Tag: Paradiso

Throughout the course of this site’s almost 10 year history — yes, almost 10! — I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Now, as you may recall, the duo, which is comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gussett (production, keys, synths) have developed a reputation for a minimalist approach and sound that draws from R&B, house and electro pop paired with Mullarney’s achingly tender falsetto.

Beacon’s third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs found the duo writing material that went off in a completely different direction from their previously released work. They embarked on open-ended writing sessions in which they adopted a more liner style of songwriting instead of thee loop and texture-driven method they had long used. And the initial demos they wrote were essentially built around piano chords and guitar phrases with vocal melodies, which they then edited into a number of iterations, which found them looking through each individual version from a multitude of angles and directions.

Naturally, the duo expanded some songs and pared others back. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, deeply patient, almost painterly creative process eventually turned the material they wrote into a space in which seemingly different colors, tones and textures — minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds, spreading out like a sort of spectrum. And with each iteration, the duo discovered they could easily expand upon how they presented the material within a live setting: they could play the same material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play the same material in a different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires. And while pushing the duo’s songwriting and sound in new adventurous, new directions their work has remained imbued with a vulnerable and aching yearning.

Since the release of Gravity Pairs, the duo have been extremely busy. Last year they went on a successful North American tour with Nick Murphy. They shared a series of stripped-back studio sessions — and they released a remix album featured edits by Elkka, Helios, and CRi. 

Interestingly, Beacon introduced covers into the Gravity Pairs writing process as a way of breaking out of melodic patterns while discovering new sonic spaces within others’ songwriting. The JOVM mainstays start off the new year with a run of live dates in Europe, which includes a January 21, 2020 stop at the Paradiso in Amsterdam — and their first ever studio recorded cover, a cover of the Pixies‘ “Wave of Mutilation.” Inspired by the slower tempo and phrasing of the UK Surf B-side, which showcased the original’s mutability, Beacon’s slow-burning piano-led meditation finds the duo amplifying the playfully morbid surreality of Black Francis‘ lyrics, said to be about the phenomenon of Japanese businessmen taking their own lives after their businesses fail in the 1980 while being hauntingly gorgeous.

“We wanted it to feel uncanny and have the recognition of the original unfold slowly for the listener rather than being obvious or immediate,” Beacon explains in press notes.

The JOVM mainstays will be embarking on a European tour through January. Check out the tour dates below.

Beacon Europe Tour 2020

01.17 Berlin, DE – Musik & Frieden
01.18 Hamburg, DE – Uebel & Gefährlich
01.19 Copenhagen, DK – Vega
01.21 Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
01.22 Cologne, DE – Helios 37
01.23 Brussels, BE – La Machine
01.25 Warsaw, PL – Hydrozagadka
01.26 Prague, CZ – Cafe V Lese
01.28 London, UK – O2 Academy Islington
01.29 Paris, FR – Supersonic
01.30 Bucharest, RO – Club Control

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New Video: Rapidly Rising Afro Pop Act ONIPA Releases a Vibrant Visual for Club Banging Single “Makoma”

Deriving their name from the Akan word for “human,” the London-based Afro pop/dance pop act ONIPA features an All-Star cast of collaborators that includes the act’s core duo, longtime friends, Kweku of Ghana’s and KOG and the Zongo Brigade’s KOG (vocals. balafon and percussion) and Nubiyan Twist’s Tom Excell (guitar, production, electronics) with Wonky Logic’s Dwayne Kilvington synths and MPC) and Nubiyan Twist’s Finn Booth (drums) joining the band for live shows. The act views its work as a message of connection through high energy and deep, dance floor friendly grooves. 

Following an attention-grabbing set at this year’s Felabration at Amsterdam’s Paradiso alongside Pat Thomas and Dele Sosimi, the rapidly rising London-based Afro pop act is gearing up for what may arguably be a momentous 2020: their full-length debut is slated for release next year through Strut Records and they’ll be supporting the album with an extensive tour across the UK and European Union during the Spring and Summer. 

“Makoma,” the full-length album’s first single is a buoyant and vibrant club banger centered around looping and shimmering guitars, stuttering polyrhythm, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, call and response vocals and a raucous, crowd pleasing hook. Mischievously nodding at soca, the Pan African song features lyrics sung in Twi and Sisaala while sonically being indebted to the sounds of The Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Ghana — primarily soukous, but with a slick, modern production. 

The recently released video for “Makoma” features a collection of beautiful African people within a vibrant color palette riding bicycles across the African countryside for a bit, before stopping to sing and dance along to the song, The video captures the simple and profound joy of being with your friends and enjoying your favorite song, 

New Video: Up-and-Coming British Act ISLAND Release Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for Soaring Album Single “Horizon”

ISLAND, an up-and-coming London-based act can trace their origins to when vocalist Rollo Doherty’s solo, acoustic, bedroom project expanded to a fully fleshed out band with the addition of Jack Raeder (guitar), James Wolfe (bass) and Toby Richards (drums)  — and with the release of two critically applauded EPs, the band have quickly developed a reputation for crafting atmospheric yet anthemic, arena rock friendly material largely inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Kings of Leon, The War On Drugs, Grizzly Bear and others, and for must-see live see that they’ve honed through some relentless touring of the UK and European Union over the course of 2017.

Building upon their growing profile, the London-based quartet’s highly-anticipated self-produced, full-length debut Feels Like Air reportedly continues their long-held DIY approach to the creative process while further cementing their reputation for crafting incredibly self-assured earnest and anthemic songs; in fact, album singles “Try,” “The Day I Die,” and “Ride” have amassed a total of over 2.6 million Spotify steams — with the band earning nearly half-a-million monthly listeners.  Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Horizon” is a slow-burning, atmospheric track with enormous, arena friendly hooks reminiscent of Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree-era U2 and while self-assured, it reveals a band that’s managing the difficult balance of an ambitious desire to rock everyone’s pants off with a thoughtful and deliberate attention to mood and craft.

Directed by Claes Nordwall, the recently released, and incredibly cinematic video for “Horizon” follows the members of the band driving through the snowy Swedish countryside, with each individual member broodingly lost in their thoughts. And as the members of the band explain in press notes, the video “captures a key theme of the album as a whole — the idea of a passenger drifting through different dreams on a journey. We wanted the video to reflect the open soundscape, we feel the song creates, so we jumped at the chance to shoot in the vast Swedish countryside. Claes took us back to his snowy hometown for the video, which had an amazing dreamlike feel that really suited the ideas we wanted to convey.

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written a handful of posts featuring the Cincinnati, OH-based, JOVM mainstay act The Afghan Whigs. Currently comprised of founding members Greg Dulli (guitar, vocals) and John Curley (bass) along  Jon Skibic (guitar), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and Cully Symington (drums), the band can trace their origins to when its founding trio of Dulli, Curley and Steve Earle founded the band in 1986, after the breakup of Dulli’s previous band, The Black Republicans. Interestingly, the band has the distinction of being one of the first bands that Sub Pop Records signed outside of the Pacific Northwest, as well as being one of the more highly-regarded and critically applauded bands of the early 90s, with 1993’s Gentlemen landing at number 17 on The Village Voice‘s Pazz and Jop critics list and 1996’s Black Love, landing at number 79 on the Billboard Top 200 — all while going through several lineup changes. 

After the band’s initial breakup in 2001, the members of the band went on with other creative pursuits — with Dulli famously collaborating with Mark Lanegan in The Gutter Twins, his other post-Afghan Whigs project, The Twilight Singers and with a lengthy list of contemporary artists; however, the members of the band would occasionally reunite for a series of one-off shows and festivals sets that eventually lead to 2014’s Do To The Beast, which marked the band’s first proper release in over 16 years, and the band’s return to their original label home, Sub Pop Records. And while being one of my favorite albums that year — and one of the more forceful rock album of 2014 — the album’s material centered around Dulli’s long-held obsessions.

Released earlier this year, In Spades is the Cincinnati-based indie rock band’s second post-reunion album, and the album, which was produced by the band’s Greg Dulli reportedly finds the band emphasizing a decidedly populist, arena rock-leaning sensibility while retaining the urgent, dark and seductive sound they’ve long been known for; but with an underlying spectral vibe. ““It’s a spooky record,” Dulli remarks in press notes. “I like that it’s veiled. It’s not a concept album per se, but as I began to assemble it, I saw an arc and followed it. To me, it’s about memory — in particular, how quickly life and memory can blur together.”

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about the album’s first single “Demon In Profile,” a single that evokes the lingering ghosts of one’s life — but in particular, the electric touch of a lover’s skin against your own; that lover’s smell and taste, and the sense of irrevocable loss that permeates everything, once they’re no longer in your life. But interestingly enough, it may be the rare Afghan Whigs song that directly reveals a classic soul influence, as they paired their enormous sound with an explosive yet strutting horn line. The album’s second single “Oriole” featured Greg Dulli singing occult and death riddled lyrics paired with a lush and cinematic arrangement of acoustic guitar, xylophone and a soaring string section paired with a power chord-based anthemic, electric guitar-based hook — with the result being a song that meshes 60s bubble gum pop and 90s alt rock.

The Cincinnati, OH-based band’s latest single “You Want Love” was originally released by the New Orleans-based Pleasure Club on their second and final album together, and the Afghan Whigs’ rendition of the song features the song’s original vocal and songwriter James Hall — and interestingly enough, the song has become both a staple of their live set during their ongoing tour, and a tribute to the band’s Dave Rosser, who recently died after a battling colon cancer. As the band’s Greg Dulli has recently mentioned publicly, he and Rosser had been fans of the long defunct New Orleans-based band, and they had talked about covering the song for years; but they just never found the opportunity to put it on wax — until recently.  Of course, once you hear the original, you’ll know why Dulli and Rosser dug the song so much; it sounds and feels much like it should have been a Whigs song.
Next week will begin another extended leg of touring, which will have the band in Europe throughout August, including a stop at the gorgeous Paradiso in Amsterdam and a handful of festival sets, followed by some extensive North American touring, which will have the band playing Brooklyn Steel on September 16, 2017. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates
Aug. 04 – Vienna, AT – WUK
Aug. 05 – Prague, CZ – Lucerna Music Bar
Aug. 06 – Zurich, CH – Mascotte
Aug. 08 – Munich, DE – Backstage Halle
Aug. 09 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
Aug 11 – Gothenburg, SE – Way Out West Festival
Aug 12 – Rees, DE – Haldern Pop Festival
Aug 13 – Helsinki, FL – Flow Festival
Aug 15 – Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
Aug 16 – Leeds, UK – Church
Aug 17 – Brighton, UK – Concorde 2
Aug 19 – Kiewit, BE – Pukkelpop
Sep 06 – Orlando, FL – The Social
Sep 07 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
Sep 08 – Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Music Festival
Sep 09 – Washington DC – 9:30 Club
Sep 11 – Richmond, VA – The National
Sep 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Sep 14 – Boston, MA – Paradise
Sep 16 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
Sep-18 – Montreal, QC – Theatre Fairmount
Sep 19 – Toronto, ON – Opera House
Sep 21 – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave
Sep 22 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Sep 23 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Sep 24 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
Sep 26 – Detroit, MI – St Andrews
Sep 28 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts
Sep 29 – Nashville, TN – Exit IN
Sep 30 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn
Oct 12 – San Diego, CA – Belly Up
Oct 13 – Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theatre
Oct 14 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Oct 16 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Oct 17 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
Oct 18 – Seattle, WA – Showbox
Oct 19 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
Oct 21 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
Oct 22 – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar
Oct 24 – Austin, TX – Mohawk
Oct 25 – Dallas, TX – Trees
Oct 26 – Houston, TX – Heights Theater
Oct 27-29 – New Orleans, LA – Voodoo Festival