Tag: MGMT

Inspired by Squid, Fiona Apple, and MGMT among others, rising London-based experimental act Pushpin have developed and established a sound that features elements of post punk, synth-driven psych rock and chamber pop. So far the band has been featured on BBC Radio London, BBC Music Introducing, and Soho Radio. Adding to a growing reputation for crafting forward-thinking and adventurous sound, the members of the band have written and produced theatrical soundtracks at the Camden People’s Theatre — and they’ve provided original compositions for XR London.

The rising British act begins 2021 with the self-produced, self-recorded, self-mixed and self-mastered “Folds.” Featuring thumping, tribal-like toms, snarling and scuzzy guitar lines and fuzzy synths, the breakneck “Folds” is centered around alternating quiet sections with explosive, rousingly anthemic choruses. While thematically the song explores the elusiveness of self-love and affirmation in our world. it manages to simultaneously capture a narrator, who seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown, employing mantras as an attempt to calm himself.

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.

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.

New Video: Quebec City-based Electro Pop Act New Bleach Release a Lysergic Visual for Brooding and Atmospheric “Silver Lining”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Quebec City-based indie duo New Bleach, which features Dominic Pelletier and Raphaël Potvin, best known for their work in the acclaimed Francophone rock act Caravane. And from the Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT-like “Awake,” Pelletier’s and Potvin’s work with New Bleach is a decided sonic departure. 

Building upon the attention they received for “Awake,” the duo’s latest single “Silver Living” is a slick and brooding synthesis of Quiet Storm-like R&B, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, skittering trap beats, plaintive falsetto vocals — and while subtly recalling the brooding atmospherics of JOVM mainstays Beacon, the song is part old-school love song and an urgent plea for hope in a seemingly hopeless world. 

Directed by Maxyme Gagné and the members of New Bleach, the recently released video was shot on a grainy Super 8-like filter, which gives the proceedings a subtly nostalgic and lysergic haze — but the video itself is centered around a simple concept: the members of New Bleach driving around in a car through trippy backgrounds. 

Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded indie rock project Soccer Mommy.  Allison first picked up guitar when she was six — and as a teenager, she attended Nashville School of the Arts, where she studied guitar and played in the school’s swing band. By 2015, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began posting home-recorded songs as Soccer Mommy to Bandcamp during the summer of 2015, just as she was about head off to New York University, where she studied music business at the University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

While she was in college, Allison played her first Soccer Mommy show at Bushwick, Brooklyn’s Silent Barn. The Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed her to a record deal. After spending two years studying at NYU, Allison returned to Nashville to pursue a full-time career in music.

Upon her return to Nashville, the acclaimed Swiss-born artist wrote and released two Soccer Mommy albums — 2016’s For Young Hearts through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection through Fat Possum Records. Her proper, full-length debut, 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, Alison has wound up touring with Stephen Malkmus, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves, Jay Som, Slowdive, Frankie Cosmos, Liz Phair, Phoebe Bridgers, Paramore, Foster the People, Vampire Weekend, and Wilco.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was gearing up to be a massive year for the young and rising singer/songwriter and guitarist: she began the year by playing at one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and had joined a list of contemporary artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. Allison’s highly-anticipated sophomore album color theory was released to critical applause — and building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Nashville-based artist had been gearing up for a massive year: she was about to embark one a headlining tour with a number of dates sold-out months in advance, along with that, she had lined up appearances across the global festival circuit that included a stop at Glastonbury. Additionally, she was supposed to make her late-night, nationally televised debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

With touring being on an indefinite half for the music industry, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist recognized that this was a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas. Combining her love of video games and performing, Allison held a digital concert on the online gaming platform Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend it. The concert was so popular, that her fans crashed the platform’s servers, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Allison has also performed a number of live streams events, including  NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork‘s IG Live Series. And she also recently released her own Zoom background images.

Recently, Allison and company embarked on a an Bella Clark-directed 8-bit virtual, music video tour in which the band plays some of the cities she was meant to be passing through — Minneapolis, Chicago,Seattle, Toronto, and Austin. Instead of virtually playing at the more common tourist locations or a traditional music venue, the members of the band are mischievously placed in unusual locations: an abandoned Toronto area subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge and more.performing album track “crawling in my skin.”

Continuing some wildly creative ways to maintain the momentum of her full-length debut, Allison recently launched a singles series, Soccer Mommy & Friends that sees some of her most accomplished friends and associates covering her work — and Allison covering their work. The singles series will see contributions from MGMT‘s Andrew VanWyngarden, Beabadoobee, Beach Bunny, Jay Som and a list others — with releases dropping every two weeks. The singles series first release finds the acclaimed Oakland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte, the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed indie rock act Jay Som covering Soccer Mommy’s “Lucy.”

Interestingly, Jay Som’s take on “lucy” turns the jangling guitar pop anthem into a shimmering and brooding track, centered around atmospheric synths, thumping beats and ethereal vocals that to my ears reminds me quite a bit of Air’s ethereal remix of Beck’s “Heaven Hammer.” “I had an extremely fun time recording the ‘lucy’ cover,” Duterte says in press notes. “Sophie has such a special way of entwining catchy melodies and sometimes dark chord progressions. I feel very lucky to be a part of this comp!”

All net profits from Bandcamp sales from the series will be donated to Oxfam‘s COVID-19 relief fun. Oxfam is working with partners to reach more than 14 million people in nearly 50 countries and the US to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 in vulnerable communities and support people’s basic food needs and livelihoods. As we’re all aware women and girls usually bear a disproportionate burden of care in a crises like COVID-19, and Oxfam has a proven record of helping women cope during and recover after these crises in ways that allow them to be safer and stronger than ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Quebec City’s New Bleach Releases a Murky and Trippy Visual for Shimmering and Disco-Influenced “Awake”

Best known as members of acclaimed Quebec City-based Francophone rock act Caravane, Dominic Pelletier’s and Raphaël Potvin’s latest project New Bleach is a decided sonic departure. The duo’s latest single, is the slinky and moody “Awake.” Featuring shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line, shuffling four-on-the-floor and an infectious hook, the duo’s latest single is a disco-like track that brings Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT to mind. 

Thematically, the song is centered around a rhetorical question: “What if death was just a dream?” In these profoundly difficult and uncertain times, we’re all facing our own morality and impermanence. However, “Awake” suggests that there’s beauty in the ephemeral nature of everything: mainly that the small moments are imbued with a deeper meaning and importance that we often overlook as rush about our lives. 

Directed by  Maxyme Gagné, Dominic Pelletier and Raphaël Potvin, the recently released accompanying video is centered around brooding yet lysergic visuals reminiscent of Stranger Things. We see the duo in front of a background that slowly shift from red, blue and purple with zombie-like dopplegängers, glitchy VHS-like effects and hints at murder and mayhem. Interestingly, the video much like the song finds the duo balancing menace and murkiness with a mischievous and whimsical air. 

Natasha Khan is a Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed solo recording project Bat For Lashes — and for being the vocalist for Sexwitch, a collaboration with the members of British psych rock act TOY and producer Dan Carey. Born to an English mother, Josie and Pakistani squash player Rehmat Khan, Natasha Khan traces some of the influences of her musical career to attending her father’s and her uncle’s Jahangir’s squash matches, which she felt inspired her creativity: “The roar of the crowd is intense; it is ceremonial, ritualistic. I feel like the banner got passed to me but I carried it on in a creative way. It is a similar thing, the need to thrive on heightened communal experience.” Her father left when she was 11, and she taught herself to play the piano, which quickly became an important channel to express things, to get them out.

Khan’s debut single “The Wizard” was released digitally through Drowned in Sound Records and on seven-inch vinyl through her own imprint, She Bear Records. By 2006, she caught the attention of Echo Label, a record label owned by Chrysalis Records that acted as an incubator for emerging artists and assisting their careers while moving them to major labels. Echo released her debut, 2006’s Fur and Gold. The following year, Khan and Echo signed an international licensing deal with Parlophone Records, who re-released Fur and Gold that year. The album reached #48 on the UK Albums Charts and since its release, it’s been certified gold. Building upon a growing profile, the British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer played at Glastonbury Festival and toured across the States. The album was shortlisted for that year’s Mercury Prize, losing to Klaxons’ Myths of the Near Future, despite being critically applauded and named a heavy favorite to win. She won ASCAP’s Vanguard Award, which resulted in her performing at their “ASCAP Presents . .  .” SXSW showcase.

2008 continued an incredible run by the British singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist as she was notated for two Brit Awards — British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist. She opened handful of dates for Radiohead, and she released a cover of The Cure’s “A Forest,” which appeared on the Perfect as Cats charity album.

Khan’s sophomore album, 2009’s David Kosten and Khan-co-produced Two Suns was inspired by a trip she took to Joshua Tree, CA. The album focuses on her desert-born alter ego Pearl, whose personality she adopted while living in New York. Sonically, the material was inspired by the Brooklyn bands that had started to receive attention nationally and internationally at the time — in particular, TV on the Radio, MGMT, Gang Gang Dance and others. Interestingly, the album also found her collaborating with the members of Yeasayer, who contributed bass and beat programming. The album debuted at #5 on the UK Albums Chart and has since been certified gold as a result of “Daniel,” which peaked at #36 on the UK Singles Chart. “Daniel” later won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song and was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. Additionally, Khan received her second Mercury Prize nomination and a second BRIT Award nomination for British Female Solo Artist.

Summer 2009 saw her play at Glastonbury Festival, Somerset House and the iTunes Festival, which was followed by a special edition of Two Suns, which was released ahead of her October UK tour an included a cover of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.”

Khan’s third Bat for Lashes album, 2012’s The Haunted Man debuted at #6 on the UK Albums Chart, her second consecutive Top 10 album, an effort that has since been certified silver. Khan was nominated for her third Best British Solo Female BRIT Award and was nominated for two Ivor Novello Awards — Best Song Musically and Best Song Lyrically for album single “Laura.” That year saw her play at Coachella Festival. She also opened for Blur and Depeche Mode.

During a surprise 2015 Green Man Festival set in Wales, Khan debuted her collaboration with Dan Carey and TOY — Sexwitch. That September, the project released its self-titled debut through Echo and BMG, which featured six covers of 1970s psych and folk from different parts of the world.

2016 saw the release of her fourth full-length album The Bride, an album that was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Khan’s fifth album Lost Girls was released last fall through AWAL Recordings, and the album continues a run of concept albums: in this case, the material was centered around an off-kilter coming of age film, in which bands of marauding female biker gangs roam the streets — and teenagers make out on car hoods. The female characters throughout are parallel to the protagonists of her previously released albums — most notably, the street tough, darkness-driven Pearl from Two Suns. The album’s main character Nikki Pink, was one of the album’s central Lost Girls. And at its core, the album thematically is a loving and romantic homage to all things Los Angeles, being a child of the 80s and the films that influenced Khan. Sonically, the album found Khan mixing sounds she’s long loved — heavy bass lines, synth arpeggios, Iranian pop beats and cascading chorus which help evoke an achingly wistful air.

Khan recently released a four song live EP recorded at London-based venue EartH that features a stripped down versions of “Daniel,” “Desert Man” and “The Hunger” off Lost Girls featuring Khan accompanying herself on piano and organ. The EP’s first official single is a slow-burning,  stripped down, atmospheric cover of Don Henley‘s “The Boys of Summer” centered around twinkling keys and Khan’s expressive vocals.  Khan’s Bat for Lashes cover retains the song’s awareness of the passing of time, the end of youthful innocence — of a darker, more uncertain adult world just over the horizon.

Interestingly, the EP comes just before Khan embarks on a Winter North American tour — and it serves as a taste of what fans should expect: intimate renditions of the material off Lost Girls, as well as never performed songs and some surprises.

 

Timothy Nelson is a multi-WAM Award-winning, Western Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and bedroom pop producer, whose solo recording project Indoor Fins has received attention nationally  with two collaboration with DraphtThe Come Down Was Real,” and “Summer They Say,” which was released earlier this year and has received frequent airplay on Australia’s Triple J Radio. And although both of those tracks were much more hip-hop leaning, Nelson’s  Indoor Fins project is self-described “super pop,” as the Western Australian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s work draws from a variety of things including classic 70s prog rock and French electro pop. 

However, lyrically Nelson says in press notes, his work comes from a much darker place. “A few years back my old band, and my relationship at the time, both fell apart within about a month of each other,” Nelson recalls. “I was in a rut personally. Then, shortly after all that, someone in my family, very close to me, got seriously ill. It wasn’t the greatest time at all. I felt like I’d been on one kind of path from the moment I left high school, and suddenly found myself in a place where I wasn’t sure where I was heading at all. I did a bit of soul searching, there was a lot going on in my head I’d not addressed for a long time and I think it all just collided in one go. In the midst of all that, I did a tonne of writing. I was questioning so much about who I was, that I think I started digging a lot deeper lyrically.”

During what was arguably one of the more difficult times in his life emotionally, Nelson spent his days holed up in his home studio — his childhood bedroom. “I had my guitar, my computer, and a keyboard. I had all these sounds at my fingertips. I think musically, the direction it took, came from a feeling of, ‘Fuck it, do whatever feels right’, and also not wanting to be so down-in-the-dumps about everything. Music, to me, is always the antidote.”

Nelson’s debut Indoor Fins single “Here It Goes” is a rousingly anthemic, breakneck pop track, centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, slashing power chords and layers of Nelson’s plaintive falsetto. Sonically the incredibly infectious song seems to recall Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” and Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT, complete with an overwhelmingly positive message at its core. “I remember waking up and having the guitar riff in my head, but no idea where the song
could go. Something didn’t feel right and I nearly abandoned it altogether, but this voice inmy head was telling me to push through, and I spent all day just trying every possible ideathat could make the song work,” the Western Australian artist recalls about the song’s creative process. “At some point I turned a corner and it all made sense. It
was very much a journey writing it. That’s what I mean by ‘Put me on the road to rhythm
and light’, you know? My subconcious was saying ‘pull yourself together, and get on with it.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Cones Release a Behind the Scenes-like Visual for Breezy Album Single “Seeing Triple”

Throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones. The duo which is comprised of Jonathan Rosen, an acclaimed, pop music influenced, hand-drawn animator, who has created music videos for Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve,  and played Johnny Thunders on the HBO series Vinyl; and Michael Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial and film composer and experimental sound artist, can trace the origins of their band back to their stint playing together as members of the New York-based indie act Icewater, an act that at one point became Friedberger’s session and touring band during New View. As the story goes, while touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, ultimately deciding that their project would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation.

After releasing a string of critically applauded singles, which they followed up with their debut EP, the Rosen Brothers went into a friend’s studio to collaborate with a producer for the first time in their history.  They recorded what they initially thought would be their full-length debut but ultimately, they decided to scrap it, as it didn’t feel like a proper Cones album to them. So they went back to their home studio and started working on the full-length debut from scratch. The end result wound up being their full-length debut Pictures of Pictures. 

Now, as you may recall, earlier this month, I wrote about “Moonstone,” a breezy bit of psych pop that struck me a being a sort of seamless synthesis of Steely Dan and MGMT, but while being a swooning and delicate love song. “Seeing Triple,” Pictures of Pictures’ latest single is a shimmering and breezy New Wave-like track, that kind of reminds me of The Cars and of The World’s Best American Band-era White Reaper, complete with a soaring hook and plaintive vocals. But at its core, the song evokes the ambivalence and confusion of getting older.  

Interestingly, the recently released video for “Seeing Triple” is arguably their first live-action video, centered around the duo performing the song in a studio in front of psychedelic-tinged lighting. The video reveals, the behind-the-scenes of a video filming and of the brother’s relationship — like most siblings, they fight and fuss but there’s a profound amount of love there.