Tag: Los Angeles CA

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Black Pumas Perform “Colors” on “The Ellen Show”

Throughout the course of last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act, Black Pumas. The act which is led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and guitarist Adrian Quesada and 27 year old singer/songwriter Eric Burton can trace its origins to when Burton, a popular street performer in his native Los Angeles busked his way across country to Austin, where he met Quesada.

Last year, the Austin-based JOVM mainstays released their critically applauded, commercially successful, full-length debut, and since its release, album single “Colors” saw breakthrough success when a live version of the song managed to amass over 4 million YouTube views — with the song at one point being one of the most added songs to Adult Album Alternative (AAA) Radio. That shouldn’t be surprising:  “Colors” is a decidedly old-school singer/songwriter soul track centered around a looping 12 bar blues guitar line, twinkling Rhodes, some gospel-like backing vocals and Burton’s incredibly soulful and expressive vocals, which manage to express hurt, yearning, pride and awe simultaneously. As Burton, Quesada and company explained to The Fader by email, “‘Colors’ was written while the sun was going down on a rooftop in New Mexico. Finding inspiration in the multicolored hues of the night sky. The song is a message of togetherness, but there’s awareness of mortality mixed in . . .”

The band has developed a reputation for a a relentless tour schedule that has brought their incredible live show across North America and the European Union. Last year  alone, the band made three separate stops in New York: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, during that same period of time the band has made begun to make the rounds across the nationally televised talk show circuit, playing  Jimmy Kimmel Live. 

The members of Black Pumas have continued on the massive momentum of last year with an extensive bit of touring that started off last night. Their tour finds them bouncing back and forth between North America, the UK and the European Union and it includes an October 22, 2020 stop at Brooklyn Steel. Feel free to check out the tour dates below, and if they’re stopping at a venue near you, get a couple of tickets and bring a friend. But in the meantime, the band played “Colors,” which is quickly becoming their signature song on The Ellen Show. 

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Last year, I wrote a bit about the rapidly rising Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, Luna Shadows.  The Los Angeles-based pop artist began her career as a touring member of the acclaimed New Zealand-based synth pop act The Naked and Famous— but Shadows went solo, because she felt she had a voice that demanded to be heard on its own terms.

Since leaving The Naked and famous, Luna Shadows has developed a reputation for a staunchly DIY approach frequently writing, performing, producing, engineering and editing every single note of her work — and for crafting sultry, melancholy pop that Billboard has called “. . . refreshingly soulful and haunting .  .  . ,” and compared by some critics as Lana Del Rey taking Lorde to the beach. Adding to a growing national profile, the Los Angeles-based artist’s work  has amassed well over 35 million Spotify streams with tracks landing on tastemaker playlists like New Music Friday, Indie Pop, Weekend Beats and Weekly Buzz and landing as high as #7 on the US Charts and #18 on the Global Viral Charts.  She’s also received airplay on a number of radio stations  globally including KROQ, BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1 — all without the support of a label.

Last year saw Luna Shadow begin an ongoing collaboration with Now Now‘s Brad Hale and The Naked and Famous‘ Thom Powers to help shoulder the production and editing load — and she signed to +1 Records, who released three attention grabbing attention: “lowercase,” a track imbued with the bitterness, heartache and confusion of a dysfunctional relationship full of power plays, recriminations and accusations paired with a sleek and hyper-modern, trap-leaning production, “god.drugs.u” which continued in a similar vein as “lowercase” while possessing a plaintive and unfulfilled yearning and lastly. “practice,” a rumination on love and loss featuring Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back“-like synth arpeggios and Shadow’s plaintive vocals.

Shadows begins 2020 building up to the release of her highly-anticipated sophomore album with the release of her latest single “millennia,” which was cowritten with Chelsea Jade and continues her ongoing collaboration with Brady Hale and Thomas Powers. Centered around a pulsating and thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays achingly plaintive vocals, the track seethes with an irritable frustration, as it captures a narrator who’s worn out by the passive aggression and mixed messages of a love interest. She’s tired of being left in the dark and being confused as to what’s going on, and as a result the song captures a particular sensation that’s familiar to all of us: being left in the dark by someone we care about.

Shadows elaborates, “”millennia’ is essentially about different styles of dispute and communication. There are some people who prefer to confront things right away and talk until resolution is reached; conversely, there are others who run in the opposite direction and avoid confrontation all together. I personally find that the silent treatment tends to be more painful than confrontation.”

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Greg Dulli Pays Homage to Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” in Cinematically Shot Visual for “Pantomina”

Best known as the founding member, frontman and creative mastermind behind JOVM mainstays The Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers, Greg Dulli has a well-established reputation as a poet laureate of the bizarre whims and cruel tangents of desire and all things dark and brooding.

Although Dulli has been involved in a number of projects during his 30+ year recording career, his first solo full-length album under his own name Random Desire is slated for a February 21, 2020 release through Royal Cream/BMG. Random Desire can trace its origins to the aftermath of The Afghan Whigs’ most recent album, 2017’s critically applauded In Spades: Patrick Keeler was about to take a short sabbatical from the band to record and tour with his other band, The Raconteurs. Dulli’s longtime collaborator and bandmate John Curley went back to school. And the band’s longtime guitarist Dave Rosser tragically died after a battle with colon cancer.

So Dulli returned to his teenaged bedroom roots, finding inspiration through the model of legendary, one-man, multi-instrumentalist band visionaries like Prince and Todd Rundgren with the Hamilton, OH-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter writing and playing almost every part of the album — from piano and bass lines to drums. Much like he’s always done throughout his career, the music came first and the lyrics completed later. Written and recorded in several different locations including Dulli’s Silver Lake home; Crestline, CA, in the mountains above San Bernardino; and New Orleans — with the bulk of the album being done at Christopher Thorne’s Joshua Tree, CA-based studio.  While Dulli handled most of the album’s instrumental duties, he managed to collaborate with an all-star cast of musicians including his Afghan Whigs bandmates Jon Skibic (guitar) and multi-instrumentalist Rick G. Nelson, his Twilight Singers bandmate Mathias Schneeberger, Dr. Stephen Patt (pedal steel and upright bass) and Queens of the Stone Age‘s and The Mars Volta‘s Jon Theodore (drums).

“Pantomina,” Random Desire‘s swaggering and self-assured first single is centered around layers of buzzing power chords, a handclap-led hook and lyrics that alternate between sardonic, desperately lonely, and triumphant — often within a turn of a phrase.  Much like his acclaimed work with The Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers, the new single delves into the psyche and emotions of a deeply fucked up, dysfunctional narrator with fucked up, dysfunctional relationships — but there’s also a hard fought, world-weary wisdom at its core.

Directed by longtime Afghan Whigs visual collaborator Philip Harder, who stars as Bob Fosse, along with dancers, Paula Vasquez Alzate, Desare Cox, Elayana Waxse, Maggie Zepp, LaTanya Cannaday, Karen Yang, Mia Bird and Reyona Elkins, the recently released and gorgeously shot video for “Pantomina” captures the life behind-the-scenes and on-stage with an intimacy and familiarity of  performer, before going to the frenetically shot performance and the collapse, then death of its hard-living, harder working choreographer protagonist. As Greg Dulli says in press notes. the video “is a homage to the movie All That Jazz. ‘Pantomina’ feels like a show tune to me.”

New Video: Aussie Punk Trio The Chats Release a Mischievous Visual for Mosh Pit Ripper “The Clap”

Coolum, Australia-based punk trio The Chats — Eamon Sandwith (vocals, bass), Josh Price  (guitar, vocals) and Matt Boggis (drums) — can trace its origins back to when its members started the band in their friend’s bong shed back in 2016, when the band’s members were still in high school. 2017 saw the release of their debut EP, Get This In Ya, which the band recorded in four hours. The following year,  the band quickly rose to national and international attention with the release of “Smoko” and its accompanying video. Dave Grohl loved the video for “Smoko” so much that he wound up showing it to Josh Homme, who then asked the Aussie punk trio to open for Queens of the Stone Age during their Australian tour that year.

The Chats also won the attention of the legendary Iggy Pop, who asked the band to open for him during his Australian tour last year. (Reportedly, he peppered the band with questions like “What’s a smoko?” and “What’s a dart?”) Adding to a momentous year, the band toured across Australia, the UK and their first Stateside shows — with their Los Angeles show being attended by Home, Grohl and Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner. They closed out last year with a return UK tour, selling out London’s O2 Forum. 

Understandably, the past couple of years have been a whirlwind for the rapidly rising Aussie punk trio: the band has spent that time balancing touring, writing songs and whenever their gigs took them to Victoria, stopping by engineer Billy Gardner’s Geelong-based studio to recording the material they had written. And as a result, it took the band 18 months to record their highly-anticipated full-length debut High Risk Behaviour, which is slated for a March 27, 2020 release through the band’s own Bargain Bin Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia. “If we’d just done a week and slogged it out we could have had an album before now but we just kept going in there and making newer and better songs so it’s hard to put a stop on it,” the band’s Sandwith says in press notes. “Some of the songs were first-take and we were like, ‘That’s good, whatever’ We’re really not perfectionists.” (Interestingly, although, the band found themselves in the middle of a bidding war between a couple of major labels, they were determined to continue to do everything their own way, steadfastly maintaining the DIY ethos they started with.) 

The Aussie punk act’s full-length debut, derives its title from personal experience: the band’s Matt Boggis has routinely been hassled by local police for skating in places he shouldn’t be — and he’d frequently get tickets listening the offense as “High Risk Behaviour.” The album’s 14 songs clock in at a total of 28 minutes with about half of its songs not even reaching the two-minute mark. ““I don’t want to make the songs boring, so I just keep them short and sweet,” Sandwith says of their creative process. “We try not to think about it or complicate it too much. You don’t want to force it or the song’s going to turn out crap.” Reportedly, the end result features  material that’s centered around a three-chords-is-probably-one-too-many approach, Sandwith’s partially spoken, partially  sung vocals while displaying youthful exuberance and drunken rowdiness. (Yes, in some way, FIDLAR does come to mind — but Aussies are crazier.) “I think they’re good songs,” says Sandwith. “And at the end of the day, if I like it then fuck it, who cares if other people do?”

Clocking in at a little over two minutes, High Risk Behaviour’s latest single “The Clap” is a cretinous bit of punk rock, centered around scuzzy power chords, shouted call and response vocals and a mosh pit friendly hook that makes the band — and in turn, the song  — sound indebted to to ’77 era punk, complete with a snotty, zero fucks given air. Featuring the band’s Josh Price taking on vocal duties, the song is a mosh pit friendly ripper that’s partially a cautionary tale about a sexual encounter gone very wrong and a sexually transmitted infection that’s painful and just doesn’t seem to leave. 

Directed by Matt Weston, the recently released video for “The Clap” finds the band’s Price heading to the clinic in severe pain. Of course, while trying to get treatment, the doctors are completely disgusted by Price’s condition. But they find the time to treat him — in a  way that seems painful, repulsive and absurd. Much like the song itself, the video is fucking hilarious. 

New Video: Rising Swedish-born, Los Angeles-based Pop Artist Winona Oak Releases a Mischievously Twisted Visual for “Control”

Last year, I wrote about the rapidly rising Solleron, Sweden-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Winona Oak. Oak, who was born Johanna Ekmark has a rather unique backstory: Growing up  on the small, Swedish island known to Swedes as the Island of the Sun, the Solleron-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist spent much of her childhood encountering more animals than people. As the story goes, she grew up as a trained horse acrobat and because she grew up in a musical home, she was encouraged to pursue creative endeavors as much as possible: Ekmark began playing violin when she was 5, piano when she was 9, and she wrote poetry and songs at an extremely young age.

Ekmark eventually moved to Stockholm to pursue a career in music, but a leap of faith that had her attend a Neon Gold Records writing retreat in the Nicaraguan jungle led to her meet Australian-born and based hit making producer and pop artist What So Not. And from this serendipitous meeting, she went on to co-write ““Better” and “Stuck In Orbit,” before stepping out into the spotlight as both the writer and featured artist on the Aussie producer and pop artist’s “Beautiful.”

Adding to a busy 2018, Ekmark covered HAIM‘s “Don’t Save Me” for Neon Gold Records’ 10th anniversary compilation, NGX: Ten Years of Neon Gold before closing out that year with a co-write and vocal contribution to The Chainsmokers viral hit “Hope,” a track that has amassed over 250 million streams across all digital platforms globally — including over 100 million streams on Spotify. As a result of such incredibly early success, the Swedish-born, Los Angeles-based pop artist signed to Warner-Chappell Music Publishing and to Neon Gold/Atlantic Records.

Now, as  you may recall, last year, I wrote about the Swedish-born, Los Angeles-based pop artist’s long-awaited debut single, the slickly produced, hook-driven and sultry “He Don’t Love Me,” and the slow-burning and anthemic ballad “Break My Broken Heart.” Both singles managed to further cement Oak/Ekmark’s growing reputation for crating incredibly earnest pop with enormous hooks. Oak ended last year with the release of an  alternate version of her last single of 2019 “Let Me Know.” The “Let Me Know (Johan Lenox Stings Mix) ” reimagines the propulsive, dance floor friendly original by pairing Oak’s vocals with a string arrangement from Johan Lenox, who has worked with Kanye West, Travis Scott and Vic Mensa. 

Building upon that momentum, Oak released her debut EP CLOSURE through Neon Gold/Atlantic Records last week. The EP’s latest single “Control” continues a run of slickly produced synth pop centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, an enormous hook and Oak’s achingly plaintive vocals. And while sonically the song recalls Kylie Minogue and others, the song evokes the swooning and fluttering pangs of new love and the uncertainty, insecurity and obsession it can sometimes bring. “‘Control’ is about meeting someone that makes you weak in your knees and never knowing how they actually feel about you,” Winona Oak explains in press notes. “You make risky decisions, act irrationally and tolerate things you normally wouldn’t. You’re feeling nervous, insecure and are constantly afraid that they are gonna leave you. Oh and this is when you learn – the difference between love and obsession.” 

Shot and co-directed by longtime visual collaborator Andreas Öhman and Julian Gillström, the recently released video for “Control” stars Winona Oak as a desperate and hopelessly obsessed woman who stalks the object of her affection, before trying to build a Ken doll-version of him. “For the video, we wanted to target this hopeless feeling with a twisted sense of humor,”  Oak explains in press notes. 

Over the past couple of years of this site’s almost ten year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Taylor Phillips, best known for his acclaimed solo recording project Crywolf.

Philips’ last Crywolf album widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. II] which further cemented his reputation for pushing boundaries in every aspect of his creative work was released to critical praise from the likes of The FADER, Alternative Press and idobi Radio. The JOVM mainstay starts off the new year with “beauty is a not a need. she is an ecstasy [respirate].” Lamenting on the same break up that inspired “your joy is your sorrow unmasked,” the song finds Phillips making a sonic left turn from the electronic-leaning approach he’s been known for, and going towards a mostly acoustic approach in which lilting male-female harmonies are paired with shimmering acoustic guitar, soaring strings with the gentle addition of arpeggiated synths and  glitchy beats towards the song’s coda. The song manages to viscerally evoke the bitter swoon and lingering ache, the unfulfilled longing of heartbreak.

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Beverly Girl Returns with a 80s Synth Pop Inspired Banger

With a series of critically applauded and commercially successful singles, the Helsinki, Finland-based synth pop/synth soul trio and long-term JOVM mainstays Beverly Girl have developed a reputation for being at the forefront of Scandinavia’s highly-regarded and rapidly growing nu-disco, synth pop and synth soul scenes while establishing a sound that will remind listeners of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Cherrelle, The Gap Band, Cameo, Atlantic Starr  and fellow JOVM mainstays Escort. The Finnish pop trio have received attention from a number of blogs across the world (including this only one), regular airplay on Finnish radio, as well as placement on a number of Spotify playlists. 

Adding to a growing international profile, they’ve also built up a profile for an energetic live show led by their charismatic frontwoman Yohannna that has resulted in playing shows across the States, France, Norway, Sweden and Estonia, including headlining slots at Los Angeles’ Modern Funk Fest, Flow Festival and Pride Festivals across Scandinavia.

The Helsinki-based JOVM mainstays are currently putting the finishing touches on a long-awaited album, slated for release in early 2020, and the album’s latest single “I’m Your Girl” continues the act’s incredible run of self-assured,  80s inspired synth pop and funk, centered around enormous radio friendly hooks — but in this case, the slickly produced “I’m Your Girl” manages to bear an uncanny resemblance to Deneice Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For the Boy” and Cherelle’s “Saturday Love.”

Shot in an incredibly cinematic fashion, the recently released video for “I’m Your Girl” is rooted around live footage of the act performing the song in front of a rapturous crowd.