Tag: New Audio

With the release of their first two EPs, Explore and Explode released in 2016, the up-and-coming Helsinki, Finland-based indie act Lake Jons quickly developed a reputation for  crating forward thinking material with a delicate and atmospheric sound, rooted around driving rhythms, delicate guitar progressions and lush vocals and incredibly hook driven songs that frequently found the act effortlessly blending elements of ambient electronica, lo-fi pop, psych pop, soul, and folk.

As the story goes, the Helsinki-based pop act retreated to a cabin deep in the Finnish forest to record their soon-to-be released self-titled debut album, and as a result the album’s material touches upon the introspection that comes about in severe isolation, existentialism, human relationships and a quiet, deeply mystical connection with the natural world. Now, last November, I wrote about the moody and percussive album single “Breathe Out The Fumes,” a single that reminded me of Caveman‘s Coco Beware, Fredrik‘s Flora meshed with sleek, contemporary electro pop.

“Lake Family,” the up-and-coming Helsinki, Finland-based pop act’s latest single will further their growing reputation for crafting lush, forward-thinking and forward-looking pop that manages to be both familiar and downright alien and as a result, their sound and approach defies lazy categorization. The new single continues in a similar percussive vein as its immediate predecessor, thanks to handclap-led percussion and thumping beats, the song (to me, at least) balances the difficult tightrope of deliberate, introspection and swooning, euphoria — and as a result the song has a subtle yet noticeably tense, push and pull quality between nostalgia, regret, longing and devotion. After all, love ain’t easy; it’s confusing, ridiculous, fearful and nonsensical yet necessary, and it never makes sense.

 

Gareth “Gaz” Coombes is an Oxford, UK-born and raised singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member and frontman of renowned British indie rock act Supergrass, who over the course of their 17 years together released six full-length albums — 1995’s I Should Coco, 1997’s In It for the Money 1999’s self-titled, 2002’s Life on Other Planets, 2005’s Road to Rouen and 2008’s Diamond Hoo Ha, all of which landed on the UK Top 20. (Reportedly, the band had written material for a seventh album, just before their breakup, Release the Drones that remains unfinished and unreleased.)

Since Supergrass’ breakup Coombes has released two solo efforts — 2011’s Sam Williams-produced Here Comes the Bombs and his breakthrough 2015, self-produced sophomore album, Matador, which received a Mercury Prize nod thanks to the commercial success of its five singles, as well as critical praise from the likes of Q Magazine and Mojo Magazine. Interestingly, Coombes’ third, full-length album World’s Strongest Man, which is slated for a May 4, 2018 release through Hot Fruit/Caroline International Records was written and recorded at Coombes’ home studio and at Oxford’s Courtyard Studios with co-production with his longtime collaborator Ian Davenport, in a working process that Coombes has compared to being like “editing a novel.” And in som way that shouldn’t be surprising as the album was reportedly inspired by Grayson Perry’s autobiography The Descent of Man, Frank Ocean‘s Blonde, the work of Neu! and hip-hop while at points exploring the effects of unchecked and toxic masculinity among other things — but with a deeply personal bent.

The album’s latest single “Deep Pockets” finds the former Supergrass frontman taking on a decided motorik groove, with the song nodding at Screamadelica and Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, complete with a slick and infectious hook — and the song will likely cement Coombes reputation for crafting mischievously forward thinking and hook driven rock.

 


Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you may recall that last November, I wrote about the  Minneapolis, MN-born, New York-based trio Strange Names, whose highly-anticipated, sophomore, full-length effort Data is slated for a February 23, 2018 release through renowned, local indie label Frenchkiss Records. “Into Me,” the album’s first single managed to further cement their reputation for crafting breezy, 80s inspired synth pop — but underneath the song’s breezy nature is bratty yet flirtatious kiss off of sorts to someone, who the song’s narrator realizes is into him but for some perverse reason is busily pretending not to be. “UFO,” Data‘s second and latest single finds the duo still in the realms of 80s synth pop — but leaning more towards a funky, dance floor friendly angle, as though the duo were drawing from Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait,” Cherelle’s “Saturday Love” and “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” thanks in part to a incredibly sinuous bass line, some Nile Rodgers-like guitar, thumping beats, layers of arpeggiated synths and one of the sharpest pop hooks I’ve heard this year.

 

 

 

Tiny Fireflies is an indie electro pop/dream pop duo that initially began when two Chicago, IL-based electronic music producers and artists Lisle and Kristine, who were best known for their own solo projects,  Fireflies and Tiny Microphone were invited to contribute to “Between Two Waves,” an Eardrums Pop Records compilation series centered around the concept of two musicians collaborating together to write and record a song together. Their song together, “Don’t Wait Until I Fall Asleep” paid homage to the Factory Records synth pop/post punk-era sound and was a fan favorite.

In October 2010, Tiny Fireflies became the first act to release a single for the label’s single  club with the three song offering being voted as one of Eardrum Pops favorite releases and featured one of the favorite singles of the singles club, “Snow.” And since then, the duo have played at New York City Popfest, toured the UK and Spain, and opened for Memoryhouse during the renowned indie act’s Midwest tour. Building upon a growing profile, the duo released their Ian Catt-produced, 2015 full-length debut The Space Between to critical applause from the likes of AllMusic.com and CMJ. 

Late last year saw the release of “2040,” the first single off a forthcoming vinyl 7″ single slated for release during the first few months of this year, and the new single will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting smoky and gossamer-like synth pop, reminiscent of JOVM mainstay ACES and others, complete with a soaring hook and achingly tender vocals.

 

New Audio: Franz Ferdinand Continues Their Run of Shimmering and Quirky Dance Floor Friendly Singles

Currently comprised of founding quartet Alex Kapranos (lead vocals, guitar), Nick McCarthy (rhythm guitar, keys and backing vocals), Bob Hardy (bass) and Paul Thomson (drums, percussion and backing vocals), along with newest Julian Corrie (keys, synths, guitar and backing band), who joined last year, replacing founding member Nick McCarthy, the Glasgow, Scotland, UK-based indie rock/post punk act Franz Ferdinand formed back in 2002.  And with the release of their first two singles “Darts of Pleasure” and “Take Me Out” the members of the Scottish indie rock act quickly saw commercial and critical success — with “Take Me Out,” the band’s signature song peaking within the Top of the UK Singles Chart, and later earning a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. Additionally, not only did their eponymous, 2004 full-length debut received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album and won the Mercury Prize, the band established themselves at the forefront of the post punk revival movement. Along with that, the band has won two Brit Awards — one for Best British Group, as well as one NME Award. 

Their 2005 Rich Costey-produced sophomore effort, You Could Have It So Much Better was released to critical and commercial success with the album peaking within the Top Ten Charts in multiple countries, with the album receiving a nomination for Best Alternative Album and “Do You Want To” receiving a nomination for Best Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. However, 2009’s Tonight: Franz Ferdinand found the band moving from the post-punk sound that first won them international attention to a much more dance friendly sound while continuing an impressive streak of commercial and critical success. They promptly followed that up with a remix album of Tonight, titled Blood, which was released that summer. 

2013 saw the release of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action and they followed that up with teaming up with Sparks to form a supergroup FFS, which released their self-tiltled album in 2015. The renowned Scottish band’s fifth full-length album Always Ascending is slated for a February 9, 2018 release and the album’s latest single “Feel The Love Go,” finds the band continuing with a dance floor friendly, disco-era inspired sound while retaining elements of the Gang of Four-like post punk that first won them international attention as they pair angular guitar chords, sinuous bass lines, four-on-the-floor drumming and thumping beats with arpeggiated synths, warm blasts of soulful, Hall and Oates-like saxophone and razor sharp hooks. And yet interestingly enough, the song also finds the band maintaining their unique ability to craft quirky, white boy funk. 

Comprised of Stefano Bellerba (vocals, guitar), Leonardo Mori (synth), Matteo Luciani (bass), Saverio Paiella (guitar) and Daniele Cruccolini, the members of the Terni, Italy-based post-punk quintet Japan Suicide met and bonded over their mutual love of Joy Division, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode — but they also cite the likes of Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Japan, The Damned, Interpol, Suicide, CSI, CCCP and Massimo Volume as being major influences on their sound and songwriting approach. With the release of 2015’s We Die In Such a Place, 2016’s 1978 EP, and the appearance of “This Be The Verse” on Darkitalia’Sparkles in the Dark, Vol. 4 compilation, the Italian post punk quintet have received both national and international attention as one of their homeland’s best, contemporary indie rock/post punk bands.

Building on their growing profile, Japan Suicide’s third full-length effort Santa Sangre is slated for a February 14, 2018 release through Unknown Pleasures Records, and while the album’s first single “Circle” will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting material heavily indebted to early 80s post punk, it reveals a band that has been gently expanding upon their sound with nods to shoegaze and industrial rock as the band pairs fuzzy and angular guitar chords, thundering drumming, merrily twinkling synths and a soaring hook to evoke a creeping yet uncertain dread.

 

 

 

Mark Berg is an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist and producer, whose solo recording project Tropic Harbour specializes in hazy, dream pop inspired by nostalgic images and dreams of the coast, during the summer — and in many ways, Berg reportedly created the project as a way to mentally escape the harsh Edmonton winters. Along with a backing and that features Kurtis Cockerill
Andrew Brostrom, and Marcus Rayment, Berg began receiving national attention, playing at a number of Canada’s renowned festivals including Pop Montreal, NXNE and Sled Island, as well as opening for the likes of DIIV, Jessy Lanza, Homeshake and Will Butler.

Berg’s latest Tropic Harbour single “Can’t Pretend” will further cement his reputation for crafting, 80s-inspired, nostalgia-inducing and summery synth pop; however, it’s a much more downtempo and atmospheric production featuring a sinuous bass line, gently swirling electronics, shimmering synths and stuttering drum programming, and in some way, the song sonically speaking will remind some listeners of I Love You It’s Cool-era Bear in Heaven, Neon Indian and others — while thematically focusing on its narrator letting go of a past relationship and trying to find himself again in the process.

 

 

 

Despite going through a number of lineup changes throughout the years, the New York-based jazz outfit New York Electric Piano, currently comprised of founding members Pat Daughtery (piano) and Aaron Commes (drums), who’s best known for his work in the Spin Doctors, along with newest member Richard Hammond (bass), initially formed in 2003 as a piano jazz trio, based around the Fender Rhodes electric piano sound featuring founding members Daughtery, Comess and Tim Givens (bass). Interestingly, that collaboration can trace its origins back to when the founding trio met, playing in various bands in the NYC music scene during the 90s.

Their eponymous 2004 debut effort was critically applauded and was a commercial success, as it cracked the Top 20 of the CMJ Jazz Charts. 2005’s Citizen Zen and 2006’s Blues in Full Moon were also released to critical praise. And adding to a growing profile, the band began a long residency at the Cutting Room, which featured their tradition of inviting dancers on stage with them. However, by 2008, the band expanded into a sextet as they added Deanna Kirk (vocals), Till Behler (sax) and Leon Gruenbaum (keys), who’s best known as a member of Vernon Reid’s backing band — and as a sextet, they released the critically applauded King Mystery, which found the members of the then-sextet expanding upon their sound and approach with material that shifted between dance rock, jazz and wild freak outs.

By 2010, the band expanded once again as they added Teddy Kumpel (guitar), known as a member of Joe Jackson’s backing band and Erik Lawrence (sax), known as a member of the legendary Levon Helm‘s backing band. And as a nonet, New York Electric Piano began a long and very successful run at Zinc Bar, which they followed with arguably their most commercially successful effort to date, 2011’s double album Keys to the City, which spent a month in the Top 10 of CMJ’s Jazz Charts and received critical praise from the likes of PopMatters, Sea of TranquilityJazz Times, Drumhead and All About Jazz among others.

And although the band received quite a bit of commercial and critical success as a large ensemble, they reverted to the original format a trio — recruiting the aforementioned Hammond with whom they released Black Hole In One, an album which featured alternating instrumental compositions and vocal tracks. Unexpectedly, for the members of New York Electric Piano, the album received international attention, thanks in part to album single “Party On.” As the story goes, “Party On” was pushed by an Australian DJ, and eventually the New Zealand National Rugby Team, the All Blacks adopted the song as their theme song during their Rugby World Cup Championship run. Along with that, Lollapalooza artist Norton Wisdom did a live action painting to the song, and the video and song became the subject of a climate change conference at Penn State University. Adding to the unexpected attention on the album, album single “Who Wants to Know” features a verse about Crazy Horse. One of his descendants heard the song and sent it to family members, who were protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline — with the song becoming something of a rallying cry.

Recently, the members of the band have been playing monthly gigs at Rockwood Music Hall, and their extended, free-flowing jams were met with such tremendous audience approval that Aaron Comess immediately suggesting that they needed to try to capture the energy and vibe of their Rockwood shows on their next album — State of the Art, which is slated for a January 12, 2018 release through Fervor Records.

State of the Art‘s latest single “Road to Joy” is a loose and free-flowing jam that displays the trio’s uncanny simpatico, in which they all push and pull upon the other, teasing out ideas from one another, and much like the incredible Xylouris White, there’s a sense that the trio, musically speaking are dancing — with each member knowing exactly when to lead, follow. And although the composition begins with some stuttering discordance, the trio quickly finds a sustained, funky groove reminiscent of 70s era jazz fusion but with a contemporary touch.

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Dana Janssen, a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a member of renowned indie act Akron/Family, and long-time collaborator Justin Miller, Dana Buoy is a decided change of sonic direction for those familiar with Janssen’s work with Akron Family. In fact, Dana Buoy finds the duo of Janssen and Miller focusing on sweaty, late night, dance floor-friendly, analog synth-based, pop that is frequently equal parts lysergic and sensual, as you’ll hear on the duo’s exuberant yet deeply introspective and shimmering, Neon Indian meets Cut Copy and Painted Palms-like new single “Ice Glitter Gold,” off the duo’s forthcoming album of the same name, slated for a February 23, 2018 through Everloving Records.

 

 
.

Founded in 2007 by its Athens, Greece-based founding member and primary songwriter, Katerina Papachristou, the indie folk/indie pop act Tango with Lions initially began with Papachristou collaborating with rotating cast of collaborators before eventually settling on its permanent lineup featuring Papachristou (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano), Yannos Paramithiotis (electric guitar, vocals), Nikos Vergetis (drums, percussion, vocals), Jim Staridas (trombone, vocals) and Thodoris Zefkilis (bass, vocals). And with the release of their first two albums, 2010’s Verba Time, which featured “In A Bar,” one of the most streamed songs by a contemporary Greek artist ever on YouTube; and 2013’s A Long Walk, the band quickly received both critical and commercial success across Greece and elsewhere.  

After a five year hiatus, the band’s highly anticipated follow up to their critically acclaimed sophomore album, The Light is slated for a January 19, 2018 through Inner Ear Records, and the album reportedly finds Papachristou writing 9 deeply introspective songs that touch upon separation, pleasure, nihilism and excessive optimism, as well as music’s dual nature of encouraging both light and dark. “Proof of Desire,” The Light‘s latest single will further cement Papachristou and company’s reputation for crafting contemplative material while being simultaneously sparse, lush and moody in a way that reminds me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Husky but with a subtly anxious, tenseness — while nodding at psych rock. As Papachristou explains in press notes, “When you are emotionally drained, being involved with someone new seems to conceal so many  unconscious parameters of emotional endangerment that you eventually shut down. This song is about the cruel realisation that you don’t really know how much or if you can give yourself to a new love story. I was very consciously aware of the rules of this game and of how this knowledge was disabling any feelings of hope or freedom I would formerly experience. In other words, overwhelming skepticism was filling in for innocence.”