Tag: Robyn

New Video: Renowned Swedish Electro Pop Artist Releases Unsettling and Brutal Visuals for an Uncompromisingly Honest Album Single

Jenny Wilson is a Swedish-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electronic music artist, who founded and fronted First Floor Power, an act that was signed to The Knife’s Rabid Records; in fact, The Knife’s Karin Dreijer wrote the duet “You Take My Breath Away” after catching a First Floor Power set. Wilson has also appeared on renowned Swedish synth pop artist Robyn’s debut EP; but as a solo artist, Wilson has won 3 Swedish Grammi Awards for her fourth full-length album, 2013’s Demand The Impossible!, which she self-produced and released while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Wilson’s fifth full-length album EXORCISM is slated for an April 20, 2018 release through Gold Medal Recordings — and while the album is the first batch of new material from Wilson in over five years, the album may arguably be the most unflinchingly personal material she’s ever written and released, as the album deals with the harrowing aftermath of Wilson’s experience as a victim of sexual assault. Sonically centered around a Prophet 6 analog synthesizer, the album reportedly finds Wilson seeking to divest herself from the recurrent trauma of her attack. As Wilson says in a statement she wrote, found in press notes:

“This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
In so many ways.
At first, I actually didn’t know if I even wanted to go on with music anymore.
Then, something terrible happened to me.

I ended up at a crossroads.
Either silent  –  or speaking.
It was not an easy choice.

I didn’t want to talk.
I didn’t manage to talk.

But I had to talk.

Not to bring justice or to take revenge.
Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

I wanted to take back what I’d lost.
I had to get rid of what was hurting me.”

EXORCISM’s second single “LO HI” is an uncompromisingly honest and confessional account of her sexual assault, including the confusing array of terror, shame, regret and anxiety she felt during her assault and in its aftermath — paired with a propulsive, dance floor friendly production featuring thumping beats, arpeggiated synths and infectious hooks, making the song an unsettlingly ironic amalgam of vibrant and thoughtful electro pop centered around unspeakable, powerless horrors that straight cis men rarely could comprehend — or even have knowledge of. 

The recently released video for “Lo Hi” features a mix of strobe-lit footage of Jenny, of footage of someone being chased and graphic animation-based sequences used to an uncomfortable and unsettling effect emphasizing the sense of  unending and inescapable terror that it’s creator and narrator are desperately trying to escape. 

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Adrian Underhill is a Vancouver, British Columbia-born, Toronto, Ontario-based singer/songwriter, who has a number of stints in indie rock bands in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, before the low-key release of his solo debut EP in 2012; however, sometime after that, Underhill completely revamped his songwriting process, employing keyboards, synths and drum machines, which found him gravitating towards a slinky R&B-inspired pop sound but paired with a simple and very direct, earnest lyricism.

Describing the writing process for forthcoming album, CU Again, Underhill says “I sat with a keyboard and one drum machine and tried not play much with production ideas. The tunes have a classic, 70s songwriter vibe, even though we ultimately pushed the production into a very different realm. This simple, direct way of songwriting is me at my best.”

The recording sessions for CU Again found the up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter collaborating with British electronic production Kindness (also known as Adam Bainbridge), best known for his work with Robyn, Solange and Blood Orange with the renowned producer and Underhill working on electronic elements in Montreal before they went to Los Angeles for at three-day session with a live, funk supergroup that included JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk (drums) Keith Eaddy (bass) and Brandon Coleman (keys). And the end result finds the material being a seamless blend of Kindness’ electronic production with warm, organic instrumentation as you’ll hear on CU Again‘s swooning “Weather,” which pairs a looped and chopped keyboard sample with stuttering and skittering drum programming, arpeggiated synths and Underhill’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics on how time changes people and their moods, like the weather.  What makes the song interesting to me is that it walks a careful tightrope between sincerity and playfulness, familiarity and complete strangeness.
As Underhill adds, “On ‘Weather’, I love how the production came out. Adam (Bainbridge) took my original demo and just kinda warped it and morphed it, almost like a remix, adding new drums and changing the keyboard sounds I had played. Then we added the live piano and synth bass from Brandon Coleman (Kamasi Washington) and Keith Eaddy (DāM-FunK). In the end it’s quite playful and strange – it’s a great combination of sounds.”

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

New Video: Scavenger Hunt’s “Stranger Things” and 80s Pop Inspired Sounds and Visuals for “Never Enough”

If you’ve been frequenting this site, you may recall that I wrote about “River Runs Dry,” a single off the duo’s soon to be released Shapes and Outlines EP — and that particular single found the band managing to mesh anthemic and swooning 80s-inspired synth pop with a slick, contemporary production with Lamoureaux’s sultry pop-star belter vocals. The EP’s latest single “Never Enough” is a mid-tempo bit of anthemic synth pop that sounds as though it were inspired by the likes of contemporary acts like St. Lucia and others, thanks in part to the use of chiming percussion that emphasizes the song’s hook, sinuous bass line, some Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar. Of course, I think the single will help to further cement the duo’s burgeoning reputation for crafting slick, anthemic and radio friendly electro pop with an heartfelt and swooning earnestness.

The recently released music video draws influence from both the hit Netflix show Stranger Things and from MTV-era pop videos but with an equally slick production and visual value.

With the release of their first singles “Lost” and “Dreamers,” which were featured in ad campaigns for Estee Lauder, Virgin Mobile and Hollister and made an appearance in the major motion picture Bad Moms, Los Angeles-based electro pop duo Scavenger Hunt, comprised of singer/songwriter Jill Lamoureux and producer, multi-instrumentalist Dan Mufson quickly rose to national attention for a sound that’s deeply influenced by Fleetwood Mac, 80s-era Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox, Sade, Robyn, 80s and 90s pop and R&B — while to my ears sounding much like Yaz and New Order. And adding to a growing national profile, the duo have toured with the likes of Haerts, Dragonette, Shura and Capital Cities. (In fact, I caught them open for Haerts at Brooklyn Bowl several years ago.)
“River Runs Dry,” the first single off the duo’s forthcoming EP manages to mesh 80s pop sentiment with slick and contemporary production that features propulsive drum programming, subtle use of xylophone that pop out of the ether and undulating synths paired with Lamoureaux’s sultry, pop star/pop belter vocals and an infectious and anthemic hook to craft a breezy, radio-friendly, dance-floor track that packs in quite a bit of swooning, aching emotion.