Tag: mp3s

In her native Portugal, the Porto-born and-based vocalist Marta Ren has been a part of the country’s music scene since the mid 1990s and she may be best known for her stint as the frontwoman of the acclaimed breakbeat outfit The Bombazines with whom she recorded and released two full-length albums — and for contributing her vocals to a number of nationally known acts. Interestingly, Ren has long been inspired by the funk and soul sounds of the 60s and over the last few years, the Porto-born and-based vocalist decided it was time to step out into the spotlight with her own soul and funk project, under her name. She eventually hooked up with her backing band The Groovelets, with whom she released her critically praised, attention-grabbing debut Stop Look Listen, an effort that received airplay from BBC Radio 6′s Craig Charles and Radio France‘s Francis Viel.

Building upon a growing international profile, Ren and her Groovelets played across Europe to support her critically acclaimed debut effort, including the Trans Musicales Festival, Sziget Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag and Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul Festival. Interestingly, the strutting, Emre Ramazanoglu-produced “Worth It,” is the first batch of material from the Portuguese soulstress in a couple of years — and reportedly, it’s the first taste from her highly-anticipated sophomore album, slated for an early 2020 release through Record Kicks. And while retaining elements of the classic 60s soul that first caught the attention of this site and elsewhere, Ren an The Groovelets’ latest single is a sultry, slow-burning and cinematic track that finds their sound nodding at psych-tinged soul that finds Ren taking names and kicking ass with stomping aplomb.

 

 

 

 

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Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ian Ferguson is a high-school dropout from a one stoplight town outside of Nashville, who started his music career in earnest when he formed and broke up his high school band Kingston Springs just as they were on the verge of a success; in fact, the band had a major label deal on the table, when he decided to walk away from the band.

Interestingly, his solo career can trace its origins to when he accidentally locked himself in his mother’s basement. “I was in my basement, working on some demos,” Ferguson recalls in press notes. “I hadn’t put this idea of ‘making a record’ together in my mind just yet. And there was this faulty door at the top of the stairs that would lock itself and you had to have a key to get out, which of course I didn’t have. I’m messing around when all of the sudden I hear it shut. To this day, I’m not sure what happened. It might’ve been my dachshund Hannah or just some crazy occurrence. I was home alone at the time so I started to freak out, but eventually decided to make the best of it. I had this old HP computer from the 90’s down there and I just went to town.” The end result is Ferguson’s forthcoming solo debut, State of Gold.

Slated for a July 26, 2019 release through County Fair Records, Ferguson’s debut effort was self-engineered with the up-and-coming singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist performing all the album’s instrumentation and arrangements. With no formal training as an engineer, self-recording and self-mixing were initially challenges. ““I ended up teaching myself how to record and mix records, using some goofy computer softwares. I actually mixed the record on that old HP computer from the 90’s using a very impractical way of recording that involved burning 16 CDs for each song. It took me a long time to make the record, but after I got ripped off $1k from an audio engineer for a mix that didn’t sound right, I knew I had to take it on myself and I hope you can hear the love in the labor,” Ferguson says in press notes.

Because of his wild-eyed falsetto, use of layered vocal harmonies, greasy guitars and conversational lyricism, Ferguson’s sound has gained comparisons to the likes of Ty Segall, The Nude Party, David Bowie, Marc Bolan/T. Rex and psychedelic era Beatles — and as a result, some of his fans include a who’s who of contemporary Nashville-based acts including Alabama Shakes and JOVM mainstay Ron Gallo among others.  Of course, when you check out State of Gold‘s latest single, the shuffling psych blues “Worried Walk,” you’ll clearly understand why the comparisons to Marc Bolan are so uncannily apt, as the song sounds as though it could have been released on almost any T. Rex album. However, the song possesses just enough Southern twang to give it a mischievously deceptive anachronistic quality that belies the deliberate and loving attention to craft at its core.

“Worried Walk is a song about that feeling when you’re aware you are having an emotional and mental meltdown,” Ferguson explains in press notes. “It’s about that feeling when your mind takes off, all on its own. You try taking a walk to calm yourself down but you find yourself thinking more and more and continuing in a downward spiral.”

Ferguson will be embarking on a short tour to support his solo debut that will include an August 14, 2019 stop at Union Pool. Check out the tour dates below.

 

TOUR DATES

7/26 – Nashville, TN @ Grimey’s – Album Release in-store

8/2 –  Charlotte, NC @ River Jam https://usnwc.org/ian-ferguson/

8/14 – New York, NY @ Union Pool https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1864586

Throughout the course of this site’s almost nine year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink on the ridiculously prolific New York-based producer, DJ, remixer and JOVM mainstay Rhythm Scholar. Now, as you may recall, the New York-based JOVM mainstay has received attention from this site and elsewhere for a slickly produced, funky, crowd-pleasing mashups and remixes of classic soul, funk, soul, hip-hop and New Wave. Interestingly, over the past year or so, Rhythm Scholar has enlisted a backing band featuring frequent collaborators Jason Spillman (bass) and Marcus Horndt (Rhodes) and Big Once (turntables), all of whom have helped the JOVM mainstay move towards an increasingly organic take on his work.

Rhythm Scholar’s latest remix finds him taking on Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams‘ smash hit collaboration “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” And while retaining Snoop’s imitable and effortlessly smooth flow, the JOVM’s mainstay’s kaleidoscopic remix recalls both Dr. Dre-inspired G Funk-era production and cinematic 70s soul, as the track feature samples from four classic blaxploitation films, 1973’s The Mack, 1973’s Magnum Force, 1975’s Rollerball and 1976’s Car Wash and is centered around twinkling Rhodes, a propulsive, disco-like bass line, fluttering electronics, congos and some much-needed, old school turntablism. Simply put, it’s a lysergic yet funky strutting take on a beloved banger.

 

 

 

 

Titus Calderbank is an up-and-coming Vancouver, British Columbia-based singer/songwriter and musician, who according to his Facebook fan page is “determined to create songs that inspire and motivate.” Calderbank’s latest single “Mistakes” is an sparsely arranged yet heartfelt and anthemic ballad, centered around twinkling piano, soaring organ, strummed guitar and the Vancouver-based singer/songwriter’s soulful and aching Sam Fender-like vocals.

Recorded at Vancouver’s Echoplant Sound Studio with Ryan Worsley, the song as Calderbank explains in press notes “is a song about failure and regret. A song about missing the mark. It’s also a song of redemption and asking for forgiveness. Humans often fail short. At the end of the day, we have to a accept that we’re tall trying our best.” Calderbank adds, “What I hope to communicate through this song is that mercy and forgiveness are always an option. We can either be slaves to our past mistakes or make peace with them and move on. We can grace our enemies with forgiveness or we can die with bitter hearts.”

 

 

Taylor Knox is a Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who can trace the origins of his musical career to over a decade ago, when he was recruited to play drums for The Golden Dogs, an act that was considered one of Canada’s criminally under-appreciated bands — and coincidentally, one of Knox’s favorite bands, too.

During his stint with The Golden Dogs, Knox forged friendships with several other bandmembers, who all go on to form Zeus. As a result of Zeus, Knox was a frequent presence at the band’s Toronto studio Ill Eagle, which naturally offered him the perfect environment and the opportunity to begin experimenting with his own original material. Interestingly, Knox and his then-newly formed Zeus were tapped by Jason Collett to be his regular backing band — and it brought him into contact with an even wider circle of musicians, including Luke Doucet, whom he joined on Doucet’s tour to support his acclaimed Steel City Traveler. He also joined Hayden for the Us Alone recording sessions and subsequent tour. He also played with acclaimed Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin.

With the release of the Lines EP and his full-length debut Love, Knox stepped out into the spotlight, crafting anthemic power pop that has drawn comparisons to acclaimed and highly influential Canadian power pop act Sloan and others. Slated for a June 7, 2019 release, Knox’s sophomore album Here Tonight thematically focuses on the mystery, stillness and artistic inspiration of the night; in fact, Knox’s tendency to be a night owl was a major influence on the album. And when he started writing the material that would eventually comprise his forthcoming sophomore album, he focused on precisely what he was thinking about — and what he wanted to do and say with it. He didn’t want to waste the insight that nighttime has always given him.“I really try to make sure the songs I write come from a place of not something I want to write but something I kind of have to get out. What I’m feeling below what I’m thinking,” Knox says in press notes.

Sonically speaking, the album, which sees Knox working with Josh Korody reportedly sees Knox continuing with the power pop that has won him attention — fuzzy and /or crunchy power chords, forceful drumming and rousingly anthemic hooks; but he sought guidance and inspiration from much more contemporary artists like The Weeknd, SZA and Prince in terms of production and songwriting, as well as the legendary Joni Mitchell. In fact, Korody’s production helped to add new textures to his overall sound, thanks to the incorporation of synths and keyboards to create glistening gutter tones. Knox also worked with Rob Schnapf in Los Angeles, who helped make one song reportedly to sound like one of the best Oasis songs to never appear on an Oasis album.

Interestingly, what sets the Toronto-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s sophomore album apart from this previously released work is a free flowing spontaneity that was encouraged by Korody and Schnapf — and that left room for unrestrained creativity. Doing this, he says, “leaves a little bit of room for discovery with the collaborator and room for their influence. I’ve always tried to do that but I did it more this time because I have confidence that I’ll be able to come up with it on the spot.” Adding to that, Knox brought in a number of Toronto’s finest musicians to collaborator for the sessions including July Talks‘ Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay and Tokyo Police Club‘s Dave Monks.

Here Tonight‘s latest single is the rousingly anthemic, Live It Up.” Centered around fuzzy power chords, forceful drumming, a big arena rock friendly hook and an ethereal falsetto, the track recalls 120 Minutes alt rock — in particular, The Posies, The Breeders, Smashing Pumpkins and even more contemporary acts like Silversun Pickups but with the free-flowing air of a bunch of guys jamming and coming up with something incredibly cool and full of furious passion.

 

 

Manchester UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Till is the creative mastermind of the buzz worthy dark wave recording project Ghosts of Social Networks. Citing the likes of The Cure, Bauhaus, Echo and the Bunnymen, Nick Cave, The National and Radiohead, the project according to Till upcycles old-school forms of songwriting while applying a fresh sonic veneer to them, reportedly pairing innovation with a timeless sense of melodicism.

Till’s Ghost of Social Networks debut single “Love Potion” began a string of acclaimed singles praised for their production and overall sound from the likes of BBC Introducing, several zines across the UK and the blogosphere — and he’s received airplay from Steve Lamacq‘s program and BBC 6 Music. All of this built up quite a bit of buzz before the release of his debut EP, My Lucifer.  Interestingly, Till’s latest Ghost of Social Networks single “Don’t Let Me Down” manages to effortlessly recall Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen, as its centered around a brooding and forceful rhythm section, angular guitar lines, an anthemic hook, the song captures a tempestuous and swooning love affair — the sort in which the song’s narrator may recognize will end in disaster.

 

Deriving their name from Wallace Stevens’ 1934 poem “The Idea of Order at Key West,” in which Stevens examines the creative powers of the human mind, and “to what extent artists are capable of creating, redefining or mastering the natural world around themselves,” the up-and-coming Brooklyn indie rock act Pale Ramon features two grizzled, New York scene vets — Emanuel and The Fear‘s Emanuel Ayvas (vocals, keys) and former Monuments and Oceanographer Kevin Plessner (guitar).

The duo’s self-titled debut is slated for release next Friday, and the album’s first single,  “Beat Punk” is a fiery call for young people, artists, academics, Progressives, Liberals and Lefties to get off their asses, stop tweeting and get to work towards fixing what’s wrong with the world before it’s too late — and as a result, the song is an ardent an urgent, politically charged rock anthem centered around a breakneck motorik groove, rousing hooks that sonically brings Radiohead and Who Are You-era The Who to mind.

The band’s Plessner wrote to PopMatters that the song is a “melt your face rock song,” adding that “it’s a response to everyone who says, ‘They’re just tweets, don’t take [Trump] literally’ and ‘That’s just how he talks.’ It is an expression of anger and fury at political distortion. It’s about demanding civility and truth.” Ayvas concurs, while also clarifying that he and Plessner are trying to be “objective” with their social commentary. “In this song, we’re more in the narrator’s seat, looking at things playing out and describing the two sides of big emotions going on in the country than preaching from a particular sideline,” he notes.

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Titus Brown, Matt Lambert and Jim Crook, the Atlanta, GA-based indie rock All The Saints can trace their origins back to Alabama, where they were raised on a diet of Crimson Tide/SEC football and loud “college rock.” In the early aughts, Brown, Lambert and Crook relocated to Atlanta, where they were signed by Touch & Go Records; in fact, they have the distinction of being the last band signed to the label before it shut down daily operations.

Over the next decade, the members of All The Saints honed their craft while developing an expansive, explosive sound, which made their live show a must-see; however, over the past few years, live gigs became infrequent. Interestingly, the folks at Chunklet Industries contacted the Atlanta-based act and suggested that the band should work on a full-length album with Jason Kingsland, an acclaimed producer, who has worked with Deerhunter, Band of Horses and others.

Slated for release next month, the Atlanta-based indie rock trio’s long-awaited third full-length album Look Like You’re Going Somewhere was recorded over the course of three days at Maze Studios, and the album reportedly at parts finds the band sounding like Spacemen 3, The Jesus Lizard, Sonic Youth and Sleep simultaneously — all while capturing their live sound.

“Creak,” Look Like You’re Going Somewhere‘s expansive and thunderous lead single is a smoldering and murky track centered by a a serpentine bass line, a slow, driving rhythm and shimmering guitars, snarled and howled vocals before ending in scorching feedback reminiscent of Nirvana’s “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” — but at its core is a uneasy, sinister vibe.

 

Ellis Redon is a San Antonio, TX-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrument, who emerged into his hometown’s indie scene with the release of his debut 2013’s Into the Jungle, a synth and drum machine-based effort with limited guitar; however, his recently released album Bloody Honey is a decided change in sonic direction, as the album’s material finds the San Antonio-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist collaborating with a live backing band featuring Andres Nunez (bass), Por Do Sol’s Shaz Soto (drums) and Soft Mothers‘ Luis Miguel Rocha De La Fuente (lead guitar).

Redon and his backing band have spent the past two years crafting and honing their sound. “For the record we spent about two years. It was a rough two years of making the record fueled by heartbreak and substance abuse and making friends and family,” Redon says in press notes. “When we brought Shaz Soto as a drummer, we had to rework the songs and bring them into a different light.”

“Black Hole,” Bloody Honey‘s latest single is centered around jangling and distorted power chords, thunderous drumming, Redon’s snarled vocals and an anthemic hook and while bringing 120 Minutes-era MTV alt-rock/indie rock to mind, the track reveals a songwriter with an ambitious attention to craft while dexterously (and easily) writing material across disparate genres.

 

 

Currently comprised of Long Island-born, Brooklyn-based founding member Sarik Kumar (vocals, guitar) with Wes Wynne (guitar), Craig Stauber (drums) and Justin Lieberthal (bass), the Brooklyn-based dream pop act Mars Motel can trace its origins to a series of psych rock and Brit Pop-inspired demos Kumar wrote and recorded during his senior year of high school. Several years had passed and those early demos were seemingly forgotten with Kumar relocating to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where he joined Twin Wave for a three-year stint between 2013-2016.

Kumar rediscovered those high school demos while he was visiting his childhood home and he was inspired to embark on a new creative venture as the lead singer and primary songwriter. Kumar then recruited Wynne, Stauber and Lieberthal to complete the band’s linep, and since their formation, the band has received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a string of releases that draw from from Brit Pop and early 2000s NYC post-punk.

Mars Motel’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Passenger X is slated for release later this year; but in the meantime, the album’s first official single “Coming Up For Air” is a sweeping and anthemic track, centered by shimmering guitars, a motorik-like groove and Kumar’s vocals expressing a plaintive and urgent yearning. And while bearing a resemblance to Radio 4, White Lies and others, the song as Kumar told Substream Magazine “is about an android -like being longing to be human and attempting an alteration. It captures the universal need for connection and the loneliness one can feel in being viewed as an outsider.”

 

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