Videos

New Audio: Montreal’s Fredy V. & The Foundation Release an Uplifting and Anthemic Ode to Self-Determination

Montreal-based collective The Foundation features some of the city’s best musicians, who also play in the Canadian city’s top R&B, hip-hop, funk, gospel, soul and jazz acts. The members of The Foundation gained collective experience from production and performing on a weekly, nationally aired TV show — and they used their momentum of their show to write and record their critically applauded debut EP One Step.

The Foundation also collaborates with some of the French Canadian city’s top and upcoming R&B, hip-hop, soul and funk acts, including Mel Pacifico and Fredy V — both, who are full-time members of the collective. The collective’s latest single “On The Rise,” marks the one-year anniversary of the release of their debut EP. But song is also a bold mission statement of stops, description the group’s current direction and mindset.

Featuring glistening synths, twinkling keys, thumping beats, hand-claps, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, wobbling bass synth, “On The Rise” is centered around a warm and roomy, New Jack Swing meets neo-soul with a hint of classic Chic-like production. Fredy V. contributes self-assured and thoughtful verses describing the sacrifices he had to take to get to where he is right now, including distancing from the people and habits that didn’t align with his goals. Pacifico contributes her soulful vocals to the song’s uplifting and infectious hook.Unsurprisingly, the new single is informed by and inspired by the collective’s experiences during the pandemic: Both individually and as a collective, The Foundation was forced to reflect on the direction of their careers in music — and their lives.

Thematically, the song touches upon self-empowerment, maturation, self-determination and accountability — that come about as someone matures and is actively attempting to make serious moves for themselves. The song — and the band — seem to say to the listener, “well, if you wanna fulfill your dreams, stop the bullshit and get to work. It ain’t easy but once you get there, it’ll be worth it.”

New Video: Carole Cettolin Releases a Swooning Love Song

Carole Cettolin is a Paris-born and-based singer/songwriter, whose career started in earnest with the her acclaimed, solo recording project Et Maxence. And with Et Maxence, Cettolin won the 2010 Crédit Mutuel Young Talent Revelation Award in the French song category. Cettolin also caught the attention of Edith Fambuena, who produced material off Cettolin’s Et Maxence debut EP. And with a growing profile, Cettolin eventually opened for  La Grande Sophie and Sia

A meeting with Nicklaus Rohrback allowed the Paris-born and-based singer/songwriter to pursue a new, synth-based sound — under her own name. The end result is Cettolin’s debut under her own name, the five-song EP Un Garçon. Thematically, the EP touches upon reconnecting with one’s inner child, haunting images and stubborn ghosts.

In the lead-up to the EP’s release, I wrote about, the breezy pop number “Tant que le temps est radieux.” Centered around glinting synth arpeggios, shimmering strings, thumping beats and Cettolin’s yearning vocals, the song is a bit hedonistic while reminding the listener to cherish every moment of life –and those, who are dear to us. But underneath the breeziness is a melancholy awareness that nothing is guaranteed. 

The EP’s latest single “Vaille que Vaille” is a swooning bit of synth pop centered around glistening synth arpeggios, skittering beats and Cettolin’s achingly plaintive vocals. At its core, the song’s narrator expresss something very rare — a contented sigh of someone who has finally found that deep, meaningful, real love. Lucky and rare are those who find it.

The recently released video for “Vaille que Vaille” is comprised from 30s and 40s movies now in the public domain and was edited to tell queer love stories that we wouldn’t have seen at the time.

New Video: Montreal’s Hélène Barbier Releases a Childlike Visual for Trippy “Lightly”

Montreal-based singer/songwriter and musician Hélène Barbier has developed a reputation for crafting off-kilter yet beautiful pop centered around imbalance through juxtaposition: four simple notes become evocative alongside four disorienting, different notes — and that simplistic rule has become a basis for complex material.

The Montreal-based musician then recruits musicians who are willing to break from tired chords, worn fills and needless flourish — expertise aside. Barbier switches between English and French atop aggressively uncomplicated yet avant-garde pop melodies, while keeping pretension and contrived professionalism far away.

Deriving its name from the brightest stars, seen in the constellation Leo, Barbier’s sophomore album Regulus was released earlier this year. For the Regulus sessions, Barbier brought together dissident players and ideas high and low to create space pop that’s equally unnerving and comforting.

“Lightly,” Regulus‘ latest single is a woozy and mischievous pop song centered around layers of droning guitars, wobbling and shimmering synths, a steady but propulsive backbeat and Barbier’s seemingly detached vocals paired with a razor sharp hook. Sonically, “Lightly” sounds as though it could have been released in the distant future — perhaps the year 3578 — but with a contemporary irony.

Barbier explains that the song is about letting go of things you can’t control. The childlike, animated visual by Gart Darley follows a girl and a sun-like star flying across the world, past oceans, cities, enormous mountain ranges and the like. “Home movies meets Super Mario World in this high-flying video,” Darley says.

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New Audio: Allegories Releases a Left Field Banger

Allegories was a long-dormant experimental noise duo that reappeared in 2014 as an electro pop unit that experimented with genre, meshing eclectic soundscapes with pop inclinations. Gathering further, inspiration from DJ’ing house and hip-hop nights, the act began to create electronic music that often shifts between the mainstream and underground spectrum.

The duo’s latest single “Pray” is a feverish left field take on dance music, centered around `shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, euphoria-inducing hooks and pitch shifted vocals that sonically is a slick synthesis of Evil Heat era Primal Scream and Sound of Silver era LCD Soundsystem. Or in other words, it’s a bizarre yet winning mix of menace, irony and sincerity within a club banger.

“‘Pray’ feels like a tree grown out of a seed of house music, but its leaves are wild and varied,” the mysterious duo explain. “Sometimes you let gravity take over a composition; you start one way but over time music evolves naturally. At the same time, “Pray” doesn’t function in an uncomplicated fashion. It was written and recorded over many years and each new iteration added conflicting emotional layers. A menagerie of feelings. Owing as much to the overtly sincere as it does the misleading insincere. “

New Video: JOVM Mainstays TEKE: TEKE Release a Frenzied and Mischievous Visual for “Kala Kala”

Initially started as a loving homage and tribute band to legendary Japanese guitarist Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi, the Montreal-based collective TEKE: TEKE – Yuki Isami (flute, shinobue and keys), Hidetaka Yoneyama (guitar), Sergio Nakauchi Pelletier (guitar), Mishka Stein (bass), Etienne Lebel (trombone), Ian Lettree (drums, percussion) and Maya Kuroki (vocals, keys and percussion) —  features a collection of accomplished Montreal-based musicians, who have played with the likes of Pawa Up FirstPatrick WilsonBoogatGypsy Kumbia Orchestra and others. The Montreal-based act quickly came into their own when they started to blend Japanese Eleki surf rock with elements of modern Western music including shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music. Adding to a bold, genre-defying sound, the band’s arrangement meshes rock instrumentation with traditional Japanese instrumentation.

With the release of their debut EP 2018’s Jikaku, the members of the Montreal-based septet came into their own highly unique and difficult to pigeonhole sound that features elements of Japanese Eleki surf rock, shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music. Last year was a momentous year for TEKE: TEKE. They signed to Kill Rock Stars Records, who released the rising Canadian act’s full-length debut Shirushi earlier this year.

In the lead up to the album’s release, I wrote about five of its singles:  

  • Kala Kala:” Deriving its title from a phrase that roughly translates to English as clattering, “Kala Kala” is centered around a mind-melting arrangement and song structure, Kuroki’s howling and crooning. And to my ears, the track accurately captures the band’s frenetic live energy. 
  • Chidori,” a cinematic yet mosh pit friendly freak out that’s one part psych rock, one part Dick Dale-like surf rock, one part Ennio Morricone soundtrack delivered with a frenetic aplomb. 
  • Meikyu:” Deriving its title from the Japanese word for labyrinth, the track is a no bullshit, no filler all killer ripper with menacing guitar work, dramatic bursts of trombone, fluttering flute, thumping tribal drumming and some wild soloing within an expansive, mind-melting song structure.  
  • Yoru Ni,” a fever dream featuring dreamy blasts of flute and trombone, menacing and slashing guitars and intricate Japanese shamisen. Deriving its name from the Japanese phrase for “at night,” the song despite it’s mischievous tone, is a somewhat romantic and spiritual tale about its central character letting go of a long-held delusional quest. 
  • Barbara,” a mischievous and cinematic track with a stomping, punk rock energy that sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a misfit circus — or the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, as each instrumental part seemingly introducing a new and strange character. Much like the previously released singles, “Barbara” captures the frenetic energy of their live sets. The lyrics as the band explained are a twisted take on zashiki-warashi, spirit beings, who like to perform pranks and bring good fortune to those who see them.

The Montreal-based JOVM mainstays just announced a 2022 North American tour that includes a handful of club dates and some Winter festival appearances. Sadly, there aren’t any New York dates on this run. But if you happen to be in or near any of these cities, go and catch them. As always, tour dates are below. But in the meantime, the band released a trippy visual for album single “Kala Kala.”

Directed by the band’s Maya Kuroki and Serge Nakauchi Pelletier, the video is a deft and playful mix of illustrations and old-timey collages by the band’s Maya Kuroki, close-up footage of the band by Lily Pelletier, live footage of the band and more, edited by Serge Nakauchi Pelletier. It’s a frenzied and arresting visual delight, chock full of Easter eggs and sight gags.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The KVB Return with a Hazy and Hallucinogenic visual for “Unbound”

Currently based out of Manchester, UK, the acclaimed shoegazers and JOVM mainstay outfit The KVB initially started in 2010 as the solo recording project of founder, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Wood. Wood released a series of limited cassette an vinyl releases as a solo recording project; but by 2011, vocalist, keyboardist and visual artist Kat Day joined the project. 

In the decade since Day joined the project, The KVB have released several critically applauded albums and EPs through a number of different labels before signing to Geoff Barrow‘s Invada Records,who released 2018’s Only Now Forever. Interestingly, each of the duo’s acclaimed releases saw them crafting a sound simultaneously inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain and Cabaret Voltaire; however, with each subsequent effort, the band has managed to streamline their sound. 

Through extensive touring across the European Union, the UK, China, Russia and Japan, the duo have amassed a devoted fanbase globally. Now, as you may recall during the pandemic, Day and Wood relocated from Berlin to Manchester to work on their sixth album, the Andy Savors-produced Unity. Slated for a Friday release through Invada Records, the duo’s sixth album will reportedly represent a new and exciting development in their sonic development: Through the album’s ten songs, the duo pull together their trademark components, radiant guitars, textured synths and their penchant for moody melodies and brooding vibes paired with a renewed dynamism. 

The initial Unity writing sessions took place in Spain in early 2019, where the duo found influence from the “half built luxury villas, still unfinished from the crash in 2008. There was something eerie and beautiful about the desolate landscapes and concrete in the sunshine,” the band says in press notes. While their sound and approach has always been informed by what seems like our inevitable dystopian future, there is also more of a rapturous release to the material. Thematically, the album combines double meanings and there’s a sleight of hand present. 

In the lead up to the album’s release later this week, I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

  • World on Fire,” a track centered around buzzing and slashing power chords, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a relentless, motorik groove and a euphoric hook paired with the duo’s breathy boy-girl harmonies. The end result was a song, which featured elements that reminded m elf Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and others with a gauzy, New Order-like sheen. 
  • Unité,” a dance floor friendly track, centered around thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, a relentless and hypnotic motorik groove paired Day’s ethereal yet deadpan delivery. The end result is a song — that to my ears — sounded as though it could have been part of the Trans Europe Express or Man Machine sessions.

“Unbound,” Unity‘s final single continues a run of hazy and hypnotic material centered around glistening synth arpeggios, driving motorik grooves, the duo’s ethereal boy-girl harmonies and a euphoric hook. To my ears, the song sounds a bit like how I would imagine Evil Heat era Primal Scream covering Kraftwerk.

Directed by Sapphire Goss, the recently released video for “Unbound” follows the JOVM mainstays as they encounter a decaying monolithic structure in England. The structures seem to radiate a mysterious yet rhythmic signal of color and light — with a seemingly deeper meaning. Interestingly enough, the video manages is inspired by the album’s cover art, drawing influence from it.

“We’ve been fascinated by the sound mirrors that are on the south coast of England for a while now and were very pleased to know that Sapphire [Goss] shared our interest in these decaying, monolithic sculptures!” The KVB explain in press notes. “In fact, they were part of the inspiration for Unity’s album cover. It was great to finally visit one in real life,despite the wind and rain that came with filming there. For us, Sapphire’s dreamlike, analogue aesthetic feels like the perfect complement to Unbound’s hazy sound.”

“The video took the album cover imagery as the starting point, and the band were keen to use the sound mirrors- strange monolithic listening structures along the coastline, made obsolete by radar almost as soon as they were built,” Sapphire Goss adds. “The video reanimates these eerie monuments, showing them pulse out mysterious signals of light and colour. The film is made using a mix of analogue & digital effects- lenticular 3D & stereo loops shot on an 80s Nimslo (35mm) and an old Mamiya passport lens attachment that freeze moments in time & dance around them spatially, adding to the uncanny feeling.”

New Video: Los Bitchos Play a Surreal Game Show in New Visual for Trippy “Good to Go”

Rising, London-based instrumental act Los Bichos — Australia-born, London-based Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguay-born, London-based Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Sweden-born, London-based Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — features individual members with different upbringings, who have developed a unique, retro-futuristic sound that blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos. “Coming from all these different places,” Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

The band can trace its own origins through its members meeting at all-night house parties or through various friends. The London-based outfit’s highly anticipated Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut,  Let The Festivities Begin! is slated for a February 4, 2022 release through City Slang Records

Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! further establishes Los Bitchos’ reputation for crafting maximalist and Technicolor, instrumental party jams with a cinematic quality. The celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at the end of this horrible period to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

Last month, I wrote about “Las Panteras” a funky, mind-bending jam featuring shimmering synths bongos, cowbell, cabasa and wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers and surf rock-like guitars and a sinuous bass line. “Good to Go,” Let The Festivities Begin!‘s second and latest single is another mind-bending, genre-blurring composition: Starting with a decidedly Western-tinged intro with shimmering and twangy and reverb-drenched guitar, the composition quickly turns into a trippy yet chilled out Latin funk meets Turkish psych affair with glistening synths, handclaps and a blazing guitar solo.

Directed and edited by Tom Mitchell, the recently released video for “Good to Go” continues the story began with the visual for “Las Panteras” left off: Los Bitchos have been arrested in their battle against their arch nemesis Los Panteras. The video features album producer and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos as a game show host meets trial judge from hell. The members of the band are trapped in this surreal game show meets court show, where they literally spin a wheel of fortune for their very freedom.

Trapped in a surreal courtroom gameshow and spinning the wheel of fortune for our freedom. This song has always made us think of a ‘70s game show with its light, fun mood coupled with an intriguing western style intro,” the rising London-based act explain in press notes. “We got all our friends to be our jury and our producer Alex to host/judge the show. We had so much fun making this video.” 

New Video: French Artist Haya The Hellcat Takes Viewers on a Tour of Paris in Trippy Visual for Punchy “Histoire De Se Revoir”

Haya The Hellcat is a Nancy, France-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who writes and records out of a basement studio of an artists’ house called AXLV — All Exclusive. The Nancy-based artist grew up spitting his time between Reunion Island and France, where he studied music and began writing instrumentals when he turned 14. When he turned 26, the emerging French singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began writing his own lyrics — and recording material singing his own lyrics.

The Nancy- based artist’s debut EP Quarante-Six Kilomètres Dans Les Sable was released earlier this month, and the EP touches upon several themes including travel, emotions and others. The EP’s latest single “Histoire De Se Revoir” is a decidedly post-punk influenced tune centered around a punchy and propulsive bass line, shimmering guitars, plaintive vocals and a razor sharp hook. Interestingly, the song sees the French artist deftly balancing wistful nostalgia with a breezy, radio friendly accessibility.

The recently released, gorgeously shot black and white visual for “Histoire De Se Revoir” follows Haya The Hellcat through Paris — sometimes forward, sometimes backward.