Tag: New Audio

 

Born Julia van der Torn, the up-and-coming singer/songwriter Julia Zahra was born in Indianapolis and raised in The Netherlands. In 2013, Zahra auditioned for the fourth season of The Voice of Holland with an acoustic cover of Britney Spears‘ “Oops I Did It Again” that has since amassed over 6 million steams of Spotify; as a result of the popularity of her cover, an 18 year-old Zahra became one of the show’s youngest winners to date.

After winning The Voice of Holland, Zahra released her full-length debut. The following year, Zahra competed in the Dutch TV singing competition show, The Best Singers of The Netherlands, a show in which each artist performs covers of each competing artist’s material — and she wound up winning that show. “Just an Illusion,” which she sang on the show shot up the Dutch iTunes charts in 2015, and by 2016 the song was picked up in Fiji, where it’s still a Top 10 song, and eventually across much of the Pacific. Recently, the song was played on radio stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and parts of Canada, amassing over 4 million Spotify streams. Building upon a growing international profile. Zahra spent 2 months touring the Pacific including Fiji’s Vodafone Arena and a sold-out Club Royalz show in Auckland, New Zealand.

Last year, the American-born, Dutch-based singer/songwriter released the Something New EP, a collection of stripped down, acoustic versions of her previously released material. And since the release of Something New, Zahra has been busy playing sold-out live dates across Holland while gearing up to release new material, including her latest single, the empowered, “I ain’t taking your shit anymore” anthem “Do You.” Centered around a slick production that pairs looping acoustic guitar with thumping electro pop, a rousing hook and Zahra’s emotional, pop belter-like vocals, the song is about recognizing when you can’t trust someone you’ve been involved with, trusting your own instincts and doing what’s necessary to move on.

 

 

 

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Last month, I wrote about the Kyoto, Japan-based garage punk act Otoboke Beaver (おとぼけビ~バ~ in Japanese) and as you may recall the act which features Accorinrin (vocals, guitar), Yoyoyoshie (guitar, vocals), Hirochan (bass, vocals) and Kahokiss (drums, vocals) can trace their origins to when they while being members of Kyoto University‘s music club. The quartet quickly built a profile both locally and nationally for pairing incredibly dexterous musicianship with Accorinrin’s confrontational stage presence; but when Damnably Records released the Okoshiyasu!! Otoboke Beaver compilation, the Kyoto-based quartet received airplay internationally from the likes of BBC Radio 6′s Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft, XFM’s John Kennedy, as well as praise from the likes of Pitchfork, NPRi-D and The Fader.

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, the members of the band made critically applauded and attention-grabbing appearances at SXSW and FujiRock Festival, played a sold out show at London‘s 100 Club — and their Love Is Short 7 inch charted in the UK for 4 weeks. Last year, the band went on a tour of the UK that was bookmarked by slots at Coachella. The quartet’s newest album ITEKOMA HITS is slated for an April 26 2019 release through their longtime label home Damnably Records and the album’s first two singles “Anata Watashi Daita Ato Yome No Meshi” and “Don’t light my fire,” were feral rippers that possessed elements of noise punk, no wave, prog rock and riot grrrl punk. Interestingly, ITEKOMA HITS’ third and latest single “I’m tired of your repeating story” is much more straightforward yet breakneck punk rock track centered around a propulsive bass line, some blistering guitar rock and shouted lyrics that express a mix of fury and frustration. You don’t have to understand what it is they’re actually saying to get that it’s defiantly, boldly feminist — and it fucking rips hard. What else do you need?

 

 

Started in 2014 and comprised of San Francisco-born and-based married duo Andrew Gomez and Bevin Fernandez, the darkwave duo NVRS LVRS (pronounced Nervous Lovers) received attention locally with the release of their critically applauded full-length debut The Golden West, which was praised by SF Weekly as “crepuscular and opaque, with a grimy layer to it that thinly disguises the vein of pop running through the song[s].” Building upon a growing profile, the duo has since opened for the likes of Jagwar Ma and Telekinesis as well as receiving praise from PopMatters and Noisey. 

The duo’s latest single “whatever & ever” is the first bit of new material since the release of their critically applauded full length effort Electric Dread and while the single finds the band continuing to draw influence from the likes of Massive Attack, Kate Bush and others, the single also nods at classic New Order and industrial electronica thanks in part to a production featuring thumping beats, metallic clang and clatter, a rousingly anthemic hook, glitchy arpeggiated synths, and a motorik groove paired with the duo’s easy-going yet self-assured harmonizing. Thematically, the Eric Palmquist-produced club banger offers incisive criticism of our current moment — a perpetual stream of outrage and apocalyptic news, unsolicited opinions and curated brands with the song’s narrator asking if the empty and unfulfilling dopamine hit from each new notification is leading to our increasing stupidity and distraction.

The duo is embarking on a series of tour dates throughout March. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
03.08 – Reno, NV @ The Loving Cup
03.09 – Redding, CA @ The Dip

03.10 – Arcata, CA @ B.A.D. Collective Presents Outer Space

03.13 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey

03.14 – Bellingham, WA @ The Firefly Lounge w/ Lié, Glitchlette, Scum Eating

03.15 – Portland, OR @ Dan Cable Presents The Library at Growley’s Taproom

03.16 – Victoria, BC, Canada @ House Show

03.17 – Victoria, BC, Canada @ Venue TBA

03.22 – San Fransisco, CA @ Everything Elastic Presents Amnesia 

New Audio: Seattle’s Versing Releases A Woozy and Pummeling New Single

Comprised of Daniel Salas, Graham Baker, Kirby Lochner and Max Keyes, the Seattle-based quartet Versing will be releasing their full-length debut 1000 through Hardly Art Records on May 3, 2019 and the album’s latest single, the woozy “Offering” is centered around whirring feedback, pummeling drumming and an infectious pop-leaning hooks. And while reminding me a bit of Nirvana’s “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,” and Thee Oh Sees, the song as the band’s Daniel Salas explains in press notes is ” a fantastical song about traveling through a mystical portal to stop an encroaching force of evil, and the feedback is like the whirring sound the portal makes. Really it’s about making the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of others, and thinking about what you’d want to be remembered for after you die.”

Born in Nashville, the acclaimed, Los Angeles-based indie pop artist Meg Myers spent her formative years in a devoted Jehovah’s Witness household, in which a young Myers dealt with strict restrictions on what she was allowed to listen to. After her parents divorced, her mother married a comic book artist, who moved the family to Ohio, where her mother and stepfather ran a cleaning business. When she was 12, her family moved to Florida, where she spent the bulk of her teen years — and during that period, Myers began singing and writing songs on keyboard, eventually teaching herself guitar. She also played bass in a band that she started with her brother, Feeling Numb.

A few days shy of her 20th birthday, Myers moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. Living in a studio apartment with her then-boyfriend, the Nashville-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist worked as a waitress at a Hollywood coffee shop and played show whenever she could land them. Although her romantic relationship ended, Myers met Doctor Rosen Rosen, who signed her to his production company. Rosen and Myers began writing songs together, including the material that comprised her first two EPs Daughter in the Choir and Make a Shadow and her 2015 full-length debut Sorry, which featured a number of Top 15 and Top 20 alternative radio hits.

Building up on a rapidly growing profile, Myers’ sophomore album, last year’s Take Me To The Disco debuted at #5 on the Current Alternative Charts and received praise from a number of media outlets including The New York Times, the Associated Press, NPR Music, StereogumBillboard and a lengthy list of others.  The acclaimed Nashville-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter recently played an NPR Tiny Desk session that included a fairly straightforward yet intense cover of Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” that brings the song to 21st Century listeners, who may have been previously unfamiliar with one of the great, dramatic pop songs of the 80s.

“Growing up, I was never really interested in covering other artist’s music.” Meg explains, “I always wanted to write my own songs because I knew I could only sing music and lyrics that were truly authentic, from my heart (and also would have to make sense with my deep voice). Well, then I discovered Kate Bush’s ‘Running up that Hill,’ which for years has resonated with my soul like nothing ever before. What if we could experience role reversal? What would it be like living in each other’s shoes? I think we would find a lot more compassion for one another and a passion for kindness and truth. This song to me, represents an opening of our hearts and a possibility of acceptance for all. And to me, this is an important message for the world we are living in right now.​​​​​​​”

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Haiku Hands Release an Infectious Club Banger

Featuring a core trio comprised of Claire Nakazawa, Beatrice Lewis and Mie Nakazawa, the Australian indie electro pop act Haiku Hands is split between Melbourne and Sydney, and together the members of the act who are influenced by hip-hop, pop, electro pop dance music and more, curate, perform and work as part of a larger collective that engages with and explores social norms with their lyrical, musical and visual content. Interestingly, last year was a big year for the Aussie electro pop act as their previously released, high-energy bangers “Squat,” “Jupiter,” and “Not About You” amassed over 3.5 million streams — and as a result, each single landed spots on iTunes charts across the globe; in fact, “Jupiter” was included on Matt Wilkinson’s Best Songs of 2018 So Far list, and received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Radio X. 

Building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile, the Aussie electro pop act are about to embark on a month-long tour of North America with CHAI that features stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and the Market Hotel, as well as an opening date for Cupcake in Chicago. (You can check out the tour dates below.) They’re also making appearances at several SXSW showcases. But in the meantime, their latest single, the brash and infectious “Dare You Not To Dance,” will further cement their reputation for crafting club bangers that mesh elements of riot grrl punk, hip-hop, house music, drum ‘n’ bass, EDM and trap music with enormous, shout along worthy hooks in a way that brings M.I.A. and Gwen Stefani to mind. 

SXSW APPEARANCES
03/12 – Roologic Records / CS Disco at The Main @ 12:00 AM
03/13 – Ladiez Showcase at Scoot Inn @ 5:00 PM
03/13 – DIY Magazine showcase at Swan Dive @ 12:00 AM
03/14 – Aussie BBQ at Australia House @ 5:15 PM
03/15 – Panache showcase at Hotel Vegas @ 9:00 PM
03/16 – Do512’s The Big One at Barracuda @ 2:30 PM

Tour Dates
03/12 – Roologic Records / CS Disco at The Main @ 12:00 AM $
03/13 – Ladiez Showcase at Scoot Inn @ 5:00 PM $
03/13 – DIY Magazine showcase at Swan Dive @ 12:00 AM $
03/14 – Aussie BBQ at Australia House @ 5:15 PM $
03/15 – Panache showcase at Hotel Vegas @ 9:00 PM $
03/16 – Do512’s The Big One at Barracuda @ 2:30 PM $
03/18 – DC9, Washington DC *
03/19 – Market Hotel, Brooklyn *
03/20 – Velvet Underground, Toronto *
03/21 – Thalia Hall, Chicago #
03/25 – Moroccan Lounge, LA *
03/27 – Rickshaw Stop, SF *
03/29 – Vera Project, Seattle *
03/30 – Holocene, Portland *
04/26 – 05/11 – Groovin the Moo Festival, AUS

$ = SXSW
* = supporting CHAI
# = supporting Cupcakke

New Audio: Ibibio Sound Machine Releases a Slow-Burning, Quiet Storm-Inspired New Single

Throughout the first few months of this year, I’ve written a bit about the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine and as you may recall, 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.

Slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Merge Records, the London-based electro pop act’s third full-length album Doko Mien derives its title from an Ibibio phrase that translates into English as “tell me,” and the album reportedly finds the collective 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. The album’s first single, album title track“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 is 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 single “Wanna Come Down” is a club-banger 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.

“Guess We Found A Way,” Doko Mien’s third and latest single is a slow-burning ballad featuring shimmering guitars, a simple yet propulsive back beat, a funky bass line and Williams’ sultry vocals that immediately brings Quiet Storm-era soul to mind. “It’s a song about trying to speak to people in words that no-one understands, conveying your feeling with just the music which is what we try to do in many of our songs,” the band’s Eno Williams says in press notes. 

Newcastle, UK-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Fender has received attention both nationally and internationally over the past couple of years for crafting rousingly anthemic, arena rock-like material that broadly focuses on hard-hitting social issues and draws from his own experiences growing up in Northeastern England.

Last year was a big year for the Newcastle-based Fender, as she was featured on BBC Sound of 2018‘s shortlist, which he promptly followed up with a sold-out headlining UK tour. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Fender ended 2018 with the release of the Dead Boys EP, an effort that featured the attention-grabbing “That Sound,” a power chord-based arena rock friendly track that featured enormous raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worth hooks, soulful vocals and a bluesy vibe that brought  The Black KeysSlavesRoyal Blood and others to mind — and “Play God,” a politically-charged song that openly talked about how special interests and the 1% really control the world as we know it, paired with an self-assured, ambitious bit of songwriting.

However, 2019 may be the Newcastle-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s breakthrough year: Fender will make his US network TV debut with an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!his SXSW debut and North American headline shows in Toronto, Los Angeles — and a sold out Rough Trade show on March 20, 2019.  (You can check out tour dates below.)

Interestingly, the rousing, Springsteen meets Modern English‘s “Melt With You“-like “Hypersonic Missiles” is the JOVM mainstay’s first bit of original music this year, and while centered around arena rock and classic rock-inspired hooks, reverb-drenched power chords, thunderous drumming and Fender’s urgent and impassioned vocals, the song is an unconventional love song about two star-crossed lovers making the best of whatever time they have left while the world burns down — and an incisive commentary on our apathy and confusion in the face of our self-destruction that cries to the listener “hey man, wake the fuck up and do something!”

“This song started out when I saw the term ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ in a newspaper. It’s a newly developed Russian missile that travels at something like nine times the speed of sound, which is essentially unstoppable,” Fender explains in press notes about the song’s inspiration. “America currently has no defence against such a weapon, they would be helpless in the wake of an attack, as you have roughly six minutes from the time it is launched to the time it strikes.

“In many ways, Hypersonic Missiles is an unorthodox love song. It’s main focus is on the world around the narrator, who is a complete tin foil hatter. They are convinced the world is on its last legs; they know that it is rife with injustice but feel completely helpless and lacking the necessary intelligence to change it while remaining hopelessly addicted to the fruits of consumerism.

“Amongst all the chaos is love and celebration, there is this glimmer of hope that runs through the song, a little notion that no matter what happens, these two people are gonna have a fucking good time regardless of the tyrants that run their world, and regardless of the imminent doom from these ‘Hypersonic Missiles.’”

Tour Dates:
March 11 – The Moroccan Lounge, Los Angeles
March 12 – 16– SXSW, Austin Texas
3/13- KGSR Radio Performance
3/13- Vevo Showcase
3/13- British Embassy Showcase
3/14- KROX Radio Performance
3/14- KRBZ Radio Performance
3/14- Bud Light Dive Bar Performance
3/14- Fender Showcase
3/15- KCMP Showcase
3/15- Secret Sounds Showcase
March 18 – Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
March 20 – Rough Trade, New York SOLD OUT
April 17 – Badaboum, Paris
April 18 – Doornroosje, Nijmegen
April 20 – Tivoliredenburg, Utrecht
April 22 – Luxor, Cologne
April 24 – Columbia Theater, Berlin
April 25 – Strom, Munchen
April 26 – Papiersaal, Zurich
April 28 – Orangerie, Brussels
April 29 – Melkweg, Amsterdam
May 2 – Ritz, Manchester SOLD OUT
May 3 – QMU, Glasgow SOLD OUT
May 4 – Live at Leeds *NEW DATE*
May 6 – Shepherds Bush Empire, London SOLD OUT
May 7 – Shepherds Bush Empire, London SOLD OUT
May 10 – O2 Academy, Birmingham SOLD OUT
May 12 – Lemon Grove, Exeter SOLD OUT
May 13 – SWX, Bristol SOLD OUT
May 26 – Neighbourhood Weekender, Warrington *NEW DATE*
July 11 – Tynemouth Castle, North Shields SOLD OUT

Comprised of Dylan Fine (guitar, vocals) and David Migwalla (production), the Cape Town, South Africa-based electro pop duo Beat Sampras specialize in a sound that’s a mix of R&B, soul, trap and J-Dilla-like beats. The act’s recently released This Was Once The Future EP features guest spots from Sha Hustle, O Billz, Lisa Lobsinger, TEA and Just John. Interestingly, the EP’s latest single, album title track “This Was Once The Future” is centered around a sinuous and lush production featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and chopped up vocal samples– and sonically, the track reminds me quite a bit of Octo Octa‘s sultry Between Two Selves

 

 

 

Earlier this week, I wrote about Sammy Jay, who’s a Southern Wales-born Los Angeles-based, Mercury Prize-nominated electronic music producer, best known as SJae (pronounced Ess Jay). Now, as you may recall, the Welsh-born producer is a graduate of the BRIT School and upon graduation, Def Jam Records gave her first professional production gig on Terri Walker‘s Untitled album. Since then, the Welsh-born, Los Angeles-based electronic music producer has become of the first female music producers from the UK to have been hailed Stateside as one of the best in the best in the business by many of her peers, including some of the world’s superstar producers; in fact, during the course of her 20 year career, she has collaborated with the likes of The Roots, Ricki-Lee, Booty Luv, Terri Walker, Mis-teeq, Mark Morrison, The Pussycat Dolls, EXO, Rod Stewart and others.  She has composed music for a number of TV shows, including MTV’s Ridiculous, FOX’s Lethal Weapon and Netflix’s After Party starring KYLE and French Montana, and she has had had her own material appear on Fox’s Empire, CBS’ Flashpoint and others, as well in promos for FOX Sports, the NBA and Reelz TV. She is also currently the executive producer for Howling Music, Nashville working on music for the global ad campaigns for Hyundai and Ford. And before I forget, she also has produced logo music for a number of top radio stations including RTL, Bayern 3 and 94.7FMThe Wave.

Throughout her career, Sammy Jay has been an ardent proponent and prominent representative for women producers. Interestingly, her debut EP FIRST is slated for a March 22, 2019 release and the EP is intended as the beginning of a series of EPs that will feature collaborations with acclaimed songwriters, producers and EDM artists — with FIRST featuring guest spots from Raphael Saadiq, Sam Sparro and Dria Thornton. “The purpose of my project is to show woman can produce records, create more content and more visibility for us, so we can encourage other women to enter into the field,” Sammy Jay says of her EP series. “There are very few female record producers out there; in fact , I just gave an interview for a USC study funded by Spotify about why there are so few female producers in the industry. I believe we are haven’t been encouraged to be technical within the creative industry. The assumption is that women exist only as performers, singers and songwriters, the introduction of a women who produces music, ‘makes beats’ etc is met with surprise and a sometimes not so subtle air of disbelief, followed by much questioning on tech – ‘What software do you use?’ “Do you really know how to mix a really fat kick drum?’ etc.”

She continues, “I believe that if you don’t see yourself represented out there in the public media, you internalize the idea that you don’t belong there, or that there is no opportunity for you in that arena. I want to change that.”

The Avenue,” the EP’s first single was built around a soulful guest spot from Sam Sparro and a slick, 80s synth funk-inspired production centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synths, thumping beats and a razor sharp hook. And while sonically, indebted to “Ain’t Nobody” and I Feel For You-era Chaka Khan and Quiet Storm-era soul, the song manages to feel like a subtly contemporary and self-assured take on a familiar and beloved sound. “All I Think About” the EP’s second and latest single is a sensual, 90s house music-inspired track centered around a slick production featuring lush layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a sinuous hook and vocals by the imitable Raphael Saadiq. And while club friendly, SJae’s latest track reveals an incredibly dexterous producer, who can effortlessly bounce back and forth between several different genres with a self-assured touch.