Tag: The Guardian

New Video: JOVM Mainstays La Femme Releases a Motorik Groove Driven Freak Out

Parisian psych pop act La Femme — currently, founding members Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée, along with Sam Lefévre, Noé Delmas, Cleémence Quélennec, Clara Luiciani, Jane Peynot, Marilou Chollet and Lucas Nunez Ritter — was founded back in 2010, and the then-unknown band had managed to hoodwink the French music industry by lining up a DIY Stateside tour with only $3,000 euros and their debut, that year’s Le Podium #1.

After playing 20 gigs across the States, the members of La Femme returned to their native France with immense interest from the Parisian music scene. “The industry was like, ‘What the fuck? They have an EP out and they are touring in the US and we don’t know them?” Marlon Magnée told The Guardian. “So the buzz began to start. When we came back to France, it was red carpet. Fucking DIY.”

2013’s full-length debut Psycho Tropical Berlin was a critical and and commercial success that found the act completely reinventing the sound that initially won them internationally attention while winning a Victoires de la Musique Award. Building upon a rapidly growing internationally recognized profile, the Parisian psych pop act released 2016’s Mystére to praise by Sound Opinions, The Line of Best Fit, The Guardian, AllMusic, BrooklynVegan and a lengthy list of others.

Last year, the acclaimed French act released their first bit of new material in four years with the critically applauded single “Paradigme.” They promptly followed up with two more singles, which I covered on this site:

“Cool Colorado,” a cool yet bombastic single that seemed indebted to Scott Walker and Ennio Morricone soundtracks while being an “ode to the San Francisco of the 70s — and to Colorado, the first American state to legalize cannabis.
Disconnexion,” a surreal what-the-fuck fever dream centered around pulsating Giorgio Moroder-like motorik groove, a fiery banjo solo, atmospheric elecvtroincns, twinkling synth arpeggios, a philosophic soliloquy delivered in a dry, academic French and operatic caterwauling.

Interestingly, the Parisian JOVM mainstays announced that their highly-anticipated third album Paradigmes is slated for an April 2, 2021 release through the band’s Disque Pointu/IDOL. And along with the album’s announcement, the members of La Femme released Paradigmes’ latest single Foutre le Bordel,” a breakneck, nihilistic, motorik-groove driven, freak out that sonically seems like a slick synthesis of Freedom of Choice-era DEVO and Giorgio Moroder with a ’77 punk rock nihilism. The approximate English translation of the words chanted in the song’s chorus is: “It’s the return of terror, all the kids sing in unison, I wanna fuck it up!” And as a result, the song is a decided dance floor meets mosh pit ripper specifically designed to turn a crowd upside down.

The recently released video for the song was animated and directed by the members of the band — and the visual is a neon colored, lysergic freakout that includes a surfing guitar player, musicians, who’s innards are revealed and other weird imagery. It’s La Femme at their best — being a wild head fuck that you can bop to.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays La Femme Release a Feverish and Surreal Visual for Genre-defying Freak Out “Disconnexion”

La Femme — currently, founding members Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée, along with Sam Lefévre, Noé Delmas, Cleémence Quélennec, Clara Luiciani, Jane Peynot, Marilou Chollet and Lucas Nunez Ritter — was founded back in 2010, and the-then unknown band managed to hoodwink the French music industry by lining up a DY Stateside tour with only $3,000 euros and their debut EP, Le Podium #1.

After playing 20 gigs across the States, the members of the La Femme returned back to their native France with immense interest from the Parisian music scene. “The industry was like, ‘What the fuck? They have an EP out and they are touring in the US and we don’t know them?” Marlon Magnée told The Guardian. “So the buzz began to start. When we came back to France, it was red carpet. Fucking DIY.”

2013’s full-length debut Psycho Tropical Berlin was a critical and and commercial success, which won a Victoires de la Musique Award while completely reinventing the sound that began to win them attention. Building upon a rapidly growing internationally recognized profile. La Femme’s sophomore album, 2016’s Mystére was released to praise by Sound Opinions, The Line of Best Fit, The Guardian, AllMusic, BrooklynVegan and a lengthy list of others.

Earlier this year, the acclaimed French act released their first bit of new material in four years with the critically applauded single “Paradigme,” They promptly followed up with “Cool Colorado,” the second single off their forthcoming third album, which will be released through the band’s Disque Pointu and distributed through IDOL.“This album does not correspond to one specific period of our lives,” the band explains. “We have always composed songs all along the journey of the band. Therefore, this album is composed with temporality, it has to be seen as a big piece of a puzzle we create. It is an ongoing process, but all this stays in the range of a concept and remains uncertain.”

Featuring a bombastic horn sample, shimmering guitars, blown out beats, insouciantly sung lyrics in French and English and an infectious hook, “Cool Colorado” sounds indebted to Scott Walker and Ennio Morricone soundtracks while being an “ode to the San Francisco of the 70s, which is so rare and precious to us even if we never lived in this period,” and to Colorado, the first state to legalize cannabis.

The members of La Femme closed out 2020 with “Disconnexion,” the third single off their forthcoming third album — and arguably, the oddest and most difficult to pigeonhole track I’ve come across all year,. Centered around a pulsating, motorik groove reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder’s heyday, a fiery banjo solo, atmospheric electronics, twinkling synth arpeggios, a philosophic soliloquy delivered in a dry, academic French and trippy operatic caterwauling “Disconnexion” is a vivid and surreal fever dream of a song that’s full of “what the fuck” and yet completely danceable.

Speaking of what the fuck, the recently released video for “Disconnexion” continues the surreal and mysterious universe of the preceding videos: initially taking place on a Laugh-In meets Top of the Pops and American Bandstand sort of show, the video quickly morphs into a wild parody of an intellectual TV debate that features a bald and pretentious philosopher type who delivers the song’s wild soliloquy before walking into a phantasmagorical orgy, compete with a hellish clown playing the banjo like he was in a Charlie Daniels tune and a lysergic opera singer wailing away. It’s wild and follows a universe that’s wilder and perhaps more interesting than our own.

New Video: Acclaimed French Act La Femme Release a Lysergic Romp

La Femme — currently, founding members Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée, along with Sam Lefévre, Noé Delmas, Cleémence Quélennec, Clara Luiciani, Jane Peynot, Marilou Chollet and Lucas Nunez Ritter — was founded back in 2010, and the-then unknown band managed to hoodwink the French music industry by lining up a DY Stateside tour with only $3,000 euros and an EP.

After playing 20 gigs across the States, the members of the La Femme returned back to their native France with immense interest from the Parisian music scene. “The industry was like, ‘What the fuck? They have an EP out and they are touring in the US and we don’t know them?” Marlon Magnée told The Guardian. “So the buzz began to start. When we came back to France, it was red carpet. Fucking DIY.”

2013’s full-length debut Psycho Tropical Berlin was a critical and and commercial success, which won a Victoires de la Musique Award. Building upon a rapidly growing internationally recognized profile. La Femme’s sophomore album, 2016’s Mystére was released to praise by Sound Opinions, The Line of Best Fit, The Guardian, AllMusic, BrooklynVegan and a lengthy list of others.

Earlier this year, the band released their first bit of new material in four years, the critically acclaimed “Paradigme.” Continuing upon that momentum, the applauded Parisian act recently released the cinematic “Cool Colorado,” the follow-up to “Paradigme” and the second single from the band’s forthcoming third album which will be released through the band’s Disque Pointu and distributed through IDOL. “This album does not correspond to one specific period of our lives,” the band explains. “We have always composed songs all along the journey of the band. Therefore, this album is composed with temporality, it has to be seen as a big piece of a puzzle we create. It is an ongoing process, but all this stays in the range of a concept and remains uncertain.”

Featuring a bombastic horn sample, shimmering guitars, blown out beats, insouciantly sung lyrics in French and English and an infectious hook, “Cool Colorado” sounds indebted to Scott Walker and Ennio Morricone soundtracks.“‘Cool Colorado’ alludes to freedom, the insouciance of a journey,” the band explains. “We were somewhere between the states of Utah and Wyoming, during our last American tour, when this ode to the San Francisco of the 70s, which is so rare and precious to us even if we never lived in this period, came to us.” The band adds, “Colorado is the first American state which legalized cannabis, this is where the line ‘And I smoke in the streets without stress’ comes from/ This song is also related to the Beatnik spirit, to the literature of Kerouac. Do you remember the Magic Bus? It was going from Europe to Kathmandu on a now-mythical hippie trail.”

Co-directed by the members of La Femme and Aymeric Bergada du Cadet, the recently released video for “Cool Colorado” is a psychedelic romp that brings American Bandstand, T.A.M.I. Show, Top of the Pops and the Playboy mansion to mind. “This is a sort of psychedelic mass parodying the cliché of the ‘teen idol’ in the way of Brian Jones or Swan from Phantoms of the Paradise. Like a pastiche of a past period of time,” the members of La Femme explain.

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: I Break Horses Releases a Brooding and Lonely Visual for “Depression Tourist”

Led by frontwoman Maria Linden and featuring Fredrik Balak, the Stockholm-based indie act I Break Horses have released two critically applauded albums: 2011’s full-length debut Hearts received praise from Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, The Independent and others for material that possessed a luxurious grandeur and 2014’s Chiaroscuro, which found Linden crafting ambitious material with a cool, self-assuredness. Building upon a growing profile, Linden and Balak toured with M83 and Sigur Ros— and U2 played “Winter Beats” before their stage entrance during 2018’s Experience + Innocence tour.

Released yesterday through Bella Union, I Break Horses’ long-awaited third album Warnings was centered around Linden’s desire to take the time to make something entirely different — crafting martial with a strong emphasis on instrumental, cinematic music.  Much of the album’s material can trace its origins back to Linden watching a collection of her favorite films on her computer with the sound muted. As she did so, she began to make her own soundtrack sketches — and those initial sketches gradually evolved int songs. “It wasn’t until I felt an urge to add vocals and lyrics,” Linden says, “that I realized I was making a new I Break Horses album.

Sonically, the album’s material consists of lush and sumptuously layered soundscapes featuring dreamy mellotrons, haunting loops, analog synths and layered vocals meant to create an immersive, dramatic tension on multiple levels. “It’s not a political album,” says Lindén, “though it relates to the alarmist times we live in. Each song is a subtle warning of something not being quite right.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the album’s creative process was also centered around several different dramas of its own:  “It has been some time in the making. About six years, involving several studios, collaborations that didn’t work out, a crashed hard drive with about two years of work, writing new material again instead of trying to repair it. New studio recordings, erasing everything, then recording most of the album myself at home…” Linden says in press notes.

Warnings also finds Linden collaborating with producer and mixing engineer Chris Coady, who has worked with the likes of Beach House and TV on the Radio. But his experience and expertise with dense and cinematic sound wasn’t the only reason Linden recruited him to mix the album. “Before reaching out to Chris I read an interview where he said, ‘I like to slow things down. Almost every time I love the sound of something slowed down by half, but sometimes 500% you can get interesting shapes and textures.’ And I just knew he’d be the right person for this album.”

“Nowadays, the attention span equals nothing when it comes to how most people consume music,” Lindén adds. “And it feels like songs are getting shorter, more ‘efficient.’ I felt an urge to go against that and create an album journey from start to finish that takes time and patience to listen to. Like, slow the fuck down!”

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about “Neon Lights,” Warnings third single, a lush and cinematic track that managed to recall Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk and the Stranger Things soundtrack with a much-needed we-re-all-in-this-together air.  “Depression Tourist,” Warnings’ latest single is an eerie and atmospheric track, centered around a sparse arrangement of shimmering and ethereal synths and Linden’s voice fed through vocoder and other effects. And as a result, the song feels intimate and lonely, yet otherworldly. 

“I wanted this song to sound as if it was broadcasted from space, the loneliest place I could imagine,” Linden explains. “As I obviously couldn’t perform it up there I filmed this version in the loneliest field I could find in Malta.” Shot in black and white, the recently released live session features Linden and a synthesizer in the middle of a windswept corn field. The concept my be simple but it’s gorgeous and evocative. 

BonFire Records · Wolf & Moon – A Tape Called Life

With last year’s full-length debut Before It Gets Dark, which was released through German label AdP Records in Europe and BonFire Records in North America,  the Berlin-based pop duo Wolf & Moon received attention across Germany and elsewhere for a sound that they described on their Facebook fan page as “somewhere between the folky sound of Angus and Julia Stone and the electronic influences of The xx . . ..” Adding to a big year, they played sets at SXSW and Reeperbahn Festival, where they received a Best Newcomer Award nomination at the festival’s VIA Indie Awards. Adding to a growing profile, they received airplay on Dutch radio stations 3FM-FX, ZuidWestFM, BredaNu, A-FM and Indie XL, Chicago’s WGN, and German radio stations Sputnik, DETEKTOR FM and SWR3 — and they’ve been featured in  The Guardian.

The duo — Dennis and Stef — have also developed and maintained a reputation for relentless touring with a minimal live set up — generally,  a travel guitar, electronic drum machine, a mini Casio keyboard and their voices. Late last year, the Berlin-based duo were approached for an export grant from the Dutch Music Exchange, which helped the duo record and produce their highly-anticipated sophomore album slated for release in September.

“A Tape Called Life,” the second single off the duo’s sophomore album is a carefully crafted bit of dream pop featuring shimmering guitars, rapid fire beats, the duo’s hushed boy-girl harmonies and an infectious hook, continuing a run of material that will likely draw comparisons to JOVM mainstays Geowulf and Moonbabies. Interestingly, the track is deceptively breezy; thematically, the track explores the difficulties of aging and growing older. The duo asks the listener to look back upon their youth with rose colored glasses — but while acknowledging that in doing so, that the present may not seem as beautiful or perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve written a bit about the Ipswich, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Hannah Scott over the past couple of years. And as you may recall much of her work is influenced by her own personal experiences, including  a year she spent working on an olive press in rural Tuscany, Italy in her late teens, her diagnosis with a form of arthritis, which causes severe joint pain and fatigue, as well as the experiences of the people in her life.

Several years later, Scott met her collaborator, Italian-born multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Stefano Della Casa when they were both in London. But as the story goes, they both recognized that they may have encountered each other years earlier, when Scott used to pass through the train station that Della Casa worked in at the time. Interestingly, when Scott and Della Casa began working together, they also quickly recognized that they had a deep and abiding creative connection despite coming from vastly different backgrounds: Della Casa had a difficult upbringing and troubled early adulthood while Scott had been lucky to have a supportive family and relatively happy childhood.

Both artists firmly believe that their musical collaboration has provided an outlet to support each other through difficult times and in a relatively short time, they’ve built up a profile both nationally and internationally with write-ups in MOJO, Songwriting Magazine , Clash Magazine and in The Guardian as a “New Band of The Day.” They’ve also received airplay on  Bob Harris’ and Dermot O’Leary’BBC Radio 2 shows and have been on  BBC Introducing’s “Track of the Week” three times. They’ve opened for  Seth Lakeman and 10cc , and played at Mondo.NYC Festival a couple of years ago.

Since I caught her at Mondo.NYC, Scott has been pretty busy releasing new material including 2018’s full-length Pieces of the Night which firmly established Scott’s sound and approach: emotive and heartfelt songwriting paired with a cinematic production featuring organic instrumentation — acoustic guitar, cello and vocals — with atmospheric electronics. Last year, she released the gorgeous Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay-like “Walk a Wire,” which managed to be one of the Ipswich-born, London-based singer/songwriter’s most urgent songs, as it’s a plea to the listener to take a chance to open up to life and possibility before it’s too late.

The Della Casa co-written and produced “Shape” is the latest single from the JOVM mainstay and it’s also the latest single off her forthcoming full-length album. Centered around a cinematic production featuring twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, Scott’s emotive vocals and an enormous hook the song further cements the sound and approach that has won Scott attention across the blogosphere. Much like “Walk a Wire,” the song showcases her narrative-based songwriting, with the song recounting the story of how her maternal grandmother refused to accept her mother’s engagement to her father, threatening to never speak to her mother again if they got married. Her grandmother kept her word for over 20 years. As a result, the song expresses an overwhelming sense of regret and loss, as well as the sense of time rushing by and missing the small yet very important things — the birth of one’s grandchild, Christmases and the like.

 

 

Lyric Video: Stockholm’s I Break Horses Releases a Shimmering and Cinematic New Single

Led by frontwoman Maria Linden and featuring Fredrik Balak, the Stockholm-based indie act I Break Horses have released two critically applauded albums: 2011’s full-length debut Hearts received praise from Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, The Independent and others for material that possessed luxurious grandeur and 2014’s Chiaroscuro, which found Linden crafting ambitious material with a cool, self-assuredness. Building upon a growing profile, Linden wound up touring with M83 and Sigur Ros– and U2 played “Winter Beats” before their stage entrance during 2018’s Experience + Innocence tour. 

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Bella Union, I Break Horses’ long-awaited third album Warnings is reportedly centered around Linden’s desire to take the time to make something different — by crafting material with an emphasis on instrumental, cinematic music. As she watched a collection of her favorite films on her computer with the sound mute, she began to make her own soundtrack sketches, with those sketches gradually evolving into songs. “It wasn’t until I felt an urge to add vocals and lyrics,” says Lindén, “that I realized I was making a new I Break Horses album.”

Sonically, the album’s material is centered around lush and sumptuous soundscapes — dreamy mellotrons, haunting loops, analog synths and layered lyrics paired together to create an immersive, dramatic tension on multiple levels. “It’s not a political album,” says Lindén, “though it relates to the alarmist times we live in. Each song is a subtle warning of something not being quite right.”  Interestingly, the album’s creative process involved several different dramas on its own right: “It has been some time in the making. About six years, involving several studios, collaborations that didn’t work out, a crashed hard drive with about two years of work, writing new material again instead of trying to repair it. New studio recordings, erasing everything, then recording most of the album myself at home…” Linden says in press notes.

Warnings also finds Linden collaborating with producer and mixing engineer Chris Coady, who has worked with the likes of Beach House and TV on the Radio. But his experience and expertise with dense and cinematic sound wasn’t the only reason Linden recruited him to mix the album. “Before reaching out to Chris I read an interview where he said, ‘I like to slow things down. Almost every time I love the sound of something slowed down by half, but sometimes 500% you can get interesting shapes and textures.’ And I just knew he’d be the right person for this album.”

Adds Linden, “Nowadays, the attention span equals nothing when it comes to how most people consume music,” Lindén says. “And it feels like songs are getting shorter, more ‘efficient’. I felt an urge to go against that and create an album journey from start to finish that takes time and patience to listen to. Like, slow the fuck down!”

“Neon Lights,” Warnings’  third and latest single is a lush and cinematic track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a motorik groove, thumping beats, a rousingly anthemic hook and Linden’s plaintive and expressive vocals. And while recalling Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk and the Stranger Things soundtrack, the song has a much-needed we’re-in-this-together air. The track as Linden explains is “anthem for all of us who have ever felt like we didn’t fit in. It is trying to give a glimpse of hope to all outsiders who feel like they can’t find their way and to show the world that being a ‘misfit’ is a beautiful thing, not something to be pushed aside.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Moaning Releases a Brooding and Introspective Single

Throughout the past handful of years of this site’s almost ten year history, I’ve managed to spill a lot of virtual ink covering rapidly rising Los Angeles-based post-punk trio and JOVM mainstays Moaning. Now, as you may recall the members of the band — ean Solomon (vocals, guitar), Pascal Stevenson (keys, bass) and Andrew MacKelvie (drums) — have been friends and collaborators in Los Angeles’ DIY scene for the better part of a decade through music and other creative pursuits in different media: Solomon is also a noted illustrator, art director and animator while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played in or produced and engineered acclaimed and rapidly rising acts like Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse.

With the release of 2018’s self-titled, full-length debut, the JOVM mainstays received attention from a number of nationally and internationally known media outlets including The Fader, The Guardian, DIY Magazine, Stereogum, and others for a moody and angular post-punk sound that — to some ears — recalled the likes of Joy Division, Interpol and Preoccupations. The trio’s highly-anticipated Alex Newport-produced and  engineered sophomore album Uneasy Laughter is slated for release tomorrow through Sub Pop Records. Reportedly, the album is a much more collaborative effort than their self-titled debut, and the material find site band brightening the claustrophobic and uneasy sound of their debut a bit, by replacing guitars for synths and beats.

Thematically, the album focuses on the everyday anxieties of being a somewhat functioning human in the madness of our current century — with the material touching upon the deeply personal and the universal. “We’ve known each other forever and we’re really comfortable trying to express where we’re at. A lot of bands aren’t so close,” the band’s Andrew MacKelvie says in press notes. Sean Solomon, who celebrated a year of sobriety during the Uneasy Laughter sessions adds “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.”

Over the past couple of months I’ve written about three of the album’s previously released singles: the brooding, 80s New Order-like single “Ego,” the cynical A Flock of Seagulls-like “Fall In Love,” and the bleak yet explosive, guitar-driven ripper “Make It Stop.” “Connect the Dots,” Uneasy Laughter’s fourth and latest single is a brooding and atmospheric track, centered around shimmering synths, a soaring hook, Solomon’s achingly plaintive vocals, squiggling blasts of guitar, and an angular and expressive guitar solo. And while continuing a run of New Wave-like material, “Connect the Dots” may arguably be the most personal and introspective songs of the album. “The song is about realizing you need help and being brave enough to ask for it. It’s a misconception that asking for help is a sign of weakness. In reality it’s one of the hardest things you can do,” the band’s Sean Solomon explains in press notes.

Directed by Campbell Logan, the recently released video for “Connect the Dots” uses some mind-bending computer animated graphics. “I created this video with the intention of inspiring self-forgiveness, something I think we should all practice,” Logan says. “Making it gave me the opportunity to practice an approach that I like to call Filmmaking Simulation, which is a process of doing film production using virtual cinematography, set design and performance. The result is photorealistic and mimics live action. We had an extremely quick turnaround on the video, but were able to complete it in a little over a month, and despite these hurdles I’m so proud of it!”