Tag: Lauren Laverne

New Video: Flamingods Release Trippy Visuals for Their Motorik Groove-Driven New Single “Marigold”

Growing up in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Kamal Rasool, the founding member of acclaimed multi-continental-based psych rock act Flamingods traveled widely and collected rate and unique instruments from Tanzania, the Amazon and elsewhere. When Rasool relocated to London to study music, he recruited a few friends from Bahrain and London to start a band, including the members of the band’s current lineup — Karthik Poduval, Sam Rowe and Charles Prest.  Interestingly, their first live show together was an attention-grabbing show at the 2010 ATP Festival, which quickly led to a national profile. 

Building upon a growing profile, the members of Flamingods quickly released two EPs, 2010’s Sun and 2011’s Away and 2013’s full-length debut Sun, a reimagining of the material off the EP of the same name that featured “Quesso,” a collaboration with Ponytail’s Dustin Wong on lead guitar. Around the time of the album’s release, the British government enacted new visa laws which forced Rasool to return to Bahrain after he finished school.  

Rasool moved to Dubai, where he worked for an independent magazine and coffee shop. Although the members of the band were on different continents and unable to play together, they continued to work on new material that eventually wound up becoming their critically applauded Hyperborea, an album that established a globe-spanning take on psychedelia that the band has dubbed “Exotic Psychedelia.” 

During the release of Hyperborea, Prest relocated to Dubai to work closely to Rasool. The band quickly began working on their third full-length album, 2016’s Majesty, an album that was largely inspired by the likes of Les Baxter, Tito Puente, Arthur Lyman and others. Although the album was received mixed reviews, it was championed by BBC Radio 6’s Gilles Peterson and Lauren Laverne, who both invited the band to record live sessions. With Rasool and Prest able to return to the UK, the band was able to extensively across the UK and the European Union to support the album, including sets at Green Man Festival, End of the Road Festival, and Fusion Festival. 

In February 2017, the band signed with Moshi Moshi Records, who released that year’s Kewali EP and the band toured to support the album, making their SXSW debut. The band also released a remix album of Majesty that featured remixes of album material by Ibibio Sound Machine, Meridian Brothers and Oasis’ Andy Bell. Additionally. the band released a Dan Carey-produced live version of “Hyperborea.” 

The acclaimed act’s fourth, full-length album Levitation is slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Moshi Moshi Records, and interestingly, the album is largely inspired by the disco, funk and psychedelic sounds out of the Middle East and South Asia in the ’70s but channeled through mysticism, positivity and sun-drenched imagery. Interestingly, the album’s recording sessions found the band living and working in the same continent for the first time in about four years — and as a result, the album’s material has a unified feel. Levitation’s first single “Marigold” is a trippy and sunny bit of psych rock centered around a motorik groove, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and while delivered with a self-assured swagger, the song sonically reminds me of Evil Heat-era Primal Scream. 

Directed by Barbu.TV, the recently released video was shot during a trip the band made to Oman — in particular, the remote city of Nizwa, known for a gang of vintage motorbike riding youths — and the trip involved hazardous border crossing, self-made ornate, denim jackets. Additionally the video features some innovative camerawork and some appropriately hypnotic animation. As the band’s Kamal Rasool says of the video, “We had heard about this gang of motorbike riding youths through our friend [photographer] Ali Al Sharji and knew immediately that we wanted to make a music video with them. They live in a remote city in Oman called Nizwa and have had these vintage bikes passed down from generation to generation. The police aren’t so fond of them but they are some of the nicest guys we’ve ever met.  We joined them riding through the city and had a proper road trip along the way with the Barbu. TV guys, exploring through deserts, mountains, skate parks, palm groves and old monuments. I think the motion of them riding the bikes melded with the motorik groove of the song perfectly and the sun-soaked environment was just what we needed to capture the song’s themes”

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New Audio: Introducing the Synth-Led Funk of Sydney’s Winston Surfshirt

With the release of their full-length debut Sponge Cake, which featured their recently gold-certified debut single “Be About You,” the Sydney, Australia-based sextet Winston Surfshirt was championed by Beats 1 Radio host Zane Lowe, KRCW’s Jason Bentley, BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart, BBC Radio 6’s Lauren Laverne and Elton John, thanks in part to a Australian sextet’s unique and slickly produced blend of synth funk, soul and hip-hop. Adding to a growing profile, Sponge Cake was named a Triple J feature album. 

Building upon a growing national and international profile, the up-and-coming Sydney-based act end 2018 with a new track, the chilled out yet swaggering funky synth-led “For The Record,” which pairs a sleek hip hop-tinged production of thumping beats, arpeggiated synths, crooning horns and neo-soul like vocals. Sonically, the song brings a number of different artists — Thundercat, Timbaland and Dam-Funk immediately come to mind. “‘For The Record’ is a song written for anyone from the perspective of their loved ones, family or friends,” the members of the band explain in press notes. “When you’re feeling down there’s always people who love you and would do anything to make you feel better and be there when you’re in a bad headspace.”

Liam Brown, an up-and-coming, Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as pizzagirl has become one of this site’s latest mainstays over the couple of months. Now, as you may recall, with the release of the An Extended Play EP earlier this year, Brown was quickly championed by Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.

With the release of singles like “highschool,” “gymnasium,” “body part,” off Brown’s soon-to-be released sophomore pizzagirl EP season 2, the Liverpool-based artist further cements a growing national and international reputation for crafting swooningly heartfelt, shimmering synth pop that draws from several decades simultaneously, giving it a decidedly anachronistic sound and feel. “blossom at my feet, flower,” season 2‘s latest single is a classic 80s-inspired power ballad, centered around thumping beats, shimmering synths, chiming guitars, and an anthemic hook. Unsurprisingly, Brown’s latest continues a run of cinematic singles — but unlike its predecessors, it’s the most prom-like, evoking teenaged hopes, desires and dreams with a novelistic detail to psychology and the psychological state of his narrators.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Liam Brown, an up-and-coming Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl. Now, as you may recall, with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was quickly championed by Huw StephensAnnie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIYHighsnobietyWonderlandThe Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.

Building upon a growing profile and growing buzz, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl EP season 2 is slated for a November 2 release, and from the EP’s first two singles “highschool” and “gymnasium,”  Brown will further cement a reputation for crafting swooningly heartfelt, shimmering synth pop that draws from several decades simultaneously; in fact, both singles brought the likes of Washed OutSt. Lucia and Tears for Fears to mind. “body part,” the EP’s latest single while clearly bearing an uncanny resemblance to its predecessor, the song finds Brown successfully walking a difficult tightrope of an oversized, larger-than-life cinematic feel with an emotional intimacy that continues to evoke the very  urgent emotions and thoughts of being a teenager in love.

 

Now, over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo and JOVM mainstays Palace Winter, and the act, which features Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Caspar Hesselager can trace its origins to Coleman and Hesselager’s mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work in a number of different projects — and naturally, the duo were encouraged to collaborate together. 2015 saw the release of their debut single, but 2016 the duo saw critical praise from The Guardian, NME, The Line of Best Fit, and airplay from KCRWKEXPNorway’s P3, Denmark’s P6, as well as by BBC Radio personalities Guy Garvey, Lauren Laverne and Tom Ravenscroft with the release of the Medication EP and their full-length debut Waiting for the World to Turn.  Adding to a growing international profile, Coleman and Hesselager 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 FestivalRoskilde FestivalGreen Man FestivalSziget FestivalLatitude Festival and Secret Garden Party among others.

Nowadays, the Australian-Danish duo’s sophomore album was released earlier this year and from album singles “Empire,”  “Come Back (Left Behind),” “Baltimore,” and “Take Shelter,” their sophomore album reveals an act that has managed to expand upon their sound and songwriting approach in a subtle yet decided fashion as the material is centered around Coleman and Hasselager’s penchant for pairing at times breezy, melodic and downright radio friendly pop with dark and sobering thematic concerns — with Nowadays, their material focuses on the inevitable loss of innocence as one truly becomes an adult; the recognition of the fear, freedom and power that comes as one takes control of their life and destiny; the tough and sometimes embittering life lessons that get thrown in your way; as well as the inconsolable grief and confusion of loss. Interestingly, the Australian-Danish duo’s latest single “Acting Like Lovers” may arguably be one of the upbeat songs on the album as its centered by a production that manages to be simultaneously cinematic and intimate as it features strummed acoustic guitar, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a motorik-like groove and their uncanny ability to craft breezy, 70s AM rock-like melodies. The song hints at a sense of closure — but with the subtle recognition that in life there is no such thing as closure, that life inevitably shoves you forward while you make every attempt to pick up the pieces and have some semblance of normalcy.

The single features two covers — the duo’s breezy, Junip-like take on Elliott Smith’s “Christian Brothers,” that feels like a subtle departure from the original, and one of my favorite songs by The Cars, “Drive,'” which manages to maintain the song’s moody and contemplative air. As the duo’s Caspar Hesselager explains, Elliott is someone who has influenced both me and Carl profoundly, and for me personally (growing up mostly with classical music and jazz) he became the guy that got me into listening to songwriters. We’ve often jammed his songs in the studio for fun and our cover of his song ‘Christian Brothers’ has been a favourite encore of ours on many shows. It’s from his second album ‘Elliott Smith’ which along with the debut album is him at his most lo-fi and raw. It’s almost ‘anti-produced’ but as always you can’t keep those songs from burning right through all of that.” The duo’s Carl Coleman elaborates on their cover of The Cars’ “Drive,” “This was a song that always followed me around growing up in the 80s and 90s. I’m a sucker for sad pop songs. I’ve just always been attracted to melancholy stuff and this song has it all. All that drama and mystery plus a beautiful simple melody. Hell, we couldn’t help but have a crack at it.”

 

 

 

 

Earlier this month, I wrote about Liam Brown, an up-and-coming Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl, and with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was championed by the likes of Huw StephensAnnie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIYHighsnobietyWonderlandThe Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding him, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl effort season 2 is slated for a November release, and as you may recall EP single “highschool” was an achingly wistful and pensive synth pop track centered around arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and a sinuous hook that immediately brought Washed OutSt. Lucia and classic 80s synth pop to mind. “gymnasium,” season 2‘s latest single continues on a similar vein — swooningly heartfelt and oversized teenaged sentiment paired with a breezy yet decidedly DIY production featuring twinkling keys, thumping beats, Brown’s plaintive vocals, a Tears for Fears-like bridge and incredibly infectious hooks. Just as important, Brown manages to accurately capture and evoke what it feels like to be a high schooler and desperately in love.

 

 

Theodore is a critically applauded, Athens, Greece-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and composer, whose schooling in piano and traditional Greek folk music eventually led to a professional music career in London, where he studied Music Composition in 2011. As a composer and singer/songwriter, Theodore meshes classical compositions and arrangements with subtle electronic production and rock instrumentation to create a sound that’s atmospheric, cinematic that nods at psych rock, prog rock and experimental rock — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist cites Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Manos Hadjidakis, Vangelis Papathanasiou, Nils Frahm, The National, Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter as being major influences on his work and sound. “I like a composer or a band because when I listen to the music or attend a concert I am just getting lost in the atmosphere,” Theodore explains in press notes. “I understand that orchestral music is something that I am really into and I will try to test my self in the future.”

Theodore has written compositions for Matina Megla’s Window, Vladan Nikolic’s film Bourek and he was commissioned to write a new, live score for Buster Keaton’s classic, 1928 silent comedy The Cameraman, which he and his band performed during  a screening at the Temple of Zeus. But interestingly enough, his sophomore album It Is But It’s Not, which was performed live at London’s Abbey Road Studio 2 has been his breakthrough effort as the accompanying performance video has amassed more than 2 million YouTube views — and as a result, the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has played sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Reeperhbahn Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag, Release Festival and SXSW. Adding to a growing profile, he has opened for Sigur Ros and DIIV, and has received praise from a number of major media outlets, including Clash Magazine, Music WeekTsugi, FGUK, Gaffa and Szene, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne. Oh, and I must add that “Towards (for what is to come)” is currently playlisted on NPR’s All Songs 24/7 and Germany’s Flux Passport Approved.

Theodore’s third, full-length album Inner Dynamics is slated for a November 2, 2018 release and the album finds him thematically looking inward to examine the dichotomies (and dualities) of his identity in order to seek new creative potential. “On It Is But It’s Not, I tried to explore how the opposite elements in the universe interact, how they fight and how without the one you can’t have the other.” Theodore says, adding, “For Inner Dynamics, I was trying to express my urge to connect the conscious and subconscious part of myself so I can be creative. It’s an understanding that humans are not just one thing, and they shouldn’t try to hide certain elements of their personality because society likes to put labels of who we are. It’s the different sides of my self that makes who I am.” Inner Dynamics‘ third and latest single “Disorientation” clocks in at a little over 6 minutes, and it finds Theodore’s sound nodding at dramatic film scores, Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like atmospherics, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Rush-like prog rock expansiveness, centered around Theodore’s yearning vocals and slick production.

 

Liam Brown is an up-and-coming, Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl — and with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was championed by the likes of Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.

Building upon a growing profile, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl effort season 2 is slated for a November release, and the EP’s latest single “highschool,” will further cement Brown’s reputation for crafting achingly wistful and pensive, synth pop centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and sinuous hooks — while recalling Washed Out, St. Lucia and classic 80s synth pop, complete with enormous, painfully sincere teenaged sentiment, as the song’s narrator is worried about losing his cool over someone he digs immensely.

 

 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Palace Winter Return with an Enormous Yet Intimate Ballad on Mortality

Over the couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo and JOVM mainstays Palace Winter, and the which is comprised of Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born, Copenhagen-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager can trace its origins to the Coleman and Hesselager’s mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work in a number of different projects, which eventually encouraged the duo to begin collaborating together. And while 2015 saw the release of their debut single, 2016 was a breakthrough year as their  EP Medication and their full-length debut Waiting for the World to Turn were released to critical praise from the likes of 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 international profile, Coleman and Hesselager released their sophomore album together Nowadays earlier this year, and singles “Empire,”  “Come Back (Left Behind)” and “Baltimore,” the album reveals that the act has subtly expanded upon their sound and songwriting approach with Coleman and Hasselager pairing breezy, melodic and radio friendly pop with darker thematic concerns — in particular, the loss of innocence as one becomes an adult, with tough and often sobering life lessons; the recognition of the fear, the freedom and the power that comes as one takes control of their life and destiny. But along with that the material focuses on the grief of loss — after all, life is ultimately about accepting immense, inconsolable loss and somehow figuring out how to move forward, even if its fits and starts; and the confusing push and pull between love and lust and the resulting remorse, anxiety, and bitterness. 

“Take Shelter,” Nowadays’ latest single is centered by a dramatic and enormous piano riff, shimmering synths and a soaring hook — and interestingly, the song manages to accurately capture the dichotomy of intimately felt emotions and thoughts inspired by the enormity of life-altering situations; in fact, the song is a ballad about death and grief, and the emotional and mental shelters we make for ourselves as a way to cope with inconsolable loss. As the duo’s Carl Coleman says of the song  “It started with that beat and Caspar’s piano riff which felt kinda urban and like a place we hadn’t really explored yet. Then that droney vocal melody just kinda popped straight into my head. I felt the urgency immediately and knew it was a keeper. Some songs are like pulling teeth but this one was like a light-bulb moment.”

Coleman and Hasslelager, along with touring members Jacob Haubjerg (guitar) and Jens Bach Laursen (drums) went to The Village Recording to film an extensive life session of the entire band performing material off the album, and this version of “Take Shelter” is from that session — and each video has revealed that Coleman and Hasslelager have written earnest, swooning and heartfelt material that’s enormous yet intimate, and crafted in a way that brings 70s AM rock to mind.  

With the release of “Superego,” which received nearly 3 million streams on Spotify, the Vienna, Austria-based indie electro pop duo Leyya, quickly emerged into both the national and international scenes. Adding to a growing profile, the duo comprised of Sophie Lindinger and Marco Kleebauer played sets across the European Union’s festival circuit. including The Great EscapeLiverpool Sound CityTallinn Music WeekPrimavera SoundReeperbahn FestivalIceland Airwaves and a headlining set at Popfest. Along with that the duo have received airplay on Huw Stephens‘ and Phil Taggart‘s BBC Radio 1 shows and Lauren Laverne‘s BBC Radio 6 show, been playlisted on Germany’s Radio 1, as well as praise from Pigeons and PlanesWonderland MagazineClash MagazineKonbiniThe 405 and Consequence of Sound among others.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’d know that the duo’s sophomore effort Sauna was released earlier this year, and from album single “Drumsolo,” the duo further cemented a growing reputation for crafting ambient and moody electro pop while expanding upon their sound with elements of hip-hop, R&B and jazz in a way that reminded me of Flourish//Perish-era BRAIDS and Clearing-era Softspot but with a coquettish and swaggering self-assuredness. Interestingly, “Wannabe,” is a standalone single, released as a follow up to their critically applauded sophomore effort and the track is a breezy and summery track that finds the duo’s sound nodding at JOVM mainstays Sylvan Esso, as Lindinger’s coquettish and ethereal vocals float over a slick production consisting of layers of stuttering and staccato beats, bubbling synths, gently swirling electronics and an anthemic hook. Lyrically, the song manages to walk a tightrope between spirited animation and deep introspection, which gives the danceable song a palpable yet subtle emotional heft.

As the duo says of the single, “After releasing our second album Sauna we tried to avoid the post-release-down with being creative and writing new music straight away. The song is circling around a problem almost everyone can relate to: Wanting to be like somebody else. Ironically – we find – its often also the other way around.“