The Grapevine: Music News, 9 Sept 2020

DJO (Joe Keery)

Howdy folks, every week we’ll be rounding up some of the most interesting Music News, tour dates, new single releases and albums we hear about on the grapevine. This week DJO, Yore, Blue Hawaii, Wings of Desire, Adrianne Lenker, Touché Amoré, Wax Chattels, Hen Ogledd, Hot Chip, Badge Époque Ensemble, Johari Noelle, Plants and Animals all have something to say.


DJO (Joe Keery) Releases New Single “Keep Your Head Up”

First New Material Since 2019’s “Twenty Twenty” Album

DJO (Joe Keery)

Late in 2019, multi-instrumentalist and Stranger Things actor Joe Keery quietly unveiled his solo project Djo and his full-length psych odyssey, Twenty TwentyToday, he returns with the single “Keep Your Head Up”, featuring the spaced-out psych-pop influences that Keery has employed in most of his music projects, but also mixing in elements of funk reminiscent of Prince and George Clinton. The song is a much needed bolt of positivity in an otherwise dark time.

Keery began playing music in his teens after co-opting his sister’s guitar, but it was during his college years at DePaul University in Chicago that he formed his first band and began to seriously pursue music. That band was Post Animal, the heavy psych-rock outfit that went on to release a self-titled EP and two subsequent albums via Polyvinyl. They also toured with artists like Twin Peaks, Wavves and Cage The Elephant and played a number of US festivals.

In 2019, with no announcement or fanfare, Keery’s solo-project Djo was unveiled not with a single, but a lush, self-reflective, layered 12 track full-length album titled Twenty TwentyJoe Keery built a carnival. The resonance of each riff or beat is not new, but redesigned and reshaped into the beauty it is today. The face of psych or alternative mirrored through his own design, and it reveals a person who shouldn’t be underestimated,” said Rodeo Mag. Despite the album being released under the radar and without a label, fans found their way to it, and Twenty Twenty has had now seen more than 40 million streams to date.

Major touring and festival dates were plotted for Djo throughout 2020, but with the global pandemic putting plans on hold, Keery returned to the studio to make something new. “Keep Your Head Up” is the only the start of a flurry of activity under the moniker, with further material to follow in the coming months.

Later today, Joe Keery will also be joining The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne in conversation with The Talkhouse. Tune in HERE at 11pm BST.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK


Wings Of Desire announce debut single “001”

“001” is first in a trilogy of new singles exploring a broken modern world

Wings of Desire promo

Sometimes, the most important question for any artist to ask, is “Why?”. Why is this happening? Why are we putting up with it? Why do we fall for it again and again? For London-based duo Wings Of Desire the art in questioning their surroundings in their natural pace – for them, that is the easy part. What they aim to stir with their music is the strength to inspire considered conversation, and light a fire to rouse a socially conscious underground that wills an end to the rigid systems that bind many, and benefit very few. They see new ways to move through life, new thought processes, ways that embrace art and teachings. Their music is a coded manifesto that says “it doesn’t have to be this way.”

Drawing inspiration from psychological revolution, visual arts, and 20th century counterculture, the result is a Factory-era creative outlet for a disenfranchised generation. Wings Of Desire is simply a mirror to the planetary shift we are all experiencing, to permeate the zeitgeist and remind us all that there is more to living than what we consider tangible. Taking influence from readings such as Noam Chomsky’s work “Manufacturing Consent” – which proposed that media had effectively become system-supportive propaganda – or the lectures of writer and philosopher Alan Watts – who explored the nature of perception, ignorance, awakening and how these inform identity—the duo’s debut single “001” matches exasperation with dizzying euphoria.

Your dreams are unstable so just sit and watch famous people
Live a life that’s unattainable
The baby that you cradle, a husband that’s unfaithful
Think before you speak, your privacy is tradable

The band comments: “Is it our burning desires which will lead us and our planet to our ultimate destruction? Or will strength, love and unity lead us to a new beginning? A grand reset… our year zero.”

Wings Of Desire: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify


Yore shares debut single ‘Bon Mot‘ featuring White Flowers

Debut album ‘Yore’ released 4th December via FLAT FIVE Records

Yore Callum Brown promo

Yore is the exciting new release from multi-instrumentalist and producer Callum Brown, who has been a part of the East-London music/art scene for years, previously playing in Mint Field, Josefin Ohrn, Fews, and Ulrika Spacek.

Released today, debut single ‘Bon Mot’ features Katie Drew of White Flowers and comes paired with a psychedelic video that sees a fresh spin on a 90s sound, and was created with Vicious Collective’s Andrew Rayner.

Speaking about ‘Bon Mot’, Callum said: “I wrote the shell of the idea a few years back, it had quite a 90s guitar feel & energy which I was drawn to upon revisiting it. I just felt I could put a fresh spin on it.I added 808s & arpeggiated synths then tracked live drums – this really brought the song to life. I reached out to Katie from White Flowers as I thought she would be a great match for the track & the first thing she sent me fitted perfectly so it all felt quite seamless! I love the simplicity of it, the pop structure & playfulness of the song.

Living in the Hackney wick art space known as Vicious Collective, Callum has managed to assemble an eclectic mix of guest artists to feature on the record including Mellah, Nuha Ruby Ra, Black Gold Buffalo, Rakel Leifsdottir of Dream Wife, Katie Drew of White Flowers, Panacea, Rusalka, and Milan Monk of Haha Sounds Collective. The album is a celebration of indie collaboration akin to Broken Social Scene, the “cut and paste” aesthetic of Unkle and King Krule, as well as the dream-like nostalgia of Deerhunter and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Created over several months in Hackney’s Wilton Way Studios, Callum enlisted the help of Ulrika Spacek’s Syd Kemp (Thurston Moore, Vanishing Twin, Spiritualised) to co-produce and record the 10 track album, resulting in a self-titled LP that opens with a wall of shoegaze ascending synths, and closes on a fever dream of delayed guitars and ethereal vocals; the perfect disparate soundtrack to the tumultuous times we live in.

Yore will release his self-titled debut album on 4th December
via FLAT FIVE Records.

Yore Tracklist

1. Sally Out (ft Mellah & Nuha Ruby Ra)
2. Shade (ft Black Buffalo Gold)
3. Hawing (ft Rakel Leifsdottir)
4. Bon Mot (ft White Flowers)
5. Open Lights (ft Milan Monk)
6. Sol (ft Panacea)
7. Zig Zag (ft Oscar Browne)
8. Inside (ft Této Parvanov)
9. 40/40 (ft Milan Monk)
10. Fever Dreams (ft Rusalka)

Yore: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Adrianne Lenker Announces Two New Albums, songs AND instrumentals, Out October 23rd On 4AD

Adrianne Lenker
Photo Credit: Genesis Báez

Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, songs and instrumentals, out October 23rd on 4AD, and today presents a new single, “anything.” “anything” is a look into Lenker’s introspective and quietly magical catalogue. Backed by soft fingerpicking, Lenker’s magnetic voice references a flurry of memories and beautiful imagery—a hot sun, juicy mango, family fighting on Christmas eve, a circle of trees. It’s a deep and unflinching love song. As the track continues, its pulse held steady by Lenker playing her guitar with a paintbrush,  her words get more abstract: “weren’t we the stars in heaven // weren’t we the salt in the sea // dragon in the new warm mountain // didn’t you believe in me?

songs and instrumentals are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to coronavirus. After returning to the states from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts. “I grew really connected to the space itself,” says Lenker. “The one room cabin felt like the inside of an acoustic guitar — it was such a joy to hear the notes reverberate in the space.” With a hankering to capture the feel of the space, Lenker enlisted the help of engineer  Philip Weinrobe, gathering a mass of tape machines, a binaural head, and a pile of XLR cables.

After almost three weeks of setup and troubleshooting, the studio finally was operating—although the only functioning tape recorder the duo had was Phil’s battery-powered Sony Walkman. Although at peace with the idea that they might just be recording the whole record on cassette tape, a friend was able to dig an Otari 8 Track out of storage and deliver to the pair right before they’d lost all hope. Nine of these songs were written freshly during the recording session. Lenker and Phil began and closed each day with an improvised acoustic guitar instrumental, later making a collage of their favorite pieces, which became the first side of the instrumentals album. “We wanted to make a record that put you, the listener, in the most intimate position possible,” explains Weinrobe.

“I had a handful of songs that I was planning on recording, but by the time Phil arrived I was on a whole new level of heartsick and the songs were flying through my ears,” says Lenker. “I was basically lying in the dirt half the time. We went with the flow. A lot of the focus was on getting nourishment from our meals. We cooked directly on the woodstove, and we went on walks to the creek every day to bathe. I’m grateful that this music has come into existence. These songs have helped me heal. I hope that at least in some small way this music can be a friend to you.”

This recording is 100% analog-analog-analog (AAA). No digital process was used in the production of this sound recording. Weinrobe describes the process in more detail: “Not only does this process allow for a very specific type of sonic experience to come alive, but the process also dictates how we work. The fine-toothed editing and micro-adjustments that every modern record relies on are not available. The computer screen is not glowing while the music is being recorded. The entire workflow becomes a part of the music in a way that is simply not possible when working in digital audio. AAA is a very labor and resource-intensive process and it has a wide array of limitations compared to digital record-making, but there is no other way we could have achieved both the capture and delivery of this music without it.”

The albums’ stunning covers are watercolor paintings done by Adrianne’s grandmother, Diane Lee.  songs and instrumentals will be packaged together on double LP, CD and cassette.

Pre-order songs and instrumentals

songs Tracklist

1. two reverse
2. ingydar
3. anything
4. forwards beckon rebound
5. heavy focus
6. half return
7. come
8. zombie girl
9. not a lot, just forever
10. dragon eyes
11. my angel

 
instrumentals Tracklist
 
1. music for indigo
2. mostly chimesAdrianne Lenker Online:
instagram.com/adriannelenker/
https://www.adriannelenker.com/
https://twitter.com/adriannelenker
https://www.facebook.com/adriannelenkermusic/

 


Touché Amoré share “I’ll Be Your Host”

New Album Lament  out October 9 via Epitaph Records

Los Angeles post-hardcore band Touché Amoré share “I’ll Be Your Host” off their forthcoming fifth studio album, Lament due out October 9.

touche amore band photo
Photo credit: George Clarke

The track explores the complexities and mounting uneasiness that comes from people looking to vocalist Jeremy Bolm to find catharsis in their own loss while he is still processing and dealing with his grief. A look into the difficulties of not having the right response to console someone while reliving your own trauma in the process. “I’ll Be Your Host’ is a song about the overwhelming nervousness I get when someone approaches me and talks to me about their dead loved ones,” explains Bolm. “I feel horrible because I 100% understand why they’re sharing it with me. It’s hard having to stomach tragic story after tragic story while sometimes being asked advice when I absolutely don’t have the answers.”

Since their formation in 2007, Touché Amoré has been burrowing through angst, alienation, cancer, and death throughout four adored studio albums. After over a decade of working through darkness, Lament, finds the light at the end of the tunnel. The Ross Robinson (Slipknot, Korn, At the Drive-In) produced album arrives as the follow-up to the band’s critically acclaimed 2016 release, Stage Four, which found vocalist Jeremy Bolm mourning and paying tribute to his late mother. Lament shines a light on what life for the band has been like since then, tackling themes of fragility, empathy, politics, and love while pushing forward a newfound sense of hope.

ABOUT TOUCHÉ AMORÉ

Formed in Burbank, California, across 2007 and 2008, the band’s urgent sound has grown tighter and more refined through four full-length albums, a series of EPs, and various single releases. Lead singer Jeremy Bolm, guitarists Nick Steinhardt and Clayton Stevens, bassist Tyler Kirby, and drummer Elliot Babin have created a trajectory for themselves through hard work and dedication.

Over the years the band rose to prominence with 2009’s …To the Beat of a Dead Horse, 2011’s Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me, and crossed into new territory with the 2013 art-punk masterpiece Is Survived By. In late 2016 Touché Amoré released their fourth studio album, Stage Four. The album graced many critics’ lists including A.V. Club’s “20 Best Albums of 2016” list, Stereogum’s “50 Best Albums Of 2016” list, and one of the 20 best emo/punk albums of 2016 by Brooklyn Vegan. In celebration of playing their 1000th show in their hometown of Los Angeles to celebrate their 10-year anniversary as a band in 2018, the band released their live album 10 Years / 1000 Shows at The Regent Theater.

And now with, Lament, their triumphant fifth record, Touché Amoré looks back at its past and uses hard-won optimism to point its fans toward hope, and love.
Lament Tracklist

1. Come Heroine
2. Lament
3. Feign
4. Reminders
5. Limelight (ft. Andy Hull)
6. Exit Row
7. Savoring
8. A Broadcast
9. I’ll Be Your Host
10. Deflector
11. A Forecast

For more information on Touché Amoré visit:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER


New Zealand’s Wax Chattels Share Third Single “Cede”:

Cathartic Sophomore Album Clot out 9/25  via Captured Tracks/Flying Nun

Wax Chattels band photo
Photo credit: Ebru Yildiz

Today New Zealand’s Wax Chattels share their third single “Cede” off their cathartic sophomore album, Clot, out September 25 via Captured Tracks/Flying Nun. The vitriolic choruses of “Cede” are in Amanda Cheng’s (bass/vocals) native language — Taiwanese Hokkien — and are an indignant confrontation about Cross-Strait relations and self-determination. This track follows their singles “No Ties,” a melodic single about the experience of being a first generation immigrant that BrooklynVegan called “ferocious” and “Efficiency” that We All Want Someone To Shout For called “hard-hitting slice of industrial hard rock.”

Amanda Cheng on “Cede” – I am angry. Saying “you don’t know who I am” in Taiwanese Hokkien is to say “you don’t get to tell me who I am”. You don’t just scream like this to put on an album — you scream like this because it’s the only thing you can do.

This song is an affront to the near-silent cultural genocide that’s taking place — the censorship, the militant threats — and the international community’s insistence on practicing diplomacy with economics at the front of mind. If it takes a loud song that’s half in an unfamiliar language for people to ask, “what’s that about?”, then so be it.

Amanda Cheng on “Cede” Video –  I set out to make a video that was unenjoyable to watch; unhinging a domestic, ‘safe’ setting. To contrast the blunt lyrics, the thematic statements in the video are more subtle — there’s a geopolitical narrative there, but you’ll miss it.

After a knock-out entrée with 2018’s self-titled LP, the anticipation that surrounds Clot is immense. Much like Wax Chattels, the writing process for Clot took the best part of a year. While some songs were written on the road, the bulk of the album was workshopped throughout 2019 across bedrooms and storage containers. Wax Chattels maintained the use of only the barest of ingredients — bass guitar, keyboard, and a two-piece drum kit — but the group spent more time experimenting with and finding new sounds. They wanted to maintain the same live element as in their debut, but, this time, heavier — for which they enlisted the help of mixing engineer, and fellow noise-maker, Ben Greenberg (Uniform, Destruction Unit, The Men). A marked step-up, this new record keeps the visceral energy of the debut, only this time they dig deeper into cathartic noise. Clot’s inspiration — or, rather, frustration — came from the doomy, gloomy corners of Auckland’s underbelly, and the theme of confrontation is central.

It is universally agreed that Wax Chattels are a must-see live act; their hypnotically sinister debut captured this perfectly. Released in 2018 and supported by relentless touring, the eponymous album reached #7 on the Official New Zealand Album Charts, and release week saw the title feature as #1 in Rough Trade’s Top 20 New Releases. Tastemakers like NPR and A.V. Club came on as early champions. The album’s success at home and abroad led to the well-deserved nomination of Best Alternative Artist at the 2018 New Zealand Music Awards, as well as the band’s inclusion in the coveted shortlist of finalists for the Taite Music Prize and Auckland Live Best Independent Debut Award.

Presave / preorder Clot here

Clot Tracklisting

1. Glue
2. Efficiency
3. Cede
4. Mindfulness
5. No Ties
6. Less Is More
7. Spanners & Implements
8. An Eye
9. Forever Marred
10. Yokohama
11. You Were Right

Wax Chattels Online
https://www.facebook.com/waxchattels/
https://www.instagram.com/waxchattels/?hl=en
https://twitter.com/waxchattels?s=20
https://capturedtracks.com/artist/wax-chattels/

Hen Ogledd Share Video for New Single “Crimson Star”

New Album Free Humans Out September 25

Hen Ogledd band

As they continue on their journey to the release of their new album Free Humans on September 25 via Weird World, the cosmic quartet of Hen Ogledd—Richard Dawson, Rhodri Davies, Sally Pilkington and Dawn Bothwell—have shared a brand new single and video, “Crimson Star.” The video, featuring the full band, was directed by Deborah Bower.

Underpinned by the melodic tones of Davies’ electric harp (recorded in Atlantis Studios, where ABBA also recorded in their early days), the kaleidoscopic new track explores space and time travel. As Dawson notes, “‘Crimson Star’ is a gentle, pungent pop song about a retired entertainer looking back on their adventures during the heyday of space tourism.”

“Crimson Star” follows lead single “Trouble,” propelled by percussion and voluptuous synths alongside Bothwell’s unmistakable vocals.

Free Humans is an album of seamless, glorious contradictions: inspired as much by ABBA as the work of 12th century mystic-composer-naturalist-visionary Hildegard von Bingen, touched equally by the spirits of radical philosophical plumber Mary Midgley and PC Music star Hannah Diamond, as quiet as the paintings of Agnes Martin, yet bombastic like a Werner Herzog documentary.

Tackling themes of love, friendship, Gaia theory, sewers, the nature of time, human stench, and the thrills of wild swimming, it’s remarkable that, given the intense collision of influences and wide-ranging ideas at play, Free Humans somehow coheres into a marvelous whole.

Free Humans doesn’t shy away from the fact humans are killing the earth, but it does so with spiky wit. In their hands, Hen Ogledd manages to hold the tragedy of the wrongs happening in the world, as well as a sense of hope and liberation, at the same time.

Free Humans will be available on CD, standard and deluxe LP, limited edition Domino Mart LP with exclusive poster and digitally.

Pre-order Free Humans:
Limited Edition LP | CD | Digital

Free Humans Tracklist

1. Farewell
2. Trouble
3. Earworm
4. Crimson Star
5. Kebran Gospel Gossip
6. Remains
7. Paul is 9ft Tall (Marsh Gas)
8. Space Golf
9. Time Party
10. The Loch Ness Monster’s Song
11. Flickering Lights
12. Bwganod
13. Feral
14. Skinny Dippers

Hen Ogledd Online:
Website | Twitter | Instagram


Hot Chip Announce Late Night Tales Mix

Out October 2nd Featuring Four New Hot Chip Recordings

Hot Chip band

Late Night Tales is pleased to announce its latest installment to its long-running artist-curated mix series, this time curated by UK electronic artpop outfit Hot Chip. A unique, personal collection that is both euphoric and melancholic, Hot Chip provide the perfect antidote to these strange and uncertain times. Along with featuring new music from the band, they have selected music from some of the most engaging artists of the 21st century, taking in pulsating electronic rhythms, hypnotic grooves and leftfield ambience. Today, in conjunction with the announcement, Hot Chip present their ethereal cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Candy Says,” through which they add an element of displacement and detachment.

Listen to Hot Chip Cover The Velvet Underground’s “Candy Says”

Spearheaded by founders Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, Hot Chip are one of the UK’s most interesting and much-loved acts. Since releasing their debut album Coming On Strong in 2004, they have received a Grammy Award nomination (Ready for the Floor) and Mercury Prize nomination (The Warning) and their seventh studio album, last year’s acclaimed A Bath Full of Ecstasy.

“I think we all had slightly different understandings of what a Late Night Tales compilation might consist of; varying interpretations of the brief,” says Taylor. “For some the mix might be what you’d want to listen to as your late night continues, after a night out. For others maybe it suggested a selection of music for listening to as you drift off to sleep; then again it could just be music evocative of night time, or concerned with its traditionally ‘darker’ moods.”

Hot Chip’s Late Night Tales opens with the simplistic beauty of Christina Vantzou’s “At Dawn,” before morphing in to the first of four exclusive tracks from the band – the floating, transcendent “Nothing’s Changed,” before Rhythm & Sound ft. Cornell Campbell serve up the heavy dub classic, “King In My Empire.”

The journey continues with Pale Blue’s “Have You Passed Through This Night,” a silky, cold wave disco track, while Suzanne Kraft’s “Femme Cosmic” and Fever Ray’s “To The Moon and Back” provide squelchy synth-pop. Furthermore, the punchy “Much To Touch” from Bolton-born, Berlin based producer Planningtorock. Elsewhere, other highlights include an appearance from synth-pop auteur Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith with “Who I Am & Why I Am Where” and new material from Alexis’ ‘other’ band, the improv-mavens About Group, along with the adventurous “Workaround Two” from electronic experimentalist Beatrice Dillon and German composer, Nils Frahm’s beautifully evocative “Ode.” But it is left to Alexis’ father to have the final word, with an elegant excerpt from the daring “Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce.

“We’ve put together a mix of music which ties all of these ideas together and represents some of our favourite music new and old, some of it directly influential on Hot Chip and some of it music we have discovered and loved, been surprised by and connected to,” explains Taylor. “There are three new songs of ours which we’re really proud of, and which I think connect naturally with the nocturnal world the compilation speaks of, and a cover of ‘Candy Says’ which is one of the first songs the very early version of Hot Chip played when we were still at school.”

The Late Night Tales series was established back in 2001 with Fila Brazilia taking to the controls and mixing up the first of what would continue to be the first choice of music connoisseurs worldwide. Since then, the series has seen releases from the likes of The Flaming Lips, Floating Points, David Holmes, Bonobo, Jon Hopkins, Röyksopp and many more.

Pre-order Hot Chip’s Late Night Tales Compilation

Hot Chip’s Late Night Tales Compilation Tracklist

1. Christina Vantzou – “At Dawn”
2. Hot Chip – “Nothing’s Changed” (Exclusive track)
3. Rhythm & Sound ft. Cornell Campbell – “King In My Empire”
4. Pale Blue – “Have You Passed Through This Night”
5. Suzanne Kraft – “Femme Cosmic”
6. Fever Ray – “To The Moon And Back”
7. PlanningToRock – “Much To Touch”
8. Charlotte Adigery – “1,618”
9. Mike Salta – “Hey Moloko”
10. Matthew Bourne – “Somewhere I Have Never Travelled”
11. Hot Chip – “Candy Says” (Velvet Underground cover version – Exclusive track)
12. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – “Who I Am & Why I Am Where”
13. About Group – “The Long Miles”
14. Beatrice Dillon –”Workaround Two”
15. Hot Chip – “Worlds Within Worlds” (Exclusive track)
16. Daniel Blumberg – “The Bomb”
17. Nils Frahm – “Ode”
18. Hot Chip – “None Of These Things” (Exclusive track)
19. Neil Taylor – “Finnegans Wake” excerpt (Exclusive track)

Hot Chip online:
hot-chip.co.uk
facebook.com/hotchip
instagram.com/hot.chip

Late Night Tales online:
latenighttales.co.uk
facebook.com/latenighttales1
twitter.com/LateNightTales
instagram.com/latenighttalesofficial


Badge Époque Ensemble Announce Self Help,
New Album Out November 20th on Telephone Explosion Records

Badge Epoque ensemble promo image
Photo credit: Colin Medley Meg Remy

Toronto’s Badge Époque Ensemble announce sophomore album Self Help out November 20th on Telephone Explosion Records. Recorded live in the months before lockdown, Self Help is an exploratory record that dances across time and genre, guided by fidgety miniatures and jazz inflected collage. While constructed from the inspiration of soul, funk and film music, BÉE mediate those influences having first digested them through the productions of Madlib and the RZA. Throughout, the band pool together their instrumental chops, moving from fluid and serpentine R&B to meditative, minimalistic piano, evoking a contrast of virtuosity and self-surrender.

Led by Maximilian Turnbull (who previously released music as Slim Twig) on Rhodes, clavinet, and synthesizers, Badge Époque Ensemble is now a seven-piece, comprised of Toronto musicians, many known for their work with U.S. Girls and Andy Shauf. The newest member, saxophonist Karen Ng (Feist, Do Make Say Think), joins Chris Bezant (guitar), Giosuè Rosati (bass), Ed Squires (conga, percussion), Jay Anderson (drums), and Alia O’Brien (flute). They recorded at Toronto’s Palace Sound Studio over three weekends, building Self Help’s songs from Turnbull’s drafts. Contributing guest vocalists include Meg Remy (U.S. Girls), Dorothea Paas, James Baley, and Jennifer Castle.

The resulting Self Help fuses jazz-funk and spiritual contemplation, which musically manifests as arresting hooks in sideways song forms; echoes of Gainsbourg spooled through Azymuth-style Brazilian grooves punctuated by the whip and snap of Steely Dan. It’s lyrics search beyond cliché and intellect in a desire to invoke a borderless consciousness. On lead single “Sing a Silent Gospel,” Remy brings serenity to antic melodies as she conjures a conflicted mysticism cooing “nigh must be my lofted peak / or else a sacred landfill.” Lyricist Turnbull expands: “‘Sing A Silent Gospel’ expresses a paradox I have felt while making this album. While the habitability of the world disintegrates, I sense the spiritual realm calmly persists. The world moves through a cycle of apocalypses and it is up to us each to find this movement either meaningful or banal.

Self Help swerves left at phantom intersections. Rhythms cut loose and tie you in knots. But wired into each song is a sense of gentle accumulation, making every featherlight flourish weigh a ton.

Pre-order Self Help

Self Help Tracklist

1. Sing A Silent Gospel
2. Unity (It’s Up To You)
3. Cloud
4. The Sound Where My Head Was
5. Just Space For Light
6. Birds Fly Through Ancient Ruins
7. Extinct Commune

Johari Noelle Presents New Single/Video, “Time”

Johari Noelle
Photo credit: James McCarter

Chicago-based songwriter and musician Johari Noelle today presents a gorgeous and motivating new standalone single, “Time,” alongside an accompanying video. Written and recorded entirely in quarantine, each musician involved wrote and recorded their parts separately before sending their respective part along to the next person who would then layer their own part on top of it. Originally, “Time” was centered around creative challenges in light of COVID, but in reaction to George Floyd’s murder and the global conversation regarding police brutality and systematic racism, the track immediately evolved. In a touching and evocative tribute, names of those lost to police brutality are listed throughout the video as it plays.

“‘Time’ was originally a challenge by a group of Chicago-based musicians to collaborate under social distancing restrictions in the world of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says composer and producer Jeoffrey Arrington. “During the course of its creation, widespread conversations surrounding systemic racism and racist police brutality evolved the project to further address the turbulent times during which it was birthed. Ultimately, it is a time-capsule piece, and conveys despair, hope, resilience and sense of resolve.”

“‘Time’ is very special to my heart,” says Noelle. “When I initially wrote it, it held a different meaning. It was so simple, so open and different from what I’ve done before. When Jeoffrey heard it, he loved it instantly and brought in some talented musicians that gave the song so much more. Over the series of events through the pandemic, the song began to build a new meaning and stronger intention. My intention with this song is to inspire, to touch & heal hurting people, to remind them that there is hope and promise through these tough times. I believe we are strong and we will make it through.”

“Time” is Noelle’s first piece of new music since her acclaimed debut EP, Things You Can’t Say Out Loud, released last year to praise from the likes of Billboard, Refinery29, Bandcamp, Chicago Tribune, Exclaim, BlackBook, and more. The daughter of a DJ, the Southside Chicago-bred singer cut her teeth performing in choirs and musical theatre during her formative years. In 2015, Noelle joined the cast of BET docu-series Chasing Destiny, which found Noelle being mentored by singer Kelly Rowland (of Destiny’s Child) and famed choreographer Frank Gatson Jr. Her creative resume has since grown to include acting credits on the hit FOX television series Empire and Proven Innocent and the React II campaign from NIKE, Inc.


Plants And Animals New Single “Le Queens” Out Now

“The Jungle” Out October 23 via Secret City Records & UK Tour Dates Announced

Plants and Animals band promo

Plants and Animals have shared a brand new single and video for “Le Queens.” A French song featuring Adèle Trottier-Rivard on vocals, the theme was inspired by an evening spent in Queens, NY. The new song and video are premiering via Consequence of Sound. “The Jungle,” their fifth studio album, is set to be released October 23rd via Secret City Records. The band is also announcing brand new UK tour dates, in what we all hope will be a post COVID-19 world.
The band shares the inspiration behind the song: “Woody got this machine that makes a drum kit play samples and he didnt know how to use it. But he chopped up some of Warrens guitar chords and played them with his bass drum anyway. So it all ended up as this wobbly, dreamy jam that we all got attached to. Nic wrote most of the lyrics in the lineup at Home Depot. Theyre about an evening in Queens, dancing among strangers, time moving backwards in slow motion and falling in love.”

The music video, directed by Yann-Manuel Hernandez, features Quebec’s acclaimed singer-songwriter Michel Rivard. The director shares the creative process and context of this unexpected moment: “Le Queens is a tribute to the Quebec cinema of the 60s and 70s, to the Nouvelle Vague, to Groulx, to Quebec waking up, to the love that persists in spite of everything, to life’s free spirit and its craziness. The band got totally on board and we even managed to create a little show in an alleyway in Montreal to capture documentary moments of life. This atypical side is also reflected in the idea of adding an outro to the music video with Michel Rivard, founder of Beau Dommage, who re-enacts an emblematic scene from the Nouvelle Vague: Rivard plays Devos, Spicer plays Belmondo.”

Pre-order “The Jungle” here.

The Jungle” starts with electronic drums that sound like insects at night. A whole universe comes alive in the dark. It’s beautiful, complex and unsettling. Systematic and chaotic. All instinct, no plan. Voices taunt, “yeah yeah yeah.” This tangled time in which we find ourselves is reflected back in shadows.

Every song is such a landscape. The first one grinds to a halt and you become a kid looking out a car window at the moon, wondering how it’s still on your tail as you speed past a steady blur of trees. You watch a house go up in a yellow strobe that echoes the disco weirdness of Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer and David Bowie. You get pummeled by a rhythm then set free by a sudden change of scenery—the wind stops, clarity returns. You’re under a streetlight in Queens, soft focus, slow motion, falling in love. You speak French now too, in case you didn’t already. Bienvenue.

These are personal experiences made in a volatile world, and they reflect that world right back at us, even by accident. There’s one song Nic sings to his teenage son who was dealing with climate change anxiety and drifting into uncharted independence. The band carries it out slowly together into a sweet blue horizon. Warren wrote the words to another shortly after losing his father. It’s about the things we inherit not necessarily being the things we want. In a broader sense, that’s where a lot of people find themselves right now.

TOUR DATES
23.02.2021 –  Brighton, UK @ The Albert
24.02.2021 –  London, UK @ The Lexington
PLANTS AND ANIMALS ONLINE
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Blue Hawaii Share New Single “Not My Boss!”

“Under 1 House” Mixtape Out Sept 25th via Arbutus Records

Blue Hawaii promo
Photo credit: Richmond Lam

Blue Hawaii continue to tease music from their forthcoming Under 1 House mixtape with “Not My Boss”,  a track which blissfully merges classic acid-303 synth lines with woozy chords and affirmative chants. Undeniably groovy, “Not My Boss” borrows from a deep and rich Chicago House history and carries it to a silky, upbeat promised land of self-belief and walking basslines. Expertly treated brass sections glide in and out of the mix with differing prominence, further adding to the seductive warmth of Blue Hawaii’s charm.

Under 1 House was written during Blue Hawaii’s 2019 North American and European tours, and recorded at a wood cabin in rural Québec. Finding each other trapped on different sides of the Atlantic, the record was then finished over long-distance between Montreal and Berlin due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

This music is dedicated to the spirit of togetherness. Unity achieved through confidence, in the seductive redemption of one’s own sexuality, finding power in feelin’ one’s self. Under 1 House honours the magnetism of impulse and first takes. This flow can be found in the brooding, early Warp Records reminiscent “Where are the Keys???”, the sub-heavy, lustful organ groove of “Feelin’”, the lo-fi high energy  “I Felt Love” or the chanting of “I’m my own damn woman” during the screeched ending of “Not my Boss!”.

Blue Hawaii (the Montreal by way of Berlin duo encompassing Raphaelle “Ra” Standell-Preston and Alex “Agor” Kerby) have been around for a decade, having released 3 full-length albums and two EPs to date. Consisting of Ra and Ag, the duo met throwing parties and shows in Montreal and continue to create together despite living in separate cities – split between Montreal and Berlin. Under 1 House will be released September 25th on cassette and digital via their life-long home of Arbutus Records.

Tracklist

  1. Feelin’
  2. I Felt Love
  3. Not my boss!
  4. Where r the Keys???
  5. Let it Be Us
  6. No More Drama

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