Tag: KCRW

Liam Brown is a Liverpool-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electro pop artist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the applauded, 80s synth pop-inspired, JOVM mainstay act pizzagirl. Since exploding into the blogosphere in 2018 with Brown has released two EPs, 2018’s an extended play and season 2 and his full length debut, 2019’s first timer — all of which have been championed by a handful of BBC personalities including Huw StephensAnnie Mac and Lauren Laverne, Gemma Bradley, Shaun Keaveny and Radcliffe and Maconie, as well as KCRW’s Travis Holcombe, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, NME, DIYHighsnobietyWonderlandThe Line of Best Fit and a growing list of others.

Brown’s sophomore album, Softcore Mourn is slated for a July 16, 2021 release through Heist or Hit Records. Reportedly, the album will further establish his critically applauded aesthetic, in which he actively pits maximalist pop sounds against claustrophobic production but while delving deeper into the emotional hard-drive in a way that may remind some sonically and thematically of LCD Soundsystem and The Postal Service. But at parts, the album’s material can be seen as a return to form with the album drawing a bit from the sonic palette from an extended play.

“Bullet Train,” Softcore Mourn‘s second and latest single is a high octane banger featuring a chugging synth bass line, twinkling synth arpeggios, Brown’s plaintive vocals paired with a rousingly anthemic hook that sonically recalls mid 80s New Order — i.e. “Bizarre Love Triangle” and others. But despite the uptempo thump and neon colors, the song is ironically rather downbeat, with the song detailing the bitter and uneasy feelings of a nasty breakup.

“Here’s my second single ‘Bullet Train’, another breakup song I think,” Brown says, “but this time, at 200mph. I sound really bitter on this, and for good reason I’d say, my screen time is high, my battery is low and there’s no 5g at the end of this tunnel; haha ;)” 

 

New Video: Genesis Owusu’s Shimmering and Brooding “Gold Chains”

With the release of his debut, 2017’s Cardrive EP, the rapidly rising Ghanian-born, Canberra, Australia-based, 20-something artist Genesis Owusu — born Kofi Owusu-Anash — quickly established himself as a perpetually restless, genre-blurring chameleon with a defiant, difficult to pigeonhole sound an approach and an ability to conjure powerful and deeply personal storytelling in diverse forms. Cardrive eventually garnered an ARIA Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul Release and praise from Sir Elton John (!), NME, i-D, mixmag and others. And adding to a growing profile, Owusu has opened for the likes of Dead Prez, Col3trane, Sampa The Great, Cosmo’s Midnight, Noname, Animé, Ruel and others in Australia.

Last year, the rising Ghanian-born, Aussie-based artist released a handful of highly-celebrated singles including the fiery mosh-pit friendly banger “Whip Cracker” and the ARIA Award-nominated smash hit “Don’t Need You,” which quickly became the #1 most played song on triple J radio — and since then has received airplay in the UK on both BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 and here in the States on KCRW, KUTX, The Current and Alt98.

“Whip Cracker” and “Don’t Need You” will be on Owusu-Anash’s forthcoming 15 song Andrew Klippel-produced full-length debut Smiling With No Teeth. Slated for a March 5, 2021 release through House Anxiety/Ourness, Smiling With No Teeth reportedly sees the rising Ghanian-born, Aussie artist further honing and developing his genre-confounding sound and approach while charting the epic peaks and troughs of mental health struggles and his experience as a black man in a very white world that hates him — often for no particular reason. Much of the album’s material is centered round raw punk rock-like and hip-hop-like energy while routinely veering into industrial, punk, funk, trip hop and pop, sometimes within the same song. And as a result. the album’s brash and defiant material is seemingly dedicated to those who boldly refused to be boxed into stereotypes or cultural norms, and those who fit in everywhere and nowhere.

“Smiling With No Teeth is performing what the world wants to see, even if you don’t have the capacity to do so honestly,” Owusu explains in press notes. “Slathering honey on your demons to make them palatable to people who only want to know if you’re okay if the answer is yes. That’s the idea, turned into beautiful, youthful, ugly, timeless and strange music.” Each of the album’s 15 tracks can trace their origins back to studio jam sessions with a backing band that features Kirin J. Callinan, Touch Sensitive’s Michael DiFrancesco, World Champion‘s Julian Sudek and the album’s producer Andrew Klippel.

Late last year, I wrote about “The Other Black Dog,” a mind-bending production that meshed alternative hip-hop, industrial clang, clatter, rattle and stomp, off-kilter stuttering beats and wobbling synth arpeggios that was roomy enough for Owusu-Anash’s breathless, rapid-fire and dense flow. Managing to balance club friendliness with sweaty, mosh pit energy, the song is a full-throttled nosedive into madness that reminds me of the drug and booze fueled chaos of ODB, and the menace of DMX.

“Gold Chains,” Smiling With No Teeth’s fourth and latest single is a brooding and seamless synthesis of old school soul, strutting and swaggering G Funk and Massive Attack-like trip hop. Centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths, a sinuous bass line, stuttering boom bap beats and squiggling blasts of guitar, “Gold Chains” finds the rising Ghanian-born, Canberra-based artist adopting a sort of Mos Def/Yasiin Bey-like delivery, alternating between spitting dense and dexterous bars and crooning with an achingly tender falsetto. “‘Gold Chains’ got me thinking about the flaws of being in a profession where, more and more, you have to be the product, rather than just the provider of the product, and public misconceptions about how luxurious that is,” Owusu-Anash explains in press notes. “Lyrically, it set the tone for the rest of the album.”

Directed by frequent visual collaborator Riley Blakeway, the recently released video for “Gold Chains” alternates between luxurious and glossy, 70s inspired glam, glitter and commodities and a behind-the-scenes look at desperation and loneliness. The cars, gold, money and fame are empty and phony — and ironically only add to the protagonist’s increasing dissatisfaction with everything, including himself. “The video is about the hollowness of a lot of the things we hold as idols,” the rising Ghanian-born, Canberra-based artist told The Fader. “The shiny things that get made to look like goals from the outside looking in, but in reality won’t be the source of happiness that we’d hoped for. The gold chains become shackles.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Thyla Releases a Shimmering Ode to Loneliness, Heartbreak, and Survival

Rising Brighton, UK-based indie rock band Thyla can trace its origins to when its founding trio — Millie Duthie (vocals), Danny Southwell (drums) and Dan Hole (bass) — met while attending college. Bonding over shared musical interests, the band’s founding trio started writing original material together, but with the addition of Mitch Duce (guitar) , the band began to reimagine their sound and aesthetic, centered around a distaste what they felt was the stale, boring and tired state of the British recording industry.

As they quickly became JOVM mainstays back in 2019, the Brighton-based act helped to cement their hometown’s growing reputation for a music scene that features some of England’s hottest emerging acts while playing shows with Dream Wife, Luxury Death, Matt Maltese, Yonaka, Husky Loops, Lazy Day, Sunflower Bean, INHEAVEN and Fickle Friends. Adding to a growing profile in their native England, the band was spotlighted alongside Pale Waves, Nilüfer Yanya, and Sorry in NME‘s 100 Essential Acts for 2018.

The act’s debut EP 2019’s What’s On Your Mind was released to critical applause from Pitchfork, Stereogum, NME, The Line of Best Fit and Dork — and it received airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, Radio X and KCRW. Adding to a momentous year, which saw the band receive attention from outside the UK, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays opened for Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever, played attention-grabbing sets at The Great Escape, Live At Leeds and Hit The North. They then followed all of that with their first national tour, which also included one of their biggest shows to date at London’s Electrowerkz.

Last year, Thyla released their sophomore EP Everything at Once, which featured the anthemic and boldly ambitious “Two Sense,”and the shimmering yet anthemic, coming-of-age story “Lennox Hill,” which was arguably the most personal song the band’s Millie Duthie had written to date. And although, last year had put everyone’s career plans and aspirations on hold, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays had been busy working on their long-awaited and highly-anticipated full-length debut

The quartet’s latest single “Breathe” is their first single of 2021 — and is the first taste of their full-length debut, slated for release later this year. “Breathe” is an atmospheric yet dance floor friendly track featuring glistening synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, squiggling blasts of guitar, stuttering four-on-the-floor, Duthie’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals and an enormous hook. While the song sonically may remind some folks of When The Night-era St. Lucia, the song manages to be completely of this moment: Thematically, the song sees the band further exploring the idea that in a constantly connected world, we are paradoxically even more shut off from each other as individuals, evoking the profound and uneasy loneliness many of us have been struggling with. And unsurprisingly, the song captures our longing for the normalcy and real world interactions we can’t have right now while touching upon the fact that we will all get through this somehow. It may change us but we will get through.

“‘Breathe’ was written in the early hours of the morning. Eventually we chanced upon this really vibey atmospheric lick that you hear in the intro, and the whole song grew from there,” Thyla’s Millie Duthie recalls. “The song blossomed into a slightly melancholic dream-pop bop, it’s bittersweet and has a slightly inconclusive feeling to it; imagine a film where the main character never actually gets the happy ending you’ve been so long yearning for. The result of how the instrumental sounded no doubt manifested lyrics that held the same sentiment. The song is about loneliness, estrangement from family and close friends, yet despite this, feeling a sense of inner strength about the situation. It’s like recovering from a breakup and realising you’ve come out stronger, but a reflection of the scar tissue that resulted from the trauma.”

Directed by Joseph Daly, the recently released video for “Breathe” is a glittering yet intimate and hazy, 80s prom-inspired visual that captures the band in intimate and lonely moments, seemingly finding their own strength to continue onward — with the video turning into a sort of dance party for the lonely.

New Video: Rising Ghanian-born Aussie-based Artist Genesis Owusu Peers into Madness

With the releases of his debut effort, 2017’s Cardrive EP, which garnered an ARIA Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul Release and praise from Sir Elton John (!), NME, i-D, mixmag and others, the rapidly rising Ghanian-born, Canberra, Australia-based, , 20-something artist Genesis Owusu — born Kofi Owusu-Anash — quickly developed a reputation for being a maverick presence with an ability to conjure powerful and deeply personal storytelling in diverse forms, centered around a genre-defying sound and approach that’s uniquely his own. Adding to a growing profile, Owusu has opened for the likes of Dead Prez, Col3trane, Sampa The Great, Cosmo’s Midnight, Noname, Animé, Ruel and others in Australia.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Owusu-Anash has released a handful of highly-celebrated singles over the past year, which have included “Whip Cracker,” and the ARIA Award-nominated smash hit “Don’t Need You,” which quickly became the #1 most played song on triple J radio — and since then has received airplay in the UK on both BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 and recently here in the States on KCRW, KUTX, The Current and Alt98.

“Whip Cracker” and “Don’t Need You” will be prominently featured on Owusu-Anash’s forthcoming 15 song Andrew Klippel-produced full-length debut Smiling With No Teeth. Slated for a March 5, 2021 release through House Anxiety/Ourness, Smiling With No Teeth reportedly sees the rising Ghanian-born, Aussie artist further honing and developing his genre-confounding sound and approach while charting the epic peaks of troughs of mental health struggles and his experience as a black man in a very white world. Centered around raw hip-hop energy, the material routinely veers into industrial, punk, funk and pop, sometimes within the same song. And as a result, the album’s brash and defiant material is dedicated to those who boldly refuse to be boxed in by stereotypes or cultural norms, or at the very least, don’t feel that they fit in anywhere.

“Smiling With No Teeth is performing what the world wants to see, even if you don’t have the capacity to do so honestly,” Owusu explains in press notes. “Slathering honey on your demons to make them palatable to people who only want to know if you’re okay if the answer is yes. That’s the idea, turned into beautiful, youthful, ugly, timeless and strange music.” Each of the album’s 15 tracks can trace their origins back to studio jam sessions with a backing band that features Kirin J. Callinan, Touch Sensitive’s Michael DiFrancesco, World Champion’s Julian Sudek and the album’s producer Andrew Klippel.

“The Other Black Dog,” Smiling With No Teeth’s third and latest single is a cinematic take on contemporary alternative hip-hop, industrial music and pop centered around Owusu-Anash’s breathlessly rapid-fire delivery and barking, and an industrial stomp featuring off-kilter, stuttering beats and wobbling synth arpeggios. Somehow managing to balance dance floor friendliness with a sweaty mosh-pit energy, the song is a full-throttled nosedive into the hell of madness that brings the drug and booze fueled chaos of ODB, and the fury and menace of DMX to mind. Thematically, the single finds the rising Canberra-based artist giving the fearsome inner and outer demons he lives with and informs his life, the “black dogs,” a name. “The track explores the internal struggle between a hopeful spirit of endurance, and a gnashing black hole of ugliness,” Owusu-Anash explains. “One is me, and the other is also me.”

Directed by Riley Blakeway, the recently released video for “The Other Black Dog” brings the track’s kinetic and forceful menace to vividly nightmarish life: the video finds the rising Aussie artist running for his life along a deserted, night time road, desperately trying to outrun a relentless and evil version of himself and the demons that feed off his fear and insecurities. The video suggests something deeply fearful and disconcerting that we all know but don’t want to admit: there’s no escape from the devils that torment our hearts and souls — and there’s no escape from the devils that torment us in our daily lives. You can run but you can never hide.

New Video: Aluna Teams Up with Kaytranada and Rema on a Sultry Club Banger

London-born and -based singer/songwriter Aluna Francis a.k.a. Aluna, is best known as one-half of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful electronic music duo AlunaGeorge. The past year/year-and-half or so have seen momentous changes for the London-based singer/songwriter: last year, Francis gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Amaya — and earlier this year, the acclaimed singer/songwriter announced that she would be releasing material as a solo material, building up buzz for her solo debut, Renaissance, which was released by Mad Decent back in August.

2020 has been a momentous year for Francis: singles off Renaissance have amassed over 30 million streams globally and radio airplay in over 30 countries, including BBC Radio 1, Triple J, KCRW, KEXP, Sirius XM’s BPM and Capital’s Capital Dance. Those singles have been playlisted on Spotify’s New Music Friday in over 20 counties — and she was placed on the cover of their Mint and Massive Dance Hits playlists. She also has been featured on Amazon Music’s Nectar and Apple Music’s New Music Daily playlists.

Back in June, Francis penned an open letter to the global dance community, demanding that the community re-assess platforms and positioning of Black creators within the dance world. “When I started looking at all the challenges I face being a black woman making dance I realized I wanted to do more than just create a space for myself – I want all black people to know that the genre of dance is their heritage and they should feel included and encouraged to create under that banner by expanding the genre to be culturally and racially inclusive,” the acclaimed British artist wrote.

And adding to busy year. Francis launched her own personally curated all Black, POC& F and women-led virtual electronic music festival, ALUNA & FRIENDS: RODEO RAVE, which featured DJ sets from BAMBII, GuiltyBeatz, UNIIQU3, Lady Bee, Kiddy Smile, Austin Millz and a live set from Francis, live streamed on Twitch from the Compton Cowboys Ranch in Los Angeles.

“Originally, putting together my dream festival line up (Black, POC and women DJs who play dope dance music) was an incredible goal, a chance to show exactly how I see the future of mainstream dance festivals.” Francis explains. “Then we found out the Compton Cowboys we’re down to help us put the festival on and all of a sudden you have this parallel of two black people in totally different worlds doing the same thing — re-invigorating the inclusion of black people in a space where we had been erased. Getting to connect like this is really what music should always be about — bringing people together. This is gonna be an epic cultural moment for myself and anyone who is looking forward to the future of dance music.”

Continuing upon that incredibly momentum, Renaissance’s latest single “The Recipe” finds the acclaimed London-based artist teaming up with equally acclaimed producer KAYTRANADA and Nigerian singer/songwriter Rema on a sultry and slinky Afropop and reggae- inspired banger, featuring glistening synth arpeggios, clinking percussion and an infectious hook. And at its core, the song is a feminist anthem, centered around an unvarnished and honest admission of what the song’s narrator — and in turn, creator — needs two make a relationship successful.

“It’s quite a girl power track,” Aluna exclaims in press notes. “As someone who has an inferiority complex and difficulty feeling confident, I’m introducing myself as a new person. I decided, ‘Be honest. Don’t pretend you’re a chill, low-key, and low-maintenance person, because you’re simply not. You’re an absolute basket case, and you need it all, or the relationship won’t work’.”

Directed by Reggie, the duo of Clay Dirske and Jake Herman, the recently released video for “The Recipe” draws from an eclectic array of sources visually and thematically — in particular, Renaissance-era France, Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, the Elizabethan era and others but with gorgeous Black people in the frilly finery. I’m fucking here for it, y’all. “I wanted to play with the way history has been dictated to us. Growing up in England you are constantly exposed to glamorous white history of period dramas without a black person in sight,” the acclaimed British artist explains in press notes. “I feel that since the British Empire was so heavily funded by slavery that history is ours too, we’ve just never been pictured in the finery…and I wanted to see what that would look like.”

The director team of Reggie adds, “This video brings together a lot of elements that you wouldn’t necessarily find in one place, but when combined create something magical. We drew inspiration from Aluna’s album name, Renaissance, the Elizabethan era, dancehall, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Busby Berkely, The Wiz and more. We were very fortunate to collaborate with an incredible cast and crew. Our choreographer Chris Emile, captured the energy of the song and the idea perfectly.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Palace Winter Release a Lysergic Visual for Anthemic New Single “Top of the Hill”

I’ve written quite a bit about the  Copenhagen, Denmark-based pop duo Palace Winter — Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born, Copenhagen-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager — over the past few years. The act can trace its origins to the duo’s mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work throughout a number of different projects. Naturally, that mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work, led to the duo working together. 

Coleman and Hesselager released their Palace Winter debut single in 2015 — but the following year was a breakthrough year for the Copenhagen-based duo: they released their EP Meditation and full-length debut Waiting for the World to Turn to critical praise from The Guardian, NME, The Line of Best Fit, and airplay from KCRW, KEXP, Norway’s P3, Denmark’s P6, as well as by BBC Radio personalities Guy Garvey, Lauren Laverne and Tom Ravenscroft. Adding to a growing profile, the duo have a Hype Machine #1 single under their belts, have opened for Noel Gallagher, and have made appearances across the European festival circuit, including sets at Guy Garvey’s curated Meltdown Festival, Roskilde Festival, Green Man Festival, Sziget Festival, Latitude Festival and Secret Garden Party among others.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Coleman and Hesselager released their sophomore album, 2018’s Nowadays. Arguably one of my favorite albums of the year, the album’s material found the duo expanding upon the sound and songwriting approach that won them praise, as they paired breezy, melodic, radio friendly pop with dark thematic concerns — in particular, the loss of innocence as one becomes an adult, with its accompanying tough and sobering lessons; the freedom and power that comes as one takes control of their live and destiny. But this was all underpinned by the inconsolable grief of profound loss. The album suggests a couple of things that I’ve learned about life in my 41 years : Life is ultimately about accepting immense, inconsolable loss as part of the price of admission, and somehow you have to figure out some way to move forwards, even its in fits and starts. And that a significant portion of our lives will be spent maneuvering the confusing push and pull between love and lust, with the prerequisite remote, anxiety, bitterness and loathing. Life is never easy and there’s never easy solutions. 

Palace Winter’s highly anticipated, third album . . . Keep Dreaming, Buddy is slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Tambourhinoceros Records — and unlike their preceding albums, . . .Keep Dreaming, Buddy’s material was written through a long distance correspondence as the band’s Coleman was residing in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain:“Caspar was sending me these synth hooks and drum loops from Denmark, so I started coming up with melodies and lyrical ideas to record into my phone,” Coleman says of the writing sessions. While Coleman’s lyrics were inspired by Tenerife’s unique landscape, drawing parallels between Mt. Teide, a dormant volcano, which also is one of Spain’s tallest peaks and the looming fear of a relationship disintegrating, Hesselager’s instrumental parts were inspired by Copenhagen’s landscape. And as a result, the album’s material is literally a tale of two cities.

“Top of the Hill,” which features a guest spot from Lowly is a perfect example of the album’s literal tale of two cities: shimmering and icy synths and thumping beats and an enormous, arena rock hook are paired with Coleman’s lyrics, which feature volcanic imagery to describe the broiling and bubbling feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration, deceit and distrust that come up in a failing relationship. And yet, throughout there’s the dim chance it could survive — even if it shouldn’t. 

Starring Carla Viola Thurøe, the recently released video follows the actor on a lysergic-tinged walk around Copenhagen’s parks and streets — and we see Thurøe’s attentive gaze shift from crystal balls to flowers, with the Danish actor carefully examining them and their texture. In many ways, the video mirrors Hesselager and Coleman’s writing process with Hesselager walking around Copenhagen figuring out the unfinished instrumentation and beats ins head and how they fit with Coleman’s phone recordings. 

Sam Valdez · Clean

Sam Valdez is a rising,  Nevada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who specializes in an immersive and cinematic sound that draws from elements of shoegaze, Americana, indie rock and pop that’s largely informed by her childhood growing up in the Nevada desert and her formative musical experiences as a child violinist: her work is generally centered around atmospheric and dreamy textures, abstract yet deeply emotive lyrics and classical-inspired arrangements.

So far Valdez’s work has received praise from the likes of Clash Magazine, Consequence of Sound and Earmilk— and she has received regular rotation from KCRW. Adding to a growing profile,  Valdez has opened for Stella Donnelly, Cayucas and Giant Rocks among others.

“Clean,” Valdez’s latest single is a slow-burning, brooding and atmospheric track centered around reverb-drenched guitar, gently padded guitars, a soaring hook and Valdez’s achingly plaintive vocals. And while bearing a resemblance to Slow Air-era Still Corners, the track is a subtle twist on the prototypical love song. “‘Clean is a love song in a way but it’s more about being drawn to self-destruction,” Valdez says. “It’s about finding comfort in uncertainty and appreciating the darker qualities in someone as well as the good.”

 

 

New Audio: Sports Releases a Slinky New Single

Currently split between Los Angeles and Norman, OK, the acclaimed indie electro pop act Sports — Cale Chronister and Christian Theriot — can trace their origins back to when the duo met in grade school. Throughout their history together, they’ve honed and refined  their unique take on slinky and funky electro pop, with their first two albums, 2015’s Naked All The Time and 2016’s Can’t Stop Chillin, which featured a handful of critically applauded singles including “You Are the Right One,” “Panama,” “Whatever You Want:” and “Someone  You’d Rather Be Dating.” 

Building upon a growing profile, 2018’s Everyone’s Invited was released to critical praise from Pitchfork, Pigeons and Planes and Ones to Watch. The album also received airplay on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and was playlisted on Spotify’s New Indie Mix playlist. 

The breezy yet slinky  “Tell You Something,” is the first bit of new material from the duo since Everyone’s Invited. Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous and propulsive bass line, copious amounts of cowbell-led percussion, an infectious hook and Chronister’s breathy vocals, the song finds the band blurring the lines between synth pop, funk, psych rock and Quiet Storm R&B in a way that reminds me of Currents-era Tame Impala. “It’s an anthem of uncertainty. I was taught how to socialize by television, and never learned how to verbalize my feelings,” Sports’ Cale Chronister explains in press notes. “I’m learning to say what’s on my mind, even when it’s uncomfortable . . . I’m celebrating the most ridiculously small feat just by admitting this.

There is still something dark, uncertain in the song, which is left intentionally unknown, and I guess it reflects the lingering anxiety the person on the other side of this conversation could be feeling – still waiting to hear what I have to say.”

New Video: Amsterdam’s Cubicolor Releases a Mediative Visual for “Rituals”

Amsterdam-based act Cubicolor is an internationally acclaimed electronic trio that features a lineup of accomplished musicians and producers:

Ariann Olierook, a member of production duo 16BL and Cubicolor, who acts as the public face of both acts. Olierook has been writing and recording music professional over the past 20 years — and has toured globally for the past 15 years. Described as a “student of music” by his Cubicolor bandmate Tim Digby-Bell, Olierook has developed reputation both within the project and without as constantly learning, honing techniques, restlessly experimenting and trying new ideas and building his own instruments. including custom modular synths, mixing decks and speakers that trio uses for their recording sessions.
Tim Digby-Bell, a London-born singer/songwriter, poet and playwright, who began to learn the guitar when he turned seven.  Growing up, he was heavily influenced by Nick Drake and others. Before he joined the Amsterdam-based electronic act, the British singer/songwriter was best known for being in London-based indie quintet Duologue. 
Through their earliest releases, Duologue quickly became a buzzworthy act, and they wound up signing to a major label. Sadly, while on their first Stateside tour – a momentum and career building tour, at that – one of Digby-Bell’s bandmates was diagnosed with leukemia. With an uncertain future looming in front of them, the band spilt up. Since the band’s breakup, that now-former bandmate has recovered from his illness.

Roughly two years after Duologue split up, Digby-Bell was introduced to Olierook and Peter Kriek — and after collaborating with the duo on “Falling,” became a permanent member of Cubicolor in 2016.
Kriek is the most mysterious and enigmatic member of the act. He grew up outside of Amsterdam, attended university and started a successful IT company while co-founding 16BL and Cubicolor with Olierook. Roughly 15 years ago, Kriek decided to withdraw from much of normal life, leaving his company and living a monastic-like and solitary life on a houseboat, which doubled as recording studio.
Reportedly, Kriek doesn’t listen to much modern music and is generally unreceptive to new ideas – and although his living situation and habits are challenging to deal with, his 16BL and Cubicolor bandmates will openly admit that he has an non-Western ear for melody and is one of the most talented musicians and producers they’ve ever met or worked with.
Since Cubicolor’s formation in 2014, the act has released three EPs and a handful of singles through Anjunadeep Records that found the act’s sound moving from progressive house to experimental electronica. The act’s breakthrough,  full-length debut Brainsugar was heavily supported by Spotify‘s Austin Kramer, Pete Tong, Joris Voorn and Kölsch, received airplay throughout the UK and KCRW and received critical praise from Mixmag, RA, Thump, Consequence of Sound and DJ Mag, which gave the album a 9/10 review. Brainsugar album tracks were remixed by Patrice Baumel, Lindstrom and Prins Thomas— and those tracks received support and play in clubs throughout the world. And adding to a growing profile, the album has amassed over 40 million streams globally.

Back in 2018, the band had written, recorded, and finished what was supposed to be their sophomore full-length album Trick of Light. The album was delivered to their label and to the digital streaming platforms. A full press campaign for the album was planned and then shortly before the official announcement of the album, the band decided to cancel the release and scrap the album. Three album singles were released off the canceled album — “No Dancers,” “Counterpart,” and “Boxed Out.” “Counterpart” received airplay on the BBC Radio 1 programs of Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Phil Taggart and Kölsh. Adam Port’s remix of “No Dancers” was a club hit. “We got home and listened to it, then got on the phone with each other and decided to drop the whole thing,” the band’s Tim Digby-Bell recalls in press notes. “The next week, we went back into the studio and started again. We didn’t keep anything, we shut ourselves on the boat in Amsterdam where we work and didn’t stop until we made the record we wanted to make.

“There were a lot of moments when we weren’t sure we’d ever find what it was we were looking for,” Digby-Bell continues. “On the way, we lost friends, lost loves, battled health issues, lost an album, lost each other and came back together again. Looking back now, it was pretty crazy, but the world keeps spinning and I guess we just don’t want to put out anything that wasn’t true to ourselves as a band, and the very best we can do as musicians, no matter how long it took.”

The trio’s latest album, the long-awaited, Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night is partially inspired by the seemingly endless cycles of space and time and is centered around an unwavering dedication to earnestness of emotion and purpose. Thematically, the album at points touches on much more personal topics than others: the Digby-Bell penned single “Points Beyond” is a loving tribute to a dear friend of his, who died last year. Other album tracks are meant to evoke the uncertainty and fear that the band felt during the writing and recording process. Overall, the album’s material paints an intimate and provocative picture of the trio’s evolution as artists and as people.

“Rituals,” Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night‘s latest single is centered around looping and twinkling piano, thumping beats, Digby-Bell’s plaintive vocals, shimmering synth arpeggios blasts and a soaring hook. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to Floating Points and Bonobo, the track manages to be cinematic and remarkably intimate, delving deep into the psyche and souls of its creators. 

Directed by Callum Bain, the recently released, intimately shot video for “Rituals” stars Misfits and Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy actor Robert Sheehan, who gives a raw and primal performance, as we see him moving through both time and space. “We all have rituals, from habitual daily activities, to practices in meditation, worship, dance,” the video’s director says in press notes. “Movements based on fortune and luck, or just superstition. Do they hinder or help our daily needs? Does it matter? Is the act of doing them reward enough?

“This video explores ritualistic movements, both extreme and delicate. It visualizes the micro-movements and slight variations found in repeated rituals, it observes the forward and backward motion of time.

“At its heart is Robert Sheehan’s performance, primal, instinctive, totally captivating and depicting a state of pure consciousness.

Is he anguished by carrying out these rituals or are the rituals providing an element of comfort or nourishment to an anguished soul? Must we break the cycle of bad habits that have become ritualistic . . . ”

Los Angeles-based psych pop act Amo Amo can trace their origins to mid-2017 when a group of dear friends — Lovelle Femme, Omar Velasco, Justin Flint, Shane Mckillop and Alex Siegel — got together for an impromptu jam session in Los Angeles with My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James.  As the story goes, the individual members of the quintet had premonitions that they all shared a deep psychic bond, which would lead to a revelation creatively and through sound. Five months later, the band emerged with their Jim James-produced, self-titled, full-length debut, an effort that featured their viral hit “Closer To You,” a track that has amassed over 3 million streams, appeared in an Apple ad campaign and has received airplay on KCRW and KCSN.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band opened for Poolside, Jonathan Wilson, Hailu Mergia, Os Mutantes and for My Morning Jacket at Red Rocks. The members of the Los Angeles-based quotient were also the backing band for Karen O‘s and Danger Mouse‘s latest project Lux Prima. And adding to a breakthrough year, they collaborated with Poolside on “Around The Sun,” which was hailed as a “Song You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone.

Earlier this year, the members of Amo Amo signed to Poolside’s Pacific Standard Records.  Last month, the band released “Canta,” a mesmerizing and breezy track that sonically seemed indebted to JOVM mainstays Pavo Pavo with a healthy dash of Tropicalia and trip hop, complete with a sinuous bass line, shimmering guitars, stuttering beats, ethereal vocals and a rousing hook.  Centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths, shuffling beats, reverb-tinged guitars, a sinuous bass line, ethereal vocals and an infectious hook, the band’s latest single “Missed Connections” continues on a similar path as its predecessor —  and while the song seems to nod at early 80s Stevie Nicks, it expresses a longing that feels all too familiar.

“‘Missed Connection’ explores themes of isolation and the absence of human connection within our technology-obsessed culture — a message which feels especially resonant in the current climate of pandemic and social distancing,” the members of Amo Amo explain. “The song expresses a deeply felt yearning for reconnection, not only with one another but with all forms of life and with Earth itself.

Canta EP, which will feature “Canta” and “Missed Connection” is slated for a June 19, 2020 release and its scheduled to coincide with the Summer Solstice.