Tag: Moonbabies Wizards on the Beach

Live Footage: The Dream Eaters “Neanderthals” in Studio

If you were frequenting this site earlier this year, you may recall a couple of posts I wrote about New York-based dream pop duo The Dream Eaters. Comprised of  Boston, MA-born, New York-based composer and songwriter Jake Zavracky and Vancouver Island, BC-born, New York-based vocalist and musician Elizabeth LeBaron, the New York-based dream pop duo can trace their origins together back to 2015. After playing and touring in obscurity both in his hometown and New York, Zavaracky had decided to give up music and for a period of time he was working in a Brooklyn dive bar, where he met LeBaron, a fellow bartender and musician, who had recently relocated to New York. When they both discovered that they were musicians, they found an instant connection and began collaborating together — although the initial arrangement was that Zavaracky had written songs for LeBaron. However, when they realized that their harmonies helped create a truly unique sound, they recognized that the best thing would be to write, record, and perform together. 

Initially writing and performing as Jake and Elizabeth, the duo saw a rapidly growing profile; however, as they began to further refine their sound, they felt that it was necessary to rebrand themselves, eventually taking up the name The Dream Eaters. And as The Dream Eaters, Zavracky and LeBaron released their self-produced debut EP Five Little Pills, an effort which has proven to be the precursor of the bare-bone production and sparse yet hauntingly gorgeous sound of their full-length debut, We Are A Curse and its first single “Dead On The Inside.” Sonically speaking, the duo pairs LeBaron’s lilting and effortless vocals with gently strummed folk-like guitar and chiming percussion with a soaring hook which displays the duo’s stunning harmonizing. And while bearing a resemblance to Moonbabies’ Wizards on the Beach, the song manages to sound as though it nods at Nick Drake and Crosby, Stills, and Nash-era folk. Thematically speaking, the song as the duo explained focuses on becoming unmoored and getting lost, and walking around with the realization that you’re living in a murky, anxious and unforgiving dream, evoking what many of us feel living in this surreal political climate; and while being a gorgeous and understated protest song, there’s an underlying sense of resolve and determination to survive and overcome the dark days ahead.

Interestingly, “Neanderthals,” We Are A Curse‘s second and latest single wasn’t originally meant to be on the album — and according to Zavracky is a revised and altered version of a song that he had originally written towards the end of the Bush Administration. After the 2016 presidential election the song seemed sadly relevant again, and ultimately came together very quickly. As Zavracky explains the song starts with a very pessimistic us vs. them mentality but takes on an optimistic, sort of “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” type of sentiment. “It’s mean to be more inspirational than negative by the end,” Jake Zavracky says. Elizabeth LeBaron adds that over the past couple of months, the song has grown and developed a much deeper meaning, even after they had finished it. “When we decided to record this song, the Women’s March was breaking records all over the world and this song felt like an anthem. ‘They won’t make us crawl / They’re all neanderthals’ are words that I think will resonate with anyone who is against the ‘archaic’ ideologies being pushed by the new administration,” LeBaron says. Sonically,   the duo pairs shuffling, trip hop-inspired beats with their gorgeous harmonies, twinkling keys and a soaring, anthemic hook to craft what may be the most strident and forcefully political song they’ve released to date.

With the assistance of their PR firm, Behind the Curtains Media, the New York-based dream pop duo recently released live footage, performing “Neanderthals” in the studio. Check it out. 

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Live Footage: Up-and-Coming, French Producer Zimmer Performs “Lost Your Mind”

With the release of a string of high-profile remixes of MØ, Vallis Alps, Gallant, Fakear and others, and his first two original singles “Galapagos” and “Saturday Love,” the Paris-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Zimmer quickly established himself as part of a new crop of Paris-based producers and electronic music artists including fellow labelmates Darius, FKJ and Kartell, who have been busily redefining French electronic music — sonically, thematically and lyrically.

Zimmer’s 2015 EP Coming of Age may have arguably been his breakthrough effort, as the material possessed a refined, minimalist sound with songs that oscillated between euphoria and nostalgia. However, the up-and-coming French producer’s recently released EP Ceremony reportedly finds him further expanding upon his sound as the material draws from downtempo electro pop, dream pop and dance floor-friendly house music — sometimes simultaneously as you’ll hear on the EP’s latest single “Lost Your Mind,” which features ethereal guest vocals from Fhin paired with shimmering cascades of undulating synths, twinkling keys, warm blasts of guitar and propulsive beats. Sonically speaking, the song is somewhat reminiscent of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and of Moonbabies’ gorgeous Wizards on the Beach.

Recently, the French producer released live footage of him with Fhin performing the song surrounded by mood-setting lights.

Brighton and London-based indie label Catskills Records celebrates their 20 anniversary and just like Fluff and Gravy Records, the label which can trace their origins to its first release by Sonorous Star, featuring label founders Khalid and Amr Mallassi just released a compilation of music from some of their wildly genre-spanning artists, artists who have specialized in electro pop, hip-hop, punk, country, prog rock and others titled Catskills Records: 20 Years of Victory. And along with the retrospective look of where the label has been and their overall aesthetic, the compilation includes two new tracks from label mainstays Pepe Deluxe and Husky Rescue

Finish electronic music act Husky Rescue have developed a reputation across both their native Finland and Scandinavia for a songwriting approach that focuses on restless experimentation — and for material that sonically and aesthetically walks a very careful tightrope between anxious tenseness and childlike innocence.  Now if you had been frequenting this site last year, you may recall that I wrote about two singles off the expanded Long Lost Friend album, “Deep Forest Green,” a track that sonically seemed to draw from Bjork, and Talking Heads while the album’s second single “Far From The Storm” seemed to draw from  Moonbabies fantastic Wizards on the Beach and Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” — or in other words, cinematic dream pop with an even breezier nature and catchy hooks.

The Finnish act’s contribution to the Catskill Records compilation is the slow-burning and tense “My Shelter,” a single that pairs Ringa Manner’s aching yet powerhouse vocals with gently undulating and twinkling synths, swirling electronics and a cinematic sweep to create a sound that’s reminiscent of Kate Bush and Bjork while being a swooning, romantic ode. As the members of the electronic act explained to the folks at Clash Magazine “‘My Shelter’ is a previously unreleased track we wrote in the midst of a long hiatus. We had recently gotten to know singer Ringa Manner and felt she might have just the right voice for the song. And so she most certainly did: forceful and fragile all at once. Which is pretty much what the song is all about.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally known for her work in electro pop projects Her HabitsGemology and others, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist Joanie Wolkoff has been a JOVM mainstay artist before striking out on her own last year with her solo recording project Wolkoff. In fact, last year was a very big year for the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based artist — she collaborated with renowned electronic act The Hood Internet on “Going Back,” a single released to massive praise across the blogosphere, including several major media outlets, including Vice Noisey and Billboard — and as you can imagine resulted in a growing national profile for Wolkoff.

Interestingly, Wolkoff’s previously released work channeled the contemporary electro pop sound of acts like BeaconSeoul (both of whom are also JOVM mainstays) and others — in other words eerily minimalist productions consisting of icy synth stabs and woofer and tweeter rattling bass paired with plaintive vocals. However, her ongoing collaboration with young, up-and-coming producer Icarus Moth, which started with the release of the Talismans EP has set the duo apart from the pack as Icarus Moth’s production reveals a deliberate and painterly approach. While drawing from contemporary electro pop and world dance music, the young producer has developed a reputation for pairing big beats, swirling electronics and lush layers of synths with medieval-sounding instrumentation in a way that evokes brushstrokes across a canvas — as you’ll hear on EP single “Curve Appeal,” and others.

Building upon the buzz the duo received last year, Wolkoff and Icarus Moth are set to release Wolkoff’s full-length debut Without Shame on April 15. Lyrically and thematically, the material on the album explores the role shame has in our lives and perhaps more importantly the possibility of sidestepping its grip on us through breaking rank and venturing into the unknown. And as a result, the material on the album may be among the most deeply personal — and yet profoundly universal — material she’s released to date. Without Shame‘s first single “The Homecoming” pairs big tweeter and woofer rattling bass with skittering drum programming, swirling and ambient electronics, Eastern-tinged instrumentation and Wolkoff’s coquettish cooing, and in some way the song possesses the dreamy and ethereal feel of Swedish dream pop — think of Moonbabies‘ excellent Wizards on the Beach and The Knife but subtly filtered through chip tune and old school house music.

Without Shame‘s second and latest single “Kings Highway” pairs Icarus Moth’s painterly production style consisting of swirling electronics, layers of cascading synths, chiming synths, boom-bap beats and ambient electronics with Wolkoff’s husky and coquettish vocals singing lyrics that are both surreal and Romantic in a song that’s sensual and seductive  — while sounding as though inspired it were by electro pop, R&B and house music. And although radio friendly and accessible, it’s challenging and  possesses an art school sheen. Certainly, from the first two singles Icarus Moth should be an in-demand producer as he has a unique sound — and it suggests that Wolkoff and Icarus Moth’s collaboration may be one of the most exciting and unique collaborations in contemporary pop.

Originally known for her work in electro pop projects Her HabitsGemology and others, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist Joanie Wolkoff has been a JOVM mainstay artist before striking out on her own last year with her solo recording project Wolkoff. In fact, 2015 was a very big year for the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based artist — she collaborated with renowned electronic act The Hood Internet on “Going Back,” a single released to massive praise across the blogosphere, including several major media outlets, including Vice Noisey and Billboard — and as you can imagine resulted in a growing national profile for Wolkoff.

Interestingly, Wolkoff’s previously released work channeled the contemporary electro pop sound of acts like BeaconSeoul (both of whom are also JOVM mainstays) and others — in other words eerily minimalist productions consisting of icy synth stabs and woofer and tweeter rattling bass paired with plaintive vocals. However, her ongoing collaboration with young, up-and-coming producer Icarus Moth, which started with the release of the Talismans EP has set the duo apart from the pack as Icarus Moth’s production reveals a deliberate and painterly approach. While drawing from contemporary electro pop and world dance music, the young producer has developed a reputation for pairing big beats, swirling electronics and lush layers of synths with medieval-sounding instrumentation in a way that evokes brushstrokes across a canvas — as you’ll hear on EP single “Curve Appeal,” and others.

Building upon the buzz the duo received last year, Wolkoff and Icarus Moth are set to release Wolkoff’s full-length debut Without Shame on April 15. Lyrically and thematically, the material on the album explores the role shame has in our lives and perhaps more importantly the possibility of sidestepping its grip on us through breaking rank and venturing into the unknown. And as a result, the material on the album may be among the most deeply personal — and yet profoundly universal — material she’s released to date. Without Shame‘s first single “The Homecoming” pairs big tweeter and woofer rattling bass with skittering drum programming, swirling and ambient electronics, Eastern-tinged instrumentation and Wolkoff’s coquettish cooing, and in some way the song possesses the dreamy and ethereal feel of Swedish dream pop — think of Moonbabies‘ excellent Wizards on the Beach and The Knife but subtly filtered through chip tune and old school house music. Thanks to its accessibility, the song manages to be both radio-friendly and club-friendly — but it also reveals Wolkoff and Icarus Moth’s collaboration to be one of the most unique sounding collaborations I’ve come across in some time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finish electronic music act Husky Rescue have developed a reputation across both their native Finland and Scandinavia for a songwriting approach that focuses on restless experimentation — and for material that sonically and aesthetically walks a very careful tightrope between anxious tenseness and childlike innocence.  The band’s last album The Long Lost Friend will be re-issued worldwide on December 11 as a double album — the first album is comprised of original album’s eight previously released tracks; however, since the initial recording sessions and release of Long Lost Friend, vocalist Johanna Kalén left the band because of health issues, so the second album consists of material written by Marko Nyberg (vocals and production), and Antony Bentley (composer and musical director).

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month, you may recall that I’ve written about Husky Rescue and Long Lost Friend‘s first single “Deep Forest Green.” But some backstory may be a little necessary: According to press notes, there actually is a real story of a long lost friend that informs the material on original album. As the story goes, the long lost friend in question was someone Nyberg was particularly close to throughout most of his childhood — in fact, the two played music together and had a deep mutual understanding that comes from very close friendships. Sadly, the two friends lost touch with each other through most of their twenties, but while Nyberg was writing the songs on Long Lost Friend, he had regained contact with this dear friend. Reportedly, the material as a whole blends the literal and metaphorical, so the material manages to be about more than just one individual friendships — but varying states of emotional intimacy and how difficult and confusing it is to attain them.

Whereas album single “Deep Forest Green” seemed to sound as though it owed a sonic and thematic debt to the work of Bjork, Talking Heads and others, the album’s latest single “Far From The Storm,”pairs Kalén’s lovely yet ethereal vocals with gently strummed guitar chord sample, twinkling keys and gently undulating synths. The song concludes with coda that’s one part psychedelic and one part ominous as it features a towering and buzzing guitar solo. Sonically and structurally, the song seems as though it draws from Moonbabies fantastic Wizards on the Beach and Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” — or in other words, cinematic dream pop with an even breezier nature and catchy hooks.

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past year Moonbabies, a Malmö, Sweden-based indie electro pop act comprised of husband and wife duo Ola Frick and Carina Johansson Frick have become something of a mainstay act on JOVM, as I’ve written about several singles off their impressive Wizards on The Beach, which was released earlier this year and have interviewed Ola Frick as part of the site’s ongoing Q&A series.

Although the Fricks have known each other since they were both high schoolers, they started writing and recording together in 1997. And with the release of their debut effort, the Malmo, Sweden-based duo had quickly developed a reputation for crafting an intricate shoegazer rock-based sound. However, by the time the duo had written, recorded and released their critically and commercially successful sophomore effort, The Orange Billboard the duo’s sound expanded and had become refined; in fact, many critics across Europe had compared the album’s sound favorably to Wilco‘s critically acclaimed effort, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And as a result of the critical attention the album received, the duo embarked on an extensive European tour to support it. War on SoundThe Orange Billboard‘s follow-up effort was a critical and commercial success in Sweden and the album’s title track “War on Sound” won them greater international attention as the song was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy

As the story goes, the Fricks were busily working on what would be their highly-awaited, third full-length effort, the couple had begun to feel an increasing pressure to create and deliver songs that were commercially viable — to the point that that they had begun to feel as though they were drifting away from their initial creative vision and spirit. Recognizing that they were in a creative rut, the duo forced themselves out of the their comfort zone, relocating to Berlin, Germany. While in Berlin, they quickly felt in love with the city’s globally renowned EDM and house music scenes; in fact, as a result, the material they had begun writing began to lean heavily towards a more electronic-based sound. However, the duo did feel an entirely different pressure — the pressure of having to prove themselves in a much bigger, much more competitive scene, and after two years in Germany, the Fricks returned to their native country and started the recording progress again.

Upon their return to Sweden, the duo found the recording process to be both unsuccessful and frustrating, as they spent time forcing themselves to be push the process forward, scrapping it when the material didn’t feel exactly how they wanted it and then starting over, which according to the Fricks, they did more than 30 times. Interestingly, as the band has publicly noted, the birth of their son seemed to be the catalyst that breathed new life into their entire creative process and forced a change in approach. Their approach became much simpler – move past bad memories and associations, and focus on the songs that evoked a visceral sensation. As they were going through old material, they began to see things that they didn’t originally see within the material, and they found that ideas started to flow about naturally around it — and in a way that they hadn’t had in a while. And the end result was the duo’s aforementioned Wizards on the Beach.

Album single “24” pairs layers of shimmering synths, boom bap-like drums, acoustic guitar and industrial clang and clatter with Frick’s ethereal vocals to create a song that evokes the sensation of waking from a pleasant and yet half-remembered dream while subtly channeling the work of Jose Gonzalez and Junip. Recently, the London-based duo Glass Children remixed Moonbabies “24” as part of a unique remix exchange between both bands (you’ll hear about the band shortly), and their remix pairs Ola Frick’s vocals while an upbeat production consisting of layers of gently undulating synths, propulsive, tribal drumming that makes the song much more club-ready and yet trippy while retaining the dreamy feel of its original.

Comprised of David Fairweather and Daniella Kleovoulou, the London-based electronic duo The Glass Children craft dark, 80s inspired, upbeat electro pop consisting of lush production and ethereal vocals.  Their uptempo single “Undone” pairs layers of undulating synths, swirling electronics and Kleovoulou’s ethereal vocals in a song that sways and swoons with a plaintive Romanticism. Moonbabies’ remix pairs Kleovoulou’s ethereal vocals with swirling electronics and tribal-like percussion that actually makes the remix sound as though it could have been on Wizards on the Beach while retaining the original’s plaintive Romanticism — and of course, adding a dreamy fade out to the conclusion reminiscent of the ending of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.”

I recently spoke to Moonbabies’ Ola Frick and The Glass Children’s David Fairweather and Daniella Kleovoulou via email about their unique remix exchange, their inspiration behind each band’s take on the other’s material and what’s next for both bands. Check it out below.

WRH: Moonbabies and The Glass Children recently remixed a single from their most recent full-length efforts — and both acts are releasing them on the same day as part of a “remix exchange” for lack of a better phrase. With Moobabies being based in Malmo, Sweden and The Glass Children being based in London, I wanted to know how did this collaboration come about? 

Daniella Kleovoulou: It was through Twitter actually. When “Undone” was released Moonbabies discovered the track through a blog review and tweeted about it. A bit later Ola [Frick] contacted us about remixing the song which we were really up for. I told him that David [Fairweather] played me “24” a while back from a BIRP playlist and we both loved the song so Ola asked if we’d like to remix it in exchange . . . and that’s how it all started.

Ola Frick: Both of us loved “Undone” when we first heard it, I guess it was back in January-February maybe. And since their other tracks also showed that they’re pretty extraordinary we wanted to get in touch and see if we could do a collaboration or remix exchange, and that was just what happened. Nice peeps as it seems!

L to R: Daniella Kleovoulou and David Fairweather of London's The Glass Children and Ola Frick and Carina Johansson Frick of Malmo, Sweden's Moonbabies
L to R: Daniella Kleovoulou and David Fairweather of London’s The Glass Children and Ola Frick and Carina Johansson Frick of Malmo, Sweden’s Moonbabies

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WRH: The Moonbabies’ remix of The Glass Children’s “Undone” retains Daniella Kleovoulou’s husky vocals but pairs them with a percussive yet very dreamy production consisting of undulating and swirling electronics before ending with chiming keys and a distorted vocal sample that evoke the sensation of waking from a dream. That remix sounds as though it could have been a B-side to Wizards on the Beach. Ola, why did you choose “Undone”? The remix manages to retain the original’s spirit while giving the song a different interpretation. What inspired your remix?  

Ola Frick: I’d say all my good studio work starts with a being filled up to the limit with a great feel/inspiration to begin with. Confidence, as well. And if you have it, it all goes smooth, happens fast and is driven by pure instinct. With this track I needed to have a complete blank canvas and just let it out. It happened very fast, 3-4 hours with some extra tweaks a day or two later, including mix/mastering. I just felt the song, and let it go in any way. And the first path it took (the big rhythm and thick vocals in focus) was the right. I’m very happy with it.

WRH: The Glass Children’s remix of Moonbabies “24”retains the Fricks’ vocals put pairs them with an uptempo, dance pop production — shimmering synths, skittering drum programming, swirling electronics, and the like. It sounds as though it’s both headphone-ready and club-friendly. And much like the Moonbabies’ remix, your remix retains the original’s spirit while giving the song a different interpretation. Why did you choose “24”? What inspired your remix?  

David Fairweather: It’s partly inspired by the same production ideas we had for our song “Undone”: a big bass and lots of 80’s analogue synths. We went for a melancholic feel but with some euphoric strings poking their heads in.  We wanted to keep the beautiful central riff the Moonbabies wrote on the guitar, but instead translate it to the piano.

WRH: What’s next for both bands? 

Daniella Kleovoulou: We’re currently working on our debut EP and organising some shows around London for the winter. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll also be streaming an electro cover of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra‘s “Some Velvet Morning” on SoundCloud.

Ola Frick: We have a few dancy Remixes we’ve done of tracks by the bands Blind Lake, Cantaloupe and The Land Below, that I guess and hope will be out before the end of 2015. And as you know we just released the Deluxe Edition Version of Wizards on the Beach with 12 bonus tracks. It sort of marks an end to a very long cycle for us. It feel great to get back into making something brand new, a complete fresh start, as were on a blank paper. Don’t know when something new will be out. One thing [that] stands out of the experience of working within the music industry 2015, is that we’re doing it straight out of pure joy, nothing else. We have set up our own imprint label Culture Hero, and no real pressure. My guess is a spring-time Moonbabies single or EP release. When something great pops up, we’ll capture it and release it. And I’m not lying when I say that I feel more confident and inspired than ever.