Category: singer/songwriters

Perhaps best known as the frontwoman of defunct, Denver, CO-based indie rock/synth-wave/chill-wave act Ending People, Fort Collins, CO-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erin Roberts’ current project Porolo can trace its origins back to when Roberts started it as a solo recording project back in 2002. Over the next decade and a half, the solo recording project evolved into a collaborative project featuring a rotating cast of friends and associates, influenced by the dramatic landscapes of her home state and the even more dramatic personalities she has encountered.

Last year, I wrote about “Wasting Time” off the band’s James Barone-produced Awards EP and building upon the attention that the EP received, the band’s first single of 2019 is the anthemic 60s jangling pop “I Quit,” a track inspired by Roberts quitting her full-time career earlier this year. Reminiscent of Johnny Paycheck‘s classic, smash hit “Take This Job and Shove It,” the track captures the shimmering resentment of someone, who has finally reached their breaking point with dead-end, soul-crushing and demoralizing jobs with dehumanizing and offensive bosses, class ceilings, blind eyed-HR departments, asshole coworkers, pointless and endless meetings, casual racism and casual sexism and low pay — and out of the blue decides to quit, surprising themselves and everyone around them. As Roberts says of the song, “Singing this song puts power back in my hands when the going gets rough. I’ve used it as [a] mantra to sing repeatedly to myself when faced with tough situations. Dehumanizing bosses, turgid gatekeepers, class ceilings, blind eyes. Sometimes when there’s nothing nice left to say, you can just say “I quit.'”

The band is currently in the studio with James Barone, working on their latest full-length, which is slated for an October 2019 release.

 

Advertisements

Kyle Lacy is a Charleston, SC-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who specializes in vintage rock ‘n’ roll and soul — and his Dala Records debut is the Squeeze meets Daptone Records-like “Hangin On,” a track that pairs Lacy’s plaintive and soulful croon with an arrangement that features a gospel-inspired intro, plinking keys, a funky bass line, a rock ‘n’ roll-like backbeat, a mournful horn line, a swaggering guitar line and an anthemic chorus. And while being an incredibly crafted song that sounds as though it could have been released in 1962 or 1982, the core of the song is the narrator’s desperation and heartache, which you can literally feel throughout.

 

 

New Audio: Jai Wolf Releases an Anthemic M83-Like Single

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Bangladesh-born, New York-based electro pop Sajeeb Saha. Best known for his solo recording Jai Wolf, Saha’s work is inspired by a diverse and eclectic array of music, including indie rock, punk rock, hip-hop, classic music and Bollywood. Thematically, much of his work draws from his own experiences growing up as a third culture kid. 

Saha’s full-length debut The Cure To Loneliness is slated for an April 5, 2019 release through Mom + Pop Music, and as Saha professes in press notes, “In my heart, this album is me,” professes. From the sounds to the lyrics, it’s everything that I’ve always wanted to do.” Now, as you may recall, The Cure To Loneliness’ M83-like “Your Way,” was a collaboration with Day Wave that’s centered around jangling guitars, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, soaring hooks, thumping beats and plaintive vocals — and interestingly, the song was a bitter lament from a narrator, who’s lonely and profoundly disconnected from everything and everyone, including himself. The Cure To Loneliness’ latest single is the anthemic instrumental composition “This Song Reminds Me Of You.” Owing a major sonic debt to M83, the track is centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, warm blasts of guitars and a motorik groove — and interestingly, as a result, the track possesses a swooning urgency. 

Seth Olinsky is perhaps best known for being the primary songwriter, frontman and guitarist of influential and renowned underground noise folk punk act Akron/Family — and his solo project Cy Dune has developed a reputation for celebrating raw  and primordial rock that has drawn from his work with Akron/Family, Swans’ Micheal Gira and Rhys Chatham, as well as collaborations with Hamid Drake, William Parker, Keiji Haino and Tatsuya Nakatani among others.

Olinsky’s latest effort The Desert initially came about after experimenting with making drum loops on a refurbished Alan Lomax Ampex 601-2, pushing a clash of layered 16th notes and African inspired triplet relationships to create a new, repetitive drum sound.  That early experimentation wound up inspiring some of the meta sampling on Summer Rebels; however, with The Desert, the sampling is a much rawer form, while featured layered and energetic playing from backing band and collaborators drummer Andrew Barker, bassist William Parker, who has worked with Cecil Taylor and Peter Brotzman, and bassist Shazad Ismaily. who has worked with Marc Ribot and Sam Amidon. Initially written in the Sonoran Desert after Olinsky and Lighting Records co-founder Ali Beletic relocated to the desert in 2010, the material was tested as various adobe house shows around Tucson, in open desert arroyos running off of battery power at organized sound/noise poetry happenings that featured poetry professors from the University of Arizona and their friends from Montana and Oregon, who were traveling through town — and then eventually at SXSW with 40 drummers, including Akron/Family’s Dana Janssen, Megafaun‘s Joey Westerland, Son Lux‘s Ian Chang and Jobs’ Max Jaffe.

Olinsky relocated to Joshua Tree in 2014 and he continued to further deconstruct and develop the desert blues songs he originally wrote in 2010, with some material becoming part of pieces cut together with Ampex samples of old blues tunes, eventually becoming post-minimalist compositions which he performed in the Integratron, before being installed in the desert with multiple amplifiers run off generators. The Desert interestingly enough is the first of a series of archival Cy Dune releases that Lighting Records will be releasing this year, before a full-length of new, original material next year — but in the meantime, The Desert‘s first single is the explosive, John Lee Hooker and George Thorogood boogie blues meets psych blues-like “Desert 3.” Centered around a stomping drum progression, an inspired and fiery bit of guitar playing from Olinsky, the song possesses a feral and almost unhinged urgency.

 

 

 

 

New Video: An Intimate Look at Life on the Road in New Visuals for Daniel Norgren’s Latest Single “Let Love Run The Game”

Daniel Norgren is a Boras, Sweden-born blues/roots music singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist — and with the release of his full-length debut, 2007’s Kerosene Dream, which was mostly recorded on mostly homemade instruments and 2008’s Outskirt, the Boras, Sweden-born multi-instrumentalist amassed a growing profile across Europe; in fact, the success of his first two albums led to eventual touring across Europe. 2010’s acclaimed, full-length effort Horrifying Deatheating Bloodspider was nominated in the Singer/Songwriter Album of the Year category at the annual Manifestgalen. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Norgren followed his acclaimed Horrifying Deatheating Bloodspider with 2011’s Black Vultures EP, which featured “Going Home Finally,” a track featured on the BBC Radio show God’s Jukebox. 2013’s Buck was mostly recorded in Norgren’s home on a 4 channel cassette portages studio with studio recordings like “Whatever Turns You On,” a song that was tracked and filmed at Algorhythm Sound Studios and quickly became a viral hit on YouTube, as well as a live version of “Moonshine Got Me,” which was recorded during a Scandinavian tour. 

2015’s Alabursy was recorded in a similar fashion as its predecessor — at home on Norgren’s 4-channel cassette porta studio. The album was followed by another European tour. 

Slated for an April 19, 2019 release through his longtime label home Superpuma Records,  Norgren’s forthcoming album Wooh Dang will be the acclaimed Swedish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s first album to see a worldwide release.  Self-produced by Norgren and engineered bu his longtime collaborator and Superpuma Records founder Pelle Nyhage, Wooh Dang was recorded last fall in a single room of a 19th-century textile farmhouse in the woods, near Norgren’s home. “The interior looked it hadn’t been touched for the past 80 years,” Norgren recalls in press notes. “I moved a lamp and it left a dark red ring on the pink tablecloth underneath…goldmine! The house was huge, full of good, inspiring mustiness, creaking wooden floors, scary old portrait paintings on the walls, and an old, black German piano which I used in all the songs.” Recorded live to tape on a 16 track analog rig, the album finds Norgren mixing live performance and rural field recordings — while capturing the simpatico and energy between him and his backing band, which features old friends and longtime collaborators Andres Grahn (bass), Erik Berntsson (drums) and Andreas Filipsson (guitar, banjo).

The album’s latest single, the defiantly hopeful “Let Love Run The Game,”  meshes twangy Americana, Southern fried rock, psychedelia and blues that to my ears reminds me of The Band (in particular, “Up on Cripple Creek”), Otis Redding and King Bee-era Muddy Waters. Interestingly, as a result of the song’s production, it manages to sound as though it could have been recorded in 1965 or so — while capturing the urgency of three like-minded musicians and longtime friends jamming over the course of an afternoon.  

Featuring footage shot by Petra Wester Norgren,  Daniel Norgren, Anders Engström, Ida Brogren, Pelle Nyhage,  Erik Berntsson, Jean Millet, Sandra Filipsson, Drew Hanson,  Nathan Von Brown, and Edward Hill, the recently released video for “Let Love Run The Game,” intimately captures life on the road, from playing large venues in front of thousands of fans, to playing smaller venues with maybe a hundred people, the endless stretches of blacktop and gorgeous scenery that one would never dreamt to see, the band and crew goofing off — or just exhausted and sleeping whenever and wherever they could. And yet all of it is treated like wonder and joy, with the tacit acknowledgement that you gotta take it all in stride. 

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brampton, ON-born, Toronto, ON-based DJ, violinist, singer/songwriter, sync pop artist and JOVM mainstay Maya Killtron. Now, as you may recall, Killtron received national and international attention with the release of her debut EP, 2012’s Hipster/Gangstaand as a result of the surrounding buzz around the EP, Killtron made appearances across the North American festival circuit, including appearances at Miami’s Winter Music ConferencePride TorontoThe Halifax Jazz Festival and CMJ. Adding to a growing profile,  “Back For More,” her collaboration with New York-based production duo Love Taps received praise from Stereogum and Huffington Post for a sound that possessed elements of moomba and R&B. The equally attention-grabbing video showcased a sadly bygone New York. “Back For More” also received the remix treatment from  Smalltown DJs, The Slow WavesEyes Everywhere, Brothers In Arms and City Kid Soul — with the City Kid Soul remix being named in the Top 5 at Toronto’s Bestival.

Killtron’s latest full-length effort, Never Dance Alone is slated for a March 22, 2019 release, and the album reportedly was made specifically for dancing through your problems. The album’s latest single “Red Dress” continues a strong run of 80s synth funk/80s R&B-inspired club bangers as it’s centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, an anthemic hook and Killtron’s sultry pop belter vocals  — and while much like its predecessors, the track will bring I Feel for You-era Chaka Khan to mind, the track features a disco-inspired string arrangement that hints at JOVM mainstays Escort. Interestingly, the song is an uplifting, feminist anthem, complete with a much-needed “go out and get it, girl,” vibe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born Julia van der Torn, the up-and-coming singer/songwriter Julia Zahra was born in Indianapolis and raised in The Netherlands. In 2013, Zahra auditioned for the fourth season of The Voice of Holland with an acoustic cover of Britney Spears‘ “Oops I Did It Again” that has since amassed over 6 million steams of Spotify; as a result of the popularity of her cover, an 18 year-old Zahra became one of the show’s youngest winners to date.

After winning The Voice of Holland, Zahra released her full-length debut. The following year, Zahra competed in the Dutch TV singing competition show, The Best Singers of The Netherlands, a show in which each artist performs covers of each competing artist’s material — and she wound up winning that show. “Just an Illusion,” which she sang on the show shot up the Dutch iTunes charts in 2015, and by 2016 the song was picked up in Fiji, where it’s still a Top 10 song, and eventually across much of the Pacific. Recently, the song was played on radio stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and parts of Canada, amassing over 4 million Spotify streams. Building upon a growing international profile. Zahra spent 2 months touring the Pacific including Fiji’s Vodafone Arena and a sold-out Club Royalz show in Auckland, New Zealand.

Last year, the American-born, Dutch-based singer/songwriter released the Something New EP, a collection of stripped down, acoustic versions of her previously released material. And since the release of Something New, Zahra has been busy playing sold-out live dates across Holland while gearing up to release new material, including her latest single, the empowered, “I ain’t taking your shit anymore” anthem “Do You.” Centered around a slick production that pairs looping acoustic guitar with thumping electro pop, a rousing hook and Zahra’s emotional, pop belter-like vocals, the song is about recognizing when you can’t trust someone you’ve been involved with, trusting your own instincts and doing what’s necessary to move on.

 

 

 

Live Footage: Sam Fender Performs “Hypersonic Missiles” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

Newcastle, UK-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Fender has received attention both nationally and internationally over the past couple of years for crafting rousingly anthemic, arena rock-like material that broadly focuses on hard-hitting social issues and draws from his own experiences growing up in Northeastern England.

Last year was a big year for the Newcastle-based Fender, as she was featured on BBC Sound of 2018‘s shortlist, which he promptly followed up with a sold-out headlining UK tour. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Fender ended 2018 with the release of the Dead Boys EP, an effort that featured the attention-grabbing “That Sound,” a power chord-based arena rock friendly track that featured enormous raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worth hooks, soulful vocals and a bluesy vibe that brought  The Black Keys, Slaves, Royal Blood and others to mind — and “Play God,” a politically-charged song that openly talked about how special interests and the 1% really control the world as we know it, paired with an self-assured, ambitious bit of songwriting.

Interestingly, the rousing, Springsteen meets Modern English‘s “Melt With You“-like “Hypersonic Missiles” is the JOVM mainstay’s first bit of original music this year, and while centered around arena rock and classic rock-inspired hooks, reverb-drenched power chords, thunderous drumming and Fender’s urgent and impassioned vocals, the song is an unconventional love song about two star-crossed lovers making the best of whatever time they have left while the world burns down — and an incisive commentary on our apathy and confusion in the face of our self-destruction that cries to the listener “hey man, wake the fuck up and do something!”

“This song started out when I saw the term ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ in a newspaper. It’s a newly developed Russian missile that travels at something like nine times the speed of sound, which is essentially unstoppable,” Fender explains in press notes about the song’s inspiration. “America currently has no defence against such a weapon, they would be helpless in the wake of an attack, as you have roughly six minutes from the time it is launched to the time it strikes.

“In many ways, Hypersonic Missiles is an unorthodox love song. It’s main focus is on the world around the narrator, who is a complete tin foil hatter. They are convinced the world is on its last legs; they know that it is rife with injustice but feel completely helpless and lacking the necessary intelligence to change it while remaining hopelessly addicted to the fruits of consumerism.

“Amongst all the chaos is love and celebration, there is this glimmer of hope that runs through the song, a little notion that no matter what happens, these two people are gonna have a fucking good time regardless of the tyrants that run their world, and regardless of the imminent doom from these ‘Hypersonic Missiles.’”

2019 looks to be a breakthrough year for the Newcastle-based singer/songwriter and guitarist — he recently made his US network TV debut, performing “Hypersonic Missiles” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and he will be playing his first North American headline shows with stops in Toronto, Los Angeles — and a sold out Rough Trade show on March 20, 2019.  (You can check out tour dates below.) Fender will also be playing several sets at this year’s SXSW, which I’m sure will catch quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere.