Tag: New Audio

New Audio: Cochemea Gastelum Returns with a Thoughtful and Gorgeous New Composition

Perhaps best known for a 15-year stint as a member of the acclaimed soul act and JOVM mainstays Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, the California-born, New York-based multi-instrumentalist Cochemea Gastelum simultaneously has a lengthy career as a soloist, bandleader, musical director, composer and ensemble player — including releasing a critically applauded effort as a bandleader, The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow several years ago. 

With both of his parents being musicians, Gastelum grew up in a rather musical home. And although the multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, musical director and composer can claim Yaqui Mescalero Apache Indian heritage — in fact, his name is Yaqui Mescalero Apache for “they were all asleep” — he grew up without knowing much about his own heritage. Ironically though, he has spent the bulk of his musical career writing, performing and recording various iterations of roots music. 

Slated for a February 22, 2019 release through Daptone Records, Gastelum’s soon-to-be released effort All My Relations find the California-born, New York-based former member of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings connecting with his roots through music.  “All My Relations is a way for me to explore my roots through music,” the California-born, New York-based saxophonist, bandleader, musical director and composer says in press notes. “Some of it is a memory that is imagined from a time and place I’ve never been (‘Sonora’) or a musical impression of ritual (‘Mitote’). I felt compelled to add the way I feel when I go to ceremony, when I feel connected with my ancestors, to the musical narrative.”

Originally conceived during Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings’ final year of touring, Gastelum along with Daptone Records head and producer Gabriel Roth cast a varied but familial set of local musicians to bring Gastelum’s ideas to life. Unsurprisingly, a large portion of the album was created through improvisation and collective writing, where its  10 musicians created a melodic, percussive conversation. “It was a beautiful experience – people would start playing and we’d work up these arrangements on the spot, then record it,” Gastelum says of the recording sessions. Now, as you may recall, the album title track and first single “All My Relations” featured an arrangement of tribal percussion, chanting, ethereal flute, and a gently propulsive bass line that created a composition that feels ceremonial and suggests that the musicians were aiming for something much more profound and necessary — a connection with the infinite. 

All My Relations’ second and latest single “Al-Mu’Tasim” derives its name from the Arabic phrase “he who seeks shelter in God.” Sonically, the track is reportedly by Moroccan Gnawa music, and as a result the track consists of a composition centered around a looping and expressive horn line, a sinuous and bass line, tribal drumming and a chanted chorus. Sonically, the composition manages to recall the most gorgeous and thoughtful elements of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme — but with a tribal and ancient vibe. “This track features Gabe [Roth] on the Gimbre. He has some North African ancestry and had a Gimbre that his dad brought him back from Morocco. It’s influenced by Gnawa music from the region,” Gastelum says in press notes. 

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Earlier this year, I wrote about the Rutherford, NJ-based indie rock act Garcia Peoples, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of founding members Danny Arakaki (guitar) and Tom Malach (guitar), Derek Spaldo (bass) and Cesar Arakaki (drums) and newest member Pat Gubler (keys) can trace their origins to sometime between 2011 and 2012 — depending on who you ask and when you ask them. Interestingly, since the release of last year’s full-length debut, Cosmic Cash through Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records, the band has been ridiculously prolific, reportedly writing and composing several albums’ worth of material at a rate too quick to set time aside to record it; in fact, during an attention-grabbing weekly residency at Brooklyn’s Wonders of Nature, the band barely repeated a song with some local tape recorders noticing newly evolving material.

Slated for a March 29, 2019 release, Garcia Peoples’ sophomore album Natural Facts purportedly serves as an extended introduction to their unique, cosmic take on Americana that finds the band bridging indie rock, jam band rock and classic rock — with the band’s sound and approach evolving quite a bit. Natural Facts‘ first single was the shaggy, psych rock scorcher, “Feel So Great.” Sounding as though it coulda have been released around 1974, the track was centered around Arakaki and Malach’s impressive two guitar approach, thundering drumming and an expansive and trippy jam-band like song structure, capturing a bunch of good friends, who have spent years jamming, bullshitting, playing records, catching bands and coming into their own — with a passionate, muscular, urgency.

Continuing on a similar vein, Natural Facts‘ second and latest single is the Southern fried rock-inspired “High Noon Violence.” Featuring an Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd-like, shimmering two guitar attack, twinkling keys and a propulsive rhythm section within a trippy and expansive song structure, the track has a slow-burning yet lysergic vibe with a free-flowing, bunch of good friends jamming together feel; however, unlike its predecessor, it has a darker, murkier undertone.

The band are currently in the middle of a tour to support their forthcoming sophomore album, and it includes two NYC area dates — March 1, 2019 and March 2, 2019 at Brooklyn Bowl. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates:

02.26.19 – Boston, MA @ ONCE Ballroom#
02.27.19 – Port Chester, NY @ Garcia’s#
02.28.19 – Washington, DC @ Gypsy Sally’s#

03.01.19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl#
03.02.19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl#
03.03.19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Ardmore#
#w/ Grateful Shred

New Audio: Indie Rock All-Star Act Filthy Friends Return with a Searing Indictment of Unchecked Capitalism

Initially comprised Sleater-Kinney’s and Heavens to Betsy’s Corin Tucker (vocals, guitar),  Fastbacks’ Kurt Bloch (guitar), The Fresh Young Fellows’ Scott McCaughey (bass), R.E.M.’s Peter Buck (guitar) and King Crimson’s Bill Rieflin (drums), Filthy Friends featured some of the most accomplished, influential and beloved musicians of the past 40 years or so in an indie rock/alt rock All-Star act that in some way was meant to be a side project of sorts and a free-flowing collaboration between likeminded, long-time friends and colleagues.

Since their formation, the act released their attention-grabbing, critically applauded, politically-charged debut Invitation and were included on an anti-Trump protest compilation 30 Songs in 30 Days. Unfortunately, as they were about to begin touring to support Invitation, Scott McCaughey suffered a stroke, which curtailed the band’s tour plans. While McCaughey was recovering, Tucker wrote and recorded an album with the reunited Sleater-Kinney, which they supported with a tour — and Peter Buck collaborated with acclaimed singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur in Arthur Buck. And the band has gone through a lineup change with Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3’s Linda Pitmon (drums) replacing Bill Rieflin.  

Slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Kill Rock Stars Records, the band’s long-awaited sophomore album Emerald Valley finds the band of accomplished musicians crafting material that rages about and mourns over the fate of our planet and the people who inhabit it. Reportedly, the album’s core idea came from a demo Buck shared with Tucker, a grinding blues that eventually turned into the album’s title track.  According to Tucker, as soon as she heard it, it sparked something within her: “I had this long poem growing in my brain,” she says. “It turned into a sort of manifesto about the kind of place we are at as a country but also as a region. Just taking stock of where we’re at and feeling like I can’t believe we let things get this bad.” Interestingly, Emerald Valley’s latest single, the blistering and anthemic, 90s alt rock-like “Last Chance County” is a searing indictment of unchecked capitalism, in which the desperate and powerless get crushed by the powerful, the greedy and super rich. And at its core, the song demands that we gotta change things now — and if we don’t, we’ll fuck up things so badly, that we won’t be able to save ourselves. 

Featuring core duo Ida Maidstone (vocals, Yamaha synths, Casio synths, Beat Finder) and Fizzy (bass, EFX, Beat Finder II) with contributions from Torrie Seager (guitar), the Canadian act Hush Pup, which splits their time between Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is an experimental pop act that describes their music as sounding “a lot like driving at night through the board game Candyland — soft cotton candy trees brush up against the windows of your glass car as you ride towards a friend’s cabin nearby the molasses swamp.”

The band will be releasing the Flower Power EP and Panacea, a romantic film-inspired album on a double cassette through Lone Hand Records in March — and the band’s latest single from that effort is the shimmering and atmospheric “The Hours.” Centered around a shimmering and looping guitar line, propulsive beats, Maidstone’s ethereal vocals, a soaring hook and equally ethereal synths, the track to my ears reminds me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Beach House and Anemone, as well as the sound of much of the roster of 4AD Records heyday. But as the band explained to me in email “‘The Hours’ is a song about kindness. It’s about being sweet and slow as a practice. It’s inspired by a scene from an Allen Ginsberg documentary, where he conducts a workshop that integrates spirituality into artistic practice.

“Watching this, I felt as if he had created a kindness crew. ‘The Hours’ is written from the perspective of this crew. They’re taking time to gentle and they’re high on that concept.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year, I wrote about the Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Phillips, best known for his solo recording project Crywolf. And as the story goes, when he started releasing music, Phillips was practically homeless, living in a room the size of about a closet and subsiding on food stamps. Since then, he has amassed a growing national profile that has included amassing several million streams across the various streaming platforms, a headlining slot on the second largest stage at Electric Forest and praise across both the blogosphere and the major media outlets, including Consequence of Sound, Alternative PressBillboardNylon, Complex.

Now, as you may recall, “CEPHALØTUS,” a single that derived its name from the Latin name of a small, carnivorous plant was a sensual and atmospheric bit of synth pop centered around a production featuring shimmering guitar chords, Phillips’ reverb-drenched, ethereal falsetto paired with dramatic bursts of industrial clang and clatter. And while possessing a surrealistic and almost painterly quality in which the artist slowly layers sound for a specific emotional effect, the song is also a deep dive into the depth of its creator’s psyche.

Slated for a March 22, 2019 release Phillips’ sophomore Crywolf album, widow [OBLIVIØN Pt. 1] and the album’s first single is the urgent, frantic and downright trippy “DRIP.” Centered around a swooning and wobbling production thumping beats, a cacophony of industrial clang and clatter, a looped vocal samples, and plaintive vocal delivery and atmospheric synths, the song is a dramatic and decided push into a new direction sonically. But at its core, the song evokes a narrator whose mind and sanity have begun to fray at the seams, thoughts, observations and feelings seem to rapidly ping pong back and forth throughout. Interestingly, while in the middle of working on his sophomore album, Phillips was forced to take a break, as an entire album worth of material and over $5,000 worth of gear was stolen while he was in Chile. Heartbroken, Phillips headed to Patagonia, where he began to write in a small, wooden cabin in the Huilo Huilo rainforest, which has long been rumored to be haunted with thousands upon thousands of lost souls. Upon his return to the States, Phillips spent time in Twin Peaks, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Reno, NV and the forests just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — overall a period that the acclaimed producer and electronic music artist has dubbed his “quarter life crisis.”

As Phillips writes about the new single and the forthcoming album, “one of the themes of this album is the exploration of the shadow – the darker, more difficult aspects of the human psyche. People often think they have one unified ‘personality,’ but the truth is that we are made up of up to a dozen different personalities that are only loosely tied together. We feel like we have so much control over our actions and personality characteristics, but often when we pay close attention and are honest with ourselves, we can see that we can’t actually control or even explain large parts of who we are. ‘DRIP’ is the my process of staring into my brain and being brutally honest about some of the really difficult aspects of what I see there. It might not be, but it’s uncomfortably real.”

Phillips will be touring throughout the Spring to support his new album, and it includes an April 5, 2019 stop at Elsewhere‘s Zone One. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Tour Dates

March 22 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop/Popscene
April 4 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
April 5 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere (Zone One)
April 7 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop
May 2 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird
May 3 – Dallas, TX @ RBC Deep Ellum
May 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ 1720

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Lola Kirke Teams Up with Wyndham Garnett on a Gorgeous Cover of Ted Lucas’ “Baby Where You Are”

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the British-born, New York-based singer/songwriter, musician and actress Lola Kirke. Although she may be best known for starring roles in  Noah Bambauch’s Mistress America and the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle, and a supporting role in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, the British-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and actress is the daughter of drummer of drummer Simon Kirke, who was a member of the 70s hit-making rock bands Bad Company and Free and Lorraine Kirke, the owner of Geminola, a New York-based vintage boutique known for supplying outfits for Sex and the City.  

As a solo artist, Kirke’s Wyndham Garnett-produced full-length debut, Heart Head West was released last year through Downtown Records, and  the album, which was tracked live to tape was a deeply personal effort that was as Kirke said in press notes “about basically everything I thought about in 2017 — time, loss, social injustice, sex, drinking, longing — essentially everything I’d talk about with a close friend for 40 minutes.” 

Wyndham Garnett is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who first made a name for himself as an original member of Elvis Perkins in Dearland and a touring member of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. And as a result, he has shared stages with the likes of My Morning Jacket, Cold War Kids, Levon Helm, Pete Seeger, Dr. Dog, The Felice Brothers, Marco Benevento and a lengthy list others. 2016 saw the release of his self-produced full-length debut WYNDHAM and the Gus Seyffert-produced EP Double You, which featured lead single “Gypsy,” a track that landed on Elle’s “Best New Songs of December 2016” with singles by the legendary Neil Young and Childish Gambino. Now, as you may recall Garnett is a frequent collaborator with Kirke that has included her self-titled EP, last year’s Heart Head West and a pair of Christmas-themed songs. 

Garnett and Kirke continue their ongoing and extraordinarily successful collaboration with two Valentine’s Day-themed singles “Lights On” and a cover of Ted Lucas’ “Baby Where You Are.” The Garnett and Kirke cover of Lucas’ “Baby Where You Are” is a fairly straightforward and atmospheric rendition of the song with a twangy 12 bar blues-like solo, the song is rooted in cold and lonely nights, longing for that special someone, who’s far away — although the song hints at the hope of being with that person again. “When we first got together, Wyndham and I rented a house in upstate New York and spent the majority of our time drinking too much wine and learning songs we liked on guitar so we could at least sing them at parties and maybe one day even record them,” Kirke says in press notes. “Ted Lucas’ ‘Baby Where You Are’ came into our lives then and has remained a staple because of how simply it expresses the truth of love and longing. I’m always excited by art that achieves that balance, which is why I fell so in love with Wyndham’s song ‘Lights On.’ I feel like the two songs express different sides of desire, one that is more certain and the other less, but both hopeful and both very known.”

Last month, I wrote about the Norwegian guitar pop act I Was A King. Led by Frode Strømstad (vocals, guitar) and Anne Lise Frøkedal (vocals, guitar) and featuring bandmates Ole Reidar Gudmestad and Arne K Mathisen, the band formed in Egersund, a picturesque town located on the country’s windswept, Southwestern coast. The band’s Norman Blake-produced album Slow Century is slated for a March 8, 2018 release through Coastal Town Recordings, and the album, which was written, recorded and pressed to vinyl in their hometown thematically illustrates the tension between the lust for new adventures and the comfort of everyday, mundane, small-town life.

Now, as you may recall, Slow Century‘s first single, the easy-going, 70s AM rock meets 90s alt rock-like “Bubble,” a track centered around Strømstad’s and Frøkedal’s gorgeous and effortless harmonizing, jangling guitar chords and a soaring hook. “Hatchet,” Slow Century‘s high-energy, second and latest single was one of the first songs written for the album, and the track which is centered around layers of jangling and distortion pedal-fed guitars, an anthemic hook and the effortlessly intertwined harmonizing between Strømstad and Frøkedal, along with a buoyant guitar solo contributed by Half Japanese‘s  Jad Fair played on his rubber band guitar. While sounding as though it were indebted to classic 120 Minutes-era alt rock, the track feels like its a perfect addition to a road trip playlist.

 

 

 

Last month, I wrote about the Southern Holland-born, London-based visual artist and electronic music artist and producer, Nick van Hofwegen, best known as Young & Sick. Initially van Hofwegen attempted the traditional route of being an artist by going through design school, but he found its cookie-cutting leanings discouraging and it led him to drop out after finishing his first year. He began working at a car parts factory in rural Holland and quit, eventually relocating to London. When he arrived 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: He released his Ojai EP, an attention-grabbing effort that served as 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 from The Fader and Variety. He closed out a big year with a cover of Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” for Neon Gold Records‘ 10 Year Anniversary compilation.

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. And 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. Now, as you may recall, the EP’s first single “Bitter End,” nodded heavily at Teddy Riley-era New Jack Swing, classic Chicago house and C+C Music Factory as it was centered by a production that featured tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, soulful vocals, a rousingly anthemic hook and a “you got this, man” positive vibe. The EP’s latest single “Jet Black Heart” is a swooning and summery bit of synth pop centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, chopped up vocals, a sinuous bass line, stuttering beats and van Hofwegen’s plaintive vocals. Sonically, the slickly produced track is straightforward pop leaning bit of house that van Hofwegen says is “about all consuming love. The kind who’s intensity paralyses you. The sort that makes you lose it completely. It’s the LOVE I feel for making music and art.”

van Hofwegen is currently  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.

 

Tour Dates
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

New Audio: Ibibio Sound Machine Releases a Shimmering and Funky Club Banger

Earlier this year, I wrote about the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine, and the act, which is fronted by Nigerian-born vocalist Eno Williams and features Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), Derrick McIntyre (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth) and Max Grunhard (sax, synth) over the course of their first two albums — 2014’s self-titled debut and 2017’s Uyai — have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that’s influenced by golden era West African funk and disco and contemporary post-punk and electro pop. 

Now, as you may recall, the London-based act’s third, full-length album Doko Mien is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Merge Records, and the album which derives its name from the Ibibio phase that translates into English as “tell me,” reportedly finds the act crafting a sonic world of entrancing specificity and comforting universality, essentially blurring the lines separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and the future. Album title track  and first official single, “Doko Mien,” was centered around a glimmering, hook-driven club banger  featuring 80s synth funk meets disco-like beats, arpeggiated synths, African polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and pizzicato guitar and an explosive horn arrangement. Sonically, the song strikes me as a wild, genre-bending amalgamation of I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan, Prince, Michael Jackson‘s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin‘,” Chicago house and Fela Kuti — and adding to the globalist vibes, Williams soulfully sings lyrics in both English and Ibibio, the Nigerian dialect from which the London-based act derives its name.

Doko Mien’s second and latest single “Wanna Come Down” continues in a similar, club-banging vein as its predecessor as its centered around a rubbery, Bootsy Collins meets Flea bass line, an explosive horn line, arpeggiated synths and propulsive beats and Williams powerhouse vocals singing lyrics in her native Ibibio and English. Sonically, the song is a wild and seamless synthesis of 80s synth funk, Afrobeat and JOVM mainstays Escort — all while feeling like a sultry come on. In line with the track’s beckoning title, the band’s frontwoman Eno Williams says, “The Ibibio lyrics of the track are about the healing power of the river and the chorus. ‘Wanna come down, get ready ‘coz we’re gonna go’ is inviting people to come, dance and get involved with what’s going on.”