Tag: Kate Bush

New Video: Francesca Blanchard Releases a Haunting Visual for “Did It To Myself”

Francesca Blanchard is an acclaimed French-born, Burlington, VT-based singer/songwriter. Since the release of her bilingual folk debut album, 2015’s Deux Visions, Blanchard has developed a reputation for relentlessly redefining her wheelhouse, her aoudad and approach. Following a year of extensive touring throughout the States and the European Union, Blanchard took time to rediscover what she wanted to say — and how exactly she wanted to say it: she started to experiment with a growing interest in production, which is a decided departure from the acoustic and folksy sound of her earliest material. 

The end result is melodic, indie pop that may arguably be the most vulnerable, cathartic and self-aware that the acclaimed French-born, Vermont-based singer/songwriter has written and released in her growing catalog — while revealing a songwriter, who has an unerring ability to write an infectious hook.  Blanchard’s latest single is the slow-burning and brooding “Did It To Myself.” Centered around atmospheric electronics, shimmering strummed guitars and Blanchard’s achingly plaintive vocals, “Did It To Myself” sounds as though it were indebted to Kate Bush and Dido — and it may be the most heartbreakingly honest song she has written to date. 

As Blanchard explains in press notes, “‘Did It To Myself’ is about admitting my part in my own pain. It is masochism veiled in heartbreak. Sometimes were ask to be hurt without realizing, and we eventually (hopefully) catch ourselves. I wrote it in between saying goodbye to someone I thought I needed and opening a door to something that would change me for the better.”

The recently released video features Blanchard dressed in an old-fashioned blue gown wandering the streets and subways of my beloved New York — in particular, Times Square, a G train passing past Bergen Street, Central Park, the 34th Street and 11th Avenue 7 train station, 9th Street and 4th Avenue G, F and R station and several other locations. And with most of the known world in quarantine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the video is an eerie reminder of the world we’ve (hopefully) temporarily lost. 

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Charlotta Perers is a Malmö, Sweden-based artist and creative mastermind behind the acclaimed and rising indie electro pop project Big Fox. Perers’ first two Big Fox albums — 2011’s self-titled debut and 2013’s Now — received widespread with material amassing over two million Spotify streams, as well as sync placements on Charmed, You Are The Worst and Catfish.

Initially slated for a May 2018 release, Perers’ Tom Malmros-produced third album See How the Light Falls was shelved a few weeks before its release when the rising Swedish artist received some news that at time derailed the album — and for some time, her career. “A few weeks before the albums was supposed to be released, I was diagnosed with lymphoma,” Perers recalls in press notes. “It all happened very quickly and it was almost like entering a parallel world with a different time scale, rules and priorities. It felt almost like being forced on to one of those ghost trains in a theme park, going in and out of tunnels and not knowing when or how or even if i would be able to get off.”

The entire process allowed a much deeper sense of perspective for the Malmo-based artist. “Life suddenly became very intense, very here and now — but that amplified positive experiences too. I realized how deeply our happiness is connected to our expectations,” Perers explains. “If I didn’t expect or demand things of life I could actually be quite happy just playing Yahtzee all day. But it felt good to know that the album was waiting for me on the other side. It was a reminder of something else, the someone I was outside the hospital.”      

18 months after her cancer diagnosis, Perers has fully recovered and has been “slowly reclaiming my life back,” as she says. Naturally, the added gestation period for the album has given the album’s material a deeper personal meaning and significance. “When I listen to it now I actually like the album even more,” she says. “I have some distance from it. When you’re in the middle of the process, it’s easy to get caught up in the details and not really hear the song anymore. Recently when I started listening to the album, after not listening to it for months, I even got this strange feeling of . . .have we really made this?” 

Sonically, the album’s material which weaves and bobs between dream pop ambience and mood and skillfully crafted songs further establishes the sound that won the Swedish artist acclaim: achingly tender and hauntingly beautiful songs centered around her expressive and airy voice and a textured production that’s both delicate and immersive. Interestingly, when Perers first started to work on the material that would comprise See How the Light Falls, she intuitively knew that the process couldn’t — and shouldn’t — be rushed. She had to allow the work to unravel at  a natural pace while finding a natural connection. “My experience of creativity is that I get this vague feeling of being pointed in a certain direction,” the acclaimed Malmo-based artist explains. “It rarely explains itself more than that. But I’ve learnt that if I give it time and attention then things slowly start to move and grow into something. It seems to run more smoothly if I manage to step back and let the process lead me instead of forcing it in a specific direction. Like with the lyrics, I can search for the right lyrics for a long time, even give up, and then some months later it’s as if the missing words find me rather than the other way around.”

As a result, the album’s material feels and sounds thoughtful and spacious — with the material arguably being some for the most atmospheric she has written and released to date while much of the album’s songs evoking specific times and places for its creator. “Sometimes songs are like secret rooms where you can say things that you don’t say anywhere else,” Charlotta Perers shares. Final Call,” which was released as a single when See How the Light Falls was initially supposed to be released now takes Perers to a specific moment: “When I listen to it now I remember my room at the hospital, the leaves moving outside the window, the nurses coming in and out and that special sound of the door which gave a little squeak every time someone opened it,” she recalls. 

See How The Light Falls‘ latest single, the slow-burning  “Let Love In” is an atmospheric  track centered around hazy synths, shimmering and gently plucked strings, gently padded beats, Perers’ gorgeous and achingly tender vocals and a soaring hook. The result is a song that’s features intimate and introspective lyrics with a hauntingly beautiful cinematic quality. And while bringing Kate Bush and JOVM mainstay ACES to mind, the track evokes the feeling of desperately longing to be more open with others and taking new steps to change that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Austra Releases a Surreal and Dream-like Visual for Cinematic Album Single “Anywayz”

Katie Austra Stelmanis is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter, composer and producer, and the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded electronic music act that takes her middle name, Austra. Over the past decade, Stelmanis has released three full-length albums 2011’s Feel It Break, 2013’s Olympia and 2017’s Future Politics, which she has written, performed and produced — and  has maintained a busy touring schedule both as s solo performer and with a backing band of rotating collaborators. All of this led to a devoted fanbase and countless sold-out shows across the globe; however, despite her growing success, Stelmanis had began to feel stagnant and uninspired. “I was losing faith in my own ideas,” the acclaimed Canadian singer/songwriter, composer and producer explains in press notes. During that period. Stelmanis unwittingly got into a toxic relationship that was tearing her apart. 

It wasn’t until Stelmanis was ready to face her insecurities, that was she was able to see a path forward. “My creative and personal relationships were heavily intertwined, and i knew the only answer was to part ways with all of the people and comforts that I’d known for the better part of a decade and start again,” Stelmanis says. Along with making much-needed changes in her personal life, her fourth album HiRUDiN, which is slated for a May 1, 2020 release through Domino Recording Co. reportedly finds Stelmanis taking an entirely different and free-spirited approach to her songwriting and production: she took up a collage approach to sampling, arranging, writing and producing the album’s material. She also sought new collaborators, at one point booking three days of sessions in Toronto with improv musicians she hadn’t met: these musicians included two-thirds of contemporary classical improv group c_RL; Kamancello, a cellist and kamanche duo; Pantayoa, a kulitang ensemble; and a children’s choir. Additionally,  Rodaidh McDonald and Joseph Shabason were brought in to co-produce the album’s material with Stelmanis. 

Deriving its title from the peptide that leeches releases that’s the most potent anticoagulant in the world, HiRUDiN points inward, following a deeply personal and intimate journey towards regeneration and salvation, while touching upon the fallout of toxic relationships, queer shame and insecurity, letting go of harmful and hurtful influences, breaking harmful behavioral problems and cycles,  and finding the power and wherewithal to rebuild from scratch. Rooted in hard-fought and even harder-won personal experience, Stelmanis’ fourth album may arguably be the most introspective and forward-thinking of her growing catalog to date. 

“Anywayz,” HiRUDiN’s second and latest single is an expansive and cinematic track centered around twinkling keys, oscillating synths, four-on-the-floor-like beats, a rousingly anthemic hook and Stelmanis’ and achingly plaintive vocals, and sonically, the slickly produced  song — to my ears — seems to draw from Kate Bush, classical music, experimental pop and synth pop. The song “explores the fear associated with leaving someone, and the terrifying realization that without them in your life, the rest of the world will continue unscathed as if nothing has changed.” 

Directed by Jasmin Mozaffari, the recently released video for “Anywayz” continues an ongoing collaboration between the director and the Canadian artist — and the video employs a surreal and dream-like quality while being uneasy and chaotic, as we follow a protagonist, who’s pushed onward — even if she doesn’t initially want to.  “I wanted the video to feel as dramatic and chaotic as heartbreak can be, bringing this fear into fruition. The concept focuses on Katie as a heightened version of herself, sequestered inside a barren mansion that resembles a cage of her own spiralling thoughts,” Mozzaffari explains in press notes. “She resists moving on, yet as time persists and the outside world thrives, it eventually forces itself upon her.”

Charlotte Cegarra is a French experimental dark pop singer/songwriter and artist, best known for hir work with The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and Charlotte and Magon.  VoxAxoV, Cegarra’s latest solo project meshes shamanic-like improvisations with elements of ambient electronica, experimental pop and pop centered around the French expressive vocals.

VoxAxoV’s debut single “You’ll Find Yourself/Te Tu Trouveras” is a hauntingly gorgeous and mesmerizing track centered around atmospheric and gently droning electronics and Cegarra’s gorgeous vocals, which express intimate contemplation and aching yearning within the turn of a phrase. Seemingly recalling — to my ears, at least — the likes of Majical Cloudz, Brian Eno and Kate Bush, “You’ll Find Yourself” as Cegarra explains is a quest for balance in a sinking world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matilda Mård is a Swedish-born and-based singer/songwriter and the creative mastermind behind the emerging recording project Many Voices Speak. Started in late 2016, Mård received early attention for her cover of “Blue Moon,” which eventually landed on Billboard‘s Emerging Artists Chart. Building upon a growing profile, the Swedish-born and-based singer/songwriter’s debut single “Video Child” appeared in the Netflix drama To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which led to a growing international profile, in addition to the release of her debut EP Away For All Time.

2018’s full-length debut Tank Town featured a handful of attention grabbing singles including “Necessaries,” “I Saw You,” Chances” and “Bony Shelter,” which was dubbed one of the “Most Beautiful Songs in the World” by Spotify.

Recorded in Berlin and released through Strangers Candy Records, Mård’s latest single,  the Peter Nygård-produced “Want It Kept,” is a slow-burning and brooding track centered around an sparse arrangement of ethereal synths, shimmering guitars and Mård’s achingly tender and wispy vocals. Sonically recalling the likes of Kate Bush, ACES and Softspot, the song is an atmospheric meditation on the inherent sacrifices and compromises of adult love, rooted in deep-seated regret and lived-in, personal experience. And as a result, the song manages to be a bittersweet and tacit acknowledgement of the fact that romantic relationships can have a person twisting and turning themselves into different configurations — without ever quite know why you’re drawn to that person or situation.

 

 

Last month, I wrote about ZINNIA,a Toronto-based art pop project featuring its creative mastermind Rachel Cardiello along with James Burrows, Chris Pruden, Connor Walsh and Mackenzie Longpre. And since their formation, the Canadian act has developed a layered synth-based sound with driving beats that’s been recently described as Kate Bush meets Meat Loaf as the material manages to be intimate and fierce.

ZINNIA’s recently released full-length debut Sensations in Two Dot thematically focuses on moments of doubt — in particular, creative, societal and personal, while exploring what it means to hold compassion through the multifaceted grey areas of life. Whether in the real life town of Two Dot, Montana (population 143) or the band’s hometown of Toronto (population 2.6 million), the album’s nine songs attempt to probe the complex, unsettling similarities of the human experience. The album’s latest single, the brooding “Yellowstone” is centered around a shuffling and old-timey arrangement of atmospheric synths, soaring strings, guitar, bass and Cardiello’s expressive and aching vocals  — and while continuing a run of material that brings Aimee Mann, Kate Bush and others to mind, the song is rooted in the intense self-doubt, confusion, unease and a longing for hone.

 

 

 

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Marika Wittmar is an emerging Swedish singer/songwriter, whose work is inspired by folk, world music, blues jazz, 70s prog rock and Buddhist meditation and female mythology. Her debut EP, Underneath Your Hands was recorded at Gothenburg-based Grammofonstudion earlier this year and the effort, which was reportedly inspired by Wittmar’s life, nature and folklore.

The EP’s latest single is the atmospheric and brooding “Ghosts.” Centered around twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, shimmering guitar lines, a soaring hook and Wittmar’s gorgeous vocals, the track possess a mesmerizing quality reminiscent of Kate BushTales of Us-era Goldfrapp, Melanie De Biasio and Portishead.

 

 

 

ZINNIA is a Toronto-based art pop project featuring its creative mastermind Rachel Cardiello along with James Burrows, Chris Pruden, Connor Walsh and Mackenzie Longpre. And since their formation, the Canadian act has developed a layered synth-based sound with driving beats that’s been recently described as Kate Bush meets Meat Loaf as the material manages to be intimate and fierce.

Slated for a November 22, 2019 release, ZINNIA’s full-length debut Sensations in Two Dot thematically focuses on moments of doubt — in particular, creative, societal and personal, while exploring what it means to hold compassion through the multifaceted grey areas of life. Whether in the real life town of Two Dot, Montana (population 143) or the band’s hometown of Toronto (population 2.6 million), the album’s nine songs attempt to probe the complex, unsettling similarities of the human experience.  The album’s latest single, the atmospheric “Requiem” features a sparse arrangement of twinkling and dramatic keys, a propulsive rhythm section, achingly plaintive vocals and a soaring hook. And while bearing a resemblance to Aimee Mann, Kate Bush and others, the track is centered around deeply personal and lived in experience — in his case, Cardiello’s grief over the death of her father, and how that has changed over the past decade. It’s a song that hits close to home: it’s been close to a decade since my father’s death and although the circumstances are probably very different, how I’ve thought about it and processed it has changed over time.

“I spent most of my twenties processing my dad’s death — thinking, writing and singing about it,” Cardiello recalls in press notes. “In some way, I feel like I processed it so fully that I grew a thick callus around the part of the loss that was very raw and fragile. At times, I resented the tough skin, which was necessary to get through that hard time.

“I wrote ‘Requiem’ on the plane ride to Montana, to mark the 10 year anniversary of his death. It felt like a significant milestone and I was curious to see how my grief would change.”

 

 

 

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Johanna Cranitch is an Australian-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer and the creative mastermind behind the electro pop project White Prism. Cranitch grew up in a deeply musical home, where she was immersed in music for most, if not all of her life. Her father was a priest-in-training, who used to sing Gregorian chants around the house — and as the story goes, when Cranitch was a small child, her Hungarian-born father, a jazz pianist. gave her his blessing by openly declaring that “this one will be musical.”

Her parents encouraged her to go to the Kodaly School of Music, where she was classically trained as a vocalist and as a musician. When she was nine, Cranitch performed at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Opera Australia Children’s Chorus. But like most young people, she had a love of pop music – especially Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac, New Order, and others.  After graduating from high school, Cranitch went on to attend the Australian Institute of Music, where she studied jazz vocals and graduating with honors.

After a stint performing in her native Australia, Cranitch relocated to New York, where she cut her teeth as an assistant recording engineer, writing and recording several hundred demos before joining The Cranberries and The CardigansNina Persson as a touring background vocalist and keyboardist. Many of those demos that she wrote and recorded during her stint as a recording engineer, wound up appearing the debut effort of her first solo recording project, Johanna and the Dusty Floor. While as a member of The Cranberries’ touring band, Cranitch spent a lot of her off-time in Iceland, which helped influenced her latest project White Prism, a project that she saw as much-needed reboot.

Several years have passed since I’ve personally written about Cranitch and as it turns out, the Aussie-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer relocated to Los Angeles. where she’s been primarily been working as a producer. Recently, she finally has had the time to release the music she has been working on over the past couple of years — material that continues to be heavily influenced by the aforementioned Kate Bush, Phil Collins, Cocteau Twins and Joni Mitchell among others. And while being e decidedly synth-based, her work is centered around lyrics that frequently tell stories of love and loss, triumph and failure. 

“Good Man,” is the first new batch of White Prism material in several years. Centered around a sleek and modern production featuring shimmering and arpeggiated bursts of synth, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, martial-styled drumming, Cranitch’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook, the song manages to be carefully crafted yet rooted in the sort of vulnerability and earnestness  that comes from lived-in experience. Interestingly, “Good Man” is the first single Cranitch every really produced — and came about as a necessity: she didn’t have the budget to hire a producer, so she set about learning how to record and make sounds on her own computer. She then enlisted the assistance of producer and composer Matt Wigton to bring the material home.

“’Good Man’is about fighting for love, for what you believe in and ultimately being on the right side of history,” the Aussie-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer explains in press notes. “I wrote ‘Good Man’ after a difficult period with my then-husband. I was reflecting on our differences and right when I was writing the lyrics, the news came on that Trump had started to attack the health care bill in the courts effectively taking away transgender rights to the health care act. It felt like a very ominous sign of things to come. We were all recovering from the election still and this felt like such an assault on freedom in America.”