Category: indie folk

New Video: Acclaimed Singer-Songwriter Alice Phoebe Lou Releases a Trippy 70s Inspired Single from Forthcoming Sophomore Album

Over the past year, I’ve written a bit about the Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alice Phoebe Lou. And as you may recall, Lou grew up in a rather creative home — her parents were documentary filmmakers, who took the budding artist to piano lessons as a child. As a teenager, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist taught herself guitar. The summer she turned 16, Lou went to Paris to visit her aunt. Armed with an acoustic guitar, the young artist met a number of that city’s buskers and street performers — with some of them teaching her poi dancing. 

Upon completing her schooling, Lou returned to Europe, first landing in  Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer. She then relocated to Berlin, where she became a well-regarded busker and developed a reputation for a fiercely independent, punk rock-like DIY approach to her career. With the release of 2014’s self-released debut EP, Lou began receiving international attention, eventually spending the following year performing at a number of TED events in London and Berlin. Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, Lou released her full-length debut Orbit in 2016. The album garnered a nomination for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards and a set at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda. She ended the year, touring on bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, Allen Stone and Crystal Fighters, as well as three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium. Those Berlin Planetarium shows were so much in demand that she added two additional planetarium shows to her 2017 itinerary. 

Besides touring, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has had the live version of “She” amassed over 4 million views on YouTube and was featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Heady Lamar Story — all before the studio version of the single was even recorded or released. Additionally, Lou spent time working on her much-anticipated, Noah Georgeson-produced sophomore effort Paper Castles, which is slated for a March 8, 2019 release. And as Lou explains, the album is “about nostalgia, about growing into a woman, about the pain and beauty of the past, about feeling small and insignificant but finding that to be powerful and beautiful, about acknowledging that childhood is over but bringing some of it with you.”

The album’s first single is a slow-burning, 70s AM rock and 70s soul-like “Something Holy.” Centered around a shimmering guitar line, hushed drumming, a sinuous hook, a psychedelic tinged bridge and Lou’s aching vocals, the song is a deeply introspective and unvarnished look into the narrator’s complicated relationships with sex, love, men and herself. As Lou says, the song reflects “the moment that I managed to get over the main hurdle of my past traumas with sex, with men and with my own deeper understanding of intimacy and what it means to be intimate.” Sonically speaking, the song reminds me quite a bit of Amber Arcades’ European Heartbreak. 

Made by Manners Studio is a heady mix of brightly colored, cinematically shot footage of young people brooding and looking bored in a stylish chamber room, animation and Lou earnestly performing the song. 

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Brad Byrd is a Los Angeles-based indie rock/indie folk singer/songwriter, who after years of suffering through alcohol addiction and depression, started his music career in earnest in 2003 and since then he’s received attention both locally and nationally with teh release of his first two full-length albums — 2005’s The Ever Changing Picture and 2011’s Mental Photograph. Building upon a growing profile, Byrd released a string of singles collaborating with Warren Huart, and he had his music appear in TV shows including  The New Girl, Happy Endings, American Housewife, Ben & Kate, and Keeping Up with the KardashiansAdditionally, he’s shared stages with Bobby Long, Mike Doughty, Son Volt‘s Jay Farrar, Jurassic 5 and others. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you may recall that I wrote about “1000 Pink Balloons” off Byrd’s third, full-length album Highest Mountain, a soulful and introspective that focuses on self-discovery and the strength of letting go centered around a catchy hook that sort of recalled The Church.

Interestingly, the first bit of new material from Byrd since the release of Highest Mountain is a slow-burning, atmospheric take on one of my favorite Cure songs “Lovesong” that manages to retain the song’s aching longing while giving it a subtle country vibe.

 

 

Pale Mara is an indie duo comprised of Lee Godleski and Allison Robinson and from the “Bird,” the first single off their forthcoming self-titled album, which is slated for a December 14, 2018 release, the duo specialize in an old timey sort of sound that brings to mind 70s AM rock — in particular, “Bird” recalls The Carpenters and Carole King among others. However, they do so without being a mere time period-based mimicry; in fact, underneath the autumnal vibes and careful attention to craft there’s a quietly self-assured sense of purpose that set it apart.

New Audio: Renowned Aussie Folk Duo Oh, Pep! Returns with a Jangling and Hook-Driven Take on Americana

Comprised of Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs, the renowned Melbourne, Australia-based folk duo Oh, Pep! can trace the origins of the group to when they met while they were were both studying at a music secondary school, and as the story goes as soon as the met began writing music together. Now, as you may recall with the release of three critically praised EPs, the duo received a rapidly growing national and international profile — they played a series of attention-grabbing, widely praised at the CMJ Festival, which were praised by  KCRW, and NPR’s Bob Boilen, who later invited the duo and their backing band to perform a NPR Tiny Desk Concert set. The duo also made appearances at a number of prominent folk festivals, including The Woodford Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, The National Folk Festival in Canberra, and Folk Alliance International, Kansas City, and at the 2014 The Age Music Victoria Awards, the duo was nominated in the Young Folk Performer of the Year and Best Folk Roots Category, winning the nod for Young Folk Performer of the Year.

2016’s Daniel Ledwell-produced full-length debut Stadium Cake found the duo subtly expanding upon the songwriting approach and sound that first won them national and international attention — their uncanny ability to write buoyant and ethereal pop with an underlying bittersweet sadness, centered around fully-fleshed out characters, who suffered from self-doubt, heartache, confusion, crippling indecision and a seeming inability to figure out how to move forward with their lives, all while their cohorts rush past them with successful lives. 

The duo’s soon-to-be released sophomore album I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You . . . is slated for an October 26, 2018 release through ATO Records, and the album reportedly finds Hally and Emmerich exploring the melody-rich expanse between indie pop, alt-folk and folk but through the prism of a women who have both come of age and have seen quite a bit of the world. They’ve accomplished most of their goals and dreams rather quickly  — and when that happens there’s this overwhelming sense of “Well, now what? What’s next?” And typically, there are two responses: you contently sit back and rest on your laurels — or you push yourself out of comfort zone. “This album is a darker form of pop than we have played before,” Pepita Emmerich says in press notes. “Basically Liv wrote a bunch of hits.” 

After touring to support Stadium Cake, Olivia Halley had become an in-demand songwriter. “With this album, in particular, I did a lot of sessions with other people. They weren’t necessarily sessions that were for the album. But every now and then, I’d be writing a song and take a fancy to it, then Pep and I would Oh Pep!-ify it together,” Halley says of the album that was written in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles and Melbourne and was largely inspired by her travels over the course of 2017 and 2018.  Interestingly, I Wasn’t Only Thinking About You . . . ‘s third and latest single, the jangling and anthemic  “Your Nail and Your Hammer” was inspired by words written on her wall in Nashville,  and the city’s long-held reputation for being the home of country and Americana — with a pop leaning, hook-driven sensibility; but while further cementing their reputation for breezy and infectious songs, the song evokes the sensation of someone’s mind whirring and grinding with the obsession over a brief and perhaps fleeting moment with another that leaves you wondering for weeks afterwards.

New Video: The Cinematic and Dreamy Visuals for Rueben and the Dark’s Anthemic Album Single “Dreaming”

Led by primary songwriter and creative mastermind Rueben Bullock and featuring multi-insturmetnalist and vocalists Shea Alain, Brock Geiger, Ian Jarvis and Dino Soares, the Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based indie folk act Rueben and the Dark have […]

New Video: The Easy-Going and Soulful 70s AM Rock Sounds of Andy Jenkins

Co-founded by Richmond, VA-based singer/songwriter Matthew E. White back in 2012, Spacebomb Records has quickly become a renowned indie folk label that has released a number of critically applauded albums including White’s own Big Inner, Natalie Prass’ self-titled debut, the work of singer/songwriter Bedouine and others.  Their newest artist Andy Jenkins has toiled behind the scenes of the Spacebomb Records universe for some time, and interestingly enough, Jenkins and White can trace their friendship back to several high school bands they both played in. 

Jenkins’ full-length debut Sweet Bunch is slated for a June 15, 2018 release through Spacebomb, and the album’s latest single, album title track “Sweet Bunch,” which features labelmate Matthew E. White is a down-home folksy take on indie rock centered on twangy and bluesy power chords, a propulsive backbeat, a sinuous bass line that brings Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Allman Brothers and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere-era Neil Young to mind; but beneath the easy-going, bunch of guys jamming, drinking and maybe smoking a little weed in a room vibe, there’s a thoughtful and deliberate attention to craft that gives the song its soulfulness and purpose. 

Late last month, I wrote about the Austin, TX-based indie rock act Sun June, and as you may recall the act, comprised of founding members Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury, along with Michael Bain (guitar), Sarah Schultz (drums), and Justin Harris (bass) can trace their origins to when its founding duo started the band while working long hours in the editing rooms of renowned filmmaker Terrance Malick’s editing rooms, practicing whenever Malick was out of town.

Last year, the band began working on their forthcoming full-length album Years with Evan Kaspar at Estuary Recording Facility, recording the material live to tape without being overly polished or processed. As the band notes, the album is a “we’ve-been-broken-up-along-time” album, and explores how loss — of friends, family members and partners — evolves over time; but while not being too heavy or too serious.  Album opening track “Discotheque,” was an atmospheric and slow-burning track that manages to evoke a complex array of profoundly inescapable and inexplicable loss but with a sense of pride and celebration; to truly live, after all is to know, accept and live with loss, because it meant you knew love and connection with others, even if it were brief.

“Slow Rise II,” Years‘ latest single begins like a gorgeous, half-remembered reverie with a rousing hook that manages to possess an underlying ache for anything familiar — even if it you can’t go back home again and even if you can’t get that precious moment back. And they do so while furthering their growing reputation for shimmering reverb-heavy indie rock with a folk leaning.

The band is touring to build up buzz and support for their new album, check out the tour dates below.
TOUR DATES
May 16 | Austin, TX @ Stubb’s (w. Hovvdy, Half Waif)
June 16 | El Paso, TX @ Neon Rose
June 17 | Tucson, AZ @ Owls Club
June 19 | Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
June 20 | San Francisco, CA @ The Knockout
June 21 | Chico, CA @ Tender Loving
June 22 | Olympia, WA @ Cascadia Brewing
June 23 | Portland, OR @ Turn Turn Turn
June 28 | Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
June 29 | Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
June 30 | Marfa, TX @ Lost Horse Saloon

 

New Video: The Brooding and Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for The Color Forty Nine’s “I Will”

Comprised of little white teeth’s and maquiladora’s Phil Beaumont, The Black Heart Procession’s James Hooper, The Black Heart Procession’s,  The Album Leaf’s and The John Meeks Band’s Matt Resovich and The John Meeks Band’s John Meeks, the San Diego, CA-based indie act The Color Forty Nine features a collection of multi-instrumentalists, who have actively strayed from their previous roles to find new musical connections to songwriting; in fact, the band’s frontman and primary songwriting Beaumont, by happenstance picked up a baritone ukulele to travel with more easily and as a result, was how he began writing the songs of their debut album; Resovich plays violin and Casiotone through self-built effects pedals; Hooper, a highly sought-after drummer, plays bass; and Meeks, who fronts his own band, plays drum, filling out the band’s rhythm section. 

The band’s self-titled EP is slated for  June 15, 2018 through Darla Records and the EP, which was written and recored over the past 9 months or so, features a handful of songs that borrow from autobiographical moments with other songs featuring semi-fictional tales of real and imaginary characters encountered from both sides of the border, Beaumont’s lyrics reportedly explore the notion that we all seek refuge, in places, moments and people with whom or from whom, we sometimes want to escape. Interestingly, the EP’s first single,  the gorgeously mournful “I Will” a single that the band says speaks to the idea of finding anonymity within a crowd, as well as allowing ourselves to accept and celebrate the foibles of human nature — while being somewhat confessional and heartbreakingly earnest and vulnerable in a way that modern music sometimes just isn’t and can’t be.  Sonically, the song manages to be reminiscent of Boxer and High Violet-era The National thanks to an old-timey feel paired with novelistic lyrics; however, the song takes a leisurely pleasure in small things — drinks with old friends, wandering around lost and seeking something more, even when you have no idea of what exactly it is, of feeling small and insignificant and not knowing why. 

Directed by frequent collaborator and filmmaker Grant Reinero. the recently released video for “I Will” was on shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white on location at the Bar Copacabana in Tijuana, Mexico, and the video features the members of the band drinking and playing in the bar, including a pensive Beaumont, scribbling the song’s lyrics in a small notebook at the bar, and stars a local bar patron, Alicia, who drinks beer and puts songs on the jukebox. Each individual is lonely and while lost in their own thoughts and regrets, they’re desperate to seek solace and refuge in another. 

New Video: The Moody Sounds and Visuals for Blake Brown and The American Dust Choir’s “Up in Arms”

Blake Brown is a Denver, CO-based singer/songwriter, who after participating in a number of collaborative projects, founded Blake Brown and The American Dust Choir in 2013 with the idea that it’d give him the flexibility of playing solo while collaborating with a revolving cast of friends, who could play whenever they were able to do so; in fact, the revolving cast behind The American Dust Choir has featured members of The Fray, The Films and Tennis. However, after three EPs and countless live shows, the band has settled on a permanent lineup featuring Brown, his wife Tiffany Brown, and longtime friends Jason Legler, Adam Blake, and Trent Nelson.  

The Joe Richmond-produced Long Way Home, Blake Brown and The American Dust Choir’s full-length debut was released earlier this year and the album while further cementing the band’s reputation for a sound that meshes indie rock with folk/Americana paired with complex melodies and heartfelt lyrics based around experiences within Brown’s personal life — in particular, heartbreak, deception, reflection, growing up and becoming adult and so on. Adding to a growing profile, the band kicked off the release of their debut with an official SXSW showcase, in which they opened for Keith Urban. 

“Up in Arms,” Long Way Home’s latest single is a twangy bit of indie rock that nods at Fleetwood Mac and 70s AM rock, complete with a rousingly anthemic hook and some impressive guitar work and while being unhurried, the track manages to be tinged with the bittersweet memories and experiences within a relationship; in fact, the recently released video is shot with superimposed double exposures, meant to evoke the duality between the inner and outer worlds of its protagonists. 

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