Tag: Kate Bush

New Video: Copenahgen’s IRAH Releases Aching and Nostalgic Visuals for “Cinematic”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Copenhagen, Denmark-based duo IRAH, and as you may recall, with the release of 2016’s mini-album Into Dimensions, the duo, which is comprised of Stone Grøn (vocals) and Adi Zukanović (keys) quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a unique take on atmospheric pop that’s ethereal yet earthy. 

Slated for a May 24, 2019 through Tambourhinoceros Records, the Danish duo’s forthcoming Mads Brinch Nielsen and IRAH-co-produced full-length debut Diamond Grid was written in between tours across Europe, features renowned drummer Seb Rochford, who has toured with the band, playing drums on all but one track — the album’s gorgeous Kate Bush and Junip/Jose Gonzalez-like first single “Unity of Gods,” a track that was centered around a sparse yet propulsive arrangement of twinkling keys, hushed  drumming, and ethereal and plaintive vocals singing lyrics about seeking oneness. Diamond Grid‘s second single was the Kate Bush meets Bjork-like”Siu Hinama,” which featured Grøn’s primordial chanting ethereally floating over atmospheric synths and propulsive drumming — and while continuing in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor, the track manages to evoke an ancient tribal ritual.

“Cinematic,” Diamond Grid‘s third and latest single is centered around a hauntingly sparse arrangement featuring shimmering keys, hushed drumming and Grøn’s plaintive vocals, the aptly titled song possesses an achingly plaintive quality.

The Sarajevo, Bosnia-born, Copenhagen-based Zukanović and his family fled to Denmark, when the bloody and brutal Balkan War broke up. At the time, Zukanović was 4. Interestingly, in the refugee center’s playroom, a young Zukanović found a small keyboard and quickly discovered the power and tranquility of music. As an adult, Zukanović is one of the most sought-after keyboardists and pianists in Denmark — and he has arranged music for several Danish symphony orchestras.

Directed by Jakob Steen and Samina Bazai, the recently released video primarily consists of home video footage that Zukanović and his family shot during his first years immigrating to Denmark and his first trips back to Bosnia after the war. While imbued with an inconsolable loss over the people and homeland that he will never have again, the video brings the consequences of war and time directly to the viewer — in particular, a war that now seems both distant and yet somehow relevant. “We dove into the picturesque colors of the VHS tapes, and deliberately tried to listen to, and understand, the material, rather than manipulating it, or making it more aesthetically appealing, the video’s directors explain in press notes. “We tried to follow the song’s own logic and inherent narrative structures, as well as the associative connections between the sound, imagery and words.”

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New Video: Acclaimed Act Mass Gothic Release Surrealistic Visual for Atmospheric “How I Love You”

Last year, I wrote about the acclaimed New York-based synth-based band Mass Gothic, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of married duo Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri can trace the project’s origins to the duo managing to dip in and out of their various creative projects throughout the course of their 18 year relationship, advising and supporting one another; but oddly, throughout the bulk of their relationship they never completely committed themselves to collaborating together on an entire album, sharing creative load.

Heroux stared Mass Gothic back in 2016 as a solo project, after the breakup of his previous band Hooray for Earth. Reportedly plagued by his own insecurities and anxieties, Heroux wasn’t yet ready to deal with putting his trust and confidence into a shared, collaborative project. And perhaps most important, he didn’t feel that he was ready to do so with someone as close and fundamental to his life, like his wife. But before he began work on the sophomore Mass Gothic, the phrase “I’ve Tortured You Long Enough” reverberated through his head and quickly became a mantra and a premonition of his collaboration with his wife. And in many ways, that mantra became the title of the band’s sophomore album, a tongue-in-check reference to the fact that it took so long for the duo to work together. “It just popped into my head,” Heroux explained in press notes. “You can say it to a loved one or to a friend. Or you could wish someone say it to you. It covers so many basses but it’s taken on extra meaning in the past couple of years, while everybody is at each other’s throats; frustrated and confused all the time.”

As the story goes, as Heroux was about to work on the band’s sophomore album, he felt that he needed to force himself out of his comfort zone — and his deep-seated stubbornness. By the fall of 2016, circumstances found him facing his biggest fears head on. “We rented a small tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. We put ourselves away and worked on music all day, wondering what it would feel and sound like,” Jessica Zambri recalled in press notes. 

The first song they wrote together was an early iteration of “Keep On Dying.” Zambri had the melody and lyrics while Heroux had arranged the chords. From there, things snowballed and while the writing began in New York, in early 2017, the duo threw caution to wind, got rid of their Brooklyn apartment, purged most of their belongings and relocated to Los Angeles to write and record the album. They then bought a car, drove to L.A. where they lived out of duffle bag with co-producer Josh Ascalon, and they spent the bulk of their time writing. “The entire record from start to finish was done without having our own place to live,” Heroux said in press notes. “Maybe we wouldn’t have been able to do it if we were anchored at home. We were forced into it. Jess was trying to open me up and if we could have just sat on a couch and thrown on the TV it probably wouldn’t have worked.”

Working as a duo helped with the project’s sound evolving with the album’s material being an international meeting of the minds, centered around their openness to work together without rules or conditions — although oddly enough during the spring of 2017, Heroux and Zambri separately came to the conclusion that the material they wrote had way more potential. As the story goes, while they were preparing to tour with Zambri’s sister Cristi Jo and her boyfriend Joseph Stickney, Heroux woke up one morning, turned to his spouse and said “Oh God, we have to fucking re-record the whole album!” Heroux and Zambri agreed that re-recording was required and during the final ten days of recording, they made sure that the material was perfect while being as alive as possible.

Thematically, the album’s material basks in and celebrates the acceptance of co-dependence and independence simultaneously — and while being rooted within the relationship of its creators, the material isn’t so autobiographical that it’s off-putting and alienating in its intimacy; in fact, the material was intentionally written to be a conversation between its creators about something deeply universal. Now, as you may recall, the swooning  Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks-like “Keep On Dying” managed to be both vulnerable yet grounded in an earthy realism.  I’ve Tortured You Long Enough‘s latest single, the atmospheric and euphoric “How I Love You” is a song is centered around Zambri’s ethereal vocals, gently strummed guitar and shimmering synths — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Mazzy Star and others, the song as the act’s Jessica Zambri explains in press notes, “The lights turned on for me. Committing to something can be relieving, even pleasurable.  I used to think I had to protect myself from anything that I perceived to get in the way of making music, but all that did was close me off. Whatever is happening I want to enjoy it. I wrote this song as a reminder to live and not be lived.”

Directed by Evan Fellers, the recently released video is centered around strange yet realistic feeling environments that feel digitally constructed — and in some way, captures the unusual terrain of a new, committed relationship. “I wanted to create strange realistic feeling environments that also felt a bit digital. I used a process called photogrammetry to grab a bunch of real-world elements and turned them into 3d models which make up most of everything you see. Anything from small rocks to large sections of woods, trees, moss, and dirt, to Jess and Noel.

“I knew I wanted to take the viewer through these different environments, but I wanted it to be more than just a camera flying around — something simple and purposeful, searching for something. I wanted there to be this feeling of a journey. I also wanted to trace specific paths through the environment I thought were pleasing. Creating a single red orb that illuminated the environment was a nice way to accomplish all of those goals with the story, and control the way in which I revealed each scene at the same time. The red orb also came to represent the voice of the song to me.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about Matt Longo, a Queens-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his solo-recording project Thin Lear, which is largely inspired by the likes of Todd RundgrenShuggie Otis and Kate Bush — and “aims to craft lovingly homemade pop songs that sparkle and thump and unfurl deliciously.”

Now, as you may recall Longo’s forthcoming Thin Lear album Wooden Cave is slated for release later this year, and the album’s first single “The Guesthouse,” while sounding as though it could have been released in 1974 or so featured a propulsive and angular groove was centered around a spastic arrangement meant to evoke the claustrophobia of its narrator.

Wooden Cave‘s second and latest single, the lush and wistful “Death in a Field” possesses a widescreen, cinematic quality paired with intimate and introspective songwriting — and as a result, the song sonically is a seamless synthesis of 70s AM rock, country and folk, complete with a deliberate attention to craft.

 

 

 

With the release of 2016’s mini-album Into Dimensions, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based  duo IRAH, comprised of Stone Grøn (vocals) and Adi Zukanović (keys) quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a unique take on atmospheric pop that’s ethereal yet earthy. 

Slated for a May 24, 2019 through Tambourhinoceros Records, the Danish duo’s forthcoming Mads Brinch Nielsen and IRAH-co-produced full-length debut Diamond Grid was written in between tours across Europe, features renowned drummer Seb Rochford, who has toured with the band, playing drums on all but one track — the album’s gorgeous Kate Bush and Junip/Jose Gonzalez-like first single “Unity of Gods,” a track that was centered around a sparse yet propulsive arrangement of twinkling keys, hushed  drumming, and ethereal and plaintive vocals singing lyrics about seeking oneness. The album’s second and latest single, the Kate Bush meets Bjork-like”Siu Hinama” features Grøn’s primordial chanting ethereally floating over atmospheric synths and propulsive drumming — and while continuing in a similar vein, as its immediate predecessor, the track also manages to evoke an ancient tribal ritual. “Siu Hinama occurred through vocalistic sound meditations,” Grøn explains in press notes. “The song never felt right with lyrics and therefore we decided to just let the words or word-sounds be as they were.”   

 

Started in 2014 and comprised of San Francisco-born and-based married duo Andrew Gomez and Bevin Fernandez, the darkwave duo NVRS LVRS (pronounced Nervous Lovers) received attention locally with the release of their critically applauded full-length debut The Golden West, which was praised by SF Weekly as “crepuscular and opaque, with a grimy layer to it that thinly disguises the vein of pop running through the song[s].” Building upon a growing profile, the duo has since opened for the likes of Jagwar Ma and Telekinesis as well as receiving praise from PopMatters and Noisey. 

The duo’s latest single “whatever & ever” is the first bit of new material since the release of their critically applauded full length effort Electric Dread and while the single finds the band continuing to draw influence from the likes of Massive Attack, Kate Bush and others, the single also nods at classic New Order and industrial electronica thanks in part to a production featuring thumping beats, metallic clang and clatter, a rousingly anthemic hook, glitchy arpeggiated synths, and a motorik groove paired with the duo’s easy-going yet self-assured harmonizing. Thematically, the Eric Palmquist-produced club banger offers incisive criticism of our current moment — a perpetual stream of outrage and apocalyptic news, unsolicited opinions and curated brands with the song’s narrator asking if the empty and unfulfilling dopamine hit from each new notification is leading to our increasing stupidity and distraction.

The duo is embarking on a series of tour dates throughout March. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
03.08 – Reno, NV @ The Loving Cup
03.09 – Redding, CA @ The Dip

03.10 – Arcata, CA @ B.A.D. Collective Presents Outer Space

03.13 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey

03.14 – Bellingham, WA @ The Firefly Lounge w/ Lié, Glitchlette, Scum Eating

03.15 – Portland, OR @ Dan Cable Presents The Library at Growley’s Taproom

03.16 – Victoria, BC, Canada @ House Show

03.17 – Victoria, BC, Canada @ Venue TBA

03.22 – San Fransisco, CA @ Everything Elastic Presents Amnesia 

New Video: Sarah P. Returns with a Surreal and Symbolic Video for Disco-Influenced “Maenads”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Athens, Greece-based artist and activist Sarah P. and as you may recall, although she’s perhaps best known as a former member of international acclaimed electronic music production and electronic music duo Keep Shelly in Athens, Sarah P has developed a reputation as a solo artist and collaborator who released her critically applauded full-length debut Who Am I back in 2017 — and she has worked with the likes of Sasha, Mmoths, The New Division, Plastic Flowers, Holly, Hiras, The Bilinda Butchers and a lengthy list of others. 

Sarah’s P’s much-anticipated follow-up to Who Am I, the Maenads EP is a collection of songs celebrating both feminine power (particularly its magic, strength and imperfect perfection) and the artist’s Greek heritage. “Lotus Eaters,” a moody and atmospheric track with four-on-the-floor drumming, shimmering synths, a propulsive and sinuous bass line and Sarah P’s ethereal crooning — and sonically speaking, the track immediately brought to mind Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Kate Bush and the early 80s 4AD Records roster while arguably being the most sensual song I’ve come across within the early part of this year.

Maenads’ latest single, title track “Maenads” is a propulsive, disco-influenced track built around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a funky bass line and thumping beats — and unlike its predecessor, the song manages to remind me a bit of Niki & the Dove and several others. Interestingly, the song as Sarah P explains in press note is about nights that are empty of feelings. 

Shot in Berlin, the video is a surreal fever dream that stars Sarah P. and Sabina Smith-Moreland as a bird that meat to symbolize mental illness. The video shows the importance of coming to terms with own struggles while not letting them overtake one’s life. “I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety for a long time, but I’m convinced that it’s possible to control one’s mental health, rather than living a life controlled by mental illness,” Sarah shares.

“Mental illness never truly goes away, but learning more about it can help understand what’s going on inside your body and mind and therefore, control it better.

“For the last part of the Maenads trilogy, I decided to film in Berlin – where it all started for me. This video is perhaps my least “ethereal” work-to-date – with “ethereal” being a word that’s often used to describe my work. Berlin isn’t ethereal – it’s boxy and well structured in its chaos. Berlin’s light is very different compared to the light in Athens; in Berlin, the light is moody and arrogant – especially during the winter, where it makes rare appearances. Maenads was filmed at Theaterhaus Berlin – a space that felt homely and brought me closer to my drama school years. I had the pleasure to work with photographer and visual artist Colette Pomerleau and dancer Sabina Smith-Moreland. For the coloring of the video, I worked once again with David Hofmann who previously colored the other two parts of the Maenadstrilogy. Although the concept and set are meant to symbolize my life in Berlin, my “Greek Maenads” (Clio “Lil Cli” Arvaniti, Dora Pantazopoulou, Rania Ainiti, Marianna Pagrakioti) make a special appearance on Maenads TV. The additional visuals were filmed & edited by George Geranios, on a rooftop in Athens – the concrete jungle. Lastly, Apostolia Gogara is responsible for the fantastic hair and makeup of the additional visuals.”

Born in Nashville, the acclaimed, Los Angeles-based indie pop artist Meg Myers spent her formative years in a devoted Jehovah’s Witness household, in which a young Myers dealt with strict restrictions on what she was allowed to listen to. After her parents divorced, her mother married a comic book artist, who moved the family to Ohio, where her mother and stepfather ran a cleaning business. When she was 12, her family moved to Florida, where she spent the bulk of her teen years — and during that period, Myers began singing and writing songs on keyboard, eventually teaching herself guitar. She also played bass in a band that she started with her brother, Feeling Numb.

A few days shy of her 20th birthday, Myers moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. Living in a studio apartment with her then-boyfriend, the Nashville-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist worked as a waitress at a Hollywood coffee shop and played show whenever she could land them. Although her romantic relationship ended, Myers met Doctor Rosen Rosen, who signed her to his production company. Rosen and Myers began writing songs together, including the material that comprised her first two EPs Daughter in the Choir and Make a Shadow and her 2015 full-length debut Sorry, which featured a number of Top 15 and Top 20 alternative radio hits.

Building up on a rapidly growing profile, Myers’ sophomore album, last year’s Take Me To The Disco debuted at #5 on the Current Alternative Charts and received praise from a number of media outlets including The New York Times, the Associated Press, NPR Music, StereogumBillboard and a lengthy list of others.  The acclaimed Nashville-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter recently played an NPR Tiny Desk session that included a fairly straightforward yet intense cover of Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” that brings the song to 21st Century listeners, who may have been previously unfamiliar with one of the great, dramatic pop songs of the 80s.

“Growing up, I was never really interested in covering other artist’s music.” Meg explains, “I always wanted to write my own songs because I knew I could only sing music and lyrics that were truly authentic, from my heart (and also would have to make sense with my deep voice). Well, then I discovered Kate Bush’s ‘Running up that Hill,’ which for years has resonated with my soul like nothing ever before. What if we could experience role reversal? What would it be like living in each other’s shoes? I think we would find a lot more compassion for one another and a passion for kindness and truth. This song to me, represents an opening of our hearts and a possibility of acceptance for all. And to me, this is an important message for the world we are living in right now.​​​​​​​”

 

 

 

 

Matt Longo is a Queens, NYC-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has recently received attention across the blogosphere for his solo recording project Thin Lear. With Thin Lear, the Queens-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist “aims to craft lovingly homemade pop songs that sparkle and thump and unfurl deliciously” and is largely inspired by the likes of Todd Rundgren, Shuggie Otis and Kate Bush with Longo’s material pairing meticulous production with spontaneous, live performance.
Longo is set to release his forthcoming Thin Lear album Wooden Cave later this year, and the album’s first single “The Guesthouse,” is centered around a propulsive and angular groove, soaring organs, Longo’s plaintive vocals, an infectious hook and blasts of horn within an erratic and downright spastic arrangement   — and while sounding as though it could have been released in 1974 or so, the song evokes a post-modern frustration with oneself. As Longo explained to me in press notes “. . . I think I was writing about my inability to know how to exist in my free time. I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m on my own anymore, without a task, and it’s a terrifying concept, because I used to love just daydreaming or staring off into space. This song imagines me trapped in a “guesthouse,” attempting to take some time for myself, and failing miserably to the point where I’m crawling out of my skin, carving my name into the walls. I wanted the instrumentation to be surprising and erratic at times, but also relentless, so I tethered everything to that bassline, and added unhinged sax solos and sped up guitar on the breaks. I wanted it to feel anxious and wild, and also claustrophobic, as one might feel when they don’t know what to do with themselves.”

 

 

New Audio:Copenhagen’s IRAH Releases an Atmospheric and Contemplative Single

With the release of 2016’s mini-album Into Dimensions, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based  duo IRAH, comprised of Stone Grøn (vocals) and Adi Zukanović (keys) quickly received attention for a unique take on atmospheric pop that’s ethereal yet earthy.

Building upon a growing profile nationally and internationally, the duo’s forthcoming Mads Brinch Nielsen and IRAH-co produced full-length debut Diamond Grid  is slated for a May 24, 2019 release through Tambourhinoceros Records. Written in between touring across Europe, the album features renowned drummer Seb Rochford, who has played with the band live, on all but one track, the album’s gorgeous first single “Unity of Gods.” Centered around a sparse yet propulsive arrangement of twinkling keys, hushed drumming, and ethereal and plaintive vocals singing lyrics about seeking oneness, the Danish duo’s latest single to my ears sonically bears an uncanny resemblance to Kate Bush and Junip/Jose Gonzalez — although as the duo’s Stine Grøn says of the song’s creative process and the song itself, “‘Unity of Gods’ was the very first song we made after our first release. The track started as a playful process but we ended up getting caught in its creation as we progressed into developing its form and musical story. The song is about how you long to stay in touch with both your self and nature as you feel disconnected to these natural elements because of digital disturbances.”

New Video: Former Keep Shelly in Athens Frontwoman Releases a Sensual Take on 4AD Records-era Synth Pop

Perhaps best known as one-half of the internaitonally acclaimed electronic music production and electronic music artist duo Keep Shelly in Athens, the Athens, Greece-based artist and activist Sarah P. released a critically applauded full-length debut album Who Am I back in 2017. Interestingly, the vocalist who has collaborated with Sasha, Mmoths, The New Division, Plastic Flowers, Holly, Hiras, The Bilinda Butchers and a lengthy list of others is releasing the much-anticipated follow up to Who Am I, the Maenads EP, a collection of songs to celebrate both feminine power (particularly its magic, strength and imperfect perfection) and the artist’s Greek heritage. 

Maenads’ latest single, the atmospheric and moody “Lotus Eaters” features four-on-the-floor drumming, shimming synths, a propulsive and sinuous bass line paired with Sarah P.’s ethereal crooning. In some way, sonically speaking the song will bring to mind Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Kate Bush and the early 80s 4AD Records roster while arguably being the most sensual song I’ve come across within the early part of this year. 

Filmed by George Geranios and featuring a concept by Sarah P., the cinematically shot visuals for “Lotus Eaters” stars a gorgeous collection of women appearing in some surreal and dreamlike scenarios.