PVA have returned with their first new music since their 2020 debut EP Toner. The new single comes with a self-directed minimalistic music video.
The multiplying groove of the synthesisers feel like they could burst out at any moment. Constantly twisting and turning, almost trying to escape for a sound of their own. But it’s all held together with Ella Harris’ cool and composed vocal delivery. It’s industrial indie at its most freeing, making you want to grab your florescent mini-pouches and throw your body in every direction.
Speaking on the single, the band says, “Untethered is a song about release. It’s our current set opener and an introduction to our industrial arm. We wrote it in one session in a burst of chaotic catharsis. The lyrics follow a character being freed from imaginary tethers and experiencing the earth under their feet again.”
Listen to the new single below!
The band have also announced a new live date in London headline show to take place at Corsica Studios on 9th July. Tickets will only be available on pre-sale via the PVA mailing list until 11am on Friday, which people can sign up to via PVA.band. General sale will then be available HERE.
Soccer Mommy has shared new single “rom com 2004“, her first new music since last years color theory. The new single was produced by 5x Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter BJ Burton (Charli XCX, Bon Iver, Chance The Rapper, Empress Of, Miley Cyrus).
Incorporating elements of glitch-pop, soccer mommy breaks into her most experimental sound yet. Still with her sultry vocal style glazed over the top, the track bursts into her usual euphoric pop-rock style on the chorus only to come crashing down as fast as it rose. The spirit of soccer mommy is as clear as ever but this time she’s treading the waters of new sonic seas.
Speaking on the track Sophie Allison said:
“I wrote this song a while back and made a poppy demo for it. Then I told BJ to destroy it.”
Victoria Cheong aka New Chance is the latest signing to We Are Time records, a label that seems intent on releasing only the most captivating independent music. Emerging out of the Toronto DIY scene, Cheong has spent the last decade or so creating a name for herself, thanks to her enigmatic live performances that both seek to challenge and encapsulate the audience. Outside of New Chance Cheong provides backing vocals for folk artist Jennifer Castle and New York post-punk outfit Chandra.
Cheong’s debut album Real Time is an exploration of just that, the flows and ebbs of the one thing we all wish we had more of. Soundtracked by a collection of songs that both exist in their own worlds whilst drawing aspects of the real world in to amalgamate into something that at its core will leave you entranced. Through elements of retro-rave beats, ambient synths and club-worthy samples Cheong has created an album that is ultimately fascinating, you never know which turn it will take next. We caught up with Victoria to learn all about its creation and her time as an artist up to this point.
Over what time and whereabouts was the album written and recorded?
About half of it was written before the pandemic and partly when I was performing and about half of it was written during the pandemic. I did all of the recording on my own at home during lockdown. So over a period of 9 months in 2020.
Did the lockdown give you a chance to work on ideas that you wouldn’t of had time to do otherwise?
I would have been on tour with other projects for most of 2020, but then obviously they all got cancelled and there was nothing left to do but to work on my own stuff. Which turned out to be a blessing in the sense that I’d been struggling to find the time for a number of years.
When writing songs you like to play them live to adapt them and change them based on that moment, did the last year without shows change the way you wrote the songs for the album?
Yeah totally, I ended up writing in the studio and I haven’t yet even figured out how to play those songs live. I also added so many vocal layers that I need to now figure out how to bring them into a live environment because it’s always just been me solo before. So it was a bit different and I learned a lot about recording because I’ve been a bit more of a performing artist than a recording artist in the past.
What was the biggest thing you learnt?
I think you can get away with a lot in a performance setting. In a way you just have to be very present which is its own thing and being with an audience which is its own challenge. On recordings songs are so different because you’re trying to achieve this idealised version of the song that represents it forever more. I just learned to get into all the details and to really flesh out parts and be a bit more dynamic with the instrumentation.
Do you think once you get back to a live setting they’ll evolve further than what they are at the moment?
I haven’t really imagined that but probably! They’ll have to be adapted and I would like to perform with singers so I would be open to changing arrangements and things like that to keep it interesting. I’m always open to re-interpreting the songs.
What do you think it is about that live space that allows that different kind of creativity to flow?
It’s the presence. You’re forced to present with whatever’s happening and when it’s over it’s over and never to be seen again. You’re just working with the energy of the moment and not trying to archive something.
You’re feeding off everything that’s going on.
It’s interesting too, having been not in those settings. Most of us haven’t been in those settings of being in a space with other people with loud music. Even just those simple elements are actually so complex. It’ll be interesting to try and step back into that, there’ll probably be a renewed sense of what all those elements contribute to. Especially after being on zoom or online and having that stand in for these real world experiences with audiences.
Are you excited or nervous to get back playing?
I think nervous because it’s been a long time actually. The last show I played was in December of 2019, so it’s been kind of a long time. I’ll have to rehearse and figure it out! Ultimately i’m excited and i’m sure it will give me something.
What was the main theme that you were trying to explore on the album?
The over-arching theme of the album is the title (Real Time) and as well as the artwork lends itself to this exploration of time. The cycles of time and our different kinds of relationships to it. It’s a pretty broad idea but I think it’s something that’s come up a lot, especially during the pandemic where our perception of time has changed. And that has something to do with our daily activities, it’s slowing down in some ways but then you go “Wow it’s been over a year since I played a show!” that doesn’t feel real. It’s this idea of “Real Time” and it’s not like I have the answer, it’s just a questioning around it.
The cover photo was a photo taken by your grandfather, does your family influence your art in any other ways?
It’s not typical for me to use my family in my artwork but it ended up being influential in this project. I had these bonsai scrapbooks of my grandfathers where he kept photos his plants and cutouts of magazines. I was fascinated by and felt connected to these scrapbooks because it’s such an interesting way to see through someone else eyes in a way. The photos that are on the cover are this night-blooming cactus that only blooms one night a year, so my grandfather would stay up to photograph it. I ended up reinterpreting these photos by turning them into cyanotype blueprints and using for the cover that show the bloom and the aftermath of the bloom, which is the wilting.
Is it the change within such a short time that captured what you wanted the album to represent?
On the whole it just represents a cycle. It’s just a very clean metaphor for the cycles of life and death. But its also something that’s relatable as a performer, the amount of energy that goes into a show that’s unseen not that glorified. The show, the big event, the production and then there’s the aftermath of that and to me all the parts of that cycle are interesting. And I think on the record the sound world is really just reflective of my personality, it’s very interested in a lot different kinds of moods and textures. Not just the kind of exclusive good looking ones.
How would you describe your sound? It incorporates elements of electronic music and ambient sounds but what do you look for when creating these songs?
That’s tough to say in a way. But any given song to me is its own world and I’m feeling my way through how to best represent that world in the greatest amount of transportive detail. So I do tend towards a lot of atmosphere and texture. I also just listen to a lot of different kinds of music and am interested in all kinds of different music, so I think as a listener of course I pick up influences from all kinds of different places. Which end up unintentionally being referenced in my music.
It’s a melting pot of influences for you.
I think so yeah. For example there’s a track where the beat is almost footwork inspired but then there’s another song that’s all vocals Bobby McFerrin style. Totally different but still a part of the magical world that I’m creating.
Is getting lost in those worlds something you try to achieve with each song?
I don’t think I try to achieve that but I’ve had people respond that way and say that it’s almost a world that you can step into and be in. And I like the idea that people are able to have that experience, that if you choose to get into it there’s a lot to discover. It’s almost like a multi-dimensional world. I really appreciate that but I’ve never thought about it consciously.
It’s more finding interesting sounds for you?
Yeah definitely and saying that “this is the feeling” so how can I flesh that out and what different sounds are going to help bring that to life.
For me personally the album has quite a meditative quality to it. Is that something you considered when writing it?
Loop based music lends itself to creating a hypnotic or meditative feeling. I’m sure that’s an influence in a way in terms of composition. But I’ve never set out to make something that’s specifically meditative. I don’t have much experience with meditation but I am drawn to the aesthetic of it and the idea of surrendering a certain part of the mind and allowing yourself to journey. I get the sense that meditation offers that but I don’t really practice! I would like to and I think it’s really called for in these intense times. To be able to use whatever tools are available to us in order to heal or find an inner strength, to cultivate a resilience both mentally and emotionally.
“Fallen” song has a lot of bird sounds and natural sounds playing throughout. How much does the natural world inspire your music?
The natural world in that sense is everything. I have such reverence for it, anything you need to know about music you can find in nature. Anything that you want to be interested in, wether it’s the voice and singing or just different rhythms. Just the sonic scape of the outside world is endlessly interesting, it’s more just a question of what your attention is on and what you’re listening to and if you’re listening. Which i’m not always but it does give me a lot when I put my attention to it. It’s so available to us but we tune it out a lot. “Fallen” has a field recording from Tobago first thing in the morning and it’s so rich with life and there’s so much happening that it’s such a busy living world even though it’s just a small island. It’s almost a representation of vitality and the interconnectedness of living things.
Did you go out and look for those field recordings or did you just hear it?
I wasn’t looking for it but I had my little zoom recorder with me on my one vacation of life haha! It’s just something you notice when you’re travelling, your senses are more heightened anyway and you notice all the differences that you would take for granted in your normal day. In Tobago in the morning which is the crack of dawn everything starts making noise and it’s echoing over the water, you can’t not notice it.
That was a world that you didn’t have to create, it was already there.
Yeah that was a world that I just put my voice in and I wanted it to feel like I was there.
Do you think over the last year everyone’s had time to reconnect with the natural world?
In Toronto now the hot ticket on a Friday night is now going to the hill and watching the sunset which I’m not sure as many people were doing before when there were more options and that’s a really beautiful thing to see. It definitely feels like a positive change in the sense that people are appreciating the world that we live in. It’s very grounding and we’ve needed to feel okay because the future feels so uncertain.
Does your work with other projects as part of the Toronto DIY scene influence your sound at all?
Yeah usually in other bands i’m a backup singer so writing different vocal parts, and all that stuff was very influential to the vocals on this record. Just learning how to put backing vocals into songs and also wanting that vibe, wanting the voice to be very present and take up space and have personality. Definitely from back up singing i’ve realised that audience really respond so immediately to singing and the voice. Backup singers are usually considered the least important members of the band in a way but I know from my experience at least that audiences really connect with harmonies, singing and just the voice in general.
What do you think it is about the human voice that’s so captivating?
It’s such a fundamental way of connecting with people. I tend to think of it as heart centered communication, it’s emotional. You can communicate so much through the instrument of the voice and it’s immediately received and understood as a human emotional experience.
It’s also a lot more adaptable than say a guitar.
There’s so much you can do to the voice in the studio now, just editing and treating it with autotune and that kind of thing. I’ve heard people that can just sing like that or imitate it, the human voice can just imitate anything. It’s just interesting how the voice can adapt and evolve to whatever the influential sounds may be that people hear. Like not knowing that it wasn’t autotune or some kind of effect but it was their voice working really hard to produce some kind of effect.
How long have you been a part of the DIY scene in Toronto and what is it about those communities that’s so important?
I’ve been a part of them for around 15-20 years and they’re so important as they’re place for nurturing and a place to grow. There’s also a lot of cross pollination and inter-connected collaboration available. I think it fosters community which is important otherwise you’re just like I was this past year, alone at home producing. I think the main thing is fostering artistic growth and experimentation in ways that can be surprising when you’re in it. It’s like a garden where different things are in bloom at different times and things pop up that you weren’t expecting and things influence each other. It’s alive like an eco-system.
There’s a lot of aspects of the music industry that aren’t like that all where it’s very compartmentalised and transactional and that’s just not a good feeling to be working in. The creative process is a whole other thing that requires certain conditions that the DIY scene provides. There are other entities that are just about making money off of artists that don’t know anything about that, or care! They don’t care how things become amazing or how someone writes a hit song. There’s some magic that you need to tend to and respect that takes more time than the system at large.
How much did they evolve you as an artist?
They definitely provided me with the space to try a lot of new things and experiment. I’ve been encouraged locally and that’s how I am where I am.
Do you think people have come to appreciate the spaces and communities more seeing as they’ve had to stop for that last year?
I’m not sure. In Toronto and a lot of major cities we’re under a lot of pressure to just make money and be able to survive so I’m not sure what people have been up to necessarily and I think people are making a lot of big changes in their lives. It still remains to be seen how everything will pan out so to speak. I don’t really know. I think people have fantasised about going to a club or be on a dance-floor and felt that loss. But you can’t even let yourself go their mentally at the moment because it’s so painful to think of just how much we’ve lost. As a performing artist where that’s my job I haven’t been able to do anything apart from small things online.
I can imagine small shows happening from now but it’s very hard to imagine these big shows happening but there’s so much beyond our control.
If anything what would be something you’d change about the music industry?
If it could be concrete and straight away then it would be how artists are compensated for streaming. It’s basically stealing. I don’t know the ins and outs of how to change that, it’s obviously legislation is the only way that companies are going to pay out more. The streaming situation for artists is just unsustainable for lots of artists, even ones who have lots of fans and streams. So that would be a clear thing I would change.
London-based 5 piece Sunken have released new single “Show Me Your Mind” and announced their signing to 7476 (Matt Maltese, Matilda Mann, Lizzie Reid).
There’s an underlying sinisterness to the bands new track that only gets darker as it progresses. With an almost disco-like groove the band create a soundscape that is both funky and uneasy at the same time. It’s only towards the final breakdown of crumbling synths and lead singer Poppy Billingham’s cries that you feel the true catharsis that the band evoke.
Speaking about the new track the band said:
“Show me your mind is about the subtleties of how someone presents themselves to you. It’s easy to know someone on a surface level basis but the more you get to know someone the more your perception of them changes. The subtleties could be anything from how they might change their persona based on who they’re around or being more expressive and opinionated with ease. Sometimes we can get to know someone and how they think about things, and it can either pull you closer to them or make you realise you don’t click”.
Girl Ray have returned with new single “Give Me Your Love”, the first single since their debut album Girl released in 2019. The new single was produced by Joe Goddard and Al Doyle from Hot Chip, at Relax and Enjoy, London. The single also comes along with an accompanying music video inspired by “a queer Midsommar Night’s Dream” directed by Alex Cantouris.
Invoking those summery feel-good sounds, the and create a sound that is both optimistic and joyous. Over its near 8 minute run-time the song evolves through glittery piano chords, funky beats and washed out vocals until it transforms into its festival worthy club-like finish.
Speaking on the new single Poppy Hankin said:
“We worked on this song with Al Doyle and Joe Goddard from Hot Chip in their studio off Brick Lane in London. We had one day left with them, so thought we’d unearth an old demo of a slightly house-leaning song I’d been working on a few months before. It had a really loose structure but the feel of the chords was good so we decided to try fleshing it out. It was a really long day filled with a lot of playing around with the mountains of synths that fill their studio. Sections became longer… steel drums were added (along with some wonky backing vocals) and eventually it started taking shape. With all the awfulness of 2020 in our heads – it was important to us that it sounded optimistic and hopeful; a song for future summers where people can dance and enjoy music together once again.”
Aught aka Stephen Deehan has today announced their debut single “Oversight” set to be released on April 9th via Relic Records. This is the third release from Relic Records following on from Soba’s And Then They Run and Clifford’s New Turf.
Oversight explores depths of space, vocals echo seeking response; only to find reckless rhythms and beats that respond sharply. A groove being found within the emptiness of connection. With their debut single, Aught establishes themselves as a musician seeking more than driving rhythms; purpose through connection, hope within bond. FFO of Bonobo, Caribou & Four Tet.
In a statement Aught said this about the new single:
“For those who are able to feel liquid through air, Eden is easily understood as a place with an abundance of growth. Skin to light, heat to cell; our bodies thrive here. Our existence is constantly with us and yet we feel a need to discover more.”
Daft Punk have split up, they broke the news with an 8-minute video titled “Epilogue,” excerpted from their 2006 film Electroma. The electronic duo created some fo the biggest pop hits of the last two decades, including “Get Lucky” that currently sits at over 500 million streams on Spotify.
Daft Punk formed in Paris in 1993, emerging from and helping to define the French touch style of house music. Their debut album, 1997’s Homework, was a dance music landmark, featuring classic singles “Around the World” and “Da Funk.” By the release of its follow-up, Discovery, in 2001, the duo had taken to making public appearances in the robot outfits that came to define their visual identity. The singles “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” cemented them as global superstars—a status they continued to expand in subsequent years with records including the Tron: Legacy soundtrack album.
Upcoming electronic artist Clifford aka David Tucker has announced his debut EP set to be released on February 12th via Relic Records. This is the second release from the Midlands based record label, following on from Soba’s And Then They Run. Available to pre-order here now.
Speaking on the EP Clifford said: “On this four track piece, New Turf, I seek to establish the variety of soundscapes that coexist within my artistry. From the get go, Pastures is a sun-blazed song propelled by syncopated hi-hats and a rolling bass-line. It is hard to listen to the track without thinking of blue skies. On the B-Side, Sunken Souls continues to extend these vivid soundscapes. Sandpaper Dub and No Contact are both experiments that seemed to develop further than their simple origins. They represent a desire for difference, inspired by the contemporary.
Kieran Hebden aka For Tet has announced two new albums set to be released tonight at midnight on Christmas Day. The albums are titled Parallels and 871. Earlier in the month Four Tet announced that his long anticipated collaboration album with Madlib is set to be released in January.
So far only the artworks by Jason Evans has been shared.
In March Four Tet released Sixteen Oceans, his seventh studio album. Read our review here.
Four Tet has announced a new collaborative album with Madlib Sound Ancestors, set to be released in January 2021. They have shared the first single from the project “Road Of The Lonely Ones” which was premiered on BBC 6 Music.
On Instagram Four Tet said “A few months ago I completed work on an album with my friend Madlib that we’d been making for the last few years. He is always making loads of music in all sorts of styles and I was listening to some of his new beats and studio sessions when I had the idea that it would be great to hear some of these ideas made into a Madlib solo album. Not made into beats for vocalists to use but instead arranged into tracks that could all flow together in an album designed to be listened to start to finish. I put this concept to him when we were hanging out eating some nice food one day and we decided to work on this together with him sending me tracks, loops, ideas and experiments that I would arrange, edit, manipulate and combine. I was sent hundreds of pieces of music over a couple of years stretch and during that time I put together this album with all the parts that fitted with my vision.
Eothan Alapatt worked with us on the whole project guiding and advising and has now prepared the album for release. He’s had Bernie Grundman cut the vinyl and everything is in production and will be ready soon.”
Earlier in the year Four Tet released his 7th studio album Sixteen Oceans, read our full review here. Madlib also released Pardon My French with Karriem Riggins under the name Jahari Massamba Unit, paying homage to 70’s spiritual jazz.