Tag: Seattle WA

tiger lily is a rising Seattle-born, Los Angeles-based Asian-American singer/songwriter and pop artist. But she can actually trace the origins of her career to fronting a Seattle-based all-female grunge band, which built up a regional profile: That band received praise from The Seattle Times and was once named “Seattle’s Best Underage Band” by Seattle Weekly. Adding to that growing profile, the band also received airplay from KEXP.

Stepping out into the spotlight as a solo artist, the Seattle-born, Los Angeles-based pop artist has opened for Grammy-nominated duo Social House — and she has amassed over 70,000 followers across Tik Tok and Instagram. But more important, tiger lily is a vocal advocate for greater representation of Asian Americans and other POC artists in the music industry — with interviews appearing in Audiofemme, Spin Magazine and others.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year. you might recall that I wrote about the rising Asian American artist’s collaboration with Seattle-born and-based electronic music producer Fluencie, a collaboration that the duo can trace back to when they met as students at Ingraham High School. “juneau, alaska” was a slickly produced, radio friendly, Top 40-like confection that began with an acoustic guitar pop introduction before quickly morphing into a Taylor Swift/Phoebe Ryan-like banger centered around shimmering and wobbling synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and an enormous hook. But underneath the song’s crowd pleasing surface, the song is rooted in an aching nostalgia for a period of time that seemed simpler and can’t be had again.

tiger lily’s latest single finds her collaborating with rising Toronto-based electronic music producer and artist MKSTN. During the course of the past year, both artists have released tracks to praise from Spin Magazine, Stereofox and Earmilk and landed on Spotify playlists like Fresh Finds, Indie pop and Make Out. MKSTN also had his music played in sets by artists like Martin Garrix and JOVM mainstay Washed Out. tiger lily on the other hand, also played benefit shows, which raised money for charities that supported POC and LGBTQ+ lives.

Although the duo met virtually, their collaboration together “like we’re an indie movie” is a achingly nostalgic bop centered around a dusty lo-fi-like production featuring twinkling synth arpeggios, shimmering hi-hat bursts, a strummed electronic guitar figure, skittering beats serving as a silky bed for tiger lily’s breathily sultry cooing. Sonically, the track — to my ears, at least — reminds me a bit of Washed Out’s earlier work.

As the artists put it, “We connected over the internet. We thought it’d be cool to capture Tumblr and internet culture into our take on a modern indie movie soundtrack. The song was inspired by Spotify playlist names and distant memories of spontaneous trips to chase a summer love. As the hook, sung over Paris field recordings and lofi riffs goes, ‘kiss me in the rain like you’ll only ever love me / like we’re in an indie movie.’”

New Audio: Seattle’s Fotoform Returns with a Brooding New Single

Deriving their name from a mid-century avant-garde photography movement, Seattle-based post punk outfit Fotoform — longtime collaborators and married couple Kim House (bass, vocals, synths) and Geoffrey Cox (guitar), along with newest member, Michael Schorr (drums), who has had stints with Death Cab for Cutie and The Long Winters  — can trace their origins back to the formation of a previous project, the goth-adjacent dream pop act C’est la Mort, which formed shortly after House and Cox married. 

Specializing in what they dubbed “pointy-shoegaze,” C’est la Mort released their full-length debut through their own Dismal Nitch label, as well as various compilation tracks, including a limited split 7 inch with Stars for American Laundromat‘s The Smiths‘ tribute Please PleasPlease. After a series of lineup changes, House and Cox re-emerged as Fotoform in late 2016. 

House and Cox released their Fotoform self-titled debut in 2017. Supported with tours of the West Coast and Europe, the album received airplay and praise both locally and nationally: Album single “I Know You’re Charming” was featured as a KEXP Song of The Day. The self-titled album was voted as one of KEXP Listeners’ Top 90.3 Albums of 2017 and it landed on several year-end lists, including The Big Takeover and Part-Time Punks.

Building upon a growing profile, the band followed up with 2018’s Part-Time Punks EP, which was selected as one of The Big Takeover’s EPs of 2018. Michael Schorr joined the band in 2019 and they started last year with two benefit singles “Yves Klein Blue,” which was recored for voter outreach and the Christmas-themed “They Say It’s Always Lonely” to benefit local food banks. Both singles found the trio expanding upon their sound with the addition of synths.

The trio then went into the studio with Evan Foster to record the material for their forthcoming sophomore album Horizons in early 2020. But as a result of pandemic-related quarantines and restrictions, the Horizons sessions resumed a year later with Foster — and with Matt Bayles recording drum parts.

Horizons, which is slated for an October 15, 2021 release, reportedly finds the band pivoting even further from the towering wall of guitars-based sound of their previously released work and towards a much more nuanced sound drawing equally from shoegaze, dream pop and post-punk. Continuing to pair synths with layers of guitars and driving bass, the album’s sound may bring the likes of The CureSiouxsie and the BansheesThe ChameleonsCocteau TwinsSlowdive and others to mind. 

So far, I’ve written about two of Horizons‘ singles”

  • The Garlands era Cocteau Twins meets Souvlaki era Slowdive-like “Running,” a track centered around atmospheric synths, swirling guitars, soaring hooks and a forceful motorik pulse paired with House’s ethereal vocals.
  • Too Late,” the first single to feature the band’s Kim House on guitar. Arguably, the most dynamic single off the album the single sees the band further establishing their painterly and textured approach but while featuring a fed-up narrator, who spends the song telling off someone who has grievously wronged her.

“You Set Fire to the Sun,” Horizons‘ latest single continues a run of brooding, Cocteau Twins-like material centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, thunderous drumming, ethereal vocals and enormous hooks. But unlike its immediate predecessor, “You Set Fire to the Sun” is a swooning ode to desire and longing.

Besides the new album, the trio — much like the rest of us — is looking forward to getting back to live shows and touring. They’ve also been writing and working on new material, including a split 7 inch with Savage Republic

The band has an pre-order for the album: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/fotoform/horizons

New Audio: The Theory of Why Releases an Expansive Mosh Pit Ripper

Currently split between Seattle and DC, The Theory of Why — Anton Kropp (guitar, bass) and Julia Nova (vocals) — features two seasoned DC indie rock and punk rock scene vets. I’ve covered music in some fashion for over 15 years — 11 just with this site — and typically when band members move across the country there’s two general responses: the band splits up — or they embrace the distance.

Citing Earth, Stereolab, YOB, Julie Doiron, and a eclectic series of other acts as influences, the members of Theory of Why have come up with a unique sound and approach fueled by their experiences in DC’s scene.

2021 has been a busy year for the duo: Earlier this year, they released the Path Of The Heart EP and they’ve followed that up with their recently released full-length effort Pomegranate. Pomegranate’s latest single, the expansive album title track “Pomegranate (Denial)” is mosh pit ripper centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming and euphoria-inducing hooks. But much like The Mallard’s Finding Meaning in Deference, “Pomegranate” is fueled by an underlying sneering frustration and unease, inspired by the past 17 months of our collective hell.

New Video: Fotoform’s Hallucinogenic Visuals for Brooding and Atmospheric “Running”

Deriving their name from a mid-century avant-garde photography movement, Seattle-based post punk outfit Fotoform — longtime collaborators and married couple Kim House (bass, vocals, synths) and Geoffrey Cox (guitar), along with newest member, former Death Cab for Cutie and The Long Winters member Michael Schorr (drums) — can trace their origins back to the formation of a previous project, the dark, goth-adjacent dream pop act C’est la Mort shortly after House and Cox married.

Specializing in what they dubbed “pointy-shoegaze,” C’est la Mort released their full-length debut through their own Dismal Nitch label, as well as various compilation tracks, including a limited split 7 inch with Stars for American Laundromat’s The Smiths’ tribute Please Please Please. After a series of lineup changes, House and Cox re-emerged as Fotoform in late 2016.

ouse and Cox released their Fotoform self-titled debut in 2017. Supported with tours of the West Coast and Europe, the album received airplay and praise both locally and nationally: Album single “I Know You’re Charming” was featured as a KEXP Song of The Day. The self-titled album was voted as one of KEXP Listeners’ Top 90.3 Albums of 2017 and it landed on several year-end lists, including The Big Takeover and Part-Time Punks. Building upon a growing profile, the band followed up with 2018’s Part-Time Punks EP, which was selected as one of The Big Takeover’s EPs of 2018.

Blue,” which was recored for voter outreach and the Christmas-themed “They Say It’s Always Lonely” to benefit local food banks. Both singles found the trio expanding upon their sound with the addition of synths. The trio went into the studio with Evan Foster to record the material for their forthcoming sophomore album Horizons in early 2020. And as a result of pandemic-related quarantines and restrictions, the Horizons sessions resumed a year later with Foster — and with Matt Bayles recording drum parts.

Slated for an October 15, 2021 release, Horizons reportedly finds the band pivoting even further from the towering wall of guitars-based sound of its predecessors towards a much more nuanced sound drawing equally from shoegaze, dream pop and post-punk: Pairing synths with layers of guitars and driving bass, the band’s sound seems indebted to the likes of The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Chameleons, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and others.

Horizons’ latest single, the brooding “Running” serves as a taste of what listeners should expect from the new album: atmospheric synths, swirling layers of guitars, driving bass lines, thunderous drumming and soaring hooks paired with House’s ethereal vocals. Essentially, the new single sees the band pairing patient, painterly textures with forceful motorik pulse in a way that makes the song feel — and sound — like a slick mesh of Garlands-era Cocteau Twins and Souvlaki-era Slowdive.

“‘Running’ was the first song we wrote with the new lineup (myself, Geoff, Michael), almost a statement of purpose as we rethought how we approached our sound and writing,” Fotoform’s Kim house recalls in press notes. “With one less guitar we had more space to play with and fill- or intentionally not fill. It was inspiring, and in some ways freeing, to reconstruct and re-envision everything. I’d just started playing around with a drum machine and 16-track at home, and this one was a result of really stripping back everything to the bass and vocals and then building it up from there. 

“At its core ‘Running’ is about peeling back the layers to connect with your innermost self. Summoning the courage, patience and stillness to distill it down and uncover what truly matters, to listen to our hearts and tap into the subconscious,” House says. “It’s about facing fears and insecurities and having the courage to go after what will truly make you happy (or “make your heart happy” as my dad would say), which oftentimes might be in the opposite direction of what we’re running toward, whether in relationships, life paths and choices, etc. The hardest thing sometimes is to look deep within and listen to ourselves, to follow our instincts and face what we may know is true but are too afraid to admit for fear of change, risk, loss, disappointment, or failure.”

House adds, “On a personal level, ‘Running’ was written in the midst of a period of significant change and reflection. I had just left my role as Footwear Design Director at Nordstrom. It was a whirlwind of a job I held for many years – one which required lots of travel in the US and Europe, intense long hours, and barely enough room for other passions or pursuits. It was rewarding, but almost all encompassing.”

The recently released video for “Running” manages to emphasize the brooding and trippy late night vibes of its accompanying song — all while being gorgeously shot and slickly edited.

Besides the new album, the trio — much like the rest of us — is looking forward to getting back to live shows and touring. They’ve also been writing and working on new material, including a split 7 inch with Savage Republic.

Live Footage: Deep Sea Diver on NPR Tiny Desk (at Home)

Led by its accomplished, Los Angeles-born, Seattle-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and frontperson Jessica Dobson, the Seattle-based indie rock act Deep Sea Diver can trace its origins back to when Dobson was 19: Dobson, who has had stints  playing with a who’s who list of contemporary acts, including Beck, Conor Oberst, Spoon, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Shins signed with Atlantic Records. And while with Atlantic Records, Dobson wrote and recorded two albums that she wasn’t completely satisfied with — and Atlantic ultimately shelved the material and dropped her from the label.

After leaving Atlantic, Dobson wrote and recorded her official solo debut EP New Caves under the name Deep Sea Diver. The project expanded to a full-fledged band with the addition of John Raines (bass) Dobson’s spouse Peter Mansen (drums), Garrett Gue (bass), and Elliot Jackson (guitar, synth), who helped to flesh out the project’s sound. The band went on to release two albums and an EP — 2012’s self-released debut History Speaks, 2014’s Always Waiting EP and 2016’s acclaimed Secrets.

Last October saw the release of the band’s critically applauded third album Impossible Weight through High Beam Records/ATO Records, and the album followed after a busy year of touring with Wilco and Joseph. Sonically and thematically, the album stemmed from a period of sometimes brutal self-examination — a process that began for Dobson, not long after Deep Sea Diver finished touring to support Secrets. “We went into the studio pretty quickly after the tour ended, and I sort of hit a wall where I was feeling very detached from making music, and unable to find joy in it,” Dobson recalls in press notes. “I realized I had to try to rediscover my voice as a songwriter, and figure out the vocabulary for what I needed to say on this album.”

Stepping back from music and the studio, Dobson focused on dealing with the depression she had been struggling with, and soon started volunteering for Aurora Commons, a drop-in center for unhoused people, most whom are drug-dependent and frequently engage in street-survival-based sex work. “I spent a lot of time with the women who frequent the Commons, and it taught me a new depth of empathy,” she says. “They’re people who don’t have the luxury of going back to a home at the end of the day and hiding behind those four walls, so they’re sort of forced to be vulnerable with what their needs are. Talking with them and listening to them really freed me up to start writing about things I’d never written about before in my songs.”

Co-produced by Dobson and Andy D. Park and recorded at Seattle’s Studio X and The Hall of Justice, Impossible Weight finds Dobson and company digging far deeper emotionally than ever before — and pairing it with a bigger, more grandiose sound. While revealing Dobson’s dexterous and powerful guitar work, the album’s lush textures and mercurial arrangements allow room for Dobson to fully demonstrate her vocal range in a way that she hadn’t before. “’I’d never produced a record before and I started out with low expectations for myself, but at some point I realized, ‘I can do this,’” Dobson recalls. “I decided to completely trust my voice and make really bold decisions in all my production calls—just push everything to the absolute outer edges.”

Interestingly, for Dobson redefining the limits of her artistry goes hand-in-hand with deeper identity issues that came up while Dobson and her bandmates were working on the album. “I was adopted and just recently met my birth mother, and found out that I’m half-Mexican and half-Jewish,” Deep Sea Diver’s frontperson explains. “Discovering my heritage and learning things about myself that I never knew before really fed into that question of ‘Where do I belong?’” Simultaneously, Dobson rediscovered the sense of possibility, adventure and joy that she first felt when she started out as a 19 year-old.  “I think being signed at such a young age messed me up in terms of the expectations I put on myself,” she says. “Somewhere along the way I lost confidence in my own vision, but after making this record I feel a much larger freedom to go in whatever direction I want with my music.”

With Impossible Weight, Dobson hopes that others might reclaim a similar sense of freedom in their emotional lives. “Especially right now when the world is in disarray and there’s so much fear, I want this record to give people room to feel whatever they need to feel,” she says. “I hope it helps them recognize that it’s okay to fall apart, and that they’re meant to let others in instead of trying to work through everything on their own. Because the point is that the impossible weight isn’t yours to carry alone—that’s why it’s impossible.”

Now, if you were following this site last year — bless you for that, seriously — you may recall that I wrote about a couple of the album’s singles:

“Lights Out,”  a track that contained multitudes, as it was deviant and anthemic yet delicate. Centered around Dobson’s expressive guitar work, a thunderous rhythm section an enormous raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worthy hook and Dobson’s equally expressive vocals, the song featured a bold and fearlessly vulnerable, who seems to say to the listener “It’s okay to admit that you’re not okay and that you may need some help to get you out of life’s dark places.”
Album title track “Impossible Weight,” a track that’s one-part New Wave and one-part arena rock with enormous hooks, twinkling synths, Dobson’s expressive and explosive guitar work rooted in heart-fully-on-sleeve songwriting. And while revealing Dobson’s unerring knack for crafting an anthemic hook, the song captures a narrator on the emotional brink with an novelistic attention to psychological detail. A guest spot from Sharon Van Etten, managed to add an additional emotional punch.

Deep Sea Diver recently filmed a NPR Tiny Desk (at Home) Concert in a space that the band built to recreate the iconic Red Room in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.  “There were countless times this past year that I wanted to be transported out of my house and into a different world,” says frontwoman Jessica Dobson. “One of my favorite and most inspiring worlds is that of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, which was filmed very close to where I live in Washington.The band is joined by Joseph’s Natalie Schepman and Megan Closner, who contribute backing vocals for three songs of the live set — and there’s a guest appearance from Dobson’s adorable beagle Henry, “the one being that was happy we weren’t touring,” Dobson says.

The live set features joyous and heartfelt versions of the aforementioned “Lights Out” and “Impossible Weight,” as well as “Wishing” and the standalone single “Stop Pretending,” which was named one of NPR Music’s 100 Best Songs of 2020 — and evokes the despair and unease we’ve all felt over the past year or so.

Acclaimed  Seattle-based folk/indie rock act The Head and The Heart — currently, founding member Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Charity Rose Theielen (violin, guitar, vocals, Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (keys), Matt Gervais (vocals, guitar) and Tyler Williams (drums) — can trace their origins to a series of open mic nights at Ballard neighbor based bar, Conor Byrne Pub back in 2009: At the time, the band’s Jonathan Russell relocated from Richmond, VA — and Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion), who had relocated from Southern California were both relatively recent transplants. Russell and Johnson met Kenny Hensley, who was relocated the previous year to pursue a career in film score writing. Charity Rose Theilen, who returned from a year abroad studying in Paris became the band’s fourth member. Russell knew Tyler Williams from the Richmond music scene: Williams was a member of  Prabir and The Substitutes and he quickly relocated to Seattle after Russell sent him a demo of Down In The Valley.” Chris Zasche was a bartender at the Conor Byrne pub and was a member of Seattle-based bands The Maldives and Grand Hallway before joining The Head and The Heart.

As Johnson explained in press notes the band’s name came from a very relatable situation that many musicians have in which “Your head is telling you to be stable and find a good job, you know in your heart that this [the band] is what you’re supposed to do, even if it’s crazy.”

Since their formation, the Seattle-based folk/indie rock act have released four critically applauded albums — 2010’s self-titled and initially self-released debut (which later caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, who re-issued it), 2013’s Let’s Be Still, 2016’s major label debut Signs of Light and 2019’s Living Mirage. And with each successive release, the band has received greater critical and commercial success while earning a rising profile: They’ve opened for the likes of  Vampire WeekendThe WalkmenDr. DogDave MatthewsThe DecemberistsIron & WineMy Morning JacketDeath Cab for Cutie and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers among a list of other equally acclaimed acts.

Back in 2017, they played Newport Folk Festival, Coachella, and Lollapalooza, and they added to a milestone year with headlining stops at Red Rocks Amphitheater,  and Central Park SummerStage among a growing list of others.

The band’s latest effort is a lovingly straightforward and gorgeous cover of the Graham Nash-penned Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young hit “Our House,” which appears on the act’s 1970 release Deja Vu. (Admittedly, I’ve somehow just loved the since I was a small. I loved the harmonies — and the melody is an earworm, man.) But most important, The Head and the Heart’s cover is a reminder of two things: Graham Nash is an amazing songwriter and that “Our House” is a pretty song full of longing for the sort of domestic tranquility that’s sadly so very rare. Interestingly, the members of the critically acclaimed Seattle-based act recorded the part of an expansive 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Déjá Vu, which features an additional two hours of rare and previously unreleased audio.

Of course, it shouldn’t be surprising that the members of The Head and The Heart are huge Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fans — and that the song holds a deep personal meaning for them: “When we first started as a band, we shared a two bedroom apartment where ‘Our House’ was played so much, it became like a mantra of unity and connection to each other, as we discovered what we wanted to do within our music. To say it’s an honor to be asked to cover that very song is an understatement. Happy 50th anniversary to you legends! Déjá Vu Forever!

The single art for the cover serves as a homage to the original Déjá Vu artwork and features an image of the actual house in Seattle that was The Head and The Heart’s early home.

New Video: Seattle’s True Loves Stick it to The Man in Visual for “Sunday Afternoon”

True Loves is a rising Seattle-based instrumental soul outfit that can trace its origins to a jam session back in 2014 between three of the city’s best players — David McGraw (drums), Bryant Moore (bass) and Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio‘s Jimmy James (guitar). Since then, the band has expanded into a globalized unit with the addition of Iván Galvez (percussionist), Odesza‘s, Monophonics‘ and PolyrhythmicsJason Cressey (trombone), Mackelmore‘s Greg Kramer (trombone), Gordon Brown (sax) and the acclaimed Skerik (sax). The band has developed a reputation as a must-see live act locally — and they’ve amassed millions of streams on YouTube.

The act’s full-length debut, 2017’s Famous Last Words received praise locally and as a result, the act landed sets at a number of regional festivals including Sasquatch, Doe Bay and Upstream. The members of the Seattle-based act followed the release of their full-length debut, with a handful of singles including 2018’s “Dapper Derp”/”Kabuki” 45RPM single and 2019’s “Famous Last Words”/”Mary Pop Poppins” 45RPM single.

The Seattle-based group’s sophomore full-length effort Sunday Afternoon is slated for release next Friday through Color Red, and the album sonically and thematically is a sort of soundtrack for the Sunday afternoon block party that has brought the entire neighborhood out. Last month, I wrote about the Greg Kramer and Bryant Moore co-written single “Yard Byrds,” a slow-burning, G funk-like pimp strut crafted around the use of just four chords. It’s the sort of song that will have you picturing yourself strutting and flossing down the street. Of course, building up buzz for the album, album single and title track “Sunday Afternoon” is a cinematic and strutting funky jam centered around an expansive composition that simultaneously nods at Ennio Morricone soundtracks and The Payback-era James Brown psych funk/psych soul.

Produced by Wild Gravity and filmed at Seattle’s Rainier Valley Cultural Arts Center, the recently released video for “Sunday Afternoon” is one-part A-Team, one-part Oceans 11, one-part Snatch-like visual that depicts the band plotting an ingenious heist to retrieve their master tapes, which were stolen by greedy, corporate music executive types. Of course, there’s a cork board with the plan marked down in detail — with each member of the band, playing their specific roles: the wheelman, the inside man, the muscle, the mastermind and so on.

With each member of the band donned in slick black suits, they successfully break into the corporate label’s compound to take back their masters and the label’s years of stolen earnings from hardworking artists. The video ends with the band proudly sticking it to the man while giving back to local venues and independent artists.
“We wanted to recognize what a difficult time this has been for musicians, venues, and their staffs while corporate greed continues and how artists are taken advantage of by those at the top who continue to prosper while others suffer—a modern Robinhood tale told through a heist video,” the band’s Bryant Moore explains.

New Video: I M U R Releases a Sultry Pop Banger Rooted in Self-Doubt

Formed back in 2015, rising Vancouver-based indie electro pop act I M U R (pronounced I am You Are) — founding members singer/songwriter Jenny Lea and guitarist and producer Mikey J. Blige and producer/multi-instrumentalist Amine Bouzaher — have firmly established a unique sound that’s a cinematic yet sultry and catchy blend of alt R&B, avant-pop and contemporary electro pop paired with lyrics that tackle personal and often uncomfortable subjects like addiction, recovery, female sexuality, self-reflection, vulnerability and strength, partially inspired by Lea’s early, near-death experience and the strength and resiliency she gained from her recovery.

Since their formation, the act has released a growing batch of critically applauded material:

2015’s debut EP Slow Dive, which featured “Trippin’ On Feet”
2017’s full-length debut Little Death, which featured standout tracks “FFL” “Little Death” and “Breathless.” “Breathless” was featured in SyFy’s Wynonna Earp Season 2 and Freeform’s Good Trouble Season 1.
2018 saw the release of the Thirty33 EP, which featured “Miss You Hate You,” “Should Be” and “Afterglow.” All three of those tracks featured in a number of TV shows including Netflix’s Snowpiercer, Pretty Little Things, Wu Assassins and Workin’ Moms.

Adding to a rising profile, the act has amassed millions of streams globally, which has lead to the band landing on the Spotify Viral 50 Charts. They’ve won an Electronic Music Artist of the Year Award at the 2019 Western Canadian Music Awards — all while receiving critical applause across the blogosphere, including this site. Around the same time, the Canadian electro pop act managed to maintain a busy touring schedule: The act toured in India in 2018. The following year, they made the rounds of the North American festival circuit with stops at Shambala, Bass Coast, Capitol Hill Block Party and Winnipeg Jazz Fest, while playing shows in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

2019 saw the release of two more singles “Fever” and “Lips, Tongue and Teeth,” which I managed to write about on this site. Much like countless acts across the worlds, the pandemic put their touring plans on an indefinite pause; but the act used the newfound free time to write and record their highly anticipated album My Molecules.

Slated for a June 25, 2021 release, My Molecules will reportedly be a deeply personal journey into Lea’s life, centered around a thread of undeniable realness for anyone who’s experienced love, loss, lust and everything else in between. My Molecules’ second and latest single “Sad Girls Club” further cements the band’s penchant for genre-defying yet infectious pop: sonically the song meshes skittering trap beats, Quiet Storm-like R&B and contemporary electro pop in a sleek fashion. Thematically, underneath its club friendliness, the song is one part unvarnished confessional and one part messy cry at your own party because everything is fucked up.

“Sad Girls Club” was inspired by the first month of quarantine, when all of Lea’s daily distractions ground to a halt, and a lot of her personal demons reappeared. Self-doubt, depression and addiction patterns in her life bubbled up when she felt purposeless and adrift. Writer’s block became a harsh reality. “Sad Girls Club was my break-through from the block, but also by expressing my fears in a tangible way, it helped to pull me out of the mud,” Jenny Lea says in press notes. She goes on to explain that “Sad Girls Club is about the trickery our subconscious mind plays on us when we’re feeling low. It’s about Self-deprecation, unworthiness, and being burdensome.” I M U R’s Amine Bouzaher adds “Ironically, a lot of negative thoughts combined to create an epic, dark banger, and we were able to pour all of those feelings into the production of the track. It’s always amazing to see what incredible art and positivity can come from channeling negative thoughts and feelings.” The Canadian act’s Mikey J. Blige encapsulates the overall vibe of the song, by saying “It’s ok at any age to feel like an emo kid that loves pop music AND trap music.” 

Directed and edited by Sterling Larose, the glitchy visual features Lea laying an iron on herself and at other points wearing roughly 80 pound boat chains to symbolize the emotional weight and heaviness of doubt, depression and addition can have on a person. The tattoo that she gets the video is a real tattoo and the footage of her in the shower was part of an hour-long shower she took after. “I think it was the heaviness that sometimes comes along with being real and being honest,” Lea says. “Just because you’re being honest doesn’t mean that it’s gonna be a happy ending Disney princess movie.” 

New Video: tiger lily and Fluencie Team Up on a Slickly produced, Top 40-like Pop Confection

Rising Seattle-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist tiger lily met collaborator and electronic music artist and producer Fluencie when they were both high schoolers: The pair met in the hallways of Seattle’s Ingraham High School. At the time, tiger lily was fronting a grunge band while Fluencie was busking with his keyboard after school for tips.

Fast forward a few years, and the pair have managed to make major moves in their careers: Fluence has been hailed by Dance Music Northwest as “Seattle’s Next Big Thing,” while playing some of the region’s largest festivals, including Capitol Hill Block Party. Adding to a growing profile, the Seattle-based electronic music artist and producer has opened for the likes of Blackbear, Said the Sky, and Joey Bada$$. Simultaneously, tiger lily has won the attention of media outlets like Spin Magazine, IGGY Magazine, DJ Magazine and Earmilk, who described her sound as pop that
“radiates heat . . . the grainy film of memories so sweet and persistent.”

The duo’s first official collaboration together “juneau, alaska” is a slickly produced, radio friendly, Top 40-inspired confection. Starting with an acoustic pop intro featuring tiger lily’s ethereal yet sultry cooing and acoustic guitar, the song morphs into a Taylor Swift/Phoebe Ryan-like banger centered around shimmering and wobbling synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and an enormous hook. But underneath the song’s crowd pleasing surface, the song is rooted in an aching nostalgia for a period of time that seemed simpler and can’t be had again. In the case of “juneau, alaska,” the song describes a longing for the narrator’s high school days — in particular, the memories of an almost beau/situationship, the records they used to love and play all the time and other small but significant moments.

The recently released video features the rising pop star in a director’s chair, being fierce while strobe lights flash and projections of Alaskan scenery show up behind her. At other points Fluence is with the rising pop star, rocking out while Pro Tricking Athlete World Champion Bailey Payne back flips and somersaults around the room.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Art d’Ecco Releases an Incisive and Withering Look at Online Dating

Art d’Ecco is an enigmatic British Columbia-based singer/songwriter and grizzled Vancouver music scene vet, who once played in a band with acclaimed producer and ACTORS frontman Jason Corbett. In 2018, he emerged as dark bobbed hair wearing, androgynous and charismatic glam rock with the release off his full-length debut Trespasser.

Since Trespasser, the British Columbia-based art rocker has been busy: he played a live session for Seattle’s KEXP and played more than 75 clubs and music festivals across North America. Continuing a busy period, d’Ecco opened for acclaimed British psych rock act Temples right before the pandemic struck. “Trespasser was the start of a two-year ride taking me to all sorts of places I’d never been to,” the acclaimed British Columbia-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Seeing how different cultures interact with entertainment was the genesis for In Standard Definition. A lot of this record was actually written on the road late at night in motel rooms – with the flickering light of a television in the background.”

Released yesterday through Paper Bag Records, the Colin Stewart-produced In Standard Definition was recorded on two-inch tape with a handpicked, rotating cast of musicians that featured jazz and blues-trained horn players, Victoria Symphony Orchestra string players, soul singers and his backing band on a 50 year old console at The Hive. Sonically, the album finds d’Ecco further establishing a sound that some critics have described as neo-glam. But interestingly, the album’s overall sound and aesthetic sees d’Ecco and his backing band pushing the sonic boundaries of glam rock as far as they can, as the material draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including 50s pop, psychedelia, , Velvet Underground-like art rock, Grimes-inspired electronics, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and Brian Eno among others. “I’m obsessed with tape, film, and sounds of yesteryear, so recording could only be analogue – in standard definition – the way entertainment was once created,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted to go back in time, exist in a different era and breathe my creativity through it.”

Thematically, the album holds up a mirror to pop culture and explores our obsessions with entertainment and celebrity. “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains in press notes. “Whether on TV or writing the books you read, it’s an odd sense of purpose we allocate to these humans whose talent is in distracting us from the doldrums of daily life. We’re constantly searching for something… glued to our phones… consuming various forms of entertainment. We feel less close with each other, and closer to the strangers who make us feel good.”

In the buildup to the album’s release, I wrote about four of In Standard Definition’s previously released singles:

“TV God,” a synthesis of ’77 punk, Ziggie Stardust-era Bowie and Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, centered around anthemic hooks, twinkling piano stabs, punchily delivered lyrics, soulful backing vocals, propulsive bass lines, a scorching guitar solo and squiggling synths. 
“Head Rush” an infectious boogie that owes a sonic debt to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, complete with an enormous horn line and glistening synths. 
“I Am The Dance Floor,” a shimmering and strutting disco take on glam rock that may remind some of Bay City Rollers “Saturday Night,” Echoes-era The Rapture and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy. 
“Desires,” a jangling and densely layered glam anthem that sonically is a slick synthesis of Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, Gary Numan and The Cars. “A tale born inside the dark underbelly of old Hollywood, then repackaged and reimagined as a rock and roll tragedy,” d’Ecco said of the song in press notes.. “’Desires’ is about the entertainer at the end of their career — soon to be phased out by the next wave of rising talent, and shifting audience tastes. For the old guard, this spectre of change is a constant existential threat that will challenge their ability to keep up with the times and to remain relevant in this brutal industry of show business.”

In Standard Definition’s fifth and latest single “Good Looks” is a shimmering and slickly produced synthesis of classic rock, New Wave and glam influences — i.e., think Queen, David Bowie, Gary Numan and The Cars — with the song being centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, four-on-the floor, crystalline synths arena rock friendly hooks and punchily delivered lyrics, But underneath the rousingly anthemic hooks, the song is a withering look at the artificiality and superficiality of online dating: The song specially points out that while we’re swiping left and right, we’re not actively taking part in the world.