Tag: New Audio

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstay David Alexander, an internationally renowned, Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo dream pop/electro pop project Summer Heart has received attention for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop in a way that’s been compared favorably to CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others, and for being considered among the first wave of Sweden’s renowned contemporary electro pop and dream pop movement, which also includes MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

Alexander with his 12 Songs of Summer has added his name to an increasing list of artists, who have adopted a single of the month series, and as you can imagine doing so, manages to make a helluva lot of sense creatively, financially and marketing-wise in the blogosphere age. Creatively, the artist isn’t constrained by having to write material with a cohesive style or theme in mind, as they would be required to do in terms of writing for a full-length album; however, in order for the concept to work, they are required to come up with songs within strict and regularly occurring deadlines. Interestingly enough, the monthly song series manages to capture the emotional highs and lows of a year of the artist’s life in a way that can feel like an audio journal. Financially, artists who are struggling to find ways to fund their efforts recording and touring can split their costs over the course of a year, while stretching the recording process to a few days over the course of a year. And in the fickle blogosphere age, releasing a single every month can assure in some fashion that the blogosphere will pay attention to you and your work over the course of a year. As Alexander explains in press notes, “The idea behind this project is to show people what I am currently working on instead of what I was doing two years ago, which can be the case when you release an album. It’s definitely a way of challenging myself, thinking less and having more fun creating music!”

“Yeah You” is the second single of the 12 Songs of Summer series, and it finds Alexander leaning towards a thumping house meets In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy-like production featuring arpeggiated synths, woofer and tweeter rocking beats and anthemic hook — and while being a rousing, crowd pleasing track that features Alexander’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix; but while being a club banger, the song possesses a plaintive ache over a dysfunctional and somewhat unrequited love affair while accepting it as an unchangeable part of the past that the song’s narrator will eventually move forward from. As Alexander says of the song, it’s “about feeling alive and having no regrets! It’s about trying to ignore the past since you can’t change. But most of all, it’s about having fun, living in the present.”



New Audio: The Death Wheelers Release a Sleazy and Ass Kicking Single

Comprised of Max “The Axe” Tremblay, Richard “The Bastard” Turcotte, Sy “Wild Rye” Tremblay and Hugo “Red Beard” Bertacchi, the members of  Canadian band The Death Wheelers have been largely inspired by the aesthetics and ethos of bikesploitation movies such as The Wild Angels, Werewolves on Wheels and Psychomania, as well as Davie Allen, The Cramps, Motorhead, The Stooges and Grand Funk Railroad — with the result being sleazy, primal and bruising, jam-based instrumental rock ‘n’ roll.  

Slated for a May 11, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, the band’s forthcoming I Tread On Your Grave is an album devised to serve as the soundtrack for an imaginary B-movie with an incredible plot: Decimated in 1972 by local authorities, all members of The Death Wheelers, a notorious motorcycle club, have been buried at the Surrey cemetery. But the time has come and they have risen for their last ride. They’re back from the grave and they’re hungry for blood! Nothing can stop this gang of living dead from recruiting new members as they travel coast to coast to find the filthiest, nastiest, trashiest individuals to join their ranks. Their goal, assemble a legion of 13 “discycles” (disciples+cycles) to seek revenge on the pigs that dismantled the club and send them to their graves. The cycle of violence continues . . . ”

I Tread On Your Grave’s latest single “Black Crack” is a raw, swampy, bluesy track that sounds as though it were inspired by ZZ Top, Howlin’ Wolf and Portland’s R.I.P. as it features enormous power chords with some boozy guitar pyrotechnics, thundering drumming paired with a jam-band “you-are-there-in-the-room” immediacy and swagger, while evoking a sense of primal lust and danger — and holy shit, does it kick ass.

New Audio: Zola Jesus’ Subtle Yet Eerie Remix of Blanck Mass’ “Please”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about Blanck Mass, the solo side project of Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power, and as you may recall 2015’s Dumb Flesh was written and recorded over the course of the preceding year in several different locations — including Power’s Space Mountain Studios, a windowless attic space in Hatch End, North London and his Edinburgh home. Reportedly, frequently changing recording spaces influenced the album’s dark and sprawling compositions, which thematically focused on the inherent frailty of the human body — with the material evoking the sensation that our flesh isn’t enough to protect us from certain catastrophe. Blanck’s critically applauded, third album 2017’s World Eater was inspired by our current sociopolitical climate full of suspicion, teeming anger, despair and anxiety. And as Power has explained in interviews is that the material was meant to evoke a wild, untamed beast chewing and gnawing at civilization and the bonds that hold it together. “The title is a reference to both the inner beast inside human beings that when grouped en-masse stops us from moving forward towards good,” Power explained in press notes.

Interestingly, while on an extensive world tour to support World Eater, an idea emerged to him: that he should throw the album’s material open to other artists’ interpretation — but not with the idea of inviting renowned remixers and producers to retool the material to be more dance floor friendly; rather, Power contacted artists whose work he admired, asking them if they could imbue his work with their own sense of meaning. And with World Eater Re-Voxed, which was released digitally today, the remixers — Zola Jesus, Naked, Gazelle Twin, and M. Lamar have each added their own lyrics and vocals to a World Eater track of their choosing, giving each song a completely different and deeply personal tone and meaning. As Power explains in press notes, “The theme with this remix EP was to see how a group of other artists visualize and reassess my world sonically and more importantly here, lyrically,” Power explains. “The use of human vocals is prominent in my more recent work although I try and steer more towards an emotional language as opposed to conventional syntax, so this was an interesting exercise in interpretation.”

The slow-burning and expansive World Eater single “Please” is arguably one of Power’s more spectral and downright ambient tracks as it features a production consisting of subtle industrial clang and clatter, chopped up vocal samples, stuttering drum programming and swirling, ominous electronics.  Zola Jesus’ remix while cutting the song in half, retains most of Power’s moody and spectral production with the addition of some thumping, tribal-like beats over which the acclaimed Zola Jesus’ vocals ethereally float over. And although Zola Jesus subtly adds her touch to the song, it manages to remain hauntingly eerie, evoking the sense of humanity inching towards the precipice of annihilation, and a plaintive vulnerability. 

Rachel K. Collier is a Swansea, Wales, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter, producer and electronic music artist, who achieved both commercial and critical success across the UK relatively early in her career; in fact, Collier is credited as a co-writer or producer or several chart-topping, smash hits including Ray Foxx‘s “Boom Boom (Heartbeat),” which peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles chart back in 2013; Mat Zo‘s Grammy-nominated album Damage Control, which peaked at number 1 on the iTunes Dance Album charts; and on pioneering garage producer Wookie‘s comeback single “2 Us.” As a solo artist, she recorded a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s Hard Road to Travel,” which landed at number 79 on the UK Singles chart, and her debut original single “Predictions” was named Sarah Jane Crawford’s “Smash of the Week” on the radio personality’s BBC Radio 1Xtra show. Collier has also received airplay and praise from the likes of Annie NightingaleCapitol XtraTiësto and Oliver Heldens, which has added to the growing buzz surrounding her in electronic music circles.

Building upon a growing national profile, Collier released her self-produced, debut EP Words You Never Heard through Love and Other Records in late 2015 and followed that up with “Ships,” a single she released during the last few months of 2016. Now, as you may recall, last year I wrote about Collier’s “Paper Tiger,” a slick yet un-fussy club banger, which she followed up with extensive touring playing sets at clubs and festivals across the European Union and unsurprisingly, with the release of her latest single “Darkshade,” her experiences touring throughout 2017 have influenced her creative process and her sound, as the new single finds Collier pairing what arguably may be the most emotionally direct lyrics she’s written with a sound that manages to be simultaneously radio and club friendly — all while further cementing her reputation for crafting rousingly anthemic hook.

“I’ve been heavily inspired from playing live at clubs and festivals throughout 2017 -playing my synths on stage at full volume is so satisfying and fulfilling that I’ve been incorporating synth solos and counter melodies way more into my actual production rather than just doing it on stage for fun!” Collier explains in press notes. “Darkshade feels like a song I needed to get off my chest — many of us will go through life hiding, disguising or playing down a physical/emotional element that we have but we don’t like. This song is about that and how I deal with it.”

This year may be a breakthrough year for the Swansea-born, London-based singer/songwriter, producer and electronic music artist as her full-length debut is slated for a September release.



New Audio: New JOVM Mainstay Rich Aucoin Releases a Dreamy, New Single

Now, over the first few months of the year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist Rich Aucoin. And as you may recall, Aucoin has spent time as a collaborator and guest musician in older brother Paul Aucoin’s band Hylozoists before developing a reputation as an attention grabbing solo artist. Aucoin’s 2007 debut EP Personal Publication was a concept album conceived and written as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Canadian artist supported that effort with a cross-Canada tour entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. Upon completing his solo tour, Aucoin joined his brother’s band and toured with them; but because of a sudden shift from regular and extremely strenuous exercise to virtually no exercise, Aucoin eventually suffered through a debilitating iron deficiency. Once he recuperated though, he went on another solo tour, running partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

During both of his early solo tours, Aucoin spent time writing and recording the material, which would comprise his 2011 full-length effort, We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. We’re All Dying to Live was long-listed as a nominee for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize — and the video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” won a Prism Prize in 2013. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Canadian electronic music artist released his 2014, critically applaud album Ephemeral. 

Released today, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in over 4 years, and the EP features the sprawling and propulsive club banger “Release”, the swooning M83-like “The Middle”  and the jangling, club banging electro pop and indie rock amalgamation, “The Fear.” The EP’s latest single “The Dream” is a slow-burning track in which Aucoin’s tender falsetto is paired with twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, bursts of handclaps, bursts of mournful horns — and in some way, the song seems to evoke something that the song’s narrator longs for, but deep down knows he can never fully achieve; in fact, there are countless times in which it seems as though much of what you’ve desired or felt you deserved is often out of reach, and that such things leave lingering and embittering reminders. 

Interestingly, as Rich Aucoin explains in press notes. “‘The Dream’ is a song about the contentment we can feel at an individual level when daydreaming or imagining a different world. It’s not about the achieving of making that world come to reality but looks at the various therapeutic benefits from such an endeavour. Whether it be imagining a time where you are not heartbroken, in an estrangement, or in conflict with the changes in your life, that power to picture yourself beyond the given moment is a useful tool for accepting the way things are and getting to that new spot, ‘The Dream.’”

Over the last half of 2017, I had written a it about Trent Prall, a Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter and his solo recording project Kainalu, which derives its name for the Hawaiian word for ocean wave. And as you may recall, the music that Prall has created over the past decade or so draws from psych pop, psych rock, dream pop, Tropicalia, synth pop and funk, as well as childhood trips to Oahu, Hawaii visiting his mother’s family. Ultimately, those influences have coalesced and culminated in a breezy, retro-futuristic and somewhat nostalgia-inducing sound that the Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter has dubbed “Hawaii-fi,” as a homage to his Hawaiian ancestry and their influence on him and his work.


Prall’s breezy latest single “Folds Like Origami” reminds me a bit of Illumination-era Miami Horror and Tame Impala, as the song finds Prall drawing from late 70s and early 80s synth funk, disco, contemporary synth pop and dream pop in a seamless fashion while crafting crowd-pleasing, dance floor friendly hooks paired with thoughtful lyrics. As Prall explains in press notes, growing up in Hawaiian culture, folding origami was deeply rooted into every wedding he attended. The bride is supposed to fold 1,000 paper cranes symbolizing the patience she will have in the marriage; however, according to Prall, “it’s usually the bride’s family, who actually ends up doing the folding.”  Understandably, a young Trent Prall was amazed but the beauty and complexity of transforming something relatively basic and simple into something beautiful — without changing or adding anything to the material itself.

“I wanted to try and capture this imagery and apply it a person’s worldview. The line of the song for me is ‘The world opens up to you, it folds like origami. So drop the things you knew, they fold like origami.’ Recently, I’ve been getting more and more into meditation. I kind of see a parallel between origami with mediation. By finding peace within yourself, I think you can make your own beautiful in the world around you. Just like by finding a new shape within a flat piece of paper, you can create a beautiful peace of art” the Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter says. 


New Audio: The 60s-Inspired Heavy Psych Sounds of Sweden’s SVVAMP

Comprised of three long-time friends, Adam Johansson,  Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren, who all share vocal duties, the Jönköping, Sweden-based trio Svvamp can trace their origins to a mutual love of rock, folk and blues; in fact, the band has received praise for a classic rock-like heavy psych sound that draws influence from Cream, Eric Bell-era Thin Lizzy, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Neil Young and Crazy Horse — but with an unpretentious, genuine and downright uicontrvibed sound and vibe. And as a result, the Swedish trio’s self-titled debut landed in the Top 20 Albums of 2016 in the Doom Charts consortium of music journalists, critics and radio stations.

The Jönköping, Sweden-based trio’s highly anticipated sophomore effort SVVAMP 2 is slated for a June 8, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band making the massive jump from self-recording on a 4-track tape deck to a comparably expansive 6-track tape deck, allowing the band to expand upon their sound while improving the overall fidelity of their sound. Interestingly enough, there can be a comparison to when many psych rock bands began recording with increasingly state-of-the-art studio equipment (for their day), moving from 4 to 8 and eventually 16 tracks; however, as the band’s Adam Johansson explains, their sophomore effort finds the band stripping some elements of their sound down with all of the instruments being treated equally. “They all have their place in a song,” he says. “Obvious with 6-tracks now available, we’ve had a bit of fun with that.”

“Queen,” Svvamp 2’s swaggering and self-assured first single finds the band crafting a sound that deceptively sounds as though it were released in 1968 or so, thanks to its enormous power chord-based riff, and arena friendly hooks — nodding at Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” The Allman Brothers Band and Neil Young and Crazy Horse within a rather expansive, jam-like song structure while capturing a “you-are-there” immediacy.

Camille Trust is an up-and-coming, Tampa, FL-born, New York-based soul/pop artist, who’s influenced by the likes of Janis Joplin, Lauryn Hill and Etta James — although with her energetic and dynamic stage presence and raw, unvarnished honesty, her work seems much more indebted to the likes of Mary J. Blige. Now, as you may recall, I caught the Tampa-born, New York-based soul/pop artist performing an opening set Baby’s All Right that featured sultry covers of Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” and Stevie Wonder‘s “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” and a collection of singles that she’s released over the past few years, as well as material off her recently released EP — including her latest single, “Lose You,” which pairs Trust’s effortlessly soulful vocals with a modern production consisting of stuttering beats, brief horn blasts, twinkling keys and an explosive, radio friendly and rousingly anthemic hook; but underneath the swaggering and thumping production, is a plaintive and urgent plea to a lover, who seems ready to bolt.



Although currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rock act Wooden Shjips can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them — with the underlying idea behind it being that untrained players would have a new outlook on what music is and how it’s played, and as a result bring something fresh to the table in a way that many of the garage punks of the early 60s and the Velvet Underground did. In fact one of the longest tenured members of the band, Jermier was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never even picked up before while other members from their earliest iterations often had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs.

Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup — but this time, the intention was different: Johnson, a fan of seemingly impenetrable albums an arcane, small-press poetry books, was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. And unsurprisingly, the band set about to make purposely obscure albums that Johnson envisioned leaving in libraries, thrift store bargain bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpected, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals to Golden State Park to any and all comers with the proceeds from the single going to Food Not Bombs. Interestingly, their second real gig as a band was a single release show, opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.
The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space on an half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album an strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts added later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records.

Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his side project Moon Duo, his acclaimed dup with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams.

Written last summer, Johnson viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,
“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.”
V‘s first single “Staring at the Sun” is an expansive, laid-back, shimmering delay pedal effected, guitar pop with a steady groove that sounds as though it owes a big sonic debt to Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out paired with a slowly building narrative centered around the gentle push and pull between the desire for sun and escape and the pressing tug of anxiety and uncertainty — with peaceful resistance to that anxiety and uncertainty winning the day and guiding the overall tone.   At one point, the song’s narrator seems to say “come on, man slow it down, daydream in the sun for a bit,” and you know what, goddamn it, the guy is right. Even in the face of a world constantly on the brink of annihilation, of a government on the verge of collapse and a social order being shredded apart, sometimes you need to push the reset button or you’ll go crazy.


The band will be embarking on a tour to support their newest effort and you can check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

April 13 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar [tickets]

April 14 – Bellingham, WA – Shakedown [tickets]

April 20 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Old Princeton Landing [tickets]

April 21 – Santa Cruz – Michael’s On Main [tickets]

April 29 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival

May 25 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios [tickets]

May 26 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile [tickets]

June 1 – Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival

June 2 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle [tickets]

June 4 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar [tickets]

June 5 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern [tickets]

June 7 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge [tickets]

June 9 – Sonoma, CA – Huichica Music Festival


Biig Piig is an up-coming 20 year-old, London-based pop artist, who has lived a rather nomadic life in a wide array of cultures as she was born in Spain, moved to Ireland, where she spent several years before finally settling in London, where she eventually joined the Nine8 Collective, a London-based crew of 27 creatives, who collaborate and support each other through a number of different artistic disciplines. As a solo artist, the British-based singer/songwriter has received attention for material that assimilates the sort of life experiences — she once worked as a poker dealer and as a tequila bar waitress — that gives her work an intriguing blend of maturity and youthful naivete. In fact, her stage name reportedly came about after drunkenly reading the name off a pizza menu and relating it to a sense of self-acceptance. “The more I called myself it, the more it made sense. I’m just a mess really. Still cute tho,” the up-and-coming London-based artist jokes in press notes.

Biig Piig’s latest single, the Dylantheinfamous-produced “Flirt” is the first official single from her forthcoming debut EP, Big Fan Of The Sesh, and it features the up-and-coming pop artist’s coquettish and jazz-inflected vocals over a dusty, soulful yet minimalist J. Dilla, Madlib-like production consisting of twinkling keys and boom bap beats but underneath the surface is a song with a narrator, quietly suffering through the feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and overthinking that typically happens when you’ve started to like someone but don’t quite know what you want to happen — or if you even want it to happen. And while capturing a fairly universal experience, Biig Pigg gives the song subtle yet detailed bits of realistic and intimate psychological detail that makes it seem as though the song was inspired by her own experiences. Interestingly, the EP is conceived as the first of a trilogy of audio-visual stories mixing the deeply personal with the universal, centered around a main character, a young woman named Fran — and the material generally focuses on that first doomed, major relationship, losing yourself in city life but somehow managing to come out o the other side.  “I’d hope,” says Biig Piig, “that anyone that feels they’re in a situation like that would find some solidarity in some of the tracks; understanding that you don’t owe anyone anything, and if you’re in a cycle that makes you unhappy, best believe you can change it compadre.”