Tag: New Single

New Audio: Sports Releases a Slinky New Single

Currently split between Los Angeles and Norman, OK, the acclaimed indie electro pop act Sports — Cale Chronister and Christian Theriot — can trace their origins back to when the duo met in grade school. Throughout their history together, they’ve honed and refined  their unique take on slinky and funky electro pop, with their first two albums, 2015’s Naked All The Time and 2016’s Can’t Stop Chillin, which featured a handful of critically applauded singles including “You Are the Right One,” “Panama,” “Whatever You Want:” and “Someone  You’d Rather Be Dating.” 

Building upon a growing profile, 2018’s Everyone’s Invited was released to critical praise from Pitchfork, Pigeons and Planes and Ones to Watch. The album also received airplay on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and was playlisted on Spotify’s New Indie Mix playlist. 

The breezy yet slinky  “Tell You Something,” is the first bit of new material from the duo since Everyone’s Invited. Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous and propulsive bass line, copious amounts of cowbell-led percussion, an infectious hook and Chronister’s breathy vocals, the song finds the band blurring the lines between synth pop, funk, psych rock and Quiet Storm R&B in a way that reminds me of Currents-era Tame Impala. “It’s an anthem of uncertainty. I was taught how to socialize by television, and never learned how to verbalize my feelings,” Sports’ Cale Chronister explains in press notes. “I’m learning to say what’s on my mind, even when it’s uncomfortable . . . I’m celebrating the most ridiculously small feat just by admitting this.

There is still something dark, uncertain in the song, which is left intentionally unknown, and I guess it reflects the lingering anxiety the person on the other side of this conversation could be feeling – still waiting to hear what I have to say.”

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Blinker the Star · Silent Types

I’ve written quite a bit about Jordon Zadorozny, the Pembroke, Ontario-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind acclaimed indie rock recording project Blinker The Star over the past few months. Zadorozny initially started the project as a solo project but by the time the  act signed to A&M Records, the project expanded into a full-fledged band for their first two albums — 1995’s self-titled debut and 1996’s A Bourgeois Kitten. During those early years, the band built up a profile nationally and elsewhere through steady touring.

In 1997, Zadorozny relocated from Montreal to Los Angeles, where he worked with Courtney Love, helping craft songs for Hole’s acclaimed and commercially successful album Celebrity Skin. While in Los Angeles, Zadorozny began soaking up new influences and became increasingly fascinated with production. Signing with Dreamworks in 1999, the band, which at the time featured Zadorozny, Failure’s Kelli Scott (drums), longtime bassist Pete Frolander and a rotating cast of Southern California-based session musicians recorded and released their critically applauded third album August Everywhere, which they supported with touring across North America with Our Lady Peace, Sloan, Failure and The Flaming Lips. 

Returning back to Pembroke in 2002, Zadorozny built his first commercial recording studio and began working with Sam Roberts, contributing drums and producing Roberts’ breakthrough debut EP The Inhuman Condition. Zadorozny also worked on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Chris Cornell, Lindsey Buckingham and others.

During the Winter of 2003, Zadorozny wrote and recorded Blinker The Star’s fourth album Still In Rome as a duo with Kelli Scott. Following a brief tour to support the album, the Pembroke, Ontario-born multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter quickly settled into the production side of the things working with an electric array of artists, including collaborative projects like Digital Noise Academy, SheLoom,  The Angry Moon, and others.

2012’s fourth album, We Draw Lines was the first Blinker The Star album that Zadorozny wrote and recorded as a solo recording project since he started the project over a decade earlier.  Interestingly, We Draw Lines began a rather prolific period that included 2013’s Songs from Laniakea Beach, a one-off single “Future Fires,” 2015’s 11235 EP, 2017’s 8 of Hearts and last year’s Careful With Your Magic.

After completing a short run of shows last fall, Zodorozny began working working on new material at his Skylark Park Studio. The solitude of his environment helped inform his forthcoming Blinker The Star album Juvenile Universe, which is slated for release this summer. So far, I’ve written about two of the album’s singles — the Station to Station-era David Bowie-like “Way Off Wave,” and the jangling, 70s rock-like “Only To Run Wild.” The album’s third and latest single, “Silent Type” is a decidedly 80s New Wave-inspired track, featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, glistening and angular guitars, a propulsive bass line and an enormous hook that reminds me a little bit of  Yes‘ “Owner of Lonely Heart.” But under the slick radio friendly production, the track continues a run of ambitious and deliberately crafted material.

 

 

Suicide Squeeze Records · Death Valley Girls – Breakthrough

Throughout the bulk of this site’s ten year history, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink writing about the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act Death Valley Girls — founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps‘ Laura Kelsey — can trace their origins back well over a decade ago, when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). Although they’ve gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their history, the JOVM’s sound and aesthetic for much of their history was influenced by The Manson Family and B movie theatrics while thematically focusing on the occult.

Slated for a June 12, 2020 release through their longtime home, Suicide Squeeze Records, the band’s two-song seven-inch EP Breakthrough finds the JOVM mainstays covering two songs that have a deep and profound connection to the band — both in their spirit and aural alignment: The EP’s first single is a cover of Atomic Rooster‘s “Breakthrough,” a song discovered through an even more obscure cover by Nigerian act The Funkees.  Centered around grimy power chords, fire-and-brimstone organ chords and an in-your-face, combative chorus, the Death Valley Girls cover, leans more towards The Funkees’ cover and although all three versions manage to hew closely to their long-held aesthetic, the song also manages to be remarkably contemporary, as it evokes an age-old desire to be free from all kinds of prisons, both real and mental.

The band was drawn to something far deeper than its melody and sound. “It spoke to me because of the lyrics about breaking free from an invisible prison… we all have invisible or visible prisons we are trapped in,” the band’s Bonnie Bloomgarden explains in press notes. Interestingly, the song’s discovery coincided with the band’s interest in The West Memphis Three’s Damien Echols and his ability to endure his lengthy imprisonment by learning to astral project through meditation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glassio · Make No Mistake

The Queens, NY-based synth pop/New Wave/dream pop act Glassio can trace its origins back to 2015 when its founding members — Sam R. and Charles Pinel  — met while attending NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Since its formation, the act has become the Queens-born and-based Sam R’s solo recording project. And during that same period of time, Glassio has developed and honed what its creative mastermind has dubbed “melancholy disco,” a mix of dance music influences, wavering pop melodies, introspective, storytelling-based lyrics and lush harmonies. Interestingly, the project has increasingly pulls from Sam R’s own life and heartbreak, while thematically wrestling with self-acceptance, loneliness and major life changes.

Last year, Sam R. and Glassio released their sophomore EP Age of Experience, an effort that Mother Jones called “proof that electronic music and great storytelling are a perfect match.” Interestingly, the EP featured “Back for More,” which amassed over 2 million Spotify streams while being featured on Alan Ball’s HBO show Here & Now Outside of his own work, Sam R. has received attention for remixing and reworking the work of artists like Madge, Argonaut & Wasp, Sulene and Goldwash.

Glassio’s long-awaited full-length debut, the 11 song, For The Very Last Time is slated for a July 23, 2020 release and earlier this year, the Queens-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and remixer has put out a couple of singles, the lullaby-like “A Million Doubts,” which was featured in the latest season of the Freeform TV series Good Trouble; the early 80s inspired “Nobody Stayed For The DJ;” and the contemplative “Are You Having Fun Without Me?”

“Make No Mistake,” For The Very Last Time‘s fourth and latest single continues a run of shimmering and swooning electro pop, centered around twinkling synth arpeggios, thumping beats, soaring hooks, Sam R.’s ethereal vocals and a guest backing spot from New York-based vocalist Daneshevskaya. What makes the song intriguing to me is that it balances achingly wistful nostalgia and a much-needed optimism. In many ways, the song is an anthemic blast of encouragement when coping with and facing circumstances much greater than ourselves  — as we all are right now.

“I was having a hard time getting out of bed towards the end of 2018 and facing everyday life. My anxiety was starting to go through the roof and daily tasks like taking the subway started to become difficult,” the rising Queens based artist explains in press notes. “The seed for the song came from wanting to talk about those feelings and I wanted to write a song that could get me moving. The lyrics and melody of the verse hit me out of the blue at the same time one morning while I was lying in bed and it was just there, already completed. The whole thing just unraveled very naturally and I think more than any other song on the album, it was very much written in the middle of the situation that it was about. Usually some time needs to pass before I write a song about an event, but this one was very much in the moment.”

humptydumptyrecords · River Into Lake – Grande Prairie

Boris Gronemberger is Brussels-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer, who managed to be rather busy throughout the bulk of his career: he was the founder and frontman of acclaimed Belgian indie act V.O. through their 15 years together — and he has a long-held reputation as a go-to collaborator, working with Girls in Hawaii, Castus, Blondie Brownie and a growing list of others.

Gronemberger’s latest musical project, River into Lake can trace its origins back to 2017 when the Belgian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger began writing the material, which would eventually comprise River Into Lake’s full-length debut Let The Beast Out sometimes alone, sometimes in collaborative groups, granting himself the complete freedom to reinvent himself and his work. Sonically, Let The Beast Out was bubbling orchestral pop with sharp melodies, complex harmonies featuring  arrangements that meshed synthesizers and organic instrumentation — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the material was indeed to prog rock. Thematically, the material was centered around the difficulty of wanting to continue to believe in the beauty of human nature while generally being an ode to love, life and the complexities of the universe.

Initially written and conceived as a bonus track for Let The Beast Out crowdfunders, the Belgian act’s latest single “Grande Prairie” continues a run of ambitious and expansive material. Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, drum machines, a propulsive bass line, angular bursts of guitar, explosive live drumming and enormous hooks, the song sonically recalls Sugar Army and others — but with a cinematic sweep. “La Grande Prairie is a place where we were going to celebrate the end of the exams with friends,” Gronemberger explains. “Some of them have meanwhile passed away. It’s a song that talks about carelessness, the strength of youth heckled by the movements of society that seems to crash straight into the wall.” Gronemberger adds “It seemed appropriate to me to release it now in this particular context, which in na certain way, reminds us that it is time to spread out on better bases.”

Coincidentally, the track is the first single off an EP, which is slated for release late this year.

 

 

 

 

Casablanca Sunset · Inspired & the Sleep — People

With the release of 2014’s Eyelid Kid, the San Diego, CA-based indie electro pop/dream pop act Inspired & The Sleep — singer/songwriter Max Greenhalgh, multi-instrumentalist Bryce Outcault and a revolving cast of collaborators — received attention locally and regionally for crafting decidedly dream pop material.

Singles like “Sweet Company,” and “Getting Through” found the act moving towards a dance floor friendly sound — at points nodding at JOVM mainstays like St. Lucia. Building upon a growing national profile, the San Diego-based act released their self-titled, full-length debut earlier this year. And continuing a busy year for the act, the members of Inspired & the Sleep recently released their latest single, the Delwin Campbell-mixed “People.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, a sinuous groove and an infectious hook, the glittering “People” may arguably be their most dance floor friendly release to date as it manages to bring both Simple Minds and Cut Copy to mind.

 

 

New Audio: MAaJunga Spirit Orchestra’s Uplifting Anthem “Hold On”

Founded by Greg Musso, Jacques Daoud and Bruce Sherfield, MAajunga Spirit Orchestrais a Paris-based collective of like-minded artists, musicians and vocalists, who are deeply influenced by soul and gospel. Last year, the collective received international attention, when their single “Hold On” was featured in Remy Martin’s “Team Up For Excellence Campaign.”

Building upon the growing attention of “Hold On,” the members went into the studio to write and record their debut EP, Hold On.“The reaction to ‘Hold On’ was overwhelming.” producer and founding member Greg Musso says in press notes. “We decided to take this unique opportunity to continue spreading the music that we believe brings people together in spirit – mind, body, and soul.”

Produced by the collective’s Greg Musso and recorded live at Paris’ Midilive Studios (formerly known as Vogue Studios), known for seminal recordings by French artists like Françoise Hardy, Jacques Dutronc and Johnny Hallyday, the EP will further establish and expand upon the sound that won them international attention. Of course, the EP will feature, the attention grabbing, EP title track “Hold On,” a much needed bit of uplift and resolve centered around a gospel chorus, soulful led vocals and soaring keys. Sonically and thematically, the song manages to mesh the swaggering and hip-hop influenced gospel of Kirk Franklin with the soulful spirituals of Mavis Staples. Certainly, in these difficult and unusual times, the song’s positive message should resonate with all of us: we’re all gonna have to hold on — to hope, to each other, to each single day — until this passes. 

Tennin · The What – The Notorious B.IG, Method Man [Tennin Remix]

With the release of a handful of singles that received attention from InRocksLab, Radio Nova, Earmilk and Afropunk, the rising Paris-based alternative pop artist Tennin quickly exploded into the international pop scene in 2015. The Paris-based artist ended a momentum building year by performing at La Cigale, as part of a showcase featuring rising female Parisian artists.

The following year, Tennin built upon her growing profile through tours across France, Germany and the UK. Adding to a relatively young career of big career highlights, the French pop artist’s single “Heal You,” catches the attention of acclaimed, trip hop pioneer Tricky, who signed her to !K7 Records. She then contributes a track to the Test of Time compilation, which featured tracks from Saul Williams, IDLES and others.

Additionally, last year saw her becoming a finalist of the Afropunk springboard but she also opened for the likes of Dope Saint Jude and Muthoni Drummer Queen at Les Cuizines — and she played the final show at Les Etoiles. She ended the year with a live interview and session for Radio Campus Brussels.

Earlier this year, the rising French pop artist signed to renowned Parisian electronic label Kitsune Music, who released her first single of this year “Guys in Tears.” Interestingly, Tennin posted a cover/remix of The Notorious B.I.G.‘s “The What,” feat. Method Man on Instagram that received such positive reactions that she decided to record and release a full-version. While retaining the original’s memorable beat, the addition of Tennin’s vocals adds sultry, Aaliyah-like air to the proceedings. Naturally, while being a shoutout to Golden Era, East Coast hip-hop, the song is also a vital reminder that hip-hop is the lingua franca of kids across the globe.

 

Tik Records · TIK56: Mia Berg – don’t know (what to do)

With the release of her debut EP, last year’s Intro, which featured “You Decided,” “Grow” and “Hurry,” the 24 year-old, Oslo-based pop artist Mia Berg quickly exploded into the international pop scene, receiving praise form the likes of Clash Magazine, God Is In The TV, WithGuitars and others.

Tik Records · TIK48: Mia Berg – You Decided

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Berg’s latest single, the Henrik Lillehaug-produced “don’t know what to do” is an atmospheric pop song, centered around twinkling keys, shimmering synths, shuffling and thumping beats, an infectious radio friendly hook and Berg’s sultry vocals. And yet, while possessing a radio friendly accessibility, the song is actually a solemn track that captures the aching regret of someone begging a lover (or a love interest) for forgiveness for their transgressions — and the uncertainty of if that lover will actually forgive you or not.

The new track will appear on her sophomore EP which is slated for release later this year.

Lyric Video: Beat Hotel Returns with a Swooning and Heartfelt Power Pop Anthem

Split between Brighton, UK and Plymouth, UK,  Beat Hotel, which features current and former members of The June Brides, The Loft, The Weather Prophets, Distractions, Mudlow, Mojo Fins and Lolita Storm can trace its origins to when its founding members — The June Brides’, The Distractions’ and The Granite Shore‘s Arash Torabi and Paul Pascoe met after a 1988 The Jasmine Minks show.  (Interestingly, many years later, the first Beat Hotel single featured a guest vocal spot from The Jasmine Minks’ frontman Jim Shepherd.)

Developing a strong live presence in their local scene, the act managed to record a number of demos,  but they didn’t officially release anything until 2013 — the “Best of Our Years”/”The Fire,” double A-side 7 inch, which featured The Loft’s and The Weather Prophets’ Dave Morgan (drums), who then became a permanent member of the band.

Released earlier this year through Occultation Records, the band’s long-awaited self-titled EP was recorded at Hove, UK-based Church Road Studios by the band’s Paul Pascoe and features five originals written by Pascoe and a cover of The Wishing Stones‘ “Beat Girl.” The EP also features guest spots from The June Brides’ Frank Sweeney, who contributes strings and piano and former Mojo Fins member Stephen Brett (guitar), who releases material as a solo artist under the moniker SJ Brett. “Every now and again, we produce something that’s very special to us. These forays into the physical world are usually inspired by a collaboration,” Beat Hotel’s Paul Pascoe says in press notes about the band’s self-titled EP. “This time it was driven by an unexpected creative surge due to the sudden and shocking end of a relationship. I felt like I had to relearn everything about how to be in the world and look seriously at who I actually am. I found comfort in the music that had given me a sense of belonging the first time around. The Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Weather Prophets .  .  .these songs and songwriters, so familiar to my psyche, were there again to drag me to safety.”

“This collection of songs is about love and near-death and confronting the very worst aspects of ourselves, facing down those inner demons, the fears that haunt us and our deepest, darkest secrets,” Pascoe says of the EP’s material. “And… with one of the tracks beginning its recording journey in 1997 and getting its final guitar overdub and mix in 2019 (in all its 3 minutes 14 seconds of rock’n’roll glory), this record is also a tribute to the awesome power of getting shit done.”

Earlier this year,  wrote about “Bury It Deep,” an upbeat, hook-driven song that brings Starfish-era The Church, early-to-mid 80s Echo and the Bunnymen (i.e, Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here and Ocean Rain) and The Dream Syndicate to mind — and while possessing an uncanny period specificity, the song is more than a homage to a classic and beloved sound: at its core, the song is centered around a narrator desperately trying to maneuver a confusing and uncertain world, as well as their own demons. The EP’s latest single “Feel It” continues a run of hook-driven, 80s inspired material — but in this case, the track is a jangling power pop anthem that brings The Smithereens, The Sighs, and others to mind. But interestingly, the song is a heartfelt love song that evokes the swooning urgency of newfound love in a way that should remind you of your first love.