Tag: Bruce Springsteen

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

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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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Newcastle, UK-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Fender. And as you may recall, the British singer/songwriter and guitarist has received 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.

Last year saw Fender featured on BBC Sound of 2018′s shortlist, which he promptly followed up with a sold-out headlining UK tour. Building upon the rapidly growing buzz surrounding him, Fender ended the year with the release of the Dead Boys EP, an effort that featured “That Sound,” an arena rock friendly track that featured enormous hooks, soulful vocals and a bluesy vibe that recalls The Black KeysSlavesRoyal Blood and others  — and “Play God,” an ambitious yet politically-charged song that talked about how special interests and the 1% really control the world as we know it.

This year may be a breakthrough year for the Newcastle-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay. Slated for a September 13, 2019 release through Interscope Records, Fender’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Hypersonic Missiles was recorded and produced at Fender’s self-built warehouse studio in North Shields with longtime friend, producer and collaborator Bramwell Bronte. Interestingly, the album was reportedly fueled by Fender’s long-held belief that great guitar music still has the power to change lives and influence people —  in this case, to better themselves and the world. Interestingly, Fender’s first single of the year was the rousing, Springsteen meets Modern English‘s “Melt With You”-like album title track “Hypersonic Missiles.

Additionally, Fender made his US network TV debut performing “Hypersonic Missiles” on  Jimmy Kimmel Live! and CBS This Morning‘s Saturday Sessions. He also played at this year’s SXSW before completing a headlining North American tour, which included a stop at  Rough Trade that I covered earlier this year. Building upon the momentum he’s amassed over the past 18 months or so, Fender’s latest single, The Strokes meets Springsteen-like “Will We Talk” continues a run of rousingly anthemic material that finds Fender balancing  enormous hooks with earnest yet ambitious songwriting. And much like its predecessor, the song focuses on two troubled yet star-crossed lovers, who are both crippled by self-doubt, uncertainty — but captured with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail.

Fender is currently in the middle of a lengthy world tour that includes a July 12 Hyde Park, London show with Bob Dylan and Neil Young, as well as appearances at Splendour In The Grass, his return to the States with an appearance at Lollapalooza before closing out the year with a sold out and extensive tour of the UK. A new series of North American dates to support Hypersonic Missiles are forthcoming — and if he’s playing in a town near you, you should go out and see him. In the meantime, check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
 July 11 – Tynemouth Castle, North Shields SOLD OUT
July 12 – Hyde Park, London (w/ Bob Dylan + Neil Young)
 July 13 – TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow
July 19 – Splendour In The Grass, North Byron Parklands
July 23 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
 July 24 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
August 3 – Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
August 10 – Boardmasters Festival, Newquay
August 16 – Summer Sonic, Tokyo
August 18 – Summer Sonic, Osaka
August 30 – Fusion Festival, Liverpool
August 31 – Electric Picnic, Laois Ireland
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 Video: Steep Leans Release a Trippy Visual for Jangling Anthemic Single

Gray Somers is a Boston-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind up-and-coming indie rock project, Steep Leans. Somers’ Step Leans debut, 2015’s Grips on Heat sonically was centered around a hypnotic soundscape, which delivered the material’s underlying weary melodies. The Boston-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s long-awaited sophomore Steep Leans effort Naukeag is slated for a June 28, 2019 release through Ghost Ramp Records and the album reportedly finds Somers stripping away some of the haze and reverb of his previously released work for a  decidedly angular and lyrically focused sound, centered around a cleaner production.

Thematically, Naukeag focuses on reckoning with where you’ve ended up, accepting the things you’ve done for better or worse, sifting through any wrecked you may have created and peacefully leaving it in the past. It’s a sort of redemption — but it’s rooted in facing reality. 

Naukeag’s second and latest single is thee jangling, 120 Minutes-like “Traphouse.” Centered around a strummed acoustic guitar, jangling and fuzzy electric guitars, a propulsive rhythm section and a Psychedelic Furs meets Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band-like saxophone solo, a classic alt rock quiet-loud-quiet song structure, the song’s anthemic nature belies it’s introspective lyrics. 

The recently released highly saturated and lysergic visual for “Traphouse” was created by TRLLM and follows Somers through a day-in-the-life video that follows him through a trip through Quincy, MA. 

Live Footage: Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Dylan LeBlanc Performs “Renegade” at FAME Studios

Dylan LeBlanc is Shreveport, LA-born and based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who grew up in a very musical home. LeBlanc’s father was a country singer/songwriter. who performed in various bars and clubs across the region. At a very young age, LeBlanc acquired a unique musical education, in which he frequently spent late nights watching his father and other musicians record at the studios, where his father play as a studio musician. Naturally, the Shreveport-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician was intrigued and became a musician himself, eventually playing in his first band, an alternative rock band by the name of Jimmy Sad Eyes Blue with another local musician Daniel Goodwill. 

As the story goes, Goodwill inspired LeBlanc to begin writing his own music. After spending a few years with Jimmy Sad Eyes Blues, LeBlanc was forced to attend rehab. Following rehab, LeBlanc decided to pursue music full-time instead of returning to high school. He joined Muscle Shoals Punk Rock band, replacing its lead singer, who left the band to join Sons of Roswell — and as a member of the band, Dylan toured throughout the region. A few years later, he co-founded the band Abraham, a band that also featured Alabama Shakes’ Ben Tanner, who at the time was also the house engineer at FAME Studios. 

When LeBlanc turned 19, he left Abraham to pursue a solo career. He signed with Rough Trade Records, who released his full-length debut, 2010’s Paupers Field, which featured “If The Creek Don’t Rise,” a collaboration with Emmylou Harris. To support the album, the Shreveport-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist opened for the likes of Lucinda Harris, The Civil Wars, Laura Marling, George Ezra and Calexico. Building upon a growing profile, LeBlanc’s sophomore album 2012’s Cast the Same Old Shadow was released to critical praise, with The Guardian calling the album’s songs “as beautiful as they are bleak,” and the album itself, “eerie rather than unsettling.” That year, LeBlanc opened for Bruce Springsteen, First Aid Kit, The Drive By Truckers and Alabama Shakes. 

Dylan LeBlanc’s third full-length album, the John Paul White-produced 2016’s Cautionary Tale featured Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and was praised by the likes of NPR and No Depression. Supporting that album, he wound up touring with the likes of Anderson East, The Wood Brothers and others. 

Interestingly, LeBlanc’s fourth album, the recently released Dave Cobb-produced Renegade finds the Shreveport-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and his backing band attempting to write the sort of songs that matched the atmosphere that they were bringing live. “So, I started with ‘Renegade,’ which was fitting since I felt myself going in a new, more intense direction with this record. In the studio, I let go almost absolutely and let Dave Cobb do his work. It was a different experience for me-how focused Cobb was and how quickly we would get live takes down, mostly in one or two takes and never more than three. It left me spinning at how quickly it all came together. Over the course of ten days Renegade was complete and ready for mastering. And I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.”

“Renegade” the album title track and first single off the recently released album is a shuffling and atmospheric, minor key rocker, centered around an atmospheric hook, shimmering, pedal effected guitars and LeBlanc’s lilting falsetto, and while clearly being indebted to Damn the Torpedoes-era Tom Petty, the carefully crafted reveals a novelistic attention to psychological depth, as it tells the story of two star-crossed lovers — one, who seems desperate to leave, the other, who is desperate to stay. 

Directed by Alysse Gafkjen, the recently released video was filmed at Muscle Shoals’ legendary FAME Studios. Interestingly, the live session was a sort of homecoming for LeBlanc, who who began working at the studio when he was 16 — and where he later began recording his own music. “It was surreal and brought me back to a time and place that I had almost forgotten,” LeBlanc says of the sessions. “The only place where time always seems to stand still.”