Tag: Malmo Sweden

True Moon is a Malmo, Sweden-based post-punk/dark wave quartet, comprised of founding members Karolina Engdahl (vocals, bass) and Tommy Tift (guitar) — both of whom are former members of Swedish Grammy-winning act Vånna Inget, along with Linus Segerstedt (guitar) and Fredrik Orevad (drums). The Malmo, Sweden-based quartet can trace their origins to when its founding duo of Engdahl and Tift felt a desire to create something more raw and visceral than the material they were working on with their then-primary gig. “Karolina and I are bored with the Swedish music scene at the moment,” Tift explained at the time. “It feels like everyone has the same blueprint, like there’s an industry rulebook now for how bands must sound. We wanted to do something different.” Vånna Inget’s 2013 full-length effort Ingen Botten found the band sonically exploring New Wave and dark wave, and as Tift went on to say they felt a need to explore it more themselves.  “It was like an urge and we just had to do this,” True Moon’s Engdahl adds.

“We were listening to artists such as Joy Division, Killing Joke, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and early Cure. There is a purity and honesty and integrity to that music that’s missing from the current scene,” the band’s Tift said back in 2017. “Those bands weren’t making music to be pop stars or rock stars, it is pure expression and pure art, and that’s the aesthetic we were pursuing.” Segerstedt and Orevad were recruited to complete the band’s lineup, and they began working on their 2016 self-titled debut, an effort that received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for crafting material that actively went for the sort of raw, urgent and unpolished feel and sound reminiscent of Martin Hannet‘s work with Joy Division.

As a result of attention they received from their self-titled debut, the Malmo-based post-punk act played shows across Sweden, the UK and the States, opening for Killing Joke, King Dude, MCC, Against Me! and a number of others. Building upon a growing national and international profile, True Moon’s highly-anticipated sophomore album II is slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Lövely Records —  and the album finds the band continuing their ongoing collaboration with with producer Jari Haapalainen, who also contributes guitar to the proceedings. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Poison” continues the raw and urgent aesthetic and feel of their full-length debut — and while clearly being indebted to Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others, the track reveals some ambitious songwriting, as it possesses an enormous, arena rock-like quality.

 

 

 

 

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Live Footage: Up-and-Coming Danish Duo Mavoureen Performs “Bliss” at Tapetown Studios’ Spot Festival Special

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios and their longtime partnership with Sound of Aarhus. Together, the studio and the website have invited national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to stop by Tapetown for a live session, which they film and then distribute to all of your favorite social media and streaming sites. During the live series’ history, they’ve invited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his The Fresh & Onlys, renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes,  Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet ONBC, up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based post punk rock act Moaning, Oslo, Norway-based punk trio  Dark Times

Tapetown Studios recently teamed up with Drowned in Sound and the folks at Spot Festival for another series of live sessions in which three internationally touring acts were invited to Tapetown to perform. The second act invited to Tapetown was the mysterious Danish post-punk duo Mavoureen. The act is putting the finishing touches on their forthcoming full-length debut, an effort recorded at Echo Canyon Studios with Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley contributing drums. Interestingly, the act performed the blistering, Nirvana-like “Bliss,” a song that frenetic and furious track that features fuzzy power chords, howled vocals, thunderous drumming and a mosh pit friendly hook. Much like its predecessor, play this one as loudly as humanly possible. 

Live Footage: Oslo’s Dark Times Performs “Give” at Tapetown Sessions’ Spot Festival Special

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios and their longtime partnership with Sound of Aarhus. Together, the studio and the website have invited national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to stop by Tapetown for a live session, which they film and then distribute to all of your favorite social media and streaming sites. During the live series’ history, they’ve invited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his The Fresh & Onlys, renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes,  Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet ONBC, up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based post punk rock act Moaning and Stockholm, Sweden’s Les Big Byrd among a growing list of others.  

Tapetown Studios recently teamed up with Drowned in Sound and the folks at Spot Festival for another series of live sessions in which three internationally touring acts were invited to Tapetown to perform. One of the invited acts was the Oslo, Norway-based trio Dark Times. Comprised of Ann Kristen Traaen (guitar, vocals), Sebastian Rusten (baritone guitar) and Rikke Fjell Jørgensen (drums), the Norwegian act quickly amassed a profile within their hometown’s underground scene for crafting a unique blend of punk, noise rock and fuzzy guitar pop. Since their formation, the band has been praised by the likes of NME and BrooklynVegan for their live shows — and interestingly, they became the first Norwegian act to be profiled in Maximum Rocknroll. 

Building upon a growing profile the act’s 2014 full-length debut Give, which was released through Sheep Chase Records was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannprisen). They also played SXSW back in 2017 and released their sophomore full-length album in 2018. 

The members of the acclaimed Norwegian indie act played a 10 song, 30 minute set — but the recently released video for the sessions is the feral and blistering “Give.” Centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals, the song will remind some listeners of Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs and classic 90s grunge. Play this one as loud as possible. 

Live Footage: Les Big Byrd Perform “A Little More Numb” at Tapetown Studios

Comprised of founding duo Jocke Åhlund and Frans Johansson along with Frans Johansson and Martin Ehrencrona, the Stockholm Sweden-based indie rock act Les Big Byrd features a collection of their hometown’s most accomplished indie musicians.  Åhlund co-founded cult Teddybears with his brother Klas in 1991. Åhlund went on to play guitar in Caesars — and formed Smile, with Peter, Björn and John’s Björn Yttling. And in that insanely busy period, Åhlund managed to find time to write for and produce the legendary Giorgio Moroder and renowned Swedish pop artist Robyn. Johansson, meanwhile, was a bassist in Swedish Grammy Award-winning act Fireside since the early nineties and worked as a touring bassist with The Soundtrack of Our Lives.

As the story goes, by 2011 Åhlund and Johansson had become increasingly disillusioned with their primary gigs and they began to collaborate with each other, frequently bouncing musical ideas off one another; the band’s founding duo quickly recruited two fellow grizzled scene vets, keyboardist Martin ‘Konie’ Ehrencrona and Caesars drummer Nino Keller to finalize the band’s lineup. 

The band’s debut, 2014’s Back to Bagarmossen EP was an atmospheric, guitar driven effort that found the quartet receiving attention from Swedish national TV. Interestingly, with a growing national profile. the members of Les Big Byrd ran into The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe at a local record store, and after hitting it off with him, the band headed to Newcombe’s Berlin-based studio to jam with him — and the end result was a handful of tracks which eventually appeared on their critically applauded Åhlund-produced full-length debut, They Worshipped Cats, an album that was a decided left turn into trippy space rock.

In the winter of 2015, 18 months after the release of They Worshipped Cats, Åhlund was looking forward to working on new material; however, unlike their debut, he was determined to bring in an outside producer to allow him to focus just on the songwriting and playing. With much of their material drawing heavily from psych rock and drone, while retaining a pop sensibility, the band recruited Spacemen 3‘s Sonic Boom (a.k.a.Pete Kember) to produce the album as the band loved his work on MGMT‘s 2010 sophomore album Congratulations.  The initial sessions with Kember quickly went awry; Kember clashed with Newcombe, who also headed to Sweden to work on some ideas for the record with the band — and Åhlund eventually found himself taking up the production role, he didn’t want and wasn’t seeking.

Burned out by the experience, the band shelved the second album for a while.  “I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed to get some distance from it,” Åhlund says in press notes. “It was only after a while that I was able to go back and realise that there was a really good album in there.” The members of Les Big Byrd spent the bulk of last year remaking and re-imaging the material in their own image — with Kember and Newcombe’s contributions being limited. Recorded between two Stockholm studios — Åhlund’s own and Ehrencrona’s Studio Cobra — the band’s sophomore album Iran Iraq IKEA derives its title from a slogan that Åhlund’s saw printed on a tie while in Berlin years earlier and wanted to use for years; in fact, Åhlund felt that it suited the album, “because it gave it all some kind of subtly poetic intrigue.” However, the album’s politics — if you really want to call it that — are rooted within the personal, As Åhlund says in press notes,  “It’s about classic topics like love and failure. And about being older and feeling like you’ve pissed your life away, It’s about regrets and wishing you’d done things another way,”

The band’s Åhlund takes up production duties again, but with the admission that maybe it was something he never really wanted to give up — and sonically speaking, the band reportedly have reinvented themselves and their sound but while retaining elements of the sound and approach that first won them national and international attention.  “I still love my krautrock, and space rock, and experimental, improvisational stuff” says Åhlund. “But I also have a strong love for psychedelic sixties pop music, and I love reverb-drenched guitar with a lot of tremolo on it. All of those things make it on to Iran Iraq IKEA, but the lines are blurred – there’s a lot of electronics, and you can’t always tell where each individual sound is coming from. Hopefully it’s suggestive, a little bit uncertain and unpredictable, at least that’s what I wanted.”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’d recall that Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios in partnership with Sound of Aarhus have been inviting national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session, which they film and distribute through all of your favorite social media sites. So far they’ve inited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his The Fresh & Onlys, renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes,  Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet ONBC, and up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based post punk rock act Moaning.  Recently, the members of Les Big Byrd stopped by Tapetown Studios to perform the bittersweet lament “A Little More Numb.” 

Live Footage: Moaning Performs “Artificial” at Tapetown Studios

Over the better part of this year, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based trio Moaning, and as you may recall, the band which is comprised of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson and Andrew MacKelvie have spent the past few years crafting a moody and angular sound that draws from shoegaze, slacker rock and post-punk — and as a result, the Southern Californian trio has received attention both nationally and internationally from the likes of The Fader, The Guardian, DIY Magazine, Stereogum, and others.

Moaning’s self-titled, full-length debut was released earlier this year through Sub Pop Records, and the album’s fourth single “Artificial” is centered around angular guitar and bass chords, thundering drumming and an anthemic hook — and while recalling Joy Division, Interpol, Preoccupations and others; but just under the surface, the song bristles with a tense an uneasy self-awareness of the narrator’s own artifice, superficiality and ugliness, as well as that of the larger world he lives in. 
Interestingly, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the 18 months or so, you’d also recall that Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios and Sound of Aarhus have been inviting national. regional and even internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session, which they film and release through the interwebs. And during that time, they’ve invited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his primary project The Fresh & Onlys, renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes,  Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet ONBC and a growing list of others. The members of Moaning had stopped by Tapetown Studios during their second European Union tour, and performed an urgent rendition of the attention-grabbing “Artificial” as part of the Tapetown Studio sessions. Check it. 

Live Footage: Denmark’s ONBC Performs the Gorgeous and Ethereal “Copenhagen” at Tapetown Studios

ONBC is a Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet, comprised of some of Denmark’s most acclaimed musicians — and the band can trace its origins to the formation and breakup of its earliest iteration Oliver North Boy Choir, an electro pop-leaning act, which featured founding members Camilla Florentz (vocals, bass) and Mikkel Max Jorn (guitar), who were both members of indie band epo-555. After releasing a number of EPs and singles, as well as covers of The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Boo Radleys, the Oliver North Boy Choir split up. In 2014 the members of Oliver North Boy Choir reunited but with the recruitment of Tanja Forsberg Simonsen (vocals, synths), who was a member of influential Danish indie pop act superheroes and Private; Ivan Petersen (drums), the frontman of The Boombox Hearts, and a radical change in sonic direction, the band was renamed ONBC.

In their native Denmark, the quartet has received attention for a cinematic sound and songwriting approach that some have compared to Low, Chris Issak and Julee Cruise — although as soon as I heard the gorgeous, shoegazer-like “Copenhagen,” I immediately thought of Malmo, Sweden’s Fredrik, Coco Beware and Caveman-era Caveman and Beach House as the harmonies of Forsberg Simonsen and Florentz ethereally float over a delicate and sparse arrangement of shimmering guitar chords and dramatic drumming.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 15-18 months or so, you’d recall that Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios and Sound of Aarhus have been inviting national. regional and even internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session, which they film and release through the interwebs. During the live session’s run, a number of bands have participated and been featured including British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his primary project The Fresh & Onlys, the renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes, and a growing list of others.

ONBC’s Tapetown Studio session, much like Sista Bossen’s session is presented by their label, Crunchy Frog Records and was filmed during Aarhus’ popular Danish and Scandinavian indie music festival, Spot Festival — and it may arguably be one of the most stunningly beautiful ones they’ve shot to date.

 

Live Footage: Swedish Punk Rockers Sista Bossen Perform an Explosive Set at Tapetown Studios

With the release of their full-length debut Se Upp För, the Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, comprised of Hampus Sunden, Frans Möller, Fredrik Persson, 
Patrik Schlegel and Kristopher Ståhlgren have developed a reputation across their native Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia for meshing high energy punk rock with psych rock in free flowing, anarchistic and humorous fashion — and unsurprisingly, their sound and songwriting winds up being wild, explosive and unpredictable yet centered by a crooked yet infectious melodic sense. 

The Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act’s sophomore effort Titta inte på mig (när jag dansar) was released earlier this year by Danish indie label Crunchy Frog Records in collaboration with Kollektivet Records. The up-and-coming Swedish punk rock outfit was recently invited to stop by Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio  Tapetown Studios — and if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 15-18 months or so, you’d know that Sound of Aarhus along with the Aarhus-based studio have developed a continuing video series in which they invite national, regional and even internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session. A number of bands have played including British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his primary project The Fresh & Onlys, the renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes, and a growing list of others. 

Sista Bossen’s Tapetown Studio session which was sponsored by Crunch Frog Records, is the first session in its history to be sung completely in Swedish — until now, bands have written and performed material in English. But most important, it’s an incredible display of the mischievousness and explosive quality of their overall sound and live set; if anything, it’s the most energetic set I’ve come across as the band’s lead singer shouts, stomps and rolls around the floor with childlike fury and abandon. Along with that, there’s a playful musical joke in which the leader singer asks the band to play a little softer before the set’s fittingly explosive and quick conclusion. Regardless of the language, these guys kick ass — and have a mosh pit friendly sound. 

New Video: New Video for Nicole Atkins’ Soulful “Darkness Gets So Quiet” Offers Playful and Intimate Look at the Musician’s Life

JOVM mainstay Nicole Atkins is a Neptune, New Jersey-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who over the course of her recording career has developed a reputation for sound and songwriting approach that draws from 40s and 50s crooner pop, 60s psych rock and psych pop, soul music and Brill Building pop — with a number of critics comparing her and her sound to Roy Orbison and others. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site, you’d recall that Atkins has publicity cited many of the favorites of her parents’ record collection as being major influences on her, The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, Cass Elliot, and The Sundays‘ Harriet Wheeler among others. 

Atkins started playing piano when she turned nine, and she taught herself how to play guitar when she turned 13, and as the story goes, by the time she was attending St. Rose High School in nearby Belmar, NJ, she was playing in a number of pick-up bands and playing gigs in and around the local coffeehouse circuit. After graduating high school. Atkins attended the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where she studied illustration and ingrained herself within the city’s independent music scene. And while in Charlotte, she began writing original songs and befriending a number of local musicians; in fact, she can claim a brief stint in Nitehawk, a local supergroup that at one point had close to 30 members. Atkins also was briefly a member of Los Parasols, with whom she released The Summer of Love EP in 2002. But by the end of that year, she had relocated to Brooklyn, where she began to be influenced by the Rainbow Quartz Records roster, and began writing songs more along the lines of Wilco and Roy Orbison.

In 2005, Atkins ran into keyboardist Dan Chen, who she had known from playing gigs together at The Sidewalk Cafe, and Chen approached her about starting a band together, a band, which eventually became Nicole Atkins and The Sea. 
During a residency at Piano’s, the band won the attention of music industry attorney Gillian Bar and quickly found themselves in a bidding war between several record labels before signing with Columbia Records in early 2006. A the end of that year, Atkins and her backing band went to Sweden — Varispeed Studios in Kalegrup, Sweden and Gula Studion in Malmo — to record their Tore Johansson-produced debut effort Neptune City, which was released in October 2007 as a critical and commercial success, debuting at number 20 on Billboard‘s Top Heatseekers Chart and reached number 6 on the Heatseekers Middle Atlantic Chart.

2011 saw the release of her critically applauded, Phil Palazzolo-produced sophomore effort Mondo Amore. Recorded at Brooklyn’s Seaside Lounge Studio, Atkins’ new backing band The Black Sea featured Irina Yalkowsky (guitar), Mike Graham (drums) and Jermey Kay (bass). Atkins and her backing band played that year’s SXSW and were named by Spin Magazine as “the best live band of the festival,” and Mondo Amore received attention from the The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

During the winter of 2012 Atkins returned to Malmo, Sweden to record her third full-length effort Slow Phaser with Tore Johansson. Released in February 2014 to critical applause, the album landed at number 143 on the Billboard 200 based on the strength of singles “Girl You Look Amazing” and “Who Killed the Moonlight?” Adding to a big 2014 Atkins appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, where she performed a new rendition of “War Torn” off her Live from the Masonic Temple, Detroit album, an album which was recorded while she toured as the opener for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Recoded at Fort Worth, TX‘s Niles City Sound, with a production team featuring Austin Jenkins, Josh Block and Chris Vivion and mixed by the Alabama Shakes‘ Ben Tanner, Atkins’ fourth album Goodnight Rhonda Lee marks two different things — the first being her first album in three years, the second being a marked sonic departure from her previous work. The album’s first single, co-written by Chris Issak, “A Little Crazy” was a delicate and soulful ballad that clearly nods to many of Atkins’ early influences — in particular, Roy Orbison with a hint of Patsy Cline. However, the album’s second single “Darkness Falls So Quiet” is a stomping and soulful track that nods at Dusty Springfield — and much like Springfield’s legendary work, Atkins’ vocals, which simultaneously express swaggering self-assuredness and aching loneliness are paired with a warm and soulful arrangement that features a gorgeous string section, twinkling keys and a Daptone Records-like horn section. And if weren’t for the subtly modern production, you may have mistaken the song for being released in 1963 or so. 

The recently released video for “Darkness Falls So Quiet” is comprised of intimate, black and white in-studio footage filmed at Niles City Sound, Fort Worth, TX that captures the both the magic and banality of the creative process in the studio, but along with that there’s live footage of Atkins and her backing band shot by WFUV, as well as iPhone footage of Atkins and her bandmates goofing off on the road. 

So, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d be familiar with Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay David Alexander and his solo electro pop/dream pop recording project Summer Heart. And with Summer Heart, Alexander has received international attention for a wistfully nostalgic sound that draws from 60s psych pop, 80s electro pop and lo-fi rock, and has been compared favorably to the likes of  CaribouWashed OutIn Ghost Colours-era Cut CopyPainted Palms and others. Interestingly, Alexander’s international profile has grown as a result of several songs being placed in TV series such as the NBC series, Whitney, which brought him and his work to the attention of millions of American TV viewers; but perhaps more important, the Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer is considering among the first wave of Malmo, Sweden‘s growing indie pop and dream pop scene — a scene that includes several internationally recognized acts (some of whom, you’ve heard about here), including MoonbabiesThe Land BelowHey ElbowBlind Lake and Emerald Park.

It’s been over a year since I’ve personally written about him but within that period the Malmo Sweden-based artist and producer has been very busy touring and writing and recording his latest effort, 101, which is slated for release next month — and while 101‘s latest single “Hotel Beds” will further Alexander’s reputation for crafting swooning pop as the single consists of a buoyant and summery production featuring shimmering synths, stuttering House music-leaning drum programming, boozy blasts of guitar and Alexander’s laconic falsetto paired with a anthemic and dance floor. But underneath the buoyant and breezy pop stylings is a bittersweet rumination on the life of a touring musician — and in a way the song feels much like a rushing blur from place to place, without really knowing how long you’ll be around. In fact, as the Swedish pop artist explains in press notes “‘Hotel Beds’ is about touring, going from city to city, hotel bed to hotel bed. About meeting new people every night. It’s about a feeling of being detached from reality. Don’t get me wrong. I love to tour but after a while, it becomes a big blur . . . the lyrics were written in the back of a tour bus. It was recorded in Stockholm, mixed in Brooklyn and mastered in Jersey City.”

 

 

 

 

JOVM mainstay Nicole Atkins is a Neptune, New Jersey-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter, best known for a sound that draws influence from 50s crooner pop, 60s psych rock and psych pop, soul music and Brill Building pop; in fact, some critics have compared her sound favorably to the likes of Roy Orbison and others; in fact, Atkins has publicly cited the favorites of her parents’ record collection as being major influences on her, including The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, The SundaysHarriet Wheeler and Cass Elliot.

And as you may recall, Atkins started playing piano when she turned nine, and taught herself to play guitar at 13. By the time she was attending Belmar, NJ’s St. Rose High School, she was playing in pick-up bands and playing gigs at local coffeehouses. Upon graduating from high school, Atkins attended the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where she studied illustration and ingrained herself within the city’s independent music scene. While in Charlotte, she began writing original songs and befriending a number of local musicians; at one point, she was a member of a local supergroup Nitehawk that, at one point had close to 30 members. She also joined Los Parasols and released an EP with them, The Summer of Love in 2002; however, later that year, she moved to Brooklyn, where she began to be influenced by the Rainbow Quartz Records roster, and began writing songs more along the lines of Wilco and Roy Orbison.

By early 2005, Atkins ran into keyboardist Dan Chen, who she had known from her days playing at The Sidewalk Cafe. And as the story goes, Chen approached her about forming a new band, a band which eventually became Nicole Atkins and The Sea. During a residency at Piano’s, the band won the attention of music industry attorney Gillian Bar and Atkins along with her backing band quickly found themselves in a bidding war between several record labels before signing with Columbia Records in early 2006. At the end of that year, Atkins and her backing band went to Sweden — Varispeed Studios in Kalegrup, Sweden and Gula Studion in Malmo — to record their Tore Johansson-produced debut effort Neptune City, which was released in October 2007 to accommodate re-mastering of the album. The album was a critical and commercial success, debuting at number 20 on Billboard‘s Top Heatseekers Chart and reached number 6 on the Heatseekers Middle Atlantic Chart.

2011 saw the release of her critically applauded, Phil Palazzolo-produced sophomore effort Mondo Amore. Recorded at Brooklyn’s Seaside Lounge Studio, Atkins’ new backing band The Black Sea featured Irina Yalkowsky (guitar), Mike Graham (drums) and Jermey Kay (bass). Atkins and her backing band played that year’s SXSW and were named by Spin Magazine as “the best live band of the festival,” and Mondo Amore received attention from the The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

During the winter of 2012 Atkins returned to Malmo, Sweden to record her third full-length effort Slow Phaser with Tore Johansson. Released in February 2014 to critical applause, the album landed at number 143 on the Billboard 200 based on the strength of singles “Girl You Look Amazing” and “Who Killed the Moonlight?” Adding to a big 2014 Atkins appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, where she performed a new rendition of “War Torn” off her Live from the Masonic Temple, Detroit album, an album which was recorded while she toured as the opener for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Recoded at Fort Worth, TX‘s Niles City Sound, with a production team featuring Austin Jenkins, Josh Block and Chris Vivion and mixed by the Alabama Shakes‘ Ben Tanner, Atkins’ fourth album Goodnight Rhonda Lee marks two different but important occasions in the renowned singer/songwriter’s career — it’s her first album in three years, and more important, it marks a sonic departure from her previously released work. As I mentioned earlier, Goodnight Rhonda Lee‘s first single “A Little Crazy,” a collaboration with Chris Issak was a delicate and soulful ballad that clearly nods to some of Atkins’ earliest influences — in particular, Roy Orbison with a hint of Patsy Cline. However, “Darkness Falls So Quiet,” the album’s second single was a stomping and soulful track that nodded at  Dusty Springfield — and much like Springfield’s legendary work, Atkins’  vocals, which manage to simultaneously express swaggering self-assuredness and aching loneliness are paired with a warm and soulful arrangement that features a gorgeous string section, twinkling keys and a Daptone Records-like horn section. Interestingly, the album’s third and latest single “Sleepwalking” continues the soulful vein of its predecessor; however, with a shuffling arrangement featuring guitar, bass, twinkling keys and bold blasts of horn the song manages to nod at early Motown Records — to my ear, I thought of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and even Charles Bradley. 

Atkins will be touring throughout the summer and fall to support the new album, slated for release in a few weeks. The tour will include a September 9, 2017 stop at Mercury Lounge. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.
Tour Dates:

7/20 – Lexington, KY – The Burl
7/21 – Florence, AL – WC Handy Festival
7/23 – Nashville, TN – 3rd and Lindsley
7/25 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head on Stage w/Robert Ellis
7/26 – Fairfield, CT – Stage One
7/29 – Freehold, NJ – Monmouth County Fair
7/30 – Newport, RI – Newport Folk Festival w/Steelism and Ruby Amanfu
8/7 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
8/8 – Chicago, IL – Space
8/10 – Davenport, IA – The Raccoon Motel
8/11 – Iowa City, IA – The Mill
8/12 – Minneapolis, MN – Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
8/18 – Asheville, NC – Altamont Theatre
8/19 – Athens, GA – Wildwood Revival 2017
8/26 – Arlington, VA – Lockn’ Festival
9/8 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
9/9 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
9/10 – Asbury Park, NJ – Shadow of the City Festival @ Stony Pony Summer Stage – Shadow of the City Festival