Category: New Single

Echo Courts is a Greensboro, NC-based quartet, who specialize in a jangling guitar-based psych pop that sonically seems as though it owed a great debt to the sounds of the 60s and 80s while subtly nodding at New Wave as you’ll hear on “Fairview Place,” the anthemic hook-laden new single off the band’s forthcoming No Damage EP, which is slated for a January 18 release through Already Dead Tapes and Records. It’s a warmly familiar sound that will likely remind many of 120 Minutes-era MTV.

You can catch the North Carolina-based quartet on tour throughout the Southeast to start 2016. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates

 

1/2/2016 – Charlotte, NC – Snug Harbor
1/3/2016 – Atlanta, GA – Mammal Gallery
1/4/2016 – Birmingham, AL – Trim Tab Brewery
1/5/2016 – Jackson, MS – Big Sleepy’s
1/62016 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
1/7/2016 – Tallahassee, FL – Midtown Speakeasy
1/8/2016 – Savannah, GA – The Sentient Bean
1/9/2016 – Charleston, SC – The Royal American

 

Most Americans would be familiar with Stockholm, Sweden‘s capital and largest city; however, over the last decade or so, Umea, Sweden’s third (and most Northern) and Malmo, Sweden’s twelfth (and most Southern)  that have emerged with reputations for being some of Scandinavia’s most exciting creative hotbeds as an increasing number of artists and bands from Umea and Malmo have started to receive international recognition. Some of those acts have been profiled here — including the Malmo, Sweden-based lo-fi rock quintet YAST.

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you might recall that I’ve written about the Southern Swedish quintet before. The band can trace its origins to when its founding members Carl Kolbaek-Jensen, Tobias Widman and Marcus Norberg met in the steel town Sandviken in 2007 and started writing and playing music  as a way to escape a dreary life in even drearier environs. By the following year, Jensen, Widman and Norberg relocated to Malmo which has developed a reputation for a growing dream pop and indie rock scene. Some time later, Markus Johansson and Niklas Wennerstrand, who were both members of Aerial were recruited to flesh out the band’s sound.

With the release of their self-titled debut released in 2013, the Swedish quintet started to receive attention both in their native Sweden and internationally, and as a result they’ve opened for renowned psych rock acts including TOYThe DrumsTame ImpalaDIIV,  and they’ve made appearances at several large festivals, along with a UK tour, which suggests that the band’s international profile is growing — and rapidly.

The band’s sophomore album, My Dreams Did Finally Come True was released earlier this year through Adrian Recordings to international attention with the release of the album’s first two singles — in particular, “Together Forever,” a shimmering guitar-based pop song that managed to channel  120 Minutes era alternative rock. Building on the buzz they’ve received from their first two singles, My Dreams Did Finally Come True‘s third single “I Don’t Think She Knows” and its B-side “My Dreams” will further cement the band’s reputation for shimmering and slow-burning shoegaze-leaning guitar pop with anthemic hooks and an earnest, aching heart at its core — all while being remarkably buoyant and ebullient.

 

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over roughly the last 15-18 months or so, you may have come across a couple of posts on Scott Reitherman, the creative mastermind behind indie electro pop sensation, Pillar Point and the former frontman of pop act, Throw Me The Statue. With Pillar Point, Reitherman has received national attention for a melancholy yet bouncy electro pop sound primarily comprised of vintage, analog synthesizers, drum kits and sleek bass lines. It’s a sound that’s been compared favorably to several blogosphere darling acts including Washed Out, LCD Soundsystem and others.

While touring to support his solo debut with of Montreal , Reitherman was planning to write and record his sophomore full-length effort, Marble Mouth in his Seattle home when Kevin Barnes unexpectedly invited him to record the album in his home studio. As soon as the tour wrapped up, Reitherman spent several months crafting demos and went to Barnes’ home to flesh out, refine and then record Marble Mouth‘s material with contributions from Washed Out’s drummer Cameron Gardener and Kishi Bashi‘s percussionist Philip Mayer. Reitherman then spent a six month sent in New Orleans writing and refining both the album’s lyrics and vocals. And as Reitherman explained in press notes, New Orleans managed to influence the album’s lyrical direction.“New Orleans was the most meditative and mysterious part of making the record,” Reitherman explained. “I wanted to sink into that city and scrutinize the romantic southern sojourn.”

Marble Mouth’s first single, album opening track “Part Time Love” paired layers of twitchy and cascading synths with propulsive, four-on-the-floor drumming and Reitherman’s ethereal cooing to craft a sound that’s reminiscent of Talking HeadsTobacco and others, while it subtly nodded at Top 40 pop; in other words, the sound is tense, neurotic and incredibly danceable and accessible pop with infectious hooks. The album’s latests single “Dove” pairs confessional R&B/pop-leaning lyrics sung with Reitherman’s achingly plaintive and emotive vocals with house music-leaning production comprised of layers of cascading synths, skittering drum programming, a glitchy and dramatic string sample and swirling electronics in what may be arguably the most club-friendly song of the entire album.


Classically trained, Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles-based soul/pop singer/songwriter Crystyna Marie has had a lengthy music career, which can be traced to when she was teenager — she has been in and played with a number of Ontario-based acts and had been featured as a demo singer for a number of locally-based indie labels. After relocating to Los Angeles, the Canadian-born singer/songwriter had a stint in a pop act, Greencat; however, writing and releasing her own music with her own voice was where her real passion was.

As a result of her own experience as an artist, who has been with a number of labels, Marie decided that in order to shape her sound the way the she felt fit, that releasing music completely on her own was necessary. “Loaded Gun,” is the first single off the Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based artist’s forthcoming EP, slated for a February 29, 2016 release pairs Chrystyna Marie’s sultry and soulful vocals with a classic bluesy and soulful sound — propulsive yet simple rhythms, soaring hooks and 12 bar blues-based guitar chords and bursts of keyboards in a song that has its narrator describes the heady first days of a new love to a loaded gun — something that could quickly be combustible and unpredictable.

Unlike many of her soul, pop and blues-inspired contemporaries,  Chrystyna Marie’s debut single possesses an underlying sense of danger along with the prerequisite sultry seductiveness.

 

With the release of their first two albums, the Seaside, CA-based quartet Burnt Palms, comprised of  Riley (guitar and vocals), Clara Nieto (drums and vocals), Brian Dela Cruz (bass) and Joshua Vasquez, have been compared favorably to the likes of Dum Dum Girls, All Girl Summer Fun Band and Heavenly as their sound paired garage rock guitar chords with Riley’s ethereal vocals. However, with the forthcoming release of the band’s third full-length effort, Back on My Way, the Seaside, CA-based quartet has gone through a decided change of sonic direction with the band pairing indie pop melodies with thrash punk-like rhythms as you’ll hear on “Fold,” the brash and and snotty new single off the band the album.

Listening to the song reminds me of catching punk bands at the old Acme Underground, the Continental, Coney Island High, Brownies and countless other small, dank rooms across the city — but interestingly enough, the song possesses a bittersweetness that gives the song a snarling bite.

 

 

 

 

 

The up-and-coming Winnipeg, MB-based quartet Living Hour can trace their origins to basement jam sessions, writing dreamy songs inspired by the cinematic sky of their hometown. And as a result their sound, which possesses elements of shimmering guitar pop, swirling synths and ethereal vocals draws equally from classic shoegaze, dream pop and chillwave is both stunningly gorgeous and dramatic, as you’ll hear on their  latest single “Seagull,” a single that sounds as though it could have been released during 120 Minutes-era MTV — in particular think of Mazzy Star‘s “Fade Into You” and you’ll see exactly what I’m getting at.  (In other words, it’s the sort of song that would have been the soundtrack of an intense and fervent make out session — or would have been the soundtrack of a teenaged breakup.)

It’s been a busy year or so for the Canadian quartet. They contributed two songs to Family Portrait II, a vinyl compilation released by the London/Bristol-based label Art is Hard Records back in April and released a limited run cassette tape of their self titled debut effort through Bloomington, IN-based Tree Machine Records. But 2016 looks to be a breakout year for the band as they signed with Lefse Records, and will be releasing their full-length debut on February 19, 2016, which will be followed by a tour to support the effort. Check out some of the early tour dates below.

 

TOUR DATES:


March 3    Winnipeg, MB    The Good Will Social Club
March 4    Fargo, ND    The Aquarium
March 6    Des Moines, IA    Des Moines Social Club
March 7    Rock Island, IL    Rozz Tox
March 9    St Louis, MO    Foam
March 11    Denver, CO    Lion’s Lair
March 13    Phoenix, AZ     Trunk Space
March 18    Santa Barbara    CA    FUNZONE
March 19    Fresno    CA    Peeves Pub
March 22    Santa Cruz    CA    Bocci’s Cellar
March 25    Davis    CA    Third Art Space Collective
March 29    Portland    OR    The Analog Cafe
March 31    Bellingham    WA    Loudhouse
April 2    Rossland    BC    The Flying Steamshovel
April 3    Kamloops    BC    Zacks Coffee

Guaranteed that if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month or so, that you would have come across a couple of posts on the Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms. Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is probably best known for his work with AwolnationLiz PhairKelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, the duo have been thrust into the national spotlight for a sound that owes a debt from classic garage rock and pop such as Connie FrancisPasty ClineRoy OrbisonJohnny Cash, the girl groups of the early 60s and others —  but with a subtly modern (and anachronistic) twist that makes the sound seem as though it could have been part of a a Quentin Tarantino film.

The duo’s debut single “Betty” first gained the attention across the blogosphere for a subtly scuzzy, lo-fi-like garage-based guitar rock sound that would make you think of the aforementioned Roy Robison and Buddy Holly the song possesses a similar urgent and swooning Romanticism. The heartache expressed by Marlene’s aching vocals is a heartache that we all have known at some point — being desperately in love with a fickle and thoughtless lover, who you know will inevitably break your heart. Following up on the buzz from “Betty,” the duo released a hushed and spectral alternate version of Betty that featured Marlene’s vocals paired with a sparse arrangement that includes a subtly Bossa Nova guitar line. Sonically, the alternate version channels Patsy Cline — in par — in particular, “Crazy” and “Walkin After Midnight.” And as a result, the alternate version aches with a similar desperate loneliness and longing.

Pom Poms latest single “123,” is a swinging and swaggering 60s-inspired soul song in which the song’s narrator describes playing a cat-and-mouse game with a potential suitor, who the song’s narrator sets upon having as hers and hers only. And as a result, Marlene’s sultry and soulful vocals possesses a come hither and stop wasting my damn time quality. Sonically, the song pairs Marlene’s vocals with period specific staccato bursts of organ,  propulsive rhythms and some funky guitar chords; thematically (and to my ears), I’m reminded of several songs including Amy Winehouse‘s “Rehab,” and Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” as the song possesses a similar brassy confidence.

 

 

Adelaide, Australia-born and Palm Springs, CA-based singer/songwriter Sia has had quite a career, as she can trace her career’s origins to when she was the vocalist in Adelaide-based acid jazz act Crisp in the mid 1990s. After the band’s breakup in 1997, Sia released her debut effort, OnlySee through Flavoured Records and relocated to London, where she provided vocals for British duo Zero 7.

After the release of Healing Is Difficult, an album inspired and informed by the death of her-then boyfriend Dan Pontifex and Colour the Small One, the Australian-born singer/songwriter, who was deeply displeased with the fact that her work was struggling to connect with a mainstream audience, relocated to NYC and began touring the US. During a two year break in which she “retired” as a pop performer and focused on being a pop songwriter, Sia developed a reputation as go-to co-songwriter and songwriter as she’s credited with writing or co-writing songs for and by an incredibly diverse and impressive list of mega-hit artists. A short list of her writing credits include Ne-Yo‘s “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),Rihanna‘s “Diamonds,” Kylie Minogue‘s “Sexercize,”  Beyonce‘s “Standing On The Sun,” Katy Perry‘s “Double Rainbow,” Britney Spears‘ “Perfume,” Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts,” Christina Aguilera‘s “You Lost Me,” Lea Michele‘s “Cannonball,” Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte‘s “We Are One (Ole Ola),” and countless others. (This shouldn’t be terribly surprising as Sia’s sound and aesthetic draws from hip-hop, funk, soul and pop while managing to sound unlike any of her contemporaries.)

Interestingly, Sia’s first taste of international stardom came in a rather unexpected fashion. She initially wrote “Titanium,” for Alicia Keys but the song wound up being sent to EDM superstar David Guetta, who included Sia’s demo vocals on the song and released it as single in 2011. The song was a massive commercial success as it peaked on the top of record charts across the US, Australia and Europe. But it was “Chandelier,” the breakout hit off her sixth, full-length effort, 1000 Forms of Fear was a commercial and critical success. The single was nominated for four Grammys last year — Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video; and she nabbed several ARIA Awards and MTV Music Awards, which established the Australian-born singer/songwriter as an internationally-recognized star, in the same lines of the artists she had written for during her “retirement.”

Sia’s seventh, full-length album This Is Acting is slated for a January 29, 2016 release, and in an interview with NME, she has mentioned that the forthcoming album is much more pop-orientated than its predecessor. And interestingly enough, the album’s third and latest single “Alive” was co-written by Adele and was intended to be on Adele’s latest album 25. When you hear the song, you can actually hear Adele’s influence on the song — the piano-led introduction and the song’s soaringly anthemic hooks; however, as gorgeous as Adele’s voice is, the song just feels and sounds as though it just had to be Sia’s. Not to say that Adele hasn’t had profound experiences at a young age but lyrically, the song conveys a sense of wisdom, pride and triumph over life’s fucked up circumstances — deprivation (financial and emotional), heartache, despair, loneliness and worse. And when you hear Sia’s voice crack ever so slightly when she sings  “I’m still breathing/I’m still breathing/I’m alive,” during the song’s anthemic hook, it feels like a punch right in the ribs or in the solar plexus. Of course similarly to Gloria Gaynor‘s “I Will Survive,” the song possess an infectious “you can and will get through anything/you go-girl” optimism. It’s honestly the sort of song that the women of your life will lustily yell along to while driving to or from the club.

Recently Sia announced a remix package of “Alive” that features remixes and reworks from Maya Jane Coles, AFSHeeN, Boehm, Cahill and fellow Australian, Plastic Plates. In a recent interview with The Fader, the Australian producer was asked how the “Alive” remix came about, and as he explained to the publication, “Sia and I first met in Sydney 2001. Sam Dixon and I shared an apartment in Bondi and Sia crashed at our place. Until 2010, I played drums on Sia’s albums and toured around the world in her band. This is my 3rd remix for Sia, “Cloud” in 2010, “Chandelier” in 2014 and now “Alive.”Given our musical history, reinterpreting Sia’s vocals is effortless and pure joy for me.”

Plastic Plates’ rework turns the torch burning pop song into a slickly produced synth-based club-banger  as his production includes stuttering drum programming, cascading synths, wobbling and tumbling low-end, sirens and other assorted bleeps and bloops while retaining the song’s anthemic hooks and Sia’s achingly heartfelt vocals.

 

Typically, the majority of most Americans — hell,  most Westerners, really — are largely unfamiliar with music scenes and artists outside of the usual bastions of popular music — i.e., the US. the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Iceland and maybe a few outside of that sphere, such as Nigeria, South Africa, Mali and a few others. Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, there has been a increasing focus on presenting and covering artists from diverse backgrounds from all over the globe. And interestingly enough, one of those acts has been the Istanbul, Turkey-based indie rock/dream pop quartet The Away Days. Inspired by The Cure, Tame Impala and others, the quartet have developed a reputation in their homeland as being among the forefront of a Western-inspired indie rock scene. Their How Did It Start? EP was released to critical praise internationally from the likes of Seattle‘s renowned indie radio station KEXP, The Guardian, SPIN Magazine, Noisey, and the blogosphere. And with a growing international profile, the quartet went on a tour of the UK and made an appearance at SXSW.

It’s been close to 18 months since I’ve last written about them but in that time, they’ve been working on the material, which would eventually comprise their long-awaited and forthcoming full-length debut, slated for release sometime next year. The yet unnamed debut’s first single “Less Is More” is a lush and atmospheric song that features plaintive vocals paired with four-on-the-floor drumming, shimmering guitar chords, brief bursts of cascading synths, a sinuous bass line and soaring, anthemic hooks that sounds indebted to 80s New Wave and post-punk.

2016 looks to be a big year for the Turkish quartet as the band has been confirmed to make a return appearance at SXSW in March and will be announcing additional tour dates to support their debut. Hopefully, there will be a New York tour date or two!