Tag: Tuxedo

Cousin Kula is a rising Bristol, UK-based sextet, featuring highly active members of their hometown’s progressive jazz scene. Bonding over a shared love of an eclectic range of music that includes pop, psych, prog, disco and Afrobeat, the members of Cousin Kula quickly found themselves living together. And with a rehearsal room in their basement, the band honed a sound and approach that meshed their varied influences and passions, eventually becoming one of their hometown’s hottest bands.

Slated for a November 18, 2019 release through Chiverin Records, the Bristol-based sextet’s forthcoming sophomore effort Stroodles EP follows their opening spot for Japanese rippers Bo Ningen and the announcement of a headlining UK tour to support the new EP in November. The EPs first single “Invitation” is reportedly a slight departure for the members of Cousin Kula, as the song is a shimmering bit of 80s-inspired synth funk and soul that nods at the periods titans — i.e.,  Cherelle, Mtume and others, as well as contemporaries like Tuxedo but with a jazzy edge.


New Video: Introducing the Uplifting 80s -Inspired Sounds and Visuals of The Able Bodies’ “Flicker”

Comprised of Blue Falcon’s and Filthy Funk’s John Viviani, a.k.a. Vivitron and Upward Groove’s Eli Flynn, a.k.a. Flynnstone, the Rochester, NY-based indie electro pop duo The Able Bodies have largely been inspired by the birth of John’s daughter Mariana (who’s now a year-old). With less time than usual to devote to music and music production, Viviani found himself simply focusing on the joy of making music, and in sparse moments, songs had begun to form. Viviani then enlisted his friend and colleague Eli Flynn to contribute his vocals to a new music project, influenced by the duo’s mutual love of synth pop, funk, hip-hop, New Wave and jazz, all of which both members have written and recorded in, as well as LCD Soundsystem, Future Islands, Daft Punk, Herbie Hancock and others while thematically met to be uplifting and get the listener to move their ass. 

“Flicker,” the duo’s latest single is a breezy, retro-futuristic synth funk jam featuring a production consisting of shimmering arpeggio synths, a sinuous bass line and a rousingly crowd pleasing hook paired with a propulsive groove — and while being slickly produced and dance floor ready, the duo’s sound is reminiscent of Chromeo and Tuxedo and the 80s synth funk and synth pop that influenced them. In fact, if it wasn’t for the slick production sheen, you might think that the single was released in 1983 – 1987 or so. 

The recently released video stars The Able Bodies’ Eli Flynn and John Viviani, along with Deena Viviani and Karen Rupp-Hardenbrook in 80s workout video influenced visuals with the song’s lyrics plastered on the screen — and it’s done in a way to encourage the viewer to get up and move their ass and do something already. 


Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so, you’d certainly come across a handful of posts featuring the  Austin TX/Houston, TX-based electro pop act  Night Drive. Comprised of songwriting and production duo Rodney Connell and Bradley Duhon, the Texan electro pop act can trace their origins to some rather unusual, highly soap-opera-like yet very true circumstances: Connell and Duhon had met and bonded after they had discovered the the woman they had both unwittingly had been simultaneously dating tragically died in a car accident. Regardless of the circumstances behind their formation, the duo  has received attention both on this site and elsewhere for a moody, slickly produced New Wave and synth pop sound that draws from Joy DivisionCut CopyBrian EnoThe KnifeThe DrumsLCD SoundsystemDepeche Mode and others. However, the duo’s last single “Rise and Fall” managed to sound as though it were inspired by  A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away)” and Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” — and interestingly enough, the song thematically focused on the slow dissolution of a relationship that according to the song’s narrator seemed to be nearing its inevitable conclusion; but with the recognition that walking away from a relationship is difficult, even when it’s absolutely necessary. And in some way, you can sense the narrator’s unexpressed and deep seated fears about his life, post-relationship.

Last month, the renowned Los Angeles-based production and DJ duo Classixx remixed “Rise and Fall,” turning the moody, synth-based torch song into a breezy, funky, summery, club banger along the lines of Tuxedo, Dam-Funk, 7 Days of Funk and others, as the duo pairs the original vocal track with twinkling electric piano, a sinuous bass line and thumping beats — and as a result, the heartbreak at the core of the song is reduced to the dull throb of having time pass by. As Connell and Duhon explained to the folks at Billboard “Classixx reinterprets the song through the lens of that same person reminiscing about the incident many years later while chilling on a beach and sipping a martini. Sure it was sad and heartbreaking, but it’s hard to stay sad while in the Cayman Islands.”

As Classixx’s Michael David and Tyler Blake explained to Billboard, their remix of Night Drive’s “Rise and Fall” involved them pulling out electric piano and bass and recording one long take jamming over the vocal track. “We were feeling the groove and liked some of the imperfections, so we left them in. Our initial pass was more abstract, but the band [Night Drive] helped us bring it back a little closer to the original material. It was a pretty collaborative effort through email. I like how it still sounds a little rough around the edges though. Sometimes that’s where the charm lies,” the duo’s Tyler Blake added in an emailed statement to Billboard.

The duo’s self-titled debut is slated for a June 16, 2017 release through Roll Call Records and the album’s latest single “Trapeze Artist Regrets,” and the album’s latest single “Trapeze Artist Regrets” will likely remind listeners of Depeche Mode’s “People Are People,” Yaz’s “Situation,” The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” and others as the song features an effortlessly slick production consisting of layers upon layers of propulsive, undulating synths and tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with an infectious, dance floor-friendly hook and emotionally direct lyrics. However, interestingly enough, as the duo admits “‘Trapeze Artist Regrets’ was never supposed to happen. We were writing something else for a short film and became bored, so we changed the bpm, started shifting things around and all of the sudden we had this groove we liked.  We just started working backwards from there. The title came first, a sorta metaphor for disaster; it’s about watching someone you care about make the same mistake over and over again and not being able to do anything about it. Just hoping they pull through.” And as a result, the song possesses a bitter sense of reality, along with the recognition that the narrator’s friend will do something incredibly harmful to themselves and others.




New Video: The Retro-futuristic 80s Visuals and Synth Funk Sounds of Aida’s “Let’s Ride”

Aida is a French-born singer/songwriter who with the release of “Let’s Ride” off her soon-to-be released debut EP, My Retrospective has received attention for a neon bright, funk sound reminiscent of 80s synth funk — i.e., The Whispers “And The Beat Goes On,” “It’s A Love Thing,” and “Rock Steady,” Tuxedo’s self-titled debut, Dam-Funk, Blood Orange, Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You” and others; in fact, “Let’s Ride” which features a slick, dance floor-friendly electro funk production by Fresco Klüb consisting of cascading and propulsive arpeggio synth chords, enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats from Fresco Klüb paired with Aida’s effortlessly soulful and coquettish vocals.

Directed by Xavier Cantin-Lemieux of La Maison Bald Man, the recently released music video consists of pitch-perfect 80s-inspired visuals that cut between Aida going to a local bodega to make a phone call, where she watches a music video featuring three bathing suit-clad dancers on a studio-designed beach, and Aida riding her scooter through a Tron-like landscape; but as the video gets to the hook, it becomes darker, suggesting that Aida is an assassin on an important mission — and she does so with a cool, detached, efficiency.

Currently comprised of founding member Alexander Pavlich, Andrew Murray, Stian Aasen, Christian Balvig, Teodor Dysthe Lyngstad, and Martin Kaasa, Lovespeake is a Sandivka, Norway-based indie electro pop act that with the release of their debut album DNA received international attention — with radio airplay and additions to a variety of Spotify playlists across North America, the UK, the EU, Asia and Scandinavia. Adding to a growing national and international profile, in a relatively short period of time, the Norwegian pop sextet have received more than a million streams across the major streaming services and they were playlisted on Norway’s biggest radio station P3 for 16 consecutive weeks. Along with that, the band had songs featured on several influential Spotify playlists in North America, the UK, the EU, Asia and Scandinavia — an their debut charted highly on CMJ’s college radio charts here in the States. And most recently, they were selected as Tidal Rising Artist.

“Novocaine,” the Sandivska, Norway-based sextet’s sinuous, first single of 2017 is a collaboration with Max Frost that will further cement their growing reputation for crafting slick, hook-laden electro pop that possesses elements of psych pop, dream pop and funk that reminds me quite a bit of Tuxedo, Dam-Funk, Blood Orange and Tame Impala in the sense that while clearly drawing from brightly colored, 80s synth pop and funk, much like those renowned acts, Lovespeake’s sound manages to be a subtly contemporary take on something familiar; however, in the case of the Norwegian act, there’s an underlying quirkiness that manages to set it apart.



Maya Killtron is a Toronto, ON-based DJ, violinist and singer/songwriter who first came to attention across both her native Canada and the States with the 2012 release of her debut EP Hipster/Gangsta, and as a result, Killtron wound up touring the festival circuit across both countries, including appearances at Miami’s Winter Music Conference, Pride Toronto, The Halifax Jazz Festival and CMJ. Adding to a growing profile, Killtron’s collaboration with NYC-based production duo Love TapsBack For More” received attention from the likes of Stereogum and Huffington Post for a sound that meshed moomba and R&B – and for a video that showcased a sadly bygone NYC. Additionally, Smalltown DJs, The Slow Waves, Eyes Everywhere, Brothers In Arms and City Kid Soul have all have remixed the song — with the City Kid Soul remix being named in the Top 5 at Toronto’s Bestival.

Killtron is currently working on a multimedia mixtape project featuring MCP champ and producer Fresh Kills, videographer Diana Piruveska, best known for her work with Nelly Furtado and photographer Natalie Caine; however, in the meantime, her latest single “Never Dance Alone” is reportedly a return to the Canadian singer/songwriter’s roots in funk, pop and R&B — and much like the work of JOVM mainstays Rene Lopez, Dam-Funk, Tuxedo and others, the song sonically sounds as though it could have been a B side to Chaka Khan‘s “I Feel For You” as a sinuous and ridiculously funky bass line, warm and explosive blasts of horns and layers of synths are paired with Killtron’s sultry vocals. Along with that is a breezy bridge that emphasizes the song’s infectious hook. Listening to the song immediately reminded me of being out and about in the summer, whether at a house party, a roof top party or a block party desperately trying to talk up that pretty young thing you’ve wanted since the beginning of summer  — and more distinctly summer 1983.


Throwback/Live Footage: Mayer Hawthorne Performs “Mr. Blue Sky” on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic

So strangely enough, while checking out the video, which would wind up comprising this site’s previous post, the related video tab on YouTube brought up live footage of Mayer Hawthorne and backing band playing a breezy cover of ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic several years ago and coincidentally, the track appears on Impressions. The internet is a wonderful place, is it not?

Over the six year history of this site, I’ve written quite a bit about New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rene Lopez, who is not only among a group of artists I first wrote about when I started things here, he is also one of JOVM‘s earliest mainstay artists. And throughout the past six years, Lopez has uncompromisingly refused to be pigeonholed into one particular genre — Lopez has managed to mesh salsa, boogaloo, old-school hip-hop, meringue and electronica into one cohesive whole on E.L.S. (short for Electric Latin Soul); salsa and 7os Brazilian music on his most deeply personal effort Paint the Moon Gold; and slinkily seductive synth-based R&B and funk, inspired by PrinceThe Gap BandRick JamesChic and others on Love Has No Mercy and its subsequent releases. This shouldn’t be surprising as Lopez has told me in an interview, he grew up in a household where salsa, merengue and disco were frequently played — and his first band The Authority was deeply influenced by his love of Prince and funk. So in some way, Lopez has come back full circle.

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few months you’ve come across posts on Lopez’s “Heavy, Baby Heavy,” “Trouble Lovin’ Lady,” and “Watch Me Turn It Up,” the first, third and sixth singles of his continuing Jam of the Month Series. The seventh and latest single in the series is the slow-burning Quiet Storm-like synth-based ballad that pairs Lopez’s sultry crooning with contemporary electronic production consisting of shimmering synths and persistent keyboards, ambient and swirling electronics, skittering drum programming, a gorgeous violin arrangement and anthemic hook. Sonically, the song sounds as though it draws influence from Prince, Blood Orange and Tuxedo and while being danceable and sensual, there’s an earnest sentiment at its core — a mix of desire, uncertainty, doubt and vulnerability that comes about from sincerely putting your heart and soul out on the line with the hope that it’d be reciprocated, and that it’d be a real and meaningful love.


New Audio: Check Out M&M’s Funky, Club Banging Remix of Tuxedo’s “The Right Time”

Tuxedo is the collaborative project of Mayer Hawthorne, one of this era’s shamefully unheralded vocalists and  Jake One, a Grammy nominated artist and producer. The collaboration can trace its origins back to 2006 when the duo started to exchange […]