Tag: singer/songwriter

New Video: Meatbodies Share Fuzzy and Anthemic “Hole”

Over the course of the past decade or so, Los Angeles-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chad Ubovich developed a reputation as a mainstay of his hometown’s fertile music scene: Ubovich had a lengthy stint playing guitar in Mikal Cronin‘s backing band. He plays bass in Fuzz with Ty Segall and Charlie Moothart. He’s also the founding member and frontman of the experimental noise rock/freak rock outfit  Meatbodies.

By 2017, Ubovich reached a crossroads. After years of increasingly insane shows in front of heaving crowds with an ever-evolving and rotating door of personal, fatigue had taken its toll, and he realized that another change was just on the horizon. “It was like the car had run out of gas in the middle of the road, and I knew I had along walk ahead of me,” Ubovich recalls. He retreated to Los Angeles’ seedy underbelly — in search of meaning and a much-needed reset. But Ubovich gradually escaped into that world, ignoring his own physical and mental well-being, licking his wounds and trying to forget his successes. “I was living like a 90’s vampire out of a comic book. Stumbling around LA with the socialites, partying away my sorrows, trying to forget,” the Los Angeles-born and-based artist explains.

Around this time, the material that would eventually comprise Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom, a project conceived and written by a man searching for new beginnings and his own sense of self. After getting sober, writing sessions began at Ubovichs’ home and various studios with longtime collaborator Dylan Fujioka (drums). The official production for the album began back in 2019, but due to discrepancies with the studio and high tensions, the plug was pulled. With only about half an album, it seemed that Flora was shelved — perhaps permanently.

After some time away, cooler heads eventually prevailed and there were many discussions about the album’s future. Ubovich finally got the green light to finish production on Flora back in 2020. But he hit another snag — the COVID-19 pandemic. And with everyone’s lives and plans at a forced, indefinite halt, so did the idea of Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom.

Not wanting to sit still at home, Ubovich began combing through his previous demos with Fujioka while writing for Flora. And through those efforts, came Meatbodies’ third album, 2021’s 333. However, Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom was never far from his mind, and he once against resisted the idea of completing the album.

As restrictions were gradually lifted, Ubovich along with engineer Ed Mentee and a team of colleagues and friends, headed to Los Angeles-based Gold Diggers Sound to complete the album. But he now faced a new crisis, one that was more dire and terrifying than anything he had faced before: The home he had spent the past eight years in had been deemed uninhabitable and he wound up spending the next month of his life in a hospital bed.

Having to not only learn to walk again but also learn to play again, Ubovich used an upcoming tour with FUZZ as a motivating factor and hit the road for a year trying to regain a sense of normalcy. By the time he returned from that tour, he felt centered, energized and ready to conquer his own white whale – Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom.

Armed with a new home and a new studio, The Secret Garden, Ubovich mixed the album himself, recruited Magic Garden’s Brian Lucey to master the material — and finally Flora was completed, five years after those original demos with Fujioka. “A lot happened with this record – it took me five years, I was out of a band, I had a drug problem, the album almost didn’t happen, the pandemic made it almost not happen again, and then in the end I almost died in the hospital, lost my house, and had to learn to walk again. It’s been quite a road, but I could not be more thrilled with the final output. I guess the juice was worth the squeeze?” laughs the Meatbodies frontman.

Slated for a March 8, 2024 release through In The Red Records, Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom is in many ways a story of iron clad will and steely determination. Sonically, Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom is a massive step forward, both by conventional standards and considering its tumultuous path towards completion. The album recalls the Blue Cheer-meets-Iggy Pop-wtih-psychedelia that permeated the band’s previous releases, but with elements of shoegaze, alternative rock, Brit Pop, drone and even hints of country — without ever sounding forced or alien. But the album sees Ubovich crafting an eclectic yet unmistakably cohesive work.

Thematically, the material touches upon love and loss, escapism, defeatism, hedonism, psychedelics and much more — informed by Ubovich’s own life. “The last record was more of a cartoon version of who we were– simple and fun without delving into heavy concepts,” recalls Ubovich. “The whole thing before with Meatbodies was never sit down, next part, next part, but I wanted to make something with more depth. After everything that had happened, and my personal life, I was left with this feeling of emptiness and loss. So I wanted to make music that was absent from things– songs that were more about conveying feeling.”

Flora Ocean Tiger Bloom‘s lead single is the Siamese Dream-like “Hole,” which sees Ubovich and company pairing fuzzy power chord-driven hooks and choruses with Ubovich’s dreamily yearning falsetto and a driving groove. In many ways, “Hole” will appeal to shoegazers while featuring enough guitar pyrotechnics for headbangers — but with enough of melodic quality that gives the song a power pop-like sensibility. “That was one of the first songs I wrote, and I think it’s really indicative of that time,” says Ubovich. “How I was thinking and feeling and what I wanted to accomplish with this LP before I even knew it.”

Directed by Matt Yoka, the accompanying video is fittingly 120 Minutes era MTV-era video that features Ubovich and company performing the song in the song with some trippy visual effects. Play loud, then tune in and tune out, y’all!

Jules de Gasperis is a French-American singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who initially started his career behind the scenes working with the likes of Ratatat and KUNZITE‘s Mike Stroud and Low Hum. de Gasperis’ latest musical project Edgar Everyone sees the French-American singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer stepping out into the spotlight as a solo artist — with a unique sound, approach and style that he developed through his work as a producer. 

de Gasperis sees Edgar Everyone as a project that will allow him to fully explore himself as a musician and as a human. Last year, I wrote about the Tame Impala-like “Suddenly You Move,” which paired de Gasperis’ yearning vocal and some remarkably well-placed, razor sharp hooks with squiggly synth arpeggios, a relentless and funky motorik groove. The song first conveys the sensation of being lost and yearning for someting and not quite knowing how to get it before building up to a euphoric climax, which conveys the song’s narrator has finally found what he had been seeking for so long.

The French-American artist’s latest single “Align Me” sees him collaborating with New York-born, Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist Ash Petti. After relocating to Southern California back in 2020, Petti quickly found her stride as a singer/songwriter rooted in her natural ability to create memorable melodies and captivating lyrics. Her solo recording project Pretty Pistil sees Petti creating a unique sound that plays between the boundaries of number of genres, including alternative pop, indie pop, dream pop and electro R&B that showcases her dreamy and seductive delivery.

de Gasperis and Petti’s collaboration can be traced back to when the French-American artist and producer started working with her as a producer, which included some co-writing sessions for her latest EP Venus Way.

“Align Me” is built around a subtly French touch-like production featuring woozy synth arpeggios, some disco funk guitar paired with skittering beats. Petti’s yearning and ethereal delivery effortlessly darts, dives and floats over the dance floor friendly production like a boxer bobbing and weaving away from their opponent’s punches.

de Gasperis explains the the song’s origins can be traced to when he was playing around with the synth chords that wound up becoming the song. His thought at the time was that Petti’s voice would be a great fit. “Next thing I know, she was super into the idea, and she sent me a voice memo of what became the full melody for the track,” de Gasperis recalls. “It all fit perfectly.”

“I felt extremely connected to the song when Jules showed it to me,” Petti adds. “Once we spoke about his vision for it, I knew with our common spiritual concepts and with our intentions, we were going to create something really lovely and powerful. When I began channeling the lyrics, I started to think about my trust in the universe. Having an inner knowing that we are all connected to something greater, something that is cosmic, brings me comfort and excitement.

“I believe that the source of creation is inside all of us who welcome it in. It’s about recognizing that I have built a healthy relationship with nurturing my creative energy, and also acknowledging that one must act on these creative chances so that they can bring them into fruition,” she adds. “It’s also about bringing recognition to the fact that if you don’t fuel and take care of your creative energy, you can miss out on opportunities as well as stunt your growth in making authentic, meaningful art, and connections.

“I let this knowledge, and passion for a life full of creation align me.”

French singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Deji Seigert is the mastermind behind the emerging synth project Neon Valley. Inspired by late 70s and early 80s pop, Seigert’s work, which is created in his home studio, has a decidedly nostalgic feel — with a modern twist. 

After working on Disiz‘s latest album L’Amour, the French singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist released, the St. Lucia-like “Fortune Cookie,” a moody, hook-driven bit of synth pop built around glistening synth arpeggios, a funky and propulsive bass line and Seigert’s punchy yet plaintive delivery. Thematically, the song thematically touches on the simultaneously feelings of disillusionment and nostalgia for seemingly better times.

Seigert’s latest Neon Valley single “One Night” continues a run of breezy and decidedly 80s-inspired pop anthems, with the song built around a nostalgia-inducing yet modern-leaning production featuring atmospheric and glistening synth arpeggios, buzzing bass synths, bursts of Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar paired with the French artist’s yearning vocal and his penchant for enormous, remarkably catchy hooks. Much like his previously released material, “One Night” is rooted in introspective, lived-in lyricism — with the song’s narrator detailing an age-old tale of love gained, love lost, heartbreak and longing.

‘One Night’ is a synth pop song driven by synthesizers, electric guitars and gated reverb drums that draws inspiration from the 80s. The lyrics touch on themes of regrets and loneliness,” Seigert says of the new single.

Certainly, if you’re a child of the 80s, as I am, you might have danced to a song like “One Night” at a house party or a school dance, while longing for someone you couldn’t have — or didn’t know you existed.

New Video: Bolis Pupul Shares Haunting and Yearning “Completely Half”

Acclaimed Ghent-based electronic duo Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of 2019’s critically applauded David and Stephen Dewaele-produced Zandoli EP, which featured Paténipat” and “High Lights,” tracks that received airplay on UK Radio and were playlisted by  BBC Radio 6

Their official full-length debut as a credited duo, last year’s Topical Dancer was co-written and co-produced by Soulwax and the acclaimed Belgian duo, and was released through Soulwax’s label DEEWEE. The album’s material was deeply rooted in two things. The duo’s perspectives as Belgians with immigrant backgrounds: Adigéry proudly claiming Guadeloupean and French-Martinique ancestry and Pupul proudly claiming Chinese ancestry. And they’re wide-ranging conversations they’ve had between each other that touch upon cultural appropriation, misogyny, racism, social media vanity, post-colonialism, and more.

The album thematically is a snapshot of their thoughts and observations on pop culture in the early 2020s while sonically seeing the Belgian duo cementing their sound and approach. The material features thoughtful songs that slap — and slap hard — but are centered around their idiosyncratic, off-kilter and satirical take on familiar genres and styles. “We like to fuck things up a bit,” Pupul laughs. “We cringe when we feel like we’re making something that already exists, so we’re always looking for things to combine to make it sound not like a pop song, not like an R&B song, not a techno song. We’re always putting different worlds together. Charlotte and I get bored when things get too predictable.”  

The album’s songs are generally fueled by a restless desire to not be boxed in — and to escape narrow perceptions of who they are and what they can be. “One thing that always comes up,” Bolis Pupul says, “is that people perceive me as the producer, and Charlotte as just a singer. Or that being a Black artist means you should be making ‘urban’ music. Those kinds of boxes don’t feel good to us.” But they manage to do all of this with a satirical bent. For the Belgian duo, it’s emancipation through humor. “I don’t want to feel this heaviness on me,” Charlotte Adigéry says. “These aren’t my crosses to bear. Topical Dancer is my way of freeing myself of these issues. And of having fun.”

Pupul steps out into the spotlight as a singer/songwriter and solo artist with his full-length debut, the Soulwax co-produced Letter To Yu. Slated for a March 8, 2024 release through Soulwax’s DEEWEE. Coming on the heels of a whirlwind couple of years, touring the globe to support Topical Dancer, Pupul’s forthcoming full-length debut is a love letter to his mother, who was killed in 2008 in a traffic accident.

Born to a Belgian father and Chinese mother, growing up in Ghent, Pupul had not negated his Chinese roots exactly — his mother was born in Hong Kong — but he hadn’t exactly embraced them either. However, in the wake of his mother’s death, he began coming to terms with his heritage. “When I started to think about my roots, I started to embrace them. And it became more and more important for me to get in touch with them,” the acclaimed Chinese-Belgian singer/songwriter and producer says. ““I went to evening school and began learning Chinese. I did that for four years. That was the first step.”

His first visit to Hong Kong back in 2018 further cemented how he wanted to incorporate his Chinese roots into his own music. A primary intention on his first trip to Hong Kong was to find where his mother — Yu Wei Sun — was born. Not wanting to forget this overwhelming experience, Pupul began writing a letter to his mother, so he could properly grasp his thoughts. Some time later, when the album began to take shape, the acclaimed Ghent-born and-based producer remembered the letter. “It became the centerpiece of this album,” he says matter-of-factly.

Fittingly, the creation and recording of Letter To Yu has proven to be a pivotal and liberating experience for Pupul. “Even though this trip was very emotional and at times sad, I also had some great times that just made me really happy,” he concludes. “This resulted in a very uplifting melody where I felt like I could handle my life.”

Letter To Yu‘s first single “Completely Half” pairs a glistening Chinese-influenced melody, skittering beats and wobbling synths with Pupul’s dreamily yearning delivery describing the sensation of searching for your roots — and to understand someone who can no longer speak for, or explain themselves. The track also features field recordings on the Hong Kong subway, adding a vital and forceful sense of place.

Directed by Magnum photographer Bieke Depoorter, the gorgeously shot visual for “Completely Half” was shot in Hong Kong and follows Pupul wandering the city’s streets and buildings in search for his late mother. The women in the video welcomed Depoorter into their homes and daily routines to let her film intricate and intimately composed tableaux of their everyday lives — in which Pupul desperately seeks the spirit of his mother. Fittingly, the video is haunting and full of an aching longing.

New Video: Finland’s Mere Stellar Shares a Sarcastic Examination of Contemporary Dating

Milja Inkeri is a Finnish singer/songwriter, who can trace her career back to 2007: She competed on that year’s Finnish Idol and reached the Top 24. And as a result of growing national attention, her covers series on YouTube amassed over two million organic views between 2006-2007. Inkeri also has had stints in Finnish bands Kailo and Antti Kokkomäki & Tammikuun Lapset. Additionally, she has collaborated with a number of projects both nationally and internationally, including Taiwanese shoegazers The Other and Finnish metal outfit Planeetta 9, along a growing list of others.

Inkeri is the creative mastermind behind the indie pop outfit Mere Stellar. Influenced by Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom and Radiohead, the Finnish artist’s new project sees her playfully meshing experimental electro pop with acoustic elements to create a sound that is at times quirky yet melancholic. The Finnish artist explains that “Mere Stellar is the creation of a free soul, who stopped caring about external rules and authorities of music . . ” and
“started to have fun with music again and speak her true soul’s voice — the pain, the joy, the channeling of healing.” Inkeri adds “Mere Stellar is the manifestation someone who held it inside and listened to others too much, who channels pure love, fun and crazy vibes.”

Inkeri’s latest Mere Stellar single, the recently released, woozy and hook-driven “The Crush Realm” pairs a looped sample of twinkling and arpeggiated keys, skittering beats, industrial clang and clatter with Inkeri’s plaintive and yearning delivery. While sonically seeming to channel a quirky synthesis of Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Kid A-era Radiohead, “The Crush Realm” is a lived-in, bittersweet and desperate examination of contemporary dating culture, in which everyone feels simultaneously desperate to find “the one” or “someone” but tacitly recognizes that everyone feels miserable and disposable. But she does so with a sarcastic, snaky sense of humor.

Directed by the Finnish artist, the accompanying video for “The Crush Realm” captures the desperation, uncertainty and quirky sarcasm at the hear of the song, as it follows Inkeri and a snail around a rather European-looking house.

New Video: Nailah Hunter Shares Ethereal and Hauntingly Gorgeous “Strange Delights”

Nailah Hunter is a Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, composer and folk artist, who can trace the origins of her musical journey to the church: As the daughter of a Belizean pastor, she played drums, guitar and sang in the choir.

Hunter continued to study music at CalArts, where she studied vocal performance and was given her first harp lesson. Associating the instrument with fantasy, psychedelia, and dream worlds, she became an immediate devotee, locking herself in a room for six hours a day to practice the instrument

The Los Angeles-based artist has been writing and recording mystical folk and ambient-inspired music since the release of her debut single, 2019’s “Apple, Maple, Willow.” She followed up with a series of singles and two EPs 2020’s Spells and 2021’s Quietude released through Leaving Records. Since then, Hunter signed with Fat Possum, who will be releasing her highly-anticipated full-length debut, the Cicely Goulder-produced Lovegaze on January 12, 2024.

To create Lovegaze‘s material, Hunter went to a small coastal city along the English Channel, where she began recording demos with a borrowed Celtic harp. After being introduced to London-based producer Cicely Goulder, the Los Angeles-based artist returned to England the following year to further develop the album’s material.

Written alongside collaborator Ben Lukas Boysen, Lovegaze is reportedly an enthralling album that draws listeners into her enchanting cosmology while being rooted in the audible and palpable emotionality in her delivery.

Hunter’s full-length debut is reportedly an enthralling album that draws listeners into her enchanting cosmology. “I was crying when I recorded those vocals,” she says. “While I was writing Lovegaze, I was thinking about humanity’s propensity to destroy the things we love,” Hunter says. “I was thinking about ancient ruins and structures that once provided shelter but no longer do. There’s beauty to be found in ruins, too.” Sonically, the album evokes the eternal with Hunter’s harp being accompanied by an electronic palette created in the studio with Goulder.

Written during a period of global and personal strife for the Los Angeles-based artist, Lovegaze manages to capture some of that sense of distress, but it’s also a willful reminder of the fortitude and beauty of Earth’s natural processes. As Hunter says: “Nature remains; we’re the passing thing.” 

“Strange Delights,” Lovegaze‘s breathtakingly gorgeous second single pairs Hunter’s expressive and soulful delivery with an eerie Portishead-meets-Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp-like production featuring twinkling harp, woozily atmospheric synths and skittering beats. While featuring contemporary electronic elements, “Strange Delights” feels timeless and evokes a sense of breathless awe.

“‘Strange Delights’ started as an improv over a modular synth loop that my partner made,” Hunter explains. “At the time, we were burning a bunch of incense in a dark room, which served as inspiration for the wandering vocal melody. Once I worked on it with producer Cicely Goulder, ‘Strange Delights’ took on a more golden quality that reminds me of a hazy and intoxicated feast in a peculiar, yet familiar wood.”

The accompanying video by Haoyan of America is a computer generated visual that follows a crocodile with glowing eyes swimming past the broken down remains of human civilization — rusted cars, dilapidated factories, broken ruins of buildings and more. As the video slowly pans out, we see a collection of crocodiles with glowing eyes swimming over what used to be a supermarket.

“The idea for ‘Strange Delights’ was developed through conversations with Nailah and inspired by her interest in crocodilian ‘tapetum lucidum’ (Latin for “shining layer”), a biologic reflector system common in the eyes of vertebrates that give them enhanced night vision,” Haoyan of America explains. “The visual arc takes cues from the song’s musical progression and highlights contrasting evolutionary ecologies.”