Nov 7 2015

Conor Oberst cancels Desaparecidos tour

Desaparecidos-106-web1After being a longtime fan of Desaparecidos, the punk rock project of heart-on-his-sleeve afficionado Conor Oberst,  I was really looking forward to catching the band live later this month at New York’s Webster Hall. Unfortunately the band released the following statement:

Conor Oberst fell ill while on tour in Jacksonville, Florida and was briefly hospitalized due to laryngitis, anxiety, and exhaustion. In consultation with his doctors, the band has reluctantly agreed to cancel all scheduled live dates. Conor will be heading home to Omaha to recuperate. We wish him a speedy recovery. 

Following a near 13 year absence the band surprised us this summer with new album ‘Payola‘.  A lot has happened since the brilliant debut ‘Read Music/Speak Spanish‘, including several releases from Oberst himself,  but in today’s political climate this comeback couldn’t have been more appropriate.

Whereas his “day job” often involves introspection and delicacy Desaparecidos showcases his angry and cynical side. With a lot of the material on this  release has already been aired either live or in single format the album still the tracks stand proud as a body of work even a few months after the album was released. I was looking forward to seeing it delivered live but will have to wait for the next opportunity.

We wish Conor Oberst a speedy recovery!



Sep 11 2015

Noa May Interview

Noa May by Salit Krac

Noa May‘s music has a way of crawling into the back of your mind and staying there for months at a time. While her first single “Play Me” was a gloriously tense and moody affair it’s follow up “The War Is Over” represents the flipside of her talents; deceptively upbeat while discussing an issue that is clearly important to her. Both tracks were taken from her excellent debut album “New Born Beast” which was one of my biggest surprises in the past year.

While she is working on her follow up release we caught up with Noa to discuss PJ Harvey, her passion for Arak and bringing back Nina Simone:

Cougar Microbes: What time did you wake up today? Was it out of choice or necessity?

Noa May: I’m ashamed to say I woke up at 4pm today because I am still a little

jet lagged

CM: Describe your music to the uninitiated?

NM: I’m both passionate and neurotic with a dark sense of humour and I think this is reflected in my music. I guess the over all sound would be loosely named alternative but I’m not sure that label applies to everything I do.

CM: How have you been killing time on the road when on the, hobbies?

NM: On the road I seem to be unable to leave the “real” world behind and I binge on political commentators and economy sections. I do have a passion for Arak, an unsweetened anise-flavoured distilled alcoholic drink that is popular in the middle east.

CM: What have been your favourite venues to play? Any Venues you hated?

NM: I loved playing at the Radio EPGB in Tel Aviv, it has the perfect balance between chaos and intimacy and I can’t wait to return there later this year. Thankfully I haven’t had any bad experiences with venues yet, hopefully that won’t change.

CM: Is there a song you are simply sick of playing?

NM: Some of my older materials have gone through a ton of modifications for precisely this reason. I just think it’s a natural process every musician goes through, a certain point you just have to let go and move forward

CM: What is the songwriting process like for you. Are you able to write on the road or do you do this in your off time?

NM: Inspiration comes at very random times: in the shower or at dinner with my parents, just before falling asleep I’m often hit with a blast of ideas and I have to force myself to get up and write them down or they will be lost forever. Often these are my best materials so I don’t want to lose them

CM: Favourite track of yours and why?

NM: I have a special connection with my first single “Play Me” because it always brings me back to the first time I wrote it and also the first time I played it in front of an audience.

Noa May by Salit Krac

CM: If you could record any cover what would it be?

NM: I have already recorded a few covers including the Pixies and Gil Scott-Heron , I love paying tribute. Next, I would love to do a PJ Harvey track because I love and respect her so much but at the same time, now that I think of it, that may be really daunting! I adore her never ending creativity and would want to do it justice

CM: Do your songs go through many revisions via demo recordings?

NM: There isn’t too much tinkering once the track has a shape, even my vocal take are often the first ones. I love that initial rush and am wary of overdoing it so these early deliveries always strike me as the strongest

CM: What came first, the lyrics or the melody?What are your views on auto tune?

NM: Good question, its probably 50/50 for me. Recently i’ve been working with other musicians and I had the pleasure of focussing on the impact of my words much more.

CM: Any other band/bands from your local scene we really should know about?

NM: I recently heard a musician called Noga Erez and I find her so refreshing. She has some amazing songs

CM: Most flattering thing you’ve read about yourself?

NM: I loved getting featured by Tom Robinson of BBC 6 in his Fresh Faves batch. They said I write ” prettily-accented ditties, this one in particular hits the spot” which was very flattering.

CM: What was the first record/tape/cd you ever bought?

NM: It was ‘Nevermind’ by Nirvana. I was on vacation with my parents and we bought some cassette tapes for the journey. Instead we ended up listening to ‘Nevermind‘ on repeat.

CM: What was the last song that got stuck in your head?

NM: While answering these questions Alicia Keys’ New York track came on the radio and it’s been stuck in my head for the last hour, good timing.

CM: What was the last show you paid and queued up for?

NM: I saw both Julian Casablancas and Son Lux recently and both were inspiring in different ways. I wish I could have seen The Strokes in their prime but this was a decent replacement

CM: If you had to bring on artist back from the dead in exchange for sending a living artist down ,which artists would it be and why?

NM: I would definitely bring Nina Simone back in a blink, she still had so much to give and her presence in todays musical landscape is really missed. If you had to twist my arm I would take away Bieber, nothing against the kid but I’m sure even he would agree Nina‘s contribution is far more essential



Apr 28 2015



By day, the ladies of are holding down days jobs like any ordinary people however during the night, these women are breaking new grounds in the music world. Ever heard of electro-rap? Probably not, because up until two years ago, no one ever thought that it was possible to combine rapping with electronic music. Truthfully, the EDM scene in Japan is still in its infancy, so the majority of artists are just pigeonholed under the EDM banner.

Although EDM has been slowly seeping into Japanese culture, hardly anyone knew about the genre outside of JPOP songs with influences from Zedd’s sonic elements. With JPOP taking Japan by storm, Japanese EDM artists went under the radar for years, though that isn’t to say that they were lacking talent compared to international DJs.

In other parts of the world, electronic DJs became household names in casino nightclubs that were filled with a mix of excitable tourists. Nightclubs in casinos are the perfect platform for worldwide recognition – which Japanese DJs lack access to due to government regulations on gambling. Although all this could change given the potential to improve the economy it is a long way off yet. Even the Japanese civilians have demonstrated their interest in online gambling, giving reason for the world’s first casino InterCasino to penetrate the Japanese market if the opportunity were to arise. The loose regulations on online gambling, along with the prospective for integrated resorts to boost the economy and tourism for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, could mean that casino legalization may be well on its way.

But for now, Japanese DJs will have to find other ways to make a name for themselves, and truthfully, a number of them have done a remarkable job despite the missing presence of casino nightclubs, including the aforementioned What started as merely an outlet for the built up rage from work and daily life turned into a new genre of music that captured the souls of fans all over the world, performing in the annual Baycamp and Rock in Japan Festivals and the Japan Expo in Bangkok just last year. And hopefully, it won’t be long before they embark on their first global tour.

If you’re curious and want to listen to their music, check out the video below.


Apr 26 2015

Weekend Videos: David Rosen – “If Only Tonight I Could Sleep”

David Rosen is a prolific composer and producer based out of Las Vegas. Although his show reel is filled with ads and film work I am more interested in his personal compositions which have started to make their way to us at Cougar HQ more and more frequently.

“If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” is the first track I ever heard from him and without knowing anything about his background I was instantly drawn to it. With hindsight the the cinematic qualities present in the song are quite evident and the accompanying video works a treat drawiing accompanying the viewer- and the protagonist- on an enticing journey.

Keep an eye out for future David Rosen projects.



Apr 19 2015

Weekend Video – Lara Snow – I Like Snow

Lara Snow introduces herself to the world with “We Are Animals“, her collaboration EP with producer $aFrA. The leadoff track “I Like Snow” is a raw blast of energy coming across like a collision between Grimes and Die Antwoord with a breakdown that would make Refused proud.

The singer has been honing her skills for the past few years working on her songwriting and production skills, collaborating with other people in her scene and setting up an electric live performance with drummer and regular collaborator Jonatan Harpak.

Now that everything is in place “I Like Snow” represents just the first step in a busy few months ahead for the white haired songstress.




Jan 22 2015

CM Top Albums of 2014: Sia – 1000 Forms Of Fear


For her 6th studio album, Sia had no problem writing lyrics that address the sweet sadness of reality, masking it with rock music, catchy hooks, and her notable soaring vocals. ‘1000 Forms of Fear‘ doesn’t just ask us to swing drunkenly from the chandelier, it addresses all of our fears head on: going insane from loving someone too much, getting knocked down by love, crying our eyes out, and getting back on our feet ready to do it all again.  All in all, this was the pop album of the year.


Words by Amanda Jabes



Jan 6 2015

CM Top Albums of 2014: Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty


Shabazz Palaces

Content missing, webmaster has been notified.



Jan 9 2014

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2013: David Bowie – ‘The Next Day’

David Bowie's The Next Day

The fact that ‘The Next Day‘ was released with no warning at all was remarkable enough in it’s own right but even the biggest David Bowie fan could not have expected such a consistently brilliant album.

David Bowie returned unexpectedly after nearly 10 years of silence upon which much speculation was had (depression, lack of inspiration, fear of the illness had in ‘last tour?). The lineup is the same as on his last releases ‘Hours‘, ‘Heathen and ‘Reality‘, and the trusty Tony Visconti is confirmed again on production duties.  ‘The Next Day’ turns out to be a gem of absolute value, with a handful of superb songs, like the nostalgic and hopeful “Where Are We Now” or the already classic “The Stars Are Out Tonight” – Mario

I loved this album after probably the third listen, but as a Bowie devotee for years, there was never really any chance that I wouldn’t. I have tried and failed to put my finger on where ‘The Next Day‘ fits in amongst his past albums and various reincarnations, but the closest I can come is that it reminds me of everything I love about weird but amazing songs like “Life on Mars,” but with a steady, rocking groove that extends through each track. It is deliciously melodramatic and yet feels subdued and mature, like Ziggy Stardust growing older and wiser.

Best track: “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” – Emily

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2013