Tag: Single Review

With the release of singles like “Fourteen,” “Melodrama,” and “Dreamless” the Gothenburg, Sweden-based indie rock quartet Beverly Kills quickly received attention across the blogosphere last year for a shimmering, 4AD Records era take on dream pop, complete with rousing and enormous hooks. Adding to a big year for the Gothenburg-based quartet was named one of the “Best Swedish Indie Debuts of 2018” by HYMN, received a Gaffa Awards nomination for Breakthrough of the Year, and played a Viva Sounds Festival showcase in their hometown. Later this month, the band will play several by:Larm Festival sets for Agent bla, Moaning and Vasterbron.

Building upon a rapidly growing, buzz-worthy profile, the band recently signed to Australian indie label Hell Beach and Swedish label Welfare Sounds, both of whom have released the band’s latest single “Revellers” will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting 4AD Records-inspired guitar pop with enormous hooks — but the song arguably features one of the tightest rhythm section playing I’ve heard from the band yet.

Hell Beach and Walfare Sounds will be releasing a limited edition double single vinyl record “In This Dim Light”/”Melodrama” in late April.

 

 

 

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Perhaps best known as the frontwoman of defunct, Denver, CO-based indie rock/synth-wave/chill-wave act Ending People, Fort Collins, CO-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erin Roberts’ current project Porolo can trace its origins back to when Roberts started it as a solo recording project back in 2002. Over the next decade and a half, the solo recording project evolved into a collaborative project featuring a rotating cast of friends and associates, influenced by the dramatic landscapes of her home state and the even more dramatic personalities she has encountered.

Last year, I wrote about “Wasting Time” off the band’s James Barone-produced Awards EP and building upon the attention that the EP received, the band’s first single of 2019 is the anthemic 60s jangling pop “I Quit,” a track inspired by Roberts quitting her full-time career earlier this year. Reminiscent of Johnny Paycheck‘s classic, smash hit “Take This Job and Shove It,” the track captures the shimmering resentment of someone, who has finally reached their breaking point with dead-end, soul-crushing and demoralizing jobs with dehumanizing and offensive bosses, class ceilings, blind eyed-HR departments, asshole coworkers, pointless and endless meetings, casual racism and casual sexism and low pay — and out of the blue decides to quit, surprising themselves and everyone around them. As Roberts says of the song, “Singing this song puts power back in my hands when the going gets rough. I’ve used it as [a] mantra to sing repeatedly to myself when faced with tough situations. Dehumanizing bosses, turgid gatekeepers, class ceilings, blind eyes. Sometimes when there’s nothing nice left to say, you can just say “I quit.'”

The band is currently in the studio with James Barone, working on their latest full-length, which is slated for an October 2019 release.

 

Kyle Lacy is a Charleston, SC-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who specializes in vintage rock ‘n’ roll and soul — and his Dala Records debut is the Squeeze meets Daptone Records-like “Hangin On,” a track that pairs Lacy’s plaintive and soulful croon with an arrangement that features a gospel-inspired intro, plinking keys, a funky bass line, a rock ‘n’ roll-like backbeat, a mournful horn line, a swaggering guitar line and an anthemic chorus. And while being an incredibly crafted song that sounds as though it could have been released in 1962 or 1982, the core of the song is the narrator’s desperation and heartache, which you can literally feel throughout.

 

 

 

Comprised of Shahanna Jaffer and Joey LaRosa, the Los Angeles-based duo Junaco can trace their origins to a mutual desire to make music for music’s sake — and to write honest songs that meant something true for themselves, that someone else may be able to make something true for them, as well. Instead of rushing through songs, the duo have a rather deliberate creative approach hat has resulted in a sound that’s moody yet anthemic.

The duo’s forthcoming Omar Yakar-produced EP is slated for release sometime later this year, and the EP’s first single — and the band’s debut single, as well, is the stunning and and cinematic “Willow.” Centered around layers of shimmering and jangling guitar chords, Jaffer gorgeous and lilting vocals, jazz-like drumming and an expansive song structure that features a sweeping, widescreen coda, the song will likely bring comparisons to Caveman, Eliza Shaddad and even Fleetwood Mac — all while possessing a swooning and lovelorn quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leading single ‘Willow’ features warm dark tones, ominous instrumentation and soulful vocals which glide gently atop the jangly guitars. The single emits an accurate and organic feeling through its use of storytelling lyricism and atmospheric soundscapes. Thematically ‘Willow’ is inspired by emotions. “Emotions are often intensified by our surroundings. We rarely separate the two – when we are inspired by a feeling it is all encompassed by the environment we are in. The message of this music is to except those feelings rather than trying to mask them”, confides Jaffer.

 

Junaco hope to create music that will leave listeners feeling a sense of connection and closeness to. With the aim to remind others of our innate human emotions, Junaco’s debut EP highlights just how similar we are at our cores.

New Audio: Jai Wolf Releases an Anthemic M83-Like Single

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Bangladesh-born, New York-based electro pop Sajeeb Saha. Best known for his solo recording Jai Wolf, Saha’s work is inspired by a diverse and eclectic array of music, including indie rock, punk rock, hip-hop, classic music and Bollywood. Thematically, much of his work draws from his own experiences growing up as a third culture kid. 

Saha’s full-length debut The Cure To Loneliness is slated for an April 5, 2019 release through Mom + Pop Music, and as Saha professes in press notes, “In my heart, this album is me,” professes. From the sounds to the lyrics, it’s everything that I’ve always wanted to do.” Now, as you may recall, The Cure To Loneliness’ M83-like “Your Way,” was a collaboration with Day Wave that’s centered around jangling guitars, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, soaring hooks, thumping beats and plaintive vocals — and interestingly, the song was a bitter lament from a narrator, who’s lonely and profoundly disconnected from everything and everyone, including himself. The Cure To Loneliness’ latest single is the anthemic instrumental composition “This Song Reminds Me Of You.” Owing a major sonic debt to M83, the track is centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, warm blasts of guitars and a motorik groove — and interestingly, as a result, the track possesses a swooning urgency. 

Seth Olinsky is perhaps best known for being the primary songwriter, frontman and guitarist of influential and renowned underground noise folk punk act Akron/Family — and his solo project Cy Dune has developed a reputation for celebrating raw  and primordial rock that has drawn from his work with Akron/Family, Swans’ Micheal Gira and Rhys Chatham, as well as collaborations with Hamid Drake, William Parker, Keiji Haino and Tatsuya Nakatani among others.

Olinsky’s latest effort The Desert initially came about after experimenting with making drum loops on a refurbished Alan Lomax Ampex 601-2, pushing a clash of layered 16th notes and African inspired triplet relationships to create a new, repetitive drum sound.  That early experimentation wound up inspiring some of the meta sampling on Summer Rebels; however, with The Desert, the sampling is a much rawer form, while featured layered and energetic playing from backing band and collaborators drummer Andrew Barker, bassist William Parker, who has worked with Cecil Taylor and Peter Brotzman, and bassist Shazad Ismaily. who has worked with Marc Ribot and Sam Amidon. Initially written in the Sonoran Desert after Olinsky and Lighting Records co-founder Ali Beletic relocated to the desert in 2010, the material was tested as various adobe house shows around Tucson, in open desert arroyos running off of battery power at organized sound/noise poetry happenings that featured poetry professors from the University of Arizona and their friends from Montana and Oregon, who were traveling through town — and then eventually at SXSW with 40 drummers, including Akron/Family’s Dana Janssen, Megafaun‘s Joey Westerland, Son Lux‘s Ian Chang and Jobs’ Max Jaffe.

Olinsky relocated to Joshua Tree in 2014 and he continued to further deconstruct and develop the desert blues songs he originally wrote in 2010, with some material becoming part of pieces cut together with Ampex samples of old blues tunes, eventually becoming post-minimalist compositions which he performed in the Integratron, before being installed in the desert with multiple amplifiers run off generators. The Desert interestingly enough is the first of a series of archival Cy Dune releases that Lighting Records will be releasing this year, before a full-length of new, original material next year — but in the meantime, The Desert‘s first single is the explosive, John Lee Hooker and George Thorogood boogie blues meets psych blues-like “Desert 3.” Centered around a stomping drum progression, an inspired and fiery bit of guitar playing from Olinsky, the song possesses a feral and almost unhinged urgency.

 

 

 

 

With the release of 2014’s full-length debut, Dogging, the Sydney-based punk act Low Life featuring core trio Mitch Tolman, Cristian O’Sullivan and Greg Alfaro quickly received national and international attention.

Recorded over a two year period, the acclaimed Aussie punk band’s sophomore effort Downer Edn (read as Downer Edition) finds the band expanding from a trio to a quintet with the addition of Oily Boys and Orion’s Dizzy Daldal (guitar) and Yuta Matsumura (guitar) — with Matsumura rejoining the band to allow Tolman to be a full-time vocalist. And with the addition of Daldal and Matsumura, the band has gone through a decided change in sonic direction; in fact, as you may recall, the album’s first single, the icy Joy Division-like “Lust Forevermore” featured a lush, post-punk/New Wave inspired sound, complete with an anxious and urgency tension. Interestingly, the album’s second single “The Pitts” is a seamless synthesis of grimy, feedback-filled punk and lush post-punk, as the track is centered by a mosh pit friendly hook, shouted and howled lyrics — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to 120 Minutes-era alt rock, the song possesses a post-modern anxiousness.

 

 

Growing up in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Kamal Rasool, the founding member of acclaimed multi-continental-based psych rock act Flamingods has traveled widely to collect rate and unique instruments from Tanzania, the Amazon and elsewhere. When Rasool relocated to London to study music, he recruited a few friends from Bahrain and London to start a band, including the members of the band’s current lineup — Karthik Poduval, Sam Rowe and Charles Prest.  Interestingly, their first live show together was an attention-grabbing show at the 2010 ATP Festival, which quickly led to a national profile.

Building upon a growing profile, the members of Flamingods quickly released two EPs, 2010’s Sun and 2011’s Away. 2013’s full-length debut Sun was a reimagining of the material off the EP of the same name that featured “Quesso,” a collaboration with Ponytail‘s Dustin Wong on lead guitar. Around the time of the album’s release, the British government enacted new visa laws which forced Rasool to return to Bahrain after he finished school. Rasool then moved to Dubai, where he worked for an independent magazine and coffee shop. And although at that point, the members of the band were residing on different continents and unable to play together, they continued to work on new material that eventually wound up becoming their critically applauded Hyperborea, an album that established a globe-spanning take on psychedelia that the band has dubbed “Exotic Psychedelia.”

During the release of Hyperborea, Prest relocated to Dubai to work closely with Rasool. And shortly after that, the members of Flamingods began working on their third full-length album, 2016’s Majesty, an album that was largely inspired by the likes of Les Baxter, Tito Puente, Arthur Lyman and others. Although the album received mixed reviews, it was championed by BBC Radio 6‘s Gilles Peterson and Lauren Laverne, who both invited the band to record live sessions. With Rasool and Prest able to return to the UK, the band was finally able to extensively across the UK and the European Union to support the album, including sets at Green Man Festival, End of the Road Festival, and Fusion Festival.

In February 2017, the band signed with Moshi Moshi Records, who released that year’s Kewali EP and the band toured to support the album, including their SXSW debut. The band also released a remix album of Majesty that featured remixes of album material by Ibibio Sound Machine, Meridian Brothers and OasisAndy Bell. And the band released a Dan Carey-produced live version of “Hyperborea.

Flamingods’ fourth, full-length album Levitation is slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Moshi Moshi Records, and the album is largely inspired by the disco, funk and psychedelic sounds out of the Middle East and South Asia in the ’70s but while channeled through mysticism, positivity and sun-drenched imagery. But perhaps much more important, the Levitation recording sessions found the band living and working on the same continent for the first time in about four years — and as a result, the album’s material may arguably be the most unified effort they’ve written and released in years. Now, as yo may recall, the album’s first single “Marigold” was a trippy bit of psych rock centered around a motorik groove, shimmering and arpeggiated synths delivered with a Brit Pop-like swagger. Interestingly, the album’s second single, album opening track “Paradise Drive” continues in a fairly similar vein as its predecessor, complete with a motorik groove, shimmering and arpeggiated synths — but the song may arguably bear the most uncanny resemblance to Evil Heat-era Primal Scream; in fact, “Paradise Drive” reminds me quite a bit of one of my favorite Primal Scream songs, “Autobahn 66” but with a subtle disco element to it,  complete with cowbell.

 

New Audio: Zig Zags Release an Urgent Headbanger

Currently comprised of founding member Jed Maheu (guitar, vocals), Dane Andrews (drums) and longtime sound engineer, multi-instrumentalist Sean Hoffman (bass), the Los Angeles-based thrash punk/metal trio Zig Zags over the course of their eight year history have released seven singles, three albums and a number of lineup changes — and throughout that time he band has managed to continually evolve their sound, their songwriting approach and their overall aesthetic.  Interestingly, the band’s fourth full-length album They’ll Never Take Us Alive is slated for a May 10, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band upping the stakes while revealing their earliest influences — in particular, their love of Dead Moon and Wipers, while remaining decidedly heavy metal. 

They’ll Never Take Us Alive’s latest single, the Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica-like “Fallout” will further cement their long-held reputation for crafting headbanging, power chord-based riffs and rousingly anthemic “raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along-lustily” hooks but the song is centered by a blistering urgency that hasn’t been heard on their previously released material. 

After finishing a sold out tour, opening for The Pale White, the Newcastle, UK-based indie rock quartet FEVA have amassed a rapidly growing profile in their native UK — thanks in part for the band’s ability to craft anthemic rockers. Interestingly, the act’s latest single “Undone” as the band explains in press notes “is another step toward us finding our sound. From the beginning, we’ve wanted to write huge, heavy tunes that remain upbeat and have a hook, not dissimilar to soul and pop songs, and we feel as though we’ve done that here and hopefully have a chorus that’ll be stuck in people’s heads for days.” And goddamn it, does the song have a hook — an enormous and rousing hook paired with blistering, arena rock friendly power chords that bring 90s Brit Pop and alt rock to mind.

Building upon a growing profile, the up-and-coming Newcastle-based indie rock quartet will be making a number of UK festival appearances with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and The Vaccines during the summer. Along with that the band will be releasing new material over the next few months.