Tag: New Video

New Video: Moving Panoramas Return with Slick Visuals for Jangling and Anthemic New Single “ADD Heart”

Led by founding member and creative mastermind Leslie Sisson (vocals, guitar), who has had stints in The Wooden Birds, Matt Pond PA, Western Keys, Black Lipstick, Black Forest Fire, Tanworth-in-Arden, and Aero Wave, collaborated with The American Analog Set, Windsor for the Derby, Rhythm of Black Lines, RIDE’s Mark Gardener, Dan Mangan, John Wesley Coleman, Snowden, and Broken Social Scene, and has developed a reputation as a solo artist in her own right, the Austin, TX-based dream pop act Moving Panoramas can trace their origins to when its founding member and creative mastermind returned home to Texas to be closer to the members of her previous full-time band The Wooden Birds and her to her family. Sisson took a job teaching music at School of Rock where she met Rozie Castoe (bass),  who was in an 80s-themed show that Sisson directed. Interestingly, at the same time, Sisson took up a gig subbing in Black Forest Fire with Karen Skloss (drums), who was a long-time friend. When each of their various creative projects broke up, the trio started Moving Panoramas, rooted in their mutual love of shoegaze; however, since the band’s formation and release of their debut effort One, the band has gone through a series off lineup changes that has result in Sisson collaborating with a rotating cast of previous bandmates, as well as current bandmates Cara Tillman, Jordan Rivell, Jody Suarez and Phil McJunkins.

Moving Panoramas’ sophomore album In Two was delayed by a series of unexpected roadblocks during its production — i.e., health and timing issues — that delayed its release until February 22, 2019 through Modern Outsider Records. Recorded with engineer Louie Lino at Resonate Studio in Austin, the band’s sophomore effort reportedly finds the band expanding upon their sound and songwriting approach, as there’s a concerted effort for diversity in rhythm, volume and instrumentation, including the incorporation of pedal steel. Along with that the album features guest spots from Nada Surf‘s Matthew Caws, A Giant Dog‘s and Sweet Spirit‘s Sabrina Ellis and former bandmates Karen Skloss, Jolie Flink and Laura Colwell. Now, as you may recall, last year I wrote about album single “Baby Blues,” a decidedly anthemic track centered around shimmering power chords, a propulsive rhythm section, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook. And while bringing to mind tracks off Sunflower Bean’s Twentytwo in Blue, the track possesses elements of psych rock, shoegaze and 70s arena rock, performed with the easygoing self-assuredness of old pros; however, underneath the self-assured performances is the recognition of time rushing by, of people moving in and out of your life — without knowing why, how or even when. 

Much like its predecessor, “ADD Heart,” In Two’s latest single is an infectious slice of anthemic rock with jangling guitars, Sisson’s ethereal vocals and a soaring hook — but steel pedal guitar adds a cinematic, alt country vibe to the proceedings. Thematically, the song focuses on an inattentive and inconstant love interest, who has the song’s narrator spinning in frustration emotionally because the love interest just can’t seem to focus on one thing at any given time. It’s an accurate description of what love and dating is like in the social media age if there ever was one. 

The recently released video for the song was directed by Willi Patton, and as Patton says in press notes, “We were honored to be approached by Leslie Sisson of Moving Panoramas to do a music video for their new single, ‘ADD Heart.’ I knew immediately upon hearing the song that the energy needed to be high, and I really wanted to capture the feeling of not being able to focus, narratively as if the video itself suffers from ADD. It pushes you along in one direction, only to quickly switch course, pick up on some other thread, leaving more unanswered questions than resolutions. We’re always so grateful to musicians for letting us experiment, to treat their work as a solid canvas to splash some paint on, deconstruct and then clumsily attempt to put back together.”

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New Video: Stone Mecca’s Politically Charged and Heartfelt Visuals for “Boogeyman”

Stone Mecca is a Los Angeles, CA-based producer, singer/songwriter and self-taught multi-instrumentalist, who honed his own craft by listening to Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Parliament Funkadelic, Al Green, Prince, and Earth, Wind and Fire — and as a producer and musician, the Los Angeles-based producer and musician has played live with the aforementioned Earth, Wind and Fire, George Clinton, Wu-Tang Clan and RZA. Developing a reputation for easily navigating through a diverse array of musical genres and styles, Stone Mecca has contributed to the soundtracks for Django Unchained, The Main with the Iron First, Friday, Blade: Trinity, Soul Plane, Repo Men, Afro Samurai and Afro Samurai Resurrection. The Los Angeles-based producer and multi-instrumentalist has also appeared on albums by Wu-Tang Clan, RZA, Kanye West, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. And as a solo artist, Stone Mecca’s 2007 full-length debut First Contact featured the critically acclaimed song “A Walk,” a track that OkayPlayer said “in a fair world, music like this would be present all the tim eon prime time rotation in various radio markets.” 

Stone Mecca’s latest album Alienman was released last November, and the album finds the Los Angeles-based producer and multi-instrumentalist stripping down his sound to the rawest form possible — and while pairing tweeter and woofer rocking hip hop beats, funky bass lines, bluesy guitars and soulful melodies, his sound generally blurs the lines between hip-hop, soul, blues, funk and roots rock. Alienman’s latest single is the sultry and swaggering “Boogeyman.” Centered around thumping beats, some blazing guitar work and a G-funk era bass line, the track features some politically charged and righteous lyrics that subtly recall the great Curtis Mayfield and JOVM mainstay Cody ChesnutT, as the song touches upon hypocrisy and challenges media-driven fear-mongering, stereotyping and racism. 

Directed by Alex Von Kurkendall and based on a concept by Stone Mecca and Von Kurkendall, the recently released video further emphasizes the politically charged nature of the song as it reminds the viewer that with every group there are villains and heroes — and that most important, we live in a society in which the dignity and decency of entire groups of people are being ignored. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Pond’s Bittersweet Ode to Small Pleasures When the World is Ending

Over the past handful of years of this site’s almost nine-year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed psych pop act POND fronted by its Perth, Australia-based mastermind, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Jay Watson, along with Nicholas Allbrook, Shiny Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry and Jamie Ireland. With the project’s first three albums —  2009’s Psychedelic Mango, 2010’s Frond and 2012’s Beard, Wives, Denim found POND’s sound moving from straightforward psych rock to a decidedly pop leaning sound.

Since then, Watson and company have released a series of critically applauded albums include 2017’s The Weather, which both continued the project’s ongoing collaboration with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and further cemented the band’s reputation for crafting trippy yet accessible pop. Now, as you may recall, Watson and company released “Burnt Out Star,” the first bit of new material from the Perth Australia-based psych pop act in some time and the expansive track managed to nod a bit at at Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond Parts I-V and VI-IX” but centered around the aforementioned shimmering synths and propulsive beats, making it deceptively arena rock friendly. Interestingly, that track was informally, the first single off POND’s forthcoming album Tasmania, an album conceived as a sort of sister missive to its predecessor. 

Slated for a March 1, 2019 release through Interscope Records, the new album is reportedly a dejected and heartbroken meditation on planetary discord, water, machismo, shame, blame and responsibility, love, blame and empire. And while coasting on an undercurrent of the restless, anxious dread we’re all desperately feeling, the material instead of wallowing in self-pity also reportedly encourages the reader to celebrate the small things — frolicking in the ocean, rolling around in the grass, the sweet feeling of being in love and so on, while we still can. “Daisy,” the album’s latest single and opening track beings with a mournful string-led introduction, before the curtain is opened, and the track turns into a shimmering, synth pop-based, power ballad centered around a sinuous and propulsive bass line and Allbrook’s ethereal falsetto. The track sees Allbrook imagining his childhood friends and family in the Kimberly region in chains — whether rightfully so or not, is up to the listener; but the track toys with the idea of bitterly retreating to Tasmania to lick their wounds. But there’s also the recognition of retreating just before everything gets fucked up beyond recognition. 

Directed by Jesse Taylor Smith and featuring aerial cinematography by Joseph Ryan, the recently released video for “Daisy” was shot in the lands of the Kulin and Nyoongar Nations — but it suggests the ruins of a country and civilization from its hubris and greed with the bandmembers enjoying some small pleasures — playing with a beloved dog, daydreaming on a lazy summer day. Sometimes small pleasures are the only thing we can cling to when everything is on fire. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays White Lies Release Anthemic New Single Paired with Gorgeous and Cinematic Visuals

London-based indie trio White Lies’s aptly titled, fifth, full-length album Five is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings, and while marking the trio’s tenth anniversary together, the album reportedly finds the British pop trio pushing their sound in new and adventurous directions paired with arguably some of the most deeply personal and intimate lyrics of the band’s entire catalog. Unlike its predecessors, the writing and recording process was Transatlantic, and included a trip to Los Angeles, where they worked on new material with Ed Bueller, who produced the band’s chart-topping debut To Lose My Life and their third album Big TV. Throughout the process, the band enlisted past associates and collaborators to assist on the proceedings including engineer James Brown, who has worked with Arctic Monkeys and Foo Fighters; the renowned producer Flood, who contributes synths and keys on a couple of tracks; and Grammy Award-winning Alan Moulder, who has worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and The Killers to mix the album.

Now, as you may recall, the Snow Patrol-like album single “Time to Give,” was an ambitious song that clocked in at a little over 7 and a half minutes, and was centered around a lush yet moody arrangement of shimmering synths, a propulsive motorik groove, Harry McVeigh’s sonorous baritone and an arena rock-friendly hook — but underneath the enormous hooks was a song that focuses on a dysfunctional and abusive relationship from a real and lived-in place. In fact, the song feels so lived-in that it bristles with the bitterness and hurt that comes from being in a relationship in which you’ve left broken, fucked up and confused. “Believe It,” continued in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor as it’s full of enormous, arena rock friendly hooks while bearing a resemblance to Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears, Jef Barbara and Joy Division/New Order.

“Tokyo,” Five’s latest single continues a run of rousingly anthemic singles centered around enormous hooks, arpeggiated synths, razor sharp grooves and McVeigh’s inimitable vocals. And while the song reminds me of Tears For Fears’ “Shout,” “Change” and “Everybody Wants to Rule The World,” the song will remind the listener, that the British trio have an unerring and uncanny ability to write a triumphant, arena rock-like song. 

The recently released, gorgeously shot video for “Tokyo” was directed by long-time visual collaborator David Pablos and was shot back-to-back with the video for previously released single “Believe It,” in Tijuana, Mexico late last year. As the band explains in press notes “Once again we were lucky to work with David in Tijuana to create what is our best video since ‘Death’. His unique knowledge of the area affording us access into some of the city’s most stunning and bizarre locations helps bring to life his vision of stories of love and loss. Where in the world would you be able to film a scene of the band sat on a 4-story high nude woman? Tijuana, that’s where apparently and resulted in our favourite collaboration with him yet.”

Pablos adds  “As soon as I heard the song I knew I wanted to shoot the video during night time. Everything starts with us seeing scenes of life through windows from the outside, but once we go inside we discover nothing is exactly what it looks like or what it appears to be. Each window is a metaphor; more than a real space it is a representation of a mental state. But more than portraying the city, what was important was the human face and to capture the personalities of each one of the characters.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Jon Spencer Releases Kaleidoscopic Visuals for Bruising New Ripper “Beetle Boots”

Best known as a founding member of renowned local alt rock acts The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Boss Hog, Heavy Trash and Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer released his long-awaited solo debut Spencer Sings the Hits last November, and as you may recall, the Bill Skibbe-produced album, finds the renowned guitarist and frontman embracing a DIY approach while collaborating with Quasi‘s and Heatmiser’s Sam Coombes and M. Sord. So far I’ve written about two album singles — the blistering and abrasive ripper “Do The Trash Can,” a track centered around a snarling, garage punk attitude, abrasive and enormous power chords and an oddly danceable groove and “I Got The Hits,” an equally explosive ripper, featuring abrasive power chords, a shit ton of double entendres and a propulsive, junkyard groove that’s danceable yet mosh pit friendly. 

Spencer Sings the Hits’ latest single “Beetle Boots” is a straightforward garage rock ripper, featuring around a downright nasty, snarling, power chord-based guitar riff, a propulsive groove and shouted call and response lyrics centered around picking up a guitar, joining a band and trying to kick ass and take over the world — but with the reminder that being in a band ain’t easy; that if you come in faking the funk, the game will chew you up and spit you out. 

Directed and edited by Andrew Hooper, featuring photos from Jon Spencer, Michael Lavine, Ebru Yildiz, Patrick Houdek, Myranda Baert, and Bob Coscarelli, art by Katie Skelly Visual and visual elements by The Verite Messengers, the recently released video is a trippy and kaleidoscopic treatment that draws from found footage of 60s psych pop concert films, young bands jamming, photos of Spencer and his bandmates — and all of it serves as a powerful reminder: that being in a rock ‘n’ roll band is fucking awesome. 

New Video: French Pop Act Papooz Releases Surreal Visuals for Brooding Yet Breezy New Single “You and I”

Comprised of Armand Penicaut and Ulysee Cottin, the Paris, France-based pop act Papooz can trace their origins to when the duo met during part of boozy gatherings of literary obsessions — and as the story goes, the pair ditched their early and earnest ambitions to creative a political fane zone to play the music they had long been writing. Interestingly, the duo’s early demos were warped, boss nova-informed pop that also drew influence from The Beach Boys, Ella Fitzgerald, The White Stripes and Karen Dalton, among others. 

The duo’s full-length debut, 2016’s Green Juice featured “Ann Wants To Dance,” whose SoKo-directed video has amassed more than 12 million streams online. Building upon a growing profile, the Parisian band’s Adrien Durand (of Bon Voyage Organisation) produced sophomore effort is slated for release later this year, the duo’s forthcoming sophomore album Night Sketches will further cement their reputation for crafting warped and skewed exotic-tinged pop — but with surrealist, character-driven lyricism. In fact, Night Sketches’ first single, the moody yet ethereal “You and I” is a lush amalgamation of 70s AM rock with 80s synth-based New Wave, as the song features an arrangement of shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line, glistening guitar lines, an ethereal falsetto and a soaring hook that sonically makes the song remind me of Roxy Music. 

Directed by Armand Penicaut’s girlfriend, director and illustrator Victoria Lafaurie, the video was filmed at Le Balajo, one of Paris’ oldest cabaret clubs, currently owned by a renowned French wrestling family — and it stars Ulysee Cottin’s girlfriend, Danish-born actress and model, Klara Kristin. Shot with Super 16mm film, the video draws from old, Looney Tunes cartoons and other sources. As Lafaurie says in press notes, “Like Tex Avery’s animated cartoons, Ulysee and Armand are Klara Kristin’s conscience. Will she fall for the Devil or the Angel?”

New Video: Acclaimed British Producer Swindle Teams Up with Kojey Radical on a Genre-Defying Take on Grime

Swindle is an acclaimed London-born and based-producer, who can trace the origins of his own musical career to when he built his first studio in his bedroom when he was 14. Excluded from school for having “way too much energy,” his blues guitarist father guided and mentored him by teaching him guitar. His father’s record collection, comprised of soul, funk, and jazz was vital inspiration for his full-length album Love Live The Jazz, which was released on Mala’s Deep Medi Musik back in 2013. His follow up, 2015’s Peace, Love & Music was written and recorded in studio sessions across the world and with an explosive live show, further cemented his growing reputation for being a singular artist, with a unique scope and ambition.

Since the release of his sophomore effort, Swindle has done production work for a number of artists including Kojey Radical, Joel Culpepper, D Double E, Mahalia, and others.  And interestingly enough, his soon-to-be released third album No More Normal, the acclaimed British producer and guitarist working with an All-Star cast of some of the UK’s best emcees including the aforementioned Kojey Radical and D Double E, along with Ghetts and P Money; vocalists including Etta Bond, Eva Lazarus, Daley and Kiko Bun; and musicians including Yussef Dayes, Nubya Garcia and Riot Jazz in a wildly genre-defying fashion that draws from grime, dubstep, jazz, P-funk and others — sometimes incorporating all of that into one song. “No More Normal is the idea of us doing our thing, our way, with no rules or limitations,” Swindle explains in press notes. “It is jazz influenced as much as it is grime influenced. It’s London influenced as much as it is LA influenced. I can work with D Double E and Nubya Garcia, these records are my imagination brought to life in musical form.” 

“Coming Home,” which features Kojey Radical is a perfect example of the British producer’s challenging yet paradoxically accessible approach as its centered around a production featuring shuffling beats, a regal and old-timey jazz horn arrangement, blasts of bluesy guitar and wobbling bass synth to create a sound that’s mischievously anachronistic, self-assured and unlike anything you’ll hear on mainstream hip-hop radio. Kojey Radical contributes some incredible and profound verses about gaining a new wisdom and perspective that puts you a world apart from your old friends and your old neighborhood –and that it’s necessary and should be celebrated. But it’s also a celebration of achieving hard-fought, hard-dreamt dreams against some incredible odds — and with a helluva lot of naysayers. 

Directed by Olivia Rose, the recently released video seems to have been shot in a series of extended long takes. And while gorgeously shot and symbolic, the portrayal of black men within the video reveals both our beauty and complexity, showing us to be kings and poets, as well as entertainers. 

Live Footage: Les Big Byrd Perform “A Little More Numb” at Tapetown Studios

Comprised of founding duo Jocke Åhlund and Frans Johansson along with Frans Johansson and Martin Ehrencrona, the Stockholm Sweden-based indie rock act Les Big Byrd features a collection of their hometown’s most accomplished indie musicians.  Åhlund co-founded cult Teddybears with his brother Klas in 1991. Åhlund went on to play guitar in Caesars — and formed Smile, with Peter, Björn and John’s Björn Yttling. And in that insanely busy period, Åhlund managed to find time to write for and produce the legendary Giorgio Moroder and renowned Swedish pop artist Robyn. Johansson, meanwhile, was a bassist in Swedish Grammy Award-winning act Fireside since the early nineties and worked as a touring bassist with The Soundtrack of Our Lives.

As the story goes, by 2011 Åhlund and Johansson had become increasingly disillusioned with their primary gigs and they began to collaborate with each other, frequently bouncing musical ideas off one another; the band’s founding duo quickly recruited two fellow grizzled scene vets, keyboardist Martin ‘Konie’ Ehrencrona and Caesars drummer Nino Keller to finalize the band’s lineup. 

The band’s debut, 2014’s Back to Bagarmossen EP was an atmospheric, guitar driven effort that found the quartet receiving attention from Swedish national TV. Interestingly, with a growing national profile. the members of Les Big Byrd ran into The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe at a local record store, and after hitting it off with him, the band headed to Newcombe’s Berlin-based studio to jam with him — and the end result was a handful of tracks which eventually appeared on their critically applauded Åhlund-produced full-length debut, They Worshipped Cats, an album that was a decided left turn into trippy space rock.

In the winter of 2015, 18 months after the release of They Worshipped Cats, Åhlund was looking forward to working on new material; however, unlike their debut, he was determined to bring in an outside producer to allow him to focus just on the songwriting and playing. With much of their material drawing heavily from psych rock and drone, while retaining a pop sensibility, the band recruited Spacemen 3‘s Sonic Boom (a.k.a.Pete Kember) to produce the album as the band loved his work on MGMT‘s 2010 sophomore album Congratulations.  The initial sessions with Kember quickly went awry; Kember clashed with Newcombe, who also headed to Sweden to work on some ideas for the record with the band — and Åhlund eventually found himself taking up the production role, he didn’t want and wasn’t seeking.

Burned out by the experience, the band shelved the second album for a while.  “I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed to get some distance from it,” Åhlund says in press notes. “It was only after a while that I was able to go back and realise that there was a really good album in there.” The members of Les Big Byrd spent the bulk of last year remaking and re-imaging the material in their own image — with Kember and Newcombe’s contributions being limited. Recorded between two Stockholm studios — Åhlund’s own and Ehrencrona’s Studio Cobra — the band’s sophomore album Iran Iraq IKEA derives its title from a slogan that Åhlund’s saw printed on a tie while in Berlin years earlier and wanted to use for years; in fact, Åhlund felt that it suited the album, “because it gave it all some kind of subtly poetic intrigue.” However, the album’s politics — if you really want to call it that — are rooted within the personal, As Åhlund says in press notes,  “It’s about classic topics like love and failure. And about being older and feeling like you’ve pissed your life away, It’s about regrets and wishing you’d done things another way,”

The band’s Åhlund takes up production duties again, but with the admission that maybe it was something he never really wanted to give up — and sonically speaking, the band reportedly have reinvented themselves and their sound but while retaining elements of the sound and approach that first won them national and international attention.  “I still love my krautrock, and space rock, and experimental, improvisational stuff” says Åhlund. “But I also have a strong love for psychedelic sixties pop music, and I love reverb-drenched guitar with a lot of tremolo on it. All of those things make it on to Iran Iraq IKEA, but the lines are blurred – there’s a lot of electronics, and you can’t always tell where each individual sound is coming from. Hopefully it’s suggestive, a little bit uncertain and unpredictable, at least that’s what I wanted.”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’d recall that Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios in partnership with Sound of Aarhus have been inviting national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session, which they film and distribute through all of your favorite social media sites. So far they’ve inited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his The Fresh & Onlys, renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes,  Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet ONBC, and up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based post punk rock act Moaning.  Recently, the members of Les Big Byrd stopped by Tapetown Studios to perform the bittersweet lament “A Little More Numb.” 

New Video: Los Angeles’ Warbly Jets Release An Enormous Power Chord-Based Brit Pop-Inspired Single

With the release of their self-titled, full-length debut the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock act Warbly Jets, comprised of Samuel Shea, Julien O’neill, and Dan Gerbang quickly emerged into the national and international scene; in fact, their critically applauded effort found the band opening for Liam Gallagher and making three separate world tours to support it.

After a whirlwind year, the members of the Los Angeles-based indie rock trio returned to the studio to write and record the material that would eventually comprise their self-recorded, self-produced, recently released EP, Propaganda. As the band’s frontman Samuel Shea says about the EP in press notes, “On this new collection of songs, we made an effort to set no particular stylistic boundaries. I believe it’s extremely important to make drastic differences as you transition through phases. That was something that Julien [O’neill] and I talked about from the conception of this band. I hope you always hear what you’re not expecting when you listen to a new release from us.”

Thematically speaking, the material explores our modern, globalized, algorithm-ruled, data-based society, where the lines between what’s public and private are frequently blurred beyond recognization — and where the hive mind masquerades as marketable individualism with Big Brother being welcomed with open arms in the name of convenience. And as a result, we should constantly ask ourselves a few questions: what’s human connection? How easily are we (and our lives, ideas and souls) bought and sold? Can we cut through the noise and bullshit? Does anyone care? Does music fit into it at all? As the band’s multi-instrumentalist Julien O’neill adds “‘Propaganda’ is a term as much as it’s a cultural ethos that’s been widely accepted. Anything from advertisement to self-aggrandizement qualifies.From social media, push notifications, targeted ads—we’ve openly elected to carry around miniature billboards, playing our part under the promising guise of a sense of ‘connection.’ We feel empty without it.”

Building upon last year’s success, Propaganda’s latest single “Alive” was featured in the opening scene of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4. But in terms of this site, the track finds the band drawing from classic rock, psych rock, and Brit Pop — or in other words: enormous power chords fed through distortion pedals, rousingly anthemic hooks and pummeling drums delivered with the swaggering self-assuredness of road-tested old pros. Directed by Steven Johnson, the recently released video employs a relatively simple concept — the band performing the song in the studio with some trippy special effects.  

New Video: Visuals for Rocky Dawuni’s “Let’s Go” Offer a Small Slice of Daily Ghanian Life

Rocky Dawuni is an acclaimed Grammy Award-nominated, Ghanian singer/songwriter and guitarist, humanitarian and activist, who was once  named one of Africa’s Top 10 Global Stars by CNN and a UN Ambassador. As a singer/songwriter and guitarist, Dawuni’s specializes in a crowd pleasing sound and songwriting approach that features elements of roots reggae, soul, pop, Afropop and Afrobeat in a warmly familiar yet unique fashion. And naturally, Dawuni’s sound has proven to be immensely popular; in fact, he’s performed with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder, Bono, Janelle Monae, Jason Mraz, John Legend, and a lengthy list of others.

Although, it’s been several years since I’ve personally written about him, Dawuni has been rather busy. His forthcoming and highly-anticipated seventh full-length album Beats of Zion is slated for a March 8, 2019 release through Six Degrees Distribution, and the album reportedly finds Dawuni expanding upon his self-dubbed Afro Roots sound to include the diversity of the contemporary Ghanian music scene, as well as a deeper global perspective inspired by his travels around the world. “Beats of Zion was born out of my desire to use my diverse global musical influences and exposure to various traditions to paint a multi-cultural musical vision of the world that I perceive,” Dawuni says in press notes. “The beginning of the year saw me visit Ethiopia and India. In Ethiopia, I visited Lalibela, witnessing ancient Christian rites and my journeys in India also exposed me to its diverse spiritual culture and the shared similarities I saw to Africa.” He adds, “The title Beats of Zion is inspired by a vision of the drumbeat of awareness and elevation of consciousness; a musical call to arms for my audience to be proactive in this day and age as to each person’s responsibility to be an active instrument for positive change.”

Written and recorded over a two year span in various studios in Accra, Ghana, Nairobi, Kenya and Los Angeles. Several songs being recorded at Village Studios, where Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Fleetwood Mac recorded albums — with Dawuni recording in the same room that Fleetwood Mac once used. As he was working on the album, Dawuni found out that Fleetwood Mac was among a group of American rock bands that visited Ghana in the 70s, making the experience much more special to him. 

Beats of Zion’s latest single is the breezy and uplifting “Let’s Go.” And while clearly sounding as though it were inspired by Bob Marley  (“Three Little Birds” and “One Love”  immediately come to mind), it focuses on a small yet wonderful pleasure — riding a bike with a friend and having the wind blow through your hair. The recently released 360º video finds Dawuni teaming up with Cadbury Bicycle Factory to celebrate a decade of turning long walks to school into shorter bike riders — and unsurprisingly, the video which is set in Ghanian countryside follows local students riding from home to school. From watching the video, it should serve as a reminder that kids everywhere are essentially the same; in fact the video reminds me of seeing kids riding bikes to school in Dordrecht and Amsterdam, as well as kids in my own neighborhood.