Category: New Audio

With the release of “Don’t Act Like a Stranger” and “Try To Fight” earlier this year, the San Francisco, CA-based electro pop act Cathedrals, comprised of Brodie Jenkins (vocals) and Johnny Hwin (production) have developed a reputation for crafting anthemic, swooning, 80s-inspired synth pop with a radio friendly/arena friendly vibe. And the duo’s latest single “With You” which features Jenkins gorgeous, pop star belter-like vocals paired with a production featuring strummed guitar, reverb-filled drum programming, swirling electronics and shimmering synths, will further cement their reputation for anthemic pop — with “With You” arguably being the most urgent, yet aching single they’ve released to date. As the duo explain of the song “‘With You’ is a song very special to us, especially during these times of turmoil, about finding sanctuary in the person you love. That sense of comfort and peace you find when someone ‘feels like home’ to you. It is a different mood than the last 2 singles, with a dreamier almost melancholy bent — a bit of a harken back to their first EP.”

 

 
 
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With the release of her first two critically applauded and commercially successful albums I Predict A Graceful Expulsion! and Neuroplasticiy, the Canadian-Somali, Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein and her solo recording project Cold Specks received national and international attention and as a result, Hussein’s first two albums received nominations for the Polaris Music Prize and she also received a Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, with the release of Graceful Expulsion! And in between writing, recording and touring, Hussein had been busy as a hotly-desired collaborator, working with Moby, Joni Mitchell and Herbie HancockSwans and others.

Now, it’s been about two years since I’ve last written about Hussein but the renowned singer/songwriter had been very busy. After spending a portion of 2015 and 2016 touring to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned back to Toronto, where she began work on her forthcoming third full-length album. “Wild Card,” the still officially unnamed album’s first single is largely inspired by the refugee experience.  “There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had travelled from Somalia to Canada. By water and by foot he had travelled half way around the world to establish a better life for himself and his family who were still at home,” Hussein explains. “My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why’.

Produced by Jim Anderson at Toronto’s Easy Life Studio, the single features Arcade Fire‘s Tim Kingsbury playing bass on a hauntingly sparse arrangement and melody. Certainly, the latest track will further cement Hussein’s reputation for being an fearlessly uncompromising and emotionally direct; in this case, the single possesses a subtle but palpably weary ache underlined with simple yet profound joys — the profound joy of being treated kindly when you are “a traveler, a man from far away,” as Paul Salopek once wrote.

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Chelsea Wolfe Returns with Her Most Punishing and Feral Song To Date

Chelsea Wolfe is a California-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who with the release of 2010’s The Grime and the Glow, 2011’s Apokalypsis, 2013’s Pain Is Beauty and 2015’s Abyss Wolfe received attention both across the blogosphere and nationally for a sound that meshes elements of gothic rock, folk, neofolk, electronica and metal while thematically digging beneath the ugliness, messiness and pain of the world to get to the beauty underneath; in fact as a result, her music has been featured in the promotional material for several TV series, including Game of Thrones, Fear the Walking Dead and How to Get Away with Murder. 

Reportedly inspired by a Henry Miller quote “What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can opener in his hand, wondering where to begin — to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it,” Wolfe’s forthcoming sixth full length album, Hiss Spun the California-born and based singer/songwriter and guitarist adopts Miller’s quest to become empowered by embracing the mess of the self, to control the tumult of the soul in hopes of reigning in the chaos of the world around oneself. Interestingly enough as Wolfe explains in press notes, she had wanted to write some sort of escapist music; songs that were just about being in your body and getting free; however, “you’re just bombarded with constant bad news, people getting fucked over and kill for shitty reasons or no reason at all, and it seems like the world has been in tears for months, and then you remember it’s been fucked for a long time, it’s been fucked since the beginning. It’s overwhelming and I have to write about it.” 

Recorded by Kurt Ballou in Salem, MA during the beginning of this year, Hiss Spun was reportedly inspired by a brutally cold New England winter, major upheavals in Wolfe’s personal life, Wolfe coming to terms with years of vulnerability, anger, self-destruction and a dark family history and its weight upon her and her life and as a result, the material may arguably be the heaviest, darkest and most feral Wolfe has ever written. Additionally, long-time collaborator Ben Chisholm contributes swaths of sound collages recorded while the artist and her backing and were on tour — the rumble of street construction while they were on tour in Prague; the howl of a coyote outside Wolfe’s home; the scrape of machinery on a floor of a warehouse at a down-and-out friend’s workplace, as well as samples from the bomb blasts of the Enola Gay, the shrieks and mating calls of primates, the fluttering pages of a book of Walt Whitman’s poetry are all manipulated and seamlessly placed within the music. The overall effect was to be a cathartic emotional purge and as you’ll hear on “16 Psyche,” the latest single off Hiss Spun, the song manages to sound as though it draws from the work of Tool and A Perfect Circle with an oceanic quality — but underneath the pummeling drumming and roaring distortion-heavy guitars and anthemic hooks, is an earnest, palpable ache and yearning. 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years, you’ve likely come across a few posts featuring the Gold Coast, Australia-based indie rock sextet and JOVM mainstays FAIRCHILD. Over that period of time, the Australian up-and-comers have released three EPs with singles “Relevance” and “Start Again” landing on Spotify’s Viral 50 and FMQB SubModern Charts in the US. And adding to a national and international profile, the band comprised of siblings Adam Lyons (vocals) and Nathan Lyons (keys), along with Tim Voeten (guitar), Patrick Huerto (guitar), Tommy Davies (bass) and James Alexander (drums) have toured across Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and North America, including showcases during Canadian Music Week and Music Maters Live, and while on tour in the UK they’ve opened for  The Human League and MOTHXR.

Now, it’s been about a year since I’ve last written about them and as it turned out, the past year has been rather busy for the band. After spending an intense two year period in Manchester, UK where they focused on performing, touring and finishing their highly-anticipated Catherine Marks-produced full-length debut So Long and Thank You, the band returned to their homeland, where they are set to share the album and the experiences that influenced the material with the world. The album’s latest single, album title track “So Long and Thank You” was written after the death of guitarist Tim Voeten’s father, and reportedly the song is meant to show the septet’s gratitude for all of the people they’ve had in their lives, especially those who have loved, supported and sometimes left them. As the band’s Voeten explains in press notes “‘So Long and Thank You’ was written in different sections, by different members of the band, but with teh same person in mind — my father. When I hear this song, of course I think about my Dad, but I also remember that it helped cement in me my love for making music with these people. During those long nights in the studio, I knew it was okay to not be okay. I’d show up with some half-baked idea and we’d have a few drinks and mess around with it. I never knew one of those half-baked ideas would become ‘So Long and Thank You.’ There isn’t a single sound on this record that can’t simply be put down to enjoying writing music with your friends.”

Of course, the new single will further cement the Australian sextet’s growing reputation for crafting hook-laden, arena rock-friendly synth-rock that possesses a rare and forceful sincerity — and it’s the sort of sincerity that has come from a live full of soaring highs, crushing lows, of love and profound loss, of friendships gained and lost; in fact, for such a relatively young band, the song reveals a swaggering self-assuredness of old vets, who make it seem far easier than it looks.

 

 

 

 

 

Amelia Airhorn is an unique collaboration between the New York-based blogosphere champion electronic music production and artist duo The Knocks and nu-disco producer Skyler Spence. As the story goes, the trio connected when Spence opened for The Knocks during their Feel Good Feel Great, North American headlining tour, and when the tour finished they spent time working at the The Knocks’ HeavyRoc Studio mixing snippets of classic soul and disco with YouTube apocrypha and random bits of obscure, movie dialogue — and as you’ll hear on the trio’s loving homage to New York, “NY is Red Hot,” the trio’s aesthetic is a hedonistic, lysergic and wildly anachronistic, groove-based collage that nods at Studio 54 disco and late 90s – early 00s French house music — in particular Stardust‘s “Music Feels Better With You” and Homework-era Daft Punk.

Comprised of founding members Ariel Hartley, Bailey K. Chapman and Stefanie Lazcano with newest member, Chelsey Danielle, the Denton, TX-based psych rock/prog rock quartet Pearl Earl can trace its origins to when its founding members started the band in 2014 as a way to jam, party and fuck around, but quickly became a serious band; in fact, by the following year, the Denton-based band began touring both regionally and nationally to support their debut EP Karaoke Superstar, an effort which revealed their sound to be a wild and psychedelic and kaleidoscopic mix of glam rock, prog rock, punk and synth pop.

Building on their rapidly growing regional and national profile, the band’s founding trio spent the better part of 2016 writing and then recording their self-titled debut effort at DallasElmwood Recording by Alex Bhore and Brack Cantrell. The band expanded into a quartet with the addition of Danielle, who joined the band after the album’s completion. And while Hartley may be the band’s principle songwriter, each song reportedly is its own animal; in fact the band’s latest single “Star in the Sky” features tribal-inspired percussion, shimmering and futuristic synths, and bombastic power chords in an mind-meltingly expansive and ambitious song structure with explosive, twist and turns that seem excitingly sudden and unexpected. On some level, the song bears an uncanny resemblance to 2112-era Rush, thanks in part to forcefully anthemic hooks, and a retro-futuristic feel; however, if it wasn’t for the subtly yet modern production sheen, you’d be fooled into thinking the song was a lysergic-fueled vision of the future, directly from 1967.

The band will be embarking on a Midwest and Southwest tour throughout June, July and August of this year. Check out tour dates below.

Summer Tour Dates

06.16•The Electric Church w/ Big Bill (Austin, TX)
06.17•The Yeti (Barnacle Banger Fest) (Tulsa, OK)
06.17•Spinster Records (Tulsa, OK)
06.18•Club Dada w/ Girl Pool and Snail Mail (Dallas, TX)
06.28•The Deli w/ Helen Kelter Skelter (Norman, OK)
06.29•Outland Ballroom w/ The Coax (Springfield, MO)
06.30•The Sinkhole w/ Babe Loards (St. Louis, MO)
07.02•The Empty Bottle w/ The Winstons (Chicago, IL)
07.04•High Dive (Milwaukee, WI)
07.08•Trees w/ Spoonfed Tribe (Dallas, TX)
07.15•Dan’s Silverleaf w/ Mother Tongues (Denton, TX —- Album Release)
07.18•Club Dada w/ Post Animal (Dallas, TX)
07.22•Mass (Ft. Worth, TX —- Album Release)
07.29•Taps N Caps w/ MyDolls (Denton, TX)
08.07•Andy’s Bar w/ Sailor Poon, Sunbuzzed, Thin Skin, Flesh Narc (Denton, TX)

Danny Darko is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, electronic music artist, DJ and talent scout, who has developed a reputation for writing and recording across a wide range of EDM styles and subgenres including house, progressive, dubstep and others.  And if you add the fact that Darko has received support and praise from an impressive array of EDM heavyweights including Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Paul Van Dyk, Pete Tong, Judge Jules, Gareth Enery and Chuckie for his restlessly genre blurring sound, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that the multi-instrumetnalist, electronic music artist, producer, talent scout and DJ has released more than 30 Top 50 releases on Beatport Genre Charts. Along with that, his YouTube channel recently surpassed 2 million views and he’s known for producing Starchaser’s UK chart topping single “Love Will Set You Free.

Danny Darko’s latest single “Tainted Emotions” is a collaboration with up-and-coming, Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter and producer Alisha Jade, who has begun to develop a reputation for crafting material that defied genre boundaries while being distinctly soulful. As for the single, Darko pairs a hyper modern yet dramatic production featuring stuttering drum programming and boom bap-like beats, moody and swirling electronics, twinkling keys, and cacasding layers of undulating and shimmering synths with the up-and-coming Canadian’s sultry and self-assured vocals. While clearly being radio-friendly yet moody electro pop, the song subtly nods at the work of Young Ejecta, Octo Octa and others.

Comprised of former members of Joyride, Watercolor Paintings, Void Boys, and Dreamspoiler, the members of Bay Area-based indie rock quartet SOAR banded together after a shared desire of doing something much more collaborative in nature, after fronting their own respective bands; in fact, the members of the band wanted to ensure that their sound and songwriting approach combines the best parts of each individual member’s perspective and talents. So unsurprisingly with four former frontpeople, the band’s material features rotating lyricists, four-part harmonies and shared songwriting, reminiscent of The Beatles while sonically nodding at The Breeders, Dinosaur Jr. and 90s alt rock, as you’ll hear on “Fort Funston” the latest single off the band’s full length debut dark/gold, slated for an August 25, 2017. Or in other words, the song manages to balance having an anthemic hook with a sunny melody.

 

 

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Comprised of Katrina Mogensen (vocalist), the daughter of Birgir Mogensen, who played alongside Björk in one of her first bands, Alexandra Baldursdóttir (guitar), Arnar Pétursson (guitar), Ása Dýradóttir (bass) and Andri Barter Jakobson (drums), the Icelandic indie rock quintet Mammut formed when its members were just 14 — and they derive their name from from the Icelandic word for “mammoth,” which the band’s Mogensen “plucked out of the air” before their stage debut.

In their native Iceland, the band is — well, huge. They won Iceland’s national battle of the bands, Músíktilraunir and subsequently have been nominated for several Icelandic Music Awards in fact, their third album 2014’s Komdu til Mín Svarta Systir won three of its eight nominations including Pop & Rock Album and Pop and Rock Song for “Salt.” Interestingly, the band’s forthcoming effort Kinder Versions reportedly finds the band at their most ambitious with Mogensen writing and singing lyrics completely in English. And as soon as you hear Kinder Versions‘ latest single “The Moon Will Never Turn On Me,” you’ll quickly get a sense of why the band is so big in their homeland — they specialize in a brooding, dramatic, shamanistic-like and bombastic arena rock sound, complete with rousing hooks; and while there’s also a viscerally earnest yearning and heartache at the core of the song, there’s also a sense of resignation that says “things will be shitty for a while, hold on tight.”  And in fact, as the band explains the song is about that moment when you realize that moment when you have to sit back, let go and embrace every horrible thing that comes in front of you — because after all, it’s temporary and the world goes on spinning regardless.

 

 

 

 

Fronted and founded by its Chicago, IL-born, Austin, TX-based primary songwriter Nathan Dixey, and currently featuring members of RF Shannon‘s backing band, The Dan Ryan’s sophomore album Guidance finds Dixey refining and softening the sound that the project developed on its debut album, reportedly leaning much more towards a trippy and hypnotic psychedelia as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single, album title track “Guidance,” as shimmering guitar chords, a persistent, heartbeat-like drum patter and in the background tribal-like harmonized chants which makes the song nod at both The Grateful Dead, a major influence on Dixey and company and Graceland-era Paul Simon; but with a slow-burning, easygoing, yet expansive feel that belies a careful and deliberation attention to craft.

As Dixey explains in press notes, “Unlike the first LP, I wanted to focus on writing more complete songs instead of grooves. Some of the grooves are still present, but having more of a narrative within the structure was important for me. Like the first record, accepting change is at the core of Guidance, whether that change be within society, oneself, or witnessing a transformation in a loved one or a relationship. I was listening to a lot of Damien Jurado/Richard Swift records while writing and recording this one, so it was especially wonderful to have Swift, a master of sonic texture (and song-craft in general), to add his touch on the songs.”