Tag: indie electro pop

 

Back in 2016, I wrote a bit about the Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and producer Grant Eadie. Eadie has received attention both regionally and nationally for his solo recording project Manatee Commune, which specializes in a carefully molded sound in which he pairs natural overtones extracted from various field recordings and other sources, live instrumentation and arrangements with slick yet nuanced production.

Although a few years have passed since I’ve written about the Pacific Northwest-based JOVM mainstay, he has been rather busy, writing and releasing new material and collaborating with an eclectic array of artists, including his latest track “Growing Pains.” Centered around a breezy and ethereal production featuring a looping and shimmering guitar line, stuttering beats, an infectious hook and a soulful vocal contribution from Samuel Eisen-Meyers, the seemingly self-assured track reveals a familiar uncertainty and awkward awareness that reminds me of when I was in my mid 20s — when you’re made to feel as though you’re maladjusted when you haven’t quite figured out your life or anything else. (Of course, as I got older, I realized that feeling was bullshit — mainly because no one really has it together.)

“Growing Pains is a song about exploring life in your mid 20s,” Eadie says. “We are told we are supposed to have everything figured out by then, but this often is not the case. In the last year I’ve come to realize that I am doing exactly what I should be doing. Feeling the pains of growth is a sign of growth and every battle won is a step forward in the right direction. As long as you are doing what you love, you are on the right path.”

 

 

 

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New Video: Speed Through the Streets of Kinshasa in Visuals for TSHEGUE’s Thumping “The Wheel”

Born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Faty Sy Savanet and her family emigrated to Paris when she was eight. In her early twenties, a mutual friend connected Savanet with Robert Wyatt collaborator Bertrand Burgalat, whose label, Tricatel has been referenced as a major influence of the likes of Air and Daft Punk.

Burgalat encouraged and enabled many of Savanet’s formative musical experiments, including a short-lived voodoo ‘n’ roll band. Interestingly, Savanet’s latest project TSHEGUE, which derives its name from her childhood nickname, a Congolese slang term for the boys who gather on Kinshasa’s streets, can trace its origins to when she met her bandmate, French-Cuban producer Nicolas ‘Dakou’ Dacunha.

Their debut EP, 2017’s Survivor thematically explored the challenges faced by the African Diaspora paired with Dacunha’s forward-hthinking, hypnotic, club-banging productions which features elements of Afropunk, garage rock and electro-clash. Survivor EP was championed by the likes of Mura Masa and Noisey, which led to a growing international profile. And adding to a growing profile, the video for “Munapoto,” which was shot on the Ivory Coast received a UK Music Video Award nomination alongside videos for tUnE-YaRdS and Chaka Khan.

“The Wheel,” the first bit of new material from the duo since the release of Survivor EP, and I’m certain that it’ll further cement TSHEGUE’s growing reputation for crafting swaggering, forward-thinking, genre and style-blurring bangers. Centered around a wildly exuberant, hypnotic and percussive production featuring ricocheting industrial clang and clatter, stuttering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, explosive blasts of bass synth paired with Savanet’s commanding flow, the song bears a resemblance to JOVM mainstays Kokoko! as it sounds as though it comes from a sweaty, post-apocalyptic future where the club and the ghetto are one and the same — but delivered with a decidedly punk aggressiveness.

Directed by Renaud Barret, who was also behind the Africa Express documentary featured Damon Albarn, Peter Hook and Tony Allen, the recently released video for “The Wheel” was filmed in a gorgeously cinematic black and white amidst the chaotic traffic of Savanet’s hometown, follows members of the local, mixed-gender, teenaged skating club, Club Etoile Rollers hitching rides on the backs of speeding busses, cars, motorbikes through the heaving megalopolis’ crowded streets. Speaking about the video Barret says ““An ordinary day in Kinshasa. I’m in a taxi on Lumumba Boulevard, when suddenly I’m in the middle of this gang of kids slaloming between cars. We exchange thumbs up, signs of complicity, rolling side by side for a moment. One of them spots my camera, and comes closer to shout ‘Hey sir! Do you wanna shoot something crazy?’ I couldn’t refuse. This is the magic of a limitless city where each and every day brings incredible spontaneous possibilities. Now as I watch the beaming faces of these kids, thrown at full speed on their crumbling rollers, almost out of control, intoxicated by danger and only protected by their faith in good luck; I can only see a metaphor for the Congo’s situation. But also a middle finger to a society trying to maintain an illusion that everything should be controlled, supervised. These free riders remind us that life must be lived in the present.”

The duo has begun to make a name for themselves with commanding live performances, including sets at Lowlands and The Great Escape Festivals and from what I understand the act will be announcing a series of headlining UK live shows to coincide with the release of more new material.

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Tame Impala Perform “Borderline” at Coachella

I’ve written quite a bit about the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker and his acclaimed solo recording project Tame Impala over the past few years. And as you may recall, his third album, 2015’s Currents was a commercial and critical breakthrough as it was a Grammy-nominated, RIAA Gold-Certified effort that reflected a decided change in songwriting and approach that resulted in some of the most emotionally direct lyrics of his growing catalog paired with a more nuanced, textured sound that drew from psych rock, psych pop, synth pop, prog rock and R&B.

Patience,” which was released last month, was the first bit of new, solo material from Parker in several years, and while being a decidedly upbeat banger that seamlessly bridged 90s house and 70s funk, thematically the track was a thoughtful meditation on the cycles and phases of life. “Borderline,” Parker’s latest single is a blissed out, shimmering, mid-tempo track centered around arpeggiated synths, Parker’s imitable, plaintive falsetto and a soaring hook. And while showcasing the flourishes of the house music-inspired instrumentation of its predecessor, the track should serve as a reminder that Parker has a deep collection of hook-driven bangers.

Parker and his backing band will be making appearances across the international festival circuit that will include stops at Coachella FestivalShaky Knees FestivalCorona Capital Festival, Boston CallingPrimavera Sound Festival, Glastonbury FestivalLollapalooza with more dates to come. Coachella recently released live footage of Tame Impala’s headlining set last week, and it included footage of “Borderline.” Check it out, and then check out the tour dates below.

Comprised of Nick Wisdom and AstroLogical, the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based hip-hop and electro pop production duo Potatohead People can trace their origins to when they first met in a high school, community baseball league in high school and bonded over their mutual love of J. Dilla and Madlib. In 2008 Wisdom and AstroLogicla began working together in the hip-hop collective Elekwent Folk; but soon after, the duo formed Potatohead People and began focusing on creating forward-thinking instrumental music.

After releasing a series of EPs digital through Vancouver-based net-label Jellyfish Recordings, the renowned New York-based label Bastard Jazz re-issued 2012’s Kosmichemusik EP and released a 7 inch, which quickly became collector’s item; in fact, the Vancouver-based production team’s association with Bastard Jazz helped land their song “Back to My Shit,” featuring Frank’n’Dank‘s Frank Nitty on a Powerade-produced Lebron James documentary. Adding to a growing profile, the duo have been championed by the likes of OkayPlayer, Kaytranada, Soulection, Nightmares on Wax, Pomo, Exmag, Big Boi and the late Phife Dawg among others.

Last year, the duo released their groundbreaking sophomore album Nick & Astro’s Guide to the Galaxy, an album that found them continuing an ongoing collaboration with Illa J, as well as a collection of other artists. Building upon the momentum of their sophomore album, the Canadian production duo will be releasing Nick & Astro’s Instrumentals, Remixes & B-Sides EP through Bastard Jazz Records on April 26, 2019 and the EP features a collection of instrumentals, B-sides and a handpicked collection of their favorite producers from around the world remixing their material. Additionally, the members of Potatohead People held a remix contest from which they picked one winner from an overwhelming number of submissions.

The soon-to-be released EP’s latest single is the New Jack Swing and Quiet Storm-inspired original track “Iced Tea.” Centered around a thumping, club friendly production featuring handclap-led percussion with thumping and shuffling beats, a sinuous bass line, layers of arpeggiated synths and a slick hook, the single reminds me of Cherrelle‘s “Saturday Love,” and “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” and G-funk era hip-hop. giorgi and Radina Vee contribute sultrily delivered vocals that are part late night, come hither come on, part you’ve been friendzoned — but with someone who’s actually pretty awesome.

 

 

 

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 KaiyoteBADBADNOTGOODBilalMeshell NdegeocelloW. Kamau BellAngelique 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.

TOUR DATES 

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 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TR/ST Returns with an Industrial House-Inspired Banger

I’ve written quite a bit about the  Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, and his solo electro pop recording project TR/ST over the years, and as you may recall Alfons has released two critically and commercially successful albums — 2012’s self-titled album and 2014’s Joyland. Interestingly, Joyland was a decided change in sonic direction for the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay as the album found him crafting pop orientated, muscular club bangers.

Five years have passed since Joyland‘s release, and during that time, Alfons had been writing and recording new material in a farmhouse in Southern Ontario and in Los Angeles, where has since relocated. Working with an all-star list of collaborators that included Austra’s Maya Postepski, with whom he collaborated with on his self-titled debut — with Postepski co-writing and co-producing six songs. Alfons also worked with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor to further refine the album’s overall sound.

During the writing and recording process for Destroyer, Alfons learned that patience would be a major ingredient and influence on his songwriting approach and the album’s sound. “The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me. I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” Alfons says in press notes. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction. My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one. They just poured out of me.” With The Destroyer, the process was entirely different. “It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”

Destroyer 1‘s first single was the “Bizarre Love Triangle”-like “Gone,” a radio friendly and accessible track centered around a swooning and urgent Romanticism. “Unbleached,” the album’s second single, was a collaboration with longtime collaborator Maya Postepski was a decidedly industrial track inspired by the sound of rats running back and forth on the roof, complete with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of arpeggiated synths and an enormous hook. The album’s third single, “Colossal,” continues his ongoing collaboration with Austra’s Postepski — and in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor: a tweeter and woofer thumping, industrial house-leaning production centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, shuffling beats and enormous hooks that evokes early morning mist slowly rising in the horizon.

“Such a special collab with Maya, we wrote it together while in different parts of the world,” Alfons explains in press notes. “This song was written during long walks I would take in the middle of the night around the hills in my neighborhood, watching the mist rise as the sun came up.” Postepski adds “I was coming home on the train with my music on random when a TR/ST song came on from the first album we made, I started crying, it brought back so many memories. I sent Robert the sketches for ‘Colossal’ that night. He wrote back and we rekindled our relationship, so I find it deeply emotional every time I hear it. Had I not taken the chance and sent it who knows if we would be working together again. Overcoming fear and being brave have become the focus of my work and this song underlines that — if one is willing to look into the lion’s mouth the rewards can be astounding.”  

I’ve written quite a bit about the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker and his acclaimed solo recording project Tame Impala. And as you may recall, his third album, 2015’s Currents was a commercial and critical breakthrough as it was a Grammy-nominated, RIAA Gold-Certified effort that reflected a decided change in songwriting and approach that resulted in some of the most emotionally direct lyrics of his growing catalog paired with a more nuanced, textured sound that drew from psych rock, psych pop, synth pop, prog rock and R&B.

Patience,” which was released last month, was the first bit of new, solo material from Parker in several years, and while being a decidedly upbeat banger that seamlessly bridged 90s house and 70s funk, thematically the track was a thoughtful meditation on the cycles and phases of life. “Borderline,” Parker’s latest single is a blissed out, shimmering, mid-tempo track centered around arpeggiated synths, Parker’s imitable, plaintive falsetto and a soaring hook. And while showcasing the flourishes of the house music-inspired instrumentation of its predecessor, the track should serve as a reminder that Parker has a deep collection of hook-driven bangers.

Parker and his backing band will be making appearances across the international festival circuit that will include stops at Coachella FestivalShaky Knees FestivalCorona Capital Festival, Boston CallingPrimavera Sound Festival, Glastonbury FestivalLollapalooza with more dates to come. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES

April 13 – Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – Indio, CA

April 20 – Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – Indio,CA

May 02 – Ascend Amphitheatre – Nashville, TN

May 03 – ExploreAsheville.com Arena – Asheville, NC

May 05 – Shaky Knees Music Festival – Atlanta, GA

May 06 – St. Augustine Amphitheater – St. Augustine, FL

May 07 – Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater – Miami Beach FL

May 11 – Corona Capital Festival – Guadalajara, MEXICO

May 25 – Boston Calling Festival – Boston, MA

May 31 – Primavera Festival – Barcelona, SPAIN

June 01 – We Love Green – Paris, FRANCE

June 05 – Garden – Gotenberg, SWEDEN

June 06 – NorthSide – Aarhus, DENMARK

June 21 – Hurricane Festival – Sheebel, GERMANY

June 22 – Southside Festival – Neuhausen ob eck, GERMANY

June 26 – Glasonbury – Pilton, ENGLAND

August 01-04 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL

August 09 – Flow Festival – Helsinki, FINLAND

August 14 – Pukkelpop – Hasselt, BELGIUM

August 15 – La Route Du Rock – Rennes, FRANCE

August 16 – Lowlands Festival – Walibi Holland, NETHERLANDS

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-and-coming indie electro pop/neo-soul act Seba Kaapstad, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of founding members Sebastian “Seba” Schuster, Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana along with their newest member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel is split between Cape Town, South Africa and Stuttgart, Germany, and can trace its origins to when Schuster landed in Cape Town back in 2013. While studying at the University of Cape Town, Schuster met Modiga and Manana and began working together in an informal setting, in which they jammed playing standards and rearranged songs of their choice. And as they continued working together, the trio recognized a deeper chemistry within their work.

As the story goes, before Schuster returned to Germany, he asked his future bandmates if they’d be interested in recording back in his homeland — and over the next few months, he spent time writing and organizing sessions with the focus on what would eventually become Seba Kaapstad. After a series of phone calls, emails and trips back and forth to Cape Town, the act’s founding trio had written the material that would eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2016’s Tagore.

Thina, Seba Kaapstad’s highly-anticipated full-length sophomore album is slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Mello Music Group, and the album finds the act further expanding on a genre-mashing, globalist sound that draws from neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, electro pop and Afro pop — while adding a new member Philip “Pheel” Scheibel. Album single “Africa” was centered around a slick and mind-melting production that features elements of smoky jazz, swaggering hip hop, soul and Pan African vibes that brings Soul II Soul, Erykah Badu, theeSatisfaction, The Roots and Flying Lotus to mind.

The album’s latest single “Bye” is centered around an atmospheric and  cosmically shimmering production featuring a sinuous bass line, fluttering synths, thumping beats while Manana and Modiga’s ethereal boy-girl melodies and harmonies describe the self-doubt, anxiety and uncertainty filled moments of attraction at first blush. Splitting between the male and female perspective, the song’s central story should feel familiar: it’s the internal monologue many of us have had when we’ve encountered a new potential love interest.

 

Several years ago, I caught the Portland, OR-based singer/songwriter, electronic music producer and electronic music artist Natasha Kmeto open for JOVM mainstays Beacon at the Bowery Ballroom. And as you may recall, Kmeto developed a national profile for crafting thoughtful and soulful R&B and house music-inspired electro pop informed by her increasing embrace of her identity as a queer woman.

Slated for a Friday release, Verse/Versus EP is Kmeto’s first batch of new material in a couple of years, and the material thematically touches upon longing, desire and the gray areas of a romance felt but unexpressed. Sonically, the material finds Kmeto subtly pushing her sound in a new direction, as there’s a strong emphasis on organic instrumentation — i.e. bass and sax — that help accentuate the 80s post punk influence, all while retaining the late night, Quiet Storm vibes. Verse/Versus‘ swooning and atmospheric, latest single “Spoken Silence” finds Kmeto pairing her pop belter vocals with a sultry yet atmospheric production consisting of a sinuous bass line, twinkling and arpeggiated synths and stuttering beats — and while further cementing her reputation for crafting R&B and classic house-inspired electro pop with a track that recalls Lisa Stansfield’s “All Around the World,” the song focuses on a desire and longing that’s palpably felt among both parties.

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Sextile Release Feverish Visuals for Club Banging “Hazing”

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Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk act and JOVM mainstay Sextile, and as you may recall the act which was formed back in 2015, earned a devout following as a result of an explosive live show and non-stop touring as an opener and as a headliner with the likes of fellow JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Soft Moon, Ought, ADULT., The Chameleons, Modern English and others. Building upon a growing profile, the act has made appearances across the national festival circuit with sets at Bersekertown, Cloak & Dagger and Levitation.

During that same period, the act went through a massive lineup change that found the band writing, recording and performing as a duo featuring founding member Brady Keehn and Melissa Scaduto. And naturally, as a result of those lineup changes, the remaining members radically reinvented their sound — moving towards a synth-based sound with minimal use of guitar; in fact, on EP3, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays last bit of recorded output before their indefinite hiatus, Keehn and Scaduto use a KORG MS-10 sequencer, a Fender Stratocaster, a LinnDrum and various other percussion-based instruments to craft a decidedly 80s industrial synth sound. “Hazing,” EP3’s latest single continues in a similar vein as its predecessors as its centered around a motorik groove, arpeggiated synths and clang and clatter — and while continuing a string of singles that sound indebted to Substance-era New Order.

Directed by Gabriel Francez, the recently released video for “Hazing” is a tense and lysergic fever dream, focused entirely on the subconscious desires of its subjects. “The video is about a dream. The idea was to represent the blurriness of it, where all of the perception is altered and images come one after the other,” Francez explains in press notes. “I imagined the dream being divided into three main levels separated by the red door, representing for the boy character a sign of escape. In each room he finds himself stuck in this surrealistic thriller and look desperately for the exit as the characters try to keep him in this crazy hallucination. It’s an odyssey within the dream where the character is tested by his subconscious.”