Tag: mp3s

With the release of two early demos “Take It Easy” and “Maybe Next Year,” the Brighton, UK/London, UK/York, UK-based indie rock trio  Johnny Kills, comprised of siblings Tim (guitar, vocals) and Lewis Lloyd Kimmings (bass, keys, vocals), and their best friend and Cameron Gipp (guitar, vocals), quickly received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that draws from surf rock, garage rock and Brit pop. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the summer or the rest of the blogosphere, you’d likely know that the past few months have been incredibly busy for the band as they’ve released their official debut “Let’s Talk About Me,” and two follow-up singles “My Shirt Guy Is High” and “End Game” with drummer Fin S. Woolfson, and each of those singles have managed to cement the up-and-coming trio’s reputation for crafting anthemic, guitar-led pop that focus on the cluelessness, anxieties and uncertainties of being in your early 20s and trying to maneuver — well, everything.

“Not So Bad,” continues in a similar vein as its predecessors as it’s an anthemic power chord driven song delivered with an ironic, self-awareness of one’s own futility and ridiculousness. This shouldn’t be surprising as the band’s Tim Kimmings explains in press notes, ‘Not So Bad’ is about ridiculous conversations you have with your friends at the end of a drunken night. Putting the world to rights, arguing about dumb things, “genuine” epiphanies or just chatting shit. Safe in the knowledge that nothing will have changed in the morning”

 

With the release of their first two singles, “Loveless” and “This Is It,” the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock trio Lo Moon, comprised off Matt Lowell (vocals, guitar), Crisanta Baker (bass, keys) and Sam Stewart (guitar), quickly became one of their hometown’s most buzzed about bands after receiving early praise from the likes of New York Times, NPR Music, V Magazine, KCRWLos Angeles Times, NPR’s World Cafe and others, and they’ve opened for the likes of Phoenix, Glass Animals, The Lemon Twigs, Air, London Grammar and others. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the band is currently finishing up their Chris Walla and Francois Tetaz-produced full-length debut; but before that, the trio’s latest single “Thorns” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track that sounds indebted to Roxy Music (think of “More Than This” “The Space Between” and “Avalon“), The xx and others.

The band is currently on a lengthy tour that includes a November 6 stop at Rough Trade and a December 15 stop at The Beacon Theatre for WFUV’s Holiday Cheer. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates
October 14: Buffalo, NY @ HRVST Festival (w/ Phoenix)
October 15: New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall (w/ Phoenix)
October 17: Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 18: Leeds, UK @ O2 Academy (w/ London Grammar)
October 20: Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 21: London, UK @ Eventim Apollo (w/ London Grammar)
October 23: Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy (w/ London Grammar)
October 24: Edinburg, UK @ Usher Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 26: Nottingham, UK @ Rock City (w/ London Grammar)
October 27: Bristol, UK @ Colston Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 29: Newcastle, UK @ City Hall (w/ London Grammar)
October 30: London, UK @ O2 Brixton Academy (w/ London Grammar)
November 1: Dublin, IE @ Olympia Theatre (w/ London Grammar)
November 2: Belfast, IE @ Waterfront Hall (w/ London Grammar)
November 6: Brooklyn @ Rough Trade (headline)
November 7: Philadelphia @ Boot & Saddle (headline)
November 16: Los Angeles @ The Troubadour (headline)
November 22: Luxembourg @ Rockhal (w/ London Grammar)
November 23: Amsterdam, NL @ AFAS Live (w/ London Grammar)
November 25: Cologne, DE @ Palladium (w/ London Grammar)
November 26: Berlin, DE @ Velodrom (w/ London Grammar)
November 28: Hamburg, DE @ Mehr! Theatre (w/ London Grammar)
November 30: Zurich, CH @ Halle 622 (w/ London Grammar)
December 4: London, UK @ The Lexington (headline)
December 8: Stuttgart, DE @ Liederhalle Hegelsaal (w/ London Grammar)
December 9: Munich, DE @ TonHalle (w/ London Grammar)
December 11: Antwerp, BE @ Lotto Arena (w/ London Grammar)
December 12: Antwerp, BE @ Lotto Arena (w/ London Grammar)
December 15: New York City, NY @ WFUV Holiday Cheer at Beacon Theatre (w/ Jeff Tweedy and more)

Comprised of frontwoman and guitarist Fatou Seidi Ghali, Alamnou Akrouni and Madassane Ahmoudou, Les Fillies de Illighadad hail from Illighadad, a secluded and remote, rural commune in central Niger, near the edge of the Sahara Desert that’s only accessible via a grueling drive through the open desert. There’s little modern infrastructure in the village, and the town lacks electricity and running water with the surrounding countryside supporting hundreds of shepherd families, living with and among their herds of livestock, as their ancestors have done for centuries.

The sound that has long defined rural Niger is known as tende which derives its name from a drum built from goat skin stretched across a mortar and pestle and is rooted in sparse arrangements featuring vocals, handclaps and percussion while thematically, songs focus on life in the village, love and praise of ancestors. And interestingly enough, it’s a genre and style largely dominated by women; in fact, long known as being both collective and communal, tende is a specifically a tradition for the young girls of the nomad camps — and typically, tende is played during celebrations and to pass time during the rainy season. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’d recall that there have been certain genres of Tuareg music that have received international attention from music journalists and fans in the West and elsewhere — in particular, the desert blues, pioneered by acts like Tinariwen, Bombino and Mdou Moctar have become synonymous with Tuareg music and culture to the West; however, music rooted in the use of the electric guitar is a relatively recent phenomenon with exiled Tuareg living in Libya and Algeria, who had also been equally influenced by Western rock, funk and punk rock began using instrumentation to mimic female vocalists. Out of necessity they replaced traditional tende percussion with plastic jerrycans. Naturally when those exiles returned to their ancestral homeland, they brought their new sound with them, and in time the new guitar sound came to eclipse tende — especially in urban centers. With tende being primarily sung by women, the desert blues was the male counterpart, and the Tuareg guitar scene is largely dominated by men.

Interestingly Les Filles de Illighadad’s Fatou Seidi Ghali is an extreme rarity — she’s one of the only female Taureg guitarists in Niger. As the story goes, Ghali would sneak away with her older brother’s guitar and taught herself how to play, and while being groundbreaking within her culture, it’s also a bold way of reasserting the role of tende and of women in Tuareg music; but while employing the use of electric guitar, they manage to use the traditional drum and a calabash half-buried in water instead of the more contemporary djembe or drum kit.  The trio’s full-length debut effort Eghass Malan was recorded while they were on their first European tour — and after a handful of shows. And as you’ll hear from the album’s latest single and album title track “Eghass Malan,” the trio recorded the song and the rest of the album’s material with a sort of impromptu minimalism of a band jamming together, thanks in part to rather bare bone arrangements of twisting, turning and hypnotic guitar lines, multi-part harmonies, simple yet driving rhythms and handclaps but with a clean, effortless production sheen — and although recorded in the modern fashion, the song points to a much more timeless and ageless sound that goes back to our nomadic and tribal origins while pushing an entire culture in a new direction.

 

 

 

filous is the solo recording project of an up-and-coming and somewhat mysterious. 20-year-old, Austrian multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer and beatmaker known as Percy. Interestingly, the young Austrian multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer and beatmaker can trace the origins of his music career to a lifelong, incessant curiosity and need for discovery: when he was 10, he became proficient in dozens of instruments — and he immersed himself in a number of far-flung influences and sounds, including progressive jazz, country, bluegrass and black metal. However, he can trace the origins of his latest musical project to when he began teaching himself electronic music production via YouTube tutorials and experimenting on his own — with many of his earliest remixes coming from the artists he discovered while learning electronic production.

Since then, the up-and-coming Austrian has managed to amass over a quarter of a billion streams across YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify as a result of 11 Hype Machine number 1s and his debut EP Dawn topping the iTunes electronic charts in over 9 countries, including Switzerland, his native Austria, India and Russia — primarily as a solo artist. But after spending the past couple of years living and writing in Vienna, helping to push the city’s growing electronic music scene into new directions, the young producer eventually began to open up to collaborating with others, with the end result being his latest EP, For Love, which features a batch of his first co-written tracks, including the EP’s latest single “Already Gone,” which finds the Austrian producer collaborating with singer/songwriter Emily Warren, who has written songs for and has collaborated with The Chainsmokers and FRENSHIP.

Sonically, the song features Warren’s plaintive and delicate vocals ethereally floating over a production featuring arpeggiated synths, softly plucked acoustic guitar and gently swirling electronics paired with a soaring hook; but what makes the song interesting to me is that filous’ production manages to be simultaneously intimate and cinematic, radio-friendly and make-out session necessary.

 

 

Initially formed as a full-fledged band featuring production duo and founding members Matteo Iannella and Jeroen van Leeuwen, the Amsterdam-based electro pop act Single Pilot can trace their origins to when Ianella and Leeuwen met while studying at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. As a full band, the act were finalists in the Dutch music competition De Grote Prijs van Nederland in 2015, which expanded their national profile; however, since then, the project has gone through both a massive lineup shuffling and a radical change of sonic direction with the act’s founding duo leaning heavily towards a contemporary electro pop sound while collaborating with guest vocalists. Interestingly, both as a full-fledged band and as a duo, the act has seen commercial success — “Miracles” was featured on Dutch Spotify’s New Music Friday, Hot New Dance Tracks, Hot New Pop Tracks, and Hip-Hop/R&B/Dancehall Flavors playlists and reached #16 on the Viral 50; along with that, the track landed at #6 on the iTunes Electronic chart.

 

“Magic,” the Dutch electro pop duo’s latest single, finds the band collaborating with Avi on Fire‘s creative mastermind and vocalist Bram Wesdorp, and the single is a slickly produced, radio friendly, club-banger consisting of tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of arpeggio synths and a sinuous bass line paired with the sort of rousingly anthemic hooks reminiscent of St. Lucia, Passion Pit and others.

 

 

Currently comprised of founding member Alex Tebeleff (vocals, synth, guitar) and newest members Matt Dowling (vocals, bass), Rick Irby (guitar) and Danny Bentley (drums), the Washington, DC-based psych rock act Paperhaus have released 5 EPs. including 2013’S LoHiLo EP, which garnered attention from NPR and the Washington Post and was supported with a two month two that included a NYC area stop. Building upon the buzz they had received, the band’s 2015 full-length debut premiered on NPR First Listen. Along with their full-length debut, the band played at that year’s SXSW, played a headlining, album release show at DC’s famed 9:30 Club and received coverage from Brooklyn VeganUSA Today, NPR’s All Songs Considered and several others.

Now, it’s been quite a while since I’ve written about the Washington, DC-based psych rock act, but the band’s latest effort, Are These The Questions That We Need To Ask? officially drops later today, and the album which was recorded and co-produced by Peter Larkin at his Alexandria, VA-based studio The Lighthouse reportedly marks a major turning point for the band, as the album’s title and material urges the listener to ask questions about their surrounding world — while focusing on our increasing reliance on technology, a craving for nature and the natural world, the return and increasing rise of authoritarian ideas and the division it creates for people, and what all of this means for human relationships. In fact, the album’s latest single “Told You What To Say” sonically features shimmering and wobbling synths paired with a strutting bass line and a soaring hook in an expansive song structure that possesses elements of psych rock, prog rock and post punk — all while reportedly pointing out that history has a way of echoing and paralleling itself. But unless we make vital connections between the past and present, we’re not only doomed to repeat the past, we’re doomed to repeat it — without ever knowing why or how to stop it.

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past two years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on Blonde Maze, the solo recording project of New York-based electronic music artist, producer and singer/songwriter Amanda Steckler. And over that two year period, Steckler has seen a growing profile for crafting slickly produced and atmospheric synth pop — although over the course of her last few singles, including “Antarctica,” Steckler’s sound has increasingly been centered around twinkling piano, percussive and buoyant marimbas, layered vocals and propulsive, house music-like hooks.

It’s been a little over a year since the release of the aforementioned “Antarctica,” and although I haven’t written about new Blonde Maze material — until now, that is — Steckler been rather busy, writing and recording new material, much of which will appear on an EP slated for release in 2018. “Thunder,” the as of yet unnamed EP’s first single continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor but with a gauzier and much more wistful vibe over the passing of time. As Steckler explains in press notes, “To me ‘Thunder’ is about growing and changing with someone. You start to miss older times with them, but you also acknowledge that the growth has made them an inseparable part of your heart. Sometimes, with a relationship’s maturity, you lose your patience more, you let your guard down, and you get hurt, but the beauty of this maturity is that there becomes no one else in the world you are as comfortable growing with.”

Founded by its creative mastermind Chris Karman, the Los Angeles, CA-based psych folk act Historian derive their name from an long-held inside joke for the members of the band had developed, based around Karman’s encyclopedic knowledge of music. And as Karman asserts in press notes, his fanatical and obsessive nature spilled into the band’s songwriting process. We like to put down tons of ideas. And then meticulously pull back the layers, pouring over every detail.”

The band’s 2013 debut Shelf Life was supported with a West Coast tour, while Karman moonlighted as a music supervisor. 2015’s sophomore full-length effort, Current was released by The Record Machine to critical praise from Buzzbands L.A., Impose and Austin Town Hall, and as a result of their growing profile, the band opened for the likes of Haunted Summer and Globelamp. Not bad for a songwriter and band that have openly mentioned that they’ve felt “more comfortable when our music is a little out of step with its surroundings.”

Unsurprisingly the members of Historian had gone into the studio during the Current sessions with a number of songs that just didn’t make the cut for the album; however, a number of those songs signaled an interesting new direction that the band felt compelled to pursue towards their natural conclusion — with the end result being the band’s third full-length effort, Expanse. And as you’ll hear off album single “Thrown on the Road,” the band has gone on a decided sonic left turn, with the band pairing  pastoral-like folk music with the sort of lush string arrangements (played by renowned renowned string quartet Quartetto Fantastico) reminiscent of Beck‘s Sea ChangeR.E.M.’s Automatic for the People and the early work of the under-appreciated Scott Walker.

But what sets “Thrown on the Road” apart is that the song is a brooding and melancholy meditation on the passage of time that evokes a lonely man sitting in front of a glass of 12 year old, single malt scotch, contemplating the messiness of human life and relationships, of lingering ghosts that alternately haunt and taunt at the strangest times, of family, friends and lovers departed. Simply put, it’s music meant for those occasions when you’re feeling lost and alone and can’t seem to figure out the meaning of anything anymore.

 

 

 

New Audio: Australia’s The Cactus Channel Returns with a Brooding and Psychedelic New Single

With the release of their first two albums, 2012’s Haptics and 2013’s Wooden Boy, along with four 45s and backing sessions for Mojo Juju and WILSN, the Melbourne, Australia-based funk/soul collective The Cactus Channel have become one of Australia’s best funk and soul acts; however, the band’s third full-length effort Stay A While, the band has gone through a decided change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, partially influenced (and represented) by collaborations with acclaimed Melbourne-born, Brooklyn-based producer and singer/songwriter Nick Murphy, (formerly known as Chet Faker) and with Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromark. And as you’ll hear on Stay A While’s latest single “Leech,” the band’s Lewis Coleman take up vocal duties and while sonically the band retains some elements of the soul sound that has won them attention nationally and internationally, their sound has begun to lean more towards psychedelia to give their sound a hazy, dream-like vibe. 

Interestingly enough, the Australian funk outfit’s latest single lyrically and thematically evoke the internal and emotional wrestling one faces with the linger feelings and resentments in the aftermath of a breakup. As Lewis explains, “Leech” is about “those feelings that don’t go away, and pop up at unexpected times. When something shifts inside, but even your best friends wouldn’t know; your mood is instantly altered, even if you can walk back into the room and nobody notices it externally.” As a result, the song bristles with a bitter uncertainty — the sort that comes from the realization that one never gets over anything; that life generally pushes you forward and against your will. 

ROOKES is the solo recording project of the Birmingham, UK-born, London, UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Bulcraig. Over the past seven years, Bulcraig has been honing her craft and developing a virtuoso one-woman show, which has led her to open for the likes of Stealing Sheep, Anna Pancaldi, She Makes War and KT Tunstall — and as you’ll hear on “The Heel of My Hand,” the Birmingham-born, London-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist specializes in brooding yet soaring pop that features a propulsive rhythm and shimmering guitar-based grooves paired with Bulcraig’s mesmerizing vocals. While sonically speaking, Bulcraig’s work is reminiscent of the likes of Bryde and London Grammar, Bulcraig sets herself apart with songwriting that manages to be ambitious and arena rock friendly while possessing an uncanny intimacy.