Tag: singles

Christopher Franzen is a Gothenburg, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, whose solo recording project Lights & Motion began back in 2012 during a frequent bout with insomnia — and during the extremely dark Scandinavian winters, Franzen took to restlessly sequestering himself in a studio, where he would spend his time writing and recording music as a way to help battle his condition, and as a much- needed emotional release.  Interestingly, since Franzen has started the project, he’s been remarkably prolific releasing four cinematic, indie rock-like efforts,  2013’s Save Your Heart and Reanimation, 2015’s Chronicle and 2017’s Dear Avalanche, as well as two albums as soundtrack composer, 2014’s Dreamweaver and 2017’s Phenomenon — all of which have further cemented the Gothenburg, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer’s reputation for crafting lush and cinematic material that balances a tightrope between melancholy and optimism.

In fact, Franzen’s latest effort Bloom, which be released through Deep Elm Records will continue in a similar sonic vein as its predecessors; however, thematically, the album focuses on rejuvenation and rebirth — and the album’s latest single “Vanilla Sky,” which prominently features twinkling piano keys, swirling synths, thundering drumming and power chords played through copious reverb around a soaring, arena rock-like hook that will remind some listeners of Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, M83, Sigur Ros and others. And while the song evokes a pleasant breeze on a glorious Spring day; but just underneath, the song’s warm and ethereal air, is a bittersweet note, as though there’s the brief acknowledgement of life’s fleeting and impermanent nature.

 

Deeply influenced by The Breeders, T-Rex, punk rock, psych rock and New Wave, the Wilmington, DE-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, Grace Vonderkuhn has received attention for a sound that meshes elements of psych rock, garage rock and guitar pop; in fact, back in 2015, I wrote about Vonderkuhn’s slow-burning, brooding, and lysergic cover of The Psychedelic Furs‘ “Love My Way.” Adding to a growing profile, over the past year, the Wilmington, DE-based singer/songwriter and her backing band, which features Brian Bartling (bass) and Dave Mcgrory (drums) has opened for the likes of Titus Andronicus, Lower Dens and blogosphere darlings Sheer Mag among others.

“Worry,” the first single off Vonderkuhn’s forthcoming full-length album, slated for a February release through Egghunt Records features some muscular and self-assured power chords paired with angular and driving bass chords, forceful drumming within a 90s alt rock song structure —  alternating quiet verses and loud choruses, arena rock friendly hooks, an explosive and cathartic bridge and a fade out into the song’s coda.  Though it clearly owes debts to the aforementioned Breeders, Veruca Salt and others in the 120 Minutes-era MTV universe, the song, as Vonderkuhn explained to the folks at GoldFlakePaint is an “anthem for over-thinkers” with the song’s narrator attempting to  act as a calming counterweight, as she constantly reminds herself that maybe she shouldn’t be worrying as much as she does about everything, that some things are just beyond your control. And as a result, Vonderkuhn’s latest is a deceptive and mischievously modern take on a beloved and familiar song and aesthetic.

 

 

 

Xavier Bacash is a Copenhagen, Denmark-based producer and electronic music artist, who writes and records with the moniker Sonny — and with “Some Velvet Morning,” the latest single off his recently released C.E. EP, Bacash’s sound features elements of retro-futuristic jazz fusion and slick electronica in a way that will likely remind some listeners of Floating Points, Bonobo and others, as the composition is a cinematic and elegantly lush soundscape featuring live, drumming from frequent collaborator Jim Rindfleish, a soaring string sample and subtly arpeggiated synths.

Unsurprisingly, the song is reportedly inspired by and evokes a breathtaking sunrise, just before a long trip out of the city and into the country.

 

 

 

 

Comprised of  Amber Lane-Mcivor, Jake Blythe and Oliver Lamb, the Manchester, UK-based electro pop trio Ambiere have received attention from the blogosphere and BBC Introducing over the past year for a sound that’s drawn comparisons to the likes of Portishead and The xx among others. Building upon a breakthrough year and a growing profile, the Manchester-based electro pop act’s latest single “I See Faces” finds the act pairing strummed, electric guitar and Lane-Mcivor’s gorgeous and soulful vocals with a lush and effortlessly slick production consisting of arpeggiated and shimmering synths, propulsive yet stuttering beats and a soaring hook. And while their latest single manages to simultaneously be both radio and club friendly, their sound — to my ears at least — reminds me of Ways We Separate and Escapements-era Beacon, as the British trio manages to evoke similar, lingering ghosts.

 

 

Late last month, I wrote about Kalli Ma, an up-and coming, London-based electro pop production and artist duo, who with the release of their debut single  “Promises,,” quickly received attention across the UK and elsewhere, as the single revealed that the duo’s signature sound has been largely inspired by  techno, minimal wave and post punk. And as you may recall, their latest single “High Shot” found the duo employing both analog and digital synthesizers in a propulsive and kaleidoscopic, club banger, reminiscent of Soft Metals‘ Lenses, Factory Floor, Simian Mobile Disco, The Chemical Brothers and others, complete with layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and a sinuous and sultrily sung hook.

Building upon the buzz they’ve received across the UK and elsewhere, the duo enlisted British producer Bird of Paradise to remix the song and while retaining the propulsive, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and arpeggiated synths and sultry hook of the original, the remix turns the song into an industrial house-leaning track full of the enormous clang and clatter of Kraftwerk’s “Metal on Metal” while expanding the song’s motorik-like groove and adding some cosmic ray bursts to the proceedings.

Rohan Newman is a a Melbourne, Australia-based producer and electronic music artist, best known in electronic music circles as Roland Tings, and back in 2012, as a relative newcomer, the Australian producer and electronic music artist caught the attention of renowned electronic dance music label, 100% Silk Records, who released his debut EP.  And unsurprisingly, thanks to the cosign from the renowned Southern California-based label and the international attention he received, Newman quickly became one of Melbourne’s go-to producers and DJs, performing at some of the city’s most raucous house parties and basement jams. With an even larger profile, Newman quickly signed to renowned Norwegian electronic music label Internasjonal, founded by alt-disco, electronic music star Prins Thomas, and the label released Newman’s 2015 full-length debut, an album that Triple J named their Feature Album of the year.

Newman’s sophomore Roland Tings effort, Each Moment a Diamond was released earlier this year, and the material revealed a subtle yet decided change in his songwriting approach: Newman rented a studio located in Melbourne’s industrial backstreets and treated the entire songwriting and production process, much like a 9-5 job in which he deliberately developed a routine around a repetitive and dependable schedule — every morning, Newman ate the same breakfast, rode his bike along the same route to the studio, spent hours writing and revising and when finished, he’d hang out with the same group of friends at the same places. Being at the studio all day every day was psychologically demanding. For each good idea I had, there were maybe 30 bad ones, which is hard to face when you look back on months of work and realize the majority of the material will never make the record. Eventually though I was able to see each ‘failure’ as a crucial contribution to overall whole,” Newman reflected in press notes.  “The routine also allowed me to grasp good ideas when they surfaced -– when something was different, when something sounded great, I quickly noticed and was able to follow each thread. Another valuable realization from this process was knowing when to stop, when to let go of an idea, power down the studio, get on my bike and head home.”

Now if you were following this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about two of Each Moment a Diamond’s singles — the Zonoscope-era Cut Copy inspired house music track “Higher Ground” and the Larry Levan-era house meets Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves-like track “Garden Piano.”  Interestingly, Newman has managed to make 2017 an extraordinarily busy year, as he just released follow up single “Eyes Close,” a song  inspired by his recent relocation from Melbourne to New South Wales’ Central Coast, and the song which features layers of shimmering arpeggiated synths,thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and twinkling, cosmic ray-like electronics will further cement his reputation for crafting sleek, assertive yet chilly house music; however, unlike his previously released material, this particular single manages to swoon with a sense of exhilaration and freedom, as though a weight as been slowly lifted — or of closing your eyes on a sunny day, craning your head towards the sun to feel its warmth on you, and then opening your eyes to bursts of light.

As Newman explains in press notes, “I wanted to make a song that would capture what I could only describe as cold euphoria. The exhilaration of being feeling untethered after a long time in the same routine. The intoxicating smell of eucalyptus after a long time in the city.” He continues,  “I wanted to make something that captured the beauty of that coastal landscape in winter. The way the trees on the windward side of the headland grow with twisted branches, braced against the southerly storms. I wanted to make something that sounded like total release, coming out of a dark place into somewhere filled with light.”

Born Patrick Baril, Statik Selektah is a Boston, MA-born, New York-based DJ, producer, radio producer and founder of Showoff Records, as well as one-half of hip-hop duo 1982 with frequent collaborator Termanology. Much like anyone who’s involved in music in some way or another, Baril was introduced to music at a very young age, and he can trace the origins of his own career to when he began experimenting with his parents’ eight-track tape deck, cassette recorders and turntables. Unsurprisingly, Baril began DJ’ing school functions as a middle schooler; but as the story goes, a young Baril was truly inspired to be a producer and turntabilist after hearing the likes of DJ Premier and Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97.

As a high schooler, Baril, named himself DJ Statik — the Selektah came much later, after he had heard a local reggae artist say it — and began doing radio at Phillips Exeter Academy‘s radio station, WPEA, and where he also occasionally DJ’ed some of the Afro-Latino Society Parties. He began to DJ clubs and private clubs throughout New England; however, by 2000, Baril had returned to Boston, where he pursued an audio production degree at the New England Institute of Art. Around that time, Baril began releasing a mixtape series titled “Spell My Name Right,” which he then followed several years later by creating ShowOff Marketing, which eventually had ReebokG-Unit RecordsVirgin RecordsCapitol Records and Puff Daddy‘s Vote or Die Campaign as clients, before spinning into a label, which released Termanology’s Out the Gate and his 2007 debut Spell My Name Right.

Since the release of his 2007 debut, Statik Selektah has released 6 more albums including his 2010 breakthrough 100 Proof: The Hangover, an effort that eventually reached #37 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers Chart, and has produced and collaborated with an incredibly diverse list of artists including FreewayStrong Arm Steady and others.

Statik Selektah’s eighth full-length album, aptly titled is slated for an auspicious December 8, 2017 release through his own ShowOff Records, and the album finds the renowned producer collaborating with a who’s who’s list of contemporary hip-hop including 2 ChainzWiz KhalifaAction BronsonWale, G. Eazy  Joey Bada$$PnB Rock, the late Sean Price and others. Now, as you may recall, the album’s title track “No. 8” found the renowned producer pairing his golden era hip-hop inspired production featuring enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking 808s and a jazzy sample reminiscent of Pete Rock with ConwayWestside Gunn and frequent collaborator, the aformentioned Termanology contributing some fiery and swaggering bars.

“Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed”  8‘s latest single is a warm and neo-soul leaning production featuring a backing band consisting of Brady Watt (bass), a member of The Lesson and DJ Premier’s backing band, contributing a sinuous and strutting bass line, Cas Weinbren (keys) contributing twinkling, arpeggiated keys, Utril Rhaburn (horns), contributing some mournful horns fed through gentle washes of reverb, enormous, twitter and woofer rocking 808s and some incredible scratching from Statik Selektah and a soulfully sung hook from Enisa. And the production is roomy enough for G. Eazy and Joey Bada$$ to trade bars about achieving  success beyond their wildest dreams and yet finding that many aspects of their lives have ironically remained the same; they may have a multi-million dollar home but find themselves struggling to pay for it, they’re still scheming for the next opportunity — and while we may still admire them and their incredible talents, what both emcees suggest is that if you didn’t know who they were, they lead fairly average albeit very odd lives. While further cementing Baril as one of contemporary hip-hop’s best producers, 8‘s latest single may arguably be one of his most straightforwardly soulful and contemplative tracks he’s ever released.

 

Comprised of childhood friends Ben Grant and Paul Dutton, the up-and-coming, Seattle, WA-based duo Ravennas have been playing music since grade school — from drum lessons to junior high jazz band to their own creative pursuits in which Dutton contributes his expertise in music theory and instrumental mastery with Grant’s guttural artistic instinct. And with their DoM-produced debut single “Meet In A Garden,” the duo’s sound manages to be an effortless blend of psych pop, electro pop and indie rock that’s reminiscent of Amoral-era ViolensIn Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Forever and Horizon-era Painted Palms as the song is propelled by jangling guitar chords, an angular bass line and soaring hooks. But what makes the song remarkable to me is that the Seattle-based duo manage to balance a deliberate attention to craft with an earnestness of feeling and purpose.

 

 

Esther Artois and Fatou Jans, are an up-and-coming Leuven, Belgium folk/dream pop duo   known as Esther & Fatou, and their incredibly self-assured debut single “At Night” features the duo’s beguiling harmonizing paired with sparse yet dramatic instrumentation that includes soaring woodwinds, tribal-like drumming, strummed acoustic guitar, twinkling percussion and subtly swirling electronics meant to evoke (in my mind, at least) wandering around a particularly European city during a winter night, with deep and lingering existential thoughts. As the duo explain in press notes” It’s a song about the way everything is seen in a different light at night. The track was inspired by a nighttime walk through the city, when we began to wonder about ourselves and other people. In a very organized society in which everyone is expected to make a distinct contribution, there comes the night: full of chaos, everyone is left with their thoughts, insecurities and secrets. The nighttime raises more questions about existence and faith. By morning, they all seem to disappear.”

 

 

 

With the release of her self-titled, full-length debut earlier this year through Smalltown Supersound, the London-based electronic music artist and producer Kelly Lee Owens has quickly exploded into the international scene, as she’s received attention from the likes of Pitchfork, Rolling StoneEntertainment Weekly, Stereogum and other— and interestingly enough, she’s ending a breakthrough year with a sleek and retro-futuristic-leaning cover of Aaliyah’s “More Than A Woman,” (which you can check out below), reworks of Mount Kimbie‘s “You Look Certain” and Tegan and Sara‘s “Soil Soil,” and a deluxe edition of her full-length debut, which will include bonus tracks and is slated for release on Black Friday.  And to celebrate the release of the deluxe album, Owens and Smalltown Supersound released “Spaces,” a bonus track from the soon-to-be released deluxe album, and the single will further cement the British electronic music artist and producer’s growing reputation for crafting eerily spectral synth pop  — but interestingly enough, the single subtly reveals an artist and producer, whose sound also possesses elements of techno, and krautrock paired with deeply introspective lyrics.