Tag: Grammy Award

Live Footage: Mavis Staples Performs “We Get By” on “CBS This Morning Saturday Sessions”

Over the past few years, I’ve written a bit about the legendary, Chicago-born singer, actress, and civil rights activist Mavis Staples and throughout a music career that has spanned over eight decades, several different genres and styles as a member of The Staple Singers and as a solo artist, Staples has had achieved commercial and critical success, as well as a proverbial boatload of accolades. Staples has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards with the Staples Singers, winning one — a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2004. She received a Grammy nod for a collaboration with Bob Dylan. And as a solo artist, she’s been nominated for five Grammys, winning two — Best Americana Album for 2010’s You Are Not Alone and a Best American Roots Performance for  2015’s”See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.” The legendary, Chicago-born vocalist has also been nominated for 11 Blues Music Awards, winning nine, including Album of the Year for 2004’s Have A Little Faith, which featured Song of the Year and album title track “Have A Little Faith.” She’s also won three Soul Blues Female Artist Awards — one in 2004 and back to back wins in 2017 and 2018. And let’s not forget that Mavis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Staple Singers in 1999, was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2016 and inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Staples turns 80 next month — July 10, 2019 — and while many artists at her age and with her achievements would have understandably begun to slow down, the legendary vocalist has managed to be wildly prolific, releasing three, critically applauded albums in her late 70s with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Her latest album, the Ben Harper written and produced, We Get By was released by her longtime label home Anti- Records a few weeks ago, and as the legendary vocalist says in press notes, “When I first started reading the lyrics Ben wrote for me, I said to myself, ‘My God, he’s saying everything that needs to be said right now. But the songs were also true to my journey and the stories I’ve been singing all my life. There’s a spirituality and an honesty to Ben’s writing that took me back to church.”

“I come from a family of Mavis fans,” the multi-Grammy nominated and multi-Grammy winning Ben Harper explains in press notes, “so her music has been woven into the fabric of my life from the very start. When I got the call for this gig, it felt like my entire career, everything I’d ever written, had been pre-production for this.” 

The imitable Mavis Staples was recently on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Sessions where she and her backing band performed the uplifting album title track”We Get By.” Naturally, the track is what Staples has long specialized in: heartfelt, uplifting spirituals centered around lived-in experience — particularly, finding some way to survive in a difficult and uneasy world with your dignity, sanity and spiritual life intact. 

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Comprised of singer/songwriter Inara George and seven time Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin, who has worked with the likes of Sia, Adele, Beck, Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters and Paul McCartney, the Los Angeles-based indie pop act the bird and the bee can trace their origins to when they met  while working on George’s 2005 solo debut All Rise. Bonding over a mutual love of 80s pop and rock, the duo decided to continue to work together in a jazz-influenced electro pop project.

The Los Angeles indie pop duo’s debut EP Again and Again and Again and Again was released in late 2006. They quickly followed that up with their self-titled full-length debut in early 2007 — and with their earliest releases George and Kurstin quickly developed a reputation for bringing a breezy elegance to their work, which finds them putting their own idiosyncratic twist on time-bending indie pop.

Although serving as the long-awaited follow up to 2015’s Recreational Love, the bird and the bee’s fifth album, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen actually closely follows 2010’s critically applauded Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Hall & Oates. And while Van Halen‘s most anthemic and beloved work may initially seem like an unlikely vessel for the Los Angeles-based duo’s sound and approach, George and Kurstin are both lifelong fans of David Lee Roth-era Van Halen. As the story goes back in 2007, George caught her first-ever Van Halen show, during the first tour to feature David Lee Roth as the band’s frontman since 1985. George was so charmed by Roth’s presence, that after that show, she approached Kurstin about writing a song for Roth. The end result was the swooning serenade “Diamond Dave,” which appeared on their 2008 sophomore album Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future“We asked him to be in the video, but instead he signed a picture and gave me the yellow top hat he’d worn at the show I saw, which I thought was very sweet,” George says in press notes. “When we were trying to figure out who to cover for the second volume of Interpreting the Masters, we were both a little bit like, ‘Oh my god, can we really do it?’ But then we just went for it.”

Slated for an August 2, 2019 release through No Expectations/Release Me Records, the duo’s fifth album features an impressive backing band of guest musicians including Justin Meldal Johnsen (bass), who has worked with Beck and Nine Inch Nails; Joey Waronker (drums), who has worked with R.E.M and Elliott Smith; and Omar Hakim (drums), who has worked with the David Bowie and Miles Davis assisting the duo in making familiar David Lee Roth-era Van Halen anthems completely their own, imbuing even the most over-the-top tracks with a slinky intimacy.

Interestingly, for Kurstin, an accomplished jazz pianist, who once studied with Jaki Byard, a pianist that once played in Charles Mingus‘ band, one of the greatest challenges he had translating Eddie Van Halen’s virtuoso guitar work into piano arrangements that kept some of the spirit and vibe of the original. “I know there’s a jazz influence with the Van Halen brothers, so I tried to channel some of the things that I felt might’ve influenced Eddie,” Kurstin notes. “In a way ‘Eruption’ is almost like a piece of classical music, so I mostly treated it that way as I interpreted it for piano,” he adds, referring to the iconic instrumental guitar solo from Van Halen’s self-titled debut. 

While creating arrangements around Eddie Van Halen’s guitar work will reveal the duo’s ingenuity and playfulness as interpreters and arrangers paired with a deeply nuanced reading of the material, which is influenced by their deep and profound emotional connection to the band.“I remember being 10-years-old and seeing their videos and feeling both excited and totally terrified—I responded to them in this very visceral way,” George says in press notes. Kurstin, who also is a lifelong fan, actually got a chance to work with Eddie Van Halen in the early 80s when the Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist was a 12 year-old member of Dweezil Zappa’s band. “I got to hang out with him in the studio and go backstage when Van Halen played The Forum, which was a really big moment for my younger self,” Kurstin recalls.

Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen‘s first single is the duo’s  “Panama,” which finds the them turning the beloved, power chord-based arena rock anthem into a sultry club banger, centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, bright blasts of twinkling piano and cowbell, a wobbling Bootsy Collins-like bass line and George’s sensual vocal delivery. The album’s second single “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” is a slinky New Wave-like take on the original, centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, atmospheric electronics, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to New Order and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the track is imbued with a feverish quality.

While much of Van Halen’s material, whether it was David Lee Roth-era or Sammy Hagar-era is seemingly familiar to the point of well-worn, the first two singles off Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen finds the duo crafting a loving and thoughtful take on beloved material. And they manage to do so in a way that retains familiar elements but within a playful, post-modern, decidedly feminist fashion.

 

 

The bird and the bee will be embarking on a 15 date North American tour throughout the summer, and the tour will include an August 17, 2019 stop at Elsewhere. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
08/02/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ John Anson Ford Theater # – TICKETS
08/11/19 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club * – TICKETS
08/12/19 – Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village * – TICKETS
08/14/19 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre * – TICKETS
08/15/19 – Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre * – TICKETS
08/16/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live * – TICKETS
08/17/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere * –TICKETS
08/20/19 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle * – TICKETS
08/21/19 – Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5 * – TICKETS
08/22/19 – Birmingham, AL @ The Saturn * – TICKETS
08/24/19 – Dallas, TX @ Trees * – TICKETS
08/25/19 – Austin, TX @ Parish * – TICKETS
08/28/19 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom * – TICKETS
08/29/19 – San Diego, CA  @ Casbah * – TICKETS
08/30/19 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop * ^ – TICKETS
# = featuring Dave Grohl on drums and Justin Meldel-Johnsen on bass
* = support from Samantha Sidley and Alex Lilly
^ = additional support from DJ Aaron Exelson

Live Footage: James Blake Performs “I’ll Come Too” on KRCW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic”

Born the son of musician James Litherland, James Blake is an acclaimed London-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who showed an interest and aptitude in music at a very young age: he received classical piano training as a child, eventually attending Goldsmith, University of London, where he received a degree in Popular Music. While attending Goldsmith, Blake and a friends hosted a series of Bass Society music nights that featured British artists like Distance, Skream and Benga. 

Blake first received recognition for a series of EPs in 2010 — CMYK EP and Klavierwerke and his 2011 self-titled debut, all which were released to critical praise. His sophomore effort, 2013’s Overgrown won that year’s Mercury Prize and a Best New Artist Grammy nomination. 2016’s The Colour in Anything further established Blake’s unique sound and approach, which draws from electronic music, electro pop, R&B and blue-eyed soul. 

Throughout his career, Blake has managed to collaborate with a wide and eclectic variety of contemporary artists including Mount Kimbie, Bon Iver, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, Vince Staples, Rosalia, Jay-Z, Oneohtrix Point Never and Frank Ocean — and for his remixes under the moniker Harmonimix. His most recent album, the critically applauded Assume Form finds Blake collaborating with Travis Scott, Metro Boomin, Andre 3000, Moses Sumney, and Rosalia.

Recently, Blake was invited to perform the first-ever live session at KCRW’s brand-new Annenberg Performance Studio. The session aired on KRCW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic hosted by the station’s Musical Director, Jason Bentley.  Joined by his bandmates Rob McAndrews and Ben Assiter, Blake performed material from Assume Form, including the album’s title track, “Barefoot In The Park,” “I’ll Come Too,” and “Don’t Miss It,” as well as a live version of his song “Retrograde” and a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.” “I’ll Come Too” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track centered around Blake’s ethereal and plaintive vocals, shimmering synths, stuttering beats and a soaring hook — and while   bearing an uncanny resemblance to classical music, the track finds Blake expressing an achingly passionate yearning and vulnerability. 

Led by founding members, primary songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Andrew Levy and Simon Bartholomew, the commercially and critically successful London-based soul act The Brand New Heavies were at the forefront of Britain’s emergent Acid Jazz movement, alongside the likes of Young Disciples and Grammy Award-winning and multi-BRIT Award-winning act Jamiorquai.

The act began to make waves with the release of their debut single, the celebrated club classic “Got To Give,” which was released through Chrysalis Records. The London-based neo-soul act eventually signed to Acid Jazz Records, who released their applauded self-titled debut album in 1990 across Europe and elsewhere, while the album was picked up in the US by renowned hip-hop label Delicious Vinyl. Now, if you were around in 1990, you may recall their debut album’s Top Three R&B smash-hit “Never Stop,” which led to the album being on the R&B Album charts for the better part of a year — and to the act winning an MTV award for the track. And unsurprisingly, the album may arguably be the most successful of their career, as it went Gold in the UK.

Interestingly, The Brand New Heavies’ full-length debut proved to be both popular and influential in hip-hop circles, and as a result the members of the band have collaborated with an impressive array of hip-hop luminaries including A Tribe Called Quest, and Kool G. Rap, Gang Starr and Main Source for Heavy Rhyme Experience.

The London-based neo-soul act’s follow-up two immediate efforts — 1994’s Brother Sister and 1997’s Shelter — went Platinum, with the act eventually scoring 16 Top 40 hits including “Dream Come True,” “Stay This Way,” “Midnight At The Oasis,” “Sometimes,” and “Dream On Dreamer.

As a result of their massive commercial success in the UK, the band led by Levy and Bartholomew have been lauded by Mark Ronson, who invited the band to play at his 40th birthday celebration. Interestingly, the act’s first bit of new material in five years, “Getaway” finds the act returning to their longtime label home Acid Jazz Records, as well as collaborating with longtime collaborator, vocalist N’Dea Davenport, with whom they’ve earned their biggest charting, best-selling work.

Centered around a warm, disco-influenced groove, a horn line that hints at Cheryl Lynn‘s 1978 disco smash hit “Got To Be Real,” a massive hook, and Davenport’s soulfully sultry vocals, the track is a dance floor friendly escapist fantasy, expressing the desire of getting away from the world and its stresses and routines with a love-interest/lover, and to simply enjoy the moment.

The Brand New Heavies will be playing a number of dates across the UK over the next few month with more dates to be announced soon; but in the meantime, check out the recently announced tour dates below.

TOUR DATES

 

May 24-26 – Upton on Severn, UK – Mello Festival

May 31 – Bedford, UK – Corn Exchange

July 05-8 – Lewes, UK – Love Supreme Festival

July 12-14 – Moseley, UK – Jazz Funk & Soul Festival

July 12-14 Caversham, UK – Readipop Festival

Sept 07 – London, UK – Electric Soul Festival @ 02

Best known as a founding member of hip-hop collective Odd Future and the Grammy-nominated, soul pop act The Internet, Matt Martians, a sometimes vocalist and producer released his critically-applauded debut, 2017’s The Drum Chord Theory, which was hailed by Rolling Stone as “pleasingly eccentric.”

Slated for an April 26, 2019 release through 3qtr Records, Martians’ sophomore album The Last Party was written and recorded as a way to heal himself after going through one of the most difficult times of his life. And while doing so, he reportedly found that you have to truly love yourself before you can sincerely give it back. Featuring guest spots from Mac DeMarco and Steve Lacy, the album’s overall sound blends modern funk, soul and electro pop. Serving as a perfect taste of what you’d expect from the new album, the sultry yet playful “Knock Knock” brings Quiet Storm-era soul, Thundercat and Dam-Funk, within a lysergic song structure full of weird time and tempo changes.

Martians will be spending the next few months touring with The Internet, and it includes a stop at Governors Ball in May. Check out the tour dates below.

Live Dates With The Internet

4/27 – Niceto Club, Buenos Aires

4/30 – Circo Voador, Rio de Janeiro

5/1 – Audio, Sao Paolo

5/4 – Campo Abierto Festival, Santiago 

5/31 – Governors Ball, NYC 

6/15 – Smoking Grooves, Long Beach

7/11 – Summerset House, London

7/12 – North Sea Jazz, Rotterdam Netherands

7/13 – Dour Festival, Dour Belgium

 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Tame Impala Perform “Borderline” at Coachella

I’ve written quite a bit about the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Kevin Parker and his acclaimed solo recording project Tame Impala over the past few years. And as you may recall, his third album, 2015’s Currents was a commercial and critical breakthrough as it was a Grammy-nominated, RIAA Gold-Certified effort that reflected a decided change in songwriting and approach that resulted in some of the most emotionally direct lyrics of his growing catalog paired with a more nuanced, textured sound that drew from psych rock, psych pop, synth pop, prog rock and R&B.

Patience,” which was released last month, was the first bit of new, solo material from Parker in several years, and while being a decidedly upbeat banger that seamlessly bridged 90s house and 70s funk, thematically the track was a thoughtful meditation on the cycles and phases of life. “Borderline,” Parker’s latest single is a blissed out, shimmering, mid-tempo track centered around arpeggiated synths, Parker’s imitable, plaintive falsetto and a soaring hook. And while showcasing the flourishes of the house music-inspired instrumentation of its predecessor, the track should serve as a reminder that Parker has a deep collection of hook-driven bangers.

Parker and his backing band will be making appearances across the international festival circuit that will include stops at Coachella FestivalShaky Knees FestivalCorona Capital Festival, Boston CallingPrimavera Sound Festival, Glastonbury FestivalLollapalooza with more dates to come. Coachella recently released live footage of Tame Impala’s headlining set last week, and it included footage of “Borderline.” Check it out, and then check out the tour dates below.

Currently comprised of founding members Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, along with Owen Clarke, Al Doyle, and Felix Martin, the critically applauded, Grammy Award-nominated, London-based electro pop act Hot Chip can trace its origins back to when its founding duo of Taylor and Goddard met while studying at Elliot School, Putney. Bonding over a shared love of R&B and house music, Hot Chip’s founding duo started collaborating together musically as early as 1998.

After releasing 2001’s Mexico EP, 2002’s San Frandisco EP and a handful of other material through small labels and independently, the act caught the attention of Moshi Moshi Records, who signed the band in 2003 and subsequently released their full-length debut, 2004’s Coming on Strong. Interestingly around this time, the project expanded to a full-fledged band with the additions of Owen Clarke, Felix Martin and Al Doyle. And with their new lineup, the act began working on their sophomore album The Warning while signing a UK and US record deal with DFA Records and EMI Records, which resulted in Astralwerks releasing their full-length debut in the States in 2005.

Released in 2006, The Warning earned the band a more mainstream following while being critically applauded — the album featured two UK Top 40 singles  “Over and Over” and “Boy from School,” before eventually being shortlisted for that year’s Mercury Prize and Mixmag‘s Album of the Year. Adding to a growing national profile. “Over and Over” was named the best single of that year by NME.

The acclaimed London-based electro pop act’s third, full-length album, 2008’s Made in the Dark featured “Ready for the Floor,” which peaked at #6 on the UK charts. Building upon the buzz the single received, the band made appearances on Friday Night with Jonathan RossJimmy Kimmel Live! and Last Call with Carson Daly — with the song receiving a Grammy nod for “Best Dance Recording,” eventually losing out to Daft Punk’s “Harder Better, Faster, Stronger (Alive 2007).

After completing a lengthy world tour to support Made in the Dark, the members of Hot Chip returned to London and began writing and recording their fourth full-length album, 2010’s disco and early house music influenced One Life Stand, which found the band collaborating with This Heat‘s and Camberwell Now’s Charles Hayward, The Invisible’s Leo Taylor and Trinidadian steel panist Fimber Bravo.

Since then the band released two more albums: their fifth album, 2012’s In Our Heads, an album that the band’s Alexis Taylor said was written and recorded in a speedier fashion with less pressure and more fun — and 2015’s Why Make Sense, which featured album single “Huarache Lights.”

Hot Chip’s seventh full-length album A Bath Full of Ecstasy is slated for a June 21, 2019 release through Domino Records — and while being their third album for Domino, the album reportedly finds the band firmly cementing the sound they’ve been celebrated for — bringing euphoria and melancholy with breezy and colorful melodies, plaintive vocals and propulsive beats. Interestingly, the album which was recorded in Paris and London finds the act opening themselves up to a more adventurous and collaborative songwriting process, choosing to work with outside producers for the first time in their history —Cassius‘ Philippe Zdar, who has worked with Phoenix and Rodaidh McDonald, who has worked with the likes of The xx, David Byrne, Sampha and others.

Clocking in at 6 minutes, the album’s first single  “Hungry Child” is centered around glistening synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, finger snaps, plaintive vocals, an anthemic hook and a motorik-like groove — and while clearly being indebted to classic house and sultry French electronica, the track also subtly recalls JOVM mainstay Beacon. And as a result, it has a bittersweet air; the sort that comes from the recognition that joy is often paired with pain.
2019 will also see the members of Hot Chip embarking on what may arguably be the biggest tour of their entire history with a number of club shows during the Spring across Europe and North America, including a sold out April 29, 2019 stop at Elsewhere — before making stops across the European festival circuit. They return to New York in the fall with two dates — September 3, 2019 and September 4, 2019 at Brooklyn Steel. Check out the tour dates below.
Tour Dates
4/4 – London @ Village Underground SOLD OUT
4/5 – Brighton @ Concorde 2 SOLD OUT
4/6 – Bristol @ Trinity SOLD OUT
4/8 – Paris @ Trabendo SOLD OUT
4/9 – Brussels @ Botanique Orangerie SOLD OUT
4/11 – Cologne @ Luxor SOLD OUT
4/12 – Hamburg @ Mojo SOLD OUT
4/13 – Berlin @ Columbia Theatre SOLD OUT
4/14 – Amsterdam @ Paradiso Noord SOLD OUT
4/29 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere SOLD OUT
5/1 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre SOLD OUT
5/2 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’s SOLD OUT
5/4 –  San Francisco, CA @ August Hall SOLD OUT
5/24 – London @ All Points East Festival
6/1 – Egeskov Castle, Denmark @ Heartland Festival
6/8 – Helsinki, Finland @ Sideways Festival
6/14 – 6/18 – Mannheim, Germany @ Maifeld Derby Festival
6/28 – 6/30 – Somerset @ Glastonbury Festival
6/4 – Catalonia Spain @ Vida Festival
6/5 – Six-Fours-les-Plages, France @ Pointu Festival
6/11 – Lisbon, Portugal @ NOS Alive Festival
6/11 – 6/13 – Bilbao, Spain @ Bilbao Live Festival
6/19 – 6/21 – Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield @ Bluedot Festival
6/19 – 6/21 – Biarritz, France @ Biarritz en été Festival
6/26 – Aulnoye-Aimeries, France @ Les Nuits Secrètes Festival
8/2 – 8/4 – Waterford, Ireland @ All Together Now Festival
8/4 – Glasgow @ Playground of Sound Festival
8/16 – St Malo, France @ La Route du Rock Festival
8/16 – 8/18 – Hasselt, Belgium @ Pukkelpop Festival
8/30 – Vlieland, Netherlands @ Into The Great Wide Open Festival
Autumn 2019 headline tour
9/3 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
9/4 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel,
9/7 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
9/8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
9/9 – Boston, MA @ Royale
9/10 – Montreal, QC @ MTELUS
9/12 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
9/13 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
9/14 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
9/17 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
9/18 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
9/19 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
9/20 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater,
9/24 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
9/25 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
9/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Auditorium
10/17 – Dublin @ Olympia
10/18 – Birmingham @ O2 Institute 1
10/21 – Bristol @ O2 Academy
10/22 – Nottingham @ Rock City
10/24 – Norwich @ LCR
11/30 – Milan @ Alcatraz
12/2 – Amsterdam @ Melkweg
12/3 – Berlin @ Columbiahalle
12/4 – Luxembourg @ den Atelier
12/5 – Lausanne @ Les Docks
12/7 – Paris, @ Elysée Montmartre
12/11- Hamburg @ Docks
12/14 – Stockholm @ Vasateatern
12/15 – Oslo @ Rockefeller

Live Footage: Tame Impala Performs on “Saturday Night Live”

With the release of his first two albums, Innerspeaker and Lonerism, the Perth, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Kevin Parker quickly received national and international attention for his psych pop solo recording project Tame Impala. 2015’s Currents though, was a commercial and critical breakthrough: the Grammy-nominated, RIAA Gold-Certified album reflected a decided change in songwriting that resulted in some of his most emotionally direct lyrics paired with a more nuanced, textured sound that drew from psych rock, psych pop, synth pop, prog rock and R&B.

“Patience” is the first bit of new, solo material from Parker in a few years, and the mid-tempo track is a seamless synthesis of classic 90s house music and 70s funk, soul and disco that features shimmering and arpeggiated synths, piano jabs, a motorik groove, congo-led percussion and a soaring and rousingly anthemic hook paired with Parker’s imitable, falsetto croon. And while being a decidedly upbeat banger, the song is centered by a thoughtful meditation on the cycles and phases of life, in which the song’s narrator makes peace with the fact that everything and everyone is transient.

Parker made his Saturday Night Live debut last Saturday, and his appearance featured a live performance of “Patience” and a new track, “Borderline,” a shimmering mid-tempo track centered around arpeggiated synths, Parker’s plaintive falsetto crooning and a soaring hook that recalls 70s AM rock meshed with synth pop and psych pop

New Video: Swervedriver’s Murky Yet Anthemic “Space Oddity”-like “Mary Winter”

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the renowned, Oxford, UK-based alt rock/shoegazer act Swervedriver, and as you may recall, the act which is primarily centered around their founding duo Adam Franklin (vocals, guitar) and Jimmy Hartridge (guitar, vocals) along with Mikey Jones (drums, vibes) and revolving bassists Mick Quinn and Ben Ellis can trace their origins back to 1989. During their initial run from their founding until 1998, the band released four full-length albums — 1991’s Raise, 1993’s Mezcal Head, 1995’s Ejector Seat Reservation and 1998’s 99th Dream — while going through a number of lineup changes, management changes and different labels. 

By 1993, Franklin and Hartridge teamed up with Jef Hindmarsh (drums) and Steve George (bass) and with that lineup, they developed a reputation for a heavier rock sound than their shoegazer counterparts — but over their last five years together, their sound slowly evolved to include elements of psych rock, pop and indie rock. And although Franklin, Hartdige, Hindmarsh and George were the longest tenured lineup in the band’s history, they went on a lengthy hiatus in 1998, in which the individual members went on to pursue a variety of professional and creative pursuits. Franklin embarked on a solo career that would rival Swervedriver’s creative output, including a stint fronting the experimental electro pop/electro folk act Toshack Highway, whose releases ranged from sextet ensemble works to four-track bedroom recordings and then with the more traditionally guitar rock-driven Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody. Hartridge founded a distribution company. Hindmarsh founded Badearth Management, a music management company that eventually managed Scottish rock act Terra Diablo and others.

In early 2005, Franklin, Hartrdige, Hindmarsh and George reconvened to collaborate with Castle Music to choose songs on what would be a two disc anthology Juggernaut Rides ’89-’98, a compilation that included 33 tracks remastered from the originals DATs. Half of those tracks were non-album tracks, along with four previously unreleased tracks — including the last recordings the band worked on in 1998, “Just Sometimes” and “Neon Lights Glow.” Released to critical applause, Juggernaut Rides ’89 – ’98 helped build up growing interest in the shoegazer pioneers’ work. 

2006 was a rather busy year for the members of the band’s longest tenured lineup. Franklin began collaborating with Interpol‘s Sam Fogarino in Magnetic Morning. Hindmarsh went on to publish Rider, which chronicled his experiences and observations on the road touring with the band between 1992 and 1998. Somewhat inspired by the wildly successful 2004 reunion tour of the Pixies, the band reunited for a world tour in 2008 that garnered the attention and acclaim that largely evaded them a decade earlier. 

2015’s I Wasn’t Born to Lose You was the first album of new, original material from the band in 17 years, and although they’ve managed to be consistent in their second run, they’ve gone through a series of lineup changes between the 2008 reunion tour and the release of I Wasn’t Born to Lose You. 

Now, as you may recall, the band’s second reunion-era album and their sixth altogether, Future Ruins was released earlier this year through Dangerbird Records. Future Ruins’ predecessor, was written and recorded immediately after an Australian tour and inspired by the results, the members of the pioneering shoegazer act decided to repeat the process after a lengthy Stateside tour in which they played Raise and Mezcal Head in their entirety. “That’s a good way to record,” Franklin says in press notes, “because you’ve literally just seen the whites of the audience’s eyes and you’re thinking, ‘If that audience from last night were here now…’ You can’t get too mellow. We came home with 30 different songs.” 10 more days of vocals and overdubs at Brighton UK‘s Seaside Studios with Grammy Award-winning engineer TJ Doherty quickly followed.

The material on Future Ruins finds the band retaining the escapist vibes that they’ve long been known for — but while generally being inspired by the uneasy tension and anxiety of our ongoing sociopolitical moment. Interestingly, the album’s second single “Drone Lover” actually predates the I Wasn’t Born recording sessions. As the band’s Adam Franklin explained in press notes, at the time, ““I have no recollection of where this tune came from. It’s a song that’s been knocking around for a few years, but for some reason had never been presented to anyone until we were in the studio this time and I clicked play on the demo while searching for something else. TJ and Mikey both went ‘what’s this?’ and then ‘so why aren’t we recording it?’ – and so we recorded it. The lyric mentions love but it’s really about war – remote war and killing from a distance whilst chomping on last night’s leftover pizza or something.”  The album’s third single, was the shimmering and wistful “The Lonely Crowd Fades In The Air.” As Franklin admits, the band was thinking of The Clash, “even though it doesn’t sound anything like them, but it’s like a punch on the nose from a velvet glove.” Oddly, as I have a day left of my 30s, the song seems to hit me in a personal way, as the song’s narrator thinks about all the directions his life may have taken, if he made different decisions at key points in his life. 

The members of Swervedriver are currently on a co-headlining tour with Failure that includes a Friday night stop at Warsaw. You can check out the remaining tour dates below — but I thought I should talk about the album’s first single, album opener “Mary Winter.” Arguably, the darkest single of the three they’ve released, the song is centered around fuzzy and jangling power chords, thunderous drumming and an anthemic hook — and despite the fact that the song sounds as though it could have been released in 1994, the song evokes an uneasy sense of foreboding while lyrically the song sounds indebted to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” as the song’s narrator is a space traveler, hurtling away from the world. Whether the narrator is escaping willfully or not, is left for us to decide. In the meantime, everything is fucked up — and while it may seem hopeless, we can’t just escape the planet. So maybe we should start asking ourselves, “What can we do to make it right?” Fittingly, the video employs the use of old space imagery, helping to emphasize a sense of weightlessness and helplessness.