Tag: Bruce Springsteen

New Video: Montreal’s Sébastien Lacombe’s Surreal Quest to Find His Old Hoopty

Sebastien Lacombe is a Montreal-born and-based bilingual singer/songwriter. And over the past decade, Lamcome has released four critically applauded solo albums, which he has supported with extensive touring across Canada, the States and Europe. 2005’s debut album Comme au Cinéma began a run of remarkable commercial and critical success — with the album being released to praise, while featuring three top 10 BDS radio hits.

The following year, Lacombe was selected as one of seven top French-Canadian artists to appear on CBC’s Sacré Talent. Building upon a growing profile, Lacombe’s sophomore album Impressions Humaines featured his fourth top-ten hit, which led to sets at a number of the province’s most prestos festivals, including Les Francofoiles de Montreal — and to a bevy of award nominations.

2011 proved to be a definitive and transformative turning point for the Montreal-born and-based singer/songwriter both personally and artistically: he spent the year living in Senegal, discovering and immersing himself in a new cultural landscape. He was touched by the people he met and their stories — and inspired by the griots he would catch perform. By the time, he returned back to Montreal, Lacombe had a different way of seeing music and life, which wound up inspiring his third album, 2012’s Territoires. The album’s material showcased a new sound and approach through the incorporation of traditional African instruments like the xalam paired with lap steel and acoustic guitar. Additionally, the album featured a guest spot from Dakar, Senegal’s Oumar Sall.

Territoires was released to critical praise and was supported with touring across Quebec, France, Switzerland and a stop in Africa for 2012’s Sommet de la Francophonie. The album’s material also received airplay from French CBC. Capping off a big year, the album received a Critic’s Choice nod from La Presse — and from Le Devoir for his set at 2013’s Francofoiles de Montreal.

Coincidentally, Lacombe was in the middle of a French tour when the shocking and appalling terrorist attacks across Paris and Saint Denis, which also included the infamous attack at The Bataclan in which 90 concertgoers were killed. Lacombe returned home with the desire to write new songs that communicated what he believed was a much-needed message of resilience and unity. And as a result, his fourth album, 2016’s Nous serons des milliers is a response to the increasing violence and divineness that he believed was destroying humanity.

Having grown up in an anglophone neighborhood with francophone parents, Lacombe was naturally drawn to writing and singing in French and English — and while he was initially releasing material in French, he was quietly working on material in English. Interestingly, that same year, he was cast as Pink in the musical The Wall Live Extravaganza. After spending two years in the role, performing in over 100 shows across Canada and the States, Lacombe was at a crossroads both personally and professionally, which led to the beginninig of a collaboration with Erik West Millette, who has worked with West Trainz and Dr. John.

Lacombe and Millette worked together on the writing of Lacombe’s fifth album FLY, which was recorded at Studio B-12 in Valcourt, QC and Montreal’s Lobster Tank Studios and released earlier this year. The album’s material thematically focuses on the universal ideal of freedom: the freedom to truly be your entire self, the freedom to try to achieve your wildest dreams — while overcoming the sturm und drang and sorrows of our lives to the best of your abilities and lastly, of renewal and hope once you’ve gone through the wringer. The album’s material also touches upon love, longing and the desire for independence.

“My Thousand Dollar Car,” FLY’s second and latest single is an anthemic track, centered around jangling electric guitar, strummed acoustic guitar, shimmering lap steel, a propulsive rhythm and an alternating quiet-loud-quiet song structure. But much like Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” “My Thousand Dollar Car” is imbued with the aching nostalgia of a seemingly simple past that you can never get back. In the case of “My Thousand Dollar Car,” Lacombe’s narrator tells a tale of trying to find his first car, a beat up ol’ hoopty that brought him a sense of freedom, joy — and memorable experiences.

Directed by Alejandro Cadilla Alvares, who has worked on CBC’s Offkilter and ARTE’s Disportrait, the recently released video was shot in the Montreal area over this past summer. The video follows Lacombe on a lengthy and surrealistic quest across town to find his shitty, beat up ol’ rust bucket. And when he does, it’s like having reunion with a dear old friend.

With the release of their debut EP, 2016’s More Escher and Random Notes, the rising Helsinki, Finland-based indie act The Holy — Eetu Henrik Iivari (vocals, guitar), Pyry Peltonen (guitar), Laura Kangasniemi (bass), Mikko Maijala (drums) and Eero Jääskeläinen (drums) quickly emerged into the Nordic music scene, quickly developing a reputation for an enormous and rousingly anthemic sound that has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel with Krautrock influences.

Initially cutting their teeth in Helsinki’s small venue circuit, the members of The Holy have taken an explosive and passionate live show to their homeland’s national festival circuit, playing sets at Flow FestivalRuisrockProvinssirock, Iloasarirock and Lost In Music among others. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Helsinki-based quintet released their full-length debut Daughter last year. The album, which thematically touched upon how the 1990s Finnish economic recession impacted this current generation of its young people was a game-charger for the band, as it the album received praise across both Finland and Europe, eventually garnering a Finnish Grammy (EMMA) Critics’ Choice nomination.

The Holy supported the album with a busy touring schedule across Sweden and the Europe that included the continent’s festival circuit with stops at Eurosonic NooderslagIceland AirwavesReeperbahn Festival, Where Is The Music, JaJaJa Music LondonBerlin, and Vienna. Additionally, while they were touring, German/French TV Arte filmed the band’s set at last year’s Flow Festival in cooperation with Finland’s YLE — and KEXP filmed their Iceland Airwaves set.

Originally scheduled for release this spring and now slated for a November 6, 2020 release through Playground Music, the rising Finnish act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Mono Freedom is a semi-utopian sci-fi tale, inspired by Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, which explores a number of scenarios of what would happen to Earth if humans were to suddenly disappear. Set in the somewhat distant future on a dying Earth, the planet’s last humans decide to gather their things, build a rocket and travel to the nearest black hole. They know that there is probably nothing out there but it’s one of humanity’s last desperate ideas and last hopes. In the realm of this world, this is generally seen as a positive, not as an absurdly hopeless, dystopian vision.

“During our Daughter tour, I read the science book, The World Without Usby Alan Weisman, and I got inspired and sad at the same time. It seems that humans just took a leap in the evolution progress a million years ago and have been fucking things up since,” The Holy’s Eetu Henrik Iivari explains in press notes. “I started to play with an idea of a space odyssey of the last people on earth, eventually building a rocket and flying into the nearest black hole. And they just don’t make it. They are too dumb to make it. And that’s it. And after a few hundred years, Mother Earth doesn’t even remember it was once occupied by humans.

“And this eventually got me thinking about the Western way of life and the idea of freedom. How one-way, single-minded and boxed-in it is. When you wake up in a modern western city — there is almost nothing you can do that doesn’t rip somebody. It’s late modern capitalism, a jail built on the grounds of believing that you have a choice. And that you make a choice. But most of it is already aimed towards consumerism. We just like to think that we find things by ourselves, but most of it is given. And it’s just so frustrating. To do the right thing from one day to another and navigate in the middle of all this evil around us. 

[But even though the theme is not the lightest in the world, I wanted the album to mirror hope and to be empowering. A friend for people having similar thoughts.”

Earlier this year, the rising Finnish act released a double single, “No Trial In The Dark” and “Twilight Of The Idiots.” “Twilight of the Idiots” is a rousingly anthemic song that immediately brings s A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay, Peter Gabriel and The Unforgettable Fire  U2 to mind through a combination of earnest emotionality and ambitious songwriting. “No Trial In The Dark” continues in a similar vein but while being much more percussive and cinematic. “I wrote ‘Twilight Of The Idiots,’ ‘Swim,’ ‘The Rocket Song’ and ‘No Trial In The Dark’ very close to each other and we recorded those songs in the same sessions,” Iivari recalls in press notes. “After that I knew what other songs should be on this album and the narrative started to be clear. We followed that path and never turned back.” 

“I Don’t Know,'” Mono Freedom‘s third and latest single continues a run of rousingly anthemic and arena friendly material, centered around deeply earnest songwriting and breakneck yet passionate playing. While sonically, the track brings early U2 to mind — particularly Boy and October — thanks to angular, reverb-drenched guitar chords, forceful and dramatic drumming and Ivari’s plaintive vocals, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place:

“This song is basically about being bipolar. At least on some level. I have no diagnosis and I might not be the right person to talk about it, ” Ivari says “but I’ve been struggling the most part of my life with heavy mania vs. depression and it has taken a huge toll on a lot of things. I have found a way to live with it and function in society nowadays, but it still takes a lot of work every day. It also gives a lot though, being in the deep end of mania is like a drug from the future and I do get a lot of things done. But it’s also super hard to keep that level and it brings you down really really low when you just can’t. 

“I learned from a silly love themed tv show that it’s good to talk about it. To give the people around you some knowledge about it and tools to work with you. So I ended up writing this song and tried to open it slowly. The tune is pretty uplifting and I wanted it to be light and kind of funny, because the last thing I want is to add a shadow of darkness and depression over the matter and keep repeating the pattern of adding shame on this kind of stuff. That it is some mystic dark depressive thing etc. It is just a thing. We all have our things.”

New Audio: Johnny Franco Releases a Classic Rock-Inspired Single

Johnny Franco is a Sao Paulo-born, Portland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist  who has developed a cult following in his adopted hometown for high-energy street performances and stylish music. Building upon a growing reputation, Franco caught the attention of Sterling Fox, a producer who signed the emerging singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist  to his label, Blanket Fort Records. 

Franco’s debut EP, the four track Experience Report #1, which featured debut single “Treated Like Glass” was released earlier this year. And since the release of Experience Report #1, the Brazilian-born, Portland-based artist has been busy: he recently released the “Stay Real”/”Shelter The Light” double single — and “Stay Real” is a decidedly classic rock-inspired track centered around shimmering and shuffling  guitars, a sinuous bass line and an infectious hook. And while bringing Springsteen, Bowie and Prince to mind, the song not only reveals a deliberate attention to craft, it possesses a simple yet profound message to stay positive during this uncertain, historical moment. 

 

With the release of their debut EP, 2016’s More Escher and Random Notes, the rapidly rising Helsinki, Finland-based indie act The Holy — Eetu Henrik Iivari (vocals, guitar), Pyry Peltonen (guitar), Laura Kangasniemi (bass), Mikko Maijala (drums) and Eero Jääskeläinen (drums) quickly emerged into the Nordic music scene, quickly developing a reputation for an enormous and rousingly anthemic sound that has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel with Krautrock influences — and for an explosive live show. 

Cutting their teeth in their hometown’s small venues, the members of The Holy have built up a national profile, playing sets across the Finnish festival circuit, including Flow Festival, Ruisrock, Provinssirock, Iloasarirock and Lost In Music. But last year, was a momentum changing year for the band: The band’s full-length debut Daughter, which thematically touched upon  the 1990s Finnish economic recession and its reflection on the youth of its time received praise across Europe and Finland, resulting in an EMMA Nomination for Critics’ Choice.

Building upon a growing profile, the band has supported their recorded output with tours across Sweden and the European Union with festival circuit stops in Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria, playing sets at Eurosonic Nooderslag, Iceland Airwaves, Reeperbahn Festival, Where Is The Music, JaJaJa Music London, Berlin, and Vienna. Last year, the German/French TV channel Arte filmed the band’s set at last year’s Flow Festival in cooperation with Finland’s YLE — and KEXP filmed their Iceland Airwaves set, which will be published on their YouTube channel in the near future.

Slated for an April 17, 2020 release, the rising Finnish act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Mono Freedom is a semi-utopian sci-fi tale, inspired by Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, which explores a number of scenarios of what would happen to Earth if humans were to suddenly disappear. Set in the somewhat distant future on a dying Earth, the planet’s last humans decide to gather their things, build a rocket and travel to the nearest black hole. They know that there is probably nothing out there but it’s one humanity’s last ideas and last hopes. All of this is seen as positive, not as a dark, hopeless dystopian vision.  

During our Daughter tour, I read the science book, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, and I got inspired and sad at the same time. It seems that humans just took a leap in the evolution progress a million years ago and have been fucking things up since,” The Holy’s Eetu Henrik Iivari explains in press notes. “I started to play with an idea of a space odyssey of the last people on earth, eventually building a rocket and flying into the nearest black hole. And they just don’t make it. They are too dumb to make it. And that’s it. And after a few hundred years, Mother Earth doesn’t even remember it was once occupied by humans.

“And this eventually got me thinking about the Western way of life and the idea of freedom. How one-way, single-minded and boxed-in it is. When you wake up in a modern western city — there is almost nothing you can do that doesn’t rip somebody. It’s late modern capitalism, a jail built on the grounds of believing that you have a choice. And that you make a choice. But most of it is already aimed towards consumerism. We just like to think that we find things by ourselves, but most of it is given. And it’s just so frustrating. To do the right thing from one day to another and navigate in the middle of all this evil around us. 

But even though the theme is not the lightest in the world, I wanted the album to mirror hope and to be empowering. A friend for people having similar thoughts.”

Interestingly, instead of releasing a one-off single, The Holy have specifically released a double single “No Trial In The Dark” and “Twilight Of The Idiots.” “Twilight Of The Idiots,” the first single is an atmospheric yet enormous, arena rock friendly song centered around shimmering guitars, twinkling keys,  rousingly anthemic hooks and Iivari’s plaintive vocals, the song sonically brings A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay, Peter Gabriel and The Unforgettable Fire U2. And as result, the song finds the rising Finnish act balancing intimate observations with earnest emotions and ambitious songwriting. “No Trial In The Dark” continues in a smilier vein — and while being the most percussive and dramatic of the pair, it may also be the most cinematic of the pair.

“I wrote ‘Twilight Of The Idiots,’ ‘Swim,’ ‘The Rocket Song’ and ‘No Trial In The Dark’ very close to each other and we recorded those songs in the same sessions,” Iivari recalls in press notes. After that I knew what other songs should be on this album and the narrative started to be clear. We followed that path and never turned back 

“I feel that No Trial In The Dark and Twilight Of The Idiots do set the stage for the album. The first conflict and the hopeless overview of the modern times. I always wanted them to go out at the same time and they do follow each other on the album for a reason. They open the window to The Holy’s inner world of 2020 – way deeper than just releasing a regular one-off.”

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Sam Fender Releases a Cinematic and Nostalgia-Tinged Visual for Anthemic “The Borders”

I’ve written a lot about the Newcastle, UK-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Fender over the past 18 months or so, and during that same period, the rapidly rising British singer/songwriter and guitarist has received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for crafting rousingly anthemic material with a broad focus on hard-hitting social issues, that generally draws from his own experiences growing up in Northeastern England. 

2019 has been a breakthrough year for Fender: his full-length debut Hypersonic Missiles was released earlier this year to critical applause. Now, as you may know, the album, which was recorded and produced at Fender’s self-built North Shields-based warehouse studio, with longtime friend, producer and collaborator Bramwell Bronte is fueled by Fender’s long-held belief that great guitar music with enormous hooks still has the power to influence people and change lives — and to even better themselves and change the world. Adding to an already momentous year, Hypersonic Missiles recently topped the British Album charts. 

Hypersonic Missiles last official single “The Borders” continues an incredible run of pop anthems. While being slickly produced, the track is centered around deeply heartfelt and earnest songwriting and singing, shimmering guitars, a soulful horn solo, arpeggiated synths and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook. And while sonically the song is essentially one part Born in the USA-era Bruce Springsteen, one part Reckless-era Bryan Adams and Billy Idol and Rebel Yell-era Billy Idol, the song’s narrator tells a story about two boys growing up together as best friends and brothers-in-arms but who then go their separate ways. Throughout there are memories inferred and implied but not completely addressed, the wistful and halcyon-tinged nostalgia of people, places and times you can never get back. It’s a track that’s both personal and lived-in, yet universal — and to hear that from a songwriter as young as Fender is a rare gift.

Directed by Thomas James, the recently released official video, which is shot through a series of startling flashbacks and flash-forwards gives the song’s central story a lived-in world, as it focuses on two best friends, who lives go in different directions after a major falling out leads to a life-changing incident between the pair and a young girl. And as a result, the video finds its central pair endlessly haunted by the incidents and ghosts that have split them apart — and yet somehow kept them inextricably tied together. 

Coincidentally, the official video’s release comes on the heels of Fender’s appearance on Late Night with Seth Myers last night, where he performed “The Borders” to close out his extensive North American tour to support his debut. Now, as you know, I caught Fender’s New York area debut earlier this year at Rough Trade, and from that show, I can tell you that the rapidly rising Newcastle-born and-based artist is a must see. The live footage will give you a sense of his live show, as he’s about to embark on a lengthy — and mostly sold out — UK tour.

New Video: Dan Sadin’s Decidedly 80s Inspired Visual for Anthemic “Sucker”

Dan Sadin is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has spent the past decade or so playing, writing and performing with an eclectic array of artists and bands including FRENSHIP, Holychild, MØ, Jessie Ware and Sabrina Claudio. Deeply influenced by the likes of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith among others, Sadin’s songwriting draws from life’s intimate moments — the quiet conversations and moments often had in darkened bars, bedrooms and therapy sessions.

Interestingly, Sadin’s forthcoming, self-titled debut EP finds Sadin stepping out into the limelight as a solo artist and songwriter — and for an artist, whose own work was hidden out of self-consciousness and fear of rejection, it’s a a bold unveiling of an artist, who pairs earnest lyricism with rousing and enormous hooks and a pop sensibility. Thematically, the material focuses on a familiar and fairly universal personal battle that we’ve all fought and continue to fight: that choice to conform and be accepted and liked — or standing out an individual and risking rejection and loneliness. And while acknowledging that it isn’t an easy decision to make, the material suggests that it’s better to be hated for who you really are than to be liked for who you’re not.

“Sucker,” Sadin’s latest single is an earnest track, centered by an arena rock friendly hook, layers of buzzing and distorted guitars, explosive and ebullient blasts of horn, thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Sadin’s plaintive vocals. The song manages to be heavily indebted to Springsteen and Petty in particular but while avoiding soulless and cliched homage and mimicry, as the song is rooted in hopeful yearning for something more, for a deeper connection based on lived-in personal experience and hard-fought, hard-earned wisdom.

“I’m terrible at small talk. I’m always pushing for the deeper, more serious conversations,” Sadin says in a lengthy statement. “When I’m out being social, talking about that stuff feels taboo and I think I end up coming across as awkward or disengaged. So I had become actually afraid of ‘going there’ and creating genuine relationships, actively trying to avoid that part of myself. But I’ve reached a point where that just isn’t working for me anymore.

“‘Sucker’ is an outpouring of that need for a deeper connection with the world around me and myself,” Sadin continues. “I had been feeling lost, caught up in a very surface level existence. I was overwhelmed with anxiety created by ignoring the things in life that really mattered to me, that were a part of my core, because I felt like I had to live up to cultural, communal and familial expectations. I felt like I had to be my own curator of what other people think is a ‘perfect life.’ And while I knew that living like that might be a way to receive instant gratification, it was also a way to avoid being with myself. Living in a world of curated successes and one-dimensional projections, only seeing what people what you to see or hear, I was riddled with anxiety about how I compare with someone else’s end product, As a result, I believed that this end goal, whatever it might be, should be something immediate when it really isn’t. I don’t see someone else’s journey, their deep, dark demons…but that’s the exciting part! That’s the part that I live for. That’s the part that makes us all human and connects us together. I know that we all struggle, we all feel lonely. We are all bound to this human experience by these very feelings, struggles and challenges I had been trying to pass over. And in doing so, I had buried my deepest most authentic self, more concerned with trying to be what I think others want to see than asking myself how I really feel and what I really want.

“This song is for my five-year old self who was in perfect alignment with his dreams, his feelings and who he was. It is meant to honor that part of myself that craves the real talk, the real connections – not just surface level interactions. And it’s a helpful reminder to not take myself too seriously. Life can be both fun and meaningful at the same time!”

Directed by Joachim Zunke, the recently released video for “Sucker” touches upon celebrity culture, social media obsession and a growing sense of disconnection — even when you’re in the company of others. But it’s also a stylish visual that follows Sadin through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, as he’s hounded by fans when he simply wants to be left alone for a little bit, and then as he dances through the streets of Los Angeles in a decidedly tongue-in-cheek 80s music video-like scene. 

“JoJo’s visual realization of “Sucker” has so many direct and indirect references to the song itself, but it’s never in your face or overly self-explanatory. Joachim had the idea of playing with reality vs fantasy in a loose way – ultimately the video could be taking place on a few different planes of existence and I really love how it leaves the choice up to the viewer and how they see the world. It’s also shot in a way where it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Despite touching on the theme of searching for a deeper connection, I think there’s a stronger presence of ‘dance like no one is watching you'”

Dan Sadin is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has spent the past decade or so playing, writing and performing with an eclectic array of artists and bands including FRENSHIP, Holychild, , Jessie Ware and Sabrina Claudio. Deeply influenced by the likes of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith among others, Sadin’s songwriting has long been inspired by intimate moments — the quiet conversations and moments often had in darkened bars, bedrooms and therapy sessions.

Interestingly, Sadin’s forthcoming, self-titled debut EP finds Sadin stepping out into the limelight as a solo artist and songwriter — and for an artist, whose own work was hidden out of self-consciousness and fear of rejection, it’s a a bold unveiling of an artist, who pairs earnest lyricism with an rousing and enormous hook. Thematically, the material focuses on a familiar and fairly universal personal battle that we’ve all fought and continue to fight: that choice to conform and be accepted and liked — or standing out an individual and risking rejection and loneliness. And while acknowledging that it isn’t an easy decision to make, the material suggests that it’s better to be hated for who you really are than to be liked for who you’re not.

“Sucker,” Sadin’s latest single is an earnest track, centered by an arena rock friendly hook, layers of buzzing and distorted guitars, explosive and ebullient blasts of horn, thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Sadin’s plaintive vocals. The song manages to be heavily indebted to Springsteen and Petty in particular but while avoiding soulless and cliched homage and mimicry, as the song is rooted in hopeful yearning for something more, for a deeper connection based on lived-in personal experience and hard-fought, hard-earned wisdom. 

“I’m terrible at small talk. I’m always pushing for the deeper, more serious conversations,” Sadin says in a lengthy statement. “When I’m out being social, talking about that stuff feels taboo and I think I end up coming across as awkward or disengaged. So I had become actually afraid of ‘going there’ and creating genuine relationships, actively trying to avoid that part of myself. But I’ve reached a point where that just isn’t working for me anymore. 

“‘Sucker’ is an outpouring of that need for a deeper connection with the world around me and myself,” Sadin continues. “I had been feeling lost, caught up in a very surface level existence. I was overwhelmed with anxiety created by ignoring the things in life that really mattered to me, that were a part of my core, because I felt like I had to live up to cultural, communal and familial expectations. I felt like I had to be my own curator of what other people think is a ‘perfect life.’ And while I knew that living like that might be a way to receive instant gratification, it was also a way to avoid being with myself. Living in a world of curated successes and one-dimensional projections, only seeing what people what you to see or hear, I was riddled with anxiety about how I compare with someone else’s end product, As a result, I believed that this end goal, whatever it might be, should be something immediate when it really isn’t. I don’t see someone else’s journey, their deep, dark demons…but that’s the exciting part! That’s the part that I live for. That’s the part that makes us all human and connects us together. I know that we all struggle, we all feel lonely. We are all bound to this human experience by these very feelings, struggles and challenges I had been trying to pass over. And in doing so, I had buried my deepest most authentic self, more concerned with trying to be what I think others want to see than asking myself how I really feel and what I really want.

“This song is for my five-year old self who was in perfect alignment with his dreams, his feelings and who he was. It is meant to honor that part of myself that craves the real talk, the real connections – not just surface level interactions. And it’s a helpful reminder to not take myself too seriously. Life can be both fun and meaningful at the same time!”

 

I’ve written quite a bit about the Newcastle, UK-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Fender over the past 12-15 months or so. And in that same period, the rapidly rising British singer/songwriter and guitarist has received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for crafting rousingly anthemic, arena rock-like material with a broad focus on hard-hitting social issues — while also drawing from his own experiences growing up in Northeastern England.

This year may be a breakthrough year for the Newcastle-born and-based JOVM mainstay. His highly-anticipated full-length debut Hypersonic Missiles is slated for a September 13, 2019 relates through Interscope Records. Recorded and produced at Fender’s self-built North Shields-based warehouse studio, with longtime friend, producer and collaborator Bramwell Bronte, the album is reportedly fueled by Fender’s long-held belief that great guitar music with enormous hooks still has the power to influence people and change lives — and to even better themselves and change the world.

Hypersonic Missiles last official single “The Borders” continues an incredible run of pop anthems. While being slickly produced, the track is centered around deeply heartfelt and earnest songwriting and singing, shimmering guitars, a soulful horn solo, arpeggiated synths and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook. And while sonically the song is essentially one part Born in the USA-era Bruce Springsteen, one part Reckless-era Bryan Adams and Billy Idol and Rebel Yell-era Billy Idol, the song’s narrator tells a story about two boys growing up together as best friends and brothers-in-arms but who then go their separate ways. Throughout there are memories inferred and implied but not completely addressed, the wistful and halcyon-tinged nostalgia of people, places and times you can never get back. It’s a track that’s both personal and lived-in, yet universal and anthemic — and to hear that from a songwriter as young as Fender is a rare gift.

Fender will be embarking on a roughly month-long tour of the States. The tour will include an October 17, 2019 stop at The Bowery Ballroom. I saw Fender earlier this year at Rough Trade, and I can tell you that if he’s in your town, you should catch him. The guy is gonna blow up.

Tour Dates:
September 25 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile Cafe
September 26 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
September 28 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
September 30 – West Hollywood, CA – Troubadour
October 3 – Dallas, TX – Dada
October 4 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits
October 6 – Denver, CO – Globe Hall
October 8 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafe
October 10 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
October 12 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
October 14 – Montreal, QC – L’Astral
October 15 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
October 17 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
October 19 – Harrisburg, PA – Harrisburg University
October 20 – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
November 22 – Academy, Manchester SOLD OUT
November 23 – Guild of Students, Liverpool SOLD OUT
November 26 – Rock City, Nottingham SOLD OUT
November 27 – O2 Academy, Glasgow SOLD OUT
November 28 – O2 Academy, Leeds SOLD OUT
 November 30 – Dome, Brighton SOLD OUT
December 1 – O2 Academy, Bournemouth SOLD OUT
December 3 – Pavilions, Plymouth
December 4 – O2 Academy, Bristol SOLD OUT
December 5 – O2 Academy, Birmingham SOLD OUT
December 7 – O2 Academy, Newcastle SOLD OUT
December 8 – O2 Academy, Newcastle SOLD OUT
December 10 – O2 Academy Brixton, London SOLD OUT
December 11 – O2 Academy Brixton, London
December 13 – Great Hall, Cardiff SOLD OUT
December 16 – Dublin, Olympia SOLD OUT
December 17 – Ulster Hall, Belfast SOLD OUT
December 19 – O2 Academy, Sheffield SOLD OUT
December 21 – O2 Academy, Newcastle SOLD OUT
December 22 – O2 Academy, Newcastle SOLD OUT

New Audio: Carriers Returns with a Deeply Personal, New Single

Curt Kiser is a Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter, who skipped college and spent the past few years playing in a number of nationally touring bands, and during that same period of time, Kiser has been meticulously crafting his proper debut as a songwriter and solo artist — in step with his own personal development. Kiser started his latest project Carriers back in 2014 and the project found him working with a collection of friends and associates including The National‘s Bryan Devendorf and The Afghan Whigs‘ John Curley, who have helped him bring his sound and vision to life. 

Kiser’s Carriers full-length debut  Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else is slated for an August 23, 2019 release through Good Eye Records, and the album thematically speaking finds Kiser taking stock of life, death and his relationships — while being grateful for being around another day. “Overall it’s about what we have and remaining present, while still being able to have an honest perspective of the past and our future,” Kiser explains in press notes. “I’ve personally found a lot of peace in just working hard and staying focused on what I’ve got going on, trusting, rather than being consumed with striving. This record process has taught me a lot about patience. Life will continue to teach me to have more. I’m just trying to accept what happens and handle it the best I can. Patience is forever.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about album track “Patience” an anthemic and brooding track that sonically brought Springsteen and JOVM mainstays Caveman, while focusing on finding peace and calm in trusting the natural rhythms of life, rather than being consumed with relentless striving; of focusing on the fact that things sometimes happen within their own time and pace. Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else’s latest single, the Dire Straights-like “Another Guy” is a shimmering and brooding bit of pop centered around an uptempo arrangement, a soaring hook and deeply personal, confessional songwriting. 

“When you’re writing a song and in the midst of capturing what is inspiring it, you usually don’t think about anything else but just staying focused on that moment and letting the song appear and become realized. At least, that’s how it happens for me,” Curt Kiser says in a lengthy statement. 

“‘Another Guy’ is a song that I knew I needed to write but I never knew if anyone else would really hear it beyond some close friends and family. It’s a song about a dream I had that holds a lot of weight and significance for me. While trying to tell the story of this one, I’ve had trouble coming up with the right words to do so. How do you explain a spiritual encounter and fully convey what it meant for you?

“I was lifted into the air, saw a statue of Jesus break apart, come to life and we had a conversation. It was pretty weird. I think I’m okay with letting this song speak for itself. It was a dream. It was extremely vivid. It changed my life & my overall outlook of myself and the depths of the supernatural realm. It opened me up to new possibilities and something I had never been shown before while also confirming some things I’ve held as truth.

I know what it means for me and when people hear this song, I hope that you can feel something similar to what I felt while having the encounter and that it changes the atmosphere wherever you are.” 

“All the drum parts were worked out in a series of rehearsals with Curt in an old crumbling factory over the course of one winter,” Bryan Devendorf says of the song’s creation. “I didn’t know it at the time but we were a couple buildings up from a locally important studio where we would eventually record the drums for Carriers the next summer. 

“My first drum teacher, Steve Earle (not the singer-songwriter), had recorded at Ultrasuede many years before with the Afghan Whigs. I was fortunate to get in there too before it closed. Shag carpet, parquet floor, and cedar paneling defined the live room whose centerpiece was the studio’s original name — QCA STUDIOS — emblazoned on wall-mounted shag. Nice, warm, and low lit. 

“Adding to the cosmic ‘circularness’ of the situation, the bassist on the Carriers sessions John Curley, bassist in the Afghan Whigs. It was pretty wild for me there, setting up drums while John set up mics, me thinking back to my early days, seeing Whigs shows and practicing drums in my parent’s basement and suddenly there I was…. 

“‘Another Guy’ like all the Carriers tracks I worked on was a really fun challenge — I really had to work hard to get all the forms down, half bars, etc. Curt, why do you need half bars?!!! 

“The demo version of “Another Guy” was recorded in the control room at Ultrasuede in July of 2015.,” John Curley adds. “It was just Curt playing acoustic guitar and singing. The demo is slower than the version on the record and it has an almost melancholy vibe to it.

“As I remember it, the song began to grow into its current form when we recorded it with Bryan. It became more of a pop song. The tempo picked up and we changed the arrangement somewhat. The bass part I was hearing in my head came together for me when we played it with drums. I really like the tight snare fills that he throws in.

“It was cool to see how the songs on this record evolved from the early demos into what you hear on the record. Curt encouraged everyone involved to contribute something unique and gave us the space to do that.”

Over the past 18 months, the Mollymook, Australia-born, Sydney, Australia-based sibling duo Clews — Grace and Lily Richardson — have quickly emerged into their homeland’s national scene with the release of their first two singles “Museum” and “Crushed,” which displayed the sibling duo’s soaring vocal and guitar harmonies. As a result of the attention they’ve received for their first two singles, the Richardsons have opened for Portugal. The Man, Laurel, Albert Hammond, Jr. and Ocean Alley — and recently, they’ve headlined their own shows.

Building upon their growing national profile, the duo’s Nick DiDia-produced latest single “Hollywood” continues their collaboration with the Grammy Award-winning producer, who has worked with Bruce Springsteen, Rage Against The Machine and Pearl Jam. Sonically, the track is centered around shimmering and jangling guitars, the Richardson’s gorgeous harmonies and a soaring hook. And while the song subtly recalls the slick yet heartfelt pop of Lily & Madeleine, the song finds the sibling duo thematically focuses on the growing pains felt during the transition between youth and adulthood — and is rooted in autobiographical detail and the hard-won personal experience.

“‘Hollywood’ describes feeling so small that you end up making yourself invisible,” Clews’ Grace Richardson says in press notes. “It is full of self-fulfilling prophecies, and the common theme of feeling strongest when you’re alone. It’s a lot about what forces act on us to change our personalities.”