Tag: Peter Gabriel

With the release of their debut EP, 2016’s More Escher and Random Notes, the rising Helsinki, Finland-based indie act The Holy — Eetu Henrik Iivari (vocals, guitar), Pyry Peltonen (guitar), Laura Kangasniemi (bass), Mikko Maijala (drums) and Eero Jääskeläinen (drums) quickly emerged into the Nordic music scene, quickly developing a reputation for an enormous and rousingly anthemic sound that has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel with Krautrock influences.

Initially cutting their teeth in Helsinki’s small venue circuit, the members of The Holy have taken an explosive and passionate live show to their homeland’s national festival circuit, playing sets at Flow FestivalRuisrockProvinssirock, Iloasarirock and Lost In Music among others. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Helsinki-based quintet released their full-length debut Daughter last year. The album, which thematically touched upon how the 1990s Finnish economic recession impacted this current generation of its young people was a game-charger for the band, as it the album received praise across both Finland and Europe, eventually garnering a Finnish Grammy (EMMA) Critics’ Choice nomination.

The Holy supported the album with a busy touring schedule across Sweden and the Europe that included the continent’s festival circuit with stops at Eurosonic NooderslagIceland AirwavesReeperbahn Festival, Where Is The Music, JaJaJa Music LondonBerlin, and Vienna. Additionally, while they were touring, German/French TV Arte filmed the band’s set at last year’s Flow Festival in cooperation with Finland’s YLE — and KEXP filmed their Iceland Airwaves set.

Originally scheduled for release this spring and now slated for a November 6, 2020 release through Playground Music, the rising Finnish act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Mono Freedom is a semi-utopian sci-fi tale, inspired by Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, which explores a number of scenarios of what would happen to Earth if humans were to suddenly disappear. Set in the somewhat distant future on a dying Earth, the planet’s last humans decide to gather their things, build a rocket and travel to the nearest black hole. They know that there is probably nothing out there but it’s one of humanity’s last desperate ideas and last hopes. In the realm of this world, this is generally seen as a positive, not as an absurdly hopeless, dystopian vision.

“During our Daughter tour, I read the science book, The World Without Usby Alan Weisman, and I got inspired and sad at the same time. It seems that humans just took a leap in the evolution progress a million years ago and have been fucking things up since,” The Holy’s Eetu Henrik Iivari explains in press notes. “I started to play with an idea of a space odyssey of the last people on earth, eventually building a rocket and flying into the nearest black hole. And they just don’t make it. They are too dumb to make it. And that’s it. And after a few hundred years, Mother Earth doesn’t even remember it was once occupied by humans.

“And this eventually got me thinking about the Western way of life and the idea of freedom. How one-way, single-minded and boxed-in it is. When you wake up in a modern western city — there is almost nothing you can do that doesn’t rip somebody. It’s late modern capitalism, a jail built on the grounds of believing that you have a choice. And that you make a choice. But most of it is already aimed towards consumerism. We just like to think that we find things by ourselves, but most of it is given. And it’s just so frustrating. To do the right thing from one day to another and navigate in the middle of all this evil around us. 

[But even though the theme is not the lightest in the world, I wanted the album to mirror hope and to be empowering. A friend for people having similar thoughts.”

Earlier this year, the rising Finnish act released a double single, “No Trial In The Dark” and “Twilight Of The Idiots.” “Twilight of the Idiots” is a rousingly anthemic song that immediately brings s A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay, Peter Gabriel and The Unforgettable Fire  U2 to mind through a combination of earnest emotionality and ambitious songwriting. “No Trial In The Dark” continues in a similar vein but while being much more percussive and cinematic. “I wrote ‘Twilight Of The Idiots,’ ‘Swim,’ ‘The Rocket Song’ and ‘No Trial In The Dark’ very close to each other and we recorded those songs in the same sessions,” Iivari recalls in press notes. “After that I knew what other songs should be on this album and the narrative started to be clear. We followed that path and never turned back.” 

“I Don’t Know,'” Mono Freedom‘s third and latest single continues a run of rousingly anthemic and arena friendly material, centered around deeply earnest songwriting and breakneck yet passionate playing. While sonically, the track brings early U2 to mind — particularly Boy and October — thanks to angular, reverb-drenched guitar chords, forceful and dramatic drumming and Ivari’s plaintive vocals, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place:

“This song is basically about being bipolar. At least on some level. I have no diagnosis and I might not be the right person to talk about it, ” Ivari says “but I’ve been struggling the most part of my life with heavy mania vs. depression and it has taken a huge toll on a lot of things. I have found a way to live with it and function in society nowadays, but it still takes a lot of work every day. It also gives a lot though, being in the deep end of mania is like a drug from the future and I do get a lot of things done. But it’s also super hard to keep that level and it brings you down really really low when you just can’t. 

“I learned from a silly love themed tv show that it’s good to talk about it. To give the people around you some knowledge about it and tools to work with you. So I ended up writing this song and tried to open it slowly. The tune is pretty uplifting and I wanted it to be light and kind of funny, because the last thing I want is to add a shadow of darkness and depression over the matter and keep repeating the pattern of adding shame on this kind of stuff. That it is some mystic dark depressive thing etc. It is just a thing. We all have our things.”

New Video: Crammed Discs to Re-issue Zazou Bikaye’s Forward-Thinking Electro Take on Afrobeat/Afrofunk Originally Released in the 80s

Tracing their origins back to an encounter between Congolese vocalist and composer Bony Bikaye, French musician and producer Hector Zazou and modular synth act CY1, Zazou Bikaye released a groundbreaking Afro pop/experimental electronic album with their 1983 full-length debut Noir et Blanc, an album that has since garnered cultish devotion by music cognoscenti, musicians and fans.

After the release of Noir et Blanc, Zazou Bikaye turned into a proper band that started to develop and hone their own special brand of digital Afrobeat/Afrofunk. Zazou took on writing and programming duties while Bikaye expanded on the extroverted side of his vocal stylings. They then set out to record a large batch of material with five tracks eventually being released in 1985 as the 32-minute mini album Mr. Manager, an effort released to acclaim through Crammed Discs in Europe and through Pow Wow in Japan and the States. The act toured Europe and played a couple of shows in New York — and two of the album’s tracks “Angel” and “Nostalgie” became underground club hits across the States and Europe.

With a backing band that featured Philipe “Pinpin” de la Croix Herpin (woodwinds), Tuxedomoon’s Luc van Lieshout (trumpet and harmonica), Vincent Kenis (guitar), Chris Jouris (percussion), Bigoune (percussion), Mwamba Kasuba (backing vocals), Nicole MT (backing vocals) M’Bombo K (backing vocals) and Marc Hollander (sax), the Hollander, Zazou Kenis produced sessions recorded between 1985 and 1986 were supposed to be appear on a full-length album. But as it turned out, the members of Zazou Bikaye moved on and recorded an entirely different album of material, 1988’s Guilty. Some of the tracks from those 1985-1986 sessions came out as remixes but most of the material was left aside, unfinished.

Slated for an October 16, 2020 release through Crammed Discs, the expanded and remastered reissue of Mr. Manager features the mini-album’s original five tracks plus nine rediscovered tracks recorded during those abandoned 1985-1986 sessions. And to celebrate the occasion, Zazou Bikaye and Crammed Disc re-released album single “Nostalgie. Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated blocks of synths, thumping polyrhythm, call-and-response vocals, an ebullient, Branford Marsalis-like sax solo and an enormous, crowd pleasing hook, “Nostalgie” may strike some listeners as a sleek and mischievous synthesis of 80s Peter Gabriel synth pop, Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and Fela Kuti. But interestingly enough, it actually presages the wildly experimental dance pop coming out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — i.e. Kokoko! and Tshegue among a growing list of others.

Mr. Manager also featured a colorful album cover art and the recently released video for “Nostalgie” features animation by Sylvia Baldan that draws from the album’s artwork, which she originally designed.

New Video: Xanthe Alexis Releases a Cinematic and Symbolic Visual for “Moon”

Born near Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, the rising singer/songwriter Xante Alexis spent much of her early youth in Michigan, where she grew up deeply steeped in mysticism. When Alexis turned 15 she relocated to Colorado Springs; at 19, she became pregnant with her first child; and when she turned 20, her sister died of a heart defect. Those tumultuous years helped cement her desire to create — while leading her towards a life centered around helping and healing others through language and music. 

After opening a healing centered with her mother, the Arizona-born, Colorado Springs-based singer/songwriter released her full-length debut, 2016’s Time of War to critical praise from the Colorado Springs Independent and a Best of 2017 award from Roots Music Report. Building upon a growing profile, Alexis played sets at Folk Alliance International, Americanafest and a three-week residency at the New York-based art collective, The Mothership. After more than a raced of touring the States and the European Union by car and van, Alexis eventually traded the road for the rails, supporting the album with a series of tours that crisscrossed the Western United States by train. 

The Colorado Springs-based singer/songwriter’s sophomore album The Offering is slated for a Friday release — and although written way before the pandemic, the album’s material is decidedly of our time: centered around soaring lush melodies and hypnotic soundscapes, the album thematically grapples with anxiety and strength, worry and comfort, heartbreak and hope. Influenced by Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Julien Baker, and Feist, the album’s material finds Alexis at her most compassionate, unflinchingly honest and most vulnerable, as her narrators — and in turn, the songwriter — seeking  much-needed acts of radical empathy and connection. Drawing from the Arizona-born, Colorado Springs-based singer/songwriter’s newfound sobriety and longtime passion for social activism, the album’s material finds her advocating for Native rights alongside the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, demanding racial justice in the streets with Black Lives Matter protestors and more. 

“Moon,” The Offering’s lush and mesmerizing single is centered around looping and twinkling, arpeggiated keys, a sinuous bass line, stuttering beats paired with Alexis’ ethereal yet achingly tender vocals and a soaring hook. And while sonically the song seems to nod at Stevie Nicks’ and Peter Gabriel, “Moon” is written from deeply lived-in, personal experience, which gives the song’s yearning an added emotional punch. 

Created and edited by TruLu Design’s Inaiah Lujan, the recently released and cinematically shot video for “Moon” follows a woman clad entirely in black — long black dress and black boots — as she walks purposefully through the forest with a wicker bag with white roses and other provisions for her journey. At a river clearing, we see the woman stop and make several small offerings to the river and to Mother Earth.  

New Audio: Westerman’s Atmospheric Meditation on Moral Relativism

With the release of his critically acclaimed Bullion-produced debut EP, Ark, the London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Will Westerman, best known as Westerman, received national and international attention for writing material that thematically grapes with societal confines and other issues over a shapeshifting electronic backdrops. Building upon a growing profile, Westerman’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Your Hero Is Not Dead is slated for a June 5, 2020 release through Play It Again Sam and Partisan Records, across North America.

Continuing his ongoing collaboration with Bullion (a.k.a. Nathan Jenkins), Your Hero Is Not Dead was recorded in Southern Portugal and finished in London. Thematically, the album is about empathy and compassion, struggle and release, and all the ways we contradict and battle within ourselves on a daily basis — and as a result, the material is centered around moral, political and ethical gray areas with narrators, who attempt to resolve larger external issues by looking inward. Your Hero Is Not Dead’s fifth and latest single, “The Line” is brooding and atmospheric track featuring gentle layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, strummed guitar, the rising London-based artist’s expressive falsetto and a soaring hook. And while bearing a subtle resemblance to Peter Gabriel’s Security and Peter Gabriel 3, the song as Westerman explains was inspired by this thoughts on moral relativism.

“I was thinking about moral relativism when I wrote this,” Westerman says in press notes. “The ever-shifting parameters of what is and isn’t acceptable. This applies to many things – gender, human rights, parenting, politics. I don’t believe that this means there’s no right and wrong, but normative values are constantly in flux – hopefully as we continue to be more compassionate.” 

New Video: Caroline Mason’s Surreal and Minimalist Visual for Brooding “If You Want Me To”

Caroline Mason is an emerging, Portland, OR-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and experimental electronic music artist, who from an early age has been drawn to find a connection between the depths of human emotion and how must has the ability to take us to those places within ourselves. 

Mason’s latest single “If You Want Me To” is a brooding yet atmospheric song centered around a sinuous bass line, reverb and delay pedaled guitar, gently accumulating layers of wobbling, arpeggiated synths, Mason’s plaintive vocals and an infectious, ear worm of a hook. Sonically recalling Us-era Peter Gabriel, the song thematically touches upon honestly facing oneself and pushing away old habits, old fears and old selves for a bold new future. 

Directed by filmmaker and stylist Christal Angelique, the recently released video was inspired by English fashion designer Gareth Pugh and finds Mason dressed up in a custom, futuristic piece made by Portland-based designer Kate Towers. And in the video we see Mason in the desert, accompanied by a marching army of her doppelgängers. Angelique wanted the piece to be relatable for anyone facing fears and parts of themselves that needed to go. “It is about overcoming the battles within so one can move into their stronger, future self,” Mason says of the song.  

 

With the release of their debut EP, 2016’s More Escher and Random Notes, the rapidly rising Helsinki, Finland-based indie act The Holy — Eetu Henrik Iivari (vocals, guitar), Pyry Peltonen (guitar), Laura Kangasniemi (bass), Mikko Maijala (drums) and Eero Jääskeläinen (drums) quickly emerged into the Nordic music scene, quickly developing a reputation for an enormous and rousingly anthemic sound that has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel with Krautrock influences — and for an explosive live show. 

Cutting their teeth in their hometown’s small venues, the members of The Holy have built up a national profile, playing sets across the Finnish festival circuit, including Flow Festival, Ruisrock, Provinssirock, Iloasarirock and Lost In Music. But last year, was a momentum changing year for the band: The band’s full-length debut Daughter, which thematically touched upon  the 1990s Finnish economic recession and its reflection on the youth of its time received praise across Europe and Finland, resulting in an EMMA Nomination for Critics’ Choice.

Building upon a growing profile, the band has supported their recorded output with tours across Sweden and the European Union with festival circuit stops in Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria, playing sets at Eurosonic Nooderslag, Iceland Airwaves, Reeperbahn Festival, Where Is The Music, JaJaJa Music London, Berlin, and Vienna. Last year, the German/French TV channel Arte filmed the band’s set at last year’s Flow Festival in cooperation with Finland’s YLE — and KEXP filmed their Iceland Airwaves set, which will be published on their YouTube channel in the near future.

Slated for an April 17, 2020 release, the rising Finnish act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Mono Freedom is a semi-utopian sci-fi tale, inspired by Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, which explores a number of scenarios of what would happen to Earth if humans were to suddenly disappear. Set in the somewhat distant future on a dying Earth, the planet’s last humans decide to gather their things, build a rocket and travel to the nearest black hole. They know that there is probably nothing out there but it’s one humanity’s last ideas and last hopes. All of this is seen as positive, not as a dark, hopeless dystopian vision.  

During our Daughter tour, I read the science book, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, and I got inspired and sad at the same time. It seems that humans just took a leap in the evolution progress a million years ago and have been fucking things up since,” The Holy’s Eetu Henrik Iivari explains in press notes. “I started to play with an idea of a space odyssey of the last people on earth, eventually building a rocket and flying into the nearest black hole. And they just don’t make it. They are too dumb to make it. And that’s it. And after a few hundred years, Mother Earth doesn’t even remember it was once occupied by humans.

“And this eventually got me thinking about the Western way of life and the idea of freedom. How one-way, single-minded and boxed-in it is. When you wake up in a modern western city — there is almost nothing you can do that doesn’t rip somebody. It’s late modern capitalism, a jail built on the grounds of believing that you have a choice. And that you make a choice. But most of it is already aimed towards consumerism. We just like to think that we find things by ourselves, but most of it is given. And it’s just so frustrating. To do the right thing from one day to another and navigate in the middle of all this evil around us. 

But even though the theme is not the lightest in the world, I wanted the album to mirror hope and to be empowering. A friend for people having similar thoughts.”

Interestingly, instead of releasing a one-off single, The Holy have specifically released a double single “No Trial In The Dark” and “Twilight Of The Idiots.” “Twilight Of The Idiots,” the first single is an atmospheric yet enormous, arena rock friendly song centered around shimmering guitars, twinkling keys,  rousingly anthemic hooks and Iivari’s plaintive vocals, the song sonically brings A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay, Peter Gabriel and The Unforgettable Fire U2. And as result, the song finds the rising Finnish act balancing intimate observations with earnest emotions and ambitious songwriting. “No Trial In The Dark” continues in a smilier vein — and while being the most percussive and dramatic of the pair, it may also be the most cinematic of the pair.

“I wrote ‘Twilight Of The Idiots,’ ‘Swim,’ ‘The Rocket Song’ and ‘No Trial In The Dark’ very close to each other and we recorded those songs in the same sessions,” Iivari recalls in press notes. After that I knew what other songs should be on this album and the narrative started to be clear. We followed that path and never turned back 

“I feel that No Trial In The Dark and Twilight Of The Idiots do set the stage for the album. The first conflict and the hopeless overview of the modern times. I always wanted them to go out at the same time and they do follow each other on the album for a reason. They open the window to The Holy’s inner world of 2020 – way deeper than just releasing a regular one-off.”

 

 

 

 

Led by songwriter/producer and founder of Ice Queen Records and founding member Joseph Lekkas, the Nashville-based indie rock act Palm Ghosts can trace its origins back
to when Lekkas lived in Philadelphia. After spending a number of years playing in local bands like Grammar Debate! and Hilliard, Lekkas took a lengthy hiatus from writing and performing music to book shows and festivals in and around the Philadelphia area. When he started Palm Ghosts, the project initially began as a solo recording project and creative way for Lekkas to deal with a rather incapacitating blunt of depression and anxiety. Lekkas then spend a long Philadelphia/Northeastern winter recording a batch of introspective songs that he dubbed “sun-damaged American music” that would eventually become the Palm Ghost debut album.
After a short tour in 2013 to support the Palm Ghost debut album, Lekkas packed up his belongings and relocated to Nashville, enticed by the city’s growing indie rock scene. Once he settled in to his new hometown, Lekkas set up a small home studio in the guest bedroom of a rental house on Greenland Avenue in East Nashville, where he eventually wrote and recorded the sophomore Palm Ghosts album, 2017’s Greenland, an album that
featured elements of electro pop, folk and indie rock, influenced by his adopted hometown’s long-held “song-is-king” culture. 2018’s Architecture found Lekkas further influenced by the sounds of the 80s — in particular, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Dead Can Dance, New Order and The Cure among others — although the album’s first single “Turn the Knife” to my ears, managed to bring New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen to mind but with male/female harmonies.
Palm Ghosts’ latest single “Wide Awake and Waiting” continues a run of material that’s deeply inspired by and indebted to 80s post-punk: this time, the new single brings Joy Division and New Order’s “Ceremony” to mind. And at its core, the song is centered around a similar aching longing, shimmering synth arpeggios and an angular and propulsive bass line.

 

 

New Video: Introducing the Dark and Atmospheric Sounds and Visuals of Brooklyn’s Linda Gardens

Linda Gardens is an up-and-coming, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and indie electro pop artist, who has started to receive attention across the blogosphere for an ethereal sound that meshes elements of dream pop electronica, psych rock and goth rock. Garden’s forthcoming EP Real Time is slated for release this summer through Liquorice Tapes. The EP’s single “Tubular Steel” is centered around an atmospheric production featuring shimmering synths and industrial-like drum programming paired with an infectious, razor sharp hook and Gardens’ etheral vocals — and in some way, the single feels and sounds like an uncanny synthesis of classic 4AD Records-era dream pop, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, and Kate Bush. 

Directed by Dan Foley, the recently released video for “Tubular Steel” is a moody yet feverish and lysergic dream that stars Gardens walking through a dark and smoke-filled room, lit in neon. At points, the visuals become kaleidoscopic with the visuals exploding into bursts of wild colors — while moving to the industrial-like beats.