Tag: Pet Shop Boys

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.”

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New Audio: Acclaimed British Act White Lines Release an Earnest Power Ballad

Five, the acclaimed London-based indie trio White Lies’s forthcoming, fifth full-length album is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings, and the album marks their tenth anniversary together — and instead of resting on their laurels, the members of the trio decided that it was the perfect time to push their sound and aesthetic in new and adventurous directions. Along with that, the trio’s bassist and primary lyricist Charles Cave wrote what may arguably be 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 PumpkinsNine 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; so real, that the song bristles with the bitterness, confusion and hurt that comes from being in a relationship that leaves you fucked up and broken. Believe It” continued in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor  — full of the enormous, arena rock friendly hooks that have won them acclaim; but sonically speaking, it manages to bear a resemblance to Pet Shop Boys, Tears for FearsJef Barbara and Joy Division/New Order, as the song is centered around big power chords, shimmering and twinkling synths, a forcefully propulsive rhythm section and McVeigh’s baritone.

“Finish Line,” Five‘s latest single is a slow-burning, power ballad featuring an ambitious and expansive song structure with the song moving from Roxy Music-like atmospherics to big power ballad and arena rock-friendly hooks bolstered by powerfully earnest sentiment. But at its core, the song is about a young couple’s breakup negotiations, complete with bitter accusations and recriminations, regret, heartache and uncertainty. Interestingly, the song is a band favorite and as the band’s Charles Cave mentions in press notes. We are all hugely attached to this song, and really excited to share it prior to the album being released. Much like album-opener ‘Time To Give’, the track has an ambitious structure – one emanating from our love of Prog. At its heart, it’s a simple song about a young couple’s break-up negotiations, I like to hope the music itself takes the listener through the emotional ups and downs. It’s up there as one our best songs and we hope our fans think so too

New Audio: London’s White Lies Returns with a Rousingly Anthemic Single from Their Forthcoming New Album

Five, the acclaimed London-based indie trio White Lies’s forthcoming, fifth full-length album is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings, and the album marks the band’s tenth anniversary while finding them pushing their sound and aesthetic in new and adventurous directions, paired with deeply personal and intimate lyrics written by the trio’s Charles Cave. 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 Monkeysand 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; so real, that the song bristles with the bitterness, confusion and hurt that comes from being in a relationship that leaves you fucked up and broken. Five’s latest single “Believe It” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor as it’s full of enormous, arena rock friendly hooks — but it manages to bear a resemblance to Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears, Jef Barbara and Joy Division/New Order, as the song is centered around big power chords, shimmering and twinkling synths, a forcefully propulsive rhythm section and McVeigh’s baritone. 

Interestingly, as the band explains, the song is “about types of therapy, seen from a shifting perceptive of those passionate towards it, those skeptical of it, and those out to make money from it. We wrote it mid-way through the sessions and it became an instant favourite of ours. It’s a four-minute ‘no-nonsense’ singalong with lots of ingredients we’ve used before so we hope our fans will love it.” 

Live Footage: Acclaimed and Up-and-Coming Austrian Artist Inner Tongue Performs “2 Seconds”

Inner Tongue is the (mostly) solo recording project of a rather mysterious Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer and musician, who grew upon an intensely musical home — his father is a saxophonist, who constantly wrote songs, so musical instruments were always lying around and his parents frequently shared their favorite albums with him; in fact, Inner Tongue formed his first band when he was 6. “We started out using one of my dad’s synths to play a pre-programmed beat,” he recalls. “I’d sing something that sounded to us like English.” Unsurprisingly, the Austrian artist, who cites Bjork, Moby, Portishead, Micheal Jackson, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Pet Shop Boys, Aphex Twin, and The Cure’s The Cure In Orange as influences — although those influences don’t quite correspond to his own sound and songwriting approach continued playing and writing music, playing in a small number of bands, including one that had briefly worked with Duran Duran and David Bowie’s producer before getting dropped by their label. 

Interestingly, with the release of some of his earliest solo work, the Austrian artist quickly garnered comparisons to James Blake, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, Death Cab for Cutie, Sohn, and Chet Faker/Nick Murphy. His quietly released yet critically applauded 2015 debut EP Tz Ka allowed him to open for the likes of Ghostpoet, Everything Everything and others. The Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer, and musician’s full-length debut Favours was released earlier this year, and interestingly, the album’s overall sound and thematic concern is inspired by a deeply personal yet remarkable story. Back in 2013, Inner Tongue was diagnosed with a rare vocal-cord disorder that was so severe that only a handful of specialists throughout the entire world were capable of treating it; but eventually his condition required surgery, which left him, for a time unable to talk. Understandably, the months that followed the surgery were emotionally and physically shattering but he began composing music again.  At the time, singing was out of the question and as the Austrian singer/songwriter, composer and musician says in press notes, “I decided to modify my musical focus temporarily by writing songs which could produce a melodic tension without vocals, but which featured the traits of forward-looking pop music. It was as if someone had pressed a resent button on the musical identity I had of myself.” Adds Inner Tongue, “I used to layer many sounds and melodies before, and felt like I hid the core of any idea behind that technique.”

Some of the Austrian artist’s full-length debut was made at home with most recorded in a friend’s stood in Vienna. Foals’ John Catlin, who collaborated with him on his 2015 debut EP assisted once again although his involvement varied throughout; however, as Inner Tongue says, Catlin “was continually involved as a producer and friend,” who also mixed the album with some further overdubbing where necessary. As the Austrian artist readily admits, the entire experience of writing and recording his full-length debut provoked ” “a lot of soul searching, trying to become a better mixing engineer and producer. I’m somewhat controlling when it comes to my music, and I need to get the little details right.”

However, unlike his debut EP, Favours was more of a collaborative effort, as he shared his ideas with a collective of very dear and close friends. “All contributions are built on a vision I initially had and then gain shape during the process,” Inner Thought says. His live backing band contributed much of the music with his father playing sax on “New York.” The live version of “2 Seconds,” Favours’ latest single features a sparse yet soulful arrangement centered around twinkling Rhodes piano keys and Inner Thought’s achingly tender vocals, which manage to express a plaintive, vulnerable need. It’s a delicate, sensitive yet incredibly sexy song that balances earnest emotion with deliberate attention to craft. 

Live Footage: Xiu Xiu Covers ZZ Top on AV Club “Undercover”

I’ve long been a fan of The Onion AV Club, as I think they’ve consistently offered some of most incisive and hilarious criticism of movies, movies and pop culture, written by some of the country’s smartest critics and writers. And it shouldn’t be surprising that for a long time I longed to write for them. Now, since moving exclusively to the interwebs, the folks at The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series.  The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to hear some contemporary artist or band cover.

The website’s staff then invites artists and bands over to their Chicago studio, where the invited band chooses a song from the AV Club’s list for that particular session — and then the band or artist records it in a live session. Here’s where things get truly interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again.

And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as  They Might Be Giants’ boisterous  cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females‘ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car),”  and  Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like  Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger in its entirety.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this very strange year, you may recall that to start off the eighth season of Undercover, The A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” Adding to a pretty interesting season of covers, The A.V. Club invited renowned and incredibly prolific experimental indie rock act Xiu Xiu into the studio, where they contributed a tense, manic, almost Devo “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”-like cover of ZZ Top’s smash hit “Sharp Dressed Man,” complete with a wild drum accompaniment that brings new life to an oft covered song. 

Along with their John Congleton-produced 11th full-length effort FORGET, which was released earlier this year, the members of Xiu Xiu will be releasing a split 7 inch with Italian band (r) and it’ll feature both bands covering ZZ Top. 

As Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart explains in press notes, “It took me a long time to come around to ZZ Top. When I was a kid i thought they were a joke band and their beards and campy sexuality freaked me out. Later on Xiu Xiu tours we would and still do always listen to the Black Flag tour diary Get In The Van wherein Henry Rollins mentions playing ZZ Top to all the punks in England, telling them it was the new Exploited record and watching them cry. 

This was funny and I thought hmmm .  . .

Then after watching a long jag of music documentaries, Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top, time and time again was a commentator. He was always incredibly smart, clearly deeply devoted to the history of music and insane looking.  

We were asked by the AV Club cover’s series to play a song from a list they had chosen. Everything on the list was a bunch of 90s RnB that I was never into or lame-o indie rock EXCEPT for ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’

The stars had aligned. I had no idea what a radical guitar part it was and what a pleasure it was to learn, by the end of the song I had to have 4 different fuzz and distortion pedals on to make it as zonked out as it needs to be. 

Walking down the streets of Torino on tour and talking with dear friend and long time collaborator Fabrizio Palumbo of (r) and his husband Paul Beauchamp. I mentioned we were covering the song. They said very matter of factly, “‘Xiu Xiu as ZZ Top and (r) as ZZ Bottom. Let’s do a split 7 inch.’”

He sent in his perfect minimal, experimental, goth, cabaret version of ‘Gimme All Your Lovin.’ A perversion made in heaven was born. “

Live Footage: Minus the Bear Covers Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” on A.V. Undercover

Going back to their print days, I’ve long been a fan of  The Onion AV Club, as they’ve consistently offered some of the smartest, most incisive, funniest criticism of movies, music and pop culture around. Since moving exclusively to the web, the folks behind The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series.  The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to have contemporary artists cover. The website’s staff then invites a bunch of artists and bands to stop by their Chicago studio, where they have the invited band choose a song from the AV Club’s list for that season — and then they record it in a live session. Now, here’s where things get really interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again. And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as  They Might Be Giants’ boisterous  cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females’ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Out of My Dreams (And Into My Car),”  and  Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like  Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger. 

To start off the eighth season of Undercover, the A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Penelopes Return with an 80s New Wave and Synth Pop Inspired New Single

Comprised of Paris-born, London-based duo Axel Basquiat (composer, vocals, bass) and Vincent T. (production, sound engineering and keys), The Penelopes are an indie electro pop act, production and DJ duo who have developed a reputation for propulsive, Giorgio Moroder-like remixes of Lana Del Ray, Pet Shop Boys, We Have Band, Night Drive, The Ting Tings, Alt J and others, and for their own original material, which critics have compared favorably to the likes of Daft Punk, M83 and Air. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 3 years or so, you may have come across posts on their remixes of The Ting Tings “Do It Again,” Alt J’s “Hunger of the Pine” and an anthemic, club-banging cover of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” that managed to retain the song’s sense of longing.

The duo released a new single package featuring their cover of Bowie’s “This Is Not America,” which received airplay on KCRW, along with several remixes, including Miguel Campbell’s remix, which received airplay on Nemone’s BBC 6 show, and a new, original song “Tina.” The duo’s latest single “Tina” manages to be a decided refinement of the sound that captured both the site’s attention and the rest of the blogosphere; in fact, while retaining a dance floor friendly feel, the song manages to decidedly leans in the direction of 80s New Wave and synth pop — in particular, I’m reminded a bit of Simple Mind’s “Don’t You Forget About Me,” as “Tina” possesses an rousingly anthemic nature that belies a swooning Romantic nature.

The recently released video cuts between footage from Asia Argento’s directorial feature film Misunderstood, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and footage of the band performing the song in a studio, shot in a striking, film noir-like black and white.

Over the past couple of months  Stockholm, Sweden-based indie electro pop act Red Sleeping Beauty have added themselves to a growing list of JOVM mainstay artists. Initially comprised of Kristina Borg (vocalist), Niklas Angergård (guitar, vocals) of Acid House Kings, Mikael Matsson (guitar), of The Shermans and Carl–Johan Näsström (bass), the quartet originally formed in 1989 and with the release of two full-length albums Bedroom and Soundtrack, a number of EPs and singles, the Swedish pop quartet received both national and international attention before the quartet split up. After almost two decades of the renowned Swedish pop act’s members pursuing other creative and pursuits, the members of the band reunited as a trio featuring Angergård, Matsson and Näsström — with an occasional contribution from Borg, who was battling cancer during part of the band’s hiatus.

The reunited band quickly recorded a cover of Alpaca Sports song “Just For Fun” and “Merry Christmas, Marie,” a holiday-themed track, which caught the attention of fans and critics, who had been desperately awaiting both a reunion and new material from the act. Continuing upon the buzz, the act followed up with the release of the  “Always” 7 inch and “Mi Amor,” the first song the band recorded with a chorus completely sung in Spanish, as well as a live set at Madrid Pop Fest. And adding to the growing attention over the course of 2016, the band released their first full-length album in 19 years, Kristina, an album written as a sort of tribute to their friend and bandmate Kristina Borg. Now you may recall that I wrote about two of the album’s singles, “If You Want Affection” an 80s synth pop channeling single which had the band pairing a motorik groove with shimmering synth cascades, an infectious hook and chilly yet plaintive vocals while quietly undulating with an urgent, almost frantic need and “Cheryl, Cheryl, Bye,” a slow-burning, contemplative song in which the band paired layers of bass synth and shimmering keys with plaintive and aching vocals. And while both songs tackle slightly different themes — they do so with a

 

Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Cheryl, Cheryl, Bye” is a slow-burning , atmospheric and contemplative song in which the band pairs layers of bass synth and shimmering keys with plaintive and aching vocals; of course, that shouldn’t be surprising as the song is one part bitter farewell and one acceptance of a truth that the narrator doesn’t want to completely accept. After all, life pushes us forward no matter how much we want to deny it. In some way, sonically the song sounds as though it draws equally from Roxy Music — think of “Avalon” and “More Than This” in particular — as it does from Pet Shop Boys.

New Video: The Disco and Synth Pop Inspired Visuals and Sounds of Chrissy and Hawley’s Feminist Anthem “I Got A Life to Lead”

Now as you may also know, as the story goes both Chrissy and Shoffner are originally from Kansas, which the duo immediately bonded over and they began working on material that effortlessly meshes both of their unique styles into something rather seamless. Their self-titled debut’s latest single “I Got A Life to Lead” has the duo pairing Shoffner’s bitterly and frankly incisive lyrics telling off a selfish, needlessly combative, soon-to-be former lover, with a sleek and sensual production that would make the legendary Giorgio Moroder proud — as tambourine, shimmering and undulating synths, a propulsive motorik groove, stuttering drum programming, a sinuous bass line, a subtle yet noticeable string sample and an anthemic hook to craft a song that’s not only a certified disco-influenced club banger and a great tell off to any asshole soon-to-be former lover, who you’ve gotten sick and tired of and a decidedly feminist anthem in the veins of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” — but while openly saying “I’ve moved on from the foolish bullshit.”

The recently released video borrows liberally from 80s tropes and follows Shoffner singing and swaying along to the song as though she were in a karaoke bar — but shot in a seductive and hazy hues of purple, green and red, complete with views from several different TVs and a brief appearance by Chrissy pressing buttons. And in some small way, the video should remind folks of how deeply influenced the Chicago-based duo are by late period disco and 80s synth pop but while putting a subtle modern feel on it.