Category: New Audio

Currently based in New Orleans, Kate Fagan is a ska, punk and new wave musician, who first emerged to local and regional attention as the founding member and frontwoman of Chicago-based ska act Heavy Manners, an act that once opened for the The Clash and The English Beat; but interestingly enough before that Fagan released a cult-favorited New Wave single “I Don’t Wanna Be Too Cool” through local imprint Disturbing Records that was immediately embraced by local club DJs, radio stations and taste-making record stores like Chicago’s Wax Trax, where it became the best-selling release by a local artist ever.  The B-side single “Waiting for the Crisis” also received attention for its politically charged, Reagan-era lyrics, which manage to still resonate today.

 

As the story goes, Fagan wrote the title track after moving from New York to Chicago in the late 70s. “I pretty much came to visit Chicago and fell in love with the scene and never left,” Fagan recalled in press notes. “At the time I’d been working at New York magazine and was getting dismayed watching the CBGB scene give way to the whole Studio 54/velvet rope thing. So I spontaneously moved to Chicago, which was much more inclusive and everyone wasn’t standing around peering at each other from behind their shades. But eventually I saw that same kind of divisive hipster culture start to creep in. ‘Too Cool’ was my reaction to that.” Along with “Too Cool,” Fagan wrote many of her earliest songs as a solo artist and with Heavy Manners in an intuitive fashion, recording them at Chicago’s Acme Studios, where she’d meet the fellow artists with whom she’d form Disturbing Records.

Although the “Too Cool” single was a cult favorite back in the early 80s, sadly it was thought to be long lost, as the second printing of the album was lost in a house fire that destroyed almost everything Fagan had owned at the time — that is until Manufactured Recordings stumbled upon the original single, along with two unreleased bonus tracks that Fagan recorded with members of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Scarlet Architect. Interestingly, when you listen to the four tracks off the re-issued 7 inch, the songs manage to sound both of its time and incredibly contemporary — in some way you can imagine acts like Colleen Green, Courtney Barnett, Karen O. and several others citing Fagan as an influence, as Fagan’s lyrics possess a wry irony at at their core, as you’ll hear on the aforementioned “Too Cool,” a song that’s reminiscent of both The B52s and Go-Gos. “Waiting for the Crisis” sounds as though it were influenced by Sandinista! and Combat Rock-era The Clash. However, “Master of Passion” and “Come Over” are the most dance floor-friendly, New Order-like songs of the re-issue, featuring shimmering undulating synths, propulsive drum programming paired with Fagan’s sultry and coquettish delivery.

Of course, each track reveals a songwriter, who had an uncanny knack at writing an infectiously catchy hook that you could imagine kids bouncing up and down to in a sweaty club — and does so with a cool, swaggering self-assuredness.

 

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Comprised of primary members Guy Fenech, Oly Marlan and Nick Franklin Sydney, Australia-based indie electro pop/indie rock act Australia independently released their full-length debut Portraits of People, Places and Movies earlier this year to national attention for a sound that channels their homeland’s early 80s pub rock scene and 80s New Wave — in other words, as you’ll hear on Places and Movies‘ latest single “Breathe In,” anthemic hooks paired with propulsive four-on-the-floor-like drumming, angular guitar chords, a sinuous bass line, shimmering and undulating synths and Fenech’s baritone crooning to craft a sound that will remind listeners of INXS‘ “Listen Like Thieves” and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy — but with a dance floor-friendly feel.

 

 

Magic Trick is the recording project of singer/songwriter Tim Cohen, featuring a rotating cast of collaborators and friends. And if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you might recall that I wrote about two singles of Cohen and Company’s third full-length album River of Souls, an effort that at points reminded me quite a bit of Flowers-era Echo and the Bunnymen. Cohen’s fourth Magic Trick album Other Man’s Blues reportedly found the renowned singer/songwriter at a crossroads as it was written and recorded during a year that was split between two completely different lives and world — part of the year with his partner and their newborn daughter, the second part was as a touring musician, touring with Magic Trick and the Fresh & Onlys, and the week he spent recording Other Man’s Blues at Phil Manley‘s Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco.

As the story goes, Cohen arrived at the studio with a color-coded composition book of songs he had been writing while bouncing to and fro, and the book would have to suffice in lieu of rehearsal time with the 13 musicians — including James Kim (drums),  Beach House‘s James Barone, The Aislers Set’s Alicia Van Heuval and Paul Garcia splitting time on bass, Once and Future Band‘s and Danny James‘ Joel Robinow on keys, The Cairo Gang and The Muggers‘ Emmett Kelly (guitar), backing vocals from Van Heuval, Noelle Cahill and Anna Hillburg, who also plays trumpet, as well as San Francisco-based musicians Dylan, Edrich, Tom Heyman, and Marc Capelle. And although some may think that with such a large roster of musicians, that the sessions were the product of grandiose ambition; but actually, the sessions were the result of an open door policy at the studio in which, friends would stop by, hang out, drink tequila, bullshit and jam together, creating a loose, freewheeling, improvised affair in which the songs were shaped by the session players — and the material reportedly manages to shift from baroque pop, post-punk, R&B, jam rock paired with Tim’s lyrics about family, himself, his experiences and thoughts about being a father and a musician, about life and its perpetual changes.

The album’s latest single “First Thought” is a shuffling and twangy country blues that sounds as though it could have been released sometime between 1972-1975 while gently nodding at psych rock and gospel with an extended jam band coda featuring an impressive guitar solo. And what makes the song impressive is the fact that Cohen and Company manage to make the song feel both completely improvised, as though a bunch of friends were jamming late night over whiskey, tequila and weed, while the song possess a careful attention to craft. Lyrically, the song deals with self-doubt, uncertainty and acceptance but with a wry, mischievous wit, revealing that Cohen is an unheralded songwriter.

 

New Audio: The Devil Makes Three’s Cover of A Ralph Stanley Classic

Now earlier this month, you might remember that I wrote about Redemption and Ruin’s first single, a slowed-down, twangy, Johnny Cash, Sun Records-era-leaning cover of one of my favorite Muddy Waters tunes “Champagne and Reefer” that retained the original’s wicked sense of humor and gleeful debauchery. The album’s second single is a cover of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley’s classic and oft-covered “I Am The Man Thomas,” and as Bernhard told the folks at Relix, “‘I Am The Man’ is a gruesome tale of the capture and crucifixion of Jesus sung by none other than the late great Ralph Stanley. It may be the most metal Gospel song ever penned by mortal hand. What better song to include on Redemption And Ruin, This tune has it all, the chase the death and the rise from the grave.” The Devil Makes Three cover is a subtly and deceptively straightforward cover that puts a bit of snarl and muscle into it — while with a deeper emphasis on the gruesomeness and cruelty of the cruxifixction and Jesus’ eventual redemption.

Currently comprised of frontman Pete Feigenbaum, who has spent some time as a touring guitarist in Titus Andronicus; Max Tucker; Meaghan Omega; Dan Peskin; and John Atkinson, who joins the band as a touring member, the members of Brooklyn-based Dinowalrus have developed a national and international attention for a sound that draws from post-punk, krautrock, shoegaze, synth pop and psych rock as you’ll hear on their latest single “Tides,” which has the band pair shimmering and undulating synths, buzzing guitar chords, plaintive and ethereal vocals and a motorik groove. Interestingly enough, the song sounds as though the band had been listening to Toy, Primal Scream and the Manchester sound.

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays GOAT Returns with a Gorgeous and Cinematic, New Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months you’d likely know that the mysterious Northern Swedish collective’s highly-anticipated, third, full-length effort Requiem is slated for an October 7, 2016 release and the album’s “Try My Robe” continues on a similar vein as “I Sing in Silence,” as the collective has gone for a stripped down, acoustic, psych rock vibe paired with chanted/shouted vocals, shimmering and dexterously looping guitar work, mischievously complex, handclap led percussion and a slow, shuffling bass line that manages to be deceptively propulsive in a song that sounds subtly influenced by African and Middle Eastern music. Requiem’s latest single “Alarms” is a gorgeous track consisting of African and Middle Eastern-like percussion, shimmering and gorgeous guitar lines and an ethereal melody that floats just above the instrumentation. Sonically, the song manages to sound both incredibly cinematic and as though it could have been released in 1966.

55 Lakes is a mysterious and fairly anonymous EDM/tropical house music production and recording project of two Toronto-based ghost producers, ghostwriters and musicians for several top Canadian artists — and their latest project together was specifically designed for the duo to create, have fun and anonymous collect the credit for their own work. Their debut single “I’ll stay for you” is a slickly produced track that has the duo pairing finger-snap led percussion, twinkling keys, layers of shimmering and undulating synths and electronics, a looped vocal sample and an infectious hook in a propulsive yet breezy and tropical song that sounds as though it drew from Larry Levan and classic house, as well as Zonoscope-era Cut Copy.

Led by its founding member and creative mastermind David Eugene Edwards, Wovenhand much like Edwards’ previous projects have a long-held reputation for intense and anthemic music that showcases Edwards’ Romantic and incredibly dramatic crooning — and for a relentless experimentation and reinvention. His previous project 16 Horsepower  was well-received for a sound based around antique Americana while Wovenhand’s earliest incarnations specialized in hushed ballads; however, with the newest and most current lineup, featuring Planes Mistaken For Stars‘ Chuck French (guitar) and Neil Keener (bass), Ordy Garrison (drums) and Crime and The City Solution‘s Matthew Smith (piano, synth) the band has written and recorded some of the heaviest and most forceful material to date on their latest effort Star Treatment slated for release on September 9, 2016 through Sargent House Records globally — with the exception of Europe.

As Edwards explains, the soon-to-be released album’s title isn’t a reference to our contemporary obsession with celebrity; rather it’s a reference to the concept of astrolatry — or humanity’s enduring interest in the stars of the night sky. “It’s ethereal in its concept,” Edwards says. “There are many layers, as always. I’ve been paying attention to the stars in the sky and in literature, and it’s a theme throughout the album.” He adds, “There’s more love song style on this in general, which is nice. The idea of what love is and how it’s expressed and all these different atmospheres.” Star Treatment‘s first single and opening track “Come Brave” finds the band pairing a propulsive, rumbling and rolling drum beat, enormous power chords, Edwards crooning vocals, a swooning and urgent Romanticism and rousing, arena rock friendly-like hooks with celestial hooks in a song that sounds as though it drew from Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen, complete with a dark and mysterious fury.

The band will be embarking on a world tour to support the album. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
08/26   LAS VEGAS, NV @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Psycho Las Vegas 
09/12   COLOGNE, DE @ Gebäude 9 *
09/13   FRANKFURT, DE @ Zoom *
09/15   BERN, CH @ ISC *
09/16   ZURICH, CH @ Bogen F *
09/17   VIENNA, AT @ Flex *
09/18   BUDAPEST, HU @ A38 *
09/20   SALZBURG, AT @ Rockhouse *
09/21   MUNICH, DE @ Ampere *
09/22   LEIPZIG, DE @ UT Connewitz *
09/23   BERLIN, DE @ Heimathafen *
09/24   HAMBURG, DE – Reeperbahn Festival
09/26   ARHUS, DK @ Train *
09/27   OSLO, NO @ John Dee *
09/29   HELSINKI, FI @ Tavastia
09/30   STOCKHOLM, SE @ Nalen *
10/01    LUND, SE @ Mejeriet *
10/02    COPENHAGEN, DK @ Vega Jr. *
10/04    EINDHOVEN, NL @ Effenaar *
10/05    AMSTERDAM, NL @ Melkweg *
10/06    LEUVEN, BE @ Het Depot *
10/07    GENT, BE @ Handelsbeurs *
10/08    CHARLEROI, BE @ L’Eden *
10/10    LILLE, FR @ L’Aéronef *
10/11    PARIS, FR @ La Maroquinerie *
10/13    ORLEANS, FR @ L’Astrolabe *
10/14    GRENOBLE, FR @ La Belle Electrique *
10/15    FEYZIN, FR @ L’Epicerie Moderne *
10/16    TOULOUSE, FR @ La Rex *
10/18    LONDON, UK @ The Dome *
* w/ Emma Ruth Rundle

You might recall that earlier this month, I wrote about California-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Elijah Ford. Ford has quite the musical pedigree as his father, Marc Ford is a former member of Black Crowes. Interestingly enough, the younger Ford toured with his father’s band Fuzz Machine when he was 17 and a few years later, Elijah’s own recording career started in earnest when he hooked up with Oscar and Grammy-winning artist Ryan Bingham, with whom Elijah Ford recorded and toured with for several years before going solo with the 2011 release of his full-length debut Upon Walking and its follow up, an EP Ashes in 2012.

As We Were, Ford’s forthcoming full-length effort is slated for a September 16, 2016 and as you might remember, the album’s first single “The Way We Were” liberally draws from bluesy and boozy old school work, while possessing a finely crafted feel, thanks in part to a soaring and anthemic hook and a shimmying and shuffling sound reminiscent of The Black Crowes, Elvis Costello and others. As We Were’s latest single “Black and Red” will further cement Ford’s burgeoning reputation for finely crafted and rousingly anthemic songs that draw from 70s and early 80s rock; however, in this particular instance, “Black and Red” is sonically reminiscent of Damn The Torpedoes-era Tom Petty and the aforementioned Elvis Costello but with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail and how it impacts one’s character and in turn their relationships with others.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Chicago, IL-based quartet Radar Eyes and their 80s post-punk inspired single “Community” off their forthcoming effort Radiant Remains, an effort that sees the band moving from the fuzzy, garage rock that first caught attention towards an anthemic and moody 80s post-punk sound — and an effort meant to be a swan song for the band, in the aftermath of Anthony Cozzi’s (vocals, guitar) relocation to Los Angeles. Radiant Remains’ second and latest single “Midnight Drive” is a jangling and anthemic song consisting of a propulsive drumming and shimmering guitars and a earnest and rousingly anthemic hook that sounds as though it draws from the likes of The Alarm, U2,  CrocodilesHeaven Up Here and Ocean Rain-era Echo and the Bunnymen, and Starfish-era The Church as the song swoons and swaggers with a desperate urgency.