Tag: Liz Phair

Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded indie rock project Soccer Mommy.  Allison first picked up guitar when she was six — and as a teenager, she attended Nashville School of the Arts, where she studied guitar and played in the school’s swing band. By 2015, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began posting home-recorded songs as Soccer Mommy to Bandcamp during the summer of 2015, just as she was about head off to New York University, where she studied music business at the University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

While she was in college, Allison played her first Soccer Mommy show at Bushwick, Brooklyn’s Silent Barn. The Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed her to a record deal. After spending two years studying at NYU, Allison returned to Nashville to pursue a full-time career in music.

Upon her return to Nashville, the acclaimed Swiss-born artist wrote and released two Soccer Mommy albums — 2016’s For Young Hearts through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection through Fat Possum Records. Her proper, full-length debut, 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, Alison has wound up touring with Stephen Malkmus, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves, Jay Som, Slowdive, Frankie Cosmos, Liz Phair, Phoebe Bridgers, Paramore, Foster the People, Vampire Weekend, and Wilco.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was gearing up to be a massive year for the young and rising singer/songwriter and guitarist: she began the year by playing at one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and had joined a list of contemporary artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. Allison’s highly-anticipated sophomore album color theory was released to critical applause — and building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Nashville-based artist had been gearing up for a massive year: she was about to embark one a headlining tour with a number of dates sold-out months in advance, along with that, she had lined up appearances across the global festival circuit that included a stop at Glastonbury. Additionally, she was supposed to make her late-night, nationally televised debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

With touring being on an indefinite half for the music industry, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist recognized that this was a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas. Combining her love of video games and performing, Allison held a digital concert on the online gaming platform Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend it. The concert was so popular, that her fans crashed the platform’s servers, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Allison has also performed a number of live streams events, including  NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork‘s IG Live Series. And she also recently released her own Zoom background images.

Recently, Allison and company embarked on a an Bella Clark-directed 8-bit virtual, music video tour in which the band plays some of the cities she was meant to be passing through — Minneapolis, Chicago,Seattle, Toronto, and Austin. Instead of virtually playing at the more common tourist locations or a traditional music venue, the members of the band are mischievously placed in unusual locations: an abandoned Toronto area subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge and more.performing album track “crawling in my skin.”

Continuing some wildly creative ways to maintain the momentum of her full-length debut, Allison recently launched a singles series, Soccer Mommy & Friends that sees some of her most accomplished friends and associates covering her work — and Allison covering their work. The singles series will see contributions from MGMT‘s Andrew VanWyngarden, Beabadoobee, Beach Bunny, Jay Som and a list others — with releases dropping every two weeks. The singles series first release finds the acclaimed Oakland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte, the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed indie rock act Jay Som covering Soccer Mommy’s “Lucy.”

Interestingly, Jay Som’s take on “lucy” turns the jangling guitar pop anthem into a shimmering and brooding track, centered around atmospheric synths, thumping beats and ethereal vocals that to my ears reminds me quite a bit of Air’s ethereal remix of Beck’s “Heaven Hammer.” “I had an extremely fun time recording the ‘lucy’ cover,” Duterte says in press notes. “Sophie has such a special way of entwining catchy melodies and sometimes dark chord progressions. I feel very lucky to be a part of this comp!”

All net profits from Bandcamp sales from the series will be donated to Oxfam‘s COVID-19 relief fun. Oxfam is working with partners to reach more than 14 million people in nearly 50 countries and the US to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 in vulnerable communities and support people’s basic food needs and livelihoods. As we’re all aware women and girls usually bear a disproportionate burden of care in a crises like COVID-19, and Oxfam has a proven record of helping women cope during and recover after these crises in ways that allow them to be safer and stronger than ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Video: Acclaimed Indie Artist Soccer Mommy Goes on a Virtual 8-Bit Tour

Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded indie rock project Soccer Mommy.  Allison first picked up guitar when she was six — and as a teenager, she attended Nashville School of the Arts, where she studied guitar and played in the school’s swing band. By 2015, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began posting home-recorded songs as Soccer Mommy to Bandcamp during the summer of 2015, just as she was about head off to New York University, where she studied music business at the University’sSteinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. 

While she was in college, Allison played her first Soccer Mommy show at Bushwick, Brooklyn’s Silent Barn. She caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed her to a record deal — and after spending two years at NYU, she returned to Nashville to pursue a full-time career in music. Upon her return to Nashville, the acclaimed Swiss-born artist wrote and released two Soccer Mommy albums — 2016’s For Young Hearts through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection through Fat Possum Records. Her proper, full-length debut, 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, Alison has wound up touring with Stephen Malkmus, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves, Jay Som, Slowdive, Frankie Cosmos, Liz Phair, Phoebe Bridgers, Paramore, Foster the People, Vampire Weekend, and Wilco.  

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was gearing up to be a massive year for the young and rising singer/songwriter and guitarist: she began the year by playing at one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and had joined a list of contemporary artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. Allison’s highly-anticipated sophomore album color theory was released to critical applause — and building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Nashville-based artist had been gearing up for a massive year: she was about to embark one a headlining tour with a number of dates sold-out months in advance, along with that, she had lined up appearances across the global festival circuit that included a stop at Glastonbury. Additionally, she was supposed to make her late-night, nationally televised debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

With touring being on an indefinite half for the music industry, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist recognized that this was a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas. Combining her love of video games and performing, Allison held a digital concert on the online gaming platform Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend it. The concert was so popular, that her fans crashed the platform’s servers, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Allison has also performed a number of live streams events, including  NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork’s IG Live Series. And she also recently released her own Zoom background images. 

Recently, Allison and company embarked on a an Bella Clark-directed 8-bit virtual, music video tour in which the band plays some of the cities she was meant to be passing through — Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, and Austin. Instead of virtually playing at the more common tourist locations or a traditional music venue, the members of the band are mischievously placed in unusual locations: an abandoned Toronto area subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge and more. Interestingly, the video four features the virtual band playing the album’s latest single “crawling in my skin.” Centered around looping and shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line, shuffling drumming and subtly shifting tempos, the track reveals a remarkably self-assured young songwriter, who has an unerring knack for pairing earnest songwriting with an infectious hook. (Oh, and you’ll see the band adhering to social distancing rules while virtually performing!)  

“It’s really hard having our tour be postponed because I was really excited to play all of the songs on color theory for everyone, ‘crawling in my skin’ in particular,” Allison says. “I hope this little 8-bit performance can hold everyone over until the tour can happen.”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Swedish-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Sofia Härdig throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history. Now, as you may recall, the Swedish jOVM mainstay’s career began in earnest at a very young age: she began playing in bands when she was nine. As a teen, she began touring, eventually playing a solo set at CBGB’s. As an adult, Härdig has been hailed as the rocktronica queen of experimental music, developing an uncompromising commitment to a truthful artistic approach. “I find beauty in flaws and that which is not perfect is what excites me, I love the unusual, the unexpected, untrained and unplanned… I hope my music portrays that in its sound,” Härdig says about her approach in press notes.

Härdig’s recently released, fourth album This Big Hushfinds the Swedish-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay moving away from the deliberate electronic-based sound of her previous work and towards a gritty and raw, old-school rock sound. “I recorded this album with the band in less than three days live in Tambourine Studios in Malmö,” Härdig says of the recording process for This Big Hush. “The vocals were all done in one day, a lot of them are even kept from the original live take. Part of the process is that my electronic demo making has become so thorough and time-consuming that they have been good enough to be released. Since they are out in the world and out of my system, I can break free and do something different with the band, and not the same thing all over again. We never play the same tempo, same length, they follow me where I lead them… this is THIS BIG HUSH”

Infatuation,” This Big Hush‘s fist single was written to pay homage to post-punk pioneers like Siouxsie and the Banshees — but the decidedly riff driven song seemed to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, Marc Bolan/T. Rex and Horses-era Patti Smith, complete with an enormous, arena rock friendly hook. “I built this song on a riff that I really loved, building up a groove and then adding backing vocals and playing percussion with whatever I found lying around in the studio and studio kitchen,” the Swedish-born JOVM mainstay said in press notes of the song’s creation. “I used film reels, a serving bowl from IKEA, egg, yar, a knife and fork, to creating an overall feeling of skating down Sunset Boulevard in a Mohikan with a ghetto blaster on your shoulder.”

Radiant Star,” This Big Hush‘s second single was slow-burning and jangling bit of guitar pop that brings Pretenders and the aforementioned Patti Smith to mind. “It was made during many endless nights,” Härdig says in press notes, “on my own and in my studio and also with the band on some more hectic days. Then a lot of other endless days and nights in the studio producing it. My own take of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’; a song I learned as a 3-year old on the grand piano we inherited from my grandmother.”

Silence,” This Big Hush‘s third single was a slow-burning, lush track that to my ears brought the emotional intensity and lyricism of Patti Smith and Nick Cave to mind — but with an enormous arrangement of jangling guitars, twinkling keys, dramatic drumming, a soaring hook, a gospel-style backing vocal section and arguably one of her most emotionally direct vocal performances.

Interestingly, the album’s fourth and latest single “Sucking the Flowers” is a decidedly anthemic  grunge rocker of a track that seems indebted to PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Liz Phairand others, as the song is centered around a chugging and propulsive rhythm, enormous power chords, a raucous hook, four-on-the-floor drumming and a defiant vocal performance. Ultimately, this song much like its predecessors reveals that Härdig is a towering force of nature to be reckoned with.

New Video: North Carolina’s Tracy Shedd Releases a Playful Stop Animation Visual for “Kissing and Romancing”

With the release of her five previous albums through labels like Teen Beat, New Granada Records and Devil In The Woods and stints in Band & The Beat, the Jacksonville, FL-born, Wilmington, NC-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Tracy Shedd has developed a reputation for being a musician’s musician, whose sound and approach has been compared to the likes of Alvvays, Belle & Sebastian, Liz Phair, My Bloody Valentine, Snail Mail, Sonic Youth and countless others.  

After Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley sit in on drums during her last US tour, Shedd began writing the material, which would comprise her forthcoming album The Carolinas in her new home of North Carolina. The album reportedly finds Shedd drawing upon her indie rock roots with some of her electro pop experiences with Band & The Beat — and is arguably some of the most playful material she’s written and recorded to date. The album’s first single is the coquettish fuzz pop anthem “Kissing and Romancing.” Centered around fuzzy power chords, a big infectious hook and a decidedly lo-fi production, the song manages to recall 90s grunge and fuzz pop — Liz Phair’s “Supernova” immediately comes to mind; but with a playful, coquettish air. 

The recently released video features stop-motion animation of a wooden robot dancing and courting a blue alien. And while drawing some influence from The White Stripes “Fell in Love with a Girl,” the video, much like the song has a playful air. 

Shedd’s latest album, The Carolinas is slated for a September 20, 2019 digitally through Fort Lowell Records and on vinyl through Science Project Records. 

Portland, ME-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Alejandra O’Leary was born to a Colombian mother and Irish father. Growing up with a different sounding name, and being a person of color in place where they weren’t many people of color both challenged and shaped her, as she grew up listening to old Beatles records; growing up in Portland instilled feelings of simultaneously being a native and an outsider. “I’ve always been at home with messiness, big emotions and uncertainty,” O’Leary reflects in press notes. “I guess that’s why I like rock n roll.”

After moving to Santiago Chile when she was 17 O’Leary became infatuated with the idea of idea of creating music and followed her muse across the world for over a decade, writing, recording and releasing four albums with lyrics in both Spanish and English, which featured an expansive mix of anthemic Top 40 pop melodies, retro soul flourishes and power chord rock that received praise from the likes of No Depression, PopMatters and Magnet. Adding to a growing profile, O’Leary has opened for the likes of Guster and Asobi Seksu.

In 2016, O’Leary returned to Portland with her newborn baby and the intention of recording a new album. Never one to follow formulas, the Portland, ME-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist rounded up a group of hand-picked local musicians and sent them the demos of the material that would eventually comprise her forthcoming album Everest. No other instructions were given, and when they were all arrived in the studio to record the album, it was made clear that they were going to improvise the final arrangement. “This improvisatory spirit keeps things fresh and thrilling. I find it to be the most enchanting way to create music,” O’Leary asserts in press notes.

Seemingly indebted to Liz Phair and 120 Minutes-era alt rock, Everest‘s woozy and anthemic latest single, “Wires” is centered around feedback-fueled power chords, a rousing and enormous hook and sultry, come hither vibes within an easy-going, free-flowing arrangement.

Look for O’Leary’s newest effort to drop on June 7, 2019.

 

 

 

New Video: The Lysergic Sounds and Visuals of Beaches’ “Arrow”

Comprised of Antonia Sellbach (guitar, vocals), Alison Bolger (guitar, vocals), Ali McCann (guitar vocals), Gil Tucker (bass, vocals) and Karla Way (drums, vocals), the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock quintet Beaches formed in 2007, and since their formation the quintet have developed an international profile for their critically applauded 2008 self-titled debut and 2013’s sophomore effort She Beats both of which drew from psych rock, shoegaze, prog rock and krautrock — with both albums being shortlisted for their respective years’ Australian Music Prize. 

Second of Spring, the Aussie psych quintet’s third full-length album is slated for a September 8, 2017 release through Chapter Music — and interestingly enough, the album is the first double LP released by an individual artist/band in the label’s history. Recorded in their hometown of Melbourne with producer/engineer John Lee, who has worked with Totally Mild and Lost Animal, and mastered by David Walker, the Melbourne-based psych rockers third album reportedly finds the band expanding upon the sound that won them international praise and attention but with material that emphasizes a jam-like feel.  Now, if you had been frequenting this site earlier this summer, you may recall that I wrote about Second of Spring’s first single “Void,” which featured buzzing power chords with a motorik groove and anthemic hook. And interestingly enough, the track reminded me quite a bit of The Breeders “Last Splash,” Liz Phair‘s “Supernova” and others but with a swirling, lysergic feel; but as the band’s Ali McCann explained to Vice Noisey “‘Void’ is a conversation between two people, who discuss a prolonged absence, a temporary disappearance into a space of emptiness. We wrote ‘Void’ in our rehearsal space in Reservoir (Melbourne) during a prolific period of songwriting. It was produced by John Lee (Phaedra Studios), who also plays synthesiser on this track. Karla and I are on vocals. There is a restrained interaction between them, tempered by the motorik drive of the instrumentation.”

The album’s second and latest single “Arrow” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it features buzzing power chords and a chugging, motorik groove and an anthemic hook under-pinned by a breezy, ethereal melody — and while clearly nodding at 90s alt rock, the song subtly nods at 60s psych rock. And fittingly, the recently released music video for the song features some incredibly trippy, psychedelic imagery — including an extended section in which shapes explode and change color and rearrange themselves in front of the viewer, in exact beat to the song, before briefly panning out to show one of the band members standing in front of projection screen or a hand manipulating things. 

Comprised of Antonia Sellbach (guitar, vocals), Alison Bolger (guitar, vocals), Ali McCann (guitar vocals), Gil Tucker (bass, vocals) and Karla Way (drums, vocals), the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock quintet Beaches formed in 2007, and since their formation the band has toured extensively both across Australia and the US, developing a reputation for trancelike live shows and critically applauded recordings that found the band’s sound drawing from psych rock, shoegaze, prog rock and krautrock and others; in fact, the quintet’s 2008 self-titled debut and 2013’s sophomore effort She Beats were shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize. Their self-titled debut was included in John O’Donnell’s, Toby Creswell’s and Craig Mathieson’s 100 Best Australian Albums and received praise from internationally recognized outlets including Pitchfork, Stereogum, Gorilla Vs BearSpin Magazine, and others.

The band’s forthcoming full-length effort, Second of Spring is slated for a September 8, 2017 release through Chapter Records and the album is a double LP, the first double LP released by an individual artist/band in the renowned Australian label’s history.  Recorded in their hometown of Melbourne with producer/engineer John Lee, who has worked with Totally Mild and Lost Animal, mastered by David Walker and features artwork from the band’s Ali McCann and design by artist Darren Sylvester.

Reportedly, the band’s forthcoming full-length effort finds the band expanding upon the sound that won them international attention while focusing on an extensive, jam-like feel. Second of Spring‘s first single features layers of buzzing power chords paired with a forceful a motorik groove, and anthemic hook — creating a song that sounds as though it drew influence by The Breeders Last Splash,” Liz Phair‘s “Supernova” and others but with a swirling, lysergic feel; but as the band’s Ali McCann explains to the folks at Vice Noisey “‘Void’ is a conversation between two people, who discuss a prolonged absence, a temporary disappearance into a space of emptiness. We wrote ‘Void’ in our rehearsal space in Reservoir (Melbourne) during a prolific period of songwriting. It was produced by John Lee (Phaedra Studios), who also plays synthesiser on this track. Karla and I are on vocals. There is a restrained interaction between them, tempered by the motorik drive of the instrumentation.”