Mad Hawkes is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, who dubs her sound and aesthetic as “babe rock,” citing Karen O. and Amy Winehouse as influences on her and her work. Interestingly, Hawkes can trace the origins of her music career to an internship at Parts + Labor Records: As the story goes, label head and producer Jimmy Messer, who has worked with AWOLNATION, Kygo, Kelly Clarkson and others encouraged Hawkes to write with an emotional honesty — and as a result. the music she has written since then touches upon angst, heartache, confusion and so on while paired with breezy and upbeat melodies; in fact, Hawkes latest single “Face Pinch” sounds as though it were influenced by JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket, Sylvan Esso and Dirty Ghosts but with a restless energy and thumping beats.
Amy Kuney is a Tulsa, OK-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as AMES. Kuney began piano lessons when she turned four, and participated in piano recitals and church performances throughout her childhood. The Tulsa-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist wrote her first song when she turned 12 and by the following year, Kuney’s father moved the family from their Tulsa home to Honduras to live as missionaries after he saw a video highlighting the destruction of Hurricane Mitch. As a teenager, Kuney taught herself guitar chords off a poster her father bought from Wal-Mart, while grappling with being gay in a strange country — and without friends; however, Kuney spent her time listening to the only secular album she could get her hands on, Fiona Apple‘s Tidal and writing songs.
The Tulsa-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist returned to the States to study at a religious college but she dropped out because of their archaic views on LGBTQ and relocated to Los Angeles, where she vowed to spend the rest of her life creating art and helping young people in the LGBQT community much like herself. Since relocating to Los Angeles, Kumey has developed a reputation as a go-to songwriter, who has written songs for the likes of Kelly Clarkson, AKON, Rita Ora, Michelle Branch, Tori Kelly, Lights, Icona Pop, Adam Lambert, Jason Mraz, Jojo, ALMA and growing list of others. Kuney steps out from behind the scenes with the release of the breezy “Hold On,” a single centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, strummed acoustic guitar, and a soaring and anthemic hook — and sonically speaking, the song manages to nod at Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Feist but with a much-needed message for anyone who has felt marginalized at any point.
With the release of their debut single “Betty” and “123” the Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms, comprised of singer/songwriter and frontwoman, the mononymic Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is known for his work with Awolnation, Liz Phair, Kelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, were quickly thrust into the national spotlight for a sound that owes a debt from classic garage rock and pop such as Connie Francis, Pasty Cline, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, the girl groups of the early 60s and others; however, lyrically, the material drew from Marlene’s own personal experiences, covering a wide spectrum of emotions from yearning, loss, perseverance, lust, desire, coquettish flirting and just wanting to have a good time with a very modern, unguarded frankness while possessing a loose, off-the-cuff, improvised feel. And as a result, of the early buzz the band received, they opened for The Psychedelic Furs and went on a West Coast tour with The Mowgli’s.
That off-the-cuff, loose feel has filtered into the duo’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Turn You Out, as you’ll hear on the album’s first official single, the sultry, late night, come hither, come on “Gimme You,” a song that’s essentially about being desperately lonely and lusting for someone so badly that you crave them and their loving– to the point that you’re trying to set up a booty call; but in the case, of “Gimme You,” Marlene’s vocals posses a subtle hint of menace, that conveys the idea that the song’s narrator gets what she wants — by any means necessary, if possible. Sonically, the single will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting soulful and gritty 60s-inspired pop reminiscent of Amy Winehouse, thanks in part to its incredibly transgressive feel.
The recently released video for “Gimme You” is deeply indebted to both the mod 60s and psych 60s as it features Pom Poms frontwoman broodingly posing, dancing and singing in front of a projection screen featuring psychedelic imagery — and in a some way, the video feels voyeuristic, as though the viewer is watching the act’s frontman putting on a burlesque-like tease for someone else, who’s off-screen.
If you had stumbled onto this site at the end of last year, you would have likely come across a couple of a posts about Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms. Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter […]
Guaranteed that if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month or so, that you would have come across a couple of posts on the Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms. Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is probably best known for his work with Awolnation, Liz Phair, Kelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, the duo have been thrust into the national spotlight for a sound that owes a debt from classic garage rock and pop such as Connie Francis, Pasty Cline, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, the girl groups of the early 60s and others — but with a subtly modern (and anachronistic) twist that makes the sound seem as though it could have been part of a a Quentin Tarantino film.
The duo’s debut single “Betty” first gained the attention across the blogosphere for a subtly scuzzy, lo-fi-like garage-based guitar rock sound that would make you think of the aforementioned Roy Robison and Buddy Holly the song possesses a similar urgent and swooning Romanticism. The heartache expressed by Marlene’s aching vocals is a heartache that we all have known at some point — being desperately in love with a fickle and thoughtless lover, who you know will inevitably break your heart. Following up on the buzz from “Betty,” the duo released a hushed and spectral alternate version of Betty that featured Marlene’s vocals paired with a sparse arrangement that includes a subtly Bossa Nova guitar line. Sonically, the alternate version channels Patsy Cline — in par — in particular, “Crazy” and “Walkin After Midnight.” And as a result, the alternate version aches with a similar desperate loneliness and longing.
Pom Poms latest single “123,” is a swinging and swaggering 60s-inspired soul song in which the song’s narrator describes playing a cat-and-mouse game with a potential suitor, who the song’s narrator sets upon having as hers and hers only. And as a result, Marlene’s sultry and soulful vocals possesses a come hither and stop wasting my damn time quality. Sonically, the song pairs Marlene’s vocals with period specific staccato bursts of organ, propulsive rhythms and some funky guitar chords; thematically (and to my ears), I’m reminded of several songs including Amy Winehouse‘s “Rehab,” and Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” as the song possesses a similar brassy confidence.
If you’ve been following JOVM over the past two weeks or so, you may recall that I’ve written about Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms. Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is probably […]
Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is probably best known for his work with Awolnation, Liz Phair, Kelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, the Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms have […]