Tag: indie rock

Sam Valdez · Clean

Sam Valdez is a rising,  Nevada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who specializes in an immersive and cinematic sound that draws from elements of shoegaze, Americana, indie rock and pop that’s largely informed by her childhood growing up in the Nevada desert and her formative musical experiences as a child violinist: her work is generally centered around atmospheric and dreamy textures, abstract yet deeply emotive lyrics and classical-inspired arrangements.

So far Valdez’s work has received praise from the likes of Clash Magazine, Consequence of Sound and Earmilk— and she has received regular rotation from KCRW. Adding to a growing profile,  Valdez has opened for Stella Donnelly, Cayucas and Giant Rocks among others.

“Clean,” Valdez’s latest single is a slow-burning, brooding and atmospheric track centered around reverb-drenched guitar, gently padded guitars, a soaring hook and Valdez’s achingly plaintive vocals. And while bearing a resemblance to Slow Air-era Still Corners, the track is a subtle twist on the prototypical love song. “‘Clean is a love song in a way but it’s more about being drawn to self-destruction,” Valdez says. “It’s about finding comfort in uncertainty and appreciating the darker qualities in someone as well as the good.”

 

 

Advertisements

Lucias Tadini is an Italian-Brazilian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles, where’s he best known for his solo recording project Tadini. The Italian-Brazilian singer/songwriter and musician, studied at Boston‘s Berklee College of Music— and after completing his studies, he wound up playing in a number of bands and projects, which have allowed him to hone his skills as a singer, keyboardist and guitarist, as well as producer and arranger.

Upon graduation, Tadini relocated to Los Angeles, where he started crafting arrangements centered around guitar, a collection of Moog synths, a Mellotron or two and a theremin that drew from Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the rhythms and melodies of his native Brazil in a genre-blurring fashion. That material wound up becoming the Brazilian-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s forthcoming, full-length debut Collective Delusion. 

Last month, I wrote about “The Arsonist,” Collective Delusion‘s first single. Centered around explosive power chords, thunderous drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook, the song is full of arena rock friendly bombast and swagger paired with an incredibly self-assured performance that belies his relative youth. Written as he was relocating from Boston to Los Angeles. the song is a message about accepting and embracing change as a universal part of life. Continuing upon a similar vein as its immediate predecessor, Collective Delusion‘s second and latest single “Welcome Back to Freedom” is a slow-burning, bluesy dirge, centered around an enormous, power chord-driven hook, thunderous drumming and some explosive guitar soloing. Sonically, the song will likely draw comparisons to The Blue Stones,  Reignwolf and several others.

“‘Welcome Back to Freedom’ is  a song about surpassing your inner struggles (mental health) to win back your freedom, and the message is delivered through electrifying guitar riffs, a wall of synths and an arena ready catchy chorus, ” the emerging Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist explains in press notes.

 

 

 

 

New Video: Mike Edel Releases a Hook-Driven and Joyous Single

Mike Edel is a Linden, Alberta, Canada-born singer/songwriter and guitarist, who currently splits his time between Seattle, WA and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Since  2008, Edel has released two EP’s 2008’s , 2008’s Hide from the Seasons and 2012’s The Country Where I Came From and three full-length albums 2011’s The Last of Our Mountains, 2015’s India, Seattle and last year’s Chris Walla-produced THRESHOLDS.

Now, as you may recall, THRESHOLDS was a decided change in sonic direction for the Canadian-born signer songwriter and guitarist.  Shortly before he went went into the studio, he adopted a “consistency-is-boring” mantra, which helped him transform his sound and songwriting approach towards hook driven rock anthems centered around earnest songwriting. 

Co-written by Edel and Parker Bossley, Edel’s latest single  “Hello Universe” is a decidedly upbeat and optimistic anthem centered around boom bap beats, atmospheric synths, shimmering guitar, Edel’s plaintive vocals and a rousing, arena rock friendly hook. While continuing a run of hook-driven rock paired with earnest songwriting, “Hello Universe” focuses on finding life’s joys. 

The recently released video for “Hello Universe” was shot in Morocco and follows Edel, accompanied with an old school boom box, as he traveled through the North African country. And while giving the viewer a small glimpse into Moroccan life, the video reminds us all that although we all may have different cultures, languages and even different religions, we can all bond over simple yet profound things —  a smile from a kind face when you’re a stranger in a foreign land, a favorite song blasted on a boom box and so on.

“Somehow, Jordan Clarke and I ended up shooting the best music video we’ve ever made in Morocco – a single day before all the borders shut down due to the pandemic,” Edel says in press notes. “We were chased by a snake charmer for filming, but the people we met during the shoot loved the boombox. We almost didn’t make it home!”

New Video: Nantes, France-based Space Rock Collective Albinos Congo Releases an Anthemic Ode to the 90s

Albinos Congo is a Nantes, France-based collective led by founding members and creative masterminds Tristan D’Hervez and Pierre Stroska that features a rotating cast of about a dozen of Nantes’ best players. Although they cite glam rock and the Beastie Boys as major influences on their sound and approach, their sound, which they’ve dubbed Romantic Neo Space Punk, features elements of pop punk, hip-hop, psych rock, grunge rock, garage rock, shoegaze and even krautrock. 

The French collective’s latest single, the bombastic, Brit Pop meets krautrock meets space rock-like “Space Jam” is an improvised jam that the band recorded and a mixed about a week before heading to Spain to tour for their debut EP. Centered around fuzzy and distorted power chords, blown out boom bap-like drum beats, an enormous arena rock friendly hook, bubbling and gurgling synths and falsetto vocals the track as the band explains was partially inspired by Remy Zero’s “Save Me” and by the 90s classic Space Jam. (Unsurprisingly, the song openly references ET — but in a sort of parallel universe in which ET joins the Toon Squad and helps save the world. Would Warner Brothers allow that kind of crossover? Who knows? But imagine the possibilities, man. The possibilities! Additionally, while the song is trippy as hell, there’s hope for a world of universal acceptance.)

Directed by the band’s Tristan D’Hervez, the recently released video for “Space Jam” features the members of the collective performing the track in a  smoke machine-filled studio and strobe lights but ET makes an appearance wearing a Toon Squad jersey. It’s defiantly DIY and trippy as hell. 

New Video: Rising Aussie Indie Act Poppongene Returns with a Stop-Motion Animated Visual for Tense and Jagged “Don’t Even Know”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the rapidly rising  Bryon Bay, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and multi-disciplinary artist and JOVM mainstay Sophie Treloar, best known as the creative mastermind behind Poppongene, an Aussie dream pop project that finds Treloar performing both as a solo artist and as a full-fledged band featuring Skube Burnell, Gemma Helms, Justin Kuchel and Deanna Ramsey. Between 2016 and 2017, Treloar released three critically applauded singles in her native  Australia “Do It, Girl,” “Belgravey,” and “Esky” — and as a result of the growing buzz surrounding the project, Treloar and company opened for a handful internationally acclaimed acts during their Aussie tours, including  Lucy Dacus, Weyes Blood and Slow Dancer.

Now, as you may recall, Treloar’s Tim Harvey-produced EP Futures Unsure, which is slated for a July 3, 2020 release through Our Golden Friend reportedly marks a distinct step forward in the rising Aussie singer/songwriter’s artistic, musical and personal development: the material generally represents Treloar closing a difficult but rewarding chapter in her personal life, in which she comes to terms and embraces her identity as a queer woman. So far I’ve written about two of the EP’s latest singles, the shimmering and slow-burning, Still Corners-like “Not Wrong” and the ironic and jangling guitar pop ode to doing complacence and effortless hook ups, “Eternally Alone.” The EP’s fourth and latest single “Don’t Even Know” is centered around jagged guitar stabs, a propulsive rhythm section, Treloar’s plaintive yet punchily delivered lyrics, and a razor sharp hook. Although the single may be the most anxious and uneasy single the rising Aussie JOVM mainstay has released to date, it’s inspired by deeply personal experience: “‘Don’t Even Know’ was written in the midst of a relationship breakdown,” Treloar explains in press notes. “It follows the subtle observations of change and disconnection. It’s punchy and direct, both lyrically and tonally. I distinctly remember feeling particularly irked when I wrote this song, a feeling which translates suitably. It feels like a small step away from the usual dreamy nature of my music which is a refreshing change.”

Directed and animated by Carolyn Hawkins, the recently released video for “Don’t Even Know” features painstaking stop-motion animation using handcrafted from materials in Hawkins’ own home, and filmed  over many hours during Quarantine isolation. Throughout the video, evokes several different tensions happening simultaneously — human relationships, the relationship between the country and the city and how they shift and morph seemingly at will. “Being quite a labour-intensive technique, it was the perfect all-consuming iso project… The materials I used to create my hand cut elements came from sources I already had around the house, such as coloured card, wrapping paper, and an old book entitled The Earth and Its History,” the video’s director explains in press notes. “[Poppongene] and I spent a bit of time brainstorming and coming up with some imagery that related to the song, centering around the tensions between nature and the city, geological shifts, and how these things can act as visual metaphors for the changing nature of relationships.”

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Black Pumas Perform Their Gorgeous Cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act and JOVM mainstays, Black Pumas. Led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and guitarist Adrian Quesada and 27 year old singer/songwriter Eric Burton, the act can trace its origins back to when Burton, a popular street performer in his native  Los Angeles busked his way across country to Austin, where he eventually met Quesada.

Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Austin-based soul act their critically applauded and commercially successful self-titled, full-length debut, an effort that featured the smash hit “Colors,” which amassed over four million YouTubeviews —and being one o the most added songs to Adult Album Alternative (AAAA) radio. Along with that, the band had gone on a relentless tour schedule that brought their uplifting live show across North America and the European Union, including three separate stops in the New York area: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, during that same period of time the band has made begun to make the rounds across the nationally televised talk show circuit, playing  Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen Show and others.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the acclaimed, Austin-based JOVM mainstay act had been covering Tracy Chapman‘s  smash hit “Fast Car” during their live sets — and their rendition has quickly become a fan favorite. Unsurprisingly, the song and its lyrics resonate deeply with Burton — and although the Black Pumas cover is fairly straightforward and loving rendition, it comes from a deeply personal place, as though Burton could have written it himself. “To me, ‘Fast Car’ is a song of hope, dreams and a relentless heart to go somewhere and be someone,” says Burton. “I learned the song when I first began to busk and of the covers that I knew, it garnered the most attention from the random passerby. As a musician and artist, I’m attracted to songs that make us reflect on our daily struggles for making life worth living for.”

Recently, Black Pumas performed their gorgeous and heartfelt cover of “Fast Car” on Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Interestingly, with each repeated listen of the Black Pumas cover, I’m reminded of what a great song “Fast Car” is — and how much I loved it.  Sometimes a great song is an artist reaching down within themselves to tell the truth as they see it, paired with their voice and a guitar — or whatever instrument they feel fit. 

New Audio: Joe Wong Returns with a Psychedelic Ode to Existential Dread

Joe Wong is a Milwaukee-born, Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, who has created the scores for acclaimed TV series like Master of None, Russian Doll, Ugly Delicious, Awkafina is Nora from Queens, and others — and for being host of The Trap Set podcast.

Wong’s full-length debut Nite Creatures is slated for release later this year, and as you may recall, I wrote about the album’s lush and ambitious first single, the Man Who Sold The World-era David Bowie-like “Dreams Wash Away.” Wong’s second and latest single “Nuclear Rainbow” is a Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles-like track, centered around a lush and ambitious arrangement featuring soaring strings, regal horns, strummed guitar, hi-hat driven drumming and fluttering flutes — and while sounding as though it came out of the psychedelic late 60s, the track is centered around a deep existential dread that should feel familiar to all of us. 

Starlight Girls · Teenage Crime

Brooklyn-based indie rock act Starlight Girls can trace their origins back to 2011, when Christina Bernard (vocals), an Ohio-born megachurch chorister turned rocker and Shaw Walters (guitar), a San Francisco-born, guitar savant and tech wizard met and decided to start a band. Bernard and Walters found their bandmates — Sara Mundy (keys) and Isabel Alvarez (backing vocals), two Long Island-born theater junkies, Tysen Arveson (bass), a Seattle-born, Hawaii-raised art freak and Josh Davis (drums), a University of Michigan educated jazz drummer through Craigslist.

The band initially emerged into the public eye through a wildly successful April Fool’s prank: they recorded an impression of acclaimed artist Joanna Newsom covering one of their songs and a handful of blogs took the bait, covering the song with rapturous praise. Unsurprisingly, as a result, Starlight Girls quickly became a buzz worthy band, eventually releasing an EP that they supported with a handful of national tours — including an opening slot for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Building upon a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based at played one of Europe’s biggest festivals, and they followed that up with their noisy and attention-grabbing Jamie Stewart-produced 7 x 3 EP.

2016 saw the release of their enigmatic and cinematic, full-length debut Fantasm, which they supported through tours with an eclectic array of artists including Kate Nash, St. Lucia, Tilly and the Wall, Nick Waterhouse, Total Slacker, Crystal Fighters and Lucius. Since then, the members of the band have ventured outside of music and outside of Brooklyn in a variety of different creative projects: Christina Bernard has delved into film and directing, directing a self-penned short film shot in California, which will be released later this year. Shaw Walters has become a rising star in the tech world, traveling around the world creating holographic augmented reality projects for performers and artists, including a mixed-reality collaboration with acclaimed artist Marina AbramovićThe Life, which has become a lightning rod for alt-right conspiracy theorists. The rest of the band has continued to solider on as musicians, during what may be the most difficult time for artists and creatives in recent memory.

Interestingly the band’s Christina Bernard-produced EP Entitled was recorded at Upstate New York-based Marcata Recording— and the material is a dark yet upbeat come-on to an unknowable future while evoking a sexy freak-out from the edge of oblivion. That sounds and feels familiar, doesn’t it? Last month, I wrote about Entitled‘s expansive first single “Get Right,” a kaleidoscopic and cinematic track that possesses elements of shoegaze, art rock, goth rock, psych rock and 70s AM rock — all while being one of the sexiest songs they’ve released to date.

“Teenage Crime,” Entitled‘s second and latest single is a slow-burning and atmospheric single centered around reverb and pedal effected guitars, twinkling keys and a soaring hook — and while reminding me a bit of Slow Air-era Still Corners and Stevie Nicks, the track’s lyrical themes, as the band’s Christina Bernard explains touches upon spiritual exploration, hope for the future and reconciling the past.

“As far as songwriting goes, most of the music came together spontaneously during rehearsals,” Bernard says of the EP’s creative process. “There was a lot of change happening for us around the time we wrote it—a lot of times when we played we didn’t know when our next time playing together might be. So the energy was insane every time we played.

“We’d gotten really in sync as a band through playing live so much, so someone would pull a riff out of the air in rehearsal and we’d just run with it full speed for four minutes and that would be the song. I’d always record rehearsals in case magic happened, and it did a lot. Then I would write lyrics (if I hadn’t already written them on the spot) and later we’d recreate what we’d played.

The only song that didn’t happen that way was Teenage Crime, which I wrote one night in my room. The guys in the band hated it at first because it’s like the slowest thing we do. But when we played it live all the ladies started swaying and I think that’s when everyone changed their minds.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our influences are hard to pin down. We all listen to really different music and I can’t remember what we were each into while recording. I personally was out dancing a lot to some pretty out there international drum circles. I was getting into the idea of music as a ceremonial thing—repetitive and rhythmic and visceral—so I was influenced by that, and how those ideas would translate to rock.

 

 

Black Pumas · Fast Car

Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Grammy Award-nominated Austin, TX-based soul act and JOVM mainstays, Black Pumas. Led by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and guitarist Adrian Quesada and 27 year old singer/songwriter Eric Burton, the act can trace its origins back to when Burton, a popular street performer in his native  Los Angeles busked his way across country to Austin, where he eventually met Quesada.

Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Austin-based soul act their critically applauded and commercially successful self-titled, full-length debut, an effort that featured the smash hit “Colors,” which amassed over four million YouTube views —and being one o the most added songs to Adult Album Alternative (AAAA) radio. Along with that, the band had gone on a relentless tour schedule that brought their uplifting live show across North America and the European Union, including three separate stops in the New York area: The Knitting Factory, last May; Mercury Lounge, last July; and Brooklyn Bowl last September. Additionally, during that same period of time the band has made begun to make the rounds across the nationally televised talk show circuit, playing  Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen Show and others.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the members of the acclaimed, Austin-based JOVM mainstay act had been covering Tracy Chapman‘s “Fast Car” during their live sets — and their rendition has quickly become a fan favorite. Unsurprisingly, the song and its lyrics resonate deeply with Burton — and although the Black Pumas cover is fairly straightforward and loving rendition, it comes from a deeply personal place, as though Burton could have written it himself. “To me, ‘Fast Car’ is a song of hope, dreams and a relentless heart to go somewhere and be someone,” says Burton. “I learned the song when I first began to busk and of the covers that I knew, it garnered the most attention from the random passerby. As a musician and artist, I’m attracted to songs that make us reflect on our daily struggles for making life worth living for.”