Tag: Megafaun

Karl Blau is an Anacortes, WA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who over the course of his 20+ year career as a musician has developed a now, long-held reputation for an eclectic, genre-defying approach as his sound routinely incorporates elements of folk, dub, R&B, Bossa nova, grunge, hip-hop, drone and worldbeat among others, as well as being a member of the Knw-Yr-Own/K Records collective. Along with that Blau has played in a number of bands including D+, Brothers Blau, Captain Fathom and Your Heart Breaks, and has collaborated with a number of Washington-based musicians including The MicrophonesPhil Elverum, Mount Eerie, LAKE, Earth and Laura Veirs. And additionally, Blau has released material through his Kelp Lunacy Advanced Plagiarism Society monthly subscription service.

And although Blau has writing, recording and releasing albums for over 20 years, he hadn’t received European distribution until 2015 when renowned indie label Bella Union Records released Introducing Karl Blau, which was considered by many — including album producer Tucker Martine, as shining a light on “one of the great hidden treasures of music.” Interestingly, Introducing featured gorgeous, lush covers of Nashville country/soul; however, his latest effort Out Her Space continues an ongoing collaboration with Spacebomb Records‘ founder Matthew E. White that goes back to 2009.

 

As the story goes, Spacebomb Records’ Matthew E. White had asked Blau to helm the recording sessions for his band Great White Jenkins. When White started Spacebomb Records in 2012, he envisioned the label as having a house band in the style of old school Stax Records and Motown Records. After White started the label, he called Blau to collaborate once again on an album — the critically applauded Big Inner. As the story goes, after hearing the Out Her Space demos, White suggested that the Spacebomb Records house band, centered Cameron Ralston (bass), who’s now a member of Fleet Foxes; Pinson Chanselle (drums) and White (guitar, synth), along with Megafaun’s Phil Cook (piano) and a cast of collaborators, who contributed horns, viola and backing vocals — with the album material being something of a cousin to its predecessor.

The album thematically speaking plays with humanitarian themes, against a backdrop of self-immolating American politics; in fact, as Blau explains in press notes, the album’s title was inspired by an “overwhelming feeling to point out that men, in general, need to listen, to stop being so assertive and get out of her space, let her balance again. Chill out dudes, rather than lead us over the cliff.” Sonically speaking, the material, as you’ll hear on album single “Beckon” is a languid and shimmering track that draws from 70s AM rock, classic soul, funk and Afropop with a slick, carefully crafted hook.

Blau has an upcoming NYC area show 1/11/18 at Rough Trade to promote the album.  [TICKETS/INFO]

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Strikingly Surreal Visuals for Sylvan Esso’s “Die Young”

Comprised of Mountain Man’s Amelia Heath (vocals, synths) and Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn (synths, programming, production), the renowned indie electro pop electro pop duo Sylvan Esso have become JOVM mainstays and have dominated the rest of the blogosphere for a sound that’s radical departure for fans of Heath’s and Sanborn’s previous projects, as the duo have received attention for pairing Heath’s coquettish vocals with Sanborn’s slick, minimalist production featuring propulsive and undulating grooves, shimmering arpeggio synths and enormous, tweeter and woofer rocker beats.

If you had been frequenting this site around the end of last year, you’d likely recall that the duo released their “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start” single. “Radio,” a staple of their live sets and a fan favorite, revealed a brash, refinement of their sound as Heath has increasingly taken on a pop star persona — and as a result, her vocals contain a self-assured sultriness paired with Sanborn’s production taking on more of a dance floor/club-banger sound as arpeggio synths, wobbling low end and stuttering dum programming. “Jump Kick Start” the B side of the “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start” continues on a similar vein as the preceding single as Heath’s self-assured coos are paired with a stuttering and shuffling production featuring electronic bleeps and bloops, twinkling synths and analog crackling in what may be one of their most radio and dance floor-ready songs they’ve released to date. Interestingly, the “Radio”/”Jump” also managed to be a be a bit of a teaser for the sound fans and critics should expect to hear off the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore effort What Now.

Thematically, the album focuses on a critical question: where do we go now, as a culture when it feels as though everyone is standing at a precipice? And from the “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start” single, which interestingly enough are What Now’s first two singles, the material manages to possess the sort of urgency that many of us feel at this particular historical moment. Now, the album’s third and latest single “Die Young” is a moody, mid-tempo track that finds Heath’s self-assured vocals paired with a Sanborn production featuring enormous 808-style beats, stuttering drum programming, chopped and distorted vocal samples, swirling and ambient electronics in what may arguably be one of the duo’s more sobering songs; in fact, at various points, the song focuses on depression and uncertainty, the sense of every meaningful thing being fleeting and impermanent, that underneath every moment of short-lived joy, there’s a longer sense of anxiety over when that joy may end — or even if that moment of joy is worth it. It’s very much an adult song, grappling with the fact that life is usually complex, uncertain, confusing but in a moment in which everything feels upside down, backwards and reversed of not having a fucking clue as to what’s next; but knowing that you have to respond to the best of your abilities.

The recently released video follows the duo’s Amelia Heath stealing a distracted police officer’s car for a joy ride through the desert, where the video’s protagonist leaps off a cliff, presumably to kill herself — because she’s hopeless? because she’s lost her mind? The video leaves that interpretation up and what happens to our protagonist up to you.

New Video: Sylvan Esso’s Visuals for “Kick Jump Twist” Expresses the Uncertainty of Our Current Moment

Towards the end of last year, the duo released the “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start” single — and if you had been frequenting this site around that time, you’d know that “Radio” had quickly become a staple of their live sets and a fan favorite, while being a brash, refinement of their sound as Heath’s vocals take on a self-assured sultriness paired with Sanborn’s propulsive, dance floor-friendly production featuring cascading layers of synths, wobbling low end and stuttering drum programming. “Jump Kick Start” the B side of the “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start” continues on a similar vein as the preceding single as Heath’s self-assured coos are paired with a stuttering and shuffling production featuring electronic bleeps and bloops, twinkling synths and analog crackling in what may be one of their most radio and dance floor-ready songs they’ve released to date.

Directed by Mimi Cave, the recently released music video follows a lithe and impressionist dancer, Gary Reagan, whose movements reflect a chaotic, uncertain energy. Interestingly, as the direct explains in press notes “We shot the video two days after the election, and we were all very much having our own processes with what had happened. Everything was so fresh that the crew’s moods were generally a mix of deer-in-headlights, sadness and anger. At the same time, we couldn’t help but feel a visceral excitement and connection to seeing Gary dance his heart out all day. It was like he was channeling all our chaotic energy into every take.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Sylvan Esso Return with Another Radio Friendly Song

Continuing the ongoing focus on this site’s mainstay artists, if you had been frequenting this site over the past couple years, you would have come across several posts on electro pop duo Sylvan Esso. Comprised of Mountain Man‘s Amelia Heath (vocals, synths) and Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn (synths, programming, production) electro pop duo Sylvan Esso dominated the blogosphere two years ago for a sound that paired Heath’s coquettish vocals with a slick and somewhat sparse production featuring propulsive and undulating grooves, shimmering synths and big, tweeter and woofer beats.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Radio,” the A side of their recently released “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start.” Interestingly, “Radio” quickly became both a staple of their live sets and a fan favorite — all while being a brash, refinement of their sound with Heath singing with a self-assured sultriness paired with a propulsive, dance floor-friendly production featuring cascading synths, wobbling low end and stuttering drum programming. “Jump Kick Start” the B side of the “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start” continues on a similar vein as the preceding single as Heath’s self-assured coos are paired with a stuttering and shuffling production featuring electronic bleeps and bloops, twinkling synths and analog crackling in what may be one of their most radio and dance floor-ready songs they’ve released to date.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Sylvan Esso Return with a Dance-Floor Ready New Single

Heath and Sanborn return with the first bit of new material in two years with their latest single “Radio,” being the A side of the forthcoming “Radio”/”Jump Kick Start,” which is slated for an November 18 release. “Radio” has quickly become a staple of their live shows and a fan favorite — and interestingly enough, the song is arguably the most brash song they’ve released; but, it also manages to be both a refinement and expansion of the sound that first caught them attention. Heath’s sultry vocals are paired with a slickly propulsive and dance floor-friendly production consisting of layers of cascading synths, wobbling low end, stuttering drum programming, and as a result the song sounds as though it were nodding at Soft Metals’ swooning and sensual Lenses and Giorgio Moroder.

http://teamcoco.com/embed/v/86172#playlist=x;eyJ0b3RhbCI6MTAsInR5cGUiOiJyZWxhdGVkIiwiaWQiOjg2MTk0fQ If you’ve been following JOVM for the past year or so, you’d remember coming across several posts about Sylvan Esso – a rather unique collaboration between Ameila Meath, lead vocalist of of folk group Mountain Man and Nick Sanborn, bassist […]