Tag: Bruce Springsteen

 

Dan Sultan is an acclaimed Fitzroy, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who started playing guitar when he was four and wrote his first song when he turned 10. As the story goes, his mother’s friend gave the young Sultan an old electric guitar, and he began playing gigs at local pubs. In 2000, Sultan met a fellow singer/songwriter and guitarist Scott Wilson at a Williamstown, Australia pub and the duo began writing songs together. As Wilson recalled in an interview “What struck me at first was that he [Sultan] could play piano and guitar, and he was a great foil for what I was doing . . . After a while playing together, he said, ‘Can I Sing this one?’ I said, ‘Do you know the words?’ . . . [he had a] might voice. A lot people can play guitar . . . not many can sing like that.”

Sultan’s  Scott Wilson-produced, full-length solo debut, the genre-defying Homemade Biscuits was released in early 2006 and consisted of tracks written by Wilson or co-written by Sultan and Wilson, and a featured number of local musicians and collaborators, including Lazare Agneskis, Neil Gray, Elijah Maiyah, Lochile McKlean and Ben Wicks. Sultan’s debut also featured two attention grabbing tracks — “Your Love Is Like a Song,” which won a 2007 Deadly Award for Single Release of the Year, and “Rosyln,” a song Sultan wrote about his mother, who was a member of the Aboriginal “stolen generations,” which he performed during 2007’s National Day of Healing concert. Adding to a growing profile that year, Paul Kelly invited Sultan to record a cover of Kev Carmody’s “This Land Is Mine” for a compilation tribute album of Carmody’s work titled Cannot Buy My Soul — and with a backing band of Eugene Ball (trumpet), Ben Gillespie (trombone), Joshua Jones (bass), Peter Marin (drums), Ash Naylor (guitar) and Gina Woods (keys), Sultan and company played Australia’s festival circuit over the next two years or so, including set at the Sydney Festival and the Queensland Music Festival.

Sultan’s sophomore album 2009’s Get Out While You Can was a massive, commercial success as it charted on the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100, eventually reaching #1 on the independent Australian charts and was a Triple J featured album. Along with that, Sultan won ARIA Music Awards for Best Male Artist and Best Blues & Roots Album, and Australian Independent Records Awards for Best Independent Artist and Best Independent Blues & Roots Music Music.

In early 2014, Sultan opened for Bruce Springsteen‘s Melbourne and Hunter Valley shows during his Australian tour, which Sultan promptly followed up with the release of his third full-length album Blackbird, an album that reached #4 on the ARIA Albums Charts and spent 13 weeks in the Top 50 — and the album won a Best Rock Album Award at that year’s ARIA Awards. Building upon an impressive year, Sultan released the Dirty Ground EP, which reached the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100.

 

Sultan’s fourth album, 2017’s Jan Skubiszewski-produced Killer was nominated for three ARIA Awards — Best Male Artist, Best Rock Album, and Best Independent Release. Interestingly, Killer Under a Blood Moon EP which was recorded over the course of four days finds Sultan continuing his successful collaboration with Skubiszewski — but also collaborating with some of Australia’s brightest and most talented, up-and-coming talents, including A.B. Original, Camp Cope, Meg Mac and Gang of Youths‘ Dave Le’aupepe to reinterpret a series of tracks from Sultan’s commercially successful fourth album as a way to give his material new bodies, new ways of being while having a good time doing so. Unsurprisingly, the album is part of a growing trend of artists from wildly disparate genres collaborating together to create music that’s unique and difficult to pin down, frequently challenging the status quo of the major record labels and mainstream genre boundaries.

The EP’s latest single “Drover” features Gang of Youth’s Dave Le’aupepe taking over vocal duties on a swaggering, arena rock-friendly blues centered around power chords, stomping beats, a looped choral sample and an anthemic hook reminiscent of The Black Keys. It’s a marked and muscular departure from the soulful and blues original that manages to retain the song’s bluesy vibe.

 

 

 

 

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Over the past few months I’ve written a bit about the Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Himself, and as you may recall he first recieved attention with the 2017 release of his genre-defying EP Songs in D. Since then, the Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist has built upon the early buzz around him with the release of several singles off his forthcoming Nobody EP — the old-fashion, slow-burning“Out of Love,” featuring  denetia and sene’s denetia that struck me as nodding at Johnny Cash‘s and June Carter Cash‘s “If I Were a Carpenter” — but with a subtle twist, as the song according to the Swiss-born, New York-based artist “is a desperate promise to keep a lover from leaving.” Himself followed that up with with the synth and guitar-based “Nobody,” a song that brought Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born to Run” “Born in the USA,” and “Glory Days” and Caveman‘s self-titled album to mind, as the song featured rousingly anthemic, fist raising hooks.

Nobody EP‘s latest single “Heartphones” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor:  it’s centered around soaring synths, an anthemic hook and thumping drums but underneath the song’s rousing uplift is a a vulnerable narrator, who is plagued by nagging doubts as he’s chasing his dream, especially when things seem bleak and uncertain. If you’ve ever chased a dream and bet the farm on it, you know the moments of deep doubt that come with true commitment,” Sam explains. “I tried to capture that experience of losing faith in your own pursuit, where you cross-examine yourself like a lover in crisis: How much are you willing to pay for the thing you can’t live without? How much will it cost you? Heartphones is a love song about doing what you love.”

New Video: Swiss-born New York based Singer/Songwriter Sam Himself Releases Campy 80s Inspired Video for Anthemic New Single “Nobody”

Last year, the Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Himself received attention with the 2017 release of his genre-defying EP Songs in D, an effort that featured Americana-inspired torch songs centered around his bluesy, whiskey and cigarettes-tinged vocals.  Now, as you may recall, I wrote about “Out of Love,” an old-fashioned and slow-burning duet featuring denetia and sene‘s denetia that seemed to nod at Johnny Cash‘s and June Carter Cash‘s “If I Were a Carpenter” — but with a subtle twist, as the song according to the Swiss-born, New York-based artist “is a desperate promise to keep a lover from leaving.”

The Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter’s latest single is an 80s synth and guitar-based track that nods at Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born to Run” “Born in the USA,” and “Glory Days” and Caveman‘s self-titled album, complete with rousingly anthemic, fist raising hooks; but interestingly, the song is centered around Sam Himself’s experience of arriving to New York and recognizing that “nobody has been waiting for you here. The apple is pretty big without you, and unless you come up with a pretty good reason, New York doesn’t care. ‘Nobody’ is about that crushing, eye-opening and ultimately liberating experience.”

Directed by Jonathan Frey and filmed at Strange Weather Studio in Brooklyn, the 80s inspired, mischievous and campy video for the song captures and embodies the sensation of being a man from far away, and eventually stumbling into a community of friends and associates, who accept you for who you really are — and in this sense, the video is an ode to the friends and associates he records and performs with, who have become his New York family.

As the Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist explains in press notes about the video treatment, “The song ‘Nobody’ is about finding your feet in a new community in a new place, so I tried to find the right visual metaphor for that. I had a rough idea – me trying to join a band; the band not having it – which the video’s director Jonathan Frey (who shot my video for ‘Out of Love’ as well) really helped me flesh out. Together we came up with this little story about the new kid in town who desperately tries to fit in until he realizes that he already has what it takes – all he has to do is own up to it.”

Last year, the Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Himself received attention with the 2017 release of his genre-defying EP Songs in D, an effort that featured Americana-inspired torch songs centered around his bluesy, whiskey and cigarettes-tinged vocals.  Now, as you may recall, I wrote about “Out of Love,” an old-fashioned and slow-burning duet featuring denetia and sene‘s denetia that seemed to nod at Johnny Cash‘s and June Carter Cash‘s “If I Were a Carpenter” — but with a subtle twist, as the song according to the Swiss-born, New York-based artist “is a desperate promise to keep a lover from leaving.”

The Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter’s latest single is an 80s synth and guitar-based track that nods at Bruce Springsteen‘s “Born to Run” “Born in the USA,” and “Glory Days” and Caveman‘s self-titled album, complete with rousingly anthemic, fist raising hooks; but interestingly, the song is centered around Sam Himself’s experience of arriving to New York and recognizing that “nobody has been waiting for you here. The apple is pretty big without you, and unless you come up with a pretty good reason, New York doesn’t care. ‘Nobody’ is about that crushing, eye-opening and ultimately liberating experience.”

Sam Himself has a set tonight at Baby’s All Right.

 

 

Over the past two years or so, you’ve likely come across a number of posts featuring the London-based JOVM mainstays Ten Fe. Initially comprised of singer/songwriter duo Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan, the duo won national and international attention for pairing their distinct writing styles and voices into a unique sound.

Now, as you may recall Moorhouse and Duncan had played in a number of London area bands in which they individually felt as though there was pressure to fit into a particular scene, whether through a one way of playing or a certain way of looking, and it was something they felt unnatural and unnecessarily labored — and it was something that they deeply reviled. Interestingly enough, as the story goes, Moorhouse and Duncan met at a party and became busking partners in the London Underground. In those very early days, they enjoyed the very simple pleasures of playing music they loved — mostly early rock, early Beatles and the like — and earning cash while doing so. Coming from a place of pure joy, they noticed a profound simpatico, and they began to play their own original material. “We had a very clear idea of what we wanted. For things to be simple, based around songs that are unashamed in their directness, and that we love: The CureU2Springsteen and The Stones. We’d spend years playing through these on the tube, realising you don’t need to break the mould. Its best to ignore all the voices telling you that you need to for the sake of it, and go for something deeper,” the duo explained in press notes.  And with Ten Fe, Moorhouse and Duncan wanted to focus primarily on the song with style serving the song — and while being anthemic and downright arena rock friendly, their sound is difficult to describe and even more so to pigeonhole, as it possesses elements of the Manchester sound, Brit Pop, Americana, electro pop and contemporary indie rock. They manage to do this while balancing careful, deliberate attention to craft with soulful earnestness and bombast.

Moorhouse and Duncan then spent the next two years, writing, revising and recording in each other’s bedrooms, which included prolonged writing sessions at Duncan’s dad’s house in Walsall, UK, relentless busking, hustling and saving, and an impossibly lengthy list of band members and producers before they signed a publishing deal and briefly relocated to Berlin, where they recorded their Ewan Pearson-produced full-length debut effort Hit the Lights. “Its no coincidence that the name of this band means ‘have faith’” says Leo Duncan.

After spending the past 18 months touring to support their full-length debut effort Hit the Light, which included an incredible set at Mercury Lounge earlier this year, the project officially expanded into a full-fledged band with the permanent additions of touring members Rob Shipley (bass) and Johnny Drain (keys), who are two of Duncan’s oldest friends from Walsall, and Alex Hammond (drums). Returning back to England, the newly constituted quintet began writing material for their highly-anticiapted sophomore effort, and the first bit of recorded output as a quintet “Single, No Return” may be a bit of a taste of what we should expect from the new album, as it manages to capture the band’s live sound and energy, complete with a swaggering and jaunty stride. Interestingly, the band has referred to the song as being a descendant of Hank Williams‘ “Ramblin’ Man,” a song which the band’s founding members used to play while busking in the London Underground, and although they claim that when it came to the song’s arrangement they thought of The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young but with a bit of swing to the mix, to my ears it sounds a bit more like the Psychic Ills, filtered through Brit Pop; but no matter — the song manages to evoke life on the road and its seductive pull on one’s soul while further establishing their ability to craft effortlessly slick, hook-driven material.

New Video: The Lonely Wild Release a Gorgeous and Mournful New Single

With the release of their debut 2011 debut EP Dead End and their full-length debut effort The Sun As It Comes, the Los Angeles-based indie rock quintet The Lonely Wild received attention both on this site and across the blogosphere for rousingly anthemic, earnestly heartfelt songs with gorgeous boy-girl harmonies, and a sweeping, cinematic feel that nodded at the film scores of Morricone and others. Interestingly enough, while being beautiful and earnest, their material at times captures the sense of confusion, loss and despair that countless average Amricans felt after the financial collapse of 2008 — and the overall sense that the rug had been pulled out from under you without warning or consideration. And when they weren’t overtly political, they specialized in some of the most swooning Romantic songs — songs that nodded at early Bruce Springsteen and others, telling tales of lovers, desperate to run away from their small town lives and full of big dreams.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve written about them but as it turns out the band has been working on new material, some of which they’ve submitted as part of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest — and it includes the band’s latest single “Strangers’ Friends.” “Strangers’ Friends” will further cement the band’s growing reputation for crafting swooning and urgent songs featuring lush boy-girl harmonies; however, it may be one of the more bleak songs yet most beautiful song they’ve released to date while being a visceral portrayal of the lonely and strange life of a touring musician.

Live Footage: Caveman Performs “Never Going Back” on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Sessions

With the release of their debut album Coco Beware and their sophomore self-titled album, New York-based quintet Caveman — comprised of Matthew Iwanusa (vocals, guitar), James Carbonetti (guitar), Jeff Berrall (bass), Sam Hopkins (keys) and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Prescott-Clark — have developed a profile locally and nationally for a moody and gorgeous guitar and synth-based sound that at times owed a sonic debt to Peter Gabriel, U2 and others. And as a result the quintet has toured with the world, playing shows with the likes of The War On Drugs, Weezer and Jeff Tweedy, and they’ve received praise not just from this site, where they’ve become mainstays but from a number of major media outlets.

The band’s highly-anticipated third full-length effort Otero War was released earlier this year, and the album’s first single “Never Going Back” is arguably the most upbeat and anthemic song the band has released to date, while sonically sounding as though it drew from Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” — but with Carbonetti’s gorgeous guitar work, Iwanusa’s plaintive vocals and soaring synths. And much like Springsteen’s work, “Never Going Back” deals with themes that Springsteen would still tackle today — maneuvering the complications of love, desperately seeking an escape of the humdrum and blandness of small town life, and the recognition that at a certain point, your decisions and their impact on your life loom larger any our life.

The members of the renowned New York-based act made their nationally televised debut on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Session where they performed “Never Going Back.” Check it out as I think it’ll give you a good sense of the band’s live sound.