Category: New Audio

Earlier this year, I wrote about Czarface, a collaborative project featuring renowned, underground hip-hop duo 7L & Esoteric and the Wu-Tang Clan‘s Inspectah Deck. The act derives its name from a character they created that’s patterned after both comic book villains and aspects of each of the individual members. Now, as you may recall, the act can trace its origins to when the trio together, which lead to “Speaking Real Words” off 7L & Esoteric’s 2001 album, The Soul Purpose and “12th Chamber” off their 2010 album, 1212, and a number of other singles. And since the group’s formation back in 2013, they’ve released four critically applauded albums — their 2013 self-titled debut, 2015’s Every Hero Needs a Villain, 2016’s A Fistful of Peril and their collaboration with MF DoomCzarface Meets Metalface, which was released earlier this year.

Czarface follows their critically applauded collaboration with MF Doom by teaming with Ghostface Killah, a.k.a. Iron Man, a.k.a. Tony Starks on their forthcoming collaborative effort Czarface Meets Ghostface. The album’s first single “Iron Claw” features dope emcees trading swaggering bars about running crime syndicates, taking over the world, being the dopest around and more over a thumping and menacing production featuring enormous 808-like beats, a chopped up vocal sample and arpeggiated organs. Simply put this one is straight fire, as it features some of the world’s best emcees challenging each other to push their talents and skills in a new, exciting directions.

 

 

 

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Over the past few years of this site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based indie rock trio Psychic Love, and as you may recall the act, which features Laura Peters (vocals), Max Harrison (guitar) and Liam McCormick (bass) has described their sound as “dream grunge” and “as if Nancy Sinatra had a love child with Frank Black.” Up until the release of “Go Away Green,” a song that both derives its name and its influence from a very odd yet very true fact — that at Disney them parks, the things they don’t want patrons noticing are painted in a shade of green that they’ve dubbed “Go Away Green.”

Sonically, that single was a decided expansion of the sound and songwriting approach that first caught my attention as the song was a shape shifter that began with a cacophony of noise that recalled Pearl Jam’s Vs. before quickly morphing into a slow-burning and atmospheric track with a rousingly anthemic hook that recalls Concrete Blonde and JOVM mainstays Oddnesse. The band closes out 2018 with their newest single, “One & Two,” which sounds indebted to Ennio Morricone soundtracks as its centered around reverb-drenched, twangy guitars, dramatic drumming, a gorgeous horn arrangement and a soaring hook. And while the song may arguably be the most cinematic song in their growing catalog, it manages to recall Still Corners’ gorgeous Slow Air. Interestingly, as the band explains, their latest single “is a restless song about how communications bend and warp, especially in this new frontier, where nothing is as it seems.”

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of their debut single “Fourteen,” earlier this year, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Beverly Kills quickly received attention for a decidedly post-punk inspired sound. However, with “Melodrama,” the band’s sound moved towards the shimmering dream pop of 4AD Records with a subtle post-punk take. The up-and-coming Swedish trio end 2018 with “Dreamless,” which continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor — shimmering guitar-led dream pop with enormous, rousing hooks.

 

 

New Audio: Introducing the Synth-Led Funk of Sydney’s Winston Surfshirt

With the release of their full-length debut Sponge Cake, which featured their recently gold-certified debut single “Be About You,” the Sydney, Australia-based sextet Winston Surfshirt was championed by Beats 1 Radio host Zane Lowe, KRCW’s Jason Bentley, BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart, BBC Radio 6’s Lauren Laverne and Elton John, thanks in part to a Australian sextet’s unique and slickly produced blend of synth funk, soul and hip-hop. Adding to a growing profile, Sponge Cake was named a Triple J feature album. 

Building upon a growing national and international profile, the up-and-coming Sydney-based act end 2018 with a new track, the chilled out yet swaggering funky synth-led “For The Record,” which pairs a sleek hip hop-tinged production of thumping beats, arpeggiated synths, crooning horns and neo-soul like vocals. Sonically, the song brings a number of different artists — Thundercat, Timbaland and Dam-Funk immediately come to mind. “‘For The Record’ is a song written for anyone from the perspective of their loved ones, family or friends,” the members of the band explain in press notes. “When you’re feeling down there’s always people who love you and would do anything to make you feel better and be there when you’re in a bad headspace.”

New Video: Acclaimed Singer-Songwriter Alice Phoebe Lou Releases a Trippy 70s Inspired Single from Forthcoming Sophomore Album

Over the past year, I’ve written a bit about the Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alice Phoebe Lou. And as you may recall, Lou grew up in a rather creative home — her parents were documentary filmmakers, who took the budding artist to piano lessons as a child. As a teenager, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist taught herself guitar. The summer she turned 16, Lou went to Paris to visit her aunt. Armed with an acoustic guitar, the young artist met a number of that city’s buskers and street performers — with some of them teaching her poi dancing. 

Upon completing her schooling, Lou returned to Europe, first landing in  Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer. She then relocated to Berlin, where she became a well-regarded busker and developed a reputation for a fiercely independent, punk rock-like DIY approach to her career. With the release of 2014’s self-released debut EP, Lou began receiving international attention, eventually spending the following year performing at a number of TED events in London and Berlin. Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, Lou released her full-length debut Orbit in 2016. The album garnered a nomination for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards and a set at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda. She ended the year, touring on bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, Allen Stone and Crystal Fighters, as well as three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium. Those Berlin Planetarium shows were so much in demand that she added two additional planetarium shows to her 2017 itinerary. 

Besides touring, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has had the live version of “She” amassed over 4 million views on YouTube and was featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Heady Lamar Story — all before the studio version of the single was even recorded or released. Additionally, Lou spent time working on her much-anticipated, Noah Georgeson-produced sophomore effort Paper Castles, which is slated for a March 8, 2019 release. And as Lou explains, the album is “about nostalgia, about growing into a woman, about the pain and beauty of the past, about feeling small and insignificant but finding that to be powerful and beautiful, about acknowledging that childhood is over but bringing some of it with you.”

The album’s first single is a slow-burning, 70s AM rock and 70s soul-like “Something Holy.” Centered around a shimmering guitar line, hushed drumming, a sinuous hook, a psychedelic tinged bridge and Lou’s aching vocals, the song is a deeply introspective and unvarnished look into the narrator’s complicated relationships with sex, love, men and herself. As Lou says, the song reflects “the moment that I managed to get over the main hurdle of my past traumas with sex, with men and with my own deeper understanding of intimacy and what it means to be intimate.” Sonically speaking, the song reminds me quite a bit of Amber Arcades’ European Heartbreak. 

Made by Manners Studio is a heady mix of brightly colored, cinematically shot footage of young people brooding and looking bored in a stylish chamber room, animation and Lou earnestly performing the song. 

Comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Graham Brockmiller (vocals, guitar), Michael Pozzi (guitar). Tricky (drums) and Justin Ricard (bass), the Los Angeles-based indie rock act Yacht Punk can trace their origins to when Brockmiller’s previous band Great White Buffalo had broken up. As the story goes, Brockmiller was laying on the floor of his unfinished basement studio in the Beachwood Canyon section, unsure of what would or should come next. But he did realize that it was time to go off on his own — and he spent the next year holed up in his studio by himself, contemplating life, writing, collecting nude calendars of Eastern European women suggestively holding large trophy carp and experimenting with the raw recording skills he had taught himself. Eventually, he began exploring new sounds and textures outside the traditional rock and indie rock arrangements of guitar, drums, bass as a way to test his DIY recording chops, as well as a way to find a more interesting, moodier sound.

Graham was tinkering with early Yacht Punk demos when he had a chance meeting with Michael Pozzi at Davey Wayne‘s. Pozzi quickly joined the project after the studio and hearing the direction the music was going. Graham’s roommate Tricky joined, followed by Justin Ricard, which completed the band’s lineup. The quartet took those demos to Matt Wignall‘s Tackyland studio, where they recorded “Hang Me Out to Dry” — and Wignall pushed the band’s sound into new, stranger places. They then took the Wignall-produced tracks back to L.A. where Will Brierre mixed and engineered them.

The band’s previous single “Need a Reason” was featured on Spotify’s New Noise and Fresh Finds playlists. And with a growing buzz surrounding the band,  their latest single “New Wave Denier” will further cement their reputation for crafting incredibly self-assured, slick, pop-inspired indie rock centered around rousingly anthemic hooks and earnest sentiment. Although this particular song is fueled by a sense of youthful disillusionment. As the band’s Brockmiller explains in press notes, their latest single “is about disillusionment and being over mainstream music. I wanted to capture the feeling of being young and disillusioned by life, by love, and by current and/or popular music. The sense of being unable to relate to your peers, the sense of searching for something more meaningful, and ultimately finding identity and belonging in the music from a past generation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luvia is an up-and-coming Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, who has received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that she describes on her Facebook  page as a mix of Lana Del Rey, Mazzy Star and a hint of Stevie Nicks, brining together a tender ethereal, acoustic sound. Lyrically, the up-and-coming, British pop artist is inspired by spoken word poetry and story-telling — in particular, she’s been deeply influenced by stories of people, who have given into their guilty pleasures and have taken that proverbial walk on the wild side. Luvia’s latest single is the noir-ish “Love Lust,” centered around the young British artist’s achingly tender vocals and an atmospheric and slow-burning production featuring dramatic drumming, twinkling keys and a soaring hook. Sonically, the track bears an uncanny resemblance to JOVM mainstays ACES as it evokes a cinematic air, that recalls 80s movie soundtracks; but interestingly enough the song seems to capture

As Luvia explains in press notes, “’Love Lust’ is a reflection of what it was like growing up for me but also a lot of people I know. Lots of feeling numb and having a lot to deal with and doing things to feel something or anything. I think that’s where the main line ‘even if it kills me it makes us feel alive, even if it thrills me we might as well just try’ came from, an act of teenage thrill seeking perhaps. Although on the flip side the song is also about growing away from that and finding a way to come alive and wake up from the darker side of things and from the dull day to day.”

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Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-and-coming Northern Ireland-born, Dublin, Ireland-based duo Saint Sister. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntrye can trace their origins to when they met while studying at the University of Dublin. They bonded over their mutual desire to create music that represented both their friendship and their “us against the world” mentality. Building upon a growing national and international profile, the duo’s Alex Ryan-produced full-length debut Shape of Silence was released earlier this year, and from album single “Steady,” the duo showcased their ability to craft an atmospheric Portishead-inspired sound centered around the duo’s gorgeous and ethereal yet heartfelt vocals.

Recently, two of Dublin’s up-and-coming underground artistrs Irish DJ and producer Kormac along with Dublin-based emcee Jafaris collaborated with the members of Saint Sister on a subtle remix/reworking of “Causing Trouble” that’s centered around the same shimmering and looped harp sample; however, while the original features big, thumping beats, the remix relies on hi-hat and shuffling beats, which puts a greater emphasis on Doherty and MacIntyre’s gorgeous vocals and Jafaris’ swaggering yet sensitive verses. And it’s done in a way in which all three vocalists sit side by side without interference — and in a way that feels natural and unhurried.  As a result, the remix finds the collaborators pushing Saint Sister’s sound more towards the direction of Tricky and Massive Attack. Interestingly, the collaboration can came about when Three Ireland invited each artist to create visually stunning music videos for one of their songs for their #MadebyMusic initiative.

“It’s good to get out of your own head and collaborate with other people, and it’s something we really enjoy doing. This one felt like it really clicked, each individual voice brought something so different,” the members of Saint Sister say in press notes. “When Kormac first sent through the remix it was like hearing it in a new context with a new lease of life. Hearing Jafaris’ verses for the first time was another brilliant moment. And playing it live is the best part. They bring so much energy to every performance, it’s always a joy to stand beside them on stage.”

“I love the idea of blending two really different artists tonality together to create something a bit different.  Producing this one was a lovely challenge as it was all about creating a space where Saint Sister’s gorgeous melodies and harmonies and Jafaris’ vocals, his delivery could sit side by side,” Kormac says of the remix in press note. “The initial idea just came from playing my piano to a glitchy loop created from one of Gemma’s harp lines. From there, it was all about bringing the sub bass to the fore and creating a couple of drops to really announce Jafaris’ vocals when they came in.”

Neta Tia Ellis is a Tel Aviv, Israel-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, producer, visual artist and experimental pop artist, who has received attention for crafting eerily minimalist electro pop with her solo recording project Tesha. Ellis’ soon-to-be released debut EP Growing Pains II is slated for release later this week, and the EP’s latest single, opening track “Funeral” is an eerily haunted track centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, dirge-like drumming and Ellis’ ethereal crooning.    While possessing a cinematic air, the song is intimate and deeply personal in a way that brings Us-era Peter Gabriel to mind — but with a decidedly positive undertone to it.

Ellis admits in press notes that “This song is about my mom’s funeral. It was very sunny outside, and I knew she wanted me to laugh about this. She definitely didn’t want me to get stuck on the loss, but it hurt and it was also funny at the same time because I was comforting all of her devastated patients (which is why all the contrast in the lyrics exist).”  She goes deeper into the outcome of the song by stating “You might be down, deep in a shitpit, so deep that you can’t see anything positive. But these heartbreaks make us stronger and they will unveil their purpose with time.”

 

New Audio: Hamilton Ontario’s Ellevator Releases a Dramatic and Bittersweet New Single

Earlier this year, I caught the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock quartet Ellevator on a bill that featured JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin. And as you amy recall, the band which is comprised of Nabi Sue Bersche, Elliot Gwynne, Michael Boyd, and Tyler Bersche specialize in a muscular yet meticulous take on pop centered around Nabi Sue Bersche’s raw lyricism and an incredibly cinematic sound.

2018 has been a big year for the Hamilton, Ontario-based quartet: they’ve amassed over a million streams across all the streaming platforms, and they’ve gone on a run of successful tours across North America opening for Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good and BANNERS, as well as a stadium show with Cold War Kids, Bishop Briggs and Arkells. And adding to a successful year, Ellevator will be opening for Amber Run during their December North American tour, which includes a December 8, 2018 stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. You can check out the tour dates below. 

“The Storm,” the Canadian indie quartet’s new single is centered by Nabi Sue Bersche’s tender and aching vocals, an enormous, power chord-led hook, arpeggiated synths and a propulsive rhythm section and a deliberate attention to craft that recalls 70s AM rock — with a slick, contemporary vibe. As the band explains, the single is “an apology and an explanation. It’s the turmoil in our personal skies caused by ending the relationship. It’s a reminder that I care about you, and that you can’t seek comfort in me anymore. Trust that I know you well enough to rightly believe we’re not each other’s sun and stars – but don’t trust me – because I’m breaking your heart.” The song possesses the bittersweet air of a relationship at its inevitable end and an uncertain but necessary future.