Category: New Audio

 

Mike Simonetti is a New Jersey-born and-based electronic music artist, producer, DJ and record label head, who’s perhaps known for a seven year stint as the owner of renowned indie electronic label Italians Do It Better Records — and that period may arguably have been one of the most prolific periods of his creative life, as his music was featured in several films, TV commercials and fashion shows, along with the release of an album or two. Since leaving Italians Do It Better, Simonetti has started another cult-favorite label 2MR and a critically acclaimed synth pop duo Pale Blue; however, his forthcoming album Solipsism (Collected Works 2006 – 2013), which is slated for a September 18, 2018 release through his own 2MR Records, finds the New Jersey-born and-based electronic music artist, producer and label head looking band on his work, which at the time was influenced by AC/DC, Judas Priest, Rockets, Supermax and underground Italian producer Piero Umiliani among others — although the album’s first single “Illusions” sounds as though it were influenced by John Carpenter soundtracks and Giorgio Moroder, complete with arpeggiated analog synths and moodily cinematic vibes.

 

 

 

 

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Stereo Off Return with a Decidedly 80s Synth Pop Inspired Single and Video

Over the past three years I’ve written a bit about the New York-based indie rock/electro pop outfit Stereo Off, and as you may recall, the band initially was the solo project of its frontman and founding member Sebastian Marciano before expanding into a quintet featuring an eclectic array of friends and collaborators from NYC and London. Within a year or so of expanding into a full-fledged band, the band had played at a number of renowned venues across town including The Knitting Factory, Glasslands Gallery and others. Adding to growing profile, the members of Stereo Off had their music featured in several short films that made the national film festival circuit, and they promptly released their first two recorded efforts — 2014’s New York EP and 2015’s The Long Hot Winter EP,  an effort which helped land a  CMJ Festival appearance.

After a series of lineup changes, the band has settled into a core trio that features its founder and frontman, Nial Madden, a longtime guitarist, who switched to bass on most of the material that comprises their most recent effort, EP III and multi-instrumentalist Bridget Fitzgerald. Naturally, with a lineup change, its common for a band to have a corresponding change of songwriting approach and sonic direction — and in the case of the JOVM mainstays, their sound had generally leaned heavily in the direction of New Order, Primal Scream and Nine Inch Nails-like synth pop/synth rock, featuring the occasional violin arrangement; however, EP III’s latest single “Sunsetting” may arguably be the most summery single they’ve released to date, while finding the band expanding upon their sound with the song seemingly nodding at Avalon-era Roxy Music, thanks to James McElwaine’s soulful and sultry saxophone lines, 80s synth funk and contemporary electro pop in a slick, seamless fashion.

Directed by Deviant Children Productions’ Nicholas Ortiz, the recently released video features the band and James McElwaine performing the song in an 80s-like night club and stars Krystal Pizarro, Sasha A Wilson and  Aleks Ivanovic, some fuzzy VHS-like tape hiss and static, a car chase and some steamy, late night hooking up between two of the video’s protagonists — all of which evoke wild, Miami Vice-like summer nights in the city.

Currently comprised of the band’s founding duo Julian Ducatenzeiler (vocals, guitar) and Tony Malacara (bass), along with newest members  Shane Stotsenberg (guitar), Cameron Gartung (drums) and Ignacio Gonzalez (organs), the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act Mystic Braves can trace their origins to when Ducantenzeiler and Malacara formed the band in San Diego in 2011. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes but their current lineup was solidified in 2013 when Ducantenzeiler and Malacara relocated to Los Angeles, where they recruited Stotsenberg and Gartung. As a quartet featuring Ducatenzeiler, Malacara, Stotsenberg and Gartung, the band had begun writing material and touring while searching for a full-time organist  when they found Gonzalez.

Mystic Braves’ fourth album, The Great Unknown is slated for an August 17, 2018 release through Lolipop Records, and the soon-to-be released album found the band recruiting Kyle Mullarky, who has worked with The Growlers and The Allah-Las. The band spent a week at Mullarky’s Topanga Canyon, CA studio exploring new sounds and approaches and cutting demos, and as the band’s Julian Ducatenzelier says in press notes, “We just wanted to work with him to help shape the songs creatively, but he ended up being so great to work with that we just stuck with him.”

After recording somewhere between 30-40 demos at Mullarky’s studio, the band returned to their hometown, holing up in Lolipop Records‘ new office/studio/living quarters in the Boyle Heights section to record the final versions of the songs that would comprise The Great Escape. “We spent three days a week at Lolipop for about a month and a half, all living together, writing, recording, grilling, drinking too much tequila and coffee,” Ducatenzelier recalls. “We decided to get a little experimental—some of the songs came out sort of country and some were super funky, almost like James Brown.”

Sonically, the material channels The Seeds, The Zombies, The Kinks and others — but while earnestly maintaining a unique sense of individuality, which Ducatenzelier attributes to the album’s deeply personal nature. “A lot of this record comes from a breakup,” he explains. “It deals with the end of past relationships, with knowing that things should end, and figuring out how to cope with the loss.”

The album’s latest single “Under Control” is a shimmering bit of lysergic-tinged bubblegum pop centered around some timeless rock ‘n’ roll tropes: the inevitable end of a romantic relationship, the desperate attempt to move forward as time passes by, the acknowledgement that many things in life are unresolved and unfulfilled — and of life’s fleeting nature. Of course, the song naturally has the band balancing between a swaggering and hook-laden arrangement reminiscent of The CastawaysLiar Liar” with an earnest and familiar heartache.

The members of Mystic Braves are currently touring across Europe to support their new album, which they’ll follow up with al lengthy US tour throughout the fall that includes a September 15, 2018 stop at Rough Trade. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates 
August 6 – Molotow – Hamburg, Germany
August 7 – Bestpol – Dresden, Germany
August 9 – Paradiso – Amsterdam, Netherlands
August 10 – Borderline – London, UK
August 11 – Bodega – Nottingham, UK
August 12 – Buddha Blood – Brighton, UK
August 17 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA
August 18 – Velvet Jones – Santa Barbara, CA
August 22 – Casbah – San Diego, CA
August 23 – Wayfarer – Costa Mesa, CA
August 25 – Pappy & Harriets – Pioneertown, CA
August 29 – Harlow’s – Sacramento, CA
August 31 – The Chapel – San Francisco, CA
September 1 – The Loving Cup – Reno, NV
September 7 – High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI
September 8 – The Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
September 13 – BSP – Kingston, NY
September 15 – Rough Trade – Brooklyn, NY
September 17 – Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT
September 21 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
September 22 – DC9 – Washington D.C.
September 26 – White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX
September 27 – Dada Dallas – Dallas, TX
September 28 – Mohawk – Austin, TX
September 29 – Paper Tiger – San Antonio, TX
September 30 – Ethos Live – Laredo, TX
October 3 – Lowbrow Palace – El Paso, TX
October 4 – Cans – Tucson, AZ
October 5 – Taos Mesa Brewing – Taos, NM
October 6 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO
October 7 – Surfside 7 – Fort Collins, CO
October 9 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
October 10 – Neurolux – Boise, ID
October 12 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
October 13 – Astoria – Vancouver, Canada
October 14 – Sunset Tavern – Seattle, WA

 

Over the past 12-18 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about Rodes Rollins, a Boulder, CO-born singer/songwriter, who spent a stint living abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is now primarily based in New York, and as you may recall, she quickly emerged into the national scene with “Young and Thriving,” the first single off her critically applauded debut EP Young Adult, an incredibly self-assured effort written as a portrait of an artist as a young woman, in which the narrator looks back at her most formative experiences with a nostalgic yet wizened flashback of sorts — with the perspective of someone, who now sees how her decisions for better or for worse, planned or serendipitous have influenced who she has become and where her life is at this moment.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Nasty Woman,” a bold and self-assured feminist anthem that according to Rollins was largely centered on empowerment and pride, while focusing on ” . . .the multi-dimensionality of what it means to be a woman in society — being who you are, as you are; and being proud of that. This song is not presented from only my singular perspective, or through just one medium. The very point of what I’m trying to express is that being a woman shouldn’t be a restrictive identity, but rather a broad and inclusive one.” Sonically, the song is based around a bluesy and reverb-y guitar line, propulsive drumming from Portugal, The Man’s Kane Ritchotee an infectious hook and Rollins’ sultry cooed vocals — and while sultry, the song lyrically features inclusive and intersectional lyrics.

Rollins’ latest single “Boom Pow” is centered around a circular, hypnotic guitar riff and African-inspired percussion and rhythms, and an infectious hook paired around the New York-based singer/songwriter’s sultry and self-assured vocals. Sonically, the song finds the JOVM mainstay pushing her sound in a new direction — but while retaining the essential elements of the sound and approach that captured the attention of the blogosphere. As Rollins says of the song “‘Boom Pow’ is a song inspired by a wide array of influences from Tinariwen to Jane Birkin. I write Americana inspired music and felt compelled to explore the different influences of the Americana genre by showcasing West African-tinged percussion and rhythms. I’m excited to showcase a different side of my sound with this song. I really feel like I’m covering different territory with this one.”

Rollins is playing a free set at Elsewhere’s Rooftop. And you can RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/231823890926934.

Over the course of 2017, I wrote quite a bit about the  San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based sibling duo Cones, and as you may recall, the duo, which is comprised of Jonathan Rosen, an acclaimed, pop music influenced, hand-drawn animator, who has created music videos for the likes Toro y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger and Delicate Steve,  and played Johnny Thunders on the HBO series Vinyl; and Micheal Rosen, a classically trained pianist, commercial and film composer and experimental sound artist, can trace the origins of the band to when they began playing together as members of New York-based indie rock band Icewater, an act that eventually became the session and touring band for Eleanor Friedberger’s New View. As the story goes, while touring with Friedberger, the Rosens began to conceptualize what their new project would sound like, ultimately deciding that their project would fuse Jonathan’s pop sensibilities with Michael’s lush, atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard-based instrumentation.

After the New View tour ended, the Rosen Brothers along with a collection of friends, associates and collaborators wrote and recorded the material that would comprise their debut EP Whatever You’re Into, which featured the 70s AM radio-like “Echoes On,” and the breezy “Back In The Brain,” an ode to solitude. “Later,” was arguably one of their most dance floor friendly tracks but ironically, was about when someone has begun to find some semblance of peace after a breakup — but with some of the bitterness still hanging around. While “First Time,” found the band nodding towards breezy Pavo Pavo-like bubblegum pop.

Recently, the JOVM mainstays signed to Dangerbird Records and to celebrate that occasion and a Bootleg Theater residency, the sibling duo released their latest single, the shimmering, arpeggiated synth-led “Run the Risk,” a track that decidedly sounds as though it were inspired by Steely Dan and Billy Joel. In particular, “Movin’ Out,” which interestingly enough I mentioned in an earlier post, as well as “Peg” and “Ricky Don’t Lose That Number” come to mind. And while centered around slick production and thoughtful craft, the song continues a run of breezy and sincere material.

Check out their Bootleg Theater Residency dates below.

 

Live Dates

8/06: Bootleg Theater w/ Pavo Pavo, Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator
8/13: Bootleg Theater w/ Lily McQueen, Palm Springsteen
8/16: Taix in the Champagne Room – Echo Park Rising
8/20: Bootleg Theater w/ Malcolm Oliver Perkins, Lisa Sonoda

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Fronted by primary songwriter and creative mastermind, Camella Agabalyan, the London-based, up-and-coming shoegaze quintet Cosmic Strip have described their work as “music to watch girls by, music to move the stars,” and “Heavenly,” the latest single from the band’s debut EP is a mesmerizing and anthemic track, centered by dexterous and shimmering power chords and soaring hook — and although some have compared the band and their sound to the likes of Beach House and Alvvays, to my ears, the band’s sound reminds me a bit of Wolf Alice and Lightfoils, but as the band says, the song is “. . . dedicated to the addictive feeling of your first love.”

The band has started to receive a attention from the blogosphere and as a result of a growing profile, the members of the band have made an appearance at The Great Escape  and are in the middle of a UK tour that includes a Wildness Festival set tonight. If you’re in the UK, check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
03 Aug – Wilderness Festival
24 Aug – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
25 Aug – Night & Day Café, Manchester
27 Aug – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds (This Must Be The Place Festival)
31 Aug – Sebright Arms, London (EP launch party)

 

 

 

Comprised of Nick Rose and Dan Griffin, the Toronto-based pop duo Teen Ravine can trace their origins to a series of apartment-based studio collaborations begun back in the spring of 2016. Since then, the duo has specialized in work that they describe as thematically focusing on  Gen Y’s struggle between the desire for and the fear of intimacy that ironically has explored through material they wrote and recorded in their bedrooms. We all want to get close to another — but not too close, out of a fear of getting hurt, an inability to discern our true desires or for some other more dysfunctional reason. And while the duo claim that it’s a particular struggle for their generation, I can tell you from experience that unfortunately, it’s not; it’s frustratingly part of the human condition.

Rose and Griffin’s full-length debut  is slate, and for release at the end of this month, and the album’s latest single “Bad Dream” sonically draws from 70s AM Rock and late 70s and early 80s singer/songwriter pop centered around a hook-laden, breezy yet soulful arrangement of Rhodes piano, fuzzy synths, a sinuous bass line, propulsive drumming and as a result the song recalls Billy Joel’s heyday — think “Movin’ Out,”  and “Captain Jack,Carole King and list of others.  And much like those songs, the duo’s latest single focuses a bit on seeking comfort and pleasure in sadness, because — well, it’s yours; but underneath that is the sense that the song’s narrator has spent his time obsessively picking at emotional scabs until they’re left raw and oozing, instead of taking time to let them heal in any significant way.

 

New Audio: Ron Gallo Returns with an Ironic Yet Contented Philosophy on Life in New Single

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a bit about Ron Gallo, a  Philadelphia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, whose musical career began in earnest with an eight year stint as the frontman of Philadelphia-based band  Toy Soldiers, an act that initially began as a guitar and drum duo that at one point featured 12 members, before ending as a quintet. Gallo’s 2016 full-length debut HEAVY META was largely inspired by the end of romantic relationship with a deeply troubled woman. Once that relationship ended, Gallo moved to Nashville, recorded an album’s worth of material during a period that he has since considered a deeply transformative period of his life. Interestingly, Gallo initially wrote and recorded the album’s material in small batches without the support of a label — and without the intention of even making an album; however, the material he wrote wound up touching upon a number of themes within his life, including his own personal ideology on abstaining from drugs and alcohol, self-empowerment, domestication, dead and unhappy love, not truly knowing yourself and the thing that could happen to you when you don’t, mental illness from the perspective of a sufferer and an observer, and a burning almost misanthropic frustration with humanity and civilization. And yet, there’s some level of optimism.  As Gallo said in press notes at the time, “this record comes from my frustration with humanity and myself, and from my wanting to shake us all. At my core, I’m compassionate for humanity and the sickness that we all live with, and from that comes something more constructive.”

HEAVY META’s follow-up Really Nice Guys EP was released earlier this year, and the EP was a concept EP largely inspired by the previous year in Gallo’s life in which he was busy touring and promoting his full-length debut with the material being a satirical commentary on the contemporary music industry; in fact, the EP featured songs about rough mixes, (broken into three parts — iPhone demo, live band demo and overproduced, autotuned to death studio recording), the weird inability for those within the music industry to honestly admit that someone is just awful at music, so everyone winds up saying, “well, they’re really nice guys . . .” and the number of friends asking to be put on the guestlist so that you can never really make money off a show.

Slated for an October 5, 2018 release, Gallo’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Stardust Birthday Party is largely inspired by a life-altering, seismic shift in Gallo’s life: as the story goes, the deeply troubled women he was with and left before writing his solo debut, had taken a trip to South America, found a healer and miraculously got herself and her life together in 2016. Understandably, such news had piqued Gallo’s interest and he began reading and searching for a more inward path for his own mental and spiritual development. Earlier this year, on a whim, he booked a trip to California for a silent meditation retreat. Despite his initial discomfort, Gallo reportedly experienced a profound experience that quickly became the answer for his existential searching — and the thematic core of the album: how inner transformation impacts both the outside world and your perception of it.

Or, as Ron Gallo says in a statement about the album:

“Stardust Birthday Party is about human evolution. Specifically, one humans evolution: mine, Ron Gallo.  That’s the name my parents gave me. Hi.
At one point, I was a very lost mid-twenties person living in Philadelphia, in a relationship with someone struggling with mental health issues and crippling heroin addiction. I was asleep. I didn’t know how to handle my life. I was also writing songs for HEAVY META – my “frustrated with humanity” album. I laugh about it all now, but at the time it all felt like an absolute nightmare. It was the perfect doorway to look inside the place I’d been avoiding forever: myself.
Stardust Birthday Party is about what is happening underneath all of this life stuff. My path inward. The details of my path are pointless because everyone’s path is different. It is about me sitting with myself for the first time and confronting the big question “WHAT AM I, REALLY?” It’s about the love and compassion for all things that enters when you find out you are nothing and everything. I think at one point I wanted to change the world, but now I know I can only change myself, or rather just strip away everything that is not me to reveal the only thing that’s ever been there. And that’s what this album is about, it’s me dancing while destroying the person I thought I was, and hopefully forever.
In the liner notes of John Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme (which we pay tribute to on this album) he wrote: ‘During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.’
That’s it.  That is the pure essence of creativity. Someone embodying what they have realized about themselves and the world that surrounds them. That is why this album exists. ”

Stardust Birthday Party’s latest single “It’s All Gonna Be Okay,” is an angular ripper centered around two disparate things — a relishing of life’s ironies with a bemused yet accepting smile, as though saying “well, we’re all small, ridiculous and powerless to the larger forces in the universe that will kill us eventually and that’s okay.” But along with that the song points out a larger connection to everyone and everything, suggesting that the only way the world can even begin the change is if every individual seriously take a look at their own fucked up shit. Until then, well — more of the same, I guess?

Baltimore, MD-based alt rock/indie rock quintet Super City, which is comprised of Dan Ryan (lead vocals, guitar) Greg Wellham, (lead vocals guitar), Brian Brunsman (bass, vocals), Jon Birkholz (guitar, keys, vocals), and Ian Viera (drums, vocals) has developed a reputation for a hook-laden sound that draws from heavy rock and prog rock — but with a pop-leaning sensibility; in fact, “Sanctuary,” the album title track off their forthcoming Sanctuary recalls the arena rock bombast of Muse and Rush, as well as Milemarker as the track is centered around arpeggiated synths, explosive, power chords and an uncanny melodic sense.

The band has two upcoming live dates and will be making a national tour to support the new album upon its release; but in the meantime, check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
August 10th – SoHo House – New York, NY
August 31st – Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, DC

 

 

Livia Blanc is a French-born, Tahiti-rased, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, who has received attention for specializing in a subtly modern take on classic chanteuse pop that at points recalls Edith Piaf and references Brigitte Bardot and Francoise Hardy.Building upon a growing profile, Blanc’s debut EP Amour Amour was released earlier this summer — and the EP’s latest single, closing track “It’s Over Isn’t It,” is a gorgeous, Broadway meets pop standard featuring an arrangement of twinkling piano, soaring strings and strummed guitar paired with Blanc’s gorgeous vocals singing lyrics that serve as a bittersweet farewell to old lovers, old memories and old heartbreaks that immediately brings to mind an old Vera Lynn tune, “Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart.

As Blanc says in press notes, “The songs that make up Amour Amour are written like a collection of love letters, spoken from the heart with sincerity. Love hurts, and we have all been there. This EP tells the story of the end of a relationship and is in itself the end of a chapter.” And while the song is in itself an end, there’s a subtle reminder that “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end,” as a song once wisely said.