Tag: Phil Collins

Michael Desmond is a Long Island, NY-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who first earned attention as the frontman of orchestral indie rock act Gabriel the Marine, an act that went on national tours with Taking Back Sunday, Glassjaw, Mew, Jack’s Mannequin and The Dear Hunter. After some significant changes in his personal life that included the death of his uncle, the end of a six-year relationship and graduation from college, Desmond was inspired to reinvent himself and his career by going solo. “The only way I was able to slow my mind down was to write. I look at this body of work as a time capsule, as it represents a snapshot of life during this period of time,” Desmond recalls.

Desmond’s solo recording project, Local Nomad derives its name from several dichotomies: “Local Nomad is the resistance of sedentary life. It’s about seeking the strange and embracing the unknown. Wondering. Wandering. Young and Old. Everywhere and Nowhere. As cliche as it may sound – when I pick up a guitar and sing it’s the only time I feel at home,” Desmond says. Sonically, the project’s sound features soulful vocals, enormous hooks, atmospheric synths and lustrous beats and draws influence from the likes of Tears for Fears, Elvis Costello, and Phil Collins.

Local Nomad’s self-titled, debut EP is slated for a June 19, 2020 release, and the EP’s material found extra inspiration from the Long Island-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist borrowing his friends’ gear to implement mellotron, DX and 808s to add further texture and muscle to his attention-grabbing, anthemic sound. The self-titled EP’s latest single “Young Vampires” further establishes his remarkably self-assured and anthemic take on synth pop. Centered around a classic, alternating quiet verse, loud chorus-based song structure, an enormous, power chord-driven, arena rock friendly hook with shimmering and arpeggiated synths and Desmond’s plaintive vocals, the song reveals some ambitious songwriting bringing JOVM mainstays St. Lucia and the aforementioned Tears for Fears, among others.

“This song is about becoming the ugliest version of yourself in a relationship. You’re not necessarily trying to hurt one another, but you end up forgetting the thing that once brought you together,” the Long Island-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist explains. “‘Young Vampires’ is kind of an oxymoron because based on various films, vampires tend to live forever. They feed off of humans to survive and ultimately live a pretty reclusive lifestyle, only going out at night and sleeping all day. I think it’s comparable to being in an unhealthy relationship.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Howard Ivans Releases a Sultry and Funky New Single Paired with Hand Drawn Animated Visuals

Throughout the bulk of this site’s almost ten year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the prolific Portland, OR-based JOVM mainstay, singer/songwriter  Ivan Howard. Howard may be best known for stints fronting  The Rosebuds the acclaimed indie supergroup GAYNGS and De La Noche, which featured Howard’s longtime friends and Rosebuds bandmates Robert Rogan and Brian Weeks, and writing Kanye West and Bon Iver. He’s also received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere with his solo recording project and alter ego Howard Ivans. 

Yesterday, Ivan Howard released his sophomore Howard Ivans album Riviera. “It feels ridiculous to release music in this mayhem, but just maybe someone will enjoy it and forget about everything that is going on for a little while, like I do when I’m listening to music,” Ivan Howard wrote in a statement. “I had a blast making this record. The songs were written with some really great songwriters while i was living in LA a little while back. We’d meet on the spot, write and sing them in a few hours, then take them home to be finished up musically. Common practice in the LA songwriting world — and both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. You never know how a session would wind up but luckily I think these set of songs ended up pretty great to my ears! Maybe you will dig Riviera too. I give a huge thank you to my co-conspirators: Wallis Allen, Alex & Alex, and Matthew Puckett.

Cowritten by Ivan Howard and Wallis Allen, Riviera’s latest single “It’s Too Late” is a slinky, 80s synth funk-inspired jam centered around a sinuous bass line reminiscent of Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” and Cherelle’s “Saturday Love,” brief blasts of horn, four-on-the-floor-like drumming, atmospheric synths and a funky, two-step inducing hook and Howard’s achingly plaintive vocals. Sonically speaking, the song — to my ears — brings a few different things to mind: Phil Collins’ “Sussudio,” and Tears for Fears in particular, but with late night Quiet Storm-like yearning. It’s a slightly uptempo take on what has been Howard’s established sound and aesthetic. 

Kevin Moran and Ivan Howard created the accompanying hand-animated video for “It’s Never Too Late,” and the video is fittingly 80s-inspired: neon bright colors and explosive child-like energy. 

Johanna Cranitch is an Australian-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer and the creative mastermind behind the electro pop project White Prism. Cranitch grew up in a deeply musical home, where she was immersed in music for most, if not all of her life. Her father was a priest-in-training, who used to sing Gregorian chants around the house — and as the story goes, when Cranitch was a small child, her Hungarian-born father, a jazz pianist. gave her his blessing by openly declaring that “this one will be musical.”

Her parents encouraged her to go to the Kodaly School of Music, where she was classically trained as a vocalist and as a musician. When she was nine, Cranitch performed at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Opera Australia Children’s Chorus. But like most young people, she had a love of pop music – especially Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac, New Order, and others.  After graduating from high school, Cranitch went on to attend the Australian Institute of Music, where she studied jazz vocals and graduating with honors.

After a stint performing in her native Australia, Cranitch relocated to New York, where she cut her teeth as an assistant recording engineer, writing and recording several hundred demos before joining The Cranberries and The CardigansNina Persson as a touring background vocalist and keyboardist. Many of those demos that she wrote and recorded during her stint as a recording engineer, wound up appearing the debut effort of her first solo recording project, Johanna and the Dusty Floor. While as a member of The Cranberries’ touring band, Cranitch spent a lot of her off-time in Iceland, which helped influenced her latest project White Prism, a project that she saw as much-needed reboot.

Several years have passed since I’ve personally written about Cranitch and as it turns out, the Aussie-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer relocated to Los Angeles. where she’s been primarily been working as a producer. Recently, she finally has had the time to release the music she has been working on over the past couple of years — material that continues to be heavily influenced by the aforementioned Kate Bush, Phil Collins, Cocteau Twins and Joni Mitchell among others. And while being e decidedly synth-based, her work is centered around lyrics that frequently tell stories of love and loss, triumph and failure. 

“Good Man,” is the first new batch of White Prism material in several years. Centered around a sleek and modern production featuring shimmering and arpeggiated bursts of synth, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, martial-styled drumming, Cranitch’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook, the song manages to be carefully crafted yet rooted in the sort of vulnerability and earnestness  that comes from lived-in experience. Interestingly, “Good Man” is the first single Cranitch every really produced — and came about as a necessity: she didn’t have the budget to hire a producer, so she set about learning how to record and make sounds on her own computer. She then enlisted the assistance of producer and composer Matt Wigton to bring the material home.

“’Good Man’is about fighting for love, for what you believe in and ultimately being on the right side of history,” the Aussie-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer explains in press notes. “I wrote ‘Good Man’ after a difficult period with my then-husband. I was reflecting on our differences and right when I was writing the lyrics, the news came on that Trump had started to attack the health care bill in the courts effectively taking away transgender rights to the health care act. It felt like a very ominous sign of things to come. We were all recovering from the election still and this felt like such an assault on freedom in America.” 

New Video: Brooklyn’s Jonny Couch Releases a Delirious and Goofy Visual for “Vertigo”

Earlier this month, I wrote about the up-and-coming, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriterr Jonny Couch. Initially Couch started his career as a drummer, playing in a number of local punk bands before reinventing himself and his career as a solo artist with the release of 2016’s debut EP Animal Instinct, a soulful take on 80s synth pop that drew comparisons to Bryan Ferry — and received praise from Louder Than War and High Times. 

Building upon a growing profile, Couch’s highly-anticipated Peter Mavrogeorgis-produced full-length debut Mystery Man will reportedly further develop the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter’s reputation for crafting infectious material that’s seemingly descended from 70s and 80s power pop and New Wave. “My favorite bands are Cheap Trick and Buzzcocks,” Couch says in press notes, “but this is more of a personal record than a band effort, highly influenced by power pop solo artists like Nick Lowe.” But there’s also elements of Duran Duran and The Psychedelic Furs as well.

Coincidentally, Couch’s forthcoming full-length debut is also deeply influenced by the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter’s love of classic film noir — in particular, films like Body Heat and Body Double. In fact, the album is centered by deep film-noir metaphors, from the album’s title, its artwork and even song titles like ” Vertigo” “Framed” and others.

Now, as you might recall, album title track “Mystery Man” was a sleek , Roxy Music meets No Jacket Required-era Phil Collins -like track centered around atmospheric synths, shimmering and angular guitars, a motorik-like groove, a soaring hook and Couch’s plaintive vocals.  The album’s latest single “Vertigo” is a sleek yet anthemic bit of New Wave-inspired synth pop that recalls Cheap Trick and The Cars — and continuing in a similar vein as its predecessor, the song reveals an ambitious, arena rock meets Top 40 populist bit of songwriting underpinned by the dizzying sense of confusion that comes when you’ve maybe fallen for someone, yet aren’t quite sure what to do about it. 

Directed by Jordan Edwards, the recently released video for “Vertigo” brings to mind some of the glorhsouly goofy and slap-dash videos of early MTV — including cheesy 80s styled graphics and stock footage from the 30s and 30s. It continues a run of trippy and delirious visuals that reveal Couch’s good-natured, mischievous humor. 

New Video: Jonny Couch Releases Noir-ish and Mischievous Visual for “Mystery Man”

Initially starting his career as a drummer in a number of local punk rock bands, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Jonny Couch reinvented himself and his career with the release of 2016’s debut EP Animal Instinct, a soulful take on 80s synth pop that drew comparisons to Bryan Ferry — and received praise from Louder Than War and High Times. 

Building upon a growing profile, Couch’s highly-anticipated Peter Mavrogeorgis-produced full-length debut Mystery Man will reportedly further develop the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter’s reputation for crafting infectious material that’s seemingly descended from 70s and 80s power pop and New Wave. “My favorite bands are Cheap Trick and Buzzcocks,” Couch says in press notes, “but this is more of a personal record than a band effort, highly influenced by power pop solo artists like Nick Lowe.” But there’s also elements of Duran Duran and The Psychedelic Furs as well.

Coincidentally, Couch’s forthcoming full-length debut is also deeply influenced by the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter’s love of classic film noir — in particular, films like Body Heat and Body Double. In fact, the album is centered by deep film-noir metaphors, from the album’s title, its artwork and even song titles like ” Vertigo” “Framed” and others. 

Mystery Man’s latest single, album title track “Mystery Man” is a sleek, Roxy Music meets No Jacket Required-era Phil Collins -like track centered around atmospheric synths, shimmering and angular guitars, a motorik-like groove, a soaring hook and Couch’s plaintive vocals. And while revealing an ambitious, arena rock-like populist bit of songwriting, the track is underpinned by an earnest sense of late night loneliness and longing. 

Directed by Art Boonparn, the recently released video stars Couch, Audrey Cover and Sara Nelson and begins in a dark Brooklyn bar during karaoke night. We first catch a band singing Journey’s smash hit “Don’t Stop Believing” — poorly.  Kovar and Nelson follow the man singing Couch’s “Mystery Man.” Couch is there the entire time, in the background, but as he leaves the bar, he turns into his alter-ego, a fedora wearing noir-like detective, collecting clues. We then see Couch, along with Kovar and Nelson perfuming the song in a house party full of hipsters and characters. It’s trippy but it reveals Couch’s good-natured, mischievous sense of humor. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Presets Return with a Trippy Live Concert-Based Video for “Martini”

Throughout this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Sydney, Australia-based electronic music production and artist act The Presets, and as you may recall, the Australian act, which is comprised of Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes can trace their origins back to when they met while studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Hamilton and Moyes quickly became recognized for crafting electronic dance music with a swaggering, arena rock energy and vibe, and unsurprisingly, the duo caught the attention of renowned Australian electro pop and dance music label Modular Recordings, who released their first two EPs and their 2005 debut, Beams.

2008 saw the release of the duo’s critically and commercially applauded sophomore effort Apocalypso, an effort that went Triple Platinum in their native Australia and featured four smash hits, including “My People,” one of their biggest songs. Adding to a massive and breakthrough year, Hamilton and Moyes won 5 ARIA Awards — including Album of the Year, 2 ARIA Artisan Awards, the J Award, the FBI SMAC Award for Album of the Year, and they shared the Songwriter of the Year at 2009’s APRA Awards.

The duo’s third, full-length effort, 2012’s award-nominated Pacifica featured Rolling Stone Australia‘s Song of the Year, “Ghosts,” and was nominated for an ARIA Award, shortlisted for the AMP Award, the J Award and was named the Herald Sun‘s Album of the Year, the Daily Telegraph‘s Album of the Year and the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Electronic Album of the Year. The members of the duo spent the next few years collaborating with a variety of contemporary artists — Hamilton cowrote Flume’s “Say It” and contributed tracks to albums by Flight Facilities, Steve Angello and Meek Mill, while Moyes produced an album by DMA’s  remixed tracks by The Drones and The Jezabels and started an underground techno label Here To Hell.

Late last year, I wrote about “Do What You Want,” the first single off Hi Viz, an album that was released earlier this year, and unsurprisingly, “Do What You Want” further cemented the duo’s reputation for festival bangers with enormous, crowd pleasing hooks and thumping beats — but with a looped glitchy sample that recalled Boys Noize’s “ICH R U,” Tweekend-era The Crystal Method and Come With Us-era The Chemical Brothers. The latest single off the album, “Martini” is swaggering, house music-based club and festival banger, centered around layers of arpeggiated synths and thumping, tweeter and woofr rocking beats; but underneath that swagger is a bit of desperate longing for someone, who’s out of the song narrator’s league — and in a way the song subtly nods at Phil Collins’ “Sussudio.” 

Interestingly, as Julian Hamilton enthusiastically explains in press notes, “Martini was a dancer I used to know. She was everything I wasn’t — cool, clear, strong and with a razor sharp edge I found impossible to resist. In the end, she left me completely undone; a crumbled wreck of a man. ‘But was it worth it?’ I hear you ask . . . Every second.

Each time we perform this song I think of her, so it made sense that Martini’s accompanying video is a film of us playing the song live, directed by our new favourite director and…. well hell I’ll just come out and say it… our new favourite person in the entire world SPOD.” And of course, it should give the viewer the sense of what a Presets live show is like. 

Now, if you had been frequenting this site earlier this summer, you may recall that I wrote about the Turnbridge Wells, Kent, UK-based electro pop duo Go Caruso. Individually, the members of the duo — Jon Mills and John Fenton-Stevens — have achieved national attention in the UK with a series of different solo recording projects that have received airplay from  BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, BBC Introducing, as well as national TV appearances; however, as the duo told me via email, they decided to collaborate together last year. And with their attention grabbing single “Tamarin,” the duo revealed that they specialize in a slickly produced, summery synth pop that nodded at JOVM mainstays  Summer Heart, Moonbabies and St. Lucia, complete with Nile Rodgers-like guitar playing, shimmering synths, a rousing hook, Afro pop-inspired percussion and a sweetly, swooning earnestness.

The duo’s latest single “Caroline” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting swooning and infectious, hook-laden pop confections — but unlike its predecessor, the Kent-based duo’s latest single manages to reveal the duo’s 80s synth pop influences, thanks in part to a bouncy and funky bass line, shimmering synths and a soaring hook; in fact, the track reminds me of XTC’s “The Mayor of Simpleton” and Phil CollinsSsussdio” if St. Lucia had covered it.

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you may have stumbled across a post on recent JOVM mainstay, Copenhagen-born, London-based vocalist and electro pop artist Marie Dahlstrøm— and in fact, you might recall that I’ve recently written about her collaborative project with Canadian producer Mwahs — Hans Island. However, Dahlstrom, a three-time Scandinavian Soul Award winner has developed a reputation as an up-and-coming solo artist, who has received attention across both Scandinavia and the European Union for her silky smooth, effortlessly soulful vocals with covers of Phil Collins, Chris Brown and Rihanna, as well as her debut EP, Feelings. 

2016 looks to be a big year for the Danish-born, London-based artist as the follow-up to Feelings is slated to be released later this year. Now you might recall that early last year I wrote about  the EP’s first single “Look the Other Way.” Produced by DK The Punisher, who’s best known for his work with Justin Beiber on Beibers’s “All That Matters, the track had Dahlstrøm teaming up with Brighton, UK-based vocalist Sophie Faith in a song that thematically nodded at Brandy and Monica’s 1998 duet/battle “The Boy Is Mine” as the single has Dahlstrøm and Faith alternating vocal responsibilities on each verse and teaming up on the chorus, as the song’s dueling narrators openly question the state of their romantic relationships with the love interest at the center of the song. Sonically speaking, the song paired Faith’s equally effortless soulful vocals and Dahlstrøm’s cooing with icily cascading and twinkling synths and hip-hop influenced beats.

Produced by Joe Garrett, who has worked on Zayn Malik‘s “Pillowtalk,” the EP’s second single and latest single “Crashing Down” is a gauzy, Quiet Storm-inspired yet contemporary track that paris Dahlstrøm’s silky smooth vocals with swirling electronics, Mary J. Blige What’s the 411? inspired hip-hop soul beats and stuttering percussion. As Dahlstrøm explained in press notes the song “is about the feeling of always searching, instead of being present in the moment. It’s about giving in and realizing that you’re exactly where you need to be.” Truer words have yet to be spoken this year at least, and the fact that the Copenhagen-born, London-based artist’s material is presumably based around lived-in experience sets her apart from countless soulless and prepackaged contemporary pop artists.