Category: singer/songwriters

Over the past couple of years of this site’s nearly nine-year history, I’ve written quite a bit about Blonde Maze, the solo recording project of New York-based electronic music artist, producer and singer/songwriter Amanda Steckler. Now, as you may recall Steckler has received attention across the blogosphere for crafting slickly produced, atmospheric synth pop centered by lyrics that give her material an earnest and swooning romanticism.

Interestingly, over the past year or so, the JOVM mainstay has been collaborating with a number of both established and up-and-coming electronic music producers —  including the Iowa City, IA-born, Duluth, MN-based electronic music artist and producer Kyle Stern. best known as Attom.  As the story goes, Stern quietly sharpened and honed his production skills while earning a degree in Informatics from the University of Iowa. After relocating to Duluth, Stern won remix competitions for Parade of Lights‘ “Golden” and Chromeo’s “Jealous.” Building upon a growing reputation, Stern’s first single “Glow” was picked up on the MrSuicideSheep YouTube channel and officially released on the Big Beat Ignition Miami 2015 Playlist, which he promptly followed up with “Cruise,” a track that was released through MrSuicideSheep’s Seeking Blue Records. Adding to a growing profile, Stern won a remix contest for Odesza’s “White Lies,” which led to his first ever live set at Bonnaroo Music Festival. Since then, Stern has released “Her,” which amassed over 500,000 steams across each of the streaming platforms and “Stay,” which amassed 300,000 streams in under a month.

Interestingly, Steckler and Stern’s latest single, the euphoric “Anywhere”  is a seamless synthesis of the duo’s individual sounds and aesthetic as Steckler’s aching and ethereal vocals are paired with a slick production centered around arpeggiated keys, shimmering synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, chopped up vocal samples and a soaring hook. Unsurprisingly, the song continues a run of swooning singles by the JOVM mainstay that accurately evoke the feelings of being ridiculously, passionately in love with someone — something that even the most cynical of us have felt. As Steckler explains in an email about the song, “It encompasses the euphoric feeling of being in love and the willingness to go lengths for someone even when you are struggling yourself. It portrays dreamy, upbeat, yet longing vibes, something we’ve both felt a mix of in our lives and know people can relate.”

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Perhaps best known for being a member of critically acclaimed bands Magic Bullets and Terry Malts, as well as Smokescreens and Mike Krol‘s backing band, Corey Cunningham’s latest project Business of Dreams can trace its origins to when Cunningham took leave for his long-running musical partnerships when his father died. Returning back home to Tennessee to grieve and confront his past, Cunningham wrote music that would eventually comprise Business of Dreams’ critically applauded, eponymous full-length debut back in 2017.

Building upon a growing profile, Cunningham with a live backing band opened for Rogue Wave, and played a number of local shows with the likes of Frankie Rose, Real Estate and others. Business of Dream’s sophomore effort, Ripe For Anarchy is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through Slumberland Records, and the album finds Cunningham honing his songwriting both sonically and thematically, with the material touching upon regret, existence and perseverance.”The album is about living in the moment, shedding neurosis, and the desire to discard the general societal malaise we’ve been roped into,” Cunningham says in press notes.

Ripe For Anarchy‘s first single is the shimmering guitar pop track “Keep The Blues Away.” Centered around ethereal and plaintive vocals, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, staccato drum machine-like drumming, shimmering guitar lines fed through delay and effect pedals and a soaring hook, the single sounds as though it could have been released during 4AD Records heyday — and while indebted to the sounds of the past, the track is bolstered by an urgent sincerity that comes from lived-in experience.

 

 

 

Throughout the past couple of years of this site’s almost nine-year history, I’ve written a quite a bit about Ron Gallo, a  Philadelphia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and JOVM mainstay, whose was a once the frontman of the Philadelphia-based indie act Toy Soldiers. As the story goes, at one point, Gallo was in a long-term, romantic relationship with a deeply troubled woman — and once that relationship ended, Gallo relocated to Nashville, where he embarked on a solo career, writing and recording material that eventually became his acclaimed 2016 full-length debut HEAVY META. 

Thematically, HEAVY META touched upon a number of themes within his own life, including his own personal ideology of abstaining from drugs and alcohol, self-empowerment, domestication, dead and unhappy love, not truly knowing yourself and the things that could happen to you when you don’t, mental illness from the perspective of both sufferer and close observer, and a burning, misanthropic frustration with humanity and civilization. And yet, there was some level of optimism — that music can wake someone up and get them to change what they were doing. As Gallo said in press notes at the time, “this record comes from my frustration with humanity and myself, and from my wanting to shake us all. At my core, I’m compassionate for humanity and the sickness that we all live with, and from that comes something more constructive.”

HEAVY META’s follow-up Really Nice Guys EP was released early last year, and the EP was largely inspired by the previous year in Gallo’s life in which he was busy touring and promoting his full-length debut — and as a result, the EP’s material wound up being a satirical sendup of the contemporary music industry with the EP featuring songs about rough mixes, broken into three parts — iPhone demo, live band demo and overproduced, autotuned, overproduced to death studio recording; the painfully weird inability for those within the music industry to honestly admit that someone is just an awful musician, so everyone winds up saying “well, they’re really nice guys . . . ,” the number of friends, who will ask to be put on the guestlist so that you can never actually make any money off a show, and more.

Gallo’s sophomore album Stardust Birthday Party was released last October, and the material was inspired by a life-altering, seismic shift in his life. Remember the woman who inspired much of the material on Gallo’s critically applauded debut? Well, as the story goes, she had taken a trip to South America, found a healer and miraculously got herself and her life together. Understandably, when Gallo heard the news, his interest was piqued, and he began reading and searching for a more inward path for his own mental and spiritual development.  Early last year, Gallo booked a trip to a silent meditation retreat in California. Despite his initial reservations and discomfort, the Philadelphia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter reportedly experienced a profound experience that quickly became the answer for his existential searching — and in turn, the thematic core of the album: how inner transformation impacts both the outside world and your perception of it.

Or, as Ron Gallo says in a lengthy written statement about the album:

Stardust Birthday Party is about human evolution. Specifically, one human’s evolution: mine, Ron Gallo.  That’s the name my parents gave me. Hi.

At one point, I was a very lost mid-twenties person living in Philadelphia, in a relationship with someone struggling with mental health issues and crippling heroin addiction. I was asleep. I didn’t know how to handle my life. I was also writing songs for HEAVY META – my “frustrated with humanity” album. I laugh about it all now, but at the time it all felt like an absolute nightmare. It was the perfect doorway to look inside the place I’d been avoiding forever: myself.

Stardust Birthday Party is about what is happening underneath all of this life stuff. My path inward. The details of my path are pointless because everyone’s path is different. It is about me sitting with myself for the first time and confronting the big question “WHAT AM I, REALLY?” It’s about the love and compassion for all things that enters when you find out you are nothing and everything. I think at one point I wanted to change the world, but now I know I can only change myself, or rather just strip away everything that is not me to reveal the only thing that’s ever been there. And that’s what this album is about, it’s me dancing while destroying the person I thought I was, and hopefully forever.

In the liner notes of John Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme (which we pay tribute to on this album) he wrote: ‘During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.’

That’s it.  That is the pure essence of creativity. Someone embodying what they have realized about themselves and the world that surrounds them. That is why this album exists. ”

Stardust Birthday Party’s first single “It’s All Gonna Be Okay,” was an angular ripper centered around two disparate things — the first a relishing of life’s ironies with a bemused yet accepting smile that points out that there’s a larger connection to everyone and everything; and that the only way we can actually change the world is if every individual on this planet began to take a serious and sobering look at their own fucked up shit and then do the complete opposite. Until then, we’re speeding our way down to hell with explosives and lit matches in the backseat.

Always Elsewhere,” Stardust Birthday Party‘s second single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor as it was an angular and furious ripper that evoked our age of perpetual and unending fear and anxiety that most of us running around like the White Rabbit, looking at our watches in panic and saying “There’s not enough time! There’s not enough time!” As Gallo says in press notes, “Most of the time we perceive the world, ourselves and others as ideas we have about them rather than what they really are. All our fear and anxiety stems from speculation about what COULD happen, not what is actually happening here and now. I’ve done this most of my life and still do, and the best way I’ve found is to become aware that you are not being aware or present, and suddenly you become present, that’s what this song is for — a frantic representation of modern life and our inability to live in the moment.”

Do You Love Your Company,” Stardust Birthday Party‘s third  single was a tense and anxious New Wave and post-punk take on garage rock, centered around angular blasts of guitar, a steady backbeat and an enormous, shout-worthy hook but underneath the rousingly anthemic nature of the song is something much deeper, more urgent — the very modern anxiousness and uncertainty that comes about whenever we’re left to ourselves. As Gallo says the song is “about self-inquiry. I think a lot of people struggle with being truly alone or fear silence because it forces them to look inward, but ultimately, i think it’s one of the most important things we can do to understand ourselves and others.”

Stardust Birthday Party‘s latest single “Love Supreme (Work Together)” is an angular, New Wave-like track that at points sounds indebted to Fear of Music and More Songs About Buildings and Food-era Talking Heads — but centered around a profound observation. As Gallo explains in press notes, “I wrote this song on GarageBand on my phone on an airplane. I was listening to A Love Supreme by John Coltrane, eating my really adorable but terrible tasting airplane meal of bowtie pasta (originally the first verse was about that) and looking down at the earth from the sky where you see no separation between people or things, there is just one thing. The chorus goes ‘God loves it when we work together.’ The God I am talking about is not a specific one, but everything, the one thing that is everything, the common thread in all existence, life, whatever you want to call it. In my head this is the soundtrack to a party in the streets where there is no line between shape, color, size, gender, sexuality, beliefs, anything, none of that shit exists.  Just anyone and everyone dancing kissing hugging laughing at the absurdity that we couldn’t always see that our core we are all the same. Nice!” As Gallo later says of the track,“‘Love Supreme’ is my attempt to write a genuinely positive song, maybe even a song people can dance to (ideally people that normally don’t dance together in large quantities in weird places and pay tribute to John Coltrane on top of that) I wrote this one on my phone on a plane.”

Recently, Claudius Mittendorfer remixed “Love Supreme (Work Together)” and interestingly his remix gives the song a dance floor friendly thump, reminiscent of The B52s.  “We incorporated some new sounds we never messed with before. I feel like I never could’ve written something like this even two years ago but sometimes it feels good to lay down the exhausting, intense, critical outlook and just celebrate life and people and what we all have in common right now, everywhere,” Gallo says. “Thank you to Claudius Mittendorfer (Parquet Courts, Johnny Marr, Weezer) who did this remix, he really brought the song to where it always wanted to go.”

Ron Gallo will be returning to the road this winter on a co-headlining tour with Post Animal. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
January 30th – Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose Tap House
January 31st – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
February 1st – Minneapolis, MN -Fine Line
February 2nd – Kansas City, MO – Recordbar
February 5th – Denver, CO – The Globe
February 6th – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
February 8th – Vancouver, BC – Wise Hall
February 9th – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
February 10th – Portland, OR – Doug Fir
February 12th – Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s
February 13th – Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst Atrium
February 14th – San Francisco, CA – Chapel
February 15th -Fresno, CA – Strummers
February 16th – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
February 17th – San Diego, CA – The Casbah
February 19th – Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge
February 21st – Dallas, TX – Deep Ellum Art Co.
February 22nd – Austin, TX – Barracuda
February 23rd – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger
February 25th – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
February 26th – Birmingham, AL – Saturn
February 27th – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
February 28th – Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
March 1st – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern
March 2nd – Columbus, OH – Skully’s

 

J. Hacha De Zola is a Rahway, NJ-born, Jersey City, NJ-based singer/songwriter and musician, who became a scientist and a musician because of his father: a year within a Ph.D. program in Biochemistry, Hacha De Zola’s father died. He had to quit school to support his mother and the rest of the family, but the situation presented another life change that pushed him into pursuing a life long passion — music.

With the release of 2016’s Picaro Obscuro, the second of his two “urban junkyard” albums of that year, Hacha De Zola publicly insinuated that he might not continue on to make a third and that if he did, his plan was to “lighten up” the sound that he has previously described on some occasions as “boozegaze.” 2017’s Antipatico was the third album Hacha De Zola and his backing band had written and recorded in over two years — and with each successive album, Hacha De Zola increasingly found his own voice.

Hacha De Zola’s  John Agnello-produced fourth full-length album Icaro Nouveau is slated for a March 8, 2018 release through Caballo Negro Records and much like his previously released material, the New Jersey-born and-based singer/songwriter and his backing band practice his “reductive synthesis” method of what he has called “shooting the arrow and painting the bullseye around it.” Hacha De Zola explains, “I never go to the studio with songs written. I allow the musicians to be themselves and throw all they got at it. Then I’ll go and peel back the various layers to fashion a song from it all. It’s a pretty risky way of making an album because when it’s all done, you may have something that isn’t agreeable to you. Other times, you arrive at something truly magical and the songs take on a life of their own. There’s a certain kind of voodoo there that could not be planned.”

Interestingly, the album’s material is also deeply influenced by the life and death of longtime collaborator, Ralph Carney, a saxophonist best known for working with the legendary Tom Waits. Carney not only served as a player but a spiritual guide and mentor for Hacha de Zola. “He was an integral part of this sound. He was my secret weapon,” Hacha de Zola says. “His horns were ever–present, as was his input. Not having him around for Icaro Nouveau was unsettling for me.” But his spirit was still in the room while they were writing and recording the album.The album’s latest single “On A Saturday” finds Hacha De Zola and his backing band, sonically drawing from classic, barrio salsa — but seemingly played through rusty and busted instruments and with a drunken, lilting wobble.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written quite a bit about Marlene Oak, a Swedish singer/songwriter and guitarist, who grew up on a small island outside of of Stockholm, where she turned to music as an escape. Oak spent her teenage years busking on the streets of Stockholm’s Old Town, and was serendipitously discovered by someone, who just happened to pass by and catch her playing. After releasing a couple of singles, which helped to develop a reputation for a sound and approach that’s influenced by Bob DylanJeff BuckleyJoni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin, the Swedish singer/songwriter and guitarist built a following playing shows across her homeland at pubs, clubs and elsewhere, opening for the likes of Miss Li, Whitney Rose and Susto, as well as playing sets at Way Out West FestivalSTHLM Americana and Irisfestivalen.

The Stockholm-based singer/songwriter’s “In The Evening” was centered around a hauntingly sparse arrangement featuring Oak’s soulful and plaintive vocals, accompanied by a strummed, electric guitar fed through gentle amount of reverb. Naturally, the sparse arrangement forces your attention on Oak’s vocals and lyrics — with the song thematically focusing on heartbreak, sorrow, achingly lonely nights and desperately figuring out some way to move forward with your life. Recorded in one take, the song possesses a you-were-there immediacy which helps pack a walloping emotional punch. “When I recorded ‘In The Evening’, I wanted to record everything on one take — without a click. And that’s what I did,” Oak says in press notes. “I aimed for keeping the same feeling to the song as I had when I wrote it, and I wanted to sing the words as if they were my last.”

Now, as you may recall Oak is building upon a growing national and international profile with the release of her latest EP Silver Moon, which is slated for a February 15, 2019 and the EP’s latest single “Coming Home” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor “Slip Away,” as the new single is a swooning and plaintive love song. The song, which is both an aching lament and contented sigh centered around an arrangement of shimmering guitars, gently padded drumming, a regal horn arrangement, a soaring hook and Oak’s gorgeous vocals, and in some way the song manages to sound as though it were indebted to classic, 1950s era ballads — but with an immediacy that packs an emotional wallop.

“‘Come Home’ is about a lifetime of seeking for that one soul that you’ve always been longing for” Oak says in press notes. “It can be frustrating and sometimes painful to wait for that person. But once you’ve found each other, it’ll feel like coming home. When you find that missing part, it will make everything feel complete. The song is also about the flip side to loving someone that deeply.”

 

 

 

Micha de Jonge is a Dutch-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and producer, who has received attention both nationally and internationally with his pastel colored, 80s inspired, indie electro pop recording project Kita Menari. de Jonge’s debut single “Young Lovers” was included on Apple Music’s “Best of the Week,” as well as Spotify’s New Music Friday playlists in both the UK and Holland, where it would go on to appear in the top 5 of both country’s Spotify Viral Charts. Building upon a growing profile, de Jonge quickly set about assembling a backing band, comprised of Jonne Venmans, Job Fisser, Daniel Zoutni and Samuel Veerhuis, and with that backing band played live sessions on Radio 2FM and Radio 3FM — all before they played their first live show. Speaking of the act’s first live show: it was a live session on popular Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door that was seen by over a million people.

Interestingly, the project’s name can trace its origins to a trip the Dutch singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and producer took to Malaysia. While scuba diving, de Jonge’s tank got jammed underwater, and as a result, he was forced to race to the surface on his final breath of air. Once on land, his adrenaline-fueled recounting of the story eventually blurred into an entire night’s worth of partying. And as the story goes, when he woke up he noticed the words “Kita Menari” scribbled on a piece of pace found in his pocket. “I don’t know how it got there and I didn’t know that the words meant ‘we dance’ in Malay. As soon as I found out I thought ‘that’s it’! From now on that is going to be the motto of my song writing,” de Jonge recalls.

When he returned to Holland, de Jonge set about songwriting with a more reflective angle while drawing from Passion Pit, MGMT, and Phoenix among others. Additionally, de Jonge’s work is largely inspired by his unique living arrangement — he resides on a 40 hectare estate called Doorn Huis, famously known as the final home and resting place of Germany’s last Kaiser, Wilhelm II. In the Netherlands the government has a program where you can apply to live in some weird and wonderful places to deter squatters and burglars” de Jonge explains. “I won’t bore you with the history but it means I’m surrounded by gardens, fields, even a palace, it’s a really incredible environment which helps to inspire the music I write.”

His latest single “Pretty Sure” will further cement his reputation for crafting infectious and rousingly anthemic synth pop as the track features a slick production centered around shimmering synths, thumping beats and a soaring hook — and while sonically bearing a resemblance to St. Lucia, the song finds its narrator expressing crippling self doubt and uncertainty, giving the song’s overwhelming sunny, dance floor friendly vibes, a murky and ironic quality. The song revolves about a common conversation I have with myself: whether or not what I’m doing creatively is good enough, and the fear of letting that feeling go,” de Jonge explains. “Having big ambitions and dreams can sometimes have a negative effect on the process of achieving them. It’s like having an angel on one shoulder telling you to go for it while a demon sits on the other telling you it’s not good enough. I wanted there to be a sonic build throughout the song that would erupt after the second chorus, as a sign of letting that fear go and having creativity burst free.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tessa Rose Jackson is an Amsterdam, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and multi-disciplinary artist, best known among indie circles as Someone. Her debut EP Chain Reaction was an ambitious creative undertaking that involved an accompanying short film. Jackson’s forthcoming EP Orbit finds Jackson exploring the intensity with which art and music can be fused, and how they can fully enhance themselves. And interestingly, the Amsterdam-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and multi-disciplinary artist crated an interactive augmented reality exhibition that combines her music with cutting edge technology and hypnotic art, which use elements reminiscent of space and planets. The exhibition will be presented in gallery spaces in Amsterdam, London, Berlin, and Paris.

When viewed through a tablet or smartphone, the artwork comes to life and the song linked to that particular piece will be played through the viewer’s headphones. The artworks each react differently and react to the music, dynamically building as the songs progress. They will also react to touch from the viewer on their tablet screens, allowing full interaction and immersion. Trippy, huh?

The EP’s material thematically comments on our overstimulated, digital age, suggesting that we spend so much time on our phones and on social media being constantly exposed to external distractions that we’re essentially orbiting around each other and our passions, rarely touching, resting or even focusing long enough to truly connect to anything or anyone.

Orbit‘s first and latest single is the dreamy and ethereal “Get It Together,” a track that’s centered by shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping hip hop-like drumming, buzzing power chords and a soaring hook. And while clearly being indebted to Tame Impala and Air, the track also nods at classic, bubblegum pop and 60s psych pop — but with a soaring and infectious hook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Acclaimed Folk Pop Duo Lily & Madeline Release a Bold and Self-Assured New Single

Lily & Madeleine are an Indianapolis, IN-based folk pop duo, consisting of siblings Lily and Madeline Jurkiewicz. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to when the Jurkiewicz Sisters began singing together while in high school, uploading home videos of various cover songs to YouTube. Those videos catgut the attention of Bloomington, IN-based producer Paul Mahern, who invited the sisters into his studio to record what would become their debut EP, 2013’s The Weight of the Globe when their class schedule permitted. Kenny Childers (Gentleman Caller) assisted by co-writing the material off the EP with the sisters; but it was video of the sisters singing in Mahern’s studio reached the front page of news aggregator Reddit — and as a result, Sufjan Stevens signed the Jurkiewicz Sisters to his label Asthmatic Kitty Records. 

Adding to a growing profile, John Mellencamp asked the Jurkiewicz Sisters to contribute guest vocals to the soundtrack of his musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. After playing some of their first sold out shows in their hometown, they made their national TV debut on CBS This Morning to promote their self-titled, full-length debut, which was released in February 2013. The album was praised from a number of major media outlets, including The New York Times, which praised the album for their extraordinary sibling vocal blend, “deep and seamless and relaxed.” Since then the Indianapolis-based sibling folk pop duo have released two more albums — 2014’s Fumes, which was released through Asthmatic Kitty and 2016’s Keep It Together, which was released through New West Records.

The Jerkiewicz Sisters kicked off this year with the inclusion of “Just Do It” on the first Spotify New Music Friday playlist of 2019 and the track, which was co-produced by Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuck, who worked on Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour pairs the Lily and Madeleine’s gorgeous and effortless harmonizing with a shimmering dance pop-like production centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, hand claps and fluttering electronics; but at its core, the song not only talks about taking chances, it talks of confidently coming of age as a woman — and demanding what you need and want from yourself and others.  

Nick van Hofwegen is a Southern Holland-born, London-based visual artist and electronic music artist and producer, best known as Young & Sick. Initially attempting the traditional route of art through design school, the Dutch-born van Hofwegen found its cookie-cutter leanings discouraging, and it led him to drop out after completing his first year. He began working at a car parts factory in rural Holland and quit his job, eventually moving to London. While in London, his friend Mark, the frontman of internationally recognized band Foster the People, introduced him to comedian Andy Dick, who came across some of his visual art and championed it. Additionally, Mark asked van Hofwegen to do the artwork for his band’s 2011 debut Torches.

Although the Southern Holland-born, London-based visual artist, electronic music artist and producer released a full-length album back in 2014, last year was a breakthrough year for him. Last January saw the release of his Ojai EP, an attention-grabbing effort that was a reintroduction to van Hofwegen’s sound and aesthetic. Adding to a growing profile, van Hofwegen was profiled in NYLON — and EP title track “Ojai” was featured in an ad campaign for Apple Watch.  van Hofwegen followed Ojai EP with the release of the No Static EP, which received praise coverage from The Fader and Variety. Oh, and before I forget, van Hofwegen was chosen to cover Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” for Neon Gold Records‘ 10 Year Anniversary compilation.

Live the Dutch-born, London-based visual artist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer played a run of critically applauded SXSW sets, including Neon Gold’s Neon Golden showcase. He played his first Stateside headlining shows in over 4 years with a pair of Los Angeles and NYC dates that featured an interactive multimedia experience. As an artist, van Hofwegen had his first ever fine art gallery show last August, which featured a series of his original visual and sculptural pieces — and he designed the album art for Maroon 5‘s Overexposed, Mikky Ekko’s “Kids,” as well as for his work.

Building upon a breakthrough 2018, van Hofwegen will be releasing a new EP that’s slated for a spring release through Neon Gold Records/B3SCI Records. The EP’s first single “Bitter End” manages to sound indebted to Teddy Riley-era New Jack Swing, classic Chicago house and C+C Music Factory as the track is centered by a production that features tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, twinkling synths, soulful vocals and rousingly anthemic hooks. Simply put, it’s a club banger that manages radio friendly accessibility, complete with a “you got this, man” air. Interestingly, as van Hofwegen explains “‘Bitter End’ is a celebration of seeing things through completely.  It’s looking back at a pretty wild year of countless obstacles and turbulent skies. Through the eyes of an unstoppable manic.”

van Hofwegen will be opening for The Knocks during their 2019 North American tour during the winter. The tour will include a February 23, 2019 stop at Brooklyn Steel. Check out the tour dates below.  Also tickets are on sale here.

Jan 24 // Vancouver, CA @ Fortune Sound Club
Jan 25 // Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
Jan 29 // Chico, CA @ Senator Theatre
Jan 31 // Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
Feb 1 // San Luis Obispo, CA @ The Fremont Theatre
Feb 2 // Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
Feb 5 // Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
Feb 6 // Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
Feb 8 // Dallas, TX @ Dada Dallas
Feb 9 // Austin, TX @ Historic Scoot Inn
Feb 10 // Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock Room
Feb 12 // St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
Feb 14 // Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
Feb 15 // Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar
Feb 16 // Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Feb 17 // Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Feb 20 // Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
Feb 21 // Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Feb 23 // Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel

With the release of “Blue” and “Arc” off his forthcoming EP try to be okay, slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Akira Records, the up-and-coming Brisbane, Australia-born singer/songwriter and producer Yoste (pronounced like ‘lost’) quickly received attention across the blogosphere for dreamy and minimalist electro pop. “Chihiro,” the Brisbane-born singer/songwriter and producer’s latest single will further cement his growing reputation for crafting dreamy, minimalist electro pop with the track being centered around shimmering synths, strummed acoustic guitar, shuffling and percussive beats — and a breezy hook. The track evokes a gentle and joyful reverie through nature; of being lost within your own sense of wonder.

“This was the first song I wrote for Yoste. It wasn’t all that long ago and yet it feels as if it was. I wanted to keep it very simple, almost bare,” the Brisbane-born singer/songwriter and producer explains. “The structure is unconventional. There is a single melody, only two verses and no real chorus. I wanted the vocals to be almost childlike in their melody and sound, which largely stemmed from the ethereal nature of the instrumentation. Thematically it was about trying to capture a feeling of wonder, of being lost in a good way. I wanted it to feel the way Hayao Miyazaki films feel, hence the name Chihiro.”