Tag: mp3s

Influenced by The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Joy Division and others, the rising Swiss-American shoegaze duo The Churchhill Garden — currently, founding member Andy Jossi (guitar) and Whimsical‘s Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) — was originally founded as a solo recording project back in 2010 as a way for Jossi to plug into his emotions and to focus on writing music without any pressure. 

As the story goes, a friend had showed Jossi how to use GarageBand, which he eventually used for some of his earliest recordings. The Swiss guitarist was determined to become a better guitarist and he learned from his mistakes, which helped his musicianship and songwriting flourish and grow. As he was growing as a musician and songwriter, Jossi discovered Logic, which led to an improved and lusher quality to his recordings. 

Around the same time, Jossi began to notice that the songs he had begun to write were more expansive, and although largely inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, shoegaze, post punk and jangle pop, the material revealed his own take on the sounds he had long loved. The Swiss guitarist and songwriting posted his compositions on Myspace without expecting much in return but, he was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the positive response he received. And although Jossi enjoyed writing the material he had posted on MySpace, he felt that i was missing something vitally important — vocals.

Hoping to broaden his musical horizons, the Swiss guitarist and songwriter sought out a few local vocalists to collaborate with. His first collaboration was with The Reaction’s Max Burki, one of Jossi’s local musical heroes. Jossi went on to record two more tracks with Eva Tresch. Technological advances — i.e., home recording studios and programs, as well as file sharing — allowed Jossi to collaborate with vocalists outside of his native Switzerland. His first collaboration with a foreign vocalist, “Noisy Butterfly,” which featured Italian vocalist Damiano Rosetti helped expand The Churchhill Garden’s audience and fanbase outside of Switzerland.

Jossi followed “Noisy Butterfly” with more collaborations with international vocalists including Craig Douglas (USA), Alistair Douglas (AUS) and Hideka (Japan). Back in 2016, Jossi first crossed paths with Whimsical’s Krissy Vanderwoude. Vanderwoude commented on Jossi’s “Sleepless” on Facebook, letting him know that she loved his music, had been a big fan and was deeply moved by the emotionality of his work. Her message went on to say that she could “hear his heart” through his work and that his work resonated deeply with her.

As it turned out, Vanderwoude and Jossi had a mutual friend, Kev Cleary, who chimed in on the comment thread that the two should work on a song together. The duo were very excited about the idea but didn’t quite know what to expect. Jossi sent Vanderwoude files for a couple of different instrumental pieces he had written and recorded, and encouraged her to choose which one she wanted to work on. Interestingly, the Whimsical frontwoman gravitated to one of the tracks in particular and remembers being moved to tears when she first heard it. The end result became their first song together “The Same Sky.”

“The Same Sky” was released to an overwhelmingly positive response with people generally commenting that they felt a magical chemistry between the two — and after a couple of songs together, they both realized that Vanderwoude should be a permanent and full-time member of The Churchhill Garden. Of course, while Vanderwoude is a permanent fixture in The Churchhill Garden universe, Jossi has continued collaborated with other vocalists, including Seashine’s Demi Haynes and Fables‘ and Swirl’Ben Aylward

Churchhill Gardens songs were coming together quickly with a new single being released every few months. With every new release, they found their fanbase steadily growing. And although, they were releasing material through Bandcamp and other DSPs, a growing number of people expressed interest in owning a physical copy of the songs — and they started asking if there would ever be an actual Churchhill Garden album. 

Last year, the Swiss-American duo released their full-length debut, a double LP album Heart and Soul. Since the release of Heart and Soul, the duo have been working on and releasing new material including “Fade Away,” which was released earlier this year. Centered around layers of reverb-drenched, shimmering guitars, Vanderwoude’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and soaring hooks “Fade Away” to my ears at least, reminds me quite a bit of Souvlaki-era SlowdiveSo Tonight That I May See-era Mazzy Star, compete with a similar aching yearning at its core.

Clocking in at a little over seven minutes, the Swiss-American collaboration’s latest single “Lonely” is a slow-burning and aching track, featuring shimmering and reverb soaked guitars paired with a soaring hook and Vanderwoude’s ethereal vocals. And while sonically continuing on in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor with the song bringing the likes of Slowdive, Mazzy Star and even Cocteau Twins to mind, the song as the duo’s Krissy Vanderwoude explains is “lyrically a bit of a heartbreaker for anyone who knows what it feels like to have loved and lost.”

Pocket Protection is an instrumental groove project that features a collection of accomplished New Orleans players including — The Revivalists‘ George Gekas (bass), Ed O’Brien (EOB)‘s PJ Morton‘s, Raphael Saadiq’s and Pretty Lights touring musician Alvin Ford, Jr. (drums), Lembo‘s and Deltaphonic‘s Paul Provosty (guitar, production) and Boogie T.Rio‘s and Cha Wa‘s Andrew Yanovski (keys).

Color Red Music will be releasing their debut EP Pocket Protection, Vol. 1 on May 4, 2021. The EP’s latest single “Paul P. Sure” is a strutting number that’s one part Allman Brothers-like Southern fried guitar rock, and one part retro-futuristic Stevie Wonder funk within an expansive and free-flowing jam-band like composition. The song’s origins have an interesting backstory: Originally brought in as a song sketch by the band’s Provosty, the remaining members fleshed it out further when they were all in the studio. The composition pulls some inspiration from The Derek Trucks Band’s “Kickin’ Back,” which interestingly enough, the band played during their first show together.

When it comes to titles, the band likes to play with words and the original title for the song was “Grateful Allmonds,” because the song combines elements of The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers Band. They eventually changed the song’s title to “Paul P. Sure,”as a play on the guitarist’s name and Paulie Shore.

“Paul P. Sure defines the intention and essence of Pocket Protection. There were no blueprints or discussions to establish a game plan or any strict guidelines as to what everyone should do or play,” Pocket Proection’s George Gekas explains. “Instead, we relied on intuition and each other to continue to move the music forward. It felt right when we first performed together, made sense in the studio, and will continue to as a collective idea.”

Deriving their name from a French expression that gently mocks sappy lovers, the Paris-based indie rock duo Fleur bleu.e — Delphine and Vladimir — features two accomplished musicians, who have been performing and writing music since they were both children: Vladimir was a guitarist in French garage rock band Brats, an act that recorded and released a Yarol Popouard-produced album that was supported with touring across France with BB Brunes. Delphine began playing cello in classical orchestras before learning guitar and playing at alternative festivals across Paris with her first band Le Studio Jaune.

When the duo met in 2019, they bonded over a mutual love of The Smiths, Beach House, Françoise Hardy and Elli et Jacno among others, and a desire to craft music that was emotionally ambiguous while being fueled by their teenage myths. Seemingly influenced by dramas and nightmares, their artistic vision is to go beyond the prism of the gender binary and call upon the listener to express their fragility, celebrating one’s inner world and the beauty in imperfections.

They released their critically applauded single “Horizon” late last year and building upon a buzz worthy profile in their native France, the duo released their Ben Etter-produced second single earlier this month. Centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive yet simple backbeat and Delphine’s gorgeous vocals, the song sonically — to my ears, at least — brings Bloom-era Beach House to mind while being an emotionally ambiguous feminist manifesto.

After stints in bands like Kite Flying Society, Saving Twilight, The Weak Ends and The Wonderers throughout the early 2000s, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Geannie Friedman initially founded Semihelix in Austin, back in 2012 as a solo recording project in which she used drum beats, keyboards for bass lines while accompanying her vocals with guitar. After several lineup changes, the band eventually settled on their current lineup: Friedman (vocals, guitar), Valdemar Barrrera (drums) and Kevin Martin (bass).

Influenced by My Bloody Valentine, The Kinks, Black Tambourine, Sebadoh, The Pixies and Sonic Youth, the Austin-based act have established and cemented a sound that’s one part dream pop, one part 90s psych fuzz and delay with melodic yet loud sounds. The trio’s latest single “New Destination” finds the band crafting a song that to my ears, sounds indebted to New Zealand jangle pop, Katy Goodman’s work with La Sera and acts like Seapony, complete with an infectious and rousingly anthemic hook. But just underneath the sunny vibes, the song tells a tale of a narrator discovering the resilience she’ll need for the slings and arrows of the rest of her life.

“The catalyst behind the idea for this song came from a place where I felt ostracized and bullied in my hometown,” Semihelix’s Geannie Friedman explains. “I wrote about how moving and starting new would help to heal from many experiences of feeling like an outsider.
 
“Also, having been in relationships with others that weren’t healthy, it was a time for me to learn how to be happy on my own without being dependent on a relationship for happiness. Although I wrote this song over a decade ago when I was in my 20s, it’s a song that I relate to for many stages in my life, where I’m leaving behind and shedding the old, and renewing into someone stronger and resilient.”

 

Deriving their name from a slang phrase popularly used by Mardi Gras indian tribes that means “we’re comin’ for ya” or “here we come,” the Grammy Award-nominated New Orleans-based funk act Cha Wa — currently founding member and bandleader Joe Gelini, along with Spyboy J’Wan Boudreaux, Second Chief Joseph Boudreaux, Ari “Gato” Teitel, Joseph “Jose” Maize, Clifton “Spug” Smith, Aurelien Barnes, Eric “Bogey” Gordon, Edward “Juicey” Jackson and Haruka Kikuchi — can trace their origins back to 2014 when Gellni was first introduced to the Mardi Gras Indian tradition while attending Boston’Berklee College of Music, where he met New Orleans-born, jazz drummer Idris Muhammad, who gave Gellini lessons in New Orleans-styled drumming.

As the story goes, those lessons inspired Gellini to relocate to New Orleans after graduation. Gellini quickly became involved in the city’s beloved Mardi Gras Indian community, eventually attending rehearsals for Mardi Gras marches. Gellini met  Monk Boudreaux, Big Chief of the Golden Eagles and one of the city’s most widely known and popular Mardi Gras Indian vocalists at those rehearsals. Coincidentally, Boudreaux is the grandfather of Cha Wa’s frontman J’Wan Boudreaux.

Unsurprisingly those rehearsals eventually turned into Gellini performing alongside the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian legend. Gellini met J’Wan Boudreaux while the younger Boudreaux was still attending high school, but shortly after, J’Wan joined the band as their frontman. Since then, Cha Wa have established a sound and aesthetic that simultaneously draws from New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian tradition and the city’s beloved rhythm and blues and funk sounds through the release of three albums — 2016’s debut Funk ‘N’ Feathers, 2018’s Grammy Award-nominated Spyboy and their most recent album, My People, which was released last week.

“Mardi Gras Indian tradition and culture goes back over 250 years in the city of New Orleans. And it’s a culture that derives from men of color wanting to celebrate the Mardi Gras holiday but weren’t able to at the time,” Boudreaux explained in an interview with NPR. “So what they did was they created these elaborate suits…it represented the Native Americans that helped the Blacks escape slavery, and they actually helped them throughout the swamps and the bywater to get where they needed to go. So to pay homage to those natives, these men created what we call today Indian suits.” On the album Cha Wa founder Joe Gellni adds that the group “”tapped into that collective unconscious of what it is to live in New Orleans and to see all the nuances and ways that different people of color in the band actually experience racism — what sort of plight we’re facing in New Orleans socially and culturally, and class-wise and environmentally.”

My People‘s latest single, album title track “My People” is a strutting bit of funk that’s one-part classic second line march, one part The Meters, one part Nite Tripper-era Dr. John centered around a shuffling rhythm, shimmering Rhodes, a big horn section and call and response vocals singing lyrics that remind people of the universal facts of life: the rich get rich, while the sick get sicker; that while we have our differences, we have much more in common than we expect — we’ll all experience heartbreak, despair, frustration, loss, death. And if we can see that the universe in others, it may mean we get closer to understanding someone else’s life and their pain.

Although they haven’t been able to tour, as a result of the pandemic, but they have made a recent appearance on Good Morning America and on NPR, and that has allowed them to spread the album’s music and message to a much wider audience — and not just to those who will agree with them, but as Boudreaux explained to NPR “also to the people who may not be so open…just try to open up your eyes and see the world through the lens of the next person – the person that’s next to you, being held down by these different things like systematic oppression…if we don’t say anything about it, then no one will actually understand and know that we’re with them.” 

Wojmann is a mysterious and emerging French electronic music producer and electronic music artist with a rather unique and interesting back story: Born somewhere in Southern France during the late 20th century, the emerging French artist suffered from a severe case case of amnesia, a case that has essentially erased his past. Found in front of a small Provence town’s public pool last April, the only memories that Wojmann seems to have is a haunting rhythm in his head that he tries to transcribe to music.

His debut EP will be released through acclaimed French label Sinners. The EP’s first single “Vars” is an expansive deep house track centered around skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling beats and glistening synth arpeggios within an expansive, mind-bending song structure, complete with an atmospheric break. Sonically to my ears, the song reminds me a bit of Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves as it possesses a similar sensual quality.

With the release of their debut EP I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, the rising Brighton-based dream pop act Hanya — Heather Sheret (vocal, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Dylan Fanger (bass) and Jack Watkins (drums) — received attention nationally and across the blogosphere for a sound that meshes elements dream pop and shoegaze. 

Much like countless other bands across the globe, Hanya had plans to build upon a rapidly growing national and international profile: earlier this year,. they released their acclaimed sophomore EP Sea Shoes and they made their Stateside debut at New Colossus Festival last year. Sadly, their New Colossus Festival set at The Bowery Electric was among the last sets of live music I’ve seen since the pandemic hit. Of course, without the ability to tour or play shows, the rising Brighton JOVM mainstays have been rather busy writing and releasing new materail including:

  • Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship. 
  • Monochrome,” which found the Brighton further establishing a gorgeous sound and approach that sets them apart in a crowded and talented field.

The JOVM mainstays’ latest single “Lydia” is a slow-burning and gorgeous track centered around shimmering guitars, Sheret’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook that continues the band’s winning mix of 70s AM rock and Beach House-like dream pop. And much like its immediate predecessors, “Lydia” is carefully crafted, introspective and hauntingly nostalgic.

“‘Lydia’ started as a sweet acoustic number but kept getting bigger the more we played it,” Hanya’s Heather Sheret explains in press notes. “I think that’s the nature of things right now: big gestures only. This past year has involved a lot of contemplation, and so ‘Lydia’ was written about a chance to dwell on our memories and see people, situations and relationships in new light as time progresses. The reminder that rights and wrongs are ever-evolving, perspectives shift and over time you shape your own memories.”

With the release of their full-length debut, 2019’s ten-song Kenny Jones-recorded and produced Blind Reflection the Metz, France-based act OSTED quickly established a sound that blues the lines between indie rock and post punk with an expansive sonic palette.

Although they weren’t able to tour as a result of pandemic related lockdowns and quarantines, the emerging French act managed to have a rather auspicious 2020: they returned to the Jones’ London-based Alchemy Studio to record the follow-up to their debut, the forthcoming Collecting Memories EP. And they signed with Endless Night Records at the end of last year.

The EP’s latest single “Sarajevo” is a brooding song centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, shimmering guitars, thunderous drumming, rousingly anthemic hooks and dry yet achingly plaintive vocals within an expansive song structure. Interestingly, the song is a perfect example of their sound: a subtle mix of Joy Division post-punk, shoegaze and 120 Minutes-era MTV all rock with seemingly lived-in lyrics.

Look for Conflicted Memories EP on April 30, 2021.

Angel Ez is a Chicago-based indie singer/songwriter and producer, who currently creates music inspired by his own life experiences and emotions and anything else that may come at the moment. He recently finished a batch of material that’s slated for release at the end of this month — and the project will include his latest single, “When I’m With You,” a hook-driven slick pop song centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rattling beats and Ez’s plaintive vocals. Sonically, the track is a slick yet soulful synthesis of 80s synth pop and contemporary indie electro pop paired with lived-in lyrics.

Deriving her stage name from the Idlewood district of San Andreas in Grand Theft Auto: San AndreasEleanor Idlewood is an emerging, 23 year-old, Bordeaux-based electronic music producer and artist, who can trace the origins of her music career to when she was 14: Idlewood explains that her best friend received music programming software and they shared the software with her. Ever since then she’s been making her own original music, inspired by the sounds of the 80s and 90s — including Depeche ModeFrankie Goes to Hollywood, The Human LeagueKraftwerkVangelisPet Shop BoysMadonnaJean-Michel JarreMobyTelepopmusikTestu InoueStephane PompougnacWilliam Orbit and a lengthy list of others. (Unsurprisingly, the emerging French electronic music artist and producer proudly admits that she’s obsessed with the 80s: she owns some vintage synthesizers from the 80s and owns vintage dresses, boots and other items from the 80s that she regularly wears.) 

After releasing a handful of singles that found the young, emerging, French electronic music producer and artist experimenting with darkwave and New Wave, Idlewood released her full-length debut, last year’s Little Secrets, which featured the brooding, John Carpenter soundtrack-like “Not Your Fault.” Building upon the attention she received with Little Secrets, Idlewood will be releasing its follow-up, Little Secrets: Remixes and Fantasies. Little Secrets: Remixes and Fantasies‘ first single “Akito’s Madness” is a decidedly Tour de France-era Kraftwerk-inspired single, centered around a hypnotic, motorik groove, shimmering synth arpeggios and thumping beats.

“Kraftwerk is a major influence for this electronica track,” Idlewild says. “Made with some sequencer, vocalic for the vocal, Korg MS-20, Volca Modular and other sound design.”