Kirin Callinan keeps his pants on, Jenn Vix rides high, Bibio curls up and more in today’s Roundup. The Roundup is definitely not filmed in front of a live studio audience.
1 Kirin Callinan clearly likes to show what he’s got. In November 2017, the provocative Australian singer-songwriter and actor lifted his kilt on the runway at the Aria Awards and exposing himself. Now that he’s done serving his 12-month good-behaviour bond, he’s back in action with a grandly ambitious, cinematic and dancetastic video for his cover of The Waterboys’ classic The Whole of The Moon. I know what you’re thinking. But thankfully, despite that title, he keeps his shortcomings to himself. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Whole Of The Moon marks Callinan’s return and follows two albums of inimitable, challenging pop music that garnered global acclaim and proclaimed him as an entirely unique, singular talent. His trademark frenetic energy is cut with a determination to do justice to a song he holds in high regard. Hectic gives way to humanity.” Just keep it in your pants, bub:
2 Sure, we puny humans consider flying saucers to be pretty freaking amazing. But think about it: To aliens, they’re probably just cars. And who decorates their cars with all sorts of lights and then drives way too fast? Kids. So all those UFO encounters are probably just teenage dumbasses cruising around in another galaxy (or dimension or whatever) on date night. Why am I bringing all this up? Don’t blame me; it’s all the fault of Gary Numanesque electro-rock new waver Jenn Vix — and the Rhode Islander’s latest single Ride. I’ll let her explain the rest. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Ride is inspired by the feeling you get when you’re on a first date with someone, and you’re riding around in the car with them,” she explains – an answer which is typically standard enough… but then she takes a left turn into uncharted territory, continuing, “but you’re actually a space alien and you’re going to take your date for a real ride, aboard your spaceship.” To infinity! And etc:
3 Musical evolution goes both ways. Some artists start off playing acoustic guitars, but end up experimenting with electronics. Whereas Britain’s Bibio — a.k.a. Stephen Wilkinson — has been heading in the opposite direction, gradually toning stripping away the synthesizers in favour of acoustic stringed instruments, and reining in his avant-garde ways for more melody and songcraft. His next disc Ribbons continues the trend, based on the sounds of the dulcet pastoral preview single Curls. Not sure if he’s ahead of the curve, but it’s a nice turn in any case. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Wilkinson’s sound in his latest work can be seen as an extension of the structured songwriting he explored last on 2016’s A Mineral Love, yielding folkloric charm and a mostly acoustic-led approach that looks to ‘60s and ‘70s psychedelia, soul, ambient, electronic and his own field recordings for inspiration.” What goes around:
4 Joan As Police Woman is one of those artists who always seems to be just under the radar. Perhaps that’s where she likes it. I don’t know. I do know Joan Wasser deserves more attention than she gets. For those who aren’t on board, her upcoming anthology — aptly titled Joanthology — will probably be a good starting point. It cherry-picks highlights from her five albums, along with covers, collaborations, a live album and two new cuts, including the sombre sea-breeze ballad What A World. The set isn’t out until May 24, but you can hear the new cut right here, right now. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I was at the ocean in a tiny house by myself when I wrote this song. I took long walks on the beach singing into the sound of the crashing waves; the surf so big it completely enveloped my voice. The feelings there were overwhelming and multi-faceted. At the time of writing, I couldn’t get over that the pain, which felt like it would tear me apart, was part of a larger feeling that made staying alive in this world so inexplicably joyful. The lyrics were difficult to write and raw in a way that made me shiver. When I finished the song, I played it live just a few times at shows, then I put it away. Over the years, I continued to get asked about What A World, so I rewrote and recorded it this year. I combined the initial wild spark with the clarity of years of waves crashing on the shore. Pain and joy. Longing and equanimity. Infinite questions surrounded by endless movement. I’m looking forward to finally sharing it with the world.“ About time:
5 You might expect the creators of an album called Map of Absences to be well travelled. And to take you on a journey. And in the case of Turning Jewels Into Water, you’d be right on both counts. Although based in Illinois, TWIJ — not to be confused with rappers Run the Jewels — is the electronic duo of Indian-born drummer/producer Ravish Momin and Haitian electronic percussionist Val Jeanty. Their upcoming debut album seems equally global, judging by its exotically groovy instrumental title cut. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Map of Absences is their homage to the vibrant underground dance music scene in Lisbon, heavily influenced by the music of Batida and Nidia. Reflecting on the regressive state of human rights, deepening refugee crises and the worsening impacts of climate change worldwide, Turning Jewels Into Water imagine a world where refugees of color are free to cross borders, LGBTIA people are treated fairly and respectfully, and environmental healing technologies are widespread.” Think globally, dance locally:
6 For the record: I have no idea if Toronto electronica artist Ted Kennedy really shares a name with the late U.S. politician, or if it’s just some sort of unusual stage handle. Either way, he’s had it long enough now that he might as well just stick with it. Though it still seems weird to write sentence like: Ted Kennedy’s latest single Forty evokes the ’80s with its classic synth lines, Gahanish baritone crooning and ringing, arpeggiated guitar solo reminiscent of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. All of which is really my way of avoiding how serious the song really is. He can handle that part. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “My new song, Forty, came to me when a close friend relapsed after many years of struggling with opioid addiction. I remember thinking how the cycle of addiction and denial wears people down. There were just so few people left around my friend that it dawned on me – the ones who remained, the ones who loved him most, were just the last ones to say goodbye.” Hear it here: