Tag: singer/songwriter

New Video: A Place to Bury Strangers’ Dion Lunadon Releases a Power Chord-Driven Anthem for Our Time

Best known for being a member of internationally acclaimed Brooklyn-based noise rock titans and JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers, Dion Lunadon is a New Zealand-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and bassist, who had a lengthy career that can be traced back to a stint as a member of Kiwi-based act The D4 and a handful of other projects. 

During a short break in APTBS’ touring schedule back in 2017, Lunadon had a sudden rush of inspiration that resulted in what he described as a neurotic impulse to write and record a bunch of songs right there and then, with the end result being his solo debut EP,  Com/Broke, an effort, which was inspired by the bands that he loved as a youngster — in particular, Toy Love, The Gun Club, Gestalt and Supercar. A few months later, Lunadon  released his self-titled full-length debut, which featured the feral album singles “Fire,” and “Howl.” 

Interestingly, during  this period of confinement and quarantines Lunadon has been rather productive, furiously writing a bunch of material. “During these troubling times, I’m happy to be a New Yorker,” Lunadon writes in press notes. “Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love this city. For me, it’s like living in an amazing dream (although a bit of a nightmare at the moment), where ANYTHING is possible and the sense of community is strong. Over the last year or so, I’ve written A LOT of music and with the current situation, I have been inspired to write even more. I will be putting this music out in the near future and I plan on putting more of my focus towards this and other projects I have in the pipeline. It all starts today!”

Centered around fuzzy power chords, an enormous and rousingly anthemic hook and shouted boy-girl vocals, Lunadon’s latest single, “When Will I Hold You Again” is a grungy, Marc Bolan and Ace Freely-like stomper that’s perfect for strutting and dancing about in your pajamas while in your apartment. But at its core, there’s a real longing for human connection like we had before this. Lord knows when that will happen but when it does, it’ll be a wonderful thing. “Written and recorded during isolation, ‘When Will I Hold You Again’ is about what’s going down in all of our lives. Covid-19,” Lunadon says. “This is for and about all the people around the world that can’t be with the ones they love, for the people that live by themselves, and most of all, for the people of  New York City.

Adds Lunadon, “I asked my friend Kate Clover, if she would like to sing on the track, as I felt it would help portray the sentiment better. As soon as I got  her track, I was stoked! She helped take to the next level.” 

Directed, produced and edited by Lunadon, the recently released video employs a DIY ethos while being capturing people rocking out to the song in isolation — dancing with themselves. We’ve all done this at some point, so no need to be ashamed about it. “My wife said, ‘why don’t you get people to film themselves dancing in isolation and put together a video?’ For me, being in isolation is not so bad, as I have a creative outlet. I liked the idea of being able to give others the chance to also do something creative and get the blood pumping, so I put word out that I needed dedicated groovers for a video and the response was great!” Lunadon says of the new video. “Thank you to all the people that partook in it! Every one of the videos brought a smile to my face when watching them for the first time and wondering what to expect!”

“When Will I Hold You Again” is available for free on Lunadon’s Bandcamp page, and any donations will be split between Campaign Zero, who work towards ending police brutality in America and City Harvest, who help feed New Yorkers in need of food. Dion will also match the Bandcamp donations up to $1,000. So while it’s available for download and streaming elsewhere, if you got a few bucks and can spare it, donate to some worthy causes and listen to some music that kicks ass. 

New Video: Sarah Walk Explores Crippling Insecurity Self-Doubt and Uncertainty in Soaring “What Do I Want”

Sarah Walk is a Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter, and Berklee College of Music grad, who currently splits her time between Los Angeles and London. 2017’s Steve Brown-produced debut Little Black Book found the Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter and keyboardist crafting piano-based ballads. 

Walk’s forthcoming Leo Abrahams-produced sophomore album Another Me is reportedly a radical change in sonic direction for the Berklee College of Music grad with the album’s material moving towards shimmering and contemplative synth pop featuring soaring melodies and percussive arrangements. Thematically, the album’s material may be the most introspective she has ever written with the material inspired by a period of immense challenge and transformation, touching upon marginalization, survival, death, misogyny, vulnerability, reclamation of oneself and learning how to take up space. Additionally, the album sees Walk directly tackling the challenges of being a queer woman. “A lot of things had been untapped in my writing until now, many of which deal with burdens that I’ve carried or felt responsible for, which I believe has a lot to do with being a woman and being queer” Walk says in press notes. 

“What Do I Want,” Another Me’s latest single is an atmospheric bit of synth pop, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, detailed syncopated percussion paired with Walk’s achingly plaintive vocals. And while bearing a resemblance to Kate Bush, the track reveals Walk’s knack for crafting a hook that’s both melodic and soaring. But despite its seeming tranquility, the song’s narrator attempts to work through anxiety, procrastination and paralyzing indecision in every aspect of her life. “Sometimes it’s easier to be so overwhelmed by what to do that you don’t do anything until someone else makes a decision for you,” the Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter and keyboardist explains. “I think part of that comes from being a woman; we’ve been conditioned to doubt our capability; afraid of confidence coming off as arrogant. Writing this song was a way of holding myself accountable so I can transcend societal structures and avoid falling into the same patterns of paralyzed anxiety.”

Another Me is slated for an August 28, 2020 release through One Little Indian Records. In the meantime, the recently released video for “What Do I Want” features Walk personifying the anxiousness and uncertainty within the song, as she seems plagued by crippling indecision. 
 

Harvey Causon · Extended Present

Harvey Causon is a rising Bristol, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-intrumentalist and producer. With the release of “London Stock,” “Worn You,” and “Artifice,” Causon exploded into the national scene, receiving attention across the blogosphere and airplay from BBC 1’s Annie Mac and Huw Stephens for a sound that seems to be the result of constant and uneasy paradoxes: rough field recordings within polished, modern productions featuring a mix of analog and synthetic. Inspired by Mount Kimbie, FKA Twigs, Kendrick Lamar, and Delia Derbyshre, among others, his work aesthetically meshes R&B, jazz and skittering electronica, while featuring catchy hooks and his soulful and melodious vocals.

Lyrically, his work reveals a thoughtful and novelistic approach with material touching upon philosophy, quantum physics and architecture. And as a result, Causon has become a highly sought-after collaborator.

Building upon a growing profile, Causon’s forthcoming EP Fourth Wall is slated for a June 26, 2020 release. So far, three singles have been released from the EP — “Half Hour Verve,” “Blind Eye,” and the EP title track “Fourth Wall.” The EP’s fourth and final single “Extended Present” further cements the EP’s overall sound: warm, singer/songwriter soul-inspired electronica featuring twinkling keys, atmospheric electronics, skittering beats and Causon’s soulful vocals. Sonically, “Extended Present” may bring comparisons to Bonobo, Amnesiac-era RadioheadGravity Pairs-era Beacon, and Hiatus Kaiyote among others.

Harvey Causon · Fourth Wall

“‘Extended Present’ is a song about spacetime and gravity inspired by theories of theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli,” Causon explains in press notes. “The almost chimerical realisation that time is merely a construct, nonlinear and that gravity and time are interwoven into the fabric of the universe. It was really interesting to work with different people across the globe recording the strings from isolation.”

 

 

Denzel White · KILLA DEM (feat. AshtnMrtn)

Denzel White is a Brooklyn-born, Elmont, NY-based singer/songwriter, who can trace much of the origins of his musical career to growing up in a musically inclined West Indian family of DJs and emcees, who played a diverse and eclectic array of music. Being surrounded by music inspired a young White to join his high school choir, which helped him develop and hone his own craft as a vocalist.

While attending Binghamton University, White was approached to Join The Koyas, a local jam band as their lead singer. The septet quickly took the campus by storm, performing at a number of school events before winning the school’s Battle of the Bands two years in a row. Upon graduation, White and the members of The Koyas traveled to New York for a handful of live shows, including opening slots for Dwele and A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg.

The Koyas split up in 2011. Each of the band’s individual members went on to pursue different creative pursuits with White eagerly starting a solo career. For inspiration, the Brooklyn-born, Elmont-based singer/songwriter studied the work of Patti LaBelle,  Luther Vandross, and Maxwell, eventually cultivating his own vocal styling, which blends contemporary elements with old school soul.

His debut effort, 2015’s Lehkz, Allen Ritter and Mike Urena co-produced The Prequel found the Brooklyn-born, Elmont-based artist establishing a concrete artistic vision, with the material centered around pieces of his life story — primarily his fears and feelings that would otherwise be left unsaid. Since the release of The Prequel, White has released a handful of singles including 2016’s “Get To You” and 2017’s “Alright,” which has amassed over 150,000 streams. His latest track, “KILLA DEM” is collaboration with AshnMrtn centered around an infectious hook sultry Dancehall riddims, twinkling synths, wobbling low end and swaggering vocal turns from the duo that manages to be summery, club banger with a contemporary, radio friendly production.

 

New Video: Phoebe Ryan’s Lysergic and Animated Visual for Shimmering Pop Confection “Reality”

Phoebe Ryan is an acclaimed Texas-born, New Jersey-based singer/songwriter andNYU Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music grad. Upon graduation, Ryan headed out to Los Angeles, where she landed work as a songwriter, writing songs for a number of artists, eventually writing Britney Spears’ “Man on the Moon.” 

With the release of sultry and attention-grabbing  mashup of R. Kelly’s “Ignition” and Miguel’s “Do You Like,” the Texas-born, New Jersey-based singer/songwriter exploded into the national scene, eventually signing with Columbia Records, who her first two EPs — 2015’s Mine and 2017’s James. Ultimately, Ryan felt at her best, guiding her own creative vision and returned to independent status, so that she could do things her way.

Last year, Ryan released two singles “ICIMY (In Case I Miss You)” and “Ring,” and opened for with pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen. And continuing on that momentum, Ryan will be releasing her long-awaited full-length debut How It Used to Feel on June 26, 2020. The album’s third and latest single is the woozy and kaleidoscopic, pop confection “Fantasy.” Inspired by the production on The Flaming Lips’ 2006 effort At War With The Mystics, the track which features shimmering and twinkling synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and shuffling beats, will remind the listener of Ryan’s unerring ability to craft an infectious, radio friendly hook. But underneath the slick, modern production is some earnest songwriting. “‘Reality’ is about a time in my life where I was very dishonest with myself, trusting people who shouldn’t be trusted, and basically just living a lie because it was far less painful than the truth. I love the lyrics, they’re all straight from my dumb little heart, but I think the production of the song is what really hits me. It’s so upbeat and psychedelic, anthemic, bright, yet sorrowful.”

Directed and animated by Richie Brown, the recently released video for “Reality” is a wild, technicolor video is a lysergic journey through a cartoon Phoebe Ryan’s fantasies of bulging and pulsating bodies, fortune tellers and intergalactic travel — seen from the perspective of her pet parrot, who at times seems kind of confused at everything going on. “This is one of the most exciting videos we’ve gotten together for the album,” the Texas-born, New Jersey-based artist explains in press notes. “It’s exotic. It’s erotic. It’s everything I see in my head when I go to sleep at night. Collaborating with Richie Brown was such a fun experience, not only because I’ve been a fan of his work for years (the first video I saw of his was Brick + Mortar’s “Old Boy” in 2014), but because it’s honestly hilarious being able to text someone so open to the weirdest ideas at all hours of the day and night. Crocs? Obama? BDSM? He’s a genius. I love his wild visions.”

 

Blinker the Star · Silent Types

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Glassio · Make No Mistake

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

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

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

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

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