Tag: MGMT

Comprised of Tony Davia, Lou Connor and Lauren Potts, the Long Beach, CA-based indie pop trio Younger Hunger can trace their origins to night of playing Nintendo 64 and drinking milkshakes — and unsurprisingly, the trio’s sound is influenced quite a bit by old video games to further emphasize their material’s themes of nostalgia, young adulthood and its seemingly prerequisite anxiety. Additionally, the band’s sound and approach is influenced by The Teenagers, The Smiths, and MGMT among others.

The Long Beach, CA-based pop trio’s Adam Castilla-produced debut EP is slated for a December 7, 2018 release and the EP’s latest single, the strutting “Dead Inside” is centered around a slinky and sultry hook featuring cowbell, a propulsive bass line, twinkling keys and boom bap-like beats — and while there may be some video game influence, the song to my ears sounds as though it were influenced by The Killers, The Rapture and others, as it’s a radio friendly banger that could rock a club; but underneath the song’s sleekness, the song’s narrator expresses anxiety about love, selling out and not quite knowing what he wants from his life — things that actually are concerns throughout most of our lives. As the band’s Tony Davia explains in press notes, We were all at this party and I was having a bad night. So we all left to go hang out at our studio and play some N64. We ended up jamming and that’s when we wrote the hook over an old cowbell loop. We wanted all of the synth tones to sound like Street Fighter II style arcade sounds to commemorate the night. The whole thing came together really quickly, and it does a good job of representing our EP.”

 
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Comprised of founding duo Jocke Åhlund and Frans Johansson along with Frans Johansson and Martin Ehrencrona, the Stockholm Sweden-based indie rock act Les Big Byrd features a collection of their hometown’s most accomplished indie musicians.  Åhlund co-founded cult hardcore outfit/genre-benders Teddybears with his brother Klas in 1991, and went on to play guitar in Caesars and form another duo, Smile, with Peter, Björn and John’s Björn Yttling. He also managed to find the time to write for and produce Giorgio Moroder and renowned Swedish pop artist Robyn. Johansson, meanwhile, had played bass in Swedish Grammy Award-winners Fireside since the early nineties and worked as a touring bassist with The Soundtrack of Our Lives. As the story goes, by 2011 Åhlund and Johansson had become increasingly disillusioned with their primary gigs and they began to collaborate with each other, frequently bouncing musical ideas off one another; the band’s founding duo quickly recruited two fellow grizzled scene vets, keyboardist Martin ‘Konie’ Ehrencrona and Caesars drummer Nino Keller to finalize the band’s lineup.

The band’s debut release, 2014’s Back to Bagarmossen EP was an atmospheric, guitar driven effort that found the quartet receiving attention from Swedish national TV. As the Stockholm-based indie quartet’s profile was growing nationally, they ran into The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe at a local record store, and after hitting it off with him, the band headed to Newcombe’s Berlin-based studio to jam with him — and the end result was a handful of tracks which eventually appeared on their critically applauded  Åhlund-produced full-length debut, They Worshipped Cats, an album that was a decided left turn into trippy space rock.

In the winter of 2015, 18 months after They Worshipped Cats‘ release, Åhlund was looking forward to working on new material; however, unlike their debut, he was determined to bring in an outside producer to allow him to focus just on the songwriting and playing. With much of their material drawing heavily from psych rock and drone, while retaining a pop sensibility, the band recruited Spacemen 3‘s Pete Kember to produce the album as the band loved his work on MGMT‘s 2010 sophomore album Congratulations.  Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly, the initial sessions with Kember quickly went awry; Kember clashed with Newcombe, who also headed to Sweden to work on some ideas for the record with the band — and Åhlund eventually found himself taking up the production role, he didn’t want and wasn’t seeking.

Burned out by the experience, the band shelved the second album for a while.  “I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed to get some distance from it,” Åhlund says in press notes. “It was only after a while that I was able to go back and realise that there was a really good album in there.” The members of Les Big Byrd spent the bulk of last year remaking and re-imaging the material in their own image — with Kember and Newcombe’s contributions being limited. Recorded between two Stockholm studios — Åhlund’s own and Ehrencrona’s Studio Cobra — the band’s long-awaited, forthcoming sophomore album Iran Iraq IKEA derives its title from a slogan that Åhlund’s saw printed on a tie while in Berlin years earlier and wanted to use for years; in fact, Åhlund felt that it suited the album, “because it gave it all some kind of subtly poetic intrigue.” However, the album’s politics — if you really want to call it that — are rooted within the personal, As Åhlund says in press notes,  “It’s about classic topics like love and failure. And about being older and feeling like you’ve pissed your life away, It’s about regrets and wishing you’d done things another way,”

The band’s Åhlund takes up production duties again, but with the admission that maybe it was something he never really wanted to give up — and sonically speaking, the band reportedly have reinvented themselves and their sound but while retaining elements of the sound and approach that first won them national and international attention.  “I still love my krautrock, and space rock, and experimental, improvisational stuff” says Åhlund. “But I also have a strong love for psychedelic sixties pop music, and I love reverb-drenched guitar with a lot of tremolo on it. All of those things make it on to Iran Iraq IKEA, but the lines are blurred – there’s a lot of electronics, and you can’t always tell where each individual sound is coming from. Hopefully it’s suggestive, a little bit uncertain and unpredictable, at least that’s what I wanted.”

“Geräusche,” Iran Iraq IKEA‘s third and latest single, is the album’s opening track and interestingly enough, the song’s title is the German word for “noise” — although ironically, the expansive and atmospheric, krautrock-like track is centered around a motorik groove, shimmering and arpeggiated keys, angular guitar lines, mathematically precise beats and dreamy sense of harmony that in some way brings Evil Heat-era Primal Scream and Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out” but with a lysergic vibe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since their formation in 1995, the Ghent, Belgium-based electro pop/electronic music production and artist act Soulwax, currently comprised of brothers and founding members David Dewaele and Stephen Dewaele, and Stefaan Van Leuvan have developed a reputation for continently pushing the boundaries of their music and creativity into new, innovative territory: along with Soulwax, the Dewaele Brothers tour as DJ duo 2manydjs, own and operate DEEWEE Records and DEEWEE Studios, are the founders of Radio Soulwax, a visual radio station and app, have collaborated with DFA Records‘ and LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy in the Despacio project. They’ve also remixed the work of LCD Soundsystem, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jagwar Ma, Warpaint, Tame Impala, Metronomy, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Gossip, Hot Chip, MGMT, and others.

Last year, BBC Radio 1 approached the acclaimed electronic music act about doing an Essential Mix, and as the Dewaele Brothers joke in press notes, “When we were approached to  make an Essential Mix for the BBC in May 2017, we chose to do what every sane human being would do, we decided to lock ourselves into our studio for two weeks and make an hour of new music based around the word ‘Essential’, instead of preparing a mix of already existing music.” Interestingly enough, the Belgian electronic music act the first to ever submit an entire hour’s worth of original material for a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix. “It felt like a challenge,” the members of Soulwax explain in press notes, “and something no one had done. We loved the challenge of releasing a full record live on a radio show without people having any advance notice, and we always wanted to release it on DEEWEE after it was aired on Radio 1.”

Essential, the Belgian electronic act’s latest album is slated for a June 22, 2018 release, and the album, which was recorded in two weeks at their DEEWEE Studio finds the duo using the gear that they didn’t use for their celebrated From Deewee, an album that was recorded live and in one take. Each of album’s 12 tracks is centered around and titled with Essential — “Essential One” through “Essential Twelve,” and the album’s latest single “Essential Three” features a slick, club-banging, house music-like production consisting of thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, arpeggiated synths, a Kraftwerk-like motorik groove, some industrial clang and clatter and a sultry vocal sample. The track reveals an act that can manage slick, hyper-modern productions with a sweaty and soulful sultriness.

 

New Video: The Startling Visuals for Superet’s Arena Rock Meets Art School Rock Single “Receiver”

Comprised of long-term friends and musical collaborators Matt Blitzer (vocals, guitar), Alex Fischer (keys), Sam KS (drums), Patrick Kelly and Isaac Tamburino (guitar, keys, percussion), the Los Angeles-based indie rock quintet Superet officially formed on Valentine’s Day last year, and the long-time friends view the band as the culmination of a  longstanding creative kinship that’s been fostered through a series of bands and projects. Interestingly, the band derive their name from the facade of a decrepit Los Angeles area church, known for housing a cult — with superset being Latin for “may it overflow,” which from my understanding may be a very apt description for a band that spent the past year reclusively writing material that the band has been quietly releasing since the early part of this year.

“Receiver,” the band’s latest single was mixed by Dave Fridmann, who has worked with Spoon, MGMT and Tame Impala is a hook-driven song that features shimmering guitar chords, an angular yet propulsive rhythm section, loads of guitar feedback and buzzing power chords paired with crooned vocals within a prototypical grunge rock-like song structure: alternating quiet and loud sections. And while possessing an apt arena rock bombast, the song manages a mischievous art school rock sheen, as it’s a guitar rock anthem — from the outer reaches of the known universe.

Directed by the band’s frontman Matt Blitzer, the video’s main concept was to pair a visual component with the song that was “simple and unsettling,” and in this case, the video features members of the band in front of a black background rubbing their faces as to clean them; but managing to reveal another band members’ face just underneath the surface to create something that’s creepily nightmarish. 

Copenhagen, Denmark-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Brian Batz has received both national and international attention with the release of four full-length albums with his solo recording project Sleep Party People, and as you’ll hear on “The Sun Will Open Its Core,” the latest single off his soon-to-be-released new album Lingering, Batz specializes in a breezy psych rock/psych pop that’s reminiscent of Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT and early 80s synth pop and New Wave — in particular, think of The Buggles‘ “Video Killed the Radio Star;” however, underneath the hook laden song’s breeziness is a bilious bitterness, frustration and growing doubt of humanity’s empathy and kindness.  As Batz explains “I got really frustrated and emotionally upset when the whole refugee debate in Denmark was at its highest. I felt extremely indignant in terms of how society dealt with this problem. Normally I don’t go into politics, especially not in my music, but this was kind of inevitable.”

“I don’t get how people can reject human beings, who are fleeing from their destroyed homes and cities. What if it happened to us? Wouldn’t we do the same and ask for help and do whatever we felt necessary? We should be able to help each other even if we don’t agree on religion, politics or what we eat and wear. It puzzles me that some people out there can’t see the reason in helping. I had to write a song about this. Period.” And as a result, the song feels like an urgent plea that we all can — and must — do better, to help anyone in need; that it’s the truly human thing to do.

 

 

 

 

Will Joseph Cook is an up-and-coming London, UK-based indie pop/indie electro pop artist and producer who can trace the origins of his career to when he began crafting earnest and off-kilter pop tunes inspired by Talking Heads, MGMT, LCD Soundsystem and Vampire Weekend among others.  And at a relatively young age, the British producer and electronic music artist quickly received national and international attention with the release of his debut EP,  You Jump I Run through Duly Noted Records; in fact with EP single “Message,” which landed at number 1 on Hype Machine‘s charts and number 2 on Global Spotify Viral Chart. 

Proof Enough, Cook’s much anticipated follow-up Proof Enough further cemented Cook’s growing reputation for crafting material with enormous, rousing and crowd pleasing hooks, while going through a decided electronic approach, an approach that continues on his Jack Steadman, Hugh Worskett and self-produced full-length debut, Sweet Dreamer which is slated for an April 14, 2017 release through Atlantic UK.

“Plastic,” the album’s latest, infectious single features a boldly confident and brash production consisting of twinkling arpeggio keys, enormous, stomping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with Cook’s achingly soulful and easygoing vocals and a rousing, anthemic hook; but underneath, the song possesses an anxious uncertainty — the sort that comes about when a potential love may be unrequited or when a current love may be unceremoniously ending. And from the release of his latest single, Cook reveals himself to be one of the more interesting and unique electronic artists in an incredibly crowded field.

 

 

 

Julian Japser is a San Diego, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has publicly describes his own sound as being a 21st century Steely Dan or a lapsed Todd Rundgren after he had crossed paths with Ariel Pink — and although maybe to some that may be true, to my ears “2AM,  Chinatown” and “I Don’t Mind,” the first two singles off his forthcoming 2AM, Chinatown/I Don’t Mind EP remind me quite a bit of Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT, Tame Impala and Milagres as both singles possess soaring and infectious hooks, swaggering strutting vibes and a funky bass line; however, both singles thematically focus on a desperate and gnawing loneliness and isolation — in particular “2AM, Chinatown” has its narrator reminiscing over a lover he hasn’t seen or spoken to in some time, and as a result, the lonely narrator of the song is desperate to connect with that lover or with anyone really, as long as he felt some connection with someone, even if it were brief. “I Don’t Mind” possesses a funky, 70sAM rock feel that evokes a lazy morning with a lover — the sort in which limbs and sheets are hopelessly entangled and entwined, and you spend much of the day making love and chatting about all manner of things big and small. And as a result, it’s the sexiest song of the two; but underneath the surface there’s this sense of all things coming to its inevitable conclusion. All things lead to the same result — the endless search to not be as lonely as you were before, and both songs capture that with an uncanny verisimilitude.

 

 

Comprised of two childhood friends, who discovered that they had independently embark on electronic music careers while in college, the mysterious, Chicago-based electronic production and artist duo The White Panda have dominated the electronic music blogosphere with the release of five, critically applauded full-length albums — all of which have resulted in 35 #1 singles on Hype Machine, over 60 million SoundCloud streams and 25 million YouTube plays while being dubbed “the mash-up kings” by Vibe Magazine, and “a veritable party-mashup machine” by Entertainment Weekly. (At one point, The White Panda was one of SoundCloud’s top five most played artists — ever.)

Adding to an already immense and growing national profile, the duo has headlined several US tours, have played some of the country’s largest festivals including LollapaloozaFireflyElectric Zoo, and Bamboozle, and have opened for the likes of Flo RidaWale, NellyTwenty One PilotsDispatchSteve Aoki, TiestoMac MillerMike Posner, Benny BenassiMGMT and others. And while working on their own original production work, the duo had also spent their time working on and releasing a number of remixes including a gigantic, festival rocking rework of Powers‘ “Beat of My Drum,” that I wrote about a couple of years ago. Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them; however, the Chicago-based duo have been rather prolific since then, including their latest single, a sultry, club-rocking and anthemic cover/re-work of The 1975‘s “Somebody Else,” that features a guest spot from Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Verite — and while being a bold, tweeter and woofer rocking rework, the cover manages to retain the atmospheric original’s ache and longing.

 

Los Angeles, CA-based sibling duo Andrew Aged (lead vocals, guitar) and Daniel Aged (bass, production and vocals) write, record and perform as inc. no world — and with the critically applauded release of their 2013 debut effort, the duo quickly received a profile for an introspective songwriting approach, and for crafting songs that are not only thoughtful but draw from several different sources, including gospel, soul, experimental pop and others; but with a post-modern minimalism.

“Waters Of You,” the first single off the duo’s highly anticipated, forthcoming effort As Light As Light will likely further cement the Southern California-based duo’s burgeoning reputation for ethereal, soulful pop while subtly expanding upon it; in fact, in some way the song sounds as though it were inspired by Prince, Quiet Storm-era R&B and Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT as it manages to possess a sleek and sensual yet off-kilter funkiness and an aching tenderness as the song has the duo pairing gently strummed guitar  with shimmering synths, ethereal yet sensually cooed vocals and stuttering drum programming. In some way, the song evokes an urgent, carnal need and a vulnerability at its core.