Tag: singer/songwriters

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of its seven year history, you may have come across a post or two featuring the up-and-coming New York-born and now Los Angeles-based pop artist and multi-instrumentalist  Beca. Receiving classical training at Juilliard, the New York-born, Los Angeles, CA-based pop artist forged her own path away from her formal training as she sought out opportunities to explore avant garde electronic music, compose for amplified string instruments and NYC’s underground club culture — all of which had been influences on her and her later work.

Since 2012, Beca has released two EPs through British label This Is Music Music, Ltd., self-released her full-length debut Ecliptic in 2015 and worked with Midnight Magic‘s Morgan Wiley. Beca has received praise from the likes of Flaunt, Galore Magazine, Lucky Magazine, received airplay from over 50 stations nationally including NPR’s “The Essentials” and KCRW, and she’s had her work remixed by the likes of Ashley Beedle, Klic, Night Drive and others.  Along with that, Beca was once a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition and the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. And adding to a growing profile, the up-and-coming artist has played at CMJ, SXSW, Miami Fashion Week, Sundance Film Festival, POP Montreal and NXNE and she’s toured across the US, Europe and Mexico.

Beca’s latest effort, the Blake Robin and Fabian Ordorica-produced, six song EP, In Deep Love is slated for release on September 15, 2017 and the album finds the up-and-coming New York-born, Los Angeles-based artist further cementing her reputation for crafting material that draws from 80s and 90s synth pop paired with lyrics influenced by mythology, classical music, film, art, romantic stories and her own personal life. EP title track and lead single “In Deep Love” is a shimmering and propulsive, club-banger that sonically seems indebted to Giorgio Moroder-era disco and 80s freestyle but while dance floor friendly, the song is under-pinned by a bitter heartbreak — the realization that you may have to let go of someone you love and accept the idea that there won’t be a future with that person. And while it may be painful, it’s the best thing for both people involved.

 

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Live Footage: Tame Impala Performs “Love/Paranoia” on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

Initially developed as the solo recording project of its  Melbourne, Australia-based creative mastering, the multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer/songwriter Kevin Parker, Tame Impala quickly received national and international attention with the release of Innerspeaker and Lonerism. Parker’s third and most current full-length effort, Currents was released to critical praise two years ago, and from album singles “Cause I’m a Man” and “Let It Happen” reflected a decided change in Parker’s songwriting approach with the result being some of the most emotionally direct material he’s written to date. Along with that, sonically Parker expands upon the sound that has won him both national and international attention, with album material drawing from synth pop, prog rock and R&B, creating not only a modern take on psych pop, but also a much more nuanced, textured sound. 

After playing a critically applauded Panorama Festival set at the end of July, Parker and his touring band made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where they performed the slow-burning and ethereal “Love/Paranoia,” a track that draws equally from synth pop, R&B and psych pop simultaneously; but underneath the shimmering and glistening surface is a plaintive plea from a severely screwed up man that has let his insecurities and petty jealousies (among other things) interfere in a meaningful relationship, and naturally, the song is an earnest plea for forgiveness; but unlike countless other songs based around a similar experience and emotion, there’s a sense that the song’s narrator recognizes that he has potentially fucked things up for good — and a result, the pleading possesses a sincere urgency. 

As a mixed-race daughter in middle America — small town Ohio to be precise — the Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter Becca Richardson has always lived with the surrounding questions of what it means to belong and connect with others, and because she grew up with the constant reminder of being different than her counterparts, she found an immediate connection through music; in fact, she grew up in a rather musical home in which Fleetwood Mac, Phoebe Snow and Cat Stevens were on heavy rotation in her home.  After learning piano, guitar and to sing, she discovered a deep passion for songwriting, which still manages to be a powerful tool for discovering herself and carving out a space in the world.

As a young adult, Richardson went to study at Stanford University while honing her overall sound and songwriting approach. After spending a few years playing and hustling in the Bay Area music scene, Richardson relocated to Nashville, where she began work on her Roger Moutenot and Courtney Little-produced full-length debut We Are Gathered Here. “Wanted,” the album’s lead single, thematically explores womanhood, otherness and autonomy — but in a way that captures the innermost thoughts and desires of a modern woman; the sort of woman you’ve befriended, dated or even gone to work with. Sonically speaking, the song paris Richardson’s coolly self-assured and sultry vocals with an slick and ambient-leaning production consisting of blasts of bluesy guitar chords, a sinuous bass line, gentle layers of shimmering and undulating synths and soaring yet tight hook to create an overall sound that’s incredibly crafted and thoughtful while being rather radio friendly.

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New Video: Introducing the Spectral Sounds and Intimate Visuals for Lola Kirke’s “Not Used”

Lola Kirke is a British-born, New York-based singer/songwriter, musician and actress, best know for starring roles in Mistress America and Mozart in the Jungle, as well as a supporting role in David Fincher’s Gone Girl; but along with that, she’s also the daughter of drummer Simon Kirke, best known for stints in Bad Company and Free and Lorraine Kirke, the owner of Geminola, a vintage boutique known for supplying outfits for Sex and the City. As a singer/songwriter, her self-titled debut EP features four, plaintive songs that Kirke has personally dubbed Cosmic American. 

The self-titled EP’s latest single “Not Used” is about learning to live with a lover’s absence and as a result, the single possesses a visceral longing and ache paired with a spectral yet old-timey, honky tonk-like arrangement . But at its core, is the acceptance of the lingering ghosts of one’s past and the awkward attempt to move forward with one’s life to the best of their abilities.  And interestingly enough, the recently released music video was directed by and stars Lola Kirke’s sister, who spends the entire length of the song vigorously exercising in her small apartment — and as Jemina Kirke explains about the video treatment “Those transitional, soul-level-change moments we experience are never dramatic. Epiphanies don’t really happen. They’re a myth. Real transformation is boring and uncomfortable, like working out on your birthday when you have no plans. Change slips in unnoticed while you’re busy trudging through something pretty unremarkable.” 

New Video: Introducing the Anthemic and Jangling Pop Guitar Pop of Wesley Fuller

Wesley Fuller is a Perth, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist and producer, who quickly received national attention with the release of his debut EP, Melvista for an anthemic jangling guitar pop sound that draws from 60s bubblegum pop, 70s glam rock. Fuller’s much anticipated full-length debut Inner City Dream is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through 1965 Records, and the material will reportedly further cement his growing reputation for crafting infectious and anthemic pop that sounds mischievously anachronistic, all while subtly expanding upon his sound and songwriting approach, as his influences expanded; in fact, as a result of his regularly occurring DJ sets in and around Melbourne, Fuller cites late 70s and early 80s Talking Heads as a growing influence on him. As Fuller explains “Melvista was really my first solo expedition and I was learning as I went along. I think by the time I came to record the album I had a better technical knowledge of what I was doing. There’s probably a wider span of influences on the album. I wanted to showcase every aspect of my sound.” 

Along with the sound, Fuller’s material thematically has reportedly progressed as well with the material on Inner City Dream revealing a growing maturity with the material focusing on the worldview of a young man trying to come to terms with his place, both physically and symbolically — but at times with a wry, observational humor; in fact, as you’ll hear on Inner City Dream’s later single “#1 Song,” the song smartly focuses and then mischievously takes fire on the upper echelon of modern pop. As Fuller says in press notes “I think everyone in the scene knows to a certain extent that it’s all bullshit. So why take it seriously? You’ve got some artists with 20 tracks in the Top 30. The gap between the big stars and the indie bands are worlds apart. There’s really no money in music at all unless you’re at the very top. To get there, you have to compromise your dignity and be prepared to release some pretty pedestrian shit.” But instead of calling those who have managed massive success a bunch of soulless sellouts, the song sly says “well, in that situation what would you do? Does anyone dream of criss-crossing the country in an old van with two, three, four or more broke, desperate and sweaty musicians, and possibly getting your whole life stolen while on the road? Who doesn’t dream of having the biggest song in their country — or in the world? And who doesn’t dream of playing in front of massive crowds at Glastonbury, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Stadium, The Rose Bowl, etc.? What would you do in the face of an opportunity of a lifetime? Talk about artistic integrity? Bullshit! You’d probably sign your name on the dotted line, sell your soul and your mother if you have to.  

“#1 Song” ironically enough manages to sound as though it was a #1 song released sometime between 1969 and 1974 — with a subtly modern production sheen; but at its core is some incredibly slick and carefully crafted pop-leaning songwriting, complete with an incredibly infectious, danceable, and anthemic hook reminiscent of T. Rex, Bay City Rollers and a handful of others.

The recently released video features Fuller and his backing band appearing as though they fell out of time warp from 1973 or so, playing “#1 Song” on a Top of the Pops-like TV show — and the way the video is shot, to even how the musicians appear to be playing bear an uncanny resemblance to how shows of that period were shot.   

New Video: The Gorgeous and Highly Symbolic Visuals for Rogue and Jaye’s “Golden Lady”

Comprised of the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Courtney Jaye, who has spent stints in Nashville, Atlanta, Austin and elsewhere; and Bay Area-based singer/songwriter Zach Rogue, the frontman of indie rock act Rogue Wave, the country music duo of Rogue and Jaye can trace their origins back to a December 2013 songwriting session, in which the duo quickly recognized they had an instant and easy-going simpatico — perhaps based in their backgrounds as songwriters influenced by country, whose material frequently possessed a wistful, late night, drinking in the honky tonk vibe and the results the critically applauded debut single together “Til It Fades.” As Zach Rogue explains in press notes “We have this thing, and I don’t really know know why, it’s just a comfort level. We have this easy spirit with each other, where I like hearing here sing and I feel very comfortable proposing ideas.”

The duo’s debut effort together, Pent Up features a backing band consisting of Bands of Horses’Bill Reynolds (bass), Floating Action’s Seth Kauffman (guitar) and Grace Potter and The Nocturnals’ and Natalie Prass’ Michael Libramento (drums) and was recorded and engineered by Logan Matheny at Bill Reynolds’ Nashville-based Fleetwood Shack Studio and mixed and mastered by Mikael “Count” Eldridge in San Francisco. Officially released earlier this month, the album has been released to critically praise from a number of major media outlets including The Associated Press, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, American Songwriter and others, with Rolling Stone Country recently naming the duo one of their “10 New Artists You Need to Know,” and when you hear the album’s latest single “Golden Lady,” you’ll see why as the duo pair an easy-going, 70s AM rock and late night honky tonk twang with Jaye’s gorgeous yet wistful vocals. And while clearly drawing at Americana, 70s Renegade Country, indie rock and pop without being too tethered to them, the song also finds the duo subtly nodding at psychedelia with some pedal effected guitar.

In fact, much like the sources the duo draw from sonically and thematically, “Golden Lady” reveals the duo’s cool self-assuredness as the single is a recording featuring a bunch of old pros, who’ve made it seem way too easy — but at the same time, there’s an understated emotional honesty; the sort that comes from living a full and messy life of mistakes, foibles, joy, heartache, loneliness, being lost and found and lost again, and profoundly life altering experiences and experiencing them as completely and fully as possible — and with an effortless gracefulness.

As the duo’s Courtney Jaye explains, their latest single details an all-too common frustration with the universe and one’s seeming inability to cope with a personally damaging situation and learning how to be patient, how to be alone and how to love yourself before loving another and learning how to trust yourself and letting things go at the time and pace they’re supposed to. And in fact, the recently released video  Ben Bennett and shot and edited by Stefan Colson is shot in hazy, golden light and throughout Jaye is shot hemmed in and trapped in a person-sized tube and cocooned in fabric. And while Jaye is struggling to break free, there’s a sense that some of this is self-inflicted. In fact, as Jaye explains in press notes, “this video symbolizes being trapped by your own fear, self-doubt and lack of trust in universal timing. 

New Video: Catch Amber Arcades and Bill Ryder-Jones Travel the Dutch Countryside and Perform Their Duet “Wouldn’t Even Know” in New Visuals for Latest Single

Now, if you have been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you may recall that with her debut effort Fading Light, Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades quickly received international attention for material that thematically focused on time and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet lag and her own dreams, which have influenced much of her personal and creative life; in fact, De Graaf had a long-held dream of working for the UN and eventually worked as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals and on human rights and immigration law, assisting Syrian refugees.  Building upon a rapidly growing profile De Graaf and her backing band went on a Fall 2016 Stateside tour with Nada Surf, while releasing several singles off Fading Light‘s much-anticipated and recently follow-up of jangling and anthemic guitar pop, Cannonball EP including “It Changes” and her cover of Nick Drake’s “Which Will.”

Canonball’s latest single “Wouldn’t Even Know” is a subtly brooding and lushly gorgeous duet with British singer/songwriter, composer, producer and guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones that gently nods at Phil Spector-era pop and the great June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash duets — and while further cementing de Graff’s reputation for jangling guitar pop, the song possesses the swooning Romanticism of finding friendship, love and understanding through the open road and through music. 

Directed by Wander Andringa, the recently released and utterly gorgeous and cinematic visuals for the song features de Graff and Ryder-Jones driving through the seemingly endless seas of green and blue of the Dutch countryside in an old Mercedes, cut with footage of the duet performing the song with a backing band that’s reminiscent of Roy Orbison’s fantastic concert film Roy Orbison and Friends: A Night in Black and White; however, throughout the footage de Graff and Ryder-Jones have an unmistakable musical and creative chemistry. Annelotte de Graaf adds, “I wanted the video to look like the song sounds: flowing at a certain pass, broody, yearning and uplifting. I also really love the Sonic Youth video for their version of “Superstar”. That inspired me to do a kind of live performance of the song for the video. Mixed together with the shots driving through the Dutch countryside I think it really captures the mood of the song. Wander did an awesome job, even though I’m pretty sure me and Bill weren’t the most easily directable “actors” (sneaking sessions watching football in a pub into the day’s program)  — haha.”  Personally, the video reminds me of sitting on trains and busses traversing the Dutch countryside from Amsterdam to Dordrecht and back to Amsterdam with a mixture of weariness from being awake and moving for more than 30 hours, awe, excitement and loneliness. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’ve come across handful of posts featuring Tim Cohen, who has written, recorded and toured with a number of different bands and creative outlets, including Magic Trick, The Fresh & Onlys (with whom, he may be the best known) and as a solo artist. And over the past couple of years, Cohen has managed to be remarkably prolific and extremely busy — just last year, the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter spent time touring with both Magic Trick and Fresh & Onlys, worked on and recorded Magic Trick’s fourth album Other Man’s Blues, wrote and recorded his first solo album Luck Man and managed to split those responsibilities while being a new father.

Cohen continues a prolific and busy period with a new Fresh & Onlys album, Wolf Lie Down, the first Fresh & Onlys effort in over three years. Slated for an August 25, 2017 release through Sinderlyn Records, the album reportedly finds collaborators and bandmates Cohen and Wymond Miles (guitar, production) stripping the layered sound and feel of their last few albums, with Cohen and Miles aiming to imbue the material with an uplifting and swooning romanticism paired with Cohen’s wry humor. Of course, some things remain — Cohen’s literate yet accessible songwriting paired with an arrangement that nods both at classic rock, psych rock and punk rock as you’ll hear on the album’s first single, album title track “Wolf Lie Down,” a song that pairs layers of chugging guitars, an old-timey rock ‘n’ roll bass line, an infectious, chant worthy hook with Cohen’s mischievously metaphysical musings. And while being a summer road trip worthy song, the song manages to possess a wistful nostalgia that reminds me of the Ramones and others at its core.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Cosmic and Symbolic Visuals for Cody ChesnuTT’s “Image of Love”

With the release of his critically praised 2002 debut, The Headphone Masterpiece, singer/songwriter and guitarist Cody ChesnuTT was universally hailed as a modern-day soul troubadour with many critics comparing his work to the likes of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder, largely because of his frank and socially conscious songwriting focusing on modern Black life. Interestingly, The Headphone Masterpiece was released at the height of the neo-soul movement, which included Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, The Roots, Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and a lengthy list of others — all of whom proved that artists could still release deeply personal, thoughtful, socially conscious work that was fairly successful both critically and commercial successful. In the case of ChesnuTT, his closest brush with mainstream success was a collaborative remake of “The Seed,” “The Seed 2.0,” which appeared on The Roots’ Phrenology released at the end of 2002.

After the commercial and critically success of “The Seed,” ChesnuTT abruptly disappeared from public view for the better part of a decade, a period in which the singer/songwriter and guitarist spent time raising children and in writerly fashion, reflecting, observing, loving and living. Naturally, those experiences informed and influenced 2012’s Landing on a Hundred, an effort that linked contemporary Black soul and pop with the classic work of Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, as Hundred thematically focused on a man’s road to redemption after years of womanizing, drugging and scheming, of the power of a love that eclipses superficial and material expressions of love and devotion and of the power of being truthful to one’s self.

Since the release of Landing on a Hundred, ChesnuTT has been rather productive as he’s contributed to the soundtracks of the Oscar Award-winning major motion pictures 12 Years A Slave and Idris Elba Presents Mi Mandela, and writing the material that would comprise his recently released third album, My Love Divine Degree. Now, if you had been frequenting this site over the past year, you may recall that I wrote about My Love Divine Degree‘s second single “I Stay Ready” an uplifting call to positivity in the face of tremendous adversity — and while further cementing his reputation for crafting frank, earnest songs, the production work of Anthony “Twilite Tone” Khan, a BMI Award, Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and DJ, who has worked with Kanye West, Common, John Legend and Pusha T pushes sonic boundaries as it meshes beat-based hip-hop and soul.

The album’s latest single “Image of Love” continues in a similar vein as ChesnuTT’s soulful crooning is paired with a genre blurring production that features wobbling synths, big tweeter and woofer rattling beats and a slick hook in what may arguably be one of the funkiest and most hip-hop leaning songs ChesnuTT has released in several years. Interestingly, the single much like the material on the album is “inspired by a story of a Man and Woman that exercised their ability to rise about their arresting selfishness — to attain a higher level of communication — that they might willing share in the love of eternal life . . . all to simply win the hearts of men, woman and children to better things,” as ChesnuTT explains in press notes. And much like it’s preceding single, it’s a desperately needed bit of uplift in dark, fucked up times.

Featuring gorgeous, psychedelic and cosmic line animation by Konee Rok that includes Cody Chesnutt walking through the woods and the cosmos, playing his Gibson and singing, kids running and playing in the woods, while nodding at the album’s and song’s themes about the differences between selfish and superficial love, and the sort of love that truly connects you with others and the larger universe.