Tag: The Weeknd

Taylor Knox is a Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who can trace the origins of his musical career to over a decade ago, when he was recruited to play drums for The Golden Dogs, an act that was considered one of Canada’s criminally under-appreciated bands — and coincidentally, one of Knox’s favorite bands, too.

During his stint with The Golden Dogs, Knox forged friendships with several other bandmembers, who all go on to form Zeus. As a result of Zeus, Knox was a frequent presence at the band’s Toronto studio Ill Eagle, which naturally offered him the perfect environment and the opportunity to begin experimenting with his own original material. Interestingly, Knox and his then-newly formed Zeus were tapped by Jason Collett to be his regular backing band — and it brought him into contact with an even wider circle of musicians, including Luke Doucet, whom he joined on Doucet’s tour to support his acclaimed Steel City Traveler. He also joined Hayden for the Us Alone recording sessions and subsequent tour. He also played with acclaimed Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin.

With the release of the Lines EP and his full-length debut Love, Knox stepped out into the spotlight, crafting anthemic power pop that has drawn comparisons to acclaimed and highly influential Canadian power pop act Sloan and others. Slated for a June 7, 2019 release, Knox’s sophomore album Here Tonight thematically focuses on the mystery, stillness and artistic inspiration of the night; in fact, Knox’s tendency to be a night owl was a major influence on the album. And when he started writing the material that would eventually comprise his forthcoming sophomore album, he focused on precisely what he was thinking about — and what he wanted to do and say with it. He didn’t want to waste the insight that nighttime has always given him.“I really try to make sure the songs I write come from a place of not something I want to write but something I kind of have to get out. What I’m feeling below what I’m thinking,” Knox says in press notes.

Sonically speaking, the album, which sees Knox working with Josh Korody reportedly sees Knox continuing with the power pop that has won him attention — fuzzy and /or crunchy power chords, forceful drumming and rousingly anthemic hooks; but he sought guidance and inspiration from much more contemporary artists like The Weeknd, SZA and Prince in terms of production and songwriting, as well as the legendary Joni Mitchell. In fact, Korody’s production helped to add new textures to his overall sound, thanks to the incorporation of synths and keyboards to create glistening gutter tones. Knox also worked with Rob Schnapf in Los Angeles, who helped make one song reportedly to sound like one of the best Oasis songs to never appear on an Oasis album.

Interestingly, what sets the Toronto-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s sophomore album apart from this previously released work is a free flowing spontaneity that was encouraged by Korody and Schnapf — and that left room for unrestrained creativity. Doing this, he says, “leaves a little bit of room for discovery with the collaborator and room for their influence. I’ve always tried to do that but I did it more this time because I have confidence that I’ll be able to come up with it on the spot.” Adding to that, Knox brought in a number of Toronto’s finest musicians to collaborator for the sessions including July Talks‘ Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay and Tokyo Police Club‘s Dave Monks.

Here Tonight‘s latest single is the rousingly anthemic, Live It Up.” Centered around fuzzy power chords, forceful drumming, a big arena rock friendly hook and an ethereal falsetto, the track recalls 120 Minutes alt rock — in particular, The Posies, The Breeders, Smashing Pumpkins and even more contemporary acts like Silversun Pickups but with the free-flowing air of a bunch of guys jamming and coming up with something incredibly cool and full of furious passion.

 

 

Despite his relative youth, 20 year-old  Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Simon Lunche has actually had a rather lengthy musical career that he can trace back to when he was a small child: he took up guitar when he was 5, eventually becoming one of the youngest endorsed artists in the history of Gibson Guitars; but he’s best known as the creative mastermind and frontman of The Blondies, an act that formed when he was just nine. The Blondies acclaimed album Just Another Evening was released in June 2016, right as Lunch was about to graduate high school.

While several of the older band members decided to focus on finishing college, Lunche opted to forego school and pursue music full-time. And although Lunche had written The Blondies four, full-length albums on his own, the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and guitarist found that working as a solo artist added a much greater degree of creative freedom — and as a result was an unexpected evolution in his sound and songwriting approach. “As I started working on my new music, I rediscovered the reason why I picked up guitar in the first place,” Lunche says in press notes. Expanding on the technique he’d developed and sharpened since he was a child, he advanced from his former role as a rhythm guitarist and started crafting more intricate and richly textured guitar lines. “I don’t go for that shred-happy stuff that’s going to blow the roof off,” he says. “For me, it’s more about slower, smoother playing and more melodic lines that really stay with you in a special way.”

Lunche’s forthcoming solo debut, was mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Dave Reitzas, who’s worked a wide array of artists from Barbra Streisand to The Weeknd, and the album reportedly draws from the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s longtime love of Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen with a natural soulfulness and thoughtfulness. “I think as you get older, you start to appreciate these little moments in time in a way you maybe never had before,” Lunche says. “A lot of what I’m writing right now is about dealing with change and trying to move forward, but still holding onto some reminiscence of the past.”

“Cherry Wine,” the first single off Lunche’s forthcoming solo album is an effortlessly soulful yet lush and carefully crafted take on pop that draws from 60s and 70s songwriter-centered soul and Northern soul, with a loose, bluesy guitar line. To my ears,  the song reminds me a bit of Simply Red‘s  “Holding Back the Years” and “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” complete with a soaring, gospel-inspired backing vocal section — and a wistful and heartache-filled nostalgia. The new single finds the young singer/songwriter writing and singing from a perspective that belies his relative youth while aiming at something timeless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Canadian Duo Always Never Releases Dark and Seductive Visuals for “Wylin'”

Always Never is an up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based electro pop production and artist duo, comprised of Patrick Kirschner (vocals) and Dean Guilbault (production) — and with the release of “Millions,” “No Good,” “Morgan Freeman” and “Dangerous,” off their recently released self-titled debut, the Canadian duo have been compared to the likes of Majid Jordan, Miguel and The Weeknd among others — although with the attention grabbing single “Wylin,” the duo’s sound strikes me as bearing a closer resemblance to For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon, as Kirschner’s soulful yet tender vocals are paired with gauzy, atmospheric and yet super modern productions featuring stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and infectious hooks; in fact, much like Beacon, the duo’s sound possesses a pensive, late night vibe, full of regret, confusion and longing.

Directed by Kid Studio, best known for his work on videos for The Weeknd, Big Sean and 6LACK, the recently released video is dark, murky, and dramatic — and features illicit drug use, overdosing, late night seduction and murder, but centered around a trippy and mind-altering series of flashbacks that further evoke the song’s regret, confusion and longing. 

Always Never is an up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based electro pop production and artist duo, comprised of Patrick Kirschner (vocals) and Dean Guilbault (production) — and with the release of “Millions,” “No Good,” “Morgan Freeman” and “Dangerous,” off their recently released self-titled debut, the Canadian duo have been compared to the likes of Majid Jordan, Miguel and The Weeknd among others — although with the attention grabbing single “Wylin,” the duo’s sound strikes me as bearing a closer resemblance to For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon, as Kirschner’s soulful yet tender vocals are paired with gauzy, atmospheric and yet super modern productions featuring stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and infectious hooks; in fact, much like Beacon, the duo’s sound possesses a pensive, late night vibe, full of regret, confusion and longing.

 

 

 

Comprised of founding members Victor Martinez and Nick Mariotti, along with Steven Doman, the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock trio Paloma can trace its origins to when  both its founding members started the band in a small, bedroom studio deconstructing ideas over and over and over again while the duo had been balancing the need to make ends meet while expressing their irrepressible need to be creative; however the band’s sound and aesthetic didn’t coalesce until they recruited Steven Doman to fully flesh out their sound.  And with the band’s forthcoming debut EP Luna, the band’s sound draws a bit from the classic Southern California sound, as well as a variety of renowned artists including Beach House, Daft Punk, The Weeknd, Tame Impala, Pond, Gum, Dumbo Gets Mad, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and Earth Wind and Fire — although with “Touch,” the EP’s latest single finds the band pairing a propulsive and sinuous groove, a brooding New Wave-like moodiness and achingly plaintive vocals, creating a sound that reminds me a bit of Hands‘ dreamy and excellent 2012 EP, Massive Context and Milagres‘ impressionistic 2011 debut Glowing Mouth. In a similar fashion to those albums, the song manages to be emotionally ambivalent and confused, capturing the vacillating thoughts and emotions of its narrator.

As the members of the band explain about their new single, the song is about a diamond in the rough, a somewhat tramp-like sort, who doesn’t quite know how to believe in themselves until he meets a princess – – for him, at least — that did believe in him. When they both turn to real life, there’s a part of him that’s banking on the idea that in some ay they’re only halfway through the film, that the story isn’t finished yet. And as a result, the song possesses an unresolved tension.

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a number of posts about Detroit, MI-based electro pop duo Gosh Pith. And in that period of time, the act has not only become a JOVM mainstay, they’ve seen a growing national profile for a sound that seamlessly meshes elements of hip-hop, electro pop, stoner rock, indie rock, dub, trap music, drum ‘n’ bass, indie rock and several other related  genres.

Interestingly, the duo’s guitarist and vocalist Josh Smith has a solo side project under the simple mononym Joshua. Influenced by Morrissey, Frank Ocean, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Jean-Luc Goddard, Jim Jarmusch and others, Smith’s first single as Joshua is a mash up/cover of The Weeknd‘s “Starboy” and Kiiara’s “Gold,” that he has dubbed “GOLDBOY.” Smith’s mash up/cover retains the glitchy and stuttering production of “Gold” but pairs it with Smith singing The Weeknd’s sultry lyrics. Admittedly, I’m not a big mainstream pop guy but after listening to both songs, my immediate thought was similar to the folks at All Things Go  — “Holy shit, those two songs work together. How come no one has done that before?” Sonically speaking, will further the reputation Smith developed while with Gosh Pith while gently and subtly breaking their mold.

Comprised of Oso Dope, Shine Sinatra, Shadow the Great and Kidaf, the New York-based hip-hop collective Loaf Muzik formed back in 2011 and have built up a growing national profile as they’ve been praised by the likes of The Source, Complex, Green Label, Hip-Hop DX and others for a sound that pairs soul and jazz samples, modern, tweeter and woofer rocking beats with an attention to dope rhymes and lyricism. And as a result they’ve shared stages with the likes of renowned acts including Vince Staples, Danny Brown, Theophilus London, D’Angelo, and Mos Def and others.

Produced by Brooklyn-based producer Harry Fraud, best known for his work with Wiz Khalifa, The Weeknd and French Montana, the collective’s latest single “Pastor Spliff” pairs a slick production consisting of twinkling keys, skittering and stuttering drum programming and brief bursts of shimmering guitar with emcees with tongue-twisting flows full of complex inner and outer rhyme schemes and word play, as the song subtly channels golden age-era hip-hop.