Tag: Sade

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Washed Out on SiriusXM’s “Live for SirusXMU Sessions”

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Perry, GA-born, Athens, GA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Ernest Greene, best known as the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded synth pop/chillwave project Washed Out.

Earlier this year, the Perry-born, Athens-based artist released “Too Late,” a track that sonically was a return to form: a swooning yet bittersweet bit of synth pop centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, Greene’s ethereal and plaintive vocals and a soaring hook — but with a subtly Mediterranean feel.

As it turned out, “Too Late” was unofficially the first single off Greene’s fourth album Purple Noon. Written, recorded by Greene with mixing handled by frequent collaborator Ben H. Allen, the album’s production followed a brief stint of writing with other artists — most notably writing with Sudan Archives on her debut Athena. Those collaborations allowed Green to explore R&B and modern pop and those sounds have made there way into Purple Noon‘s material. Not only is the material reportedly the brightest and more robust sounds he’s ever worked out; it’s also a decided step forward: unlike his previous released work, the vocals are placed front and center at the mix, with slower tempos, bolder, harder-hitting beats and a more comprehensive dynamic depth.

Deriving its name from Rene Clement’s 1960 film Purple Noon, which was based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mister Ripley, the album’s material is deeply inspired by the coastlines of the Mediterranean — with Greene paying tribute to region’s island-based culture, elegance and old-world charm. But the surroundings serve as the backdrop to stories of passion love and loss — with a deeper, perhaps more urgent emotional intensity: the album’s unofficial first single “Too Late” is a tale of a first meet, with all the confused and swooning emotions that come about.

Recently Greene recorded a live session for SiriusXM’s Live for SiriusXM Sessions with his backing band shot in his candlelit front room. The session includes a live version of one of my favorite tracks off Purple Noon, the aforementioned “Too Late,” and a slow-burning, shimmering and absolutely fitting cover of Sade’s “Cherish The Day,” which points at the lush, Quiet Storm-like R&B influences of the album — while reminding the viewer of how great Sade really is.

New Audio: Bodywash Releases a Slow-burning and Shimmering New Single

Bodywash is a Montreal-based dream pop act, that can trace its origins back to when its founding (and core) duo — Chris Steward (vocals, guitar) and Rosie Long Decter (vocals, synths) — were students at McGill University. Bonding over a mutual love of shoegaze and dream pop, Steward and Decter quickly found an immediate musical and creative simpatico when they started jamming together in at a McGill University basement rehearsal room.

Last year, the Montreal-based dream pop act released their full-length debut Comforter, and the album firmly established their sound: slow-burning, contemplative and hazy dream pop centered around atmospheric electronics, shimmering synths, effect pedaled guitar. plaintive and ethereal vocals and trip-hop-like beats that seemed to bring Slowdive, and Lightfoils to mind.

Bodywash’s latest single “Follow” is the first bit of new material from the band since last year’s Comforter and the track is a slow-burning, Sade/Quiet Storm-like take on shoegaze centered around shimmering and bluesy guitar lines, atmospheric electronics, stuttering beats and a soaring hook. But at its core, is a steadfast desire to stop repeating patterns that end up in heartache and bitterness, to proudly move forward as best as you can.

“Follow comes from a lot of things: a gig gone wrong; a run-in at a birthday party; a coat rack I was too lazy to put up,” the duo explain. “I wrote it during a period when I was realizing that a lot of my relationships were rooted in trying to ‘help’ or change people. Mostly, it’s about wanting to break that pattern, and to make peace with the fact that some people are better off apart. Sometimes you have to let go and hope that the person you miss is doing well, wherever they are.”

New Audio: Introducing the Sleek Dance Floor Friendly Sounds of Chicago’s DRAMA

Na’el Shehade is a Chicago-born and-based, Palestinian-American producer and DJ, who inherited an entrepreneurial drive from his late father, who immigrated from Palestine to the States in the 70s to build a better life. Shehade fell in love with DJ culture as a kid and as an adult took up music production and engineering. The Chicago-born and-based producer and DJ’s interest and passion led to a diverse and eclectic array of professional opportunities, including early studio work with Chance the Rapper and Kanye West and music projects for MTV and Bravo. 

Shehade’s collaborator Via Rosa grew up in a rather musical household: her parents played in a reggae band and toured as a family, homeschooling Rosa into her early teens. Although her music listening was limited primarily to oldies, Sade, Brazilian music and Afrobeat, a teenaged Rosa kept poetry journals — and by high school, she started writing songs and making beats. After relocating to Chicago in 2010, Via Roa connected with THEMPeople, a collective at the center of her adopted hometown’s sprawling hip-hop scene. 

Interestingly, the Chicago-based duo’s collaboration together, DRAMA can trace its origins to a chance meeting between them back in 2014. And since its formation, the duo have bootstrapped a subtle yet rapid rise on their own terms, centered around a sound that meshes Shehade’s Chicago house-infused production and Rosa’s soulful delivery, inspired by jazz, hip-hop and Bossa nova while managing to blur the lines between R&B, dance pop, heartbreak and bliss. Along with that, the duo have had a long-held history of a proud and bold DIY ethos, self-releasing several EPs and making multiple tours — on their own terms. 

DRAMA’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Dance Without Me is slated for a February 14, 2020 release through Ghostly International. Thematically, the album’s material reportedly finds the duo recasting romantic tragedy as moonlit self-acceptance while the material pairs  Rosa’s candid lyrics focused on expressionistic narratives about the intricacies of interpersonal relationships with sleek, dance floor friendly production. Instead of wallowing alone in their blues and heartache, the material features characters who sashay and strut, knowing their self-worth while being vulnerable. This album is dedicated to the people watching their friend’s love-lives grow and happen around them, and not having anyone,” Rosa says in press notes. 

“Gimme Gimme,” Dance Without Me’s second and latest single is a sleek and slickly produced club banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, Via Rosa’s effortlessly soulful vocals, twinkling hi-hats and a euphoric hook. And while seemingly being a sultry synthesis of Between Two Selves-era Octo Octa and classic, Larry Levan-era house, the track finds its love-sick narrator wobbling between aching vulnerability and proud, self-reliance, as she searches for a sign that it’s okay to love again. 

“The idea was to have a conversation with my myself about what kind of man I’m looking for,” Rosa explains in press notes. “In the chorus I repeat the line ‘I need you to stand and deliver. Cause I need a man that’s not gonna give me any any…’ The end I purposely left blank so listeners could insert what they don’t want from their next lover. Oddly enough the song was inspired by the closing scene in the movie Grease where Sandy sings to Danny ‘You better shape up cause I need a man.’ Only in my world, I’m Sandy, my heart is Danny and I’m telling my heart to shape up and give me what I want.”

Sis is a Berkeley, CA-based indie pop project that features singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Native Cat Recordings founder Jenny Gillespie Mason and Meernaa‘s husband and wife duo Carly Bond and Rob Shelton. The trio’s sophomore album Gas Station Roses will be officially dropping and its latest single “Night From Scratch” is an atmospheric and dreamy track centered around shimmering synths, thumping kick drum, a fluttering flute melody and ethereal vocals. And while evoking rippling and bubbling waters, the track — to my ears, at least —  manages to be deceptively anachronistic: the song manages to nod at breezy 70s AM rock and Sade.

 

 

 

Lyric Video: Acclaimed Indie Electro Pop Artist Tei Shi Releases a Slow-Burning and Ethereal New Single

With the release of a critically applauded batch of material — 2013’s Saudade EP, 2015’s Verde EP, 2017’s full-lenght debut, Crawl Space, a cover of Beyonce’s “No Angel” and a guest spot on Glass Animals’ “Holiest,” the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist and electronic music producer Valerie Teicher, best known as the creative mastermind behind Tei Shi has developed a reputation for crafting slow-burning, shimmering, ethereal pop. 

Teicher has spent the past couple of years working on her forthcoming sophomore album — but she’s also managed to find some time to collaborate with Blood Orange and Diddy on the viral hit song “Hope,” which has amassed over 10 million streams. Also, she appeared in the video for the song alongside Diddy, A$AP Rocky, Tyler the Creator and Empress Of — and she joined Blood Orange in a performance of the song at this year’s Coachella Festival. Interestingly, the album’s slow-burning and gorgeous first single “A Kiss Goodbye” is reportedly a tonal departure from her moodier, darker debut as it finds Teicher, who’s a Colombian-Canadian reconnecting with her Latin roots and influences with the material also reflecting her relocation from New York to Los Angeles. Interestingly enough, while superficially recalling Sade, the song has a subtle Brazilian tropicalia lilt — until the trap beat driven bridge, which gives the song an unexpected, urgency. 

“This song is about intuition—following my gut and my body more than my head,” Teicher explains press notes. “It’s about learning from love and from giving so much of myself to other people, and coming out of it with a more selfish mindset, to save my love and my nurturing for myself. It’s about figuring out who you are on your own and without someone else defining that for you, through trusting yourself and allowing for the universe, the supernatural, the unexpected to take hold.”

Featuring Superhuman Happiness‘ founding members Stuart Bogie, Eric Biondo, along with Andrea Diaz (a.k.a. Dia Luna); producer and multi-instrumentalist Ian Hersey, a former member of Rubblebucket; and Brain Bisordi (percussion), the Brooklyn-based experimental pop act TOUCH/FEEL can trace its origins to when Superhuman Happiness’ primary trio, had convened to write material for what they thought would be the band’s third full-length effort. And as the trio explains in press notes, while they had already begun to be known for crafting a sound based around bright and mischievous harmonies and driving, funky polyrhythms, the newer material turned out to be the complete inverse, as the material took on much darker melodies and harmonies with slower, heavier rhythms. The lyrics they began writing with that new sound focused on death, destruction and transformation as being a necessary part of the cycle of existence, drawing some thematic influence from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Tarot, re-runs of Unsolved Mysteries and the renewed sense of urgency that countless folks across the country felt after this past Presidential election. The project’s founding trio of Bogie, Biondo and Diaz then enlisted Ian Hersey and Byran Bisordi to join their new project, as the founding trio felt that both Hersey and Bisordi helped bring a rough edge to the proceedings that makes the music feel raw and alive, “and more like chamber music in the sense that we are playing to each other, and striving to engage each other like a string quartet would — without backing tracks or whatever to regulate the music to a clock.”

The project draws from a wild variety of influences including early Peter Gabriel, Sade, the Kronos Quartet, Fela Kuti and Kraftwerk, sonically as you’ll hear on the project’s debut single “ASHES/GOLD,” Diaz’s husky crooning ethereally floats over a slick production featuring processed drums, analog synths, filtered bass guitar, saxophone, flute and trumpet — and while still bearing a resemblance to the sound that won them attention with Superhuman Happiness, the track is a mid tempo track, full of  plaintive, unresolved longing and ambiguous and murky emotions.

From what I understand live, the material is meant to take the audience through 9 specific movements, much like a chamber music group balancing composition and improvisation and incorporating dancers and a degree of performance art. TOUCH/FEEL’s first live set is on March 4, 2017 at National Sawdust — and based on what the band describes, it sound be a spectacle.

 

 

Last month, I wrote about ACES‘ first single of 2017. “Just Cut It Out,” a single which will appear on an border-crossing synth pop compilation DRUG BLVD featuring contributions by artists from the US, Australia, the U.K, The Netherlands and elsewhere. Mastered by Barry Grint, who has worked with David Bowie, Radiohead, Prince, Oasis, Beastie Boys, Madonna, Guns ‘N’ Roses and others, the compilation will be the first release from new,  Istanbul, Turkey-based dream pop label Drug Boulevard, founded by Kubily Yigit, the founder of renowned Turkish progressive/trance label Blue Soho Records. The compilation’s second and latest single is a contribution from 23-year-old, Los Angeles, CA-based electronic music artist and producer Edrina K. Martinez, best known in electronic music circles as Astronautica. And as Astronautica, the young, up-and-coming Angelena is one of Alpha Pup Records newest addition to their roster, thanks to a lush and dreamy production style that channels Octo Octa’Between Two Selves and Sade, as you’ll hear on “Reasons” — but paired with thumping house music and 808-like beats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.