Tag: Juana Molina

Founded by Crammed Discs label head Marc Hollander, the Belgian experimental act Akask Maboul can trace its origins to when Hollander was commissioned by producer Marc Moulin to write and and record an album for Moulin’s short-lived label Kamikaze Records. Hollander (keys. reeds, percussion) recruited his friend Vincent Kenis (guitar. bass, keys) to join the project, and the duo went on to write and record their full-length debut, 1977’s Onze Danses Pour Combattre la Migraine, which featured guest spots by Chris Joris (percussion, keys) Catherine Jauniaux (vocals) and a list of others. The band’s sophomore album Un peu de l’âme des bandits was released in 1980. Both albums firmly established the act’s sound — a genre-defying primarily instrumental-based sound that playfully shuffled between experimental jazz, pop, electronic music, and contemporary classical music.

Shortly after the release of 1980’s Un peu de l’âme des bandits, Hollander devoted himself to his label Crammed Discs. And since the label’s formation, the label has released over 350 albums from an eclectic array of forward-thinking artists including TuxedomoonAcid Arab, Konono Nº1, Carl Craig, Yasmine Hamdan and JOVM mainstay Juana Molina among others. Interestingly, in 2014 Hollander returned to writing and performing when his label released the lost, third Akask Maboul album Ex-Futur Album, which was written and recorded with Véronique Vincent between 1980-1983 and left unfinished.

Encouraged by the response to Ex-Futur Album, Hollander revived the band with a new lineup that featured Véronique Vincent (vocals), Faustine Hollander (guitar, bass, vocals), and Amatorski’s Sebastiaan Van den Branden (guitar, bass, synth) and Christophe Claeys (drums percussion) — and in early 2015, the band began playing their first live shows in over 30 years. Adding to the growing interest in the band, an album full of re-interpretations, covers and reworks of the Ex-Futur Album16 Visions of Ex-Futur was released the following year with contributions by Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Aquaserge, Laetitia Sadier, Forever Pavot, Flavien Berger, Nite Jewel, Bullion, Burnt Friedman, Hello Skinny, Marc Collin, Bérangère Maximin, Lena Willikens and others, as well as two “self-covers” recorded by that year’s Akask Maboul lineup. They also created a live up show, Akask Maboul Revue in which they were joined by Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Laetitia Sadier and members of Aquaserge. Additionally, vinyl re-issues of the band’s first two albums helped to confirm that they were avant-garde classics.

At the end of 2018, the Belgian avant-garde act announced that they were working on a new album. Late last year, they announced that the new album, Figures would be a double album. Slated for a May 22, 2020 release through Crammed Discs, the album will feature the band’s current lineup — Hollander (keys), Vincent (vocals), Faustine Hollander (bass, production), Lucien Fraipont (guitar) and Erik Heestermans (drums) and guest spots by Fred Frith and Aquaserge’s Julien Gascon, Audrey Ginestet and Benjamin Gilbert, former Akask Maboul members Michel Berckmans and Sebastiaan Van den Branden, and a list of others.

Written by the band’s writing duo of Hollander and Vincent, the album consists of 22 tracks and interludes, which results from the flow of creative ideas after a lengthy hiatus, and the material sees the band drawing from the same influences that inspired their earliest releases — electronic music, pop, experimental jazz, minimalism and contemporary classical among others — while continuing their long-held reputation for an indefinable, genre-mashing sound. As a whole, the album’s material finds the band seamlessly weaving electronic and acoustic instrumentation, programming, beats, found sounds and sound collages to create a labyrinthine sound, full of twists, turns, secret passages and interconnections that requires deep and attentive listening.

Figures‘ second and latest single “Silent Silhouettes” is a mostly-instrumental track with a tango-like tempo, centered around shimmering keys, atmospheric electronics, a sinuous and strutting bass line and brief vocal passages spoken in a sultry and smoky French before a wobbling fade out. The end result is a track that’s mischievously anachronistic yet cinematic.

 

Live Footage: Juana Molina’s “Cara de Espejo (Home Session)”

Throughout the site’s almost ten year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of ink covering the Buenos Aires-born and based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actress and JOVM mainstay Juana Molina. Her father was renowned tango vocalist Horacio Molina and her mother was beloved actress Chunchuna Villafane, and as a child, Molina grew up in a intensely musical home: when she was five, her father taught her guitar and her mother introduced a young Molina to the family’s extensive record collection. 

After the military coup of 1976, Molina’s family fled Argentina and lived in exile in Paris for several years — and during her time in France, Molina’s musical tastes were vastly expanded by regularly listening to a number of French radio stations known for programs that spun music from all over the globe. When she was in her early 20s, her family returned to Argentina. Naturally, as a young woman, Molina was determined to be independent and pursue a musical career — and like many young people, her initial aspirations were to earn some decent money for a few hours of work a day while having enough time to write songs, record them and play live shows. The Buenos Aires-based JOVM mainstay had a talent for imitations and impressions and while looking for a gig, she auditioned for a local TV program. Based on the strength of her impressions and imitations, she got hired on the spot. 

Molina quickly became one of her country’s most popular comedic actors, and within a few years of that initial auction, she had starred in her own show, Juana y sus hermanas, a Carol Burnett-like variety show, in which she created a number of beloved characters. Her show, which was syndicated across Argentina and its neighboring countries was wildly popular. While pregnant, the Buenos Aires-based JOVM mainstay’s show was on hiatus and with a lot of free time of her hands, she found herself reflecting on her rise to stardom. Despite the massive success she attained, Molina couldn’t help but think that she wasn’t doing what she really wanted to do. So Molina quit acting to focus on her lifelong passion — music. 

Her decision to quit her popular show was one that many Argentines bitterly held against for a number of years. Her full-length debut, 1996’s Rara was critically panned by journalists, who resented her career change. Fans of her TV show would show up to her live shows, expecting to see her pay homage to her TV work but instead they found they couldn’t understand this new “folk singer character” that sung strange songs without any obvious jokes. Feeling dejected by the criticism and feeling misunderstood but wanting to continue onward with music, the Buenos Aires-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and actress relocated Los Angeles, where her work as much better received. And while in Los Angeles, she began experimenting and familiarizing herself with electronics. 

After spending time licking her metaphorical wounds and honing her songwriting and sound, Molina returned to Buenos Aries, where she wrote, recorded and produced her sophomore effort Segundo, which started a critically applauded run of material in which she meshed organic, rock-based arrangements with electronic production — typically layered and sampled loops of acoustic sounds with beats and synths. Her breakthrough, third album, Tres Cosas was championed by David Byrne, Will Oldham, and others and landed on The New York Times‘ Top Ten Records list.

Halo, Molins’s seventh album further established the Buenos Aires-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. producer and actor’s long-held reputation for being restlessly experimental — and arguably one of South America’s most innovative artists. Interestingly, last year’s Forfun EP is an exuberant and decided sonic left turn, inspired by when they were forced to play a set of material at a major festival without some of their gear, because their airline lost their luggage. And as a result, the material is imbued with a punk rock and garage rock-like DIY ethos and spirit.

Recently, Molina released a new rendition of Halo album track “Cara de Espejo,” which was recorded and filmed at Molina’s home studio near Buenos Aires. Similarly to the material on the Forfun EP, the new rendition of “Cara de Espejo” features a decidedly post-punk arrangement and air, centered around later of squiggly synths, shimmering synths and a driving motorik groove. Filmed by New York-based multidisciplinary arts platform Kabinett, the live session is intimate, playful and mysterious, as it features the band playing in murky shadows. 

New Video: Juana Molina Releases a Vibrantly Colored Animated Visual for Exuberant and Playful “Paraguaya Punk”

Over the past few years, I’ve written a bit about the  Buenos Aires-born and based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and actress Juana Molina. Born to renowned tango vocalist Horacio Molina and actress Chunchuna Villafane, a young Juana Molina grew up in an intensely musical home: her father taught her guitar when she was 5 and her mother introduced Molina to the family’s extensive record collection. As a result of 1976’s military coup, the Molina family fled Argentina and lived in exile in Paris for several years, and during that time, the teenaged Molina’s musical tastes were vastly expanded by regularly listening to a number of French radio stations known for programs that spun music from all over the globe. 

When Molina was in her early 20s, her and her family returned to Argentina. As a young woman, Molina was determined to be independent and pursue a musical career – and like many young people, her initial aspirations were to earn some decent money for a few hours of work a day while having enough time to write songs, record and play live shows. She had a talent for imitations and looking for a decent gig, she auditioned for a local TV program. Based on the strength of her impressions and imitations, she got hired on the spot. 

Molina quickly became one of her country’s most popular and beloved comedic actors. Within three years of that initial addition, Molina starred in her own show Juana y sus hermanas, a Carol Burnett-like show in which she had created a number of characters. The syndicated show was wildly popular in Argentina and in its neighboring countries. After about four years on the air, Molina became pregnant and the show went on hiatus. On maternity leave with a lot of free time on her hands, Molina found herself reflecting on her rapid rise to stardom. At the time, despite having a wildly popular TV show, she couldn’t help but think “this isn’t quite what I wanted to do.” So Molina quit acting to focus on her lifelong passion — being a musician. 

Her decision to quit her popular show was one that many Argentines bitterly held against for a number of years. Her full-length debut, 1996’s Rara was critically panned by journalists, who resented her career change. Fans of her TV show would show up to her live shows, expecting to see her pay homage to her TV work but instead they found they couldn’t understand this new “folk singer character” that sung strange songs without any obvious jokes. Feeling dejected by the criticism and feeling misunderstood but wanting to continue onward with music, the Buenos Aires-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. producer and actress relocated Los Angeles, where her work as much better received and began familiarizing herself with and experimenting with electronics.  

After spending time licking her metaphorical wounds and honing her songwriting and sound, Molina returned to Buenos Aries, where she wrote, recorded and produced her sophomore effort Segundo, which began a run of material that found her meshing organic arrangements with electronic production — typically layered and sampled loops of acoustic sounds with beats and synths. Interestingly, Molina’s third album, the breakthrough Tres Cosas was championed by David Byrne, Will Oldham, and others and landed on The New York Times’ Top Ten Records list. 

Halo Molina’s seventh album further cemented the Argentine artist’s long-held reparation for being a restless and mysterious master of sophisticated, experimental pop  — but her soon to be released 4 song Forfun EP is a decided and exuberant sonic left turn. Derived from a set in which Molina and her band had to improvise, when they found themselves on the stage of a major festival without all of their instruments, the material is imbued with a DIY ethos and spirit that’s indebted to punk rock and garage rock. Interestingly,  the EP’s latest single “Paraguaya Punk” reveals the underpinning fierce playfulness and grit of Molina’s work in a stripped down and forceful fashion. 

The Forfun EP is slated for release on Friday through Crammed Discs.

The recently released video for “Paraguaya Punk” features the animated and vibrantly colored, child-like line drawings of Dante Zaballa. It’s a seemingly simplistic explosion of colors and lines but it manages to capture the exuberant and mischievous air of the accompanying song. 

New Video: Scott Gilmore Returns with Wistful Visuals for “All Our Stuff”

Late last year, I wrote about Northridge, CA-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and electronic music artist Scott Gilmore, and as you may recall, Gilmore has recorded a handful of critically applauded releases through SFC REC and International Feel Records.  His forthcoming album Two Roomed Motel is slated for a March 1, 2019 release through Crammed Discs, the label home of Juana Molina. 

Interestingly, album single “Two Roomed Motel” was a funky, retro-futuristic synth pop track that to my ears brought Herbie Hancock‘s “Rockit,” Holy Ghost!‘s Crime Cutz, Return to Forever and the Los Angeles-based, post J Dilla beatmakers to mind; however, Gilmore meshes lo-fi bedroom recording with slick, highly contemporary production that feels and sounds mischievously anachronistic.  The album’s latest single “All Our Stuff” continues the retro-futuristic vibe of its predecessor as it features Gilmore’s heavily vocoder’ed vocals ethereally floating over shimmering and arpeggiated synths — and while sounding as though it could have been released between 1977-1983 or so, the song and the Gilmore-directed video “are both loosely based on the idea of attempting to inhabit a place that perpetually remains distant.” As a result, the song and the video posses a wistful and bittersweet air, full of the recognition that things are just out of reach. 

New Video: Scott Gilmore Retro-Futuristic Take on Instrumental Synth Pop

Scott Gilmore is a Northridge, CA-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and electronic music artist, who has recorded a handful of critically applauded releases through SFV REC and International Feel. His forthcoming album Two Roomed Motel is slated for a March 1, 2019 release through Crammed Discs, the label home of Juana Molina. And the album’s latest single, album title track “Two Roomed Motel” is a funky and percussive  yet laid-back retro-futuristic synth pop single that subtly recalls Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” Holy Ghost!’s Crime Cutz, Return to Forever and the Los Angeles-based, post J Dilla beatmakers. But unlike any of those references, the track finds Gilmore meshing a lo-fi, bedroom recording approach with slick electronic production in a way that’s mischievously anachronistic. 

Directed by Scott Gilmore, and shot and edited by Kenny Gilmore, the recently released video stars Gilmore checking into a hotel room, where he jams and records the song, first using a synthesizer before he gets room service to deliver bongos, a guitar, a keyboard which he then uses to complete the song. At one point, we follow Gilmore as he wanders out on to the streets and walks into a local bar, where he pensively has a drink. It’s a decidedly lo-fi affair centered around a simple concept, much like the song itself. 

New Video: Teeth & Tongue’s Jess Cornelius Releases Haunting Visuals for “Jealousy” Off Her Forthcoming Solo Debut

Over the past year, I had written a bit about the critically acclaimed, Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock/indie pop act Teeth & Tongue. Comprised of New Zealand-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jess Cornelius, guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey, the quartet initially began as a solo recording project of its founding member Jess Cornelius, and over the course of the four albums, the band developed a reputation for restless experimentation with their sound morphing from an ambient and textured sound to a wiry, dance floor-friendly post-punk inspired by Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz!, as you would hear on Give Up on Your Health, an album that received attention both nationally and internationally — it was nominated for a J Award and the Australian Music Prize, named Album of the Week on 3RRR and Featured Album on Double J, as well as features in Rolling Stone, The Fader and Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter.

Adding to a growing profile, Cornelius has played at some of the her adopted homeland’s and the world’s major music festivals including Laneway Festival, Meredith Music Festival, Falls Festival, Boogie Woogie Festival, SXSW, CMJ, Perth International Arts Festival and Darwin Festival, toured with acclaimed singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett and Vance Joy, opened for J. Mascis, Sons & Daughters, EMA, Juana Molina, The Dodos, The Mountain Goats, The Drones and Laura Marling, as well performed as a musical guest on several episodes of SBS‘ Rockwiz.
 
After several years as a frontperson, Cornelius decided it was time to focus on creating music under her own name, and as a result, Cornelius relocated to Los Angeles to write, and record new material, which included “Jealousy,” the first single off her forthcoming debut EP Nothing Is Lost. And from the single, the New Zealand-born singer/songwriter’s solo work is a marked departure from her work with Teeth & Tongue, as  the material is stripped down to a sparse arrangement of Cornelius’ dynamic, PJ Harvey-like vocals, accompanied by her strummed guitar, dramatic drumming and backing vocals. With a strip down approach of songwriter, vocals, guitar and drums, the listener must not only pay attention to the songwriter’s vocals but to the lyrics as well — and in this case, “Jealousy,” a song based on one of the most hideous yet common human emotions may arguably be some of the more direct, empathetic writing of her career.  You can practically feel the bile and resentment of the song’s narrator, who focuses on what she lacks and what others have; however, the song should serve both as a reminder and warning — after all, you don’t know what someone else had to sacrifice to be in the situation they’re in now, and if you did, you might not have done so.
 
 
Directed by Thomas Hyland at Clones and Clones, the recently released video for “Jealousy” employs a relatively simple yet haunting concept: we follow Cornelius as rides a bike through a suburban development at night. And in some way, the treatment emphasizes the bitter loneliness and spite of its narrator, whose jealousy and resentments seem to fuel her through something that’s both endless and pointless.
 

Last year, I wrote a bit about the critically acclaimed, Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock/indie pop act Teeth & Tongue. Comprised of New Zealand-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jess Cornelius, guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey, the quartet initially began as a solo recording project of its founding member Jess Cornelius, and over the course of the four albums, the band developed a reputation for restless experimentation with their sound morphing from an ambient and textured sound to a wiry, dance floor-friendly post-punk inspired by Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz!, as you would hear on Give Up on Your Health, an album that received attention both nationally and internationally — it was nominated for a J Award and the Australian Music Prize, named Album of the Week on 3RRR and Featured Album on Double J, as well as features in Rolling StoneThe Fader and Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter.

Along with that, Cornelius has played at some of the her adopted homeland’s and the world’s major music festivals including Laneway Festival, Meredith Music Festival, Falls Festival, Boogie Woogie Festival, SXSW, CMJ, Perth International Arts Festival and Darwin Festival, toured with acclaimed singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett and Vance Joy, opened for J. Mascis, Sons & Daughters, EMA, Juana Molina, The Dodos, The Mountain Goats, The Drones and Laura Marling, as well performed as a musical guest on several episodes of SBS‘ Rockwiz.
After several years as a frontperson, Cornelius decided it was time to focus on creating music under her own name, and as you’ll hear on her solo debut single “Jealousy,” her solo work is a marked departure from her critically applauded work in Teeth & Tongue, as the material is stripped down to a sparse arrangement of Cornelius’ dynamic, PJ Harvey-like vocals, accompanied by her strummed guitar, dramatic drumming and backing vocals. And by stripping down the material to its bare essence of songwriter, vocals, guitar and drums, the listener must not only pay attention to the songwriter’s vocals but to the lyrics as well — and in this case, “Jealousy,” a song based on one of the most hideous yet common human emotions may arguably be some of the more direct, empathetic writing of her career.  You can practically feel the bile and resentment of the song’s narrator, who focuses on what she lacks and what others have; however, the song should serve both as a reminder and warning — after all, you don’t know what someone else had to sacrifice to be in the situation they’re in now, and if you did, you might not have done so.
Cornelius’ solo EP is slated for release later this year, but along with the release of “Jealousy,” she announced a handful of solo dates in Los Angeles and New York, along with a series of dates opening for Paul Kelly. Check out the tour dates below.
 
Tour Dates 
* without Paul Kelly
08/23: Hush Club at Hyperion – Los Angeles, CA*
09/08: Pianos – New York, NY*
09/13: Arlene’s Grocery – New York, NY*
09/15: Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY*
09/17: The Hamilton – Washington, DC
09/19: Virgin Mobile Mod Club – Toronto, ON
09/20: Petit Campus, Montréal, QC
09/22: Brighton Music Hall – Allston, MA
09/23: Highline Ballroom – New York, NY
09/24: Sellersville Theater – Sellersville, PA
09/26: Stag’s Head Music Hall – Raleigh, NC
09/27: City Winery – Atlanta, GA
09/29: Sons of Hermann Hall – Dallas, TX
09/30: 3TEN Austin City Limits Live – Austin, TX
10/02: Main Street Crossing – Tomball, TX
10/04: City Winery – Nashville, TN
10/05: Zanzabar – Louisville, KY
10/07: The Magic Bag – Ferndale, MI
10/08: The Clay Center – Charleston, WV
10/10: SPACE – Evanston, IL
10/11: The Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
10/13: Daniels Hall @ Swallow Hill – Denver, CO
10/14: The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
10/16: Imperial – Vancouver, BC
10/17: Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
10/18: The Crocodile – Seattle, WA
10/20: Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
10/22: The Roxy Theatre – Los Angeles, CA