Tag: music

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Carré Share Uneasy and Lysergic “Brothers”

Over the past couple of years, I managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Los Angeles-based indie electro rock outfit and JOVM mainstays Carré, an act that features:

  • Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
  • Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that JusticeSoulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
  • Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels ClineJonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.

Deriving their name for the French word for “square,” “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed back in 2019 — and as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”

Carrè fittingly specializes in a French electronica-inspired sound that frequently blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops. And thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality through a surrealistic outlook of our world.

2020’s attention-grabbing self-titled EP featured:

Since the release of their debut EP, the members of Carré have shared remixes of material off their self-titled EP. But earlier this month, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays released “Brothers,” their first single of 2022. Centered around a dense and woozy production featuring copious amounts of cowbell, buzzing guitars, layered arpeggiated synths, industrial clang and clatter, thumping and propulsive four-on-the-floor, the expansive “Brothers” is a slick synthesis of Pink Floyd‘s “On The Run,” Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails, and LCD Soundsystem that’s arguably the act’s trippiest and most dance floor friendly track of their growing catalog.

The band explains that the track “is a surrealistic allegory on climate change and human relationships with Mother Earth.”

The accompanying video was made by San Diego-based artist Jerry Scott Lopez and is an uneasy and lysergic nightmare featuring stop motion animation vaguely inspired by Darron Anrofski’s Mother.

New Video: Pop Outfit Lynda Shares a Breezy Yet Wistful Bop

Currently split between Bristol and Paris, indie electro pop duo Lynda — Russ Harley and Youcef Khelil — can trace their origins to a writing session in London‘s Lewisham section back in 2016. With the release of a handful of singles and Lynda Tapes [2018-2020], the duo quickly established a sound influenced by Japanese synth pop outfit YMO, Hiroshi Sato, VangelisBlade Runner soundtrack and Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack.

The duo is set to release their four-song, debut EP LEMONRIVER EP. Mixed by French touch legend Alan Braxe, the EP reportedly sees the duo crafting an ethereal synth wave sound featuring vintage 80s and 90s drum machines, vintage synths paired with Khelil’s plaintive vocal delivery. The end result is a sound that’s dreamy and cinematic and tinged with a bittersweet nostalgia.

LEMONRIVER EP‘s second and latest single “Calliope” derives its title from the Greek muse of epic poetry. Centered around a lush and dreamy soundscape featuring a strutting yet funky bass line, glistening synth arpeggios, Khelil’s achingly plaintive vocal and the duo’s penchant for infectious, razor sharp hooks. Thematically, the song is focused on a familiar scenario for most, if not all of us: That recognition that your lover has changed and become a stranger right before your eyes — and that maybe it’s time for the things to end, even if you don’t want it to end.

Directed by Ikonë Studio, the accompanying video was shot in Kosovo and follows the duo in 90s-styled suits and sneakers, driving through tree-lined suburban streets and downtown Kosovo at night in a red convertible, goofing off at a quirky Wes Anderson-like hotel and dancing on the roof of skyscraper. Underneath the stylishness and quirkiness of the visual is a bittersweet, nostalgic ache.

New Video: Danish Pop Artist Kleo Shares Euphoric “Beautiful Life”

Danish singer/songwriter Kleo exploded into the national and European scenes with her debut single “Miss You,” that paired the rapidly rising Danish artist’s achingly tender and vulnerable vocal delivery is paired with a sparse and dreamy soundscape of strummed guitar, twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and persistent, uptempo beats. Rooted in seemingly lived-in experience , “Miss You” features a narrator, who is haunted by longing and their memories of a relationship that they’ll never get back. But it’s core, the song has a bigger message, encouraging the listener to see that all of our experiences help us grow as people, and perhaps most important, there’s almost always a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Beautiful Life,” the Danish artist’s second and latest single is a defiantly upbeat, slickly produced pop anthem centered around glistening synth arpeggios, Kleo’s earnest pop belter delivery and earnest lyricism paired with a penchant for rousingly anthemic, enormous hooks. The song sees Kleo reinterpreting the motto carpe diem through her own lens with the song encouraging the listener to embrace life and to fully immerse themselves in the euphoric feeling of falling — and being — in love. The song is also a reminder that the world can still be beautiful, and that love has a unique power for good.

“For me, it’s about being open and holding on to the feeling of happiness I feel in the present moment,” Kleo explains. “For example, the feeling I get when I meditate, or when I’m completely head over heels in love with someone. I woke up one morning and thought: This is the canvas – it’s the backdrop for life itself. And not days of clouds and hurricanes. If I can wake up in the morning and feel bliss, then it must be reality itself.”

Directed by Stine Emil Thorbøll, the accompanying black and white visual for “Beautiful Life” is shot is inspired by 90s pop culture and is shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white. We see the Danish pop star dancing blissfully with actor Ask Berntsen. And for the pair of star-crossed lovers, time and the entire world itself just seems to melt away.
 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Palm Ghosts Shares a Dance Floor Friendly Bop

Throughout the course of this site’s 12+ year history, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink covering Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts. Led by singer/songwriter and producer and Ice Queen Records founder Joseph Lekkas, Palm Ghosts can trace its origins to when Lekkas lived in Philadelphia: After spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing, recording and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area. 

Lekkas initially started Palm Ghosts as a solo recording project — and as a creative outlet to cope with an incapacitating bout of depression and anxiety. During a long, prototypically Northeastern winter, Lekkas recorded a batch of introspective songs that at the time, he dubbed “sun-damaged American music,” which eventually became the project’s full-length debut. After a short tour in 2013 to support the album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Music City, enticed by its growing indie rock scene. 

Palm Ghosts’ third album, 2018’s Architecture was a decided change in sonic direction with Lekkas crafting material influenced by the 80s — in particular, Cocteau TwinsPeter GabrielDead Can DanceNew Order,  The Cure, and others. 

Much like countless musical acts across the globe, Lekkas and his bandmates spent the forced downtime of the pandemic, attempting to be as busy as they possible could: They wrote a ton of new material informed by a year or so of quarantine-related isolation, socioeconomic and financial instability, protests and demonstrations. 

Last year, the JOVM mainstays released two albums, their fourth album, Lifeboat Candidate and their fifth album, Lost FrequencyLifeboat Candidate was a fittingly dark, dystopian effort full of confusion, fear and dread that drew from the events and circumstances of the year preceding its release. Interestingly, Lost Frequency is a much different album: Initially scheduled for a 2020 release, Palm Ghosts’ fifth album harkens back to before the pandemic, when things seemed more or a less normal and carefree — or at least somehow a bit less uneasy and desperately urgent. In some way, the album’s material feels both celebratory, escapist, and perhaps even somewhat nostalgic. But paradoxically, the album’s material lyrically brings confrontation to the forefront, reminding the listener that nothing is normal — and that normalcy and the desire to return to it is extremely destructive. 

The JOVM’s mainstays forthcoming sixth album Post Preservation reveals an entirely different side of the band. The album’s material features love songs — and there’s even a hint of optimism and some light showing through the cracks. But it’s still 2022, and there’s still plenty of darkness and discontent to the proceedings to balance the sunniness of much of the material. Conceived as a sort of soundtrack to a long lost John Hughes film, Post Preservation is full of nostalgic longing for a world that no longer exists, except in our hearts and minds.

Last month, I wrote about “Cross Your Heart,” a swooning, hook-driven power ballad that sonically is one-part Psychedelic Furs‘ “Pretty in Pink,” one-part Simple Minds‘ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” and paired with earnest, lived-in lyrics that describe being in — and perhaps out of — love, during the end of the world. 

Post Preservation‘s latest single “Signal” is a New Order-like, dance floor friendly bop featuring wiry guitar bursts, arpeggiated synths and relentless four-on-the-floor that’s rooted in the band’s unerring knack for enormous hooks and incisive social criticism. “Signal,” as the band explains “is about our dependent relationship with technology and the negative effects associated with it. Particularly, the increasing isolation that it eases and allows.”

Directed by Michael Patti, the accompanying video for “Signal” follows a man desperately attempting to escape his own reality in pursuit of a girl from another dimension.

“For ‘Signal,’ I wanted to explore an obsession for love just out of reach. We follow our lead as he attempts to escape his own reality, in pursuit of a girl from another dimension. She sends a signal from the other side that drives him to go to extraordinary lengths to get to her,” Patti explains. “The music video captures something that I believe we all have within ourselves. A longing to love and be loved. That distinct moment, when two people cross paths spark an instant connection, you can’t help but pursue it. That is what the story in the video tells.”

New Video: Florence, Italy’s Lazy Lazarus Shares Dreamy “Fame Fatale”

Lazy Lazarus is a Florence, Italy-based singer/songwriter and musician. After stints in a number of bands that started when he was 14, the Italian artist stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist.

Interestingly, as a songwriter, the Italian artist sees himself as a fisherman, trying to catch ideas, sensations and feelings from the endless ocean of life, and only when he catches them, does he proceed to shape them into songs.

The Florence-based artist’s latest single “Fame Fatale” is a slow-burning and woozy bit of crafted psychedelia that brings Tame Impala and Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles to mind but paired with blown out beats and rumbling low end.

Directed by Lorenzo Torricelli, the accompanying, cinematically shot video for “Fame Fatale” follows the Florence-based artist through some hallucinogenic and dream-like sequences.

New Video: Blue Canopy Teams Up with Misty Boyce and Patrick J. Smith on Slow-Burning “Stranger At The Door”

Portland, OR-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex Schiff started his music career as a co-writer for indie outfit Modern Rivals — and with Modern Rivals, Schiff has shared stages with the likes of Ra Ra Riot, Stars, and The Black Keys.

Since his time with Modern Rivals, Schiff has stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with his recording project Blue Canopy, which sees the Portland-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist combining versatile songwriting chops and exuberant melodies to convey nostalgia as a force to move forward. Sonically, Blue Canopy sees Schiff weaving dream pop, psych rock-inspired guitars and expansive electronic soundscapes. The end result is work that’s introspective at a time when self-reflection seems more crucial than ever.

So far, Schiff has released two Blue Canopy EPs 2020’s Mild Anxiety and last yer’s Sleep While You Can, which featured additional instrumentation and co-production from A Beacon School‘s Patrick J. Smith.

Schiff’s latest Blue Canopy single, the slow-burning and meditative “Stranger At The Door” features vocals from Misty Boyce, who has worked with Sara Bareilles and BØRNS and guitar from A Beacon School’s Patrick J. Smith. Featuring glistening synths arpeggios, skittering beats, a sinuous bass line paired with Boyce’s gorgeous vocals, “Stranger At The Door” sounds like a synthesis of Currents-era Tame Impala and Quiet Storm soul while centered around earnest, seemingly lived-in lyricism.

Interestingly, “Stranger At The Door” examines social anxieties in the COVID era, but written from the perspective of his dog Banjo, who has become increasingly anxious and paranoid over the past few months, as the world returns to a certain version o of normalcy.

‘”Stranger At The Door’ is a song from my dog Banjo’s perspective. He’s been super anxious and paranoid since we moved to a new house. He’s especially worried that there is someone or something dangerous at the front door. Some of it, and the inspiration is from his perspective. I relate it later in the song to my own social anxieties that have escalated since COVID. I often don’t feel comfortable in my own skin, or without a mask, or around people in general.”

Directed by Alex Beebee, the accompanying video for “Stranger At The Door” is a surrealistic fever dream featuring a mix of animation, grainy super 8-like live footage rooted in nostalgia.

New Video: Alewya Returns with a Woozy Banger

Alewya is an acclaimed London-based singer/songwriter, producer and visual artist. Born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian-Sudanese father and an Ethiopian mother, Alewya has spent her life surrounded and nurtured by diaspora immigrant communities: she grew up in West London and after spending several years in New York, she returned to London. Upon returning home, the rising Saudi-British artist developed and honed her ear for music through the sounds of the Ethiopian and Arabic music of her parents and the ambient alternative rock albums of her brother. 

The Saudi-born, Egyptian-Sudanese-Ethiopian, London-based artist’s name translates from Arabic to English into “most high” or “the highest,” and interestingly enough, her work thematically concerns itself with transcendence. She sees her music as an accessible space for her and her listeners to connect on a deeply spiritual level — with her work challenging the listener to remember the last time that they felt truly connected to themselves and their emotions. “I want to move people to themselves. I want them to feel the same way that I felt when I had a taste of a higher power and felt there was a presence over me,” Alewya says. “I want people to feel that.”

Back in 2020, Alewya burst out into the scene with an attention-grabbing feature on Little Simz‘s “where’s my lighter,” which caught the attention of Because Records, who signed the rising artist and released her critically applauded debut, last year’s Panther In Mode, which featured:

 The Busy Twist-produced debut single “Sweating,” a forward-thinking Timbaland-like mesh of trap, reggae and electro pop.

“Spirit_X,” which paired elements of Timbaland, trap and drum ‘n’ bass paired with the rising British artist alternating between spitting fiery bars and sultry crooning.

The sultry and defiantly feminist anthem “Play.” 

“Channel High” a slick synthesis of grime, contemporary R&B, dancehall, electro pop and Afrobeats that’s roomy enough for the rising British artist to pull out an incredibly self-assured, Lauryn Hill-like performance. Much like its predecessors, “Channel High” is politically charged, calling for music to bring about a much-needed paradigm shift. 

The JOVM mainstay’s latest single “Let Go,” is the first bit of new material since last year’s Panther in Mode EP. Centered around skittering beats and wobbling synths paired with Alewya’s raspy delivery. But where the material on Panther in Mode saw the artist at her most poised and controlled, “Let Go” feels feral and uneasy while self-assured.

“I’m freeing myself up, getting more confident in how lost I feel,” Alewya says. “With Panther In Mode, I was coming from a more poised space. The next phase is more wild. I won’t hold back anymore.”

Directed by Rawtape x Lee Trigg, the accompanying video for “Let Go” stars the rising artist and JOVM mainstay frenetically dancing in a variety of rooms and situations, including what appears to be a mental health institution. The video also features original hieroglyphic-style artwork by Alewya.

New Video: Polycool Shares Strutting and Sultry “Unlike You”

With the release of their full-length debut, 2091’s Lemon Lord, French psych pop outfit Polycool quickly established a unique sound that drew from Unknown Mortal OrchestraAirSebastian TellierNick Hakim, Connan Moccasin and others. The band has received airplay on Radio NovaFIPFrance InterLes Inrocks and others. 

Building upon a growing profile in their native France, the rising psych pop outfit has played at 2019’s Printemps de Bourges and 2020’s We Love Green

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Something Between Us,” a breezy and infectious bop centered around a strutting bass line, glistening synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar paired with a dance floor friendly hook and and a seductive falsetto delivery. The end result was a song that sounded like a slick synthesis of the Bee Gees and Tame Impala.

The French psych pop outfit’s latest single “Unlike You” is a swaggering and sultry song centered around glistening synth arpeggios, a strutting, Quiet Storm-like groove and buzzing guitars paired with a plaintive falsetto delivery and the band’s ability to craft an infectious hook. But underneath the sultry facade is something much more uneasy and menacing — the dysfunctional past relationship that you can’t escape from, that you can’t stop obsessively thinking of.

The band explains that the song describes “the trap of memory, the sleepless nights, the false desire to forget, looking for different thins (unlike you) in order to no longer love the past (un-like you).”

Directed by Martin Schrepel, the accompanying video for “Unlike You” begins with pairs of scissors making clean cuts of everything around — but at its core, is the confusing push and pull of emotions love often engenders, and the desire to break free.

New Video: Toulouse, France’s Edgar Mauer Shares Gorgeous and Introspective “By any means”

Founded back in 2020 by its founder, singer/songwriter and musician Maëve Couderc as a way to work around various gender roles, the Toulouse, France-based indie outfit Edgar Mauer became a full-fledged band when sound engineer Alain Flary and drummer Camille Bigeault joined. Since then, the band has developed a sound that meshes elements of Bristol trip-hop and Kate Bush-like pop with a modern touch. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Elma Capser,” a slow-burning bit of dream-pop centered around Coudec’s yearning vocal, Bigeault’s tribal-like drumming and Flary’s glistening guitar lines paired with a soaring hook and chorus. Sonically, “Elma Casper” brought The SundaysThe Cocteau Twins and even Mazzy Star to mind. And much like those acts, the song itself is rooted in the deeply personal, with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail. 

The band explained, that the song’s inspiration came from a mysterious name scrawled on a wall in Paris — Elma Casper. Couderc wound up writing lyrics, imagining what Elma Casper’s life would be, while also wondering if someone scrawled her name on a random wall, if they would be as a curious as she was. They also add that the song is an ode to the feelings and experience we leave behind when living and leaving a place, accepting our own trajectory.

The Toulouse-based trio’s latest single “By any means” continues a run of gorgeous and introspective dream pop-inspired material featuring shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, Couderc’s achingly plaintive vocal paired with an enormous hook and chorus. While sonically, “By any means” will bring back some fond memories of 4AD Records classic heyday and 120 Minutes-era MTV, the song as the band explains is a self-empowerment anthem.

Directed by Patrycja Toczek and the band, the video stars Edgar Mauer’s Couderc as a bored version of herself in the park on a lovely day, when she encounters a cheery monster played by Léna Base, who spends the day with Couderc. Throughout their time together, they play a variety of games — and we see Couderc eventually cheer up. The video itself possesses a goofy, DIY charm that’s just adorable.