Tag: New Audio

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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New Audio: Ibibio Sound Machine Globalist and Genre-Bending Take on Dance Music

Fronted by Nigerian-born vocalist Eno Williams and featuring 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), the London-based act Ibibio Sound Machine through the release of their first two albums 2014’s self-titled album and 2017’s Uyai has received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that draws influence from golden era West African funk and disco, and contemporary post-punk and electro pop. 

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. 

Doko Mien’s latest single, album title track “Doko Mien,” is centered around a glimmering and mind-bending production 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.  Simply put, the track is a club banger with an infectious, jubilant hook. 

New Audio: Acclaimed Folk Pop Duo Lily & Madeline Release a Bold and Self-Assured New Single

Lily & Madeleine are an Indianapolis, IN-based folk pop duo, consisting of siblings Lily and Madeline Jurkiewicz. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to when the Jurkiewicz Sisters began singing together while in high school, uploading home videos of various cover songs to YouTube. Those videos catgut the attention of Bloomington, IN-based producer Paul Mahern, who invited the sisters into his studio to record what would become their debut EP, 2013’s The Weight of the Globe when their class schedule permitted. Kenny Childers (Gentleman Caller) assisted by co-writing the material off the EP with the sisters; but it was video of the sisters singing in Mahern’s studio reached the front page of news aggregator Reddit — and as a result, Sufjan Stevens signed the Jurkiewicz Sisters to his label Asthmatic Kitty Records. 

Adding to a growing profile, John Mellencamp asked the Jurkiewicz Sisters to contribute guest vocals to the soundtrack of his musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. After playing some of their first sold out shows in their hometown, they made their national TV debut on CBS This Morning to promote their self-titled, full-length debut, which was released in February 2013. The album was praised from a number of major media outlets, including The New York Times, which praised the album for their extraordinary sibling vocal blend, “deep and seamless and relaxed.” Since then the Indianapolis-based sibling folk pop duo have released two more albums — 2014’s Fumes, which was released through Asthmatic Kitty and 2016’s Keep It Together, which was released through New West Records.

The Jerkiewicz Sisters kicked off this year with the inclusion of “Just Do It” on the first Spotify New Music Friday playlist of 2019 and the track, which was co-produced by Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuck, who worked on Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour pairs the Lily and Madeleine’s gorgeous and effortless harmonizing with a shimmering dance pop-like production centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, hand claps and fluttering electronics; but at its core, the song not only talks about taking chances, it talks of confidently coming of age as a woman — and demanding what you need and want from yourself and others.  

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

With the release of “Blue” and “Arc” off his forthcoming EP try to be okay, slated for a February 15, 2019 release through Akira Records, the up-and-coming Brisbane, Australia-born singer/songwriter and producer Yoste (pronounced like ‘lost’) quickly received attention across the blogosphere for dreamy and minimalist electro pop. “Chihiro,” the Brisbane-born singer/songwriter and producer’s latest single will further cement his growing reputation for crafting dreamy, minimalist electro pop with the track being centered around shimmering synths, strummed acoustic guitar, shuffling and percussive beats — and a breezy hook. The track evokes a gentle and joyful reverie through nature; of being lost within your own sense of wonder.

“This was the first song I wrote for Yoste. It wasn’t all that long ago and yet it feels as if it was. I wanted to keep it very simple, almost bare,” the Brisbane-born singer/songwriter and producer explains. “The structure is unconventional. There is a single melody, only two verses and no real chorus. I wanted the vocals to be almost childlike in their melody and sound, which largely stemmed from the ethereal nature of the instrumentation. Thematically it was about trying to capture a feeling of wonder, of being lost in a good way. I wanted it to feel the way Hayao Miyazaki films feel, hence the name Chihiro.”

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.

 

 

New Audio: Acclaimed Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings Member Releases a Song that Aims for the Timeless

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

Interestingly, Gastelum, who has Yaqui Mescalero Apache Indian heritage, grew up in a rather musical home — with both of his parents being musicians. And although his name actually means “they were all killed asleep,” he grew up without knowing much about his own heritage.  Ironically, the California-born New York-based saxophonist, bandleader, musical director, composer has spent the bulk of his musical career writing, performing and recording various iterations of roots music; but his forthcoming solo effort All My Relations, which is slated for a February 22, 2019 release through Daptone Records finds Gastelum 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 casted 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. 

Album title track and first single “All My Relations” is centered by an arrangement featuring tribal percussion, chants, ethereal flute, and a gently propulsive bass line to create a type of ceremonial music that feels and sounds primordial and older than our own perception of time. But perhaps most important, the track finds the musicians aiming for something much more profound — a connection with the infinite. 

 

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

 

Black Pistol Fire is an Austin, TX-based rock act featuring Toronto, ON-born duo Kevin McKeown (guitar, vocals) and Eric Owen (drums). And since their formation, the duo whose sound and approach has been largely inspired by Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry, Nirvana, Buddy Holly and Muddy Waters, has received a national profile for an untamed and blistering live set. Dubbed the “next big thing” by Huffington Post after their 2013 SXSW appearance, the act has built upon that reputation by playing some of the largest festivals including Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch Music Festival, Shaky Knees and Governor’s Ball, as well as Mad Cool and Colours of Ostrava.

The Austin-based duo’s latest single is the swaggering and bluesy “Level,” a track centered around enormous power chords, thunderous drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and McKeown’s self-assured, rock god-like crooning. And while adding themselves to a growing list of power chord-based blues rock duos, they do so with an ass-kicking, name-taking self-assuredness of old pros.

The duo have lined up some tour dates during the first part of the year. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

1/11 – Gothic Theater – Denver, CO
1/12 – Belly Up Aspen – Aspen, CO
3/2-3/3 – Innings Festival – Phoenix, AZ
5/3-5/5 – Welcome to Rockville – Jacksonville, FL
5/10-12 – Rockingham – Charlotte, NC
5/17-5/19 – Sonic Temple – Columbus, OH (fka Rock on the Range)