Tag: Tame Impala

New Video: JOVM Mainstays POND Releases a Mischievous Yet Bittersweet Visual for Slow-Burning “Take Me Avalon I’m Young”

Perth-based act and JOVM mainstays POND — currently, creative mastermind, songwriter and producer Jay Watson (vocals, guitar, keys, drums, synths and bass), who’s also a touring member of fellow Aussie JOVM mainstays Tame Impala; Nicholas Allbook (lead vocals, guitar, keys, bass, flute, slide guitar and drums); Joe Ryan (vocals, guitar, bass, 12 string guitar, slide guitar); Jamie Terry (keys, bass, synths, organs, guitar); and Jamie Ireland (drums, keys) — have released a handful of critically applauded albums that have seen the band’s sound gradually morph into increasingly synth-driven psych pop. 

2019’s Tasmania is POND’s most commercially successful and critically applauded album to date, with the album debuting at #15 on the ARIA album charts and #2 on the AIR Independent charts. Conceived as a sort of sister effort to its predecessor, 2017’s The WeatherTasmania thematically is a dejected and heartbroken meditation on our current sociopolitical moment: planetary discord, water and its dearth in much of the world, machismo, shame, blame, responsibility, love, and the impact of colonial empires. While accurately capturing the restless, anxious dread that most of us have been feeling, the album doesn’t completely wallow in self-pity and fear. Rather, it encourages the listener to celebrate and enjoy the small things of life while we still can. 

The Perth-based JOVM mainstays ninth album, the aptly titled 9 was released earlier this year through Spinning Top Music. Produced by the band’s Watson and Ireland, 9 sees the band pushing the sound they’ve established and honed over the past few albums even further, while attempting to recapture anarchic sense of uncertainty. “We sort of gave ourselves permission to make something stuffed this time,” the band’s Nicholas Albrook says in press notes. “We’d settled into a pretty tight routine with the last few albums and wanted to shake a boat with this so we started off with filling a few tape reels with some absolutely heinous improvised sonic babble which, after much sifting, became the first few songs of the album. We also wanted to up the tempo. The last few albums have a neat little mantra or repetitive theme. If I was forced to find something like that in 9, I guess it would be ‘biography’ or ‘observation’ – a lot of the lyrics seem to focus on single people’s lives, or the lives of small moments or small things when you zoom real close up and they reveal something deeper. Stuff like my cheap Chinese slippers, or a soiled teddy bear, or Agnes Martin (not to put them in the same category, although maybe Agnes would’ve appreciated it). In the Rorschach test of re-reading lyrics, one thing that sticks out is a fixation on leaving behind a time of golden optimism and uncynical abandon. We can’t look at ourselves the same anymore, and the world we’ve built provides a scary lense [sic] for viewing our past.”

In the lead up to the album’s release, I managed to write about two of 9‘s previously released singles:

  • The Avalon era Roxy Music meets Quiet Storm R&B-like “Toast, a slow-burning and atmospheric song featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, squiggling blasts of guitar, a gorgeous string arrangement, some mellotron and a soaring hook paired with Allbrook’s plaintive vocals. Lyrically, the song addresses the bush fires that devastated much of the band’s homeland and the inequality gap in Allbrook’s Western Australian hometown.
  • Human Touch,” an uptempo, DEVO-like thrasher centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, buzzing bass synths, scorching feedback and distortion, a relentless motorik groove, blown out beats and a rousingly anthemic hook.

9‘s latest single is the slow-burning and sprawling “Take Me Avalon I’m Young.” Centered around an arrangement that features twinkling keys, shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line an alternating pensive verses, soaring strings and an uptempo chorus and bridge with big breakbeats and squiggling guitar bursts and layered vocals, the song is world weary, bummed out and weighted by history — or more precisely, the recognition that history doesn’t repeat, but it certainly alludes, rhymes and references itself to the point that everything feels like deja vu.

“Turns out my medieval history degree is still lingering in the back streets of my mind,” Nicholas Allbrook says of the sprawling single. “The final resting place of Arthur, the mythic isles where we could go for peace and prosperity but which turns out to be an expensive grey grind. A sense of wonder becomes more and more slippery as the years go by. I’m actually really proud of this tune.”

Directed by award-winning filmmaker and creative director Bunny Kinney, the recently released video for “Take Me Avalon I’m Young” was shot in Hastings, UK and follows the band’s Allbrook running, swimming, shooting, fencing and playing basketball — terribly. There’s also some morning yoga in what looks very cold conditions and some freak the fuck out dancing. The visual continues a run of visuals that are fun but kind of bittersweet, as it captures a feeling of things being lost or impossible to recreate.

“This was, no joke, the most fun video I’ve ever been a part of. I spent two days rushing around Hastings with my dear friend Bunny and the lovely George, Joe and James Beatty, running, swimming, shooting, fencing and playing terrible basketball,” Allbrook says of the video. “It was a dream come true. The freezing sunrise yoga was magical in retrospect, even if I was a brat at the time (sorry Bunny). A perfect seaside weekend; I got to play, and Bunny got to create an ode to his favorite sport, the modern pentathlon. Massive thanks to Lewis and Steph for their patience and kindness as my instructors.”

New Video: Aussie JOVM Mainstays POND release a DEVO-like Ripper

Perth-based act and JOVM mainstays POND — currently, creative mastermind, songwriter and producer Jay Watson (vocals, guitar, keys, drums, synths and bass), who’s also a touring member of fellow Aussie JOVM mainstays Tame Impala; Nicholas Allbook (lead vocals, guitar, keys, bass, flute, slide guitar and drums); Joe Ryan (vocals, guitar, bass, 12 string guitar, slide guitar); Jamie Terry (keys, bass, synths, organs, guitar); and Jamie Ireland (drums, keys) — have released a handful of critically applauded albums that have seen the band’s sound gradually morph into increasingly synth-driven psych pop.

2019’s Tasmania is POND’s most commercially successful and critically applauded album to date, with the album debuting at #15 on the ARIA album charts and #2 on the AIR Independent charts. Conceived as a sort of sister effort to its predecessor, 2017’s The Weather, Tasmania thematically is a dejected and heartbroken meditation on our current sociopolitical moment: planetary discord, water and its dearth in much of the world, machismo, shame, blame, responsibility, love, and the impact of colonial empires. While accurately capturing the restless, anxious dread that most of us have been feeling, the album doesn’t completely wallow in self-pity and fear. Rather, it encourages the listener to celebrate and enjoy the small things of life while we still can.

The Perth-based JOVM mainstays ninth album, the aptly titled 9 is slated for an October 1, 2021 release through Spinning Top Music. Produced by the band’s Watson and Ireland, 9 reportedly sees the band pushing the sound they’ve established and honed over the past few albums even further while attempting to recapture an anarchic sense of uncertainty. “We sort of gave ourselves permission to make something stuffed this time,” the band’s Nicholas Albrook says in press notes. “We’d settled into a pretty tight routine with the last few albums and wanted to shake a boat with this so we started off with filling a few tape reels with some absolutely heinous improvised sonic babble which, after much sifting, became the first few songs of the album. We also wanted to up the tempo. The last few albums have a neat little mantra or repetitive theme. If I was forced to find something like that in 9, I guess it would be ‘biography’ or ‘observation’ – a lot of the lyrics seem to focus on single people’s lives, or the lives of small moments or small things when you zoom real close up and they reveal something deeper. Stuff like my cheap Chinese slippers, or a soiled teddy bear, or Agnes Martin (not to put them in the same category, although maybe Agnes would’ve appreciated it). In the Rorschach test of re-reading lyrics, one thing that sticks out is a fixation on leaving behind a time of golden optimism and uncynical abandon. We can’t look at ourselves the same anymore, and the world we’ve built provides a scary lense [sic] for viewing our past.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Toast, a slow-burning and atmospheric song featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, squiggling blasts of guitar, a gorgeous string arrangement, some mellotron and a soaring hook paired with Allbrook’s plaintive vocals. The end result is a song that seems equally indebted to Avalon era Roxy Music and Quiet Storm R&B. But lyrically, the song addresses the massive bush fires that devastated much of Australia and the inequality gap in Allbrook’s Western Australian hometown. 

“Human Touch” is an uptempo banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, buzzing bass synths, scorching feedback and distortion, a relentless motorik groove, blown out beats and a rousingly anthemic hook. The end result is DEVO-like thrasher. POND’s Nicholas Allbrook describes the inspiration for the song, saying “one time a woman was smashing up a car outside my house, begging me to help her steal it. It was a lovely day. She was wired but sweet in a way. Her dog, Josie, was sitting in the passenger seat being very cute and fluffy. We talked for a good few hours in the sunny cul-de-sac and neither of us ended up committing grand theft auto. The music started with a grimey Casio loop Jay made, that we built the song around.” 

Directed by Duncan Wright, the recently released video for “Human Touch” stars the band’s Nicholas Allbrook in a 70s styled suit, high heel boots and headphones dancing in the middle of empty, morning streets. An old Panasonic cathode ray TV is almost nearby, playing footage of Allbrook putting a tape into a tape player and pushing play, rocking out in a studio and stock footage of a disastrous fire. “My original idea was to be dancing in the central business district of Perth, being thoroughly ignored by suits on their lunch break,” Allbrook explains. “Turns out me and Duncan Wright are both quivering Fremantle natives and terrified of the City. When Duncan saw a pretty sliver of morning sunlight in the West End we figured, stuff it, let’s do it there. Zero people is kind of the same thing as being ignored by lots of people, right? I need some human connection blah blah blah. It was super fun to make. We didn’t really have a strict plan and I overcame by anxiety about dancing in platform shoes to no music at 9am on a Tuesday morning like a kook”.

Gold Coast, Australia-based indie pop duo GENIIE BOY — Alisha Todd and Scott French — can trace their origins to earlier this year when the duo, who both come from different musical backgrounds were sitting in Lovestreet Studios decided that “music sounds better with you” and that working together would be something that they wouldn’t regret. Interestingly, the heart of their collaboration is their desire to find balance between the feminine and the masculine, the strange and the familiar, tension and release.

in a relatively short time together, the duo have quickly established a unique sound in which Todd sings lyrics tacking the dark and light aspects of the human psyche are paired with French’s multi-instrumental experimental and sophisticated productions. The duo’s forthcoming EP is slated for release next month — but in the meantime, “Fool’s Play,” which was released earlier this year, is a slickly produced, pop confection featuring Todd’s self-assured and sultry vocals paired with woozy production centered around a sinuous bass line, a fuzzy yet expressive guitar solo and atmospheric electronics. The end result is a song that sonically — to my ears, at least — is a slick and soulful synthesis of Tame Impala and Haitus Kaiyote, while thematically the song tackles affairs of the heart.

New Audio: Philly’s brushstroke Releases a Wobbly and Expansive New Single

Eoin Murphy is a Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the emerging solo recording project brushstroke, a project influenced by neo-soul, psych pop and alternative R&B.

Late last year, I wrote about the slow-burning “Freeze,” a single that reminded me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Nick Hakim and Tame Impala as it was centered around a dusty, lo-fi production shimmering guitars, twinkling keys, blown-out beats, Murphy’s plaintive and soulful falsetto and a radio friendly hook. Building upon a growing profile, the Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter released his latest single “Lucid,” which finds him further establishing and expanding upon his wobbly, lo-fi sound complete with blown-out beats and shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, soulful vocals paired with neo-soul crooning and shoegazey guitars and vibes. But unlike its immediate predecessor, “Lucid” possesses a hip-hop-inspired swagger that fully manifests itself with hard hitting boom-bap beats and a skittering J. Dilla meets Flying Lotus-like coda. And underneath all of that is all of the profound and uneasy feelings of the past year or so of most of our lives — that feeling of being adrift and isolated, of frustration and boredom, of anger over increasing injustice and shitty behavior, and so on.

“The concept of the track really just stems from a lot of stress and anger that myself and I’m sure lots of other people we’re feeling throughout 2020.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Parrots Release a Cinematic and Allegorical Visual for New Single “Maldito”

Diego García (vocals, guitars) and Alex de Lucas (vocals, bass) formed the acclaimed Madrid-based indie rock/garage rock act The Parrots back in 2014. And with a handful of independently released singles, the then-trio nosily burst into the music world, receiving both national and international attention while establishing a boozy, mischievous sensibility to their overall sound and approach.

Along with the likes of Hinds and Los Nastys, the members of the JOVM mainstay act helped bring Madrid’s music scene into the spotlight, eventually signing to renowned London-based label Heavenly Recordings, who released their critically applauded full-length debut, 2016’s Los Niños Sin Miedo. Since the release of their debut, the acclaimed Madrid-based have been busy: relentlessly touring the world, the band has won over fans with their sweaty and raw punk rock ferocity and mischievousness — all while gradually pushing the boundaries of their sound.

Garcia and de Lucas have been working on their highly-anticipated and long-awaited sophomore album. Reportedly, the forthcoming, Tom Furse-produced album will represent a new phase for the acclaimed JOVM mainstays with the duo gaining a bolstered sense of confidence in their creative processes and taking pride in surrounding themselves with people who inspire them. “[It] makes us feel very proud of ourselves. If anyone had told us that we could ever make our dream album exactly the way we wanted, we wouldn’t have believed it. It reflects all of our inner feelings and our influences, and we made it by keeping our circles of collaborators small with people we love and trust. This is what works for us.”

“Maldito,” the sophomore album’s first single finds them pushing their raw and melodic take on garage rock into more modern sonic territory with a slick studio polish and aass-driven motorik-like groove. While retaining a great deal of the scuzzy and distorted guitar driven and the rousingly anthemic hooks that have won them fans globally, the song finds the act experimenting a bit with autotunes — particularly on the song’s punchily delivered hook. But underneath the song’s slick polish, the song is a bittersweet meditation on the nuanced feelings involved in letting someone go including longing, regret and uneasy acceptance of the decisions that had to be made and their consequences on you and others. Interestingly, the song features a guest spot from multi-million selling Spanish rapper C. Tangana.

“There is a burden carried with every decision taken, not everything is as golden as it may look and therefore growing and changing implies pain and a feeling of emptiness that feels irreplaceable,” the band explains. ““For this song our inspiration came from things that were the closest to us, and that’s maybe the reason we were incapable to see them. The stop in the touring life and the time we’ve had to write has made us realize the distance we had created between our home and our people. Realizing this has made us feel closer than ever to our childhood references and to seek new ways to compose songs.” The band adds, “For a long time, we had the idea of writing a song with C. Tangana. We played him some demos and he loved them, so we spent some days in the studio to record the song.”

Directed by Rogelio for the renowned production company CANADA, which has helmed visuals for Rosalia, Tame Impala, Dua Lipa and countless others, the recently released video for “Maldito” is a gorgeously shot allegory that follows a lonely widower, who’s courted, followed and harassed by three characters as he goes about his daily routine through the streets of Madrid — a preacher, who apparently represents God/religion; a homeless man, who represents Death; and the Devil. The video manages to tackle the song’s themes while being funny. “We think the video for ‘Maldito’  is more akin to a movie than to a music video,” The Parrots say.  “Filming it was an amazing experience and made us discover a love for acting.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Tame Impala Releases a Lysergic and Feverish Visual for “Breathe Deeper”

Over this site’s decade-plus history, I’ve managed to spill quite of virtual ink covering Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker, best known as the creative mastermind behind the multiple Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded and commercially successful psych pop/synth pop at Tame Impala.

Parker’s fourth Tame Impala effort, The Slow Rush was released earlier this year, and the album continues an impressive and downright enviable run of critically applauded and commercially successful material. But thematically the album focuses on the rapid passing of time and life’s infinite cycles of creation and destruction — with the material conjuring the feeling of a lifetime in a lighting bolt, and of major milestones and events whizzing by you, while you stare at your phone. “A lot of the songs carry this idea of time passing, of seeing your life flash before your eyes, being able to see clearly your life from this point onwards. I’m being swept by this notion of time passing. There’s something really intoxicating about it,” Parker told the New York Times.

So far I’ve written about five of The Slow Rush’s singles:

“Patience,”an upbeat meditation on the cycles and phases of life, centered around a sound that seamlessly meshed 70s funk and 90s house.
“Borderline,” a hook-driven, blissed out track with house music flourishes.
“It Might Be Time,”a swaggering prog rock meets psych pop anthem featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats and an enormous hook.
Lost in Yesterday,” a woozy and lysergic, disco-tinged banger that explores time’s distorting effect on perspective and memories
“Is It True,”a swooning, dance floor friendly banger that focuses on the countless paths our lives can take with just one single decision — and the confusion and uncertainty of love.

2020 has managed to be a momentous year for the Aussie JOVM mainstay in terms of accolades:

Earlier this year, Parker was nominated for two Billboard Music Awards and an American Music Award.
Last month, Tame Impala won 5 of the 7 categories he was nominated for at this year’s ARIA Awards: Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Rock Album, Best Engineer and Best Producer.
Parker recently received nominations for two Grammy Awards — Best Alternative Album and Best Rock Song for “Lost In Yesterday.” The latest Best Alternative Album Grammy is Parker’s third, after receiving nominations for Currents and Lonerism.

And to cap off a busy year, Parker has released the sixth single off The Slow Rush, “Breathe Deeper,” a woozy pop banger, centered around shimmering synths, twinkling keys, skittering beats, and a sinuous bass line and Parker’s plaintive cooing. And much like its immediate predecessors, “Breathe Deeper” finds Parker crafting a hook-driven and seamless synthesis of synth pop, psych pop, house music and Quiet Storm soul.

Directed by Butt Studio, the recently released video is a lysergic fever dream that follows two brightly colored, CGI mosquitos flying through an otherworldly landscape.


Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop act Psymon Spine — Noah Prebish, Sabine Holler, Brother Michael Rudinski, and Peter Spears — can trace its origins back to when its founding duo of Noah Prebish and Peter Spears met while attending college. Bonding over mutual influences and common artistic aims, Psymon Spine’s founding duo toured the European Union with Prebish’s electronic project Karate. And as the story goes, while in Paris,  Spears and Prebish wrote their first song together. By the time, they arrived in London, they were offered a record deal. 

When the band’s founding duo returned to the States, Spears recruited Micheal “Brother Micheal” Rudinski and their Karate bandmates Devon Kilbern, Nathaniel Coffey to join their newest project. And with that lineup, they fished out the demos, which wold eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2017’s You Are Coming to My Birthday. The band went out to support the effort with immersive art and dance parties like their Secret Friend party series across Brooklyn and through relentless touring.

Prebish was also splitting his creative time with rising Brooklyn-based dram pop act Barrie and around the same time, his work with the rising dream pop act began to receive attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere through the release of a handful of buzz worthy singles, followed by their full-length debut, last year’s Happy to Be Here. Interestingly while with Barrie, Prebish met his further Psymon Spine bandmate, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sabine Holler.

Without live shows and touring, the members of Psymon Spine have been busy releasing new material this year, which included two singles:

  • Milk,” a coquettish, club friendly banger with Barrie that brings In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Soft Metals‘ Lenses and received quite a bit of attention internationally — with the single receiving praise from   VanyalandHigh Clouds, Echowave Magazine, The RevueHype Machine and a list of others.The track also landed on  Spotify playlists like UndercurrentsAll New Indie and Fresh Finds, as well as the YouTube channels of  David Dean BurkhartNice Guys‘ and Birp.fm. And lastly, the track received airplay on BBC Radio 6.
  • Modmed,” an  Andrew VanWyngarden-produced and cowritten, strutting disco-tinged track that’s actually deceptively upbeat, as it captures the ambivalent and confusing mixture of frustration, doubt and relief of a relationship that had long petered out and finally wound down to its inevitable conclusion. Interestingly, the song is inspired and informed by personal experience: Prebish and Holler’s difficult decision to leave Barrie to focus on Pysmon Spine full-time.

Psymon Spine’s third single of this year, is the hazy and lysergic banger “Confusion.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a wobbling bass line, blown out beats and Prebish’s plaintive vocals, a trippy spoken word-delivered break and a looping guitar solo, Psymon Spine’s latest single brings Tame Impala‘s Currents to mind. Much like its immediate predecessors, “Confusion” continues a run of carefully crafted and breezy, hook driven pop.

Interestingly, the release of the single manages to simultaneously coincide with the announcement of the Brooklyn-based act’s third album Charismatic Megafauna while encapsulating the album’s overall theme and vibe — the complicated feelings involved in the dissolution of human relationships. In particular “Confusion” finds the band channeling the confusing and contradictory feelings following the sort of breakup that has lead to a major rift in the larger social circle — but while also possibly hinting to the end of a friendship or working relationship. And as a result, the song seems to evoke the desire to dance away the hurt, for a little while at least.

Charismatic Megafauna is slated for a February 21, 2021 release through Northern Spy.



New Audio: Philadelphia’s brushstroke Releases a Shimmering and Dusty Bit of Soul

Eoin Murphy is a Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the emerging solo recording project brushstroke, which draws from neo-soul, psych pop and alternative R&B.

Murphy’s latest brushstroke single “Freeze” is a sultry, slow-burning, Quiet Storm-inspired track centered around a dusty, lo-fi-like production, shimmering guitars, twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, the Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s plaintive yet soulful falsetto, blown-out beats and an infectious, radio friendly hook. Sonically, the song manages to bring JOVM mainstays Nick Hakim and Tame Impala to mind, complete with a similar deliberate attention to craft and mood.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay GUM Returns with a DIY Visual for Breezy Yet Yearning “Low to Low”

Carnavon, Australia-born, Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jay Watson is an extremely busy and restlessly creative man: Watson splits his time as a touring member of acclaimed JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and POND. He’s also the creative mastermind the acclaimed solo recording project (and fellow JOVM mainstay act) GUM.

Spinning Top Music released Watson’s fifth GUM album Out In The World earlier this year. The album, which is the highly follow-up to 2018’s critically applauded The Underdog was written and recorded in between tours with Tame Impala and POND continues Watson’s long-held reputation for having a voracious taste for styles, sounds and different eras. Thematically, the album is fueled by the Carnavon-born Fremantle-based artist’s quest to make sense of modern life — with the album’s material being fueled by an untethered curiosity and the inherent anxiety of too much awareness and too much connectedness.

Sonically, Out In The World’s material may arguably be the most boundary pushing of Watson’s growing catalog. “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it,” Watson says of his latest album. “‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

“Don’t Let It Go Out,” the album’s second single, a track that sees Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold new direction. Centered around a glistening arpeggio guitar riff, jangling acoustic guitar, propulsive four-on-the-floor and shimmering synths, “Don’t Let It Go Out” finds Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold direction while retaining the hook-driven, carefully crated nature quality that GUM fans have loved.
“Airwalkin,” a swaggering 80s synth pop-like banger featuring tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap-like beats, squiggling synths, soaring strings and an enormous hook that sonically seemed indebted to J. Dilla. Odelay-era Beck, Future Shock-era Herbie Hancock and Kraftwerk.

Out In The World’s latest single “Low to Low” finds Watson pushing his sound into a new direction — but while arguably crafting what may be the funkiest song of his catalog. Centered around shuffling polyrhythm, explosive horn stabs, dusty breakbeats, tinny Casio-like synth arpeggios and Watson’s yearning vocals, the track sounds as though Watson had been listening to salsa, Expensive Shit/He Miss Road-era Fela Kuti, 80s New Wave and synth pop the deceptively breezy pop confection actually seems to express a fear of irrelevance and of being forgotten.

“I purchased an EHX DRM15 drum machine and the song developed from one of the preset beats, this ‘robot-latin vive with lots of spring reverb. It was the last song I recorded for the album, it’s bizarre stylistically, but I just went with it,” Watson says of the album’s latest single.

Co-directed with POND bandmate Jamie Terry, the recently released video for “Low to Low” was shot in Fremantle on grainy Super 8 or 16mm film, and the visual captures the sunny warmth of Western Australia — while following Watson walking around with an enormous plastic box. “ My mate Az gave me 16 panels of Perspex he had found, who knows where? GUM thinks outside (and inside) the box,” Watson says of the video. ““Now that the dust has settled on Out In The World,I think this is probably my favourite track from the album, and I know it is for lots of other people too, so I wanted to make a visual for it,” he adds.

Interview: A Q&A with Seattle’s Jupe Jupe

Since their formation back in 2010, the Seattle-based indie electro pop act Jupe Jupe — My Young (vocals, synths), Bryan Manzo (guitar, bass, sax), Patrick Partington (guitar), and Jarrod Arbini (drums, percussion) — have released four albums Invaders, Reduction in Drag, Crooked Kisses,and Lonely Creatures, which have helped to firmly establish the act’s sound: dance floor, synth-led, post-punk informed by synth pop and Americana. 

Jupe Jupe’s Matt Bayles-produced Nightfall EP was released earlier, and the EP continues their ongoing collaboration with Bayles, who also produced and engineered their last full-length album. Meticulously written over the course of the preceeding year, the five song EP finds the band adding soulful saxophone to material that thematically focuses on yearning and desire.

Over the course of this past year, I’ve written about two of the EP’s singles: 

  • The New Order-like “Leave You Lonely.” The accompanying video meshed three different visual styles – line animation, live footage shot in high contrast negative and a lyric video in a way that draws comparisons to  a-ha’s “Take On Me” to mind.
  • The bring Avalon-era Roxy Music-like ‘How Could We Both Be In Love.” Directed by Dirty Sidewalks‘ Erik Foster, the accompanying moody visual seems to draw from French nouvelle vague and 80s MTV.

Earlier this year, I set up an interview with the members of Jupe Jupe to discuss their Nightfall EP, their influences, the videos for the aforementioned “Leave You Lonely” and “How Could Be In Love,” and how they were all getting along during the pandemic in a rather prototypical JOVM Q&A session.  I received the band’s responses a few days after George Floyd’s tragic murder at the hands of Minneapolis police. Understandably, as a Black man, Floyd’s death hit close to home. With police brutaliy, police reform, the Black Lives Matter movement and protests brewing up in major cities across the world, I initially wanted to ask the band a handful of questions related to those particular topics. Unfortunately, those follow-up questions never came up and the Q&A languished in my email inbox for months – without explanation to anyone. 

2020 has been difficult. But with Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’ Election Day victory over Donald Trump has given me some hope. We have an incoming administration that will be competent, caring and will do everything in their power to make things right through policy and action. 

In the meantime, check out the EP and the interview below: 

_______________

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 – and there are a number of artists, who have rescheduled releases of new material. You released a new EP shortly before the pandemic. How has COVID-19 impacted you and your career?

Jupe Jupe: Like so many other bands, we’ve had to cancel quite a few shows following the COVID outbreak. We luckily had our Nightfall EP release show before the lockdowns began, but the only “live” performance we’ve done since February was a live-stream benefit show to help support out-of-work employees at a local club. It was a blast playing again, though we look forward to in-person audiences! We wonder if live streaming will be the norm for bands until next year at least. 

Despite the pandemic situation, the EP still received quite a bit of college-station airplay and press coverage, which we’re happy about. Given the scary times everyone is going through, we’re not sweating the lack of live performances. We’ll just ride it out like everyone else. We also hope that the smaller music venues can survive this—that’s something we’re definitely concerned about.

WRH: How have you been holding up? What have you been doing to keep busy? Binge watching anything?

Patrick Partington: I’ve been holding up OK—lucky to still be working from home. I try limit my newsfeed time during the day—though it’s been difficult lately, of course. As far as binge-watching, I’ve finished Ozark, which I love, and now I’ve moved on to a crime documentary series called Trial by Media. When I need some levity, I go with comedies (series and movies)—Hot Tub Time Machine, Superbad, Stripes, Vice Principals, The Righteous Gemstones, etc.

Jarrod Arbini: It varies from day to day, but I’ve finally gotten around to doing some of those home improvements. After 14 years, the refrigerator ice and water dispenser hookup has finally been accomplished. And I’ve discovered a new love for video games!

So before COVID, say that I decided to fly into Seattle. Where would I go to eat and drink, if I wanted to meet and be around locals?

Bryan Manzo: Seattle is a really fun place to visit. It kind of depends on what you’re into or what you’re looking for. When people visit me I tend to offer lots of restaurants, bars, or clubs, but the thing that people seem the most into is just being outside. It’s really remarkable how green the city is. We have mountains to the east and west. Water, water everywhere and forests so thick they’re dark during the day. It’s like Endor. Honestly, I can’t even believe I’m writing this because I’m not really into that. So for me, I guess I’d say the weed stores.

What’s your favorite venue to see shows in Seattle? Why?

PP: I think my favorite venue for larger shows is The Showbox. It fits around 1100 people, the sound is terrific, and pretty much everywhere you stand is a great spot—whether you want to be right up front or in back watching from one of the venue’s bars, which I usually opt for. 

JA: Yeah, The Showbox for sure.

How did you get into music?

PP: My older brothers were music-heads, and they turned me on to The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, The Monkees, Led Zeppelin, and lots of 70’s progressive stuff when I was a little kid. Through my teenage years, I was addicted to a small AM station in Seattle called KJET. That’s how I discovered bands like The Cure, XTC, Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, and tons of other bands you couldn’t hear on regular FM radio in Seattle. When I first learned guitar at 14, I wanted to be like Pete Townshend—windmilling and leaping around.

My Young: My father is a guitarist and came from a family of musicians. He used to play and sing 60’s folk songs and other old hits like “Ghost Riders in the Sky” to us when we were little kids. When I was 12, I started a punk/new-wave band with my pals in Denver called the Bloody Ear Muffs. I’ve been in various bands since then.

JA: There was always music in our house and from an early age, the drums were fascinating to me. Once I was able to join the 5th grade symphonic band, I was hooked. I bought my first drum kit in the 7th grade and found being in a band and sharing my passion for music with like-minded individuals to be so satisfying.

 Who are your influences?

Jupe Jupe:  Our sound tends to be influenced by New Order, Roxy Music, Echo and the Bunnymen, Cut Copy, and a bit of Roy Orbison.

PP: I gravitate toward a lot of British bands from the 80’s—OMD, New Order, and The Cure. Plus hooky 60’s music.

MY:  In addition to the obvious synthpop and post-punk influences, I get inspiration from a larger bag of artists like Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, the 90’s WARP catalog, 70’s glam, and 60’s artists like The Kinks, Pink Floyd, Roy Orbison, and The Zombies. And of course, James Bond themes.

JA: Anything with a hook and I’m in!

WRH: Who are you listening to right now?

PP: I’ve been listening to Gorillaz, The Clash, and early Who lately. Wham! and Erasure when I want to be in a good mood quickly. Usually I just shuffle playlists so that I’m surprised. I also listen to First Wave on SiriusXM Radio—I’ve heard all of it, but it’s comforting in these uncertain times.

MY: I’ve been listening to the new Angel Olsen record a lot. I also really like Temples, Tame Impala, Idles, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

JA: During COVID, I’ve been trying to run more, and for my run mix I’ve recently added The Magic Group, lots of Kaiser Chiefs, The Goldbergs, and some Tame Impala. To take the edge off some of my ongoing periods of anxiety, I’ve actually been turning toward smooth 60’s Motown stuff with the likes of The Temptations and The Four Tops, among others.

WRH: Are there any acts from Seattle that the outside world should know now and doesn’t? Why?

BM: Yes. There’s a band called The NitWitz. They’re 11 and 12 year olds. One of the members is my kid. Another one of the members is My’s kid. Someone please discover them and get them OUT OF MY GARAGE BECAUSE IT’S SO LOUD! Also, they’re kind of funny.

WRH: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with Jupe Jupe?

Jupe Jupe:  We describe our music as dark yet danceable—a “noir cocktail” of crooning vocals over pulsing beats, with guitars and sax that cut across washes of synth.

PP: When people ask me personally what we’re like, I say we try to sound like an updated version of our 80’s new-wave influences.

JA: Definitely a more current take on an 80’s-type vibe. Quite a mixed bag really, but it works!

WRH: Your latest EP, Nightfall continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Matt Bayles. How has it been to work with him?

Jupe Jupe: Matt’s done an amazing job recording and mixing our last two albums, Nightfall and Lonely Creatures. Though he’s produced many harder bands (Mastadon, He Whose OX Is Gored, Murder City Devils, etc.), he gets our sound completely and we generally don’t have to give him much input, especially when it comes to how he mixes the songs. We bring the tunes in fully written, so that we can get straight into recording. He’s a serious, no-nonsense guy in the studio—and he definitely doesn’t put up with less-than-stellar performances!

WRH: The EP’s material thematically focuses on yearning and desire. How much of the material comes from personal experience – or that from someone you know?

Jupe Jupe: We usually write the lyrics as a group. Though it takes longer this way than it would with one person doing all the heavy lifting, we feel like we end up with stronger material. Everyone’s input is probably based on their own experiences, but we usually don’t go into it with an individual’s specific story in mind (“Hey, this thing happened to me—let’s write a song about it”). We might offer anecdotes that lend themselves to a song, but after the music is written, we pick subject matter that we think will work best with the vibe. For this batch of songs, “yearning and desire” seemed to fit really well!

While much of the EP’s material continues the synth-based, hook-driven sound that has won you attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere, EP single “How Could We Both Be in Love” features the addition of saxophone. It may arguably be the most Avalon-era Roxy Music track of the EP – and it’s one of my favorite off the entire EP. How much did Roxy Music influence it? What’s the song about?

MY: Bryan and I started playing music together in an Austin prog band called Maximum Coherence During Flying, in which Bryan played both guitar and sax. We always wanted to bring it back into our songs, but kept forgetting to do it. For the Nightfall EP, Bryan proposed how it would add a new element to the direction we were already heading in. We’re both huge Roxy Music fans (especially their first four records), and it was exciting and inspiring to bring it back into the mix.

PP: Essentially, that song is about being in a relationship with a narcissist.

How did the videos for “How Could We Both Be in Love” and “Leave You Lonely” come about?

Jupe Jupe: For “How Could We Both Be in Love,” we teamed up with our friend Erik Foster of the great Seattle band, Dirty Sidewalks. He directed our last two videos and he’s always done a spectacular job. We usually start by sending him a rough mix and the lyrics, then discussing some broad ideas over beers. For this video, we really didn’t have to offer any guidance. He’s extremely creative and talented at matching the vibe of the video to the song. He did some great stop-motion and visual effects—he always surprises us. It’s an awesome partnership.


”Leave You Lonely” was created by two of our band members, Bryan and Jarrod, using a combination of hand drawings, still photos, lyric text, and shifting color palettes to capture the movement and feel of the song.

WRH: The band has been together for a decade now, which is an eternity in contemporary music. What do you ascribe to your longevity? What advice, if any do you have for bands trying to make a name for themselves?

PP: We’re all best friends and we’ve worked together in various bands over the past 20 years, so we know each other’s strengths and idiosyncrasies really well. Plus, with that type of history, it’s easier to be honest—as opposed to walking on eggshells with someone you don’t know well. Apart from music, we just like hanging out! 

As far as advice for bands trying to make a name, I’d say figure out your sound, and continue to evolve it! Don’t worry about what’s popular or the next trend. Hopefully you can break through the clutter by sticking to your convictions and continuing to improve as a band. Also, it helps to share band duties—rather than one person doing all the writing, promo, booking, etc. It makes it much more fun and keeps everyone invested. And when you play live, be sure to promote the hell out of every show and make sure the other bands on the bill do too.

JA: I think our longevity is due to the lack of inter-band drama and a shared love of music and playing live. It also helps that everyone brings a different expertise and perspective to the group —outside of the actual music. This really helps us to get through all the less-than-glamorous band duties that come along with being a musician.

What’s next for you?

Jupe Jupe: Bryan and My are currently working on new song ideas individually, and we check in with each other for a “virtual” band happy hour once a week. We’re really just playing things by ear during the pandemic—it’s difficult to make concrete plans right now, but we know for sure we’ll be releasing new music eventually!