Tag: Nancy Sinatra

 

A few years ago, I wrote a handful of posts on the Los Angeles-based indie rock trio Psychic Love, and because it’s been a while I think I should refresh your collective memories a bit: fronted by Laura Peters and featuring Max Harrison (guitar) and Liam McCormick (bass), the trio have described their sound as “dream grunge” and “as if  Nancy Sinatra had a love child with Frank Black.”

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about the Los Angeles-based indie rock trio but interestingly, their latest single “Go Away Green” derives its name and is somewhat influenced by a very odd yet very true fact — at Disney theme parks, the things they don’t want patrons noticing is painted in a shade of green that they’ve dubbed “Go Away Green.” Naturally, Peters was fascinated by that fact, and began to observe that people frequently try to cover up unpleasant aspects of their personalities and character in as similar fashion. As the band’s Laura Peters says in press notes. “This is a song about the things and people hiding in plain sight. I often feel like I’m looking out from inside a body – a body, a face, a look, that is telling the world one thing, but inside I’m just you and you are me.” Interestingly, the song features novelist’s attention to psychological detail, as it captures a relationship in which both people aren’t being as honest as they say they’d like to — and they both know it.

Sonically, the song is a decided expansion of the sound and songwriting approach that first caught my attention — the song is a bit of a shape shifter, that begins with a cacophony of noise that recalls Pearl Jam’s Vs. before quickly morphing into a slow-burning and atmospheric section with a rousingly anthemic hook that recalls Concrete Blonde and JOVM mainstays Oddnesse, but while hinting at Phil Spector’s famous Wall of Sound of production and an increasingly ambitious songwriting approach.

 

 

 

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Since appearing on DJ Shadow‘s 2006 album The Outsider, the critically applauded, mostly instrumental London, UK-based act The Heliocentrics, comprised of Malcolm Catto (drums, production), Jake Ferguson (bass), Adrian Owusu (guitar) and multi-instrumentalist Jack Yglesias, have cemented a reputation for a compositional approach based on the band’s four musicians’  live improvisation in the studio as a way to avoid typical songwriting and compositional processes and generic song structures, and for a boldly genre-defying aesthetic as their sound possesses elements of jazz, hip-hop, trip-hop, psych rock, acid jazz, krautrock and musique concrete. Unsurprisingly, as a result of being uncompromisingly difficult to pigeonhole, the members of The Heliocenters have collaborated with an impressive array of artists including Muluta Astake, The Gaslamp Killer, Lloyd Miller, Orlando Julius, the legendary and iconoclastic Melvin Van Peebles and others.

Spending well over a decade together, the members of the band refer to their songwriting and recording process as “almost a form of telepathy” with “musical changes that otherwise would be near impossible to write .. . ” Interestingly, the band’s fourth full-length effort, A World of Masks, which is slated for a June 9, 2017 release through  will further cement their reputation for being difficult to pigeonhole; but it also marks several new directions for a band that constantly pushes themselves in new directions sonically and thematically. First, the London-based band’s fourth album is the first official release through their new label home Soundway Records after several years on Los Angeles-based Now Again Records — and secondly, the album finds the band collaborating with Barbora Patkova, a young Slovakian vocalist, who the members of the band discovered through a mutual friend. According to the band, Patkova’s sound and vocal stylings “instantly worked with us,” and they quickly discovered an artist, who like them was intimately familiar with an improvisational approach and had lyrics at the ready to sing, frequently in her native Slovakian over any music thrown at her.  Lastly, A World of Masks is the first release of rather prolific year or so period for the band: they recently wrote the score to the critically acclaimed documentary about LCD, The Sunshine Makers and have plans to collaborate with the legendary Marshall Allen and the Sun Ra Arekstra, and to continue their collaboration with Gaslamp Killer with a new album as well, ensuring that The Heliocentrics will be a go-to band to collaborate with on genre-stretching and genre-defying works.

The London-based act’s latest single “Oh Brother” is the second official single off A World of Masks and the single is an awe-inspiring, heady and cinematic mix of psych rock, acid jazz, jazz fusion, 60s blue eyed soul and a subtle hint of psychedelic Bollywood in a song that possesses an explosive and feral immediacy paired with Patkova’s sultry and soulful Nancy Sinatra-like vocals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now if you had been frequenting this site towards the end of last year, you might remember that I wrote about the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter BETS, who quickly came to attention with the release of her critically applauded debut effort Days Hours Night. In the blogosphere age, artists have to strike quickly and while the iron is hot — and building upon the buzz she had received, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and producer initially planned to write and record new, original material when the two collaborators discovered that they shared a mutual fondness of Violent Femmes‘ 1983 self-titled, breakthrough debut. And reportedly, within a few minutes, BETS along with her producer decided that the album of original material should be put on hold for a bit, to allow them some time to write and record an her soon-to-be released Violent Femmes tribute album, in which she re-imagined and reworked the original material into haunting and dreamy shoegaze.

BETS’ Violent Femmes album’s first single was a slow-burning rework of “Blister in the Sun“in which guitars were fed through layers of distortion, fuzz and feedback paired with gently padded drumming and BETS’ dreamily distracted vocals to craft a version of the song that slowly pulls apart the song’s familiar melody and chorus in a way that’s both ethereal and moody.  The album’s latest single is a radically different rendition of “Gone Daddy Gone”/”I Just Want to Make Love to You” that nods at David Lynch and 60s bubblegum pop as twinkling percussion, shuffling drumming and dramatic bursts of guitar are paired with BETS’ coquettish and bratty vocals. Whereas the original possessed a neurotic and urgent need, BETS’ rendition sounds how I would imagine someone like Nancy Sinatra doing it — swinging and sensual as hell.

New Video: The Sultry and Explosive Soul Sounds of Portugal’s Marta Ren and The Groovelets

Arguably best known for fronting Portuguese breakbeat outfit The Bombazines with whom she recorded and released two full-length albums, Porto, Portugal-born and based vocalist Marta Ren has been a vital part of the Portuguese music scene since the mid-1990s as she’s also lent her vocals to a number of nationally known acts in her homeland and played at some of the country’s most renowned clubs and festivals. However, Ren has a long passion for the deep funk and soul of the 60s and she decided that it was time for her to go solo and front her own project under her own name, eventually hooking up with backing band The Groovelets.

Marta Ren and The Groovelets’ debut effort Stop Look Listen was released to critical praise earlier this year and has received airplay from BBC Radio 6’s Craig Charles, Radio France’s Francis Viel. Adding to a growing international profile Acid Jazz Records’ Eddie Piller has also championed Ren and her Groovelets.

Stop Look Listen’s third single “So Long” is a viscerally emotional, furious, sensual, barn-burning track in which Ren’s soulful and aching wailing with the tight and soulful Groovelets who emphasize the ache and fury in Ren’s vocals with warm, explosive blasts of horns, shimmering bluesy, guitar chords and a propulsive backbeat with a decided psychedelic-leaning. And much like fellow Record Kicks Records labelmates Hannah Williams and the Affirmations, Ren and her Groovelets are set to take over the world, as they pair a powerhouse vocalist with a backing band that can seriously compete with the world famous Dap Kings — while in the case of Marta Ren and the Groovelets’ “So Long” thematically and sonically nods at Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” and James Bond soundtracks.

Filmed and directed by Marco Olivera, the recently released music video manages heavily nod at Quentin Tarantino films as Ren is superimposed over black and white stock footage of cities and city traffic at night, 40s big bands and other footage, which further emphasizes the retro feel and sound.

New Video: Introducing the Classic Soul Channeling Sound of Nottingham UK’s Georgie

Influenced by Fleetwood Mac, Carole King, Janis Joplin, The Pretenders, Crosby Stills and Nash, Carly Simon, The Mamas and the Papas and First Aid Kit, Georgie is a 21 year-old, up-and-coming, Nottingham, UK-based singer/songwriter, who caught the attention of the folks at Spacebomb Records — the label home of Natalie Prass and Julien Baker — for a vocal style that sounds straight out of the mid 1960s and for a lyrical bent that belies her years. Her debut single “Company of Thieves” pairs her husky and soulful vocals with a wah-wah pedaled guitar, a strutting horn arrangement, a sinuous bass line, a steady backbeat and an infectious hook in a carefully crafted song that will remind most listeners of Amy Winehouse, Nancy Sinatra and others.

Comprised of founding members Bonnie Bloomgarden (lead vocals) and Larry Schemel (guitar), along with Nicole Smith (bass) and Laura Kelsey (drums),  Los Angeles, CA-based quartet of Death Valley Girls have deliberately shrouded themselves in mystery. Besides the fact that they’re incredibly photogenic, very little is known about them, except that their aesthetic is deeply influenced by old-school B movies and biker movies — in fact, at one point, the members of the band had developed a reputation for appearing at gigs wearing all leather and parking their beaten up bikes in old-school biker club formations. Now, over the years I’ve written about the band on a number of occasions — including “Gettin’ Hard,” a single that sonically owes a debt to The StoogesThe TroggsThe Ramones and contemporary acts including Lantern, while “Summertime” had the band taking up shimmering reverb-filled garage psych rock.

“I’m A Man, Too” off the Southern California-based quartet’s soon-to-be-released effort Glow In The Dark will further cement their reputation for crafting old-school-leaning rock — but in this case, in a bratty song that indirectly channels Cyndi Lauper‘s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” The Go-Gos, The B52s, Nancy Sinatra  and others after a night of vodka, gin and cigarettes as a bratty and infectious hook and chorus are paired with simple and propulsive percussion and loose and bluesy guitar chords while revealing an in your face self-assuredness.

Last night, I learned that JOVM has had readers and viewers from over 117 countries across the world — this year. 117! I’m honored, flattered and  incredibly humbled that my childhood obsession with music and my labor of love have become a part of so many people’s lives. With 2015 coming to a close, I want to thank you, dear friends for letting me come into your screen and hopefully bring a little bit of joy, wonder and meaning into your lives. And if I’ve done that, I’ve been wildly successful in ways that I never would have dreamt.

This month’s playlist comes a couple of days early, but don’t let that faze you much. In typical JOVM fashion, the December playlist is wildly eclectic — and touches upon several decades of artists and songs both known and obscure. You’ll come across Eric B. and Rakim, R.E.M., Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Posies, Foo Fighters, The Smiths, JOVM mainstays The Black Angels, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Patsy Cline, Nancy Sinatra, The Fixx, Pearl Jam, INXS, The Verve, New Order, Big Daddy Kane, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Los AngelesLine & Circle, shoegaze pioneers RIDE,  the club-rocking sounds of Neon Indian, Cameo, Twin Limb, the fantastic Charles Bradley, Black Sabbath, and a tribute to Motorhead‘s Lemmy Kilmister. And that’s just off the top of my head. Enjoy!

Guaranteed that if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month or so, that you would have come across a couple of posts on the Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms. Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is probably best known for his work with AwolnationLiz PhairKelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, the duo have been thrust into the national spotlight for a sound that owes a debt from classic garage rock and pop such as Connie FrancisPasty ClineRoy OrbisonJohnny Cash, the girl groups of the early 60s and others —  but with a subtly modern (and anachronistic) twist that makes the sound seem as though it could have been part of a a Quentin Tarantino film.

The duo’s debut single “Betty” first gained the attention across the blogosphere for a subtly scuzzy, lo-fi-like garage-based guitar rock sound that would make you think of the aforementioned Roy Robison and Buddy Holly the song possesses a similar urgent and swooning Romanticism. The heartache expressed by Marlene’s aching vocals is a heartache that we all have known at some point — being desperately in love with a fickle and thoughtless lover, who you know will inevitably break your heart. Following up on the buzz from “Betty,” the duo released a hushed and spectral alternate version of Betty that featured Marlene’s vocals paired with a sparse arrangement that includes a subtly Bossa Nova guitar line. Sonically, the alternate version channels Patsy Cline — in par — in particular, “Crazy” and “Walkin After Midnight.” And as a result, the alternate version aches with a similar desperate loneliness and longing.

Pom Poms latest single “123,” is a swinging and swaggering 60s-inspired soul song in which the song’s narrator describes playing a cat-and-mouse game with a potential suitor, who the song’s narrator sets upon having as hers and hers only. And as a result, Marlene’s sultry and soulful vocals possesses a come hither and stop wasting my damn time quality. Sonically, the song pairs Marlene’s vocals with period specific staccato bursts of organ,  propulsive rhythms and some funky guitar chords; thematically (and to my ears), I’m reminded of several songs including Amy Winehouse‘s “Rehab,” and Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” as the song possesses a similar brassy confidence.