Tag: Kraftwerk

New Video: JOVM Mainstays New Bleach Teams Up with Ghostly Kisses’ Margaux Sauvé on an Atmospheric and Dreamy New Single

Throughout the course of this year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Quebec City-based indie pop act and latest JOVM mainstays New Bleach. New Bleach — Dominic Pelletier and Raphaël Potvin — features a duo known across Quebec for their work in acclaimed Francophone indie rock act Caravane.

2020 has been a rather busy year for the duo of Pelletier and Potvin. They’ve released three attention-grabbing singles that have been decided sonic departures from their work with Caravane:

Their debut single as New Bleach, the Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT-like single “Awake,” a track centered around the philosophical question: “What if death was just a dream?”
The atmospheric Quiet Storm R&B meets Beacon-like “Silver Lining,” a track that’s part old-school love song and part plea for hope in a seemingly hopeless and bleak world.
The Kraftwerk and 80s New Wave-like “High.” which expressed the age-old desire to get in your car for a road trip — and maybe pull over to do some hallucinogens and daydream.

New Bleach’s fourth single of this year is the slow-burning and atmospheric “You.” Centered around alternating ethereal and tender vocals from New Bleach’s Pelletier and Ghostly Kisses’ Margaux Sauvé paired with glistening synths, skittering beats and a sinuous bass line, “You” is full of the desperately aching longing that only seems to come from the lingering ghosts of one’s past.

Co-directed by Maxyme Gagné and the members of New Bleach, the recently released video for “You” is an equally slow-burning fever dream mostly shot in the snowy Quebec woods and employs the use of reflections through refracted and busted mirrors, distorted imagery and more. Somehow, the video seems to emphasize the bitter chill;l of late fall in Quebec — and the bitterness of longing when you can’t quite have what you want or need.

New Video: Emerging French Act Voie 81 Releases a Shimmering, Synth Pop Banger

Deriving their name from the French of word for “track” while simultaneously being a bit of a pun for the French word for voice voix and for 1981, a paradigm shifting year that saw an incredible array of changes in technology and across society, the Paris-band electro pop/New Wave duo Voie 81 prominently features three female vocalists hailing from Paris, Madrid, and Berlin, who sing unifying and socially conscious lyrics in German, English, Spanish and French.

The act’s full-length debut Ralentir which means “slow down” in French finds the act further developing a sound that’s heavily influenced by the analog synth sound of the 80s while thematically touches upon humans’ resistance to an unfair and unjust world and the hope for a better, fairer world. The album’s first single “Nirvana” is a euphoric track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, angular guitars and an arena friendly hook paired with vocals delivered in an ethereal yet sultry French. Sonically, the track finds the emerging French act nodding at early-to-mid 1980s New Order, Giorgio Moroder, Tour de France-era Kraftwerk and even contemporaries like DBFC.

Directed by the members of Voie 81, the recently released video for “Nirvana” is set in an industrial train yard as we follow, a boombox carrying dude and a gorgeous dancer, hang out and dance together before pulling out to follow a train track across the French train ride. The video manages to be playful and decidedly DIY.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay GUM Returns with a DIY Visual for Breezy Yet Yearning “Low to Low”

Carnavon, Australia-born, Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jay Watson is an extremely busy and restlessly creative man: Watson splits his time as a touring member of acclaimed JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and POND. He’s also the creative mastermind the acclaimed solo recording project (and fellow JOVM mainstay act) GUM.

Spinning Top Music released Watson’s fifth GUM album Out In The World earlier this year. The album, which is the highly follow-up to 2018’s critically applauded The Underdog was written and recorded in between tours with Tame Impala and POND continues Watson’s long-held reputation for having a voracious taste for styles, sounds and different eras. Thematically, the album is fueled by the Carnavon-born Fremantle-based artist’s quest to make sense of modern life — with the album’s material being fueled by an untethered curiosity and the inherent anxiety of too much awareness and too much connectedness.

Sonically, Out In The World’s material may arguably be the most boundary pushing of Watson’s growing catalog. “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it,” Watson says of his latest album. “‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

“Don’t Let It Go Out,” the album’s second single, a track that sees Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold new direction. Centered around a glistening arpeggio guitar riff, jangling acoustic guitar, propulsive four-on-the-floor and shimmering synths, “Don’t Let It Go Out” finds Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold direction while retaining the hook-driven, carefully crated nature quality that GUM fans have loved.
“Airwalkin,” a swaggering 80s synth pop-like banger featuring tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap-like beats, squiggling synths, soaring strings and an enormous hook that sonically seemed indebted to J. Dilla. Odelay-era Beck, Future Shock-era Herbie Hancock and Kraftwerk.

Out In The World’s latest single “Low to Low” finds Watson pushing his sound into a new direction — but while arguably crafting what may be the funkiest song of his catalog. Centered around shuffling polyrhythm, explosive horn stabs, dusty breakbeats, tinny Casio-like synth arpeggios and Watson’s yearning vocals, the track sounds as though Watson had been listening to salsa, Expensive Shit/He Miss Road-era Fela Kuti, 80s New Wave and synth pop the deceptively breezy pop confection actually seems to express a fear of irrelevance and of being forgotten.

“I purchased an EHX DRM15 drum machine and the song developed from one of the preset beats, this ‘robot-latin vive with lots of spring reverb. It was the last song I recorded for the album, it’s bizarre stylistically, but I just went with it,” Watson says of the album’s latest single.

Co-directed with POND bandmate Jamie Terry, the recently released video for “Low to Low” was shot in Fremantle on grainy Super 8 or 16mm film, and the visual captures the sunny warmth of Western Australia — while following Watson walking around with an enormous plastic box. “ My mate Az gave me 16 panels of Perspex he had found, who knows where? GUM thinks outside (and inside) the box,” Watson says of the video. ““Now that the dust has settled on Out In The World,I think this is probably my favourite track from the album, and I know it is for lots of other people too, so I wanted to make a visual for it,” he adds.

Interview: A Q&A with Seattle’s Jupe Jupe

Since their formation back in 2010, the Seattle-based indie electro pop act Jupe Jupe — My Young (vocals, synths), Bryan Manzo (guitar, bass, sax), Patrick Partington (guitar), and Jarrod Arbini (drums, percussion) — have released four albums Invaders, Reduction in Drag, Crooked Kisses,and Lonely Creatures, which have helped to firmly establish the act’s sound: dance floor, synth-led, post-punk informed by synth pop and Americana. 

Jupe Jupe’s Matt Bayles-produced Nightfall EP was released earlier, and the EP continues their ongoing collaboration with Bayles, who also produced and engineered their last full-length album. Meticulously written over the course of the preceeding year, the five song EP finds the band adding soulful saxophone to material that thematically focuses on yearning and desire.

Over the course of this past year, I’ve written about two of the EP’s singles: 

  • The New Order-like “Leave You Lonely.” The accompanying video meshed three different visual styles – line animation, live footage shot in high contrast negative and a lyric video in a way that draws comparisons to  a-ha’s “Take On Me” to mind.
  • The bring Avalon-era Roxy Music-like ‘How Could We Both Be In Love.” Directed by Dirty Sidewalks‘ Erik Foster, the accompanying moody visual seems to draw from French nouvelle vague and 80s MTV.

Earlier this year, I set up an interview with the members of Jupe Jupe to discuss their Nightfall EP, their influences, the videos for the aforementioned “Leave You Lonely” and “How Could Be In Love,” and how they were all getting along during the pandemic in a rather prototypical JOVM Q&A session.  I received the band’s responses a few days after George Floyd’s tragic murder at the hands of Minneapolis police. Understandably, as a Black man, Floyd’s death hit close to home. With police brutaliy, police reform, the Black Lives Matter movement and protests brewing up in major cities across the world, I initially wanted to ask the band a handful of questions related to those particular topics. Unfortunately, those follow-up questions never came up and the Q&A languished in my email inbox for months – without explanation to anyone. 

2020 has been difficult. But with Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’ Election Day victory over Donald Trump has given me some hope. We have an incoming administration that will be competent, caring and will do everything in their power to make things right through policy and action. 

In the meantime, check out the EP and the interview below: 

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WRH: Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, festivals have been postponed or cancelled outright, artists of all stripes have postponed, rescheduled or cancelled tour dates – and there are a number of artists, who have rescheduled releases of new material. You released a new EP shortly before the pandemic. How has COVID-19 impacted you and your career?

Jupe Jupe: Like so many other bands, we’ve had to cancel quite a few shows following the COVID outbreak. We luckily had our Nightfall EP release show before the lockdowns began, but the only “live” performance we’ve done since February was a live-stream benefit show to help support out-of-work employees at a local club. It was a blast playing again, though we look forward to in-person audiences! We wonder if live streaming will be the norm for bands until next year at least. 

Despite the pandemic situation, the EP still received quite a bit of college-station airplay and press coverage, which we’re happy about. Given the scary times everyone is going through, we’re not sweating the lack of live performances. We’ll just ride it out like everyone else. We also hope that the smaller music venues can survive this—that’s something we’re definitely concerned about.

WRH: How have you been holding up? What have you been doing to keep busy? Binge watching anything?

Patrick Partington: I’ve been holding up OK—lucky to still be working from home. I try limit my newsfeed time during the day—though it’s been difficult lately, of course. As far as binge-watching, I’ve finished Ozark, which I love, and now I’ve moved on to a crime documentary series called Trial by Media. When I need some levity, I go with comedies (series and movies)—Hot Tub Time Machine, Superbad, Stripes, Vice Principals, The Righteous Gemstones, etc.

Jarrod Arbini: It varies from day to day, but I’ve finally gotten around to doing some of those home improvements. After 14 years, the refrigerator ice and water dispenser hookup has finally been accomplished. And I’ve discovered a new love for video games!

So before COVID, say that I decided to fly into Seattle. Where would I go to eat and drink, if I wanted to meet and be around locals?

Bryan Manzo: Seattle is a really fun place to visit. It kind of depends on what you’re into or what you’re looking for. When people visit me I tend to offer lots of restaurants, bars, or clubs, but the thing that people seem the most into is just being outside. It’s really remarkable how green the city is. We have mountains to the east and west. Water, water everywhere and forests so thick they’re dark during the day. It’s like Endor. Honestly, I can’t even believe I’m writing this because I’m not really into that. So for me, I guess I’d say the weed stores.

What’s your favorite venue to see shows in Seattle? Why?

PP: I think my favorite venue for larger shows is The Showbox. It fits around 1100 people, the sound is terrific, and pretty much everywhere you stand is a great spot—whether you want to be right up front or in back watching from one of the venue’s bars, which I usually opt for. 

JA: Yeah, The Showbox for sure.

How did you get into music?

PP: My older brothers were music-heads, and they turned me on to The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, The Monkees, Led Zeppelin, and lots of 70’s progressive stuff when I was a little kid. Through my teenage years, I was addicted to a small AM station in Seattle called KJET. That’s how I discovered bands like The Cure, XTC, Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, and tons of other bands you couldn’t hear on regular FM radio in Seattle. When I first learned guitar at 14, I wanted to be like Pete Townshend—windmilling and leaping around.

My Young: My father is a guitarist and came from a family of musicians. He used to play and sing 60’s folk songs and other old hits like “Ghost Riders in the Sky” to us when we were little kids. When I was 12, I started a punk/new-wave band with my pals in Denver called the Bloody Ear Muffs. I’ve been in various bands since then.

JA: There was always music in our house and from an early age, the drums were fascinating to me. Once I was able to join the 5th grade symphonic band, I was hooked. I bought my first drum kit in the 7th grade and found being in a band and sharing my passion for music with like-minded individuals to be so satisfying.

 Who are your influences?

Jupe Jupe:  Our sound tends to be influenced by New Order, Roxy Music, Echo and the Bunnymen, Cut Copy, and a bit of Roy Orbison.

PP: I gravitate toward a lot of British bands from the 80’s—OMD, New Order, and The Cure. Plus hooky 60’s music.

MY:  In addition to the obvious synthpop and post-punk influences, I get inspiration from a larger bag of artists like Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, the 90’s WARP catalog, 70’s glam, and 60’s artists like The Kinks, Pink Floyd, Roy Orbison, and The Zombies. And of course, James Bond themes.

JA: Anything with a hook and I’m in!

WRH: Who are you listening to right now?

PP: I’ve been listening to Gorillaz, The Clash, and early Who lately. Wham! and Erasure when I want to be in a good mood quickly. Usually I just shuffle playlists so that I’m surprised. I also listen to First Wave on SiriusXM Radio—I’ve heard all of it, but it’s comforting in these uncertain times.

MY: I’ve been listening to the new Angel Olsen record a lot. I also really like Temples, Tame Impala, Idles, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

JA: During COVID, I’ve been trying to run more, and for my run mix I’ve recently added The Magic Group, lots of Kaiser Chiefs, The Goldbergs, and some Tame Impala. To take the edge off some of my ongoing periods of anxiety, I’ve actually been turning toward smooth 60’s Motown stuff with the likes of The Temptations and The Four Tops, among others.

WRH: Are there any acts from Seattle that the outside world should know now and doesn’t? Why?

BM: Yes. There’s a band called The NitWitz. They’re 11 and 12 year olds. One of the members is my kid. Another one of the members is My’s kid. Someone please discover them and get them OUT OF MY GARAGE BECAUSE IT’S SO LOUD! Also, they’re kind of funny.

WRH: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with Jupe Jupe?

Jupe Jupe:  We describe our music as dark yet danceable—a “noir cocktail” of crooning vocals over pulsing beats, with guitars and sax that cut across washes of synth.

PP: When people ask me personally what we’re like, I say we try to sound like an updated version of our 80’s new-wave influences.

JA: Definitely a more current take on an 80’s-type vibe. Quite a mixed bag really, but it works!

WRH: Your latest EP, Nightfall continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Matt Bayles. How has it been to work with him?

Jupe Jupe: Matt’s done an amazing job recording and mixing our last two albums, Nightfall and Lonely Creatures. Though he’s produced many harder bands (Mastadon, He Whose OX Is Gored, Murder City Devils, etc.), he gets our sound completely and we generally don’t have to give him much input, especially when it comes to how he mixes the songs. We bring the tunes in fully written, so that we can get straight into recording. He’s a serious, no-nonsense guy in the studio—and he definitely doesn’t put up with less-than-stellar performances!

WRH: The EP’s material thematically focuses on yearning and desire. How much of the material comes from personal experience – or that from someone you know?

Jupe Jupe: We usually write the lyrics as a group. Though it takes longer this way than it would with one person doing all the heavy lifting, we feel like we end up with stronger material. Everyone’s input is probably based on their own experiences, but we usually don’t go into it with an individual’s specific story in mind (“Hey, this thing happened to me—let’s write a song about it”). We might offer anecdotes that lend themselves to a song, but after the music is written, we pick subject matter that we think will work best with the vibe. For this batch of songs, “yearning and desire” seemed to fit really well!

While much of the EP’s material continues the synth-based, hook-driven sound that has won you attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere, EP single “How Could We Both Be in Love” features the addition of saxophone. It may arguably be the most Avalon-era Roxy Music track of the EP – and it’s one of my favorite off the entire EP. How much did Roxy Music influence it? What’s the song about?

MY: Bryan and I started playing music together in an Austin prog band called Maximum Coherence During Flying, in which Bryan played both guitar and sax. We always wanted to bring it back into our songs, but kept forgetting to do it. For the Nightfall EP, Bryan proposed how it would add a new element to the direction we were already heading in. We’re both huge Roxy Music fans (especially their first four records), and it was exciting and inspiring to bring it back into the mix.

PP: Essentially, that song is about being in a relationship with a narcissist.

How did the videos for “How Could We Both Be in Love” and “Leave You Lonely” come about?

Jupe Jupe: For “How Could We Both Be in Love,” we teamed up with our friend Erik Foster of the great Seattle band, Dirty Sidewalks. He directed our last two videos and he’s always done a spectacular job. We usually start by sending him a rough mix and the lyrics, then discussing some broad ideas over beers. For this video, we really didn’t have to offer any guidance. He’s extremely creative and talented at matching the vibe of the video to the song. He did some great stop-motion and visual effects—he always surprises us. It’s an awesome partnership.


”Leave You Lonely” was created by two of our band members, Bryan and Jarrod, using a combination of hand drawings, still photos, lyric text, and shifting color palettes to capture the movement and feel of the song.

WRH: The band has been together for a decade now, which is an eternity in contemporary music. What do you ascribe to your longevity? What advice, if any do you have for bands trying to make a name for themselves?

PP: We’re all best friends and we’ve worked together in various bands over the past 20 years, so we know each other’s strengths and idiosyncrasies really well. Plus, with that type of history, it’s easier to be honest—as opposed to walking on eggshells with someone you don’t know well. Apart from music, we just like hanging out! 

As far as advice for bands trying to make a name, I’d say figure out your sound, and continue to evolve it! Don’t worry about what’s popular or the next trend. Hopefully you can break through the clutter by sticking to your convictions and continuing to improve as a band. Also, it helps to share band duties—rather than one person doing all the writing, promo, booking, etc. It makes it much more fun and keeps everyone invested. And when you play live, be sure to promote the hell out of every show and make sure the other bands on the bill do too.

JA: I think our longevity is due to the lack of inter-band drama and a shared love of music and playing live. It also helps that everyone brings a different expertise and perspective to the group —outside of the actual music. This really helps us to get through all the less-than-glamorous band duties that come along with being a musician.

What’s next for you?

Jupe Jupe: Bryan and My are currently working on new song ideas individually, and we check in with each other for a “virtual” band happy hour once a week. We’re really just playing things by ear during the pandemic—it’s difficult to make concrete plans right now, but we know for sure we’ll be releasing new music eventually!

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay LutchamaK Returns with a Shimmering Techno Banger

Over the past year or so, I’ve managed to spill copious amounts of virtual ink covering the rising French electronic music artist and producer LutchamaK. Now, as you may recall, the French JOVM mainstay’s work is deeply influenced by — and generally draws from — techno, but while reflecting his lifelong devotion to and love of eclecticism: his work generally possesses elements of techno, deep house and EDM among other electronic music genres and subgenres.

Interestingly, during that same period, LutchamaK has been frenetically prolific, releasing new material through an increasingly number of EPs, standalone singles and a couple of albums. He recently released another EP, the three track nani. The EP’s first single “October (U Should Try)” is a straightforward yet futuristic-like techno banger, centered around thumping and stuttering beats, glistening synth arpeggios and vocodered vocal samples that reminds me quite bit of Tour de France-era Kraftwerk but at a faster tempo.

New Video: French Electronic Producer Edouard Releases a Glistening and Euphoric New Single

Constant reinvention has been a central part of French electronic producer Edouard’s music career and personal life: As a member of the French Touch movement of the 980s. his previous project wound up being an integral part of the European house music scene. Garnering widespread praise, the act signed to BMG Records — and as a result. they received massive radio play and appeared on compilation records alongside other acclaimed French Touch acts like Philipe Zdar, Etienne de Crécy, and Alex Gopher.

As time went on and as the musical landscape change, the French electronic music producer took up a number of different roles and lives: he was a solo-exhibited photographer; an art historian; an engineer; an investment bank manager; and he studied under six-time Grammy Award winner Gary Burton at the Berklee College of Music. Edouard’s latest musical project finds him writing and recording under his eponymous moniker — and sonically, the project meshes elements of electronica, electro pop, dance, house music, synthwave and several other electronic styles and subgenres with a retro-futuristic twist inspired by French electronic music pioneers like Daft Punk, Jean-Michel Jarre, Air, Justice, Laurent Garnier, Cassius, Bob Sinclair., Martin Solveig and the aforementioned Alex Gopher, who was studio engineer for Edouard’s forthcoming full-length, solo debut. Additionally, the project has a parallel focus on visual art, with graphic design duties being split between Filip Hodas and the artist himself.

Edouard’s fourth and latest single “Another World” is a Computerworld and Tour de France-era Kraftwerk meets Homework-era Daft Punk-like track, centered around multiple layers off glistening synth arpeggios, heavily vocodored vocals, stuttering beats, brief blasts of horn and a rousingly euphoric hook. The song finds Edouard carefully walking a tightrope between the mind-bending and expansive and straight forward, crowd pleasing club anthem. And interestingly enough, at the song’s core is a sunny optimism that there’s a much better world on the other side of this.

Directed by the French electronic music producer. the recently released video uses CGI to create exotic and surreal locales and worlds. It’s trippy as hell.

Lyric Video: Quebec’s New Bleach Releases a Slow-Burning and Hallucinogenic Single

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Quebec City-based indie duo New Bleach, an act which features Dominic Pelletier and Raphaël Potvin, who are best known across the province for their work in acclaimed Francophone act Caravane. Interestingly, with the release of their Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT-like single “Awake,” the Quebec-based duo reveled a project that was a decided sonic departure from their previously known work.

New Bleach then released their second single “Awake,” a Quiet Storm-like R&B track that recalled the brooding atmospherics of Beacon. Building upon the attention of their first two singles, the duo’s third and latest single is the slow-burning, lullaby-like “High.” Centered around twinkling synths, stuttering beats and plaintive vocals and a fiery guitar solo, the song which manages to nod at Kraftwerk and 80s New Wave simultaneously, expresses that age-old desire to get in your car for a road trip, when you pull over to the side somewhere and do hallucinogens — or some other mind-altering experience.

Copenhagen, Denmark-based pop duo and JOVM mainstays  Palace Winter — Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born, Copenhagen-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager — can trace their origins to the duo’s mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work throughout a number of different projects over the years. Naturally, that mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work led to the duo deciding to work together.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Palace Winter’s sophomore album, 2018’s Nowaways found the duo expanding upon the sound and songwriting approach that won them praise, as they paired breezy and melodic, radio friendly pop with heavy thematic concerns — with the album material’s touching upon the loss of innocence of adulthood, the accompanying tough and sobering lessons as you get older, the freedom and power that comes as one takes control of their life and destiny and the like. But it’s all underpinned by the profound grief of inconsolable loss. Life, after all is about recognizing that immense heartbreak and devastating loss are part of the price of admission, and that somehow you have to figure out a way to move forward.

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 metaphorical 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 and two completely different emotional states.

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: The album’s first single “Top of the Hill,” was a great example of the album’s overall tale of two cities and two completely different emotional states. Featuring shimmering and icy synths, thumping beats and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook paired with Coleman’s volcanic imagery-based lyrics, the song captures the bubbling dissatisfaction, boredom, frustration and distrust of a relationship about to boil over and explode. “Won’t Be Long,. . . .Keep Dreaming Buddy‘s second single may arguably be the album’s most ambitious and expansive songs. Featuring elements of arena rock, glam rock and synth pop, the track which was centered around a rousingly anthemic hook, a crunchy power chord-driven riff, shimmering synth arpeggios and strummed acoustic guitar, the song is actually deceptively (and perhaps, even ironically) upbeat, as it tackles the anxiety of anticipatory loss of a loved one. Loss and despair are always around the corner, indeed.

“Deeper End,” the album’s third single is a decidedly genre-defying affair — and it finds the duo pushing their sound in a new direction but without changing the elements of their sound and approach that has won them attention internationally. Featuring an infectious hook, shimmering synth arpeggios and strummed guitar, the breezy song is one part synth pop. one part 70s AM rock, one part country — but while centered around an unusual juxtaposition: the song as the band’s Carl Coleman explains is “a story about a bad trip at a weird house party I went to with my sister.” Coleman adds “Think Kraftwerk playing a classic country song.” In either case, the song is full of slow-burning, creeping dread and anxiety, the fear of skeleton stuffed closets being exposed.

Granddaddy’s Jason Lytle contributes a guest verse to the song, a verse in which his character dispenses harsh yet very trippy truths to the song’s hallucinating and anxious narrator. Interestingly, the collaboration can trace its origins back to when the members of Palace Winter discovered that Lytle was a fan, after he added a Palace Winter song to one of his playlists. Coleman, who’s been a longtime fan of Lytle’s work with Granddaddy reached out to Lytle with what he thought was an unlikely proposition to work together. Obviously, Lytle said yes. “It’s wild to think that back in the early naughties I was wandering around Europe with Grandaddy in my headphones, and now here I am trading lines with Jason. It’s a real honour and a proud moment for our band” Coleman says.

New Video: Crammed Discs to Re-issue Zazou Bikaye’s Forward-Thinking Electro Take on Afrobeat/Afrofunk Originally Released in the 80s

Tracing their origins back to an encounter between Congolese vocalist and composer Bony Bikaye, French musician and producer Hector Zazou and modular synth act CY1, Zazou Bikaye released a groundbreaking Afro pop/experimental electronic album with their 1983 full-length debut Noir et Blanc, an album that has since garnered cultish devotion by music cognoscenti, musicians and fans.

After the release of Noir et Blanc, Zazou Bikaye turned into a proper band that started to develop and hone their own special brand of digital Afrobeat/Afrofunk. Zazou took on writing and programming duties while Bikaye expanded on the extroverted side of his vocal stylings. They then set out to record a large batch of material with five tracks eventually being released in 1985 as the 32-minute mini album Mr. Manager, an effort released to acclaim through Crammed Discs in Europe and through Pow Wow in Japan and the States. The act toured Europe and played a couple of shows in New York — and two of the album’s tracks “Angel” and “Nostalgie” became underground club hits across the States and Europe.

With a backing band that featured Philipe “Pinpin” de la Croix Herpin (woodwinds), Tuxedomoon’s Luc van Lieshout (trumpet and harmonica), Vincent Kenis (guitar), Chris Jouris (percussion), Bigoune (percussion), Mwamba Kasuba (backing vocals), Nicole MT (backing vocals) M’Bombo K (backing vocals) and Marc Hollander (sax), the Hollander, Zazou Kenis produced sessions recorded between 1985 and 1986 were supposed to be appear on a full-length album. But as it turned out, the members of Zazou Bikaye moved on and recorded an entirely different album of material, 1988’s Guilty. Some of the tracks from those 1985-1986 sessions came out as remixes but most of the material was left aside, unfinished.

Slated for an October 16, 2020 release through Crammed Discs, the expanded and remastered reissue of Mr. Manager features the mini-album’s original five tracks plus nine rediscovered tracks recorded during those abandoned 1985-1986 sessions. And to celebrate the occasion, Zazou Bikaye and Crammed Disc re-released album single “Nostalgie. Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated blocks of synths, thumping polyrhythm, call-and-response vocals, an ebullient, Branford Marsalis-like sax solo and an enormous, crowd pleasing hook, “Nostalgie” may strike some listeners as a sleek and mischievous synthesis of 80s Peter Gabriel synth pop, Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and Fela Kuti. But interestingly enough, it actually presages the wildly experimental dance pop coming out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — i.e. Kokoko! and Tshegue among a growing list of others.

Mr. Manager also featured a colorful album cover art and the recently released video for “Nostalgie” features animation by Sylvia Baldan that draws from the album’s artwork, which she originally designed.

New Video: Flamingods’ Kartik Poduval Returns with a Kaleidoscopic Visual for Summery Club Banger “Mañana Groove”

Karthik Poduval is a London-born, Indian-British DJ and producer, best known as a founding member of the acclaimed tropical psychedelic band Flamingods. Poduval’s latest solo project Mera Bhai, which derives its name from the affection Hindi greeting “my brother,” is informed by his own personal experiences: he’s spent time living in Italy, Albania, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Nigeria — and naturally that experience has seeped into his own globe-spanning, border-crossing, genre-defying take on dance music, which incorporates elements of Indian Carnatic, Arabic Rai, 70s disco, Acid House, Detroit techno and Tropicalia. “Having grown up all over the world, I was surrounded by a wealth of different sounds — i’m just trying to weave the cultural through line that I hear in music.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about Poduval’s Mera Bhai debut, a bootle remix of Ahmed Fakroun‘s “Jama El F’na,” which retained the shimming instrumentation of the original and Fakroun’s vocals but sped the tempo up quite a bit, to give the song a decided Tour de France-era Kraftwerk/Primal Scream/Kasabian-like feel to the proceedings: layers of synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap and industrial clang and clatter. Both the original and its remix are club bangers — but the remix manages to sound as though it could have been released in 1992, 2002, 2020 or 2032.

Poduval’s latest Mera Bhai single “Mañana Groove,” a summery club banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, hot hi hats, stuttering tweeter and woofer rocking beats and vocodered vocals within an expansive mind-bending song structure. Sonically, it’s one part Kraftwerk, one part Primal Scream and one part deep house. And its core is a carefree, let’s worry about it all tomorrow vibe, which feels so very appropriate right now. While continuing upon his growing reputation for synthesizing a wide variety of sounds, “Mañana Groove” is inspired by Todd Terje’s “Inspector Norse” and features a samples from Mr. Bongo Records reissue of Cissé Abdoulaye’s “A Son Magni.” “I wanted to take this tune that’s already in my DJ record bag to another dimension,” Poduval says. “It also gives a nod to one of my favourite anthems ‘Pacific State’ by 808 State, which frames summertime feels for me. 

“I wrote this track during a pretty tumultuous time of my life where I was grieving recently lost family members and coming to terms with fraught relationships,” Poudval recalls. “I escaped to India for a few months by myself and set up my studio there, and this was one of the first tracks that I wrote.”

Having started on the path to total sobriety, he continues: “I really needed to feel the carefreeness that comes with being in a club/festival environment and wanted to know that I wouldn’t be excluded from feeling that by being sober. I also felt the need to free myself from what I was going through and transmute my challenging experiences into something positive and happy, and that I could share.”

Adds Poduval, “it’s a sun-soaked anthem to blast out the windows as you cruise out of town. It’s a careless, ‘I’ll do it mañana’ answer to life’s responsibilities, a getaway tune, here to take us out of lockdown into sunnier times ahead.” 

Directed by Niall Trask, the recently released video for “Mañana Groove” is an appropriately kaleidoscopic and hallucinogenic VHS taped fever dream that follows a our protagonist as he plays a racing game and rocks out to an album on his record player. 

Mera Bhai’s debut EP Futureproofing is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through Moshi Moshi Records.