Featuring Aviaries’ Mark Magick and Krzystof Mlynczak, Give Up To Failure is a new, semi-mysterious, Wroclaw, Poland-based act that specializes in a massive and heavy goth/industrial sound centered around towering layers of shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars and synths and thunderous drumming as you’ll hear on the Depeche Mode meets shoegaze-like debut single “Ties.”
Perhaps best known as one-half of the acclaimed, Juno Award winning roots rock act The Bros. Landreth, the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Joey Landreth has spent the past few years developing a reputation and sound as a solo artist.
Landreth’s critically applauded full-length debut, 2017’s Whiskey was largely seen as an extension of his work in The Bros. Landreth. However, his highly-anticipated sophomore album Hindsight, which was co-written and produced by rising multi-instrumentalist Roman Clarke and recorded at Lincoln Country Social Club Studio in Toronto and Stereobus Recording in Winnipeg, reportedly finds the Winnipeg-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist crafting his most impassioned and uplifting material to date while pushing his sound and approach in a new direction. Thematically, the album as Landreth says in press notes features “a collection of songs that explore ideas about learning from mistakes, letting go, forgiving and growing up. And heartbreak. It wouldn’t be a Landreth endeavour without some heartbreak.”
“Cryin’,” Hindsight‘s latest single is a slow-burning and easy-going bit of singer/songwriter soul that recalls Bill Withers and Sandra Rhodes’ under-appreciated Where Has Your Love Been as the track is centered around a Muscle Shoals meets neo-soul inspired arrangement featuring a soaring hook, shimmering guitars, gospel-like organs, Landreth’s soulful crooning and an expressive guitar solo — and much like the material that seemingly influenced it, the track is essentially a deliberately crafted, old-fashioned blues about being heartbroken and crying in your beer.
Landreth will be embarking on an extensive UK and North American that will feature his producer and collaborator Roman Clarke. Check out the tour dates below.
April 23 – Lewes Con Club, Lewes, United Kingdom
April 24 – Fat Lil’s, Witney, United Kingdom
April 25 – The Boileroom, Guildford, United Kingdom
April 26 – The Railway Inn, Winchester, United Kingdom
April 27 – The HUBS, Sheffield, United Kingdom
April 28 – Audio Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
April 29 – White House Unique Social Club, Ashington, United Kingdom
April 30 – The Wardrobe, Leeds, United Kingdom
May 1 – The Night and Day Café, Manchester, United Kingdom
May 2 – The Bulls Head Alton, Alton, United Kingdom
May 3 – Kilkenny Roots Festival, Kilkenny, Ireland
May 4 – Killkenny Roots Festival, Kilkenny, Ireland
May 5 – The ROOTS @ The Rafa, St David’s, United Kingdom
May 7 – Thekla, Bristol, United Kingdom
May 8 – The Garage, London, United Kingdom
May 9 – The Flowerpot, Derby, United Kingdom
May 11 – Rhythm & Blues Night 2019, Groningen, Netherlands
May 12 – Paard Café, The Hague, Netherlands
May 14 – Blue Shell, Cologne, Germany
May 15 – Kranhalle, Munich, Germany
May 17 – Nachtwache, Hamburg, Germany
May 18 – Sonderborghus, Sonderborg, Denmark
May 19 – Blues Garage, Isernhagen, Germany
May 20 – Badehaus, Berlin, Germany
May 21 – Bygningen, Vejle, Denmark
May 22 – Tobakken, Esbjerg, Denmark
June 6 – Dekker Centre, North Battleford, Canada
June 29 – Puisto Blues Festival, Jarenpaa, Finland
July 20 – Vancouver Folk Festival, Vancouver, Canada
July 27 – Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Canso, Canada
Over the years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based thrash punk/metal trio and JOVM mainstays Zig Zags. And as you may recall, the act, which is currently comprised of founding member Jed Maheu (guitar, vocals), Dane Andrews (drums) and longtime sound engineer, multi-instrumentalist Sean Hoffman (bass) over the course of their eight-plus year have gone through a series of lineup changes while releasing seven singles and three full-length albums. During that time, the band has also managed to subtly yet continually evolve their sound, songwriting approach and overall aesthetic.
Slated for a May 10, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, the band’s fourth, full-length album They’ll Never Take Us Alive reportedly finds the band paying homage to some of their earliest influences — in particular, their mutual love of Dead Moon and Wipers, while remaining decidedly heavy metal. “Fallout,” the Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica-like album single further cemented the band’s reputation for specializing in headbanging, power chord-based riffs and rousingly anthemic hooks paired with a blistering urgency. The album’s latest single “Killer of Killers” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor, power chord-centered riffs, rousingly anthemic hooks, blistering and dexterous solos — paired with an urgent and frenzied production and performance.
Formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, The Soft Calvary is a new project, and their self-titled full-length debuts slated for a July 5, 2019 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records. For Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized — and perhaps more important, the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish with the assistance of his wife and his brother Michael, who produced the album.
Reportedly, the album’s material radiates both midlife crisis and elation — the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache and confusion. And as Clarke emphasizes in press notes, an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.
At one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”
The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”
Interestingly, the writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”
Interestingly, as the album progresses Goswell formed Minor Victories with members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.
After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”
The album’s first single is the cinematic yet ethereal “Dive.” Centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat, Clarke and Goswell’s gorgeous harmonies, the track is one part contented sigh, one part romantic swoon; but underneath that there’s a creeping sense that it’s all a fleeting dream.
Comprised of Nick Wisdom and AstroLogical, the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based hip-hop and electro pop production duo Potatohead People can trace their origins to when they first met in a high school, community baseball league in high school and bonded over their mutual love of J. Dilla and Madlib. In 2008 Wisdom and AstroLogicla began working together in the hip-hop collective Elekwent Folk; but soon after, the duo formed Potatohead People and began focusing on creating forward-thinking instrumental music.
After releasing a series of EPs digital through Vancouver-based net-label Jellyfish Recordings, the renowned New York-based label Bastard Jazz re-issued 2012’s Kosmichemusik EP and released a 7 inch, which quickly became collector’s item; in fact, the Vancouver-based production team’s association with Bastard Jazz helped land their song “Back to My Shit,” featuring Frank’n’Dank‘s Frank Nitty on a Powerade-produced Lebron James documentary. Adding to a growing profile, the duo have been championed by the likes of OkayPlayer, Kaytranada, Soulection, Nightmares on Wax, Pomo, Exmag, Big Boi and the late Phife Dawg among others.
Last year, the duo released their groundbreaking sophomore album Nick & Astro’s Guide to the Galaxy, an album that found them continuing an ongoing collaboration with Illa J, as well as a collection of other artists. Building upon the momentum of their sophomore album, the Canadian production duo will be releasing Nick & Astro’s Instrumentals, Remixes & B-Sides EP through Bastard Jazz Records on April 26, 2019 and the EP features a collection of instrumentals, B-sides and a handpicked collection of their favorite producers from around the world remixing their material. Additionally, the members of Potatohead People held a remix contest from which they picked one winner from an overwhelming number of submissions.
The soon-to-be released EP’s latest single is the New Jack Swing and Quiet Storm-inspired original track “Iced Tea.” Centered around a thumping, club friendly production featuring handclap-led percussion with thumping and shuffling beats, a sinuous bass line, layers of arpeggiated synths and a slick hook, the single reminds me of Cherrelle‘s “Saturday Love,” and “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” and G-funk era hip-hop. giorgi and Radina Vee contribute sultrily delivered vocals that are part late night, come hither come on, part you’ve been friendzoned — but with someone who’s actually pretty awesome.
I’ve written quite a bit about the Oakland, CA-based futuristic soul act and JOVM mainstays Bells Atlas over the past few years, and as you may 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) have received attention across the blogosphere for a lush, kaleidoscopic 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 act has opened for 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.
Last year, the act released the SALT AND SOAP EP, an effort 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 the EP and their full-length effort the mystic, which is slated for release later this week, the band stumbled upon a new songwriting process that incorporated the use of sampling grainy phone memo recordings of Geneva Harrison’s drumming as the bedrock of the material.
With the writing and recording sessions focusing on spontaneity and even humor, the band aimed to craft music that managed to be cinematic yet deeply personal — all while allowing room to highlight each member’s individual skills and talent within the larger whole. Narratively and thematically, the album is a sci-fi fantasy of two first generation Nigerian-American women coming to terms with a mental health diagnosis — and at the same time, a universal exploration of how we make sense of reality. “It’s about a truth seeker and a skeptic trying to make sense of what’s mystical and what’s clinical,” the band’s Sandra Lawson-Ndu says in press notes. “The listener is made to consider the possibility of magic. Is it possible, for instance, that someone who navigates the world differently may have a deeper understanding of the universe? The mystic is a spectrum of deep emotionality, impulse, and even humour; a tool to explore the full dimension of our reality.” the mystic‘s latest single is the slow-burning and ethereal “Final Ceiling.” Centered around Lawson-Ndu’s dreamy cooing, shimmering synths and guitar and gently propulsive drumming, “Final Ceiling” evokes a hazy yet vividly remembered dream that lingers in your consciousness for hours.
The Oakland-based JOVM mainstays will be touring to support the mystic throughout May and June, and the tour includes a June 1, 2019 stop at C’mon Everybody. Check out the tour dates below.
5.9 Los Angeles, CA The Satellite
5.10 The Wayfarer Costa Mesa, CA
5.11 Starline Social Club Oakland, CA
5.16 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR
5.17 Fisherman’s Village Festival Everett, WA
5.18 Rhythm and Rye Olympia, WA
5.19 The Auditorium Seattle, WA
5.23 BSP Kingston Brooklyn, NYC
5.24 Riverwalk Cafe and Music Bar Nashua, NH
5.25 The Diving Bell Social Club Montreal, CA
5.26 Columbus Theatre Providence, RI
5.28 State House New Haven, CT
5.30 Milkboy Philadelphia, PA
5.31 Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House Washington, DC
6.1 C’mon Everybody Brooklyn, NYC
I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, and his solo electro pop recording project TR/ST over the years, and as you may recall Alfons has released two critically and commercially successful albums — 2012’s self-titled album and 2014’s Joyland. Interestingly, Joyland was a decided change in sonic direction for the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay as the album found him crafting pop orientated, muscular club bangers.
Five years have passed since Joyland‘s release, and during that time, Alfons had been writing and recording new material in a farmhouse in Southern Ontario and in Los Angeles, where has since relocated. Working with an all-star list of collaborators that included Austra’s Maya Postepski, with whom he collaborated with on his self-titled debut — with Postepski co-writing and co-producing six songs. Alfons also worked with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor to further refine the album’s overall sound.
During the writing and recording process for Destroyer, Alfons learned that patience would be a major ingredient and influence on his songwriting approach and the album’s sound. “The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me. I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” Alfons says in press notes. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction. My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one. They just poured out of me.” With The Destroyer, the process was entirely different. “It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”
Destroyer 1‘s first single was the “Bizarre Love Triangle”-like “Gone,” a radio friendly and accessible track centered around a swooning and urgent Romanticism. “Unbleached,” the album’s second single, was a collaboration with longtime collaborator Maya Postepski was a decidedly industrial track inspired by the sound of rats running back and forth on the roof, complete with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of arpeggiated synths and an enormous hook. The album’s third single, “Colossal,” continues his ongoing collaboration with Austra’s Postepski — and in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor: a tweeter and woofer thumping, industrial house-leaning production centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, shuffling beats and enormous hooks that evokes early morning mist slowly rising in the horizon.
“Such a special collab with Maya, we wrote it together while in different parts of the world,” Alfons explains in press notes. “This song was written during long walks I would take in the middle of the night around the hills in my neighborhood, watching the mist rise as the sun came up.” Postepski adds “I was coming home on the train with my music on random when a TR/ST song came on from the first album we made, I started crying, it brought back so many memories. I sent Robert the sketches for ‘Colossal’ that night. He wrote back and we rekindled our relationship, so I find it deeply emotional every time I hear it. Had I not taken the chance and sent it who knows if we would be working together again. Overcoming fear and being brave have become the focus of my work and this song underlines that — if one is willing to look into the lion’s mouth the rewards can be astounding.”
I’ve written quite a bit about the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker and his acclaimed solo recording project Tame Impala. And as you may recall, his third album, 2015’s Currents was a commercial and critical breakthrough as it was a Grammy-nominated, RIAA Gold-Certified effort that reflected a decided change in songwriting and approach that resulted in some of the most emotionally direct lyrics of his growing catalog paired with a more nuanced, textured sound that drew from psych rock, psych pop, synth pop, prog rock and R&B.
“Patience,” which was released last month, was the first bit of new, solo material from Parker in several years, and while being a decidedly upbeat banger that seamlessly bridged 90s house and 70s funk, thematically the track was a thoughtful meditation on the cycles and phases of life. “Borderline,” Parker’s latest single is a blissed out, shimmering, mid-tempo track centered around arpeggiated synths, Parker’s imitable, plaintive falsetto and a soaring hook. And while showcasing the flourishes of the house music-inspired instrumentation of its predecessor, the track should serve as a reminder that Parker has a deep collection of hook-driven bangers.
Parker and his backing band will be making appearances across the international festival circuit that will include stops at Coachella Festival, Shaky Knees Festival, Corona Capital Festival, Boston Calling, Primavera Sound Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Lollapalooza with more dates to come. Check out the tour dates below.
April 13 – Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – Indio, CA
April 20 – Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – Indio,CA
May 02 – Ascend Amphitheatre – Nashville, TN
May 03 – ExploreAsheville.com Arena – Asheville, NC
May 05 – Shaky Knees Music Festival – Atlanta, GA
May 06 – St. Augustine Amphitheater – St. Augustine, FL
May 07 – Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater – Miami Beach FL
May 11 – Corona Capital Festival – Guadalajara, MEXICO
May 25 – Boston Calling Festival – Boston, MA
May 31 – Primavera Festival – Barcelona, SPAIN
June 01 – We Love Green – Paris, FRANCE
June 05 – Garden – Gotenberg, SWEDEN
June 06 – NorthSide – Aarhus, DENMARK
June 21 – Hurricane Festival – Sheebel, GERMANY
June 22 – Southside Festival – Neuhausen ob eck, GERMANY
June 26 – Glasonbury – Pilton, ENGLAND
August 01-04 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL
August 09 – Flow Festival – Helsinki, FINLAND
August 14 – Pukkelpop – Hasselt, BELGIUM
August 15 – La Route Du Rock – Rennes, FRANCE
August 16 – Lowlands Festival – Walibi Holland, NETHERLANDS
Comprised of Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah Julius (bass) and Ruby Dunphy (drums), the Seattle, WA-based heavy metal quartet Thunderpussy quickly exploded into the national scene as a result of a string of attention-grabbing, critically applauded live shows and co-signs from Rolling Stone and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. And from the Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath meets Joan Jett-like anthem “Speed Queen” and the bluesy “Velvet Noose,” which featured an “Evenflow“-like guitar solo from Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, the early buzz surrounding the band was warranted.
Back in May 2015, the members of the band applied for a US trademark to protect their name and brand, as they were preparing for future world domination. Shortly after the band submitted their application, they received a letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denying the band their trademark on the grounds that their name was “immoral” and “scandalous” as per the guidelines laid down in the Truman-era Lanham Act of 1946. The USPTO even cited Urban Dictionary as a credible source as to why the word pussy is regarded as a derogatory term.
The fate of the band’s name — and their trademark application — depends on the outcome of a new case, Iancu v. Brunetti, which will be argued in front of the Supreme Court on Monday. Eric Brunetti will be defending his clothing brand FUCT in a case that he’s been fighting for nearly 20 years. As the band awaits the Supreme Court decision, they released a fiery and passionately stomping cover of Jefferson Airplane‘s “Somebody to Love” that turns the song into a contemporary, feminist, metalhead anthem.
Thunderpussy will be touring over the next few months. Check out the tour dates below.
May 11 – Bellingham, WA – Wild Buffalo House Of Music
July 12 – Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf*
July 13 – Ophir, CO – Ride Festival
July 16 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom*
July 17 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre*
July 19 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up*
July 20 – Sacramento, CA – Holy Diver*
July 23 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre*
July 25 – Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall*
July 26 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up
July 27 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre*
August 2 – Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Iron Works
*with Black Pistol Fire
Born Megan Sullivan McInerney, the Sydney, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist and pop artist Meg Mac can trace the origins of her music career to when she was a small girl — as the story goes, she began singing as soon as she could speak and began writing her own songs when she was a teenager.
McInerney began degree studies in Digital Media but quit that after relocating to Perth, where she studied music at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts. After earning her degree, she recorded “Known Better” and submitted the song to Triple J’s Unearthed. Coincidentally, after she submitted her song, McInerney and a car load of friends left on a road trip from Perthto Melbourne, where she would later permanently relocate — and as they were approaching Melbourne, she learned that Triple J had selected her single and were going to play it.
As a result of being named an Unearthed Featured Artist of the Week in 2013 and Unearthed Artist of the Year in 2014, the Sydney, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist emerged into her homeland’s national scene; in fact, “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” reached #80 on the ARIA Singles Chart in August 2014 with “Never Be” landing at #39 the following year — and she went on her first national headlining tour.
She also received nominations for Best Female Artist and Breakthrough Artists during the 2015 ARIA Music Awards. And adding to a growing national profile, Marie Claire Australia named her an Artist to Watch in 2015 and Rolling Stone Australia nominated McInerney for a Best New Talent Award. By 2016, “Never Be” landed at #11 on Triple J’s Hottest 100.
“Roll Up Your Sleeves” was featured in a number of American TV series including HBO’s Girls, Grace and Frankie and Astronaut Wives Clubs — and as a result, the MegMac EP became a platinum selling effort. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Mac’s 2017 full-length debut Low Blows entered the ARIA Charts at #2 and received praise internationally from the likes of InStyle, Buzzfeed, Noisey, V Magazine and the New York Times who called her music “rooted in soul with just enough contemporary production.”
Developing a reputation for live show centered around her soulful vocals, Mag has managed to consistently sell out national tours and shows across her native Australia, has opened for Clean Bandit and D’Angelo — and she’s played some of the major festivals’ across the international festival circuit includingGovernor’s Ball and SXSW.
Last October saw the release of the uplifting and powerful “Give Me My Name Back,” off her forthcoming and highly awaited sophomore album. As Mac told Billboard, the song “is a song for those who have suffered emotional and physical abuse; it’s for the women who are standing up and speaking out, those discriminated against in the LGBTQI community, the indigenous people of Australia and the children abused by the church. For everyone who has lost an important part of themselves and need to reclaim their identity, dignity and self-worth in order to move forward with their lives.”
Mac’s latest single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “I’m Not Coming Back.” Centered around intertwined harmonies, an anthemic drum beat, shimmering synths, a rousing hook and Mac’s effortlessly soulful and self-assured vocals, the song finds its fed up narrator letting someone go, who only seems to be around to use them. And as result, the song bristles with the satisfaction of saying “No, not anymore” to someone who desperately needs to hear it.