Tag: world music

Live Footage: Rising Parisian Electro Pop Act L’Imperatrice Releases a Slinky Disco Strut

Formed back in 2012, L’Impératice is a rising Paris-based electro pop sextet currently featuring founder Charles de Boisseguin (keys), Hagni Gown (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), Tom Daveau (drums) and Flore Benguigui (vocals), who joined the band in 2015. 

Since their formation, the band has been rather busy: they released their self-titled debut in 2012, their sophomore EP Sonate Pacifique in 2014 and their third EP Odyssée in 2015. Interestingly, a re-edited and remixed edition of Odyssée, L’Empreruer, a slower version of the original, inspired by a fan mistakenly playing Odyssée at the wrong speed was released the following year. An acoustic version, featuring violin, cello and acoustic guitar was released in 2017. 

During the summer of 2017, the band signed to Microqlima Records, who released their Séquences EP that year. Aussie pop act Parcels remixed some of Séquences’ material and released it that September. 

2018 saw the release of the band’s full-length debut Matahari. The album featured “Erreur 404,” which the band performed on the French TV show Quotidien. After two years of touring to support their full-length debut, the band released their first bit of new material since Matahari — “Exit,” and its French version “Fou.” The French electro pop sextet’s latest single “Voodoo?” is a slinky, disco-influenced strut centered around a propulsive groove, atmospheric synths, arpeggiated bass synths, jazz-like percussion, Nile Rodgers-like guitar and Benguigui’s sultry, come-hither vocals. 

The recently released video is centered around live footage of L’Impératice performing the song in a sparsely decorated studio. And it should give the viewer a sense of the band’s live set and sound. 

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New Audio: Meridian Brothers Release a Chiptune Inspired Take on Cumbia

Eblis Alvarez is a Bogota, Colombia-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed and forward-thinking recording project Meridian Brothers.  Alvarez’s forthcoming Meridian Brothers album  Cumbia Siglo XXI is slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Bongo Joe Records — and the album, which is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the act’s critically applauded (largely  acoustic) ¿Dónde estás María? continues the Colombian artist’s long-held reputation for relentlessly pushing his sound and approach in new and radical directions. 

Inspired by Cumbia Siglo XX’s experimentation with traditional cumbia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which led to a completely new form of the genre, Cumbia Siglo XXI sees Alvarez using a multitude of guitars, synths, algorithmic software, vintage drum machines and whatever tech that the acclaimed Colombian artist could get his hands on. And while the album’s material sonically seemingly to draw a bit from Kraftwerk, the album reportedly is a sonic blend of EDM “sidechain” techniques and traditional cumbia.

Earlier this year, I wrote about Cumbia Siglo XXI‘s first single “Puya del Empressario,” an infectious yet let field take on cumbia that sounded a bit like like eThe Man Machine-era Kraftwerk meets JOVM mainstay El Dusty — with a mischievous sense of adventurousness.  “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia,” Cumbia Siglo XXI’s latest single is a mischievous synthesis of chip-tune, electro pop and cumbia that sounds like came straight from the Island of Misfit Toys. 

The recently released Bibiana Rojas-edited video for “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia” features a split screen — the left-hand side of the screen we see a man, text people, receive a phone call and take selfies. On the right-hand side, we see some surreal drawings by Mateo Rivano. 

New Audio: Corridor’s Jonathan Robert Releases a Shimmering New Single with Solo Project Jonathan Personne

Jonathan Robert is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known for being the co-founder of the internationally acclaimed JOVM mainstay act Corridor — and for his work as an animator and visual artist. With his solo recording project Jonathan Personne, Robert released his full-length debut, last year’s Histoire Naturelle, which was  thematically  inspired by the potential end of the world and drew from desert dream pop, Western spaghetti rock and jangle pop. 

Robert’s Jonathan Personne sophomore album, Disparitions is slated for an August 28, 2020 release through Michel Records and the album reportedly finds Robert continuing with intimate and sensitive songwriting — but this time inspired by a moment when music became a source of disgust for him: “I spent a lot of time touring away from home. Towards the end I felt like I was reluctantly going to do something that I had longed wished for,” Robert says in press notes. 

Subtly recalling his work with Corridor, “Springsteen,” Disparitions’ first single sees Robert boldly drawing  from and then meshing several different eras of rock music: glistening  psych rock through the use of a looping and shimmering 12 string guitar line, 70s AOR/radio rock through the use of bluesy guitar soloing, glam rock-like four-on-the-floor and a soaring hook paired with Robert’s plaintive falsetto. And much like his full-length debut, “Springsteen” is centered around observations and feelings about the seemingly inevitable end of the world as we know it. 

New Audio: French Singer-Songwriter Laure Briard Releases a Breezy 70s AM Rock-like Bossa Nova Cover

Laure Briard is a Toulouse, France-based singer/songwriter, who bounced around quite a bit before fully delving into music: before starting her music career in earnest in 2013, Briard studied literature and criminology and even did a little acting. 

Signing to Tricatel Records, Briard released her debut EP. A short time later, she met Juilen Gasc and Eddy Cramps and began working on her full-length debut, Révélation, a pop-rock leaning album released through 2000 Records. And with Révélation, the Toulouse-based singer/songwriter began to receive attention for a sound inspired by Françoise Hardy, Margo Guryan and Vashti Bunyan paired with modern and poetic lyricism. 

2016 saw the release of her sophomore album Sur la Piste de Danse through Midnight Special Records. But during the subsequent years, Briard’s work took on an increasing bossa nova influence — and with 2018’s Coração Louco, which featured acclaimed Brazilian JOVM mainstays Boogarins, Briard began writing lyrics in Portuguese. Building upon a growing reputation, the Toulouse-based singer/songwriter’s third album, 2019’s Un peu plus d’amour s’il vous plâit was released through Michel Records in Canada, Midnight Special Records in Europe and Burger Records here in the States. 

Continuing her ongoing love affair with Brazil and Brazilian music, Briard’s latest single  find her tackling the São Paulo, Brazil-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sessa’s “Grandeza.” While the original was centered around a sparse arrangement of looping acoustic guitar, gentle percussion and call and response vocals, it’s a dreamy song full of a wistful and bittersweet ache. 

Collaborating with Vincent Pieuvre and Emmanuel Mario,  Briard’s take on “Grandeza” retails the wistful and bittersweet ache of the original while pairing it with a breezy, 70s AM rock-like arrangement featuring twinkling Rhodes, a sinuous bass line and shimmering guitar and Briard’s plaintive vocals. In some way the song is a wistfully nostalgic ode to the lives and the things we can’t have right now; and probably will not have for quite some time as a result of COVID-19. “I was deeply moved by the beautiful dreamy lyrics of the song, the fearless statement made with vivid imagery yet remaining mysterious and abstract in a way which people can relate to on different levels.” 

Lyric Video: Montreal-based Pop Artist Thaïs Releases an Ethereal and Shimmering New Single

Thaïs is an emerging Montreal-based singer/songwriter, who specializes in an atmospheric and delicate pop centered around the French Canadian singer/songwriter’s ethereal vocals. Thematically her work focuses on melancholy, loneliness and dysfunctional and confusing love.

“Boréal,” the Montreal-based artist’s latest single finds her further establishing her sound as you’ll hear shimmering synths, thumping beats, warm blasts of looping electric guitar, a soaring hook and Thaïs’ ethereal and plaintive vocals, wobbling low end and skittering beats. Interestingly, the song was inspired by a trip that the French Canadian artist took to Iceland — and as a result, the song evokes the awe-inspiring sense of being in gorgeous, natural spaces, and taking it all deep into your soul. 

 

With her recently released debut EP La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil, the emerging Lille, France-based singer/songwriter Julia quickly establishes her sound and approach  — a slick synthesis of jazzy neo-soul, hop-hop inspired beats paired with the French singer/songwriter’s  powerhouse vocals singing and rhyming lyrics in her native French and English.  “I’m just trying to make you feel my  feelings. The rest is all yours,” the Lille-based singer/songwriter says in press notes.

EP title track and opener “La fille aux cheveux coleur soleil” is a swaggering and slow-burning, neo-soul track with twinkling Rhodes, thumping beats, atmospheric electronics and Julia’s effortlessly soulful and sultry vocals. The EP’s second single “Hangover” is a hip-hop soul-like track featuring some more twinkling Rhodes, boom-bap beats, a sinuous bass line and Julia singing in a jazzy and seductive French. Seemingly inspired by Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others, with a Quiet Storm vibey-ness, these two tracks — to my ears, at least — reveal a young superstar in the making. The EP’s two singles possess a remarkable self-assuredness and confidence with the material being ambitious, accessible — and centered around earnest, lived-in experience.

 

 

New Video: Emerging Saudi-born British-based Artist Alewya Releases a Sensual Visual for Club Banging Debut “Sweating”

Dubbed “this decade’s triple threat” by Love Magazine, Alewya is an emerging London-based singer/songwriter, producer and artist. Born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian-Sudanese father and an Ethiopian mother, the rising British singer/songwriter, producer and artist has spent her life surrounded by diaspora immigrant communities: she grew up in West London and after spending several years in New York, the emerging Saudi-born, London-based multi-disciplinary artist returned to London. At home, Alewya developed and honed her ear for music: through the sounds of the Ethiopian and Arabic devotional music of her parents, and the ambient alternative rock albums her brother would play. 

Interestingly, the translation of the emerging Saudi-born, British-based artist’s name from Arabic means “most high” or “the highest” so it’s fitting that her music thematically is centered around the idea of transcendence. In fact, she sees her music as an accessible space for her and her listeners to connect on a spiritual level, with her work challenging the listener to remember the last time they felt truly connected to themselves and their emotions. “I want to move people to themself. I want them to feel the same way that I felt when I had a taste of a higher power and felt there was a presence over me. I want people to feel that.” 

Earlier this year, the emerging Saudi-born, British-based multi-disciplinary artist had an attention-grabbing feature on Little Simz’s “where’s my lighter.” Building upon a growing profile, Alewya signed to renowned British label Because Records, who will be releasing her debut single, The Busy Twist-produced “Sweating.” Centered around twinkling synth arpeggios, skittering trap beats, reggae-influenced riddims and a self-assured and sultry vocal from the rising Saudi-born, British artist, the track — to my ears, at least — will draw comparisons to Timbaland’s forward-thinking, futuristic work with Missy Elliot, Aaliyah and others. It’s the sort of song that would (and should) inspire you to grind and wine into the wee hours with that pretty young thang at the club.“It’s about feeling chemistry with someone but also about a female who is not afraid of her prowess and power,” Alewya says in press notes. “It’s a mood.” 

Directed by Jack Bowden, the recently released visual exudes with a raw, carnal energy as we see dancers in an industrial space wining and grinding. We see the emerging British-based artist confidently owning the screen while hinting at her wide-spanning talents. 

New Video: Follow Star Crossed Lovers in a Cinematic and Surreal Visual for Nicolas Michaux’s “Nos Retrouvailles”

Nicolas Michaux is a Brussells-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer, who currently splits his time between Brussels and Samsø, Denmark. Writing and singing material in both English and French, Michaux has received attention for a sound that meshes elements of French chanson, 60s British rock and early New Wave among others while guided by a distinctly personal spirit — and paired with a lush and textured production. 

Earlier this year, Michaux released “Harvesters,” which received praise from The Linen of Best Fit and marked the first bit of original material from the Belgian-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer since 2016’s À la via, à la mort. Building upon the momentum of “Harvesters,” Michaux’s last single “Nos Retrouvailles” continues his ongoing collaboration with Morgan Vigilante. Centered around a lush arrangement featuring shimmering Rhodes, reverb-drenched guitar, a propulsive rhythm section and Michaux’s achingly plaintive vocals, “Nos Retrouvailles” is a charming yet nostalgic track that’s decidedly influenced by French chanson as it touches upon themes of love, grief, separation and reunion — either in this world or in the afterlife. 

“I began writing this song in 2016 when I first went to Samsø,” Michaux says in press notes about the song. “It was sunny in the tiny courtyard of the house that we were renting at the time. I finished it three years later when I returned to Samsø Island and made an acoustic version before producing several months later the version which figures on the album.

“It’s a bit mysterious, the song, but also well balanced. I hardly feel I wrote it. It was always there. Discovered rather than composed. It lends itself to several interpretations and that’s what I like about it. It has more than one voice.”

Directed by Simon Vanrie, the recently released video for “Nos Retrouvailles” was filmed in an industrial park in Belgium. Starring Michaux and Amadine Laval and Habib Ben Tanfous as two star-crossed lovers — and throughout parallels are drawn between the pastoral imagery of the song’s lyrics, the video’s star-crossed lovers and a small bit of natural, bursting from the industrial wasteland with the end result being of a fever dream of longing and loss. 

New Video: Ibis Lawrence Releases a Timely and Hopeful New Single

Ibis Lawrence is a Dominica-born, US Virgin Island-raised, French-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger, who can trace the origins of his music career to his childhood — and by the time, he turned 15 he was playing guitar and percussion in a band called Axis. As he moved up in high school. he started his own band Dread Ones. And since then, he learned how to play several different instruments including keyboard before deciding to go solo.

Over the past two decades or so, Lawrence has toured across Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire,  making stops at some of the world’s biggest festivals including Reggae Sunsplash andMontreux Music Festival, sharing stages with the likes of Exile One, Grammacks’ Jeff Joseph, Bankie Banx, Jimmy Cliff and a lengthy list of others. And throughout that same period of time, Lawrence has developed a reputation for crafting material that’s centered around socially and spiritually conscious lyrics that address justice, equality and love. And he’s done this while developing a reputation as a highly sought-after producer, arranger and remixer working with a number of acts including Alpha Blondy, Secteur-A and others. 

Lawrence’s latest single “Earth Will Take A Rest” is a breezy reggae track full of irie vibes, infectious riddims, shimmering and arpeggiated keys and an enormous hook. But just underneath its irie vibes, the song is centered around an earnest message: that COVID-19 has forced all of us to pause and reconsider our lives, what’s truly important — and at the same time, the past few months of quarantine has allowed Mother Nature to recover a bit from our corruption, greed and stupidity. But the song also hints at a much larger hope:  that there’s a massive paradigm shift coming — one that will finally bring equality and peace for all people.