Tag: Stevie Nicks

Comprised of husband wife duo Aslyn and Kalen Nash, the Joshua Tree, CA-based synth pop duo DEGA features two accomplished, veteran musicians: Ashlyn had released two solo albums, Lemon Love through Capitol Records and The Dandelion Sessions through Lemonade Records, and she has a stint was a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for Grammy nominated artist Kesha. Kalen Nash was guitarist and vocalist for Athens, GA-based indie rock act Ponderosa, a band that released their critically applauded, Joe Chiccarelli-produced album Midnight Revival, which was released through New West Records.

Unsurprisingly, the origins of the Nashes latest project can be traced back to 2008 when they first met and eventually fell in love — and although they married in 2011, they were so busy with their own respective musical projects, that they hadn’t seriously considered working together. Eventually, the loneliness of the road led the Nashes to consider a different path. “I remember a phone call when I was out with Kesha and Kalen was on tour with Ponderosa,” recalls Aslyn. “We were a country apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. I told him that we needed to start collaborating so, at the very least, we could see each other more often.”

Ashlyn and Kalen Nash formed DEGA with the idea that they could shed any and all of their preconceived notions about their previous work and freely explore new sounds and musical ideas — in this case anthemic, synth-based indie pop in which they merged their talents and ideas into a unique sound and approach. Now, as you may recall, the duo’s self-titled debut effort is slated for release later on this month through Lemonade Records, and the album reportedly is one of the most personal either has released to date as it focuses on the highs and lows of their lives together; in fact, album single “Phoenix” focuses on Asyln’s pregnancy and miscarriage during the recording sessions. With both Asyln and Kalen touring with their various projects, the duo would record whenever they were both in the same city and had free time, and as result, the album took two years to complete with sessions helmed by  Justin Loucks and Jon Ashley at various studios across the States.

Don’t Call It,” which I wrote about late last year was a carefully crafted yet urgent song that remind some quite a bit of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy as layers of shimmering synths were paired with a sinuous bass line, African-inspired percussion and a soaring hook. The duo’s latest single “Mirrors” continues the 80s vibes of its predecessor — but in this case Purple Rain and 1999-era Prince, as well as A Flock of Seagulls as the song features some blistering guitar work paired with propulsive drumming, layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a rousingly anthemic hook. And while being a remarkably slick, radio friendly track, it reveals some incredibly ambitious and earnest songwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years of its eight year history, you’ve likely come across an article featuring renowned Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and JOVM mainstay  Sofia Härdig. And as you may recall, Härdig is part of a rapidly expanding list of Scandinavian artists, who have received attention internationally — and just as importantly, she’s at the forefront of a blogosphere attention grabbing Swedish pop movement that includes several acts that I’ve written about at some or another; in fact, in her native Sweden, she’s considered the queen of electronic rock. Adding to a growing profile, the Swedish-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has collaborated with the likes of Grammy Award-winning acts The Hellacopters and Bob HundBoredoms and Free Kitten‘s Yoshimi P-We — and she has shared stages with Lydia Lunch and Belle and Sebastian‘s Stevie Jackson.

Härdig’s latest single “Illuminate” is an atmospheric, 80s-inspired, glistening and moody synth pop track consisting of layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a subtle rhythm guitar, a sinuous guitar line and a sultry hook — and while in some way reminding me of Stevie NicksStand Back” and The CarsDrive,” “Illuminate” is a deeply contemplative and introspective song focusing on the endless and seemingly frustrating search for love and for connection. Although it comes from a deeply personal place, it’s a universal sentiment that we’ve all felt at one point or another — and with a similar yearning to find that sort of love once again.

As Härdig explains in press notes. I worked with the song ‘Illuminate’ alone in my studio for many long, lonesome nights. It was just the studio, the stars and I, while I played all the instruments, made the soundscape and recorded the single in solitude. Later, I invited over some friends to improvise over the track. Guitarist John Essing and bass player Mats Hellquist, both from the band ‘bob hund’, but also a classical pianist and cellist respectively, added parts to the soundscape of ‘Illuminate.’ I brought all the new recordings back into the studio – tore them apart, rebuilt them and made arrangements, as if I was a mad scientist in my lab. I then brought in Jari Haapalainen to produce the songs. The solitary fashion in which ‘Illuminate’ was crafted reflects the mood of the single.”

New Video: The Soaring 80s Inspired Pop Sounds and Visuals of Husband and Wife Duo DEGA

Comprised of husband wife duo Aslyn and Kalen Nash, the Joshua Tree, CA-based synth pop duo DEGA features two accomplished, veteran musicians: Ashlyn had released two solo albums — Lemon Love through Capitol Records and The Dandelion Sessions through Lemonade Records, as well as spending some time as a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist for Grammy nominated artist Kesha. Karen Nash was guitarist and vocalist for Athens, GA-based indie rock act Ponderosa, a band that released their critically applauded, Joe Chiccarelli-produced album Midnight Revival, which was released through renowned indie rock/roots rock label New West Records. Interestingly, the origins of the Nashes latest project can be traced back to 2008 when they first met — and although they got married in 2011, they were so busy with their own projects that they hadn’t really considered working together. Eventually, the loneliness of the road led the Nashes to consider a different path. “I remember a phone call when I was out with Kesha and Kalen was on tour with Ponderosa,” recalls Aslyn. “We were a country apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. I told him that we needed to start collaborating so, at the very least, we could see each other more often.”

The Nashes then formed DEGA with the idea that they could shed any of their preconceived notions about their previous work and freely explore new sounds — in this case, anthemic, synth-based indie pop in which they merged their talents and ideas into a unique sound and approach. Their forthcoming self-titled debut is slated for a February 23, 2018 release through Lemonade Records and the album reportedly is one of the most personal works either have released to date, as it focuses on their highs and the lows, as well as the love they have for each other; in fact, album single “Phoenix” focuses on Aslyn’s pregnancy and miscarriage during the recording sessions. With both Aslyn and Kalen touring, the duo would record whenever they were in the same city and had free time and although the album took two years to complete with sessions helmed by Justin Loucks and Jon Ashley at various studios across the States. 

The self-titled album’s latest single “Don’t Call It” is a an ethereal, 80s inspired synth pop confection reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” St. Lucia, Washed Out and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy as layers of shimmering synths are paired with a sinuous bass line line, propulsive yet African-inspired percussion and a soaring hook. And while being slickly produced, the song possesses an urgent and swooning romanticism that belies a careful attention to craft. 

Directed by Scott Lansing, the recently released video for “Don’t Call It” consists of a fairly simple premise — the duo performing the song in a darkened room, in front of bright, lysergic lighting effects. 

Live Footage: Xiu Xiu Covers ZZ Top on AV Club “Undercover”

I’ve long been a fan of The Onion AV Club, as I think they’ve consistently offered some of most incisive and hilarious criticism of movies, movies and pop culture, written by some of the country’s smartest critics and writers. And it shouldn’t be surprising that for a long time I longed to write for them. Now, since moving exclusively to the interwebs, the folks at The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series.  The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to hear some contemporary artist or band cover.

The website’s staff then invites artists and bands over to their Chicago studio, where the invited band chooses a song from the AV Club’s list for that particular session — and then the band or artist records it in a live session. Here’s where things get truly interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again.

And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as  They Might Be Giants’ boisterous  cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females‘ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car),”  and  Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like  Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger in its entirety.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this very strange year, you may recall that to start off the eighth season of Undercover, The A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” Adding to a pretty interesting season of covers, The A.V. Club invited renowned and incredibly prolific experimental indie rock act Xiu Xiu into the studio, where they contributed a tense, manic, almost Devo “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”-like cover of ZZ Top’s smash hit “Sharp Dressed Man,” complete with a wild drum accompaniment that brings new life to an oft covered song. 

Along with their John Congleton-produced 11th full-length effort FORGET, which was released earlier this year, the members of Xiu Xiu will be releasing a split 7 inch with Italian band (r) and it’ll feature both bands covering ZZ Top. 

As Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart explains in press notes, “It took me a long time to come around to ZZ Top. When I was a kid i thought they were a joke band and their beards and campy sexuality freaked me out. Later on Xiu Xiu tours we would and still do always listen to the Black Flag tour diary Get In The Van wherein Henry Rollins mentions playing ZZ Top to all the punks in England, telling them it was the new Exploited record and watching them cry. 

This was funny and I thought hmmm .  . .

Then after watching a long jag of music documentaries, Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top, time and time again was a commentator. He was always incredibly smart, clearly deeply devoted to the history of music and insane looking.  

We were asked by the AV Club cover’s series to play a song from a list they had chosen. Everything on the list was a bunch of 90s RnB that I was never into or lame-o indie rock EXCEPT for ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’

The stars had aligned. I had no idea what a radical guitar part it was and what a pleasure it was to learn, by the end of the song I had to have 4 different fuzz and distortion pedals on to make it as zonked out as it needs to be. 

Walking down the streets of Torino on tour and talking with dear friend and long time collaborator Fabrizio Palumbo of (r) and his husband Paul Beauchamp. I mentioned we were covering the song. They said very matter of factly, “‘Xiu Xiu as ZZ Top and (r) as ZZ Bottom. Let’s do a split 7 inch.’”

He sent in his perfect minimal, experimental, goth, cabaret version of ‘Gimme All Your Lovin.’ A perversion made in heaven was born. “

Live Footage: Minus the Bear Covers Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” on A.V. Undercover

Going back to their print days, I’ve long been a fan of  The Onion AV Club, as they’ve consistently offered some of the smartest, most incisive, funniest criticism of movies, music and pop culture around. Since moving exclusively to the web, the folks behind The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series.  The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to have contemporary artists cover. The website’s staff then invites a bunch of artists and bands to stop by their Chicago studio, where they have the invited band choose a song from the AV Club’s list for that season — and then they record it in a live session. Now, here’s where things get really interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again. And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as  They Might Be Giants’ boisterous  cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females’ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Out of My Dreams (And Into My Car),”  and  Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like  Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger. 

To start off the eighth season of Undercover, the A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” 

While currently comprised of founder and primary member Jamie Stewart, Angela Seo and Shayna Dunkelman, indie rock trio Xiu Xiu have throughout the course of their history developed a reputation for restless experimentation and lately for a period of extraordinary diverse prolificacy — earlier this year, they released their critically applauded album Plays the Music of Twin Peaks, collaborated with renowned indie pop artist Mitski on a song that will appear on a forthcoming John Cameron Mitchell film, collaborated with Merzbow on an album, composed music for several art installations by renowned artist Danh Vo, wrote the score for an experimental reworking of Mozart’s The Magic Flute — and then they found time to write and record the material that comprises their forthcoming 11th full-length effort FORGET, which Polyvinyl Records will release on February 24, 2017.

Co-produced by John Congleton, who has worked with Blondie and Sigur Ros; Deerhoof‘s Greg Saunier and Xiu Xiu’s Angela Seo, the album features guest appearances by minimalist composer Charlemagne Palestine, Los Angeles Banjee Ball commentator Enyce Smith, Swans‘ Kristof Hahn and renowned drag artist Vaginal Davis. And as the band’s Jamie Stewart explains of both of the album’s title and its overarching theme, “To forget uncontrollably embraces the duality of human frailty. It is a rebirth in blanked out renewal but it also drowns and mutilates our attempt to hold on to what is dear.” FORGET is both the palliative fade out of a traumatic past but also the trampling pain of a beautiful one’s decay.”

“Wondering,” FORGET’s first single is a propulsive  dance floor-friendly single in which the band pairs layers of scuzzy, angular guitar chords with undulating synths, stuttering and skittering beats, brief bursts of twinkling keys and Stewart’s plaintive crooning with a swooning and anthemic hook — and while the equally shimmering and murky single sonically nods at Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back” and others, the song possesses and underlying tension between the known and unknown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tour Dates

Mar. 16th – Los Angeles, CA – Union

Mar. 17th – Escondido, CA – A Ship in The Woods

Mar. 19th – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

Mar. 21st – Seattle, WA – Kremwork

Mar. 22nd – Portland, OR – Holocene

Mar 23rd – 26th – Knoxville, TN – Big Ears Festival

Mar. 30th – Detroit, MI – El Club

Mar. 31st – Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle

Apr. 1st – Jacksonville, FL – The Sleeping Giant Film Festival

Apr. 6th – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bazaar

Apr. 7th – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle

Apr. 8th – Harrisburg, PA – Cathedral Room at Der Maennerchor

Apr. 9th – Baltimore, MD – The Wind-Up Space

Apr. 11th – Jersey City, NJ – Monty Hall

Apr.12th – New Haven, CT – Bar

Apr. 13th – Providence, RI – Colombus Theatre

Apr. 14th – Portsmouth, NH – 3SArtspace

Apr. 15th – Boston, MA – Cambridge Elks Lodge / Hardcore Stadium

Starting her career as a member of Laveer, an act that split up in 2013,  the Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist Aimee Herbert-Smith spent the past couple of years focusing on her personal life — getting married, having children and dealing with tragic loss. Naturally, those experiences inspired her to reconsider her entire creative process. “I felt the need to start writing and recording in a different way to how I had done before. Somehow, going solo at this point seemed fitting with the content of the songs – more vulnerable and anxiety driven,” Herbert-Smith explains in press notes about her new songwriting and creative approach.

Herbert-Smith’s debut single under the Mere Child moniker, “Not Good Enough” was released earlier this year and received praise from the likes of blogs such as Gigslutz, I Heart Moosiq and Bitter Sweet Symphonies and was included in Spotify Australia’s “This Week Sounds Like . . .” playlist, thanks in part to a sound that nods to Cocteau TwinsMirage-era Fleetwood Mac, early 80s Stevie Nicks and others. Her second and latest single “Jot of Joy” will further cement her burgeoning reputation for writing anthemic pop that manages to possess a visceral earnestness with slick, radio and club-friendly, cinematic production — in this case, Herbert-Smith’s yearning vocals are paired with enormous, tweeter and woofer rattling beats, strummed guitar, layers of cascading synths and swirling electronics, and anthemic, larger-than-life hook — all while possessing a swooning Romanticism at its core.

 

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.

New Video: The Surreal Visuals for Teeth and Tongue’s “Turn Turn Turn”

Give Up On Your Health’s second and latest single “Turn Turn Turn” much like its predecessor is inspired by a painful breakup — and lyrically, the song is full of the bitter regret, uncertainty, self-deception and gradual acceptance that occurs in the aftermath of a breakup, while sonically speaking, the song draws from 80s New Wave, synth pop and the DFA Records roster. Or in other words, undulating and propulsive synths are paired with cowbell-led percussion, angular guitar chords in a sensual and slinky arrangement, along with an infectious, dance-floor friendly hook. And somehow, every time I’ve heard it I’m reminded of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back” and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.”

The recently released video for the song turns the simple act of eating into something surreal, disgusting and detached and mechanical — and perhaps in some way, the video’s actors are deluding themselves into this being normal.

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock quartet Teeth and Tongue With the 2014 release of Grids, the band comprised of New Zealand-born, Melbourne, Australia-based Jess Cornelius (guitar, vocals), Marc Regueiro-McKelvie (guitar), Damian Sullivan (bass) and James Harvey (drums) received attention across Australia for an ambient-leaning sound that paired textured and layered vocals with lyrics that thematically focused on the intricacies of romantic relationships with an unvarnished honesty. And as a result of the attention they’ve received across Australia, they’ve managed to tour with internationally recognized indie rock sensation and fellow Australian Courtney Barnett, which has helped raised their profile internationally.

Dianne,” the first single off Teeth and Tongue’s recently released album Give Up On Your Health revealed a band that has gone through a change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, with the band taking up  an angular, dance floor friendly New Wave/post-punk sound reminiscent of Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz! and Dirty Ghosts. Give Up On Your Health’s latest single “Turn, Turn, Turn” much like its predecessor is inspired by a painful breakup — in particular, the song lyrically is full of the bitter regret,  uncertainty, self-deception and eventual acceptance that occurs in the aftermath of a breakup. Sonically speaking, the song sounds as though it draws from 80s New Wave, synth pop and DFA Records as you’ll hear undulating and propulsive synths, cowbell-led percussion, angular guitar chords in a sensual and slinky arrangement, along with an infectious, dance-floor friendly hook. Somehow, every time I’ve heard it I’m reminded of Stevie Nicks’ Stand Back” and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.”