Tag: mp3s

Shiner — currently, comprised of Jason Gerkin (drums), Paul Malinowski (bass) Allen Epley (guitar) and Josh Newton (guitar) — is a Kansas City, MO-based post hardcore act that initially formed back in 1992. Shortly, after their formation, the band signed to DeSoto Records, owned by Jawbox’s Kim Coletta and Bill Barbot, and had a prolific and busy six year run that included some relentless touring and a handful of well-received albums of hook-driven, power chord-based material that ended with 2001’s critically applauded The Egg.

The band broke upon 2002 but the The Egg was re-released on vinyl for the 10th anniversary of its release, and the band reunited to play a handful of sold-out shows to support it, including stops in Los Angeles, Kansas City and Chicago, which were some of the biggest shows of their careers. Interestingly, in 2018 the members of the band’s current lineup decided that the act wasn’t finished yet — and that their story should be continued onwards. After a handful of recording sessions over the next 18 months at Paul Malinowski’s Shawnee, KS-based Massive Sound Studios, the band emerged with their self-produced, forthcoming album Schadenfreude, which is slated for a May 8, 2020 release. We’ve always been extremely hands-on, even when working with someone else technically ‘producing,’” the band’s Josh Newton says. “With The Egg we ended up remixing and adding things to almost half the record on our own. At this stage in our existence, we know what we should sound like.”

Reportedly, the album not only finds the band not missing a beat despite the lengthy hiatus, the album’s material manages to stand on their own. “A lot of themes on the album are pretty dark but always with a silver lining around the edges,” the band’s Allen Epley says in press notes. “The title itself is a commentary on the most common human trait of enjoying your rivals’ demise. Or your apparent enemies.”

Last month, I wrote about “Life As A MannequinSchadenfreude‘s first single, Songs for the Deaf-era Queens of the Stone Age and One by One-era Foo Fighters-like dirge, which featured some arena rock friendly hooks. “The song came together very quickly; we had the arrangement laid out literally the second time through the tune,” the band says. “The simple kind of Willy Wonka vocal melody on the verse belies the heaviness of the lyrics and the urge of pure elation of giving into your worst tendencies, like scratching under a cast you know you really shouldn’t but it feels so good. Or the recovering alcoholic having a hard day and just deciding to really turn on and say ‘fuck it, i’m getting drunk tonight.’” Schadenfreude‘s second and latest single “Paul P Pogh” is an explosive track centered around enormous power chords, thunderous and angular drumming, arena rock hooks and plaintive hooks that sonically sounds like a sick synthesis of Superunknown-era Soundgarden and Thrice. But underneath the studio polish and self-assured performances, is something much darker.

“The name Paul P Pogh was a name I chose for my fake ID when I was in high school for buying beers at liquor stores in Louisville, which surprisingly worked,” the band’s Allen Epply explains in press notes. “It seemed appropriate for this song about ‘acting nets out to the liquor signs’ and a life spent chasing addiction.”

 

 

 

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Founded by Crammed Discs label head Marc Hollander, the Belgian experimental act Akask Maboul can trace its origins to when Hollander was commissioned by producer Marc Moulin to write and and record an album for Moulin’s short-lived label Kamikaze Records. Hollander (keys. reeds, percussion) recruited his friend Vincent Kenis (guitar. bass, keys) to join the project, and the duo went on to write and record their full-length debut, 1977’s Onze Danses Pour Combattre la Migraine, which featured guest spots by Chris Joris (percussion, keys) Catherine Jauniaux (vocals) and a list of others. The band’s sophomore album Un peu de l’âme des bandits was released in 1980. Both albums firmly established the act’s sound — a genre-defying primarily instrumental-based sound that playfully shuffled between experimental jazz, pop, electronic music, and contemporary classical music.

Shortly after the release of 1980’s Un peu de l’âme des bandits, Hollander devoted himself to his label Crammed Discs. And since the label’s formation, the label has released over 350 albums from an eclectic array of forward-thinking artists including TuxedomoonAcid Arab, Konono Nº1, Carl Craig, Yasmine Hamdan and JOVM mainstay Juana Molina among others. Interestingly, in 2014 Hollander returned to writing and performing when his label released the lost, third Akask Maboul album Ex-Futur Album, which was written and recorded with Véronique Vincent between 1980-1983 and left unfinished.

Encouraged by the response to Ex-Futur Album, Hollander revived the band with a new lineup that featured Véronique Vincent (vocals), Faustine Hollander (guitar, bass, vocals), and Amatorski’s Sebastiaan Van den Branden (guitar, bass, synth) and Christophe Claeys (drums percussion) — and in early 2015, the band began playing their first live shows in over 30 years. Adding to the growing interest in the band, an album full of re-interpretations, covers and reworks of the Ex-Futur Album16 Visions of Ex-Futur was released the following year with contributions by Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Aquaserge, Laetitia Sadier, Forever Pavot, Flavien Berger, Nite Jewel, Bullion, Burnt Friedman, Hello Skinny, Marc Collin, Bérangère Maximin, Lena Willikens and others, as well as two “self-covers” recorded by that year’s Akask Maboul lineup. They also created a live up show, Akask Maboul Revue in which they were joined by Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Laetitia Sadier and members of Aquaserge. Additionally, vinyl re-issues of the band’s first two albums helped to confirm that they were avant-garde classics.

At the end of 2018, the Belgian avant-garde act announced that they were working on a new album. Late last year, they announced that the new album, Figures would be a double album. Slated for a May 22, 2020 release through Crammed Discs, the album will feature the band’s current lineup — Hollander (keys), Vincent (vocals), Faustine Hollander (bass, production), Lucien Fraipont (guitar) and Erik Heestermans (drums) and guest spots by Fred Frith and Aquaserge’s Julien Gascon, Audrey Ginestet and Benjamin Gilbert, former Akask Maboul members Michel Berckmans and Sebastiaan Van den Branden, and a list of others.

Written by the band’s writing duo of Hollander and Vincent, the album consists of 22 tracks and interludes, which results from the flow of creative ideas after a lengthy hiatus, and the material sees the band drawing from the same influences that inspired their earliest releases — electronic music, pop, experimental jazz, minimalism and contemporary classical among others — while continuing their long-held reputation for an indefinable, genre-mashing sound. As a whole, the album’s material finds the band seamlessly weaving electronic and acoustic instrumentation, programming, beats, found sounds and sound collages to create a labyrinthine sound, full of twists, turns, secret passages and interconnections that requires deep and attentive listening.

Figures‘ second and latest single “Silent Silhouettes” is a mostly-instrumental track with a tango-like tempo, centered around shimmering keys, atmospheric electronics, a sinuous and strutting bass line and brief vocal passages spoken in a sultry and smoky French before a wobbling fade out. The end result is a track that’s mischievously anachronistic yet cinematic.

 

Back in 1990, the mysterious San Diego-based act The Cry quietly released Beautiful Reasons. Several songs off Beautiful Reasons were included in the H-Street Skateboards’ video Hokus Pokus, which was also released that year. The band started to increasingly attention and were being courted by a major label — and then they did something completely unexpected: they disappeared without much of a trace.

Although at the time, Beautiful Reasons only had a limited cassette release, the album has  grown in stature among their original fans while attracting new fans. Centered around heartfelt vocals, jangling and shimmying guitars, upbeat drumming and propulsive bass lines, the album has become a cult favorite among jangle pop and indie rock circles. Interestingly, over the years Hokus Pokus has become regarded as arguably one of the most iconic skateboard videos ever made — with its soundtrack highly praised.

Beautiful Reasons was recently uploaded onto the digital streaming platforms — and naturally that has brought increased attention back to the album and to the band. Encouraged and empowered by their fans and supporters, the members of The Cry quietly reunited in 2017. And since their reunion, the band has released a string of new material that has cemented their-long held reputation for crafting upbeat, earnest, hook-driven material — but with a heightened self-assuredness and confidence. 30 years after the release of their seminal album, the band will be releasing a string of singles and are currently working on a full-length album that’s tentatively slated for release later this year.

In the meantime, the San Diego-based act’s latest single “This Hazy Morning” is a anthemic hook-driven bit of jangle pop centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, mellifluous, earnestly yearning vocals and a propulsive rhythm section, the song manages to bring Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen — and with a similar, swaggering self-assuredness.

 

 

 

 

New Audio: French DJ and Producer The Wooden Cross Remixes Deleo’s “Unfair”

With the release of “Unfair,” the emerging, Montpelier, France-based indie act Deleo — Emy Eris, Romain Viguier, Nicholas Gaeremynck, and Robin Olivier — quickly established their sound: a trip hop-inspired sound with elements of pop, electro pop and rock within a slow-burning and anthemic single. 

The Wooden Cross, is a French DJ, electronic music artist and producer, who spent several years as a resident DJ for the PACHA Group, a collection of ten well-regarded nightclubs around the world. He was able to spin records at clubs around the world and introduce listeners to his own original work: some of that work wound up being released as singles through PACHA Recordings and other labels, including “Rendez-Vous,” which became the closing anthem of PACHA Ibiza. The enigmatic and highly-regarded DJ recently remixed Deleo’s “Unfair,” turning the slow-burning single into a sultry and summery club banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, atmospheric vocal samples and electronics and skittering beats — while retaining Emy Eris’ pop belter vocals and the original’s enormous hooks. 

I’ve written a bit about the Ipswich, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Hannah Scott over the past couple of years. And as you may recall much of her work is influenced by her own personal experiences, including  a year she spent working on an olive press in rural Tuscany, Italy in her late teens, her diagnosis with a form of arthritis, which causes severe joint pain and fatigue, as well as the experiences of the people in her life.

Several years later, Scott met her collaborator, Italian-born multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Stefano Della Casa when they were both in London. But as the story goes, they both recognized that they may have encountered each other years earlier, when Scott used to pass through the train station that Della Casa worked in at the time. Interestingly, when Scott and Della Casa began working together, they also quickly recognized that they had a deep and abiding creative connection despite coming from vastly different backgrounds: Della Casa had a difficult upbringing and troubled early adulthood while Scott had been lucky to have a supportive family and relatively happy childhood.

Both artists firmly believe that their musical collaboration has provided an outlet to support each other through difficult times and in a relatively short time, they’ve built up a profile both nationally and internationally with write-ups in MOJO, Songwriting Magazine , Clash Magazine and in The Guardian as a “New Band of The Day.” They’ve also received airplay on  Bob Harris’ and Dermot O’Leary’BBC Radio 2 shows and have been on  BBC Introducing’s “Track of the Week” three times. They’ve opened for  Seth Lakeman and 10cc , and played at Mondo.NYC Festival a couple of years ago.

Since I caught her at Mondo.NYC, Scott has been pretty busy releasing new material including 2018’s full-length Pieces of the Night which firmly established Scott’s sound and approach: emotive and heartfelt songwriting paired with a cinematic production featuring organic instrumentation — acoustic guitar, cello and vocals — with atmospheric electronics. Last year, she released the gorgeous Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay-like “Walk a Wire,” which managed to be one of the Ipswich-born, London-based singer/songwriter’s most urgent songs, as it’s a plea to the listener to take a chance to open up to life and possibility before it’s too late.

The Della Casa co-written and produced “Shape” is the latest single from the JOVM mainstay and it’s also the latest single off her forthcoming full-length album. Centered around a cinematic production featuring twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, Scott’s emotive vocals and an enormous hook the song further cements the sound and approach that has won Scott attention across the blogosphere. Much like “Walk a Wire,” the song showcases her narrative-based songwriting, with the song recounting the story of how her maternal grandmother refused to accept her mother’s engagement to her father, threatening to never speak to her mother again if they got married. Her grandmother kept her word for over 20 years. As a result, the song expresses an overwhelming sense of regret and loss, as well as the sense of time rushing by and missing the small yet very important things — the birth of one’s grandchild, Christmases and the like.

 

 

 

Danny Green is a London-based singer/songwriter, best known for his time fronting British folk pop act Laish — and with Laish, Green released four critically applauded albums through French indie label Tailres and toured extensively across the UK, the European Union and the States to support each of those albums.

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

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

Spirit Glow‘s latest single is the woozy and lurching “Brother I’ll Ask Her.” Centered around an expansive and mind-bending song structure — a pastoral and slow-burning introduction, a middle section that sounds like a synthesis of Fleetwood Mac and Nick Drake before ending with a krautrock-like coda with a motorik groove with flittering flute and arpeggios synths, the track is a hallucinogenic fever dream that draws from deeply personal experience: a painful shamanic experience in the Peruvian jungle. But what holds the whole thing together is the Greens’ unerring ability to craft an enormous and infectious hook.

 

 

The Lounge Society — Cameron Davey (vocals, bass), Archie Dewis (drums), Herbie May (guitar) and Hani Paskin-Hussain (guitar) — are a young, rapidly rising band from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK. In a relatively short time, the band whose members are roughly around the ages of 16-17 have quickly developed a reputation for making music that kicks the listener in the teeth with the band taking a fresh approach to an eclectic arrange of influences that include The Fall, Talking Heads, The Velvet Underground and Fat White Family among others. And from all accounts, the young quartet may be the next act hailing from Northern England that will be the next emerging band from Northern England to dominate the blogosphere, adding their names to the lies of Working Men’s Club, JOVM mainstays The Orielles and WH Lung.

The emerging band had already caught the attention of Speedy Wunderground co-founders Pierre Hall, Dan Carey, and Alexis Smith, so when the band’s manager contacted the label by email, Hall and Carey quickly recognized that they were in a now-or-never moment. Because of the band’s youth, they needed together permission to miss their music exams in order to come down to Speedy Wunderground’s Streatham headquarters and studio — and they had to have an adult guardian to check them into the nearby hotel they booked for the sessions.

The members of The Lounge Society made quite an impression on the folks at Speedy Wunderkind: “They are great. Really fun to work with — and a fucking amazing band,” Dan Carey enthuses. The day that the band entered the studio, things happened quickly: after messing around a bit with the members of the band trying out different amps and guitars. As soon as they were ready, Carey set the mood of the sessions by turning the lights off and turning on the smoke machine and lasers. And as they started to play, the building’s smoke alarm went off, which according to the band and the label was the first time that had ever happened.

The end result is the band’s expansive and breakneck debut single “Generation Game.” Clocking in at 5:30 the track is essentially comprised of a handful of different stylistic and sonic movements — with elements of shoegaze, psych rock, psych punk and Brit Pop — that are barely held together by a propulsive rhythm section; at points the band is a furious, runaway train of youthful rambunctiousness and abandon, piss and vinegar, and distortion pedaled power chords. Much like their Northern English counterparts, the members of The Lounge Society specialize in a difficult to pigeonhole sound — and they do so with a self-assuredness that belies their youth.

“We went through the track and there was a real energy in the room, it was like being at a gig which is exactly what this track needed,” the rising Northern English band says in press notes. “‘Generation Game’ means a lot to all of us, and we feel it’s an ideal introduction to us as a band. To us the lyrics reflect what we’re all about – shedding light on topics and events we feel are criminally ignored – and for it to be our very first offering to the world (especially through Speedy) really helps get that across. Once we’d finished the take we all stopped dead and looked at each other (and Dan) and he just said ‘that’s it, that’s the one’. I think we were all a bit shocked but the energy was there on the recording and we completely trusted him!”

The band adds “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that we’re releasing a single with Speedy. It’s always been a dream for all of us to record with Dan Carey and release with Speedy. We love their ethos and all the music they’ve put out in the past, it’s a great scene.

Lyric Video: Dive Index Teams Up with Daughter Darling’s Natalie Walker on a Minimalist and Meditative Song

Will Thomas is a Los Angeles-based composer and electronic music producer best known as the creative mastermind behind the collaborative recording project Dive Index, the minimalist solo recording project Plumbline with which he has released several albums, including two collaborations with ambient music composer Roger Eno. Thomas has also composed scores for film, modern dance pieces and has developed sound installations. 

Thomas’ fifth Dive Index album Waving at Airplanes is slated for a May 29, 2020 release through Neutral Music. Deriving its title from the overly optimistic and childlike act of seeking the fleeting attention of passing strangers for the sake of sheer connection, the forthcoming album will continue Thomas’ long-held thematic interest in exploring both the human condition and the condition of humanity — while also touching upon missed connections, artificial intelligence, contentment, the beauty of the desert and our uncertain political climate. Interestingly, the album continues his ongoing collaboration with Daughter Darling’s Natalie Walker and critically acclaimed English multi-instrumentalist Merz.

The album’s material reportedly finds Thomas setting specific parameters to the material’s overall sound and construction, souring almost everything, including percussion from modular synthesizer with the exception of some piano, acoustic guitar and occasional extraneous sounds — a nail gun and jackhammer — that leaked into the studio and were embraced into the songs. 

Waving at Airplanes’ latest single is the atmospheric and cinematic “Window to Window.” Centered around Natalie Walker’s gorgeous and achingly expressive vocals, twinkling keys, shimmering synths and thumping low-end, is visceral and intimate, and full of regret over lost moments, missed and blown opportunities, passing time and getting older  — and manages to recall Portishead and Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp. 

Fonkyson is a rising Montreal-based future house and electro funk DJ and producer, who has released a full-length album — 2016’s #followme — and a handful of singles through Lisbon Lux Records. The Montreal-based DJ and producer’s latest single “You Got It” is centered around Vaness’ sultry and soulful, come hither vocals, a sinuous bass line, handclaps and finger snaps, shimmering synth arpeggios and tweeter and woofer rocking 808s and an infectious hook  with the end result being a summery, club friendly  anthem that seamlessly meshes 80s synth funk and 90s house.  

“During the creation process of the album, I had this beat I composed, kind of sunny chill 808 bass-driven track with a relaxed west coast vibe,” the rising Canadian producer and DJ says of the song’s creative process. “I firstly aimed for an instrumental but tried some acapellas quickly on the track to have a hint of where it could go, a pretty nice producer trick I often do. Then I fell in love with that R&B vibe a female voice could bring to it. I began to search for an artist to ask for a feat, and saw Vaness’s profile on Soundcloud. I loved her vibe, her range, the vocal fioritures that reminded me of 90s R&B divas. She loved the instrumental and said yes. She took quite some time to record a demo, but I remember when I finally got it, I opened the file and it was exactly what I hoped for and way beyond. It wasn’t a demo, it was the final song. Touchdown.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracing their origins to a chance meeting at DIY show in 2015, the Brooklyn-based post rock electronic band and experimental performance art Reliant Tom is centered around its core creative duo, Western Massachusetts-born, Brooklyn-based composer Monte Weber and Dallas, TX-born, Brooklyn-based choreographer and vocalist Claire Cuny. The duo’s collaboration is a seamless synthesis of their individual talents and interests – sound design, wearable technology, modern dance and hook-driven, yet genre-defying songwriting.

“Reliant Tom gives me the outlet to explore both pulse driven works while maintaining the other musical elements which I find fascinating — timbre, aleatoric processes, and interactive technologies,” Weber explains. Adds Cuny, “Our ultimate goal with Reliant Tom is to be a multi-media performance experience that straddles the line between pop and experimental music — and philosophizing about what that even means, and is that even possible as ‘experimental pop’?”

Thematically, the duo’s two previous releases, 2016’s self-released, self-titled EP and 2018’s critically applauded, full-length debut effort Bad Orange, touch upon the pitfalls of digital communication and the generally blasé nature of modern social interaction – through the guise of avant-pop and avant-punk influenced musical devices and arrangements featuring electric guitar, vocals, a hybrid electro-acoustic drum kit, synthesizers and Weber’s Kontrol Instrument, which he developed while studying at the Paris-based Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music as a way to make electronic music more tactile and immersive in its performance.

Slated for a Spring 2020 release through Chicago-based Diversion Records, Reliant Tom’s sophomore effort Rewind & Play is a decidedly bold and self-assured step forward: Cuny’s sultry and expressive vocals while being prominently placed front and center, effortlessly glide over lush yet spacious arrangements of shimmering acoustic guitars, atmospheric electronics and twinkling keys with the material possessing a cinematic air that recalls Dummy-era Portishead, Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp, Radiohead circa OK Computer and others. And while continuing to be tech heavy in their means of sonic production, their thematic exploration of communication and interaction in the digital age takes a back seat. This time taking a more human approach, the material may arguably be the most mature yet accessible, most emotionally honest and vulnerable of their growing catalog, as the album’s central theme is a documentation of Cuny’s descent into grief and depression after her father suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in front of her — on the release of day of Reliant Tom’s debut album.

“Nevermind the Garbage,” Rewind & Play‘s aching and brooding first single is centered around a cyclical arrangement of shimmering and wobbly guitars, twinkling piano and atmospheric synths that makes the song swoon from the dark and overwhelming weight  of loss and grief — and the knowledge that while you will find some way to push forward, that deep down you’ll recognize that your life will never quite be the same. “The song is about trying to return to a semi-normal routine by learning to manage the grief and anxiety that overcame me after the sudden loss of my father,” the band’s Claire Cuny explains. “My state was complex and somewhat guilt ridden because all I could feel was sadness. Even though I was at a good point in my life, with a loving partner, and reminded daily how fortunate I was when seeing the more severe hardships of other people such as chronic health issues and homelessness… all I could feel was despair, not the love or gratitude – but when you’re in the depth of your darkness it’s hard to feel much else.”

As a recently published Harvard Business Review article has suggested, we’re collectively experiencing a universal sense of overwhelming grief and uncertainty. Let’s be honest here, things are pretty bleak: on a daily basis, we’re hearing about hundreds upon hundreds of people dying from a communicable disease that any one of us could catch — and could possibly be carrying unknowingly. In New York, my home borough of Queens has been hit the hardest with the most cases and most deaths. Most of those poor souls have been heading to Elmhurst Hospital, and it means that the victims of COVID-19 live and/or work in (all or parts of) the neighborhoods of Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, Woodhaven, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Corona, Rego Park and Forest Hills. We’re talking about neighbors, coworkers, associates, the grocer, your bodega guy, your FedEx guy and so on. And there’s this sense among us that things will never quite be the same once this is over. How will we move forward? I don’t know. But what I can say is that the song’s creators never would have thought that such an achingly personal song would have such a deeper, universal meaning.