Tag: Prince

New Video: Blak Emoji Releases a Sexy Visual for “Love Lust Above”

Over the course of this site’s nine year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kelsey Warren, a grizzled local scene vet, who has been in a number of projects as a side man, hired gun or frontman including Denise Barbarita and the Morning Papers, and Pillow Theory among others.

Now, as you may recall, Warren’s latest attention-grabbing project Blak Emoji began in 2015 as a solo recording project with a rotating cast of players; however, over the past couple of years, the project gradually evolved into a full-fledged  band that features Sylvana Joyce (keytar), Bryan Percival (bass, keys) and Max Tholenaar-Maples (drums). During that same period, the project released a handful of slinky, 80s synth funk-inspired singles — “Another Club Night,” “Velvet Ropes & Dive Bars” and “Honey,” — that won attention across the blogosphere and this site. And while being a decided departure from Warren’s previously recorded work, Blak Emoji reveals a songwriter, who can effortlessly craft a big, dance floor friendly hook. 

Warren and company released their highly-anticipated full-length debut Kumi earlier this year and the album continues the slinky, Rick James meets Prince mold of his previously Blak Emoji work. Kumi’s latest single is the slinky, club banger “Love Lust Above.” Centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Warren’s sultry vocal delivery, the track may arguably be the most sensual track off the album, bearing an uncanny resemblance to INXS’ “Need You Tonight.” 

Directed by Jasin Cadic, the recently released and slickly shot video stars Maya Eley, Kristina Kiss, Ruth Gutierrez and Kelsey Warren further emphasizes the sultry, dance floor friendly vibe of the song. At one point, we see Warren getting painted by a love interest, as two shadowy figures convulsively dance in the background. 

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New Video: Acclaimed Indie Electro Pop Act Miami Horror Releases a Sepia-Toned Visual for “Restless”

Initially formed in 2007, as the solo recording project of Melbourne, Australia-based DJ and producer Benjamin Plant, Miami Horror eventually expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Daniel Whitechurch (bass, keys, guitar) and Kosta Theodosis (drums) — and with the release of 2008’s Bravado EP, 2010’s full-length debut Illumination and 2015’s All Possible Futures, the band established a sound that drew from Prince, New Order, Todd Rundgren and Pink Floyd, combined with contemporary electronic production techniques, including house and electro pop. Interestingly, the act’s most recent recorded output, 2017’s The Shapes EP was a decided change in sonic direction with the band’s sound being indebted to 80s pop and New Wave — in particular, Talking Heads, Blondie and the like. 

Two years have passed since the acclaimed Australian indie electro pop act has released material and the act’s latest single, “Restless” finds the project returning to its collaborative and production-based roots. Plant champions this return to his roots as Miami Horror’s new incarnation. “The Shapes was always meant to be a one-off conceptual project, so once that was complete I began moving back towards the original creative process that Miami Horror started with; a simpler approach to production and a continued emphasize on outside vocalists.” Plant says. “For me, music has always been about completing a vision and trying to make something stand out. Allowing outside collaboration really opens me up to complete that vision without being restricted to my own skill set.”

Interestingly, “Restless” is a breezy and summery track centered around shimmering synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, hi-hat led drumming and a plaintive and sultry vocal contribution from Kevin Lavitt. And while retaining the slick, dance floor-friendly electronic production that has won Plant international acclaim, the song sounds indebted to 80s Quiet Storm R&B — in particular Cherelle’s “Saturday Love,” and Mtume’s “Juicy Love” immediately come to my mind, as the song has a similar sophisticated sexiness to it. “I love putting two people in a room that wouldn’t normally work together and seeing what comes of it,” Plant says of his collaboration with Lavitt. 

Directed by Keenan Wetzel, the recently released sepia-toned video for “Restless” features an assortment of quirky characters coming together for tennis training and some meet-cute lust — before ending with a menacing and suggestive air. “When I heard ‘Restless’ I was struck with a nostalgic feeling of starting out a relationship; those first feelings of anxiety coupled with the uncertainty whether or not the attraction is mutual,” Keenan Wetzel says of his video treatment. “I wanted to take these familiar feelings and add Miami Horror’s style to create a bright but strange world for these young people to find each other. I have always been interested in 1970’s culture and how people turned to communities, often ritual-based, to find a sense of belonging. So the idea for the ‘Restless’ music video was to put a pair of young people into a tennis playing community where they were looking for meaning. Only, instead of finding purpose in this community, they find each other, which leads to both love and realization that the nature of the community was not going to give them any more sense of belonging.”

Taylor Knox is a Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who can trace the origins of his musical career to over a decade ago, when he was recruited to play drums for The Golden Dogs, an act that was considered one of Canada’s criminally under-appreciated bands — and coincidentally, one of Knox’s favorite bands, too.

During his stint with The Golden Dogs, Knox forged friendships with several other bandmembers, who all go on to form Zeus. As a result of Zeus, Knox was a frequent presence at the band’s Toronto studio Ill Eagle, which naturally offered him the perfect environment and the opportunity to begin experimenting with his own original material. Interestingly, Knox and his then-newly formed Zeus were tapped by Jason Collett to be his regular backing band — and it brought him into contact with an even wider circle of musicians, including Luke Doucet, whom he joined on Doucet’s tour to support his acclaimed Steel City Traveler. He also joined Hayden for the Us Alone recording sessions and subsequent tour. He also played with acclaimed Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin.

With the release of the Lines EP and his full-length debut Love, Knox stepped out into the spotlight, crafting anthemic power pop that has drawn comparisons to acclaimed and highly influential Canadian power pop act Sloan and others. Slated for a June 7, 2019 release, Knox’s sophomore album Here Tonight thematically focuses on the mystery, stillness and artistic inspiration of the night; in fact, Knox’s tendency to be a night owl was a major influence on the album. And when he started writing the material that would eventually comprise his forthcoming sophomore album, he focused on precisely what he was thinking about — and what he wanted to do and say with it. He didn’t want to waste the insight that nighttime has always given him.“I really try to make sure the songs I write come from a place of not something I want to write but something I kind of have to get out. What I’m feeling below what I’m thinking,” Knox says in press notes.

Sonically speaking, the album, which sees Knox working with Josh Korody reportedly sees Knox continuing with the power pop that has won him attention — fuzzy and /or crunchy power chords, forceful drumming and rousingly anthemic hooks; but he sought guidance and inspiration from much more contemporary artists like The Weeknd, SZA and Prince in terms of production and songwriting, as well as the legendary Joni Mitchell. In fact, Korody’s production helped to add new textures to his overall sound, thanks to the incorporation of synths and keyboards to create glistening gutter tones. Knox also worked with Rob Schnapf in Los Angeles, who helped make one song reportedly to sound like one of the best Oasis songs to never appear on an Oasis album.

Interestingly, what sets the Toronto-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s sophomore album apart from this previously released work is a free flowing spontaneity that was encouraged by Korody and Schnapf — and that left room for unrestrained creativity. Doing this, he says, “leaves a little bit of room for discovery with the collaborator and room for their influence. I’ve always tried to do that but I did it more this time because I have confidence that I’ll be able to come up with it on the spot.” Adding to that, Knox brought in a number of Toronto’s finest musicians to collaborator for the sessions including July Talks‘ Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay and Tokyo Police Club‘s Dave Monks.

Here Tonight‘s latest single is the rousingly anthemic, Live It Up.” Centered around fuzzy power chords, forceful drumming, a big arena rock friendly hook and an ethereal falsetto, the track recalls 120 Minutes alt rock — in particular, The Posies, The Breeders, Smashing Pumpkins and even more contemporary acts like Silversun Pickups but with the free-flowing air of a bunch of guys jamming and coming up with something incredibly cool and full of furious passion.

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ibibio Sound Machine Releases Vividly Colored Visuals for Funky Album Single “Wanna Come Down”

I’ve written quite a bit about this site’s newest mainstay, the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine over the past few months, and the act, which is fronted by Nigerian-born vocalist Eno Williams and features Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth) and Max Grunhard (sax, synth) over the course of their first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2017’s Uyai — have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that’s influenced by golden era West African funk and disco and contemporary post-punk and electro pop.

Now, as you may recall, the London-based act’s third, full-length album Doko Mien is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Merge Records, and the album which derives its name from the Ibibio phase that translates into English as “tell me,” reportedly finds the act crafting a sonic world of entrancing specificity and comforting universality, essentially blurring the lines separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and the future. Album title track  and first official single, “Doko Mien,” was centered around a glimmering, hook-driven club banger  featuring 80s synth funk meets disco-like beats, arpeggiated synths, African polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and pizzicato guitar and an explosive horn arrangement. Sonically, the song strikes me as a wild, genre-bending amalgamation of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin‘,” Chicago house and Fela Kuti — and adding to the globalist vibes, Williams soulfully sings lyrics in both English and Ibibio, the Nigerian dialect from which the London-based act derives its name.

Doko Mien‘s second and latest single “Wanna Come Down” continues in a similar, club-banging vein as its predecessor as its centered around a rubbery, Bootsy Collins meets Flea bass line, an explosive horn line, arpeggiated synths and propulsive beats and Williams powerhouse vocals singing lyrics in her native Ibibio and English. Sonically, the song is a wild and seamless synthesis of 80s synth funk, Afrobeat and JOVM mainstays Escort — all while feeling like a sultry come on. In line with the track’s beckoning title, the band’s frontwoman Eno Williams says, “The Ibibio lyrics of the track are about the healing power of the river and the chorus. ‘Wanna come down, get ready ‘coz we’re gonna go’ is inviting people to come, dance and get involved with what’s going on.”

The recently released video employs the use of a bold and vivid color palette that includes reds, blues, white, yellows, purples and an array of other pastels, as well as split screens that feature each of the band’s musicians performing the funky club banger; but the heart of the song and the video is the band’s commanding frontowman. 

New Audio: Ibibio Sound Machine Releases a Slow-Burning, Quiet Storm-Inspired New Single

Throughout the first few months of this year, I’ve written a bit about the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine and as you may recall, the act, which is fronted by Nigerian-born vocalist Eno Williams and features Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth) and Max Grunhard (sax, synth) over the course of their first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2017’s Uyai — have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that’s influenced by golden era West African funk and disco and contemporary post-punk and electro pop.

Slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Merge Records, the London-based electro pop act’s third full-length album Doko Mien derives its title from an Ibibio phrase that translates into English as “tell me,” and the album reportedly finds the collective crafting a sonic world of entrancing specificity and comforting universality, essentially blurring the lines separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and the future. The album’s first single, album title track“Doko Mien,” was centered around a glimmering, hook-driven club banger  featuring 80s synth funk meets disco-like beats, arpeggiated synths, African polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and pizzicato guitar and an explosive horn arrangement. Sonically, the song is a wild, genre-bending amalgamation of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin‘,” Chicago house and Fela Kuti — and adding to the globalist vibes, Williams soulfully sings lyrics in both English and Ibibio, the Nigerian dialect from which the London-based act derives its name. Doko Mien’s second single “Wanna Come Down” is a club-banger centered around a rubbery, Bootsy Collins meets Flea bass line, an explosive horn line, arpeggiated synths and propulsive beats and Williams powerhouse vocals singing lyrics in her native Ibibio and English. Sonically, the song is a wild and seamless synthesis of 80s synth funk, Afrobeat and JOVM mainstays Escort — all while feeling like a sultry come on.

“Guess We Found A Way,” Doko Mien’s third and latest single is a slow-burning ballad featuring shimmering guitars, a simple yet propulsive back beat, a funky bass line and Williams’ sultry vocals that immediately brings Quiet Storm-era soul to mind. “It’s a song about trying to speak to people in words that no-one understands, conveying your feeling with just the music which is what we try to do in many of our songs,” the band’s Eno Williams says in press notes. 

New Video: Moon King Releases an 80s Computer Generated Visual for Shimmering and Hazy Club Banger “Neon Lights”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto, ON-born and-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded solo electro pop project Moon King. Now, as you may know, the act initially began as a solo recording project but may be best known for a several year period in which Benjamin collaborated with Maddy Wilde (vocals, guitar); but with Wilde’s departure a few years ago, Benjamin returned to his roots — writing and recording as a solo project. Coincidentally around the same time, Benjamin relocated to Detroit, MI, where he spent a year working and living in the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck. .

Benjamin’s stint in Hamtramck inspired the Hamtramck 16 mixtape, a mixtape that not only documented his arrival into a new, unfamiliar place but was also a radical change in sonic direction and songwriting approach with the material capturing his increasing obsession with electronic dance music. His forthcoming album, Voice of Lovers is the first full-length album of new material since he began fully embracing underground house, techno and electro pop — and the material finds the Canadian-born songwriter, producer and electronic music artist in a state of discovering and experimentation in which he synthesizers something fresh and unexpected out of dollar bin disco, new wave, eurotrash and more.  “There are a lot of quick cuts and transitions and the songs are pretty short, it’s meant to feel a bit breathless or disorienting, like driving around and dropping in at a few different clubs in a night. Lyrically the songs are little stories from the last couple of years…… trying to live in the US as a non-citizen, listening to records at the apartment in Hamtramck, late nights out at parties like Freakish Pleasures and Macho City, trips with the crew to Montreal, being on tour during the 2016 US election, spending the holidays alone in Detroit, the deaths of George Michael & Prince and the unfinished Moon King record from 2015. It’s dark and fun and a little nihilistic but ultimately positive.”

Voice of Lovers’ first single is the 80s synth funk meets Teddy Riley/New Jack Swing meets classic Chicago house track “Neon Lights.” Centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering boom-bap-like drum programming, soulful vocals from Vespere and a rousing hook, the song manages to sound as though it were released in 1983 or so. And while evoking sultry and hazy summer nights, the track actually has an achingly lonely quality to it — as though the song’s narrator was spending time playing their favorite albums to gear themselves up to head out to the club. 

The recently released retro futuristic video by Stacie Ant uses computer-generated 3D figures dancing and singing along to the song in 80s-inspired clubs and outfits, complete with period-specific special effects to boot. 

Look for Voice of Lovers on April 2, 2019 through Arbutus Records. 

New Video: Miles Francis Releases a Cinematic and Surreal Video for EP Single “I Could Use Your Love”

Throughout the course of this site’s almost nine history, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Miles Francis, who has had stints as a member of JOVM mainstays Superhuman Happiness and Antibalas, and as the frontman of Afrobeat/Afropop-inspired collective EMEFE. The 26 year-old, New York-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter has also collaborated with an impressive and diverse array of artists including Arcade Fire,  Mark Ronson, Sharon Jones, Amber Mark, Angelique Kidjo, Allen Toussaint, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler and others — all before stepping out on his own as a solo artist. 

Now, as you may recall, Miles Francis’ debut EP Swimmers was released last year, and the album which was written in the back of tour vans and hotel rooms while on the road. Eventually recorded in his basement studio, the EP’s material thematically captures the mood and vibe of someone in their early to mid-20s, attempting to figure out themselves and the extremely complicated and ambivalent world they’ll continually confront as an adult; how they fit into that world; and the struggle to figure out the purpose and meaning of their own lives. Interestingly, Swimmers put the New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist on the local and national map for crafting hook-driven, left field pop inspired by Bowie, Sly Stone, J. Dilla, Talking Heads, D’Angelo, Paul McCartney, Fela Kuti and Prince among others. 

Self-recorded with Francis recording each instrumental part in an organic, old school-inspired fashion in his basement studio and released last week, Miles Francis’ sophomore solo EP Doves finds him continuing to craft hook-driven, left field pop — but with a wider emotional palette. And while each song on the EP has its own unique sound, they manage to fall under an overall thematic and creative umbrella of sorts. The EP’s latest single, “I Could Use Your Love” is centered around a breezy and infectious hook, twinkling blasts of guitar, buzzing bass synths, stuttering beats and Francis’ plaintive and sultry vocals. Sonically, the song sounds like a slick and seamless synthesis of late period Beatles, Talking Heads, Prince and Afropop, but with a post-modern sensibility. Much  like the rest of the EP is based around the inner dialogue that we all have on a daily basis that brings up and down — in this case, evoking the desperation and longing inspired by profound loneliness. 

Directed by long-time collaborator Charles Bidet, the recently released video for “I Could Use Your Love” continues a run of cinematically shot and surreal treatments — with Francis surrounded by shadowy figures, who perform with him in a gorgeous performance space. In one way, the shadowy figures can be seen as a representation of the protagonist’s neurotic fears, doubts and loneliness. 

New Audio: Ibibio Sound Machine Releases a Shimmering and Funky Club Banger

Earlier this year, I wrote about the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine, and the act, which is fronted by Nigerian-born vocalist Eno Williams and features Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth) and Max Grunhard (sax, synth) over the course of their first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2017’s Uyai — have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that’s influenced by golden era West African funk and disco and contemporary post-punk and electro pop. 

Now, as you may recall, the London-based act’s third, full-length album Doko Mien is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Merge Records, and the album which derives its name from the Ibibio phase that translates into English as “tell me,” reportedly finds the act crafting a sonic world of entrancing specificity and comforting universality, essentially blurring the lines separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and the future. Album title track  and first official single, “Doko Mien,” was centered around a glimmering, hook-driven club banger  featuring 80s synth funk meets disco-like beats, arpeggiated synths, African polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and pizzicato guitar and an explosive horn arrangement. Sonically, the song strikes me as a wild, genre-bending amalgamation of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin‘,” Chicago house and Fela Kuti — and adding to the globalist vibes, Williams soulfully sings lyrics in both English and Ibibio, the Nigerian dialect from which the London-based act derives its name.

Doko Mien’s second and latest single “Wanna Come Down” continues in a similar, club-banging vein as its predecessor as its centered around a rubbery, Bootsy Collins meets Flea bass line, an explosive horn line, arpeggiated synths and propulsive beats and Williams powerhouse vocals singing lyrics in her native Ibibio and English. Sonically, the song is a wild and seamless synthesis of 80s synth funk, Afrobeat and JOVM mainstays Escort — all while feeling like a sultry come on. In line with the track’s beckoning title, the band’s frontwoman Eno Williams says, “The Ibibio lyrics of the track are about the healing power of the river and the chorus. ‘Wanna come down, get ready ‘coz we’re gonna go’ is inviting people to come, dance and get involved with what’s going on.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Camille Trust Releases a Sultry Bit of Funky Pop

Over the past few years of this site’s almost nine year history, I’ve written a bit about the up-and-coming Tampa, FL-born, New York-based soul/pop artist, Camille Trust. And as you may recall, Trust has publicly cited Janis Joplin, Lauryn Hill and Etta James as major influences — although from her live shows and raw, unvarnished honesty, her work strikes me as being much more indebted to Mary J. Blige.

Last year was big year for the Tampa-born, New York-based soul/pop artist as she released her long-awaited debut EP No Other Way, which featured the sultry “Freak,” a track that to my ears was part Gwen Stefani “Hollaback Girl” part Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” part Rick James with an Earth Wind and Fire-like horn line. Sonically, the song was a strutting and swaggering bit of hook-driven funk paired within a brash and boldly feminist anthem in which, the song’s narrator openly and freely talks about lust and desiring raunchy, freaky sex from her object of affection.  Building upon the attention that she received for “Freak,” Trust’s latest single “Scandalous” continues in a similar vein — sultry and strutting, hook-driven funk with a sinuous bass line, a big horn line; but unlike its predecessor, the song sounds a bit more indebted to Prince and Carl Carlton’s “She’s a Bad Mama Jama” and The Gap Band, with a self-assured, come-hither performance from Trust. 

Directed by Dylan Perlot and featuring choreography by Camille Trust and Ivy Ledon, the recently released video for “Scandalous” continues from its predecessor, following Trust is a feverishly shot visual that features split screens, 80s styled Flashdance-like dance routines and some sultry strutting from Trust and her backing dancers — as expected. Much like the song it accompanies, it’s brash, self-assured and just a lot of fun, capturing a young vocalist, who I think we’ll be hearing quite a bit more from.