JOVM’s William Ruben Helms celebrates Stevie Nicks’ 75th birthday.
JOVM’s William Ruben Helms belatedly celebrates the 96th anniversary of Miles Davis’ birth.
JOVM’s William Ruben Helms belatedly celebrates Stevie Nicks’ 74th birthday.
JOVM celebrates Miles Davis’ 95th birthday.
JOVM celebrates Stevie Nicks’ 73rd birthday.
The Civil Union — singer/songwriter Andrew Pahl and visual artist Naomi Pahl — are an Edmonton-based husband and wife electro pop act that can trace its origins to when the duo met while in college: The duo wound up in the same songwriting course, where they both lamented the state of contemporary pop music. And much like any other creative meet cute, they exchanged their favorite indie/alt-pop playlists with each other and their phone numbers. Within a few weeks of their first meeting, Andrew and Naomi started writing songs together. About a year late, they got married and then over the next few years, they have four children together.
To support himself and his growing family, Andrew Pahl took up two full-time jobs as a social worker while managing to write and record several albums. He would play shows whenever possible while Naomi sold her art at local markets. The Pahls continued doing this until Naomi was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Endometriosis. Naomi Pahl was on medically mandated bed rest while waiting 18 months for restorative surgery. For Naomi, who was typically very energetic, life was on pause — and she was going stir crazy.
Knowing she needed an accessible creative outlet, Andrew started texting Naomi melodies and asking her if she could think of lyrics. This led to over 24 songs together, with the duo realizing that they had material that could be proud of and should be recorded. At that moment, The Civil Union was officially born.
After saving money to buy a laptop and sound gear, as well as to rent drums and other equipment, the Pahls spent weeks recording what was supposed to be their full-length debut, but someone broke into their house and stole the laptop with their music files. Refusing defeat, the Edmonton-based husband and wife duo bought a new laptop and spent the next 18 months writing and recording an even more expansive album, while preparing to play live shows once Naomi recovered from her surgery.
Naomi has recovered from surgery and the Pahls finished their debut album. And much like countless acts across the world, just as they were lining up shows, the COVID-19 pandemic put their plans on hold. Unsurprisingly, their debut album which features pounding drums, reverb drenched synths and lush boy-girl harmonizing speaks to our present moment: written through adversity and pain, the album is fueled by the fact that if you’re with your loved ones, you can probably get through anything together.
The Pahl’s latest single “Dominoes” is an upbeat and breezy pop confection, centered around arpeggiated synths reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back” propulsive drumming, lush harmonies and melodies and a rousingly anthemic hook that’s perfect to shout along with your friends; but underneath all of that, the song evokes the swooning and contented sigh of profound, soul-affirming love. “It talks about the feeling of creating a different existence, with the person you love,” the Pahls say in press notes.
With the release of 2018’s full-length debut album Thick Skin, Mackay, Australia-born, Brisbane-based singer/songwriter Tia Gostelow exploded into the national and international scenes. Thick Skin featured smash hit album single “Strangers,” which was certified Gold after amassing over 12 million Spotify streams. And as a result of “Strangers” commercial success, Gostelow’s full-length debut landed a Triple J album feature, a Queensland Music Award for Album Of The Year, opening slots for Ball Park Music, Frightened Rabbit, The Rubens and Gomez and sets at Falls Festival and SXSW. Thick Skin also landed a Triple J album feature, which may have led to her appearing on the station’s covers series Like A Version.
Gostelow went on her first national headlining tour back in 2019. which she followed up with tours across the States, the UK and European Union. While on tour, the rising Aussie artist started work on her sophomore album, last year’s Oscar Dawson-produced Chrysalis. Chrysalis is a bold and decided change in sonic direction that sees Gostelow moving away from the guitar-based indie rock and folk sound her breakthrough full-length debut and crafting 11 songs of lush, 80s inspired, danceable yet thoughtful synth-based pop.
“Before the songs were even finished I knew I wanted Oscar Dawson to produce the record. He’s a gun and I was obsessed with all of the music coming out that he was producing,” Gostelow continues. “I met up with him in Brisbane and we instantly got along so well. Going into record this album I obviously knew a bit more than I did recording Thick Skin and I was a bit more inclined to have more involvement musically. I played bass, piano and synth on some songs which was really important to me and I’m so grateful that Oscar was so patient with me. He really pushed me to go to places vocally and musically that I probably wouldn’t have done without him which I am also super grateful for!”
“Two Lovers,” Chrysalis’ latest single is an anthemic, 80s synth pop-inspired, escapist confection centered around shimmering synth arpeggios reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” an infectious and enormous hook, thumping beats, an atmospheric and dreamy bridge, scorching guitars and Gostelow’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals. Much like The Money War-written “Always,” “Two Lovers” is focused on affairs of the heart — and rooted in the sort of earnest songwriting that can only come from hard-fought and even harder-won personal experience: in the case of “Two Lovers,” the song’s archetypical central couple is desperately fighting to keep their relationship intact during a particularly difficult patch.
Directed by Dom Gould, the recently released, heartfelt video for “Two Lovers” follows a series of couples, who are different ages, different gender expressions and from vastly different walks of life and highlights the best moments of being with someone you love. And often it’s the most simple and banal moments that mean the most — and are the most memorable and importnat. “We wanted to show couples from all walks of life in different scenes, everyone’s story is so different and we wanted to highlight that,” Gostelow says. ” It felt really nice to showcase other stories within a music video instead of it being mostly about me, this song was meant to resonate with people going through things like long distance and being away from loved ones so it only felt right to showcase the best parts of being with the person you love.”
Initially making a name for herself with her critically applauded recording project Völuspa, the Bay Area-raised, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kristen Knick is stepping out and away from her alter ego to release material under her known name. But there’s one thing that remains consistent: Knick employs a colorful sound palette to bring her lyrical themes of lucid dreams, forgotten nightmares, past mistakes and future possibilities to vivid life.
Some of Knick’s earliest influences include Kate Bush, Brian Eno, Neil Young and Stevie Nicks — but after discovering punk rock through her high school sweetheart, the Bay Area raised, Brooklyn-based artist found herself inflated with life; experiencing good music, love, drink and drugs. After several years, countless lovers, jobs and travels that resulted in a breakdown, Knick found herself in New York. Realizing that alcohol and drugs had been a detriment to her creativity, she got sober, and started writing and putting her experiences and emotions into very personal songs.
Knick’s latest album Close Your Eyes is slated for a release this fall through Swedish tastemaker label Icons Creating Evil Art, and the album’s latest single “Life’s a Placebo” is centered around a hazy, sepia-toned nostalgic production — tinny stuttering beats, woozy and shimmering ambient synths paired with Knick’s warmly inviting vocals. While evoking some long ago summer of carousel rides and unconcerned, childhood day dreaming, the song explores loos in its entirely, as the Brooklyn-based artist explains. “The song is sort of an epiphany, that life is a placebo,” Knick says. “Life is as we see it. I could choose to grieve over this loss and wallow in self-pity, or I could move on and make shit happen.”
“The recording process was with Eric Hoegemeyer and his chihuahua, Hoover, in his Astoria Queens apartment,” the Bay Area raised, Brooklyn-based artist adds. “I wrote the song when I first got sober in 2014 and when I brought it to him last year, he added some sweet synth tones and effects that gave it more dynamic than the bratty punk version I had recorded on my phone.”
Born near Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, the rising singer/songwriter Xante Alexis spent much of her early youth in Michigan, where she grew up deeply steeped in mysticism. When Alexis turned 15 she relocated to Colorado Springs; at 19, she became pregnant with her first child; and when she turned 20, her sister died of a heart defect. Those tumultuous years helped cement her desire to create — while leading her towards a life centered around helping and healing others through language and music.
After opening a healing centered with her mother, the Arizona-born, Colorado Springs-based singer/songwriter released her full-length debut, 2016’s Time of War to critical praise from the Colorado Springs Independent and a Best of 2017 award from Roots Music Report. Building upon a growing profile, Alexis played sets at Folk Alliance International, Americanafest and a three-week residency at the New York-based art collective, The Mothership. After more than a raced of touring the States and the European Union by car and van, Alexis eventually traded the road for the rails, supporting the album with a series of tours that crisscrossed the Western United States by train.
The Colorado Springs-based singer/songwriter’s sophomore album The Offering is slated for a Friday release — and although written way before the pandemic, the album’s material is decidedly of our time: centered around soaring lush melodies and hypnotic soundscapes, the album thematically grapples with anxiety and strength, worry and comfort, heartbreak and hope. Influenced by Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Julien Baker, and Feist, the album’s material finds Alexis at her most compassionate, unflinchingly honest and most vulnerable, as her narrators — and in turn, the songwriter — seeking much-needed acts of radical empathy and connection. Drawing from the Arizona-born, Colorado Springs-based singer/songwriter’s newfound sobriety and longtime passion for social activism, the album’s material finds her advocating for Native rights alongside the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, demanding racial justice in the streets with Black Lives Matter protestors and more.
“Moon,” The Offering’s lush and mesmerizing single is centered around looping and twinkling, arpeggiated keys, a sinuous bass line, stuttering beats paired with Alexis’ ethereal yet achingly tender vocals and a soaring hook. And while sonically the song seems to nod at Stevie Nicks’ and Peter Gabriel, “Moon” is written from deeply lived-in, personal experience, which gives the song’s yearning an added emotional punch.
Created and edited by TruLu Design’s Inaiah Lujan, the recently released and cinematically shot video for “Moon” follows a woman clad entirely in black — long black dress and black boots — as she walks purposefully through the forest with a wicker bag with white roses and other provisions for her journey. At a river clearing, we see the woman stop and make several small offerings to the river and to Mother Earth.
Featuring members split between Sydney, Australia and Melbourne, Australia, the rising Aussie indie electro pop duo Abroad — Will Cruger and Jack Dawson — have managed to explode into the national and international electro pop scenes in a relatively short period of time. 2018’s London and New York, helped to establish the duo’s sound — a synthesis of organic, indie rock instrumentation and slick dance floor friendly production which amassed over a million streams. Building upon a growing profile, the Aussie electro pop duo released two singles last year, “All I Want” and “Slide,” which also amassed over a million streams. Those two singles continued a run of material that’s informed and inspired by the duo’s experiences traveling and living overseas.
The rising Aussie pop duo has released material that has been featured on a number of popular, internationally recognized playlists including Front Left, Just Chill, New Dance Beats, The Local List and Indie Arrivals. Building upon a growing profile, the duo released “Home,” earlier this year, and the track has continued a run of attention-grabbing singles. Additionally, the band has opened for Boo Seeka, which may have led to Abroad’s Will Cruger co-written Boo Seeka’s latest single ‘Take A Look.”
The duo’s second and latest single of this year, is the euphoric and swooning club banger “Alright, OK.” Centered around a slick production featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, skittering beats, an enormous hook and achingly plaintive, multi-part harmony-led vocals, “Alright, OK” — to my ears at least — reminds me quite a bit of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and White Lies, if they managed to cover Stevie Nicks‘”Stand Back.” Arguably, one of the most anthemic tracks they’ve released to date, “Alright, OK” is a decidedly ambitious track delivered with swaggering self-assuredness and a heart-on-your-sleeve earnestness.
“I think this is our best work yet,” the band’s Jack Dawson says in press notes.. “We are huge believers in taking people somewhere, whether it is a memory of a loved one, being in love with someone, or just dancing by yourself we want to cover all dem feels!”
Directed by Waymark Studio’s Bob Stewart, the recently released video follows it star Brittney McCallum on a night out in Sydney, dancing and rocking out across nighttime Sydney streets, seemingly carefree and wrapped up in the joys of new love. And of course, through the prism of love, there can often be a sublime beauty within the mundane and every day — if you pay attention. Interestingly, the video shows McCallum actively seeking something — the band — and not finding them until the end.
“All through the clip, Brittney is searching for us and even though we walk right by her she doesn’t actually find us until the end. Partly inspired by our experiences being quarantined, the video is about taking a moment to reassess what’s really important, and whether it’s been with you all along,” the band’s Will Cruger explains in press notes.