Tag: Beirut Lebanon

New Video: Beirut’s Sandmoon Shares a Cinematic Visual for Slow-Burning and Shoegazey “Wake Up”

Beirut-based outfit Sandmoon — Sandra Arslanian (vocals, guitar), Sam Wehbi (guitar), George Flouty (bass) and Dan Shurki (drums) — have developed and honed a unique take on indie rock that draws from the Arslanian’s multicultural, international background: the Sandmoon frontperson is Armenian-Lebanese and was born in Beirut and spent her formative years in Belgium.

Throughout their growing catalog, which includes 2014’s full-length debut, Home, 2016’s #InTheEnd EP, 2018’s Put A Gun/Commotion EP and 2020’s Fadi Tabbal-produced sophomore album Put A Gun/Commotion, the members of the Beirut-based quartet have infused Western indie rock with subtle Middle Eastern intonations and melancholy and an unerring sense of melodicism.

Adding to a growing profile in Lebanon, the band wrote the soundtrack to Phillipe Aractingi’s 2016 film Listen, which received Best Soundtrack Award at 2017’s Lebanese Movie Awards.

Sandmoon’s Sandra Arslanian has also been very busy with a number of side projects including “Odyssée, Ode to the City” with poet Corinne Boulad, which has been selected in festivals in Beirut, Germany, Italy, Greece and California — and has won Best Spoken Word Poetry Award at the Monologues & Poetry International Film Festival.

Sandmoon’s highly-anticipated third album While We Watch the Horizon Sink is slated for release later this year. The album’s first single, the slow-burning and atmospheric “Wake Up” is centered around painterly and shoegazer-like textures: twinkling synth arpeggios, slashing, reverb-drenched guitars, Arslanian’s plaintive vocals, cinematic keys paired with a soaring hook. While the band describes the song as sounding “like a crossover of Radiohead and Laura Marling with an imperceptible Middle Eastern flavor,” the song sonically to my ears recalls shoegaze titans like Cocteau Twins and Slowdive.

The band explains that the song is “about looking beyond the surface, going to the essence of things.”

Directed by Selim Mourad, the accompanying video for “Wake Up” is shot in a gloriously cinematic black and white and captures small every day details — a woman and her child folding laundry on the terrace, clothes in the spin cycle of a washer before following what appears to be a religious cleansing ceremony, complete with women patiently whispering comforting things.

“I believe suffering stops when we open our eyes,” Mourad explains. “As most of us keep struggling, we can rest assured that we are nonetheless never unattended, never alone. Beautiful beings, often through their feminine energy, are patiently whispering the sweet words of remembrance in our ears.”

New Audio: Multinational Indie Rock Outfit Easy Jane Releases a “120 Minutes”-like Anthem

Formed back in 2018 Easy Jane — Charles Debras and Yara Nammour — are currently split between Belgium and Lebanon. Since their formation, the multinational indie outfit has developed and specialized in a sound rooted in 80s and 90s alt rock, indie rock and post punk vibes — and driven by their shared similar circumstances, influences and ideas.

After the release of their debut album Manic Mood, an album of experimental material. Recorded at Beirut‘s Tunefork Studios, Easy Jane’s sophomore album Play, sees the band further experimenting and refining their approach while collaborating with a talented collection of local musicians and producers.

Play‘s latest single “Star Darling” is an alt rock anthem centered around an alternating quiet verses, loud choruses featuring stormy, distortion pedaled guitars, thunderous drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and achingly plaintive vocals. Sonically, the song brings back fond memories of 120 Minutes MTV era alt rock — in particular, The Cranberries.

New Video: Bea Kadri and Issac B Releases a Meditative and Wistful Visual for “Be Alright”

Bea Kadri is an emerging Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter. Much like countless young people across the world, Kadri had her Walkman and iPod practically glued to her — and she watched endless hours of MTV and YouTube to get her fix of pop, hip-hop and R&B. As a painfully shy teenager, who was afraid to express her true self and her true feelings, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter found understanding and solace through the music she was listening to at the time. And much like teens all across the world, she’d stay in her room, daydream and imitate her favorite artists in front of her mirror and jot down thoughts and lyrics in her journal.

In 2018, Kadri relocated to London to pursue a Master’s Degree in Music Business Management from the University of Westminster, with the hopes of being close to her lifelong passion and maybe landing a job somewhere within the music industry. She gradually decided to pursue a career as an artist as her confidence in her talents grew — but she can trace the origins of her career as an artist to when she put together a list of songs to show her mentor, who was writing songs for Universal Music UK. Kadri landed an opportunity to write songs and sync placements. And adding to a big year for her, she performed in the backing choirs for Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton during both artists’ BRIT Awards performances that year.

As a solo artist, Kadri’s work focuses on self-discovery, empowerment and matters of the heart — with a sultry yet chill air. Interestingly, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter’s latest single “Be Alright,” which features a guest spot from Issac B is a slow-burning and sultry track centered around a minimalist production featuring skittering beats and atmospheric synths — and while helping to establish Kadri’s sultry yet laid back sound, the track finds Kadri and Issac B reminiscing on simpler days, old loves an slower paces with an achingly wistful air that seems to say “if I had known then, what I know now . . .” 

“We wrote and recorded ‘Be Alright’ back in August 2019, before the madness of the pandemic, we were just reminiscing on simpler days and pace of our past but the message behind the song resonates now more than ever,” Kadri says in press notes. “In the chorus we go ‘roll in peace yeah call it pair of dice’ to highlight the nature of how we never truly know what dice life will serve us, but whatever it is, we got to roll with it peacefully and make like a paradise (“pair of dice”) in our minds, stay chill, find the balance and keep on because, really, ‘we gon’ be alright.'”

Directed Linda Dorigo, the recently released video for “Be Alright” stars the song’s creative duo, reminiscing in their bedrooms, and continuing with the dreary and ordinary routines of their lives — Kadri heading to work at a local supermarket while Issac B goes to a laundromat. There’s also a quite a bit of  nouvelle vague-like split screens, which add to the slick stylistic vibe of the video.  

New Video: Lebanese Indie Rock Act Sandmoon Releases a Gorgeously Shot Meditation on Love, Loss and Grief

Sandmoon is a rising Beirut, Lebanon-based indie rock/folk act led by its Armenian-Lebanese-born, Belgium-raised frontperson Sandra Arslanian and featuring Sam Wehbi (guitar), George Flouty (bass) and Dani Shukri (drums). With the release their of their earliest batch of work — 2014’s full-length debut, Home, 2016’s #InTheEnd EP, their work writing the original soundtrack for Philippe Aractingi’s 2017 Lebanese Movie Award-winning film Listen and 2018’s Put A Gun/Commotion EP, the members of Sandmoon have developed a reputation for crafting material that draws heavily from Arslanian’s multicultural background while being hopeful and infused with an unerring sense of melodicism. 

The Beirut-based indie rock quartet begins 2020 with their their latest single “Angels,” the second single off the band’s forthcoming Fadi Tabbal-produced album Put A Gun/Commotion, which is slated for release later this year. Centered around lush layers of gently fuzzy guitars, shimmering and atmospheric synths and Arslanian’s tender vocals, and gorgeous layered harmonies, the Beirut-based indie rock quartet’s latest single manages to recall — to my ears, at least — Stories From The City, Stories From the Sea-era PJ Harvey. But at its core, Sandmoon’s  latest single is imbued with an aching longing.  “Angels’ is about absoluteness. It’s listening to your higher self, your angels and fully living your  life, with absolute  love. For love is the only true thing that remains when everything else disappears,” the band’s Sanda Arslanian emphatically explains in press notes. 

Directed by Tracy Karam, the recently released and incredibly cinematic video for “Angels” was shot in Beirut and stars Daniel Aboushakra as a young boy, who experiences profound and intense grief after his mother’s death. The video follows the boy as he makes a gradual transition from hurt, heartbreak and shock to acceptance through love — primarily through the loving presence of his father, his love of music and the boy’s own love of his mother. “It’s a an emotional video about mourning and absolute love,” Tracy Karam says in press notes. “It portrays a twelve-year-old boy trying to cope with the sudden, devastating loss of a parent by finding his way on his own. The pain forces him to face reality, in all its harshness and brutality. Yet in the midst of the chaos, there are moments of love, sparks of light that help him move on and replenish the emptiness.” 

Born in Beirut, Lebanon to an Irish-American father and a British mother, who was of Arabic and Italian origin, singer/songwriter and actor Michael Malarkey grew up in Yellow Springs, OH. He  eventually relocated to London, where he studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. As the story goes, while studying acting and drama, Malarkey began to immerse himself in music and songwriting, which he found to be a form of poetic journalism and an endless journey of self-discovery.  Interestingly, although Malarkey may be best known for playing Enzo in CW‘s The Vampire Diaries and Captain Michael Quinn in the History Channel‘s Robert Zemeckis-executive produced Project Blue Bookhe has managed to simultaneously carve out a separate career as a singer/songwriter.

Malarkey’s full-length debut 2017’s Mongrels was released through Cap on Cat Records to critical applause from MetroBillboard, Classic Rock, and The Guardian. The album’s material thematically explored the duality of his nature and that of human nature in general. Recorded by Malarkey along with Tom Tapley and Brandon Bush in Atlanta, and from album title track “Mongrel,” the material possesses a subtle old-school Nashville/country vibe that further emphasizes the introspective nature of the song and of the album’s material.

Malarkey’s sophomore full-length album Graveracer is slated for a February 10, 2020 release through Cap on Cat Records/Kartel Music Group.  The album’s material was written in 2018 in Puerto Rico and Vancouver while the singer/songwriter and actor was working on the 50 Cent-produced crime drama The Oath and Project Blue Booth. That period was one of a physical and emotional turbulence: Malarkey, along with the cast and crew were evacuated from Puerto Rico during the build up of Hurricane Maria. And understandably, that experience has reportedly bled into the material’s lyrical imagery. “During the time I was working on the record, I escaped two hurricanes – as well as a third, I suppose, my own personal one. This record is my Odyssey in a way. It’s the journey back home after being ravaged in the seas of your own mind and finding the strength to carry on after the storm. I was left with a feeling of freedom and I found it through these songs,” the singer/songwriter and actor says in press notes.

Recorded at Sheffield, UK-based Tesla Studios and co-produced by Michael Malarkey and singer/songwriter A.A. WilliamsGraveracer is reportedly centered around a straightforward, heartfelt honesty in its songwriting and tone with the material being reflective without leaning on nostalgia and forward-thinking without being urgent; in fact, it’s rooted in the present, as a portrait of one complex and flawed person, as a work in progress — as we all are.

“Shake the Shiver,” Graveracer‘s latest single is a sparse and brooding single, centered around Malarkey’s sonorous baritone,  atmospheric synths, a simple yet propulsive backbeat, a sinuous bass line, strummed guitar and a razor sharp hook. And while recalling Daughn Gibson and Jace Everett, the track manages to be seductive yet full of a dark and creeping, existential dread.