals floating over a glitchy production featuring stuttering beats, wobbling low end, synth laser blasts — but interestingly enough the song is a straightforward and coquettish come hither, about meeting someone you like at a party and wanting to go back home with them.
Featuring members of Oslo, Norway‘s jazz, indie, art rock and folk scenes, the Norwegian Grammy-winning septet The Switch formed back in 2010. They started out playing fairly straightforward pop rock with the thought that Norway — and Scandinavia in general — produced an over-abundance of eclectic, heavily hyphenated music. Eventually, their material became more forward-thinking and ambitious.
Their debut album, 2014’s Big If was a meditation on psych pop. Their sophomore album, 2015’s B for the Beast was an atmospheric, prog rock-inspired homage to their hometown. We’re Fooling No One, also released in 2015 found the band making forays into more painterly and improvised pop. Their next effort, The Switch Album found the Norwegian septet crafting a classic pop-rock-like sound — and it was their most successful album to date: it was listed on the Best Albums List of several Norwegian newspapers, before eventually winning a Norwegian Grammy (a Spelleman) in the Indie Music category.
Slated for a September 27, 2019 release, the acclaimed Norwegian act’s fifth album Birds of Paradise as the band’s Thomas Sagbråten says in press notes finds the band trying to “make a musical universe with slightly different laws of nature than real life. A bit less gravitation. The air is thicker. It’s hyper realistic but also unreal.” Interestingly, the album’s latest — and last official — single “Spring in the Forest of Time” is one Hiatus Kaiyote and Bells Atlas-like off kilter neo-soul, one part jazz fusion, one part Steely Dan-like AM radio rock: you’ll hear heavily arpeggiated synths, slashing guitars, twinkling keys, a bluesy guitar solo reminiscent of “Reelin’ in the Years,” and off-kilter syncopation held together by ethereal lead vocals and harmonizing. Centered around an adventurous and mischievous arrangement, the new single will further cement their reputation for crafting songs that are genre-defying yet hook driven, loose and jam-like yet incredibly tight.
Beiju is an up-and-coming French-American musician, who splits her time between New York and Paris. Her latest single “Lost at the Beach” is centered around the French-American musician’s sultry, jazz-like inflection gliding over a glitchy and brooding production consisting of jagged pulses of arpeggiated synths and off-kilter syncopation. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to JOVM mainstays Bells Atlas and the acclaimed Hiatus Kaiyote, the song manages to possesses a breezy nostalgia.
The song as Beiju says in press notes is inspired by and reflects upon a recent weekend at the Rockaways with two of her friends. “Like many people, I can get caught up and anxious in such an intense urban environment as New York,” Beiju explains. “Getting back to basics by being with loved ones, playing music for pure enjoyment, and being carefree in the ocean made us feel gratitude for aspects of life, which we sometimes take for granted. That feeling of being reminded and aware is one to which I wanted to hold on and put into a song.”
Last month, I wrote about the up-and-coming Brooklyn-based indie pop act Roofers Union, and as you may recall, with the release of their critically applauded single “Karate,” the act began to receive attention across the blogosphere for meshing shimmering disco-tinged pop with material that thematically focuses on millennial ennui. Their last single “Tortugas” was a decidedly uptempo and breezy track that reminded me of Kid A and Hail to the Thief-era Radiohead.
Interestingly, their latest single “Friends” is centered around shuffling drums, a sinuous groove, and quick chord and tempo changes that finds the band sonically drawing from the trippy neo-soul of Hiatus Kaiyote and JOVM mainstays Bells Atlas while evoking the complex push and pull dynamics of friendship. The song also finds vocalist T.C. Tyge delivering lyrics that are playful yet direct; but much like its immediate predecessor, the song seethes with the contradictory feelings of resentment and appreciation.
“‘Friends’ is about reconciling the practical advice of a loved one with the intangible tangle of depression,” Roofers Union’s T.C. Tyge explains in press notes. “Often we are told things we don’t like to hear, or that go against our intuition about how to deal with our own feelings, but nevertheless can flatten a cognitive tower of troubles onto a manageable 2D surface. We usually need an outside perspective to get down to the concrete brass tax [sic] of what can be done about a situation. Hence, ‘You gotta relax if you wanna hang.'”
I’ve written quite a bit about the Oakland, CA-based futuristic soul act and JOVM mainstays Bells Atlas over the past few years, and as you may may recall, the act which is comprised of Derek Barber (guitar) Geneva Harrison (drums, percussion, keys) Sandra Lawson-Ndu (vocals, percussion, keys) and Doug Stuart (bass, vocals, keys) have received attention across the blogosphere for a lush, kaleidoscopic sound that draws from indie rock, 90s R&B, Afro-pop, Afro-futurism, jazz, electro pop and experimental pop. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the act has opened for Hiatus Kaiyote, BADBADNOTGOOD, Bilal, Meshell Ndegeocello, W. Kamau Bell, Angelique Kidjo and others, as well as Bermuda Triangle, the side project of Alabama Shakes‘ Brittany Howard. Along with that, they spent 2016 as the touring band for NPR’s Snap Judgement.
Last year, the act released the SALT AND SOAP EP, an effort inspired by cleansing rituals and preservation methods, with the understanding that when you’re not accustomed to releasing your most personal stories, the idea is then to take a moment to prepare for a shift — for a new way of being open. Interestingly, during the creative process for the EP and their full-length effort the mystic, which is slated for release later this week, the band stumbled upon a new songwriting process that incorporated the use of sampling grainy phone memo recordings of Geneva Harrison’s drumming as the bedrock of the material.
With the writing and recording sessions focusing on spontaneity and even humor, the band aimed to craft music that managed to be cinematic yet deeply personal — all while allowing room to highlight each member’s individual skills and talent within the larger whole. Narratively and thematically, the album is a sci-fi fantasy of two first generation Nigerian-American women coming to terms with a mental health diagnosis — and at the same time, a universal exploration of how we make sense of reality. “It’s about a truth seeker and a skeptic trying to make sense of what’s mystical and what’s clinical,” the band’s Sandra Lawson-Ndu says in press notes. “The listener is made to consider the possibility of magic. Is it possible, for instance, that someone who navigates the world differently may have a deeper understanding of the universe? The mystic is a spectrum of deep emotionality, impulse, and even humour; a tool to explore the full dimension of our reality.” the mystic‘s latest single is the slow-burning and ethereal “Final Ceiling.” Centered around Lawson-Ndu’s dreamy cooing, shimmering synths and guitar and gently propulsive drumming, “Final Ceiling” evokes a hazy yet vividly remembered dream that lingers in your consciousness for hours.
The Oakland-based JOVM mainstays will be touring to support the mystic throughout May and June, and the tour includes a June 1, 2019 stop at C’mon Everybody. Check out the tour dates below.
5.9 Los Angeles, CA The Satellite 5.10 The Wayfarer Costa Mesa, CA 5.11 Starline Social Club Oakland, CA 5.16 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR 5.17 Fisherman’s Village Festival Everett, WA 5.18 Rhythm and Rye Olympia, WA 5.19 The Auditorium Seattle, WA 5.23 BSP Kingston Brooklyn, NYC 5.24 Riverwalk Cafe and Music Bar Nashua, NH 5.25 The Diving Bell Social Club Montreal, CA 5.26 Columbus Theatre Providence, RI 5.28 State House New Haven, CT 5.30 Milkboy Philadelphia, PA 5.31 Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House Washington, DC 6.1 C’mon Everybody Brooklyn, NYC
Describing themselves as five dickheads from Melbourne, Australia‘s real Wild West, the suburban town of Werribee, the up-and-coming garage rock quintet Auntie Leo & The Backstabbers, comprised of Dillon Melita (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Kole Karavias (guitar), Cameron McNish (bass), Marcus Melita (drums) and Dean Zitter (keys, percussion) can trace their origins to two rather serendipitous but very real events — exhausted from being kept awake all night by a mutual friend watching the classic Western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly at full volume, the band unintentionally formed when a misplaced tobacco pouch accidentally left on the roof of their car an later found again on the side of Great Ocean Road on their way home wound up becoming the inspiration for their first demo, “Choice Blues.”
Since then, the band released their critically applauded Wet Brain EP, which they supported with opening spots for Amyl & The Sniffers, Regurgitator, Tired Lion, Hiatus Kaiyote’s Nai Palm, Drunk Mums, Mesa and The Bennies, as well as a set at Melbourne Music Week. Building upon a growing profile, the members of Auntie Leo & The Backstabbers recently released the “Roaches”/”Down” 7 inch, which they’ll support with their first ever headlining national tour of Australia. “Roaches,” the A side single is a sleazy surf rock meets garage rock meets psych rock track that sounds as though it could have been released in 1964 — while simultaneously inspired by JOVM mainstays Crocodiles. Centered by jangling guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm and a stomping and a dance floor friendly hook, the song was inspired by an ill-fated trip to the beach in which an unusually high volume of dead cockroaches washed ashore and ruined what had been an otherwise nice day. The B side “Down,” is a bluesy stomper, centered by wailing harmonica, and looping 12 bar blues guitar. Sonically “Down” bears an uncanny resemblance to L.A. Woman-era The Doors but with a sleazy, boozy air — just how I love it.
Now, over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Oakland, CA-based futuristic soul act Bells Atlas. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Derek Barber (guitar) Geneva Harrison (drums, percussion, keys) Sandra Lawson-Ndu (vocals, percussion, keys) and Doug Stuart (bass, vocals, keys) of Derek Barber (guitar) Geneva Harrison (drums, percussion, keys) Sandra Lawson-Ndu (vocals, percussion, keys) and Doug Stuart (bass, vocals, keys) have received attention for a forward-thinking, kaleidoscopic and lush sound that draws from indie rock, 90s R&B, Afro pop, Afro-futurism, jazz, electro pop and experimental pop. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Oakland-based act has opened for the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote, Badbadnotgood, Bilal, Meshell Ndegeocello, W. Kamau Bell, Angelique Kidjo and others, as well as Bermuda Triangle, the side project of Alabama Shakes‘ Brittany Howard. Along with that, they spent 2016 as the touring band for NPR’s Snap Judgement.
Released earlier this year, the acclaimed futuristic soul act’s latest EP SALT AND SOAP is inspired by cleansing rituals and preservation methods, with the understanding that when you’re not accustomed to releasing your most personal stories, the idea is then to take a moment to prepare for a shift — for a new way of being open. Interestingly, during the creative process for their latest EP, the band stumbled upon a new songwriting process that incorporated the use of sampling grainy phone memo recordings of Geneva Harrison drumming as the bedrock of each song of the EP — and in turn, their full-length album The Mystic, which is slated for a March 2019 release. Focusing on spontaneity and sometimes even humor, the aim developed into writing music that was cinematic yet personal while highlighting each member’s individual skills and talent within the larger whole.
A few weeks ago the members of Bells Atlas were invited to Audiotree Live to do a live session centered around the material of the SALT AND SOAP EP including “Downpour,” a paradoxically slick yet lo-fi, lush and lysergic groove-driven track that recalled Drakkar Nowhere, Pavo Pavo and Erykah Badu; “Be Brave,” a sinuous and fluidic track centered around an incredibly dexterous and percolating bass line, driving percussion and rapidly morphing tone and time changes; the incredibly sultry “NCAT,” centered around shimmering and bubbling arpeggiated synths, stuttering drumming and a rolling bass, as well as two other tracks I haven’t written about — “Overshare” and “Find Where You Rise.” Throughout the live session, the material proves to be a perfect foil for Lawson-Ndu’s vocals, which manage to express a visceral vulnerability and human need, awe, strength and resiliency within a turn of a phrase.
Interestingly, during the session the band’s Lawson-Ndu speaks about her own deep, personal experience and love of sci-fi and fantasy and how they’ve influenced her to consider those genres through the experiences of being a woman of color.