Luna Shadows is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, who has developed a reputation for a staunchly DIY approach with the Los Angeles-based artist writing, performing, recording, producing, engineering and editing every note of her own work — and for sultry, melancholy pop that Billboardhas called “. . . refreshingly soulful and haunting . ..” and has been compared by some as Lana Del Ray taking Lorde to the beach.
So far Luna Shadows work has amassed over 35 million Spotify streams, with tracks landing on tastemaker playlists like New Music Friday, Indie Pop, Weekend Beats and Weekly Buzz, reaching #7 on the US Charts and #18 on the Global Viral Charts. Building upon a growing profile, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer has also received airplay on radio stations worldwide, including KROQ, BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1 — and she played a sold out, live debut show at renowned Los Angeles indie music showcase School Night. And amazingly, Luna Shadows has done that without a label.
Recently, Luna Shadows has begun collaborating with two acclaimed, mainstream indie pop producers, Now Now‘s Brad Hale and The Naked and Famous‘ Thom Powers to help shoulder the production and editing load.
2019 may be a big year for the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, as she signed to +1 Records, who will be releasing her first single of the year “lowercase.” Centered around a sleek radio friendly yet club-banging production featuring tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, chopped up vocal samples, twinkling keys, Luna Shadow’s plaintive and sultry vocals and an enormous hook — and while infectious, the track is imbued with the bitterness, heartache and confusion of a dysfunctional relationship full of power plays and accusation.
“‘lowercase’ is a song about recognizing your power through awareness in a situation where you were made to feel incredibly small by another. This takedown is detailed through a central metaphor, a reference to the millennial digital communication ‘you break down to lowercase, the capitals you take for only you.'”
Currently comprised of founding members Laila Hashemi (keys, vocals) and Lexi Funston (guitar, vocals) along with Staz Lindes (bass, vocals) and David Ruiz (drums, vocals), the Los Angeles-based punk act The Paranoyds can trace their origins to the longtime friendship of its founding members, who met when they were both in preschool. Eventually moving from the playground to the practice room, the band’s founding duo met Lindes and Ruiz, who joined the band in 2015.
Since becoming a full-fledged band in 2015. the Los Angeles-based punk quartet have crafted material with the gritty spunk and dark playfulness of a cult-classic splatter film while developing what they’ve described as a “sister vocal act,” that effortlessly moves from scuzzy surf-pop to power chord-based garage rock. Interestingly, the members of the band have generally kept a low profile on social media, instead keeping in the old-school punk tradition of hitting the road, playing shows and kicking ass wherever they go; in fact, over the past few years, they’ve built up a reputation as an in-demand opener, opening for the likes of DIVV, Albert Hammond, Jr., Sunflower Bean and BRONCHO.
Slated for a July 12, 2019 release through Suicide Squeeze Records, the band’s “Hungry Sam”/”Trade Our Sins” 7 inch is a sort of one-off single that finds the band playfully expanding upon their sound and approach, before the release of more new material and a West Coast tour with blogosphere darlings Tacocat. “Trade Our Sins” is a slow-burning apocalyptic waltz centered around a simple arrangement of guitar, organs and drums that focuses on two lovers, in a now-or-never moment to share decadent, sinful delights before the end of everything. And while self-assured in a fashion that recalls JOVM mainstays The Coathangers, the song manages a sultry coquettishness.
Check out the tour dates below.
06/11/19 – Seattle, WA @ Belltown Yacht Club
06/12/19 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett w/ Tacocat
06/13/19 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux w/ Tacocat
06/14/19 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court w/ Tacocat
06/15/19 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge w/ Tacocat
06/17/19 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada w/ Tacocat
06/18/19 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (upstairs) w/ Tacocat
Born Tessa Violet Williams in Chicago, the up-and-coming, Nashville-based indie pop singer/songwriter and vlogger, Tessa Violet can trace the origins of her music career to a school project in which she began daily vlogging in 2007 for a school project with the screen name Meekakitty while working in Hong Kong and Thailand as a model; however, by 2009 Williams quit modeling and relocated to New York, to focus on her vlog, which primarily focused on storytelling, skits and music videos — particularly, fan-made music videos for popular artists like Reliant K, Family Force 5 and MIKA.
Wiliams gained national attention after winning $100,000 in a YouTube competition by receiving the most comments on her video entry. In 2011, Williams was featured in fellow YouTube creator Nanalew’s fan-made “Sail,” which went viral and has amassed over 310 million views. In 2012, The Chicago-born, Nashville-based indie pop singer/songwriter followed her appearance in “Sail” by appearing in the video for Family Force 5’s “Cray Button,” and then directing the act’s video for “Chainsaw,” which featured Tedashii.
By 2013 Williams began to focus on writing, recording and releasing music and the focus on her YouTube channel shifted to her original music, eventually leading to her dropping the Meekakitty moniker and using her real name Tessa Violet across all of her online platforms.
So far the past year or so has been a breakthrough, whirlwind year for the up-and-coming Chicago-born, Nashville-based indie pop artist: she’s released two critically applauded singles “Crush” and “Bad Ideas” — “Crush” has amassed over 18 million Spotify streams and the video has received over 36 million views. “Bad Ideas” became a viral hit. As result of the success of those two singles, Williams toured with her first live, backing band, which featured Jess Bowen (drums) — and that tour included her first sold-out headline shows at Los Angeles‘ The Troubadour and the Mercury Lounge.
Building upon an exploding profile, she just finished her first UK tour, which featured a sold out London show, and Billboard featured her as one of 10 new festival artists to look out for this year. She was also named the first YouTube Foundry Artist of 2019 — and she’ll be making her Lollapalooza debut this year. Her full-length album Bad Ideas will be released one song a month or so throughout the year, and the album’s third and latest single “I Like (The Idea of) You” recently premiered on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist and YouTube Music’s Pop Before It Breaks playlist. Centered around a disco meets New Wave-like bass line, the Chicago-born, Nashville-based pop artist’s latest single is a sultry and coquettish, late night strut that recalls DFA Records heyday.
“I was seeing this guy at the time, who I knew wasn’t into me. And even though I could see that, it was still so much fun to think and obsess about him,” Tessa Violet says of the song. “Replaying the way he said my name on the phone, imagining what I would wear or say the next time I saw him, thinking of things I could write about him. I remember that I could logically see it wasn’t going anywhere, so I thought maybe I should feel embarrassed about how much time I was spending on him. But it didn’t make me feel embarrassed, it made me feel sexy and powerful. So what if they’re not that into me? I like the idea of it and I’m going to enjoy that.”
The act began to make waves with the release of their debut single, the celebrated club classic “Got To Give,” which was released through Chrysalis Records. The London-based neo-soul act eventually signed to Acid Jazz Records, who released their applauded self-titled debut album in 1990 across Europe and elsewhere, while the album was picked up in the US by renowned hip-hop label Delicious Vinyl. Now, if you were around in 1990, you may recall their debut album’s Top Three R&B smash-hit “Never Stop,” which led to the album being on the R&B Album charts for the better part of a year — and to the act winning an MTV award for the track. And unsurprisingly, the album may arguably be the most successful of their career, as it went Gold in the UK.
Interestingly, The Brand New Heavies’ full-length debut proved to be both popular and influential in hip-hop circles, and as a result the members of the band have collaborated with an impressive array of hip-hop luminaries including A Tribe Called Quest, and Kool G. Rap, Gang Starr and Main Source for Heavy Rhyme Experience.
As a result of their massive commercial success in the UK, the band led by Levy and Bartholomew have been lauded by Mark Ronson, who invited the band to play at his 40th birthday celebration. Interestingly, the act’s first bit of new material in five years, “Getaway” finds the act returning to their longtime label home Acid Jazz Records, as well as collaborating with longtime collaborator, vocalist N’Dea Davenport, with whom they’ve earned their biggest charting, best-selling work.
Centered around a warm, disco-influenced groove, a horn line that hints at Cheryl Lynn‘s 1978 disco smash hit “Got To Be Real,” a massive hook, and Davenport’s soulfully sultry vocals, the track is a dance floor friendly escapist fantasy, expressing the desire of getting away from the world and its stresses and routines with a love-interest/lover, and to simply enjoy the moment.
The Brand New Heavies will be playing a number of dates across the UK over the next few month with more dates to be announced soon; but in the meantime, check out the recently announced tour dates below.
May 24-26 – Upton on Severn, UK – Mello Festival
May 31 – Bedford, UK – Corn Exchange
July 05-8 – Lewes, UK – Love Supreme Festival
July 12-14 – Moseley, UK – Jazz Funk & Soul Festival
July 12-14 Caversham, UK – Readipop Festival
Sept 07 – London, UK – Electric Soul Festival @ 02
Little Galaxies is an up-and-coming Venice Beach, CA indie rock quartet, currently comprised of founding members Jeanna Fournier (vocals, guitar) and Amir Eshraghi (guitar, theremin) along with Andreas Kvinge Sandes (bass) and Christian Johnson (drums), and the band can trace its origins to when Fournier and Eshraghi met and fell inn love. With the release of their full-length debut 2013’s Patterns, the quartet quickly established a textured sound that draws from psych rock, pop, folk and soul.
The Venice Beach indie quartet has received praise across a number of renowned sites across the blogosphere including Earmilk, Buzzbands LA , The Bay Bridged and print publications like OC Weekly, and The Deli Magazine; in fact, the band won The Deli Magazine‘s Emerging Los Angeles Artist of the Year Award, which led to a feature in that publication’s SXSW print edition. Building upon a growing profile. the band also won KSCR‘s Best Music Video and Best Feel Good Video award for “Tonight.” Building upon a growing regional and national profile, the band has played shows and festivals across Southern California, toured up and down the West Coast, eventually making their way as far east to Austin, TX. Most recently, the band was commissioned by the Mayor of Salton Sea’s West Shores to compose the closing song for the documentary SOS: The Salton Sea Walk.
After a three year hiatus in which Fournier recovered from incurring injuries in a car accident, the band returned the stage last year with shows at the Townhouse, The Satellite, The Viper Room and others with those shows featured the band’s new rhythm section — Johnson (drums) and Sandnes (bass), both of whom have been instrumental in the band further expanding upon the sound that won them attention.
Little Galaxies are currently working on the finishing touches on their forthcoming sophomore full-length album, and the album’s first official single “It’s Natural” is centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars fed through delay and other effects pedals, a regal horn arrangement, a propulsive rhythm section and Fournier’s sultry and languid vocals. And while bearing an uncanny resemblance to JOVM mainstay Oddneese, the song as the band explains in press notes, “is about letting nature take its course when thing are out of our control and in dire circumstances, allowing oneself to become enlightened through these experiences. We wrote the song during the band’s hiatus while our singer was healing from injuries from a car accident. After watching our world collapse around us, we learned that we have the power to shift our perspectives and look at these pitfalls in a positive light. We took three years to rebuild what we had lost, and now see that this experience helped us to grow and come back stronger. This song is a call to embrace the natural ebb and flow of life and find the ‘diamonds in despair.'”
I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based electro funk/neo-disco production and artist and longtime JOVM mainstays Holy Ghost! over the years, and as you may recall, l, with the release of the their first three full-length albums — 2011’s self-titled debut, 2013’s Dynamics and 2014’s remix album Work For Hire — the duo, which is comprised of Alex Frankel and Nicholas Millhiser received attention nationally and internationally. Building upon a growing profile, the duo have remixed the work of Katy Perry, LCD Soundsystem, Moby and a lengthy list of others; made national TV appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Show with David Letterman; toured with the legendary New Order; and played sets at some of this country’s and the world’s biggest festivals including Coachella, Outside Lands, Primavera Sound and Bonnaroo.
Work, the duo’s first batch of new, original material in over five years reportedly finds Frankel and Millhiser attempting to revisit the freedom of expectations that was suffered through their earliest recorded output — and interestingly, the proverbial return to form partially stemmed from circumstances: the duo dismantled their basement Brooklyn studio and relocated to a small room that a few musician friends of theirs were renting about a doctor’s office (coincidentally, the same address where they mixed their full-length debut). Because of the room’s limited space, they pared their extensive gear collection down to two synths — a Yamaha CS-80 and a Mini Moog. “Not necessarily the bare necessities, but what would make for the most interesting limited palette,” says Millhiser. “David Bowie didn’t have every fucking synthesizer on earth to make Low. He had two. And that’s one of my favorite synth records of all time.”
Slated for a June 21, 2019 release through West End Records, the forthcoming album’s material will continue the duo’s long-held reputation for crafting each sound from scratch with an unapologetic, exacting precision — and it’s their analog approach to electronic music that heavily informs the songwriting, production and sound of the album. Interestingly, album single “Los Angeles” was centered by shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a motorik groove, ethereal crooning, thumping beats and a sinuous yet infectious hook — while seemingly indebted to From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder and Kraftwerk. Interestingly, Work’s latest single “Do This” is another straightforward club banger that meshes early hip-hop, house music and disco in a way that recalls Sugarhill Gang, Nile Rodgers and Pet Shop Boys– thanks in part to arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, a two-step inducing hook and plaintive vocals.
Comprised of Joel Johnston (vocals, guitar), Jof Cabedo (drums) and Alessio Scozzaro (bass), the Leeds, UK-based indie trio Far Caspian exploded into the national and international scene with the release of their debut EPBetween Days, an effort that established a lo-fi sound and aesthetic that the band has dubbed melanjolly. Interestingly, the band’s latest single, the self-produced “Astoria” manages to continue their on-going melanjolly approach, centered around shimmering guitars, a slow-burning, wistful groove and soaring hooks — but paired with a subtle 80s production sheen, as a result of the addition of atmospheric synths that find the band pushing their sound in a direction that recalls JOVM mainstays Yumi Zouma.
The band’s forthcoming and highly-anticipated sophomore EP,The Heights is slated for a June 11, 2019 release through Dance To The Radio Records, and as the band’s Joel Johnston says of the song, “‘Astoria’ is the song on the EP that kind of sums up the feeling we wanted to put across, embracing the good things in your life when things aren’t so good.
“Before we had started writing any of the songs I had already decided that there would be a track with this name. It’s a town in Oregon where The Goonies was shot. The Goonies has been my favourite movie since I was no age, and I’ve always wished I lived in that neighbourhood – this is me trying to emulate what I heard in my head when I pictured the town.
“Me and Alessio were lying in the living room hungover when we wrote the chorus for the song. It came from nowhere and we just went with it.”
Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter Curt Kiser skipped college and has spent the past few years playing in a number of bands that have toured across the US — and during that time, Kiser has been meticulously crafting his proper debut as a songwriter in step with his own personal development. In 2014, Kiser started his latest project Carriers, which found him working with a collective of friends and associates including The National‘s Bryan Devendorf and The Afghan Whigs‘ John Curley to bring his sound and vision to life.
Slated for an August 23, 2019 release through Good Eye Records, Kiser’s Carriers’ full-length debut Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else thematically finds Kiser taking stock of life, death, his relationships — while being grateful for being another day. “Overall it’s about what we have and remaining present, while still being able to have an honest perspective of the past and our future,” Kiser explains in press notes. “I’ve personally found a lot of peace in just working hard and staying focused on what I’ve got going on, trusting, rather than being consumed with striving. This record process has taught me a lot about patience. Life will continue to teach me to have more. I’m just trying to accept what happens and handle it the best I can. Patience is forever.”
“Patience,” Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else‘s latest single is an anthemic and brooding track, centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths, a propulsive bass line and some mesmerizing percussion — and while to my ears, bearing a resemblance to Springsteen and JOVM mainstays Caveman, the reflective track focuses on finding peace and calm in trusting the natural rhythms of life, rather than being consumed with striving; things take their own time — with the recognition that sometimes that’s best.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the up-and-coming Brighton, UK-based indie rock quartet Penelope Isles, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Devon, UK-born, Isle of Man-raised sibling songwriting duo Jack Wolter and Lily Wolter, along with Jack Sowton and Becky Redford is centered by the bond between Wolters, a bond that ironically was strengthened when Jack, who’s six years older moved out of the family home to study art when he was 19. “By the time I moved home, Lil was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon become very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting.”
While Lily Wolter studied in Brighton, she met Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, with whom she formed a band. As the story goes, when Lily Wolter returned home for the holidays, the idea of a forming a new band rapidly developed. Though Jack and Lily have long written separately, they chucked their disparate songs into a shared song pot, their new band was fueled by a passion for DIY alt rock/indie rock — and are influenced by the likes of Deerhunter, Pixies, Tame Impala, Radiohead and The Thrills among others.
The up-and-coming Brighton-based indie rock act recently signed to renowned indie label Bella Union Records, who will be releasing the British act’s full-length debut Until the Tide Creeps In. Slated for a July 12, 2019 release, Penelope Isles’ debut thematically is informed by the Wolters’ shared experience — in particular leaving home, moving away, dealing with the various transitions in life and growing up. “We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing writing music. Family, leaving home, disconnection and connection all ring bells!”
“Chlorine,” Until the Tide Creeps In’s Sleepy Sun-like album opener was centered around an arrangement that subtly bridges shimmering dream pop, shoegaze and fuzz pop — and while buoyant and seemingly ethereal, the song possessed a bracing quality, much like stepping into a cold shower. Interestingly, the song has an underlying emotional push and pull; the sort of complexity brought about by obligation and duty and the need to go out on your own. The forthcoming album’s latest single is the woozy “Round,” a track that sonically seems to mesh 70s AM rock with shoegaze as the track is centered by a looping and shimmering guitar line and a soaring hook. And much like it’s predecessor, the new single will further establish the band’s bracingly wistful take on a familiar and beloved sound — all while evoking the ebb and flow of complicated and ambivalent emotions.
Interestingly, Brooks has a complicated and messy upbringing. She grew up in a cult, and as a child, she found refuge in music.“It was a very chaotic upbringing, full of some pretty colourful and sometimes unsavoury, characters. But when I sang, I felt free and connected. For as long as I can remember, it’s been my way of getting what I need to say out,” she reveals in press notes. She began singing gospel, old spirituals and the songs from the likes of John Lennon and Elvis Presley — but by the time she was a teenager, she entertained her peers with soul renditions.
When she turned 16, the Bristol-based singer/songwriter turned down a spot at the renowned BRIT School. “It would be interesting to know what would have happened if I had gone there, but I try not to dwell on that,”Brooks says in press notes. “I always think that you’re where you’re meant to be. And if I had gone, I probably would have ended up writing slightly less authentically to myself. But who knows, because if all the things that have happened in my life nevertheless happened, maybe I still would have written the way I do.”
When Brooks turned 20, she became extremely ill and her life was on pause as she was convalescing; but as she was convalescing she joined a songwriters group led by her friend, Strangelove’s Patrick Duff. “We would get together and play our songs to each other. It was really therapeutic.” Around this time Brooks was convinced that she had to devote her time to music. “So one day I just put on my own gig at the (Bristol) Folk House,” she laughs. “I sort of became an artist and promoter overnight,” Brooks recalls.
Sadly, shortly after making the decision to focus on her music, the Bristol-based singer/songwriter experienced a turbulent period of heartbreak and tragedy: the year she turned 22, her mother became ill and died — and shortly after that, one of her best friends went missing and died. “That’s definitely had an effect on the course of my life, and my writing,” Brooks says in press notes. “People have come up to me after gigs, particularly after songs I wrote during that time, saying ‘there’s a lot of sadness in your songs’ and it’s like ‘well, yeah.’ But I guess I’m lucky that I have songs that I can write, as a means to deal with things.”
Along with those hardships, Brooks has struggled to come to terms with her own sexuality. “In my most recent work I’ve finally been able to sing directly about women instead of using the mysterious ‘you,’” Brooks mentions in press notes. “I’m a private person in a lot of ways and I never wanted to be a poster girl for anything. But a few years ago I just thought screw it; I want to sing completely honestly. It felt like a weight lifted.”
Brooks latest single is the classic soul-inspired ballad “All of Me.” Centered around a spectral arrangement featuring a looping 12 blues guitar, a gospel-like backing vocal section, a two-step inducing rhythm section and Brooks achingly plaintive and soulful vocals, the new single will further establish the Bristol-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s ability to mesh craft, earnestness and ambitious songwriting in a thoughtful and natural fashion. But along with that much of Brooks’ material comes from real, lived-in places — in particular, the song’s narrator bitterly calls out a lover on their ambivalence. It was inspired by a personal situation with someone I was prepared to give my world to. They proclaimed deep love, but then proceeded to behave in ways that were completely incongruent with that proclamation”, revealsBrooks. Words can be very powerful and beautiful, but ultimately, when it comes to showing someone you love them, they’re cheap and easy to deliver. Actions tell us everything we need to know about how someone feels about us, and if they respect us – in every kind of relationship.”