Category: New Audio

Earlier this month, I wrote about Joseph W. Salusbury, an up-and-coming Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter and producer, who has a number of songwriting and production credits including cowrites on Majid Jordan‘s “Something About You” and Illangelo‘s “Your Future’s Not Mine, and vocal production on Nelly Furtado and Blood Orange‘s “Hadron Collider;” however, earlier this year, Salusbury stepped out from behind the production desk with his solo recording project Joseph of Mercury and three singles “Without Words,” “Young Thing” and “Find You Inside.” And with this three early singles, Salusbury quickly established a reputation for crafting melancholic, slow-burning synth pop that draws from a diverse range of influences, including David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Future Islands and Lower Dens among others, paired with his aching baritone crooning.

Find You Inside, Salusbury’s Joseph of Mercury debut is slated for a September 1, 2017 release, and Salusbury celebrated the release announcement with a live, spectral rendition of EP single “Without Words” featuring the up-and-coming Canadian pop artist accompanying himself with guitar, and what makes this rendition so compelling to me is that it pulls out the raw, aching emotion at the core of the song in a way that nods at both Roy Orbison and Nick Hakim.

“Angel,” the fourth and latest single off the Canadian pop crooner’s soon-to-be released EP finds Salusbury meshing 60s pop and classic R&B, anthemic 80s arena rock and contemporary electro pop in a way that reminiscent of both the aforementioned Nick Hakim and Roy Orbison, and of Daughn Gibson — and much like the sources that influenced the song, “Angel” is a sweet, almost old-timey love song written in a way that his contemporaries frankly just seem incapable of doing. As a result, the song is a swooning yet slow-burning  and contemporary torch song in which the song’s narrator confesses his love and devotion with an visceral ache.

 

 

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New Audio: Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions Return with a Sparse and Sublime New Track

Best known as the hauntingly ethereal voice of Mazzy Star, Hope Sandoval has had a lengthy solo career, collaborating with a number of renowned artists including Massive Attack and My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O’Coisog in her long-running post Mazzy Star project, Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions. And if you had been frequenting this site last year, you’d likely recall that Sandoval’s Warm Inventions is a subtle yet decided departure from her Mazzy Star work in terms of overall theme, instrumentation and arrangement; whereas Mazzy Star’s sound is famously based around a sparse arrangement shimmering guitar chords paired with gentle drumming and Sandoval’s imitable vocals, The Warm Inventions sound while being based sound fairly sparse arrangements, draws from 70s AM radio — at least as you would have heard on the duo’s third full-length effort together Until the Hunter. 

Son of a Lady EP, is the highly anticipated follow up to Until the Hunter and the EP,  a which is slated for a September 15, 2017 release through Pledge Music as a 10″ with an exclusive track along with other exclusive items. As the members of Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions explain “‘Son of a Lady’ is a song we wrote and recorded some time ago and rediscovered it recently by chance. We worked with this really great upright bass player Damon Anderson, who we’d never worked with before and I believe it was the first time he’d ever played his bass over a cello part. He was really inspired by Ji-Young Moon’s exquisite playing. It’s a strange and lovely one; just the way we like it.” 

“Sleep,” the latest single from the Son of a Lady EP is a slow-burning, hazy and sublime dream of a song, in which Sandoval’s imitable vocals are paired with gently strummed guitar and twinkling percussion and much like the preceding single, it’s an odd yet haunting track. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the summer, you’d know that JOVM mainstay act Widowspeak will be releasing their third full-length album Expect The Best through Captured Tracks Records next week. And as you may recall, the album’s first single “Dog,” as Widowspeak’s Molly Hamilton told NPR is “about the compulsion to move on from things and places, even people when you’re not necessarily ready to. Sometimes I get caught up in ‘the grass is always greener’ mentalities or cling to an idea that ‘I’d be happy if . . .’ and make a drastic change. Then inevitably, I feel restless a few months later and it stars again.” While sonically, the song will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting moody and hazy guitar pop that channels Mazzy Star, the song possesses a restless and ambivalent vibe as it captures an easily bored and frustrated narrator, who desperately yearns for more and more and more.

Expect The Best‘s second single“When I Tried” is a slow, churning blues with layers of jangling, guitar pedal effect guitars paired with a propulsive yet simple drum pattern  which Hamilton’s aching yet ethereal vocals float over, and much like its preceding single, captures a bored and frustrated narrator, who yearns for more and more — and yet feels hopelessly stuck and confused. Interestingly though, as Hamilton explained to Stereogum “I didn’t go into this record trying to make every song about feeling stuck, or about self-doubt or anxiety. Those feelings aren’t really what you want to proclaim to the world or make a whole record about, even if it’s the truth. But, in the end, it ended up making more sense to be honest. ‘When I Tried’ is about when I was having a hard time starting things, or finishing them, maybe due to my own expectations of what it would turn into or maybe due to me doubting that I’d even be able to make it happen at all . . . I wasn’t sure what the motivation was anymore. Not specifically related to music, or creative work, but to everything. I wanted to get out and be social to take my mind off it, but I had a hard time keeping that up, too. It’s hard to keep up the effort of trying.”

“The Dream,” Expect The Best‘s third and latest single manages to continue with the permanently restless and unhappy vibe of someone who has picked up and left things behind with the hopes of something better, only to find that she can’t ever escape herself, and that perhaps as a result, things never really change; in fact, the song’s title, along with the album’s title possess an ironic duality — that being hopeful in a bleak world means expecting terrible things and knowing how to deal with them or to survive, and that dreams can become waylaid or averted. And yet, one has to keep on trying because — well, anything else is death, right? Sonically speaking, the song is a  lush and sublime, dream-like reverie of a song in which Hamilton’s ethereal crooning is paired with jangling guitars, twangy pedal; but right underneath the surface is a familiar ache of reality slapping you in the face yet again.

The band recently announced updated tour dates, which include a handful of new American dates and a European tour, which will have them stop at one of my favorite cities in the entire world — Amsterdam. And if you’re in NYC, they’ll be playing Rough Trade on October 13, 2017. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates
09/08 – Boston, MA – Great Scott
09/09 – Burlington, VT – ArtsRiot
09/11 – Toronto, ON – The Garrison
09/12 – Detroit, MI – El Club
09/13 – Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle
09/15 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th St. Entry
09/17 – Des Moines, IA – Des Moines Social Club
09/19 – Denver, CO – Hi Dive
09/20 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
09/21 – Boise, ID – Neurolux
09/22 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
09/23 – Seattle, WA – Barboza
09/24 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
09/26 – San Francisco, CA – Swedish American Hall
09/27 – Visalia, CA – The Cellar Door
09/28 – Los Angeles, CA – Pico Union Project
09/29 – San Diego, CA – Space Bar
09/30 – Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge
10/01 – Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf
10/03 – Austin, TX – Sidewinder
10/04 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
10/05 – Birmingham, AL – Syndicate Lounge
10/06 – Nashville, TN – The High Watt
10/07 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
10/08 – Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
10/09 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall
10/10 – Washington, DC – DC9
10/11 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot and Saddle
10/12 – Kingston, NY – BSP Kingston
10/13 – New York, NY – Rough Trade NYC
11/14 – Amsterdam, NL – Sugarfactory
11/15 – Utrecht, NL -Db’s
11/17 – Birmingham, UK -Actress & Bishop
11/18 – Glasgow, UK -Nice n Sleazy
11/20 – London, UK – Oslo
11/21 – Brighton, UK -The Hope
11/23 – Rotterdam, NL – Rotown
11/26 – Berlin, DE -Volksbühne
11/27 – Hamburg, DE – Hafenklang
11/28 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega
11/29 – Stockholm, SWE -Obaren
11/30 – Oslo, NO – Revolver
12/01 – Gothenburg, SWE -Oceanen
12/02 – Lund, SWE -Mejeriet
09.08 – 10.13 (except 09.13) w/ Clearance
bold = newly confirmed

 

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the up-and-coming Norwegian/New Zealand-Australian indie electro pop duo Anna of the North, and if you may recall, the duo comprised of Gjøvik, Norway-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician Anna Lotterud and New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based producer Brady Daniell-Smith can trace its unlikely origins back to 2012. As the story goes, Lotterud was working in a shop in her small town, just outside of  Oslo, and was settling down with her first love, anticipating a life of routine, normality and banality when a customer came in and changed her life. Polite, well-groomed and worldly, this stranger began making daily visits, browsing the shop’s wares but never buying anything. One afternoon, this customer suddenly approached and implored Lotterud to abandon the traditional life she had planned to set out and expand her her horizons. This woman’s plea jolted something very deep in Lotterud, and in an act of rather uncharacteristic spontaneity she booked a flight to Australia, leaving her life and her partner behind.

The time Lotterud spent in Australia was both personally fulfilling and incredibly turbulent. She fell in love again, only to have her heart broken as suddenly and inexplicably as her decision to leave Norway and relocate to Australia was, but around act time, she met her future producer and collaborator Brady Daniell-Smith. At the time, Smith, who was also struggling with his own complicated relationships was performing as an acoustic singer/songwriter in Melbourne and in a serendipitous moment, Lotterud had managed to catch Smith performing at a local cafe, while she was with a group of friends.  Smith and Lotterud quickly became friends — with Smith encouraging his newfound friend and soon-to-be collaborator to find solace from her heartbreak in songwriting with the idea that by making music, they could both exorcise the ghosts of their past love lives. Interestingly enough, the project’s name actually derives itself from an in-joke between the two — Smith would frequently refer to Lotterud as “Anna of the North” and the name stuck.

Three years ago, the release of their debut single “Sway” began an incredible run of attention grabbing, blogosphere buzzing singles that have accumulated more than 60 million streams across all the streaming services, multiple number 1 spots of Hype Machine‘s charts and rotation on BBC Radio 1, Triple J and  Beats 1. And that shouldn’t be surprising as the duo manages to pair a brooding, Nordic-influenced, icy minimalism with a bright, buoyant, New Zealand and Southern Hemisphere-inspired synth pop — and they do so while being incredibly dance floor friendly.

Now as you may recall, Lotterud and Smith’s highly-anticipated full-length effort Lovers is slated for release on September 8, 2017 release, and the album reportedly focuses on heartbreak — in particular, the various emotional stages people typically feel after a relationship ends, including turmoil, grief, confusion, and the tentative joy in letting yourself start moving forward. Of course, along with that there’s the recognition that knowing love, including its inevitable heartbreak is necessary and wonderful because it opens up the possibility to know love once more. In fact, album single “Lovers” found the duo pairing a production featuring layers of shimmering synths, buoyant almost rubbery beats and a soaring hook with Lotterud’s tender and aching vocals, expressing a desperate an urgent longing that’s frustrated and can’t be fulfilled.

“Money,” the third and latest single from the duo’s soon-to-be released debut is a breezy, radio friendly pop track featuring shimmering synths and a soaring hook paired with Lotterud singing an impassioned take-down of people who are driven by material goods — and while being among the most decidedly warmest songs they’ve released to date, there’s a subtle, underlying snarl and venom to the song.

New Audio: Monolord Returns with a Sludgy Yet Subtle Expansion of Their Sound

The Gothenburg, Sweden-based doom metal trio Monolord has become a JOVM mainstay over the past 15-16 months, and as you’d likely recall the trio, comprised of Thomas Jäger, Esben Willems, and Mika Häkki can trace their origins back to 2013, when its founding members Jäger and Willems, started the band as a side project that gave them the opportunity to play much heavier and darker material away from their primary gig as members of boogie rock outfit Marulk. Jäger and Willems then recruited Häkki, best known for stints in The Don Darlings and Rotten Sound to complete the band’s lineup and to flesh out their sound. And while the trio was writing and recording their critically applauded debut Empress Riding, they discovered they had a special creative chemistry that necessitated making the project a full-time gig; but interestingly enough, the project also marks the first time that Jäger has taken vocal duties.

2015’s sophomore effort Vænir resulted in the band receiving a growing national and international project, and they built upon that buzz with the “Lord of Suffering”/”Die in a Haze” 10 inch single, which they released last year and as you may recall, “Die in a Haze,” featured sludgy, dirge-like power chords paired with thunderous drumming within an enveloping mix, while Lord of Suffering” managed to nod at space rock and psych rock — in fashion that reminded me of  Black Sabbath‘s “Planet Caravan.”
The “Nirvana of doom” as their fans have referred to them will be releasing their third full-length album Rust through RidingEasy Records on September 29, 2017 and as the band’s Esben Willems says in press notes, “A heavy groove that contains both bombastic overkill and a lot of dynamics is what we always aim for in Monolord; in playing, in song writing and arranging, in recording.” The album’s first single and title track “Rust,” which featured guest spots from Mondo Drag‘s John Gamino on keys and Beastmaker’s Trevor Church, who contributes an incredible guitar solo towards the end of the song further cemented the Swedish’s trio reputation for crafting slow-burning, sludgy and forceful metal but upon repeated listens, the song reveals that the band has been subtly expanding upon their overall sound and songwriting as it possesses an expansive vibe with an oceanic heft. “Where Death Meets the Sea,” Rust’s second and latest single continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as its possesses an oceanic heft, which is unsurprising considering the song’s title, complete with sludgy power chords and thundering drumming but it reveals impressive guitar work within an slow-burning yet expansive song structure. And at the end of the day, Rust’s first two singles will remind listeners that the band is one of the world’s best doom metal bands. 

Earlier this summer, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring  Leeds, UK-based indie rock/psych rock trio The Boxing, and as you may recall, since their formation in 2014, the trio comprised of  Harrison Warke (vocals, guitar), Henry Chatham (bass) and Charlie Webb (drums) quickly asserted themselves as part of their hometown’s growing, contemporary indie rock and psych rock scenes; in fact, they’ve already drawn some comparisons to the likes of W.H. Lung, Eagulls and JOVM mainstays The Vryll Society.

Now, as you may recall “One by One” was a brooding track led by a sinuous bass line and steady drumming paired with a propulsive motorik groove, a soaring hook and  a whispered croon reminiscent of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan, and as the band’s Harrison Warke explained in press notes, “One by One,”  was an elaboration of the sound they developed across their first batch of singles; but perhaps just as important, “One by One” was the first single act the act recorded in a proper, professional studio. Of course, recording in a studio gave the members of the band the ability and freedom to experiment and flesh out the song’s arrangement in a way that they were unable to do before. “Heart of Me,” was released as the B-side (sort of) to “One by One” — and while continuing in a similar vein to its lead single, the track manages to be a slow-burning., moody and stormy bit of shoegaze with a creepy, existential dread at its core.

“Tame,” while being one of the trio’s shortest song to date — it clocks in at a little under 2 minutes and 40 sounds — will further cement their growing reputation nationally and across the blogosphere for crafting moody yet anthemic shoegaze, complete with shimmering, pedal effected guitar chords; however, as the band’s Warke explains “most of our songs are written in a darkroom without windows, but a hint of light managed to creep into this one. There’s a bit of sweet among the usual sour.” And what makes the song interesting is while nodding at a lighter, perhaps airier and arena rock-like fare, the song finds the band doing so while retaining soaring hooks and an enveloping feel.

 

Like A Version is a beloved weekly segment that airs on Australia’s leading national radio station Triple J — and the premise of the series is extremely simple: the radio station invites both national and internationally known artists to cover some of their favorite songs. Much like the AV Club’s Undercover the series  reveals the taste and influences of their invited acts, while letting those artists cover material in whatever way they seem fit — sometimes, it’s much more straightforward and other times, the act puts their own spin on it. Either way, it’s both thought provoking and deeply entertaining. Unsurprisingly, because of the series popularity, Triple J has released a series of chart topping compilation albums, which in many ways serves as a historical document of Australian popular music.

Metropolitan Groove Merchants will be releasing the Like A Version compilation in North America on September 22, marking the first time that Americans can check out the series, and the first album features 21 unique covers from some of the world’s most renowned and beloved artists — and to celebrate the occasion, Metropolitan Groove Merchants released two of the compilation’s singles, JOVM mainstay Tame Impala performing an ethereal and cinematic rendition of Kylie Minogue‘s “Confide In Me” that manages to be a deceptively straightforward cover that also decidedly retains their dreamy psych pop sound; while blogosphere darlings CHVRCHES put a decidedly sensual and anthemic synth pop cover of Arctic Monkeys “Do I Wanna Know” that nods at Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait” and Simple Minds‘ “Don’t You Forget About Me.”

 

With the release of 2015’s debut effort Dissemble, the Leeds, UK-based indie rock/post-punk quintet AUTOBAHN, comprised of Craig Johnson (vocals) Michel Pedel (guitar) and Gavin Cobb (guitar), Daniel Sleight (bass) and Liam Hilton (drums) received attention both nationally and across the blogosphere for a sound that was influenced by Joy Division and their legendary post-punk producer Martin Hamett. In fact, the band reportedly wrote and recorded the album imagining what Hannett would have done, if he were to produce them. However, as the story goes, before they set up to write and record the material that would comprise The Moral Crossing, the band’s forthcoming sophomore effort, the members of the band had decided to give up their practice room. which also doubled as a hardcore punk venue, an build their own space. They found a former double-glazing firm under a disused bridge in Holbeck, Leeds’ red light district and despite having no real experience building a studio from scratch, they undertook the job and when they finished their studio, the band’s Craig Johnson taught himself how to produce and record an album with the burning desire to create their own sound with their own artistic vision.  “I was down there nearly every night,” Johnson recalls. “It was pretty horrible at times, but worth the pain to have control over everything. We’ve had the chance to create the sound we want, at times it’s more melancholic, and romantic.”

In order to go about changing their sound, a change in songwriting approach was necessary — and for their sophomore effort, the band went about a deliberate and painstaking process in which they built songs piece-by-piece as they went along rather than working on completed songs, as they previously did. Lyrics came about at the end, and thematically the material finds the band focusing on birth — but in a way that emphasizes that the person “had no choice in the decision. And then it’s about the different outcomes that could happen, Which could be glorious or torturous,” Johnson explains in press notes.

From album title track “The Moral Crossing,” the Leeds-based quintet’s sophomore effort will be a bold and forceful new direction for the band — while retaining the angular attack of their previously released singles and of Martin Hammett-era Joy Division, the single finds the band crafting some of their most ambitious material to date, as it possesses the swooning and antehmic hooks reminiscent of Snow Patrol paired with prog rock and arena rock-like sensibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: NVDES Returns with a Breezy Tropicalia and Dance Punk-Inspired New Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months or so, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Los Angeles-based collective NVDES. With the release of 2016’s Life With Lobsters, an album consisting of glitchy, summery indie dance pop, the collective fronted by founding member and primary songwriter Josh Ocean received over 10 million streams across all digital platforms, landed on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart, and as a result of rapidly growing buzz, the project’s 2016 effort received praise from The Fader, Nylon and others.  

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “Turning Heads” off their forthcoming La NVDITÉ EP, a breakneck dance punk track along the lines of  Sound of Silver-era LCD Soundsystem, Radio 4 and others, complete with angular guitar chords, a propulsive bass line, boom-bap beats and a rousingly anthemic hook. And building upon the buzz that single received, the act recently released their latest single “Dancer From New Yorker,” a track that will (naturally) further cement their growing reputation for crafting glitchy and breezy pop with anthemic hooks, and while its as dance floor-friendly as its predecessor, the track manages to subtly nod at tropicalia and bossa nova. 

Comprised of London-born, Los Angeles-based duo Hetty Clark (vocals) and Ned Douglas (keys, guitar, programming), The Dot and The Line can trace its origins to a mutual love and appreciation of downtempo electronica acts like Portishead, The xx, Haelos and others. As the story goes, the duo started working together to carve out their own sound and to write the material the would comprise their debut EP, and as you’ll hear on the duo’s second and latest single “Wait For You,” the duo pair Clark’s breathy and sensual vocals with a stark and cinematic production featuring layers of cascading, shimmering synths, twinkling keys, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a soaring hook. And while nodding at Portishead, The xx and Garbage, the song as the duo’s Hetty Clark explains in press notes is an ode to the complicated and often frustrating essence of desire. “It’s a song about desire, desire being the blueprint of all we do and act upon. There is a dazzling aspect to desire, with all the unassimilated feelings that lie below the surface, causing us to act and behave in unpredictable ways. Desire is a huge life force, but it can also be an annihilating force. Deeply longing for something requires also accepting the pain of unfulfillment.””

Of course, unsurprisingly the song while further cement the duo’s growing reputation for crafting moody and cinematic downtempo electronica with a tense, push and pull familiar to relationships and involvements in which one’s feelings and motivations are uncertain and confused.