Since their formation in 2001, The Raveonettes — comprised of Sune Rose Wagner (guitar, vocals, production) and Sharin Foo (v0cals, bass) — have developed a reputation for going on their own path creatively and stylistically. Interestingly […]
If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, you may know that the Swedish cities of Umea, Sweden’s third (and most Northern) and Malmo, Sweden’s twelfth (and most Southern) have emerged with reputations as being Sweden and Scandinavia’s newest, most exciting creative hotbeds as an increasing number of artists and bands from both cities have started to receive international recognition — including the likes of JOVM mainstays Moonbabies, Cajsa Siik, Frida Selander and YAST and others. I have to add to that list, Umea, Sweden-bornsinger/songwriter, producer and sound designer Catharina Jaunviksna, who splits time between her home country, Italy and Ireland and who has received attention with her solo recording project Badlands. With the release of 2012’s Battles Within EP and single “Tutu,” Jaunviksna’s Badlands project received attention from the likes of The 405 and Under the Radar for a sound that many of my colleagues have described as possessing elements of trip-hop and experimental pop.
April will mark the release of her forthcoming full-length effort Locus and album’s first single “Echo” reveals yet another change in sonic direction for Jaunviksna, as the single is a dance floor-ready song consisting of layers of staccato synth stabs and layers of cascading and twinkling synths, swirling electronics and an infectious hook paired with Jaunviksna’s ethereal coos bubbling and floating over the mix’s hazy surface, which give the song an eerie and spectral undercurrent. Thematically and lyrically the song reportedly discusses self-censorship and the inherent dangers self-censorship can entail. As Jaunviksna explained in press notes “Even though the first intentions might be good, it always ends as a witch hunt and nobody daring to speak their mind.” But sonically speaking to my years, the song channels the likes of Depeche Mode, Still Corners and others as the song possess a captivating pull, begging the listener to come up closer.
Reuben Keeney is a 22 year old Letterkenny, Ireland-born Donegal, Ireland producer and electronic music artist, who emerged onto the international electronic music scene with the release of a cover/rework of “Sweet Child Of Mine,” featuring one of London‘s most sought after young vocalists, Jasmine Thompson; in fact, the single landed at number 1 on Hype Machine‘s dance charts.
Building on the buzz of “Sweet Child of Mine,” Keeney’s latest single “Better Run” is an infectiously upbeat, old-school house music single that pairs layers of pitched down soulful vocals and twinkling synths, chugging bass lines and bits of glockenspiel with an anthemic hook in the sort of club-banger that you can picture your cohorts shouting along to in the club.
Comprised of three audio engineers, Paige Coley (vocals, guitar), Ryan Snow (guitar), and Grant Freeman (drums), the Orlando, FL-based trio Kinder Than Wolves made the process of writing and recording their debut EP Mean Something an entirely DIY and collaborative effort — with the EP being produced, engineered and mixed by Coley in the band’s home studio. And Mean Something’s first single “Hazel Days” pairs shimmering guitars, a gently driving rhythm and Coley’s hazy and ethereal vocals to create a wistful and moody shoegaze song that sounds as though it could have been released in 1983 — but with a subtly modern sheen.
Comprised of Björn Rudling (drums), Carl Vikberg (vocals, guitar), Johan Melander (guitar and keys) and Viktor Åström (bass), the Stockholm, Sweden-based indie rock quartet Chirping have quickly received international attention across the European Union; in fact, their previously released singles have received airplay on Steve Lamacq‘s BBC Radio 6 show, Tom Robinson’s Fresh On The Net, Gary Crowley‘s BBC London show and Frank Skinner’s Absolute Radio show. Of course, with the forthcoming release of their EP Dancing With The Stars, slated for a March 4 release, the Stockholm-based quartet hope to expand their international profile. And with the release of the EP’s anthemic first single “Heist,” I suspect that the blogosphere will be hearing quite a bit about them over the next few months.
As for the single, you’ll hear Vikberg’s rich baritone, which to my ears bears an uncanny resemblance to Echo and the Bunnymen‘s young Ian McCulloch paired with a driving and propulsive rhythm section, angular guitar chords and an infectiously anthemic hook. Sonically, the song sounds as though it draws from the aforementioned Bunnymen, U2, Arctic Monkeys and others — but with a much-needed, warm, summery blast that evokes swooning, passionate, urgent and confusing summer flings.
Comprised of Stephanie Chan (vocals, guitar), a former member of Finally Punk and The Carrots; Kate Hall (drums), formerly of Mika Miko; Mark Greshowak (guitar, synths), formerly of Talbot Tagora; and Dave Reichardt (guitar, bass, synths), Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk quartet Dunes features members of some of Southern California’s most renowned, defunct punk bands.
The Los Angeles, CA-based quartet’s forthcoming sophomore effort Bitter Charm is slated for a March 12 release and the album, which was produced by Alex DeGroot, best known for his work with Zola Jesus has the band expanding upon their sound while being deeply informed by personal experiences — including Greshowak’s near fatal bike accident, which occurred the same day that they were slated to play with No Age at the Eagle Rock Center for Performing Arts. As Greshowak explains in press notes, the album in some way represents “the process of coming to terms with all transitions in life, voluntarily or involuntarily.”
Last summer, I wrote about the electro pop duo Hans Island, comprised of Canadian producer Mwahs and Danish-born, based vocalist and electro pop artist Marie Dahlstrom, who has received attention across both Scandinavia and the European Union for her silky smooth vocals. And with the release of “I’m Yours,” the duo of Mwahs and Dahlstrom quickly received international attention for a sound that possessed elements of contemporary R&B, pop as it paired Dahlstrom’s sultry and plaintive vocals with Mwahs’ slick production consisting of swirling electronics, skittering and stuttering drum programming and twinkling keys to evoke hopeful and swooning sensation of newfound love.
The duo’s latest single “Break Free” consists of Mwah’s ethereal, bouncy production featuring swirling electronics, shimmering and cascading synths and propulsive drum programming and an anthemic hook paired with Dahlstrom’s yearning and effortlessly soulful vocals in an upbeat song about breaking free from one’s past, and starting anew — it’s a timeless sentiment that we’ve all felt at some point, bolstered by the hope that things will get better, once we can move forward.
I’ve been under the weather the past few days and haven’t been able to do as much as I would have preferred; however, with the massive snowstorm we received here in the NYC area, there wasn’t much that could have been done anyway, and I honestly needed the rest. Now, earlier this monthI wrote about Atlanta, GA-based indie rock band Flower. And as the story went, the band’s frontman and primary Jack Fowler had written the material off the band’s soon-to-be released album Waste of Life, while his life had felt as though it were in a holding pattern. Although he had a busy year as the frontman of exwhy, who had signed to Other People Records and toured with renowned indie acts Pujol and Knox Hamilton, Fowler desperately wanted to focus on revealing his vulnerable side — and in turn, felt a need to write material that was informed and inspired by other aspects of his own life; in fact, Waste of Life is heavily informed by Fowler’s experience as a 9-5 officer done. As Fowler has explained in press notes “I was working a pretty decent office job and doing absolutely nothing beyond working and getting depressed. I was just spinning my wheels and growing bored and really depressed. I was struggling with talking to people, being social at all. That’s the core of this album—anxiety and not being sure how to define yourself. ” Certainly, if you’re creative or just didn’t quite know what you wanted to actually do with yourself, those feelings of depression, anxiety and utter worthlessness is familiar. Odds are that you’ve lived that every single moment of your waking life — and you’ve dreamt of quitting to write a book, record an album or to just regain your dignity.
“Dreams,” which I wrote about three weeks ago possessed a pent up frustration over ambitions, hopes and a life that seem indefinitely stalled from some larger, unmoving (and unrelenting), outside force and not having an idea as to what would be the best thing to do next; so the song’s narrator winds up sitting inert and inactive on the sidelines out of fear of fucking everything up — and yet, hating himself for his inability to do anything at all. And despite the song’s desperation and hopelessness, there’s a subtle sense of hope; that things will get better and that somehow life will push you in the direction you need to be going even if you were unaware of it. Sonically, the song was reminiscent of The Smiths and 80s post-punk as it paired bitter and confused sentiments with anthemic hooks, layers of shimmering guitar and driving rhythms.
Wasted Life’s latests single “Deadly Ill” may arguably be one of the more deceitfully straightforward post-punk songs on the album, as the anthemic hooks the band seems to specialize in are paired with thundering and propulsive drumming, angular guitar chords and an urgent desperation of someone who seems to be at the end of their rope with everyone and everything. But the irony at the core of the song is that the song’s narrator is trapped between a terrible certainty and an unknowable, unpredictable uncertainty. If you’ve been there the song feels as though it’s talking about your own personal experience in some way.
Up-and-coming Australian producer and electronic music artist Arona Mane has developed a reputation across their homeland for a sound that is heavily indebted to 80s synth pop, funk and sultry, classic house music in a production consisting of finger-snap led percussion, undulating synths, warm blasts of horns, propulsive drumming, sinuous bass and guitar lines paired with distorted yet soulful vocal samples as you’ll hear on “Things You Do,” a single that got recently got its first airplay on Australia’s biggest radio station, Triple J.
And although the single reportedly draws from French house and early German electronic music, sonically the song reminds me quite a bit of Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves, as Arona Mane specializes in a similar, soulful electronic music.
With the release of their 2012 self-titled debut and its follow up 2014’s Mountain, the Visalia, CA-based quartet Slow Season, comprised of Daniel Rice (vocals, guitar), David Kent (guitar), Hayden Doyel (bass), and Cody Tarbell (drums), the Visalia, CA-based quartet Slow Season quickly developed a regional profile for a bluesy and heavy rock sound that’s heavily indebted to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and others — but without the being soulless mimicry. RidingEasy Records released a remixed and remastered version of their self-titled debut at the end of last year, and while working on their third full-length effort, the Visalia, CA-based quartet released a 7 inch featuring covers of Black Sabbath and Cactus; however, the band released two singles from their debut — the Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song” channeling guitar line, thundering drums and howled drums of “Heavy” and the slow-burning, bluesy, harmonica-led “Bring It on Home” meets Howlin’ Wolf channeling “DayGlo Sunrise.”
Certainly, if you didn’t know that the band was contemporary, you’d probably think that these two singles were recorded in 1967 and were recently re-discovered by someone who had been digging through the crates of a used record store somewhere.
The band is playing a couple of live dates across Southern California. Check them out below.