Tag: Rubblebucket

Alan Evans is a songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known for being the co-founder of acclaimed jazz fusion trio and JOVM mainstays Soulive. Back in 2008, while Soulive was on a break from touring, Evans spent his time producing, recording and mixing bands from around the world in his Western Massachusetts-based recording studio. On his days off, he would go into the studio and play guitar, recording a collection of material that he didn’t feel fit Soulive but wanted to release under his own name — Crushed Velvet and the Velveteers wound up becoming Evans’ guitar playing alter ego.

Crushed Velvet and the Velveteers’ latest single, the strutting “Good Thang” features an All-Star cast of funk and jazz musicians that includes DJ Williams’ Shots Fired‘s and Rubblebucket’s Darby Wolf (organ), The Curtis Mayflower’s Pete Aleski (guitar), Akashic Record‘s and BT ALC Big Band’s Brian “BT” Thomas” (trombone), ALC Funktet’s and BT ALC Big Band’s Alex Lee-Clark (trumpet), BT ALC Big Band’s Tucker Antell (alto and tenor saxophone) BT ALC Big Band’s Jared Sims (baritone sax) and Kim Dawson (vocals), who contributes sultry vocals to a Daptone meets Muscle Shoals-like anthem, complete with an enormous horn section and an even bigger hook.

“Crushed Velvet and the Velveteers is all about spontaneous creation for me and the very creative friends I get to call on to be a part of it. ‘Good Thang’ is a perfect example,” Evans says in press notes. “Initially I went into the studio, picked up the guitar and let whatever I was feeling come out without worrying about what kind of song it was.” He continues, “Before I knew it, I had a really great feeling bed of bass, drums and guitar laid down. From there, I asked my great friends Darby, Pete, Brian, Alex, Tucker, Jarad and Kim to take what I started and record exactly what inspired them to play. That is the best part of making music for me, creating something that will inspire people.”


Lyric Video: Kalbells Featuring Rubblebucket’s Kalmia Traver Releases a Shimmering and Mesmerizing New Single

Best known for being the co-founder and frontwoman of the acclaimed JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Kalmia Traver has stepped out on her own with her latest recording project Kalbells. The project’s latest EP, the  recently released Chrome Sparks and Traver co-produced Mothertime EP thematically navigates through themes of resilience, yielding, beckoning creativity, self-exploration and joy.  

“Mothertime,” the EP’s latest single and title track is an ethereal song centered around layers of glistening synths, stuttering beats, handclaps, and Traver’s achingly plaintive vocals the ethereal and mesmerizing track subtly recalls her work with Rubblebucket — but while possessing a surreal and mesmerizing quality reminiscent of Radiohead’s Kid A. 

Directed, shot and produced by Kalmia Traver, the recently released lyric video is a college art-styled visual that stars Anthony The Celebrity Ant, who according to Traver “was a diva to work with but onscreen, he pulled 1000x his weight in emotion.” 

Kalbells will be embarking on their first headlining tour this fall — pandemic willing –with support from Lily and Horn Horse, Bernice, and Ohmme, and the tour will include an October 16, 2020 hometown show at The Sultan Room. 

With the release of her debut Down at the Root, Part 1, the Amsterdam-born and-based Ghanian-Dutch singer/songwriter  Nana Adjoa began to receive attention across the European Union for an easy-going, 70s radio-like soulful sound reminiscent of Bill Withers and others. The Ghanian-Dutch singer/songwriter can trace the origins of her musical career to  being accepted at the prestigious Amsterdam Conservatory, where she would study jazz  — electric bass and double bass; however, she found the experience wasn’t what she imagined it to be. “It was very much like school,” she says in press notes. er/“We thought we wanted to go to the most difficult department, that we wanted to be the best, but it wasn’t a very fun experience.”

Interestingly, around the same time, the Ghanian singer/songwriter began to experience a growing divide between the restrictive and theoretical compositions she was studying and the melodic, free-flowing music she’d play while outside of the school environment. Adjoa quickly began to realize that pursing a solo career was the direction she needed to take, and so she formed a backing band and started record her original songs (which resulted in Down at the Root, Part 1 and Down at the Root, Part 2).

Several months have passed since I’ve last written about Adjoa — and as it turns out, she’s been busy working on new material that is slated for a release some time over the course of 2020. But in the meantime, Adjoa’s latest single finds her tackling the legendary Ghanian-born and-based singer/songwriter, composer, bandleader, arranger and guitarist Ebo Taylor’s “Love and Death.”

Adjoa’s take on Taylor’s “Love and Death” retains the original’s melody while being centered around an atmospheric and shimmering production and arrangement featuring a sinuous bass line, stuttering beats, twinkling keys, African polyrhythms, shimmering, angular burst of guitar — and most important, Adjoa’s easy-going yet expressive vocals.  Subtly recalling, Omega La La-era Rubblebucket, Adjoa’s take on Taylor’s “Love and Death” is imbued with the ache of inconsolable loss, while revealing an artist, who is adventurously pushing her sound in new directions.







Centered around the friendship and collaboration between its found members — Steven van Betten (vocals, guitar), Gregory Uhlmann (guitar, vocals), Marcus Hogsta (bass) and The Americans’ and HAIM’s Tim Carr (drums), the Los Angeles-based art rock/post-punk act Fell Runner has developed a reputation for a unique take on guitar rock. Imbued with a literary sensibility, the band pairs vibrant vocal harmonies and expressive polyrhythms influenced from their studies with Ghanian drum master Alfred Ledzekpo with an urgent and uninhibited air that comes from the improvisational nature of much of their work.

The Los Angeles-based band’s recently released sophomore album Talking finds the band branching out a bit from their initial influences, while crafting material that thematically touch upon themes of frustrated communication, failed language and dealing with one’s own shortcomings. Tracked live to tape in Tim Carr’s bedroom, the album also finds the band attempting to accurately capture the spontaneity and improvisational nature of their live sets.  Talking‘s latest single “Same Way” is centered around a breezy, tropical-influenced arrangement centered around fluttering electronics, propulsive polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line and angular bursts of guitar — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Omega La La-era Rubblebucket, the song possesses a breakneck, improvisational quality in which after repeated listens, you feel that you can’t quite predict where the musicians will go next. Honestly, it’s one of more unusual and exciting indie rock songs I’ve heard in several months.










New Video: Follow Acclaimed Indie Act Hippo Campus on the Road in New Visuals for “Honestly”

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. 

New Video: The Gorgeously Cinematic and Symbolic Visuals for Blick Bassy’s “Ngwa”

Blick Bassy is a Cameroonian-born, French-based singer/songwriter, who released a number of award-winning albums with his backing band Macase, which culminated with the release of 2015’s Akö, an album that included “Kiki,” a track that was used to launch the iPhone 6. Bassy’s forthcoming album La Cigale is his first album in over four years, and it will be released through Nø Førmat Records.

La Cigale’s first single is the atmospheric and mournful “Ngwa,” which translates into English as “my friend.” Centered by a gorgeous horn arrangement, glitchy electronics and Bassy’s achingly tender vocals, singing in his ancestral Bassa language, the track sounds as though it were inspired by Peter Gabriel and Rubblebucket; but it evokes both a sense of profound and inconsolable loss and a mournful sense of missed opportunity from that loss that wonders “what could have happened if . . .?” The song is Bassy’s tribute to the heroes who fought and died for the independence of Bassy’s native Cameroon — in particular, Ruben Um Nyobe, the anti-colonialist leader of the Popular Union of Cameroon (UPC), who was murdered by French troops on September 13, 1958, just two years before the country became independent. Speaking of what drove him to write the song, Bassy says “Ngwa, I wanted to pay tribute to your fight, our fight, but also to your philosophy, where the values of equality, antiracism, anti xenophobia, serve emancipation and fulfilment for every human being.”

The UPC had been campaigning for independence for fifteen years, during which many people died — facts that had been subtly erased from the country’s history books by the French and Cameroon until recently.  Bassy wants to shed light on Um Nyobe’s story, saying in press notes,  “In school we studied the French version of what happened. The way I learned it in the books was that they were agitators, troublemakers. Which is wrong. Um Nyobé was in this movement hidden in the mountains, organising the Cameroonian People’s Union, and the truth about what happened has never been out.” 

Directed by up-and-coming South African director Tebogo Malope, the incredibly cinematic visuals for “Ngwa” was shot in Lesotho, and is a slow-burning meditation on the relationship between present-day Cameroon and its former French colonizers with Bassy embodying the spirit of Um Nyobe and the Cameroonian people. 
Speaking about the video – across which Bassy’s character is hunted down by French soldiers Malope says, “The narrative of Ruben Um Nyobé is one that resonates throughout the continent, one that is still grappling with the legacy of colonialism and attempts to redress the consequences thereof. This is echoed in the video’s initial scenes which reference renowned Kenyan renowned Author Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s book Matigari, where a freedom fighter lays down his arms for a supposed prosperous future where bloodshed shall be no more. Will he regret the decision? Another representation at the video’s end spawns from the images of a lifeless freedom fighter turning into a tree, reminiscent of South African political icon Solomon Mahlangu, who was killed by the Apartheid government. His last words before his death were ‘My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom.'”