Tag: Fleetwood Mac

Throughout the course of the past 18 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Geowulf, comprised of Noosa, Australia-born friends and collaborators, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin. And although the duo have known each other since they were teenagers, their musical collaboration began in earnest when Kendrick, who grew up in a musical home, started to pursue music seriously a few years ago, and enlisted the help of her old friend to flesh out her earliest demos.

After a string of successful, critically applauded singles including “Saltwater,” which received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s top ten before landing at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts; the Mazzy Star meets  Fleetwood Mac-like   “Don’t Talk About You;” and the  Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much,” the JOVM mainstays announced that their highly-anticipated Duncan Mills-produced, full-length debut, Great Big Blue is slated for a February 16, 2018 release through 37 Adventures Records. And along with the announcement of their debut, the duo then released, the shuffling and jangling, 60s girl group pop-inspired single “Hideaway,” which continues the dream pop duo’s growing reputation for material that possesses a careful and deliberate attention to craft but with subtly modern flourishes — all while focusing on the complications, frustrations and aches of romantic relationships.

The album’s latest single “Sunday” is a slow-burning, gorgeous and cinematic bit of guitar pop, with a soaring hook that should immediately bring comparisons like Mazzy Star, The Smiths and others — while continuing a string of songs that pair dark and moody lyrics with upbeat sounds.  As the duo says in press notes, “‘Sunday’ is a favorite of ours in the album. It’s a little cruiser of a song meant to make you feel all the good things. Lyrically, it’s about feeling like Sunday is a pretty lonely day sometimes.”

 

 

Over the past couple of years of this site’s history, I’ve written a bit about the Brooklyn-based psych rock/indie rock trio  Sunflower Bean. Comprised of founding duo Nick Kivlen (guitar, vocals) and Jacob Faber (drums) with Julia Cumming (bass, lead vocals), the band can trace their origins back to when Kivlen and Faber were members of local indie rock act Turnip King together — and at the time, Kivlen and Faber had been spending a great deal of their time away from the band jamming together, before deciding that they should start their own project. Cumming, who was then a member of Supercute! with Rachel Trachtenburg, was recruited by Kivlen, who had known her through mutual friends.

The band quickly became a buzz-worthy act with a run of attention grabbing, critically applauded sets during 2014’s CMJ Festival, which they promptly followed with a series of shows across town; but with the release of that year’s Rock & Roll Heathen EP and 2015’s Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP, which featured singles “Tame Impala” and “2013.” the band quickly rose to national and international prominence. Adding to a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based psych rock trio toured across the US and the UK both as a headliner and as an opener for  Wolf AliceBest Coast and The Vaccines. Sunflower Bean completed a breakthrough run with the release of their  Matthew Molnar-produced debut effort Human Ceremony, which was released to critical praise back in 2016.

After spending the better part of 2016 with a roughly 200 date world tour, the members of the band initially planned to take a well-earned, extended break; however by mid-December. the trio were in Faber’s Long Island basement with song ideas that eventually became their highly-anticipated Jacob Portrait and Matt Molnar-produced  sophomore effort, Twentytwo in Blue, which is slated for a March 23, 2018 release through Mom + Pop Records, which is both 22 months after the release of their full-length debut — and coincidentally, when each member turns 22.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout 2017, you may have come across the trio’s single “I Was A Fool,” a single that you may recall found the trio closely hewing to the late 60s psych rock and 70s classic rock that has long inspired their sound and aesthetic, but while gently pushing their sound in the direction of Fleetwood Mac. and others.  As the band’s Nick Kivlen explained in press notes at the time, “‘I Was A Fool’ is one of those songs that seemingly crept up from nowhere and into our practice space. it was a special moment between the three of us, Julia and I both improvised the lyrics. It feels far longer but it’s been nearly two years since ‘we’ve put new music into the world. I think this song is a good example of how we’ve grown as a band, while still staying true to the band that first played together back in high school.”

Interestingly, “Crisis Fest,” Twentytwo in Blue‘s first official single from the album finds the band tackling much more sobering topics with song directly discussing the uncertainty and politically volatile period in which it was written. “While writing this album, we often reflected back on the people we met while on tour. We felt a strong kinship with the audiences that came to see us all over the country, and we wanted to write a song for them — something to capture the anxieties of an uncertain future. ‘Crisis Fest’ is less about politics and more about the power of us, the young people in this country.” And as a result, the song which sonically finds the band touching upon glam rock — in particular, to my ears, a bit of Bay City Rollers‘ “Saturday Night” mixed with Ace Frehley’sBack in the New York Groove” as it’s an rousingly anthemic stomper of song, that’s indirectly a call to action that suggests that now it’s the time for young people to start getting the world right — or we won’t have a chance.

The members of the band will be embarking on a lengthy tour to support the album that includes a February 13, 2018 stop at Brooklyn Steel. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour dates

1/26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
1/31 – Chicago, IL @ Metro ^
2/01 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East ^
2/03 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk ^
2/05 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger ^
2/06 – Dallas, TX @ Granada ^
2/07 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (Inside Downstairs) ^
2/09 – New Orleans, LA @ Republic New Orleans ^
2/10 – Athens, GA  @ 40 Watt ^
2/11 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre ^

2/13 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel ^
2/14 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club ^

2/22 – London, UK @ The Jazz Cafe @
3/01 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
3/02 – San Francisco, CA @  Rickshaw Stop

3/24 – Nottingham, UK @ Rescue Rooms

3/26 – Norwich, UK @ Open Norwich

3/27 – Birmingham, UK @ Hare and Hounds

3/28 – Newcastle upon Tyne, UK @ Riverside

3/29 – Leeds, UK @ Wardrobe

3/30 – Manchester, UK @ Gorilla

3/31 – Liverpool, UK @ The Magnet

4/01 – Glasgow, UK @ Stereo

4/03 – Bristol, UK @ Thekla

4/05 – Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2

4/06 – London, UK @ Koko

4/09 – Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere

4/10 – Antwerp, Belgium @ TRIX VZW

4/11 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso

4/12 – Hamburg, Germany @ Molotow

4/13 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Loppen

4/14 – Berlin, Germany @ Rosis

4/15 – Vienna, Austria @ Chelsea Club

4/17 – Lausanne, Switzerland @ Le Romandie

4/18 – Zurich, Switzerland @ Bogen F

4/19 – Cologne, Germany @ Blue Shell

5/20 – Gulf Shores, AL @ The Hangout Music Festival
^ – w/ Sleigh Bells

@ – supporting Jessie Ware

New Audio: Meshell Ndegeocello Releases a Folksy Cover of Force MD’s “Tender Love”

Born Michelle Lynn Johnson to US Army Sergeant Major Jacques Johnson, a saxophonist and Helen Johnson, a health care work, the Berlin, Germany-born, American-based singer/songwriter, rapper and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello was raised in Washington, DC where she attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Oxon Hill High School. When she turned 17, she adopted the name Meshell Ndegeocello, with the surname, as she has explained meaning “free like a bird in Swahili.”

In the late 80s, Ndedgeocello gigged around DC’s go-go circuit, playing with bands like Prophecy, Little Bennie and the Masters, and Rare Essence before unsuccessfully trying out for Living Colour’s bassist spot, after Muzz Skillings left the band. Deciding to go solo, Ndegeocello, has the distinction of being Madonna’s Maverick Records first signings and while achieving a fair amount of commercial success. Her collaborative cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” with John Mellencamp peaked at #3 on the Billboard Charts in 1994 and “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)” peaked at #73 later that year. Adding to a rapidly rising profile, she collaborated with the legendary Herbie Hancock on a track for Red Hot Organization’s AIDS awareness, tribute compilation Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, which was named Time Magazine’s “Album of the Year.”  Her cover of Bill Withers’ “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)” was a #1 Dance Hit in 1996 and was briefly featured in the major motion picture Jerry Maguire, and she landed Dance Top 20 hits with “Earth,” “Leviticus: Faggot,” and “Stay.” Along with that she collaborated with Madonna, playing bass on “I’d Rather Be Your Lover,” and contributing a verse at the last minute, after Tupac Shakur had criminal charges filed against him. Additionally, Ndegeocello has collaborated with Chaka Khan, rapping “Never Miss the Water,” a single that landed #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Charts and peaked at #36 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart. Additionally, Ndegeocello has collaborated with the likes of Basement Jaxx, Indigo Girls, Scritti Politti, The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Rolling Stones, Alanis Morrissette and Zap Mama.
Ndeogecello has also had her music featured in the soundtracks of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Lost & Delirious, Batman & Robin, Love Jones, Love & Basketball, Talk to Me, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, The Best Man, Higher Learning, Down in the Delta, The Hurricane, Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom and Soul Men.

Interestingly, Ndegeocello has managed the rare feat of achieving commercial success while arguably being one of the most uncompromisingly, iconoclastic and unique artists of the past 25 years — and she’s been credited as being at the forefront of the neo-soul movement, thanks in part to a genre defying and difficult to pigeonhole sound that draws from hip-hop, classic soul, rock, reggae, jazz and singer/songwriter pop. Adding to that iconoclastic nature, Ndegeocello has written and composed a musical influenced by James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, titled Can I Get a Witness?: The Gospel of James Baldwin and she released a gorgeous tribute album to Nina Simone, which featured collaborations with JOVM mainstay Cody ChesnuTT and others.

The renowned bassist, singer/songwriter and rapper’s latest album Ventriloquism is slated for a March 16, 2018 release and the album will feature covers of songs by TLC, Janet Jackson, Tina Tuner, Prince and others, all of which have been influential to Ndeogeocello’s work — but with a unique take. The album’s first single, her cover of Force MD’s smash hit “Tender Love,” finds Ndegeocello turning the slow-burning 80s piano ballad classic into a folksy, Harvest-era Neil Young/Fleetwood Mac track, complete with shuffling drumming, twinkling Fender Rhodes and harmonica. In my mind, what makes Ndegeocello’s cover truly fascinating is that she manages to completely eschew the 80s pop ballad cheesiness of the song, which makes it endearing 30 years after its release but without doing away with the song’s earnestness — while pointing out that the song manages to possess something that listeners far removed from the song’s initial release can grasp and connect to on a very visceral level. That’s what separates the great, timeless songs from the countless songs that will be forgotten 6 months or more after they’ve been released.  And on another level, the song will continue the renowned and iconoclastic Ndegeocello’s commentary on society’s narrow expectations of what black music should sound and be like.

New Audio: Aussie Sibling Quartet Stonefield End 2017 with a Prog Rock-like New Single

Over the past few months, I’ve written about the Darraweit Guim, Australia-based sibling psych rock quartet Stonefield, comprised of Amy (drums, lead vocals), Hannah (guitar), Sarah (keys) and Holly Findlay (bass). And as you may recall, the siblings began playing together when they were all at a rather young age — with the youngest being seven and the oldest being 15. The band’s eldest member Amy recorded their first song “Foreign Lover” for a school project, and then reportedly she entered the song into Triple J’s national, unsigned band competition for youngsters Unearthed High as an afterthought; however, much to her and her sisters’ surprise, Stonefield wound up winning the contest. Within an incredibly short period of time, the Findlay sisters had two singles receiving regular airplay on Australian radio and an invitation to play at the Glastonbury Festival.

Since then, the members of the sibling quartet have released two EPs, their self-titled full-length debut and their sophomore effort As Above So Below, which was released earlier this year through Rebel Union Recordings/Mushroom Records. And adding to a growing profile, the Aussie, sibling quartet have opened for a variety of internationally renowned touring acts including Fleetwood Mac, Meat Puppets and a Stateside tour with countrymen and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard earlier this year. Interestingly, the Findlay sisters end 2017 by signing to Flightless Records, the label home of the aforementioned King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and The Babe Rainbow, and to celebrate that announcement, the band’s first release on their new label is “Delusion,” the follow-up to their sophomore effort. 
“Delusion” finds the Findlay sisters moving away from the heavy psych rock and psych pop of their earlier releases towards a dirge-like, 70s prog rock and metal sound as the song finds features some down-tuned power chords, dramatic, twisting and turning synths, tubular bells, some sinister mellotron and an enormous, arena rock-friendly hook within a sprawling and hypnotic song structure that features changes in key and mood. As the band explains in press notes, the song is inspired by the “overwhelming feeling of knowing you are a speck in the universe, getting lost in your mind.” 

Throughout the course of the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about Geowulf, a dream pop duo, comprised of Noosa, Australia-born, longtime friends, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin. And although the duo currently split their time between London, UKGothenburg, Sweden, Berlin, Germany and Australia, the duo have known each other since the were teenagers; but their musical collaboration began in earnest when Kendrick, whose parents were also musicians, began to serious pursue music a few years ago and enlisted the help of Benjamin to flesh out her earliest demos.

After a string of successful, critically applauded singles including “Saltwater,” a track that received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s top ten before breaking at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts,  “Don’t Talk About You,” which seemed to channel Mazzy Star covering  Fleetwood Mac but with a lovelorn ache, and the Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much” among others, the critically applauded blogosphere darlings recently announced that their highly-anticipated Duncan Mills-produced full-length debut Great Big Blue is slated for a February 16, 2018 release through 37 Adventures Records. Along with that they released their latest single, the first official single from the forthcoming album, the shuffling, 60s girl group pop-like single “Hideaway,” which pairs Kendrick’s sultry cooing with a lushly layered production featuring jangling guitar chords, shimmering strings, a propulsive backbeat and soaring hooks. Unsurprisingly, there’s a careful and deliberate attention to craft that brings to mind the aforementioned Phil Spector but with subtle, modern flourishes.

Much like the duo’s previously released singles, the duo’s latest single focuses on the complications, frustrations and aches of romantic relationships — in this case, as the duo notes, “The song is about feeling like you’ve been completely transparent with someone only to realize they haven’t truly let you in.” And as a result, the song bristles with a bitter sense of betrayal and confusion underneath the gleaming and upbeat surface.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Portland, OR-based indie folk/psych rock/indie rock act The Parson Red Heads, and as you may recall the band, currently comprised of husband and wife duo Evan Way and Brette Marie Way, along with Sam Fowles, Robbie Auspurger and a rotating cast of collaborators and friends can trace their origins to when its founding core members met in Eugene OR in 2004, where they all were attending college and studying for degrees that as the band’s frontman Evan Way jokes in the band’s official bio “never used or even completed.” “We  would rehearse in the living room of my house for hours and hours until my roommates would be driven crazy — writing songs and playing them over and over again, and generally having as much fun as a group of people can have,” Way recalls. “We weren’t sure if we were very good, but we were sure that there was a special bond growing between us, a chemistry that you didn’t find often.”

The following year, the band’s founding members relocated to Los Angeles, where they hoped that they would take music much more seriously and become a real band, with the members of the band eventually moving into and sharing a 1 bedroom apartment in West Lost Angeles. “Eventually the population of our 1 bedroom ballooned to 7 — all folks who played in our band at that point, too,” Way says. And while in Los Angeles, the members of the band quickly became stalwarts of a growing 60s-inspired folk and psych folk scene based primarily in the artsy Silverlake and Echo Park sections. “We played every show we could lay our collective hands on, which turned out to be a lot of shows. We must have played 300+ shows in our first two years in L.A.  . . . . We practiced non-stop and wrote a ton of songs, and eventually recorded our debut album King Giraffe at a nice little studio in Sunland, with the help of our friends Zack and Jason,” Way reminisces.

After the release of King Giraffe, the band spent the next three years writing, and touring, and during that three year period they released an EP and their sophomore effort Yearling, which was partially recorded at Red Rockets Glare with Raymond Richards, who had then joined the band to play pedal steel and in North Carolina at Fidelitorium with The dB’s Chris Stamey. Once they had finished the album, the members of the band decided to quit their day jobs and their apartments and go on a lengthy tour with their friends in Cotton Jones before relocating to Portland. Interestingly around the same time, The Parson Red Heads had developed a reputation for an uninhibited live show, as they could easily morph from earnest rock to ass-kicking rock mode, which shouldn’t be terribly surprising as the band cites The ByrdsTeenage FanclubBig StarCrosby, Nash, Stills and Young and Jackson Browne as major influences on their sound. Unsurprisingly, with their third full-length album Orb Weaver, the band actively wanted to capture the energy and sound.  “We’re always made records that were more thought-out,” says Way. “When we play live, we play more like a rock band. We wanted to show that more aggressive side of us, the more rock-oriented side.”
Blurred Harmony, The Parson Red Heads’ fourth album was released earlier this year through renowned Portland-based label Fluff and Gravy, and as Way explained, the band intended to do things differently than they did before — with the band recording and tracking themselves, frequently setting up drums and amps, and furiously recording after everyone had put their kids to sleep, and trying to finish that day’s sessions before it got too late. And as a result, Way says  “the record is more a true part of us than any record we have made before — we put ourselves into it, made ourselves fully responsible for it. Even the themes of the songs are more personal than ever — it’s an album dealing with everything that has come before. It’s an album about nostalgia, about time, change, about the hilarious, wonderful, bittersweet, sometimes sad, always incredible experience of living. Sometimes it is about regret or the possibility of regret. These are big topics, and to us, it is a big album, yet somehow still intimate and honest.”
December 8, 2017 will mark the release of the Expanded Edition of Blurred Harmony and it’ll feature two bonus tracks, which were originally recorded during the initial recording sessions and didn’t make the final cut, including the band’s latest single “TV Surprise.” As Way explains in press notes “‘TV Surprise’ is a song that’s been around for probably 10 years at least, maybe one. It’s got a real Felt/The Feelies vibe to it that I really like — those are two bands that we were just starting to get into around the time I wrote the song, so it’s no surprise that was coming through. The abstract feel of the lyrics is the thing that ended up making it not a perfect fit for inclusion on the Blurred Harmony album sequence, but Danny (O’Hanlon, who mixed the record) did a really great job creatively mixing the song — he added a lot of the textures that make this recording of the song have such a cool atmosphere and mood.”Sonically speaking, the song sounds as though the band were drawing from Fleetwood Mac, Southern rock and psych rock, as the song possesses the easy-going, self-assuredness of a bunch of old pros getting the old band together and jamming and while it sounds as though it would have been a perfect fit for the album, I agree with Way in the sense that the song doesn’t feel as personal as previous single “Coming Down” — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the song captures the band exploring a theme from a slightly different angle, and managing to get a similar yet distinctly different result.

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may have come across a post or two featuring Brooklyn-based psych rock/indie rock trio Sunflower Bean.  The trio which is comprised of Julia Cumming (bass, lead vocals) and founding duo Nick Kivlen (guitar, vocals) and Jacob Faber (drums) can trace their origins back to 20123 when Kivlen and Faber were members of Turnip King, and at the time, Kivlen and Faber had been spending a great deal of time practicing and jamming together, and decided that it was time to go out on their own. Cumming, who was then a member of of Supercute! with Rachel Trachtenburg, was recruited by Kivlen, who had known her through mutual friends. 

The band quickly rose to national attention after playing 8 critically applauded sets over the course of 4 days during 2014’s CMJ Festival, along with a series of shows across town; however, the act started to receive both national and international attention with the release of 2014’s Rock & Roll Heathen EP and 2015’s Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP, an EP that featured the critically applauded singles “Tame Impala” and “2013.” Adding to a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based trio toured the US and the UK as a headliner and as an opener for Wolf AliceBest Coast and The Vaccines. The Brooklyn-based trio then followed it up with their Matthew Molnar-produced debut effort Human Ceremony, which was released last year to critical praise.

After spending the better part of 2016 touring to support Human Ceremony, which included an impressive Burger Records Beach Bash 2 set, the trio have released their first new single in some time “I Was A Fool.” And while closely hewing to the period that has most influenced their sound and aesthetic — late 60s psych rock and 70s classic rock — the Brooklyn trio’s latest single not only finds them at their loosest and most self-assured, it finds them gently pushing their sound in the direction of breezy yet deliberately crafted 70s AM rock, with their latest track sounding as though it were influenced by Fleetwood Mac.  But underneath the song’s breeziness, the trio capture something that my colleagues, who have written about the song have missed — that while all-consuming love can be swooning and urgent, it can also be deeply ambivalent, if not profoundly helpless; after all, love is arguably one of the ridiculous, inexplicable, frustrating, and most wonderful things we’ll ever really know.

Interestingly as the band’s Nick Kivlen explains in press notes, “‘I Was A Fool’ is one of those songs that seemingly crept up from nowhere and into our practice space. it was a special moment between the three of us, Julia and I both improvised the lyrics. It feels far longer but it’s been nearly two years since ‘we’ve put new music into the world. I think this song is a good example of how we’ve grown as a band, while still staying true to the band that first played together back in high school.”

With the release of the new single, the band also announced that they signed to renowned indie label Mom + Pop Music, and they will be embarking on a lengthy UK tour before playing a series of North American tour dates, including a November 30 stop at Brooklyn’s newest venue Elsewhere. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour dates – North American shows in BOLD

11/08 – Bristol, UK @ 02 Bristol *
11/09 – Manchester, UK @ 02 Apollo *
11/11 – Glasgow, SCT @ Barrowlands *
11/12 – Glasgow, SCT @ Barrowlands *
11/13 – Newcastle, UK @ 02 Academy *
11/15 – Nottingham, UK @ Rock City *
11/16 – Birmingham, UK @ 02 Academy *
11/17 – Norwich, UK @ UEA *
11/18 – Leeds, UK @ 01 Academy *
11/20 – Brighton, UK @ Dome *
11/21 – Southampton, UK @ 02 Guildhall *
11/24 – London, UK @ Alexandra Palace *
11/27 – Belfast, North Ireland @ Ulster Hall *
11/28 – Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia *
11/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere

1/26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
1/31 – Chicago, IL @ Metro ^
2/01 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East ^
2/03 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk ^
2/05 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger ^
2/06 – Dallas, TX @ Granada ^
2/07 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (Inside Downstairs) ^
2/09 – New Orleans, LA @ Republic New Orleans ^
2/10 – Athens, GA  @ 40 Watt ^
2/11 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre ^
2/14 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club ^
3/01 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
3/02 – San Francisco, CA @  Rickshaw Stop

* – w/ Wolf Alice
^ – w/ Sleigh Bells

Initially formed in Kingston, Ontario and featuring Colleen Brown, Elijah Abrams, Shea Connor, Trevor Mann and and Murray Wood, the Edmonton, Alberta-based indie rock, All-Star band Major Love is comprised of members of several locally and regionally renowned bands including Scenic Route To Alaska, Jesse and the Dandelions and singer/songwriters Colleen Brown and Elijah Abrams. And since their formation, the band has specialized in what they describe in press notes as “soulful pop-rock music for their hoser friends.” The band’s latest single “Tear It Down” has started to receive some attention across the blogosphere, and as the members of the band explain in press notes, the song was inspired in the aftermath of two explosions at an Edmonton area senior residence, which as it turned out was across the street from where the band’s vocalist Colleen Brown lived. Two people died — as a the result of a bizarre murder/suicide. Over the course of the next three years, Brown saw the building gutted, rebuilt and furnished. And while contemplating the disparity between the tradesmen who were responsible for rebuilding the senior home and her life as a musician, she began writing a song, which thematically asks one of the biggest questions in our lives: is there beauty in destruction?  But along with that the song subtly focuses on the passage and brings up leitmotifs about life and death.

In some way, the song suggests that there are certain unassailable facts of life: that despite the tumults and joys of our lives, time keeps moving forward and that all things will inevitably die, but from that there’s something truly profound — an awareness of everything’s mutability, of everything being finite, and life’s constant renewal. Interestingly, the band manages to pair Brown’s gorgeous, pop belter-like vocals with twangy and jangling power chords, a propulsive yet old-timey backbeat and a rousingly anthemic hook that features Brown joyously singing ” Tear it down/down/down/Let’s start over,” and sonically speaking the song reminds me of Northern Aggression-era Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three,  Fleetwood Mac and others, as the Canadian act reveals some effortless yet incredibly crafted songwriting with a pop leaning.

Look for Major Love’s self-titled full-length debut early next year.

 

New Video: The Surreal and Feverish Visuals for Becca Richardson’s “Wanted”

As a mixed-race daughter in middle America — small town Ohio to be precise — the Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter Becca Richardson has always lived with the surrounding questions of what it means to belong and connect with others, and because she grew up with the constant reminder of being different than her counterparts, she found an immediate connection through music; in fact, she grew up in a rather musical home in which Fleetwood Mac, Phoebe Snow and Cat Stevens were on heavy rotation in her home.  After learning piano, guitar and to sing, she discovered a deep passion for songwriting, which still manages to be a powerful tool for discovering herself and carving out a space in the world.

As a young adult, Richardson went to study at Stanford University while honing her overall sound and songwriting approach. After spending a few years playing and hustling in the Bay Area music scene, Richardson relocated to Nashville, where she began work on her Roger Moutenot and Courtney Little-produced full-length debut We Are Gathered Here. “Wanted,” the album’s lead single, thematically explores womanhood, otherness and autonomy — but in a way that captures the innermost thoughts and desires and anxieties of a modern, independent, woman; the sort of woman you’ve befriended, admired, dated, is a coworker or your neighbor. 

Sonically speaking, the song features a slick yet ambient-like production consisting of shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook paired with Richardson’s coolly self-assured and sultry vocals in a single that’s both incredibly crafted and radio friendly; but Richardson lyrically sets herself from her contemporaries as the song possesses an unvarnished, frankness — the sort of frankness that comes from deeply lived-in experience.

The recently released video possesses a surreal, dream-like logic, complete with haunting visuals that hint at the occult and bizarre ritualistic behavior. But underneath the feverish pitch of the proceedings, the video pulsates with an undeniable sensuality. 

New Video: The Mischievously Surreal Visuals for Geowulf’s “Drink Too Much”

Now, if you had been frequenting this site over the past year, you’d recall that I’ve written quite a bit about Geowulf, a dream pop duo, comprised of Noosa, Australia-born Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin and although currently the duo split their time between  London, UK, Gothenburg, Sweden and Berlin, Germany, their musical project can trace its origins to Benjamin’s and Kendrick’s long-time friendship, a friendship that they can trace to when they were both in their teams; however, their musical collaboration began in earnest when Kendrick, whose parents were also professional musicians, began to seriously pursue music a few years ago, and enlisted the help of her closest friend to flesh out her early demos.

With the release of their debut single “Saltwater” Kendrick and Benjamin quickly saw attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere as the single received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s top ten before breaking at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts. The Australian-born, European-based duo followed up on the buzz of their debut with the release of “Don’t Talk About You,” a single that channeled Fleetwood Mac and Mazzy Star as Kendrick’s gorgeously ethereal vocals were paired with lush, shimmering and jangling guitar chords, but underneath the self-assured, 70s AM Rock vibes was a lovelorn ache. As the duo’s Star Kendrick explained in press notes at the time, “This song went through a geographical and creative metamorphosis over almost two years. We originally wrote it in Copenhagen, demo’ed it in Stockholm and then revisited it recently when Toma and I were both in London. I guess the song speaks for itself but ultimately it falls in the good ol’ ‘wanting-something-that-ain’t-good-for-you’ vein …”

The duo’s latest single “Drink Too Much” is arguably one of the duo’s most playful and subversively upbeat songs they’ve released to date, as it features jangling guitars, twinkling keys, propulsive drumming and an anthemic, soaring hook to create a sound and aesthetic that nods at Phil Spector and Still Corners while nodding at something much darker; in fact, as the duo explain in press notes, the song is ultimately about “bulk red wine + tired relationships = bad news, baby” but below the surface is the sense that ghosts haunt and linger when we’re at our most vulnerable.

The recently released video for “Drink Too Much” is cinematic and feverish vision, featuring the duo at the pool of a resort — but instead of being surrounded by the expected young, lithe, buxom and beautiful, the duo is surrounded by a collection of middle-aged retirees with way too much time on their hands. And while initially suggesting a slowly creeping dread, the video turns mischievously surreal as the members of the duo lead a poolside dance party; but underneath there’s a wistfulness for the passing of yet another summer.