Category: singer/songwriters

Throughout the course of 2015, I had written quite a bit of about the currently Los Angeles-based, Sudbury, Ontario-born multi-instrumentalist, and singer/songwriter Jennie Vee. Growing up in a small, rural Ontario town, the young Jennie Vee was the rare “goth” girl, who loved New Wave, post-punk and goth, which began when a friend introduced her to the Manchester sound. Vee relocated to England, where she began writing songs and later spent stints in Nashville and New York, where she settled down to write and record her debut LP, as well as played her first solo gigs. And while in NYC, she met a number of creators and influential folks including visual artist Katrin Albert, who produced a series of videos to accompany Jennie Vee’s music; Grammy Award-winning producer Chris Lord-Alge, who later remixed a song from her debut LP; and Courtney Love, with whom she toured with in her backing band, and who quickly became a very dear friend.

Following up on the buzz around her full-length debut, Vee wrote, recorded and released the exceptional Spying EP, which featured a gorgeous and sensual cover of Echo and the Bunnymen‘s “Lips Like Sugar,” and further established her a solo artist, who specialized in a hook-driven shoegaze and New Wave-like guitar pop paired with lyrics that frankly focus on themes of heartbreak, loss, loneliness and death.

Suffer EP is the follow-up to Spying and the EP, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through WaxRomantix Records was written and recorded after she spent the spring of 2015 playing bass with Courtney Love, during Love’s Endless Summer Tour, which featured Lana del Rey. And since then Vee has opened for the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, Manic Street Preachers and The Darkness, and recently joined Eagles of Death Metal. “Hospital Bed,” Suffer‘s latest single is reportedly a deeply personal song that explores the mixed feelings of guilt, anger, and the difficult and painful decisions one faces while watching a loved one struggle with addiction — while sonically, the song will further cement her reputation for hook-laden and swooningly earnest guitar pop with some gorgeous guitar work.

 

 

 

 

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New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Cold Specks Returns with a Chilly Industrial-like New Single

Over the course of the past handful of posts, I’ve found myself focusing on new material from a series of long-time JOVM mainstays — and if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, you’d likely be intimately familiar with the renowned, Toronto, ON-born and- based singer/songwriter  Ladan Hussein, best known as Cold Specks. Now, as you may recall, after spending the better part of 2015 and 2016 touring to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned to Toronto, where she began working on her third full-length album, Fools Paradise, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through Arts & Crafts Records, and from the album’s early batch of singles — the slow burning and atmospheric  “Wild Card,” which was inspired by the refugee experience and an act of unusual and profound kindness towards a stranger, from a familiar yet far away place; the aching and vulnerable album title track, Fool’s Paradise;” and “New Moon,” a song that conveyed the struggle to find stability and oneself after life (and love) have thrown you for a complete and total loop.

Fool’s Paradise’s fourth and latest single sonically pairs Ladan’s gorgeous and soulful vocals with shimmering yet chilly industrial beats and electronics — and while nostalgic, the song possesses a bittersweet tinge to it, influenced in some way by the fact that when Hussein grew up, she never heard much about her parents’ life in Mogadishu before fled the country; in fact, the vision of the country the song evokes seems both uncertain and mythical, all while being something (anything, really) to cling to and understand.  And although the song finds Ladan and her collaborators expanding upon the sound that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere, the new single may arguably be the album’s haunting, fever dream. 

With the release of her first two singles “Sleep,” which was released last year and “Strangers,” which was released earlier this year, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based singer/songwriter Sarah Klang quickly received praise from critics across the blogosphere for achingly melancholy material, reminiscent of Roy Orbison and Jeff Buckley, and others — and interestingly, the Gothenburg-based singer/songwriter is influenced Barbra Streisand and ambient electronica while visually, she’s frequently pictured in old bridal dresses with cheap plastic flowers, creating the appearance that she’s been left at the altar, and doesn’t quite know how to handle the growing sense of embarrassment, shame, humiliation and hurt that have just overcome her.

“Left Me On Fire,” Klang’s latest single continues a long-time collaboration with writer/producer Kevin Anderson and was mixed by Thom Monahan, who was worked with Pernice Brothers, Devandra Banhart, Vetiver, Beachwood Sparks and others, and much like the preceding singles is an achingly soulful yet delicate ballad based around Klang’s bluesy crooning singing a song that was written and inspired by the “. . . vacuum you feel after a break-up,” Klang explains in press notes. “You continue your life but you are burned. For me the song is about moving forward with your life, while still in love with the person who broke your heart, and nothing will ever be the same from that moment on.”  Klang’s latest single will further her growing reputation as “the saddest girl in Sweden,” in part for crafting spectral and aching ballads, coming from the bitter, uneasiness and messiness of lived-in experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Niko Antonucci is a Prague, Czech Republic-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentliast, singer/songwriter, producer and electronic music artist, who can trace the origins of her music career to when she received piano lessons when she was 6. As teenager, the Prague-born, Los Angeles-based artist began stealing her father’s guitar as a teen — and when she turned 15, she had cut her first demo and began singing and playing in a number of local bands for a number of years. But at a young age, Antonucci recognized that in order to get the exact sound she wanted, she would need to do it herself and she began producing herself.

With her solo, downtempo/industrial electronica project Resin, Antonucci’s sound is inspired by many of the influences that have been a part of her creative life including Nirvana, Portishead, Nine Inch Nails , The Cure, Chelsea Wolfe, as well as ambient electronica and classic music, while thematically focusing on spirituality, dark magic, being an outsider. and so on. And with “Hoarse,” the first single off her self-produced full-length effort Fidget, Antonucci pairs swirling electronics, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, stuttering drum programming and a soaring hook with her sultry yet achingly vulnerable vocals — and while clearly nodding at Nine Inch Nails and Portishead, the single also manages to remind me of Version 2.0-era Garbage.

 

New Video: Warhaus Returns to Cement Their Reputation for Crafting A Boozy and Decadent Late Night Soundtrack

Over the better part of this year, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring Belgian singer/songwriter and guitarist Maarten Devoldere. Perhaps best known as the frontman and primary songwriter of the Belgian indie rock act Balthazar, an act that features members, who hail from Kortrijk and Ghent, Belgium; however, Devoldere has started to receive both national and international attention with his solo, side project,  Warhaus, which has further cemented his growing reputation for deftly crafting urbane and hyper-literate material with an accessible, pop-leaning sensibility with his work managing to simultaneously nod at the surrealistic and moody art rock of The Church, Sting’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun, Edith Piaf, Leonard Cohen and the poetry of William Blake, complete with a decadent and boozy slide into sinful ruin. Unsurprisingly, one of his earliest Warhaus efforts We Fucked a Flame Into Being was derived from a line in DH Lawrence’s classic, erotic novel Lady Chatterly’s Lover, and the material thematically focused on lust, desire, the profound inscrutability of random encounters — with a decidedly European decadence and a deeply personal, confessional nature, as you would have heard on the slow-burning and sensual “Machinery.” 

“Love’s A Stranger,” an equally slow-burning rumination on love’s fleeting and impermanent nature and on adultery was interestingly enough, the first single off Devoldere’s sophomore Warhaus album, a self-titled effort slated for release on October 13, 2017 through [PIAS]  Recordings.  The material on Delvodere’s sophomore Warhaus effort was written largely on the road, as well as on a remote Kyrgyzstan retreat with only a local shepherd for company, and was recorded back home in Belgium. But whereas his previously recorded efforts focused on sin, lust and love — with a bittersweet aftertaste, reportedly, there’s at points where the worldly cynicism gives way to sincere, honest love; while pairing his boozy baritone with the gossamer vocals of his backing vocalist and girlfriend Sylvie Kreusch throughout. “We’ve very different people,” says Devoldere. “She’s this natural force which I don’t understand at all and I’m the guy who thinks everything through. It’s an interesting combination.”

Reportedly, the recording sessions for the self-titled album was a much more spontaneous affair, heavily influenced by Dr. John’s legendary The Night Tripper period, as you’ll hear hints at voodoo rhythms and hints at jazz — and although his touring band, aren’t technically known for being jazz musicians, as Devoldere says of his band, “they’re good at faking jazz.” And with “Mad World,” the album’s woozy and boozy, late night shuffle of a second single, the backing band pair lush and atmospheric strings, voodoo and jazz-inflected rhythms with Devoldere’s boozy baritone. And while evoking something of a late night, drunken stumble, the song focuses on desperate, unfulfilled lust and desire but within an angst-filled world that’s gone mad — and Delvodere does so in a way that feels and sounds like a charmingly roguish and nasty come on. 

The recently released video for “Mad World” was directed by frequent collaborator and friend Wouter Bouvjin and Benny Vandendrissche and shot in one continuous take by Jeronimo Fantini Foradellas during some nighttime escapes in Magaluf, Mallorca, a city known for wild parting, boozing and casual sex  — and the video features Maarteen Devoldere initially dancing in neon-drenched street by himself before random pedestrians join him or jump in front of the camera. Personally, while watching the video, I was reminded of walking out of the Sugar Factory nightclub in beautiful Amsterdam at 4:00 in the morning, and as I was heading back to my hotel room near the Museumplein, I came across a group of rowdy and fun-loving kids who were dancing and chanting in the street. And although I was alone and far away from home, there was something strangely comforting and warmly ridiculous at that moment, perhaps because we were all trying to escape our own loneliness? 

Over the better part of the year, you may have come across a handful of posts featuring Holy Wars, the recording project fronted by the Connecticut-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Kat Leon. And a s you may recall, Leon initially developed a reputation for writing material that focused on her obsessions with death and the occult as one-half of the Los Angeles-based indie electro pop act Sad Robot, with Long Beach, CA-born, Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist Nick Perez.

With both of her parents suddenly dying within months of one another. Leon plunged into a period of profound grief, and after taking time to grieve, Leon started Holy Wars, largely influenced by what may arguably be some of the darkest days of her life; in fact, Holy Wars in many ways was a way for Leon to extrapolate the tumultuous feeling and thoughts she had during that period and express them creatively — with the release being the critically applauded debut EP Mother earlier this year.

Building upon the buzz of the Mother EP, Leon will be releasing her debut effort Mother Father on November 3, 2017. Naturally, the album is dedicated to both of Leon’s parents — and while the material may be at points dark, moody and heavy, it’s not mean tot be to overly depressing or nihilistic either. And while Mother Father‘s first single “Back to Life” may be among the heaviest singles Leon and company have released to date, as it manages to nod at Tool, A Perfect Circle, Paramore, and others, thanks to enormous power chords paired with propulsive, downtuned bass and stormy drumming; however, much like the preceding singles Holy Wars has released, the slow-burning dirge manages to possess the sort of cathartic, arena friendly hook that you could envision kids lustily shouting along to. But underneath the rousing hooks and catharsis is an adult angst, full of the bitter recognition that death is an inconsolable and permanent parting, of which you have to figure out a way to move forward without your loved ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Check out the “Grease” Inspired Visuals for Joseph of Mercury’s “Angel”

Earlier this summer, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring Joseph W. Salusbury, an up-and-coming Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter and producer, who has a number of songwriting and production credits including cowrites on Majid Jordan‘s “Something About You” and Illangelo‘s “Your Future’s Not Mine, and vocal production on Nelly Furtado and Blood Orange‘s “Hadron Collider” — and earlier this year, Salusbury stepped out from behind the production booth and the relatively anonymity of being a go-to songwriter with his solo recording project Joseph of Mercury, and three singles “Without Words,” “Young Thing” and “Find You Inside,” which quickly established the Canadian singer/songwriter and producer’s reputation for crafting melancholic, slow-burning synth pop that draws from a diverse range of influences, including David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Future Islands and Lower Dens among others, paired with his aching baritone crooning.

Salusbury’s Joseph of Mercury debut, Find You Inside was released last week, and as you may recall, to celebrate the announcement of the EP, he released a live and hauntingly spectral rendition of EP single “Without Words” featuring the up-and-coming Canadian pop artist accompanying himself with guitar. And personally, what made that rendition so compelling is that the live version pulls out the raw, aching emotion at the core of the song in a way that nods at both Roy Orbison and Nick Hakim.

“Angel,” the fourth and latest single off the Canadian pop crooner’s recently released EP finds Salusbury meshing 60s pop and classic R&B, anthemic 80s arena rock and contemporary electro pop in a way that reminiscent of both the aforementioned Nick Hakim and Roy Orbison, and of Daughn Gibson — and much like the sources that influenced the song, “Angel” is a sweet, almost old-timey love song written in a way that may of his contemporaries frankly just seem incapable of doing. As a result, the song is a swooning yet slow-burning  and contemporary torch song in which the song’s narrator confesses his love and devotion with an visceral ache.

Directed by Cannes Short Film Festival-nominated director Gemma Warren, the recently released music video for “Angel” pays homage to a famous scene from Grease in which Joseph play the part of the Teen Angel, originally played by Frankie Avalon, and as a result the video possesses a hazy, dream-like nature. 

Perhaps best known as the lead guitarist of the British indie rock band Howling Bells, Joel Stein, an Australian-born, British-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer/songwriter decided that after four successful albums with the band and a series of world tours with the likes of The Killers and others, that it was time to pursue his own solo work with his recording project Glassmaps .

Stein’s Glassmaps debut, Strangely Addicted was recorded and produced by Stein in the Las Vegas, NV-based home studio of The Killers’ Mark Stoermer, where Joel was staying while recording with Howling Bells. And while staying with Stoermer, Stein found a soundproofed room filled with random instruments — tubular bells, a double bass, a three-stringed banjo, vintage guitars and an old Telefunken microphone on which he recorded vocals.  And the end result was material that finds Stein, employing both electronic and organic instrumentation on punchy, hook-driven material that’s nods at 60s psych pop and psych rock and 70s AM radio rock while thematically the songs draw on his personal experiences while focusing on universal themes — love, loss, life, etc. Interestingly enough, the album features guest spots by The Killers’ Mark Stoermer, who plays bass on album single “Summer Rain,” and Howling Bells’ Glenn Moule, who contributes drumming throughout the entire album. “I took my laptop into that soundproofed room and didn’t really sleep for two weeks,” Joel recalls. “I would wake Glenn in the early hours of the morning to drum on tracks I had just finished. He’d sleepwalk his way to the kit and just nail it every time!”

“Hypnotised” is breezy symphonic pop with multi-part harmonies that nods at Sgt. Pepper-era The Beatles and ELO with soaring hook that quickly throws a trippy curveball as the song suddenly turns into a hazy psychedelia with an impressive guitar solo but while being clearly under-pinned by an old-timey vibe, the song possesses a swooning romanticism; after all, the song is about a beguiling woman, who seemingly casts a spell on the song’s narrator. But along with that, the song reveals some rather ambitious songwriting.  “The sonic inspiration varies from classical music to 70’s music,” Stein explains. “I was adamant in making a very organic record, I missed the sound of guitars, especially guitar solos.”

 

Ariadne Loinsworth is a Trondheim, Norway-born, Oslo, Norway-based electro pop artist, singer/songwriter and producer, best known as ARY, who quickly emerged into the contemporary Norwegian pop scene with the release of her Carl Louis-produced debut single “Higher,” a single that was A-listed by Norway’s P3 Radio. Building on the buzz she received, Loinsworth continued her collaboration with Louis with the release of her second single “Telescope,” which was also A-listed by P3.

Released earlier this year, Loinsworth’s single “Childhood Dreams” reportedly found the Trondheim, Norway-born, Oslo, Norway-based artist, producer and singer/songwriter further developing her sound and songwriting approach, as the song thematically focused on her own development an artist. And since the single’s release, it has accumulated more than 10 million streams across the major streaming services and has seen international radio airplay from BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1, as well as playlist adds in Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Poland.  Adding to a growing international profile, Loinsworth has been tipped for success by the likes of The FADERPigeons & PlanesInterview MagazineNylon, The Line of Best Fit, The 405 and others; but along with that she has also developed into a skilled producer, producing some of her own work.

“Already There,” Loinsworth’s latest single may arguably be the most pop-leaning and club-friendly track that the up-and-coming artist has released to date as her sultry, self-assured, jazz-like vocals are paired with a stuttering drum programming and tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering arpeggio synths and a soaring hook; but under-pinning the song is an earnest and swooning romanticism.

As the up-and-coming Norwegian pop artist recalls in press notes “Often when I’m writing, I feel like things are taking an eternity, but this song somehow wrote itself. I remember when I got home from the studio with the first outline of the song, and I didn’t want to stop listening to it. I think it’s the first proper pop song I’ve written. It’s also worth mentioning that it was my first love song.

“I think love is hard. It’s hard to find a new way to describe it, and it’s hard to put something so powerful but simultaneously invisible into words without being overly dramatic. I get the feeling that it’s almost a bit taboo to write about love these days,” she continues. “Or shameless love, anyway. There always has to be something blocking a relationship — whether it is a broken heart or just that you want a one night stand, or whatever. It seems like that it’s not cool to simply like someone, you know? Just having a good time. But I am. I’m having a shamelessly good time.”