Tag: Pond

New Video: Aussie JOVM Mainstays POND release a DEVO-like Ripper

Perth-based act and JOVM mainstays POND — currently, creative mastermind, songwriter and producer Jay Watson (vocals, guitar, keys, drums, synths and bass), who’s also a touring member of fellow Aussie JOVM mainstays Tame Impala; Nicholas Allbook (lead vocals, guitar, keys, bass, flute, slide guitar and drums); Joe Ryan (vocals, guitar, bass, 12 string guitar, slide guitar); Jamie Terry (keys, bass, synths, organs, guitar); and Jamie Ireland (drums, keys) — have released a handful of critically applauded albums that have seen the band’s sound gradually morph into increasingly synth-driven psych pop.

2019’s Tasmania is POND’s most commercially successful and critically applauded album to date, with the album debuting at #15 on the ARIA album charts and #2 on the AIR Independent charts. Conceived as a sort of sister effort to its predecessor, 2017’s The Weather, Tasmania thematically is a dejected and heartbroken meditation on our current sociopolitical moment: planetary discord, water and its dearth in much of the world, machismo, shame, blame, responsibility, love, and the impact of colonial empires. While accurately capturing the restless, anxious dread that most of us have been feeling, the album doesn’t completely wallow in self-pity and fear. Rather, it encourages the listener to celebrate and enjoy the small things of life while we still can.

The Perth-based JOVM mainstays ninth album, the aptly titled 9 is slated for an October 1, 2021 release through Spinning Top Music. Produced by the band’s Watson and Ireland, 9 reportedly sees the band pushing the sound they’ve established and honed over the past few albums even further while attempting to recapture an anarchic sense of uncertainty. “We sort of gave ourselves permission to make something stuffed this time,” the band’s Nicholas Albrook says in press notes. “We’d settled into a pretty tight routine with the last few albums and wanted to shake a boat with this so we started off with filling a few tape reels with some absolutely heinous improvised sonic babble which, after much sifting, became the first few songs of the album. We also wanted to up the tempo. The last few albums have a neat little mantra or repetitive theme. If I was forced to find something like that in 9, I guess it would be ‘biography’ or ‘observation’ – a lot of the lyrics seem to focus on single people’s lives, or the lives of small moments or small things when you zoom real close up and they reveal something deeper. Stuff like my cheap Chinese slippers, or a soiled teddy bear, or Agnes Martin (not to put them in the same category, although maybe Agnes would’ve appreciated it). In the Rorschach test of re-reading lyrics, one thing that sticks out is a fixation on leaving behind a time of golden optimism and uncynical abandon. We can’t look at ourselves the same anymore, and the world we’ve built provides a scary lense [sic] for viewing our past.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Toast, a slow-burning and atmospheric song featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, squiggling blasts of guitar, a gorgeous string arrangement, some mellotron and a soaring hook paired with Allbrook’s plaintive vocals. The end result is a song that seems equally indebted to Avalon era Roxy Music and Quiet Storm R&B. But lyrically, the song addresses the massive bush fires that devastated much of Australia and the inequality gap in Allbrook’s Western Australian hometown. 

“Human Touch” is an uptempo banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, buzzing bass synths, scorching feedback and distortion, a relentless motorik groove, blown out beats and a rousingly anthemic hook. The end result is DEVO-like thrasher. POND’s Nicholas Allbrook describes the inspiration for the song, saying “one time a woman was smashing up a car outside my house, begging me to help her steal it. It was a lovely day. She was wired but sweet in a way. Her dog, Josie, was sitting in the passenger seat being very cute and fluffy. We talked for a good few hours in the sunny cul-de-sac and neither of us ended up committing grand theft auto. The music started with a grimey Casio loop Jay made, that we built the song around.” 

Directed by Duncan Wright, the recently released video for “Human Touch” stars the band’s Nicholas Allbrook in a 70s styled suit, high heel boots and headphones dancing in the middle of empty, morning streets. An old Panasonic cathode ray TV is almost nearby, playing footage of Allbrook putting a tape into a tape player and pushing play, rocking out in a studio and stock footage of a disastrous fire. “My original idea was to be dancing in the central business district of Perth, being thoroughly ignored by suits on their lunch break,” Allbrook explains. “Turns out me and Duncan Wright are both quivering Fremantle natives and terrified of the City. When Duncan saw a pretty sliver of morning sunlight in the West End we figured, stuff it, let’s do it there. Zero people is kind of the same thing as being ignored by lots of people, right? I need some human connection blah blah blah. It was super fun to make. We didn’t really have a strict plan and I overcame by anxiety about dancing in platform shoes to no music at 9am on a Tuesday morning like a kook”.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays POND Release a Trippy Visual for Slow-Burning “Toast”

amount of virtual ink covering the acclaimed Perth-based act and JOVM mainstays POND: Led by its creative mastermind, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Jay Watson, who also performs in JOVM mainstay act Tame Impala, the act which also features Nicholas Allbrook, Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry and James Ireland has released a handful of critically applauded albums that have found the act initially releasing work that was kind of like Royal Trux meets Cream and gradually morphing into progressively psych pop and synth pop territory.

nia is their most commercially successful and critically applauded album with the album debuting at #15 on the ARIA album charts and #2 on the AIR Independent charts. The album was conceived as a sort of sister effort to its immediate predecessor, 2017’s The Weather. Thematically, the album is a dejected and heartbroken meditation that touches upon our current moment: planetary discord, water and its dearth in much of the world, machismo. shame, blame, responsibility, love, blame and colonialism/empires. And while accurately capturing the undercurrent of the restless, anxious dread that most of us have felt for a while. But rather than wallowing in self-pity and fear, encourages the listener to celebrate and enjoy the small things of life — frolicking in the ocean, rolling around in the grass, the sweet feeling of being in love and so on while we still can.

The JOVM mainstays’ Watson and Ireland produced and mixed, ninth full-length album, the aptly titled 9 is slated for an October 1, 2021 release though Spinning Top Music. 9 reportedly finds the band pushing their sound even further while attempting to recapture an anarchic sense of uncertainty. “We sort of gave ourselves permission to make something stuffed this time,” the band’s Nicholas Albrook says in press notes. “We’d settled into a pretty tight routine with the last few albums and wanted to shake a boat with this so we started off with filling a few tape reels with some absolutely heinous improvised sonic babble which, after much sifting, became the first few songs of the album. We also wanted to up the tempo. The last few albums have a neat little mantra or repetitive theme. If I was forced to find something like that in 9, I guess it would be ‘biography’ or ‘observation’ – a lot of the lyrics seem to focus on single people’s lives, or the lives of small moments or small things when you zoom real close up and they reveal something deeper. Stuff like my cheap Chinese slippers, or a soiled teddy bear, or Agnes Martin (not to put them in the same category, although maybe Agnes would’ve appreciated it). In the Rorschach test of re-reading lyrics, one thing that sticks out is a fixation on leaving behind a time of golden optimism and uncynical abandon. We can’t look at ourselves the same anymore, and the world we’ve built provides a scary lense [sic] for viewing our past.”

cking in at a little over four minutes, 9’s latest single, the slow-burning and atmospheric “Toast” is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, squiggling blasts of guitar, a sinuous bass line, a steady backbeat, a gorgeous string arrangement, some mellotron and a soaring hook paired with Allbook’s plaintive vocals. The end result is a song that sounds like a slick synthesis of Avalon-era Roxy Music and Quiet Storm R&B. But lyrically, the song addresses the massive bush fires that devastated much of Australia and the inequality gap in Allbrook’s Western Australian hometown.

“The intro chords came from a Joe Ryan demo mysteriously titled ‘Toast’. I’ve never asked Joe why he landed on that name, and I probably never will, but it pointed toward the image of fat-headed gobblers touching flutes of bubbles, watching the End of Days gallop over the horizon. I often wonder about those people — the money hoarders, climate change deniers, earth-pilferers and adventure capitalists. Are they nihilists or anarchists or do they really believe they are to be saved by some Rock Opera Jesus? We may never know, but here is ‘Toast,’ which is hopefully as smooth as the smooth, smooth sailing of our glorious leaders fat old white lives,” Allbrook says.

Directed and edited by the members of POND and Alex Haygarth, dine, drink champagne and relentlessly toast each other in the sky — with little concern to anything down on earth. “We filmed the clip on a green screen in an abandoned garden centre in one continuous take. It cost us $300 to make (the price of four takes worth of champagne). I ate five fried eggs over the course of it. Another installment in a long series of homemade Pond videos,” Jay Watson says of of the video.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay GUM Returns with a DIY Visual for Breezy Yet Yearning “Low to Low”

Carnavon, Australia-born, Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jay Watson is an extremely busy and restlessly creative man: Watson splits his time as a touring member of acclaimed JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and POND. He’s also the creative mastermind the acclaimed solo recording project (and fellow JOVM mainstay act) GUM.

Spinning Top Music released Watson’s fifth GUM album Out In The World earlier this year. The album, which is the highly follow-up to 2018’s critically applauded The Underdog was written and recorded in between tours with Tame Impala and POND continues Watson’s long-held reputation for having a voracious taste for styles, sounds and different eras. Thematically, the album is fueled by the Carnavon-born Fremantle-based artist’s quest to make sense of modern life — with the album’s material being fueled by an untethered curiosity and the inherent anxiety of too much awareness and too much connectedness.

Sonically, Out In The World’s material may arguably be the most boundary pushing of Watson’s growing catalog. “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it,” Watson says of his latest album. “‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

“Don’t Let It Go Out,” the album’s second single, a track that sees Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold new direction. Centered around a glistening arpeggio guitar riff, jangling acoustic guitar, propulsive four-on-the-floor and shimmering synths, “Don’t Let It Go Out” finds Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold direction while retaining the hook-driven, carefully crated nature quality that GUM fans have loved.
“Airwalkin,” a swaggering 80s synth pop-like banger featuring tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap-like beats, squiggling synths, soaring strings and an enormous hook that sonically seemed indebted to J. Dilla. Odelay-era Beck, Future Shock-era Herbie Hancock and Kraftwerk.

Out In The World’s latest single “Low to Low” finds Watson pushing his sound into a new direction — but while arguably crafting what may be the funkiest song of his catalog. Centered around shuffling polyrhythm, explosive horn stabs, dusty breakbeats, tinny Casio-like synth arpeggios and Watson’s yearning vocals, the track sounds as though Watson had been listening to salsa, Expensive Shit/He Miss Road-era Fela Kuti, 80s New Wave and synth pop the deceptively breezy pop confection actually seems to express a fear of irrelevance and of being forgotten.

“I purchased an EHX DRM15 drum machine and the song developed from one of the preset beats, this ‘robot-latin vive with lots of spring reverb. It was the last song I recorded for the album, it’s bizarre stylistically, but I just went with it,” Watson says of the album’s latest single.

Co-directed with POND bandmate Jamie Terry, the recently released video for “Low to Low” was shot in Fremantle on grainy Super 8 or 16mm film, and the visual captures the sunny warmth of Western Australia — while following Watson walking around with an enormous plastic box. “ My mate Az gave me 16 panels of Perspex he had found, who knows where? GUM thinks outside (and inside) the box,” Watson says of the video. ““Now that the dust has settled on Out In The World,I think this is probably my favourite track from the album, and I know it is for lots of other people too, so I wanted to make a visual for it,” he adds.

New Video: GUM Returns with a Trippy Animated Visual for “Airwalkin'”

Jay Watson is a Carnavon, Australia-born, Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who creatively splits his time as a member of acclaimed psych rock acts and JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and POND — and with his acclaimed solo recording project GUM.

Watson’s fifth GUM album Out In The World, which was officially released today through Spinning Top Music, is the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s critically applauded The Underdog. Written and recorded in between  his commitments with POND and Tame Impala at his Fremantle-based home studio and while on the road, Out In The World continues Watson’s long-held reputation for his voracious taste for styles, sounds and eras — paired with his ongoing quest to make sense of modern life.  Driven by untethered curiosity and the inherent anxiety of way too much awareness, the album is arguably, the most boundary pushing of his growing catalog. “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it,” Watson says of his latest album. “‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Don’t Let It Go Out,” Out In The World’s second single, a track that found Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold new direction with its influences blurring into something distinctly Watson. “Airwalkin,” the album’s latest single is a swaggering, 80s synth pop inspired banger centered around boom bap-like beats, squiggling and shimmering synths, a soaring string sample, an enormous hook with vocodered vocals and Watson’s plaintive vocals. The  end result is a song that sounds as though it were indebted to J. Dilla. Odelay-era Beck and Future Shock-era Herbie Hancock and Kraftwerk. 

“This song is trying to capture the feeling of walking around my rural town with my Discman as a teenager, completely self-conscious about the way I look but completely feeling myself at the same time.” Watson says. “3 and a half minutes of Boombox Rock inspired by Stevie Wonder, Dilla and Beck.”

Directed  by Alex McClaren, the recently released video for “Airwalkin'” is a vividly colored visual that features a variety of characters —  three-eyed dog, a kid’s toy robot, a walking recycling bin and a walking boom box among others — walking through some trippy yet mischievous backdrops. “I wanted to do something with Alex McClaren again. He’d worked on the claymation video for ‘The Blue Marble’ off my last album, I love his stuff. I only had quite a vague idea that the clip could be a figure moving across a landscape in claymation, a vocoder robot-man initially, and Alex went next level with it’.”

New Video: GUM Releases a Hazy and Feverish Visual for Shimmering and Bold New Single “Don’t Let It Go Out”

Jay Watson is a Carnavon, Australia-born, Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who creatively splits his time as a member of acclaimed psych rock acts and JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and POND — and with his acclaimed solo recording project GUM.

Slated for a June 12, 2020 release through Spinning Top Music, Watson’s fifth GUM album Out In The World is the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s The Underdog, which was released to critical applause from Pitchfork, who called the album “a dark-night-of-the-soul reckoning embedded in a hazy fog of Floydian psych and quiet-storm R&B,” as well as several others. Written and recorded in between  his commitments with POND and Tame Impala at his Fremantle-based home studio and while on the road, Out In The World continues Watson’s long-held reputation for his voracious taste for styles, sounds and eras — paired with his ongoing quest to make sense of modern life.  Driven by untethered curiosity and the inherent anxiety of way too much awareness, the album is reportedly the most boundary pushing effort of his growing catalog, “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it,” Watson says of his forthcoming album. “‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

“Don’t Let It Go Out,” Out In The World’s second and latest single features a glistening, arpeggio guitar riff, jangling acoustic guitar, propulsive four-on-the-floor-like drumming, shimmering synths, a supple bass line, Watson’s plaintive vocals and a rousing and infectious hook. Interestingly, the track finds Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold new direction. Interestingly, “Don’t Let It Go Out” can trace its origins to initially being laid down at home but arranged, edited, chopped and screwed while on the road — and as a result, it adds to a further blurring of the song’s overall sound. “My music for years was an obvious sum of its influences but it’s getting harder and harder to pick,” Watson says of the song, “‘Don’t Let It Go Out’ is about our modern desire to capture or record and keep every moment. The ease, not only to do all this, but then to lose it forever down the track inspires and disturbs me.”

Directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick, the recently released video for “Don’t Let It Go Out” follows a lonely, trench coat wearing Watson as he wanders around  — and the video evokes the fever dream of traveling, complete with the odd feeling of places endlessly blurring in a way that’s familiar yet alien. 

 

Toronto-based electronic act Holy Fuck — Brian Borcherdt, Graham Walsh, Matt McQuaid and Matt Schultz — have a long-held reputation for playing by their own rules, never being overly concerned about chasing the limelight or after genre-based trends. They’re also known for employing the use of instruments and non-instruments including a 35mm film synchronizer, toy keyboards and toy phaser guns to achieve electronic-sounding effects without the use of laptops, programmed backing tracks, splicing and so on.
Last year, I wrote about two singles off acclaimed electronic act’s soon-to-be released fifth album, Deleter:  “Luxe,” which managed to be both the first bit of new material from the act since the release of 2017’s Bird Brains EP. Clocking in a little over six minutes, the song can trace its origins back to a spontaneous encore jam at Luxembourg, Belgium. As the story goes, once they had the early elements of the track worked on in the studio, they sent it to to their good friend and casual musical mentor Kieran Hebden, best known as Four Tet, who picked the early version of “Luxe” as a standout. The Canadian quartet then invited Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor to contribute vocals. Taylor not only jumped at the opportunity but went to Jack White‘s Third Man Studio in Nashville to record his vocals on White’s 1947 Voice-O-Graph.

“Among more literal translations, ‘Luxe’ is the short form of Luxembourg – the city in which the nexus of the song was created,” the members of Holy Fuck explain in an extensive statement. “On this particular night, during soundcheck, we had a pulsing minimal synth loop we’d been tinkering around with. (We were listening to lots of TRAX Records stuff on that tour.) We decided that if the crowd demanded an encore we’d go for it. ‘Luxe’ was the result. Or – as it was then called on the live recorded MP3 – ‘Luxembourg Encore’. Once home from tour we took all the live demos back to the drawing board. We shared everything with our friend Kieran Hedben aka Four Tet. His always-intuitive advice was that he heard a great club track in his ‘very favorite thing here’: ‘Luxembourg Encore’”.
The next moment of discovery came when Graham suggested the band scrap Brian’s vocals and give it to Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip. When we presented Alexis with the concept our reference notes to him, based around Brian’s temporary vocals, were ‘like an old sample you’d dig up off an old folk record… and approached more like a classic house track’. He responded, ‘We could try to record the vocal in a Voice O Graph booth (an obsolete 1940s coin operated phonograph booth) if we can access one…’. As far as we’re aware, there are only two in the world – one in Liverpool (that apparently doesn’t work anymore) and the other at Jack White’s Third Man studio in Nashville. And that is where Alexis sang ‘I’d like to scrap all of this and start over again.’ Fittingly, it was New Year’s Eve.”
Interestingly, “Luxe” serves as the first official single off the band’s soon-to-be released fifth album Deleter. Slated for release this Friday, the album’s material finds the Canadian electronic act pushing their sound in a very different direction — polyrhythmic and pleasure focused, the members of Holy Fuck mesh elements of krautrock and deep house with motorik percussion. Thematically, the album reportedly explores what happens when humanity and technology coalesce into one big, semi-organic celebration of the joys of spontaneity, repetition and individuality. As the band puts it, “the robots are smarter than ever, and the algorithm knows more and more what we like as individuals, but we have to remind ourselves that there is music in the margins that can go missing and that that music is more important than ever.”
Deleter‘s second single, the expansive, roughly six an da half minute “Free Gloss” was centered around a glistening synth-like arpeggio and atmospheric feedback, a sinuous bass line, a motorik groove, and plaintive and ethereal vocals from POND‘s Nicholas Albrook. And much like its predecessor, the album’s second single wound up being a seamless synthesis of hypnotic and driving pulsation, ethereal atmospherics and dance floor friendly thump. “Deleters,” the album’s third single and sort of album title track continues a run of motorik groove-led, euphoric club bangers centered around thumping four-on-the-floor, retro-futuristic-like sounds, a propulsive bass line and guest spot from Liars’ Angus Andrew, who contributes backing vocals.  “The song ‘Deleters,’” write Holy Fuck, “started at a party in the woods of rural Quebec. Set up on the forest floor, literally over moss covered tree roots we decided to make up a new hour-long improvised set in front of a crowd of people dancing amongst the trees. From that session two songs emerged and found their way onto the new record. This is the first time we selected a song from the record to also be a title track — but there really isn’t a reason for it other than we thought it sounded cool, like a modern version of Fugazi‘s Repeater or Depeche Mode‘s Violator (or even KissDestroyer, though in name only). Our friend Angus from Liars doubles Brian’s vocals giving the track a nice punch.”
The act will be embarking on a roughly two month North American, UK and European Union tour to support Deleter. The band recently added a handful of East Coast and Canadian tour dates. The added tour dates include a June 12, 2020 stop at Elsewhere Hall.
Check out the tour dates below.
Tour Dates:
Holy Fuck Tour Dates:
03/23/20 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
02/24/20 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
03/25/20 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
03/27/20 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
03/28/20 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
03/30/20 – Portland, OR @ Lola’s Room
03/31/20 – Seattle, WA @ Nuemos
04/01/20 – Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club
04/03/20 – Calgary, AB @ Broken City
04/04/20 – Saskatoon, SK @ Amigo’s Cantina
04/06/20 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
04/07/20 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
04/24/20 – Antwerp, BE @ Trix
04/25/20 – Luxembourg @ Out of The Crowd Festival
04/27/20 – Birmingham, UK @ The Hare & Hounds
04/28/20 – Brighton, UK @ Chalk
04/29/20 – Cardiff, UK @ Clwb lfor Bach
04/30/20 – Manchester, UK @ Yes (basement)
05/03/20 – Glasgow, UK @ Slag & Dagger Festival
05/05/20 – Barcelona, ES @ La Nau
05/06/20 – Oviedo, ES @ La Lata de Zinc
05/07/20 – Vigo, ES @ Radar Estudios
05/09/20 – Valencia, ES @ La Pérgola
05/23/20 – London, UK @ All Points East
06/09/20 – Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
06/10/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
06/12/20 – Brooklyn, NY @ ELSEWHERE: Hall
06/13/20 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
06/15/20 – Montréal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB
06/17/20 – Ottawa, ON @ Bronson Centre
06/19/20 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace

New Video: Holy Fuck Releases a Mind-Bending Visual for Shimmering Club Banger “Free Gloss”

Toronto-based electronic act Holy Fuck — Brian Borcherdt, Graham Walsh, Matt McQuaid and Matt Schultz — have developed a long-held reputation for playing by their own rules, never being overly concerned about chasing the limelight or after genre-based trends. They’re also known for employing the use of instruments and non-instruments including a 35mm film synchronizer, toy keyboards and toy phaser guns to achieve electronic-sounding effects without the use of laptops, programmed backing tracks, splicing and so on.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Luxe,” the first bit of new material from the acclaimed Canadian electronic act since the release of 2017’s Bird Brains EP. And as you may recall, the single was born by their mutual desire to resist old and trusted methods of creating new material — primarily by experimenting live and on the stage. Centered around a pulsating, minimal synth loop, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping kick drum, the expansive song, which clocks in at a little over six minutes can trace its origins back to a spontaneous encore jam at Luxembourg, Belgium. As the story goes, once they had the early elements of the track worked on in the studio, they sent it to to their good friend and casual musical mentor Kieran Hebden, best known as Four Tet, who picked the early version of “Luxe” as a standout. The Canadian quartet then invited Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor to contribute vocals. Taylor not only jumped at the opportunity but went to Jack White‘s Third Man Studio in Nashville to record his vocals on White’s 1947 Voice-O-Graph.

“Among more literal translations, ‘Luxe’ is the short form of Luxembourg – the city in which the nexus of the song was created,” the members of Holy Fuck explain in an extensive statement. “On this particular night, during soundcheck, we had a pulsing minimal synth loop we’d been tinkering around with. (We were listening to lots of TRAX Records stuff on that tour.) We decided that if the crowd demanded an encore we’d go for it. ‘Luxe’ was the result. Or – as it was then called on the live recorded MP3 – ‘Luxembourg Encore’. Once home from tour we took all the live demos back to the drawing board. We shared everything with our friend Kieran Hedben aka Four Tet. His always-intuitive advice was that he heard a great club track in his ‘very favorite thing here’: ‘Luxembourg Encore’”.

The next moment of discovery came when Graham suggested the band scrap Brian’s vocals and give it to Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip. When we presented Alexis with the concept our reference notes to him, based around Brian’s temporary vocals, were ‘like an old sample you’d dig up off an old folk record… and approached more like a classic house track’. He responded, ‘We could try to record the vocal in a Voice O Graph booth (an obsolete 1940s coin operated phonograph booth) if we can access one…’. As far as we’re aware, there are only two in the world – one in Liverpool (that apparently doesn’t work anymore) and the other at Jack White’s Third Man studio in Nashville. And that is where Alexis sang ‘I’d like to scrap all of this and start over again.’ Fittingly, it was New Year’s Eve.”

“Luxe” also served as the first official single off Holy Fuck’s forthcoming fifth album Deleter. Slated for a January 17, 2020 release, the album’s material finds the acclaimed Canadian electronic act pushing their signature sound in a new and exciting direction — polyrhythmic and pleasure focused, the members of Holy Fuck manage to seamlessly mesh krautrock, deep house and motorik percussion. Thematically, the album reportedly explores what happens when humanity and technology coalesce into one big, semi-organic celebration of the joys of spontaneity, repetition and individuality. As the band puts it, “the robots are smarter than ever, and the algorithm knows more and more what we like as individuals, but we have to remind ourselves that there is music in the margins that can go missing and that that music is more important than ever.”
 

Clocking in at just under six and a half minutes, the expansive “Free Gloss” features plaintive and ethereal vocals from POND’s Nicholas Albrook and is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, atmospheric electronics, a sinuous bass line and a motorik groove. And much like it’s immediate predecessor, “Free Gloss” is a seamless synthesis of hypnotic and driving pulse, ethereal atmospherics and dance floor friendly thump. 

Directed by Haoyan of America, the recently released video for “Free Gloss” is a trippy and wondrous synthesis virtual reality, video games and reality that’s pulled out of the home, on to the dance floor and back home. And throughout, the individual in all of their strangeness is celebrated. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Pond’s Bittersweet Ode to Small Pleasures When the World is Ending

Over the past handful of years of this site’s almost nine-year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed psych pop act POND fronted by its Perth, Australia-based mastermind, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Jay Watson, along with Nicholas Allbrook, Shiny Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry and Jamie Ireland. With the project’s first three albums —  2009’s Psychedelic Mango, 2010’s Frond and 2012’s Beard, Wives, Denim found POND’s sound moving from straightforward psych rock to a decidedly pop leaning sound.

Since then, Watson and company have released a series of critically applauded albums include 2017’s The Weather, which both continued the project’s ongoing collaboration with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and further cemented the band’s reputation for crafting trippy yet accessible pop. Now, as you may recall, Watson and company released “Burnt Out Star,” the first bit of new material from the Perth Australia-based psych pop act in some time and the expansive track managed to nod a bit at at Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond Parts I-V and VI-IX” but centered around the aforementioned shimmering synths and propulsive beats, making it deceptively arena rock friendly. Interestingly, that track was informally, the first single off POND’s forthcoming album Tasmania, an album conceived as a sort of sister missive to its predecessor. 

Slated for a March 1, 2019 release through Interscope Records, the new album is reportedly a dejected and heartbroken meditation on planetary discord, water, machismo, shame, blame and responsibility, love, blame and empire. And while coasting on an undercurrent of the restless, anxious dread we’re all desperately feeling, the material instead of wallowing in self-pity also reportedly encourages the reader to celebrate the small things — frolicking in the ocean, rolling around in the grass, the sweet feeling of being in love and so on, while we still can. “Daisy,” the album’s latest single and opening track beings with a mournful string-led introduction, before the curtain is opened, and the track turns into a shimmering, synth pop-based, power ballad centered around a sinuous and propulsive bass line and Allbrook’s ethereal falsetto. The track sees Allbrook imagining his childhood friends and family in the Kimberly region in chains — whether rightfully so or not, is up to the listener; but the track toys with the idea of bitterly retreating to Tasmania to lick their wounds. But there’s also the recognition of retreating just before everything gets fucked up beyond recognition. 

Directed by Jesse Taylor Smith and featuring aerial cinematography by Joseph Ryan, the recently released video for “Daisy” was shot in the lands of the Kulin and Nyoongar Nations — but it suggests the ruins of a country and civilization from its hubris and greed with the bandmembers enjoying some small pleasures — playing with a beloved dog, daydreaming on a lazy summer day. Sometimes small pleasures are the only thing we can cling to when everything is on fire. 

 

The up-and-coming Los Angeles, CA-based psych pop project Das Kope is the brainchild of its Sao Paulo, Brazil-born, Los Angeles-based creative mastermind, George. Interestingly, George lived a few blocks away from where renowned Brazilian psych rock act Os Mutantes had originated — and much like the members of the renowned group, George had long felt that he was an outsider with a unique vision. As a self-taught guitarist, influenced the city’s grey cityscape, he found his musical voice in punk rock. As a teen propelled by the DIY spirit and ethos, George saved up enough money to buy a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, leaving everything he had known behind to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. Quickly realizing that the money he had saved in his homeland didn’t translate to much in the way of American money, he did something rather unexpected considering the situation: he decided to join one of Los Angeles’ fastest and constantly growing lifestyles — broke musician.

The Sao Paulo-born, Los Angeles-based musician spent the next couple of years working at a slew of odd jobs and moving from place to place before eventually settling in as a partial recluse in a dark Hollywood apartment he nicknamed “the cave.” Isolated, he spent the next few years focusing on any and all creative pursuits that brought color to his mostly nocturnal existence. He became obsessed with guitar pedals, synthesizers, VCRs, after effects, tape recorders, green screen and the like. And as the story goes, those obsessions influenced Das Kope. Interestingly, his latest single, the breezy “L.A.X.” is centered around layers of shuffling guitar chords, a sinuous bass line, thumping beats, ethereal vocals and shimmering synths that recalls JOVM mainstays POND and Tame Impala but with a gritty urgency at it score.