Tag: Todd Rundgren

Racket Man is an up-and-coming Cleveland, OH-based indie pop act, comprised of Tyler Ewing, Tommy Marx, Chris Seaman and Vince Sivestro. Influenced by Prefab Sprout and Mint Condition, the band describes their sound as falling somewhere between a Todd Rundgren inspired yacht rock quartet and 00s boy band. Unsurprisingly, the band’s most latest single “Front Seat” is a breezy and slow-burning track that’s a sleek synthesis of   silky smooth, Quiet Storm R&B, boy band pop and contemporary electro pop with a slick and infectious hook.

 

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Indie Electro Pop Act Miami Horror Releases a Sepia-Toned Visual for “Restless”

Initially formed in 2007, as the solo recording project of Melbourne, Australia-based DJ and producer Benjamin Plant, Miami Horror eventually expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Daniel Whitechurch (bass, keys, guitar) and Kosta Theodosis (drums) — and with the release of 2008’s Bravado EP, 2010’s full-length debut Illumination and 2015’s All Possible Futures, the band established a sound that drew from Prince, New Order, Todd Rundgren and Pink Floyd, combined with contemporary electronic production techniques, including house and electro pop. Interestingly, the act’s most recent recorded output, 2017’s The Shapes EP was a decided change in sonic direction with the band’s sound being indebted to 80s pop and New Wave — in particular, Talking Heads, Blondie and the like. 

Two years have passed since the acclaimed Australian indie electro pop act has released material and the act’s latest single, “Restless” finds the project returning to its collaborative and production-based roots. Plant champions this return to his roots as Miami Horror’s new incarnation. “The Shapes was always meant to be a one-off conceptual project, so once that was complete I began moving back towards the original creative process that Miami Horror started with; a simpler approach to production and a continued emphasize on outside vocalists.” Plant says. “For me, music has always been about completing a vision and trying to make something stand out. Allowing outside collaboration really opens me up to complete that vision without being restricted to my own skill set.”

Interestingly, “Restless” is a breezy and summery track centered around shimmering synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, hi-hat led drumming and a plaintive and sultry vocal contribution from Kevin Lavitt. And while retaining the slick, dance floor-friendly electronic production that has won Plant international acclaim, the song sounds indebted to 80s Quiet Storm R&B — in particular Cherelle’s “Saturday Love,” and Mtume’s “Juicy Love” immediately come to my mind, as the song has a similar sophisticated sexiness to it. “I love putting two people in a room that wouldn’t normally work together and seeing what comes of it,” Plant says of his collaboration with Lavitt. 

Directed by Keenan Wetzel, the recently released sepia-toned video for “Restless” features an assortment of quirky characters coming together for tennis training and some meet-cute lust — before ending with a menacing and suggestive air. “When I heard ‘Restless’ I was struck with a nostalgic feeling of starting out a relationship; those first feelings of anxiety coupled with the uncertainty whether or not the attraction is mutual,” Keenan Wetzel says of his video treatment. “I wanted to take these familiar feelings and add Miami Horror’s style to create a bright but strange world for these young people to find each other. I have always been interested in 1970’s culture and how people turned to communities, often ritual-based, to find a sense of belonging. So the idea for the ‘Restless’ music video was to put a pair of young people into a tennis playing community where they were looking for meaning. Only, instead of finding purpose in this community, they find each other, which leads to both love and realization that the nature of the community was not going to give them any more sense of belonging.”

 

Over the first half of this year, I’ve written a bit about the Queens-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Longo, the creative mastermind behind Thin Lear, a solo recording project largely inspired by the likes of Todd RundgrenShuggie Otis and Kate Bush.  Longo’s latest Thin Lear album Wooden Cave is slated for release later this year, and as you may recall, album singles “The Guesthouse,” and “Death in a Field” were deeply indebted to different styles of 70s rock.

Wooden Cave‘s third and latest single is the delicate and almost spectral “Your Family.” Centered around a folk-like arrangement of twinkling piano, strummed guitar and Longo’s plaintive falsetto, the song is imbued with an aching and inconsolable sense of loss. Much like its predecessors, the song reveals a heart-on-the-sleeve earnestness paired with a careful and deliberate craftsmanship that ends with a simple yet profound mantra of self-acceptance. “It’s an orchestral track that explores the aftermath of losing a partner, the ensuing self-imposed exile and the struggle to re-emerge whole again,” Longo says in press notes. 

 

 

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about Matt Longo, a Queens-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his solo-recording project Thin Lear, which is largely inspired by the likes of Todd RundgrenShuggie Otis and Kate Bush — and “aims to craft lovingly homemade pop songs that sparkle and thump and unfurl deliciously.”

Now, as you may recall Longo’s forthcoming Thin Lear album Wooden Cave is slated for release later this year, and the album’s first single “The Guesthouse,” while sounding as though it could have been released in 1974 or so featured a propulsive and angular groove was centered around a spastic arrangement meant to evoke the claustrophobia of its narrator.

Wooden Cave‘s second and latest single, the lush and wistful “Death in a Field” possesses a widescreen, cinematic quality paired with intimate and introspective songwriting — and as a result, the song sonically is a seamless synthesis of 70s AM rock, country and folk, complete with a deliberate attention to craft.

 

 

 

Matt Longo is a Queens, NYC-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has recently received attention across the blogosphere for his solo recording project Thin Lear. With Thin Lear, the Queens-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist “aims to craft lovingly homemade pop songs that sparkle and thump and unfurl deliciously” and is largely inspired by the likes of Todd Rundgren, Shuggie Otis and Kate Bush with Longo’s material pairing meticulous production with spontaneous, live performance.
Longo is set to release his forthcoming Thin Lear album Wooden Cave later this year, and the album’s first single “The Guesthouse,” is centered around a propulsive and angular groove, soaring organs, Longo’s plaintive vocals, an infectious hook and blasts of horn within an erratic and downright spastic arrangement   — and while sounding as though it could have been released in 1974 or so, the song evokes a post-modern frustration with oneself. As Longo explained to me in press notes “. . . I think I was writing about my inability to know how to exist in my free time. I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m on my own anymore, without a task, and it’s a terrifying concept, because I used to love just daydreaming or staring off into space. This song imagines me trapped in a “guesthouse,” attempting to take some time for myself, and failing miserably to the point where I’m crawling out of my skin, carving my name into the walls. I wanted the instrumentation to be surprising and erratic at times, but also relentless, so I tethered everything to that bassline, and added unhinged sax solos and sped up guitar on the breaks. I wanted it to feel anxious and wild, and also claustrophobic, as one might feel when they don’t know what to do with themselves.”

 

 

James Clifford is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and creative mastermind of the recording project Primaveras, which was once known as Modern Howls. As the story goes, Clifford grew up in a rather musical family; in fact, Clifford began playing guitar in his early teens and throughout his high school years, he played in a number of garage bands. Foregoing a formal musical education, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is largely self-taught with his passion for playing and writing stemming from a lifelong passion for everything music, as he’s been known to scour music stores for vintage guitars and synths or to stay up into the wee hours listening to records. Unsurprisingly, Clifford has cited the likes of David Bowie, Prince, The Clash, Funkadelic, Chic, Todd Rundgren, Roxy Music, Steely Dan, and The Beach Boys as some of his greatest music inspirations.  Thematically, Clifford and Primaveras draws influence from the stretch of the famed Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to Santa Monica — warm breezes through cracked car windows, the soft sound of waves crashing and receding into the Pacific, and the silhouette of the Los Angeles skyline. For many it’s timeless and almost dreamlike; but those who haven’t stuck around long enough fail to notice the effects of salt air on the surroundings — in the form of rust and erosion. In some way, it evokes faded dreams and hopes of a paradise that never really was there in the first place, and in another sense, the faded surroundings evoke a lonely introspection. Clifford’s Primaveras debut Echoes in the Well of Being was written in a way to embody that dualism — with the album’s material generally being sunny psych pop yet possess an underlying longing and introspection.
Interestingly with Clifford’s previously released material and Echoes in the Well of Being‘s latest single, the shimmering and strutting “Better Off,” his sound has been compared favorably to the likes of Tame Impala and Phoenix — and while that is definitely fair, I also hear a subtle nod at Avalon-era Roxy Music as the song evokes bright neon lights, evening faces, Jack and Cokes, the buzz of a coke high and a desperate escape from one’s loneliness and regret. But interestingly enough, Clifford pays loving  homage to The Isley Brothers’Footsteps in the Dark, Parts 1 and 2” with the song’s intro drum break, which not only ties the song to classic R&B, but gives it a subtle sensuality.
As Clifford says of the song, “While most people will immediately interpret as a breakup song, I see the core sentiment as trying to grow up and move on from any sort of worn-out relationship.”
 

Julian Japser is a San Diego, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has publicly describes his own sound as being a 21st century Steely Dan or a lapsed Todd Rundgren after he had crossed paths with Ariel Pink — and although maybe to some that may be true, to my ears “2AM,  Chinatown” and “I Don’t Mind,” the first two singles off his forthcoming 2AM, Chinatown/I Don’t Mind EP remind me quite a bit of Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT, Tame Impala and Milagres as both singles possess soaring and infectious hooks, swaggering strutting vibes and a funky bass line; however, both singles thematically focus on a desperate and gnawing loneliness and isolation — in particular “2AM, Chinatown” has its narrator reminiscing over a lover he hasn’t seen or spoken to in some time, and as a result, the lonely narrator of the song is desperate to connect with that lover or with anyone really, as long as he felt some connection with someone, even if it were brief. “I Don’t Mind” possesses a funky, 70sAM rock feel that evokes a lazy morning with a lover — the sort in which limbs and sheets are hopelessly entangled and entwined, and you spend much of the day making love and chatting about all manner of things big and small. And as a result, it’s the sexiest song of the two; but underneath the surface there’s this sense of all things coming to its inevitable conclusion. All things lead to the same result — the endless search to not be as lonely as you were before, and both songs capture that with an uncanny verisimilitude.

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you’d likely be familiar with Sunderland, UK-based indie electro pop act Field Music. Comprised of creative masterminds and primary members, sibling duo Peter and David Brewis and featuring contributions from Kev Dosdale, Andrew Lowther, Ian Black, Liz Corney, Andrew Moore, Damo Waters and a rotating cast of other musicians and friends, the British pop act have developed an internationally recognized profile for a sound that’s comprised of the siblings interwoven harmonies, off kilter chord progressions and a quirkily yet approachable sensibility wrapped with infectiously catchy hooks.

Earlier this year, the duo released Commontime, the first new bit of material from Field Music in several years, and the material was written and recorded over spontaneous bursts over a six month period in their Wearside, UK-based studio. And interestingly enough, the material which embraces a collaborative spirit thematically focused on the passing of time  — acquaintances coming and going, friendships drifting and diffusing over time, random snippets of the every day and real-life conversations between friends and acquaintances being endlessly replayed.

Since the release of Commontime, the duo have hosted a Spotify radio show Commontime Extra Time in which the duo celebrate the influences behind the album’s material. And during the latest episode of their show, the Brewis brothers shared a previously unreleased single “How We Gonna Get There Now,” that was recorded during the sessions for 2012’s Plumb because the duo felt it sounded a bit too much like Todd Rundgren — although to my ears, the song sounds as though the duo were nodding at Steely Dan‘s “Reeling In The Years,” and “Peg“as the song begins with gentle percussion, twinkling keys, strummed guitars and an arena rock-friendly hook an alternating loud and quiet sections — but at its core a deeply British irony. A bluesy guitar solo holds a carefully crafted yet off kilter bit of pop confection.

 

 

 

 

Over the almost 6 year history of this site, Dam-Funk has not only seen his profile grow both nationally and internationally for a sound that channels Parliament Funkadelic, 80s synth-based funk and R&B, Parliament Funkadelic-inspired G Funk and for collaborations with Slave’Steve Arrington and Snoop Dogg in their funk project 7 Days of Funk, but he’s also become a JOVM mainstay artist, who I’ve written about on a number of occasions.

Last year was a rather prolific year for one of Stones Throw Records better known artists as Dam-Funk released a 4 song instrumental EP STFU that he wrote and recorded while on tour opening for Todd Rundgren. His long-awaited solo effort, Invite the Light was one of my favorite albums last year — and I’m looking forward to the sophomore 7 Days of Funk album. But in the meantime, In the meantime, Stones Throw Records and Dam-Funk released album single “O.B.E.” on vinyl with the B side single “Special Friends,” a track that pairs shimmering layers of cascading synth stabs, squiggly and funky bass with handclap led percussion. Sonically, the song will further cement Dam-Funk’s reputation for crafting silky smooth and danceable funk that channels the synth funk that I remember listening to when I was a child.