Tag: The Guardian

New Video: The Shimmering, Early 80s MTV-Inspired Visuals for Moaning’s “Artificial”

Comprised of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson and Andrew MacKelvie, the Los Angeles, CA-based trio Moaning have spent the past few years crafting a moody and angular sound that draws from shoegaze, slacker rock and post-punk which has received attention both nationally and internationally from the likes of The Fader, The Guardian, DIY Magazine, Stereogum, and others. 

Building upon the growing buzz that’s surrounding them, the Los Angeles-based indie rock/post-punk trio’s highly-anticipated self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. The album’s fourth and latest single “Artificial” possesses a decidedly familiar post punk sound reminiscent of Joy Division, as well as contemporaries like Precocupations and others, complete with an anthemic and directly infectious hook; but just underneath the surface, the song bristles with a tense, self-awareness of artifice, superficiality and ugliness. 

Directed by directorial team A Stranger, the recently released video for “Artificial” draws from early 80s MTV videos — and appropriately, it was shot on 35mm film, complete with tight zooms that follows the band, dressed completely in white as they play the song in a house covered in tin foil, filled with fake plants. At various points, the bandmembers faces are distorted and mirrored in ways that are trippy and somewhat disturbing. And in some way, the video continually points out artifice, insincerity and superficiality, while suggesting that there’s ugliness and uncertainty just beneath. 

New Video: The Mournful Sounds and Visuals of TR/ST’s “Destroyer”

The Toronto, ON-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, best known for his industrial pop recording project TR/ST has released two critically and commercially successful, full-length albums — his self-titled debut received praise from Vice, Pitchfork and The Guardian, as well as a  Juno Award nomination. Joyland, Alfons’ sophomore effort was a major chance in sonic direction, with the material being much more pop orientated and radio friendly sound while possessing a club friendly, muscular thump. And as you may recall, after a lengthy world tour to support Joyland, Alfons managed to write and record a series of singles, including the menacing,  Snap!’s “Rhythm Is A Dancer”-like “Slug,” which I wrote about several years ago. 

Interestingly, the renowned Toronto-based producer and electronic music artist will be releasing his highly-anticipated third, full-length effort, which is slated for release sometime in 2018 and will feature the previously released single “Bicep.” His latest single finds the renowned Canadian producer pairing organic instrumentation — here being, piano, drums and horn (albeit, what sounds like a horn sample) with a slick and lush electronic production featuring thumping beats, samples and looping machines and a soaring hook over which Alfons contributes his mournful and aching baritone. 

Directed by Justin Tyler Close and famed choreographer Ryan Heffington, the recently released video for “Destroyer,” features Heffington in his first starring role, as an intense man, who’s barely holding it together as we’re introduced to him intently walking towards the camera and running elsewhere, before seeing him expressively dancing in a number of different locales in and around the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles. At one point, he runs into a man with motorcycle helmet, who he paralyzes with mere words — sticks and stones may break your bones, and words may kill you, too. Influenced by detailed conversations between each collaborator have influenced a rather symbolic set of visuals based around a desperate, last ditch effort to save a failing relationship. Heffington’s movement manage to express joy remembered, self-reflection, turmoil, ache and longing, further emphasizing the song’s overall vibe.  

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Pavo Pavo Return with Hazy and Dreamy Visuals for “No Mind”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months or so, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based experimental pop/psych pop act  Pavo Pavo. Deriving their name from the name of southern constellation Pavo, which is Latin for peacock, the members of the band Eliza Bagg (violin, synths, vocals), Oliver Hill (guitar, synths and vocals). Nolan Green (guitar, vocals), Austin Vaughn (drums) and Ian Romer (bass) can trace its origins to when the members of the quintet were studying at Yale University. And since their formation, individual members of the band  have collaborated with the likes of a number of renowned and accomplished bands including Here We Go Magic, John Zorn, Dave Longstreth, Porches, Olga Bell, Lucius, Roomful of Teeth and San Fermin among others. Now, as you may recall their “Ran Ran Run”/”Annie Hall” 7 inch was praised by a number of media outlets and blogs, including Stereogum, who praised their sound as being “weightless pop music that sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future.” Although, I’d mention that while clearly nodding at 60s psych pop and 80s New Age, just underneath the glimmering surface, there’s a subtle hint at unease, anxiety, rot and dysfunction. 
The band’s full-length debut Young Narrator in the Breakers was released last year through Bella Union Records and according to the members of Pavo Pavo, the material thematically describes both the magic and panic of adult life, with the understanding that much like getting caught in a vicious breaker while swimming at the beach, you have to stop fighting and ride it out until you can get to shore safely. And unsurprisingly, the album was met with critical applause with Pitchfork describing the album as “a lovelorn alien reaching out from the farthest reaches of the galaxy” and The Guardian describing the album to “Brian Wilson running amok in the BBC radiophonic workshop.” 

“No Mind,” Young Narrator in the Breakers’ latest single is a deceptively straightforward track. Although it hews very close to hazy 60s psych pop, the song is a swooningly wistful and lovelorn song that seems much more bittersweet than their previous releases while retaining their incredibly crafted sound centered on Bagg’s and Hill’s gorgeous boy/girl harmonizing, soaring, vintage analog synths and sharp hooks. “No Mind” may arguably be the most human of their tracks, as there’s a real ache over 

Directed by the band’s longtime friend Jon Appel, the video started as a concept devised by the band’s Eliza Bagg. Bagg’s concept began as a take on the prototypical performance-based music video; but featuring an abstract narrative and dance choreography. Reportedly, she pictured a bleak, digital space with her own character being a sort of rebellious siren of truth, dancing and singing songs of real connection while the rest of her band grew increasingly complacent and robotic within the video’s highly artificial and colorful confines. Appel guided Bagg and her bandmates through the process of adapting and bringing her ideas to life — and as a result, the video builds off the characters of the other videos off Young Narrator, an amalgamation with Bagg returning to the sunshine on a white cloud chrysalis. And while being a hazy, almost lysergic-tinged dream, the video possesses a tender and surreal beauty. 

Comprised of Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson, GL is a Melbourne, Australia-based electronic music production and artist duo, who with the release of 2013’s Love Hexagon EP and their full-length debut Touch developed a reputation for specializing in a sound that’s very much a contemporary take on disco, funk, boogie, soul and house music, and as a result the Australian electronic music duo quickly earned international attention from The Guardiani-DThe FADERV Magazine, XLR8R and others, as well as played sets at New Zealand’s St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival and Splore Festival while nationally they’ve opened for Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker and played a successful headlining national tour to support their full-length debut.

Building upon a growing national and international profile, which resulted in a busy touring schedule, the duo locked themselves away in the studio to write and record the double A-sided single “Destiny”/”Reflect,” and as the duo explain “‘Reflect’ is an extended jam we made at TFS Studio in North Fitzroy, Melbourne. We wanted to try a long form exploration piece. Listen out for the delightful keyboard solo by Harvey Sutherland! Lyrically, it’s about searching inward, when the outside gets a bit much.” Interestingly enough, the song while being decidedly introspective manages to be joyous, suggesting that searching inward can be a profound solace in a cruel world or as George Clinton once wisely sung “The kingdom of heaven is within.” Of course, sonically, the song will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting a sound that draws so much  from 80s and 90s house music and 80s synth soul that it brings to mind The WhispersIt’s A Love Thing,” “And The Beat Goes On,” and “Rock Steady,” Evelyn “Champagne” King’s “Love Come Down” and Cherelle‘s “Saturday Love” as Pogson pairs a production featuring layers of shimmering and cascading synths, a sinuous bass line, tribal drumming, bursts of shimmering keys and a soaring hook with Thompson’s self-assured vocals. Simply put, it’s arguably one of the most DJ-leaning, club rocking tracks I’ve written about in several months; in fact, if I were DJ’ing, I’d make sure to fit this one into a set.

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past 12-18 months or so, you might recall that the Spanish-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Sofi de la Torre quickly became a JOVM mainstay artist. de la Torre can trace the origins of her musical career to when she first began writing songs when she was 14 — and after stints in  Los Angeles and  London, where she signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV and then wrote and recorded her full-length debut. As the story goes, after the release of her debut, de la Torre went through an extensive period of reflection, self-discovery and re-invention, which began with the JOVM mainstay artist experimenting with her sound and songwriting approach. Interestingly, her early experimentation eventually lead her to collaborate with Finnish songwriting and production team Jonas Karlsson and Axel Ehnström and the critically applauded “Vermilion,” which was featured on The Guardians playlist and on Grimes’ blog.  The track was then remixed by deep house producers Crom and Thanh and played by Tiesto on his BBC Radio 1 program –- adding to an already growing international profile across the European Union.

Along with a growing international profile, de la Torre has developed a reputation for being rather prolific, releasing two critically applauded EPs That Isn’t You and Mess; in fact, at one point Mess steadily climbed the the Hype Machine charts and was featured in Spotify’s Weekend Buzz playlist. Now, although it’s been a little bit of time since I’ve personally written about her, de la Torre has been rather busy, writing and recording her latest EP Another. Not Me. I’m Done, and the EP’s latest single “D.G.I.T. (Don’t Get It Twisted)” is a collaboration featuring Blackbear and Taylor Bennett that further cements de la Torre’s reputation for deeply personalized songwriting — in this case, writing a song in which its narrator recognizes that because of her selfishness and immaturity, that she almost took a great thing for granted. And as a result, the song possesses a sense of vulnerability, regret and hopefulness — the hope that she hasn’t screwed it all up and hasn’t permanently lost a good thing. But along with that, the song pairs slick yet minimalist production consisting of tribal-like percussion, swirling electronics with de la Torre’s ability to craft a razor sharp, radio-friendly hook.

 

New Video: The Moody Visuals for The Away Days “Places To Go”

With the release of their How Did It Start? EP to critical praise both nationally and internationally from the likes of The Guardian, SPIN Magazine,and Noisey, as well receiving airplay from renowned Seattle, WA-based radio station KEXP, the Istanbul, Turkey-based quartet The Away Days quickly established a reputation for being a the forefront of an extremely Western-influenced indie music scene, thanks in part for a sound that’s largely inspired by The Cure, Tame Impala and others. And adding to a growing international profile, the members of the Turkish indie rock quartet have toured across the UK, played at two consecutive SXSW Festivals and have played festival dates opening for Portishead, Massive Attack, Belle and Sebastian and others.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that the Istanbul-based quartet have released a handful of singles that have received international attention — including this site — since the release of their debut EP. However, the band’s long-awaited full-length debut Dreamed at Dawn was released earlier this year, and landed at number 5 on the Turkish album charts, marking it both a commercial success and the highest ever chart position for a Turkish indie rock album. The Turkish indie rock band’s commercial and critical success in their homeland and elsewhere shouldn’t be surprising as Dawn’s first two singles “Less Is More” and “World Horizon” paired atmospheric and moody yet lush instrumentation and ethereally shimming synths with material that thematically and lyrically drew from the band members’ own lives in a society in which their creative desires and efforts are viewed as being suspicious and seditious.

“Places to Go,” Dreamed at Dawn’s third and latest single continues along a similar vein as its two preceding singles as it’s a lush and plaintive song featuring shimming guitar chords played through a bit of reverb and delay pedal, an angular and propulsive bass line, twinkling synths and a rousingly antthemic hook,. and in some way, sonically the song manages to mesh dance floor friendly post-punk, electro pop and shoegazer rock; however, despite the seemingly upbeat tone, the song is a look into their lives and their cohorts as it touches upon the weight their homeland’s young people feel from an oppressive and seemingly capricious regime that demands oppression and a restlessness from the lack of meaningful opportunities.

Interestingly, the recently released music video for the song is based upon a deceptively simple concept of the band performing the song in a dramatically lit studio but throughout there are vivid bursts of animation that explode across the screen.

New Video: The Action-Packed, Comic Video for Homeboy Sandman’s “Talking (Bleep)”

New York-born and based emcee Homeboy Sandman is arguably one of hip-hop’s most prolific, inventive and uncompromisingly challenging artists, and unsurprisingly over the course of this site’s history, the New York-based emcee has been a JOVM mainstay. Now, since […]

With the release of their 2010 self-titled EP and their 2012 full-length debut Differance, South Korean trio Jambinai, comprised of   Bongi Kim (haegum — a Korean fiddle-like instrument), Ilwoo Lee (guitar and piri — a Korean flute, made of bamboo) and Eun Young Sim (geomungo, a Korean zither), the trio have developed a rapidly growing national and international reputation for an intense, adventurous, headbanging worthy take on traditional Korean instrumental music. As the story goes, the trio met while studying traditional music at Korea National University of Arts, and they quickly bonded over a desire to present traditional music in a new way, “to communicate with the ordinary person, who doesn’t listen to Korean traditional music,” as the band’s principle composer and writer Ilwoo explains in press notes. Interestingly, Jambinai’s approach eschews several generations of Korean modernists and post-modernists, who Lee notes have based their sound and approach around Western classical music, jazz, jazz fusion to create a prog rock/experimental rock sound.

And while shocking Korean audiences, the trio have also been critically and commercially successful as their full-length Differance was nominated for Best Crossover Album and Best Jazz and Crossover Performance at the 2013 Korean Music Awards, and won Best Crossover Album — and as a result, the band used the album’s success as a springboard for several international tours as a quintet featuring  Jihoon Ok (bass) and Jae Hyuk Choi (drums) that have seen praise from a number of major Western outlets including The Guardian and others.

A Hermitage, the trio’s forthcoming sophomore effort and Bella Union Records debut is slated for a June 17 release, and the album’s latest single “They Keep Silence” is a tense, throbbing and furious song full of angular and stabbing chords paired layers upon layers of feedback and distortion in a composition that consists of downtuned and punishing power chord-heavy sections and brief and quite sections of respite and introspection. Sonically, the song sounds as though it draws from Tool and Ministry  — or simply put it kicks ass, takes names and kicks more ass just to ensure that you got the point. In fact, the song seems to tape into a universal feeling of anger and isolation of people, who are growing both impatient and suspicious of the forces that are controlling and influencing their daily lives.