Tag: Yumi Zouma

New Video: Escape to a Far Simpler Time with JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma

I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink writing about the internationally acclaimed synth pop act Yumi Zouma throughout the course of this site’s history. Now, as you may recall, late last year, the JOVM mainstays signed to Polyvinyl Record Co, who released their critically applauded, self-produced, third album Truth or Consequences earlier this year. 

Thematically, the album’s material focuses on distance — both real and metaphorically. with the album’s material touching upon romantic and platonic heartbreak, real and imagined emotional distance, disillusionment and being out of reach. I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: the hopeful yet somehow melancholy “Cool For A Second” which was centered around the idea that life doesn’t always provide the answers or closure that you want want — and the shimmering and equally ambivalent “Southwark.”

Truth or Consequences’ latest single “Lonely After” continues a run of shimmering and swooning synth pop, but unlike the previously released material, it may be the most achingly nostalgic song released from the album to date, as the song’s narrator longs for the intensity and urgency of a relatively recent past that was confusing but easy to understand. And yes, it may be an escapist fantasy but when things are this bleak, a few moments of escapism may be necessary. 

Directed and edited by Martin Sagadin, the recently released, incredibly cinematic video further emphasizes the song’s aching nostalgia and escapist desires: we see the band’s Christie Simpson in the woods with windswept hair on a late Summer afternoon. How it all brings back memories of far simpler times — of first loves and first heartbreaks. 

“Nostalgia has always been a big part of Yumi Zouma and that’s mostly a result of the people we are,” the band’s Josh Burgess writes in a statement on the single and video. “We all get high off of the rush that comes with remembering the intensity and ecstasy of ‘yesterday’ safe in the present. Our memories, stories, demos and each other are the only incomplete link back to the way things used to be which is magical in itself. 

Now more than ever it feels like we’re all craving yesterday, skeptical of what tomorrow will bring as we patiently navigate these strange new times. For me, yesterday is very vivid. Christchurch, early February down by the Waimakariri River on the outskirts of town. The wind running off the river, through the trees, and into Christie’s hair. The midday sun stinging the skin as I entertain our friends making the video with my best Mick Jagger impression and skills of doing handstands in loafers. 
 
These moments are precious, they suspend time so all that matters is the present.  
 
I’m forever grateful to have the ‘Lonely After’ video as my yesterday to get lost in. It reminds me to be present and hold everything that is dear that little bit closer in my head and my heart. 
 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Returns with a Shimmering and Ambivalent Pop Confection

Throughout the course of this site’s almost 10 year history — yes, 10 years! — I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the internationally acclaimed synth pop act Yumi Zouma. Originally formed in Christchurch, New Zealand, the act has featured members spread out across the globe most of their history together, with Josh Burgess (guitar, vocals) based in New York, Charlie Ryder (guitar, bass, keys) based in London and Christie Simpson (vocals, keys) based in Christchurch. Over the course of the band’s history, they’ve received praise across the blogosphere and from internationally recognized outlets for a breezy yet bittersweet, 80s inspired synth pop sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal and achingly tender vocals.

Late last year, the acclaimed indie electro pop act signed to Polyvinyl Record Co, who will release the band’s highly-anticipated, self-produced, third album Truth or Consequence. Slated for a March 13, 2020 release, the album thematically focuses on distance — both real and metaphorically. with the album’s material touching upon romantic and platonic heartbreak, real and imagined emotional distance, disillusionment and being out of reach. 

The JOVM mainstays started off 2020 with the release of the album’s first official single “Cool For A Second.” Christie Simpson’s ethereal, wisp-like vocals effortlessly glided over softly padded beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and soaring hooks — and while being simultaneously hopeful and melancholy, the song thematically was centered around the idea that life doesn’t always provide the answers or closure you may want. But it manages to capture the sense of relief that comes from recognizing and saying the truth — even if only to yourself. 

“Southwark,” Truth or Consequence’s latest single is a cinematic and swooning bit of synth pop, centered around a New Order-like bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, an anthemic and infectious hook paired with Christie Simpson’s ethereal cooing. Much like the album’s previously released material, the song is somewhat ambivalent: there’s hopefulness in finding love and being in love, but the melancholy awareness that nothing is perfect and all things come to an end, one way or the other. 

Sharing the meaning behind the track, songwriter Christie Simpson explained that the song “…feels like a dedication, a mantra, a promise to myself. I wrote the chorus line about the someone in particular that I was with at the time, but it now feels like a universal truth for my relationships, a dedication that goes to every person I’ve loved and those that I’m still loving now. I can be quite dramatic in love and relationships, and I don’t always do or say the right thing when I should, but I do throw myself in completely (for better or worse). I loved that idea of repeating that dedication – ‘I am imperfectly yours’.” Adding, “This track has haunted me a little every time I listen, there’s something melancholy that sits in there alongside that overall feeling of quiet elation. I suppose that speaks to the classic dichotomy of love and relationships – nothing is ever 100% good or perfect, and that’s what I am constantly trying to come to terms with.”

Directed and shot by the members of the JOVM mainstay act, the recently released video is split between footage of the band performing the band in the studio, the band at the beach at sunset with Lorenzo Fanton’s specifically created font superimposed over the proceedings — essentially creating a visual that’s part lyric video and part official video. “A bit of a Yumi tradition is having at least one video on a record we shot ourselves,” the band’s Josh Burgess explains in press notes. “While we’re not going to be nominated for an Oscar anytime soon, it’s always fun to grab a camera and start shooting. It felt like too good of an opportunity to pass up having us all sitting there in a photo studio mere moments after the centerfold picture of our record. From there we headed off to the beach for sunset. Christie wanted to get into the water but the threat of hypothermia proved too much! It’s also the first video/time we’ve ever revealed lyrics so overtly! The fantastic Lorenzo Fanton’s typeface was too good to pass up!”

New Video: Introducing the Shimmering and Infectious Retro-futuristic Pop of London’s Planet 1999

Planet 1999 is a rapid rising London-based trio that specializes in melancholic yet dance floor friendly songs that mesh elements of 90s shoegaze with bubble gum pop, at points referencing Cocteau Twins, labelmate Hannah Diamond and others. Since their debut last year, the members of Planet 1999 have been busy: the trio co-wrote and co-produced Charli XCX’s “February 2017” off her most recent album Charli; played their live debut with Hannah Diamond; and they’ve been busy putting the finishing touches upon their forthcoming — and highly-anticipated — debut EP Devotion which is slated for release on March 6, 2020.

Their debut single “Spell” was a more of a slow-burning ballad; however, the London-based trio’s latest single “Party” is a decidedly upbeat track, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping boom-bap beats, plaintive and ethereal vocals and an infectious hook. Simultaneously recalling Stereo MCs and JOVM mainstays Yumi Zouma, the track is a dance floor friendly, sugary pop confection that the band says is an ode to “taking a break from a party to go outside and look at the stars.”  

The recently released video by Aidan Zamiri and Eamonn Freel, features the members of the rapidly rising London-based act and cameos from PC Music label head A.G. Cook and Zippy, the band’s mascot designed by visual artist Leon Sandler. The video finds the members of the band performing in and exploring surreal yet evolving 3D landscapes created by Eammon Freel. Much like its accompanying song, the video is mischievously anachronistic, bringing to mind synth pop and dance music videos from the late 80s and early 90s. “We wanted to make a video that felt as cool and surreal as the song,” explains director Aidan Zamiri. “I think it’s the perfect starting point to enter the world of Planet 1999”. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Releases a Dance Floor Friendly Meditation on Acceptance and Closure

Originally formed in  Christchurch, New Zealand, the internationally acclaimed synth pop act Yumi Zouma, currently features members spread out across the globe with Josh Burgess (guitar, vocals) based in New York, Charlie Ryder (guitar, bass, keys) based in London and Christie Simpson (vocals, keys) based in Christchurch. Writing and recording by email out of necessity, the band wasn’t meant to be a live project — and yet, they received attention and praise for a breezy yet breezy yet bittersweet, 80s synth pop inspired sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal and achingly tender vocals. 

The acclaimed indie electro pop act recently signed to Polyvinyl Record Co., and to to celebrate the occasion, they released their self-produced new single “Right Track/Wrong Man” through their new label home. And while continuing an extraordinary run of breezy synth pop, the new track is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, Nile Rodgers-like guitar lines, a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor drumming and ethereal harmonies, the song is actually an upbeat, disco-tinged meditation on the closure gained by accepting that it’s time to move on and forward. 

“‘Right Track / Wrong Man’ comes from a place of uncertainty – of not knowing if you should stay in the comfort of a slightly unfulfilling relationship, or branch out and make the most of the youth you have left; meet new people, go out more, dance, live,” the band’s Christine Simpson explains. “In the last year or so I’ve found myself switching between these modes, unable to work out what makes me happier, left feeling a little lost – but I’ve always found solace in the knowledge that at least I’ve been going out more, meeting new people, dancing – and living. As Yumi Zouma we often write songs that we want people to dance to, and that we ourselves would want to dance to – this is our dancefloor anthem to the confusion of living through your twenties.”

New Video: Austin-based JOVM Mainstays Blushing Release a Hazy and Mind Bending Visual for “So Many”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Austin, TX-based dream pop/shoegaze quartet Blushing and the act — comprised of two married couples — Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys) and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jake Soto (drums) — can trace its origins back to 2015, when after spending several years of writing material on guitar, Michelle Soto recrutied her classically trained friend Christina Carmona to join her new project. Shortly after the band’s founding duo started the band, they recruited their spouses to complete the band’s lineup.

The then-newly formed quartet spent the next year writing and revising material Bad Wolf Recordings to record their debut EP Tether, which was released to positive reviews across the blogosphere, including this site. Building upon a growing profile, the Austin-based shoegazers returned to the studio to record their sophomore EP Weak, an effort that further cemented their reputation for crafting material indebted to Lush, Cocteau Twins and The Sundays — while revealing a gentle refinement of the sound that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere.

The Austin-based JOVM mainstays ended last year with the release of the Elliot Frazier-produced and mixed “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch, which was released both digitally and on colored vinyl through The Nothing Song Records. That single found the band further expanding upon their sound with “The Truth” being one of the more muscular songs of their growing catalog while retaining a hazy vibe. Adding to a growing profile, the members of Blushing have shared stages with the likes of Snail Mail, Sunflower Bean, La Luz, BRONCHO, Illuminati Hotties, Yumi Zouma and others.

Now, as you may recall, this year may arguably be one of the biggest years of the band’s relatively short history: they made their second SXSW appearance this year, and the band’s highly-anticipated, self-titled full-length debut is slated for a September 6, 2019 release through Wallflower Records here in the States and on CD through Hands and Moment Records in Japan. “Dream Merchants,” the album’s first single was a woozy and swirling track that continued in a similar vein of “The Truth” — and while centered around the dual, ethereal harmonizing of Christina Carmona and Michelle Soto, the track evokes the sensation of a vivid yet half-remembered dream. 

“So Many,” the debut album’s latest single begins with a brooding and wistful intro centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars and the dual, ethereal harmonizing of Christina Carmona and Michelle Soto before turning into a turbulent and towering storm, revealing a band that can balance explosive noise with gorgeous melodicism. Interestingly, the song lyrically was inspired by the vicious cycle of frustration and defeat that Michelle witnessed her son go through while dealing with attention and concentration issues in school. Her son’s struggles forced her to realize that she also struggled through many of the same obstacles in her own daily life. 

Interestingly, the recently released video is hazy, Memento-like visual in which the timeline at points run forwards and backwards, as it focuses on the Polaroid pictures of several mundane, daily moments in the life of its protagonist. Underneath the photos, someone has written a line of the song’s lyrics — and we see them thrown into a metal bowl, as someone lights them on fire. The video manages to evoke the sense of frustration, defeat and procrastination that frequently affects those who have trouble focusing on one thing at a time. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Releases a Breezy Club Banger

Over the course of this site’s almost nine year history, I’ve spilled quite of virtual ink over the acclaimed, internationally-based synth pop act Yumi Zouma. And as you may recall, the act which is now currently comprised of Christie Simpson, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess initially formed in their hometown of  Christchurch, New Zealand; however, since the 2011 earthquake that devastated their hometown and the rest of the region, the members of the band have been split across different locations across the globe with members residing in New York, Paris and Christchurch.

Primarily writing and recorded by email, the band wasn’t initially meant to be a live band but they received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a breezy yet bittersweet, 80s synth pop-inspired sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal and tender vocals. Since the release of their Turntable Kitchen released cover of Oasis’ 1995 full-length effort, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the renowned synth pop act released an EP trilogy, with the last EP, the aptly titled EP III being released through their longtime label home  Cascine Records last September.

The act’s latest single “Bruise” continues the act’s long-held reputation for crafting breezy, hook-driven synth pop with an underlying bittersweet quality — but the new single may arguably be the most dance floor friendly track they’ve released to date, as it also possesses a muscular and propulsive thump. Interestingly, as the band notes the origins of their latest single were steeped in loss, as the instrumental part of the song was written after Sam Perry informed the rest of the band that he was leaving the band and moving to Serbia — but the track has become a beacon for optimism for the band. “We were all distraught until Josh said ‘Cheer me up guys — let’s write a song for Nelly Furtado. Nelly never replied but we came up with a smash.” 

Comprised of Joel Johnston (vocals, guitar), Jof Cabedo (drums) and Alessio Scozzaro (bass), the Leeds, UK-based indie trio Far Caspian exploded into the national and international scene with the release of their debut EP Between Days, an effort that established a lo-fi sound and aesthetic that the band has dubbed melanjolly. Interestingly, the band’s latest single, the self-produced “Astoria” manages to continue their on-going melanjolly approach, centered around shimmering guitars, a slow-burning, wistful groove and soaring hooks — but paired with a subtle 80s production sheen, as a result of the addition of atmospheric synths that find the band pushing their sound in a direction that recalls JOVM mainstays Yumi Zouma

The band’s forthcoming and highly-anticipated sophomore EP, The Heights is slated for a June 11, 2019 release through Dance To The Radio Records, and as the band’s Joel Johnston says of the song,  “‘Astoria’ is the song on the EP that kind of sums up the feeling we wanted to put across, embracing the good things in your life when things aren’t so good. 

“Before we had started writing any of the songs I had already decided that there would be a track with this name. It’s a town in Oregon where The Goonies was shot. The Goonies has been my favourite movie since I was no age, and I’ve always wished I lived in that neighbourhood – this is me trying to emulate what I heard in my head when I pictured the town.

“Me and Alessio were lying in the living room hungover when we wrote the chorus for the song. It came from nowhere and we just went with it.”

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Release John Hughes-like Visuals for Swooning “In Camera”

Over the years, I’ve written quite a bit about the internationally renowned synth pop act, Yumi Zouma, and as you may recall the band which is comprised of Christchurch, New Zealand-born Christie Simpson, Sam Perry, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess has been spread across New York, Paris and Christchurch in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake that devastated their hometown and the region at large. Primarily writing material by email, the band wasn’t initially meant to be a live act — and yet, they’ve received attention for crafting breezy yet bittersweet, 80s-inspired synth pop centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal crooning. After  Turntable Kitchen released their cover of f Oasis’ 1995 full-length effort, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the synth pop act busily wrote and recorded an EP trilogy — with the last edition of the trilogy been released last fall through their longtime label home Cascine Records.

Centered around reverb drenched arrangement that includes shimmering synths, angular guitar chords, a motorik-like groove, a soaring hook and Simpson’s ethereal vocals, the song sonically nods at A Flock of Seagulls‘ “I Ran (So Far Away).” And while accurately capturing the uncertainty, desperation and swooning urgency of new love, the song is underpinned by a deliberate attention to craft, with the members of the synth pop act revising and bouncing ideas off each other until it’s absolutely perfect.

Directed by Pavel Brenner and starring Charlie Patton, Shawn Denegre-Vaught, Emma Broz, Madisyn Maniff, Cinthia Bouhier, Joannie Ciociola, Alison Williams, Miriam Margolis, and Ainsleigh Douglas, the recently released video is a brilliantly spot-on take on John Hughes movies that’s centered around what seems to be an especially awkward first date that turns into a complex dance routine that includes synchronized swimmers, who miraculously appear out of nowhere.