JOVM’s William Ruben Helms celebrates Chaka Khan’s 70th birthday.
Tag: singer/songwriter \
Throwback: Happy 55th Birthday, Damon Albarn!
JOVM’s William Ruben Helms celebrates Damon Albarn’s 55th birthday.
Throwback: Happy Belated 87th Birthday, Lee “Scratch” Perry
JOVM’s William Ruben Helms belatedly celebrates Lee “Scratch” Perry’s 87th birthday.
New Video: Copenhagen’s Chopper Shares Dance floor Friendly Banger “Springtime”
Jonatan K. Magnussen is a singer/songwriter and musician, best known for being the frontman of Copenhagen-based goth outfit The Love Coffin. Magnussen recently stepped into the spotlight as a solo artist with his solo project Chopper. Chopper specializes in what Magnussen has dubbed “shock pop,” a sound that draws from Eurodance, glam rock, industrial, disco and B horror movies.
Magnussen’s upcoming Chopper effort Shock Pop Vol. 1 reportedly sees the Danish artist continuing to explore inherent dualities of the human condition while touching upon love, sexuality and carefree joy. Sonically, the album’s material is influenced by Pet Shop Boys, Skinny Puppy and Underworld — but re-contextualized in a modern context.
Shock Pop Vol. 1‘s latest single. “Springtime” is a sleazy, dance floor friendly banger built around Magnussen’s sultrily delivered cooing, shimmering guitars, industrial clang and clatter, glistening synths and enormous, crowd pleasing hooks. The end result is a song — that to my ears — brings Electronic, New Order and Ministry to mind, while rooted in sleek, hyper modern production and razor sharp hooks. But underneath the dance floor rocking grooves, is something far darker and menacing. Written during the pandemic winter, the song illuminates the feelings of longing and isolation — capturing the desire to be out among friends, to meet lovers, to just do things with anyone.
Shot with VHS tape fuzz and hiss, the accompanying video is a trippy and noir-ish journey through the late night underworld and the cosmos that pulsates in time to the song.
New Video: JAIN Shares Earnest and Cinematic “The Fool”
French-born international pop sensation JAIN exploded into the national and international scene with her full-length debut, Zanaka, which sold over one million copies globally. Her sophomore album 2018s Souldier, topped the charts in her native France, thanks to the success of hit single “Makeba” which led to her first Grammy nomination for Best Music Video — and to Rolling Stone naming her an “Artist You Need To Know,” writing that the “French singer mixes pop, Afrobeat and more influences in a winning combination.”
Building upon a growing profile, the French pop start has played over 300 shows in 15 countries across the European Union, North America, South America and Asia, as well as the rounds of the global festival circuit with sets at Coachella and Lollapalooza. She has also performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Later . . . with Jools Holland, the 2018 Ryder Cup and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Her highly-anticipated third album The Fool is slated for an April 21, 2023 release through Columbia/Sony Music France. The album is reportedly a new chapter for the French pop sensation both musically and personally. Thematically, the album chronicles the stages one goes through when making a fresh start — fear, excitement, innocence, self-doubt/doubt, letting go, epiphany and more. While her previously released work meshed a myriad of genres, styles and instrumentation including Arabic percussion. African rhythms. electro pop, reggae, soul and hip-hop, The Fool draws heavily on influences like Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks.
JAIN also relies heavily on Tarot de Marseilles, one of the oldest and most popular tarot decks created — and an art her mother passed on to her. According to the French pop artist, tarot gives her the strength to jump into the unknown through an instinctive perception of the world’s dangers and possibilities.
The Fool‘s first single, album title track “The Fool” is a decidedly 80s pop-inspired song centered around a lush and almost painterly production featuring finger plucked strummed guitar, glistening synth oscillations, thumping beats paired with soaring strings and rousingly anthemic hooks. JAIN’s self-assured and gorgeous, pop star vocal is at the forefront of the mix, singing lyrics that reference The Fool card in the tarot. And as result, the song takes on a brave and hopeful look at the future, seeing it as the sort of grand adventure the you want to go on with a loved one, while sounding a
Directed by Jules Jolly, the video follows the French pop star on an incredible adventure through the universe and into the future. Visually, the video manages to bring fond memories of The Little Prince.
Audio Interview: Nat Vazer
JOVM’s William Ruben Helms chats with acclaimed and rising Aussie artist Nat Vazer at last week’s The New Colossus Festival.
Throwback: Happy 80th Birthday, Sly Stone!
JOVM’s William Ruben Helms celebrates Sly Stone’s 80th birthday.
New Audio: Easy Star All-Stars Tackle Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust
Founded and led by producer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist Michael Goldwasser, Easy Star All-Stars have established themselves as one of the top reggae acts on the international scene for the better part of two decades. During that same period of time, they’ve managed to tour in over 30 countries on six continents while brining together fans of reggae, classic rock, dub, indie rock and pop into one big family as a result of their collection of critically acclaimed reggae tribute albums that includes 2003’s Dub Side of the Moon, 2006’s Radiodread, 2009’s Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band and 2012’s Easy Star’s Thrillah — and 2010’s remix album, Dubber Side of the Moon. They also have two releases of original material, 2008’s Until That Day EP and 2011’s First Light.
Continuing their run of reggae tribute albums across classic rock, dub, indie rock and pop, the acclaimed local reggae outfit will tackle David Bowie‘s beloved classic, 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. Slated for an April 21, 2023 release through their own Easy Star Records, Ziggy Stardub is a reggae re-imagining of the beloved album, featuring guest spots from Macy Gray, Steel Pulse, Maxi Priest, Fishbone, Living Colour‘s Vernon Reid, The Skints, Mortimer, The Expanders, Samory I, and a lengthy list of others.
Pre-order packages of the album are available here, including royal blue colored vinyl along with CD and exclusive t-shirt offerings.
But in the meantime, Easy Star All-Stars have shared two singles from the album:
“Starman,” featuring Maxi Preist, who’s one of two British-born acts to have a #1 Billboard here in the States with 1990’s smash hit “Close To You.” By the way, for you trivia heads, the other British act was UB40 with their cover of Neil Diamond’s “Red Red Wine” back in 1983.
“Starman,” is a warm and soulful dub take on the original that retains the rousingly anthemic hook everyone and their grandmother knows but places it within a shuffling, reggae riddim paired with warm blasts of Rhodes, some cinematic strings and Maxi Priest’s effortlessly soulful delivery.
“Moonage Daydream,” which features Naomi Cowan and the legendary Alex Lifeson. Cowan is th daughter of impresario Tommy Cowan, a producer, songwriter and former road manager for Bob Marley — and the internationally beloved reggae vocalist Carlene Davis. Touted as one of the top rising female artists in Caribbean music, Cowan won the Breakthrough Reggae Artist Award at 2019’s Jamaica Reggae Industry Awards. Building upon a buzz-worthy profile, her single “Paradise Plum” has topped several reggae charts and has quickly become a staple in the new wave of reggae. Lifeson is best known as the co-founder, backing vocalist and guitarist of beloved Canadian prog rock outfit Rush. As a member of Rush, Lifeson is in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, and is included on Rolling Stone‘s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” Adding to an extensive list of accolades, Lifeson was made an Officer of the Order of Canada back in 1996 and in 2012, he received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, Canada’s highest artistic honor.
The Easy Star All-Star cover of “Moonage Daydream” is a hazy dub-leaning take that makes loving nods to the original, with a full string seciton and a flute solo from Jenny Hill, that takes the place of Bowie’s recorder solo from the original. Cowan contributes a soulful, rock goddess vocal that I’d argue would make both Bowie and Tina Turner very proud. The song closes out with a trippy and inspired David Gilmour-like guitar solo from the legendary Lifeson.
“This has been my favorite tune on the Bowie album since I first started listening as a teenager,” Easy Star All-Star’s Michael Goldwasser says in press notes. “In light of that, it’s interesting that it’s the song that I changed most radically by simplifying the chord progression and pedaling on one bass line for the entire track, which gives it somewhat of a hypnotic effect and roots it in reggae tradition.”