Tag: London UK

Emma Topolski is a London-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist, who’s best known as a member of Laura Marling‘s backing band, a band that’s collaborated with HAIM, Dolly Parton and Marika Hackman, for playing keys and singing background vocals for renowned British emcee Ghostpoet, and as a member of British indie rock Childcare; however, she’s also begun to receive attention with her solo recording project Saint Clair — and with her latest single “Human Touch,” off her forthcoming Ben Raffertie co-produced EP D2, Topolski has begun to cement a growing reputation for crafting slow-burning, sinuous and soulful electro pop with boom bap drum programming and arpeggio synths paired with earnest, thoughtful lyrics conveying the awkward push and pull when suddenly encountering an old flame in a random fashion.

As Topolski explains in press notes, her latest song is inspired by a real-life, personal experience, “‘Human Touch’ is a straight-up break-up anthem. I was in emotional limbo when an ex suddenly appeared at the back of a venue I was playing at, and it completely off-guard. The song is an exploration of that push and pull between resisting the past and moving on for good.”

 

 

New Video: Mount Kimble’s Playful Visuals and New Single Pushes Their Attention-Grabbing Sound in Trippy New Directions

Comprised of Kai Campos and Dominic Maker, the London and Los Angeles-based production and electronic music artist duo Mount Kimbie can trace their origins to when the. St. Austell, Cornwall-born Campos and the Brighton-born Maker met while studying at London Southbank University, where Campos was having another go at school and Maker was studying film.  And with 2009’s Maybes EP and Sketch on Glass EP, and their  2010’s full-length debut Crooks & Lovers, the duo quickly rose to national attention for pushing dubstep into new, exciting directions, including using field recordings to form major elements of their material paired with glitchy synths and electronics, as well as elements of post-punk and other genres — with some critics hailing them as the pioneers of post-dubstep. Unsurprisingly, Crooks & Lovers appeared on over 30 different “Best of 2010” lists, including NME, Mixmag, Resident Advisor, Pitchfork and Drowned in Sound — and along with that NME listed them at number 22 of their 30 Artists for 2011. Adding to a growing profile, the duo have frequently collaborated with James Blake, King Krule and Micachu and have remixed the The Big Pink, Foals, The xx and Andreya Triana among others.
 
By 2012, the band signed with renowned electronic label, Warp Records, who released their critically applauded breakthrough album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth the following year and their third album Love What Survives, which was released earlier this year. Interestingly, their latest album marks two different and important milestones for the duo — their first studio album in four years and the first album with the duo as a Transatlantic duo with one member in London, the other in Los Angeles. The album’s latest single “You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure),” feat. Andrea Balency finds the duo pushing their sound in completely new directions — in this case, nodding at breezy surf pop, psych pop and industrial electronica while retaining the glitchy synths and boom bap beats that first caught the attention of the blogosphere while pairing that with Balency’s coquettish and ethereal vocals. And while seemingly self-assured, the song bristles with the narrator’s awareness of their insecurities and faults. 

Directed by Rosie Marks and Frank Lebon, the recently released video is set in Miami and focuses on (and even emphasizes) the insecurities one has while in a new place — especially when you’re someone from far away, trying to figure out what the hell is going on and how you fit in. 

Although, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them, if you had been frequenting this site throughout the course of 2014-2015, you would’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the JOVM mainstays and electro pop duo  Du Tonc. And as you may recall, the duo comprised of for his work as the bassist, guitarist and founding member of the Sydney, Australia-based band Van She, and renowned, London UK-based producer, remixer, DJ and electronic music artist Mighty Mouse have released a number of attention grabbing singles since the release of their debut single “Darkness” back in 2013.

The duo recently announced that they recently finished writing their long-awaited and highly-anticipated full-length debut, and on the heels of that announcement, the duo released their latest single “High,” a single which features Van Schie’s ethereal vocals floating over a icy yet cosmic production featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a soaring hook — but additionally, the song features some additional vocals from I Know Leopard‘s Jenny McCullagh. And while nodding at psych pop and dream pop, the single retains the dance floor friendly vibe of their previously released work, complete with an effortless yet hyper modern production sheen.

 

 

Martin Morales is a Peruvian-born, British-based, DJ, record collector, audiophile and pioneer of Peruvian food in the UK and was recently named GQ‘S Food and Drinks 2017 Innovator of the Year — but he’s also known as the co-founder of renowned world music label Tiger’s Milk Records. And although he’s spent half of his life in the UK, Morales in recent years has frequently returned to his birthplace — and in particular, the Andes — in search of recipes, records, sounds and inspiration for a variety of projects under the umbrella of his London-based company Ceviche. Morales, along with Tiger’s Milk co-founder Duncan Ballantyne, former Soundway Records label manager, and Peruvian DJ and crate digger Andres Tapia del Rio teamed up to create a series of compilations featuring the sounds of the Amazon and Andres, starting with the ANDINA: The Sound of the Peruvian Andes — Huayno, Carnaval and Cumbia 1968-1978. 

The compilation is meant to offer a fresh perspective on Peru’s multifaceted heritage, brining to light the divergent, exciting traditions that have emerged from Peru’s strip of the Andes Mountains, including cumbia, folkloric harp, Lima-based big band jazz that was influenced by their highland countrymen and so on; however, the compilation was never intended to be a definitive or complete overview of Andean music. Besides focusing on a particular period of music, 1968-1978, the compilation is selection of what they think are the most exciting insights into Andean musical culture, with the debut release of many tracks outside of Peru since their original release on Peruvian labels like Iempsa, Sono Radio and El Virrey — but perhaps more important, the sound most represented is a cumbia where groups imbued a tropical, Colombian style with Andean folk rhythms and rock-like electric guitars, the number of traditional folk numbers recorded and released during that era and of course, carnaval music; in fact, some of the featured bands took touchstones on much-loved music criolla — black music from the coast — but filtered through cumbia, and others employ Afro-Peruvian sounds. Or in other words, the Andean sound draws influences from the musical and culture legacies of indigenous Latin America and the African diaspora. The album’s first single Los Compadores Del Andes’ “La Mecedora” pairs is a cumbia featuring a tight, African Diaspora-influenced, percussive groove with a breezy, organ-led tropicalia, and bright blasts of brass, but perhaps most important, the song reveals a deep truth about the sounds of Peru and its Andean regions — that it’s arguably one of the most unique yet dance floor friendly of the entire region, while giving you a view into the sounds that were popular during the late 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of his 2015 full-length debut Elaenia, London-based composer, producer and keyboardist Sam Shepherd and his solo recording project Floating Points quickly rose to international acclaim for a sound that effortlessly meshed 70s jazz fusion, free jazz and glitchy electronica in a way that simultaneously nodded at Return to Forever‘s Romantic Warrior and Bonobo’The North Borders. Shepherd followed that with the expansive, mind-altering yet accessible Kupier, featuring singles “Argente” and “Kupier,” which he performed live at KEXP last year.

Continuing a rather prolific period, Shepherd followed the release of Kupier with Reflections — Mojave Desert, a short film and soundtrack featuring a series of tracks recorded in (and inspired by) the Mojave Desert. His latest single is the sprawling, “Ratio,” a track that he’s developed  and refined as part of his solo, live electronic set at festivals he’s played around the world — and the end result is a slow-burning house music-inspired track that clocks in at a little under 19 minutes and features a production centered around glitchy and stuttering beats, pulsating synths and ethereal synths. And while arguably being one of his most patient compositions/productions, Shepherd’s latest effort reveals a patient, almost painterly quality as sounds are thoughtfully and gently layered upon one another.

The full track was officially released on all digital platforms and is also available on vinyl as a deconstructed mix with the A side featuring the track in two parts — the first nine minutes being identical to the digital version, followed solely by the organ section of the second half. The B side in contract will feature the beats, drum and baseline of the second half of the track in isolation. Releasing the track in such a fashion was deliberately done so that DJs could create their own mixes by bringing the song’s different elements together in whatever way fit their own style.

 

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With the release of two early demos “Take It Easy” and “Maybe Next Year,” the Brighton, UK/London, UK/York, UK-based indie rock trio  Johnny Kills, comprised of siblings Tim (guitar, vocals) and Lewis Lloyd Kimmings (bass, keys, vocals), and their best friend and Cameron Gipp (guitar, vocals), quickly received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that draws from surf rock, garage rock and Brit pop. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the summer or the rest of the blogosphere, you’d likely know that the past few months have been incredibly busy for the band as they’ve released their official debut “Let’s Talk About Me,” and two follow-up singles “My Shirt Guy Is High” and “End Game” with drummer Fin S. Woolfson, and each of those singles have managed to cement the up-and-coming trio’s reputation for crafting anthemic, guitar-led pop that focus on the cluelessness, anxieties and uncertainties of being in your early 20s and trying to maneuver — well, everything.

“Not So Bad,” continues in a similar vein as its predecessors as it’s an anthemic power chord driven song delivered with an ironic, self-awareness of one’s own futility and ridiculousness. This shouldn’t be surprising as the band’s Tim Kimmings explains in press notes, ‘Not So Bad’ is about ridiculous conversations you have with your friends at the end of a drunken night. Putting the world to rights, arguing about dumb things, “genuine” epiphanies or just chatting shit. Safe in the knowledge that nothing will have changed in the morning”

 

New Audio: Exploded View Return with a Fatalistic Ode to the Environment

Initially spending the early part of her professional career as a political journalist, who split her time between Berlin and Bristol, UK, Annika Henderson, best known as Anika can trace the origins of her musical career to a particular moment —  when she was introduced to Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. As the story goes, at the time, Barrow was looking for a vocalist, who would be willing to work with his band Beak> for what he envisioned as a side project. Reportedly, when Barrow and Henderson first met, they immediately bonded over a mutual love of punk, dub and 60s girls group. And within a week of their meeting, Barrow, Henderson and the members of Beak> went into the studio to record the material which would eventually comprise Henderson’s 2010 self-titled full-length debut.

2013 saw the release of Henderson’s self-titled EP, a collection of covers and remixes that included one of my favorite songs off the set, Henderson’s cover of Chromatics’ “In the City,” which paired Henderson’s icy delivery with a Portishead and The Velvet Underground and Nico-inspired production. Last year, Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records, released an icily foreboding, dub-inspired cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” by the mysterious Invada All Stars featuring Anika on vocals as part of the  Stop Trident National anti-nukes demonstration in London.

Since then, Henderson has been busy with her most current musical project, Exploded View is collaborative side project fronted by the renowned vocalist and featuring a group of Mexico City-based producers including Martin Thulin, known for his work with JOVM mainstays Crocodiles; Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo — and the project’s sound finds Henderson and company moving away from the krautrock-inspired sound of her solo work, and towards a seemingly fuzzily atmospheric and baroque-like psych pop.  After completing the material that would comprise the band’s self-titled debut album, the members of the band decided to return to the studio and record some more, with the result being the Summer Came Early EP. Comprised of some outtakes from the self-titled album, along with some new material, their follow-up EP reportedly finds the band crafting sons that carefully walk a tightrope between clarity and focus and a messy, free-flowing experimentalism that comes from improvisation.

Interestingly, EP title track “Summer Came Early” may arguably be one of the most delicate and bitterly wistful songs that the band has released to date — while thematically, the song is written as a post-permanent climate change ode to how the environment once was, with the caveat that no one questioned anything and no one did anything besides lazily sat down and gave up. And when the proverbial shit hit the fan, the only action that was left  was to point fingers at someone else. It’s a bit reminiscent of the famous T.S. Eliot poem isn’t it?

Directed by William Markarian-Martin is an eerily psychedelic vision of the hellish and permanent damage that humanity has done to the environment, and while wistful it possesses an eerie fatalism and acceptance.

 

New Video: The Surreal and Noir-ish Visuals for JOVM Mainstay Fufanu’s Latest Single “White Pebbles”

Over the course of this site’s 7 year history, I’ve been proud to champion an increasingly diverse batch of artists across the globe, writing and perform across a widely eclectic array of genres, sub-genres and styles. And as you may recall, earlier this year, I’ve written a quite a bit about Reykjavik, Iceland-based indie rock/post-punk trio Fufanu. Currently comprised of founding members Kaktus Einarsson (vocals, guitar), whose father Einar was a member of The Sugarcaubes and Guðlaugur “Gulli” Einarsson (guitar, programming) (no relation, by the way) along with newest member, Erling Bang (drums) the up-and-coming Icelandic band can trace their origins to when the band’s founding members met while at school. According to the band’s founding duo, Katkus had glanced at Gulli’s iTunes and noticed that they had listened to a lot of the same techno and electronic music. After quickly bonding over mutual interests, the duo went into a studio and began writing and recording electronic music under the name Captain Fufanu. And within a month of their formation, Kaktus Einarsson and Gulli Einarsson had started playing shows in and around Reykjavik.

Building upon a growing local and national profile, the duo went into the studio to record what would be their full-length debut as Captain Fufanu; but in a strange twist of fate, the studio where Kaktus Einarsson and Gulli Einarsson had recorded the album was burgled. And as a result, the album was presumed stolen and lost — forever. While many bands would be devastated by losing their work in such a fashion, the band’s founding duo decided that it was the perfect time to reinvent their sound and themselves, as they were beginning to develop a growing technical and musical prowess. Coincidentally, around the time that this was happening, Kaktus Einarsson was in London working on Damon Albarn’s Everyday Robots and touring with the late and legendary Bobby Womack when he began writing lyrics. Simultaneously Gulli had started to create a craft a completely revised sound, which according to Kaktus managed to convey exactly what he had been thinking and feeling. They then paired Kaktus’ brooding and ironically detached vocals with live instrumentation — guitars and drums — and electronics, and with their new sound, renamed themselves Fufanu.

Fufanu’s first live set with their new sound and material was at 2014’s Iceland Airwaves and they quickly became one of the most talked about bands of the entire festival. Almost immediately after the festival, the duo went into the studio to record their full-length debut A Few More Days To Go. And with the release of their debut effort, the then-duo saw a rapidly growing national and international profile as they toured with The Vaccines and others, and they played some of Northern Europe and Scandinavia’s largest festivals, including the aforementioned Iceland Airwaves, JaJaJa Festival and others.

Released earlier this year, the band’s sophomore album Sports finds the band going through some significant changes — Kaktus and Gulli recruited Erling “Elli” Bang (drums) to further flesh their sound out, with the newly constituted trio refining their material’s sound and thematic concerns, represented through album title track  “Sports,” which retains the synth-driven sound of their debut while nodding at the likes of Can, Neu!  Joy Division and early ’80s Peter Gabriel, and the slow-burning and moody  “Liability.” Sports’ third and latest single “White Pebbles” continues in a similar vein of its immediate predecessor as it’s a slow-burning, moody and enigmatic track featuring angular bass and guitar chords and ominously swirling electronics, all of which evoke a late night, meditative sense of regret over the embittering, confusing and downright heartbreaking events of one’s life; after all, as the band explained to Billboard, the song is about “looking back in time, and understanding all the little things you didn’t get back then, but are so obvious today.” 

Directed by the Snorri Brothers, the recently released video for “White Pebbles” features the members of Fufanu as a trio of existentially bored policemen, who drive around in a badass car with no particular purpose — until they go on a rather chilled-out, nonchalant police chase, with the members of the band seeming much more fascinated by the entire thing; but the women they chase always manages to be just ahead of them and out of reach.

Reportedly, the video required an unusual amount of preparation, including extensive research for a muscle car in a Reykjavik suburb and a back-alley meeting with a local, police detective to acquire the uniforms but it adds a strange sense of realism to a surrealistic video shot in a noir-ish fashion. “On the actual day of shooting, driving around in this bad ass Mustang in a complete police outfit, getting people really confused and then having a stare-off against one of Iceland’s leading public figures of the commercial culture made everything make so much sense and felt so right,” the band explains.