Category: Live Footage

Live Footage: The Blue Stones Perform “Be My Fire” on SiriusXM’s The Verge Channel

I’ve written a bit about up-and-coming alt rock duo The Blue Stones and as you may recall, the band which is comprised of high school friends Tarek Jafer (vocals, guitar) and Justin Tessier (drums, percussion, backing vocals) can trace their origins to when the duo decided that they should start a musical project together, while attending college. Jafar and Tessier spent seven years honing and perfecting their sound, a period which they wrote and recorded an independently released EP. 

Building upon several years of hard work and dedication, the duo released their full-length debut Black Holes last October — and the album features two previously released, attention-grabbing singles, Rolling With The Punches,” a single that received placements on USA Network‘s Suits, Showtime‘s Shameless and ESPN‘s Monday Night Football and lead single and album title track “Black Holes (Solid Ground), which has amassed 8 million streams, furthered cement the duo’s growing profile for  playing blues rock that as the duo’s Justin Tessier says is “lean, raw, tight, without a wasted note.”

Throughout 2017 and 2018, the members of The Blue Stones played sets across the national festival circuit with stops at Carolina Rebellion, Northern Invasion, Winnetka Music Festival and Bonnaroo Festival. Black Holes’ third single, the sultry and anthemic “Be My Fire,” is centered around the sort of enormous power chords, thundering drumming and arena rock friendly hooks that bring The Black Keys, Jimi Hendrix, and North Mississippi All Stars to mind — although the song is actually an urgent and plaintive yearning for someone just out of reach. Recently, the members of the up-and-coming alt rock duo were invited to SiriusXM’s The Verge Channel, where they performed several singles from their full-length debut, including the aforementioned “Be My Fire,” and a cover of The Rolling Stones’ classic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction).” Check out some live footage of The Blue Stones performing “Be My Fire.” 

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Live Footage: Les Big Byrd Perform “A Little More Numb” at Tapetown Studios

Comprised of founding duo Jocke Åhlund and Frans Johansson along with Frans Johansson and Martin Ehrencrona, the Stockholm Sweden-based indie rock act Les Big Byrd features a collection of their hometown’s most accomplished indie musicians.  Åhlund co-founded cult Teddybears with his brother Klas in 1991. Åhlund went on to play guitar in Caesars — and formed Smile, with Peter, Björn and John’s Björn Yttling. And in that insanely busy period, Åhlund managed to find time to write for and produce the legendary Giorgio Moroder and renowned Swedish pop artist Robyn. Johansson, meanwhile, was a bassist in Swedish Grammy Award-winning act Fireside since the early nineties and worked as a touring bassist with The Soundtrack of Our Lives.

As the story goes, by 2011 Åhlund and Johansson had become increasingly disillusioned with their primary gigs and they began to collaborate with each other, frequently bouncing musical ideas off one another; the band’s founding duo quickly recruited two fellow grizzled scene vets, keyboardist Martin ‘Konie’ Ehrencrona and Caesars drummer Nino Keller to finalize the band’s lineup. 

The band’s debut, 2014’s Back to Bagarmossen EP was an atmospheric, guitar driven effort that found the quartet receiving attention from Swedish national TV. Interestingly, with a growing national profile. the members of Les Big Byrd ran into The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe at a local record store, and after hitting it off with him, the band headed to Newcombe’s Berlin-based studio to jam with him — and the end result was a handful of tracks which eventually appeared on their critically applauded Åhlund-produced full-length debut, They Worshipped Cats, an album that was a decided left turn into trippy space rock.

In the winter of 2015, 18 months after the release of They Worshipped Cats, Åhlund was looking forward to working on new material; however, unlike their debut, he was determined to bring in an outside producer to allow him to focus just on the songwriting and playing. With much of their material drawing heavily from psych rock and drone, while retaining a pop sensibility, the band recruited Spacemen 3‘s Sonic Boom (a.k.a.Pete Kember) to produce the album as the band loved his work on MGMT‘s 2010 sophomore album Congratulations.  The initial sessions with Kember quickly went awry; Kember clashed with Newcombe, who also headed to Sweden to work on some ideas for the record with the band — and Åhlund eventually found himself taking up the production role, he didn’t want and wasn’t seeking.

Burned out by the experience, the band shelved the second album for a while.  “I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed to get some distance from it,” Åhlund says in press notes. “It was only after a while that I was able to go back and realise that there was a really good album in there.” The members of Les Big Byrd spent the bulk of last year remaking and re-imaging the material in their own image — with Kember and Newcombe’s contributions being limited. Recorded between two Stockholm studios — Åhlund’s own and Ehrencrona’s Studio Cobra — the band’s sophomore album Iran Iraq IKEA derives its title from a slogan that Åhlund’s saw printed on a tie while in Berlin years earlier and wanted to use for years; in fact, Åhlund felt that it suited the album, “because it gave it all some kind of subtly poetic intrigue.” However, the album’s politics — if you really want to call it that — are rooted within the personal, As Åhlund says in press notes,  “It’s about classic topics like love and failure. And about being older and feeling like you’ve pissed your life away, It’s about regrets and wishing you’d done things another way,”

The band’s Åhlund takes up production duties again, but with the admission that maybe it was something he never really wanted to give up — and sonically speaking, the band reportedly have reinvented themselves and their sound but while retaining elements of the sound and approach that first won them national and international attention.  “I still love my krautrock, and space rock, and experimental, improvisational stuff” says Åhlund. “But I also have a strong love for psychedelic sixties pop music, and I love reverb-drenched guitar with a lot of tremolo on it. All of those things make it on to Iran Iraq IKEA, but the lines are blurred – there’s a lot of electronics, and you can’t always tell where each individual sound is coming from. Hopefully it’s suggestive, a little bit uncertain and unpredictable, at least that’s what I wanted.”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’d recall that Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios in partnership with Sound of Aarhus have been inviting national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session, which they film and distribute through all of your favorite social media sites. So far they’ve inited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his The Fresh & Onlys, renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes,  Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet ONBC, and up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based post punk rock act Moaning.  Recently, the members of Les Big Byrd stopped by Tapetown Studios to perform the bittersweet lament “A Little More Numb.” 

Live Footage: Up-and-Coming Swedish Singer/Songwriter Marlene Oak Performs “In The Evening” at YouTube Music Studio

Earlier this week, I wrote about Marlene Oak a Swedish singer/songwriter and guitarist, who grew up on a small island outside of of Stockholm, where she turned to music as an escape. Oak spent her teenage years busking on the streets of Stockholm’s Old Town, and was serendipitously discovered by someone, who just happened to pass by and catch her playing. After releasing a couple of singles, which helped to develop a reputation for a sound and approach that’s influenced by Bob DylanJeff BuckleyJoni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin, the Swedish singer/songwriter and guitarist built a following playing shows across her homeland at pubs, clubs and elsewhere, opening for the likes of Miss Li,Whitney Rose and Susto, as well as playing sets at Way Out West FestivalSTHLM Americana and Irisfestivalen.

The up-and-coming, Swedish singer/songwriter’s latest single “In The Evening” is centered around a hauntingly sparse arrangement of Oak’s soulful and plaintive vocals, accompanied by a strummed, electric guitar fed through gentle amount of reverb. Of course, such a sparse arrangement forces your attention on Oak’s vocals and lyrics — in particular, as the song focuses on heartbreak, sorrow, achingly lonely nights and desperately figuring out some way to move forward with your life. Recorded in one take, the song possesses a you-were-there immediacy which helps pack a walloping emotional punch. 

“When I recorded ‘In The Evening’, I wanted to record everything on one take — without a click. And that’s what I did,” Oak says in press notes. “I aimed for keeping the same feeling to the song as I had when I wrote it, and I wanted to sing the words as if they were my last.” 

Building upon a growing buzz surrounding her and the song, Oak released live footage of her performing the song at YouTube Music Studio at Riksmixningsverket in Stockholm. The live footage emphasizes the you-were-there immediacy of the song and its initial recording.

Live Footage: Up-and-Coming British Singer-Songwriter Sam Fender Performs Two for Vevo DSCVR

Over the past two years or so, the up-and-coming Newcastle, UK-based singer/songwriter Sam Fender has received attention both nationally and internationally for crafting rousingly anthemic material that broadly focuses on hard-hitting social issues, broadly drawing from his own experiences growing up in Northeastern England. Unsurprisingly, the Newcastle-based singer/songwriter was featured on BBC Sound of 2018‘s shortlist, which he promptly followed up with a sold-out headlining UK tour. 

Fender built upon a rapidly growing profile with the release of his highly-anticipated EP Dead Boyslast month Polydor Records and EP single “That Sound” is centered around rousing, power chord-based arena rock, centered around enormous, raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worthy hooks, soulful vocals and a bluesy vibe that sonically brings  The Black KeysSlavesRoyal Blood and others to mind. As Fender explained in press notes at the time, “Simply put, ‘That Sound’ is a celebration of music, but it’s also a not-so-subtle middle finger to the naysayers that tend to rear their heads as soon as things start to work out for you, especially back at home. It’s about finding strength to ignore it all, and keep doing your own thing.”

“Play God,” Fender’s attention-grabbing debut single established the Newcastle-based singer/songwriter’s song and overall aesthetic — rousingly anthemic hooks and enormous blues power chords paired with his soulful vocals; however, unlike “That Sound,” the song is centered around politically-charged, conscious lyrics that belie the British singer/songwriter’s relative youth.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on Vevo’s Vevo DSCVR series. Vevo DSCVR is Vevo’s curated, emerging artist platform, meant to promote the best up-and-coming artists that the video sharing site believes will have a significant impact on the future. Vevo invites the artist to perform some of the best video in a live session and throughout its run, Vevo has featured an impressive and eclectic array of artists including Jack Garratt,James Bay, Years & Years, Wolf Alice, Sam Smith, Jorja Smith, Maggie Rogers, Alessia Cara and Ella Eyre among others. This past year has seen Vevo DSCVR inviting up-and-coming pop artists Billie Eilish, Bülow, Donna Missal and Charlotte Lawrence. Interestingly as the year is quickly come to a close, Vevo has been busy announcing their Artists to Watch 2019 list, which included the Mobile, AL-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Elley Duhe, who performed “Savior,” the aforementioned Fender and a lengthy list of others. Recently Fender was invited to perform live version of “That Sound” and “Play God.”

Live Footage: Elley Duhe Performs “Savior” on Vevo DSCVR

Elley Duhe is a up-and-coming Mobile, AL-born Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, who was raised in the small Gulf Coast towns of Vancleave, MS and Dauphin Island, AL. Duhe grew up in a rather musical home — her father and uncle were musicians, who are connected to the New Orleans music scene. Her father bought her a guitar when she turned 14 and by the following year, Duhe had begun her music career in earnest, signing in coffee shops. She quickly graduated to playing gigs in bars, restaurants and private parties, gaining enough exposure to be booked to open for a number of national acts. The Mobile, AL-born singer/songwriter was also connected with songwriters in Nashville, Los Angles and Austin, where after dropping out of high school and getting her GED, she spent three years honing her craft. 

Duhe emerged as a solo artist of note in 2016 with the release of two attention-grabbing singles — “Millennium,” a collaboration with electronic producer Tarro that amassed 2 million streams of YouTube and 1.4 million streams on Spotify and “Immortal” which amassed 4.5 million streams on Spotify and nearly 1 million streams on YouTube. Adding to a growing profile, the Snakehips remix of “Immortal” amassed 770,000 Spotify streams. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, she released her ILLA and Cool & Dre co-produced single “Fly” last year. However, 2018 may be the biggest year of the Mobile-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter’s career to date: This summer saw the release of “Happy Now,” an attention-grabbing collaboration with Russian-German producer Zedd and “Tie Me Down,” a collaboration with Gryffin, as well her debut EP Dragon Mentality. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on Vevo’s Vevo DSCVR series, and as you may recall, Vevo DSCVR is Vevo’s emerging artist platform that curates the best up-and-coming artists — acts that the site believes will have a significant impact on the future — to perform their best material. Throughout its run, Vevo DSCVR has featured and impressive and eclectic array of artists including Jack Garratt,James Bay, Years & Years, Wolf Alice, Sam Smith, Jorja Smith, Maggie Rogers, Alessia Cara and Ella Eyre among others. This past year has seen Vevo DSCVR inviting up-and-coming pop artists Billie Eilish, Bülow, Donna Missal and Charlotte Lawrence. Recently, Vevo invited the Mobile-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter to perform the swaggering and anthemic “Savior.” 

Next year looks be a big year for Duhe as she was added to Vevo’s list of 2019’s Artists to Watch. 

Live Session: Bells Atlas on Audiotree Live

Now, over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Oakland, CA-based futuristic soul act Bells Atlas. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Derek Barber (guitar) Geneva Harrison (drums, percussion, keys) Sandra Lawson-Ndu (vocals, percussion, keys) and Doug Stuart (bass, vocals, keys) of Derek Barber (guitar) Geneva Harrison (drums, percussion, keys) Sandra Lawson-Ndu (vocals, percussion, keys) and Doug Stuart (bass, vocals, keys)  have received attention for a forward-thinking, kaleidoscopic and lush sound that draws from indie rock, 90s R&B, Afro pop, Afro-futurism, jazz, electro pop and experimental pop. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Oakland-based act has opened for the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote, Badbadnotgood, Bilal, Meshell Ndegeocello, W. Kamau Bell, Angelique Kidjo and others, as well as Bermuda Triangle, the side project of Alabama Shakes‘ Brittany Howard. Along with that, they spent 2016 as the touring band for NPR’s Snap Judgement.

Released earlier this year, the acclaimed futuristic soul act’s latest EP SALT AND SOAP is inspired by cleansing rituals and preservation methods, with the understanding that when you’re not accustomed to releasing your most personal stories, the idea is then to take a moment to prepare for a shift — for a new way of being open. Interestingly, during the creative process for their latest EP, the band stumbled upon a new songwriting process that incorporated the use of sampling grainy phone memo recordings of Geneva Harrison drumming as the bedrock of each song of the EP — and in turn, their full-length album The Mystic, which is slated for a March 2019 release. Focusing on spontaneity and sometimes even humor, the aim developed into writing music that was cinematic yet personal while highlighting each member’s individual skills and talent within the larger whole.

A few weeks ago the members of Bells Atlas were invited to Audiotree Live to do a live session centered around the material of the SALT AND SOAP EP including “Downpour,” a paradoxically slick yet lo-fi, lush and lysergic groove-driven track that recalled Drakkar Nowhere, Pavo Pavo and Erykah Badu; “Be Brave,” a sinuous and fluidic track centered around an incredibly dexterous and percolating bass line, driving percussion and rapidly morphing tone and time changes; the incredibly sultry “NCAT,” centered around shimmering and bubbling arpeggiated synths, stuttering drumming and a rolling bass, as well as two other tracks I haven’t written about — “Overshare” and “Find Where You Rise.” Throughout the live session, the material proves to be a perfect foil for Lawson-Ndu’s vocals, which manage to express a visceral vulnerability and human need, awe, strength and resiliency within a turn of a phrase.

Interestingly, during the session the band’s Lawson-Ndu speaks about her own deep, personal experience and love of sci-fi and fantasy and how they’ve influenced her to consider those genres through the experiences of being a woman of color.

Live Footage: Charlotte Lawrence Performs “Sleep Talking” on Vevo DSCVR

Charlotte Lawrence is an up-and-coming, 18 year-old, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and model who quickly rose to national prominence with the release of her debut single last year, which amassed over 16 million streams. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Lawrence released her debut EP Young which she followed up with a tour with Lauv, viral hit collaborations with Nina Nesbitt and Sasha Sloan.

Now, as you may recall Vevo DSCVR is Vevo’s emerging artist platform that curates the best up-and-coming artists — acts that the site believes will have a significant impact on the future — to perform their best material. Vevo has a lengthy history of promoting emerging artists and helping them break through to new and wider audiences; in fact, past alumni of the Vevo DSCVR series has included Jack Garratt,James Bay, Years & Years, Wolf Alice, Sam Smith, Jorja Smith, Maggie Rogers, Alessia Cara and Ella Eyre among others. This past year has seen Vevo DSCVR inviting up-and-coming pop artists Billie Eilish, Bülow and Donna Missal — and continuing with a big year, they recently invited Charlotte Lawrence, who performed “Sleep Talking,” a mid-tempo pop song in which its narrator discovers that her lover has been messing around on her — by talking in his sleep. At the core of the song is a bitter sense of heartache and betrayal, wrapped around a slick and infectious hook.