Tag: Phoenix

With the release of their 2015 debut effort, Use Your Time Wisely, the Minneapolis, MN-born, New York-based trio Strange Names — comprised of Liam Benzvi, Francis Ximenez, and Fletcher Aleckson — quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a crafting airy and danceable New Wave-inspired pop. And as a result of the buzz around them, the members of the New York pop trio opened for Azealia Banks before eventually signing with renowned, local indie label Frenchkiss Records.

The trio’s highly-anticipated, third, full-length effort is slated for release in early 2018, and the album’s first single “Into Me” will further cement their reputation for crafting breezy, 80s inspired synth pop — and while some have made comparisons to The B52s and Phoenix, the latest single to my ears seems to draw from XTC and Violens’ fantastic Amoral as the song features a soaring hook rooted around shimmering arpeggiated synths. But underneath the song’s breezy nature is a swooning and flirtatious kiss off of sorts to someone, who is into the song’s narrator but for some perverse reason is pretending not to be.


With the release of their first two singles, “Loveless” and “This Is It,” the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock trio Lo Moon, comprised off Matt Lowell (vocals, guitar), Crisanta Baker (bass, keys) and Sam Stewart (guitar), quickly became one of their hometown’s most buzzed about bands after receiving early praise from the likes of New York Times, NPR Music, V Magazine, KCRWLos Angeles Times, NPR’s World Cafe and others, and they’ve opened for the likes of Phoenix, Glass Animals, The Lemon Twigs, Air, London Grammar and others. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the band is currently finishing up their Chris Walla and Francois Tetaz-produced full-length debut; but before that, the trio’s latest single “Thorns” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track that sounds indebted to Roxy Music (think of “More Than This” “The Space Between” and “Avalon“), The xx and others.

The band is currently on a lengthy tour that includes a November 6 stop at Rough Trade and a December 15 stop at The Beacon Theatre for WFUV’s Holiday Cheer. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates
October 14: Buffalo, NY @ HRVST Festival (w/ Phoenix)
October 15: New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall (w/ Phoenix)
October 17: Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 18: Leeds, UK @ O2 Academy (w/ London Grammar)
October 20: Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 21: London, UK @ Eventim Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 23: Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy (w/ London Grammar)
October 24: Edinburg, UK @ Usher Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 26: Nottingham, UK @ Rock City (w/ London Grammar)
October 27: Bristol, UK @ Colston Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 29: Newcastle, UK @ City Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 30: London, UK @ O2 Brixton Academy (w/ London Grammar)
November 1: Dublin, IE @ Olympia Theatre (w/ London Grammar)
November 2: Belfast, IE @ Waterfront Hall (w/ London Grammar)
November 6: Brooklyn @ Rough Trade (headline)
November 7: Philadelphia @ Boot & Saddle (headline)
November 16: Los Angeles @ The Troubadour (headline)
November 22: Luxembourg @ Rockhal (w/ London Grammar)
November 23: Amsterdam, NL @ AFAS Live (w/ London Grammar)
November 25: Cologne, DE @ Palladium (w/ London Grammar)
November 26: Berlin, DE @ Velodrom (w/ London Grammar)
November 28: Hamburg, DE @ Mehr! Theatre (w/ London Grammar)
November 30: Zurich, CH @ Halle 622 (w/ London Grammar)
December 4: London, UK @ The Lexington (headline)
December 8: Stuttgart, DE @ Liederhalle Hegelsaal (w/ London Grammar)
December 9: Munich, DE @ TonHalle (w/ London Grammar)
December 11: Antwerp, BE @ Lotto Arena (w/ London Grammar)
December 12: Antwerp, BE @ Lotto Arena (w/ London Grammar)
December 15: New York City, NY @ WFUV Holiday Cheer at Beacon Theatre (w/ Jeff Tweedy and more)

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across several posts on Umea, Sweden-born and based, singer/songwriter and cellist  Cajsa Siik. And with the release of her debut single “Was I Supposed To,” which was then promptly followed by her full-length debut Contra and a batch of attention grabbing singles through 2015, Siik received attention both nationally and internationally while cementing herself as one of her country’s standout artists, drawing comparisons to contemporary, Scandinavian pop artists Lyyke Li and Robyn.

Siik’s third full-length effort DOMINO is slated for a June 2, 2017 release through Birds Will Sing For You Records, and the effort, which was produced by Rolf Plinth will feature guest spots from Phoenix‘s and Deportees‘ Thomas Hedlund and Tiger Lou’s Rasmus Kellerman, both of whom contributed to the jangling and shuffling  album single “Talk To Trees.” And what made that single particularly interesting to me was the fact that it reveled a new direction for the internationally renowned singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, with its sound being simultaneously intimate and bold, yet swooningly anthemic and spacious enough for Siik’s effortlessly gorgeous and tender vocals. While the song may be one of Siik’s shorter songs — it clocks in at 2:40 — the song and its narrator seem haunted by a messy yet fully-lived in past; but while suggesting that life is about closing your eyes and taking a chance — even if it may backfire.

DOMINO‘s latest single “White Noise” is a dramatic track that features four-on-the-floor drumming, blasts of shimmering guitar, and atmospheric synths which give the song an art pop sheen while Siik’s vocals and uncanny ability to write an infectious and soaring hook gives the song a pop-leaning accessibility.  In press notes, Siik explained that, DOMINO can be described in two different ways. First I wanted it to represent the fact that we’re all connected to each other and that we have a responsibility towards each other and this world. To shoulder that responsibility is easier said than done, but we must try. Be aware. Not only mind our own business. I’ve given that a lot of thought lately. Secondly, every song on this album depends and relies on the other. Together they create a unit and the unit is supposed to be diverse. I aimed for creating a dynamic album.” Interestingly, when you hear the newest single in relation to its preceding single “Talk To Trees” there’s a sense of Siik and her collaborators creating a deeply unified mood and vision while speaking of experiences and feelings — in particular about love and longing with a hard-fought deeply adult wisdom and confidence.

Now, if you had been frequenting this site over the past couple of years — especially over the course of 2014 and 2015 — you would have come across a handful of posts on Umea, Sweden-born and based, singer/songwriter, cellist and JOVM mainstay artist Cajsa Siik. With the release of her debut single “Was I Supposed To” her full-length effort Contra and a batch of attention grabbing singles through 2015, Siik received attention both nationally and internationally while cementing herself as one of her country’s standout artists, drawing comparisons to contemporary, Scandinavian pop artists Lyyke Li and Robyn.

Over the past couple of years, Siik has been extremely busy working on her third full-length effort DOMINO. Produced by Rolf Klinth, the Umea, Sweden-based artist’s forthcoming effort features guest spots from Phoenix‘s and Deportees‘ Thomas Hedlund and Tiger Lou’s Rasmus Kellerman — and interestingly, both Hedlund and Kellerman appear on DOMINO’s jangling and shuffling first single “Talk To Trees,” a single that reveals a sound that manages to been simultaneously intimate and bold, yet swooningly anthemic and spacious enough for Siik’s effortlessly gorgeous and tender vocals. Clocking at 2:40, the song and its narrator seem haunted by a messy yet lived in past; but while suggesting that life is about closing your eyes and taking a chance — even if it may backfire.




With the release of their earliest singles and their debut EP Anonymous, the Brisbane, Australia-based sibling duo Niterunner — comprised of Daniel and Andrea Suesskow — received quite a bit of attention nationally for the sort of soulful yet dreamy electro pop production and anthemic hooks that’s been compared favorably to the likes of M83, Phoenix, Moonbabies, Cut Copy, and others. Interestingly, the Suesskows’ latest single “Out of Your Hands” is reportedly a reworking of a single the duo released earlier that received some 16,000 streams upon its release and was recorded and reworked in their family’s home studio — and was produced by Daniel Suesskow.  And sonically speaking, the single will further cement their burgeoning reputation across Australia and elsewhere, for crafting summery and dreamy pop that’s both wistfully nostalgic and achingly earnest paired with a soaring hook and shimmering synths.

As the Suesskows explained in press notes the song’s lyrics reflect on moments of symmetry, a singular way of thought and reaction, a cycle of repetition and a struggle to cope but offering a moment of self-realization and reprieve, in which one learns how to counterbalance their internal process of self-doubt and self-flagellation with the realization that there’s only so much you can control. And as a result, all anyone can do is let go of the things that are completely out of their hands.







Los Angeles, CA-based quintet Hunny specialize in an infectious, hook-laden party rock/dance rock sound/pop sound that seems to channel several contemporary acts including Hands, St. Lucia, Phoenix and others — while subtly nodding at early 80s New Wave. And the act’s latest single “Vowels (and The Importance of Being Me) will further cement the act’s burgeoning reputation for hook-laden summertime anthems as the band pairs soaring synths, four-on-the floor drumming, shimmering and angular chords and an undulating bass line with deeply earnest vocals singing lyrics about ridiculously passionate, confusing and urgent, young love. Certainly, in an age of sneering cynicism and disbelief, such earnestness is a breath of fresh air; but perhaps more important, thanks to a larger-than-life anthemic hook, I can imagine a packed club full of young people singing lustily along to the song.

The band will be on a lengthy tour throughout July and August, which also will include an August 5, 2016 stop at The Knitting Factory.


Kent, UK-based producer Draper can trace the origins of his prolific and critically acclaimed music career in a rather humble fashion — initially as his experimenting with sound recording software, largely based around pairing a densely layered production with an uncanny knack for lyricism. With the release of attention grabbing remixes of Strange TalkEllie Goulding and Passion Pit, and the 2010 release of his debut EP, The Introduction, the British producer saw a rapidly growing national and international profile — at one point, he captured the attention of Turn First Music Publishing where Draper would write singles for LapsleyRita Ora and Little Mix.

Now, you might recall that last year I wrote about “On You,” the first single off the producer’s highly-anticipated full-length album, and that single, a collaboration with his frequent collaborator Alby Hobbs was a densely layered and swooning pop song consisting of wobbling, low pitched synths, skittering percussion, swirling electronics and rubbery, high pitched synths paired with Hobbs’ meandering yet soulful falsetto to craft a song that effortlessly meshes bouncy club-friendly electro pop with sensual and soulful R&B. While we’re anxiously awaiting Draper’s full-length effort, the British producer has remained incredibly prolific, releasing a number of singles including his latest single “Break Over You,” a collaboration with Scottish synth pop trio Prides — and what makes the single interestingly is that it reveals that Draper has been experimenting and expanding upon his sound, as “Break Over You” is a euphoric pop confection with the sort of anthemic hooks reminiscent of St. Lucia, Phoenix, Passion Pit and others. It’s arguably the most rousingly crowd pleasing and radio-friendly single Draper has released to date. (Interestingly, the song lyrically seems to make a sly reference to one of my favorite Prince songs ever, “I Will Die 4 U,” which is also quite an anthemic pop song itself.)


Perhaps best known for his stints as the frontman and primary songwriter of art rock acts The Curious Digit, Manishevitz and Sonoi over the past two decades, singer/songwriter Adam Busch‘s solo debut effort, River of Bricks was released last Friday. As the story goes, Busch began writing the material that would comprise River of Bricks while on a hiatus from music to spend time raising his newborn son.

And although Busch intended the hiatus to be about the domestic life, the time away was an opportunity to try out new ideas without the external pressure of having to produce material for an ensemble — and I would also presume that it allowed him an opportunity to create something carte blanche, without the pressure of having to write a song with a band’s established reputation for a particular sound or approach in mind either. In any case, as the story goes many of the songs emerged while Busch was studying guitar with with African music scholar Nathaniel Braddock, who began teaching Busch a variety of finger styles including African. American Primitive, as well as British folk.

Recording began during the Spring of 2013 in Chicago and continued in Phoenix with Busch’s longtime collaborator and Boxhead Ensemble founder Michael Krassner, and features contributions from several members of Manishevtiz, as well as percussion from Joe Adamik, who’s best known for his work with Califone and Iron and Wine; guitar, bass and keyboards from Wil Hendricks of Boxhead Ensemble; cellist Fred Longberg-Holm; and Justin Amolsch on French horn.

River of Bricks‘ latest single “Tiger” is comprised of a rather stark arrangement of drums and Busch accompanying his vocals with guitar. Sonically, the single sounds as though it were informed by Arabic music, psychedelia and jazz in a song that’s intimate and seems inspired by lonely contemplation of life’s eternally confounding mysteries. And as a result, the song has a hushed yet palpable feeling of awe and reverence paired with deeply imagistic lyrics. Simply put, it’s an effortlessly beautiful song that strikes me as being perfect for wandering around on a chilly but gorgeous Fall day.