Tag: Single Review

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO Releases a Woozy and Menacing Cover of a Beloved 80s Classic

Over the past two decades, the Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Thomas Fec, best known as TOBACCO has used analog synthesizers and tape machines as as the frontman and creative mastermind of Black Moth Super Rainbow and as solo artist to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement and pleasure.  

2016 saw the release of TOBACCO’S fourth solo album, Sweatbox Dynasty — and since then the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly busy: TOBACCO and the members of his primary gig, Black Moth Super Rainbow reconvened to write and record 2018’s Panic Blooms, which was supported with tours with frequent tour mates The Stargazer Lilies and Nine Inch Nails. He went on to produce The Stargazers Lilies’ abrasive yet trippy Occabot and collaborated with Aesop Rock in Malibu Ken, a project that released a critically applauded album. Additionally, TOBACCO penned the theme song to HBO’s Silicon Valley. 

TOBACCO’s first batch of new, solo material is the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch, which was recently released through Ghostly International. Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the past 35 years or you’re 17, you know that the Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written “Hungry Eyes” performed by Eric Carmen appears in an important scene of the 80s classic Dirty Dancing. The Pittsburgh-based JOVM mainstay has been covering “Hungry Eyes” in recent live sets — but before that, it appeared in a Pokemon porn parody. 

Interestingly, TOBACCO’s take on the 80s pop hit retains the original’s beloved and familiar melody and structure intact but while fucking with its texture in his characteristically sludgy and woozy style, centered around blown out bass, scuzzy synth arpeggios, analog gurgle and hiss and Fec’s heavily vocoder’ed vocals. The end result is a cover that purposelessly smudges and obscures the original’s sentimentality in a way that’s uneasy and menacing. “I did ‘Hungry Eyes; because I just love it. It’s a perfect song,” Fec says in press notes. “I play it straightforward and stay mindful not to disrespect the original.”

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Hania (pronounced Hah-n-ya) is an emerging Polish-born singer/songwriter and pop artist, who has been singing, writing and performing throughout her entire life. Last year, the emerging Polish-born singer/songwriter and pop artist was signed to an independent label, which dictated her look, the music she recorded and her artistic identity.

Earlier this year, Hania decided that she needed to take her career into her own hands as an independent artist — and as an independent artist, she has been featured in a number of publications and has had some of work appear on Spotify’s New Music Friday Polska playlist.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the emerging Polish-born artist’s third single of 2020, the MR. HO-produced “Hollywood” is a slow-burning bit of R&B ballad-inspired pop centered around an atmospheric and vibey production featuring twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, soaring strings, an enormous and cathartic hook and Hania’s ethereal vocals — but the song possesses a brooding undertone, full of heartache and bitterness. The track tells the story of lovers, who are forced to make a difficult choice — their career ambitions or their relationship. The end result: the couple decides to pursue their career ambitions at all costs, risking an important relationship.

“The song projects two lovers who decide to prioritize their career over love,” Hania explains in press notes. “The decisions they make serve their personal purpose not the relationship. “Hollywood” is just a metaphor for making that choice and leaving your loved one behind. I wanted this song to paint a picture of an old thriller movie scene. Me and MR. HO wanted to capture that suspensefulness by using vintage sounds and string parts.

Kidsmoke · Layla’s Love

 

Last year was a momentum building year for the rapidly rising, Wrexham, Wales, UK-based indie act Kidsmoke — Lance Williams (vocals, guitar), James Stickels (bass, vocals), Sophie Ballamy (guitar, vocals) and Ash Turner (drums): they played at FOCUS Wales Festival‘s SXSW showcase. “Passenger” landed on NPR’s Austin 100 Playlist — and has since been featured on E4’s  Made in Chelsea along with “Rising Sun.” Additionally, “Take Me to the River” appeared in Netflix’s hit series Black Mirror. 

Continuing on the momentum of last year, the band recently signed to Libertino Records, who released the band’s first single of this year, The Bluest You,” which I wrote about last month. Centered around swirling layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive rhythm section, a rousingly arena friendly hook and Williams’ plaintive falsetto, “The Bluest You” found the band crafting a song that possessed elements of dream pop, shoegaze and Brit pop with earnest yet ambitious songwriting — all while being a somber meditation of how mental health issues can impact the person suffering from them, and their loved ones.

“Layla’s Love,” the Welsh act’s latest single is a deliberately crafted yet upbeat guitar pop confection centered around shimmering guitars, a soaring hook and pretty boy-girl harmonies — and while bringing JOVM mainstays Husky and countless others to mind, the song features a narrator, looking back at a recent relationship with a series of “what ifs” about themselves, their actions and the relationship. But as the song ends, the song’s narrator comes to terms with the fact that the relationship has taught them about themselves — and has made them a much better person, which is something they can never lose.

“I’m a big fan of Prefab Sprout and love the way they utilise the male/female vocals; a dream-like section, when the main character is having an imaginary conversation with ‘Layla’ is my favourite moment on the album,” the band’s Lance Williams says in press notes. Kidsmoke’s Sophie Bellamy adds Layla’s Love’ took a little longer to come together than some of our other tracks. We were being pretty ambitious with the arrangement in the studio and wanted to make sure we got it perfect, as we knew it would be worth it if we nailed it.”

“The Bluest You” and “Layla’s Love” will appear on the Welsh act’s soon-to-be released full-length debut, A Vision in the Dark slated for a June 19, 2020 release.

 

 

 

 

 

Cosima Lamberth is an emerging German-Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, who can trace her passion for music and her music career to her childhood in Malmö, Sweden. Lamberth relocated to Stockholm, where she became a highly-sought after vocalist and instrumentalist, collaborating with the likes of Seinabo Sey, Miriam Bryant, Norrbotten Big Band, Genevieve Artadi, KNOWER, and a growing list of others.

As a solo artist, the Malmo-born, Stockholm-based singer/songwriter is the creative mastermind behind the emerging recording project Cosima Olu, with which she’s released an EP and a handful of singles. Building upon a growing profile, Lamberth will be releasing her forthcoming full-length debut, an effort that was written and recorded on a remote island in Stockholm’s archipelago and at Oda Studios. Sonically, the album finds the emerging Swedish artist crafting warm, organic and retro soul-inspired material that thematically guides the listener on a journey through life’s highs and lows. The album’s first single, the vibey, neo-soul “behold” is centered around shimmering Rhodes, a sinuous bass line, brief blasts of twinkling synths and Lamberth’s effortlessly soulful vocals — and while seemingly upbeat, the song’s narrator describes her difficulty in maneuvering through sorrow and moving forward with a plaintive ache.

“I wrote this track four years ago while going through sorrow and trying to find my way out of my own head,” Lamberth explains. “I felt lost and I started to reach for glimpse of light from.. whatever. After a while, I recognized that I had to go back to myself and stop seeking answers elsewhere”

Aztek · I’ll Be Waiting

 

Rising Aalborg, Denmark-based prog rock act Aztek — Benjamin Vestergaard (vocals), Michael Buchardt (drums), Rasmus Lykke (bass), Minik Lundblad (guitar) and Jeppe Søndergaard (guitar) — was formed back in 2015 as a result of its members bonding over their shared interest and love of experimental rock and prog rock. Since their formation, the Danish indie rock act have developed and honed an adventurous and accessible sound, centered around traditional rock instrumentation, atmospheric synths and Vestergaard’s plaintive vocals, which help imbue their material with a melancholy air.

The Aalborg-based indie quintet’s full-length debut, 2016’s Dream Dealer was an experimental and ambitious effort that led to the band playing some of the region’s biggest venues and festivals, including Way Up North, Nibe Festival and SPOT Festival. Building upon a growing national and regional profile, the act released their sophomore album, 2018’s Perfect Imbalance.

Last year, the members of Aztek released a couple of attention-grabbing singles that included “Darkest Hour,” an ambitious yet earnest song with rousingly anthemic hooks that recalled Pablo Honey and The Bends-era Radiohead with a bit of space rock while focusing on playing live shows and touring. Of course, much like the countless bands I’ve covered over the past decade of this site’s history, the Aalborg-based act had started writing new material for an EP as COVID-19 struck. So they were forced to record their forthcoming EP This Is Not Who I Wanted To Be virtually in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“I’ll Be Waiting,” This Is Not Who I Wanted To Be‘s first single is a slow-burning and cinematic track centered around shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line, a soaring hook and Vestergaard’s plaintive falsetto within an expansive song structure. And while the song possesses an aching, Quiet Storm R&B air that recalls Violent Light-era Milagres. “‘I’ll Be Waiting’ is a single about dealing with isolation and insecurity following a break-up during the quarantine and about hoping for reconciliation,” the band explains. “This duality between hope and insecurity is depicted through gloomy textures contrasted with uplifting electronic elements and inticing [sic] grooves. Better times are slowly arriving.”

Look for the new EP later this summer.

 

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays All Them Witches Release an Expansive and Trippy New Ripper

After the release of 2018’s critically applauded ATW, the Nashville-based psych rock act and JOVM mainstays All Them Witches went through a massive lineup change that resulted in what may arguably be the most pared down lineup in their history — Charles Michael Parks, Jr (bass, vocals), Ben McLeod (guitar, vocals) and Robby Staebler (drums, vocals). And although bands typically release more restrained and quieter work whenever their operating with a smaller lineup, their self-produced standalone single “1X1”  found the JOVM mainstay employing a muscular, prog rock-like sound, with scorching guitar work, thunderous drumming and enormous arena rock friendly hooks. 

The Nashville-based JOVM mainstays forthcoming album, the eight song Nothing as the Ideal is slated for a September 4, 2020 release through their longtime label home New West Records. Co-produced by the band and Mikey Allred, who produced their New West debut Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, Nothing as the Ideal was recorded at Abbey Road Studio’s Studio Two — and the album’s material not only serves as the first batch of original material written and recorded as a trio, it’s also reportedly among the most experimental and heaviest they’ve written to date. The material features tape loops, unplugged minimalist sections while retaining their long-held reputation for pummeling, heavy hitting headbangers.  

Nothing as the Ideal’s first single is  “Saturnine & Iron Jaw.”Clocking in at a little under seven minutes, the expansive track and constantly shifting track begins with a slow-burning and atmospheric introduction before quickly morphing into a track that’s one Queens of the Stone Age-like stoner rock, one part Soundgarden-like grunge and one part The Mars Volta-like prog rock centered around massive, arena rock friendly power chords, thunderous drumming and brooding atmospherics. The band’s Ben McLeod told Consequence of Sound, “We very specifically wanted to lead with this track. I think it’s the most well-rounded track on the record; it’s constantly changing, it has a lot of different vibes to it.” Giving a hint at what to expect with the rest of Nothing as the Ideal, he adds, “Obviously there are way heavier songs on the record,” but “‘Saturnine & Iron Jaw’ should let fans know All Them Witches are still very much rooted in psychedelic and bluesy rock.”

Since their formation back in 2011 by founding members Alex “ALC” Lee-Clark and Brian “BT” Thomas, the Boston-based funk collective BT ALC Big Band, which also features a rotation cast of some of the Boston area’s best funk and jazz players, has developed a reputation for crafting compositions that are heavily indebted to the big bands of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic and The Meters  —  but with a decidedly modern take, in what the band has dubbed Big Band Funk.

Recently, the Boston-based funk act signed to Alan Evans‘ label Vintage League Music — and their first release with their new label home,  “Bring Forth Change” features a collection of 18 credited artists, including Lettuce‘s Nigel Hall (vocals) and Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet) and Soulive’s Alan Evans (drums) was recorded remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The idea to record ‘Bring Forth Change’ was put in motion after Brian Thomas, Alex Lee-Clark and I were chatting about the possibilities of remotely tracking for a 18-piece band under the current social distancing protocol we are all following,”  Alan Evans told Relix Magazine about the single’s recording project. “They agreed that enough band members had the technological capabilities to get the job done. It’s always amazing being able to work with these amazing musicians and the addition of Nigel Hall and Eric Bloom from Lettuce was the icing on the cake!”

“Bring Forth Change” is a strutting bit of funk centered around an enormous horn line,  wah wah pedaled guitar, jazz-like drumming and a much-needed, uplifting message that brings James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and Proud,” Sly and the Family Stone, Tower of Power and others to mind. As the song reminds us, now is our moment to go out there and collectively  change the world in a way that’s been long overdue.

“What I’m witnessing in this moment, with these protests, is unlike anything else I have ever seen before,” Alan Evans explains in press notes. “I’m 46, I’ve lived through many moments of protest in the face of police brutality—I remember when Rodney King was beat brutally by police. But what’s different today is that I see people from all walks of life out there, coming together collectively protesting that they’ve had enough, not just Black folks.

The cats on ‘Bring Forth Change’ are representative of this America I see today out in the streets—there’s Black cats, White cats, Latino cats playing together, singing this message. I’m not sure we’ll see the change we want to see without collective solidarity.”

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Baron Crâne · 02 – Acid Rains – Commotions – Baron Crane (feat Arthur Brossard)

Baron Crane is a Paris-based indie act, whose members bonded and formed the act over one common desire — sound exploration through singular music. Throughout their history, the band has developed and honed a difficult to pigeonhole sound and approach that draws from psych rock, prog rock, noise rock and even jazz.

Released earlier this year, the French band’s latest effort Commotions finds the band expanding upon their sound through collaborations with vocalists for the first time in their history. The effort’s last single “Acid Rain” features Dentelles Nerveuses‘ and Mrs. Good‘s Arthur Brossard on an heady and expansive ripper that alternates between Queens of the Stone Age-like stoner rock, The Mars Volta-like prog rock and Foo Fighters-like grunge rock/power pop held together by swaggering and forceful playing, rousingly anthemic hooks and Brossard’s soulful delivery.

 

Kite · Teenage Bliss

Kite is a rising Swedish duo — Nicklas Stenemo (vocals) and Christian Berg (keys) — that has developed and honed a unique take on pop, centered around tight, focuses songs in which they mesh adventurous and ambitious songwriting with propulsive and throbbing beats, enormous hooks and an early 90s pop aesthetic.
The Swedish duo’s latest single, the Benjamin John Power-produced “Teenage Bliss” is an intimate and swooning song within an arena rock banger featuring tweeter and woofer, industrial-like beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and a rousingly anthemic hook. Sonically, the song might draw comparisons to New Order and Elastica as it possesses a similar sort of bombast. But at its core, the song will conjure up images of sweaty and booze soaked club shows and nightclubs with your friends and the urgent swooning of first love — with the foolish passions and naivety of youth.
“When we started Kite, the band Fuck Buttons were a big source of inspiration to us,” the Swedish duo says. “Since then, we have been following Benjamin John Powers’ brilliant music as Blanck Mass. We are now extremely excited to announce that we were workin bon the production of two new Kite tracks with him”

 

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