Tag: psych pop

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO Releases a Woozy and Menacing Cover of a Beloved 80s Classic

Over the past two decades, the Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Thomas Fec, best known as TOBACCO has used analog synthesizers and tape machines as as the frontman and creative mastermind of Black Moth Super Rainbow and as solo artist to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement and pleasure.  

2016 saw the release of TOBACCO’S fourth solo album, Sweatbox Dynasty — and since then the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly busy: TOBACCO and the members of his primary gig, Black Moth Super Rainbow reconvened to write and record 2018’s Panic Blooms, which was supported with tours with frequent tour mates The Stargazer Lilies and Nine Inch Nails. He went on to produce The Stargazers Lilies’ abrasive yet trippy Occabot and collaborated with Aesop Rock in Malibu Ken, a project that released a critically applauded album. Additionally, TOBACCO penned the theme song to HBO’s Silicon Valley. 

TOBACCO’s first batch of new, solo material is the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch, which was recently released through Ghostly International. Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the past 35 years or you’re 17, you know that the Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written “Hungry Eyes” performed by Eric Carmen appears in an important scene of the 80s classic Dirty Dancing. The Pittsburgh-based JOVM mainstay has been covering “Hungry Eyes” in recent live sets — but before that, it appeared in a Pokemon porn parody. 

Interestingly, TOBACCO’s take on the 80s pop hit retains the original’s beloved and familiar melody and structure intact but while fucking with its texture in his characteristically sludgy and woozy style, centered around blown out bass, scuzzy synth arpeggios, analog gurgle and hiss and Fec’s heavily vocoder’ed vocals. The end result is a cover that purposelessly smudges and obscures the original’s sentimentality in a way that’s uneasy and menacing. “I did ‘Hungry Eyes; because I just love it. It’s a perfect song,” Fec says in press notes. “I play it straightforward and stay mindful not to disrespect the original.”

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Closing Eyes · You Can Have Everything

Oslo’s Closing Eyes — Eirik Asker Pettersen, Magnus Asker Pettersen, Emilie Lium Vordal, Anders Emil Rønning and Jørgen Bjella — are a rising indie act, who has developed a sound and approach that’s inspired by an eclectic array of influences including Yo La Tengo, Stereolab, Spiritualized, The Velvet Underground, The Electric Prunes, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto Gil, The Magnetic Fields, and The Soft Bulletin-era The Flaming Lips. 

With the release of 2014’s debut EP Melodies for the Contemporary Mind, which led to them opening for Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier — and their full-length debut, 2018’s Soft Years, the act started to receive quite a bit of attention from the Norwegian press. Adding to a growing profile, the act played several showcases in their native Norway and they opened for The Brian Jonestown Massacre. They ended a big 2018 with the the 12-inch effort Reworked, which featured remixes from Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, Young Dreams and Serena Maneesh.

The members of the rising Norwegian indie act spent last year writing and recording their recently released Emil Nikolaisen-produced sophomore album Eternal Fidelity.  The album highlights a band that has grown more confident while crafting material that’s nostalgic yet modern, centered around big chords and sentimental melodies.  “Sometimes I try very hard to hold on to something but it just feels like it’s slipping through my fingers. Ideals, dreams, identities or friendships are all things that live so strongly and easily when we’re young but often seem to lose footing as we grow older,” the band’s Eirik Asker Pettersen says of the album’s overall vibe and themes. “Convictions that seem so solid can suddenly dissolve and become unresolved issues. I don’t think we’re too good at dealing with that. Mostly, Eternal Fidelity is about those feelings. It’s about trying to hold on, let go and make sense of it all. It’s about clinging to what’s important even though it might not be easy all the time.”  

Eternal Fidelity‘s latest single is the woozy “You Can Have Everything.” Centered around shimming and arpeggiated blocks of keys, boom bap-like drums, fuzzy power chords and an rousingly anthemic hook, the song manages to a woozy and achingly nostalgic song that evokes the rapid passing of time, as well as the constantly changing priorities and responsibilities of adult life. Life changes you after all; it does that very well.

 

 

Los Angeles-based psych pop act Amo Amo can trace their origins to mid-2017 when a group of dear friends — Lovelle Femme, Omar Velasco, Justin Flint, Shane Mckillop and Alex Siegel — got together for an impromptu jam session in Los Angeles with My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James.  As the story goes, the individual members of the quintet had premonitions that they all shared a deep psychic bond, which would lead to a revelation creatively and through sound. Five months later, the band emerged with their Jim James-produced, self-titled, full-length debut, an effort that featured their viral hit “Closer To You,” a track that has amassed over 3 million streams, appeared in an Apple ad campaign and has received airplay on KCRW and KCSN.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band opened for Poolside, Jonathan Wilson, Hailu Mergia, Os Mutantes and for My Morning Jacket at Red Rocks. The members of the Los Angeles-based quotient were also the backing band for Karen O‘s and Danger Mouse‘s latest project Lux Prima. And adding to a breakthrough year, they collaborated with Poolside on “Around The Sun,” which was hailed as a “Song You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone.

Earlier this year, the members of Amo Amo signed to Poolside’s Pacific Standard Records.  Last month, the band released “Canta,” a mesmerizing and breezy track that sonically seemed indebted to JOVM mainstays Pavo Pavo with a healthy dash of Tropicalia and trip hop, complete with a sinuous bass line, shimmering guitars, stuttering beats, ethereal vocals and a rousing hook.  Centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths, shuffling beats, reverb-tinged guitars, a sinuous bass line, ethereal vocals and an infectious hook, the band’s latest single “Missed Connections” continues on a similar path as its predecessor —  and while the song seems to nod at early 80s Stevie Nicks, it expresses a longing that feels all too familiar.

“‘Missed Connection’ explores themes of isolation and the absence of human connection within our technology-obsessed culture — a message which feels especially resonant in the current climate of pandemic and social distancing,” the members of Amo Amo explain. “The song expresses a deeply felt yearning for reconnection, not only with one another but with all forms of life and with Earth itself.

Canta EP, which will feature “Canta” and “Missed Connection” is slated for a June 19, 2020 release and its scheduled to coincide with the Summer Solstice.

New Video: DG Solaris’ Much-Needed Blast of Playful Optimism

Danny Green is a London-based singer/songwriter, best known for his time fronting British folk pop act Laish. With Laish, Green released four critically applauded albums through French indie label Tailres, which he and his bandmates supported with extensive touring across the UK, the European Union and the States. 

Last March Green’s life changed — he met his soon-to-be wife Leanna “LG” Green. And by December, the pair married. For their honeymoon, the Greens decided to spend six months traveling across South America with a simple recording set up that they carried with them in a backpack. And that’s how their newest project together DG Solaris began.  “In between swimming with sea-lions, exploring sacred plant medicines and climbing mountains, we had been searching for beautiful spaces to set up our backpack studio,” DG Solaris’ core duo explain in press notes. “All of our recordings feature the sounds of birds, cicadas and crickets.”

Returning to London after their honeymoon, the duo recruited Tom Chadd, Matt Canty and Matt Hardy to help flesh out the material they wrote and demoed during their trip across South America. And the end result is the act’s forthcoming full-length debut, Spirit Glow which is slated for a June 19, 2020. Reportedly, the album is a focused development to Green’s songwriting with the material drawing from and meshing elements of 70s psych pop, synth pop, krautrock and prog in a unique fashion. Ultimately, the album’s material was written as a textural journey through different emotional realms. “We wanted to explore the idea of two voices, two spirits, two creative minds and see where this dynamic could take us,” DG Solaris’ Leana Green says in press notes. Danny Green adds, “It has been an incredibly inspiring trip. We came back with over forty songs and it has been a challenge to chose our favourites for this first album.”

Back in March, I wrote about the woozy album single “Brother, I’ll Ask Her.” Centered enormous and an expansive song structure  featuring a pastoral and slow-burning introduction, a lurching Fleetwood Mac and Nick Drake-like middle section and a krautrock-like coda with fluttering flute and synth arpeggios,  the track is a hallucinogenic fever dream that’s inspired by deeply personal experience: a painful shamanic experience they had in the Peruvian jungle. Interestingly, “Don’t Need to Tell You” is a decidedly upbeat song centered around a lushly textured arrangement of LG’s gorgeous and expressive vocals, shimmering acoustic guitar, atmospheric synths and flute, an infectious hook led by boy-girl harmonies, a supple bass line and propulsive drumming. And while clearly indebted to 70s psych folk and 60s bubble gum pop, the breezy pop confection accurately captures and evokes the giddy joy of new love. “We wanted to release something unflinchingly positive and happy during this difficult time. The song is an expression of unquestioning love for someone,” the Greens say. 

The recently released video for “Don’t Need to Tell You” is split between live footage of the band performing in little clubs, and footage of the adorably in love couple in South London’s Ruskin Park on a glorious day goofing off and enjoying each other. While playful, the video should be a reminder that when things are at their most difficult and their most bleak that we should lean on those we love. 

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. 

 

Los Angeles-based psych pop act Amo Amo can trace their origins to mid 2017 when a group of dear friends — Lovelle Femme, Omar Velasco, Justin Flint, Shane Mckillop and Alex Siegel — got together for an impromptu jam session in Los Angeles with My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James.  As the story goes, the quintet’s individual members had a premonition that they shared a deep psychic bond that would lead to a revelation in sound. Five months later, after a month-long recording retreat in the California vineyards, the band emerged with their Jim James-produced, self-titled, full-length debut, which featured their viral hit “Closer To You,” a track that has amassed over 3 million streams, appeared in an Apple ad campaign and has received airplay on KCRW and KCSN.

 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band opened for Poolside, Jonathan Wilson, Hailu Mergia, Os Mutantes and for My Morning Jacket at Red Rocks.  The members of the rising Los Angeles-based psych pop act were tapped as the backing band for Karen O‘s and Danger Mouse‘s latest project Lux Prima. And adding to a breakthrough year, they collaborated with Poolside on “Around The Sun,” which was hailed as a “Song You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone.

Earlier this year, the members of Amo Amo signed to Poolside’s Pacific Standard Records. Continuing the massive momentum they’ve received over the past couple of years, the band’s first single on Poolside Records, the mesmerizing and breezy “Canta” is centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering guitars, stuttering beats, ethereal vocals and a rousing hook. And while evoking an ecstatic swoon, the track sonically will draw comparisons to JOVM mainstays Pavo Pavo with a healthy dash of Tropicalia and trip hop.

Specifically released on Earth Day, the track as the band explains advocates for communities living symbiotically in the world: “The beauty, cooperation & abundance found in nature embodies the earth’s deep love for us all. Each part of life sings its existence and contributes to this great love song! Bees pollinating flowers, whales singing to one another, even when one being dies to nourish another we see the cycles & interconnectedness of life. ‘Canta,’ meaning ‘Sing’ in Spanish, asks us to think deeply about what it truly means ‘to love’ & implores us to do our part to care for all life, all earth, with our actions.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Das Kope’s Apocalyptic and Lo-Fi Take on Psychedelia

Deriving his name from the letters within the word kaleidoscope, the mysterious São Paulo-born, Los Angeles-based psych pop multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Das Kope has a lengthy history of adhering to a DIY ethos. Frequently creating in solitude, the Brazilian-born, Southern California-based does everything himself: he writes and plays every note of his material, produces everything and even creates animated visuals that accompany his work. 

Thematically, his work focuses on his journey from São Paulo to Los Angeles, where a seemingly infinite run of ideas, kept him hostage — figuratively speaking — in his Hollywood apartment. Sonically, developing a sound that some have compared to Tame Impala and Ariel Pink with a “Beach Boys trapped in a Black Mirror episode vibe, the Brazilian-born, Los Angeles-based artist has built up a profile touring with STRFKR — and has had tracks fated on Spotify’s Fresh Friends and Modern Psychedelia playlists, who also called his self-made visuals as “groundbreaking.” 

Das Kope’s full-length debut Where I Live officially drops today and the album is an eerily fitting apocalyptic and lysergic portrait of a rebellious and boundary pushing artist in isolation. Interestingly, the album’s latest single, the decidedly lo-fi “Fascination,” which is centered around wobbling and shimmering synths, reverb drenched boom bap beats, buzzing guitars, an infectious hook and the Brazilian-born, Los Angeles-based artist’s dreamy vocals manages to recall Black Moth Super Rainbow — as it possesses a weird mix of menace and whimsy. 

“It’s easy for me to find ideas of isolation and anxiety in the album’s lyrics that relate to the feeling that people around the world seem to be sharing because of this crisis,” Das Kope says in press notes. “Even though I originally projected those feelings because of my artistic and personal struggles as a musician, I think they’re still very relatable to right now.”

Live Footage: Tame Impala Performs “Lost in Yesterday” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink over the past decade — yes, decade — covering the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker, the creative mastermind behind the critically acclaimed and commercially successful psych pop/synth pop project Tame Impala. Parker’s third, full-length album, 2015’s Currents was a critical and commercial breakthrough. Released to overwhelming and wide-ranging critical applause across the blogosphere and elsewhere, the album was Grammy-nominated, RIAA Gold-Certified effort that reflected a decided change in direction for Parker’s songwriting and sound: the material  featured some of  his most emotionally direct lyrics paired with an nuanced and textured sound that draw from psych rock, psych pop, prog rock, synth pop and R&B.

The Slow Rush, Parker’s recently released, fourth Tame Impala album conjures the feeling of a lifetime in a lightning bolt, of major milestones whizzing by you while you’re looking at your phone. Thematically, the album focuses on the rapid passing of time and the unending cycles of creation and destruction in life.  “A lot of the songs carry this idea of time passing, of seeing your life flash before your eyes, being able to see clearly your life from this point onwards. I’m being swept by this notion of time passing. There’s something really intoxicating about it,” Parker told the New York Times in a profile on him and the album.

Last year Parker released the first batch of new Tame Impala material in over four years — “Patience,” a decidedly upbeat banger that seamlessly bridged 90s house and 70s funk while being a thoughtful meditation on the cycles and phases of life and “Borderline” a blissed out, shimmering mid-tempo track with house music flourishes and a razor sharp hook. Unofficially, those two tracks were the first two singles off Parker’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated fourth album, The Slow Rush. Parker closed out last year with the release of “It Might Be Time,” a swaggering prog rock meets psych pop banger, centered around layers of shimmering  synth arpeggios, thumping beats,  an anthemic hook and Parker’s plaintive vocals.

The Slow Rush‘s fourth  “Lost in Yesterday” is a woozy and hallucinogenic  disco-tinged banger centered around a propulsive and sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a cathartic and soaring hook and Parker’s plaintive vocals. While sonically the song seems to continue a run of glistening and decidedly 80s inspired synth bangers, the song thematically finds Parker exploring time’s distorting effect on memories. Given enough time, nostalgia gives even the most embittering times in your life a bit of a rosy tinge, and a sense of purpose and meaning that you didn’t feel while experiencing it. At it s core, the song is a plea to break the urge to look back with rose colored glasses and live in the here and now.

Over the past couple of years of this site’s nearly 10 year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Stockholm, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, electro pop artist, electro pop producer and Labrador Records label head Johan Angergård and his various projects including Djustin, Club 8 and his solo recording project The Legends.

Since the early 00s, Angergård has released six albums, including 2009’s self-titled debut, 2015’s It’s Love and 2017’s Nightshift, which was a decidedly From Here to Eternity/fFrom Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder-like affair.  Along with that, the prolific Stockholm-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer, label held and JOVM mainstay has released a number of critically applauded, blogosphere dominating singles. He’s currently working on his forthcoming seventh full-length The Legends album — but in the meantime, his latest single, “Fascinating” finds the JOVM mainstay collaborating with emerging, Taos, NM-based psych pop duo Tan Cologne, who will be releasing their full-length debut Cave Vaults on the Moon in New Mexico this year through Labrador Records.

Clocking in at 83 seconds, the decidedly lo-fi song is a breezy and infectious track centered around shimmering and swirling layers of guitars, thumping percussion and ethereal vocals that evokes the sensation of diving through warm water — and of being awoken from a surreal, feverish dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perth, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jake Webb is the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded and commercially successful Aussie synth pop/psych pop act Methyl Ethel. Webb’s Methyl Ethel has amassed over 25 million Spotify streams globally — and after landing at #4 on Triple J’s 2017 Hottest 100, “Ubu,” was named an ARIA Accredited Gold single early last year. Also, his tour dates across Australia and the UK have regularly sold out since 2016. 

Although Webb has achieved commercial and critical success within a relatively short period of time, Methyl Ethel began as a sort of personal challenge. “I wanted to see if I could write, record and release some music before the band I was in at the time finished doing the same,” Webb says in press notes. “I did and subsequently withdrew from some close friends. Relationships were severed. I severed some even closer ones. This was all played out in such a public away, as it invariably does, so I withdrew more. My first album Oh Inhuman Spectacle became the ‘why me?/fuck you/sorry’ album that I wrote as a confused coping mechanism. It helped and I enjoyed it. I continued the introspective journaling with the follow-up, Everything is Forgotten. For me, that album said ‘who cares? all your emotions are irrational and meaningless anyway.'”

Webb’s most recent full-length album, last year’s Triage may be his most introspective and reflective effort to date with the material thematically, focusing on time and its passing, of getting older and occasionally becoming more mature, of the lies we have to tell ourselves and have to keep to keep on getting by.

Interestingly, Triage‘s follow-up effort, the forthcoming Hurts To Laugh EP, which is slated for an April 10, 2020 release through Dot Dash/Remote Control was recorded at the same time as Triage. Thematically, the five song EP touches upon the psychological difference between feeling and emotion. One is a conscious response to a set of circumstances, the other is the unconscious conditions of our very being that only occasionally surfaces through feelings — with the material probing ambiguities and paradoxes, implied by the effort’s title: you can laugh so hard that it hurts (joy) or you can laugh despite the pain (despair). 

Hurts To Laugh‘s first single, the stumbling and stuttering “Majestic AF” is centered around bubbling oscillator, analogue polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line, march-like drumming and a shimmering, slightly atonal synth melody and an anthemic hook paired with Webb’s plaintive falsetto floating over the mix. But at its core, the song manages to possess a dance floor-like energy while being earnest and uneasy.

Methyl Ethel will be embarking on aStateside tour to support his latest effort, opening for Peter, Bjorn & John during the Spring. The tour includes an April 10, 2020 stop at Webster Hall. Mid-April sees Webb returning to Australia for a solo tour at intimate venues across the country’s largest cities. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
March 23 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA#
March 24 – La Santa – Santa Ana, CA#
March 25 – New Parish – Oakland, CA#
March 27 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR#
March 28 – Crocodile – Seattle, WA#
March 31 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT#
April 01 – Bluebird – Denver, CO#
April 03 – Amsterdam – St. Paul, MN#
April 04 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL#
April 05 – Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI#
April 07 – Johnny Brendas – Philadelphia, PA#
April 08 – Union Stage – Washington, DC#
April 10 – Webster Hall – New York City, NY#
April 11 – Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA#
April 15 – The Outpost – Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
April 16 – Nightcat – Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
April 17 – Mary’s Underground – Sydney, AUSTRALIA
April 19 – Goodwill Club – Perth, AUSTRALIA
# Supporting Peter, Bjorn & John
All tickets