Tag: Talking Heads

Throwback: Happy 69th Birthday, David Byrne!

JOVM celebrates David Byrne’s 69th birthday.

Live Footage: Keep Dancing Inc. Un Plan Simple Session at Saint Laurent Rive Droit

With the release of their debut EP, 2017’s Initial Public Offering and a handful of follow-up one-off singles, the Paris-based electro pop trio Keep Dancing, Inc. — Louis, Joseph and Gabrielle — quickly emerged as one of France’s hottest and most exciting new acts. The trio supported that material with a tour across the European Union and the UK with Blossoms, which helped them develop a reputation as highly-regarded live act.

Last year’s 12 song, Tom Carmichael-produced full-length debut Embrace was recorded between Paris and Margate, UK, and the album’s material found the rising Paris-based trio crafting remarkably assured and ambitious club friendly bops that effortlessly mesh 80s New Wave, electro pop and disco like with album singles “Could U Stop” and “Start Up Nation.” But underneath the infectious grooves, the band’s material often offers incisive and ironic commentary on our contemporary world and economy.

Un Plan Simple recently invited the rising Paris-based act to film a live session. Directed by Anthony Vaccarello and shot at Saint Laurent’s Rive Droite in front of flashing strobe lights, the band performed three songs for the sessions including the infectious “Start Up Nation,” one of my favorite songs off Embrace, the buoyant, New Order-like “Long Enough” and the acclaimed, Remain in Light-era Talking Heads-like “Could U Stop.”

New Audio: French Producer Anoraak Remixes Patawawa’s Disco Banger “Just Not With You”

Formed back in 2014, the Matlock, Derbyshire, UK-based electro pop trio Patawawa — multi-instrumentalist and producer Rory Lovatt, vocalist Sam Wilmot and vocalist Beth Garrett — burst onto the international dance music scene with an effervescent blend of disco, funk and pop that draws influence from the likes of Pet Shop Boys and Prince. Since their formation the trio have built up a massive profile and following: they’ve received airplay and praise from BBC Introducing; they’ve collaborated with French producer Tez Cadey on a Spotify viral hit; they’ve played sold-out shows in Japan; they’ve participated in a band partnership with KRK Systems; and lastly, they’ve crafted a soundtrack for Millie Bobby Brown’s fashion brand.

Building upon a rising national and international profile, the British dance trio’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Power Up is slated for a March 26, 2021 — and reportedly, the album will further cement their winning sound, which manages to be simultaneously nostalgia-inducing yet contemporary. Album single “Just Not With You”is a late 70s/early 80s disco and New Wave-inspired strut centered around a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, and percussive polyrhythm, shimmering analog synths and soulful yet determined vocals. Sonically while recalling things like Fear of Music-era Talking Heads, Chic, Tom Tom Club, and 80s synth funk, the song is a self-empowerment anthem featuring a narrator, who has built up the confidence and self-assuredness to move on from a relationship.

Recently, French producer Anorraak remixed “Just Not With You.” While the original was a slick and nostalgia-inducing mix of disco and New Wave, Anoraak’s remix. While retaining Beth Garrett’s soulful and self-assured vocals and brief blasts of the original’s guitars Anorrak gives the song a throughout reworking: most of the original’s instrumentation is replaced by dense layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, a funkier and punchier bass line and some dub effects while retaining Beth Garrett’s soulful and self-assured vocals. The original’s message still hods but the new take, manages to remind me a bit of Yaz’s “Situation.”

“We got in contact with Anoraak through Instagram and absolutely loved his work,” the rising British trio say of their collaboration with the rising French producer. “It just seemed like a no brainer to work together and we are absolutely chuffed with the result.”

“I really loved working on this remix,” Anoraak adds. “The vocals on the track reminded me a little of CSS so I tried to give a bit of that feeling with some dirty synth sounds on top of a disco base.”

New Video: The Lounge Society’s Sociopolitically Charged, Dance Floor Friendly Satire

The Lounge Society — Cameron Davey (vocals, bass), Archie Dewis (drums), Herbie May (guitar) and Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar) — is a rising Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK band, whose members are roughly around the ages of 16-17. And in a remarkably short period of time, the Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire-based act have developed a sound and approach that draws from a diverse array of influences including The Fall, Talking Heads, The Velvet Underground and Fat White Family among others.

The rising British act caught the attention of Speedy Wunderground co-founders Pierre Hall, Dan Carey, and Alexis Smith, and by the time the band’s manager had contacted the label, Hall, Carey and Smith quickly recognized that they were in a now-or-never moment to work with a band that by all accounts are lining themselves up to one of the next big things from Northern England. Because of their youth, the members of the and actually needed permission to miss their exams in order to come down to Speedy Wunderground’s Streatham, Greater London headquarters and studio to record material. And they needed an adult guardian to check them into the nearby hotel they booked for for their session.

Despite their relative youth, the young rising act made quite the impression on the Speedy Wunderground folks. “They are great. Really fun to work with — and a fucking amazing band,” Dan Carey enthuses. The day that the band entered the studio, things happened quickly: after messing around a bit with the members of the band trying out different amps and guitars. As soon as they were ready, Carey set the mood of the sessions by turning the lights off and turning on the smoke machine and lasers. And as they started to play, the building’s smoke alarm went off, which according to the band and the label was the first time that had ever happened.

Earlier this year,. I wrote about The Lounge Society’s debut single, the expansive yet breakneck “Generation Game.” Clocking in at 5:30, the band self-assuredly crafts a difficult to pigeonhole sound with the single featuring elements of shoegaze, psych rock, punk and Brit Pop held together by a propulsive rhythm section. “Generation Game” manages to capture the upstarts as a runaway train of rambunctious abandon, piss and vinegar and distortion pedaled power chords.

Building upon the buzz they received from “Generation Game,” The Lounge Society’s latest single “Burn the Heather” continues their ongoing collaboration with Dan Carey while being centered around a post-punk/punk funk strut that recalls Talking Heads, Gang of Four and Echoes-era The Rapture, complete with copious cowbell. And while being a dance floor friendly jam, the song finds the band continuing to write material that’s sociopolitically charged: The song’s title is derived from the annual local ritual of rich landowners burning moor-top heather for lucrative grouse-shoots. Locals in the valley have blamed that annual local ritual for frequent flooding that has devastated them financially and emotionally. Much like its predecessor, “Burn the Heather” is the sound and voice of England’s young people — and perhaps young people everywhere: hyper aware of their local and global world, articulate, pissed off, energized and ready to grab society by the horns.

Centered around strikingly macabre lyrics, “Burn the Heather” is a deeply personal song for the upstart British act. “‘Burn the Heather’ is a song deeply rooted in where we come from,” the band explain in press notes. “The lyrics are our interpretation of some of the darker aspects of where we live, and our personal reaction to them. Musically, ‘Burn the Heather’ is intended to be an adrenaline shot to the brain. We wanted this to be the second single all along. We don’t want to be just another post-punk band, and we knew ‘Heather’ would keep people on their toes. Unlike a lot of our tracks, the guitars are quite minimal and the rhythm really carries it, and we think it works really well. We want to make people move.”

Directed by Nick Farrimond, the recently released video fittingly follows the song’s macabre lyrics with rich landowner types hunting people — in this case, young people, dressed as prisoners in orange or perhaps red?) jumpsuits. (Editor’s note: Americans will see it this way. Across the country, the orange jumpsuit typically denotes prisoner.) Clearly pointing out the inequalities of power, class and wealth, the members of the band are hunted down — and there’s ton of carnage, as well as an ironic twist.

“Born from the sense of injustice surrounding irresponsible land owners who clear heather from the moorland for grouse hunting, (resulting in increased flood risks below in the valley where we all live) we decided to portray caricatured versions of grouse hunters, dressed head to toe in tweed and showing total disregard for the landscape and devoid of any values, morals or ethics,” the video’s director Nick Farrimond explains. “The band play the parts of grouse, making their way across the moors, dressed in fetching red boiler suits and unaware of the impending danger they face. What ensues is general carnage as the grouse are hunted one by one, each meeting a grizzly, untimely end…or do they? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.”

New Video: Nicolas Michaux Releases a Slinky and Brooding Meditation on Economic Anxiousness and Uncertainty

I’ve written a bit about, Brussels-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer Nicolas Michaux over the past couple of months. Currently splitting his time between Brussels and Samsø, Denmark, Michaux, who writes and sings in both English and French, has received attention across Europe for crafting as sound that features elements of French chanson, 60s British rock and early New Wave, guided by a distinctly personal spirit and centered around lush and textured production.

Michaux’s sophomore album Amour Colére (which translates into English as Love Anger) is slated for a Friday release through Capitane Records. The album continues the Belgian artist’s ongoing collaboration with Morgan Vigilante — and as you may recall, Michaux and Capitane Record have released three singles off the album to rapturous critical applause: “Harvesters,” which was praised by The Line of Best Fit, “Nos Retrouvallies.” a lush and plaintive song that touches upon classic French chanson themes of love, grief, separation and reunion (either in this world or in the afterlife) and “Parrot,” arguably the album’s funkiest song, which sounds as though it drew influence from Fear of Music-era Talking Heads and Afro pop, while discussing the alienation and paralysis many of us feel in the midst of a morally bankrupt, stupid, cruel world that robs people of their humanity and decency.

“Enemies,” Amour Colére’s fourth single is a slinky and brooding New Wave number featuring shimmering reverb-drenched guitars, a sinuous bass line and a taut four-on-the four that subtly nods at Tom Petty’s “Refugee” but centered around a familiar (and age-old) economic and career-based anxiety and frustration. Much of our existence is deterministic and influenced by larger (and highly indifferent) forces — and the song points that out with a steely-eyed clarity. Interestingly, “Enemies” is influenced by the work of French sociologist Bernard Friot, a historian of social security and advocate for lifetime salary with the song finding Michaux reflecting upon Friot’s work and his own financial situation.

“When you turn 30 and have a child, being broke becomes less and less fun,” Michaux says in press notes. “At the time of writing, we were looking for a place to live and the violence of the housing market took me by the throat. In writing about slavery, Marguerite Yourcenar said that a regime is often most excessive in its cruelty and injustice in its last days. I sometimes get the impression that it’s the same kind of historical scenario we are currently experiencing with the slow agony of capitalism.”

Directed by Thomas de Hemptinne and Nicolas Michaux, the recently released video for “Enemies” is brooding, surreal and impressionistic visual that captures the anxious uncertainty, the loneliness and fear of both the musicians, who worked together during pandemic-related lockdowns and simultaneously that of the viewer.

New Video: Brussels’ Nicolas Michaux Returns with the Incisive and Funky “Parrot”

Nicolas Michaux is a Brussels-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer, who currently splits his time between Brussels and Samsø, Denmark. Writing and singing material in both English and French, Michaux has received attention for crafting a sound that meshes elements of French chanson, 60s British rock and early New Wave, guided by a distinctly personal spirit and centered around lush and textured production. 

Earlier this year, Michaux released “Harvesters, the first bit of original material from the Belgian artist since 2016’s À la vie à la mort to critical praise from from  The Line of Best Fit. Building upon the momentum of “Harvesters,” Michaux released “Nos Retrouvallies.”  Continuing his ongoing collaboration with Morgan Vigilante, the lush and plaintive track touches upon classic French chanson themes of love, grief, separation and reunion — either in this world or in the afterlife — in a way that’s simultaneously charming and heartbreaking. 

Both “Harvesters” and “Nos Retrouvailles” will appear on Michaux’s forthcoming album Amour Colére, which is slated for a September 25, 2020 release through Capitane Records. Amour Colére’s third and latest single “Parrot” is a long-time staple of the Belgian artist’s live set — and it may arguably be the funkiest song off the forthcoming album. Centered around a strutting bass line, stuttering four-on-the-floor and  shimmering and looping guitar lines, “Parrot” recalls Fear of Music-era Talking Heads and Afro pop. But at its core the song talks about the alienation and paralysis that many of us feel in the midst of a morally bankrupt, stupid, cruel world, of a globalized economy that exploits and destroys everything in its path, of a global mass media and so on. “It’s a frontal attack against the conformist and cowardly part that lies in us all,” Michaux says of the song. 

Directed by visual artist Yoann Stehr, the recently released video for “Parrot,” is an  montage of newsreel images taken from the Internet, looped and edited in time to the song’s infectious groove. In many ways, the video can conceivably be titled “2020 In Your Face” or “The End of Our World as We Know It” but the key thing is that it’s an unsettling juxtapositions of familiar images in which the dominant figures of our world — the heads of state, the capitalists, the police officers — have their penchant for greed, destruction and exploration revealed to all. Of course, a new guard that includes Yellow Vests, BLM, feminists, ecologists an da host of others have risen up to combat the old ways and bring about a new way, saving what can still be saved. It’s desperate times y’all but on occasion there’s still hope that right and goodness could win. 

New Audio: Australia’s Mildlife Releases a Shimmering Club Friendly Jam

With the release of 2017’s full-length debut Phase, the Aussie quartet Midlife — multi-instrumentalists Jim Rindfleish, Adam Halliwell, Kevin McDowell and Tom Shanahan — exploded into the national and international scene. Phase was released to critical acclaim from Resident AdvisorResident Advisor, Uncut, The Guardian and airplay from BBC Radio 6 — and the album helped the band garner several award nominations including Best Album at the 2018 Worldwide FM Awards,  Best Independent Jazz Album at the 2018 AIR Awards and Best Electronic Award nomination and win at the The Age Music Victoria Awards. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Midlife have opened for the likes of Stereolab, JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Harvey Sutherland. Their first national headlining tour was sold out, and the immediately followed up with a ten-date UK and European tour, which was culminated with a homecoming set at Meredith Music Festival. 

The rising Aussie act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Automatic is slated for a September 18, 2020 release through Heavenly Recordings and the album reportedly is step-change from their debut with the material being much more disciplined, directional and more danceable but while continuing their unerring knack to let a track luxuriate and stretch out without ever being self-indulgent. “The recorded songs kind of become the new reference point for playing the songs live,” Midlife’s Kevin McDowell says. ““They both have different outcomes and we make our decisions for each based on that, but they’re symbiotic and they both influence each other. It’s usually a fairly natural flow from live to recorded back to live.”

“Vapour,” Automatic’s second and latest single is centered around a shimmering, cosmic groove featuring glistening synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, a fluttering and expressive flute solo, shuffling four-on-the-floor, a euphoria-inducing hook and McDowell’s plaintive falsetto.  While sonically the song brings Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club and DBFC to mind, it conjures memories of carefree dance floors of pre-COVID quarantines, lockdowns and isolation. “Vapour is a dance mantra with enough weight to blow the cobwebs off your tired mind and snap you out of your endless feed scrolling rituals,” the members of Midlife say of the song. 

New Video: Video Age Releases a Playful Visual for Shimmering and Upbeat Anthem “Aerostar”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the New Orleans-based act Video Age, and with the release of their first two albums 2016’s full-length debut Living Alone and 2018’s sophomore album Pop Therapy, the band — founding members Ross Farbe and Ray Micarelli, along with Nick Corson and Duncan Troast — received attention for crafting hook-driven material with a decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired sound.

Following the release of Pop Therapy, the band’s songwriting partners and co-founders Farbe and Micarelli were eager to write new material and continue upon the momentum they had just started to build up. The band convened at Farbe’s home studio to work on the band’s highly anticipated third album, Pleasure Line, which is slated for an August 7, 2020 release through Winspear, who recently signed the band.

Inspired by a vast range of influences including Janet Jackson, David Bowie and Paul McCartney, Pleasure Line finds the band crafting neon-bright 80s pop-like melodies to create an optimistic sound — with the material taking on a rosy hue.  “I’m often trying to create a more idealized version of the world I’m in,” Video Age’s Ross Farbe says in press notes. “In fact, some of that optimism may come as a result of both Farbe and Micarelli getting married this year — just a few weeks apart from each other. “We’re feeling the love,” Farbe says.

Written as a salve that protects against cynicism. the album’s material is meant to help the listener see and feel a world full of romantic potential. But the album isn’t centered around one-dimensional puppy love — it’s the sort of fulfilling love that’s complicated, confusing and never easy; but ultimately worth it. So far, I’ve written about two of the album’s singles — the dance floor friendly,  Tom Tom Club-like “Shadow On The Wall” and the slow-burning, Quiet Storm meets Prince-like “Pleasure Line.” 

Pleasure Line’s third and latest single “Aerostar” is a decidedly upbeat New Wave-inspired, bop centered around shimmering and squiggling synth arpeggios, propulsive four-on-the-floor, a sinuous bass line, angular guitar blasts and an infectious, dance floor friendly hook. Sonically, the track may remind some listeners of The Cars, Talking Heads, and others — but with playful references to cars and hitting the road with your buddies, playing tunes. “This song looks at the bright side of being on the road. We did a lot of touring for the last album and it’s something that really brought us closer together as a band,” the members of Video Age say in press notes. 

Directed by Zack Shorrosh, the recently released video follows the band and their adventures in their ’95 Ford Aerostar, shot in front of a green screen: we see the members of the band and the van as they travel throughout various locations, including the Grand Canyon, the desert and even space — and naturally, the video looks and feels as though it could have been released in 1985. “Once we found a green screen studio big enough to fit our ’95 Ford Aerostar, we hopped in and let the story unfold,” the band says. 

New Audio: Video Age Releases a Slow-Burning and Shimmering New Single

With the release of their first two albums, 2016’s full-length debut Living Alone and 2018’s sophomore album Pop Therapy, the New Orleans-based act Video Age — founding members Ross Farbe and Ray Micarelli, along with Nick Corson and Duncan Troast — received attention for crafting hook-driven material with a decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired sound.

Following the release of Pop Therapy, the band’s songwriting partners and co-founders Farbe and Micarelli were eager to write new material and continue upon the momentum they had just started to build up. The band convened at Farbe’s home studio to work on the band’s highly anticipated third album, Pleasure Line, which is slated for an August 7, 2020 release through Winspear, who recently signed the band.

Inspired by a vast range of influences including Janet Jackson, David Bowie and Paul McCartney, Pleasure Line finds the band crafting neon-bright 80s pop-like melodies to create an optimistic sound — with the material taking on a rosy hue.  “I’m often trying to create a more idealized version of the world I’m in,” Video Age’s Ross Farbe says in press notes. “In fact, some of that optimism may come as a result of both Farbe and Micarelli getting married this year — just a few weeks apart from each other. “We’re feeling the love,” Farbe says. 

Written as a salve that protects against cynicism. the album’s material is meant to help the listener see and feel a world full of romantic potential. But the album isn’t centered around one-dimensional puppy love — it’s the sort of fulfilling love that’s complicated, confusing and never easy; but ultimately worth it. Earlier this year, I wrote about “Shadow On The Wall” a decidedly  80s synth pop track — i.e., Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads and early Madonna — with a subtle hint of 70s AM rock. But while the track is superficially dance floor friendly, it manages to hint at something much darker under the surface. Pleasure Line’s second and latest single, album title track “Pleasure Line” is a slow- burning Quiet Storm meets Prince-like track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, Nile Rodgers-like guitar and an infectious hook. Interestingly, the song manages to be thematically about a restless anxiousness that eventually turns into possibility and love; of making comfort out of discomfort.  

New Audio: New Orleans’ Video Age Releases an 80s Synth Pop-Inspired Banger

With the release of their first two albums, 2016’s full-length debut Living Alone and 2018’s sophomore album Pop Therapy, the New Orleans-based act Video Age — founding members Ross Farbe and Ray Micarelli, along with Nick Corson and Duncan Troast — received attention for crafting hook-driven material with a decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired sound. 

Following the release of Pop Therapy, the band’s songwriting partners and co-founders Farbe and Micarelli were eager to write new material and continue upon the momentum they had just started to build up. The quartet convened at Farbe’s home studio to begin to work on their highly-anticipated third full-length album, which will be released through Winspear, who recently signed the band. 

Video Age’s first single of 2020, “Shadow On The Wall” further establishes the band’s 80s synth pop-inspired sound as its centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, a sinuous bass line, vintage drum machine, some cowbell and an infectious hook. Sonically, the song reminds me of Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads and early Madonna with a subtle hint at 70s AM rock — and while dance floor friendly, the song manages to hint at something much darker under the surface.