Tag: Phantogram

Initially began as the solo recording project of the Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter Peter Michel, Hibou quickly exploded into the national scene with his self-produced, home recorded, 2015 self-titled debut, which received praise from Pitchfork, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound and others for crafting shimmering yet introspective bedroom pop. And adding to a growing profile, Michel opened for the like son Metric, Phantogram and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Michel’s sophomore Hibou effort Something Familiar is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through Barsuk Records finds Michel embracing a number of changes. The Seattle, WA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer made a rather conscious choice to track the album’s material in a real studio — this time, Chris Walla‘s Hall of Justice Studios, with an outside producer, Dylan Wall, who has worked with Craft Spells, a band that Michel once played drums in. Adding to a string of changes to his creative and recording process, Something Familiar finds Michel recording with his touring band. “I toured for a long time with the band, and it was really interesting to see how the songs changed when there were four people playing them, as opposed to just me in my bedroom,” Michel explains in press notes.

Along with that, the material reflects a period marked by profound changes. “I was still a teenager when I was writing the first album,” Michel says. “All of the songs feel a little one-faced. They’re about relationships and love and summertime and things like that. On this upcoming album, I really challenged myself lyrically to get a little more personal, and talk about some of the darker parts of myself.” In fact, the material addresses Michel’s ongoing bouts with anxiety and depersonalization. (Depersonalization is a disorder generally distinguished by feeling disengaged from the mind and body. as if if the sufferer is an outsider looking in at their own self.) Naturally, while still retaining elements of the sound that first caught both national attention and the attention of the blogosphere — namely, lush keys, reverb soaked guitars and Michel’s dreamy crooning.   “It was strange to start consciously writing from a different stylistic standpoint, but I didn’t want to totally turn the page,” Michel notes. “There is still a fundamental Hibou sound in there. It just is drenched in a little more honesty.”

“Junipero Love,” the latest single off Hibou’s forthcoming, sophomore effort was reportedly inspired by the Emmy Award-winning “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror.  Interestingly, Michel found common ground with the episode’s protagonist Yorkie, who navigated two different realities and a burgeoning relationship.  “The contrast between the two worlds depicted in the episode hit very close to home for me,” Hibou’s creative mastermind says in press notes. “I often feel torn between a conscious state and losing a hold of my memories and who I am.”  And while the single will further cement Hibou’s reputation for crafting breezy and shimmering guitar pop, there’s a subtle expansion of his sound as you’ll hear a tight and funky groove throughout; but underneath the breeziness is a wistful and bittersweet tone that suggests that the song’s narrator isn’t quite sure if he’s dreaming or awake or if he’s experiencing is actually real.

 

 

2017 has been a breakthrough year for the up-and-coming, electro rock/electro pop duo Foreign Air — their latest EP For The Light, which was released earlier this year, received over 15 million Spotify streams, they had material included in a Nike ad campaign, and building upon a growing profile, the duo opened for the likes of Phantogram, Aurora, BØRNS, X Ambassadors, Kevin Garrett and Lewis Del Mar, before heading to Seattle to record their forthcoming, Phil Ek-produced full-length debut, slated for release in 2018.

Their latest single “Chakra Daemon” will further cement the duo’s growing reputation for material inspired by heady subject matters — for this particular song, evolution, biomechanics and the ubiquitous email bounce back bot Mailer Daemon, as a comment on how much of one’s daily routine is heaped in negative, harmful and repetitive energy.  Sonically, the song follows along a similar vein as its predecessors — a murky and menacing production featuring layers of arpeggiated and pulsating synths, four-on-the-floor drum programming, bursts of buzzing guitar and an anthemic yet somewhat post-apocalyptic hook paired with Jesse Classen’s crooned vocals. Interestingly enough, this single finds the duo’s sound nodding at classic 80s synth pop like Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode and others, as well as contemporary synth pop acts like Painted Palms.

As the duo’s Classen explains “We as humans are constantly looking for a connection. However, more often than not we fail to find that connection leaving one to feel lonely or even invisible at time. As humans slowly begin self evolving by integrating bio-technology, I imagine one day there will be a Chakra Daemon. This will be like an artificial subconscious. An enhanced intuition. Beyond the obvious implication of keeping us out of danger, I think it will also play a role in navigating us through relationships both platonic and romantic.”

The duo, who also just wrapped a short stint supporting Bishop Briggs, will begin a co-headlining run w/ D.C. electro-pop act SHAED on Nov. 30 in Chicago and it’ll include a December 5, 2017 stop at Public Arts. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates:
*Co-headlining dates w/ SHAED​​​​​​​
11/30: Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen*
12/2: Toronto, ON @ Drake*
12/4: Boston, MA @ Great Scott*
12/5: New York, NY @ Public Arts*
12/7: Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s*
12/8: Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel*

 

 

 

 

Tour Dates:
*Co-headlining dates w/ SHAED​​​​​​​
11/30: Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen*
12/2: Toronto, ON @ Drake*
12/4: Boston, MA @ Great Scott*
12/5: New York, NY @ Public Arts*
12/7: Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s*
12/8: Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel*

New Video: The Futuristic Visuals and Genre Mashing Sounds of BASECAMP’s “The Hunter”

Now, if you had frequented this site back in 2015, you would have come across a handful of posts featuring the Nashville, TN-based electro pop trio BASECAMP. Comprised of producers and songwriters Aaron Miller, Aaron C. Harmon and Jordan Reyes, the electro pop trio can trace their origins to when the trio started to collaborate together to write. Quickly realized that they had a strong creative chemistry, the trio founded BASECAMP and with the release of their 2013 debut EP, which featured standout tracks “Emmanuel” and “Smoke Filled Lungs,” the Nashville-based trio received attention both locally and nationally for a genre-mashing sound featuring R&B-like melodies, thumping bass lines, percussive beats, unpredictable tempo changes paired with glitchy electronics and organic instrumentation. And as a result of the attention they had begun to receive, the members of BASECAMP toured across the States with CHVRCHES and Phantogram before signing to Skrillex’s boutique label OWSLA, which released their impressive 2015 sophomore effort Greater Than EP, which featured one of my favorite singles of that year “Watch My Back.”

Since the release of Greater Than, the Nashville-based electro pop trio have been rather busy, working on and releasing two stand-alone collaborations “Comfort Zone’ with Jamie Lidell and “In My Veins” with Del The Funky Homosapien, and the In Stone EP, an effort which further cemented the trio’s reputation for a genre mashing sound and tempo changes; but arguably with a greater sense of sonic and thematic cohesion, while revealing much more introspective songwriting. After successful tours across Europe and North America — with shows at TEDx, Colors Berlin and Summit At Sea — the trio released “The Hunter” Remix package, which features remixes from the trio’s friends and frequent collaborators — Jamie Lidell, Yeo and Deebs.

In the meantime though, “The Hunter” is a refinement of their imitable sound and production as the song finds the trio pairing earnest and soulful vocals with stuttering and glitchy beats, swirling electronics — and in some way, the song reminds me of Timbaland’s revolutionary collaborations with Missy Elliot and Justin Timberlake in the 90s and 00s and of Beacon’s The Ways We Separate and Escapements, thanks in part to a swooning, uneasiness that the song’s narrator expresses in describing a relationship that seems to heighten his own self-doubts and has him wondering if he is hunter or prey — or perhaps both simultaneously. It also captures the odd sense in almost every romantic relationship in which neither party could tell what their relationship actually is or what their intentions are; but both are fearful of the perceived inevitable heartache they expect.

Directed, by BLAWKNO, from the GLO.Digital collective, the recently released video uses 3D scans of each member and fuses CG with live-action video as a play on the concept of perception vs. reality while giving the proceedings a hyper futuristic and alien sensibility.

With the release of her debut EP, Where’s Your Love?, the up-and-coming, NYC-based pop artist Khodara received attention across the blogosphere for a soulful take on electro pop that according to some critics evoked the likes of Diana Ross, Kylie Minogue and Donna Summer.  Building upon the buzz, she received with her debut EP, Khodara along with producer and collaborator Billy Pavone wrote and recorded material, which would eventually comprise her soon-to-be released EP Billie. And with “Anxious,” the second single off the EP, the New York-based  up-and-coming pop artist along with her collaborator Billy Pavone, reveal that the EP will be comprised of slow-burning and atmospheric synth pop that to some ears has been compared to the XX and Phantogram, although to my ears I’m reminded of the likes of ACES (if they did Quiet Storm-like R&B) and others — while lyrically, the song deals with its narrator overcoming her own self-doubts and anxiousness in a very human and imperfect fashion.

 

 

 

 

Comprised of John Gill (vocals, bass, guitar and synth), Greg Tebbano (lead guitar, lead synth and backing vocals), David Octal (bass), and Ben Patten (drums), the Saratoga Springs, NY-based post punk quartet The Black Ships derive their name from the Western vessels that sailed to Japan during the 16th to 19th centuries. And with the forthcoming release of their latest effort, Dead Empires, slated for a December 4 release, the Upstate New York-based quartet hope to prove that Saratoga Springs is the home of a burgeoning wave music scene  — in particular, a burgeoning shoegaze/dark wave/chill wave scene — as the town is best known as the home of blogosphere darlings Phantogram.

Dead Empires‘ latest single album title track “Dead Empires” sounds as though it owes a major sonic debt to Joy Division, The Cure and 4AD Records —  while also channeling contemporaries like The Harrow, Dead Leaf Echo and others, as the song is comprised of atmospheric synths, slashing, angular bass and shimmering guitar chords and four-on-the-floor drumming paired ethereal vocals. If you’re a child of the 80s as I am, the Saratoga Springs-based quartet’s sound will be familiar — it’s a darkly seductive and danceable sound. But interestingly enough, what will set the band apart from their contemporaries is the fact that the band’s frontman John Gill is a self-proclaimed avid history buff, and Dead Empires lyrics concern themselves with how history’s course and flow affects and influences everything. And as Gill explains in press notes “Looking back on historical events of the past adds a romantic tinge to things and a certain yearning for past times and traditions.” In some way, it gives the material a swooning Romanticism that belies its brooding nature.