Tag: singles

Throughout the course of 2015, I had written quite a bit of about the currently Los Angeles-based, Sudbury, Ontario-born multi-instrumentalist, and singer/songwriter Jennie Vee. Growing up in a small, rural Ontario town, the young Jennie Vee was the rare “goth” girl, who loved New Wave, post-punk and goth, which began when a friend introduced her to the Manchester sound. Vee relocated to England, where she began writing songs and later spent stints in Nashville and New York, where she settled down to write and record her debut LP, as well as played her first solo gigs. And while in NYC, she met a number of creators and influential folks including visual artist Katrin Albert, who produced a series of videos to accompany Jennie Vee’s music; Grammy Award-winning producer Chris Lord-Alge, who later remixed a song from her debut LP; and Courtney Love, with whom she toured with in her backing band, and who quickly became a very dear friend.

Following up on the buzz around her full-length debut, Vee wrote, recorded and released the exceptional Spying EP, which featured a gorgeous and sensual cover of Echo and the Bunnymen‘s “Lips Like Sugar,” and further established her a solo artist, who specialized in a hook-driven shoegaze and New Wave-like guitar pop paired with lyrics that frankly focus on themes of heartbreak, loss, loneliness and death.

Suffer EP is the follow-up to Spying and the EP, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through WaxRomantix Records was written and recorded after she spent the spring of 2015 playing bass with Courtney Love, during Love’s Endless Summer Tour, which featured Lana del Rey. And since then Vee has opened for the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, Manic Street Preachers and The Darkness, and recently joined Eagles of Death Metal. “Hospital Bed,” Suffer‘s latest single is reportedly a deeply personal song that explores the mixed feelings of guilt, anger, and the difficult and painful decisions one faces while watching a loved one struggle with addiction — while sonically, the song will further cement her reputation for hook-laden and swooningly earnest guitar pop with some gorgeous guitar work.

 

 

 

 

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New Audio: Mute Records to Re-issue Series of Albums by Influential Cult Favorited Genre Bending British Post-Punk Band

Featuring a core lineup of Jeremy Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson with a rotating cast of members to full out the band, the Manchester-based post-punk band A Certain Ratio formed in 1978 — and naturally, while embracing the ethics and culture of the post-punk era, they had developed a reputation for being uncompromisingly difficult to pigeonhole, as their sound incorporated elements of funk, jazz, punk and rock while employing electronics, tape loops and early technology.

With the release of the critically applauded and commercially successful single “Shack Up,” on both sides of the Atlantic, the Manchester-based band became hailed as pioneers of a sound dubbed “punk funk,” and as a result that single and the rest of the work they’ve released together has managed to influence an incredible and impressive array of acts including Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Happy Mondays, Franz Ferdinand, ESG, Factory Floor and Andrew Weatherall among others — all of which has led to an increased interest in the British post-punk act and their catalog; in fact, the members of A Certain Ratio and renowned indie label Mute Records announced the launch of a long-awaited series of re-issues, featuring a selection of the influential Manchester band’s albums and will continue into 2018 with a compilation, a rarities box set and further re-issues.

Starting on November 24, 2017 the Mute Records-A Certain Ratio re-issue series will begin with the re-issue of the Manchester band’s debut, The Graveyard and The Ballroom, which was originally released through Factory Records in December 1979. The album will be available on limited edition vinyl with colored PVC sleeve, CD (and echoing its original release 38 years ago), cassette. Mute will also be re-issuing 1981’s To Each and 1986’s Force on colored vinyl and CD. While being superficially reminiscent of Entertainment! and Solid Gold-era Gang of Four, thanks in part to the angular guitar attack, The Graveyard and The Ballroom’s re-issue single “Do the Du,” possesses a disco-like bass line paired with vocalist, who sounds anxious and distracted in an all too post-modern fashion — and with a deeper, more attentive ear, you’l hear echoes of Talking Heads 77 and Fear of Music-era Talking Heads (think of “Psycho Killer,” and “I Zimbra”) with a hint of mod-era rock. 

Comprised of Tom Barr (vocals, guitar), Lachlan Banner (drums), Matt Pownall (guitar, vocals) and Stanley Braddock (bass, vocals), the Leeds, UK-based quartet Party Hardy can trace their origins to when the band’s founder Tom Barr came up with the idea of the band at his house with his buddies Banner, Pownall and Braddock las year. And within their first year together as a band, the British quartet have quickly developed, refined and developed a sound that locals have dubbed as “Blur meets surf rock with a bit of Beach Boys shoved up its arse.” Along with that, the band has also developed a growing reputation for their live set, as they’ve opened for the likes of Trudy & The Romance, Mouses, Bruising, Diet Cig, Cowtown, INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, among others.

2017 has been a big year for the band as they’ve released two attention grabbing singles “Friendly Feeling” and “Jobs,” which have quickly helped add the band to a growing list of Leeds-based bands receiving attention across the blogosphere, and with the release of their third and latest single of the year, “Mindchanger,” you’ll see why, as the band specializes in walking the tightrope between dreamy and shimmering guitar pop and explosive, power chord-based, anthemic rock, complete with a shout worthy, mosh pit friendly chorus.  Interestingly, as the band explains in press notes “‘Mindchanger’ is an ode to the experiences felt by the parents of the youth of yesterday, Played out through the perspective of a parent struggling with the difficult nature of an anxty (sic) teen, the song takes the listener through a journey of their own personal past, with a new meaning easily discovered upon each listen.”

 

 

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The Los Angeles, CA-based indie pop project Oddnesse is a studio based collaboration between musician and singer/songwriter Rebeca Arango and producer Grey Goon can trace its origins to both members independently relocating from the East Coast to Los Angeles haunted by the ghosts of expensive degrees in music, failed bands and countless gigs at Cake Shop and other venues. As the story goes, Arango and Goon bonded over a shared vision for infectious, beautiful music with a dark, heavy groove, and  initially, they occasionally stopped by the studio with some random contributions as friends, who jammed together; that is before, the duo began to start taking the project seriously.

“Are You Down,” the duo’s latest single finds the duo pairing Arango’s sultry, self-assured yet laid back crooning with a moody and sleek production featuring shimmering guitar chords, a sinuous and propulsive groove and a soaring hook, and while being radio friendly , the track, sonically speaking manages to nod at Mazzy Star and early 90s Brit Pop — but with a come hither vibe. As the duo’s Rebeca Arango explained in press notes, “Are You Down,” is her “Pina Colada” song, as “it’s a very confident and laid-back anticipation of my next lover, where I’m getting specific about calling in someone, who can match my energy and approach to life. The question of going ‘slow’ isn’t about romantic pacing per-se (though that is important), it’s more about generally moving slow, never rushing to pack in too much all at once or getting anxious about ‘missing out,’ and preferring to to sink in and explore the depths of all things.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Cold Specks Returns with a Chilly Industrial-like New Single

Over the course of the past handful of posts, I’ve found myself focusing on new material from a series of long-time JOVM mainstays — and if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, you’d likely be intimately familiar with the renowned, Toronto, ON-born and- based singer/songwriter  Ladan Hussein, best known as Cold Specks. Now, as you may recall, after spending the better part of 2015 and 2016 touring to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned to Toronto, where she began working on her third full-length album, Fools Paradise, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through Arts & Crafts Records, and from the album’s early batch of singles — the slow burning and atmospheric  “Wild Card,” which was inspired by the refugee experience and an act of unusual and profound kindness towards a stranger, from a familiar yet far away place; the aching and vulnerable album title track, Fool’s Paradise;” and “New Moon,” a song that conveyed the struggle to find stability and oneself after life (and love) have thrown you for a complete and total loop.

Fool’s Paradise’s fourth and latest single sonically pairs Ladan’s gorgeous and soulful vocals with shimmering yet chilly industrial beats and electronics — and while nostalgic, the song possesses a bittersweet tinge to it, influenced in some way by the fact that when Hussein grew up, she never heard much about her parents’ life in Mogadishu before fled the country; in fact, the vision of the country the song evokes seems both uncertain and mythical, all while being something (anything, really) to cling to and understand.  And although the song finds Ladan and her collaborators expanding upon the sound that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere, the new single may arguably be the album’s haunting, fever dream. 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’ve come across a couple of posts featuring  Leeds, UK-based indie rock/post-punk quintet AUTOBAHN. And you may recall that with the release of 2015’s debut effort Dissemble, the British quintet comprised of Craig Johnson (vocals) Michel Pedel (guitar) and Gavin Cobb (guitar), Daniel Sleight (bass) and Liam Hilton (drums) received attention both nationally and across internationally for a sound that was influenced by Joy Division and their legendary producer  Martin Hamett; in fact, the band has openly admitted that they wrote and recorded the album imagining what Hannett would have done with them in the studio. However, as the story goes, sometime before they were about to write and record the material, which would comprise their forthcoming sophomore full-length effort The Moral Crossing, the members of the band decided to give up their long-held practice room, which had doubled as a hardcore punk venue, and build their own space.

They found a former double-glazing firm under a disused bridge in Holbeck, Leeds’ red light district and despite having no real experience building a studio from scratch, they undertook the job. And after finishing the studio, the band’s Craig Johnson then taught himself how to produce and record an album — with the boring desire to create their own sound and be in control of their own artistic vision.  “I was down there nearly every night,” Johnson recalls. “It was pretty horrible at times, but worth the pain to have control over everything. We’ve had the chance to create the sound we want, at times it’s more melancholic, and romantic.” Of course, as they went about changing their overall sound, the band went through a change in songwriting approach, in which they went through a deliberate and painstaking process, where they constructed songs piece-by-piece as they went along rather than working to revise already created songs, as they previously did. . Lyrics came about at the end, and thematically the material finds the band focusing on birth — but in a way that emphasizes that the person “had no choice in the decision. And then it’s about the different outcomes that could happen, Which could be glorious or torturous,” Johnson explains in press notes.

Last month, I wrote about album title track “The Moral Crossing,” a single, which revealed that the band went though a bold and forceful new direction — and while retaining the angular attack of their previously released singles and of Martin Hammett-era Joy Division, the single finds the band crafting some of their most ambitious material to date, as it possesses the swooning and antehmic hooks reminiscent of Snow Patrol paired with prog rock and arena rock-like sensibility. “Future,” The Moral Crossing‘s latest single features familiar, post-punk angular guitars, four-on-the percussion, soaring synths and a rousing hook before dissolving into noisy chaos but where there are similarities between this single and its predecessor, the biggest difference to my ears is that this track reminds me quite a bit of Freedom of Choice-era DEVO or in other words, as though it comes from some brutal and ridiculous post apocalyptic future that kind of resembles our own.

More than enough ink has been spilled through Mavis Staples‘ eight decades music, both as a member of The Staple Singers and with her solo career, and a result, it would make it delving into her biography or relating what countless other journalists have written and said about her a bit unnecessary; however, with a music career that long, Staples has seen quite of bit of American history — including the bitter prejudice, racism, ugliness and violence of the Jim Crow-era South, the hypocrisy an wishy washines of White liberals, the Civil Rights era, the election of this country’s first Black president, Barack Obama — and yet . . . as the old adage says — the more things change, the more things remain the same, and the same racial and class-based animus has sadly (but unsurprisingly) has returned to the forefront of national consciousness.

Staples’ latest effort If All I Was Was Black is slated for an November 17, 2017 release through Anti- Records, and the effort continues her ongoing and critically applauded collaboration with singer/songwriter and producer Jeff Tweedy; however, the album manages to mark the first time that Tweedy has composed an entire album worth of music for the legendary vocalist. Unsurprisingly, as Tweedy and Staples reconvened to write the material, which would eventually comprise If All I Was Was Black, the duo found themselves completely in sync in wanting (and needing) to say something about the current state of the country and about the various fissures that have been re-exposed. “We’re not loving one another the way we should,” the legendary vocalist says in press notes. “Some people are saying they want to make the world great again, but we never lost our greatness. We just strayed into division.” Tweedy adds, “I’ve always thought of art as a political statement in and of itself — that it was enough to be on the side of creation and not destruction. But there is something that feels complicit at this moment in time about not facing what is happening in this country head on.”

And while lyrically, some portion of the album’s material reportedly expresses anger and frustration — after all, how it could not? But overall, the material also reportedly finds the legendary vocalist balancing her prototypical optimism with a realistic sensibility — that there’s quite of hard work and love that’s needed to truly make things right. Interestingly, when I heard album title track  “If All I Was Was Black,” I was immediately reminded of Syl Johnson‘s aching and bitter lament “Is It Because I’m Black.” in the sense that Staples’ latest single is an earnest and hopeful plea to the listener, imploring them to look into the heart and souls of every individual they come across, and to see them for their unique abilities; to render one’s skin color as relatively unimportant as the color of one’s eyes. And by doing so, perhaps every one’s perspective of people they don’t understand will be shifted, as they may actually see the universality of the individual. For Ms. Staples sake, I hope we can all try before it’s too late.

 

 

With the release of her first two singles “Sleep,” which was released last year and “Strangers,” which was released earlier this year, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based singer/songwriter Sarah Klang quickly received praise from critics across the blogosphere for achingly melancholy material, reminiscent of Roy Orbison and Jeff Buckley, and others — and interestingly, the Gothenburg-based singer/songwriter is influenced Barbra Streisand and ambient electronica while visually, she’s frequently pictured in old bridal dresses with cheap plastic flowers, creating the appearance that she’s been left at the altar, and doesn’t quite know how to handle the growing sense of embarrassment, shame, humiliation and hurt that have just overcome her.

“Left Me On Fire,” Klang’s latest single continues a long-time collaboration with writer/producer Kevin Anderson and was mixed by Thom Monahan, who was worked with Pernice Brothers, Devandra Banhart, Vetiver, Beachwood Sparks and others, and much like the preceding singles is an achingly soulful yet delicate ballad based around Klang’s bluesy crooning singing a song that was written and inspired by the “. . . vacuum you feel after a break-up,” Klang explains in press notes. “You continue your life but you are burned. For me the song is about moving forward with your life, while still in love with the person who broke your heart, and nothing will ever be the same from that moment on.”  Klang’s latest single will further her growing reputation as “the saddest girl in Sweden,” in part for crafting spectral and aching ballads, coming from the bitter, uneasiness and messiness of lived-in experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Niko Antonucci is a Prague, Czech Republic-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentliast, singer/songwriter, producer and electronic music artist, who can trace the origins of her music career to when she received piano lessons when she was 6. As teenager, the Prague-born, Los Angeles-based artist began stealing her father’s guitar as a teen — and when she turned 15, she had cut her first demo and began singing and playing in a number of local bands for a number of years. But at a young age, Antonucci recognized that in order to get the exact sound she wanted, she would need to do it herself and she began producing herself.

With her solo, downtempo/industrial electronica project Resin, Antonucci’s sound is inspired by many of the influences that have been a part of her creative life including Nirvana, Portishead, Nine Inch Nails , The Cure, Chelsea Wolfe, as well as ambient electronica and classic music, while thematically focusing on spirituality, dark magic, being an outsider. and so on. And with “Hoarse,” the first single off her self-produced full-length effort Fidget, Antonucci pairs swirling electronics, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, stuttering drum programming and a soaring hook with her sultry yet achingly vulnerable vocals — and while clearly nodding at Nine Inch Nails and Portishead, the single also manages to remind me of Version 2.0-era Garbage.

 

Pete Sanderson is a New South Wales, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and electronic music artist, best known as Obvious Creature, who specializes in an ambient and atmospheric synth-based pop sound, complimented by hazy yet gorgeous memories and mathematically precise, drum programming —  and as you’ll hear on “Time,” the first single off It Ain’t Much Better In Here, Kid, Sanderson’s sound manages to nod at Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk and Brian Eno.