Category: singer/songwriters

New Video: Nashville’s Sundaes Specializes in Scuzzy Take on Dance Floor Friendly Pop

Sundaes is a recording project fronted by a rather mysterious New York-born, Nashville, TN-based multi-instrumentalist and producer, influenced by early aughts indie rock,  blues and genre assorted hits of all eras, as well as Steel Magnolias and the work of Lana Del Rey. The band made their live debut back in the spring of 2015 with two sold out sets at the Chelsea Hotel Storefront Gallery — and adding to a growing profile, “Walk My Street,” appeared in the soundtrack of that year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Spotlight.

Last year saw the release of the Nashville-based act’s self-titled debut EP, and their latest single “Pretty Wife” is the highly anticipated follow up to their EP. Sonically, the act employs the use of arpeggiated synths, blasts of strummed guitar, thumping, tweeter and woofer beats, a sneak and infectious hook and breathily delivered vocals. Sonically speaking, the Nashville-based act’s latest single will likely bring to mind Black Moth Super Rainbow, NVDES, Bottoms and others — but with a mischievous, dance floor friendly accessibility.

Featuring cinematography by Monique Juliette Baron and choreography by Amanda Hameline, the recently released video for “Pretty Wife” stars Sundaes dressed as a ballerina wearing a crown with several other dancers. As Sundaes explains in press notes about the video’s concept: ” I’d been watching the Kirov’s performance of Swan Lake on YouTube a lot around the time I was thinking about video ideas. It’s amazing how ballet dancers take something that requires such precise, intense discipline and make it appear so delicate and effortless. I love how much emotion they can express with the softest gestures. I wanted to do sort of a dreamy modern ballet gone awry. Somewhere between Tchaikovsky and Rocky Horror; equal parts ‘Waltz of the Snowflakes’ and ‘Sweet Transvestite.'”

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New Video: Introducing the Bittersweet and Anthemic Pop of Jack River

Holly Rankin is a Forster, New South Wales, Australia-born, Sydney, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and label head and overall boss, who has received national attention with her solo recording project Jack River. Rankin’s first Jack River single “Fool’s Gold,” amassed over 3 million steams and landed at number 64 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 earlier this year, and has opened for the likes of Midnight Oil. Along with that, she’s the founder of the Electric Lady concert series, which has featured women artists such as Ali Barter, Alex Lahey and Gretta Ray, the founder of the Grown Your Own Music Festival, a community-enhancing music festival and the founder of Hopeless Utopian, a production company and label that houses all of those various projects.

Rankin’s forthcoming album Sugar Mountain is slated for a June 22, 2018 release and the album derives its title after Neil Young’s bittersweet ode to youth and the loss of innocence, and as the up-and-coming Australian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and mogul says of the album “It’s the souvenir of my youth, the wish of what it could have been.” As for the aforementioned, attention grabbing “Fool’s Gold,” the single is a shimmering and atmospheric track with a soaring and anthemic hook and thumping beats; but underneath the shimmering surface is heartache over a failed relationship in which the song’s narrator recognizes that she was ultimately at fault to some degree. Sometimes, the hardest thing about getting older is accepting when you’ve behaved poorly, foolishly and selfishly and that it can have dramatic, life-altering consequences.

Directed by Matt Sav, the recently released video for “Fool’s Gold” possesses a swooning, dream-like logic that centers over a longing for a failed relationship that the song’s narrator cannot get back.

 

Perhaps best known as a member of Los Angeles-based band TÜLIPS,  the singer/songwriter and musician Taleen Kali decided to go solo after the band broke up — and in a relatively short period of time, Kali has developed a reputation as one of her hometown’s up-and-coming talents, as she has opened forthe likes of Madame Gandhi and Kimya Dawson, and has played sets at Echo Park Rising Festival, Mothership Festival and Women Fuck Shit Up Fest. And with the release of “Half Life,” the first single off her forthcoming Kristin Kontrol-produced EP Soul Songs, Kali has begun to receive attention from the likes of Stereogum and others, quickly developing a reputation for a New Wave take on noise rock and punk reminiscent of Gothic Tropic, Dum Dum Girls, Dirty Ghosts and others.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding her, Kali recently released the EP’s latest single, the anthemic, hook-laden, dance floor friendly  “Lost & Bound,” and  that the single reveals an artist, who can effortlessly walk a tightrope between a slick studio sheen and a scuzzy punk rock air — without feeling contrived or ridiculous. Interestingly, there’s a subtle hint of triumph over something deeply daunting that adds to the song’s danceable vibe and anthemic hooks; in fact, as Kali explains in press notes, “‘Lost & Bound’ is about finding yourself again after being lost. I wanted to write a song that was really dark but also danceable, so I wrote a dirge dedicated to a ‘lost self,’ and I added a disco beat to add this sense of movement, of celebration, of making it to the other side.”  

Kali is playing a handful of live shows in the Los Angeles area over the next few weeks. If you’re in the area, check them out, below.

Tour Dates
05.20 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hi Hat (Dum Dum Zine Kickoff Party For L.A. Zine Week)
05.27 – Pasadena, CA @ Pasadena Convention Center (LA Zine Fest)
06.26 – Los Angeles, CA @ Resident (Record Release show)

 

New Video: The Easy-Going and Soulful 70s AM Rock Sounds of Andy Jenkins

Co-founded by Richmond, VA-based singer/songwriter Matthew E. White back in 2012, Spacebomb Records has quickly become a renowned indie folk label that has released a number of critically applauded albums including White’s own Big Inner, Natalie Prass’ self-titled debut, the work of singer/songwriter Bedouine and others.  Their newest artist Andy Jenkins has toiled behind the scenes of the Spacebomb Records universe for some time, and interestingly enough, Jenkins and White can trace their friendship back to several high school bands they both played in. 

Jenkins’ full-length debut Sweet Bunch is slated for a June 15, 2018 release through Spacebomb, and the album’s latest single, album title track “Sweet Bunch,” which features labelmate Matthew E. White is a down-home folksy take on indie rock centered on twangy and bluesy power chords, a propulsive backbeat, a sinuous bass line that brings Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Allman Brothers and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere-era Neil Young to mind; but beneath the easy-going, bunch of guys jamming, drinking and maybe smoking a little weed in a room vibe, there’s a thoughtful and deliberate attention to craft that gives the song its soulfulness and purpose. 

New Audio: Nana Adjoa Returns with an Atmospheric, Soulful, and Straightforward New Single from Forthcoming EP

Last month, I wrote about Nana Adjoa, an up-and-coming Dutch-Ghanian singer/songwriter, who began to receive attention across the European Union and elsewhere with the release of her debut Down at the Root, Part 1. Now, as you may recall Adjoa’s was accepted at the prestigious Amsterdam Conservatory, where she would study jazz (electric bass and double bass); however, she found the experience to not be what she had always imagined it would.  “It was very much like school,” she says in press notes. “We thought we wanted to go to the most difficult department, that we wanted to be the best, but it wasn’t a very fun experience.” Around the same time, the Amsterdam-born and-based singer/songwriter began to experience a growing divide between the restrictive and theoretical compositions she was studying and the melodic, free-flowing music she’d play while outside. Adjoa began to realize that pursing a solo was the direction she needed to take, and so she formed a band and record her original songs, which has resulted in the attention grabbing Down At The Root Part 1 and the forthcoming Down At The Root Part 2.

“Honestly,” Down at the Root Part 2‘s first single was an effortless and breezy affair that seemed indebted to Simply Bill-era Bill Withers, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others, as the song reveled a self-assured artist beyond her years, who can craft a song that’s driven by an infectious hook and a lush melody — and as Adjoa explained in press notes, the song is what she considers an “outsider track” that grew from a simple piano backing into its current, vibey, jazz-soul arrangement. “I didn’t even think it was going to make the record because it felt so different from the rest,” the Dutch-Ghanian singer/songwriter says. “I guess it’s about how people are scared of the possibility of something bad happening. And that fear is really strange because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Down At The Root, Part 2’s second and latest single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “Part Of It,” a track centered around a lush and plaintive melody, a sinuous and propulsive bass line and arguably the most honest and straightforward lyrics of the EP I’ve heard, as the song focuses on the desire and need to fit in when you’re a complete outsider.

 

New Video: Introducing the Jangling and Anthemic Guitar Pop of Australia’s BATTS

Tanya Batt is a Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the recording project BATTS — and with release of last year’s 62 Moons EP, Batt quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that has drawn comparisons to Angel Olsen, Courtney Barnett, Mazzy Star, Sharon Van Etten and others. Adding to a growing international profile, Batt received airplay from BBC Radio 1, KCRW and Triple J.

Building upon a growing profile, Batt toured her native Australia with Didirri, and she recently played her first UK shows with Cub Sport as part of the Communion Music tour; but more important, Batt’s newest single is a jangling bit of guitar pop that manages to nod at Fleetwood Mac-like AM radio rock, complete with an anthemic rock but underneath the easy-going and self-assured vibes of the song is an urgent desire to change things for the better — although in a lot of cases that’s impossible. After all, the human condition is to be endlessly disappointing. There’s also this desire to go off and colonize someplace else, and start over with different rules — that maybe it’d better on Mars, Jupiter or someplace else. 

Directed by Dyllan Corbett, the recently released video for “Shame” stars Tanya Batt, Olaf Scott, Daniel Moulds, Nkechi Anele, Melanie Scammell, Megan Kent and Alice Kent, and as Corbett explains of the video treatment “Thematically, we were after a sliding door effect of having two separate outlooks/moods and the outcome that each one has on your happiness.” 

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Dan Sultan is an acclaimed Fitzroy, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who started playing guitar when he was four and wrote his first song when he turned 10. As the story goes, his mother’s friend gave the young Sultan an old electric guitar, and he began playing gigs at local pubs. In 2000, Sultan met a fellow singer/songwriter and guitarist Scott Wilson at a Williamstown, Australia pub and the duo began writing songs together. As Wilson recalled in an interview “What struck me at first was that he [Sultan] could play piano and guitar, and he was a great foil for what I was doing . . . After a while playing together, he said, ‘Can I Sing this one?’ I said, ‘Do you know the words?’ . . . [he had a] mighty voice. A lot people can play guitar . . . not many can sing like that.”

Sultan’s  Scott Wilson-produced, full-length solo debut, the genre-defying Homemade Biscuits was released in early 2006 and consisted of tracks written by Wilson or co-written by Sultan and Wilson, and a featured number of local musicians and collaborators, including Lazare Agneskis, Neil Gray, Elijah Maiyah, Lochile McKlean and Ben Wicks. Sultan’s debut also featured two attention grabbing tracks — “Your Love Is Like a Song,” which won a 2007 Deadly Award for Single Release of the Year, and “Rosyln,” a song Sultan wrote about his mother, who was a member of the Aboriginal “stolen generations,” which he performed during 2007’s National Day of Healing concert. Adding to a growing profile that year, Paul Kelly invited Sultan to record a cover of Kev Carmody’s “This Land Is Mine” for a compilation tribute album of Carmody’s work titled Cannot Buy My Soul — and with a backing band of Eugene Ball (trumpet), Ben Gillespie (trombone), Joshua Jones (bass), Peter Marin (drums), Ash Naylor (guitar) and Gina Woods (keys), Sultan and company played Australia’s festival circuit over the next two years or so, including set at the Sydney Festival and the Queensland Music Festival.

Sultan’s sophomore album 2009’s Get Out While You Can was a massive, commercial success as it charted on the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100, eventually reaching #1 on the independent Australian charts and was a Triple J featured album. Along with that, Sultan won ARIA Music Awards for Best Male Artist and Best Blues & Roots Album, and Australian Independent Records Awards for Best Independent Artist and Best Independent Blues & Roots Music Music.

In early 2014, Sultan opened for Bruce Springsteen‘s Melbourne and Hunter Valley shows during his Australian tour, which Sultan promptly followed up with the release of his third full-length album Blackbird, an album that reached #4 on the ARIA Albums Charts and spent 13 weeks in the Top 50 — and the album won a Best Rock Album Award at that year’s ARIA Awards. Building upon an impressive year, Sultan released the Dirty Ground EP, which reached the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100. Sultan’s fourth album, 2017’s Jan Skubiszewski-produced Killer was nominated for three ARIA Awards — Best Male Artist, Best Rock Album, and Best Independent Release.

Interestingly, Sultan’s soon-to-be released Killer Under a Blood Moon was recorded over the course of four days and while it continues Sultan’s commercially and critically successful collaboration Skubiszewski, the EP finds the duo collaborating with some of their country’s brightest and talented, up-and-coming artists, including  A.B. OriginalCamp CopeMeg Mac and Gang of Youths‘ Dave Le’aupepe to reinterpret a series of tracks from Sultan’s fourth album as a way to give his material new bodies, new ways of being while having a good time doing so. Now, as you may recall, last month I wrote about Sultan’s reworking of “Drover,” which featured Gang of Youth’s Dave Le’aupepe taking over vocal duties on a swaggering, arena rock-friendly blues centered around power chords, stomping beats, a looped choral sample and a muscular and anthemic hook reminiscent of The Black Keys.

The EP’s latest single is a reworking of Killer‘s album title track “Killer” that features Meg Mac — and while the original is a shuffling yet anthemic rock song with an infectious hook, the EP’s rework turns the song into a Fleetwood Mac/Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks-styled duet that retains the hook and melody but adds a sultriness to the song’s heartfelt vibe.

 

 

 

Throughout this site’s almost 8 year history, I’ve written a bit about the Gold Coast, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Emily Hamilton and her solo recording project San Mei, which began rather humbly as a bedroom recording project but gradually began receiving attention from this site and a number of major media outlets including NME, Indie ShuffleNYLON and Triple J. Interestingly, with the release of debut EP Necessary, Hamilton’s sound adding more organic instrumentation, drawing Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cat Power, and Feist  — and a result, the EP found Hamilton moving away from the bedroom synth pop that first captured the attention of the blogosphere towards fuzzy, power chord-based dream pop.

Hamilton met songwriter, producer and overall musical phenom Oscar Dawson, who has worked with Holy Holy, Alex Lahey, Ali Barter, British India, Robbie Miller and Joyride at BIGSOUND last year, and the pair immediately hit it off. According to Hamilton, taking Dawson on as a producer and collaborator — and early on, the collaboration between the pair have found them refining ideas, exploring different soundscapes and laying down the foundation for the sonic progression of San Mei. As Hamilton explains in press notes “[Dawson and I] hit it off straight away and it seemed like he understood where I was coming from, even if I had trouble conveying certain ideas in the demos I made at home.”

Hamilton’s latest single “Wonder” is the first single since the release of Necessary EP and while the single in some way continues in a similar vein of as the material on her critically applauded EP, it manages to be a subtle refinement that finds Dawson and Hamilton crafting an anthemic, radio friendly and arena rock friendly track centered around a razor sharp, infectious hook, fuzzy shoegazer rock-like power chords and thundering drumming. And yet interestingly enough, the single may be among Hamilton’s most sincere song, as it captures the swooning, butterflies in the stomach sensation when someone who’s unknown to you captures your attention and you can’t quite pin down why. That unknown person becomes part of a mysterious daydream to you, in which you begin to wonder everything about them — and yet, there’s a part of you that isn’t certain if you want them to become more than just some brief, intoxicating illusion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Born into a family of artists and musicians, the Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Claire Morales began to play music and make visual art at a very young age. Family gatherings were frequently interrupted by a three year-old Morales insisting on singing a mix of Beatles and Disney songs on a makeshift, fireplace stage. The Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began playing her first solo shows as a middle school at local coffee shops, armed with her father’s 1960s Gibson and an arresting voice that has had many well-meaning people throughout  at her life would deal “more powerful than I thought it would be, looking you.”

Morales’ 2015 full-length debut Amaranthine saw her work translation from folksy and rootsy solo singer/songwriter to fully fleshed out band with at sound that many have described as melodic, hazy, 70s inspired rock centered around a nostalgic meditation on childhood — from the perspective of someone, in the early throes of adulthood. However, All That Wanting, Morales’ sophomore effort, is the much-anticipated follow-up to her debut, and the album, which is slated for a June 29, 2018 release reportedly explores the vast freedom, possibility and existential terror of young, adult life; in fact, the album revolves around the human tendency to endlessly crave more, asking how we can stave off and tame that feeling and instead take in the beauty before you. Desire is ultimately viewed as a mythic force capable of compelling one forward or consuming one wholly.

Recorded by Matt Pence and Jeremy Buller at the Denton-based Echo Lab, Morales and her backing band of Alex Hastings, Ryan Williams and Russ Connell spent six days recording the album’s ten tracks mostly live together in the studio’s cavernous main room, which gives the album and its material the raw energy of a group of musicians who have collaborated together for a long time, and hinges on mutual respect and open communication between everyone involved. The album finds Morales and company fearlessly and fluidly passing through a vast sonic palette including intense dramatic moments, shoegazer-like psychedelia, profound introspection, rumbling unease and cathartic release.

All That Wanting‘s latests ingle, the album title track “All That Wanting” centers around fuzzy, pedal effected guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring, arena rock friendly hook, Morales’ powerhouse vocals and a trembling, unfulfilled longing that sonically and thematically reminds me quite a bit of PJ Harvey and Shana Falana, complete with a distinctly feminine strength and resiliency.