Tag: St. Lucia

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Brothertiger Releases an Achingly Sad Visual for Shimmering “Livin'”

John Jagos is an Ohio-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed, JOVM mainstay act Brothertiger. Since he started the act as a sophomore at  Ohio State University, Jagos has released a handful of EPs including his critically applauded debut Vision Tunnels EP and  Out of Touch, which featured  “Out of Touch” and “Beyond The Infinite,” and last year’s A Chain of Islands EP, as well as three full-length albums 2012’s Golden Years, 2013’s Future Splendors and 2015’s Out of Touch. Each of those efforts helped to establish Jagos sound — a sound influenced by Tears for Fears,  St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy.

Jagos has also released a Tears for Fears cover album, 2017’s Brothertiger Plays: Tears for Fears’ Songs from The Big Chair and a collection of instrumental material, Fundamentals, Vol. 1. Slated for a September 11, 2020 release, Jagos forthcoming Brothertiger effort Paradise is his first full-length album of original material in five years. “This record was, for me, the culmination of a lot of time and development,” Jagos says in press notes. “Since my last album was released 5 years ago, I had been building on top of that sound, trying to make it even more dynamic and distinct. This record is also my most personal, and I think that shows not only in the subject matter, but in the choice of sounds as well. I find that in electronic music, you can capture an emotion honestly with synthesized sound, not just with lyrics.”

Sonically, Paradise Lost reportedly finds Jagos expanding upon the sound that has won him critical applause with the material ranging from hook-driven indie pop to club-thumping electronica centered around the JOVM mainstay’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics that thematically touch upon aging, longing for purpose and celebrating life’s simple pleasures among others. Paradise Lost’s first single is the the ethereal and atmospheric “Livin’.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering beats, a soaring hook and Jagos plaintive vocals, “Livin'” manages to recall Within and Without and Paracosm-era Washed Out — but at its core, the song expresses a familiar crisis to many of us: confronting the weirdness and uncertainty of life as you get older. 

Directed by Trevor Naud and made during COVID-19 quarantines, the recently released video employs digital and analog technologies as it follows a planetary rover as it lands on a planet teeming with life. Adding to the trippy vibes of the video, we follow things from the prospective of the rover: dispassionate yet curious until the rover has a major malfunction and essentially dies. 

“What if a planetary rover–destined to land on a dead planet–accidentally lands on a planet teeming with life?” Naud says of the video’s concept. “I wanted to keep everything very tight and almost impressionistic, where we see what’s happening inside of the rover’s “brain” interspersed with what it’s recording, and then juxtaposed with very high-definition nature show footage. Maintaining a jarring contrast between those worlds. Then, eventually, there’s a malfunction and the magnetic tape comes unwound.

We used all kinds of crazy filming techniques–from VHS to Cinema-grade digital, a semi-functional 1977 Commodore computer, a weirdo rig that allowed us to film with a lens rolling across the ground, and we snuck onto a closed freeway for the final shot.

What I like is that there’s an implied sadness to the rover. By the end of the video, you may feel something for it.”

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Starlight Girls · Teenage Crime

Brooklyn-based indie rock act Starlight Girls can trace their origins back to 2011, when Christina Bernard (vocals), an Ohio-born megachurch chorister turned rocker and Shaw Walters (guitar), a San Francisco-born, guitar savant and tech wizard met and decided to start a band. Bernard and Walters found their bandmates — Sara Mundy (keys) and Isabel Alvarez (backing vocals), two Long Island-born theater junkies, Tysen Arveson (bass), a Seattle-born, Hawaii-raised art freak and Josh Davis (drums), a University of Michigan educated jazz drummer through Craigslist.

The band initially emerged into the public eye through a wildly successful April Fool’s prank: they recorded an impression of acclaimed artist Joanna Newsom covering one of their songs and a handful of blogs took the bait, covering the song with rapturous praise. Unsurprisingly, as a result, Starlight Girls quickly became a buzz worthy band, eventually releasing an EP that they supported with a handful of national tours — including an opening slot for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Building upon a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based at played one of Europe’s biggest festivals, and they followed that up with their noisy and attention-grabbing Jamie Stewart-produced 7 x 3 EP.

2016 saw the release of their enigmatic and cinematic, full-length debut Fantasm, which they supported through tours with an eclectic array of artists including Kate Nash, St. Lucia, Tilly and the Wall, Nick Waterhouse, Total Slacker, Crystal Fighters and Lucius. Since then, the members of the band have ventured outside of music and outside of Brooklyn in a variety of different creative projects: Christina Bernard has delved into film and directing, directing a self-penned short film shot in California, which will be released later this year. Shaw Walters has become a rising star in the tech world, traveling around the world creating holographic augmented reality projects for performers and artists, including a mixed-reality collaboration with acclaimed artist Marina AbramovićThe Life, which has become a lightning rod for alt-right conspiracy theorists. The rest of the band has continued to solider on as musicians, during what may be the most difficult time for artists and creatives in recent memory.

Interestingly the band’s Christina Bernard-produced EP Entitled was recorded at Upstate New York-based Marcata Recording— and the material is a dark yet upbeat come-on to an unknowable future while evoking a sexy freak-out from the edge of oblivion. That sounds and feels familiar, doesn’t it? Last month, I wrote about Entitled‘s expansive first single “Get Right,” a kaleidoscopic and cinematic track that possesses elements of shoegaze, art rock, goth rock, psych rock and 70s AM rock — all while being one of the sexiest songs they’ve released to date.

“Teenage Crime,” Entitled‘s second and latest single is a slow-burning and atmospheric single centered around reverb and pedal effected guitars, twinkling keys and a soaring hook — and while reminding me a bit of Slow Air-era Still Corners and Stevie Nicks, the track’s lyrical themes, as the band’s Christina Bernard explains touches upon spiritual exploration, hope for the future and reconciling the past.

“As far as songwriting goes, most of the music came together spontaneously during rehearsals,” Bernard says of the EP’s creative process. “There was a lot of change happening for us around the time we wrote it—a lot of times when we played we didn’t know when our next time playing together might be. So the energy was insane every time we played.

“We’d gotten really in sync as a band through playing live so much, so someone would pull a riff out of the air in rehearsal and we’d just run with it full speed for four minutes and that would be the song. I’d always record rehearsals in case magic happened, and it did a lot. Then I would write lyrics (if I hadn’t already written them on the spot) and later we’d recreate what we’d played.

The only song that didn’t happen that way was Teenage Crime, which I wrote one night in my room. The guys in the band hated it at first because it’s like the slowest thing we do. But when we played it live all the ladies started swaying and I think that’s when everyone changed their minds.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our influences are hard to pin down. We all listen to really different music and I can’t remember what we were each into while recording. I personally was out dancing a lot to some pretty out there international drum circles. I was getting into the idea of music as a ceremonial thing—repetitive and rhythmic and visceral—so I was influenced by that, and how those ideas would translate to rock.

 

Casablanca Sunset · Inspired & the Sleep — People

With the release of 2014’s Eyelid Kid, the San Diego, CA-based indie electro pop/dream pop act Inspired & The Sleep — singer/songwriter Max Greenhalgh, multi-instrumentalist Bryce Outcault and a revolving cast of collaborators — received attention locally and regionally for crafting decidedly dream pop material.

Singles like “Sweet Company,” and “Getting Through” found the act moving towards a dance floor friendly sound — at points nodding at JOVM mainstays like St. Lucia. Building upon a growing national profile, the San Diego-based act released their self-titled, full-length debut earlier this year. And continuing a busy year for the act, the members of Inspired & the Sleep recently released their latest single, the Delwin Campbell-mixed “People.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, a sinuous groove and an infectious hook, the glittering “People” may arguably be their most dance floor friendly release to date as it manages to bring both Simple Minds and Cut Copy to mind.

 

 

Michael Desmond is a Long Island, NY-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who first earned attention as the frontman of orchestral indie rock act Gabriel the Marine, an act that went on national tours with Taking Back Sunday, Glassjaw, Mew, Jack’s Mannequin and The Dear Hunter. After some significant changes in his personal life that included the death of his uncle, the end of a six-year relationship and graduation from college, Desmond was inspired to reinvent himself and his career by going solo. “The only way I was able to slow my mind down was to write. I look at this body of work as a time capsule, as it represents a snapshot of life during this period of time,” Desmond recalls.

Desmond’s solo recording project, Local Nomad derives its name from several dichotomies: “Local Nomad is the resistance of sedentary life. It’s about seeking the strange and embracing the unknown. Wondering. Wandering. Young and Old. Everywhere and Nowhere. As cliche as it may sound – when I pick up a guitar and sing it’s the only time I feel at home,” Desmond says. Sonically, the project’s sound features soulful vocals, enormous hooks, atmospheric synths and lustrous beats and draws influence from the likes of Tears for Fears, Elvis Costello, and Phil Collins.

Local Nomad’s self-titled, debut EP is slated for a June 19, 2020 release, and the EP’s material found extra inspiration from the Long Island-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist borrowing his friends’ gear to implement mellotron, DX and 808s to add further texture and muscle to his attention-grabbing, anthemic sound. The self-titled EP’s latest single “Young Vampires” further establishes his remarkably self-assured and anthemic take on synth pop. Centered around a classic, alternating quiet verse, loud chorus-based song structure, an enormous, power chord-driven, arena rock friendly hook with shimmering and arpeggiated synths and Desmond’s plaintive vocals, the song reveals some ambitious songwriting bringing JOVM mainstays St. Lucia and the aforementioned Tears for Fears, among others.

“This song is about becoming the ugliest version of yourself in a relationship. You’re not necessarily trying to hurt one another, but you end up forgetting the thing that once brought you together,” the Long Island-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist explains. “‘Young Vampires’ is kind of an oxymoron because based on various films, vampires tend to live forever. They feed off of humans to survive and ultimately live a pretty reclusive lifestyle, only going out at night and sleeping all day. I think it’s comparable to being in an unhealthy relationship.”

New Video: Starlight Girls Release a Woozy and Trippy Visual for “Get Right”

Brooklyn-based indie rock act Starlight Girls can trace their origins back to 2011, when Christina Bernard (vocals), an Ohio-born megachurch chorister turned rocker; Shaw Walters (guitar), a San Francisco-born, guitar savant and tech wizard met and decided to start a band. They find their bandmates Sara Mundy (keys) and Isabel Alvarez (backing vocals), two Long Island-born theater junkies, Tysen Arveson (bass), a Seattle-born, Hawaii-raised art freak and Josh Davis (drums), a University of Michigan educated jazz drummer through Craigslist. 

The band initially emerged into the public eye through a wildly successful April Fool’s prank: they record an impression of acclaimed artist Joanna Newsom covering one of their songs and a handful of blogs take the bait, covering the song with rapturous praise. As a result, they quickly became a buzz worthy band, eventually releasing an EP that they support with a handful of national tours — even opening for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Building upon a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based at played one of Europe’s biggest festivals, which they followed up with their noisy and attention-grabbing Jamie Stewart-produced 7 x 3 EP. 

2016 saw the release of their enigmatic and cinematic, full-length debut Fantasm, which they supported through tours with an eclectic array of artists including Kate Nash, St. Lucia, Tilly and the Wall, Nick Waterhouse, Total Slacker, Crystal Fighters and Lucius. Since then, the members of the band have ventured outside of music and outside of Brooklyn in a variety of different creative projects: Christina Bernard has delved into film and directing, directing a self-penned short film shot in California, which will be released later this year. Shaw Walters has become a rising star in the tech world, traveling around the world creating holographic augmented reality projects for performers and artists, including a mixed-reality collaboration with acclaimed artist Marina Abramović, The Life, which has become a lightning rod for alt-right conspiracy theorists. The rest of the band has continued to solider on as musicians, during what may be the most difficult time for artists and creatives in recent memory. 

Interestingly the band’s Christina Bernard-produced EP Entitled was recorded at Upstate New York-based Marcata Recording– and the material reportedly is a dark yet upbeat come-on to an unknowable future while evoking a sexy freak-out from the edge of oblivion. That sounds and feels familiar, doesn’t it?  Hinting at Ennio Morricone film scores, shoegaze, art rock, goth rock, psych rock and Fleetwood Mac, the EP’s expansive first single “Get Right” further establishes the band’s cinematic and kaleidoscopic sound — but while arguably being the sexiest song they’ve released to date. 

Directed by the band’s Christina Bernard, the recently released video for “Get Right” was shot on a commune in rural North Carolina and is a feverishly surreal and psychedelic spoof on 90s karaoke videos that seems — to me, at least — to nod at Dario Argento films, as it’s part lysergic freak out, and part sensual slow dance into the dark recesses of the psyche. 

A Q&A with Juno Francis

Juno Francis is a mysterious and emerging Berlin-based indie synth pop duo, featuring two Swedes, who serendipitously met through mutual friends and had an instant creative connection. With the release of “Dance With Me,” the Swedish-born, Berlin-based duo have received attention in Germany for a sound that they describe as a mix of 60s psychedelia and cheesy 80s sounds. But interestingly, “Dance With Me” sounds as though it were inspired by Giorgio Moroder and Daft Punk – in particular, Moroder’s From Here to Eternity . . . And Back and Daft Punk’s Homework comes to my mind.

Building upon a growing profile, the Berlin-based duo released their latest single “Queen’s Anthem” today – and the single continues a run of shimmering and sultry pop centered around rousingly anthemic hooks but unlike its predecessor, it’s decidedly ‘80s inspired, reminding me of Stevie Nicks and JOVM mainstays St. Lucia and Washed Out. Certainly, as a child of the ‘80s, the track manages to bring fond memories of much simpler – and perhaps, far safer – times.

I recently exchanged emails with the members of Juno Francis for this edition of JOVM’s ongoing Q&A series. In this interview, I chat with the emerging and mysterious band about their shimmering and infectious new single, their influences, Berlin – in particular, places to go, things to see and places to see music, and more. And of course, with governments across the world closing bars, restaurants, nightclubs and music venues to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the impact on the music industry – especially on small and mid-sized venues, and the touring artists, who grace their stages has been devastating and life altering. Over the course of this pandemic, I’ll be talking to artists about how the pandemic has impacted them and their careers. Naturally, there are a lot of lost gigs and lost opportunities and artists across the world have been frantically figuring out what their next steps are – if any. In the case of Juno Francis, they tell me what they’ve been doing to remain creative, as well as continue the momentum of “Dance With Me.”

Check out the interview and the single below.

JUNO-FRANCIS-picture-1

COVER original

 

Solina Records · Juno Francis – Queen’s Anthem

________

WRH: Much of the world has been in quarantine and adhering to social distancing guidelines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. How are you holding up? How are you spending your time? Are you binge watching anything? 

 Juno Francis: We are safe and healthy and spending most of our time hanging out with a webcam drinking wine or working on some new material. New favorite shows are Foodie Love, Killing Eve and a little bit of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! when the quarantine loco vibe strikes.. 😉

WRH: Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, festivals have been postponed or cancelled outright, artists of all stripes have postponed, rescheduled or cancelled tour dates. Most of the world has been on an indefinite pause. How has COVID-19 impacted you and your career?

JF: All shows have been cancelled or postponed and of course that is affecting our career, but we’re working on new material and some live streams instead and it’s not that bad.

WRH: You’re currently based in Berlin. What brought you to Berlin?

 JF: Well we both moved here to float around in the music scene with the intention to float into a person to do great music with. It’s a city we both find fascinating and crazy, right up our alley

WRH: I’ve been to Frankfurt many years ago for the Frankfurt Book Fair. What can I say? It was a free trip. I desperately want to see Berlin though. So, say I get on a Lufthansa flight to Berlin. Where should I go to get a taste of local life? What’s a tourist spot that I’d have to see to get a true sense of Berlin?

JF: Berlin has many sides and in our side there’s not that many tourist spots or book fairs, but if we were your guide for a weekend we would probably show you ”Juno Juno Shop” a great vintage store and the location for our studio. We would take you to nice wine bars and show you some nice industrial areas where you can boogie woogie to some disco beats all night long. 🙂 

WRH: Where’s your favorite spot to see live music in Berlin?

Oh there’s many.. some are Schokoladen, Acud Macht Neu, Kantime Am Berghain, 8mm, loophole (we live on the same street..)

WRH: Are there any acts in Berlin that should be getting love from the outside world that haven’t yet? Who?

 Children (wearechildren.de)

Plaisir (facebook.com/plaisirtomeetyou)

Dance Depot (facebook.com/DANCEDEPOTBERLIN/)

WRH: How did you meet each other?

JF: We met randomly in Berlin through some common friends, it was a creative explosion at first sight. 

WRH: Who are your influences?

JF: Kate Bush, Saâda Bonair, Desire, Sylvester, Donny Benét

WRH: Who are you listening to right now?

JF: A lot of Italo Disco!

WRH: How would you describe your sound?

JF: We describe our sound as mix of psychedelic 60s and 80s pop. So far we only released songs that sound more 80s pop but later this summer we will release an EP that show the other side of the Juno Francis project..

WRH: Your latest single “Queen’s Anthem” officially drops today. I love the track It’s got that anthemic 80s synth sound paired with enormous hooks – and as a child of the 80s, it brings back a lot of memories. What’s the song about?

 JF: It’s a nostalgic memory of growing up in Sweden and the mixed emotions connected to moving back. It’s also about believing in yourself and the longing for something more.

 WRH: How do you know when you have a finished song?

JF: It’s all in the vibe, if it feels right and sounds right it’s done. Some songs take a week to finish others months and some haunted ones never seam to be done..

WRH: What’s next for you?

JF: We are working on an EP at the moment and aim for a release in the middle of this summer. It will be exploring other sides of the project and sound a bit more dreamy and mysterious…

 

 

 

Initially formed as an ambitious octet that played at the London Jazz Festival and other venues across London featuring founding member and creative mastermind Leo Appleyard (guitar, music), Agne Motie (vocals, lyrics), Duncan Eagles (soprano sax), Piers Green (alto sax), Hoagy Plastow (tenor sax), Paul Jordanous (keys) Holley Grey (bass) and Chris Nickolls (drums), the London-based act Urchin has evolved to become the solo recording project of its founding member and creative mastermind. 
Last year, Appleyard took a break from his life as a gigging musician and relocated to Melbourne, Australia, where he took in the city’s renowned music scene — in particular house, disco and modern jazz from the Fitzroy and Brunswick districts. Unsurprisingly, his most recent EP, Take Time, which was released earlier this year is a reflection of the time he spent in Melbourne, soaking up a new scene while drawing from the likes of acclaimed British acts like Bonobo, Maribou State and The Cinematic Orchestra. The EP’s latest single “Night Light” is a breezy and up-tempo dance floor friendly track centered around strutting Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a soaring and infectious hook, thumping beats and atmospheric electronics. Sonically, the song bears a resemblance to When the Night-era St. Lucia, as it’s indebted to 80s synth pop — but with a clean, modern sheen.

 

 

Influenced by the likes of The Neighbourhood, LANY, The 1975 and John Mayer, the emerging Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada alt pop artist BENJII has an effortlessly cool take on pop that features moody electronics, shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths and ethereal vocals.

The Vancouver-based pop artist’s latest single, the slickly produced “I Won’t Die For You” is centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, a soaring hook and BENJII’s plaintive and ethereal vocals recalls St. Lucia, Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back,” and others, complete with a rousing hook — and while being a hook-driven banger, the track comes a rather dark place. “I Won’t Die For You” takes place in the clouded mind of someone going through the heartbreaking motions of addition and depression,” BENJII explains in press notes. “Though I’ve never found myself enveloped in this sort of darkness, I’ve witnessed so many beautiful people I love struggle in silence. It’s left me feeling broken and burning.”

“This song began as an outlet for me to cope with my feelings surrounding the existence of these things in my life, but now it’s yours to relate to whether you personally face these struggles or have someone you love who does,” the up-and-coming Canadian artist adds. 

 

 

 

 

Crash Adams is a rather mysterious, up-and-coming indie electro pop act and their forthcoming album is inspired by the sounds that spoke to the bandmembers while growing up — but sonically speaking, they want their sound to be more of a feeling than a genre. Interestingly, their latest single “Astronauts”  is a shimmering bit of pop that recalls Tears for Fears, M83 and St. Lucia, as the track reveals an ambitious band that can craft an enormous, rousingly anthemic hook paired with arpeggiated synths and plaintive vocals. 

“There are so many ‘astronauts’ in the world, they may know it or not, but eventually they will achieve everything they’ve wanted out of their town on earth,” the band says in press notes. “It will be hard, and they will be considered different from those who aren’t astronauts. But in the end, the view of earth is greatest from outer space.”