Tag: mp3

Born in Central Asia, the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, multi-hnstrumetnnalist, composer and producer Liam Mour can trace the origins of his music career to when he learned to play the piano at six — and at an early age, he began to record and produce music on mixers and tape machines. Because of his background, Mour was gradually drawn to enhancing his technical skills in music production.

After relocating to Berlin, Mour set up his own studio at Funkhaus Berlin, where he has pursued a number of musical projects, which have allowed him to play with Nils Frahm, tour with Gold Panda and to open for Four Tet and Max Cooper.

Mour’s latest single “Douro” is a slick synthesis of ambient electronics and techno thump that’s centered around layers of chiming percussion, shimmering synth arpeggios, a mournful horn sample and skittering beats. Sonically, the hook-driven track may remind listeners of Bonobo and Octo Octa — but with a subtle darkness just under the shimmering surface.

 

 

 

 

I’ve written quite a bit about the  Oakland, CA-based quintet Bells Atlas over the past few years, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Derek Barber (guitar) Geneva Harrison (drums, percussion, keys) Sandra Lawson-Ndu (vocals, percussion, keys) and Doug Stuart (bass, vocals, keys) have received attention from this site and elsewhere across the blogosphere for a lush, forward-thinking, kaleidoscopic and difficult to pigeonhole sound that seamlessly incorporates elements of indie rock, R&B, Afro pop, Afrofuturism, jazz, electro pop, experimental pop and soul.  And adding to a rapidly growing profile, the Oakland-based quintet has opened for Hiatus Kaiyote, Badbadnotgood, Bilal, Meshell Ndegeocello, W. Kamau Bell, Angelique Kidjo and Bermuda Triangle, and they spent 2016 as the touring band for NPR’s Snap Judgement.

Slated for release next Friday, the act’s soon-to-be released SALT AND SOAP EP is reportedly inspired by cleansing rituals and preservation methods, with the understanding that when you;re not accustomed to releasing your most personal stories, the idea is to take a moment to prepare for a shift — for a new way of being open. Along with that, the band stumbled upon a new and very different creative and songwriting process that incorporated an unusual sampling method: the use of grainy phone recordings of the act’s drumming eventually became the bedrock for each song of the EP — and in turn, their forthcoming full-length album The Mystic. Focusing on spontaneity and sometimes even humor, the aim developed into writing music that was cinematic yet personal while highlighting each member’s individual skills and talent. And as you’ll hear on the EP’s latest single “Downpour,” the result is something that manages to be paradoxically slick yet lo-fi, lysergic yet groove-driven, lush and enveloping but while revealing a band radically reinvented its sound and approach in a way that recalls (to my ears at least)Drakkar Nowhere, Pavo Pavo and Erykah Badu simultaneously.

As the band says in a statement: “Growing up it seemed like it was important to hold so many things as secrets, some of which are at this point laughable, some still heavier.

These secrets often gave the sense that there was something wrong and unusual about me or that part of my life. They also gave the sense that if there was actually something difficult it wasn’t necessary to let anyone outside of it know.

This led to a lot of creative improvising and getting used to being a little less like myself.

Eventually I started  to ask “what would be the consequence of sharing versus the weight of holding?”

The track Downpour is about at first getting used to living in a secret, but then facing a growing unease of having to continue to tuck yourself away.”

The band will be embarking on a West Coast tour during the fall. Check the tour dates below.

Bells Atlas Tour Dates: 

9/20 Oakland – New Parish w/ Chanti Darling
10/4 Los Angeles – The Satellite
10/6 Joshua Tree, CA – Joshua Tree Music Festival
10/7 San Diego, CA
10/11 Portland, OR Holocene w/ Chanti Darling
10/14 Seattle, WA Nectar Lounge w/ JusMoni
10/16 Boise, ID Neurolux
10/20 Basalt, CO The Temporary
10/21 Denver, CO Globe
10/23 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s
10/24 Chicago, IL Hideout Inn
11/18 Palm Springs, CA Ace Hotel

Best known as a member of Charles Bradley‘s backing band The Extraordinaries and Sharon Jones‘ backing band The Dap Kings, Lee Fields‘ backing band The Expressions, Antibalas and The Budos Band and for collaborating with Mark Ronson and others, the Chicago, IL-born, New York-based trumpeter Billy Aukstik began writing his own soul-inspired compositions and founded Brooklyn-based indie soul label Dala Records. And since founding the label, Aukstik has produced the debut efforts of a handful of locally-based artists including singer/songwriter, John Fatum, The Rad Trads, Michael Harlen, Patrick Sargent and Camellia Hartman, as well as his own solo work under the moniker Billy the Kid.

Last year, I wrote about a Dala Records split 7 inch single “Breathing Hard (Over You)”/”Honey Bee” featuring Camellia Hartman and its founder Aukstik, with both artists backed by the Dala Records house band, The Soulful Saints. And as you may recall, Hartman is an East Village-born and-based vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, who as a child studied the Suzuki method on violin, bass and guitar at rock ‘n’ roll day camp, trombone in middle school and a cappella in high school.  Hartman’s latest single is the Billy Aukstik penned, “Return the Favor,” which is centered around the East Village-born and -based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist’s effortless and old-timey soulful vocals and an arrangement featuring twinkling keys, shuffling drums, and a loose, bluesy guitar line and a sultry horn line. Sonically, the song, which draws from Northern Soul production brings to mind the sounds of The Supremes and others, complete with a swooning and aching longing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the course of the past 18 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about JOVM mainstays Geowulf, comprised of Noosa, Australia-born friends and collaborators, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin. And although the duo have known each other since they were teenagers, their musical collaboration began in earnest when Kendrick, who grew up in a musical home, started to pursue music seriously a few years ago, and enlisted the help of her old friend to flesh out her earliest demos.

After a string of successful, critically applauded singles including “Saltwater,” which received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s top ten before landing at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts; the Mazzy Star meets  Fleetwood Mac-like   “Don’t Talk About You;” and the  Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much,” the JOVM mainstays announced that their highly-anticipated Duncan Mills-produced, full-length debut, Great Big Blue is slated for a February 16, 2018 release through 37 Adventures Records. And along with the announcement of their debut, the duo then released, the shuffling and jangling, 60s girl group pop-inspired single “Hideaway,” which continues the dream pop duo’s growing reputation for material that possesses a careful and deliberate attention to craft but with subtly modern flourishes — all while focusing on the complications, frustrations and aches of romantic relationships.

The album’s latest single “Sunday” is a slow-burning, gorgeous and cinematic bit of guitar pop, with a soaring hook that should immediately bring comparisons like Mazzy Star, The Smiths and others — while continuing a string of songs that pair dark and moody lyrics with upbeat sounds.  As the duo says in press notes, “‘Sunday’ is a favorite of ours in the album. It’s a little cruiser of a song meant to make you feel all the good things. Lyrically, it’s about feeling like Sunday is a pretty lonely day sometimes.”

 

 

 

Depending on what you’d count and how you’d count, Amy Oelsner, best known as Amy O has contributed to and recorded somewhere between two and nine albums, which would paradoxically make her an old pro and a relatively new artist. But let’s begin with some background: Growing up in Fayetteville, AR Oelsner taught herself guitar and began writing songs, eventually recording a series of lo-fi albums while moving around the country for school and for work. Each album, whether solo or with a band was released independently and with little regard for sales, promotion or radio airplay, and according to the Bloomington, IN-based singer/songwriter, at the time, the endeavor was more about the entire experience, including learning the thrill and discipline involved in creating. “Songwriting,” as Oelsner explains “became a way for me to process things and make sense of my life. I got hooked on it emotionally.”

After stints residing in Ohio, Massachusetts and Brooklyn, Oelsner relocated to Bloomington to work at Rhino’s Youth Center, which offers creative-leaning after-school programs to teenagers — and in many ways it’s a school, art gallery, music venue, a community theater, a community center and a whole host of other things. Oelsner took a job leading the Zine Writing Program, a program which encourages local teens to share their stories, to engage with the public in creative ways, to define and address the issues that affect their lives on a very granular level. Interestingly, the Bloomington, IN-based singer/songwriter’s professional life influences her creative life, as the deluxe edition of her forthcoming album Elastic will be released by her own zine Yoko, Oh Yes, which will feature interviews from a number of women musicians and artists — including The Roches’ Terre Roche, Frankie Cosmos’ Greta Kline, Free Cake for Every Creature’s Katie Bennett and others discussing songwriting and technique, early experiences, gear, the recording business, money, inspiration and advice. Certainly for any aspiring female artist, hearing from those who have been where you have been, have made mistakes and learned from them and have achieved success and renown will be a transformative and inspiring experience.

As far as the actual album, which is slated for an August 4, 2017 release, Oelsner performs with a backing band of friends and collaborators including Madeline Robinson (bass, vocals), Justin Vollmar (drums), Damion Schiralli (guitar) and Aaron Denton (keys, vocals) and from the album’s first single “Lavender Night,” possesses an infectious exuberance, the easygoing self-assuredness and craft of old pros and razor sharp hook — a hook that’s paired with zigzagging guitar work and a propulsive, chugging rhythm section. While sonically drawing from Sleater-Kinney, The Roches and others, the track as she explains “came to me quickly and without fuss. I wrote it after a little scare I had at the doctor with a mysterious lump. It’s about the constant (and often invisible) line of fragility that we walk upon in life, leaning how to follow trails of light throughout difficult circumstances, and resisting the black hole-like vacuum of negative thought patterns.” And as a result, the song has the urgency of one who has recognizes that they’ve dodged a bullet — and that good turn of luck could quickly end.

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site off and on over the past two or three years or so, you may have come across a post or two featuring the Gothenburg, Sweden-based punk quartet LaDIDa, an act that over its time together had received attention both across Scandinavia and the European Union for their Dadist and manic take on punk rock, which frequently would include the use of singing saws, melodica and stylophone paired with the prototypical punk rock arrangement of guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Along with that, several blogs have compared the band’s frontperson Britta Persson to Yeah Yeah YeahsKaren O., and that shouldn’t be surprising as Perssson’s vocals manage to evoke a similar bratty and snotty in-your-face/don’t give a fuck attitude, an aware and confident sensuality and a feral urgency within a turn of a phrase.

After the release of “You Got It,” the band’s most straightforward, garage rock-leaning song, a song that reminded me quite a bit of the arena friendly sound of The Kills, The Black Keys and others, the quartet has decided to go on a hiatus. And as LaDIDa’s Rat Westlake explained in an email to me “Me and Bea [Britta Persson] often found ourselves sitting in my little studio room with ideas and no other band members around, so we started getting stuff down using our silvery computer pal to sort of the rhythm section (with a little help from me). It turned out pretty good! So we decided to kick off a duo — if we do not count the aforementioned little silvery chum. Et voila . . . The Cherokee Death Cats.” Persson’s and Westlake’s debut single as duo, “Read my lips” is a churning, scuzzy, propulsive, lo-fi leaning bit of garage rock reminiscent of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Raveonettes, The Cummies and others that subtly nods at New Wave and post punk, complete with a rousingly anthemic hook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past couple of years, the world renowned soul label, Daptone Records. the label home of the late (and great) Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, has released a series of albums documenting and preserving the spirituals, gospel and church-based music from the Mississippi River Delta region — in particular, the small rural town of Como, MS located in the northern Hill Country, about 50 miles south of Memphis, TN. Historically speaking, the small Northern Mississippi, rural town has long struggled with the legacy of slavery, segregation, discrimination, agricultural decline; however, Como has simultaneously been known as a creative hotbed of sorts, as Fred McDowell, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Napoleon Strickland, Othar Turner, Luther Perkins (best known as Johnny Cash’s guitarist), Joe Henderson and a lengthy list of others have claimed roots in Como, MS.

Now, earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about The Walker Family Singers’ Jesus Gave Me Water,” off the familial unit’s debut effort, Panola County Spirit. Comprised of Raymond and Joella Walker, three of their four daughters, Alberta, Patricia and Delouse and their two sons Robert and Booby, the well-regarded gospel quintet not only have a long-held history of preaching and singing the gospel that goes back several generations, the patriarch of the family, Raymond at one point was so well-regarded as a vocalist, that he was once recruited by both Fred McDowell and the legendary Sam Cooke to back them on tour for what would have been a rather significant amount of money. And although seemingly apocryphal, as the story goes, Raymond Walker refused unless McDowell and Cooke gave up singing the blues and took up gospel. McDowell refused and the rest is history. . .

Daptone Records gospel music series continues with Move Upstairs, the forthcoming  effort from the Como, MS-based gospel trio The Como Mamas, slated for a May 19, 2017 release. Comprised of Ester Mae Smith and siblings Angelia Taylor and Della Daniels, the trio have been singing together in church since they were children. Much like Como’s other renowned musicians and vocalists, Della and Angelia come from a distinguished line of musicians themselves — their grandfather would frequently play music on their porch with a group of musicians that included the aforementioned Fred McDowell. In fact, the sisters remember when the famed folklorist and writer Alan Lomax, best known for his Land Where The Blues Was Born, stopped by their home in 1959 to record some of these jam sessions.  Now, interestingly enough with their appearance on The Voices of Panola County: Como Now! and their Get an Understanding, the trio quickly established themselves as an up-and-coming, powerhouse act in contemporary gospel. Interestingly enough, I actually caught the trio play their first show outside of their hometown at the legendary Apollo Theater as part of the Daptone Super Soul Revue back in 2015, an incredible showcase that featured many of the labels top names including Charles Bradley, the aforementioned Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Antibalas and others.

Naturally, taking advantage of the ladies time in New York, the folks at Daptone invited them to the House of Soul Studios to record with a backing band featuring some of the best musicians in their immense stable of musicians — including Jimmy Hill, Thomas Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss and Bosco Mann, who came together as The Glorifiers Band for the Move Upstairs session.

Album title track and first single “Move Upstairs” possesses a raw, dusty, classic blues and R&B-leaning sound — and by that think of Bo Diddley “and Muddy Waters’ Muddy Waters Folk Singer and others — that’s so incredibly period specific, that it sounds as though it were written and recorded sometime in 1947-1954 or so and was somehow surreptitiously discovered by an obsessive record collector. As as the actual song, a churning and propulsive arrangement consisting of guitar, drums and organ that’s comfortable and roomy enough for the Como Mamas using call and response vocals, to belt and shout with joy about how God’s love set them free from life’s drudgery and suffering.  And it’s a song that shuffles and struts as it does so.

Of course, unsurprisingly, much like the Walker Family Singers’ “Jesus Gave Me Water,” the Como Mamas’ makes an obvious yet forceful suggestion — that the the Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll, R&B and hip-hop can trace their origins in some fashion to the gospels, spirituals and folk music of the Mississippi Delta while actively preserving some of America’s musical traditions.

 

 

Captain Casanova, is an Aarhus, Denmark-based indie rock trio, who have developed a reputation across Scandinavia, Northern Europe and Central Europe for a busy touring schedule with some of each region’s up-and-coming bands — and for a sound that clearly draws influence from 90s grunge rock and Brit Pop as you’ll hear on the band’s anthemic, mosh pit friendly, barn burning single “Futures.” Interestingly, along with bands like Love Talk, Pacific Swell and John Alcabean, Captain Casanova have helped to establish a burgeoning Danish indie rock scene that’s seeing international attention across Europe and the UK.

Initially formed as a quartet, comprised of founding member, Benjamin Plant (production),  along with Josh Moriarty (vocals, guitar), Aaron Shanahan (guitar, vocals and production) and Daniel Whitechuch (bass, keyboards and guitar), the Melbourne, Australia-based indie electro pop act Miami Horror quickly received national and international attention with their 2010 debut Illumination, an effort that was praised for a sound that drew from fellow countrymen Cut Copy, as well as New OrderPrinceMichael JacksonE.L.O. and others.

The then-quartet spent the next three years shuttling back and forth between their hometown of Melbourne, Australia, Los Angeles and Paris writing and recording the material that would comprise their critically praised 2013 sophomore effort, All Possible Futures, a breezy and summery, dance floor-friendly effort that was deeply inspired by the time the band spent writing and recording in Southern California and drew from 80s synth pop, classic house and 60s pop. Building upon their rapidly growing profile, the members of the act have extensively toured the globe — and along with the aforementioned Cut Copy, and fellow Australians Total Giovanni and others, have put their hometown on the international map for a unique yet approachable electro pop sound and approach.

Now, it’s been a few years since the blogosphere has heard from Miami Horror, as the act’s Benjamin Plant has been busy co-writing tracks with Client Liaison and Roland Tings and writing new Miami Horror material, while the act has gone through a lineup change that has them writing and recording as a trio. But interestingly enough, their soon-to-be released conceptual EP, The Shapes finds the band further exploring and expanding upon their sound, as the material draws from art pop, Talking Heads, Caribbean funk and African beats among other things while retaining elements of the sound that won them international attention. And as you’ll hear on the EP’s upbeat, dance floor-friendly first single “Leila,” the song nods at Tom Tom Club, Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, 80s synth pop  as the act pairs a buoyant and rousing hook, plaintive vocals, shimmering synths, African percussion, and an incredibly funky bass line with Moriarty’s plaintive vocals.  Interestingly, in some way, the song teases at something like a return to the sound of Illumination — but in a deceptive fashion says “well, not quite” as the material manages to possesses a boldly neon colored sheen while being a dance-floor friendly anthem.

 

 

 

 

 

Best known as a member of renowned Swedish, electro pop acts Djustin, Club 8 and Acid House Kings and as the head of Stockholm, Sweden-based electro pop label Labrador Records, Johan Angergård has released two full-length solo albums under the moniker The Legends — 2009’s noise pop-leaning self-titled debut and 2015’s It’s Love, which featured lead single “Keep Him.” Interestingly, last year was a prolific and very busy year for Angergård as Djustin and Club 8 released albums — and he released two singles, “Cocaine” feat. Maria Usbeck, “Summer In The City (Living Is For Somebody Else)” and a cover of The Chainsmokers smash-hit “Roses” feat. Rozes which not only reflect a decided change in sonic direction for the Stockholm-based label head, producer and electronic music artist but are also marked the first three singles off his sixth, full-length effort as The Legends, Nightshift,  and with those early singles, Angergård  has developed a decidedly swaggering, neon colored, retro-futuristic sound and aesthetic that channels early 80s Giorgio Moroder, The Man Machine and Computerworld-era Kraftwerk, classic house and Holy Ghost!’s Crime Cutz as heavily vocoder-processed vocals are paired with tweeter and woofer rocking 808s, processed cowbell and layers of arpeggio synths.

Unsurprisingly, Nightshift‘s fourth and latest single “Cash” continues on a similar vein, complete with a cocksure, infectious hook straight out of 1983 and a boom box meets dance floor friendly sound.  And in some way, the song should serve as a reminder that even in our incredibly difficult sociopolitical times, that sometimes you need to have some mindless fun on the dance floor — and that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

 

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