Category: singer/songwriters

Born Sophie Stern, Sophie Bom is a Los Angeles, CA-born and-based singer/songwriter and producer, who originally started her music career as a songwriter for mega-hit producer Dr. Luke writing songs for a number of pop stars, including Britney Spears, Kesha and Conor Maynard among others — and after spending a few years behind the scenes, the Los Angeles-born and-based singer/songwriter and producer, decided that she needed to go out on her own as a solo artist. Now, as you may recall, Bom’s solo career began with writing and recording with the Grammy Award-winning producer David Elevator, who’s best known for his work on Beck‘s Morning Phase and Dan Dare, who’s best known for his work with Marina and the Diamonds, Charlie XCX and M.I.A. for her attention grabbing recording project Sophie and the Bom Boms, which released the Shmixtape EP and the Going For the Heart EP before going on a hiatus.

“Broke,” Bom’s latest single, and first official single as completely solo artist finds the Los Angeles-born and-based singer/songwriter her roots — sitting at the piano and writing songs. Additionally, the single finds her producing herself for the first time, and the single features a fairly stripped down production in which Stern’s vocals float over a metronomic beat, warm and expressively blasts of electric guitar, but the spacious and unfussy production has one true star to it — Stern, who’s at her most honest and vulnerable. As the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and producer says of the song, “This song was written stream of consciousness, I hit record and sat at [the] piano and tried to sort out my life. Like, ‘Hello, my name is Sophie, and I’m a broken ass person trying to make a relationship work with another broken ass person. Relationships are funny. Love can be 2 faced. When you’re in a relationship, it can be make you feel so connected and understood by no just the other person, but to everything and everyone, everywhere .  . . and then on the flip side, it touches on the most painful parts of life and yourself and humans, and you feel cheated by the whole fucking world. This song is about about the broken side. Like maybe there’s a wall that you’ll never grow tall enough to climb over. 2 broken people not knowing how to fix something. Like, ‘I love you, but I’m tired . . . and paranoid . . . are you even there? Are we going to fix this? Kiki? Do you love me? Are you riding?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Video: Rodes Rollins Releases Sultry and Self-Assured Visuals for “Nasty Woman”

Now, over the past 12-18 months or so, I’ve written a bit about Rodes Rollins, a Boulder, CO-born singer/songwriter, who spent a stint living abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is now primarily based in New York. Rollins emerged into the national scene with “Young and Thriving,” the first single off her critically applauded debut EP Young Adult, an incredibly self-assured effort written as a portrait of an artist as a young woman, in which the narrator looks back at her most formative experiences with a nostalgic yet wizened flashback — with the perspective of someone, who now sees how her decisions for better or for worse, planned or serendipitous have influenced who she has become and where her life is at this moment.

“Nasty Woman,” Rollins’ latest single is a bold, self-assured, feminist anthem that according to Rollins is largely centered on empowerment and pride, while focusing on ” . . .the multi-dimensionality of what it means to be a woman in society — being who you are, as you are; and being proud of that. This song is not presented from only my singular perspective, or through just one medium. The very point of what I’m trying to express is that being a woman shouldn’t be a restrictive identity, but rather a broad and inclusive one.” Sonically, the song is based around a bluesy and reverb-y guitar line, propulsive drumming from Portugal, The Man‘s Kane Ritchotee  an infectious hook and Rollins’ sultry cooed vocals — and while sultry, the song lyrically features inclusive and intersectional lyrics.

Directed by Louis Browne, the recently released video for “Nasty Woman” is as sultry and self-assured as the song it accompanies. As Rollins says of the video treatment, “‘Nasty Woman’ is my own personal feminist anthem. Tonally and thematically it’s very different from my other material. It was really empowering and fun for me to write and record this one. I wanted that to come through in the visuals for the song too. So, we made an effort for the video to incorporate bold, bright colors and a strong energy. Performing in this video really gave me a platform to showcase the confidence when I sing ‘Nasty Woman.'”

James Clifford is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and creative mastermind of the recording project Primaveras, which was once known as Modern Howls. As the story goes, Clifford grew up in a rather musical family; in fact, Clifford began playing guitar in his early teens and throughout his high school years, he played in a number of garage bands. Foregoing a formal musical education, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is largely self-taught with his passion for playing and writing stemming from a lifelong passion for everything music, as he’s been known to scour music stores for vintage guitars and synths or to stay up into the wee hours listening to records. Unsurprisingly, Clifford has cited the likes of David Bowie, Prince, The Clash, Funkadelic, Chic, Todd Rundgren, Roxy Music, Steely Dan, and The Beach Boys as some of his greatest music inspirations.  Thematically, Clifford and Primaveras draws influence from the stretch of the famed Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to Santa Monica — warm breezes through cracked car windows, the soft sound of waves crashing and receding into the Pacific, and the silhouette of the Los Angeles skyline. For many it’s timeless and almost dreamlike; but those who haven’t stuck around long enough fail to notice the effects of salt air on the surroundings — in the form of rust and erosion. In some way, it evokes faded dreams and hopes of a paradise that never really was there in the first place, and in another sense, the faded surroundings evoke a lonely introspection. Clifford’s Primaveras debut Echoes in the Well of Being was written in a way to embody that dualism — with the album’s material generally being sunny psych pop yet possess an underlying longing and introspection.
Interestingly with Clifford’s previously released material and Echoes in the Well of Being‘s latest single, the shimmering and strutting “Better Off,” his sound has been compared favorably to the likes of Tame Impala and Phoenix — and while that is definitely fair, I also hear a subtle nod at Avalon-era Roxy Music as the song evokes bright neon lights, evening faces, Jack and Cokes, the buzz of a coke high and a desperate escape from one’s loneliness and regret. But interestingly enough, Clifford pays loving  homage to The Isley Brothers’Footsteps in the Dark, Parts 1 and 2” with the song’s intro drum break, which not only ties the song to classic R&B, but gives it a subtle sensuality.
As Clifford says of the song, “While most people will immediately interpret as a breakup song, I see the core sentiment as trying to grow up and move on from any sort of worn-out relationship.”
 

New Video: Lola Kirke Returns with Sultry and Expressive Visuals for “Sexy Song”

Lola Kirke is a British-born, New York-based singer/songwriter, musician and actress, best know for starring roles in Noah Bambauch’s Mistress America and the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, as well as a supporting role in David Fincher’s Gone Girl; but interestingly enough, she’s also the daughter of drummer Simon Kirke, who’s best known for stints in Bad Company and Free and Lorraine Kirke, the owner of Geminola, a vintage boutique known for supplying outfits for Sex and the City. Now as you may recall, last year I wrote about “Not Used,” off her self-titled EP, a song about learning to live with a lover’s absence and their lingering ghosts. 

Kirk’s full-length debut Heart Head West is slated for an August 10, 2018 release through Downtown Records, and the Wyndham Garnett-produced album, which was tracked live to tape, is a deeply personal album that Kirke says is “about basically everything I thought about in 2017 — time, loss, social injustice, sex, drinking, longing — essentially everything I’d talk about with a close friend for 40 minutes.” Heart Head West’s latest single “Sexy Song” is a slow-burning and meditative bit of honky tonk that’s reminiscent of Chris Issak and Roy Orbison, but with a feminine and self-assured sultriness at its core. 

Directed by Mara McKevitt, the intimate, recently released video for “Sexy Song” features expressive and sultry choreography by Elizabeth Sonenberg, and as Kirke told Harper’s Bazaar, “I think that understanding what the core and the truth of women’s sexual desire is really tricky. Is it something that’s just like a man’s? Is it totally different? is it something that is just a like man’s because men told us exactly how it should be or what they would like it to be?” 

 

Patrick Phillips is a Portland, OR-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, DJ and multi-instrumentalist, and creative mastermind behind the dream pop/indie pop/psych pop recording project Water Slice. And in some way, the project can trace its origins back to when Philips realized that his life in Portland was beginning to closely resemble an unending Portlandia sketch — he worked at a hip gastropub, played packed local gigs and DJ’ed obscure African music. When he realized what his life had become, Phillips decided that it was time for a change, and he eventually related to Los Angeles. In 2014, he moved into an idyllic artist house located in the hills of the Echo Park section — and as the story goes, Phillips would spend a great deal of time on the house’s rooftop, overlooking the city’s landscape in the shade of a  giant rubber tree, contemplating life and writing songs, partially influenced by his surroundings.

During his first month in town, Phillips met James Supercave‘s Joaquin Pastor and spent the next 2 years as that band’s bassist. After leaving James Supercave, the Portland-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist had time to process his past life in Portland and to dive back into his record collection of power-pop, post-punk and world psychedelia — and this period was for him, the definitive spark that led him to write his own material under the moniker Water Slice. Of course, the material he had begun to write drew deeply from his own personal experience — particularly, a lengthy romantic relationship that dissolved and friendships that fell by the wayside (as many do), and the lingering ache and confusion of a past that’s continually just out of reach and the acceptance of a present that barely makes sense.

Now, as you may call, Philips’ Water Slice self-titled, debut EP is slated for an August 10, 2018 release and with the release of “This Way,” the first single off the effort quickly received attention for a sound that pairs buoyant and breezy grooves with dark lyrical content. As Philips told Ones to Watch, “Many of my favorite tunes, whether post-punk, power-pop, or reggae, are stories of suffering, while staying undeniably groovy. I love this contrast of heavy lyrics with otherwise sunny music, and I kept this tradition in mind when writing ‘This Way.’ At the time I was stuck deep in a rut, ‘This Way’ is about accepting my flaws and pushing into the future with the people I love.” The EP’s Gus Seyffert-produced second single “Please Remember” managed to further cement Philips’ growing reputation for crafting breezy and buoyant pop with a wistful and nostalgic air; but underneath that an acceptance and celebration of how life seems to constantly shift around you, forcing you to shift lanes, change direction  or stop whatever it was you were doing In the first place. After all, no one really has an answer to anything and nothing really works the way it’s supposed to — and yet, we usually find a way.

The EP’s latest single “Write Back” is a decidedly 60s psych pop stomper, centered around shimmering and swirling guitars, a propulsive rhythm section and an incredibly infectious hook — and while breezy and wistful, the track reveals a songwriter and artist with a careful attention to craft. As Philips explains in press notes, “The song’s about facing the fact that you’re not always where you thought you would be in life.” He adds, “But instead of freaking out about it, it’s important to remember what and who grounds you, to keep moving forward or dig deep and turn everything around.” Certainly, when things aren’t right (and that seems more often the case than not), having someone say this so clearly is not just affirming but absolutely necessary.

New Video: Phantastic Ferniture Returns with Mischievous Visuals for Soaring Album Single “Bad Timing”

Although I’ve suffered a number of frustrating technological setbacks, you may recall that last month, I wrote about Phantasmic Furniture, the  garage rock/guitar pop side project (of sorts) of acclaimed singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin and a collection of some of her closest and dearest friends, Elizabeth Hughes and Ryan K. Brennan. And as the story goes, the band can trace their origins to a birthday gathering in a Sydney, Australia-based bar to celebrate Jacklin’s 24th birthday. At some point, a group hug had manifested itself with all ten of the group’s hug participants, drunkenly promising to start a band together. “Only four of us remembered,” Hughes recalls. The band’s core and founding members bonded over a mutual love and appreciation for fern-related puns and leisurewear, and they would meet up whenever their individual schedules would allow, writing songs and playing smatterings of live dates to an increasingly devoted audience.

Eventually, Jacklin, Hughes and Brennan decided that Phantastic Ferniture wasn’t a side project, and they should focus on writing and recording an album together, centered around the fact that the band would be a lot more spontaneous and less technical than their individual pursuits. “That was the fun part,” Jacklin says in press notes. “Ryan never played drums in bands, Liz had never been a lead guitarist, Tom didn’t play bass and I’d never just sung before.” Hughes adds “We wanted a low level of expertise, because a lot of good music comes from people whose passion exceeds their skill.”

Slated for a July 27, 2018 release through Transgressive Records, Phantastic Ferniture’s self-titled debut finds the band adopting a mantra of not overthinking — of focusing on the urgency of the moment, while being whimsical. “Gap Year,” the second single off the band’s full-length debut is a 90s alt rock-like track that struck me as owning and spiritual debut to PJ Harvey. “Bad Timing,” the third and latest single of the single continues on a somewhat similar vein as its immediate predecessor — rollicking indie rock with a cinematic sweep centered around a propulsive rhythm section, psych rock-like guitar pyrotechnics and a soaring hook. 

The recently released video for “Bad Timing” continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with director Nick Mckk and the video finds the band mischievously employing the use of fern imagery — with some friends holding potted ferns in front of the band members. At one point, you even see them put a fern-related puzzle together — because, of course! As the band’s Jacklin says in press notes, “We have to really thank all of our friends who came and made this clip with us. It turned out to be quite a painful process but probably good for our dwindling musician specific fitness levels. I think all our arms were aching for about a week after. I think anyone who is already on the fence in regards to our use of fern imagery is going to really hate us after watching this. We had also just got back our puzzle that features on the cover of our record and were putting it together while we waited for each shot to be set up.”

Currently comprised of founding member and frtonwoman Natalie Carol (vocals, guitar) and Shawn Morones (guitar, vocals), along with newest members Neil Wogensen (bass, vocals) and Mike DeLuccia (drums), the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock band Valley Queen can trace their origins back to their formation in 2014. With the release of a handful of singles, the band’s profile rapidly rose — and it resulted in a relentless touring schedule with an increasing amount of time spent on the road. Although the band found their groove, the stress was way too much and the band went through the first of many lineup changes that found Carol continuing onward with a series of session musicians.

Despite the lineup changes, the band eventually found themselves becoming buzz worthy, playing bigger clubs; however, for the Valley Queen’s founder and frontwoman, the chemistry that she had felt and began to depend on to create and perform was missing. They landed a record deal — a dream that countless bands desperately wish to achieve; but as Carol began to recognize, the band was much more than her concentrating on writing lyrics while session musicians were being paid to play and record the material as directed. What she had long desired was for the band to be what it originally was about — the chemistry and relationships between the members of the band, all of which helped the band land their record deal in the first place.

As the story goes, before writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their Lewis Pesacov-produced, soon-to-be released full-length debut Supergiant, Carol called Doot, who couldn’t re-join the band; however, Mike DeLuccia joined. Then Carol called Shawn Morones, who after a series of lengthy conversations, before decided that re-joining the band would be worth the risks involved.

Interestingly, Pesacov, who has worked with Best CoastFool’s GoldNikki Lane, FIDLAR and JOVM mainstays The Orielles, continues to cement his reputation for raw production that focus on the urgency of the album’s material and the musicians’ performances. And for the members of Valley Queen, the experience writing and recording was ultimately about the collective exploring and creating together. Now, as you may recall, earlier this year I wrote about album title track “Supergiant,” and the album’s latest single “Chasing the Muse” continues in a similar vein — 70s AM rock inspired indie rock with an earnest emotional heft that comes from living a full and messy life, complete with its frustrations, crushing defeats and small victories. Ultimately, both tracks are centered around Carol’s powerhouse Linda Ronstadt-like vocals, a deliberate attention to craft and some exceptional and passionate musicianship.

Valley Queen will be touring to support their new effort and the initial batch of tour dates are below.

VALLEY QUEEN TOUR DATES

July 5-8 Winnipeg, MB – Winnipeg Folk Festival

July 28 Los Angeles, CA – The Moroccan Lounge
August 01 San Francisco, CA – Cafe du Nord
August 02 Davis, CA – Sophia’s Thai Kitchen
August 03-05 Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon
August 07 Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern
August 08 Spokane, WA – The Bartlett
August 09 Missoula, MT – Top Hat Lounge
August 11 Denver, CO – Lost Lake Lounge
August 12 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
August 15 San Luis Obispo, CA – SLO Brew

With the release of last year’s Noelle and The Filthy No-Nos, the New York-born, New Orleans-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist  Noelle Tannen quickly developed a reputation for a unique approach to singer/songwriter soul that draws from old school soul, neo-soul, jazz, blues, indie rock and gospel. “Proof,” Tannen’s latest single continues in a similar vein as her previously released work: effortlessly soulful material centered around her self-assured and sultry vocals and an arrangement featuring shimmering blasts of keys, a sinuous bass line, shuffling jazz-like drumming, gorgeous horn arrangement and an infectious, radio friendly hook — within an expansive song structure in which you’ll hear temp changes and key changes throughout. Arguably, this track may be the most straightforward song in their growing profile; but paired with a powerful and uplifting message.

As Tannen explained to Live for Live Music, “”Proof’ is a song about the constant struggle many women face of having to Prove ourselves and work extra hard just for people to take us seriously,” Tannen shares. “It’s about how exhausting that struggle can be. However, the song is supposed to portray a motivational message. Let’s keep on working hard, but while doing so, not to forget about the beauty of life and the earnestness in creation. Let’s not allow the haters to get in the way! We got this ladies.”