Tag: London UK

Live Footage: Nick Hakim Performs “QADIR” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Washington, DC-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, guitarist Nick Hakim over the past handful of years. Hakim’s critically applauded full-length debut, 2017’s Green Twins can trace its origins back to when he finished his two critically applauded EPs Where Will We Go Part 1 and Where We Will Go Part 2. Armed with the masters for those efforts, Hakim relocated from Boston, where he was then based to Brooklyn.

As soon as he got himself settled, he quickly went to work, spending his spare time writing and recording sketches using his phone’s voice memo app and a four-track cassette recorder, fleshing the material out whenever possible. He then took his new demo’d material to various studios in NYC, Philadelphia and London, where he built up the material with a number of engineers, including frequent collaborator Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering and production), who were tasked with keeping the original spirit and essence of the material intact as much as humanly possible.

Thematically, the album’s material focused on specific experiences, feeling and thoughts he had during the time he was writing and composing it, making the album feel like a series of different self-portraits. Much like Vincent Van Gogh’s famed self-portraits, the material sometimes captures its creator in broad strokes, with subtle gradations in mood, tone and feeling. Sonically, Green Twins drew from a broad array of influences including Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye, Shuggie Otis and My Bloody Valentine and others. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green’s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and we were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins,” Hakim said in press notes at the time.

Since the release of Green Twins, Hakim developed a reputation as a highly sought-after, go-to collaborator working with Lianna La Havas, Anderson .Paak, Onyx Collective, Sporting Life, IGBO, Nappy Nina, Ambrose Akinmusire, Slingbaum, FKA Twins and Oumou Sangare.

The JOVM mainstay released his highly-anticipated sophomore album WILL THIS MAKE ME SOUND GOOD earlier this year through ATO Records. Interestingly, the album’s material manages to be distinctly Hakim while being a tonal shift from its predecessor: his sophomore album reflects the ideas with which he grappled with while writing and recording the album. To prepare listeners for the experience, Hakim shared the following statement about the record:

“I feel the people simmering, on our way to the boiling point. There’s a lot of madness going on around us and this world can feel so cold. It can get hard to remember what makes it worth it. The people around me and the music I love helps.

For a while, I couldn’t write. I worked on new music but couldn’t find the right words. But that time was just a build-up to the three months of expression that led to this album. I hope this music will raise awareness about where we are right now. About how we are living on this planet. About how we treat our neighbors. About community. About depression. About what can heal us and what can’t. About overmedication, overstimulation and manipulation. About respecting and loving the people around us, because one day they won’t be here-or you won’t.

But it’s also true that I’m still trying to figure this record out. People have told me that it’s confusing or that it’s messy-that’s fine. There’s so much pressure on artists to commit to being one thing, or to restrict an album to exploring just one subject or sound. But my life isn’t like that, and so my music can’t be like that either. I’m not thinking about this music as a product to be bought and sold, or how I’ll buy your interest. This is my world; a lot of friends touched this record, and that makes me feel lucky and proud. These songs are glimpses into my community. I’m exploring, but I’m not alone. It’s a journey in progress; it’s an experiment, every day.”

“QADIR” is a slow-burning and atmospheric single, centered around a repetitive and hypnotic arrangement featuring shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar, a sinuous baseline fluttering flute, stuttering beats and Hakim’s expressive and  plaintive vocals — and as a result, the track is a fever dream full of ache and longing, partially written as an ode to a late friend and an urgent reminder to check in on your loved ones before it’s too late. ”If I really sink into a recording, I don’t want it to end,” Hakim says. “[‘QADIR’] is repetitive and hypnotizing, like a trance — that’s intentional. The song is my ode to him. It’s my attempt to relate to how he must have been feeling.”

Recently Hakim and his backing band performed a socially distant rendition of “QADIR” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which features Hakim singing the song on a cartoon-background that’s one part hood, one part Sesame Street. 

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New Audio: Flamingods’ Karthik Poduval Releases His Solo Debut — A Club Banging Remix of Ahmed Fakroun’s “Jama El F’na”

Karthik Poduval is a London-born, Indian-British DJ and producer, best known as a founding member of the acclaimed tropical psychedelic band Flamingods. His latest project Mera Bhai is informed by his own personal experiences: he’s spent time living in Italy, Albania, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Nigeria — and naturally that experience has speeded into his own globe-spanning, border-crossing, genre-defying take on dance music, which incorporates Indian Carnatic, Arabic Rai, 70s disco, Acid House, Detroit techno and Tropicalia. “Having grown up all over the world, I was surrounded by a wealth of different sounds — i’m just trying to weave the cultural through line that I hear in music.” 

Poduval’s Mera Bhai debut is a bootleg remix of Ahmed Fakroun’s “Jama El F’na.” While retaining the shimmering instrumentation and Fakroun’s vocals, Poduval’s remix speeds up the tempo a bit and adds a decidedly Tour de France-era Kraftwerk/Primal Scream/Kasabian-like feel to the proceedings: layers of synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap and industrial clang and clatter. Both the original and its remix are club bangers — but the remix manages to sound as though it could have been released in 1992, 2002, 2020 or 2032. 

It was on his [Fakroun’s] record Mots D’Amour released through French label Celluloid as his crossover to the Western music industry, heavily influenced by Europe and dance music. His marrying of Libyan influences with his love of Western music is very much something that mirrors my story,” Poduval says of his remix of Fakroun’s song. “I guess I’ve subconsciously taken his Western crossover and made it my own.” 

New Video: KID DAD Releases an Earnest and Anthemic New Single Paired with an Urgent Visual

KID DAD is an emerging Paderborn, Germany quartet —  Marius Vieth (vocals, guitar), Maximillian Alexander Zdunek (bass, backing vocals), Michael Reihle (drums) and Joshua Meinert (guitar) — that’s heavily influenced by Radiohead, Placebo, Elliott Smith, Joy Division and Pixies. During their history, the band has toured across the European Union with Taking Back Sunday, Marmozets and Fatherson among others. 

Building upon a growing national and international profile, the band’s full-lengths debut In A Box is slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Long Branch Records. Thematically addressing feelings of isolation and entrapment, In A Box was cowritten over a prolonged period of time  — and was inspired by songwriting trips to England, China, Switzerland and Berlin.  “I really enjoyed working with so many different setups. You absorb everything when you’re young – I want to take advantage of that,” KID DAD’s Marius Vieth says in press notes. 

“Limbo,” In A Box’s latest single was cowritten by acclaimed Welsh-born singer/songwriter Sarah Howells, a.k.a. Bryde during a trip that the band’s Marius Vieth took to London. Centered around an alternating quiet-loud-quiet song structure, with an enormous power-chord based hook reminiscent of Silversun Pickups paired with Vieth’s plaintive vocals. But at its core, the song deals with feeling unsafe, hassled and being abused, particularly if you’re powerless and lack agency — and desperately searching for something to hope for. 

The recently released video for “Limbo” follows a teenaged boy, as he hurriedly puts on sneakers and desperately tries to escape what’s an untenable situation for him. But at some point, the video seems to suggest that the boy quickly recognizes that he has nowhere to go and nowhere to help him. Although the video employs a relatively simple concept — thanks in part the COVID-19 based quarantine restrictions, the video reflects an all too common fear, with a surge of domestic abuse cases worldwide.  Home can be hell for those who are being abused by loved ones. 

“We address feelings of isolation and entrapment on our debut album In A Box and feel obliged to call attention to this situation. We want to raise awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence cases worldwide and encourage people to donate to SOS-Kinderdorf (GERMANY: https://www.soskinderdorf.de/portal/spenden/haeusliche-gewalt) & NSPCC: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/make-a-donation/ ) in order to support the work they are doing in preventing such violence and supporting victims,” the band says in a statement. 

New Video: Emerging Saudi-born British-based Artist Alewya Releases a Sensual Visual for Club Banging Debut “Sweating”

Dubbed “this decade’s triple threat” by Love Magazine, Alewya is an emerging London-based singer/songwriter, producer and artist. Born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian-Sudanese father and an Ethiopian mother, the rising British singer/songwriter, producer and artist has spent her life surrounded by diaspora immigrant communities: she grew up in West London and after spending several years in New York, the emerging Saudi-born, London-based multi-disciplinary artist returned to London. At home, Alewya developed and honed her ear for music: through the sounds of the Ethiopian and Arabic devotional music of her parents, and the ambient alternative rock albums her brother would play. 

Interestingly, the translation of the emerging Saudi-born, British-based artist’s name from Arabic means “most high” or “the highest” so it’s fitting that her music thematically is centered around the idea of transcendence. In fact, she sees her music as an accessible space for her and her listeners to connect on a spiritual level, with her work challenging the listener to remember the last time they felt truly connected to themselves and their emotions. “I want to move people to themself. I want them to feel the same way that I felt when I had a taste of a higher power and felt there was a presence over me. I want people to feel that.” 

Earlier this year, the emerging Saudi-born, British-based multi-disciplinary artist had an attention-grabbing feature on Little Simz’s “where’s my lighter.” Building upon a growing profile, Alewya signed to renowned British label Because Records, who will be releasing her debut single, The Busy Twist-produced “Sweating.” Centered around twinkling synth arpeggios, skittering trap beats, reggae-influenced riddims and a self-assured and sultry vocal from the rising Saudi-born, British artist, the track — to my ears, at least — will draw comparisons to Timbaland’s forward-thinking, futuristic work with Missy Elliot, Aaliyah and others. It’s the sort of song that would (and should) inspire you to grind and wine into the wee hours with that pretty young thang at the club.“It’s about feeling chemistry with someone but also about a female who is not afraid of her prowess and power,” Alewya says in press notes. “It’s a mood.” 

Directed by Jack Bowden, the recently released visual exudes with a raw, carnal energy as we see dancers in an industrial space wining and grinding. We see the emerging British-based artist confidently owning the screen while hinting at her wide-spanning talents. 

Her Songs · Lost a Little (feat. Dani Murcia, Emily C. Browning, Emmavie, Marie Dahlstrom & The Naked Eye)

During the course of this year, I’ve written a bit about Her Songs, a multi-national collective of women artists that features:

  • Dani Murcia (vocals, piano, guitar, production), a Colombian-American, Miami-born, New York-based R&B/pop/soul singer/songwriter, whose lush harmonies and haunting melodies has been influenced by the likes of JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim, Kimbra and Matt Corby. Her latest EP Breaking Light consists of stories focusing on grieving her father’s suicide and searching for beauty in pain.
  • Emily C. Browning (vocals, guitar), a Christchurch, New Zealand-based indie soul artist influenced by the likes of Emily King, Lianne La Havas and Nai Palm. Her work features conversational-style lyrics, that offer a deep perspective and insight into the human experience.
  • Francesca Hole, a French-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, known as The Naked Eye (vocals, guitar). Influenced by Nai Palm, Lianne La Havas, Maya Angelou, Joni Mitchell, D’Angelo, Bruno Major and others, Hole’s work as she describes it, are autobiographical songs about life experiences, relationships and overcoming hardships that meshes elements of jazz, soul, folk and R&B. Her latest EP Love’s Grave was released last April.
  • JOVM mainstay, Marie Dahlstrom (vocals, piano, percussion and production), a Rosklide, Denmark-born, London-based singer/songwriter, who has been largely influenced by the R&B and soul she heard in her home as a child — in particular Edwyn Collins, Womack & Womack and Gloria Gaynor were on regular rotation. Dahlstrom discovered Dwele, Dire Straits, Erykah Badu, Kirk Franklin and Fleetwood Mac in her teenage years.Dahlstrom first gained attention as a solo artist in her native Denmark, eventually becoming a three-time Scandinavian Soul Award winner. Since relocating to London, the Danish-born singer/songwriter she has become an internationally recognized sensation, best known for crafting a warm and ethereal synthesis of jazz, classic soul and R&B. Interestingly, after successful collaborations with Tom Misch and Alfa Mist, the Roskilde-born, London-based singer/songwriter has been busy writing the material, which would eventually comprised her long-awaited full-length debut. Slated for release latest this year, the album was recorded in Los Angeles, Copenhagen, and London and features collaborations with James Vickery, Jeremy Passion, Elijah Fox, Beau Diako and a list of others.
  • Emmavie (vocals production), a London-based singer/songwriter and producer, whose work is an amalgamation of 90s R&B and her love for digital audio experimentation. She has built up a reputation for being a highly sought-after collaborator, working with IAMNOBODI, Buddy, ROMderful, Jarreau Vandal, Alfa Mist, Nick Grant and Jay Prince. Emmavie has had her work featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network-produced series Queen Sugar. And adding to a growing profile, the London-based singer/songwriter and producer was scouted by  DJ Jazzy Jeff, who flew her out to his house in Delaware to write and record music with Mac Ayres, Robert Glasper and Redman as part of the Playlist Retreat.

The collective can trace their origins to a conversation the five women shared on social media. Their debut 2018’s Los Angeles EP found the quintet crafting material that meshed elements of 90s R&B with contemporary electronic production. The collective’s highly-anticipated sophomore EP Toronto, Vol 1. is slated for an August 14, 2020 release. And if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout this year, you may recall that I’ve written about Toronto Vol. 1‘s first two singles: the Emmavie and Marie Dahlstrom co-written “If We Try,”  a sultry 90s neo-soul-like track that manages to sound like a synthesis of Teddy Riley-like New Jack Swing, SWV, and Erykah Badu-like neo soul — and “I Wonder,” an atmospheric and contemplative song in which the collective’s five women envision worrying about what the world would look for their future grandchildren.

“Lost A Little” the EP’s third and latest track is a soulful and uplifting R&B influenced bit of pop that is simultaneously nostalgic and hopeful for the future, as the song’s narrators reflect on their individual pasts while excitedly traveling around the world to reunite with their dear friends — in this case, the collective’s overall excitement to head to Toronto to write and record music together.  The end result is an ode to wanderlust and the excitement of what you’ll learn about yourself in a new place, and of being able to experience that new place with your best pals. “After finally reuniting together in Toronto, we felt so reflective on the entire year since the previous Her Songs retreat in LA and ‘Lost A Little’ turned into a summery, feel-good wanderlust tune about traveling the world just to meet up again,” the collective’s Emily C. Browning says in press notes. The Naked Eye adds, “‘Lost A Little’ was the 1st song written on day 1 of the Toronto week. Exploring themes of creativity and travel, the lyrics describe how we meet once a year, in a new city to create with new eyes and fresh perspectives.”

 

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Scandinavian Soul Artist Jonas Releases a Joyful and Warm New Single

Throughout his 20 plus year music career, the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter  and multi-instrumentalist Jonas (born Jonas Rendbo) has been hailed by international press as the Godfather of Scandinavian Soul. During that period, the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter has released a ton of music. which he has supported with tours across the world, sharing stages with Omar, John Legend, Joss Stone, Lynden David Hall and Bilal among a lengthy and growing list of others. Adding to his accolades, Rendbo won Artist of the Year and Best Video at the 2016 Scandinavian Soul Music Awards. 

Since 2004, Rendbo has split time between Copenhagen and London, where he met his wife and started a family. And while in London, he started collaborating with London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer The Scratch Professor, who coincidentally is Omar’s brother. Rendbo and The Scratch Professor had an instant musical simpatico and a couple of songs they wrote together wound up on Jonas’ sophomore album 2009’s W.A.I.T.T. 

Interestingly, their collaboration also managed to produce a handful of songs that the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter had kept in his vault over the past decade — and have finally been released last month as the four song EP 4ward Fast To Future. Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered during COVID-19 quarantine lockdown during April, the EP is return to the warm, neo-soul sounds of his earliest work. 

The EP’s later single “Pick Me Up” is warm bit of 90s inspired soul, centered around shimmering Rhodes, boom bap-like beats, a sinuous bass line, a strutting horn line, an infectious hook and Rendbo’s sultry and plaintive falsetto. And while being a joyous, two step-inducing, radio friendly jam, the song’s narrator talks about desiring — and then having — the sort of love (and lover) that most of us dream of: that ride or die person, who’s with you and supports you through thick and thin, joy and heartbreak, sickness and health. Lucky and rare are those who find it. And if you’re one of those lucky ones,  I hope that you cherish it. Few things our morally bankrupt world live up to that. 

The recently released video features thermal imaging of Rendbo, The Scratch Professor, some of the track’s featured musicians as they perform the song — and we see Rendbo’s wife, dancing along the song with a enormous smile on her face. It may be DIY but it’s heartfelt.  
Throughout his 20 plus year music career, the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter  and multi-instrumentalist Jonas (born Jonas Rendbo) has been hailed by international press as the Godfather of Scandinavian Soul. During that period, the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter has released a ton of music. which he has supported with tours across the world, sharing stages with Omar, John Legend, Joss Stone, Lynden David Hall and Bilal among a lengthy and growing list of others. Adding to his accolades, Rendbo won Artist of the Year and Best Video at the 2016 Scandinavian Soul Music Awards. 

Since 2004, Rendbo has split time between Copenhagen and London, where he met his wife and started a family. And while in London, he started collaborating with London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer The Scratch Professor, who coincidentally is Omar’s brother. Rendbo and The Scratch Professor had an instant musical simpatico and a couple of songs they wrote together wound up on Jonas’ sophomore album 2009’s W.A.I.T.T. 

Interestingly, their collaboration also managed to produce a handful of songs that the Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter had kept in his vault over the past decade — and have finally been released last month as the four song EP 4ward Fast To Future. Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered during COVID-19 quarantine lockdown during April, the EP is return to the warm, neo-soul sounds of his earliest work. 

The EP’s later single “Pick Me Up” is warm bit of 90s inspired soul, centered around shimmering Rhodes, boom bap-like beats, a sinuous bass line, a strutting horn line, an infectious hook and Rendbo’s sultry and plaintive falsetto. And while being a joyous, two step-inducing, radio friendly jam, the song’s narrator talks about desiring — and then having — the sort of love (and lover) that most of us dream of: that ride or die person, who’s with you and supports you through thick and thin, joy and heartbreak, sickness and health. Lucky and rare are those who find it. And if you’re one of those lucky ones,  I hope that you cherish it. Few things our morally bankrupt world live up to that. 

The recently released video features thermal imaging of Rendbo, The Scratch Professor, some of the track’s featured musicians as they perform the song — and we see Rendbo’s wife, dancing along the song with a enormous smile on her face. It may be DIY but it’s heartfelt.  

New Video: Bea Kadri and Issac B Releases a Meditative and Wistful Visual for “Be Alright”

Bea Kadri is an emerging Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter. Much like countless young people across the world, Kadri had her Walkman and iPod practically glued to her — and she watched endless hours of MTV and YouTube to get her fix of pop, hip-hop and R&B. As a painfully shy teenager, who was afraid to express her true self and her true feelings, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter found understanding and solace through the music she was listening to at the time. And much like teens all across the world, she’d stay in her room, daydream and imitate her favorite artists in front of her mirror and jot down thoughts and lyrics in her journal.

In 2018, Kadri relocated to London to pursue a Master’s Degree in Music Business Management from the University of Westminster, with the hopes of being close to her lifelong passion and maybe landing a job somewhere within the music industry. She gradually decided to pursue a career as an artist as her confidence in her talents grew — but she can trace the origins of her career as an artist to when she put together a list of songs to show her mentor, who was writing songs for Universal Music UK. Kadri landed an opportunity to write songs and sync placements. And adding to a big year for her, she performed in the backing choirs for Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton during both artists’ BRIT Awards performances that year.

As a solo artist, Kadri’s work focuses on self-discovery, empowerment and matters of the heart — with a sultry yet chill air. Interestingly, the Beirut-born, London-based singer/songwriter’s latest single “Be Alright,” which features a guest spot from Issac B is a slow-burning and sultry track centered around a minimalist production featuring skittering beats and atmospheric synths — and while helping to establish Kadri’s sultry yet laid back sound, the track finds Kadri and Issac B reminiscing on simpler days, old loves an slower paces with an achingly wistful air that seems to say “if I had known then, what I know now . . .” 

“We wrote and recorded ‘Be Alright’ back in August 2019, before the madness of the pandemic, we were just reminiscing on simpler days and pace of our past but the message behind the song resonates now more than ever,” Kadri says in press notes. “In the chorus we go ‘roll in peace yeah call it pair of dice’ to highlight the nature of how we never truly know what dice life will serve us, but whatever it is, we got to roll with it peacefully and make like a paradise (“pair of dice”) in our minds, stay chill, find the balance and keep on because, really, ‘we gon’ be alright.'”

Directed Linda Dorigo, the recently released video for “Be Alright” stars the song’s creative duo, reminiscing in their bedrooms, and continuing with the dreary and ordinary routines of their lives — Kadri heading to work at a local supermarket while Issac B goes to a laundromat. There’s also a quite a bit of  nouvelle vague-like split screens, which add to the slick stylistic vibe of the video.  

New Video: Sarah Walk Explores Crippling Insecurity Self-Doubt and Uncertainty in Soaring “What Do I Want”

Sarah Walk is a Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter, and Berklee College of Music grad, who currently splits her time between Los Angeles and London. 2017’s Steve Brown-produced debut Little Black Book found the Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter and keyboardist crafting piano-based ballads. 

Walk’s forthcoming Leo Abrahams-produced sophomore album Another Me is reportedly a radical change in sonic direction for the Berklee College of Music grad with the album’s material moving towards shimmering and contemplative synth pop featuring soaring melodies and percussive arrangements. Thematically, the album’s material may be the most introspective she has ever written with the material inspired by a period of immense challenge and transformation, touching upon marginalization, survival, death, misogyny, vulnerability, reclamation of oneself and learning how to take up space. Additionally, the album sees Walk directly tackling the challenges of being a queer woman. “A lot of things had been untapped in my writing until now, many of which deal with burdens that I’ve carried or felt responsible for, which I believe has a lot to do with being a woman and being queer” Walk says in press notes. 

“What Do I Want,” Another Me’s latest single is an atmospheric bit of synth pop, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, detailed syncopated percussion paired with Walk’s achingly plaintive vocals. And while bearing a resemblance to Kate Bush, the track reveals Walk’s knack for crafting a hook that’s both melodic and soaring. But despite its seeming tranquility, the song’s narrator attempts to work through anxiety, procrastination and paralyzing indecision in every aspect of her life. “Sometimes it’s easier to be so overwhelmed by what to do that you don’t do anything until someone else makes a decision for you,” the Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter and keyboardist explains. “I think part of that comes from being a woman; we’ve been conditioned to doubt our capability; afraid of confidence coming off as arrogant. Writing this song was a way of holding myself accountable so I can transcend societal structures and avoid falling into the same patterns of paralyzed anxiety.”

Another Me is slated for an August 28, 2020 release through One Little Indian Records. In the meantime, the recently released video for “What Do I Want” features Walk personifying the anxiousness and uncertainty within the song, as she seems plagued by crippling indecision. 
 

New Video: London’s DG Solaris Returns with a Sweet Ode to Domestic Tranquillity

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the rising London-based indie act DG Solaris, a new project featuring Danny Green, an acclaimed singer/songwriter, best known for fronting the British folk pop act Laish, an act that released four critically applauded albums through French indie label Tailres, which the band supported with extensive touring across the UK, the European Union and the States. 

The project can trace its origins back to Late March, when Green met his wife, Leanna “LG” Green. By December, the pair married. For their honeymoon, the Greens decided to spend six months traveling across South America with a simple recording set up that they carried with them in a backpack. And that’s how their newest project together began.  “In between swimming with sea-lions, exploring sacred plant medicines and climbing mountains, we had been searching for beautiful spaces to set up our backpack studio,” DG Solaris’ core duo explain in press notes. “All of our recordings feature the sounds of birds, cicadas and crickets.”

Returning to London after their honeymoon, the duo recruited Tom Chadd, Matt Canty and Matt Hardy to help flesh out the material they wrote and demoed during their trip across South America. The end result is the act’s forthcoming full-length debut, Spirit Glow. Slated for a June 19, 2020 release, the album reportedly is a focused development of Green’s songwriting with the material drawing from and meshing elements of 70s psych pop, synth pop, krautrock and prog rock. Conceptually, the album’s material was written as a journey through different emotional realms. “We wanted to explore the idea of two voices, two spirits, two creative minds and see where this dynamic could take us,” DG Solaris’ Leana Green says in press notes. Danny Green adds, “It has been an incredibly inspiring trip. We came back with over forty songs and it has been a challenge to chose our favourites for this first album.”

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles — the woozy and expansive “Brother, I’ll Ask Her,” and the infectiously upbeat pop confection “Don’t Need to Tell You.” The album’s latest single is the sweet and swooning folk ballad and album title track “Spirit Glow.” Centered around a seemingly simple arrangement of twinkling keys, strummed acoustic guitar and gently padded drumming paired with Green’s heartfelt and gorgeous vocals and boy-girl harmonies, the song is a contented sigh of domestic tranquillity — of a quiet Sunday afternoon with a partner, listening to your favorite records, drinking coffee, daydream and feeling grateful for the small things. 

“‘Spirit Glow’ was written soon after I met Leana,” Danny Green explained to me in an email. “I was sitting in what is now our living room and surveying my surroundings and feeling very lucky to be there. I wrote the simplest of love songs, and it is one I never tire of singing. When we play it live, the final chorus often becomes a repeated mantra where the audience join us.”

Employing a necessary DIY ethos, the recently released video for “Spirit Glow” was shot in the Green’s home and stars their two cats. And even with the Greens in the video, there’s a sense of tranquility and love. 

The Mighty Orchid King · Swirling

Throughout its history, the St. Albans, UK-based psych rock collective The Mighty Orchid King — currently, Jonny Bennett (vocals, drums), co-found er Martin van Herdeer (12 string guitar), Matt Snowden (guitar), Marcelo Cervone (bass, sax) and Will Stephen, a.k.a June Logue (synths and production) — have been in a constant flux since its founding, with 20 members rotating in and out of its sphere at nay given time. And as a result, the project has simultaneously been a 60s psych rock jam inspired collective and a bedroom project focused on polyrhythmic exploration.

The band’s forthcoming full-length debut The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness was recorded at June Logue’s home studio, DIY bedroom vocal booths and Tom Hill’s London-based Bookhouse Studio — and the album reportedly finds the act weaving the various aspects of the band’s complex history together: the album’s more jam inspired material drift and sharpe into more meticulously developed solo work. Thematically, the album thematically concerns itself with eco-anxiety with the album’s lyrics at points being like Kerouac-inspired spontaneous prose with direct protest songs about the destruction of Earth. While sonically, the album sees the band drawing from 60s psych rock, samba, jazz and house music with arrangements that feature fuzzy guitars and synths.

“Swirling,” the first single off The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness‘ first single is an an expansive and decidedly 60s psych rock inspired track centered around fuzzy power chords and enormous harmony driven hooks. Sonically, the song brings San Francisco‘s  Cool Ghouls to mind — while bristling with an infectious energy of a bunch of friends jamming and creating something cool. But at its core is a desire to escape one’s current circumstances and the world itself.