Rodriguez steps out into the limelight as an artist and as a director with his cover of Eurythmics‘ smash-hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” According to the Paris-based artist, the video is forthcoming — but in the meantime, I can talk about the single: Rodriguez’s cover slows the tempo down for the song’s first half, which creates a brooding and uneasy air within a stark atmospheric production that slowly builds up into an up-tempo, club banger with glistening synth arpeggios, soulful, gospel meets Broadway-like harmonizing, thumping percussion and a gorgeous string arrangement before a gentle fadeout.
The French artist explains that Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” held a personal meaning for him: the song gave him the strength he needed to be resilient during the toughest moments of the pandemic. And as a result, the song feels as though it evokes clearing skies after a particularly turbulent period.
Emerging and fairly mysterious Melbourne, Australia-based duo The Mirrors have been busy since their formation, prolifically writing and recording material that they’ll gradually release, including their debut demo EP. The act’s latest single, “I’ll Stay” is brooding yet dance floor friendly bit of pop centered around shimmering and reverb drenched guitars, rapid fire, four-on-the-floor, atmospheric synths, achingly plaintive vocals and a soaring hook.
While sonically seemingly indebted to 4AD Records and 80s New Wave, the song thematically is an achingly bittersweet lament of someone, who is conflicted between the desire to leave their home for greener pastures — and their deep emotional connection to their home.
The recently released video is based around carefully edited footage from the 2008 film The Pleasure of Being Robbed that further emphasizes, the loneliness and yearning at the heart of the song.
Deriving their name from the chain of curves made by the overhead cables seen suspended from pylons or above electric trains, the Kent, UK-based act The Catenary Wires — founding members Amelia Fletcher (vocals, harmonium) and Rob Pursey (vocals, guitar) with Fay Hallam (Hammond organ, backing vocals), Ian Button (drums, backing vocals) and Andy Lewis (bass, production) was founded in 2014 after its founding duo had spent lengthy stints in beloved British cult acts like Tallulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap. The then-duo’s full-length debut, 2015’s Red Red Skies was a marked departure from the fuzzy, ’60s-inspired, girl-group pop of their previous work, as it featured acoustic-leaning material that was much more melancholy and emotive.
The duo followed up with a one-off 7 inch single, 2018’s “What About The Rings?”/”Was That Love.” But by the time the Pursey and Hallam began writing and recording their sophomore album, 2019’s ‘Til The Morning, the band expanded into a quintet with the additions of Hallam, Button and Lewis. The album’s material was centered around a much bigger sound while retaining the focus on the dual, boy-girl vocals of Fletcher and Pursey.
The newly-minted quintet have just completed their third album, Birling Gap, which is slated for a June 2021 through Shelflife Records here in the States and the band’s own label Skep Wax throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Their forthcoming album will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting songs for grown-up indie kids: maybe their knees and the backs hurt a bit from time to time, maybe their hair is receding or they’re bald or have some other sign of getting older. So, they’ll openly admit that their 20s are far in the rearview mirror –but they fondly remember what it was like. Fueled by their experience and wisdom, their material touches upon innocence and the loss of innocence, joy, egret, experience and so on.
The members of The Catenary Wires will be guest DJ’ing at a virtual indie pop disco held by the folks at How Does It Feel To Be Loved next Saturday — March 27, 2021 — and to promote the DJ set, the act released a cover of The Human League’s smash hit “Fascination” that sees the band rearranging the song so that the main synth-based melody with harmonium and strummed guitar while retaining the dueling boy-girl vocals. And as a result of the new arrangement, the song possesses a nostalgic feel, as though its narrators are looking back at their younger selves through the bittersweet prism of experience. Of course, the bigger point here is that great songs manage to be timeless — to the point that a completely different generation can find something of themselves in it.
Jordan Heimburger is a Los Angeles-based guitarist, who has spent the past few years as a session player and a touring musician with acts like The Feed, John Henry and Kevin Bowers’ Nova. Earlier this year, Heimburger began translating his experience of living during a pandemic into a series of songs that drew inspiration from the dystopian sci fi movies and books that seemed to come to unsettlingly vivid life. As songs began to take shape, Heimburger began his latest project Spacette and then reached out to a collection of acclaimed and talented local musicians including Anna Louise Thaiss (vocals), who has worked with Honey Whiskey Trio and as a solo artist; Heather Rivas (keys), who works as a solo artist; Doug Organ (keys, production, engineering), who works with Here Lies Me and Stunt Double; Kevin Bowers (drums), who has worked with The Feed and Kevin Bowers’ Nova; Tony Barbara (drums), who has worked with John Henry and Laren Loveless; John Pessoni (drums), who has worked with The Urge; Ben Reece (sax), who has worked with The Feed, Ben Reece Unity Quartet; and Bryan Hoskins (vocals), who has worked with John Henry to flesh out the songs and contribute solos.
Slated for release next week, Spaceette’s debut EP was recorded using remote recording — as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, much like most of the material being released right now. Interestingly, “Sweat,” the EP’s latest single is centered around squiggling synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, thumping four-on-the-floor and a driving motorik groove paired with ironically detached vocals. Sonically, the track is a slick synthesis of creepy and cinematic John Carpenter-like analog synth soundtracks, disco funk and 80s New Wave.
The recently released video follows a female dancer, who dances to the song with a series of moves that mix hip-hop, ballet and club dancing — with the video suggesting that when times get tough, dance your troubles away.