Tag: New Audio

Arguably best known as one half of  Los Angeles, CA-based indie electro pop act Sad Robot, with Long Beach, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist Nick Perez, Connecticut-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter Kat Leon developed a reputation for material that focused on her obsessions with death and the occult. With both of her parents suddenly dying within months of one another, Leon was plunged into a period of profound and heartbreaking grief. And after taking some necessary time to grieve, Leon began her latest, solo recording project Holy Wars, influenced by what may have been some of the darkest days of her life to date; in fact, the project in many ways to her is a way to extrapolate the tumultuous feelings and thoughts she had felt and thought during that period — with the result being her Holy Wars debut, double EP Mother, which will released at the end of this month and Father, which is slated for release later on this summer. Of course, both EPs are dedicated to her respective parents and while being dark and at points foreboding, the material isn’t completely nihilistic; in fact, Mother‘s first single “I Can’t Feel A Thing” is a cathartic release, rooted around an anthemic arena rock-like sound reminiscent of Paramore —but with profoundly adult angst, from the recognition that death is a permanent and inconsolable loss, a wound that can never really be healed, and that the only thing anyone can do is figure out a way to move forward.

Mother‘s second single “Orphan” is a slower burning, mid-tempo track that focuses on what may be the darkest, saddest and yet most true aspect of life: that everyone you ever know and love will one day die, and the survivors reeling from inconsolable loss have to piece together their lives, and with her backing band, Leon pairs that sentiment with a stormy and forceful arrangement within a 90s alt rock structure — quiet verses, stormy and loud choruses; however, much like “I Can’t Feel A Thing,” the song isn’t completely negative. Yes, it’s a weary acceptance but within that acceptance is a paradoxical vulnerability and strength.

 

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Initially formed in Bryon Bay, Australia the members of up-and-coming synth funk/dance pop act Parcels, comprised of Patrick Hetherington, Louie Swain, Noah Hill, Jules Crommelin, and  Anatole Serret relocated to Berlin, Germany after they all graduated from high school to seriously pursue music and to hone their sound in one of the most culturally thriving and diverse cities of Europe. As soon as they relocated, the quintet quickly developed a reputation for a sound that paired slick studio production with deliberate attention to live performance, and as a result the act caught the attention of renowned Parisian electronic label Kitsune Records and the members of world famous electronic music production and artist duo Daft Punk, who caught the band play a set in Paris, and was so impressed by the Australian-born, German-based act that they decided to mentor the up-and-coming act.

Earlier this year, the members of Parcels along with the members of Daft Punk wrote and recorded their latest single “Overnight” in a secret location in Paris, and the single is a breezy, easygoing, summertime anthem that subtly reveals a careful attention to craft, as the band pairs infectious, razor sharp hooks with a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and shimmering arpeggio synths — and while clearly nodding at Daft Punk’s “Get Ready,” the song possesses a mischievously sensual swagger.

The Bryon Bay-born, Berlin-based members of the band are touring throughout the European Union and the UK during the year and the tour will include two Glastonbury Festival sets this weekend.

Comprised of TV on the Radio‘s Kyp Malone, Samiam‘s Sean Kennerly, Fuckemos‘ and Surfbort’s Sean Powell, Midnight Masses‘ Giselle Reiber, Wild Yaks‘ Dan Scinta and B.A. Miele,  no-wave, noise-punk act Ice Balloons features an who’s who of contemporary indie rock. Although it’s a side project from each of their full-time gigs, the project find each member bringing sometimes disparate  elements from their pasts into their songwriting process and as you’ll hear on “Calypso Heartworm,” the latest single off the band’s forthcoming full-length debut Fiesta, the band specializes in a fuzzy and washed out dissonance paired with a difficult to discern song structure. There are hints at familiar elements though — there’s something like a bridge and there’s even something like a hook and even verses — and it’s held together by a propulsive and angular bass line, buzzing guitar chords and washed out sounds. And while possessing a trippy and kaleidoscopic vibe underneath the cacophony of noise, it’s a song that manages to feel simultaneously chaotic, slack and anxious.

 

It’s been 11 years since J. Dilla‘s tragic and untimely death due to complications from Lupus and over that period of time, the prolific, Detroit-born producer and beatmaker’s reputation has grown — to the point that he has become arguably one of hip-hop’s most beloved and influential artists and producers; in fact, much of his work possesses a timelessness and vitality that few contemporary producers of any genre can manage. Interestingly enough, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the prolific Detroit-born producer and beatmaker’s untimely passing, his emcee debut The Diary was posthumously released, although it was released with quite a bit of controversy surrounding it. Dilla died before he could finish the album and much of the material was unfinished, leaving producers the unenviable task of piecing and stitching together incomplete ideas and filling in musical gaps in a way that would hew as closely as possible to its creator’s original intentions and ambitions. Naturally, in the event of an artist dying as they were finishing their work, it leaves questions about the nature of art, its creation,  whether an outside editor or a producer can really flesh out the original creator’s ideas in a fashion that they would appreciate, whether its ethical to mine a deceased creator’s incomplete works to make money for the creator’s survivors or for their estate and countless others. In fact, it should be unsurprising that Dilla’s surviving family and the executors publicly battled over every aspect of the posthumously released The Diary; nor should it be surprising that J. Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, who has worked tirelessly to further her son’s legacy while being incredibly protective over it.

Mrs. Yancey was instrumental in the release of Motor City, a new collection of rare and unreleased Dilla instrumentals inspired by the producer’s hometown. Conceived as a letter to her son and originally released this for this year’s Record Store Day, the vinyl release quickly sold out; however, the vinyl has been re-pressed in limited quantities and is available for purchase for purchase at Dillatronic while supplies last. But it also marks the long-awaited digital release of the album. And to celebrate both occasions, Mrs. Yancey released “Motor City J Rocc Blend #4,” an exclusive promotional mix by Dilla’s close friend and equally renowned DJ and producer J. Rocc, which features one of Motor City‘s previously unreleased instrumental tracks.

J. Rocc’s mix is an inventive and boldly vivid take on J. Dilla’s production that builds upon Dilla’s souful production in a swaggering yet organic fashion as the production features a looped string section paired with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, some DJ scratching and a sinuous bass line paired with some incredibly fiery spitting from Common.

 

 

 

New Audio: Alt Rock All Star Side Project Filthy Friends Release Their Most Straightforward and Anthemic Song to Date

Comprised of Corin Tucker (vocals, guitar), who’s best known for being a member of Sleater-Kinney and Heavens to Betsy; Kurt Bloch (guitar), who’s best known as the frontman of The Fastbacks and a producer and mentor for several up-and-coming Seattle-based rock bands; Bill Rieflin (drums), who’s best known for being a member of the legendary King Crimson; Scott McCaughey (bass), a studio musician, who’s also known for being a member of Fresh Young Fellows; and last but certainly not least, Peter Buck (guitar), who was a founding member of R.E.M., Filthy Friends is both a side project and free-flowing collaboration between likeminded, long-time friends, who happen to be among some of the most accomplished and influential musicians of the past 30+ years. 

The band has released two attention-grabbing singles this year, “Desiperta,” their contribution to the anti-Trump protest compilation 30 Songs For 30 Days and a Record Store Day release featuring “Any Kind of Crowd” and a cover of Roxy Music’s “Editions of You.” Building upon the attention they’ve already received, the band will be releasing their full-length debut Invitation through Kill Rock Stars Records on August 25, 2017 — and while featuring their previously released tracks, the album overall finds the band working through a series of different moods and styles, genre exercises and experiments; however, “The Arrival,” Invitation’s first single may arguably be the most straightforward, glam rock and alt rock nodding single as the band pairs bristling and chugging power chords and a rousingly anthemic hook around Tucker’s imitable vocals in a song that swaggers with the cool, self-assured confidence of old pros, who make it seem far easier than it actually is — and who can essentially play anything at will.  

Initially forming under the name Apteka, the Chicago, IL-based psych rock quartet Pink Frost, currently comprised of founding members Adam Lukas (vocals, guitar) and Paige Sandilin (guitar) and newest members Alex Shumard (bass) and Jesse Hozeny (drums), have released 2011’s debut Gargoyle Days  and 2014’s Sundowning to critical praise both locally and nationally from  Pitchfork, SPIN Magazine, Noisey, Magnet Magazine, and Chicago Reader for a sound that had been compared favorably to RIDE, Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur, Jr. and Deerhunter. And adding to a growing national profile, the band had material from Sundowning placed in the major motion picture, The Lookalike and TV series such as The Vampire Diaries and CSI: Miami.

If you had been frequenting this site over the past 2 years or so, you may recall that the Chicago-based band released a painstakingly remixed and re-mastered edition of their debut effort, from the original analog masters to better reflect their live sound at the time — and with artwork reflecting the band’s name change, as a both a metaphorical and literal rebirth. And at the time, I wrote about Gargoyle Days’ second single, the seemingly  The Posies’Ontario,” Foo Fighters‘ “This Is A Call” and The Black Angels’Telephone“-inspired “Where Days Go.” However, four years have passed since a full-length album of original material from the Chicago-based psych rockers and in that time, they’ve gone through a series of changes that have influenced the band’s songwriting approach, their overall sound and the material’s thematic concerns. Now, as I hinted at earlier, the band went through a massive lineup change — and as the band’s Adam Lukas explains in press notes, Gargoyle Days addresses a collective sense of abrupt changes. “There is a sentimentality or a sense of loss that permeates most of the songs,” Lukas says. “Whether it’s the loss of truth, the ones you love, your place in the universe, or general sense of meaning in changing landscapes.”

The recently released New Minds, reportedly finds the band’s material at points becoming much more introspective — and while the more straight ahead rock-leaning material manages to be heavier and darker, their more spacey, shoegazer-like material manages to be much more introspective and with more delicate melodies. “Bare Roots,” New Minds’ first single was a power chord-based barn-burner that sounds as though it draws from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. And while continuing in a similar, power chord-based, arena rock vein,  the album’s latest single “Seek and Recover” manages to nod at 90s alt rock — in particular Foo Fighters, as the song manages to pair a polished studio sound, a radio-friendly accessibility and an arena rock swagger, completed with rousing hooks.

Adam Lytle is a rural Ohio-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumenlaist, and the mastermind behind the psych folk/psych rock recording project Quicksilver Daydream. And as Lytle explains the dramatic clash of locations helped contribute to the album and his identity as a musician. From the onset, I was forced to embrace the lack of isolation in the recordings,” Lytle says in press notes. “From bands playing next door while we recorded drums, to the renovations in the apartment next to mine, there always seemed to be somebody making noise at inopportune times. I had no choice but to proceed, placing mics in ways to minimize the excess noise. I kept reminding myself of Jeff Tweedy who said there’s a drill press on all of his records made at the Wilco Loft, because there is a working machine shop one floor above. In the end, it gives life to the recording. It lets you know they weren’t made in a void.”

The album’s latest single, album title track “Echoing Halls” was reportedly inspired by a personal and eye-opening experience Lytle had while spending a night in a New York City jail — and the song manages to describe the experience in harrowing terms; in fact, you can feel the desperation of the song’s narrator, who quickly recognizes that his own stupidity got him into a mess, he can’t get out of. Instead, he’s left with his own thoughts, the sounds of the corrections officers footfalls echoing throughout the halls while sonically the song pairs heavily reverb-fed guitar chords with fluttering 60s psych rock/bubblegum pop melodies.

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’ve come across handful of posts featuring Tim Cohen, who has written, recorded and toured with a number of different bands and creative outlets, including Magic Trick, The Fresh & Onlys (with whom, he may be the best known) and as a solo artist. And over the past couple of years, Cohen has managed to be remarkably prolific and extremely busy — just last year, the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter spent time touring with both Magic Trick and Fresh & Onlys, worked on and recorded Magic Trick’s fourth album Other Man’s Blues, wrote and recorded his first solo album Luck Man and managed to split those responsibilities while being a new father.

Cohen continues a prolific and busy period with a new Fresh & Onlys album, Wolf Lie Down, the first Fresh & Onlys effort in over three years. Slated for an August 25, 2017 release through Sinderlyn Records, the album reportedly finds collaborators and bandmates Cohen and Wymond Miles (guitar, production) stripping the layered sound and feel of their last few albums, with Cohen and Miles aiming to imbue the material with an uplifting and swooning romanticism paired with Cohen’s wry humor. Of course, some things remain — Cohen’s literate yet accessible songwriting paired with an arrangement that nods both at classic rock, psych rock and punk rock as you’ll hear on the album’s first single, album title track “Wolf Lie Down,” a song that pairs layers of chugging guitars, an old-timey rock ‘n’ roll bass line, an infectious, chant worthy hook with Cohen’s mischievously metaphysical musings. And while being a summer road trip worthy song, the song manages to possess a wistful nostalgia that reminds me of the Ramones and others at its core.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of her first two critically applauded and commercially successful albums I Predict A Graceful Expulsion! and Neuroplasticiy, the Canadian-Somali, Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein and her solo recording project Cold Specks received national and international attention and as a result, Hussein’s first two albums received nominations for the Polaris Music Prize and she also received a Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, with the release of Graceful Expulsion! And in between writing, recording and touring, Hussein had been busy as a hotly-desired collaborator, working with Moby, Joni Mitchell and Herbie HancockSwans and others.

Now, it’s been about two years since I’ve last written about Hussein but the renowned singer/songwriter had been very busy. After spending a portion of 2015 and 2016 touring to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned back to Toronto, where she began work on her forthcoming third full-length album. “Wild Card,” the still officially unnamed album’s first single is largely inspired by the refugee experience.  “There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had travelled from Somalia to Canada. By water and by foot he had travelled half way around the world to establish a better life for himself and his family who were still at home,” Hussein explains. “My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why’.

Produced by Jim Anderson at Toronto’s Easy Life Studio, the single features Arcade Fire‘s Tim Kingsbury playing bass on a hauntingly sparse arrangement and melody. Certainly, the latest track will further cement Hussein’s reputation for being an fearlessly uncompromising and emotionally direct; in this case, the single possesses a subtle but palpably weary ache underlined with simple yet profound joys — the profound joy of being treated kindly when you are “a traveler, a man from far away,” as Paul Salopek once wrote.

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Chelsea Wolfe Returns with Her Most Punishing and Feral Song To Date

Chelsea Wolfe is a California-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who with the release of 2010’s The Grime and the Glow, 2011’s Apokalypsis, 2013’s Pain Is Beauty and 2015’s Abyss Wolfe received attention both across the blogosphere and nationally for a sound that meshes elements of gothic rock, folk, neofolk, electronica and metal while thematically digging beneath the ugliness, messiness and pain of the world to get to the beauty underneath; in fact as a result, her music has been featured in the promotional material for several TV series, including Game of Thrones, Fear the Walking Dead and How to Get Away with Murder. 

Reportedly inspired by a Henry Miller quote “What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can opener in his hand, wondering where to begin — to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it,” Wolfe’s forthcoming sixth full length album, Hiss Spun the California-born and based singer/songwriter and guitarist adopts Miller’s quest to become empowered by embracing the mess of the self, to control the tumult of the soul in hopes of reigning in the chaos of the world around oneself. Interestingly enough as Wolfe explains in press notes, she had wanted to write some sort of escapist music; songs that were just about being in your body and getting free; however, “you’re just bombarded with constant bad news, people getting fucked over and kill for shitty reasons or no reason at all, and it seems like the world has been in tears for months, and then you remember it’s been fucked for a long time, it’s been fucked since the beginning. It’s overwhelming and I have to write about it.” 

Recorded by Kurt Ballou in Salem, MA during the beginning of this year, Hiss Spun was reportedly inspired by a brutally cold New England winter, major upheavals in Wolfe’s personal life, Wolfe coming to terms with years of vulnerability, anger, self-destruction and a dark family history and its weight upon her and her life and as a result, the material may arguably be the heaviest, darkest and most feral Wolfe has ever written. Additionally, long-time collaborator Ben Chisholm contributes swaths of sound collages recorded while the artist and her backing and were on tour — the rumble of street construction while they were on tour in Prague; the howl of a coyote outside Wolfe’s home; the scrape of machinery on a floor of a warehouse at a down-and-out friend’s workplace, as well as samples from the bomb blasts of the Enola Gay, the shrieks and mating calls of primates, the fluttering pages of a book of Walt Whitman’s poetry are all manipulated and seamlessly placed within the music. The overall effect was to be a cathartic emotional purge and as you’ll hear on “16 Psyche,” the latest single off Hiss Spun, the song manages to sound as though it draws from the work of Tool and A Perfect Circle with an oceanic quality — but underneath the pummeling drumming and roaring distortion-heavy guitars and anthemic hooks, is an earnest, palpable ache and yearning.