Category: Single Review

New Audio: Here Lies Man Releases a Psych Rock Cover of Fela Kuti’s “Sorrow Tears and Blood”

With the release of their self-titled full-length debut earlier this year, the Los Angeles, CA-based act Here Lies Man founded by Marcos Garcia, who was a member of renowned Afrobeat act Antibalas and featuring fellow Antibalas bandmates Chico Mann (guitar, vocals) and Geoff Mann (drums), along with Rich Panta (percussion), JP Maramba (bass) and Kris Casto (organ), have developed a reputation for a sound that seamlessly bridges classic, Fela Kuti-era Afrobeat with classic, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin-era rock. 

Building upon a growing national profile, the band will be releasing a 12 inch EP Animal Noises, which is slated for release on Friday through RidingEasy Records, and the EP’s first single is a psych rock cover of Fela Kuti’s “Sorrow, Tears and Blood” that manages to retain the song’s melody and furious outrage while turning into an blistering, arena rock-friendly jam. 

Cal Young is a Hobart, Australia-based electronic music producer and artist, who began his career as one-half of the applauded The Scientists Of Modern Music, an act that once received praise for an energetic and engaging live set, playing at some of their homeland’s biggest festivals, opening for national touring acts, as well as headlining clubs across Australia.

Although they received some success, The Scientists Of Modern Music split up with its members going on to pursue their own creative pursuits with Young famously collaborating with fellow Hobart, Australia-based singer/songwriter Asta, who received national acclaim with “My Heart Is On Fire,” a track helped her win Triple J’s Unearthed High and landed at number 50 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 Countdown, and its follow up “I Need Answers.

Building upon the success he received working with Asta, Young felt inspired to go solo with his own recording project KOWL, a project that finds Young combining the creativity of hardware and select sound formats from other projects and melding them together with a pop sensibility in what he believes is a fresh, new approach to songwriting and production. Young’s latest single as KOWL, “You & Me” is a swaggering and slickly produced track which features a looped, funky bass line, stomping beat, shimmering arpeggiated synths — and interestingly enough, the track manages to sound as though it nods at 80s synth funk, Illumination-era Miami Horror and others.

 

New Audio: Jono Ma’s Lysergic Remix of The Babe Rainbow’s Sweaty Dance Floor Friendly Single “Monkey Disco”

Earlier this fall, I wrote about the Bryon Bay, Australia-based band The Babe Rainbow. The up-and-coming act which is comprised of Bryon Bay, Australia-born and-based founding members Jack “Cool-Breeze” and Angus Darling The Hothouse Flower and Venezuelan-born pianist Lu-Lu-Felix Domingo can trace their origins to when its founding duo started a songwriting partnership while in middle school; however, the project started in earnest in late 2015 when the founding duo met Venezuelan-born pianist Domingo while they were traveling in France.

Now, as you may recall, the trio’s self-titled debut was produced by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Stu Mackenzie, and from album single “Johny Stays Cool,” the band specializes in lo-fi, off-kilter funk inspired by African Diaspora-like rhythms and a breezy, Tropicalia-like melody and much like The B52s, the song found the trio managing to mischievously evoke 60s psych pop and surf rock. However, album single “Monkey Disco” finds the trio nodding at sweaty, tribal house, Afropop and Fear of Music-era Talking Heads, with the Australian band pulling their lo-fi sound into the early 80s while retaining its off-kilter, quirky quality. 

Interestingly, Jagwar Ma’s Jono Ma recently remixed the song and while retaining the sweaty tribal house feel of the song, he adds thumping drum beats and extends the song’s infectious hook and driving groove, adding a lysergic sheen to an already dance floor friendly song. 

With the release of their debut single Spanish Disco, the Vienna, Austria-based indie electro pop duo Leyya, comprised of Sophie Lindinger and Marco Kleebauer quickly received both national and international attention, thanks to the success of viral hit single “Superego,” which received nearly 3 million streams on Spotify. Adding to a growing profile, the duo played some of the European Union’s biggest music festivals including The Great Escape, Liverpool Sound City, Tallinn Music Week, Primavera Sound, Reeperbahn Festival, Iceland Airwaves and a headlining set at Popfest. Along with that the duo have received airplay on Huw Stephens‘ and Phil Taggart‘s BBC Radio 1 shows and Lauren Laverne‘s BBC Radio 6 show, been playlisted on Germany’s Radio 1, as well as praise from Pigeons and PlanesWonderland MagazineClash Magazine, Konbini, The 405 and Consequence of Sound among others.

The duo’s highly anticipated sophomore effort Sauna is slated for a January 26, 2018 release, and the album’s latest single “Drumsolo” will further cement their reputation for crafting ambient and moody electro pop but while revealing that the duo have expanded their sound quite a bit, as the song finds the duo with a subtly layered sound nodding at hip-hop, R&B and jazz in a way that reminds me of BRAIDS and Softspot but with a coquettish and swaggering self-assuredness.

“‘Drumsolo’ is one of our favourite tracks of the new album, ” the duo told NOISEY. “On the one hand, it’s very complex (at one point, it doesn’t even make sense ‘music theoretically’). But, on the other hand, the melody is very catchy, so you don’t notice its quirkiness; that’s what we always wanted our tracks to be like: different layers to discover depending on the listener’s mood.”

 

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Portland, OR-based indie folk/psych rock/indie rock act The Parson Red Heads, and as you may recall the band, currently comprised of husband and wife duo Evan Way and Brette Marie Way, along with Sam Fowles, Robbie Auspurger and a rotating cast of collaborators and friends can trace their origins to when its founding core members met in Eugene OR in 2004, where they all were attending college and studying for degrees that as the band’s frontman Evan Way jokes in the band’s official bio “never used or even completed.” “We  would rehearse in the living room of my house for hours and hours until my roommates would be driven crazy — writing songs and playing them over and over again, and generally having as much fun as a group of people can have,” Way recalls. “We weren’t sure if we were very good, but we were sure that there was a special bond growing between us, a chemistry that you didn’t find often.”

The following year, the band’s founding members relocated to Los Angeles, where they hoped that they would take music much more seriously and become a real band, with the members of the band eventually moving into and sharing a 1 bedroom apartment in West Lost Angeles. “Eventually the population of our 1 bedroom ballooned to 7 — all folks who played in our band at that point, too,” Way says. And while in Los Angeles, the members of the band quickly became stalwarts of a growing 60s-inspired folk and psych folk scene based primarily in the artsy Silverlake and Echo Park sections. “We played every show we could lay our collective hands on, which turned out to be a lot of shows. We must have played 300+ shows in our first two years in L.A.  . . . . We practiced non-stop and wrote a ton of songs, and eventually recorded our debut album King Giraffe at a nice little studio in Sunland, with the help of our friends Zack and Jason,” Way reminisces.

After the release of King Giraffe, the band spent the next three years writing, and touring, and during that three year period they released an EP and their sophomore effort Yearling, which was partially recorded at Red Rockets Glare with Raymond Richards, who had then joined the band to play pedal steel and in North Carolina at Fidelitorium with The dB’s Chris Stamey. Once they had finished the album, the members of the band decided to quit their day jobs and their apartments and go on a lengthy tour with their friends in Cotton Jones before relocating to Portland. Interestingly around the same time, The Parson Red Heads had developed a reputation for an uninhibited live show, as they could easily morph from earnest rock to ass-kicking rock mode, which shouldn’t be terribly surprising as the band cites The ByrdsTeenage FanclubBig StarCrosby, Nash, Stills and Young and Jackson Browne as major influences on their sound. Unsurprisingly, with their third full-length album Orb Weaver, the band actively wanted to capture the energy and sound.  “We’re always made records that were more thought-out,” says Way. “When we play live, we play more like a rock band. We wanted to show that more aggressive side of us, the more rock-oriented side.”
Blurred Harmony, The Parson Red Heads’ fourth album was released earlier this year through renowned Portland-based label Fluff and Gravy, and as Way explained, the band intended to do things differently than they did before — with the band recording and tracking themselves, frequently setting up drums and amps, and furiously recording after everyone had put their kids to sleep, and trying to finish that day’s sessions before it got too late. And as a result, Way says  “the record is more a true part of us than any record we have made before — we put ourselves into it, made ourselves fully responsible for it. Even the themes of the songs are more personal than ever — it’s an album dealing with everything that has come before. It’s an album about nostalgia, about time, change, about the hilarious, wonderful, bittersweet, sometimes sad, always incredible experience of living. Sometimes it is about regret or the possibility of regret. These are big topics, and to us, it is a big album, yet somehow still intimate and honest.”
December 8, 2017 will mark the release of the Expanded Edition of Blurred Harmony and it’ll feature two bonus tracks, which were originally recorded during the initial recording sessions and didn’t make the final cut, including the band’s latest single “TV Surprise.” As Way explains in press notes “‘TV Surprise’ is a song that’s been around for probably 10 years at least, maybe one. It’s got a real Felt/The Feelies vibe to it that I really like — those are two bands that we were just starting to get into around the time I wrote the song, so it’s no surprise that was coming through. The abstract feel of the lyrics is the thing that ended up making it not a perfect fit for inclusion on the Blurred Harmony album sequence, but Danny (O’Hanlon, who mixed the record) did a really great job creatively mixing the song — he added a lot of the textures that make this recording of the song have such a cool atmosphere and mood.”Sonically speaking, the song sounds as though the band were drawing from Fleetwood Mac, Southern rock and psych rock, as the song possesses the easy-going, self-assuredness of a bunch of old pros getting the old band together and jamming and while it sounds as though it would have been a perfect fit for the album, I agree with Way in the sense that the song doesn’t feel as personal as previous single “Coming Down” — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the song captures the band exploring a theme from a slightly different angle, and managing to get a similar yet distinctly different result.

 

 

Comprised of Dave Sitek, a guitarist, songwriter and producer, best known for being a member of TV on the Radio and for collaborating with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, Foals, Celebration, Little Dragon, Beady Eye, Kelis, Santigold, and others; and Daniel Ledinsky, who’s best known for releasing the viral hit “DonaldTrumpMakesMeWannaSmokeCrack,” and for collaborating with Tove Lo, Kent, CeeLo Green, Shakira and Rihanna, the Los Angeles, CA-based duo The Neverly Boys are inspired by their adopted hometown, and the duo’s debut single together “Burn, Hollywood, Burn” is actually about the broken dreams on which Hollywood is built. Though the single was written and recorded before the relatively recent reports of rampant and unchecked abuse, the single comes from the same poisoned well. As Ledinsky says in press notes “I’m guessing most people who live here in Los Angeles can relate to that feeling of total hopelessness. This place sure creates some amazingly beautiful art, but it also has a tendency to use and corrupt you. Hollywood has attracted artists to come here to pursue their dreams since the 20’s, and a lot of people end up in a very dark place chasing that dream. I love this city for all its beauty, but it has always been a very hard and violent place as well.“ And as a result, “Burn, Hollywood, Burn” while consisting of a bluesy and twangy shuffle paired with an anthemic chorus manages to feel haunted, as though imbued by bitter and lingering ghosts.

 

 

 

New Jersey-based pop duo Fascinations Grand Chorus can trace their origins to a long-held rivalry between its members and a free-standing and deeply competitive argument they had over which one was the better songwriter, based on a health respect and admiration of each one’s individual musicianship and songcraft; however, despite their countless, good-natured arguments, the duo bonded over their mutual love of The Misfits, 1910 Fruitgum Company and antiquated arcade games, while also recognizing that teaming up would be beneficial to navigate the contemporary music scene. And with “When You’re Mine,” the first single off their soon-to-be released EP Angelsea, the duo specialize in recording utilizing the analog techniques of Joe Meek and Phil Spector  — and much like contemporaries such as Pavo Pavo, Drakkar Nowhere and others, Fascinations Grand Chorus’ manages to be mischievously anachronistic with their current single sounding as though it was released in 1962 or 1982, but with a subtly modern sheen.

 

New Audio: Charlotte Day Wilson Returns with her Most Soulful and Radio Friendly Single to Date

Charlotte Day Wilson is a  Toronto, ON-based internationally renowned singer/songwriter, who initially began her musical career as the frontwoman of local renowned jazz, funk and soul act The Wayo — and with the release of “After All,” Wilson quickly emerged as an up-and-coming talent within her hometown’s soul, funk and jazz scene, eventually collaborating with the likes of BADBADNOTGOOD and River Tiber. Now, if you had been frequenting this site last year, you’d know that with the release of her full-length debut CDW, which featured critically applauded singles “After All,” “Work” and “Find You,” that Wilson established herself as a singer/songwriter and producer, who would pair thoughtful and personal lyrics that betray a wisdom and experience far beyond her years, with minimalist, electronic production.

“Doubt,” Wilson’s latest single manages to simultaneously be her first bit of new material in over a year and while being a teaser for much more material next year, the song is a bit of sonic left turn sonic direction with Wilson pairing her soulful vocals with a production that nods at Bilal, Erykah Badu and others, as it features fluttering synths, a sinuous bass line, jazz and ballad-inspired drumming with warm blasts of guitar and a soaring hook. And while arguably being one of the most radio friendly songs she’s released to date, the song’s narrator expresses a deep, crippling uncertainty over her own worthiness that feels and sounds like the thoughts and feelings of a fully-fleshed out and confused woman that you may have known at some point.

Currently comprised of founding trio Brian J. Cohen (vocals, rhythm guitar), Eric Neujahr (guitar) and Jon Engelhard (bass), along with newest member Garret Ray (drums), the Los Angeles-based indie rock quintet Line & Circle can trace their origins to when the founding trio, with original members Brian Egan (keyboards) and Nick Cisik (drums) met and formed the band in Ohio, before relocating to Southern California. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d know that with the release of a batch of singles and their debut — all of which were released to critical praise — the band quickly exploded into the national scene.

Building upon their growing buzz and national profile, the members of the then-quintet wrote and recorded their 2015 Lewis Pesacov-produced, full-length debut Split Figure, an album that sonically found the band drawing from 1980s college rock and alt rock — album single Like A Statue,”  managed to remind early R.E.M. songs like “The One I Love,” “Talk About The Passion” and “So. Central Rain,” The Smiths‘ “This Charming Man” while thematically the single, as well as the rest of the album’s material explored “the elusive and daunting task of pursuing self-knowledge in a world, where ironically staring into screens and photographing ourselves incessantly has failed to make the process any easier.”  As the band’s Cohen added at the time.  “We are all split down the middle. There is an inner self that reflects what we think are, and an outer self that is how others really perceive us. True self-knowledge is when you become aware of each, and begin to reconcile both into one.”

After the release of their full-length debut, the band went through a lineup change before writing and recording their forthcoming EP Vicious Folly. Interestingly enough, the EP, which was essentially recorded and tracked live to tape during a single day session at Los Angeles’ Box Studios with some additional sessions in warehouses, bedrooms and home studios in the Echo Park neighborhood reportedly explores an old belief popularly held by the Romans: homo homini lupus — man is a wolf to man.  And as you may recall, EP single “Man Uncouth,” while further cementing their reputation for crafting jangling and earnest guitar pop that sounds as though it were released in 1983, managed to focus on the inner turmoil of someone desperately in love but battling their insecurities and fears, essentially becoming the portrait of a man, slowly tearing himself apart. The EP’s latest single, EP title track “Vicious Folly”  continues in a similar vein — with the song being the most R.E.M.-inspired song they’ve released in some time but whereas as the conflict in the preceding single was internal, the conflict at the heart of their latest single is much larger, with ideological differences tearing social norms and boundaries apart. Certainly, while describing our current political climate in which significant portions of the electorate can’t agree on commonly held facts and assertions, and we’re increasing split along lines of race, gender, class, etc., the song manages to point out that this is historical after all — or as an old song says “things fall apart, it’s scientific.”

 

 

Sacre is a Parisian electro pop production and artist duo, who have started to receive attention across the blogosphere for a slick production featuring cosmic ray-like synths and tweeter and woofer rocks that’s been described by several sites as being reminiscent of Daft Punk and Justice, among others — and while that may be debatable, the duo’s latest single “Stereo” is an incredibly self-assured track that manages featuring a coquettish and ethereal, female-led hook, shimmering arpeggiated synths and tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a soulful male vocal and a swaggering 16 bars or so from up-and-coming French rapper Dopize. But underneath the swaggering nature of the song manages to capture the swooning, first realization of being stupidly, madly in love with someone — all while being a radio friendly, club banger.