Category: electro folk

New Video: Acclaimed Act Shook Twins Release a Disco-Influenced Take on Folk Paired with Trippy Visuals

Sandpoint, ID-born, Portland, OR-based identical twin sisters Katelyn Shook (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, glockenspiel and telephone microphone) and Laurie Shook (banjo, upright bass, djembe, ocarina flute, tambourine, giant golden egg, vocals) formed the acclaimed folk duo Shook Twins back in 2004, and since their formation they’ve developed a reputation for a unique and quirky take on folk that’s centered around unusual instrumentation, the Shook Sisters’ harmonizing, Laurie Shook’s beatboxing a looping machine and a telephone microphone to create a sound that draws from folk, Americana, electro pop and hip hop. They’re also known for adding choruses or lines from other contemporary and well-known songs as a sort of remix-like style. 

And with the release of their first three albums — 2011’s Window, 2008’s You Can Have The Rest, and 2014’s What We Do, and a handful of EPs, the Shook Sisters have built a growing national profile as they’ve performed with or opened for the likes of Ryan Adams, Mason Jennings, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sarah Jarosz, Laura Veirs, Trace Bundy, Jonatha Brooke, Michelle Shocked, Crooked Still, Jason Webley, John Craigie, Elephant Revival, The Head and the Heart and others. And adding to that, they’ve played sets across the country’s music festival circuit including High Sierra Music Festival, Suwannee Hulaween, Summer Camp Festival, Electric Forest Festival, Lightning in a Bottle, Joshua Tree Music Festival, Arise Music Festival, Four Corners Folk Festival, Fayetteville Roots Festival and others. 

The act’s long-awaited fourth full, length album Some Good Lives is slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Dutch Records and the album which features a backing band consisting of Niko Slice (guitar, mandolin), Barra Brown (drums) and Sydney Nash (bass) finds them paying homage to the loved ones, friends and mentors, who have had a massive influence and impact on their lives from a late grandpa and godfather to Bernie Sanders and a host of others. “We realized there was a theme,” Katelyn Shook explains in press notes. “Even though our minds are mostly on the women of today and wanting the matriarchy to rise up, we have several men in our lives who have been such positive forces. We wanted to thank them and honor the good guys who showed us the beauty in this crazy world we live in. So, it’s an album for Some Good Lives that have crossed paths with ours—and to them, we are grateful.” Laurie Shook adds “It’s also an acknowledgment of our thankfulness of the good life that we get to live.”

During 2016, the Shook Sisters planted the seeds for what would become Some Good Lives by thinking bigger — they began intermittently recording at Hallowed Halls, an old library building, which felt full of stories. And with their backing band, they expanded upon the sound that first won them attention. “It took us a long time to find the band that we wanted to record these songs with and for the songs to fully mature,” admits Laurie. “Once Barra, Sydney, and Niko joined us, we really started to explore what our music could be. These amazing players helped us realize that we could be more than just ‘folk pop’. We started adding other genres to the word like ‘disco,’‘psychedelic,’‘funk,’ and ‘soul. We really honed in on a new sound.”

Some Good Lives‘ funky latest single “Stay Wild” single begins with shimmering guitars and features a propulsive, dance floor friendly groove, complete with a sinuous bass line paired with the Shook Sisters’ gorgeous harmonizing — and it finds the act’s sound meshing old school folk, deliberate attention to craft, psych pop and electro pop in a heady yet accessible fashion; in fact, in some way, it’s an almost Giorgio Moroder-like take on folk. 

Directed by Kristen Mico of Brave Alive Productions, edited by the band’s Laurie Shook and Kristen Mico and featuring effects by Willie Witte, the recently released video stars the Shook Sisters along with Barra Brown and Niko Slice. The video initially begins with a frustrated and stressed out businesswoman, completely in black and white. The brief blasts of color that come into her world revolve around the creative spirts and world of Shook Twins — including the entire band ice skating at a local rink. It’s a goofy and trippy visual that captures the spirit and feel of the song. 

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Born the daughter of an artist, Hannah Scott is an Ipswich, UK-born, London, UK-based singer/songwriter, whose work is heavily influenced by a year spent working on an olive press in rural Tuscany, Italy in her late teens. Scott met her longtime collaborator, Italian-born and Italian-based multi-instrumentalist Stefano Della Casa when they were both in London, but interestingly enough, they both recognized that they may have encountered each other years earlier, when she used to regularly passed through the train station that Della Casa worked in. And as the story goes, when the two began collaborating, they recognized an incredible connection despite coming from very different backgrounds: Della Casa had a difficult upbringing and troubled adult life, while Scott had been lucky to have a supportive and happy childhood — although as an adult Scott has recently been diagnosed with a form of arthritis, which causes severe joint paint and fatigue.

Both artists firmly believe that their musical collaboration has provided an outlet to support each other through difficult times, and so far the up-and-coming duo have received quite a bit of buzz early on as they’ve been featured in MOJOSongwriting Magazine and as a “New Band of The Day” in The Guardian, and airplay on Bob Harris‘ and Dermot O’Leary‘s BBC Radio 2 shows, and had been on BBC Introducing as their “Track of Week” on three different occasions. Adding to a growing profile, Scott and Della Casa have opened for Seth Lakeman and 10cc — and if you’ve been frequenting this site you may recall that Scott and Della Casa played an intimate and gorgeous set at last year’s Mondo.NYC Festival.

Scott’s and Della Casa’s newest effort together, Pieces of the Night is slated for release later this year, and the album reportedly consists of material that finds the duo meshing live, organic instrumentation — acoustic guitar, cello and vocals — with slick yet tasteful electronic production, centered around honest songs on the human condition and human connection in an increasingly hectic world. Pieces of the Night‘s first single “Signs of Life” is a rousingly anthemic piano-led song that focuses on the need to push on through difficulties and hard times, no matter how dark and hopeless they may seem. Certainly, in our dark times, the song’s message is desperately needed — and while rooted in the experiences of its creators, the song is both personal yet universal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meiko is a Roberta, GA-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who grew up in a rather musical home, as her father, who was a singer/songwriter and guitarist used to sing for the Roberta, GA-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter when she was a baby. When she was 8, Meiko began singing in public; in fact, her first performance was at a local, all black, Southern Baptist church, where she sang “White Christmas” on Christmas Eve. “I just recently realized the humor in that — but luckily at the time, everyone thought it was cute . . .,” Meiko recalls on her Facebook fan page.

Shortly after that, the Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter began singing in local talent shows and sang the National Anthem at the opening day of little league baseball. Around the same time, Meiko took up the guitar, playing her father’s beloved Gibson until he brought her a guitar for a birthday present. “As soon as I learned a new chord, I wrote a new song,” the Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist said on her Facebook fan page.

When she was 18, Meiko left her small Southern town and eventually relocated to Los Angeles, where she began playing at the Hotel Cafe, a venue known for developing up-and-coming, local singer/songwriters. By 2007, she had released her self-titled, full-length debut, an effort that established the Roberta, GA-born singer/songwriter’s reputation for material that managed to mesh indie pop and coffeehouse folk and as a result the album had every single song featured on a number of high-profile TV shows including 
Grey’s Anatomy, which led to the album landing on the digital folk charts.
Meiko’s latest single, the Wally Gagel-produced, Gagel, Erica Driscoll and Mieko co-written song will further cement her reputation for radio friendly, pop leaning folk that pairs her breathy vocals with a production centered around strummed guitar, swirling electronics and stuttering drums and an infectious hook — and in some way, the track reminds me quite a bit of Dido‘s self-titled album.
 
The Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter is on tour to support the new single. Check out the tour dates below.
 
MEIKO ON THE ROAD:
3/22 – Austin, TX – One World Theatre
3/23 – Dallas, TX – Kessler Theater
3/25 – Houston, TX – The Heights Theater
4/7 – Tampa, FL – Safety Harbor Songfest

Comprised of frontman Daniel Trudeau, along with Schuyler Peterson, Sean Hayashi and Brynley Stoner, the Sacramento, CA-based electronic folk pop quartet PREGNANT bonded over a mutual desire to make music more interesting. And from their latest single “Dead Dog Head,” the quartet specialize in a unique and kaleidoscopic sound in which they stitch together vintage soul and funk samples in a way that nods at Paul’s Boutique-era Beastie Boys, Girl Talk and others, and while trippy as hell it’s all within a accessible, pop-leaning song structure.

Jackson Dyer is an Sydney, Australia-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and is part of a growing number of Australians who have relocated to the Germany city for a creative and personal renewal and to advance their careers; in fact, since Dyer relocated to Berlin three years ago, he has opened for Grammy-nominated acts and countrymen Hiatus Kaiyote and Hozier, and has extensively toured throughout the European Union with Berlin, Germany-based indie folk act Mighty Oaks and Jamie Cullum. Adding to a growing profile, the Sydney, Australia-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter has played at several European festivals.

Dyer’s third EP, Compartments was released earlier this year to critical praise, as the effort thematically and lyrically may arguably be one of the most personal efforts he’s released to date. And as Dyer explains in press notes, “Compartments is an EP of self-­reflection that I wrote at a time when I faced a lot of uncertainty and questions about my place in the world. Far away from home, often spending long hours in my studio on the industrial outskirts of Berlin, it was a period of introspection when I experimented with production and songwriting. In this space, I wrestled with many of my misgivings about the music industry, the nature of humanity and my own personal motivations. The title Compartments refers to the lyrics in “Pariahs,” which is about how close many people live to each other in cities and apartment blocks, but still lead very enclosed lives, unwilling to engage with even their neighbours. Ironically, I spent a long time in my own ‘compartment’ writing these songs and it wasn’t until I collaborated with others that they really came alive.”

Compartments’ second and latest single is EP opening track “The Absolute” and sonically speaking the track nods at the work of renowned Swedish singer/songwriter Jose Gonzalez and his work both as a solo artist and with Junip, as the song has Dyer pairing bluesy guitar chords played through generous amounts of reverb, swirling electronics, glitchy and stuttering drum programming with his soulful vocals to create a song that’s deeply introspective and achingly earnest; in fact, the song captures and evokes a narrator, who feels profoundly lost and alone and wrestling with the sort of existential questions that don’t have an easy answer. And while capturing someone at perhaps one of their darkest periods, the song manages to possess a resoluteness that suggests while many answers won’t come quickly, the song’s narrator will move forward and many of life’s most difficult questions will resolve themselves accordingly.

 

Comprised of Darius Byrne (vocals), Brian Ireland (beats, production) and Andrew Eyles (bass), Adult Future is a Toronto, ON-based trio, whose forthcoming full-length effort In The News draws from the contemporary feeling of disconnect and alienation that many of us feel so very deeply. As the members of the band mention in press notes, “the band wanted to make a record that emphasized the singular stories that we all have and share as human beings. All of the songs on this record were inspired by personal stories and were utilized as a method to reconcile those feelings of estrangement. It was an attempt to bridge those feelings of isolation that seemingly contradicts a shared environment where people are literally living on top of each other. Drug abuse, mental and physical illness, violence and love — all of these things impact us individually, but when seen as an amalgamation == is the totality of human history.”

 In The News‘ first single “The Leaf House” doesn’t shy away from the fact that we live in dangerous and fearful times but at its core, is a love song — an urgent call for love in the face of a world that seems hopeless and insane; while suggesting as the Buddhists would suggest that opening oneself up to love when things are at their most precarious is an act of true bravery and the most important weapon we have in such fucked up times. Sonically speaking, the Canadian trio pair a looped strummed acoustic guitar line, boom bap beats, twinkling synths and plaintive vocals — and in some way, the song reminds me quite a bit of Jose Gonzalez and his work with Junip but with a desperate and forceful urgency.

 

 

Live Footage: Tall Heights’ Electro-Folk-Leaning Cover of St. Vincent’s “Year of the Tiger”

Boston-based indie folk duo Tall Heights recently released footage from their City Winery “One On One” Cellar Session, which featured a re-arranged cover of St. Vincent’s “Year of the Tiger” to accommodate cello, acoustic guitar and drum machine — and the end result is a somewhat straightforward yet twangy and rootsy cover that retains the song’s moody irony.

New Video: The Gorgeously Cinematic and Symbolic Video for Joseph’s “White Flag”

Now, as you may remember “White Flag” is the first single off the trio’s forthcoming full-length debut I’m Alone, No You’re Not, which is slated for an August 26, 2016 release. And as you’ll hear the song pairs an ambient and gently undulating production consisting of swirling and ambient electronics, handclap-led percussion and folky guitar chords, a rousingly cathartic and anthemic hook and the Closner Sisters’ gorgeous vocals in a song that sonically reminds me of Pearl and the Beard and Lucius, complete with the same earnest urgency. While lyrically, the song possesses a powerfully positive message — that despite what everyone around you may tell you about your dreams and desires that you should never give up if it’s what you desperately feel that it’s what you must be doing.

The recently released music video for the song is a gorgeously cinematic video that features the Closner sisters in what appears to be the Oregon woods, building a bonfire to set a white flag on fire — and as a result the video manages to be both literal and symbolic.