Tag: Talking Heads

Pollens is a New York-based art pop/dance pop duo, Jeff and Elizabeth, and the act can trace its origins to when Jeff and Elizabeth met while working on a short, anachronistic opera-like project. Shortly after, they worked on a song cycle focused on the specifics of being human, social anxiety and social media — i.e. receiving Facebook birthday reminders from dead people, and so on. Since their formation they’ve released two EPs’ 83 and Mister Manufacture, and as the duo explains in press notes, the material is about being around people, checking your phone, being high in the city, Googling conspiracies and conspiracy theories and making summer mistakes among other things; but from the perspective of newcomers to New York, who are equally in awe of their surroundings, terrified and absolutely confused by — well, everything around them.

Apart from that, their sound, as you’ll hear on their latest single “$$$_PSA” is centered around layers of percussion, arpeggiated synths, electronic noise, chopped up samples, bright and ethereal melodies, and shouted non-sequiturs. It’s unique and pretty fucking weird while being simultaneously dance floor friendly in a way that brings to mind The B52s, DEVO, Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem, but  with a neurotic energy that feels as though its creators were bouncing off the wall. As the duo’s Jeff Aaron Bryant admits, “Our songs aren’t about anything . . . that’s a promise. For this one, ‘$$$_PSA, we’ve got a few flavors of moneyed people — their entitlement, the space they’re taking up on the train, their shoes and conversations, and every so often, we hear someone else making an announcement. Really, that’s it . . .”

When asked to explain more about the song, Bryant instead talks about his obsession with announcements. “I love announcements- anything anyone says over an intercom or public address system. I love how announcements are always inescapably loud or barely audible. And I love how announcements have their own music that’s specific to the information that’s being announced- like on an airplane, no one ever says “be careful opening the overhead bins” they always say “do use caution while opening the overhead storage compartments”. The word ‘Do’ is extra and weird sounding but always pitched higher than the rest of the sentence even though ‘caution’ is the important part. And whatever, an announcement is just some regular person reading from a script, but for a few moments, the microphone literally elevates their voice and they join with the authority, the public interest, the rules and safety… sales become sales events, customers become following guests, clerks become the next available customer service representative.”

Featuring Chuck Bronson, Brodie Conley, Nicolas Hyatt and David Lacalamita, the members of Canadian indie rock quartet Future States is a band with members based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, making the band a long distance affair, reportedly held together by the band member’s long-time friendship — and the Greyhound bus. Since their formation, the band has developed a reputation for crafting material that straddle the line between accessible, radio friendly pop and experimental pop based around arrangements of keys, guitar, sampled sounds and propulsive rhythms paired with pop melodies and reverb-drenched harmonies. And while, their latest single “Heaven” will further cement their reputation for crafting propulsive, left field (and incredibly breezy) pop reminiscent of Talking Heads and others, it also reportedly finds the band experimenting with new sounds and refining their overall production as the song is centered around a tight, propulsive rhythm, and a deceptively simple chord progression and verses; however, the song features an irony-tinged skepticism — of whether heaven exists, if it would be how it’s described and if the song’s narrator would even want to go there.

 

 

 

 

Live Footage: Franz Ferdinand Perform “Always Ascending” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

Currently comprised of founding trio Alex Kapranos (lead vocals, guitar), Bob Hardy (bass) and Paul Thomson (drums, percussion and backing vocals), along with newest members Julian Corrie (keys, synths, guitar and backing band), who joined last year, replacing founding member Nick McCarthy and the recently added Dino Bardot (guitar), the Glasgow, Scotland, UK-based indie rock/post punk act Franz Ferdinand formed back in 2002.  And with the release of their first two singles “Darts of Pleasure” and “Take Me Out” the members of the Glasgow-based indie rock act quickly saw commercial and critical success — with “Take Me Out,” becoming the band’s signature song, as it eventually peaked at #1 the UK Singles Chart, and earning a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. Additionally, their eponymous, 2004 full-length debut received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album and won the Mercury Prize, helping the Scottish indie rockers to establish themselves at the forefront of the early 2000s post-punk revival movement. 

Their 2005 Rich Costey-produced sophomore effort, You Could Have It So Much Better was released to critical and commercial success with the album peaking within the Top Ten Charts in multiple countries, and as a result, the album received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album with album single “Do You Want To” receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. However, with 2009’s Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, the members of the Scottish indie act moved away from the post-punk sound that first won them international attention to a much more dance floor oriented sound — all while continuing an impressive run of commercial and critical success. They promptly followed that up with a remix album of Tonight, titled Blood, which was released that summer.

2013 saw the release of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action but they managed to follow that effort up by teaming up with Sparks to form indie supergroup FFS, which released their self-tiltled album in 2015. Now, you may recall that Franz Ferdinand’s fifth album Always Ascending was released on Friday, and from the album single “Feel The Love Go,” the band has continued with a disco-leaning take on the Gang of Four-like post punk that first won them international attention — but with warm blasts of Hall and Oates/blue-eyed soul era saxophone that gives the song a quirky quality. “Lazy Boy,” much like its predecessor is a sleek, dance floor friendly track with a funky, disco-inspired bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming and a slick hook; but interestingly enough, the song finds the quintet at their most adventurous and mischievous, as the song also features twinkling synths and a loose, Rolling Stones “Emotional Rescue”-like vibe.

Recently, the renowned Glasgow-based post-punk act was on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform album title track Always Ascending, a sleek, dance floor friendly song that in some way seems to nod at Talking Heads’ cover of “Take Me to the River” — but with surprisingly soaring and infectious hook. 

 

Comprised of Dean Rodney, Jr. (vocals, rapping, songwriting), Matthew Howe (guitar),   Charles Stuart (bass, co-songwriter, background vocals), best known for being a member of Grace Jones‘ touring band, and Andrew Mclean (drums) with Felipe Pagani (guitar) joining in on live shows, the London-based indie act The Fish Police formed back in 2010 and is a unique and pioneering act, as it features neurodiverse personnel — Rodney, Jr., Howe and Mclean are all on the autistic spectrum, with Howe and Mclean being trained by the band’s Stuart at the London creative arts charity and label Heart n Soul.  Sonically, the neurodiverse act have developed a reputation for an electronic-based sound that draws from hip-hop, soul, 16 bit era computer game soundtracks and Afro-punk among others

The Fish Police’s forthcoming EP Edging Myself to the Middle reportedly sees Dean Rodney, Jr. taking on a slightly bigger role in terms of bringing musical ideas to the creative table.  Interestingly, because of his autism, Rodney, Jr. sees life through a very different angle and consequently, the lyrical themes and concepts he explores in his lyrics are humorously surreal while possessing a deceptive, childlike simplicity. After all, along with the aforementioned influences of hip-hop, soul, computer game soundtracks and Afro-punk, the band is influences by cartoons, fast food and Japanese culture — and as a result they band has built up quite a bit of buzz; in fact, the band will be playing sets at this year’s SXSW.  Edging Myself to the Middle‘s latest single “Cactus” is inspired by one of the cacti in the meeting room of their label’s offices, and the song finds the band pairing Rodney, Jr’s inventively surreal and childlike lyrics with glitchy electronics and funky and propulsive groove reminiscent of Fear of Music-era Talking Heads. But the bigger point is that this band should remind the listener of the inherent value of everyone — and that everyone has a story that should be told that respects their dignity and humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you may be familiar with the Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstays Sego. And as you may recall, the indie act, comprised of the Mapleton, UT-born duo Spencer Peterson and Thomas Carroll, eventually relocated to Los Angeles to seriously purse careers in music — and as soon as the duo landed in Los Angeles, Peterson and Carroll quickly developed a reputation for employing contemporary production techniques while maintaining an eccentric and human touch that drew upon several disparate sources. “Townland,” the first single I wrote about reminded me of Talking Heads and Superhuman Happiness, while  “Obscene Dream” off their full-length debut, Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Out was reminiscent of Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundystem.

Last December, the duo closed out 2017 with “Sucker/Saint,” which found the duo  adopting a jangling, hook-driven, 90s grunge rock-inspired sound, reminiscent of Pixies, The Posies and others while revealing some rather ambitious songwriting, as the duo nodded at psych rock, krautrock and guitar pop. “Cigarette Kids,” the Los Angeles-based duo’s first single of 2018 continues in a somewhat similar vein as its immediate predecessor as it features a jangling and shuffling hook; however, there this particular song seems to have more of a dreamy, almost krautrock vibe thanks to atmospheric synths and a motorik-like groove. And yet, underlying the dreamy vibes of the entire thing, the song reportedly dives further into Spencer Petersen’s relationship with his adopted hometown and its day-to-day culture — and in some way, it’s a bemused view an outsider, who can’t figure out why the people he’s around say the things they say or do the things they do.

The JOVM mainstays will be touring throughout March and it’ll include some SXSW sets, as well as a hometown show in Provo, UT. Check out tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
3/10: Tucson, AZ @ Flycatcher+
3/14: Austin, TX @ SXSW
3/15: Dallas, TX @ Not So Fun Wknd
3/16: Austin, TX @ SXSW
3/17: Norman, OK @ Opolis^
3/19: Taos, NM @ Taos Mesa Brewing
3/20: Fort Collins, CO @ Surfside 7#
3/22: Provo, UT @ Velour
3/26: Seattle, WA @ Vera Project*
3/27: Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar*
3/29: San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill*
4/8: Las Vegas, CA @ Emerge Impact + Music
+ with Fenster
^ with Dick Stusso
# with Pujol
* with Dante Elephante

 

New Video: Miles Francis Returns with Hypnotic and Sultry Visuals for New Single “Complex”

Miles Francis is a 26 year-old, New York-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, who may be one of the city’s most best kept and accomplished secrets; he’s best known for stints as a member of JOVM mainstays Superhuman Happiness, and Antibalas , as the frontman for sadly defunct, local Afrobeat/Afropop collective EMEFE, and as a working musician, he has collaborated and performed with an impressive array of artists including Mark Ronson, Sharon Jones, Amber Mark, Angelique Kidjo, Allen Toussaint, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler and others. 
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you’d recall that the New York-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter released his glitchy and jerky debut single “You’re a Star,” which featured  propulsive polyrhythm and, 8 bit Nintendo-like synths wrapped around cooed vocals. And while the track finds Miles’ sound still drawing from the Afropop and Afrobeat that has been at the core of most of his work. but while nodding at Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads.

Building upon a growing profile as a solo artist, Miles Francis debut EP Swimmers is slated for a February 2, 2018 release. Written in the back of our vans and various hotel rooms while on the road and then recorded in his basement studio, the material reportedly captures the mood and vibe of someone in their early to mid 20s figuring out themselves, the extremely complicated and ambivalent world they’re confronting as adults, how they fit into that world, their purpose and the meaning of their own lives. As Miles Francis explains in press notes, “These five songs captured a raw time for me, when life seemed to be coming to a head. I made an effort not to touch or edit them too much once I had recorded them. I wanted to keep that intimacy in there,” he says. Interestingly, the EP’s first official single “Take It” featured a swaggering and self-assured arrangement featuring arpeggiated synths, a sinuous, funky bass line, boom bap-like drumming and an incredibly infectious hook; but despite that, the song’s narrator seemingly finds himself fighting through crippling self-doubt and uncertainty, which give step song a tense and conflicted vibe. 

The EP’s second and latest single “Complex” features a slowly strutting grove, gently undulating synths, a sinuous bass line, boom bap-like beats and a slow-burning, unexpected sultry hook — and much like his preceding singles, “Complex” will further cement the New York-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter’s growing reputation for crafting thoughtful, out of left field pop. 

The recently released video for “Complex” continues Miles Francis’ ongoing collaboration with director  Charles Billot features the New York-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter submerged underwater as plumes of colored smoke gently drift over him and the water, before he slowly pulls his head above water. Interestingly, the visuals manage to be dream-like while further emphasizing the song’s sultry and hypnotic quality. 

New Video: Miles Francis Returns with Slick Visuals for His Sinuous and Funky New Single

Miles Francis is a 26 year-old, New York-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, who may be one of the city’s most best kept and accomplished secrets as best known as being a member of JOVM mainstays Superhuman Happiness, Antibalas and EMEFE, and as a working musician he has collaborated and performed with an impressive array of artists including Mark Ronson, Sharon Jones, Amber Mark, Angelique Kidjo, Allen Toussaint, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler and others. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past year or so, you’d recall that the New York-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter released his debut single “You’re a Star,” which featured mischievously complex and propulsive polyrhythm, bursts of jerky and twinkling, 8 bit Nintendo-like synths around a breezily infectious hook wrapped around hushed vocals. But interestingly, his debut single is a bit of departure from his previously released work — while clearly drawing from Afropop and Afrobeat, the song also seemed to nod at Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads.

Building upon a growing profile as a solo artist, Miles Francis debut EP Swimmers is slated for a February 2, 2018 release. Written in the back of our vans and various hotel rooms while on the road and then recorded in his basement studio, the material reportedly captures the mood and vibe of someone in their early to mid 20s figuring out themselves, the extremely complicated and ambivalent world they’re confronting as adults, how they fit into that world, their purpose and the meaning of their own lives. As Miles Francis explains in press notes, “These five songs captured a raw time for me, when life seemed to be coming to a head. I made an effort not to touch or edit them too much once I had recorded them. I wanted to keep that intimacy in there,” he says. Interestingly, the EP’s first official single “Take It” manages to pair a swaggering and self-assured arrangement featuring arpeggiated synths, a sinuous, funky bass line, boom bap-like drumming with one of the most infectious hooks I’ve heard so far; but ironically, the song’s narrator finds himself fighting through crippling self-doubt and uncertainty, which creates a tense, deeply conflicted vibe to the song. 

Directed by Charles Billot and shot at Brooklyn venue C’Mon Everybody, the recently released video was choreographed by Blake Krapels and features the New York-based singer/songwriter along with dancer Lukasz Zieba, whose movements evoke the song’s tense and conflicted nature — while being stunningly beautiful to look at. 

Initially formed in 1978 as a trio featuring founding members Steve Marsh, Doug Murray and his brother Greg Murray with synth player Jack Crow later joining the band, the members of Austin, TX-based punk act Terminal Mind, were influenced by the likes of Pere Ubu, Roxy Music, John Cale, and Wire — and despite a relatively short period of time together, managed to be at the forefront of Austin’s early punk rock scene, managing to quickly build a local profile, sharing bills with The Huns, Standing Waves, The Big Boys and Iggy Pop. As a result, they managed to subtly influence their hometown’s second wave of punk and noise rockers before splitting up to pursue a number of different projects: Marsh relocated to New York with his experimental noise act Miracle Room before returning to Austin to form space/psych rock act Evil Triplet and an experimental solo recording project he dubbed Radarcave; Doug Murray joined The Skunks; Greg Murray joined an iteration of The Big Boys. Unfortunately, Jack Crow died in 1994.

Now, as I’ve mentioned the proliferation of labels across the world of differing sizes has allowed for long lost bands to find their due, and interestingly, Terminal Mind’s retrospective album Recordings, which is slated for a January 19, 2018 release through Sonic Surgery Records  features the band’s very rate 4 song 7 inch album (which currently fetches more than $100 on eBay), a number of Live at Raul’s compilation tracks as well as a number of unreleased studio and live recordings. And the album’s first single “Refugee” find the short-lived band walking a tightrope between angular and nerdy post punk and furious punk with the band’s sound seeming like an amalgamation between Talking Heads: 77-era Talking HeadsPink Flag-era Wire, Entertainment! and Solid Gold-era Gang of Four, and Bad Religion.

Admittedly, while I listened to “Refugee,” there was this this sense that I had heard a band that through the weird machinations of fate and luck could have been much bigger than what they eventually wound up — after all, they were pairing tight hooks and angular power chords with an uncanny sense of melody a few years before Bad Religion even formed! But at the very least, hopefully the Sonic Surgery release will help fill in a necessary gap in the canon.