New Video: Visuals for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ “Searching for a New Day” Pay Tribute to the Late Soul Singer’s Life and Legacy

Throughout the course of this site’s almost eight year history, I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink covering the multitude of artists on Daptone Records, including JOVM mainstays Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Charles Bradley. As you may recall, Sharon Jones died in 2016 after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer and Charles Bradley died last year after a two-year battle with stomach cancer, and for fans of Daptone Records, of soul music, hell of music generally, their deaths were a 1-2 punch.

Now, as it turned out Jones and her Dap Kings managed to spent the better part of Jones’ last few months writing and recording what turned out to be the band’s final, full-length album together Soul of a Woman. Recorded on eight-track tape at Daptone Records’ famed House of Soul Studios, the album, which was released almost a year to the day of Jones’ death, found the band and their beloved frontwoman pushing the limits of their songwriting while arguably being among the most direct, honest and sophisticated material they had ever written together. Soul of a Woman‘s first single “Matter of Time,” was a lush and moody meditation on the nature of time that brought to mind Ecclesiastes and The Byrds’ legendary cover of Pete Seeger’s “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The album’s second single, the Jones penned and arranged “Call on God” focused on how faith can sustain you and guide you in the most desperate and uneasy times of your life. “Sail On!,” Soul of a Woman’s third album featured one of the world’s best horn sections blowing the doors down while a confident and brassy Jones tells a story about how revenge, karma and schadenfreude in which the song’s narrator decides to help an old friend, who did her dirty.

“Searching for a New Day,” Soul of a Woman’s fourth and latest single may arguably be one of their most ambivalent, if not emotionally complex songs they’ve ever released. While musically, the song is an upbeat, two step — the sort that the Dap Kings always excelled at, Jones’ vocals expresses the aching longing, hurt, pride and resolve of a woman, who struggled spiritually, emotionally and financially but bravely with dignity and a sense of humor and cool defiance.

Directed by Mel Rodriguez III, the recently released video takes place in a local bar that’s hosting a listening party for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ Soul of a Woman, and as the  unseen DJ plays the album, in front a crowd of fans, friends and others, the bar shows footage of Sharon and her Dap Kings performing live.  And while clearly being nostalgic, bringing memories of a tremendous performer, who in her brief stint in the limelight left such an enduring presence, the video begins to tell a a story of a young woman, who becomes enthralled and inspired by Sharon, suggesting that the beloved soul artist’s work will inspire a new generation of performers. Oh and while we’re at it, representation fucking matters. And being a young black woman, seeing a strong, older black woman tearing a stage up with a mischievous and warm smile must be a powerful thing, indeed.

Initially formed in 1978 as a trio featuring founding members Steve Marsh, Doug Murray and his brother Greg Murray with synth player Jack Crow later joining the band, the members of Austin, TX-based punk act Terminal Mind, were influenced by the likes of Pere Ubu, Roxy Music, John Cale, and Wire — and despite a relatively short period of time together, managed to be at the forefront of Austin’s early punk rock scene, managing to quickly build a local profile, sharing bills with The Huns, Standing Waves, The Big Boys and Iggy Pop. As a result, they managed to subtly influence their hometown’s second wave of punk and noise rockers before splitting up to pursue a number of different projects: Marsh relocated to New York with his experimental noise act Miracle Room before returning to Austin to form space/psych rock act Evil Triplet and an experimental solo recording project he dubbed Radarcave; Doug Murray joined The Skunks; Greg Murray joined an iteration of The Big Boys. Unfortunately, Jack Crow died in 1994.

Now, as I’ve mentioned the proliferation of labels across the world of differing sizes has allowed for long lost bands to find their due, and interestingly, Terminal Mind’s retrospective album Recordings, which is slated for a January 19, 2018 release through Sonic Surgery Records  features the band’s very rate 4 song 7 inch album (which currently fetches more than $100 on eBay), a number of Live at Raul’s compilation tracks as well as a number of unreleased studio and live recordings. And the album’s first single “Refugee” find the short-lived band walking a tightrope between angular and nerdy post punk and furious punk with the band’s sound seeming like an amalgamation between Talking Heads: 77-era Talking HeadsPink Flag-era Wire, Entertainment! and Solid Gold-era Gang of Four, and Bad Religion.

Admittedly, while I listened to “Refugee,” there was this this sense that I had heard a band that through the weird machinations of fate and luck could have been much bigger than what they eventually wound up — after all, they were pairing tight hooks and angular power chords with an uncanny sense of melody a few years before Bad Religion even formed! But at the very least, hopefully the Sonic Surgery release will help fill in a necessary gap in the canon.     

 

New Video: The Hazy and Dream-like Visuals for INHEAVEN’s “Sweet Dreams Baby”

With the release of their debut single “Regeneration” through Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records, the London, UK-based quartet INHEAVEN, comprised of Chloe Little (bass, vocals), James Taylor (vocals, guitar), Joe Lazarus (drums) and jake Lucas (guitar) quickly received national attention as BBC DJs Annie Mac, Phil Taggart, Steve Lamacq and Chris  Hawkins played the single on their respective radio shows. Adding to a growing profile, the London-based quartet were named one of XFM’s one to watch for in 2016 and were featured in DIY Magazine and NME — with NME naming them “One of the UK’s most exciting new bands.” 

Throughout the course of 2016 and 2017, the members of INHEAVEN opening for the likes of Sundara Karma, Circa Waves, Jamie T, Blossoms, Yak and The Magic Gang and played at a number of the world’s biggest festivals including Reading, Leeds, Glastonbury and Bilbao BBK before closing out last year with the release of their critically applauded debut album. 

The British indie rock quartet’s latest single “Sweet Dreams”  is the swooning and anthemic follow up to their buzz worthy debut and the critically applauded Acoustic EP and as the band mentions in press notes, the song was written as an anthem for those who are hoping for better things to come in 2018 — all while reminding the listener that they shouldn’t lose sight of their dreams. Sonically, the song finds the band drawing from Phil Spector’s famous “wall of sound,” complete with boy/girl harmonizing as well as 90s alternative rock, which helps the song manage to be arena rock and radio friendly. 

The recently released video manages to be stylistic yet dreamlike, as it flickers between the band performing the song and sepia-toned, intimate close ups of James Taylor and his bandmates as they perform the song, capturing the earnestness behind the song. 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Swiss-born, New York-based Singer/Songwriter Sam Himself Releases Gorgeously Bittersweet Visuals for New Single “Out of Love”

With the release of a genre-defying EP Songs in D last year, the Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Himself received attention for pairing his Americana-inspired guitar-based torch songs with his bluesy, whiskey and cigarettes tinged vocals. His latest single “Out of Love” featuring renowned, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter denitia (of denetia and sene) is the sort of slow-burning and old-fashioned inspired duet that immediately brings to mind Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash — in particular, I’m reminded of their gorgeous rendition of “If I Were a Carpenter;” however, the major difference is that the song as the Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter explains “is a desperate promise to keep a lover from leaving.” And in some way, the song possesses a bitter recognition that those desperate promises may not amount to much when the relationship is sputtering to what seems to be an inevitable and heartbreaking conclusion.

Shot by Johnathan Frey at Berlin NYC and the Ace Hotel as part of its Artist in Residence Program, the video features both Sam Himself and performance artist Ashley Robicheaux. And as the Swiss-born, NYC-based singer/songwriter and guitarist explains, “in the clip, the two lovers never interact, though they’re both making the same plea to one another. They’ve passed that breaking point where your words can no longer reach the one you love.” 

New Video: The Eerily Psychedelic Visuals for Lowpines’ “We Come Right”

Oli Deakin is a London-based singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who has received airplay from a number of BBC DJs, including Huw Stephens, Lauren Laverne and Steve Lamacq, as well press attention for his mostly solo recording project Lowpines. Initially begun through a series of lo-fi phone records, which were then overdubbed with multiple layers of reverb soaked instrumentation, Deakin eventually released several EPs and a full-length cassette over the past few years.

In Silver Halides, Deakin’s official full-length debut was written in rural England during the winter and recording began the following spring in a greenhouse, during an unseasoned heatwave. Understandably, the heat and sunlight created some intense recording sessions that were frequently interrupted by either the artist or the equipment overheating, which gave songs written with wintry imagery a new and very different direction. Opting to record with doors and windows throw open, much of the early demo recordings are filled with the ambient noises of the surrounding countryside, which managed to echo through the layers of reverb soaked instrumentation. Additional recording sessions were produced by IggyB at Bella Union Studios and featured Oli Deakin’s brother Jamie (drums) and Jesse Chandler (flute).

The album’s slow-burning and haunting first single “We Come Right” pairs Deakin’s plaintive and aching vocals with shimmering guitars, cinematic strings and subtle echoes of distant vocals and ambient sounds — and in some way, the song evokes the accumulation of lingering and inescapable ghosts.

Directed by Rupert Creswell, the recently released video for “We Come Right” features a variety of liquids gently undulating to the accompanying music, which further emphasizes the video’s haunting ambiance. 

Tiny Fireflies is an indie electro pop/dream pop duo that initially began when two Chicago, IL-based electronic music producers and artists Lisle and Kristine, who were best known for their own solo projects,  Fireflies and Tiny Microphone were invited to contribute to “Between Two Waves,” an Eardrums Pop Records compilation series centered around the concept of two musicians collaborating together to write and record a song together. Their song together, “Don’t Wait Until I Fall Asleep” paid homage to the Factory Records synth pop/post punk-era sound and was a fan favorite.

In October 2010, Tiny Fireflies became the first act to release a single for the label’s single  club with the three song offering being voted as one of Eardrum Pops favorite releases and featured one of the favorite singles of the singles club, “Snow.” And since then, the duo have played at New York City Popfest, toured the UK and Spain, and opened for Memoryhouse during the renowned indie act’s Midwest tour. Building upon a growing profile, the duo released their Ian Catt-produced, 2015 full-length debut The Space Between to critical applause from the likes of AllMusic.com and CMJ. 

Late last year saw the release of “2040,” the first single off a forthcoming vinyl 7″ single slated for release during the first few months of this year, and the new single will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting smoky and gossamer-like synth pop, reminiscent of JOVM mainstay ACES and others, complete with a soaring hook and achingly tender vocals.

 

New Audio: Franz Ferdinand Continues Their Run of Shimmering and Quirky Dance Floor Friendly Singles

Currently comprised of founding quartet Alex Kapranos (lead vocals, guitar), Nick McCarthy (rhythm guitar, keys and backing vocals), Bob Hardy (bass) and Paul Thomson (drums, percussion and backing vocals), along with newest Julian Corrie (keys, synths, guitar and backing band), who joined last year, replacing founding member Nick McCarthy, the Glasgow, Scotland, UK-based indie rock/post punk act Franz Ferdinand formed back in 2002.  And with the release of their first two singles “Darts of Pleasure” and “Take Me Out” the members of the Scottish indie rock act quickly saw commercial and critical success — with “Take Me Out,” the band’s signature song peaking within the Top of the UK Singles Chart, and later earning a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. Additionally, not only did their eponymous, 2004 full-length debut received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album and won the Mercury Prize, the band established themselves at the forefront of the post punk revival movement. Along with that, the band has won two Brit Awards — one for Best British Group, as well as one NME Award. 

Their 2005 Rich Costey-produced sophomore effort, You Could Have It So Much Better was released to critical and commercial success with the album peaking within the Top Ten Charts in multiple countries, with the album receiving a nomination for Best Alternative Album and “Do You Want To” receiving a nomination for Best Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal. However, 2009’s Tonight: Franz Ferdinand found the band moving from the post-punk sound that first won them international attention to a much more dance friendly sound while continuing an impressive streak of commercial and critical success. They promptly followed that up with a remix album of Tonight, titled Blood, which was released that summer. 

2013 saw the release of Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action and they followed that up with teaming up with Sparks to form a supergroup FFS, which released their self-tiltled album in 2015. The renowned Scottish band’s fifth full-length album Always Ascending is slated for a February 9, 2018 release and the album’s latest single “Feel The Love Go,” finds the band continuing with a dance floor friendly, disco-era inspired sound while retaining elements of the Gang of Four-like post punk that first won them international attention as they pair angular guitar chords, sinuous bass lines, four-on-the-floor drumming and thumping beats with arpeggiated synths, warm blasts of soulful, Hall and Oates-like saxophone and razor sharp hooks. And yet interestingly enough, the song also finds the band maintaining their unique ability to craft quirky, white boy funk. 

Comprised of Stefano Bellerba (vocals, guitar), Leonardo Mori (synth), Matteo Luciani (bass), Saverio Paiella (guitar) and Daniele Cruccolini, the members of the Terni, Italy-based post-punk quintet Japan Suicide met and bonded over their mutual love of Joy Division, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode — but they also cite the likes of Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Japan, The Damned, Interpol, Suicide, CSI, CCCP and Massimo Volume as being major influences on their sound and songwriting approach. With the release of 2015’s We Die In Such a Place, 2016’s 1978 EP, and the appearance of “This Be The Verse” on Darkitalia’Sparkles in the Dark, Vol. 4 compilation, the Italian post punk quintet have received both national and international attention as one of their homeland’s best, contemporary indie rock/post punk bands.

Building on their growing profile, Japan Suicide’s third full-length effort Santa Sangre is slated for a February 14, 2018 release through Unknown Pleasures Records, and while the album’s first single “Circle” will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting material heavily indebted to early 80s post punk, it reveals a band that has been gently expanding upon their sound with nods to shoegaze and industrial rock as the band pairs fuzzy and angular guitar chords, thundering drumming, merrily twinkling synths and a soaring hook to evoke a creeping yet uncertain dread.

 

Rosie Carney is an up-and-coming, 20 year-old, Hampshire, UK-born, Downings, County Donegal, Ireland-based singer/songwriter, who has started to receive international attention for pairing mature beyond her years songwriting with vivid lyricism paired with minimalist arrangements and her effortlessly gorgeous vocals. Recently, the British-born, Irish-based singer/songwriter released a hauntingly spectral cover of Cigarettes After Sex‘s “K,” which features gently strummed guitar, swirling feedback and Carney’s gorgeous vocals singing an equally gorgeous melody — and although her cover is a bit more straightforward, sonically it bears a resemblance to Mazzy Star and Widowspeak.

As Carney explains of her decision to cover “K,” “I wanted to record a song that was released by one of my favorite artists this year. I chose ‘K’ by Cigarettes After Sex because, firstly I’m a huge fan of this band and their music and aesthetic, and secondly because this song definitely resonated with me the most from their new record. It’s such an honest song and I just love the message it carries. I love how relaxing and transcending the melody is. It’s one of those songs that I wish were mine.”