New Audio: Melody Fields Share Rousingly Anthemic “In Love”

Influenced by SpiritualizedMoon Duo, and La DüsseldorfGothenburg-based psych outfit Melody Fields have quickly established and cemented a sound that seamlessly meshes elements of psych pop, indie rock and shoegaze with enchanting melodies.

The Swedish psych outfit will be closing out the year with the release of two albums: 1901, which is slated for an October 13, 2023 release and 1991, which is slated for an November 10, 2023. Both will be released through Coop Records in the European Union and Nudie Records here in the States. The band explains that 1901 can be best described as a rock album with psychedelic influences. “It showcases repetitive guitar riffs, distorted soundscapes, and mesmerizing three-part harmony vocals. Throughout these musical landscapes, we were fortunate to collaborate with guest musicians from esteemed bands such as Goat and Holy Wave, who added an extra layer of sonic brilliance to the album,” the members of the band explain.

“On the other hand, 1991 takes a different approach as a concept album that evolved from late-night jam sessions, experimental sounds, and danceable music,” the band continues. “It presents four remixes, including contributions from Goat and Al Lover, which inject new life into the original composition ‘Jesus’ from our previous album. The remixes offer fresh perspectives and invigorating interpretations, breathing new energy into the music and allowing it to evolve further.”

Last month, Melody Fields shared 1901 single “Hallelujah,” a Happy Mondays-meets-Primal Scream-like song that saw the band pairing propulsive bongo drum beats, glistening synths, bouyant Larry Levan-era house piano and thumping bass lines with hazy and dreamily delivered vocals. The result is a trance-inducing and trippy dance floor friendly bop that recalls the Madchester sound — but with a sleek, modern feel. “Drawing inspiration from iconic bands like Primal Scream and Happy Mondays, the track transports you to the glory days of early 90s dance-oriented rock,” the members of Melody Fields explain.

1901‘s latest single “In Love” is a fairly straightforward psych rock anthem built around buzzing power guitars, arena rock bombast and rousingly anthemic hooks and choruses that sounds inspired by Give Out But Don’t Give Up-era Primal Scream, The Jesus and Mary Chain and others, fueled by an infectious rambunctiousness.

“This track features infectious rhythms and catchy melodies that capture the raw power and rebellious spirit of Rock’n’Roll, inviting you to unleash your inner passion and let the music ignite your soul,” the Gothenburg-based outfit explains.

Lyric Video: Norway’s Beharie Shares Bouyant and Flirty “Desire”

Rising Norwegian singer/songwriter and pop artist Beharie has been busy over the past handful of years. Since 2019, he has released three EPs:

Each of those efforts have seen the rising Norwegian artist constantly expanding upon his sound, artistry and message, while refining his focus towards what’s to come.

Beharie’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, the 12-song Are You There Boy? is slated for an October 20, 2023 release. The album reportedly meets the artist where he is right now and invites listeners into a carefully curated sonic world that features vibrant melodies and delicate, smooth vocals. Thematically, the album sees the rising Norwegian exploring theme so love, self-doubt, desire, longing and pain with his heart worn proudly on his sleeve — and with a remarkable sense of nuance. The album follows a multi-faceted, fully-fleshed out character, who seeks meaningful connections, follows his curiosity where it takes him and ultimately discovers himself. As a result, the album sees its creator and its main narrator exploring the ever-changing, versatile aspects of his own humanity and identity, showcasing his growth, insecurities, passions and complexities.

“This album has given me the opportunity to delve into various aspects of my own identity, and in the process, I have explored the complexity inherent in my personality and expression,” Beharie explains. “We have nurtured different characters and played with their distinct expressions. These characters have been assigned unique names: Washed-out jeans boy, float in space boy, constant fear boy, make believe boy, and lost in thought boy.” Fittingly, each of those characters represents fragments of Beharie’s soul, personality and essence — all in search of a sense of belonging.

The album also features collaborations with two rising singer/songwriters — Dublin‘s Uly and The Netherlands’ Judy Blank.

Are You There Boy?‘s latest single, the flirty and playful “Desire” is built around a buoyant melodic groove, skittering boom bap serving as an ethereal and silky bed for Beharie’s tender and yearning delivery. The song’s narrator sweetly wants to prove to a prospective love interest, that he’s the right one for them — and for the rest of their lives. Behave explains that “Desire” is a confident love song about “insisting on being the right one for someone you like and telling them without any doubt, and being willing to do anything to make it happen.” 

Ultimately, “Desire” to me reveals a songwriter, who is able to effortlessly craft a catchy pop tune rooted in earnest, heartfelt lyricism while eschewing cliches and formulas.

Over the course of 2016-2016, I spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering acclaimed Bay Area-based indie electro pop outfit The Seshen. Led by founding members Lalin St. Juste (vocals) and Akiyoshi Ehara (bass, production), the acclaimed sextet have released three albums of material that draws from a broad and eclectic array of influences including Erykah Badu, Jai PaulJames BlakeRadioheadBroadcast, hip-hop, indie rock and electronica, among others. 

Last month, the members of The Seshen made two announcements:

  • Their return in the wake of the recent separation and divorce of its founding members
  • Their long-awaited fourth album Nowhere, which is slated for an October 6, 2023 release

Nowhere reportedly not only showcases the sextet’s remarkable musical prowess, but also offers a window into the changing nature of love, the fragility of human connections, and the different ways to embrace impermanence. It also marks the closing of one important chapter and the beginning of a new one for the band, capturing their evolution as individuals and their resilience as a band. The album’s material is shaped and rooted in the experiences of its members, including the impact of St. Juste’s and Ehara’s marriage and divorce. 

While St. Juste’s beautiful vocals anchor much of the album’s material, the band’s intricate production work helps to create a sonic landscape that’s simultaneously ethereal and grounded, capturing and evoking the essence of emotional turbulence and self-discovery, while complimenting lyrics based on St. Juste’s journey through the complexities of love and loss. 

Last month, I wrote about album single, the trippy and expansive “Hold Me,” which pairs St. Juste’s ethereal and yearning vocal with a sleek and hyper-modern production featuring dub-like glistening and wobbling synth oscillations, a sinuous bass line and skittering beats with the band’s unerring knack for catchy hooks. The song is that desperate clinging to the hope that the relationship won’t end, that your lover won’t leave. But there’s the realization that maybe it’s inevitable, and that there’s nothing you can do to stop it or change it.

“‘Hold Me’ is about that moment before loss – the hope, the longing, the desire for love to stay,” The Seshen’s St. Juste told AFROPUNK. “During the separation between Aki and I, we held onto each other to navigate the darkness …a darkness that was dizzying, disorienting, and unfamiliar. We held on to each other and found our way out. This song is about connection even in the face of change.” 

“Waiting for Dawn,” Nowhere‘s latest single is built around a balafon rhythm, pitched percussion, glistening synths, wobbling bass synths and warped and pitched background vocals. St. Juste’s achingly plaintive vocal ethereally floats over the production. The result is to evoke the feeling of being untethered and fraying at the edges from anticipatory grief, knowing that the relationship will end — but you don’t quite know when, where or how.

“‘Waiting for Dawn’ is an expression of anticipatory grief – saying goodbye to something you thought you couldn’t live without,” The Seshen’s Akiyoshi Ehara shared regarding the track, which contends with his separation with St. Juste. “Lalin and I were both beginning to feel untethered and struggling with our mental health. The lyric ‘I’ve been fraying at the edges, coming undone from another lost night, waiting for dawn’ really captures what those days were like – both of us sleepless, trying to hold it together while individually falling apart.”

“I had a period of being really into pitched percussive sounds and balafon music and some of that definitely made its way into this tune,” Ehara says of the song’s production. “Throughout the song, I relate the warped/pitched vocals to those disturbing voices/narratives that can circle around in your head. When engaged in catastrophic thinking and grappling with anxiety it can be hard to discern what your voice is vs. what anxiety and depression are telling you. The way that the vocals start as a natural, unaffected voice and warp into something that becomes less of a voice and more part of the tapestry of the song reflects the difficulty of parsing out what is real and what isn’t when we’re struggling to keep things together.”

New Audio: Glassio and Beauty Queen Team Up on Dreamy and Bittersweet “A Friend Like You”

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates-born, New York-based Irish-Persian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sam R. spent the bulk of his formative years split between the third largest Emirati city and Monterey, CA. He fell in love with music listening to Pet Sounds and Graceland on his way to school in the mornings. “It was that  juxtaposition of hearing Brian Wilson’s harmonies in a very barren, desert/Arabian landscape that I think planted the seeds for my love for making music that mixes different influences and challenges associations you might have with certain instruments,” Sam explains.

Started over seven years ago, Sam R.’s solo recording project Glassio has seen him amass millions of streams across digital streaming platforms and a loyal fanbase globally as a result of a sound that has seen apply a melodic sweetness to brooding dance beats — and often bridges influences from Big Beat to Chamber Pop to New Wave.

His debut EP 2016’s Poptimism was released to critical acclaim and featured viral single “Try Much Harder,” which peaked at #9 on the Global Viral Charts on Spotify. A series of singles and 2018’s Experience EP saw the New York-based artist quickly establishing an approach that paired electronic music with insightful storytelling.

2020’s full-length debut For The Very Last Time amassed over 7 million streams through digital streaming platforms and was named one of the best electronic records of the year by Bandcamp. Last year’s See You Shine charted at #1 on multiple iTunes Charts globally and made ways in Europe — perhaps as a result of “Breakaway” being featured in Amazon Studio’s Don’t Make Me Go and Netflix’s Locke and Key.

The next year or so will see the acclaimed New York-based electro pop artist release a string of singles collaborating with a number of artists — and the first single “A Friend Like You,” features Los Angeles-based dream pop artist Beauty Queen.

Hawaiian-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Katie Iannitello is the creative mastermind behind rising dream pop project Beauty Queen. Iannitello crafts sun-bleached, washed out music that has been described as the perfect soundtrack to crying in the bathroom during a high school dance.

Her Henry Nowhere-produced EP Out of Touch was released to critical praise across the blogosphere for material that drew from her laid-back Hawaiian upbringing paired with 1950s and 1960s songwriting influences and her lilting croon.

Their collaboration together “A Friend Like You” is a dreamy lullaby built around twinkling keys, thumping toms, bursts of angular post-punk like guitars and an anthemic hook paired with Iannitello’s plaintive crooning and the duo’s soaring harmony for the song’s hook and chorus. But despite the song’s anthemic nature, the song is actually a bittersweet and heartbreaking farewell to the “friend that sends you down bad choice road” that recognizes that this is indeed, a farewell forever.

New Video: Miranda Joan Teams Up with CARRTOONS on Soulful and Flirty “Bada Bing!”

Miranda Joan is a rising, Montréal-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and musician, who spent her formative years in Vancouver, where she filled up diaries with emotions, thoughts and experiences that would eventually go on to form the basis of her songwriting.

The Canadian-born artist’s first experiences of music and performing came from high school drama and musical theater. Leaning into soul, R&B and jazz, she found a natural and fitting home for her voice. She began to shape her own sound rooted in intricate songwriting and playful production informed by her journals and diaries, as well as influences like Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Anderson .Paak, Little Dragon, and Robyn among a lengthy list of others.

Miranda Joan relocated to New York to study jazz. And upon her arrival, she opened her inquisitive sound and aesthetic to a host of artists and producers. And fittingly, the grittiness and intensity of the city filtered into her work and approach.

Eventually establishing herself in Brooklyn’s soul and jazz scenes, the Canadian-born artist is the co-host and co-founder of Brooklyn’s Femme Jam, the city’s first all-female led jam session, community initiative to create a womxn-led space with an emphasis on female musicians and artists that specifically fosters inclusivity. For the past eight years, she has been a music mentor with the non-profit SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young, where she works with youth 8-18, who stutter.

As an artist and performer, she has provided backing vocals for The Killers, Shawn Mendes, Lorde, Kylie Minogue, Andy Grammer and Sly5thAve and the Orchestre National de Jazz de Montréal for a tribute to Dr. Dre. And through those experiences, she has been on national tours and played sold-out, headlining shows across the country, including her adopted hometown. Her full-length debut, 2021’s Windborne, the follow-up to 2019’s Still EP led to her selection as one of First Up with RBCxMusic Emerging Artists.

Both releases received radio airplay in Vancouver and Los Angeles — and that led to sync placement on Canadian TV show Strays. Adding to a growing profile, “Overstimulated,” and “I Love You, Dwayne” have received praise from NPR, Consequence, EARMILK, Exclaim! — and airplay from CBC and MountainFM in her native Canada, and Jazz FM’s Tony Minvielle in the UK.

Blossoming out of what was originally intended as a one-song collaboration, Miranda Joan has spent the past few years collaborating with acclaimed and rising New York-based musician and producer Ben Carr, a.k.a CARRTOONS on her forthcoming sophomore album Overstimulated. Simultaneously leaning into and letting go of the excessive and the overstimulating, the album sees the Brooklyn-based artist move towards a contemporary soul and jazz sound that meshes the electronic and organic. The album also features contributions from Sly5thAve, Jake Sherman, Ben WIlliams, Huntertones and Kristine Kruta. “It is an album book-ended by songs of affirmation, of rooting, of returning to and loving oneself, intertwined with the messy, chaotic and interconnected web of my hopes, dreams, imagination, love, and heartache”,  Miranda Joan says.

Overstimulated‘s latest single “Bada Bing!” is built around a lush, Quiet Storm-like soul pop production and arrangement featuring an elastic, two-step-inducing groove while Miranda Joan’s sultry and soulful delivery coquettishly dances within the song’s groove.

Directed by Gigi Nettles, the accompanying video for “Bada Bing!” fittingly is a loving and playful homage to The Sopranos and features some of the familiar sights from the show’s introductory sequences with the Montréal-born, Brooklyn-based artist playing the role of Tony Soprano.

New Audio: Ormiston Shares Breezy Pop Confection “Cherry Picker”

Nicola Ormiston is a Montréal-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind behind the solo recording project Ormiston.

The Canadian producer’s latest single “Cherry Picker” sees crafting a breezy, hook driven pop confection built around a disco-inspired bass line, reverb-soaked Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, glistening and wobbling synth arpeggios and the Canadian artist’s plaintive and yearning delivery. “Cherry Picker” continues a remarkably run of breezy, effortlessly crafted pop that’s both lounge and club friendly.

Inspired by an old acquaintance that always left the Montréal-based artist starry-eyed, the song manages to evoke the swooning, starry-eyed sensation of being near a crush/love interest — and not quite knowing what to do or how to go about it.

Ali Sethi is a Pakistani-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and author, who is best known globally for his attempts to revive ghazal, an ancient poetic form that was taken by Sufi mystics from the Arab world to Persia and throughout the Indian subcontinent, where it captivated the royal court. Over the last few decades, ghazal has been unfashionable and viewed as a heavily mannered style associated with decadence and misfits and madman who speak in puns about the charms of forbidden love.

Sethi has given the ancient poetic form a new lease of life through playfully revisionist covers and renditions, which draw from his years of training in raga music, and his own journey as an out-of-place queer kid back in Pakistan, who relocated to New York. His most popular single “Passori,” was one of the most Googled songs of last year, with hundreds of millions globally tuning into its timeless message of forbidden love.

Nicolás Jaar is a Chliean-born, New York-based musician, electronic music artist and producer. Throughout his career, improvisation has been the core of his work. Before he started writing and recording electronic music, Jaar jammed on accordion with friends on the streets here in NYC.

Sethi has long been a fan of Jaar’s music, long before they began collaborating together. He’d absorbed the sounds over a number of years, listening casually and taking in their subtleties in bars and rooftop parties across Lahore and London. “It felt familiar to me, that sense of adventure you have when you hear his music, like a tale that teases you and plays with your expectations as it unfolds,” says Sethi. “In that sense it resembled the leisurely improvised ghazals and qawwalis I grew up hearing in Pakistan.”

When the pair were introduced by Indian visual artists and frequent Jaar collaborator Somnath Bhatt, Sethi was prepared. He had began to sketch out voice notes using loops snipped from Jar’s acclaimed 2020 album Telas, improvising vocalizations and seductive Urdu poems of the Chilean’s ethereal, time-bending productions. Jaar was amazed by the result. “It was what ‘Telas’ had been missing,” he explains.

The result of the vocal sketches is the acclaimed duo’s collaborative album together Intiha, a Ghazal-driven re-working of Jaar’s 2020 album, Telas. Slated for a November 17, 2023 release through Other People, Initha draws from Sethi’s life — and it gives the album’s material a gently subversive edge paired with the addition of new, improvised elements, prompting a playful back-and-forth echoed throughout the record.

Genre is constantly evoked but in gesture. But overall, the music transcends formula, using cultural reverberations and distinct repetitions that lull listeners into a placeless trance. It’s “a sound that I hope can operate on multiple levels,” says Jaar, a borderless, playfully ambiguous set of improvisations that sing confidently of love, loss and belonging.”

The album’s first single “Muddat” is built around a soulful and mischievously anachronistic production featuring skittering castanet-like percussion, glistening organ arpeggios that veers briefly into club rocking techno. The production serves as lush, silky bed for Sethi’s plaintive and yearning delivery, crying for out desperately for union with his beloved.

The song takes the opening lines of a canonical ghazal written as the British were decimating India’s precolonial traditions and the elaborate rituals and ettiequte of its courtesans and noblemen. But at its core, the pair evoke the loss of a cherished — and mythical — milieu, that as a native New Yorker feels deeply familiar. Ultimately, the result is a song that’s simultaneously ancient and modern, while evoking an old and very human longing.

Following a North American tour that included sold-out shows in NYC, Los Angeles and Toronto, Sethi will be embarking on a run of world-wide dates to close out the year and start 2024. You can check out those dates below. More dates will be announced in the upcoming weeks. But you can grab tickets here.

Ali Sethi on tour 

10/8 – Austin City Limits – Austin, TX 

10/9 – House of Blues – Dallas, TX 

1010 – House of Blues – Houston, TX

10/12 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA

11/11 – Dubai Opera House – Dubai, UAE

11/14 – Saint Luke’s – Glasgow, UK

11/17 – Gorilla – Manchester, UK 

11/18 – O2 Institute – Birmingham, UK

11/19 – 02 Shepherds Bush Empire – London, UK

2/24 – District of Raga Washington, DC – Vienna, VA 

Acclaimed Los Angeles-based rock duo Deap Vally — Julie Edwards (drums, vocals) and Lindsey Troy (guitar, vocals) — can trace their origins to the duo’s chance meeting in a knitting class over a decade ago. The Los Angeles-based duo’s debut single, 2012’s “Gonna Make My Own Money,” was released through tiny British indie label Ark Recordings.

Since then, Edwards and Troy went on to release three albums of roaring, idiosyncratic maximalist minimalist rock — 2013’s SISTRONIX, 2016’s Nick Zinner-produced FEMEJISM and 2021’s MARRIAGE. They’ve shared stages with Blondie, Garbage, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queens of the Stone Age and a lengthy list of renowned acts. Along with that, they participated in a series of groundbreaking collaborations with an eclectic array of artists including Peaches, KT Tunstall, Jamie Hince, Soko, and The Flaming Lips, with whom they recorded a joint album, 2020’s DEAP LIPS.

Although the band has been received critical applause and won fans across the globe, maneuvering the contemporary music industry has become increasingly difficult. And if you add the challenges of the pandemic and raising families, the duo increasingly found themselves struggling to fit into the recording, promotion and touring cycle. “That model isn’t compatible with our current lives,” Lindsey Troy says. “We found we just can’t function as a traditional band anymore,” Julie Edwards adds. “It’s time for both of us to explore motherhood and other avenues of our lives properly, rather than squeezing them into our artist’s hustle.”

“I’m so proud of all our records, and Julie and I have an uncanny creative relationship,” Troy says. “It’s hard to ever picture having that with someone else. After all that, ya never know what could happen! We need to find the balance where we can focus on the fun stuff, but have the freedom to make the music we love. We just felt it would be fitting to go out with a bang, not a whimper. I felt marking this occasion should be a cathartic process: healing deep wounds, reconnecting with old friends and collaborators – and falling in love with Deap Vally all over again.” 

So while Deap Vally is calling an end to their decade-plus long run together, they’ve decided to go out with a bang — and not with a whimper. They’re releasing a re-recorded version of their full-length debut, SISTRONIX 2.0, which is slated for a Spring 2024 release through their own Deap Vally Records. Pre-order vinyl, exclusive bundles and the digital LP here.  

They’ll be supporting SISTRONIX 2.0 with a final tour, which will see them celebrating SISTRONIX‘s 10th anniversary by playing SISTRONIX in its entirety. The tour begins with West Coast dates during November. And a Midwest and East Coast run in early 2024. The east coast run includes a February 17, 2024 stop at Le Poisson Rouge.

Ticket pre-sales begin on Thursday. General on-sale tickets will begin on Friday 10:00am local time. You can get more information here. L.A. Witch, JOVM mainstays Death Valley Girls, Sloppy Jane, and Spoon Benders will be opening for the band in select markets. Of course, more shows will be announced in the coming weeks and months. So be on the lookout.

But in the meantime, the duo have shared SISTRONIX 2.0‘s first single “Baby I Call Hell (Deap Vally’s Version).” Built around buzzing power chords, thunderous drumming and soulful vocals, “Baby I Call Hell (Deap Vally’s Version)” is a swaggering and towering ripper that captures the quintessential Deap Vally sound and energy but within a completely different and new context: The duo is a bit older and wiser. Kids are around — and that forces you to rethink everything about your life and career. But they do so lovingly and wistfully with a sense of admiration and awe as though the pair is saying to each other: “Holy shit! We did actually did THAT!”

“‘Baby I Call Hell’ is quintessential Deap Vally,” Lindsey Troy says. “It was the first song we ever wrote as a band, so it’s very meaningful to our story. Re-recording that song was a lot of fun, but also a lot of pressure because we wanted to make sure the recording captured the magic of the song again.” 

SISTRIONIX is just classic Deap Vally. It’s so pure and raw,” Troy continues. “It really encapsulates an era — an era of dank, yeasty backstage rooms across the UK, of the endorphin rush of that first wave of success, of youthful drunken, wild nights, of the worldly adventures and the newness of it all.”  

“We’re just going to go to play as many places as we can and say farewell to everyone,” Julie Edwards says. “Though the band is playing live for the last time, the door is open to us to collaborate. Now we’re all about re-establishing a workflow and connection around our friendship, after all we’ve shared together along the way.” 

Tour Dates

11.10 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah *
11.11 – Santa Ana, CA @ Observatory ^ *
11.15 – San Francisco, CA @ August Hall ^
11.17 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater ^ ~
11.18 – Vancouver, BC @ Wise Hall ^
11.19 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre ^ ~
02.08 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West # 
02.09 – Nashville, TN @ Basement East #
02.10 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall # 
02.11 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club #
02.13 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom #
02.14 – Washington, D.C. @ Black Cat #
02.16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts #
02.17 – New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge #
02.18 – Boston, MA @ Crystal Ballroom #
03.09 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram *
03.15 Las Vegas, NV @ Backstage Bar + Billiards *
03.16 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge *
03.17 – Denver, CO @ Marquis *
03.18  – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf *
03.20 Austin, TX @ Mohawk *
04.18 Mexico City, MX @ Foro Indie Rocks!

support from ^ L.A. Witch 
* Death Valley Girls  
# Sloppy Jane  
~ Spoon Benders