JOVM celebrates Nile Rodgers’ 68th birthday.
Tomode is an emerging Swedish funk act founded by Carl Leanderson and Viktor Westerberg. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to Leanderson’s and Westerberg’s mutual love of funk and disco. After spending a couple of years developing and honing their sound, the Swedish duo’s debut single “Destiny, No. 20” firmly establishes their sound and approach: featuring Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line and shuffling four-on-the-floor, and an enormous hook, “Destiny, No. 20” will command comparisons to Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky,” and Chic’s “Good Times.” And much like those songs, the song is centered around a wistful and aching desire to escape — in nostalgia, as much as it is to escape to the dance floor.
“We want to make music that can act as a remedy to the slight despair we all feel, living
through the 2020’s,” the members of the emerging Swedish funk pop act say in press notes. ” Destiny No. 20 opens the door to everything we love – it’s got vibrant
drums, pulsating arpeggios, disco guitars and a funky bassline. It’s as much ‘Good Times’ with Chic as it is ‘Dancing On My Own‘ with Robyn. Hopefully it ignites a spark somewhere out there in the darkness.”
The band plans to release material throughout the summer — with their debut EP slated for release during the fall.
With the release of their first two albums, 2016’s full-length debut Living Alone and 2018’s sophomore album Pop Therapy, the New Orleans-based act Video Age — founding members Ross Farbe and Ray Micarelli, along with Nick Corson and Duncan Troast — received attention for crafting hook-driven material with a decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired sound.
Following the release of Pop Therapy, the band’s songwriting partners and co-founders Farbe and Micarelli were eager to write new material and continue upon the momentum they had just started to build up. The band convened at Farbe’s home studio to work on the band’s highly anticipated third album, Pleasure Line, which is slated for an August 7, 2020 release through Winspear, who recently signed the band.
Inspired by a vast range of influences including Janet Jackson, David Bowie and Paul McCartney, Pleasure Line finds the band crafting neon-bright 80s pop-like melodies to create an optimistic sound — with the material taking on a rosy hue. “I’m often trying to create a more idealized version of the world I’m in,” Video Age’s Ross Farbe says in press notes. “In fact, some of that optimism may come as a result of both Farbe and Micarelli getting married this year — just a few weeks apart from each other. “We’re feeling the love,” Farbe says.
Written as a salve that protects against cynicism. the album’s material is meant to help the listener see and feel a world full of romantic potential. But the album isn’t centered around one-dimensional puppy love — it’s the sort of fulfilling love that’s complicated, confusing and never easy; but ultimately worth it. Earlier this year, I wrote about “Shadow On The Wall” a decidedly 80s synth pop track — i.e., Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads and early Madonna — with a subtle hint of 70s AM rock. But while the track is superficially dance floor friendly, it manages to hint at something much darker under the surface. Pleasure Line’s second and latest single, album title track “Pleasure Line” is a slow- burning Quiet Storm meets Prince-like track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, Nile Rodgers-like guitar and an infectious hook. Interestingly, the song manages to be thematically about a restless anxiousness that eventually turns into possibility and love; of making comfort out of discomfort.
Tanners is a somewhat mysterious and rising Brooklyn-based pop singer/songwriter and producer, who throughout her relatively young professional career has been driven by the urgent need to stand out from a crowded field of pop artists and really connect with listeners, by writing about mental health and other topics with a heartfelt earnestness.
In the past year, the rising Brooklyn-based artist has played at Rough Trade and at The Playstation Theater for the annual TEDxTeen event — and she her music has been featured in a number of major media outlets. including NYLON, Earmilk, Stereogum, Rolling Stone France and a list of others. Building upon a growing profile, Tanners’ latest single, the dance floor friendly “Night Moves” is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like guitar, and a two-step including groove. And while seemingly indebted to 80s synth funk like Cherelle, Daft Punk and contemporaries like Rush Midnight, the track manages to have a dark underbelly: thematically, the song focuses on the feelings of regret and self-loathing that many people have had over the few months of quarantine for not being as productive as they should be.
Employing a necessary DIY ethos as a result of of COVID, the recently released video stars Tanners as a character named Mother Disco, who performs the song inside a glittering disco ball, but adding to the 70s vibe are the some trippy kaleidoscopic effects in which we see three Tanners at a time. “We threw ourselves into this music video with no prep, barely any gear, no storyboard or concept but we embraced the limitations and leaned into this kitschy, low-budget vibe,” said Tanners of the video inspired by The Cher Show. She continues, “For me, there’s nothing better than creating something that’s colorful and aesthetically pleasing and also makes you laugh at the same time.”
Formed in 2018 and led by its founding member and bandleader JayJay (trumpet), the Montpellier, France-based brass act JayJayBrass Band specializes in a modern take on the classic brass band sound — one that features elements of hip-hop and funk. Last year, the band went into the studio to record their debut effort, which was released earlier this year and features 9 original compositions and a cover of an Anderson .Paak song, as well as guest vocals from local emcee Loïs Hammel.
The album’s “Radio Funk” is a swaggering and strutting bit of New Orleans-styled brass centered around some Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, swinging saxophone and trumpet lines, some muscular low end from the sousaphone within a dance floor friendly composition with big hooks. Loïs Hammel contributes a few party friendly rhymes on an already party friendly track. Considering how bleak things in our world are at the moment, a few moments of levity seem necessary.
Initially making a name for herself as the frontwoman of the equally acclaimed dance music/nu-disco outfit Escort, the New York-based singer/songwriter, bassist and producer and JOVM mainstay Adeline has developed a reputation as a solo artist of note, releasing her self-titled, full-length debut to critical praise from the likes of Vogue, NPR, Refinery 29, Rolling Stone, The Fader and many others.
Adeline has opened for Anderson .Paak, Lee Fields, Chromeo, Big Freedia and Natalie Prass among others, which has helped to further cement her reputation for dazzling artists with her captivating live show and energetic presence. Adding to a growing profile as a solo artist, the JOVM mainstay has made appearances at a number of stops across the national festival circuit, including Afropunk, Funk on the Rocks and Winter Jazz Fest. And along with that, the New York-based artist has been one of the hardest working women in contemporary music, as she’s also a member of CeeLo Green’s touring band.
Intérimes EP, the highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut is slated for a June 12, 2020 release and the EP will feature “Middle,” which she performed on CBS This Morning and the sultry Quiet Storm-like “Twilight,” which detailed the moment that both parties in a relationship realize that it’s over and that there’s nothing left to give, and nothing left to say.
The Adeline and Morgan Wiley co-produced and Jonathan Singletary cowritten “After Midnight,” is the EP’s third and latest single. Featuring guest spots from Jaleel Bunton (guitar) and Jim Oroso (drums), “After Midnight” is an upbeat, feeling yourself and feeling good anthem, centered around twinkling and arpeggiated keys, propulsive drumming, a shuffling Nile Rodgers-like guitar line, a sinuous disco-influenced bass line, and a two-step inducing hook with the JOVM mainstay’s soulful, come-hither vocals. “After Midnight is a feel good song for anytime, day or night” says Adeline, noting that we can all use some feel good vibes right now. “The track was all about creating an undeniable groove. Something that’s fresh and fun yet classic and soulful at the same time.”
Shot at home, the recently release video for “After Midnight” follows the JOVM mainstay as she tries on different outfits and vamps for the camera. So we see Adeline serving up looks and fierceness — although she could easily be like the average person, gearing themselves up for a Friday or Saturday night on the town.
Raised in Istanbul, Benjamin Dean, an emerging singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. who relocated to the US when he was a teenager. In his early 20s, he wound up in Atlanta, where he studied at Georgia State University‘s School of Music for about a year before leaving school to focus on his own creative projects.
After leaving Georgia State, Dean wound up performing at a a number of venues in the Atlanta area including Eddie’s Attic and Smith’s Olde Bar. Last year, Dean released a series of alternative folk singles before deciding that he should take his music in a completely new direction. Earlier this year, Dean started writing material, which began incorporating elements of New Wave funk, indie rock and R&B — with the end result being his latest EP, Tame the Beast, which was released earlier this year. The EP’s latest single “The Silence” is a slinky and funky track featuring shimmering and atmospheric synths Nile Rodgers-like guitar, thumping drums, a two-step inducing hook paired with Dean’s plaintive falsetto. And while centered around an incredibly upbeat air, the track sonically reminds me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and Washed Out — earnest and thoughtful, yet dance floor friendly.
Led by founding members Bernardo Castilla and Lorenzo Engell, the rapidly rising Mexican electro pop act Glass Cristina was formed in Barcelona in 2016. Their five song, debut EP Circle Line, which featured attention grabbing singles like “La Reina De España” and “Dancing With the Devil” received attention in their native Mexico and elsewhere — despite the fact the material was unmastered and mixed at home, because the duo couldn’t afford to pay for professional mixing. But their debut EP established their sound: lush and atmospheric textures paired with soulful melodies while drawing from neo-sou, funk and electro pop.
The band was on a hiatus when its founding members were living in different countries but in 2017, the band reconvened and expanded with the addition of Enzo Aquino (bass, synths, backing vocals), who has helped the band achieve a more organic live set. Last year the band performed at Sziget Festival with the likes of The 1975, Jungle, Twenty One Pilots, Foo Fighters and others. Along with that, the trio have been busy writing and recording their forthcoming album Nudity, Slated for a May 22, 2020 release through Vegan Caníbal Records, an imprint of Blanco y Negro, one of Spain’s most successful indie record labels. Reportedly, the album is a result of a period of profound self-discovery through incessant work and composition — while showcasing the trio’s dedication to evolving their sound and identity.
Nudity’s latest single, “Bali” is an atmospheric yet club friendly song centered around shimmering synths, blasts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a sinuous bass line, tweeter and woofer rocking beats an an enormous hook — and while arguably being one of the most hypnotic tracks on the album, it possesses a subtle jungle vibe that reminds me of early Doomsquad and others. Interestingly, the song is a brooding ode to heartbreak and betrayal as the song essentially sets up a story about the swooning first pangs of a new relationship and its inevitable accompanying heartache. But instead of wallowing too deeply in bitterness, the song is meant to inspire the listener to get up and to dance, dance, dance it all away.
The recently released and incredibly cinematic lyric video for “Bali” is fittingly set on Bali and features two masked figures dancing seductively in lush and verdant forests — and the result is something truly mesmerizing,
FORCES is a rising synth-based act, comprised of romantic couple and collaborative duo Jess and Dave. Although their latest project is a relatively new project, it’s centered around the 20+ year relationship and collaboration between its creative masterminds, who may be best known in their native Canada for their previous project, The Golden Dogs. With Golden Dogs, Jess and Dave wound up working with a virtual who’s who of contemporary, Canadian indie rock. including including the then-future members of Zeus, Wax Atlantic and Brave Shores, along with Taylor Knox and Stew Heyduk — while opening for Sloan, Feist, Bloc Party, The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, Thurston Moore and Roky Erickson.
Back in 2017, Jess and Dave went into the studio and began working on what they thought would be the next Golden Dogs album — although in some way, deep down they both realized that they kind of knew that it wasn’t. What they started working on was a decided and radical sonic departure from the driving rock sound they’ve long specialized in and were known for. In fact, they were increasingly drawn to the a number of different production styles — in particular, The Dead Pets, Liquid Liquid, New Order, The Cure‘s Close to Me and Timbaland. And as a result, the duo. which currently splits its time between Montreal and Toronto began to experiment with synths, beatmaking and funky rhythms.
At the same time Jess stepped up into the role of frontperson, taking on a sultry vocal approach paired with layered, punchy female-led harmonies. Simultaneously, Dave began to focus on guitar textures and melodies. Along with that, the material they started to write was primarily based around metronomic loop and electronics — instead of the drums-bass-guitar arrangements they had long relied on. Now, if you were frequenting this site late last year, you may recall I wrote about the FORCES’ debut single, the glittering dance floor friendly bop, “Stay On Me,” which was centered around a funky Nile Rodgers-inspired guitar riff, layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, a propulsive club-rocking groove and Jess’ sultry vocals that builds up to a cathartic sense of release.
The Canadian duo’s second single “Step In A Sway” is ironically enough the first they recorded as FORCES, and the single finds them openly embracing straightforward pop. Much like its predecessor, “Step In A Sway” features a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like guitar work, twinkling synths and fluttering electronics but it manages to sound as though it were indebted to early 80s Madonna — in particular “Everybody.” “The song is an ode to all of those who are first on the dance floor giving the rest of us wallflowers the courage and inspiration to do the same,” the Canadian duo say.
“The song was inspired by a simple drum lesson we gave to a good friend,” the member of FORCES explain. “As she struggled to stay in the groove, the goal was to get her out of her head and into a rhythm where her body danced with the music. Later, as we were writing it, we realized her journey through that lesson — the struggle to get from panic to flow (or ‘sway’ as we call it here) — is a universal one, and it became an exploration of that them in both words and music.”
The recently released video follows FORCES’ Jess playing out the song’s central theme, as we see her walking through the city with her headphones — literally being in her head — and finding that “sway” in the forest scenes, where she finds her inhibitions dissolving, moving along with the thumping beat.
The emerging Paris-based, disco and funk-influenced electro pop act Superjava features one of the most diverse lineups I’ve come across in some time — its members hail from Jakarta, Indonesia; Lima, Peru; and Paris, France. The act can trace its origins to when its founding duo Archi and Alex met back in 2015 while they were studying at Berklee College of Music. The pair began crafting funky riffs — and when they relocated to Paris, they met the band’s third and final member Arnuad.
The band’s debut EP, Javaland established the band’s breezy, hook-driven take on synth pop. As the band explains, Javaland’s follow-up, Soul Dance EP, which is slated for release later this year, “has two main goals: put a smile on your face and make you dance.” Interestingly, the EP’s latest single, the Shapes-era Miami Horror-like “Dance For Me” is centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, a big brass sample, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, thumping beats and an infectious hook featuring soulful backing vocals is a a feel good, club-banger meant to get you — and that pretty your thing you’ve been eying for the past three songs onto the dance floor.
Directed by Dixhuit Prod, the recently released video features the brightly dressed members of Superjava along with a backing vocal section perfuming the song in front of a joyous party of young people getting down — and it’s fitting.