Category: New Audio

 

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the London-based garage punk quartet The Cavemen, and as you may recall, the band can trace its origins to when its founding members, Paul Caveman (vocals), Jack Caveman (guitar, vocals), Nick Caveman (bass) and Jake Caveman (drums) met attending high school in Auckland, New Zealand. Reportedly, the members of the band bonded over a shared love of sniffing glue and wild rock ‘n’ roll. After spending several years drinking and loitering in their hometown’s basements, graveyards and parking lots, they honed their sound, eventually spending the better part of 2014-2015 recording their full-length debut. Interestingly, their debut album received attention locally for their ability to craft furious, face-melting power chord-based punk, inspired by The Ramones, The CrampsThe Stooges, and The MC5. Thematically, the material found the band making references about grave-robbing, necrophilia and other perverse, Troma Films-inspired shit but with a sneering sense of humor.

Just two weeks before the band was about to relocate to London, they went on a national graveyard tour that became infamous for its tackiness and for being ill-fated: the band’s Nick Caveman died in a tragic car accident, which forced the cancellation of the rest of the tour. Since then, Dirty Water Records released their debut across the European Union and elsewhere — and as a result of album single “Stand By Your Ghoul” and their “Burn Out For Love” 7 inch, the now London-based received international attention for boozy and filthy punk rippers.

They built upon their growing reputation for old-school-inspired punk rippers with the release of last year’s Nuke Earth and the “Lowlife” 7 inch, which featured the Johnny Thunders‘ “Born to Lose,” Highway to Hell-era AC/DC and New York Dolls-like “Lowlife.” Interestingly, this year has been a rather busy year for the London-based punk rockers, as they quickly followed the “Lowlife” 7 inch with the breakneck, filthy, troglodyte stomp of “My Baby Knows.” Centered by buzzing power chords, a rousing, mosh pit friendly hook, shouted vocals and a boozy Chuck Berry-like solo, the track is frenzied and furious take on ’77 era punk, compete with Troma Films-like lyrics.

 

 

 

 

 

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Back in 2016, I wrote a bit about the Seattle, WA-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and producer Grant Eadie. Eadie has received attention both regionally and nationally for his solo recording project Manatee Commune, which specializes in a carefully molded sound in which he pairs natural overtones extracted from various field recordings and other sources, live instrumentation and arrangements with slick yet nuanced production.

Although a few years have passed since I’ve written about the Pacific Northwest-based JOVM mainstay, he has been rather busy, writing and releasing new material and collaborating with an eclectic array of artists, including his latest track “Growing Pains.” Centered around a breezy and ethereal production featuring a looping and shimmering guitar line, stuttering beats, an infectious hook and a soulful vocal contribution from Samuel Eisen-Meyers, the seemingly self-assured track reveals a familiar uncertainty and awkward awareness that reminds me of when I was in my mid 20s — when you’re made to feel as though you’re maladjusted when you haven’t quite figured out your life or anything else. (Of course, as I got older, I realized that feeling was bullshit — mainly because no one really has it together.)

“Growing Pains is a song about exploring life in your mid 20s,” Eadie says. “We are told we are supposed to have everything figured out by then, but this often is not the case. In the last year I’ve come to realize that I am doing exactly what I should be doing. Feeling the pains of growth is a sign of growth and every battle won is a step forward in the right direction. As long as you are doing what you love, you are on the right path.”

 

 

 

Portland, ME-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Alejandra O’Leary was born to a Colombian mother and Irish father. Growing up with a different sounding name, and being a person of color in place where they weren’t many people of color both challenged and shaped her, as she grew up listening to old Beatles records; growing up in Portland instilled feelings of simultaneously being a native and an outsider. “I’ve always been at home with messiness, big emotions and uncertainty,” O’Leary reflects in press notes. “I guess that’s why I like rock n roll.”

After moving to Santiago Chile when she was 17 O’Leary became infatuated with the idea of idea of creating music and followed her muse across the world for over a decade, writing, recording and releasing four albums with lyrics in both Spanish and English, which featured an expansive mix of anthemic Top 40 pop melodies, retro soul flourishes and power chord rock that received praise from the likes of No Depression, PopMatters and Magnet. Adding to a growing profile, O’Leary has opened for the likes of Guster and Asobi Seksu.

In 2016, O’Leary returned to Portland with her newborn baby and the intention of recording a new album. Never one to follow formulas, the Portland, ME-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist rounded up a group of hand-picked local musicians and sent them the demos of the material that would eventually comprise her forthcoming album Everest. No other instructions were given, and when they were all arrived in the studio to record the album, it was made clear that they were going to improvise the final arrangement. “This improvisatory spirit keeps things fresh and thrilling. I find it to be the most enchanting way to create music,” O’Leary asserts in press notes.

Seemingly indebted to Liz Phair and 120 Minutes-era alt rock, Everest‘s woozy and anthemic latest single, “Wires” is centered around feedback-fueled power chords, a rousing and enormous hook and sultry, come hither vibes within an easy-going, free-flowing arrangement.

Look for O’Leary’s newest effort to drop on June 7, 2019.

 

 

 

New Audio: Introducing the Murky Sounds of Poland’s Give Up To Failure

Featuring Aviaries’ Mark Magick and Krzystof Mlynczak, along with Wotjek Witkowski, Rafal Wekiera and Michal Szcypek, Give Up To Failure is a new, Wroclaw, Poland-based act that specializes in a massive and heavy goth/industrial sound centered around towering layers of shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars and synths and thunderous drumming as you’ll hear on the Depeche Mode meets shoegaze-like debut single “Ties.”

Perhaps best known as one-half of the acclaimed, Juno Award winning roots rock act The Bros. Landreth, the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Joey Landreth has spent the past few years developing a reputation and sound as a solo artist.

Landreth’s critically applauded full-length debut, 2017’s Whiskey was largely seen as an extension of his work in The Bros. Landreth. However, his highly-anticipated sophomore album Hindsight, which was co-written and produced by rising multi-instrumentalist Roman Clarke and recorded at Lincoln Country Social Club Studio in Toronto and Stereobus Recording in Winnipeg, reportedly finds the Winnipeg-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist crafting his most impassioned and uplifting material to date while pushing his sound and approach in a new direction. Thematically, the album as Landreth says in press notes features “a collection of songs that explore ideas about learning from mistakes, letting go, forgiving and growing up. And heartbreak. It wouldn’t be a Landreth endeavour without some heartbreak.”

“Cryin’,” Hindsight‘s latest single is a slow-burning and easy-going bit of singer/songwriter soul that recalls Bill Withers and Sandra Rhodes’ under-appreciated Where Has Your Love Been as the track is centered around a Muscle Shoals meets neo-soul inspired arrangement featuring a soaring hook, shimmering guitars, gospel-like organs, Landreth’s soulful crooning and an expressive guitar solo — and much like the material that seemingly influenced it, the track is essentially a deliberately crafted, old-fashioned blues about being heartbroken and crying in your beer.

Landreth will be embarking on an extensive UK and North American that will feature his producer and collaborator Roman Clarke. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

April 23 – Lewes Con Club, Lewes, United Kingdom

April 24 – Fat Lil’s, Witney, United Kingdom

April 25 – The Boileroom, Guildford, United Kingdom

April 26 – The Railway Inn, Winchester, United Kingdom

April 27 – The HUBS, Sheffield, United Kingdom

April 28 – Audio Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom

April 29 – White House Unique Social Club, Ashington, United Kingdom

April 30 – The Wardrobe, Leeds, United Kingdom

May 1 – The Night and Day Café, Manchester, United Kingdom

May 2 – The Bulls Head Alton, Alton, United Kingdom

May 3 – Kilkenny Roots Festival, Kilkenny, Ireland

May 4 – Killkenny Roots Festival, Kilkenny, Ireland

May 5 – The ROOTS @ The Rafa, St David’s, United Kingdom

May 7 – Thekla, Bristol, United Kingdom

May 8 – The Garage, London, United Kingdom

May 9 – The Flowerpot, Derby, United Kingdom

May 11 – Rhythm & Blues Night 2019, Groningen, Netherlands

May 12 – Paard Café, The Hague, Netherlands

May 14 – Blue Shell, Cologne, Germany

May 15 – Kranhalle, Munich, Germany

May 17 – Nachtwache, Hamburg, Germany

May 18 – Sonderborghus, Sonderborg, Denmark

May 19 – Blues Garage, Isernhagen, Germany

May 20 – Badehaus, Berlin, Germany

May 21 – Bygningen, Vejle, Denmark

May 22 – Tobakken, Esbjerg, Denmark

June 6 – Dekker Centre, North Battleford, Canada

June 29 – Puisto Blues Festival, Jarenpaa, Finland

July 20 – Vancouver Folk Festival, Vancouver, Canada

July 27 – Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Canso, Canada

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Zig Zags Release a Blistering Headbanger from Fourth Album

Over the years, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Los Angeles-based thrash punk/metal trio and JOVM mainstays  Zig Zags. And as you may recall, the act, which is currently comprised of founding member Jed Maheu (guitar, vocals), Dane Andrews (drums) and longtime sound engineer, multi-instrumentalist Sean Hoffman (bass) over the course of their eight-plus year have gone through a series of lineup changes while releasing seven singles and three full-length albums. During that time, the band has also managed to subtly yet continually evolve their sound, songwriting approach and overall aesthetic.

Slated for a May 10, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, the band’s fourth, full-length album They’ll Never Take Us Alive reportedly finds the band paying homage to some of their earliest influences — in particular, their mutual love of  Dead Moon and Wipers, while remaining decidedly heavy metal. “Fallout,” the Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica-like album single further cemented the band’s reputation for specializing in headbanging, power chord-based riffs and rousingly anthemic hooks paired with a blistering urgency. The album’s latest single “Killer of Killers” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor, power chord-centered riffs, rousingly anthemic hooks, blistering and dexterous solos — paired with an urgent and frenzied production and performance.

New Audio: Introducing the Gorgeously Cinematic Sounds of The Soft Calvary

Formed by husband and wife duo Steve Clarke and Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, The Soft Calvary is a new project, and their self-titled full-length debuts slated for a July 5, 2019 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records. For Clarke, the album is equal parts labor of love and long-held dream finally realized — and perhaps more important, the first album that he has masterminded from start to finish with the assistance of his wife and his brother Michael, who produced the album.

Reportedly, the album’s material radiates both midlife crisis and elation — the sigh of finally finding real contentment and peace after living a messy life, full of heartache and confusion. And as Clarke emphasizes in press notes, an album that he “needed” to make, as it can also be seen as a way of rewriting his own narrative: Divorced in 2011, Clarke admittedly spent the next three years in a haze. He had played bass and sung backing vocals in bands as a session musician and as a touring member since the late 90s, while also working as a tour manager.

At one point, he began working as a tour manager for the reunited Slowdive. “I was hungover in the back of my van trying to work out how I was going to fit all the band’s gear into this confined space whilst I still had all of mine from the show that I’d played in London the night before,” Clarke recalls in press notes. “The second of two sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo with David Brent!” Coincidentally, that same day Clarke was introduced to Goswell. A year later, they were living together in Devon, before marrying last year. Rachel not only turned his world “upside-down,” as he recalls, she also unwittingly produced “the catalyst” for the new project. “I’d always had ideas but never felt that anything I had to say was worthy of anyone’s attention, let alone my own,” he says in press notes. “I wish that I could have done this fifteen years ago but, in reality, I simply couldn’t have. But I’m not one to overly wallow. I’d rather plough the various levels of confusion into songs.”

The album in many ways is an exercise in creative and personal therapy. The first songs Clarke wrote specifically for the album are Goswell-inspired paeans to fate, love, new beginnings and hope. But as he began to open up, the past found a way to seep in — the years of frustration, confusion, anxiety, heartache. If there’s a theme to the material, reckons Steve, “it’s recovery versus new doubt. I’m there, in the middle. The word that kept coming back to me was ‘resilience.’ With the right mentality and people around you, especially family, we get through and find a level of hope.”

Interestingly, the writing sessions were in some way an extended conversation between the couple. Clarke, as Goswell says “is always writing, his head always full of lyrics.” Goswell, as Clarke says “reins me in when I get obsessed. She’s a good editor. She says my songs can still work without sections of words, that leaving spaces is OK.” As Clarke began to assemble songs, he invited a handful of dear friends including Mercury Rev‘s and Midlake‘s Jesse Chandler (keys), Tom Livermore (guitar) to assist with the album’s overall sound and tone. “I’d grown up with guitar bands and I didn’t want it to be overly guitar-y,” Clarke says. “We evolved things by trying out ideas. We’d be build things up, and then stripe them back and build them again.”

Interestingly, as the album progresses Goswell formed Minor Victories with members of Mogwai and Editors while all of those bands had gaps in their schedules, eventually writing and recording an album, which Goswell and Clarke contributed vocals and lyrics for. “It got the cogs turning on a writing and lyrical level, and gave me a certain amount of self-belief,” Clarke recalls.

After completing their album together, Clarke found a name for the band and the album, seemingly out of thin air — The Soft Calvary. “I can’t explain its literal meaning,” he says. “It just made sense.” Might Rachel be the calvary? “Maybe! it would be subconscious, but that makes sense too, strangely.”

The album’s first single is the cinematic yet ethereal “Dive.” Centered around towering layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive backbeat, Clarke and Goswell’s gorgeous harmonies, the track is one part contented sigh, one part romantic swoon; but underneath that there’s a creeping sense that it’s all a fleeting dream.

Comprised of Nick Wisdom and AstroLogical, the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based hip-hop and electro pop production duo Potatohead People can trace their origins to when they first met in a high school, community baseball league in high school and bonded over their mutual love of J. Dilla and Madlib. In 2008 Wisdom and AstroLogicla began working together in the hip-hop collective Elekwent Folk; but soon after, the duo formed Potatohead People and began focusing on creating forward-thinking instrumental music.

After releasing a series of EPs digital through Vancouver-based net-label Jellyfish Recordings, the renowned New York-based label Bastard Jazz re-issued 2012’s Kosmichemusik EP and released a 7 inch, which quickly became collector’s item; in fact, the Vancouver-based production team’s association with Bastard Jazz helped land their song “Back to My Shit,” featuring Frank’n’Dank‘s Frank Nitty on a Powerade-produced Lebron James documentary. Adding to a growing profile, the duo have been championed by the likes of OkayPlayer, Kaytranada, Soulection, Nightmares on Wax, Pomo, Exmag, Big Boi and the late Phife Dawg among others.

Last year, the duo released their groundbreaking sophomore album Nick & Astro’s Guide to the Galaxy, an album that found them continuing an ongoing collaboration with Illa J, as well as a collection of other artists. Building upon the momentum of their sophomore album, the Canadian production duo will be releasing Nick & Astro’s Instrumentals, Remixes & B-Sides EP through Bastard Jazz Records on April 26, 2019 and the EP features a collection of instrumentals, B-sides and a handpicked collection of their favorite producers from around the world remixing their material. Additionally, the members of Potatohead People held a remix contest from which they picked one winner from an overwhelming number of submissions.

The soon-to-be released EP’s latest single is the New Jack Swing and Quiet Storm-inspired original track “Iced Tea.” Centered around a thumping, club friendly production featuring handclap-led percussion with thumping and shuffling beats, a sinuous bass line, layers of arpeggiated synths and a slick hook, the single reminds me of Cherrelle‘s “Saturday Love,” and “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” and G-funk era hip-hop. giorgi and Radina Vee contribute sultrily delivered vocals that are part late night, come hither come on, part you’ve been friendzoned — but with someone who’s actually pretty awesome.

 

 

 

I’ve written quite a bit about the Oakland, CA-based futuristic soul act and JOVM mainstays Bells Atlas over the past few years, and as you may may recall, the act which is comprised of Derek Barber (guitar) Geneva Harrison (drums, percussion, keys) Sandra Lawson-Ndu (vocals, percussion, keys) and Doug Stuart (bass, vocals, keys) have received attention across the blogosphere for a lush, kaleidoscopic sound that draws from indie rock, 90s R&B, Afro-pop, Afro-futurism, jazz, electro pop and experimental pop. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the act has opened for Hiatus KaiyoteBADBADNOTGOODBilalMeshell NdegeocelloW. Kamau BellAngelique Kidjo and others, as well as Bermuda Triangle, the side project of Alabama Shakes‘ Brittany Howard. Along with that, they spent 2016 as the touring band for NPR’s Snap Judgement.

Last year, the act released the SALT AND SOAP EP, an effort inspired by cleansing rituals and preservation methods, with the understanding that when you’re not accustomed to releasing your most personal stories, the idea is then to take a moment to prepare for a shift — for a new way of being open. Interestingly, during the creative process for the EP and their full-length effort the mystic, which is slated for release later this week, the band stumbled upon a new songwriting process that incorporated the use of sampling grainy phone memo recordings of Geneva Harrison’s drumming as the bedrock of the material.

With the writing and recording sessions focusing on spontaneity and even humor, the band aimed to craft music that managed to be cinematic yet deeply personal — all while allowing room to highlight each member’s individual skills and talent within the larger whole. Narratively and thematically, the album is a sci-fi fantasy of two first generation Nigerian-American women coming to terms with a mental health diagnosis — and at the same time, a universal exploration of how we make sense of reality. “It’s about a truth seeker and a skeptic trying to make sense of what’s mystical and what’s clinical,” the band’s Sandra Lawson-Ndu says in press notes. “The listener is made to consider the possibility of magic. Is it possible, for instance, that someone who navigates the world differently may have a deeper understanding of the universe? The mystic is a spectrum of deep emotionality, impulse, and even humour; a tool to explore the full dimension of our reality.” the mystic‘s latest single is the slow-burning and ethereal “Final Ceiling.” Centered around Lawson-Ndu’s dreamy cooing, shimmering synths and guitar and gently propulsive drumming, “Final Ceiling” evokes a hazy yet vividly remembered dream that lingers in your consciousness for hours.

The Oakland-based JOVM mainstays will be touring to support the mystic throughout May and June, and the tour includes a June 1, 2019 stop at C’mon Everybody. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES 

5.9 Los Angeles, CA The Satellite 
5.10 The Wayfarer Costa Mesa, CA 
5.11 Starline Social Club Oakland, CA 
5.16 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR 
5.17 Fisherman’s Village Festival Everett, WA 
5.18 Rhythm and Rye Olympia, WA 
5.19 The Auditorium Seattle, WA 
5.23 BSP Kingston Brooklyn, NYC 
5.24 Riverwalk Cafe and Music Bar Nashua, NH 
5.25 The Diving Bell Social Club Montreal, CA 
5.26 Columbus Theatre Providence, RI 
5.28 State House New Haven, CT 
5.30 Milkboy Philadelphia, PA 
5.31 Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House Washington, DC 
6.1 C’mon Everybody Brooklyn, NYC 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TR/ST Returns with an Industrial House-Inspired Banger

I’ve written quite a bit about the  Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, and his solo electro pop recording project TR/ST over the years, and as you may recall Alfons has released two critically and commercially successful albums — 2012’s self-titled album and 2014’s Joyland. Interestingly, Joyland was a decided change in sonic direction for the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay as the album found him crafting pop orientated, muscular club bangers.

Five years have passed since Joyland‘s release, and during that time, Alfons had been writing and recording new material in a farmhouse in Southern Ontario and in Los Angeles, where has since relocated. Working with an all-star list of collaborators that included Austra’s Maya Postepski, with whom he collaborated with on his self-titled debut — with Postepski co-writing and co-producing six songs. Alfons also worked with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor to further refine the album’s overall sound.

During the writing and recording process for Destroyer, Alfons learned that patience would be a major ingredient and influence on his songwriting approach and the album’s sound. “The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me. I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” Alfons says in press notes. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction. My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one. They just poured out of me.” With The Destroyer, the process was entirely different. “It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”

Destroyer 1‘s first single was the “Bizarre Love Triangle”-like “Gone,” a radio friendly and accessible track centered around a swooning and urgent Romanticism. “Unbleached,” the album’s second single, was a collaboration with longtime collaborator Maya Postepski was a decidedly industrial track inspired by the sound of rats running back and forth on the roof, complete with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of arpeggiated synths and an enormous hook. The album’s third single, “Colossal,” continues his ongoing collaboration with Austra’s Postepski — and in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor: a tweeter and woofer thumping, industrial house-leaning production centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, shuffling beats and enormous hooks that evokes early morning mist slowly rising in the horizon.

“Such a special collab with Maya, we wrote it together while in different parts of the world,” Alfons explains in press notes. “This song was written during long walks I would take in the middle of the night around the hills in my neighborhood, watching the mist rise as the sun came up.” Postepski adds “I was coming home on the train with my music on random when a TR/ST song came on from the first album we made, I started crying, it brought back so many memories. I sent Robert the sketches for ‘Colossal’ that night. He wrote back and we rekindled our relationship, so I find it deeply emotional every time I hear it. Had I not taken the chance and sent it who knows if we would be working together again. Overcoming fear and being brave have become the focus of my work and this song underlines that — if one is willing to look into the lion’s mouth the rewards can be astounding.”