Watching the DTCV

Renaissance man and musician meets French philosopher and musician. Together, they form a bande à part – a band of outsiders. Fitting, really, as they borrowed their name from one of Godard’s lesser appreciated films, Detective. Together, through his love of crunching garage guitar and her starlit vocals and stylings, DTCV produce a gently ironic blend of Velvet Underground meets Blondie via grunge. They record under pseudonyms – Vivarock and Fiat Lux, according to their press release. On the run? But while we know their real names, James Greer and Guylaine Vivarat, we’ll just focus on their brilliant songs, like “Early Alone”, “X-Water”, and “Miley Cyrus Wins the Race”, spontaneous pop gems forged from the heat of their post-punk transatlantic collaboration. Their newest release, Uptime, out on multi-colored vinyl and download on Unsatisfied Records and cassette on Lolipop Records, has just come out, and while you might want to keep this as the soundtrack to your own tragically misunderstood film, the music is just too good to hide away. Northern Transmissions needed the backstory. Alice Severin spoke to DTCV, Jim and Guylaine, about the good things that come out of being drunk, irony, and the lack of subtlety on the internet.

James: And I’m vintage myself. (they both start laughing) I know how those records were made because I was there. But we’re just not interested in doing that. We’d much rather see what comes out. I don’t understand, and this is just me, or whatever, but I don’t understand what the point of that is, of reproducing something that’s already been done.

More DTCV? Mais oui!…

Jamie xx

Jamie xx shows his true colours

Jamie Smith, better known as Jamie xx, has had a meteoric rise in the music world. He’s accomplished so much already – first with The xx, whose debut album, xx, won them a Mercury Prize, and grabbed top position in a host of end of year lists. Their second album, Coexist, was released to major acclaim, and The xx were in demand. Shows like the limited run series in New York City at the Park Avenue Armory attracted a range of high-profile fans from the art and film world. And Jamie xx has created remixes of artists as diverse as Adele and Radiohead, and worked as a producer with Drake and Alicia Keys. After releasing a number of singles, his first highly anticipated solo album, In Colour, is finally going to be released in June. As he said, “I’ve gone from being a fan of electronic music, admiring great artists and producers, to feeling like I’m a part of their world.” There’s no question that this release will only confirm his status. Northern Transmissions was able to connect with him as he arrived here to prepare big summer of festivals, both here and in Europe and the UK. Alice Severin talked with Jamie xx about the brilliant new album. Soft spoken, he gave the impression of an individual with an encyclopedic knowledge of musical artists and a deep connection to what he does.

I guess when I first play them, I really don’t know how well…basically if they will make people dance or not. I never expected things like “Girl” to work so well live, because it’s not like, it’s not even the same tempo as anything else I’ve played. But it does work. It’s nice, it probably takes people by surprise in a way, it’s a bit different, yeah.

Jamie xx keeps talking – click link

Will there be more books?

Hello and good evening, or good morning, or whatever wherever. A brief update. I noticed that someone out there was searching for “alice severin will there be more books”, which I thought was very kind. This is especially true considering a lot of people put out books every few months, and it’s been a year since my last one – Access Unlimited.
But a new book with new characters is in the works.
So long story short, as they say – hoping to finish the next one this summer, try for late summer/early fall release.
Even shorter version for the tl/dnf crowd – yes.

Have a brilliant weekend.


Holy Ghost!

Nick Millhiser of Holy Ghost! Talks About Weed and Music

Holy Ghost!

Holy Ghost!

What do you do when you’ve done remixes for a vast range of well-known artists like Katie Perry, MGMT, Moby, Phoenix, and LCD Soundsystem? You collect some of the best ones, add in a few cracking unheard tracks, and put together an album that showcases your skill and unique “labor of love”, live-infused approach to reworking songs. And that’s what Holy Ghost! have done. The synthpop/electro pairing of Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, straight out of Brooklyn, have just unveiled the impressive 20-track album Work for Hire on DFA. They’ve been making music since they were in school together, and have been releasing music as Holy Ghost! since 2007, including an EP – Static on the Wire – and two solo albums – Holy Ghost! and Dynamics. Now they are setting out on an all-vinyl DJ tour, including some dates with Empire of the Sun. Northern Transmissions wanted to hear more from the dynamic duo of Holy Ghost! Alice Severin asked Nick Millhiser about the new album, recording, and lessons learned from an incredibly early start in the business.

Just because major labels have way more money to spend than indies, it doesn’t mean they know HOW to spend it. More money was spent on food per diems (which were usually spent on weed) for that record than Alex and I have spent recording and mixing two Holy Ghost! records. Actual fact.

Holy Ghost! floating around over here

Strange Names - the band out of Brooklyn and Minnesota

Strange Names use their time wisely

Last week, Strange Names was a Guardian Music band of the week but you did actually hear it here first.

Strange Names isn’t a description of an obscure festival lineup, but three musicians who met up in Minneapolis, and “bonded on similar aesthetics.” This trio of appealing twenty-somethings are set to burst out this summer with their danceable, shimmery summer songs, shot through with energy from the New Wave bands they love, like Human League and the B52s. Synths, punchy drums, and revealing lyrics wrap retro in a modern perspective. Now based in Brooklyn, Fletcher Aleckson, Francis Ximenez and New York native Liam Benzvi came up with “Ricochet,” which Entertainment Weekly said will “get your summer started early.” The video, filmed in a warehouse in Bushwick, was a highlight on BlackBook, and Yeasayer has now done a remix of the track. All this is leading up to the release of the first album, Use Your Time Wisely, out May 19 on Frenchkiss, and the band will be touring to promote the album, starting off with a few shows in NYC supporting Azealia Banks. Northern Transmissions caught up with the three in a rare down moment right before they were due to play a club. Alice Severin spoke with Strange Names about perfectionism, honesty, and influences.

We just, you know, we appreciate bands from the past that have this sort of vibe about them, that they can bring anyone to the party, like the B52s. Some people might have thought they were weird, but they never tried to alienate anyone. They just wanted to make good songs, that could speak to as many people as possible, and I think that’s what we want to do too.

More Strange Names tap tap…


Johnny Took of DMA’s Keeps It Honest

The story of the DMA’S began, the way all good stories do, with a bit of a twist in the tale. Three guys from Australia, playing in other bands, stumble upon each other. They write songs, and there’s a buzz, a connection. Suddenly they’re signed, but they’ve never played together live – and there’s a lot of bets riding on that it won’t all work out. But it does. The single takes off, the live shows are good, and suddenly the hype isn’t hype anymore. That means that Johnny Took, Tommy O’Dell and Matt Mason are looking to the future. Comparisons to Oasis, another band who was no stranger to controversy, follow, with all the good and bad that could come out of that. Fortunately, the DMA’S have seen a bit of territory and were ready to make good on all the promise. Their self-titled EP is coming out here May 18th on Mom + Pop Music, and Northern Transmissions was curious to get the dirt before the DMA’s hit the Northern Hemisphere. So Alice Severin spoke with Johnny Took on the other side of the globe while he was in a pub and she was waking up, about recording, hearing your own voice, and being honest.

And I was like, I write pretty much most of the lyrics, so I was like, fucking A, if you guys are believing him and you feel that you can hear honesty in those vocals, you think that he wrote every line like that, then that’s the most important thing, you know? That’s what people are looking for, I think. Through all the bullshit, and everything that’s been done, people are looking for honesty these days.

more DMA’s over here…

Wolf Alice Giant Peach cover

Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice Talks About the New Album, My Love is Cool

London-based Wolf Alice fears no genre. As the repressive need for boundaries evaporates, the four piece has jumped into the fray with an array of songs that casually parades their mastery of the free range. From pop to garage, grunge to folk, the band stamps every song with their inventive energy, like on their first official EP, Blush. Songs like “White Leather” scored them comparisons with The xx. No surprise that right from the start, the band has been one to watch. Now Wolf Alice is due to release their first album, titled My Love Is Cool, on June 23 through Dirty Hit/RCA, and the latest single, “Giant Peach,” was one of Zane Lowe’s hottest records in the world. They’ve been on tour in the US and UK, and are now gearing up for festival season, which gave Northern Transmissions a chance to hear from the hard-working band. Ellie Rowsell, the front woman of Wolf Alice, talked about creativity, challenges, and cute pets with Alice Severin.

We just have a lot of influences and we all have a hand in writing, so it makes sense that our sound is quite varied. It’s important to us as we don’t want to be pigeonholed, and we like the freedom of being able to take our music to different realms.

More right this way…