Last year, I wrote a bit about the rising Brooklyn-based grunge rock/punk rock act Pom Pom Squad — Mia Berrin (vocals, guitar), Mari Ale Figeman (bass), Shelby Keller (drums) and Ethan Sass (guitar) — and the act quickly became a local DIY scene staple for a modern take on the 90s grunge rock scene that find the band balancing solemnity and whimsy, old school punk aesthetics and emotional vulnerability in which they’ve dubbed Quiet Grrl punk. They’ve also developed and honed a raucous live show while sharing stages with the likes of Soccer Mommy, Adult Mom, Long Neck and others.
The Brooklyn-based act’s sophomore EP Ow was released last year to critical praised rom the likes of Stereogum, Paste, Under the Radar, Highsnobiety and Thrillist, and EP material received airplay on SiriusXM Alt Nation — and that shouldn’t be surprising: the band’s work is generally mosh pit friendly, power chord-driven rock paired with an unhinged, feral intensity reminiscent of Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The band recently recorded a brooding and atmospheric, David Lynch-like cover of Tommy James & The Shondells’ “Crimson + Clover” in honor of both Pride Month and to support Bandcamp’s Juneteenth fundraising campaign. “This year would have been my first Pride as an ‘out’ person,” Pom Pom Squad’s Mia Berrin explains in press notes. “It took me a long time to come to terms with my identity in a true and honest way, but I am proud to meet myself where I am now. This year, the idea of walking down a street proudly, in my queerness and in my brown skin, feels particularly difficult for a multitude of obvious reasons, but this song is my small celebration of the scary, complicated, empowering process of owning my black, queer identity.” Directed by Mia Berrin and Shelby Keller, the recently released video, much like the song was produced during quarantine is a sultry fever dream.
Now. as you may recall Bandcamp donated their share of all sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Pom Pom Squad will be donating their share of all digital downloads to For the Gworls Medical Fund, a POC-led emergency medical relief medical fund that pays for black trans folks to travel to clinics and pharmacies during the pandemic, and provide co-pay assistance if needed, so that they can continue to receive necessary — and important — prescriptions.
A Q&A with Donna Blue’s Danique van Kesteren and Bart van Dalen
Donna Blue is a rising Amsterdam-based indie act centered around its core duo, romantic couple Danique van Kesteren and Bart van Dalen. Creatively, they’re each other’s muse. And with the release of their debut 7 inch EP, which was released in 2017, the Dutch indie act quickly established a unique and dream-like sound seemingly influenced by Phil Spector, Wall of Sound-like pop, Pasty Cline, yè yè and the work of David Lynch – in particular, Twin Peaks. “Sunset Blvd,” which appeared on that 7 inch was played on Elton John’s Apple Music radio show Rocket Hour.
Building upon a growing profile, the Dutch duo released the yé yé inspired single “1 2 3.” Sung in French, the song describes the lack of a passion within a romantic relationship. And instead of making a standard music video for the song, the duo chose to create an audiovisual monologue conveying the narrator’s longing that’s visually inspired by the nouvelle vague movement.
Released last month through Dutch indie label, Snowstar Records, the self-recorded and self-produced 5 song EP Inbetween finds the act continuing to draw from and seamlessly mesh Roy Orbison, Julee Cruise,Nancy Sinatra, Patsy Cline and yé yé into a unique sound that evokes late nights wandering around narrow European streets, smokey cafes and swooning Romanticism. Personally, listening to the EP reminds me of late nights walking through Amsterdam’s Centrum and the Red Light District and of walking down Frankfurt-am-Main’s Haupwatche and Romer Districts with the aching loneliness of being a foreigner, of being a Black man in Northern Europe. And although that’s a deeply personal lens, the material overall is smoky, cinematic and absolutely gorgeous.
I recently exchanged emails with Donna Blue’s Danique van Kesteren and Bart van Dalen for this edition of the JOVM Q&A. Current world events have impacted all of us – and they’ve found ways to bleed into our personal and professional lives in ways that will reverberate for quite some time to come. As COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the rising Dutch act was here in New York, playing the second annual New Colossus Festival. Shortly after their New Colossus Festival sets, the world as we know it has been at an uncomfortable and indefinite pause. While we do chat about their excellent new EP, we do talk seriously about the impact of the pandemic on their careers, how much Twin Peaks has influenced their work and we reminisce about beautiful Amsterdam. Check it out below.
WRH: Donna Blue is centered around core duo and romantic couple Danique van Kesteren and Bart van Dalen. How is it like to collaborate and tour with your partner?
Danique van Kesteren: Thatʼs a big question to start with. Itʼs hard to explain well, but itʼs very special. I believe thereʼs a certain energy and creativity that only sparks when youʼre completely on the same wavelength as the person you are collaborating with. We work together so intimately that our ideas can flow without speaking.
Bart van Dalen: That being said, working closely together on a project blurs the lines between work and personal life. Itʼs all about keeping a good balance and that takes work. But most of the time itʼs very good. And touring together is super nice. Sharing experiences, traveling to all those places with her, performing and seeing Danique next to me on stage. I like how we can always feel what the other person is feeling on stage and feed off each otherʼs energy during a show.
WRH: Most of the known world has been in quarantine in some fashion since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic last month. How have you been holding up? What have you been spending your time doing? Binge watching anything interesting?
DVK: We mainly have been resting a lot, staying at home reading and cooking healthy food. We did set up a studio at home, so we can record ideas for new songs whenever we want.
BVD: Itʼs a weird time. We wouldʼve been in the US right now taking some time off after a tour. So weʼve been adjusting and taking time to think about where we are going from here. And weʼre binge watching a lot of Mad Men.
WRH: Donna Blue played this yearʼs New Colossus Festival. How did it go? Did you get a chance to take in any local food or bars or anything? Did you have a chance to see anyone play while you were in town? If so, who?
BVD: We had such a good time performing at the New Colossus; itʼs a really good memory. We played 4 shows and met some amazing people. We saw a couple of other artists perform at the festival, like Luke De-Sciscio, Kirsten Knick and Ghost World, which was very fun. And we got to play a Paste Magazinesession while we were in town. But every day felt more uncertain as COVID-19 was really hitting Europe hard. So, it was a strange time.
DVK: We were in New York for 5 days, so we tried to explore some of the city, even though it felt like we shouldnʼt. In the mornings we got bagels and we walked around the neighbourhood a little. Some of our band went to MOMA the last day before it closed. But mostly we stayed indoors until it was time to head off to our show. We all shared a big loft, so we just chilled in the living [room] and tried to stay calm and positive.
WRH: You were supposed to head down to Austin for SXSW after New Colossus Festival and unfortunately while you were in town COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Shortly after that festivals were postponing and canceling left and right, including SXSW. How has COVID-19 currently impacted you and your career?
BVD: Yes, that was a hard pill to swallow for everyone. Of course, weʼve worked very hard to get to SXSW and set up a tour around it. And thereʼs a huge financial investment that comes with touring the US. So not being able to play an important festival like SXSW and cancel all upcoming shows does impact our career. But weʼll carry on and keep making music, weʼll just have to wait and see what the scene is going to be like when we can go back out.
DVK: I think it will impact our career the same way it does any artist at the moment. Itʼs all very uncertain when we are going to be able to bring people together for live performances again, and if they even want to come out again when itʼs allowed. Small venues will collapse, international touring will be impossible for a while and it might be a lot harder to get our music in front of interesting parties.
WRH: Youʼre from one of my favorite cities in the entire world –- Amsterdam. I was in the Netherlands three years ago and I miss Amsterdam and the country. So say, Iʼm a tourist and itʼs my first time in Amsterdam, where would I go to get a taste of local life?
DVK: Amsterdam is a really special place. I still canʼt decide whether I love it more when the city wakes up in spring or when itʼs quiet in winter, the narrow streets and bridges covered in snow. It just feels so old and magical. I would recommend just walking past the canals just outside the busy city center. Have a little picnic on the waterfront, maybe smoke a funny cigarette and donʼt forget to look up to stare at the beautiful facades. Go through the ‘9 straatjesʼ or down Haarlemmerstraat for some nice local shops and vintage stores.
WRH: Whatʼs your favorite spot in Amsterdam to catch live music? Why?
BVD: We have a beautiful venue called Paradiso, itʼs in an old church and saw some real underground action in the 60s. Now itʼs one of the most important concert venues in our country, and still a magical place.
DVK: Bitterzoet is also a venue I really like, itʼs smaller but very cool, and it has a little red light district vibe going on.
WRH: Are there any Dutch acts that should be blowing up that havenʼt yet?
BVD: Definitely. Look up a band called Lewsberg, and Eerie Wanda.
DVK: And a band we love that make[s] awesome music to dance to is called Yin Yin.
WRH: I understand that Elton John played “Sunset Blvd” during his Apple Music radio show Rocket Hour. How did it feel to receive a co-sign from someone as legendary as him?
DVK: So unreal. I never thought in a million years I would hear Elton John say my full name.
BVD: Weʼve also been getting a lot of attention and radio play through it, so itʼs been very helpful.
WRH: I was first introduced to you and your sound through the Paste Session you did last month. So how much has David Lynch and Twin Peaks influenced the band and its aesthetic?
DVK: A lot, especially at the start. The way David Lynch plays with mystery and beauty is something we find really inspiring and try to incorporate in our own music. And visually too, we get inspired by his films for our music videos.
BVD: And of course, the soundtrack and music of Twin Peaks are so good. Being one of the bands playing at the Roadhouse is one of our musical dreams. We try to capture some of that Roadhouse-feeling in our own live performances.
WRH: How would you describe your sound to those who would be initially unfamiliar with you and your sound?
BVD: We usually describe it as sultry indie pop under the influence of 60s yé yé, Lynch movies and old Hollywood romance.
WRH: Who (and what) are your influences?
BVD: Musically our influences are mainly artists from the 50s/60s. Think of Serge Gainsbourg, Roy Orbison, Nancy Sinatra, Link Wray. And as mentioned before, so is the mystery from the Twin Peaks soundtrack.
DVK: Next to that we get inspired lyrically and visually by things like our own relationship and stuff we go through, cult movies from the 70s, Jean-Luc Godard, old Hollywood glamour, books and big questions like is there a heaven and would it be fun to go there for all eternity?
WRH: Your latest effort Inbetween EP was released last month. Itʼs a gorgeous and cinematic effort that evokes film noir, smoky cafes and bars, strolling down narrow European streets, swooning love – and to my ears, I hear quite bit of Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline and Phil Spectorʼs girl groups in the overall production. Iʼve managed to play the EP quite a bit late at night and for some reason, it reminds me so much of wandering around Amsterdam Centrum and the Red Light District. Is there a unifying theme that holds the EPʼs five songs together?
DVK: Itʼs not so much a theme as it is a feeling. Weʼve tried to translate that place between waking and sleeping into songs. Strange things happen there. Sometimes literally, like in title track Inbetween. But sometimes itʼs more figuratively, like waking up to what love really is.
WRH: “Desert Lake,” “Billy” and “Fool” are among my personal favourites on the EP. Can you tell us a little bit about what that songs are about?
DVK: Yes of course, “Desert Lake” is about the badlands every artist needs to cross while they do their work. Right between dreaming up a song and finishing it, a fear always creeps in: is it good enough? No matter how beautiful it is to create things, it will forever come with doubt. For the song we made up a cinematic story about someone getting lost in that madness of art. “Billy” is a song about l’amour fou gone wrong. We wanted it to sound like a sweet little 50’s heartbreak song at the start, but it ends like an eerie nightmare. It leaves you wondering what happened to the person not picking up the phone. And “Fool” is a song about the moment in a relationship you realise there is no such thing as perfect love, even though you thought you had it figured out. Itʼs a personal testament to losing some of that beautiful, open innocence of childhood love when transitioning into an adult relationship. Like an awakening.
WRH: How do you know when you have a finished song?
DVK: I think for a big part itʼs a feeling, you just know when thereʼs something still missing from the song.
BVD: Usually when we think a song is complete, we let it sit for a while. Then we listen to it again after a week or two, if it still feels good, itʼs finished.
WRH: Whatʼs next for you?
DVK: Weʼll be working on new music, maybe even a full-length album . . .
BVD: And of course making plans to set up another tour as soon as we can.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the Nashville-based indie rock act Twen. The act, which is led by founding members Jane Fitzsimmons (vocals) and Ian Jones (guitar) can trace their origins to their involvement in Boston’s DIY scene, and as you may recall, the duo since their formation have been actively been redefining what a touring band should be and should be in the streaming age. Initially releasing only a live EP recorded from the band’s live debut in a Boston basement, the band has toured non-stop, honing and perfecting a live show that’s been described by critics and fans alike as raw and mesmerizing.
Continuing to proudly ascribe to the DIY ethos that has influenced and sustained them, Twen’s core duo have run AirBNBs while touring, played in exchange for skydiving, screen printed self-designed merch items by hand and book their own tours. The duo emerged into the national scene with the release of their attention-grabbing single “Waste,” which received praise from the likes of NPR, Stereogum, Paste Magazine, BrooklynVegan, Uproxx, Under The Radar and others. Earlier this year, the duo opened for the acclaimed Louisville-based JOVM mainstays White Reaper — and they released the slow-burning and shoegazer-like “Holy River,” a track that to my ears would likely draw comparisons to classic 4AD Records, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve and Beach House — but with a yearning, dream-like quality that gives the ethereal track a subtle bit of emotional weight.
Building upon a growing profile, the buzz-worthy, Nashville-based duo will be releasing their full-length debut Awestruck through Frenchkiss Records on September 20, 2019. I also wrote about the album’s first official single “Baptism,” an atmospheric and shoegazer-like track centered around shimmering guitars, propulsive drumming, Jane Fitzsimmons’ enormous, room-filling vocals singing impressionistic lyrics full of a yearning desire to be born, becoming and re-born. The album’s latest single “Make Hard” is centered around jangling, reverb-soaked guitars, propulsive drumming and rousingly anthemic hook — and while bearing a bit of a resemblance to Fleetwood Mac, the song is rooted in lived-in, personal experience that gives the song an emotional weight.
“The song was rewritten and arranged very late in the recording process,” the band explained to DIY. “Another one of our earliest tunes, the second verse was a response to the growing pains we were going through at the time, transitioning from part-time rockers to full-time road warriors. The lyrics have come to symbolize the dynamics and relationships within a band as it grows, through the transformation of defined roles and how they change over time.”
The Nashville-based indie rock act Twen, led by founding members Jane Fitzsimmons (vocals) and Ian Jones (guitar) can trace their origins to when they formed while both were involved in Boston’s DIY scene. Since their formation several years ago, the band has been busy redefining what a touring band should do — and should be in the streaming age. Initially releasing nothing more than a live EP recorded fro the band’s live debut in a Boston basement, the band has toured non-stop, honing and perfecting a live show that’s been described as raw and mesmerizing.
Continuing to proudly ascribe to the DIY ethos that influenced them, Twen’s core duo have run AirBNBs while touring, played in exchange for skydiving, screen printed self-designed merch items by hand and book their own tours. Now, as you may recall, the duo quickly emerged into the national scene with the release of attention-grabbing single “Waste,” which received praise from the likes of NPR, Stereogum, Paste Magazine, BrooklynVegan, Uproxx, Under The Radar and others. Earlier this year, the duo opened for the acclaimed Louisville-based JOVM mainstays White Reaper — and they released the slow-burning and shoegazer-like “Holy River,” a track that to my ears would likely draw comparisons to classic 4AD Records, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve and Beach House — but with a yearning, dream-like quality that gives the ethereal track a subtle bit of emotional weight.
Building upon a growing profile, the buzz-worthy, Nashville-based duo will be releasing their full-length debut Awestruck through Frenchkiss Records on September 20, 2019. “Baptism,” the album’s first official single is an atmospheric bit of shoegaze centered around shimmering guitars, propulsive drumming, Jane Fitzsimmons’ enormous, room-filling vocals singing impressionistic lyrics full of a yearning desire to be born, becoming and re-born. Interestingly, Jones’ guitar lines actually is a revisited riff that he wrote as a teenager, that he reworked with a fresh perspective — essentially giving the song a trippy and anachronistic sensibility.
Comprised of Jake Luppen (vocals, guitar), Nathan Stocker (guitar, vocals), Zach Sutton (bass, keys) and Whistler Isaiah Allen (drums, vocals), the acclaimed St. Paul, MN-based indie rock act Hippo Campus can trace their origins to when the members of the quartet met while attending the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Interestingly, at the time, the members of Hippo Campus were playing in a number of different, local bands before forming their current project.
Hippo Campus independent released their Alan Sparhawk-produced debut EP Bashful Creatures in 2014. But when they signed to Grand Jury Records, their new label re-released the EP during the following year. The EP which featured singles “Little Grace” and “Suicide Saturday” was supported with an appearance at SXSW, their national, late night TV debut on Conan, a live session on KRCW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and KEXP before ending the year with an appearance on CBS This Morning. Paste Magazine also named them that year’s The Best of What’s Next.
“The Halocline” was featured in the series finale of TNT’s Falling Skies and building upon a growing profile, the members of Hippo Campus toured with Modest Mouse, Walk the Moon, The Mowgli’s, JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket, Vacationer and My Morning Jacket. They also toured across the national festival circuit, playing sets at Lollapalooza, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Minneapolis’ Rock the Garden — and an appearance at the Reading and Leeds Festival. They ended the year with the release of their sophomore EP, 2015’s South, which landed at #16 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart.
2017 saw the release of the band’s critically applauded and commercially successful, BJ Burton-produced, full-length debut Landmark, which featured album singles “Boyish” and “Way It Goes.” As a result of the album landing at #3 on the Billboard Heatseekers Charts, the band made their second appearance on Conan, and went out a headlining international tour that included festival stops at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. They ended the year with the release of the warm glow EP.
Last spring and last summer, the St. Paul-based indie rock act played at Sasquatch Music Festival, the Reading and Leeds Festivals and they opened for Sylvan Esso at Red Rocks before releasing their critically applauded BJ Burton-produced sophomore album Bambi. Interestingly, album singles “Passenger,” “Golden,” and album title track “Bambi” found the band pushing their sound in a new direction, as the material incorporates an increasing amount of synths and drum programming,
Bambi’s latest single “Honestly” is centered around shimmering synths, angular guitars, a propulsive rhythm section and a soaring hook — and in some way the track reminds me of JOVM mainstays White Reaper, who also pushed their sound in a similar direction while maintaining an ability to craft an infectious, radio friendly hook. Underlying that the song possesses a wistful air for something seemingly simple and easy although that may be an illusion that you have to learn to deal with.
Directed by Brittany O’Brien, the recently released video for “Honestly,” follows the band goofing off behind the scenes while on tour — but underneath the hijinks and glamour, there’s the recognition that a life eon the road is lonely and profoundly strange.
Led by founding members Jane Fitzsimmons (vocals) and Ian Jones (guitar), the Nashville-based indie rock act Twen can trace their origins to Boston’s DIY scene — and since their formation, the band has been busily redefining what a touring band should be and do in the streaming age. Having released nothing more than a live EP recorded from the band’s debut performance in a Boston basement, the band has been touring non-stop over the past couple of years, honing and perfecting a raw and mesmerizing live show.
Proudly ascribing to the DIY ethos, Twen’s core duo have run AirBNBs while touring, played in exchange for skydiving, screen printed self-designed merch items by hand and book their own tours. Interestingly, with the release of their proper debut single “Waste,” the Nashville-based duo quickly emerged into the national scene with praise from the likes of NPR, Stereogum, Paste Magazine, BrooklynVegan, Uproxx, Under The Radar and others — and they’ve managed book a tour, opening for acclaimed Louisville-based JOVM mainstays White Reaper. (You can check out the tour dates below. The tour will include a few headlining dates, including a June 20, 2019 stop at Union Pool.)
In the meantime, the duo’s latest single is the slow-burning and shoegazy “Holy River.” Centered around shimmering reverb-drenched guitar chords, propulsive drumming, a soaring hook and Fitzsimmons gorgeous and plaintive vocals, their latest single sonically speaking will most likely draw comparisons to 4AD Records heyday, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve, The Cranberries and Beach House — but with a yearning, dream-like quality that gives the ethereal track a subtle bit of emotional weight. Interestingly, the song as the duo share in press notes was written as an ode to their new hometown, upon their arrival from Boston.
Directed by the band’s Jen Fitzsimmons, the video which is set in an incredibly verdant forest possesses a fitting dream-like logic as we see a woman expressively dancing with a sheet and the members of Twen, observing and dancing in the background in red from head to toe. It’s a slow-burning fever dream of a visual that evokes the wildness of nature and of one’s own dreams.
Comprised of founding members Mike Brandon and L.A. Solano with Alex Q. Amini and Zach Butler, the New York-based quartet The Mystery Lights have received attention across the blogosphere for an old-timey garage rock/garage psych sound and aesthetic that recalls The Who Sings My Generation-era The Who, The Animals, Raccoon Fighter, The Black Angels and 70s art punk — and for being the the first rock act to sign with Daptone Records subsidiary Wick Records.
Interestingly, the band can trace its origins back to Salinas, CA where Brandon and Solano grew up, met and played in a nubmer of different local bands in their teens before relocating to New York. The band’s lineup solidified with the addition of Alex Amini, Kevin Harris and Noah Kohll. And despite lineup changes, the band initially developed a word-of-mouth reputation over the period of a few years for explosive live shows across town. Naturally, those live shows helped the band develop their sound and approach.
2016 saw the release of the band’s self-titled debut, which they supposed with a wild array of touring, including the now-prerequisite stop at SXSW. Over the past couple of years, the members of The Mystery Lights have been relentlessly playing shows everywhere — and they’ve been busy writing and recording, their Wayne Gordon-produced sophomore album Too Much Tension! Recorded at Daptone Records’ famed House of Soul Studios, the recently released album finds the band digging deeper into their influences to enrich their sound — without echoing the past. Thematically, the album touches upon substance abuse, self-care and the recognition of happiness only once it’s lost, imbued with a post-modern anxiety.
The New York-based band was recently invited to Paste Studios at Manhattan Center to perform material off the new album that included the fed-up anthem “I’m So Tired (of Living in the City),” the tense and uneasy “Someone Else Is In Control,” the slow-burning The Animals-like ballad “Watching the News, Gives Me The Blues,” and the rollocking “Traces” — and all of the tracks performed at the live session were delivered with the raw, fiery intensity of their live set.
Now, over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based psych rock/indie rock trio Sunflower Bean, and as you can recall, the band comprised of founding members Nick Kivlen (guitar, vocals) and Jacob Faber (drums), along with Julia Cumming (bass, vocals) can trace their origins to when Kivlen and Faber were both members of Turnip King. At the time Kivlen and Faber had been spending a great deal of time away from their then-primary project jamming together, before deciding that that they should start their own project. Kivlen, who knew Cumming through mutual friends was recruited to join the band — although Cumming was a member of Supercute! with Rachel Trachtenberg.
The band quickly became a buzz-worthy act with a run of attention grabbing, critically applauded sets during 2014’s CMJ Festival, which they promptly followed up that year’s Rock & Roll Heathen EP AND 2015’s Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP — and thanks to the success of singles like “Tame Impala” and “2013,” the band quickly rose to national and international prominence. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the trio toured across the US and the UK as a headliner, and as an opener for Wolf Alice, Best Coast and The Vaccines, before 2016’s Matthew Molnar-produced, full-length debut Human Ceremony. After spending the better part of that year with a roughly 200 date world tour, the members of the band initially planned to take a well-earned, extended break; however, by December, the trio wound up in Faber’s Long Island basement with song ideas that eventually became their Jacob Portrait and Matt Molnar co-produecd sophomore album Twentytwo in Blue, which was released earlier this year through Mom + Pop Records. Since its release, the album has been a commercial and critical success — the album debut in the Top 40 in the UK, hit #5 on Billboard’s Top New Artists chart, and earned praise from Paste, NME and others.
Coincidentally, the album’s release was 22 months after the release of their full-length debut, while marking when each of the members turn 22. The album’s first single “I Was A Fool,” revealed a radical change in sonic direction with the band leaning heavily towards 70s AM rock — in particular, Fleetwood Mac. The album’s first official single and second overall, the stomping and anthemic “Crisis Fest,” was arguably the most politically charged single the band has ever written and recorded, as it focuses on the uncertain and politically volatile period it was written, with the song being an urgent call to action to young people to get out there, get involved and make the world right once and for all. And goddamn it, it’s necessary. “Twentytwo,” the album’s third single was a breezy feminist anthem, focused on fighting against society’s expectations and demands upon women as well as the abuses of powerful men.
Since their sophomore album’s release, the members of Sunflower Bean have been busy extensively touring and playing sold out dates both internationally and nationally, along with a run of appearances across the national festival circuit that will include stops at Voodoo Festival, Pickathon, SummerStage, XPoNential, before returning to the EU, the UK and Asia. The fall will see Sunflower Bean the band opening for Interpol; but in the meantime, the folks at Audiotree invited the members of Sunflower Bean to to perform the mesmerizing, Heart-like “Memoria,” a track that finds the band balancing a swaggering, self-assuredness with a wistful ache.
Melina Duterte is an Oakland, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo recording project Jay Som received national and international attention last year from the likes of NPR Music, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Stereogum, Paste, Consequence of Sound, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Spin, Newsweek, Exclaim!, Under the Radar and a number of others elsewhere.
Building upon a growing profile, Duterte, recently announced the release of two previously unreleased songs that were recorded during the Everybody Works sessions as a 7 inch single titled “Pirouette”/”OK Meet Me Underwater,” that will be officially released both on vinyl and digitally on January 26, 2018 through Polyvinyl Records. Both of these tracks were made during the spring of 2016 – the first demo stages for Everybody Works. They were fun to write and record but felt out of place on the track list during the finalization of the album. These tracks remain close to my heart and I’m really grateful they’re finally out in the world,” Duterte explains press notes about her soon-to-be released 7 inch single. And as you’ll hear on A side single “Pirouette,” Duterte specializes in a jangling, hook driven, 90s alt rock inspired sound, reminiscent of The Breeders but with an incredibly bold yet breezy self-assuredness.