Tag: Daughn Gibson

San Antonio-based duo The Holy KnivesNew Orleans-born, San Antonio-based siblings Kyle and Kody Valentine — derive their name from a combination of two of their favorite works of art: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain and Frank Stanford’s The Singing Knives. Both works — although in very different media — conjure a flood of beautiful, thought-provoking imagery while centered around a fearless quest for truth through the irrational that the duo strive to capture in their own work.

Inspired by Portishead, Leonard Cohen, Arctic Monkeys and Timber Timbre, the San Antonio-based duo specializes in an eerily cinematic sound featuring Western-inspired soundscapes and downtempo grooves to create a sound that sounds as though it could be part of an episode of Twin Peaks or True Detective. The duo’s latest EP Always Gone was released as a series of singles earlier this year — and the band will continue to release a song a month for the remainder of the year.

Recently, The Kills‘ Jamie Hince remixed, the brooding EP single and title track “Always Gone” — and his touch manages to be subtle: it retains the song’s brooding atmospherics, and sonorous baritone but while gently pushing the pace up a bit with some subtly industrial-like boom bap beats and an extra layer of shimmering reverb. Interestingly, both the original and the remix manage to remind me of Daughn Gibson’s work — eerie, brooding and seemingly haunted by lingering, old ghosts of regret and despair.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

New Audio: Tel Aviv’s D Fine Us’ Modern Take on the Delta Blues

Tomer Katz is a Tel Aviv singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer — and the creative mastermind behind the electro blues project D Fine Us, a project which finds the Tel Aviv-based artist meshing dusty old-school blues with warm and modern electronic textures. 

Driven by a passion for exploring and understanding cultures, Katz traveled to the Mississippi Delta to learn the blues from local bluesmen and women. And while the project is informed by the age-old themes that’s been at the core of the blues — right vs. wrong, reality vs. illusion, relaxation and addiction, love, heartbreak and so on, the project finds Katz bringing a 21st century perspective to them. 

Sonically Katz’s work with D Fine Us is a mix of raw, live recordings frequently created in desolate barrooms, wide open fields and friends living rooms mixed with polished studio work and electronics. Katz’s latest D Fine Us single “Safe to Disconnect” meshes old-timey and dusty, twangy vibrato guitars, harmonica and gospel-like chorus sections with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, swirling, atmospheric synths and other electronic effects. Thematically, the song meshes the concerns of classic blues with more contemporary concerns — and in a way that points out that the more things have changed, the more nothing much has really changed. Sonically though, D Fine Us reminds me a bit of Daughn Gibson, who does a similar modernization of old-timey country but with a bit of a muscular thump. 

Lyric Video: Clipping.’s Menacing “La Mala Ordina”

Over the past few years of this site’s nine-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based industrial hip hop/experimental hip hop trio Clipping. The act, which is comprised of production duo Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson and emcee Daveed Diggs never expected to achieve anything near critical or commercial success: their earliest releases were centered around Snipes’ and Hutson’s sparse and abrasive productions featuring industrial clang, clink and clatter and samples of field recordings paired with Diggs’ rapid-fire, narrative-drigven flow, full of surrealistic, brutally violent imagery and swaggering braggadocio. 

Their full-length debut, 2013’s Midcity caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, who over the past decade have developed a reputation for releasing the work of a diverse array of artists including Debo Band, Shabazz Palaces, GOAT, Daughn Gibson. Sub Pop signed the Los Angeles-based trio and released 2014’s clipping. an effort that received attention across the blogosphere, including here. 

When Diggs went on to star in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton,winning a Tony Award for his dual roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette, the act was on an informal hiatus. But during that time, the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays reconvened to write and record 2016’s critically applauded effort Splendor & Misery, a Sci-Fi dystopian concept album that is futuristic and yet describes our increasingly frightening and bizarre present.

Clipping’s fourth album (and third through Sub Pop), There Existed an Addiction to Blood is slated for an October 18, 2019 release, and the album, which features guest spots from Ed Balloon, La Chat, Counterfeit Madison and Pedestrian Deposit finds the acclaimed act interpreting another rap splinter sect through their own singular lens — in this case, horrorcore, a purposefully absurdist and significant sub-genre that flourished for a brief   few moments in the mid 1990s. Some of its pioneers included Brotha Lynch Hung, Gravediggaz, which featured The RZA — and it included seminal releases from Geto Boys, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and pretty much most of Memphis cassette tape rap. Interestingly, There Existed an Addiction to Blood is partially inspired by Ganja & Hess, the 1973 vampire cult classic, regarded as one of the highlights of the Blaxploitation era — the title is derived from the film and the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays sampled part of the score on the album.

Last month, I wrote about the menacing and cinematic “Nothing Is Safe.” Centered around plinking, anxiety-inducing keys and arpeggiated synths, the eerie, horror movie-like production allows enough space for Diggs’ complex, multi-syllabic and dense flow to comfortably unfurl and narrate a tense, paranoiac dread-filled tale about a trap house under siege by a rival gang. Diggs’ narrative is so descriptive and hyper realistic that you can fear the horror of the narrator as he sees his homey get gunned down, feel the bullets whiz past you and hear the chandelier smash into the floor. In this universe, death is a constant, inescapable and malevolent force. And while lovingly employing the tropes of gangsta rap and horror films, complete with doomed and fatalistic characters and scenarios, the track finds the trio expanding upon their sound in a way that nods at Geto Boys’ hallucinogenic “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me.” “La Mala Ordina,” There Existed an Addiction to Blood’s latest single features Diggs, The Rita, Benny The Butcher and Elcamino spitting rhymes full of mayhem, copious gore, street gangsta shit and hustling over a sparse and menacing production featuring twinkling and arpeggiated keys, buzzing bass synths and tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats. Sonically and lyrically, the track is part Mobb Deep (at the moment, I’m reminded of “Get It Twisted”) part DMX (uh, everything he’s ever really done). part horror film and it may arguably be the most menacing, mayhem and viciousness-filled hip hop song I’ve come across all year. 

Lyric Video: Clipping’s Eerie New Single “Nothing Is Safe”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed Los Angeles-based industrial hip hop/experimental hip hop trio Clipping. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of production duo Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson, along with emcee Daveed Diggs never expected to achieve anything near commercial success — their earliest releases were centered round Snipes’ and Hutson’s sparse, abrasive productions featuring industrial clang, clink and clatter and samples of field recordings paired with Diggs dexterous rapid fire, narrative-driven flow, full of surrealistic, brutally violent imagery and swaggering braggadocio. And with the release of their full-length debut Midcity, the album caught the attention of renowned indie label Sub Pop Records, who over the past decade have developed a reputation for releasing the work of a diverse array of artists including Debo Band, Shabazz Palaces, GOAT, Daughn Gibson and others, as well as the Los Angeles-based hip-hop trio’s 2014 sophomore effort clppng, an effort that received attention across the blogosphere, including this site.

When Diggs went on to star in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton, winning a Tony for his dual roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette, the act was on an informal hiatus. But during that time, the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays reconvened to write and record 2016’s critically applauded effort Splendor & Misery, a Sci-Fi dystopian concept album that is both futuristic and yet describes our increasingly frightening and bizarre present. 

Clipping’s fourth album (and third through Sub Pop), There Existed an Addiction to Blood is slated for an October 18, 2019 release, and the album, which features guest spots from Ed Balloon, La Chat, Counterfeit Madison and Pedestrian Deposit finds the acclaimed act interpreting another rap splinter sect through their own singular lens — in this case, horror core, a purposefully absurdist and significant sub-genre that flourished for a brief   few moments in the mid 1990s. Some of its pioneers included Brotha Lynch Hung, Gravediggaz, which featured The RZA — and it included seminal releases from Geto Boys, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and pretty much most of Memphis cassette tape rap. Interestingly, There Existed an Addiction to Blood is partially inspired by Ganja & Hess, the 1973 vampire cult classic, regarded as one of the highlights of the Blaxploitation era — the title is derived from the film and the members of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays sampled part of the score on the album. 

There Existed an Addiction to Blood’s latest single is the menacing and cinematic, “Nothing Is Safe.” Centered around plinking and anxiety-inducing keys and arpeggiated synths, the sparse and eerie horror movie-like production is spacious enough for Daveed Diggs complex, multi-syllabic and dense flow to comfortably unfurl and narrate a tense, paranoiac dread-filled story about a trap house being shot at by a rival gang. Diggs’ narrative is so descriptive and hyper realistic that you can fear the horror of the narrator as he sees his homey get gunned down, feel the bullets whiz past you and hear the chandelier smash into the floor. In this universe, death is a constant, inescapable and malevolent force. And while lovingly employing the tropes of gangsta rap and horror films, complete with doomed and fatalistic characters and scenarios, the track finds the trio expanding upon their sound in a way that nods at Geto Boys’ hallucinogenic “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me.” 

Perhaps best known for his work drumming in Brooklyn-based bands like Vaura and Tombs, Charlie Schmid is stepping out from behind the drum kit, as a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter of his own right with his solo recording project Del Judas. Schmid’s Del Judas debut Deity slated for a July 13, 2018 release through Primal Architecture Records, and interestingly enough, the album and its respective material is a decided change of sonic direction from his previous work; in fact, Del Judas is largely inspired by a childhood growing up listening to country music — in particular, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. As Schmid says in press notes “I fell in love with Silvertone by Chris Isaak when I was a kid. I always knew i could add to the genre and put my own stamp on this style, but I didn’t feel ready to step out from behind the drum kit until now.”

“Through the Glass” is Deity‘s latest single and while it features Azar Swan’s Zohra Atash contributing gorgeous backing vocals, the single is centered around Schmid’s Chris Isaak-like crooning, a haunting and hushed arrangement of shimmering and twangy guitars played through reverb and delay pedals, gently padded drumming and a propulsive yet unfussy bass line. As Primal Architecture’s label boss Josh Strawn, best known as a member of Azur Swan and Vaura says in press notes, Schmid’s Del Judas debut could very well be “the soundtrack for a future David Lynch film” — and while that is a fair description, I’m also reminded of the work of Daughn Gibson, who also specializes in a spectral yet contemporary take on broodingly dark country; but all of those various comparisons are linked by a sultry and vulnerable sensuality rooted in a desire to enjoy the pleasures of the present moment as a way to escape the pain and ache of the lingering ghosts of one’s past. As Schmid explains, “This record is about the eternal interplay between the sex drive and the death drive. It’s about killing yourself, figuratively and literally. It’s about parts of yourself dying off as you go through different romantic relationships in your life and the rebirth that happens through both sensual pleasure and psychic growth.”

 

New Video: Introducing the Dark and Surreal Pop of Sydney Australia’s Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders

Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders  is the solo recording project of Sydney, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and composer Tim Rogers, and with the release of his first four albums: 2005’s Not Worth Waiting For, 2008’s Love is Gone, 2011’s Hurtsville and 2014’s chart topping Playmates, Rogers have developed a reputation for being a singular presence in contemporary Australian music, as his material typically centers around tales of beauty, love, hope, redemption and the sincerity and absurdity of the human condition with a tone that can be frequently sentimental and mournful, sardonic and surreal. Along with that, Rogers has a rich, sonorous baritone that conveys a plaintive, masculine vulnerability and need — but with a slight bit of ironic detachment. 

Rogers’ fifth Jack Ladder album Blue Poles officially dropped today, and from the album’s  latest single, the 80s-inspired, minimalist synth pop track “Susan,” the song will further Rogers reputation in his homeland for crafting detailed, novelistic narratives, with fully fleshed out characters —  but within dark, fucked up milieu; in the case, the Susan at the heart of the song, is literally haunted by the spectral (and perhaps physical) presence of her late lover Richard, who she longs for, and is desperate to join. Throughout there’s a sense of Susan trying to find answers to why her Richard and if she could go on without him, and naturally, the song leaves that as an open-ended question for the listener to figure out. Sonically and thematically, “Susan” reminds me quite of the work of JOVM mainstay Daughn Gibson, whose work pairs slick yet dusty electronic production with dark themes and lyrical concerns, as well as O Children, who work had a similar quality. 

Directed by Leilnai Croucher, the recently released video for “Susan” is largely inspired by 1980s psychic hotline informercials, as it’s based upon her interpretation of the song, as someone trying to find answers and in the process “losing themselves in the desire to be someone else; to become something else. The video exists in a world where people are looking for answers through a television set”, Croucher continues. “They hear a voice supposedly calling to them from the other side. These infomercials are a truly fascinating reflection on our constant desire to find the answers. They are combination of over-the-top melodrama mixed with real people trying to better themselves.”

New Video: Berlin’s Alice Phoebe Lou and Olmo Team Up for a Sparse and Atmospheric Blues Duet

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alice Phoebe Lou, and as you may recall, Lou has developed a reputation for a fiercely independent, punk rock-like DIY approach to her ethereal folk music. And although her parents were documentary filmmakers, Lou took piano lessons as a child and as a teenager, taught herself to play guitar. When she turned 16, Lou spent a summer vacation visiting her aunt Paris, where armed with an acoustic guitar, she met a number of buskers and other street performers — some who taught her poi dancing.

Upon graduation, Lou went to Europe — first landing in Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer, before relocating to Berlin, where she became a well-known and well-regarded busker, performing interpretations of popular songs and her own original material, and eventually developing her own unique sound.  With the release of her 2014 self-released debut EP Momentum, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began receiving international attention — and as a result, she spent the following year performing at a number of TED events in London and Berlin.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Lou released her critically applauded, 2016 full-length debut Orbit, which saw her garner a nomination for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards, as well as a set at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda. Lou spent much of that year on the road, touring to support her debut effort, sharing bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, Allen Stone and Crystal Fighters. Additionally, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter played three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium — and by demand, she added two additional planetarium shows to her 2017 tour itinerary.

Along with the Berlin Planetarium shows, Lou recorded a live version of “She” with the live performance video, shot during two different Berlin area shows going viral, receiving more than 2.5 million YouTube streams, and the song was featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Hedy Lamar Story;  in fact, the song was shortlisted for an Oscar for Best Original Song. Adding to an incredible run of critical success, Lou released her latest EP, Sola at the end of last year.

Lou released a studio version of “She” back in February, which coincided with a number of international tour dates to build up buzz for her highly-anticipated sophomore album.  But before that, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist collaborating with the Bologna, Italy-born, Berlin-based blues singer/songwriter and multi-instrumetnlist Franceso Lo Giudice, best known as Olmo. Much like Lou, Olmo spent his summers going to a different city or two with a lap slide guitar, busking and soaking up the local vibes. Upon finishing his studies at the University of Bristol, Lo Giudice got heavily into production — so much so that he left a band he started Amoa Mass, relocated to Berlin and started his solo project, which meshes the blues with electronic music. Interestingly enough, Lou and Lo Giudice’s collaboration can trace its origins to when they met while busking in Berlin, and their latest song together “Devil’s Sweetheart” was reportedly written and crafted within an hour — and the song is a sparse, atmospheric yet cinematic track centered around a looping twangy, blues guitar line, a moody string arrangement, and the duo’s uncanny harmonies. Sonically, the song brings to mind Daughn Gibson’s dusty, old-timey sample-based take on country and the work of the legendary T. Bone Burnett.

The gorgeous and moodily shot video for “Devil’s Sweetheart” features some spectacular aerial performances by Valia Beauvieux and Dennis Macaofrom the Berlin based circus crew Birdmilk Collective.

New Video: Check out the “Grease” Inspired Visuals for Joseph of Mercury’s “Angel”

Earlier this summer, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring Joseph W. Salusbury, an up-and-coming Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter and producer, who has a number of songwriting and production credits including cowrites on Majid Jordan‘s “Something About You” and Illangelo‘s “Your Future’s Not Mine, and vocal production on Nelly Furtado and Blood Orange‘s “Hadron Collider” — and earlier this year, Salusbury stepped out from behind the production booth and the relatively anonymity of being a go-to songwriter with his solo recording project Joseph of Mercury, and three singles “Without Words,” “Young Thing” and “Find You Inside,” which quickly established the Canadian singer/songwriter and producer’s reputation for crafting melancholic, slow-burning synth pop that draws from a diverse range of influences, including David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Future Islands and Lower Dens among others, paired with his aching baritone crooning.

Salusbury’s Joseph of Mercury debut, Find You Inside was released last week, and as you may recall, to celebrate the announcement of the EP, he released a live and hauntingly spectral rendition of EP single “Without Words” featuring the up-and-coming Canadian pop artist accompanying himself with guitar. And personally, what made that rendition so compelling is that the live version pulls out the raw, aching emotion at the core of the song in a way that nods at both Roy Orbison and Nick Hakim.

“Angel,” the fourth and latest single off the Canadian pop crooner’s recently released EP finds Salusbury meshing 60s pop and classic R&B, anthemic 80s arena rock and contemporary electro pop in a way that reminiscent of both the aforementioned Nick Hakim and Roy Orbison, and of Daughn Gibson — and much like the sources that influenced the song, “Angel” is a sweet, almost old-timey love song written in a way that may of his contemporaries frankly just seem incapable of doing. As a result, the song is a swooning yet slow-burning  and contemporary torch song in which the song’s narrator confesses his love and devotion with an visceral ache.

Directed by Cannes Short Film Festival-nominated director Gemma Warren, the recently released music video for “Angel” pays homage to a famous scene from Grease in which Joseph play the part of the Teen Angel, originally played by Frankie Avalon, and as a result the video possesses a hazy, dream-like nature.