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.”

 

New Video: The Hazily Nostalgic Sounds and Visuals of Los Angeles’ The Marias

Comprised of founding duo and romantic couple, Puerto Rican-born, Los Angeles, CA-based (by way of Atlanta, GA) Maria Zardoya (vocals, guitar) and Los Angeles, CA native Josh Conway (production, drums, vocals), along with fellow Los Angeles, CA native Jesse Perlman (lead guitar, vocals), Canadian-born, Berklee College of Music-trained and Los Angeles, CA-based Carter Lee (bass, vocals) and Edward James (keys), The Marias formed in late 2016. And while the band draws inspiration from their vastly diverse backgrounds and the intimacy of their Hollywood Hills commune, their sound meshes jazz, psych pop, funk, lounge pop and 70s AM rock with subtly modern production. 

With an early SoundCloud demo being spun by Chris Douridas on KCRW’s Eclectic 24 and then the Anne Litt Show, the members of the Los Angeles-based quintet saw a growing local and regional profile that resulted in an appearance on KRCW’s concert series School Night. Building upon a growing profile, the band released their debut EP Superclean, Vol. 1 during the fall of 2017. The band’s forthcoming Superclean, Vol. 2 is slated for release early this year and along with that, The Marias will be playing at Coachella this year, which should result in much more attention on the band. But in the meantime, “Dejate Llevar,” off the band’s Superclean, Vol. 1 is a breezy, pop confection that will further cement their growing reputation for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop, dream pop and 70s AM rock, complete with sultry hooks, underpinned with a hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia. 
Directed by Mimi Raver, the visuals for “Dejate Llevar” further emphasizes the hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia, as the cinematically yet Instagram filter-like footage focuses on the band hanging out on a glorious, Southern California, summer day. 

New Video: Dream Wife’s Dystopian Anime-Influenced Visuals for Anthemic New Single “Hey! Heartbreaker”

Deriving their name as a commentary on society’s objectification of women, the London-based punk rock trio Dream Wife, comprised of Icelandic-born, London-based Rakel Mjöll (vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals) and Bella Podapec (bass, vocals) met while the trio were attending art school in Brighton, UK — with Mjöll, Go and Podapec forming the band in 2015 as part of an art project conceptualized around the  idea of a band born out of one girl’s memories of growing up in Canada during the 1990s.  And since their formation, the trio quickly developed a national profile, as they’ve received critical praise for their earliest releases and their live shows from the likes of NPR, DIY, Stereogum, Nylon, Entertainment Weekly and others. Adding to a growing profile, the trio have toured across the European Union, opened for Sleigh Bells and The Kills during their respective US tours, and have played a number of the world’s biggest festivals, including SXSW.

Dream Wife’s highly anticipated self-titled debut is slated for a January 26, 2018 release through Lucky Number Music and from the album’s latest single “Hey! Heartbreaker,” the British based punk trio’s sound features stomp and shout in the mosh pit worthy hooks, fuzzy and angular guitar chords and a steady backbeat in a fashion that’s reminiscent of Is Is and Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Elastica, complete with a brassy, kick ass and take names self-assuredness and bratty mischievousness at its core. 

Animated by Joe Prytherch, a former art director of Boiler Room, best known as Mason London, the recently released video envisions a dystopian yet familiar future inspired by anime, Akira, Josie and the Pussycats and Jem, in which the members of the band are depicted as robot performers held in a sleazy bar against their will, where they perform in front of bored customers. But when we catch them in the world of the video, the trio violently escape and lead the police through a breakneck escape from the city. 

As the members of the band said in press notes about the video and its concept, “We were super excited to work with Mason London to bring the world of ‘Hey! Heartbreaker’ to life. Collaboration is integral in our approach to Dream Wife, and we encourage different creative ideas and paths to mix with our own vision.

“It’s uncanny to watch these mechanical, parallel versions of ourselves rock out and then break out. We like to think that in another reality our robot versions are continuing their adventures; perhaps in the forest, perhaps plotting for a robot revolution, perhaps playing wild, secret rock shows to other robos.”

 

 

Mark Berg is an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist and producer, whose solo recording project Tropic Harbour specializes in hazy, dream pop inspired by nostalgic images and dreams of the coast, during the summer — and in many ways, Berg reportedly created the project as a way to mentally escape the harsh Edmonton winters. Along with a backing and that features Kurtis Cockerill
Andrew Brostrom, and Marcus Rayment, Berg began receiving national attention, playing at a number of Canada’s renowned festivals including Pop Montreal, NXNE and Sled Island, as well as opening for the likes of DIIV, Jessy Lanza, Homeshake and Will Butler.

Berg’s latest Tropic Harbour single “Can’t Pretend” will further cement his reputation for crafting, 80s-inspired, nostalgia-inducing and summery synth pop; however, it’s a much more downtempo and atmospheric production featuring a sinuous bass line, gently swirling electronics, shimmering synths and stuttering drum programming, and in some way, the song sonically speaking will remind some listeners of I Love You It’s Cool-era Bear in Heaven, Neon Indian and others — while thematically focusing on its narrator letting go of a past relationship and trying to find himself again in the process.

 

 

New Video: Two from Boston-based Cinematic Psych Blues Act Matthew Stubbs and the Antiguas

Matthew Stubbs is a Boston, MA-based guitarist and songwriter/composer, who has been Charlie Musselwhite’s touring guitarist since 2007, and as a solo artist has released two solo instrumental record, drawing from the Memphis, TN soul/blues tradition, 2008’s Soulbender released through Vizztone Records and 2010’s Medford and Main released through Chicago, IL-based Blue Bella Records. In 2016, Stubbs, along with Just Lopes (organ), Chris Rivelli (drums) and Marc Hickox (bass) as an instrumental, psych rock-based project inspired by the desire of bringing back popular instrumental work along the lines Duane Eddy, Link Wray, Booker T and others, mixed with elements of garage rock, the blues, movie soundtracks and Afrobeat, — all while focusing on the vibe and energy of the live performance. 

The band’s self-tiled full-length debut is slated for a January 26, 2018 release and from “Death Grip” and ” Unwinder,” two singles off the soon-to-be released album, the material on the band’s self-titled debut manage to have a decidedly retro vibe, sounding as though they could have been part of the soundtracks to late 60s and early 70s B movies but with a tight groove; in fact, as Stubbs says of “Death Grip,” “The song was inspired by the wild scenes in those cult, car racing movies of the ’70s. I wrote it with that cinematic, yet frenetic approach in my mind.” “Unwinder,” on the other hand finds Stubbs and company, drawing from 60s psych rock and surfer rock and blues, complete with that soaring organ sequence — and they do so in a way that nods at The Castaways’ “Liar Liar” but with a subtle nod at shoegaze and dub. 

 

Despite going through a number of lineup changes throughout the years, the New York-based jazz outfit New York Electric Piano, currently comprised of founding members Pat Daughtery (piano) and Aaron Commes (drums), who’s best known for his work in the Spin Doctors, along with newest member Richard Hammond (bass), initially formed in 2003 as a piano jazz trio, based around the Fender Rhodes electric piano sound featuring founding members Daughtery, Comess and Tim Givens (bass). Interestingly, that collaboration can trace its origins back to when the founding trio met, playing in various bands in the NYC music scene during the 90s.

Their eponymous 2004 debut effort was critically applauded and was a commercial success, as it cracked the Top 20 of the CMJ Jazz Charts. 2005’s Citizen Zen and 2006’s Blues in Full Moon were also released to critical praise. And adding to a growing profile, the band began a long residency at the Cutting Room, which featured their tradition of inviting dancers on stage with them. However, by 2008, the band expanded into a sextet as they added Deanna Kirk (vocals), Till Behler (sax) and Leon Gruenbaum (keys), who’s best known as a member of Vernon Reid’s backing band — and as a sextet, they released the critically applauded King Mystery, which found the members of the then-sextet expanding upon their sound and approach with material that shifted between dance rock, jazz and wild freak outs.

By 2010, the band expanded once again as they added Teddy Kumpel (guitar), known as a member of Joe Jackson’s backing band and Erik Lawrence (sax), known as a member of the legendary Levon Helm‘s backing band. And as a nonet, New York Electric Piano began a long and very successful run at Zinc Bar, which they followed with arguably their most commercially successful effort to date, 2011’s double album Keys to the City, which spent a month in the Top 10 of CMJ’s Jazz Charts and received critical praise from the likes of PopMatters, Sea of TranquilityJazz Times, Drumhead and All About Jazz among others.

And although the band received quite a bit of commercial and critical success as a large ensemble, they reverted to the original format a trio — recruiting the aforementioned Hammond with whom they released Black Hole In One, an album which featured alternating instrumental compositions and vocal tracks. Unexpectedly, for the members of New York Electric Piano, the album received international attention, thanks in part to album single “Party On.” As the story goes, “Party On” was pushed by an Australian DJ, and eventually the New Zealand National Rugby Team, the All Blacks adopted the song as their theme song during their Rugby World Cup Championship run. Along with that, Lollapalooza artist Norton Wisdom did a live action painting to the song, and the video and song became the subject of a climate change conference at Penn State University. Adding to the unexpected attention on the album, album single “Who Wants to Know” features a verse about Crazy Horse. One of his descendants heard the song and sent it to family members, who were protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline — with the song becoming something of a rallying cry.

Recently, the members of the band have been playing monthly gigs at Rockwood Music Hall, and their extended, free-flowing jams were met with such tremendous audience approval that Aaron Comess immediately suggesting that they needed to try to capture the energy and vibe of their Rockwood shows on their next album — State of the Art, which is slated for a January 12, 2018 release through Fervor Records.

State of the Art‘s latest single “Road to Joy” is a loose and free-flowing jam that displays the trio’s uncanny simpatico, in which they all push and pull upon the other, teasing out ideas from one another, and much like the incredible Xylouris White, there’s a sense that the trio, musically speaking are dancing — with each member knowing exactly when to lead, follow. And although the composition begins with some stuttering discordance, the trio quickly finds a sustained, funky groove reminiscent of 70s era jazz fusion but with a contemporary touch.

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Dana Janssen, a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a member of renowned indie act Akron/Family, and long-time collaborator Justin Miller, Dana Buoy is a decided change of sonic direction for those familiar with Janssen’s work with Akron Family. In fact, Dana Buoy finds the duo of Janssen and Miller focusing on sweaty, late night, dance floor-friendly, analog synth-based, pop that is frequently equal parts lysergic and sensual, as you’ll hear on the duo’s exuberant yet deeply introspective and shimmering, Neon Indian meets Cut Copy and Painted Palms-like new single “Ice Glitter Gold,” off the duo’s forthcoming album of the same name, slated for a February 23, 2018 through Everloving Records.

 

 
.