Tag: psych pop

Throwback: Happy 37th Birthday, Kevin Parker!

JOVM’s William Ruben Helms celebrates Tame Impala mastermind, Kevin Parker’s 37th birthday.

New Video: Vanille Shares Shimmering and Ethereal “M’as tu vu passer?”

Rising Montréal-based singer/songwriter Rachel Leblanc, best known to the outside world as Vanille, specializes in a sound that exists somewhere between ’60s folk and French chanson and brings the listener into a dreamlike world of dense forests and swooning heartbreak.

Leblanc’s sophomore Vanille album, the Alex Martel and Leblanc co-produced La clairière is slated for a February 3, 2023 release through Bonbonbon Records in Canada and Boogie Drugstore in Europe. Recorded at Wild Studio and Le Pantoum, La Clairére sees Leblanc retaining elements of the dream pop sound and approach that won her attention — but while leaning heavily into 60s English baroque folk.

Last summer, I wrote about “À bientôt,” a swooning and expansive bit of psych folk-meets-psych rock featuring a lush arrangement of strummed reverb-drenched guitars, gently padded drumming paired with Leblanc’s achingly tender falsetto. And at its core, is tale as old as time itself: a heartbroken narrator, in the aftermath of the devastation of a newly-ended relationship i left with their memories — and the bitter taste of their heartbreak.

La clairère‘s latest single “M’as tu vu passer?” continues a run of gorgeous, baroque folk-inspired material featuring strummed guitar, atmospheric synths, gently padded drumming and percussion paired with Leblanc’s plaintive and ethereal cooing. “M’as tu va passer?” is simultaneously a song about heartbreak and depression, and of dark and cold Montréal winters without anywhere to really go or anything to really do.

Directed by Rachel Leblanc and Irina Tempea, the accompanying visual for “M’as tu va passer?” is shot on Super 8 film to give it all a hazily nostalgic, old-timey air. The video references winter in several different instances: Leblanc laying down on a furry blanket with fake snow falling on her, Leblanc holding a snow globe and edited footage of a couple fighter skating.

New Video: Polycool Shares Slow-Burning “Spiral”

French psych pop outfit Polycool quickly established a unique sound that drew from Unknown Mortal OrchestraAirSebastian TellierNick Hakim, Connan Moccasin and others with the release of 2019’s full-length debut, Lemon Lord. The album’s material received airplay onRadio NovaFIPFrance InterLes Inrocks and others. 

Building upon a growing profile in their native France, the rising psych pop outfit has played sets at 2019’s Printemps de Bourges and 2020’s We Love Green

If you were following this site last year, you might recall that the members of the rising psych pop outfit related two singles:

  • Something Between Us,” a breezy and infectious bop centered around a strutting bass line, glistening synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar paired with a dance floor friendly hook and and a seductive falsetto delivery. The end result was a song that sounded like a slick synthesis of the Bee Gees and Tame Impala
  • Unlike You,” a swaggering and sultry song centered around glistening synth arpeggios, a strutting, Quiet Storm-like groove and buzzing guitars paired with a plaintive falsetto delivery and the band’s ability to craft an infectious hook. But underneath the sultry facade is something much more uneasy and menacing — the dysfunctional past relationship that you can’t escape from, that you can’t stop obsessively thinking of. 

Polycool starts off the new year with “Spiral,” a sultry. slow-burning and atmospheric bit of synth pop that to my ears seems like a slick synthesis of brooding melancholy, Quiet Storm soul and MGMT-like psych pop centered around a strutting bass line, glistening synths, and a buzzing yet soulful guitar solo paired with an achingly plaintive falsetto and the band’s unerring knack for razor sharp hooks. The song describes an uneasy and complicated affair of the heart — one in which lust and love are hopelessly confused.

Directed by Tino Gelli, the accompanying video for “Spiral” is shot in grainy yet sumptuous Super 8-styled black and white in the countryside.

New Video: Altin Gün Shares Kaleidoscopic Visual for Expansive and Anthemic “Rakiya Su Katamam”

Acclaimed Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop outfit and JOVM mainstays Altin Gün — founder Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals, keys) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s repeated tour stops to Istanbul with a previous band, which led to a deep and abiding passion for ’60s and ’70s Turkish psych pop and folk, and fueled by music discoveries Verhlust couldn’t find in his native The Netherlands.

Verhlust wasn’t just content to listen to the sounds he loved as an ardent fan; he had a vision of where he could potentially take that sound. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admitted in press notes. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.” 

The Amsterdam-based JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album, 2020’s critically applauded,  Grammy Award-nominated Gece helped to further establish their reputation for re-imagining traditional Turkish folk through the lens of modern psych rock and psych pop.

2021’s Yol, their third album, in three years, found the band continuing to draw from the rich and diverse traditions of Anatolian and Turkish folk but because of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of Altin Gün were forced to write in a completely new fashion for them: virtually — through the trading demos and ideas built around Omnichord808 and other elements, including field recordings and New Age-like ideas by email. “We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir explained in press notes. “The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”

The new songwriting approach, which featured arrangements built around Omnichord and 808s resulted in a bold, new sonic direction for the JOVM mainstays: sleek, synth-based retro-futuristic Europop with a dreamy quality, seemingly informed by an enforced period of uneasy reflection. Along with the change in sound and approach, Yol was the first album of the band’s growing catalog that saw them working with outside producers, Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album.

Just before the acclaimed JOVM mainstays went on an extensive North American tour, which included a two-night run Music Hall of Williamsburg last year, they shared the two-song digital single “Badu Sabah Olmadan”/”Cips Kola Kilit.” Both songs originally appeared in some fashion or another on the previous year’s Bandcamp-only album Âlem.

  • “Badu Sabah Olmadon” may arguably be one of the harder rocking songs the Dutch JOVM mainstays have released in some time, featuring a relentless motorik groove, some scorching guitar work, glistening synths and yearning vocals. “‘Badİ Sabah Olmadan’ is a traditional love song from the town of Kırşehir, where the poet begs his lover to come to him before the night ends,” the band explains in press notes. “We recorded an electronic version for our charity album Âlem, and then started to play it live with the band. We liked it so much that we decided to record a live band version. Happy to play it for our fans this spring!”
  • “Clips Kola Kilit” is a dance floor friendly, decidedly 80s synth bop centered around 808-like beats, glistening synth washes and wobbling bass synth paired with a coquettish and sultrily delivered spoken word/rap-like vocal. For those children of the 80s — like me — “Clips Kola Kilit” brings back memories of acts like WhodiniThe Human LeagueNu ShoozCherelle, and others. And interestingly enough, it sound as though it could have been on Yol but was cut from the album.

Slated for a March 10, 2023 release through ATO Records, Altin Gün’s highly-anticipated album, Aşk reportedly is a return to the ’70s Anatolian folk rock sound that characterized their first groundbreaking albums while capturing the urgency and power of their famously propulsive live show. Recorded using vintage equipment and techniques, the album’s ten songs feature visionary new interpretations and readings of traditional Turkish folk tunes, revealing how these old, beloved songs remain eternally resonant and ripe for constant reinterpretation.

“These songs have been covered so many times, always,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir says. ““But not really in psychedelic pop versions,” Jasper Verhulst adds. “It’s definitely connecting more with a live sound – almost like a live album. We, as a band, just going into a rehearsal space together and creating music together instead of demoing at home.”

Aşk will include the band’s dazzling reinvention of “Lelim Ley,” a classic song of lost love and exile, which features lyrics written by the late Turkish novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist Sabahattin Ali (1907–1948), taken from Ali’s 1937 short story “Ses.” Lelim Ley” was joined by music composed by Livaneli and released in 1975. Since then, the song has been lovingly embraced as one of the most well-known and beloved songs among Turkish people across the world.

The forthcoming album’s latest single “Rakiya Su Katamam” is a kaleidoscopic, space rock/psych rock-like take on the folk standard composed by Turkish writer/theologian Mustafa Öztürk, featuring a relentless motorik groove paired with wah-wah pedaled guitar, Dasdemir’s plaintive yet sultry delivery, and a scorching guitar solo paired with the band’s unerring knack for razor sharp hooks.

Produced and directed by Sylvain Rusques and Simon Moreaux, the accompanying animated video features both line animation and collages of dancer Manon Colin dancing and running through two dimensional and three dimensional, kaleidoscopic realms. It’s fittingly mind-bending.

Founded back in 1980, the Sydney-based ARIA Hall of Fame inductees The Church — currently founder member Steve Kilbey (vocals, bass, guitar); longtime collaborator and producer Tim Powles (drums), who joined the band in 1994 and has contributed to 17 albums; Ian Haug (guitar), a former member of Aussie rock outfit Powderfinger, who joined the band in 2013; multi-instrumentalist Jeffery Cain, a former member of Remy Zero and touring member of the band, who joined the band full-time after Peter Koppes left the band in early 2020; and their newest member, Ashley Naylor (guitar), a long-time member of Paul Kelly’s touring band and one of Australia’s most respected guitarists — was initially associated with their hometown’s New Wave, neo-psychedelic and indie rock scenes. But they became increasingly associated with dream pop and post-rock as their material took on slower tempos and surreal, shimmering soundscapes paired with their now, long-held reputation for an uncompromising approach to both their songwriting and sound. 

1981’s full-length debut Of Skins and Hearts, was a commercial and critical success thanks in part to the success of their first radio hit, “The Unguarded Moment.” And as a result, the legendary Aussie outfit was signed to major labels in Australia, Europe and The States. However, their American label was dissatisfied with their sophomore album and dropped the band without releasing it in the States. 

Although being dropped from their American label managed to slow down some of the international momentum surrounding the band a bit, 1988’s Starfish managed to be a smash hit, thanks to their only US Top 40 hit, “Under the Milky Way.” “Under the Milky Way,” received attention once again with its appearance in 2001’s cult-favorited film Donnie Darko.

While mainstream success has been a bit elusive, since the release of Starfish, the acclaimed Aussie outfit have developed a devoted, international cult following while being incredibly prolific. The bands 25th album, 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity was released to critical praise from the likes of PopMatters, who called the album “a 21st-century masterpiece, a bright beam of light amid a generic musical landscape, and truly one of the Church’s greatest releases.” 

The highly-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity — and their 26th album — The Hypnogogue is slated for a February 24, 2023 release through Communicating Vessels/Unorthodox. The album is the band’s first full-length concept album: Set in 2054, the album follows its protagonist Eros Zeta, the biggest rock star of his era, who travels from his home in Antarctica to use the titular Hypnogogue to help him revive his flagging and moribund fortunes. “The Hypnogogue is set in 2054… a dystopian and broken down future,” The Church’s Steve Kilbey explains. “Invented by Sun Kim Jong, a North Korean scientist and occult dabbler, it is a machine and a process that pulls music straight of dreams.”

Centered around the band’s unique swirling and textured guitar-driven sound paired with Kilbey’s imitable delivery, the album’s expansive and brooding title track and first single, “The Hypnogogue,” introduces listeners to the album’s characters — Eros Zeta and Sun Kim — while following Zeta, travel to meet Kim, and during the toxic and weird process, wind up falling in love with Kim, As Kilbey says, “. . . it all ends tragically (of course . .. as these things often do).

The Hypnogogue‘s second and latest single, the jangling and deceptively upbeat “C’est La Vie” continues the album’s narrative: Zeta’s agent warns him not to mess with that Hypnogogue. “His manager has heard some bad rumors about it, and he doesn’t want his boy all strung out on this unknown thing,” The Church’s Steve Kilbey explains. The song ends with a gorgeous, shimmering fade out. “Musically, the song is a fast-paced rocker very much initiated by our guitarist Ian Haug. But it has plenty of twists and turns and ends up fading away in a delicate and winsome way.”


The Hypnogogue is the most prog rock thing we have ever done,” Kilbey says. “We’ve also never had a concept album before,” he says. “It is the most ‘teamwork record’ we have ever had. Everyone in the band is so justifiably proud of this record and everyone helped to make sure it was as good as it could be. Personally, I think it’s in our top three records.”

New Video: Los Bitchos Share a Joyous and Seasonal Visual for “Los Chrismos”

London-based instrumental outfit Los Bitchos — Australian-born, Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguayan-born Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Swedish-born, Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — can trace their origins to meeting at various late-night parties and through mutual friends. Inspired by their individual members’ different upbringings and backgrounds, Los Bitchos have developed a unique, genre-blurring and retro-futuristic sound blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: 

  • The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. 
  • The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. 
  • Aussie-born Serra Petale is deeply inspired by her mother’s 70s Anatolian rock records. 
  • And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos.

“Coming from all these different places,” Los Bitchos’ Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

Los Bitchos’ Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut,  Let The Festivities Begin! was released earlier this year. Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! sees the London-based instrumental outfit further establishing their reputation for crafting maximalist and trippy, Technicolor, instrumental party starting jams — with a cinematic quality. 

The album’s celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at a gathering — and hopefully at the of this horrible period of despair and uncertainty, as a way to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year, you might recall that I managed to write about four of the album’s singles:

  • Las Panteras” a funky, mind-bending jam featuring shimmering synths bongos, cowbell, cabasa and wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers and surf rock-like guitars and a sinuous bass line. 
  • Good to Go,” another mind-bending, genre-blurring composition that begins with a decidedly Western intro with shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar twang before quickly morphing into a a trippy yet chilled out Latin funk meets Turkish psych affair with glistening synths, handclaps and a blazing guitar solo. 
  • Pista (Fresh Start),” a slick and trippy synthesis of chicha, cumbia and psych rock featuring looping guitars and dance floor friendly Latin rhythms. 
  • The Link Is About To Die,” a trippy party friendly groove featuring looping and glistening guitars, twinkling synths and shuffling rhythms.

The rapidly rising JOVM mainstays will cap off a momentous year with two singles “Los Chrismos,” their first-ever Christmas themed composition and “Tipp Tapp,” both which were released digitally and physically earlier this month on a flexi disc bundled with a red vinyl re-press of their debut album. Co-produced, by the band’s Serra Petal and Javier Weyler, the two new tracks were recorded at 5db. 

The first single of the batch, the Christmas-themed “Los Chismos,” is a celebratory party, starting romp with cheers and shouts, centered around a dexterous and looping guitar line, atmospheric synths that’s one-part cumbia, one-part psych rock and 100% unadulterated joy. Considering the continued strange and uneasy state of our world over the past couple of years, “Los Chrismos” is a much-needed joy and hope bomb.

“‘Los Chrismos’ is our ‘80s nostalgic Christmas dreamland. Shoop-shooping down the slopes into a cosy chalet strewn with fairy lights, join us for a glass of bubbly and a cosy Christmas party full of festivities!” The band shares. “We can’t wait to get dressed up and play this song on our Chrismos tour.” 

Directed, shot and edited by Tom Mitchell, the accompanying video continues the 80s vibes of the song: We the women of Los Bitchos skiing down the slopes before meeting up for a meal and bubbly in a cozy, chalet complete with fireplace, seasonal lights — and the exchanging of gifts. If you’re a child of the 80s as I am, the video is a playful and nostalgia-inducing walk down memory lane.

New Video: La Femme Shares Breezy “No Pasa Nada”

Paris-based JOVM mainstays La Femme have spent quite a bit time touring across Latin American and Spain. Those experienced helped inspired the band’s first song entirely in Spanish, “Le Jardin,” which appeared on their third album, last year’s Paradigmes.

“Le Jardin” led the band down the path to write Teatro Lucido. Deriving its name from a mythic theater, where the band has played many times while touring in Mexico, the album, which is slated for a Friday release will be their first album with lyrics written and sung entirely in Spanish. Teatro Lucido will also be the first of a planned thematic series of albums that the band has dubbed Collection Odyssèe.

Teatro Lucido is informed by their adventures in SevilleGranadaMadridMexico CityCuautepecPadul — all of which hold important places in their hearts, because they had a ton of laughs, joys, tears and disappointments in each. The album also reportedly draws from a number of different inspirations including Spain’s Semana Santa — or holy week; pasodoble, reggaeton, Brazilian and Andalusian rhythms, classical guitars and 80s Movida among others. Much like their previous releases, the members of French JOVM mainstays wrote, composed and produced the album entirely by themselves, while inviting numerous female vocalists to participate in the process. 

In the lead-up to the album’s release on Friday, I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

Sacatela,” a breezy, Tropicalia-like take on psych pop centered around an infectious, call-and-response vocal-led hook paired shuffling Latin rhythms and lyrics sung entirely in Spanish. 

Y Tu Te Vas,” a track centered around cinematic, flamenco-inspired guitars and a tweeter and woofer rocking reggaeton beat that might bring RosalíaBad Bunny, and others to mind. The song features a sultry, Shakira-like turn from Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Tatiana Hazel. “Tatiana is an artist living in Los Angeles where I recorded the track in 2019,” La Femme’s Marlon Magnée says of their collaboration. ‘Y Tu Te Vas’ is one of the more powerful tracks voice-wise on the album. Tatiana brings the track to another dimension, she really is one of the new artists to follow on the American scene.”

Written when La Femme’s Sacha Got was living at Adios Amores’ Iman Amar’s place in Grenada Spain, Teatro Lucida’s third and latest single “No Pasa Nada” centered around ’60s and ’70s Brazilian rhythms, strummed guitar, woozy synths and ethereal vocals from Amar. But the song’s seemingly breezy and easygoing nature is superficial; the song’s lyrics focus something far more menacing and fucked up — a night out in a foreign country gone horribly wrong.

Directed by the band, the accompanying video for “No Pasa Nada” was shot in the streets of Grenada, Spain — and features the band partying and having a wild night on the town that includes the familiar drunken, late night, zombie lurch thought town and the collapse into a queasy heap of limbs. The video was innspired by a night on the town the band had back in 2018, which ended with the members of the band blacking out. It was the kind of night that ends in the morning at 8AM when kids are going to school,” La Femme’s Sacha Got says.That kind of night where you drink to forget, and you end up forgetting what you drank… or you just don’t want to remember. And when you wake you’re like ‘No problem, nothing happened!’”

Stone Camillo is a 20 something, Buffalo-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the emerging psych pop project Diamond Revolver. Camillo started Diamond Revolver when he was just 15 — and since then, he has been prolific, releasing a steady stream of psych-inspired material centered around big hooks and trippy atmospherics. He is also frontman of Ancient Spaceship.

Camillo’s latest single “Diving” is the second single off his forthcoming Diamond Revolver debut. Centered around reverb-drenched keys, blown-out beats, jazz-like drumming and buzzing synths paired with Camillo’s dreamy delivery, “Diving” is a syrupy, slow-burner that evokes the sensation of tripping on hallucinogens while sonically nodding at Pink Floyd and Tame Impala.

Norwegian instrumental tropical funk/pop outfit Orions Belte — Øyind Blomstrøm (guitar), Chris Holm (bass) and Kim Åge Furuhaug (drums) — features members who have spent the bulk of their lives and professional careers as touring musicians. Naturally, they’ve been on the road — a lot. As the story goes, when Blomstrøm’s and Holm’s paths crossed for what seemed like the umpteenth time, they bonded over a mutual desire to create instrumental music, and they then decided to start a band together. The duo then recruited Holm’s Bergen scene pal Kim Åge Furuhaug to complete the band’s lineup.

With the release of 2018’s Mint, the Norwegian trio quickly established a genre-defying, style-mashing sound that draws from a wide and eclectic array of sources including 70s Nigerian rock, postcards from French Riviera, Formula One traces at Monza and 1971’s “Fight of the Century” between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.

2019’s Slim EP featured inventive reworkings of songs they love by artists they love, including Ghostface Killah‘s “Cherchez La Ghost,” Milton Nascimento‘s Tudo O Que Você Podia Ser”– and an original cut that pays homage to Norwegian beat group The Pussycats and the Mac Miller. 

Although the past two years may arguably be some of the most challenging years in recent memory for musicians and other creatives, the Norwegian trio haver remained extremely busy: In 2020, they released a handful of singles including “Bean” and 600m per minute, an EP of experimental compositions that derived its title from an elevator in Tokyo that can transport 40 people at a time a maximum speed of 600 meters per minute. The EP found the trio pushing the boundaries of instrumental music as they possibly could.

Last year’s sophomore album Villa Amorini derived its name from a popular Bergen nightclub; the place in town where everything happened — and where you needed to be, to be a part of it. Originally opened in the 80s as a fine dining spot, the business gradually evolved into an extravagant nightclub, where you’d see artists and DJs in loud t-shirts and oversized sunglasses. The album saw the trio meshing elements of underground pop, psych and world music, while further cementing their reputation for their ability to pull in listeners of diverse genres and styles. And with that understanding in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that the album’s material sets up a particular scene: the energy and vibe of a busy downtown sidewalk with intricately layered arrangements meant to draw you in and leave the listener wondering where it will lead.

A few weeks after Villa Amorini‘s release, the trio followed up with a Lagniappe Session EP in collaboration with Aquarium Drunkard. That June saw the release of their first live album, Scenic Route, which featured recordings from their live-streamed outdoor shows from the previous year.

Continuing their reputation for restless prolificacy, the Norwegian trio will be releasing a 3LP box set consisting of a solo album from each member — just like KISS did in 1978, they’ll gladly mention. The full 3LP box set is slated for November 18, 2022 release through Jansen Records: Chris Holm’s solo, self-titled album, a trippy psych pop-inspired affair was released last November. Øyvind Blomstrøm’s solo self-titled album, a funky mix of psych folk, psych funk, and psych blues was released earlier this year.

Last but not least, the band’s Kim Åge Furuhaug will be releasing his solo, self-titled album on November 18 2022, which coincides with the release of the of the box set. Furuhaug’s solo album is a sonic left-turn from Furuhaug’s work with Orions Belte: The album is a jazz album co-written and co-produced with Matias Tellez that features some of Norway’s finest jazz musicians, including Ole Morten Vågan (upright bass), Andreas Ulvo (piano, keys, organ) and Lars Horntveth (saxophone, clarinet, percussion, guitar).

“Jangle Med,” the first single of Furuhaug’s solo album is a meditative and expansive composition that seems indebted to classic bop jazz — in particular, Kind of Blue-era Miles Davis comes to mind. The arrangement is roomy enough for a warm and dreamy introduction featuring bursts of pedal steel, followed by gorgeous and soulful piano and clarinet solos from Horntveth.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Altin Gün Share Dazzling New Single

Deriving their name from the Turkish phase for “Golden Day,” the acclaimed Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gün — founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s repeated tour stops to Istanbul with a previous band, and his deep and abiding passion for ’60s and ’70s Turkish psych pop and folk, fueled by discoveries Verhulst couldn’t find in his native Holland. 

But as the story goes, Verhulst wasn’t just content to listen as an ardent fan; he had a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admitted in press notes. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.” 

Altin Gün’s sophomore album, 2020’s Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded Gece further established the band’s reputation for re-imagining traditional Turkish folk through the lens of psych rock and pop. Last year’s critically applauded Yol was the band’s third album in three years. And while the album found the band continuing to draw about the rich and diverse traditions of Turkish and Anatolian folk, pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns forced the Dutch outfit to write music in a completely new way for them: virtually — through trading demos and ideas built around Omnichord808 and other elements, including field recordings and New Age-like ideas by email. 

“We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir says in press notes. “The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”

As a result of the new songwriting approach and arrangements prominently featuring Omnichord and 808, the album saw the band crafting material that was a bold, new sonic direction: sleek, synth-based, retro-futuristic Europop with a dreamy quality, seemingly informed by the enforced period of reflection.

Additionally, the members of the acclaimed Dutch act, enlisted Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album, marking the first time that the band has collaborated with outsiders. 

The JOVM mainstays spent much of this year on the road, including a two-night run at Music Hall of Williamsburg earlier this year. (I was there for the first night of their two night run.) Just before they hit the road, the acclaimed Turkish psych outfit released a two song digital single “Badu Sabah Olmadan”/”Cips Kola Kilit.” Both songs originally appeared in some fashion or another on last summer’s Bandcamp-only album Âlem.

“Badu Sabah Olmadon” may arguably be one of the harder rocking songs the Dutch JOVM mainstays have released in some time, featuring a relentless motorik groove, some scorching guitar work, glistening synths and yearning vocals. 

“‘Badİ Sabah Olmadan’ is a traditional love song from the town of Kırşehir, where the poet begs his lover to come to him before the night ends,” the band explains in press notes. “We recorded an electronic version for our charity album Âlem, and then started to play it live with the band. We liked it so much that we decided to record a live band version. Happy to play it for our fans this spring!”

“Clips Kola Kilit” is a dance floor friendly, decidedly 80s synth bop centered around 808-like beats, glistening synth washes and wobbling bass synth paired with a coquettish and sultrily delivered spoken word/rap-like vocal. For those children of the 80s — like me — “Clips Kola Kilit” brings back memories of acts like WhodiniThe Human LeagueNu ShoozCherelle, and others. And interestingly enough, it sounds as though it could have been on Yol but was cut from the album.

Altin Gün’s latest single “Leylim Ley” is a classic song of lost love and exile that features music composed by renowned Turkish musician, author, poet and politician Zülfü Livaneli and lyrics written by the late Turkish novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist Sabahattin Ali (1907–1948). Although Ali’s life was cut tragically and brutally short, Ali occupies an important spot in modern Turkish work with his limited body of work frequently reimagined through music, theater and more.

Taken from Ali’s 1937 short story “Ses,” “Leylim Ley” was joined by music composed by Livaneli back in 1975 and has since been embraced as one of the most well-known and beloved songs among Turkish people across the globe. Understandably, it’s been covered countless times over — and in a wild variety of styles.

Altin Gün’s rendition of the classic song is far more stripped down than some more recent renditions and sees the band pulling out the hypnotic and dazzling instrumentation to the forefront, emphasizing a woozy, heartsick longing — for home and for loved ones. The recording manages to capture the propulsive energy of their live show, while heralding the arrival of the band’s highly-anticipated fourth album, which is slated for release sometime next year.