Category: New Audio

Founded by its creative mastermind Chris Karman, the Los Angeles, CA-based psych folk act Historian derive their name from an long-held inside joke for the members of the band had developed, based around Karman’s encyclopedic knowledge of music. And as Karman asserts in press notes, his fanatical and obsessive nature spilled into the band’s songwriting process. We like to put down tons of ideas. And then meticulously pull back the layers, pouring over every detail.”

The band’s 2013 debut Shelf Life was supported with a West Coast tour, while Karman moonlighted as a music supervisor. 2015’s sophomore full-length effort, Current was released by The Record Machine to critical praise from Buzzbands L.A., Impose and Austin Town Hall, and as a result of their growing profile, the band opened for the likes of Haunted Summer and Globelamp. Not bad for a songwriter and band that have openly mentioned that they’ve felt “more comfortable when our music is a little out of step with its surroundings.”

Unsurprisingly the members of Historian had gone into the studio during the Current sessions with a number of songs that just didn’t make the cut for the album; however, a number of those songs signaled an interesting new direction that the band felt compelled to pursue towards their natural conclusion — with the end result being the band’s third full-length effort, Expanse. And as you’ll hear off album single “Thrown on the Road,” the band has gone on a decided sonic left turn, with the band pairing  pastoral-like folk music with the sort of lush string arrangements (played by renowned renowned string quartet Quartetto Fantastico) reminiscent of Beck‘s Sea ChangeR.E.M.’s Automatic for the People and the early work of the under-appreciated Scott Walker.

But what sets “Thrown on the Road” apart is that the song is a brooding and melancholy meditation on the passage of time that evokes a lonely man sitting in front of a glass of 12 year old, single malt scotch, contemplating the messiness of human life and relationships, of lingering ghosts that alternately haunt and taunt at the strangest times, of family, friends and lovers departed. Simply put, it’s music meant for those occasions when you’re feeling lost and alone and can’t seem to figure out the meaning of anything anymore.

 

 

 

Since their formation in 2015, the Nashville, TN-based (by way of Florida) trio The Delta Troubadours, comprised of Gytis Garsys (lead vocals, guitar, keys), Jon Franklin (bass, vocals), and Ian Heausler (lead guitar, vocals), have developed a reputation across much of the Southeast for a gritty, Southern fried rock meets blues rock sound and for an energetic live set. 

“Stone Thrasher,” the first single off the Nashville-based band’s forthcoming sophomore EP will further cement their reputation for crafting songs with a familiar gritty Southern fried rock meets blues rock sound — but within a decidedly ambitious song structure featuring some incredibly psychedelic-tinged guitar licks, enormous, Foo Fighters-like, arena rock-friendly hooks, and a subtly sinister vibe, reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age’Songs for the Deaf. Or in other words, the band kicks ass and takes names  — what else can you want?

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months or so, you’d likely see that I’ve written quite a bit about the Hamilton, ON-based singer/songwriter, guitar and newest JOVM mainstay Terra Lightfoot. And although she’s a member of Canadian country act Dinner Belles, Lightfoot, who personally has claimed Maybelle CarterSister Rosetta TharpeLead BellyLightnin’ HopkinsSam CookeOtis ReddingNina Simone and Billie Holiday, the Hamilton-based singer/songwriter and guitarist has developed a reputation as a solo artist, who crafts raw, slow-burning singer/songwriter guitar pop. Adding to a growing profile across her native Canada and elsewhere, Lightfoot opened for the likes of  Emmylou HarrisRon SexsmithGordon LightfootBlue RodeoRheostaticsGrace PotterThe BothBuilt to SpillSloanArkellsBasia BulatAlbert LeeJames BurtonThe SadiesSteve StrongmanMonster Truck and Daniel Lanois.

Lightfoot’s third full-length album New Mistakes is slated for an October 13, 2017 through Sonic Unyon Records, and as you may recall, the album’s first single “Paradise” found the Hamilton, ON-based JOVM mainstay thoroughly reinventing her sound while still retaining some of the essential elements that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere — including Lightfoot’s personal and deeply heartfelt lyrics and booming, soulful vocals; however, “Paradise” may arguably be one of the most anthemic songs she’s released to date, as it’s rooted around the sort of bluesy shout and stomp reminiscent of T. Bone Burnett, The Black Keys and others. Of course, the song clearly pushes the Canadian JOVM mainstay’s sound towards a decided, blues rock direction — but it does so while revealing an artist, who has found her own, unique voice.

New Mistakes‘ latest single, the atmospheric  “Norma Gale” may arguably be Lightfoot’s most singer/songwriter-like songs, as it was inspired by her meeting and befriending Norma Gale, a country singer/songwriter, who developed a great following in Nashville and wound up playing with Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty during the 1970s. As Lightfoot explains in press notes, the song chronicles Gale’s life, as she’s trying to make a name for herself as a musician — while raising a young son as a single parent. “I kept in touch with Norma and her son, and let them know when I finally made it to Nashville to do some writing, but unfortunately, she had passed away two weeks earlier,” Lightfoot recalls.  Unsurprisingly, based on Lightfoot’s own work, I can see why she would be drawn to Gale and her story — and as a result, Lightfoot empathetically conveys the strength and resolve to achieve your dreams, even when things are at their most desperate. And as a musician, how can you not see yourself in the struggle of those before you, who have tried to make a name for themselves?

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Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based, indie electro pop duo and JOVM mainstays Pr0files, and as you may recall, while becoming mainstays of this site, the duo simultaneously developed a national reputation for a slickly produced sound that possesses elements of R&B, contemporary electro pop and electronic dance music as you would have heard on the duo’s debut Jurassic Technologie, which included the sultry, shimmering and show-burning “Get It Up.”

Interestingly enough, the Washington, DC-based electronic production and artist duo Aurean have received attention with remixes of Tommie Sunshine and The Disco Fries’ Cool Without You,” as well as remixes of Lostboycrow, Linney and Ella on the Run. Along with those remixes, the duo have either opened for or performed with Above and Beyond, Dirty South, ATB and Morgan Page — and in fact, building upon a growing profile, the duo have a number of remixes set for release this year, as well as their debut EP slated for release later this year. But in the meantime, the members of the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays enlisted Aurean to remix “Get It Up,” and while retaining the shimmering and sensual quality of the original, Aurean picks up the pace, turning the song into a propulsive, house music-inspired club banger.

 

 

Last month, I wrote about the Seattle, WA-based grunge rock band Gruntruck. Initially formed in 1989, the band’s original lineup featured featured founding members Skin Yard’s Ben McMillan (vocals) and Norman Scott (drums), The Accused’s Tommy Niemeyer (guitar) and Final Warning’s Tim Paul (bass), and can trace their origins to when the band’s founding duo wrote a song while on tour with Skin Yard that they felt was worthy of forming a new project around. At around the same time Scott was briefly in Soundgarden and collaborated with Chris Cornell on a lesser-known project, the low frequency power trio Bass Truck. And interestingly enough, with the new material that McMillan and Scott started to write for their new project, they decided to blend the sound that Norman developed in Bass Truck with their then-primary project’s sound to create a harder, more metal-leaning grunge rock sound.

1990’s Jack Endino and Gary King-produced debut Inside Yours was released through Seattle-based label Empty Records with a simultaneous release through German label Musical Tragedies, and it featured album single “Not a Lot to Save,” which received airplay on MTV. Interestingly enough, the members of Gruntruck had opened for Pearl Jam throughout 1991 — and famously, they opened for Pearl Jam the night they filmed the video for “Even Flow.”

With the growing buzz on all things Seattle, the members of Gruntruck signed a multi-album deal with Roadrunner Records, who re-released Inside Yours later that year. Their follow up effort, 1992’s  Endino and King-produced effort Push featured album track “Tribe,” which received regular rotation on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. And building upon a rapidly growing profile, Gruntruck opened for Alice in Chains during their 1992 US and Canadian tour and Pantera‘s Winter 1993 European tour. Immediately upon their return to Seattle, the band went through a number of lineup changes but they managed to release a video for  “Crazy Love,” which received airplay on MTV — including an episode of Beavis and Butt-head, in which a stunned Butthead mused “I must be hallucinating now. I can’t believe they’re playing something cool. These guys rock!”

Sadly, at the height of their popularity in 1996, the members of the band were struggling to make ends meet while fulfilling their contractual obligations to Roadrunner Records. As the story goes, Polygram Records offered to buy out Gruntruck’s contract for $1 million, but Roadrunner Records refused. Based on the advice of their lawyer, the band filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to break free of their contract. Unsurprisingly, that was promptly followed by Roadrunner Records suing to block the band’s bankruptcy with the result being a precedent-setting case that’s been cited in subsequent cases, written about in legal journals — and eventually inspired congressional legislation. And although the court eventually ruled in Gruntruck’s favor, their various legal issues exacted a deep financial and emotional toil on the band, as well as stalled the band’s momentum.

By 1997, the band’s original lineup reunited, and began working on new material; some of which wound up comprising their self-titled third album, an effort that the members of the band envisioned as their breakthrough effort. Recorded and finished over a two year period in five different studios in and around the Seattle area with Jack Endino and Martin Feveyear taking up production duties, the band decided to build up buzz for the album with a busy live schedule, playing shows in and around Seattle; however, just as they were about to build up some buzz, the band went on a hiatus in 2003 to allow Ben McMillan to recover from a number of health issues.

Sadly McMillan died from complications related to diabetes in 2008, and the third album languished in the vaults until last year, when Jack Endino mentioned its existence to Found Recordings head, Scott Blum, who pushed to get the album released, over a decade since the initial recording sessions. Now, as you may recall, the album’s first official single “Bar Fly,” featured an ambitious, arena rock-based sound consisting of enormous power chords, and a shout from the mosh pit worthy course — and while nodding at metal, the song manage stop remind me of Dirt-era Alice in Chains and Purple-era Stone Temple Pilots. “Noise Field,” their self-titled album’s latest single continues in a similar vein — a quiet, loud, quiet song structure that allows room for enormous power chords and thundering drumming. However, the one noticeable difference to me is that the song manages to sound as though it were influenced by Core-era Stone Temple Pilots.

“Noise Field” much like its predecessor will remind many listeners of grunge’s high point of 1991-1994 or so and simultaneously its low point of 1996-1999 or so; but underneath, there’s a sad reminder of what could have been for the band. After all, for the first, second and even third wave bands that find some level of success, there are many more bands, who get a brief taste of recognition but never quite make it further than that.

Interestingly, the song will strike many as a remanent of a decidedly particular period — 1996-1998 or so — but underneath that, there’s a sad reminder of what could have been; after all, for the rare Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgardens, etc., there’s countless bands, who get close to making it and many more that never make it.

 

 

Comprised of founding members Robert McVey, (guitar) who’s had stints backing the legendary Marianne Faithfull and as a member of Longview and Madrugada‘s Sivert Høyem (vocals); along with Simone Butler (bass), who has been in the touring and backing bands of a number of arena rock acts; and Rob Ellis (drums), who’s best known for backing and collaborating with PJ Harvey, the indie rock All-Star band Paradise may arguably feature some of the most accomplished musicians in contemporary rock. And interestingly enough, the band can trace its origins to when its founding duo of McVey and Høyem bonded in an Oslo bar over a shared passion for the sort of straightforward rock ‘n’ roll they’ve felt has been long absent from indie and underground rock for some time.

The quartet’s first tour together sold out, primarily based on the reputation and careers of the individual members alone, and building on the buzz they’ve received from fans and critics, they released their John Agnello-produced, self-titled debut EP last week. And from the EP’s first single “Goodbye 21st Century” the members of Paradise specialize in straightforward yet rousingly anthemic, power chord-based rock — and in some way, the song finds the band wondering what happened to that old rock ‘n’ roll feel, when everything seems prepackaged, soulless, contrived and pretentious; but perhaps more important, the band wants to lead the charge for rock that blows the doors down and kicks ass with an immediacy of purpose and a sense of danger.

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Australia’s The Cactus Channel Returns with a Brooding and Psychedelic New Single

With the release of their first two albums, 2012’s Haptics and 2013’s Wooden Boy, along with four 45s and backing sessions for Mojo Juju and WILSN, the Melbourne, Australia-based funk/soul collective The Cactus Channel have become one of Australia’s best funk and soul acts; however, the band’s third full-length effort Stay A While, the band has gone through a decided change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, partially influenced (and represented) by collaborations with acclaimed Melbourne-born, Brooklyn-based producer and singer/songwriter Nick Murphy, (formerly known as Chet Faker) and with Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromark. And as you’ll hear on Stay A While’s latest single “Leech,” the band’s Lewis Coleman take up vocal duties and while sonically the band retains some elements of the soul sound that has won them attention nationally and internationally, their sound has begun to lean more towards psychedelia to give their sound a hazy, dream-like vibe. 

Interestingly enough, the Australian funk outfit’s latest single lyrically and thematically evoke the internal and emotional wrestling one faces with the linger feelings and resentments in the aftermath of a breakup. As Lewis explains, “Leech” is about “those feelings that don’t go away, and pop up at unexpected times. When something shifts inside, but even your best friends wouldn’t know; your mood is instantly altered, even if you can walk back into the room and nobody notices it externally.” As a result, the song bristles with a bitter uncertainty — the sort that comes from the realization that one never gets over anything; that life generally pushes you forward and against your will. 

ROOKES is the solo recording project of the Birmingham, UK-born, London, UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Bulcraig. Over the past seven years, Bulcraig has been honing her craft and developing a virtuoso one-woman show, which has led her to open for the likes of Stealing Sheep, Anna Pancaldi, She Makes War and KT Tunstall — and as you’ll hear on “The Heel of My Hand,” the Birmingham-born, London-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist specializes in brooding yet soaring pop that features a propulsive rhythm and shimmering guitar-based grooves paired with Bulcraig’s mesmerizing vocals. While sonically speaking, Bulcraig’s work is reminiscent of the likes of Bryde and London Grammar, Bulcraig sets herself apart with songwriting that manages to be ambitious and arena rock friendly while possessing an uncanny intimacy.

 

New Video: Headbang with Rituals of Mine in Intense Live Footage-based Visuals for “Armor”

Comprised of Terra Lopez and Dani Fernandez, the Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Rituals of Mine can trace their origins back to 2009, when they initially formed under the name Sister Crayon. After years of relentless touring up and down the West Coast, playing house shows, DIY venues, basement rooms and other small, local establishments, the duo built up a loyal fanbase, and as a result the duo began to build a growing regional and national profile, touring with The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree and others. Adding to a growing profile, the duo’s first two independently released and critically applauded albums 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic helped to further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting cathartic material centering around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, soulful vocals and trip hop-inspired production. 

The Wes Jones-produced, third full-length album Devoted was released in 2015 to critical applause — with the album landing on a number of indie “Top Ten Albums of 2015″ lists; but despite the album’s success, 2015 was a harrowing and difficult year for the Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop act’s Terra Lopez, as her father committed suicide and several months later, her best friend Lucas Johnson died in a tragic accident. Reeling from grief, the duo felt the need to put the Sister Crayon name to rest, and landed on their new name Rituals of Mine.”  Terra writes “It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times. Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”

Because of its extremely limited release, Warner Brothers Records decided to re-master and re-release Devoted when the duo signed with the label last February. Re-mastered by Tom Coyne, who has worked with Led Zeppelin and Adele, the 2016 re-release features previously unreleased remixes and B-sides. Recently, the members of Rituals of Mine released a live, stripped down video for album single “Armor,” which features Madame Gandhi, a former drummer in M.I.A.’s backing band. 

Filmed by the Bay Area-based French Press Films with lighting by The Steel Hip (Moonlight), the video features the collaborators headbanging and rocking out intensely to their swaggering and percussive live version. And while swaggering, the live version manages to maintain the original’s cathartic vibe with a “you-are-there” intimacy and immediacy. As the duo’s Terra Lopez explains in press notes, “We’ve been long time fans of Kiran (Madame Ghandi) and we’ve all wanted to do a track together so when the idea came around to do a stripped down, percussive heavy live video for “Armor,” we were all so down. This track is raw, it hits heavy and it’s our version of an electronic/punk track. It’s one of my favorite tracks of ours to perform live and this version with Madame Ghandi is so fun and dynamic plus it’s just badass to see women head banging and having a good time together. French Press Films were so incredible to film with — they wanted to do something different visually for a live video so they set up a track in the Madden football building in the Bay Area and shot it beautifully. Huge thanks to them and the team for this. They kill it every time.”

Jamel Ireif (born Elgin Turner) is a East New York, Brooklyn-born emcee, best known to hip-hop heads and Wu-Tang Clan fans as Masta Killa. And although he was the last member to join the original lineup and was initially considered as one of the lesser-known members of the Wu — he was only featured on one track of their seminal debut effort, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) — over the years, he has developed a reputation as being one of the more prolific members of the group, contributing quite a bit on Clan group albums and solo projects since the mid 1990s.  Interestingly enough, Masta Killa is also the last original member to go solo but he’s managed to release three critically applauded albums — 2004’s No Said Date, 2006’s Made in Brooklyn and 2012’s Selling My Soul.

Masta Killa’s highly-anticipated fourth full-length album Loyalty Is Royalty is set to drop tomorrow, and the album finds the acclaimed emcee and Wu-Tang member teaming up with an All-Star squad of dos emcees and producers — the album’s first single  “Therapy” featured guest spots from Method Man and Redman. The album’s second single “O.G.’s Told Me” featured guest spots from Ram Squad’s MC Boy Backs and Harlem-based Wu-Tang associate Moe Roc on a track that featured the trio showing love to the older heads, who took them under their wings and mentored them with a nostalgia-tinged Dame Grease production featuring a looped sample of staccato key bursts paired with tweeter and woofer rocking beats. The track is a certified banger, but with a truly adult perspective, as it suggests an obvious truth that many of us don’t want to face — time is rushing before us, and suddenly you’ll find yourself being one of those old heads, taking some young, knuckleheaded cat under your wing.

Loyalty is Royalty‘s third and latest single “Down With Me” finds Masta Killa teaming up with the late Sean Price to spit insanely dope bars over a 9th Wonder production featuring twinkling keys, a strutting and swaggering bass line and tweeter and woofer rocking beats. It’s hip-hop how I love it — rugged and raw, with dope emcees spitting bars over enormous boom-bap like beats.