Category: New Audio

 

Small Planets is a Los Angeles-based post punk act, comprised of founding trio Jeff Love (guitars), Josh Spincic (bass) and Phil Drazic (drums) with Jessica Hernandez (vocals) and Ryan Silo (guitar) that can trace its origins to when its founding trio caught Slowdive play a show at The Ace Theater back in 2015. After an exhaustive two year search, the band added Jessica Hernandez and Ryan Silo to complete their lineup — and with their lineup finalized, they developed a sound that has been described as Interpol meets Joy Division and The Cure.

Last year, the band went into the studio with Joshua Mazzachi to record their recently released self-titled full-length debut, an album that finds the band writing a love letter to the classic and beloved post-punk sound. “Tonight,” their self-titled debut’s single is a perfect example of the band’s sound: centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths, an angular, a propulsive bass line, dramatic drumming, Hernandez’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals. And while indebted to 4AD Records, the aforementioned The Cure and Joy Division and others, the track is imbued with a subtly modern and loving touch.

 

 

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Initially formed as an ambitious octet that played at the London Jazz Festival and other venues across London featuring founding member and creative mastermind Leo Appleyard (guitar, music), Agne Motie (vocals, lyrics), Duncan Eagles (soprano sax), Piers Green (alto sax), Hoagy Plastow (tenor sax), Paul Jordanous (keys) Holley Grey (bass) and Chris Nickolls (drums), the London-based act Urchin has evolved to become the solo recording project of its founding member and creative mastermind. 
Last year, Appleyard took a break from his life as a gigging musician and relocated to Melbourne, Australia, where he took in the city’s renowned music scene — in particular house, disco and modern jazz from the Fitzroy and Brunswick districts. Unsurprisingly, his most recent EP, Take Time, which was released earlier this year is a reflection of the time he spent in Melbourne, soaking up a new scene while drawing from the likes of acclaimed British acts like Bonobo, Maribou State and The Cinematic Orchestra. The EP’s latest single “Night Light” is a breezy and up-tempo dance floor friendly track centered around strutting Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a soaring and infectious hook, thumping beats and atmospheric electronics. Sonically, the song bears a resemblance to When the Night-era St. Lucia, as it’s indebted to 80s synth pop — but with a clean, modern sheen.

 

 

Melbourne, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Harmony Byrne grew up in a Mormon family, the third of seven children. Early on, she was instilled with a love for church hymns and rock ‘n’ roll, both of which would heavily inform her own life and later, her own music. After enrolling into Melbourne’s Waldorf School of the Arts, Byrne devoted her time to learning guitar and piano, eventually developing her own original material.

Slated for a Spring 2020 release, the Melbourne-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s Jim Eno-produced, 10 song full length debut Heavy Doors reportedly features material that evokes the work of Jeff Buckley, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin. Although to my ears, the album’s latest single, the incredibly cathartic  “Come Down vs. Calm Down” manages to bring John Lee Hooker, The Black Keys, PJ Harvey and Heartless BastardsErika Wennerstrom to mind, as the track is centered around a looping and shimmering 12 bars blues guitar line, simple yet forceful percussion and Harmony’s expressive and searing wailing, which effortlessly evokes heartache and triumph within the turn of a phrase. It’s a song that comes from lived-in experience, so the hurt and the catharsis at its core are familiar and real.

“In essence it’s a song about mental health,” Harmony says of the track. “It started as a cathartic vocal improvisation, allowing whatever came to mind to be sung. Through this process, words that kept reoccurring later became lyric. I feel there is darkness hidden in our minds that often engulfs us, which although hard to talk about, is important to express. 

“I wanted to convey this in the song and for it to feel like a victorious roar of will, showing that through really digging in and knowing who we are and how we deserve to be treated, that we can overcome our monkey minds. It may seem like it’s an angry break up song, but really it’s about the different voices in our heads that we battle with every day.”

With the release of his debut effort Shivers, the Manchester, UK-based electronic music producer MindMassage quickly emerged into the national and international electronic music scenes: Shivers featured material that landed on Spotify’s USA Viral 50, Canada’s Viral 50 and R&B UK playlist. Building upon a growing profile, the rapidly rising British electronic music producer will be releasing his sophomore album Emotion later this year, and the album will reportedly further establish his ethos of opening himself to new concepts, as well position himself as a unique artist on the contemporary electronic music scene.

“Indecisive,” Emotion‘s latest single is a breezy and vibrant, pop-leaning, club anthem, centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering reverb-drenched synth arpeggios, soulful horn blasts and ethereal yet soulful vocal contributions from Rx and Joshua Benjamin. And while sonically managing to recall Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson and Octo Octa‘s Between Two Sides, the song is essentially an alluring and flirty, late night come on.

 

 

 

With the release of her debut EP Everything I Know, an effort that has amassed over 500,000 streams, the San Francisco-based pop artist ZOLA quickly emerged into both the local and national scene for a sound and approach that meshes genres, styles and languages. Building upon a growing profile, the emerging San Francisco-based artist’s latest single, the Tim Vickers-produced “Crystal Floors” is a genre–blurring David Lynch-like fever dream as the track is centered around a breezy, Bossa nova rhythms, shimmering synths, a sinuous hook, and Zola’s alluring jazz-inspired vocals singing lyrics in English and French.

 

 

 

New Audio: Midnight Hour Releases a Quiet Storm-Inspired New Single

Led by A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, a Los Angeles-based composer, arranger and producer, the team behind the score for the acclaimed Netflix series Luke Cage, the 10 member ensemble The Midnight Hour also features multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Loren Oden and Angela Munoz and guitarist Jack Waterson. Last year, the ensemble released their self-titled debut, which established their sound: jazz and orchestral inspired soul and hip-hop heavily inspired by David Axelrod, Quincy Jones and Jazzmatazz-era Gang Starr.

Since the release of their full-length debut, the ensemble has been rather busy: Linear Labs has released Jack Waterson’s psych rock solo album Adrian Younge Presents Jack Waterson earlier this year with full-lengths from the ensemble’s Oden and Munoz slated for release in the coming months. And as you may recall, the ensemble’s long-awaited sophomore album is also slated for release early next year. 

Midnight Hour 2’s first single is a mesmerizing and gorgeous, Quiet Storm meets neo-like bit of soul, centered around an enormous sounding Barry White/Curtis Mayfield-era arrangement, complete with shimmering strings and the like. And yet, the star of the show is Oden’s plaintive vocals, which express an aching vulnerability and yearning — the sort that comes from being madly and passionately in love. As Muhammad and Younge note, the song “is a song for those that have felt a special spark of love, in the moment.” 

Formed back in 2014, the New York-based Anbessa Orchestra — Wayne Tucker (trumpet), Eyal Vilner (alto sax), Eden Bareket (baritone sax), Nadav Peled (guitar), Dor Heled (keys), Ran Livneh (bass) and Eran Fink (drums) — have received attention locally and elsewhere for a sound that’s heavily influenced by 60s and 70s Ethiopian funk, soul and jazz: their repertoire features interpretations and arrangements of classic material from the period that has largely influenced their sound, as well as original compositions heavily influenced by the same period.

Adding to a growing profile, the act has shared stages with Ethiopian music legends like Hailu Mergia and Hamelmal Abate — and they’ve contributed material to Beyond Addis, Vol. 2,  a compilation series dedicated to new. original music inspired by Ethiopia that also included contributions from The Daktaris and Manu Dibango. Along with that their latest album Negestat, which translates to Amharic Kings has received airplay from KCRW, WNYC and WFUV.

The New York-based septet’s latest single is the hypnotic “Tch’elema (Darkness).” Further establishing the act’s enormous and vibrant sound, the expansive composition is centered around shimmering and arpeggiated keys, a propulsive, stomping rhythm and explosive blasts of horns and some expressive and dexterous soloing. Unsurprisingly,  “Tch’elema” is arguably the funkiest track I’ve heard in a few months — and while displaying some impressive musicianship, the composition manages to capture the energy and feel of their live sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of their debut single, last year’s “Consumer Helpline,” the Brighton, UK-based punk act GURU — Tommy Cherrill (vocals), Kieran Hunter (guitar), Ferg Belfrage (bass), and Oli Tcherno — quickly established themselves both locally and nationally for a sound that has drawn comparisons to Shame and Fat White Family. The band also developed a reputation for fiery and chaotic live show, after touring alongside Lady Bird on a sold-out tour of the UK.

Building upon a growing profile, the band released their latest effort, the double-A side single “Don’t Talk”/LTD” “Don’t Talk,” the first single off the effort is an explosive track is centered around enormous power chords, thunderous drumming, rumbling drums, a punchily delivered hook and howled vocals — and while simultaneously drawing from ’77 era punk and post punk, the song as the band’s frontman explains “. . . is about learning. Learning from situations, learning from situations, learning from others, learning not to be like others and subsequently not making the same mistakes as those people have. It’s a cry of frustration I wish I could have made some time ago but didn’t have the words to, Though I’m not not entirely happy with the words I have now, you gotta walk before you can run, right?”

 

 

 

 

With the release of their breakthrough single “air” earlier this year, the Hackney, UK-based trio deep tan drew comparisons to early Warpaint, Wild Beasts, and Foals. Building upon their growing momentum in their native UK, the trio recently released a double a-side single “shimmer” and “constant inconsistencies” through Practise Music, the label home of rapidly rising act Squid, along with Konradsen, Osquello and others.

“shimmer” is a slick and atmospheric track centered around a sinuous and propulsive bass line, subtly twinkling synths handclap-led percussion, an infectious hook and sultry vocals – and while nodding a bit at their breakthrough single, because of its subtle use of electronics, the track sonically reminds me a bit of Kalaboogie-era Doomsquad. “constant inconsistencies” is more of a confrontational post-punk inspired song featuring a sinuous bass line leading a motorik-like groove, squiggling blasts of guitar, stuttering drumming paired with sultry vocals. Interestingly, while drawing from a more cold-wave side of post-punk, the track reminds me a bit of JOVM mainstays Ganser. Both singles reveal an emerging band that’s remarkably versatile and self-assured.

“Both tracks explore sides of people they don’t like. ‘shimmer’ is about surface-level people with malice that runs deep,” the band explains in press notes. “People who operate with cruel intentions, who mask their agenda with a pretty convincing, shiny veneer. Whereas ‘constant inconsistencies’ is about someone who isn’t there for you when you need them, whether thats for support in a serious crisis or just for a pint: It’s a commonly felt thing, everyone has had someone where they’ve thought ‘You love them, but where the fuck are they?’”

Growing up in a musical home, in which both of his parents were classical musicians, a young Will Lowery wound up learning to play piano as a young boy. As Lowery got older, he became named with jazz, soul and funk. Unsurprisingly, his musical project pantology that draws from his early love of jazz, soul, funk and hip hop.

Lowry’s debut single as pantology “Never Enough” revealed an emerging artist and producer, who’s sound and approach owed a debt to Flying Lotus, Bill Evans and J. Dilla with his own unique touch. In other words, we’re talking about instrumental beatmaking that’s centered around completely original compositions. His pantology debut EP 2Q19 is slated for release next month, and the effort reportedly showcases an artist further honing his sound while delving into darker conceptual territory.

The EP’s second and latest single, the atmospheric “Descent” is centered around gently twinkling keys, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, wobbling low end paired with Sergej Avanesov‘s expressive Kamasi Washington-like saxophone playing. And while being sleek and  decidedly modern, the track manages a soulfulness and self-assuredness that belies the project’s relative newness while nodding at a nubmer of different periods in jazz history — in particular, Miles Davis‘ electronic era, Robert Glasper, Terence Blanchard and others.