Category: New Audio

New Audio: Honolulu’s Kings of Spade Release an Anthemic Party Ripper

Comprised of founding members Kasi “KC” Nunes (vocals) Matt Kato (drums) and Jasio Savio (guitar) with Tim Corker (bass), Ken Lykes (keys) and DJ Packo, the Honolulu, HI-based sextet Kings of Spade can trace their origins back to when Nunes,  a self-described “somber, closeted queer kid, who felt soul and blues music,” was bartending at Honolulu’s Anna Bananas and was pulled up on the stage to sing. “They started playing ‘Sweet Child O’Mine,” Nunes says in press notes.  “I started singing and was like ‘Hey, I sound pretty good.”

Interestingly, Jasio Savio frequently sat in with the bar’s house band. “He wasn’t old enough to drink,” Nunes recalls. “But he would start and rip these Johnny Cash tunes.” As the story goes, they were both impressed by each other. “You feel this energy when she sings,” Savio says. “My first thought was ‘Damn, she’s going to be famous.'” As the story goes Nunes approached Savio and suggested they start a band. They recruited Matt Kato, a local punk rock drummer and played with a revolving door of bassists until they found Tim Corker. As a quartet that played power chord-based blues riff rock, they didn’t find their hometown to be very receptive to their sound — although Nunes took it upon herself to book club shows that featured the band alongside local DJs, artists and other bands. After amassing a decent local following, the band relocated to Southern California in 2006 to chase their dreams. But as Nunes and Kato quickly found out, the big city isn’t very welcoming; in fact, they were barely scarping by — and they were forced to sell their blood for cash. “Everyone at the clinic looked down-on-their-luck,” Nunes remembers. “I was hooked up to a plasma machine, reading the self-help books. This was the lowest point in my life.”

After three years of crushing let-downs and disappointment, Nunes, Savio and Kato quit their jobs and gave up their shared apartment in preparation for a lengthy tour that was just booked by their new manager; however, he disappeared once they figured out that there wasn’t an actual tour. They returned home to Hawaii, and ironically enough, upon their return, they finally fell into some good fortune. Several years later, the band played at SXSW, where former Headbanger’s Ball host and MTV VJ Riki Rachtman caught them — and after catching them, he booked them to play a show commemorating the 30th anniversary of his old metal club, The Cathouse, best known for giving rise to Guns N’ Roses. Around the same time, they met Sue Damon, the ex-wife of The Beach Boys’ Mike Love. “She was a huge supporter of ours, bought us a new drum set. She was a total free spirit, who could party all of us under under the table. She ended up passing away. But all of us have her initials tattooed on us.”

Interestingly, the band’s self-titled Dave Cobb-produced full-length was recorded in Nashville over the course of two weeks.  “He produced a band I like, Rival Sons, which had this old-school sound with modern energy—like, analog-tape soul built into it,” Jesse says, admiringly. Interestingly, the album’s latest single, the swaggering and stomping, bluesy  ripper “Bottom’s Up” is raucous, party anthem that’s inspired by their late friend and patron Sue Damon, and their own experiences partying ridiculously hard that sounds as though it were influenced by Highway to Hell-era AC/DC, Electric Blue Watermelon-era North Mississippi All Stars and The Black Keys — all while further cementing their reputation for boozy, power chord centered, riff-based rock. 

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Comprised of Henry Hill Kammerer (guitar, vocals) and John Johnson (drums, percussion), the Portland, OR-based folk and blues duo Hillstomp have received attention regionally and nationally for a gritty and sincere,  rock ‘n’ roll-take on Americana/roots music that draws from hill country blues stomp, North Mississippi trance blues, Appalachian folk and blues, rockabilly and punkabiliy played on a drum kit made from assorted buckets, cans, BBQ lids and other ephemera and slide guitar. And over their 17 years together, the duo have toured with Reverend Horton Heat, JOVM mainstays The Devil Makes Three, and Southern Culture on the Skids among others.

Slated for an October 19, 2018 release through their longtime label home Fluff and Gravy Records, Kammerer and Johnson’s sixth full-length Hillstomp album Monster Receiver was recorded by Juniana Lanning and John Shepski with mixing engineer john Askew — and the album finds the band pushing their sound and songwriting into even more experimental territory with the album’s material seamlessly flowing from grungy folk, garage rock and intimate and tender ballads while featuring guest spots from Anna Tivel (violin), Hook & Anchor‘s Eric Clampitt (pedal steel) and I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch in the House’s David Lipkind (harmonica). Interestingly, the album’s first single “Hagler,” is a grimy, psych blues stomp centered around shuffling drumming, chugging guitar and an explosive guitar solo that recalls the North Mississippi All Stars and fellow labelmate Drunken Prayer as its full of piss, vinegar and whiskey.

New Audio: Electric Citizen Releases a Black Sabbath-like New Single

With the release of 2014’s full-length debut Sateen, the Cincinnati, OH-based quartet Electric Citizen, currently comprised of husband and wife duo, Laura Dolan (vocals) and Ross Dolan (guitar), along with Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums), received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that’s indebted to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, early 70s Rush and others. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a busy schedule of touring both nationally and internationally with several renowned acts, including Fu Manchu, Wolfmother, The Budos Band, and Pentagram.

The Cincinnati heavy psych rock/heavy metal quartet’s sophomore effort, 2016’s sophomore effort Higher Time found the band expanding upon their sound, as they were crafting muscular and anthemic hooks around prog rock-like structures — within concise songs that typically clocked in at around 3 minutes or so. Additionally, the album found the band’s Lauran Dolan stepping up into more of a frontperson role, which was reflected in their live shows to support their sophomore effort, as she strutted, stomped and swaggered with a larger-than-life confidence. And unsurprisingly, the album was released to massive critical applause from the likes of Consequence of Sound, who placed it on their 20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016.

Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, Electric Citizen’s forthcoming, third full-length effort Helltown derives its name from the neighborhood in which the members of the band live, practices and where the album was written recorded and mixed. Although now more prosaically known as Northside, Helltown earned its name in the early 1800s. thanks to a reputation for the rowdy taverns frequented by the neighborhood’s factory workers and immigrants. And while being an ode to the band’s neighborhood and its buried past, the album reportedly is a sonic return to form with the band employing a grittier sound along the lines of their 2014 debut. Adding upon the overall homecoming theme, the band returns to their original lineup. As the band’s Laura Dolan says in press notes, “In many ways this album is a realignment to the first,” Laura says. “We experimented a lot on the second album, some of which we learned we didn’t like.”

“Hide It In The Night,” Helltown‘s first single is centered around Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chords, thundering drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and Laura Dolan’s rock star belter vocals — and while heavily indebted to its influences, the track will further cement the Cincinnati-based band’s reputation for tough, gritty, power chord rippers with an anthemic, larger-than-life feel. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “New Earth” is centered around a blistering, bluesy power chord riff, thundering drumming, arena rock-friendly hooks, and Dolan belting her lungs out. Arguably, the song is one of the most straightforward, riff-centered Black Sabbath-like singles they’ve released in some time time. It’s a certifiable headbanger that’s perfect for drinking way too much in your local bar or while catching them live.

Anne Malin is an Interlochen, MI-born, South Bend, IN-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, autoharp), who along with her collaborator, multi-instrumentalist William Ellis Johnson (electric guitar, classical guitar, Lowrey organ, banjo and synth) have received praise from Bandcamp and NPR for a unique meshing of spoken word poetry and music that’s been described as “deceptively rich” and “unsettling.”

Slated for an October 12, 2018 release, the duo’s forthcoming Fog Area was conceived while Malin and Johnson drove past multiple fog area road signs on an emotionally fraught move from Massachusetts to Indiana — and thematically, the album touches upon desire, political and social injustice and prophetic reconciliation with each song on the album denoting a psychic and sonic space as the album’s material draws from and possesses elements of folk, rock and noise, centered through a deeply meditative lyricism. Fog Area‘s first single is the hauntingly gorgeous “In Waves,” a track centered around a spectral and intimate arrangement of shimming guitar, brief bursts of organ, and a soaring string arrangement paired with Malin’s tender and plaintive vocals — and while nodding at Chelsea Wolfe and others, the song’s yearning, intimate and confessional nature makes the song feel as though Malin is singing directly to you and only you.

 

If you follow me through my various social media pages, you’d know that this weekend has been very busy as I’ve been attending the second annual international beer, food and music festival OctFest on Governor’s Island this weekend — and although today is the second and final day of the festival, I’m looking forward to catching Nile Rodgers and Chic; but in the meantime, there’s a bit of business to attend to, so let’s get to it, huh?

Comprised of Joe Parella, Jon Rodney, Joe Cowell and Chris Donofrio, the Asbury Park, NJ-based indie rock band Deal Casino formed back in 2013. The band cites Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, The Band and Led Zeppelin as some of their influences but more importantly, since their release the band has released a series of EPs before releasing their self-titled, full-length debut last year to praise from Stereogum, New Noise and others. LLC, the Asbury Park-based quartet’s sophomore album is slated for a November 2018 release and its latest single “Happy People” is centered around jangling guitar chords, a chugging and propulsive rhythm section and wobbling and droning synths.  Infused with a Wes Anderson soundtrack quirkiness, the song is actually bitterly ironic, as its narrator openly questions how people can be happy with themselves and the world around them when so much is dreadfully wrong — and although these happy people may seem superficially content, the song’s narrator points out that he’d rather not put on the happy mask that erases reality; even if it’s absurd and painful.

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Orville Neely III (guitar, vocals),  Aniel Fried (drums) and Gregory Rutherford (bass), the Denton, TX/Austin, TX-based trio Bad Sports features some of their home state’s most accomplished musicians — Neely is the frontman of OBN IIIs, while Fried and Rutherford have played together in Video and Radioactivity. Interestingly, the trio’s fourth full-length album Constant Stimulation is slated for an October 29, 2018 release through their longtime label home Dirtnap Records, and the album, which finds the trio celebrating their tenth anniversary together, also reportedly finds the band pushing their sound and songwriting in a new, more mature direction, centered by a leaner, tense production meant to evoke a decided sense of frustration and world-weariness.

Constant Stimulation‘s first single “Don’t Deserve Love” continues in the power chord-based punk vein that won the trio attention across the blogosphere but there’s a decided power pop leaning with their deliberate and thoughtful attention to crafting crowd pleasing hooks — but where their previously released material was the sort of stuff you’d shotgun beers to in your favorite dive bar, there’s a subtle acknowledgement of the fact that a world and civilization inching towards its annihilation will force you to put down the childish concerns of one’s youth and grow up a bit, all while still knocking you on your ass. Interestingly, the track may be the most personal one they’ve written in quite some time, as its fueled by a crippling self-doubt and insecurity that hide an adult vulnerability; the sort of vulnerability in which you’d freely admit that life can make you a broken and fucked up person — but a survivor all the time.

 

 

 

With the release of The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind, which landed at number 26 on Bandcamp Daily’s 100 Best Albums of the Year, the Chicago, IL-born, Los Angeles, CA-based emcee Lando Chill quickly received national attention for crafting hip-hop that freely encompasses elements of funk, gospel, jazz, indie rock, psych rock and folk music — although Boy Who Spoke to the Wind featured an even more abstract, experimental sound than his previous releases.

Lando Chill’s forthcoming album Black Ego is slated for an October 12, 2018 release through Mello Music Group, and the album continues the Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based emcee’s ongoing collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and producer The Lasso. And interestingly, Black Ego’s first single features a lysergic take on West Coast-inspired hip-hop as its centered around a production consisting of shimmering hi hats, wobbling synths and thumping beats — and while trippy, it’s roomy enough to give Lando Chill, Quelle Chris and Rey the space to spit self-assured, swaggering bars. Sonically, the single bears an uncanny resemblance to Black Up and Lese Majesty-era Shabazz Palaces with a grittier vibe.

 

Last month, I wrote about the Sydney, Australia-based electro pop trio RUFUS DU SOL, and as you may recall, with the release of their first two albums — 2013’s ATLAS, which landed at number 1 on the Australian charts and earned platinum status and 2016’s critically and commercially successful follow up, Bloom, which featured smash hits “You Were Right” and “Innerbloom,” the trio comprised of Tyrone Lindqvist, Jon George and James Hunt quickly became sensations both at home and internationally. And over the course of a lengthy two-year long international tour, the Australian electro pop trio developed a reputation for combining the DIY live aesthetics of indie rock and punk rock with the euphoria of club culture.

After completing the tours to support their first two albums, the Australian trio spent the past year or so in Venice, CA writing and recording their highly-anticipated third full-length album SOLACE, which is slated for release this fall, and as the trio note, the album is largely influenced by the dichotomy of the stark desert landscapes and coastlines of California — but while being a much fuller exploration of their evolving sound, and a deeper, more intimate glimpse into both melancholy and transcendence. It feels like a new RÜFÜS,”the trio says. “We are inspired by our new home out here, by the people we’ve met and the music we’ve heard along the way. We’ve got a refreshed sense of ambition and cannot wait to share our creation with the world.”

Underwater,” SOLACE‘s second single further cemented the trio’s growing reputation for forward-thinking, boundary-pushing production as the track was centered around arpeggiated and propulsive Giorgio Moroder-like synths, a soaring choral hook and verses that express an aching longing. Ultimately, the track reveals an act that has managed to carefully walk a tightrope between arena and club rocking bombast with an earnest and intimate emotionality. “Lost In My Mind” the album’s third and latest single continues with forward thinking, electronic production centered around twinkling and arpeggiated synths, a chopped up choral-based hook paired with soulful vocals, and while sonically  making a subtle nod to Snap!‘s “Rhythm is a Dancer,” the song manages to evoke both the anxious desperation of someone hopelessly trapped within his own mind, and the push and pull of new love.

The internationally renowned electro pop trio will be on a month long North American tour during the fall and it includes three New York City area dates — November 23, November 24 and November 25 at Terminal 5. Check out the tour dates below.

 

SOLACE North American Fall Tour Dates (with more dates to be announced):
Oct 24th – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
Oct 25th – Atlanta, GA – Coca Cola Roxy
Oct 26th – New Orleans, LA – Voodoo Music & Arts Experience
Oct 27th – Houston, TX – House of Blues (Houston)
Oct 28th – Austin, TX – Emo’s
Oct 30th – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
Oct 31st – San Diego, CA – Valley View Casino Center
Nov 1st – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 2nd – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 3rd – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 6th – San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Nov 9th – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
Nov 10th – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium
Nov 11th – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium
Nov 13th – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Nov 14th – Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom
Nov 15th – Detroit, MI – Royal Oak Music Hall
Nov 16th – Toronto, ON – The Danforth Music Hall
Nov 18th – Montreal, QC – MTELUS
Nov 20th – Boston, MA – House of Blues (Boston)
Nov 21st – Boston, MA – House of Blues (Boston)
Nov 23rd – New York, NY – Terminal 5
Nov 24th – New York, NY – Terminal 5
Nov 25th – New York, NY – Terminal 5

Always Never is an up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based electro pop production and artist duo, comprised of Patrick Kirschner (vocals) and Dean Guilbault (production) — and with the release of “Millions,” “No Good,” “Morgan Freeman” and “Dangerous,” off their recently released self-titled debut, the Canadian duo have been compared to the likes of Majid Jordan, Miguel and The Weeknd among others — although with the attention grabbing single “Wylin,” the duo’s sound strikes me as bearing a closer resemblance to For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon, as Kirschner’s soulful yet tender vocals are paired with gauzy, atmospheric and yet super modern productions featuring stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and infectious hooks; in fact, much like Beacon, the duo’s sound possesses a pensive, late night vibe, full of regret, confusion and longing.

 

 

 

Liam Brown is an up-and-coming, Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl — and with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was championed by the likes of Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.

Building upon a growing profile, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl effort season 2 is slated for a November release, and the EP’s latest single “highschool,” will further cement Brown’s reputation for crafting achingly wistful and pensive, synth pop centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and sinuous hooks — while recalling Washed Out, St. Lucia and classic 80s synth pop, complete with enormous, painfully sincere teenaged sentiment, as the song’s narrator is worried about losing his cool over someone he digs immensely.