Category: New Audio

Over the past couple of years, the world renowned soul label, Daptone Records. the label home of the late (and great) Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, has released a series of albums documenting and preserving the spirituals, gospel and church-based music from the Mississippi River Delta region — in particular, the small rural town of Como, MS located in the northern Hill Country, about 50 miles south of Memphis, TN. Historically speaking, the small Northern Mississippi, rural town has long struggled with the legacy of slavery, segregation, discrimination, agricultural decline; however, Como has simultaneously been known as a creative hotbed of sorts, as Fred McDowell, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Napoleon Strickland, Othar Turner, Luther Perkins (best known as Johnny Cash’s guitarist), Joe Henderson and a lengthy list of others have claimed roots in Como, MS.

Now, earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about The Walker Family Singers’ Jesus Gave Me Water,” off the familial unit’s debut effort, Panola County Spirit. Comprised of Raymond and Joella Walker, three of their four daughters, Alberta, Patricia and Delouse and their two sons Robert and Booby, the well-regarded gospel quintet not only have a long-held history of preaching and singing the gospel that goes back several generations, the patriarch of the family, Raymond at one point was so well-regarded as a vocalist, that he was once recruited by both Fred McDowell and the legendary Sam Cooke to back them on tour for what would have been a rather significant amount of money. And although seemingly apocryphal, as the story goes, Raymond Walker refused unless McDowell and Cooke gave up singing the blues and took up gospel. McDowell refused and the rest is history. . .

Daptone Records gospel music series continues with Move Upstairs, the forthcoming  effort from the Como, MS-based gospel trio The Como Mamas, slated for a May 19, 2017 release. Comprised of Ester Mae Smith and siblings Angelia Taylor and Della Daniels, the trio have been singing together in church since they were children. Much like Como’s other renowned musicians and vocalists, Della and Angelia come from a distinguished line of musicians themselves — their grandfather would frequently play music on their porch with a group of musicians that included the aforementioned Fred McDowell. In fact, the sisters remember when the famed folklorist and writer Alan Lomax, best known for his Land Where The Blues Was Born, stopped by their home in 1959 to record some of these jam sessions.  Now, interestingly enough with their appearance on The Voices of Panola County: Como Now! and their Get an Understanding, the trio quickly established themselves as an up-and-coming, powerhouse act in contemporary gospel. Interestingly enough, I actually caught the trio play their first show outside of their hometown at the legendary Apollo Theater as part of the Daptone Super Soul Revue back in 2015, an incredible showcase that featured many of the labels top names including Charles Bradley, the aforementioned Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Antibalas and others.

Naturally, taking advantage of the ladies time in New York, the folks at Daptone invited them to the House of Soul Studios to record with a backing band featuring some of the best musicians in their immense stable of musicians — including Jimmy Hill, Thomas Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss and Bosco Mann, who came together as The Glorifiers Band for the Move Upstairs session.

Album title track and first single “Move Upstairs” possesses a raw, dusty, classic blues and R&B-leaning sound — and by that think of Bo Diddley “and Muddy Waters’ Muddy Waters Folk Singer and others — that’s so incredibly period specific, that it sounds as though it were written and recorded sometime in 1947-1954 or so and was somehow surreptitiously discovered by an obsessive record collector. As as the actual song, a churning and propulsive arrangement consisting of guitar, drums and organ that’s comfortable and roomy enough for the Como Mamas using call and response vocals, to belt and shout with joy about how God’s love set them free from life’s drudgery and suffering.  And it’s a song that shuffles and struts as it does so.

Of course, unsurprisingly, much like the Walker Family Singers’ “Jesus Gave Me Water,” the Como Mamas’ makes an obvious yet forceful suggestion — that the the Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll, R&B and hip-hop can trace their origins in some fashion to the gospels, spirituals and folk music of the Mississippi Delta while actively preserving some of America’s musical traditions.

 

 

Guy Brown is a Sydney, Australia-based producer and electronic music artist, best known as Mammals — and as Mammals, Brown has seen attention both nationally and internationally for a production style and sound that effortlessly bridges and shifts between indie rock and electro pop. In fact, if you had been frequenting this site earlier this year, you may recall his shimmering, slow-burning and spectral cover of Telepopmusik‘s “Breathe,” as part of Istanbul, Turkey-based dream pop/electro pop label Drug Boulevard‘s debut compilation, DRUG BLVD.

Adding to a growing profile, Brown’s collaboration with renowned electronic music artist and producer Goldroom “‘Til Sunrise” has received 9 million Spotify streams, has had his work playlisted in the Lost in the Woods (UK), Deep Dark Indie, Evening Chill and Boho + Chill Spotify Playlists and as a result, his own work has received over 7 million Spotify streams. Along with that Brown has opened for internationally acclaimed electro pop/electronic dance music production and artist duo PNAU during their March national tour, and he’ll be opening for fellow countrywoman, singer/songwriter Vera Blue during her national tour, before his headlining tour to support his soon-to-be released EP Chase Your Bliss later this year.

Interestingly enough, Brown has managed to achieve his early successes without having management, without being on a label, having a publisher or a publicity firm to back him. And considering that I had written about him a little while ago, receiving an email from him about his latest single, EP title track “Chase Your Bliss,” was a pleasant surprise. The new single features Brown’s tender and aching falsetto floating over a glistening and shimmering production that features layers of arpeggio synths, buzzing guitar chords, a sinuous bass line, cowbell and handclap-led percussion and a soaring hook — and while further cementing his reputation for a sound that meshes indie rock and electro pop, the single manages to sound as though it draws from In Ghost Colours and Free Your Mind-era Cut Copy and Tame Impala, as the song manages to subtly nod at psych pop.

 

 

 

Over the course of the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay post-punk act The Harrow. Deriving their name from a name of a device used to punish and torture prisoners in the Franz Kafka short story “In the Penal Colony,” the band can trace a portion of their origins back to 2008 when its founding member Frank Deserto (bass, synths and electronics) started it as a solo recording project that expanded into a full band in 2013 when Deserto recruited Vanessa Irena (vocals, synths and programming), Barrett Hiatt (synth, programming), and Greg Fasolino (guitar) to flesh out the project’s sound. As a quartet, the Brooklyn-based act released the “Mouth to Mouth”/”Ringing the Changes” 7 inch and their full-length effort Silhouette to critical praise across the blogosphere including The Deli MagazineThe Big TakeoverImposeAltSounds as well as this site for a sound that is deeply indebted to The CureSiouxsie and the BansheesJoy Division, and others —  although with Silhouette, the material, which was mixed by friend and frequent collaborator, Automelodi’s Xavier Paradis revealed a band that had been subtly experimenting with and expanding upon their sound, as their sound took on a bit of an industrial feel, as though nodding at Depeche Mode and New Order.

  • Up until relatively recently, some time had passed since I had written about them; however, in the last few weeks, the band announced that they will be releasing a remix album Points of View, which would be comprised of remixes, re-workings and re-imaginings of the material off Silhouettes by various friends, collaborators and associates as part of a “living” album that will grow as they receive additional contributions to the album.  And fittingly, the album’s first single was Xavier Paradis’ propulsive, dance floor-friendly remix of “Kaleidoscope” in which industrial clang and clatter and tweeter and woofer rocking beats are paired with the original’s shimmering guitars and Irena’s ethereal vocals — and as a result, the remix retained the spirit and mood of the original, while being a subtle new take.

Interestingly enough, if you had been following the site since the early days, you may recall that I wrote about the Brooklyn-based synth pop duo Azur Swan. Comprised of singer/songwriter Zohra Atash, who was a touring vocalist with A Storm of Light and multi-instrumentalist and producer Joshua Strawn, who was a member of Blacklist, Vaura, Vain Warr and others, the duo’s current project can trace its origins to when Atash and Strawn ended their previous project Religious to Damn in 2012. And much like it, The Harrow it had been some time since I had written about them — that is until now, as the duo remixed The Harrow’s “Secret Language,” giving an already stark minimalist song an even moodier, retro-futuristic John Carpenter soundtrack vibe.

Initially members of Swedish melodic punk/dark pop collective Vånna Inget, Karolina Engdahl (vocals/bass) and Tommy Tift (guitar) can trace their latest musical project, the Malmo, Sweden-based post-punk quartet True Moon to a mounting frustration with what they felt was an increasingly sanitized and homogeneous Scandinavian music scene. “Karolina and I are bored with the Swedish music scene at the moment,” Tift explains in press notes. “It feels like everyone has the same blueprint, like there’s an industry rulebook now for how bands must sound. We wanted to do something different. With the last Vånna Inget (2013’s critically acclaimed, Swedish Grammy-nominated Ingen Botten) we got more and more into dark wave and new wave, so we felt we wanted to explore than more.”

“We were listening to artists such as Joy Division, Killing Joke, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and early Cure,” Tift notes. “There is a purity and honesty and integrity to that music that’s missing from the current scene. Those bands weren’t making music to be pop stars or rock stars, it is pure expression and pure art, and that’s the aesthetic we were pursuing.” Once the duo settled on the band’s overall aesthetic, they recruited  Frederik Orevad (drums) and Linus Segerstedt (guitar) to complete the band’s lineup.
The Malmo, Sweden-based quartet’s self-titled full-length debut was recorded by producer Jari Haapalainen, known for his work with Ed Harcourt and The (International) Noise Conspiracy live to analog tape at Tift’s Studio Motion with the producer and band actively aiming for a raw, unpolished feel and sound reminiscent of Martin Hannet’s legendary work with Joy Division — and in a similar fashion to those legendary recordings, the members of True Moon recorded their debut album’s material in single takes, which gives the album’s material a forceful immediacy; in fact, Engdahl completed the vocals for the album in about 90 minutes.
Slated for an April 28, 2017 release through Lovely Records, the band and their label recently released the album’s first single “Sugar,” and while sonically speaking the song — to my ears, at least — sounds like what would happen if Siouxsie and the Banshees had covered Joy Division, complete with a roaring and rousingly anthemic hook, and an undeniably forceful, almost primal and explosive “you-were-there” immediacy that sets them apart from they countrymen and from their counterparts internationally.

 

 

 

Francis Novotny is an up-and-coming Gothenburg, Sweden-born, Paris, France-based singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who grew up under the influence of his five older siblings and their eclectic record collections. As the story goes, after finishing school, Novotny moved to Paris, ostensibly to study French — but in reality, to work on music in relative peace and in new environs. Interestingly, for a brief period, Novotny felt compelled to try his hand at house music, before finding his true musical voice and sound, a sound that draws from a mix of styles including glitch-hop, R&B and electro soul while seemingly being influenced by Hudson Mohawke, Cashmere Cat and Gorillaz. And with his latest single “Hit N Run,” the Gothenburg-born, Paris-based artist reveals a imitable sound in which stuttering synths and chopped electronics, razor sharp beats and an insistent ear worm of a hook are paired  with Novotny’s ethereal yet soulful vocals singing lyrics in which the song’s narrator describes reluctance and cynicism that have hardened him a bit and made it difficult for him to open up to a new, potential romantic partner. And yet it’s an incredibly sensual song that sounds unlike anything I’ve come across in some time.

 

 

 

DGTL CTL is a rather mysterious electro pop duo whose production draws from several different styles while possessing a flair for the avant-garde to craft a truly imitable sound that manages to be radio friendly. The duo’s debut EP is slated for a May 2017 and the EP’s first single “Elephant” features a sparse production that simultaneously nods at slow-burning, Quiet Storm R&B, a chilly but efficient minimalism, breezy atmospherics and a stark industrial electronica as it pairs distorted and shuffling beats, gently swirling and undulating synths and achingly tender vocals with an infectious hook. Lyrically, the song’s narrator talks about falling for someone so deeply that they can’t quite figure out a way to express themselves –they think about the idea of talking to their object of desire and they suddenly feel like a deaf mute, and when they try to put their thoughts and feelings down on paper, it just doesn’t add up to the feelings in their head. And whenever they’re around their object of desire, the only thing they notice is that there’s the proverbial elephant in the room — their longing and desire — and yet so many things are left hopelessly unsaid. And as a result the song possesses an aching desperation and longing, making it one of the most unlikeliest, sensual songs I’ve heard this year.

 

 

 

If you had been frequenting this site last month, you may have come across a post on the Brooklyn-based post-punk duo NØMADS. Comprised of Nathan Lithow (vocals, bass), who has been a touring and recording bassist for My Brightest DiamondInlets, and Gabriel and the Hounds; and Garth Macaleavey (drums), a former Inlets touring percussionist and head sound engineer at National Sawdust, the duo have quickly received attention for a sound that draws from Nirvana, Fugazi and Girls Against Boys while also nodding at Zack de la Rocha’s post-Rage Against the Machine project, One Day As A Lion , as well as Japandroids.

Now, as you may recall that the duo received some attention with the release of their 2014 full-length debut, Free My Animal, an effort that reportedly drew from Death From Above 1979 and Queens of the Stone Age. And after a year hiatus from touring and recording, the Brooklyn-based post-punk duo spent the better part of last year, writing and recording the material that would comprise their their newest, conceptual album PHØBIAC, an album in which each song focuses on a different phobia — approached in an abstract, almost clinical fashion, capturing the innermost thoughts and anxieties of someone in the grips of their own fears, while possessing a cautionary message: that whenever we succumb to our irrational fears, chaos and self-destruction will be the end result. And with our current (and continuing) sociopolitical climate, the Brooklyn-based duo’s newest material is desperately fitting and necessary, especially in light of the fact that an enormous swath of the American population have let their fear and hatred of “the other” to the point of endangering everyone within their path.

Adding to the conceptual nature of the album, each song off the album will be released every month over the course of 2017 with the full album being slated for a 2018 release.  And as you may remember, the album’s previous single “Achluphobia” focuses on a fear of darkness, and throughout you can feel the narrator’s palpable and overwhelmingly primal dread and fear as darkness begins to envelope everything around him  — and it’s further emphasized by angular and forceful bass chords, thundering and propulsive drumming and Lithgow’s growled vocals; but just under the surface of the song is a bigger message that fear can easily turn something that’s natural and normal into something fearful, horrible and dangerous.

“Acrophobia,” PHØBIAC‘s latest single is based around the fear of heights and it’s a forceful and explosive, instrumental composition that features Los Angeles, CA-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Max Braverman on drums. Featuring a frequently shifting meter paired with a propulsive bass line, the song intends to to evoke the vertiginous sensation of peering over a ledge with the recognition that solid ground and ghastly, mortal peril is just below you, all while sonically nodding at Entertainment and Solid Gold-era Gang of Four — in particular “Not Great Men,” “He’d Send in the Army;” but with an tense, anxious dread at its core.

 

 

 

 

Captain Casanova, is an Aarhus, Denmark-based indie rock trio, who have developed a reputation across Scandinavia, Northern Europe and Central Europe for a busy touring schedule with some of each region’s up-and-coming bands — and for a sound that clearly draws influence from 90s grunge rock and Brit Pop as you’ll hear on the band’s anthemic, mosh pit friendly, barn burning single “Futures.” Interestingly, along with bands like Love Talk, Pacific Swell and John Alcabean, Captain Casanova have helped to establish a burgeoning Danish indie rock scene that’s seeing international attention across Europe and the UK.

Nubiyan Twist is a London, UK-based collective founded by Tom Excell (production, guitar) and featuring Nubiya Brandon (vocals), Pilo Adami (percussion, vocals), Finn Booth (drums), Luke Wynter (bass), Oli Cadman (keys), Joe Henwood (baritone sax, live dubs), Denis Scully (tenor sax), Nick Richards (alto sax) and Jonny Esner (trumpet)  who have won attention across the UK and the EU for a sound that draws from the members backgrounds in jazz, reggae, dub, soul, Afrobeat, Latin music — and for a live set that embraces the use of electronics, alongside jazz-inspired improvisation. In fact their debut album received praise from the likes of major media outfits like the IndependentMojo, Songlines Magazine, and Blues ‘n’ Soul and the album received airplay on the radio programs of David Rodigan, Craig Charles, Trevor Nelson, and Huey Morgan. And adding to a growing profile, the band has opened for the likes of De La Soul, Hot 8 Brass Band, Quantic and Robert Glasper.

The British collective’s latest single is a bold, funky, sensual reworking of Super Cat’s 1982 classic dancehall track Dance Inna New York that employs portions of the original’s verses, along with the hook with new lyrics written by the band’s frotnwoman Nubiya Brandon paired with the backing band playing a percussive, Latin-tinged, Afrobeat-inspired arrangement featuring a bold brass section, twinkling keys and a shuffling and swaggering riddim. And interestingly enough, while the London-based act’s reworking pushes a beloved song into the 21st century, perhaps introducing new fans to one of dancehall’s legends, it also manages to bridge the sounds of African Diaspora in a seamless and intelligent manner.

 

Comprised of its Manchester, UK-born and Paris-based David Shaw and Paris-born and based Dombrance, the Paris-based electronic music and production duo DBFC emerged onto the French electronic music scene with the release of several singles throughout 2015 and 2016 through renowned indie label Her Majesty’s Ship Records — including “Automatic,” a track which remained me of Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express” and Primal Scream‘s “Autobahn 66” — but with a subtle cosmic glow around its edges.

The duo’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Jenks is slated for a June 2, 2017 release through Different Recordings/[PIAS] Records and the album’s first single “Sinner” will partially further their reputation for pairing slick electronic production with organic instrumentation but while a single like  the aforementioned “Automatic” struck me as owing a debut to Kraftwerk and Primal Scream, the new single still nods at those influences while subtly nodding at The Chemical Brothers‘ Come With Us as the song possesses a free-flowing improvisation paired with a similarly trippy and cosmic glow.