Tag: Sade

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.

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.

 

 

Nigerian-born, Montreal-based producer Teck-Zilla emerged as an up-and-coming producer with the release of Son of Sade: An Ode, an 18 minute instrumental mixtape that was intended as a tribute to both the renowned British-Nigerian vocalist Sade and the producer’s mother, who coincidentally is also named Sade. Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past two years or so, you might remember that I wrote about the Nigerian-Canadian producer’s Afro Bootleg EP, an EP that had the producer revisiting his birthplace, as he remixed some of Nigeria’s biggest hits with a populist, globe-spanning, crowd-rocking sound that would get asses moving in clubs across New York, Montreal, LagosLondonIbiza an others.

Although it’s been a little while since we’ve heard from Teck-Zilla, the Nigerian-born and Montreal, QC-based producer has been prolific, as he’s released a number of mixtapes, including the aforementioned Son of Sade and Afro Bootleg EP, as well as Souled Off: A Dedication to Molly Molls. His third and latest instrumental mixtape Joe Jackson Kids has the producer paying homage to Michael Jackson — mostly Jackson 5-era Michael Jackson as the mixtape features snippets of interviews with Michael Jackson and his family, as he was becoming increasingly uncomfortable and uncertain about his fame, and a variety of chopped up samples of Jackson 5 songs and Michael’s solo work. While reminding the listener that Michael Jackson’s ghost looms large in contemporary pop — hell, contemporary music in general — the mixtape also manages to create nuanced and empathetic portrait and interpretation of the young Michael Jackson. But ironically, the EP’s title comes from a playful, inside joke that the Nigerian-born, Montreal-based producer had with his brother. As Teck-Zilla explains in press notes “I got the title from one of my favourite Jeru the Damaja records, ‘Whatever,’ off his Wrath of the Math LP. That line always cracked me and my brother up every time, so it was kinda like an inside joke for both of us. Just remember to say ‘check it out’ after the title.”

Probably the biggest highlight on the mixtape is “Human Nature (Jackson Jones Flip)” which not only turns the original song on its head, but also reminds the listener of how influential the song has been to hip-hop and to R&B as Teck-Zilla weaves bits of Nas‘ classic Illmatic including “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” “The World Is Yours” and others songs while subtly nodding at Off the Wall.  “Letter to Michael” is a headbanging take on Michael’s work that sounds as though it were indebted to J. Dilla while “Goodbye (Last Call)” is a sensual closer that features twinkling percussion, handclaps and chopped up bits of Michael singing in a way that creates an entirely different song. “JJ Kids” features the sample that inspired the title before quickly turning into the warm, twinkling soul instrumental that’s nods to J. Dilla and Pete Rock. But perhaps most important, the entire mixtape reveals Teck-Zilla to be a remarkably playful yet thoughtful producer, whose sound has become increasingly warm and soulful.