Tag: mp3s

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written quite a bit about Marlene Oak, a Swedish singer/songwriter and guitarist, who grew up on a small island outside of of Stockholm, where she turned to music as an escape. Oak spent her teenage years busking on the streets of Stockholm’s Old Town, and was serendipitously discovered by someone, who just happened to pass by and catch her playing. After releasing a couple of singles, which helped to develop a reputation for a sound and approach that’s influenced by Bob DylanJeff BuckleyJoni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin, the Swedish singer/songwriter and guitarist built a following playing shows across her homeland at pubs, clubs and elsewhere, opening for the likes of Miss Li, Whitney Rose and Susto, as well as playing sets at Way Out West FestivalSTHLM Americana and Irisfestivalen.

The Stockholm-based singer/songwriter’s “In The Evening” was centered around a hauntingly sparse arrangement featuring Oak’s soulful and plaintive vocals, accompanied by a strummed, electric guitar fed through gentle amount of reverb. Naturally, the sparse arrangement forces your attention on Oak’s vocals and lyrics — with the song thematically focusing on heartbreak, sorrow, achingly lonely nights and desperately figuring out some way to move forward with your life. Recorded in one take, the song possesses a you-were-there immediacy which helps pack a walloping emotional punch. “When I recorded ‘In The Evening’, I wanted to record everything on one take — without a click. And that’s what I did,” Oak says in press notes. “I aimed for keeping the same feeling to the song as I had when I wrote it, and I wanted to sing the words as if they were my last.”

Now, as you may recall Oak is building upon a growing national and international profile with the release of her latest EP Silver Moon, which is slated for a February 15, 2019 and the EP’s latest single “Coming Home” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor “Slip Away,” as the new single is a swooning and plaintive love song. The song, which is both an aching lament and contented sigh centered around an arrangement of shimmering guitars, gently padded drumming, a regal horn arrangement, a soaring hook and Oak’s gorgeous vocals, and in some way the song manages to sound as though it were indebted to classic, 1950s era ballads — but with an immediacy that packs an emotional wallop.

“‘Come Home’ is about a lifetime of seeking for that one soul that you’ve always been longing for” Oak says in press notes. “It can be frustrating and sometimes painful to wait for that person. But once you’ve found each other, it’ll feel like coming home. When you find that missing part, it will make everything feel complete. The song is also about the flip side to loving someone that deeply.”

 

 

 

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I’ve written quite a bit about London-based JOVM mainstays Ten Fe over the course of this site’s nine-year history, and as you may recall, the act, which was founded by primary songwriters and founding members Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan can trace their origins to when they met at a party, where they bonded over their experiences playing in a number of local bands in which they felt as though they was pressure to fit into a particular scene through a certain way of playing or looking — and they hated it immensely, feeling that it was unnatural and unnecessarily labored.

Moorhouse and Duncan became busking partners, playing in the London Underground. And in those days, they enjoyed the simple pleasure of playing music they loved — mostly early rock, early Beatles and the like — and earning cash while doing so. They noticed a profound simpatico and began to play their own original material. “We had a very clear idea of what we wanted. For things to be simple, based around songs that are unashamed in their directness, and that we love: The CureU2Springsteen and The Stones. We’d spend years playing through these on the tube, realising you don’t need to break the mould. Its best to ignore all the voices telling you that you need to for the sake of it, and go for something deeper,” the duo explained in press notes.  And with Ten Fe, Moorhouse and Duncan wanted to focus primarily on the song with style serving the song —and while centered around rousingly anthemic hooks, their sound is often difficult to describe as it possesses elements of the classic Manchester sound, Brit Pop, electro pop, contemporary indie rock and 70s AM rock.

The pair spent the next two years writing, revising and recording in each other’s bedrooms, including prolonged writing sessions at  Duncan’s dad’s house in Walsall, UK, relentless busking, hustling and saving, and an impossibly lengthy list of band members and producers before they signed a publishing deal and briefly relocated to Berlin, where they recorded their Ewan Pearson-produced full-length debut effort Hit the Light. “Its no coincidence that the name of this band means ‘have faith’” says Leo Duncan.  After spending 18 months touring to support their critically applauded full-length debut effort Hit the Light, the project officially expanded into a full-fledged band with the permanent additions of touring members Rob Shipley (bass) and Johnny Drain (keys), who are two of Duncan’s oldest friends from Walsall, and Alex Hammond (drums).

As the story goes, the members of the band felt a renewed sense of confidence when it came to preparing to write and work on their follow up effort Future Perfect, Present Tense. They set up shop in a vacant driving license office in East London, where the majority of the writing was done, and as they were nearing the end, they went to Oslo, Norway where they tracked the material before returning to London to finish the album with producer Luke Smith, who has worked with FoalsDepeche ModePetite Noir, and Anna of the North— and mixed by Craig Silvey, who has worked with Arcade FireFlorence & The Machine and Amen Dunes. Thematically, the material reportedly is a mediation on everything that has brought them all to the point of their sophomore album, and everything they’ve willingly (and perhaps unwillingly) left behind in actually getting there.

The album’s second single “Won’t Happen” was centered around jangling guitars, a bouyant groove and a soaring, arena friendly hook while Duncan laments and repents for his past indiscretions — although it’s difficult to determine who he’s repenting to: is it a lover? or to himself? But one thing is certain, there’s a sobering sense of the passing of time and what it means to get older, even if it doesn’t necessarily mean getting wiser. “No Night Lasts Forever” the album’s third was an atmospheric track that hinted at New Order and Unforgettable Fire-era U2 but with a soaring hook; however, emotionally the track may arguably be the most ambivalent and uncertain they’ve ever written. As the band notes “There was a debate when we were writing the song as to whether that’s an optimistic or a pessimistic statement. But we decided we liked the ambiguity — that it didn’t have to be one or the other.” Future Perfect, Present Tense‘s fourth single “Echo Park” was a breezy yet mournful track that seemed indebted to 70s AM rock. Centered around a conversation between two old friends, in which the song’s narrator spends the song offering his lovelorn friend advice, the song can also be read to be about the members of the band, who finally made it to California, after years of busting their asses. And while everything is painfully lonely and surreal, the members of the band share a unique and profound bond, a bond rooted in its very oddness.

“Coasting,” Future Perfect, Present Tense‘s latest single is a upbeat and sprawling track centered around jangling guitars, shimmering synths and a soaring hook and much like its immediate predecessor, the track draws from 70s AM rock — and a bit of Brit Pop; but with an airy simplicity unlike anything of they’ve released to date. As the members of the band say is a “celebration of new love.” They explain that “it’s a simple statement — ‘when i’m with you, I don’t need anything or anyone else. This feels easy, it feels like a fresh start: I’m coasting.’ Musically we kept it really simple too to reflect the sentiment. We wanted it to feel rootsy like The E Street Band and CCR and also channel a Britpop directness.”

The band will be embarking on a Stateside tour to support their highly-anticipated sophomore effort and it’ll begin with a March 19, 2019 stop at Bowery Ballroom. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

17-Mar, Washington, DC, Songbyrd

19-Mar, NY,NY, Bowery Ballroom

20-Mar, Allston, MA, Great Scott

21-Mar, Philadelphia, PA, Milkboy

23-Mar, Toronto, ON, The Drake Hotel

24-Mar, Ottowa, ON, 27 Club

25-Mar, Montreal, QC, Bar Le Ritz PBD

27-Mar, Detroit, MI, Magic Bag

28-Mar, Milwaukee, WI, Colectivo

30-Mar, Chicago, IL, Schubas

31-Mar, Minneapolis, MN, 7th Street Entry

02-Apr, Denver, CO, Globe Hall

05-Apr, Phoenix, AZ, Valley Bar

06-Apr, Las Vegas, NV, The Bunkhouse Saloon

07-Apr, San Diego, CA, The Casbah

09-Apr, Los Angeles, CA, Troubadour

11-Apr, San Fran, CA,The Independent

13-Apr, Portland, OR, Doug Fir Lounge

14-Apr, Vancouver, Biltmore Cabaret

15-Apr, Seattle, WA, Barboza

 

 

 

 

Born from the partnership between Hannah Gledhill (vocals, guitar) and Marcus Browne (guitar), the London-based post punk quartet H. Grimace also features Corin Johnson and Diogo Gomes. And with the release of last year’s In The Body, the British band received attention for crafting material that’s dark, enigmatic and possesses elements of shoegaze and psych, drawing comparisons to Savages and Sister-era Sonic Youth.

Building upon a growing profile, the members of the up-and-coming British post punk outfit will be releasing the “She’s In A State”/”In The Body” 7 inch through Living Waters Records later this month.The band’s latest single “She’s In A State” features a jangling and shimmering guitar chords, a chugging rhythm section, Gledhill’s ethereal crooning and infectious hook — and while sonically bearing a resemblance to Finding Meaning in Deference-era The Mallard and 120 Minutes-era alt rock, the song draws from text for a performance by Vivienne Griffin, a collaborator on “2.1 Woman” off H. Grimace’s debut album. “The title of the song ‘She’s In a State’ was a meditation on her acute sense of irony, and the impossibility of this notion.”

 

With the release of their full-length debut, 2015’s Last Forever, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based rock act Westkust received attention across the blogosphere for infectious and layered dream pop. However, since the release of their debut, the band has gone through a a massive lineup change that has resulted in vocalist Julia Bjernelind assuming guitar duties alongside Brian Cukrowski (guitar), Philip Söderlind (drums) and the recently added Pär Karlsson (bass).

The band’s long-awaited, self-titled, sophomore album is slated for a March 1, 2019 release through Run For Cover Records, and reportedly the bandmember’s longtime friendships provide much of the upbeat undercurrent to the album’s material. “We wanted to make songs that just feel good to listen to,” Julia Bjernelind says in press notes. “The thing that holds this band together is the friendship we’ve had for several years. We love playing together and enjoy each others company which still makes it fun.” The  album’s first single, the breakneck “Swebeach” finds the band pairing towering layers of shimmering guitars and pummeling drums, Bjernelind’s cooly crooned vocals and soaring hooks — and while sonically drawing from shoegaze and surf rock, the song brings about thoughts of summer days, hanging out with friends, of sun-kissed skin and long, lazy afternoons. It’ll be here faster than you can imagine.

 

 

 

 

 

Nick van Hofwegen is a Southern Holland-born, London-based visual artist and electronic music artist and producer, best known as Young & Sick. Initially attempting the traditional route of art through design school, the Dutch-born van Hofwegen found its cookie-cutter leanings discouraging, and it led him to drop out after completing his first year. He began working at a car parts factory in rural Holland and quit his job, eventually moving to London. While in London, his friend Mark, the frontman of internationally recognized band Foster the People, introduced him to comedian Andy Dick, who came across some of his visual art and championed it. Additionally, Mark asked van Hofwegen to do the artwork for his band’s 2011 debut Torches.

Although the Southern Holland-born, London-based visual artist, electronic music artist and producer released a full-length album back in 2014, last year was a breakthrough year for him. Last January saw the release of his Ojai EP, an attention-grabbing effort that was a reintroduction to van Hofwegen’s sound and aesthetic. Adding to a growing profile, van Hofwegen was profiled in NYLON — and EP title track “Ojai” was featured in an ad campaign for Apple Watch.  van Hofwegen followed Ojai EP with the release of the No Static EP, which received praise coverage from The Fader and Variety. Oh, and before I forget, van Hofwegen was chosen to cover Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” for Neon Gold Records‘ 10 Year Anniversary compilation.

Live the Dutch-born, London-based visual artist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer played a run of critically applauded SXSW sets, including Neon Gold’s Neon Golden showcase. He played his first Stateside headlining shows in over 4 years with a pair of Los Angeles and NYC dates that featured an interactive multimedia experience. As an artist, van Hofwegen had his first ever fine art gallery show last August, which featured a series of his original visual and sculptural pieces — and he designed the album art for Maroon 5‘s Overexposed, Mikky Ekko’s “Kids,” as well as for his work.

Building upon a breakthrough 2018, van Hofwegen will be releasing a new EP that’s slated for a spring release through Neon Gold Records/B3SCI Records. The EP’s first single “Bitter End” manages to sound indebted to Teddy Riley-era New Jack Swing, classic Chicago house and C+C Music Factory as the track is centered by a production that features tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, twinkling synths, soulful vocals and rousingly anthemic hooks. Simply put, it’s a club banger that manages radio friendly accessibility, complete with a “you got this, man” air. Interestingly, as van Hofwegen explains “‘Bitter End’ is a celebration of seeing things through completely.  It’s looking back at a pretty wild year of countless obstacles and turbulent skies. Through the eyes of an unstoppable manic.”

van Hofwegen will be opening for The Knocks during their 2019 North American tour during the winter. The tour will include a February 23, 2019 stop at Brooklyn Steel. Check out the tour dates below.  Also tickets are on sale here.

Jan 24 // Vancouver, CA @ Fortune Sound Club
Jan 25 // Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
Jan 29 // Chico, CA @ Senator Theatre
Jan 31 // Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
Feb 1 // San Luis Obispo, CA @ The Fremont Theatre
Feb 2 // Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
Feb 5 // Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
Feb 6 // Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
Feb 8 // Dallas, TX @ Dada Dallas
Feb 9 // Austin, TX @ Historic Scoot Inn
Feb 10 // Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock Room
Feb 12 // St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
Feb 14 // Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
Feb 15 // Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar
Feb 16 // Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Feb 17 // Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Feb 20 // Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
Feb 21 // Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Feb 23 // Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel

Over the past couple of years of this site’s almost nine-year history, i’ve written quite a bit about the Belgian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maarten Devoldere, best known as the frontman of two critically applauded, internationally recognized acts Balthazar and JOVM mainstays Warhaus. Now, as you may recall, Warhaus is a sonic departure from Devoldere’s work with Balthazar, as the project’s sound was an atmospheric, jazz-inspired art rock the brought to mind The ChurchSting’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the SunEdith Piaf, and Leonard Cohen — all while paired with Devoldere’s urbane, decadent, novelistic lyrics.

While Devoldere was busy with Warhaus, at one point writing much of the project’s sophomore album in a remote retreat in  Kyrgyzstan, his Balthazar songwriting partner, co-frontman and longtime friend Jinte Deprez remained in Ghent, holing himself in the studio, where he indulged his love of old-school R&B, eventually releasing a solo album as J. Bernardt. During Balthazar’s hiatus, the band’s songwriting duo found the ability to indulge their whims and follow their creative muses in different directions — while receiving boy commercial and critical success to be liberating. But it also created an undeniable urge between the two to write together again, propelled by a broader artistic horizon and their mutual respect for real other’s work.

When the members of Balthazar reconvened, they did so without any particular plan, just a desire to better their previously released work and to further the band’s story. Interestingly, the duo of Devoldere and Deprez agreed that the material should have an overall less serious, less melancholy feel, leaning towards a looser, refreshed sound — while retaining the hook driven quality that they’ve long been known for. And the end result is the band’s forthcoming full-length Fever, which is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through Play It Again Sam Records. Interestingly, album title track and first single “Fever” was a slinky and sultry track, centered around a strutting bass riff, stomping percussion, a swooping string motif, a sinuous hook, a twinkling bridge and Devoldere’s plaintive baritone. Interestingly, the single finds the band crafting swaggering and infectious pop that’s accessible, carefree, and flirty. “Entertainment,” Fever‘s second single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor, as it was upbeat, playful and careful but centered around a swaggering and strutting vibe and an anthemic hook — and while while nodding at The Rolling Stones‘ “Sympathy for the Devil, the Jinte Deprez-led song features some Afro pop-like polyrhythmic percussion. “I’m Never Gonna Let You Down Again,” Fever‘s third and latest single is a slow-burning, synth-led Quiet Storm R&B-inspired song led by Jinte Deprez that sonically and thematically reminds me of Milagres’IDNYL” and classic Hall and Oates. As Deprez explains in press notes, “I’m Never Gonna Let You Down Again’ is a breakup song with a twist, a groovy soul ode with a synthesizer, a chorus with a Bee Gee touch. It’s shaking it off, wherever it stuck.” Admittedly, Balthazar’s forthcoming album is something I’m looking very forward to; but perhaps more important, from the album’s first three singles, the band reminds listeners familiar with their sound that they’ve always had an uncompromisingly intellectual band with an accessible approach — all while possessing one of the most unique aesthetics I’ve come across in some time.

 

 

 

With the release of their slow-burning, genre-bending debut single “Just Wanna See,” the Washington, DC-based indie electro pop trio SHAED, comprised of multi-instrumentalists, production duo and twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernest and Chelsea Lee (vocals) quickly received attention for a sound that has been favorably compared to Florence & The Machine, Sia, Justin Timberlake and Sylvan Esso. However, “Trampoline,” which appears on their latest EP, 2018’s Melt has been their breakout hit, as it recently made a prominent appearance in Apple’s ad campaign for the new MacBook Air — and once you hear the song, it shouldn’t be surprising as to why it was chosen: Lee’s sultry vocals float ethereally over a slick, hyper-modern yet chilly production centered around wobbling and arpeggiated synths, finger snaps, a distorted backing vocal sampled and a soaring hook.  And while bearing an uncanny resemblance to JOVM mainstays Sylvan Esso, the track is infectious and radio friendly.

Building upon a growing profile, the members of the Washington, DC-based indie electro pop trio will be making appearances at Firefly Music Festival and Electric Forest, as part of a headlining national tour that includes a February 22, 2019 stop at Baby’s All Right. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
2/22 @ The Rec Room (WLKK) in Buffalo, NY #
2/13 @ The Camden Assembly Pub in London, UK #
2/24 @ Subterranean in Chicago, IL #
2/26 @ Great Scott in Allston, MA #
2/27 @Baby’s All Right in New York, NY #
3/1 @ Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia, PA #
3/2 @ U Street Music Hall in Washington, DC #
3/6 @ The Drake Underground in Toronto, CA #
3/7 @ The Hollow (WEQX) in Albany, NY #
3/9 @ Steadfast Festival in Columbus, OH
3/12 @ Pub Rock (ALT AZ) in Phoenix, AZ #
3/13 @ Moroccan Lounge in Los Angeles, CA #
3/15 @ Popscene in San Francisco, CA #
6/21-23 @ Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE
6/27-30 @ Electric Forest in Rothbury, MI

 

# Headline

 

Currently featuring Blake Milliser (vocals), Alex Hamby (guitar, vocals), Zane Emory (guitar, synth, vocals), Tom Hopper (drums, vocals), Myles Hamby (bass, vocals), Bryce Muse (saxophone) and Rachel Fritz (keys, synth), the Tucson, AZ-based indie septet Chateau Chateau formed early last year as a loose, garage pop quartet that rehearsed and wrote songs in an abandoned airplane hanger. After a while, they began to win over an audience of semi-casual, drunkards, who would be passing by on their way to the brewery next door. Shortly, after their formation they expanded to their current lineup — and as a result, by the middle of last year their sound morphed to a glimmering, synth-based hook-driven sound that recalls A Flock of Seagulls and others. Interestingly, the act’s latest single “Evidence” is a crowd-pleasing and anthemic song centered around a buoyant bass line, shimmering synths and Milliser’s crooned vocals. However, underneath the dance floor friendly vibes, the song’s narrator is in the midst of a mental breakdown, giving the song an underlying bitter irony.

 

Aneurysm is a Boston-based alt rock quintet that formed back in 2014 and since their formation they’ve developed a reputation for relentless touring and releasing a handful of 7 inch vinyl releases along the way. Their long-awaited full-length debut Awareness is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through Tor Johnson Records, and the album, as the band’s Dan Bahto explains in an interview with No Echo, the material on the album is sort off a collection of things they had been working on since they started. Interestingly, the album’s first single is the pummeling, mosh pit worthy “St. E’s,” Centered around enormous power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals, the track will bring Nirvana, METZ and others to mind; but as the band’s lead singer Mike tells No Echo, “”I was writing from another viewpoint than my own, basically from a hateful, impatient, self-centered adult-child being forced to wait in line behind people whom they feel superior,” Mike says about his lyrics. “I kinda love watching adults lose their cool over minor inconveniences in public.”

 

N0V3L is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based creative collective that operate out of house, where they produce their own music, videos and clothing. Naturally, all of these various elements converge and convulse for the members of the collective to create music that openly challenges the gluttony and ruin wrought by power. The collective’s forthcoming debut EP NOVEL is slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Flemish Eye Records — and from the EP’s first two singles “To Whom It May Concern” and “Natural,” the collective specializes in frenetic, angular and dance floor friendly post-punk centered around group-yelped anti-capitalist mantras.

And while sonically, the act’s sound immediately brings Entertainment!-era Gang of Four to mind, “To Whom It May Concern” is centered around the tense and uneasy recognition of time flying by and that you may have wasted the only valuable resource you have. “Natural,” is centered around a shimmering melody and a propulsive, dance floor groove but with an anxious, uncertain fury.  Interestingly, the act continue a long tradition of acts reminding the listener that the dance floor is the place for dialogue, action and resistance.