Tag: Fiona Apple

New Video: Kris Kelly Releases a Symbolic and Animated Visual for “Cracked Porcelain”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written quite a bit about the Austin, TX-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist  and composer Kris Kelly. Kelly relocated to the New York metropolitan area, when he attended my alma mater, […]

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New Video: Ether Feather Releases a Surreal Italian Thriller-Inspired Visual for Expansive Album Single “New Abyss”

Ether Feather is a Los Angeles-based trio featuring an acclaimed and highly-regarded collection of musicians: the band’s creative mastermind Dylan Ryan (vocals, drums) has played with the likes of Man Man, Cursive, Red Kraoyla and others; Tim Young (guitar) is currently a member of the Late Late Show with James Corden house band with extensive experience as a session player, playing with the likes of Todd Rundgren, Mike Patton and Fiona Apple; and JOVM mainstay Sylvia Black, an acclaimed solo artist, who has collaborated with Telepopmusik, Lydia Lunch, The Black-Eyed Peas and others.

The Los Angeles-based trio can trace its origins to a previous project, which featured Ryan and Young, SAND, which released two albums.  “By the time I started writing the third SAND record, it became clear the music was shifting from the Mahavishnu-esque, mid 70’s-fusion to more part-oriented structures and the songs seemed to want vocals,” Ryan says of the gradual shift from SAND to Ether Feather. Encouraged by engineer Andrew Murdock, the members of Ether Feather fully embraced the stylistic shift and recorded their debut EP, 2017’s Other Memory.  “Ether Feather is definitely a band where we can try weirder stuff and stretch out creatively in ways that may not be appropriate in other musical situations,” Ryan adds. “We can mix and blend aesthetics and make hard turns. Tim was in the Pacific Northwest during the first wave of grunge and brings something very different from me to the table, having come up in the late 90’s Chicago No Wave/Free Jazz/Metal scene.”

After touring to support the EP with the likes of Cursive and Minus the Bear, the members of Ether Feather further honed their sound — with the result being their recently released full-length debut Devil – Shadowless – Hand. Last month, I wrote about “Cayenne,” a track that was one part desert/stoner rock, one part alt rock, one part grunge rock as it was centered around a dream-like melody for its verse, sludgy power chords during its anthemic hook and a guitar solo that recalls Pearl Jam‘s Evenflow. “New Abyss,” the album’s latest single is an trippy and expansive track that’s one part free-flowing jazz fusion, one part prog rock, and one part psych rock freakout — and while revealing some extraordinary musicianship and a telepathic sort of simpatico, the song will further cement the act’s genre-defying sound and approach. Written and directed by Matt Hewitt, the recently released video for “New Abyss” stars the band in a surreal, feverish, Italian thriller-inspired visual full of paranoiac dread, dopplegangers, and unease. 

Ether Feather is a Los Angeles-based trio featuring an acclaimed and highly-regarded collection of musicians: the band’s creative mastermind Dylan Ryan (vocals, drums) has played with the likes of Man Man, Cursive, Red Kraoyla and others; Tim Young (guitar) is currently a member of the Late Late Show with James Corden house band with extensive experience as a session player, playing with the likes of Todd Rundgren, Mike Patton and Fiona Apple; and JOVM mainstay Sylvia Black, an acclaimed solo artist, who has collaborated with Telepopmusik, Lydia Lunch and others. Interestingly, Ether Feather can trace its origins to a previous project, which featured Ryan and Young, SAND, which released two albums.

“By the time I started writing the third SAND record, it became clear the music was shifting from the Mahavishnu-esque, mid 70’s-fusion to more part-oriented structures and the songs seemed to want vocals,” Ryan says of the gradual shift from SAND to Ether Feather. As the story goes, encouraged by engineer Andrew Murdock, the band fully embraced stylistic shifts and recorded their debut EP, 2017’s Other Memory. “Ether Feather is definitely a band where we can try weirder stuff and stretch out creatively in ways that may not be appropriate in other musical situations,” Ryan adds. “”We can mix and blend aesthetics and make hard turns. Tim was in the Pacific Northwest during the first wave of grunge and brings something very different from me to the table, having come up in the late 90’s Chicago No Wave/Free Jazz/Metal scene.”

After touring to support the EP with the likes of Cursive and Minus the Bear, the members of Ether Feather further honed their sound — with the result being their soon-to-be released full-length debut Devil – Shadowless – Hand. The album’s latest single “Cayenne” finds the band further establishing their sound, which for this single at least is one part desert/stoner rock, one part alt rock, one part grunge, as it features a pretty, dreamlike melody during its verses, sludgy power chords during its anthemic hooks and a guitar solo that recalls Pearl Jam‘s Evenflow. What really caught my attention about the track is that there’s a quirkiness and whimsy to the track that belies its straightforward nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Singer Songwriter Kris Kelly Releases an Intimate Solo Acoustic Performance of “Cracked Porcelain”

Kris Kelly is an Austin, TX-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist  and composer. Kelly relocated to the New York metropolitan area, when he attended my alma mater, NYU, where he studied classical vocal performance and music composition. For years, he performed his original compositions for guitar, vocals, flute, violin, bass and percussion at a number of venues across town.

Kelly then spent the next five years traveling through South America, primarily living in Argentina and Brazil with just his guitar and a suitcase. And while in South America, he met his husband. As a songwriter, his experiences traveling and falling in love have deeply inspired his forthcoming, self-produced album Runaways — and the album thematically touches upon finding pure and lasting love, loss, discovery and personal growth.

Upon returning to the states, Kelly spent time in studios in NYC and Los Angeles recording the album, which is slated for an August 29, 2019 release with an all-star casts of musicians including Todd Sickafoose (bass), who’s a member of Ani DiFranco’s backing band; Brian Griffin (drums), who has played in the backing bands for Lana Del Rey, Brandi Carlile and as a member of The Lone Bellow; Dave Levita (electric guitar), who’s a member of Alanis Morisette‘s backing band; Benji Lysaght (electric guitar), who’s a member of Father John Misty’s backing band; and Dave Palmer (keys), who’s played in the backing bands of Fiona Apple and Lana Del Rey.  The album also features string, wind and horn arrangements by John Philip Shenale, who has worked with Tori Amos. 

Runaways‘ latest single is the cinematic and hauntingly gorgeous “Cracked Porcelain.” Centered around a soaring string arrangement, strummed acoustic guitar, shuffling drumming paired with Kelly’s gorgeous vocals, the song — to my ears, at least — reminds me a bit of the late (and somewhat under-appreciated) Scott Walker, whose work was imbued with a similar aching longing and sense of loss. But at the core of the song is a narrator, who’s desperately trying to figure what his romantic relationship meant to him and on his own terms. And of course, it means maneuvering the contradictory push and pull we often feel as we enter romantic relationships with others. Recently Kelly released a live and very intimate, solo, acoustic session featuring “Cracked Porcelain,” that gently pulls and teases out the song’s gorgeous melody — and forces the listener to pay even closer attention to the song’s lyrics. 

“‘Cracked Porcelain’ is a story about two gay men who find freedom in defining their relationship in an unconventional, ‘open’ way but who end up getting lost in the revelry and ultimately drive each other apart,” Kelly explains. “I think the LGBTQ community has a unique opportunity to redefine our relationship with sex within our partnerships. Not having forced onto us the traditional ways of defining a healthy partnership gives us the freedom to discover it for ourselves, but it also comes with a great responsibility, and I think we often fail. I failed at least. And that’s ok, because I realized if I wanted to be happy, I had to make a change. I’ve been forced to reevaluate constantly my relationship with my partner and to figure out how to respect each other while maintaining a healthy individuality, and we’re still navigating it to this day.

“The song definitely has an element of the sacred vs. the profane in it. The spiritual vs. the carnal. Monogamy and commitment vs. free love and the expression of uninhibited sexual desire. Attachment (the couple) vs. freedom (the individual), which is a theme that runs throughout the album. In the song, the two men fulfill all their personal desires, and get lost with the help of alcohol and drugs, but forget to care about each other, neglecting the needs of their relationship. In that seductive lifestyle, it’s easy for them to use sex, drugs, and alcohol to cover up a lot of issues they just don’t want to deal with. And it feels like ‘freedom’ but are they really in control? What are the boundaries that protect the relationship? What is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ for them?

“In In the end, like everything, I find it all about balance,” Kelly adds. “Yes, gay men pride themselves on being able to separate love and sex, but do we slip into the trap of serving only the quick-fix, instant gratification of anonymous sex, sacrificing the part about ‘love’ and the fulfillment of a deeper, long-term relationship with someone? It’s easy to go unconscious and do whatever feels good in the moment, but without consciously, intentionally taking care of the relationship, it falls apart. There has to be a balance in order to nurture both carnal desires and the spiritual connection with another human being (if that’s something that you value). And when things are out of balance, suffering is inevitable. That’s what happens in ‘Cracked Porcelain’.”

Kris Kelly is an Austin, TX-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist  and composer. Kelly relocated to the New York metropolitan area, when he attended my alma mater, NYU, where he studied classical vocal performance and music composition. For years, he performed his original compositions for guitar, vocals, flute, violin, bass and percussion at a number of venues across town.

Kelly then spent the next five years traveling through South America, primarily living in Argentina and Brazil with just his guitar and a suitcase. And while in South America, he met his husband. As a songwriter, his experiences traveling and falling in love have deeply inspired his forthcoming, self-produced album Runaways — and the album thematically touches upon finding pure and lasting love, loss, discovery and personal growth.

Upon returning to the states, Kelly spent time in studios in NYC and Los Angeles recording the album, which is slated for an August 29, 2019 release with an all-star casts of musicians including Todd Sickafoose (bass), who’s a member of Ani DiFranco‘s backing band; Brian Griffin (drums), who has played in the backing bands for Lana Del Rey, Brandi Carlile and as a member of The Lone Bellow; Dave Levita (electric guitar), who’s a member of Alanis Morisette‘s backing band; Benji Lysaght (electric guitar), who’s a member of Father John Misty’s backing band; and Dave Palmer (keys), who’s played in the backing bands of Fiona Apple and Lana Del Rey.  The album also features string, wind and horn arrangements by John Philip Shenale, who has worked with Tori Amos

Runaways‘ latest single is the cinematic and hauntingly gorgeous “Cracked Porcelain.” Centered around a soaring string arrangement, strummed acoustic guitar, shuffling drumming paired with Kelly’s gorgeous vocals, the song — to my ears, at least — reminds me a bit of the late (and somewhat under-appreciated) Scott Walker, whose work was imbued with a similar aching longing and sense of loss. But at the core of the song is a narrator, who’s desperately trying to figure what his romantic relationship meant to him and on his own terms. And of course, it means maneuvering the contradictory push and pull we often feel as we enter romantic relationships with others.

“‘Cracked Porcelain’ is a story about two gay men who find freedom in defining their relationship in an unconventional, ‘open’ way but who end up getting lost in the revelry and ultimately drive each other apart,” Kelly explains. “I think the LGBTQ community has a unique opportunity to redefine our relationship with sex within our partnerships. Not having forced onto us the traditional ways of defining a healthy partnership gives us the freedom to discover it for ourselves, but it also comes with a great responsibility, and I think we often fail. I failed at least. And that’s ok, because I realized if I wanted to be happy, I had to make a change. I’ve been forced to reevaluate constantly my relationship with my partner and to figure out how to respect each other while maintaining a healthy individuality, and we’re still navigating it to this day.

“The song definitely has an element of the sacred vs. the profane in it. The spiritual vs. the carnal. Monogamy and commitment vs. free love and the expression of uninhibited sexual desire. Attachment (the couple) vs. freedom (the individual), which is a theme that runs throughout the album. In the song, the two men fulfill all their personal desires, and get lost with the help of alcohol and drugs, but forget to care about each other, neglecting the needs of their relationship. In that seductive lifestyle, it’s easy for them to use sex, drugs, and alcohol to cover up a lot of issues they just don’t want to deal with. And it feels like ‘freedom’ but are they really in control? What are the boundaries that protect the relationship? What is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ for them?

“In In the end, like everything, I find it all about balance,” Kelly adds. “Yes, gay men pride themselves on being able to separate love and sex, but do we slip into the trap of serving only the quick-fix, instant gratification of anonymous sex, sacrificing the part about ‘love’ and the fulfillment of a deeper, long-term relationship with someone? It’s easy to go unconscious and do whatever feels good in the moment, but without consciously, intentionally taking care of the relationship, it falls apart. There has to be a balance in order to nurture both carnal desires and the spiritual connection with another human being (if that’s something that you value). And when things are out of balance, suffering is inevitable. That’s what happens in ‘Cracked Porcelain’.”

Amy Kuney is a Tulsa, OK-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as AMES. Kuney began piano lessons when she turned four, and participated in piano recitals and church performances throughout her childhood. The Tulsa-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist wrote her first song when she turned 12 and by the following year, Kuney’s father moved the family from their Tulsa home to Honduras to live as missionaries after he saw a video highlighting the destruction of Hurricane Mitch. As a teenager, Kuney taught herself guitar chords off a poster her father bought from Wal-Mart, while grappling with being gay in a strange country — and without friends; however, Kuney spent her time listening to the only secular album she could get her hands on, Fiona Apple‘s Tidal and writing songs.

The Tulsa-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist returned to the States to study at a religious college but she dropped out because of their archaic views on LGBTQ and relocated to Los Angeles, where she vowed to spend the rest of her life creating art and helping young people in the LGBQT community much like herself. Since relocating to Los Angeles, Kumey has developed a reputation as a go-to songwriter, who has written songs for the likes of Kelly Clarkson, AKON, Rita Ora, Michelle Branch, Tori Kelly, Lights, Icona Pop, Adam Lambert, Jason Mraz, Jojo, ALMA and growing list of others. Kuney steps out from behind the scenes with the release of the breezy “Hold On,” a single centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, strummed acoustic guitar, and a soaring and anthemic hook — and sonically speaking, the song manages to nod at Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Feist but with a much-needed message for anyone who has felt marginalized at any point.

 

 

Dale Nicholls is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has spent stints residing in Detroit, MI; Dublin, Ireland; Paris, France; New Zealand and elsewhere. When Nicholls returned to Los Angeles, he ended his previous band and initially started his latest project Sky Chefs as a solo recording project, but has recently expanded into a full-fledged band, featuring members of Cherry Glazerr, The Black Keys, Pageants, Psychic Temple and the backing bands of Fiona Apple, Lou Reed and Chris Cohen.

Last year, was a busy year for Nicholls and his backing band, as Sky Chefs released their full-length debut, three EPs and a single and building upon a growing profile, the project’s Chris Schlarb-produced, sophomore effort Ghosts & Goblins carefully walk the tightrope between sly, winking nature and wry, heart-wrenching confessionals as the material thematically focuses on brokenhearted lovers, embittering relationships, our new, perpetually anxious age, batshit crazy families and family members, designer riot gear and the seemingly comic absurdity of living in Los Angeles. And reportedly, the material may arguably the most straightforward Nicholls has written — the material was mostly written and composed in Dublin and Los Angeles, whereas some of his previously recorded material was written in piecemeal and as patchwork affairs in several different locales.

“Poltergeist,” Ghosts & Goblins’ latest single as Nicholls explains is about “toxic relationships and self-destruction. Framed in a spooky groove, with lots of fun percussion. This was the first tune we tracked for the record. Once we got a take, we drenched everything in reverb and went out for shawarma.” Sonically speaking, the shuffling and strutting “Poltergeist” sounds as though it draws from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’Red Right Hand” and Tim Cohen‘s solo work and his work with Magic Trick, complete with a loose, boozy, improvised vibe, 60s psych rock-inspired organ, a soulful horn line and a propulsive bass line paired with Nicholls’ equally boozy crooning describing a viciously dysfunctional and fucked up relationship fueled by a confusing push and pull, deceit and tortuous, zero sum mind games. And as a result, the song possesses a murky undertone.

 

 

 

 

Hayley Johnson is a 26 year-old, San Diego, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based folk singer/songwriter, who writes and performs under the moniker The Little Miss.  Inspired by Fiona Apple and Jewel, jazz, classic blues, folk and Americana, Johnson can trace the origins of her music career to when she was a child, starting girl bands during recess at school and writing lyrics in notebooks. And while in middle school, Johnson had begun performing original music at coffee shops and surf competitions around the San Diego area with her father. After performing for several years with the stage name Hazel, Johnson came up with The Little Miss while studying philosophy at San Francisco State University — and upon graduating, Johnson relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a music career in earnest.

Johnson has begun to receive attention for a sound and overall aesthetic that nods at the likes of the great T. Bone Burnett as both a solo artist and as a producer, or in other words, a sound and approach that’s comfortably anachronistic, in the sense that it bridges both the contemporary and old fashioned, while being soulful and viscerally earnest. “Doubt,” Johnson’s latest single is a bluesy bit of Americana featuring a scuzzy guitar line and a trippy organ chords paired with her soulful, whiskey and cigarette-tinged vocals. And while some will suggest that the song nods at Fiona Apple, whose voice Johnson’s bears a similarity to, or the White Stripes, the song reminds me a bit of The Mountain-era Heartless Bastards, as “Doubt” possesses a similar sense of regret and longing. Interestingly, as Johnson explains in press notes “‘Doubt’ concerns itself with the intellectual understanding that life’s answers cannot be summarized, but takes note of the relentless desire to still call for said answers. Eventually, it’s about asking questions that you know you will never have an answer for — i.e., “I pray everyday and I pray every night,/ but I’ll never know if I am getting it right/Or will I?”

Now, as I’ve mentioned a few times on this site, as I’m listening to tracks on Soundcloud, I’m usually multitasking — as I write this post, I’m watching the New York Yankees season opener down in Tampa Bay. And because my mind is in several different directions, I wind up being introduced to a track by a new artist I had never heard of, or going through an entire artist playlist.  So unsurprisingly, while listening to tracks I stumbled across The Little Miss’ haunting, dusty and old-timey folk-leaning cover of Johnny Cash‘s “Ring of Fire.”