Tag: Michael Jackson

New Audio: Ibibio Sound Machine Globalist and Genre-Bending Take on Dance Music

Fronted by Nigerian-born vocalist Eno Williams and featuring Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth) and Max Grunhard (sax, synth), the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine through the release of their first two albums 2014’s self-titled album and 2017’s Uyai has received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that draws influence from golden era West African funk and disco, and contemporary post-punk and electro pop. 

The London-based act’s third, full-length album Doko Mien is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Merge Records, and the album which derives its name from the Ibibio phase that translates into English as “tell me,” reportedly finds the act crafting a sonic world of entrancing specificity and comforting universality, essentially blurring the lines separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and the future. 

Doko Mien’s latest single, album title track “Doko Mien,” is centered around a glimmering and mind-bending production featuring  80s synth funk meets disco-like beats, arpeggiated synths, African polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and pizzicato guitar and an explosive horn arrangement. Sonically, the song strikes me as a wild, genre-bending amalgamation of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” Chicago house and Fela Kuti — and adding to the globalist vibes, Williams soulfully sings lyrics in both English and Ibibio, the Nigerian dialect from which the London-based act derives its name.  Simply put, the track is a club banger with an infectious, jubilant hook. 

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86’d from Neon Indian on Vimeo.

Alan Palomo is a Mexican-born, Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer and film maker, best known for his acclaimed solo recording project Neon Indian. And with the release of four full-length albums and an EP — 2009’s Psychic Chasms, 2013’s Era Extraña, the Errata Anex EP and 2015’s Vega Intl. Night School, Palomo established a reputation for crafting a slickly produced synth pop sound that sounds indebted to PrinceThrillerBad and Dangerous-era Michael Jackson and the synth funk/synth R&B sounds of the late 70s and early 80s – in particular think of The Whispers  Heatwave Evelyn “Champagne” King’, Cherelle and an even lengthier list of others.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve written about Palomo and Neon Indian and as it turns out that Palomo had spent the past couple of years working on 86’d, his first narrative short. As Palomo says in press notes, 86’d is “a love letter to New York cinema and in a way, a final recapitulation of the Night School universe. Shot on 16mm over the course of three nights, it was an ambitious undertaking for all parties involved but honestly making it was such a blast that at times felt like just that, a party. I’m eternally grateful to all the wonderful people that came together to realize this kooky project and proud to finally be able to share it with music and movie goers alike.

Directed by Palomo, written by Palomo and Kai Flanders, edited by Pete Ohs and Dustin Reid, the film stars Buddy Duress (Good Time, Heaven Knows What), Lindsay Burdge (Easy, Thirst Street, The Midnight Swim), Seaton Smith (Top Five, Mulaney), Chase Williamson (John Dies at The End), Mitzi Akaha (Lowlives, Dark Side of The Moon) and musician Alex Frankel (Holy Ghost) as well as Palomo. Set in Ed Koch-era NYC, Max takes a mouthful of mescaline and desperately tries to make it home before it kicks in. On his way, he decided to stop at an all-night deli for a quick, late night meal. After numerous order delays and full-on trip stampeding into his psyche, he is made to pay witness to the colorful cast of lower east side weirdos, visualizing their stories through his newly altered lens: A Times Square dominatrix meets up with one of her regulars to reveal an answering message left by his wife. Two punks discuss an ultimatum as one reveals his connection to a pistol found in a drug bust. A recording engineer convinces an aspiring singer to re-record a destroyed vocal take from a canonic 80s group and attempts to pass it off as the original. Visually speaking, the short reminds me quite a bit of Martin Scorcese’s After Hours as it describes a New York and New York characters that are sadly long gone.

Along with the film, Palomo wrote and recorded the short’s theme song “Heaven’s Basement,” a fittingly 80s inspired, dance floor friendly track, centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, a scorching distortion pedal effect-drenched guitar solo paired with Palomo’s dreamy falsetto. Interestingly, while the new track will further cement Palomo’s reputation for crafting slickly produced, dance floor friendly synth pop, it possesses a lysergic, mind-altering air.

 

New Audio: Tame Impala and Theophilus London Team Up on Two Synth Funk Bangers

Led by singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind Kevin Parker, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych pop act Tame Impala received international attention with the release of their first two albums, 2011’s Innerspeaker and 2012’s Lonerism. Interestingly, 2015’s Currents was centered around some of the most emotionally direct material he had written to date while expanding upon the sound that first caught attention with the material sonically drawing from synth pop, prog rock, R&B and psych pop to create a nuanced, textured and difficult to pigeonhole sound. 

Theophilus London is a Trinidad and Tobago-born, Brooklyn-based emcee, singer/songwriter and producer, who first emerged into the national and international scene with his 2011 debut EP Lovers Holiday, which found the Brooklyn-based emcee/singer/songwriter and producer collaborating with TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, Tegan and Sara’s Sara Quin, Glasser and Solange Knowles and his full-length debut 2011’s Timez are Weird These Days. Both of those early efforts quickly established London’s crowd-pleasing, genre-mashing sound and approach, which draws from soul, pop, post-punk, electro-pop, electro R&B, hip-hop and R&B — and that shouldn’t be surprising as London has publicly cited Michael Jackson, Prince, Kraftwerk and The Smiths as influences on his work.  2013’s sophomore effort VIBES found London collaborating with Jesse Boykins III and Kanye West, who was the album’s executive producer — and from album single “Tribe,” the album’s material further cemented London’s reputation for club-banging, synth pop-influenced hip-hop. 

So in some way, it shouldn’t be surprising that both genre-defying artists have collaborated together in a project informally dubbed Theo Impala, which has already released two singles — the first single, the swaggering “Whiplash” is a thorough and seamless amalgamation of their sound and approach, as it features London spitting fiery bars over layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Parker’s ethereal backing vocals singing a sugary pop-meets-soul melody. In some way, the song recalls 80s hip-hop, 80s synth soul, Crime Cutz-era Holy Ghost! and Dam-Funk among others. The second track is a cover Steve Monite’s Nigerian boogie hit “Only You” and while their cover is somewhat straightforward, it manages to possess a contemporary production sheen that gives the song a retro-futuristic thump. 

Slated for an August 3, 2018 release through Phantasy SoundPhysical is the full-length solo debut from Factory Floor‘s co-founder Gabe Gurnsey, and from “Eyes Out,” the album’s first single, the album’s material is a decided change in sonic direction and approach from his work with Factory Floor; instead of the icy, no wave electronica and industrial techno he’s best known for, Physical’s first single was sensual Chicago-styled house music-inspired sound centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and enormous crowd pleasing hooks. Arguably, it’s among the most straightforward and club-friendly material Gurnsey has ever written or recorded — while sonically bearing a resemblance to Octo Octa’s impressive Between Two Selves. “What I wanted to get into with Physical had to do with exploring songwriting and structure,” Gurnsey explains in press notes. “The album is very escapist in one sense even though I don’t want to escape from Factory Floor but what I do on my own has to be separate and it has to explore new avenues.”  As for the new single, Gurnsey says “I wanted to use the vehicle of a 4/4 track to set up a simulated night club. To communicate the feeling that comes when we are losing ourselves in that love/lust- filled situation.

“Harder Rhythm,” Physical‘s second and latest single is a sensual, primal, lust-filled track centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats — but unlike it’s predecessor it finds Gurnsey leaning a bit more towards industrial house, with the track sounding as though it were inspired by Yaz‘s “Situation” and New Order‘s “Blue Monday.” As Gurnsey explains, “When writing ‘Harder Rhythm’ I was drawing from the two very connected basic primal instincts of sexual attraction and our instilled affinity with rhythm. It’s a straight up celebration of both and the associated feelings of euphoria and tension. A love for the very first drum machine beat I ever heard on Michael Jackson‘s ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” definitely made its way in.”

Unsurprisingly, the album’s material is based around a larger narrative in which the album’s material is meant to evoke a night out from start to finish. “It’s a record about clubbing, even more than it’s a record to played in clubs,” Gurney says. “Getting ready to go out, driving into town, arriving at the club, being on the dance floor, how you get home afterwards, early the next morning . . . even when you step outside to get some air, when you’re outside at 3am having a cigarette . . . even that is represented here.”

Gurnsey will be opening for Nine Inch Nails for three dates, during part of their Midwestern tour. Check out the tour dates below:

Tour Dates:
10/22/2018 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theater
10/23/2018 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theater
10/25/2018 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom

Live Footage: Acclaimed and Up-and-Coming Austrian Artist Inner Tongue Performs “2 Seconds”

Inner Tongue is the (mostly) solo recording project of a rather mysterious Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer and musician, who grew upon an intensely musical home — his father is a saxophonist, who constantly wrote songs, so musical instruments were always lying around and his parents frequently shared their favorite albums with him; in fact, Inner Tongue formed his first band when he was 6. “We started out using one of my dad’s synths to play a pre-programmed beat,” he recalls. “I’d sing something that sounded to us like English.” Unsurprisingly, the Austrian artist, who cites Bjork, Moby, Portishead, Micheal Jackson, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Pet Shop Boys, Aphex Twin, and The Cure’s The Cure In Orange as influences — although those influences don’t quite correspond to his own sound and songwriting approach continued playing and writing music, playing in a small number of bands, including one that had briefly worked with Duran Duran and David Bowie’s producer before getting dropped by their label. 

Interestingly, with the release of some of his earliest solo work, the Austrian artist quickly garnered comparisons to James Blake, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, Death Cab for Cutie, Sohn, and Chet Faker/Nick Murphy. His quietly released yet critically applauded 2015 debut EP Tz Ka allowed him to open for the likes of Ghostpoet, Everything Everything and others. The Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer, and musician’s full-length debut Favours was released earlier this year, and interestingly, the album’s overall sound and thematic concern is inspired by a deeply personal yet remarkable story. Back in 2013, Inner Tongue was diagnosed with a rare vocal-cord disorder that was so severe that only a handful of specialists throughout the entire world were capable of treating it; but eventually his condition required surgery, which left him, for a time unable to talk. Understandably, the months that followed the surgery were emotionally and physically shattering but he began composing music again.  At the time, singing was out of the question and as the Austrian singer/songwriter, composer and musician says in press notes, “I decided to modify my musical focus temporarily by writing songs which could produce a melodic tension without vocals, but which featured the traits of forward-looking pop music. It was as if someone had pressed a resent button on the musical identity I had of myself.” Adds Inner Tongue, “I used to layer many sounds and melodies before, and felt like I hid the core of any idea behind that technique.”

Some of the Austrian artist’s full-length debut was made at home with most recorded in a friend’s stood in Vienna. Foals’ John Catlin, who collaborated with him on his 2015 debut EP assisted once again although his involvement varied throughout; however, as Inner Tongue says, Catlin “was continually involved as a producer and friend,” who also mixed the album with some further overdubbing where necessary. As the Austrian artist readily admits, the entire experience of writing and recording his full-length debut provoked ” “a lot of soul searching, trying to become a better mixing engineer and producer. I’m somewhat controlling when it comes to my music, and I need to get the little details right.”

However, unlike his debut EP, Favours was more of a collaborative effort, as he shared his ideas with a collective of very dear and close friends. “All contributions are built on a vision I initially had and then gain shape during the process,” Inner Thought says. His live backing band contributed much of the music with his father playing sax on “New York.” The live version of “2 Seconds,” Favours’ latest single features a sparse yet soulful arrangement centered around twinkling Rhodes piano keys and Inner Thought’s achingly tender vocals, which manage to express a plaintive, vulnerable need. It’s a delicate, sensitive yet incredibly sexy song that balances earnest emotion with deliberate attention to craft. 

Like countless other musicians, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Knox White relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a music career — and to support himself, White began working as a bartender. In a serendipitous turn of fate, Lionel Ritchie was one of his regulars, and after some time, Ritchie became a kind of mentor to the aspiring musician, giving advice and sharing stories about being on the road. The one thing that struck a deep chord with White was when Ritchie told him “Don’t sell your soul to the devil to get success in the music business. Stay humble and treat everyone like they are your friend.” On another night, Paul McCartney stopped by, and McCartney told him stories about The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Towards the end of the night, McCartney told him that a musician with an incredible live show is a musician with super powers, and the legendary Beatle told him, “Get amazing first, and everything else will fall into place.”

Eventually, White relocated to New Orleans, arguably one of the country’s richest musical environments — and unsurprisingly, he immersed himself in the city’s music scene, playing everything from gospel to jazz; in fact, as the story goes, White was immediately hired to play guitar at the Household of Faith Church, playing alongside some incredibly accomplished musicians, who took him under his wing, introduced him to other musicians, which lead to ton of gigs.  He found himself playing at clubs across the city playing and mastering gospel, blues, calypso, jazz and contemporary fare until the early morning. And naturally, while exhausting, White felt reinvigorated, returned to Los Angeles, where he began collaborating with producer Josh Legg, best known as Goldroom, and began writing fusing the skills and knowledge he gained while in the Crescent City and his influences — Prince, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix and Tame Impala.

White’s self-titled, debut EP is slated for release in July, and the EP’s first single “You’ve Been My Girl” is a sleek and slickly produced track that owes a tremendous debt to 80s synth funk  (i.e., Oran “Juice” Jones‘ “The Rain,” Cherelle’s “Saturday Love” and others) and Prince, thanks to some impressive guitar pyrotechnics throughout; but interestingly the song finds the narrator calling out a love interest for being indecisive and playing with his emotions. Certainly, we’ve all been there before.

 

New Video: Miami Horrors’ Joshua Moriarty Releases Surreal and Dream-like Visuals for “R.T.F.L.”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the years, you’ve come across a few posts featuring the Melbourne, Australia-based, internationally renowned, indie electro pop act Miami Horror, and as you may recall, the act, which initially formed as a quartet comprised of founding member Benjamin Plant (production), along with Joshua Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Aaron Shanahan (guitar, vocals and production) and Daniel Whitchurch (bass, keys, guitar) released two critically praised albums — their 2010 full-length debut Illumination, which was praised for a sound that drew from Cut Copy, New Order, Prince, Michael Jackson, E.L.O., and their 2013 sophomore effort All Possible Futures, a breezy and summery club banger, inspired by the time the quartet spent in Southern California.

After touring to support All Possible Futures, the band went on an informal hiatus with the band’s Benjamin Plant becoming an in-demand songwriting, co-writing tracks for Client Liaison and Roland Tings, among others. And somehow, the exceptionally busy Plant managed to also find time to write new Miami Horror material — material that would eventually comprise their conceptional EP, The Shapes, an effort that found the newly constituted trio’s sound drawing from Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, Caribbean funk and African percussion while retaining elements of the sound that won them international attention, as you’d hear on the hook-heavy single “Lelia.”

Interestingly, although he’s best known as the vocal behind Miami Horror, Joshua Moriarty has stepped out from behind the band with the release of his solo debut album, War Is Over and while the album’s second single “All I Want Is You” leans much more towards the his work with Miami Horror with nods to Giorgio Moroder-era disco and Tame Impala-like psych pop, the album’s first single “R.T.F.L.” is a decided change in sonic direction with the song leaning towards contemporary electro pop and electro soul — and while there is a plaintive and carnal sensuality within the song that feels expected, the song also manages to possess a thoughtful earnest, based on actual, lived-in, personal experience.

Directed by Thomas Russell and filmed by David McKinner, and starring Joshua Moriarty and Morgan Rayner, the recently released video is  a surreal and feverish dream that undulates with a carnal vulnerability and need. 

New Video: The Surreal and Chaotic Visuals for FACIAL’S “Black Noise”

FACIAL is a Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk band, who have described their sound on their Facebook Fan Page as “the noise that cuts like a chainsaw through the thick buildup of residue in your mind, left behind by years of dealing with the dull banality of life. They take the dead parts of your brain killed by mundane reputation and blast it away with a pressure hose, while the low end rattles all the barnacles off your body and pounds you the way you are always afraid to ask for. Sweet melodies interchange with primal screaming as you fluctuate between comfort and discomfort, horror and jubilation, familiarity and utter confusion.” 

With their sophomore album Facade slated for release on Friday through Chain Letter Collective, the Los Angeles-based post-punk trio reportedly finds the band blowing away the facades and exposing the ugly truths underneath whether it’s their hometown, their country or within themselves. As a result, the material burrows down into the uncomfortable realities that we’ve long tried to push aside such as primal urges, anger, hate, selfishness, envy, jealousy rather than the superficial and alternate reality we show to the world that we are happy, cooperative, peaceful, benevolent members of a kind, cooperative society. And interestingly enough, album single “Black Noise” is a darkly moody, tense and angular track that nods at Echo and the Bunnymen’s Heaven Up Here and others but with a menacing and muscular tone, as though capturing the murky depths of the id.

Directed by Jack Mikesell and co-produced by Jared Robbins and Matt Macnelly, the recently released visuals for “Black Noise” employ a chaotic, dream-like logic with the video beginning with the members of the trio walking through a model town like gods, before quickly cutting to an interpretive dance sequence reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” — that is until a group of young women come by to kick the band’s ass and smash everything in their sights, which in some way seems to evoke our own destructive urges going absolutely wild. Towards the end of the video, the young women join in on the interpretive dance.