Tag: Single Review

Echo Courts is a Greensboro, NC-based quartet, who specialize in a jangling guitar-based psych pop that sonically seems as though it owed a great debt to the sounds of the 60s and 80s while subtly nodding at New Wave as you’ll hear on “Fairview Place,” the anthemic hook-laden new single off the band’s forthcoming No Damage EP, which is slated for a January 18 release through Already Dead Tapes and Records. It’s a warmly familiar sound that will likely remind many of 120 Minutes-era MTV.

You can catch the North Carolina-based quartet on tour throughout the Southeast to start 2016. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates

 

1/2/2016 – Charlotte, NC – Snug Harbor
1/3/2016 – Atlanta, GA – Mammal Gallery
1/4/2016 – Birmingham, AL – Trim Tab Brewery
1/5/2016 – Jackson, MS – Big Sleepy’s
1/62016 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
1/7/2016 – Tallahassee, FL – Midtown Speakeasy
1/8/2016 – Savannah, GA – The Sentient Bean
1/9/2016 – Charleston, SC – The Royal American

Advertisements

 

Most Americans would be familiar with Stockholm, Sweden‘s capital and largest city; however, over the last decade or so, Umea, Sweden’s third (and most Northern) and Malmo, Sweden’s twelfth (and most Southern)  that have emerged with reputations for being some of Scandinavia’s most exciting creative hotbeds as an increasing number of artists and bands from Umea and Malmo have started to receive international recognition. Some of those acts have been profiled here — including the Malmo, Sweden-based lo-fi rock quintet YAST.

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you might recall that I’ve written about the Southern Swedish quintet before. The band can trace its origins to when its founding members Carl Kolbaek-Jensen, Tobias Widman and Marcus Norberg met in the steel town Sandviken in 2007 and started writing and playing music  as a way to escape a dreary life in even drearier environs. By the following year, Jensen, Widman and Norberg relocated to Malmo which has developed a reputation for a growing dream pop and indie rock scene. Some time later, Markus Johansson and Niklas Wennerstrand, who were both members of Aerial were recruited to flesh out the band’s sound.

With the release of their self-titled debut released in 2013, the Swedish quintet started to receive attention both in their native Sweden and internationally, and as a result they’ve opened for renowned psych rock acts including TOYThe DrumsTame ImpalaDIIV,  and they’ve made appearances at several large festivals, along with a UK tour, which suggests that the band’s international profile is growing — and rapidly.

The band’s sophomore album, My Dreams Did Finally Come True was released earlier this year through Adrian Recordings to international attention with the release of the album’s first two singles — in particular, “Together Forever,” a shimmering guitar-based pop song that managed to channel  120 Minutes era alternative rock. Building on the buzz they’ve received from their first two singles, My Dreams Did Finally Come True‘s third single “I Don’t Think She Knows” and its B-side “My Dreams” will further cement the band’s reputation for shimmering and slow-burning shoegaze-leaning guitar pop with anthemic hooks and an earnest, aching heart at its core — all while being remarkably buoyant and ebullient.

 

If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over roughly the last 15-18 months or so, you may have come across a couple of posts on Scott Reitherman, the creative mastermind behind indie electro pop sensation, Pillar Point and the former frontman of pop act, Throw Me The Statue. With Pillar Point, Reitherman has received national attention for a melancholy yet bouncy electro pop sound primarily comprised of vintage, analog synthesizers, drum kits and sleek bass lines. It’s a sound that’s been compared favorably to several blogosphere darling acts including Washed Out, LCD Soundsystem and others.

While touring to support his solo debut with of Montreal , Reitherman was planning to write and record his sophomore full-length effort, Marble Mouth in his Seattle home when Kevin Barnes unexpectedly invited him to record the album in his home studio. As soon as the tour wrapped up, Reitherman spent several months crafting demos and went to Barnes’ home to flesh out, refine and then record Marble Mouth‘s material with contributions from Washed Out’s drummer Cameron Gardener and Kishi Bashi‘s percussionist Philip Mayer. Reitherman then spent a six month sent in New Orleans writing and refining both the album’s lyrics and vocals. And as Reitherman explained in press notes, New Orleans managed to influence the album’s lyrical direction.“New Orleans was the most meditative and mysterious part of making the record,” Reitherman explained. “I wanted to sink into that city and scrutinize the romantic southern sojourn.”

Marble Mouth’s first single, album opening track “Part Time Love” paired layers of twitchy and cascading synths with propulsive, four-on-the-floor drumming and Reitherman’s ethereal cooing to craft a sound that’s reminiscent of Talking HeadsTobacco and others, while it subtly nodded at Top 40 pop; in other words, the sound is tense, neurotic and incredibly danceable and accessible pop with infectious hooks. The album’s latests single “Dove” pairs confessional R&B/pop-leaning lyrics sung with Reitherman’s achingly plaintive and emotive vocals with house music-leaning production comprised of layers of cascading synths, skittering drum programming, a glitchy and dramatic string sample and swirling electronics in what may be arguably the most club-friendly song of the entire album.


Classically trained, Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles-based soul/pop singer/songwriter Crystyna Marie has had a lengthy music career, which can be traced to when she was teenager — she has been in and played with a number of Ontario-based acts and had been featured as a demo singer for a number of locally-based indie labels. After relocating to Los Angeles, the Canadian-born singer/songwriter had a stint in a pop act, Greencat; however, writing and releasing her own music with her own voice was where her real passion was.

As a result of her own experience as an artist, who has been with a number of labels, Marie decided that in order to shape her sound the way the she felt fit, that releasing music completely on her own was necessary. “Loaded Gun,” is the first single off the Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based artist’s forthcoming EP, slated for a February 29, 2016 release pairs Chrystyna Marie’s sultry and soulful vocals with a classic bluesy and soulful sound — propulsive yet simple rhythms, soaring hooks and 12 bar blues-based guitar chords and bursts of keyboards in a song that has its narrator describes the heady first days of a new love to a loaded gun — something that could quickly be combustible and unpredictable.

Unlike many of her soul, pop and blues-inspired contemporaries,  Chrystyna Marie’s debut single possesses an underlying sense of danger along with the prerequisite sultry seductiveness.

 

With the release of their first two albums, the Seaside, CA-based quartet Burnt Palms, comprised of  Riley (guitar and vocals), Clara Nieto (drums and vocals), Brian Dela Cruz (bass) and Joshua Vasquez, have been compared favorably to the likes of Dum Dum Girls, All Girl Summer Fun Band and Heavenly as their sound paired garage rock guitar chords with Riley’s ethereal vocals. However, with the forthcoming release of the band’s third full-length effort, Back on My Way, the Seaside, CA-based quartet has gone through a decided change of sonic direction with the band pairing indie pop melodies with thrash punk-like rhythms as you’ll hear on “Fold,” the brash and and snotty new single off the band the album.

Listening to the song reminds me of catching punk bands at the old Acme Underground, the Continental, Coney Island High, Brownies and countless other small, dank rooms across the city — but interestingly enough, the song possesses a bittersweetness that gives the song a snarling bite.

 

 

 

 

 

The up-and-coming Winnipeg, MB-based quartet Living Hour can trace their origins to basement jam sessions, writing dreamy songs inspired by the cinematic sky of their hometown. And as a result their sound, which possesses elements of shimmering guitar pop, swirling synths and ethereal vocals draws equally from classic shoegaze, dream pop and chillwave is both stunningly gorgeous and dramatic, as you’ll hear on their  latest single “Seagull,” a single that sounds as though it could have been released during 120 Minutes-era MTV — in particular think of Mazzy Star‘s “Fade Into You” and you’ll see exactly what I’m getting at.  (In other words, it’s the sort of song that would have been the soundtrack of an intense and fervent make out session — or would have been the soundtrack of a teenaged breakup.)

It’s been a busy year or so for the Canadian quartet. They contributed two songs to Family Portrait II, a vinyl compilation released by the London/Bristol-based label Art is Hard Records back in April and released a limited run cassette tape of their self titled debut effort through Bloomington, IN-based Tree Machine Records. But 2016 looks to be a breakout year for the band as they signed with Lefse Records, and will be releasing their full-length debut on February 19, 2016, which will be followed by a tour to support the effort. Check out some of the early tour dates below.

 

TOUR DATES:


March 3    Winnipeg, MB    The Good Will Social Club
March 4    Fargo, ND    The Aquarium
March 6    Des Moines, IA    Des Moines Social Club
March 7    Rock Island, IL    Rozz Tox
March 9    St Louis, MO    Foam
March 11    Denver, CO    Lion’s Lair
March 13    Phoenix, AZ     Trunk Space
March 18    Santa Barbara    CA    FUNZONE
March 19    Fresno    CA    Peeves Pub
March 22    Santa Cruz    CA    Bocci’s Cellar
March 25    Davis    CA    Third Art Space Collective
March 29    Portland    OR    The Analog Cafe
March 31    Bellingham    WA    Loudhouse
April 2    Rossland    BC    The Flying Steamshovel
April 3    Kamloops    BC    Zacks Coffee

Guaranteed that if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month or so, that you would have come across a couple of posts on the Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms. Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is probably best known for his work with AwolnationLiz PhairKelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, the duo have been thrust into the national spotlight for a sound that owes a debt from classic garage rock and pop such as Connie FrancisPasty ClineRoy OrbisonJohnny Cash, the girl groups of the early 60s and others —  but with a subtly modern (and anachronistic) twist that makes the sound seem as though it could have been part of a a Quentin Tarantino film.

The duo’s debut single “Betty” first gained the attention across the blogosphere for a subtly scuzzy, lo-fi-like garage-based guitar rock sound that would make you think of the aforementioned Roy Robison and Buddy Holly the song possesses a similar urgent and swooning Romanticism. The heartache expressed by Marlene’s aching vocals is a heartache that we all have known at some point — being desperately in love with a fickle and thoughtless lover, who you know will inevitably break your heart. Following up on the buzz from “Betty,” the duo released a hushed and spectral alternate version of Betty that featured Marlene’s vocals paired with a sparse arrangement that includes a subtly Bossa Nova guitar line. Sonically, the alternate version channels Patsy Cline — in par — in particular, “Crazy” and “Walkin After Midnight.” And as a result, the alternate version aches with a similar desperate loneliness and longing.

Pom Poms latest single “123,” is a swinging and swaggering 60s-inspired soul song in which the song’s narrator describes playing a cat-and-mouse game with a potential suitor, who the song’s narrator sets upon having as hers and hers only. And as a result, Marlene’s sultry and soulful vocals possesses a come hither and stop wasting my damn time quality. Sonically, the song pairs Marlene’s vocals with period specific staccato bursts of organ,  propulsive rhythms and some funky guitar chords; thematically (and to my ears), I’m reminded of several songs including Amy Winehouse‘s “Rehab,” and Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” as the song possesses a similar brassy confidence.

 

Typically, the majority of most Americans — hell,  most Westerners, really — are largely unfamiliar with music scenes and artists outside of the usual bastions of popular music — i.e., the US. the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Iceland and maybe a few outside of that sphere, such as Nigeria, South Africa, Mali and a few others. Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, there has been a increasing focus on presenting and covering artists from diverse backgrounds from all over the globe. And interestingly enough, one of those acts has been the Istanbul, Turkey-based indie rock/dream pop quartet The Away Days. Inspired by The Cure, Tame Impala and others, the quartet have developed a reputation in their homeland as being among the forefront of a Western-inspired indie rock scene. Their How Did It Start? EP was released to critical praise internationally from the likes of Seattle‘s renowned indie radio station KEXP, The Guardian, SPIN Magazine, Noisey, and the blogosphere. And with a growing international profile, the quartet went on a tour of the UK and made an appearance at SXSW.

It’s been close to 18 months since I’ve last written about them but in that time, they’ve been working on the material, which would eventually comprise their long-awaited and forthcoming full-length debut, slated for release sometime next year. The yet unnamed debut’s first single “Less Is More” is a lush and atmospheric song that features plaintive vocals paired with four-on-the-floor drumming, shimmering guitar chords, brief bursts of cascading synths, a sinuous bass line and soaring, anthemic hooks that sounds indebted to 80s New Wave and post-punk.

2016 looks to be a big year for the Turkish quartet as the band has been confirmed to make a return appearance at SXSW in March and will be announcing additional tour dates to support their debut. Hopefully, there will be a New York tour date or two!

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’re been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of months, you might recall that I’ve written about the  Victoria, BC-based quintet Astrocolor. Comprised of Andrew Poirier (guitar), Anand Greenwell (saxophone), Chris Mackenzie (drums), William Farrant (bass), and Piers Henwood (guitar), the Canadian quintet decided that they wanted to tackle traditional and familiar Christmas songs for their latest recoded effort, Lit Up: Music for Christmas.

Featuring guest vocals from KandleRykkaJets Overhead‘s Antonia Freybe-Smith, and Abi Rose and co-produced by the Canadian quintet and Colin Stewart, best known for his work with Black MountainDan Mangan and AC Newman, the compositional and sonic approach was largely inspired by jazz great Stan Getz’Getz Au Go-Go, as well as Massive AttackAir and St. Germain. As the band explained in press notes, Stan Getz’s rendition of “Summertime,” “became a jumping off point for what we were trying to do, taking the classic ‘summertime and the livin’ is easy’  hook and reshaping it into an exploratory piece. We too wanted to create a sense of familiarity and exploration within the context of a Christmas album.”

The album’s first single “We Three Kings” was a noir-ish and moodily atmospheric song that managed to sound as though it owed a sonic debt to jazz, as much as it did to dubstep and trip-hop as Abi Rose’s seductive, jazz standard vocal stylings were paired with a mournful horn line, swirling electronics, angular, funk guitar and bass and plinking keys submerged in layers of reverb to craft a cinematic and sensual rendition of a familiar and beloved holiday song. The album’s latest single is a dubby and jazz-leaning rendition of “Sleigh Bells” that pairs Rose’s husky, jazz standard vocal stylings with angular bass lines, twisting and turning guitar chords played through gentle amounts of feedback and wah wah pedal, and warm blasts of expressive horns and subtly slows down the song’s familiar tempo and melody to create a trippy and breezy rendition of a beloved Christmas song we’ve all sung at some point — while sounding as though it drew influence from the Josh Roseman Unit‘s dub-leaning rendition of Burt Bacharach‘s “Long Day, Short Night.” And it does while reminding the listener of the song’s playful nature.