Tag: Soundcloud

Live Footage: Up-and-Coming Teen Singer/Songwriter Billie Eilish Performs on Vevo LIFT

16 year old Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Billie Eilish can trace the origins of her musical career to when she joined the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus whens he had turned 8. And while with the Children’s Chorus, Eilish perfected and honed her vocal talents. Interestingly, as the story goes, when she turned 11, she began writing and performing her own songs, much like her older brother Finneas, who had been writing and performing his own songs with a band he had formed some years before. In 2015, the sibling duo had written and released two songs SoundCloud — “sHE’s brOKen,” and “Fingers Crossed” for fun and to have their friends listen to.

As the story goes, late that year, Eilish’s older brother told his sister of a song he had been playing with his band “Ocean Eyes.” The up-and-coming Southern Californian singer/songwriter covered the song and sent it to her dance teacher, who she hoped would choreograph a dance routine to the song. The following year, Eilish released Ocean Eyes” and he single quickly became a viral hit. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, its follow up, “Six Feet Under,” led to Darkroom/Interscope Records signing her and officially releasing material to critical applause from major media outlets like Stereogum and others. 

Last year was a breakthrough year for Eilish, thanks in part to her critically applauded debut ep dont smile at me, which resulted in sold-out headlining tours across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, a number of national daytime and late night television appearances in the States. Additionally. she was long listed for BBC’s Sound of 2018 , was profiled in Apple’s Up Next Artist campaign, and was named VEVO dscvr Artist To Watch 2018.
Eilish’s “bitches broken hearts” continues a run of sultry and self-assured tracks in which the up-and-coming singer/songwriter’s breathy coos ethereally float over a minimalist yet soulful production centered around bluesy guitar chords, stuttering beats and an infectious, radio friendly hook. Interestingly, while the song sonically nods at 90s neo soul and classic Quiet Storm-era R&B, it’s an unabashedly honest ode to the bitterness of a lost love and the inherent excitement of fresh starts and new love — even when that new love is dysfunctional and completely fucked up.  

Vevo has been championing Ms. Eilish for the better part of the past year or so, and they recently included the young singer/songwriter as part of their LIFT initiative, which connects today’s rising stars to global audiences with original creative content through the release of weekly installments of live performances and behind-the-scenes footage to bring fans closer to the artist than before, essentially pulling back the curtain and revealing the humanity of the artist. Directed by Ryan Booth, the second installment of the series is a live performance of “bitches broken hearts” shot in a ostentatious old mansion/performance space as Eilish seductively and self-assuredly performs the song with her backing band.  

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Although currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rock act Wooden Shjips can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them — with the underlying idea behind it being that untrained players would have a new outlook on what music is and how it’s played, and as a result bring something fresh to the table in a way that many of the garage punks of the early 60s and the Velvet Underground did. In fact one of the longest tenured members of the band, Jermier was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never even picked up before while other members from their earliest iterations often had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs.

Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup — but this time, the intention was different: Johnson, a fan of seemingly impenetrable albums and arcane, small-press poetry books, was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. And unsurprisingly, the band set about to make purposely obscure albums that Johnson envisioned leaving in libraries, thrift store bargain bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpectedly, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals to Golden State Park to any and all comers with the proceeds from the single going to Food Not Bombs. Interestingly, their second real gig as a band was a single release show, opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.
The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space on an half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album an strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts added later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records.Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his side project Moon Duo, his acclaimed dup with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams.

 

Written last summer, Johnson viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,
“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.”
 Now, as you may recall V’s first single “Staring at the Sun” was an expansive and shimmering guitar pop sound with a steady groove that seemed as though it owed a big sonic debut to Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out; however, V‘s latest single “Red Line” is a bit of a return to form, with the band nodding at both classic psych rock and contemporary shoegaze as the track is centered around droning instrumentation and a propulsive and hypnotic, motorik like groove. But much like its predecessor, the band emphasizes slowing, down and pressing the reset button in a world gone absolutely mad.

The band is currently touring to support their forthcoming fifth album, and you can check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

 

April 20 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Old Princeton Landing [tickets]

April 21 – Santa Cruz – Michael’s On Main [tickets]

April 29 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival

May 25 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios [tickets]

May 26 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile [tickets]

June 1 – Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival

June 2 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle [tickets]

June 4 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar [tickets]

June 5 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern [tickets]

June 7 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge [tickets]

June 9 – Sonoma, CA – Huichica Music Festival

 

Although currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rock act Wooden Shjips can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them — with the underlying idea behind it being that untrained players would have a new outlook on what music is and how it’s played, and as a result bring something fresh to the table in a way that many of the garage punks of the early 60s and the Velvet Underground did. In fact one of the longest tenured members of the band, Jermier was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never even picked up before while other members from their earliest iterations often had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs.

Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup — but this time, the intention was different: Johnson, a fan of seemingly impenetrable albums an arcane, small-press poetry books, was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. And unsurprisingly, the band set about to make purposely obscure albums that Johnson envisioned leaving in libraries, thrift store bargain bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpected, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals to Golden State Park to any and all comers with the proceeds from the single going to Food Not Bombs. Interestingly, their second real gig as a band was a single release show, opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.
The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space on an half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album an strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts added later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records.

Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his side project Moon Duo, his acclaimed dup with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams.

Written last summer, Johnson viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,
“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.”
V‘s first single “Staring at the Sun” is an expansive, laid-back, shimmering delay pedal effected, guitar pop with a steady groove that sounds as though it owes a big sonic debt to Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out paired with a slowly building narrative centered around the gentle push and pull between the desire for sun and escape and the pressing tug of anxiety and uncertainty — with peaceful resistance to that anxiety and uncertainty winning the day and guiding the overall tone.   At one point, the song’s narrator seems to say “come on, man slow it down, daydream in the sun for a bit,” and you know what, goddamn it, the guy is right. Even in the face of a world constantly on the brink of annihilation, of a government on the verge of collapse and a social order being shredded apart, sometimes you need to push the reset button or you’ll go crazy.

 

The band will be embarking on a tour to support their newest effort and you can check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

April 13 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar [tickets]

April 14 – Bellingham, WA – Shakedown [tickets]

April 20 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Old Princeton Landing [tickets]

April 21 – Santa Cruz – Michael’s On Main [tickets]

April 29 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival

May 25 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios [tickets]

May 26 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile [tickets]

June 1 – Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival

June 2 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle [tickets]

June 4 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar [tickets]

June 5 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern [tickets]

June 7 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge [tickets]

June 9 – Sonoma, CA – Huichica Music Festival

 

New Video: The Hazily Nostalgic Sounds and Visuals of Los Angeles’ The Marias

Comprised of founding duo and romantic couple, Puerto Rican-born, Los Angeles, CA-based (by way of Atlanta, GA) Maria Zardoya (vocals, guitar) and Los Angeles, CA native Josh Conway (production, drums, vocals), along with fellow Los Angeles, CA native Jesse Perlman (lead guitar, vocals), Canadian-born, Berklee College of Music-trained and Los Angeles, CA-based Carter Lee (bass, vocals) and Edward James (keys), The Marias formed in late 2016. And while the band draws inspiration from their vastly diverse backgrounds and the intimacy of their Hollywood Hills commune, their sound meshes jazz, psych pop, funk, lounge pop and 70s AM rock with subtly modern production. 

With an early SoundCloud demo being spun by Chris Douridas on KCRW’s Eclectic 24 and then the Anne Litt Show, the members of the Los Angeles-based quintet saw a growing local and regional profile that resulted in an appearance on KRCW’s concert series School Night. Building upon a growing profile, the band released their debut EP Superclean, Vol. 1 during the fall of 2017. The band’s forthcoming Superclean, Vol. 2 is slated for release early this year and along with that, The Marias will be playing at Coachella this year, which should result in much more attention on the band. But in the meantime, “Dejate Llevar,” off the band’s Superclean, Vol. 1 is a breezy, pop confection that will further cement their growing reputation for a sound that draws from 80s synth pop, dream pop and 70s AM rock, complete with sultry hooks, underpinned with a hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia. 
Directed by Mimi Raver, the visuals for “Dejate Llevar” further emphasizes the hazy, halcyon days-like nostalgia, as the cinematically yet Instagram filter-like footage focuses on the band hanging out on a glorious, Southern California, summer day. 

Born Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, the up-and-coming, 15 year-old, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Billie Eilish can trace the origins of her musical career to when the homeschooled O’Connell joined the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus when she was 8, where she perfected and honed her vocal abilities, and then when she was 11, she began writing and singing her own songs, much like her brother Finneas, who had been writing and performing his own original songs with his band. Interestingly, by 2015, the siblings had written and released two songs together on SoundCloud — “sHE’s brOKen,” and “Fingers Crossed,’ which were released for fun and to have their friends listen to.

As the story goes, in late 2015, Finneas O’Connell tells his sister of a song he had been playing with his band, “Ocean Eyes.” Billie recorded the song and sent it to her dance teacher, who hoped to choreograph a dance to it. Released on SoundCloud the following year, under the name Billie Eilish, “Ocean Eyes” quickly became a viral hit, and along with follow-up single “Six Feet Under,” the young, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist developed a growing fanbase. With an official release, through Darkroom and Interscope Records in late 2016 to critical applause from the likes of Stereogum and others, Eilish was sensation — an building upon a growing profile, she released an EP featuring four remixes of “Ocean Eyes.”

This year has proven to be an even bigger year than last, as she released her highly-anticipated and critically applauded debut EP, dont smile at me, which has received attention both nationally and internationally, thanks to sold out, headlining tours across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, a number of national daytime and late night television appearances here in the States, as well as being named VEVO dscvr Artist To Watch 2018, longlisted for BBC’s Sound of 2018 and a spot in Apple’s Up Next Artist campaign.

Just on the heels of an announcement of a lengthy 2018 world tour, which includes a March 23, 2018 set at The Mercury Lounge, Eilish released her latest single “bitches broken hearts,” a soulful and incredibly self-assured yet swooning track that features Eilish’s sultry cooing over a contemporary production featuring arpeggiated synths, stuttering drum programming and percussion — and while sonically, the song nods at both 90s neo soul and contemporary electro pop, the song is actually an ode to the bitterness of lost love and the excitement of fresh starts, even if its dysfunctional and fucked up.

Check out tour dates below.

EUROPEAN TOUR DATES
02/14 – Heaven – London, UK – SOLD OUT
02/16 – Petit Bain – Paris, France
02/18 – Dude Club – Milan, Italy
02/19 – Debaser Strand – Stockholm, Sweden
02/20 – Melkweg Oude Zaal – Amsterdam, Netherlands
02/23 – Botanique / Rotonde – Brussels, Belgium
02/26 – Lido – Berlin, Germany
02/27 – Jungle Club – Cologne, Germany
03/01 – By:Larm Festival – Oslo, Norway

NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
03/07 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
03/08 – Great American Music Hall – San Francisco,  CA
03/10 – Music Box – San Diego, CA
03/11 – The Observatory, CA
03/17 – Terminal West – Atlanta, GA
03/20 – Black Cat – Washington, DC
03/21 – Coda – Philadelphia, PA
03/23 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
03/24 – Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
03/27 – Theatre Fairmount – Montreal
03/28 – The Mod Club – Toronto
03/30 – El Club – Detroit, MI
03/31 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
04/03 – 7th Street Entry – Minneapolis, MN
04/04 – The Record Bar – Kansas City, Missouri, MO
04/06 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
04/07 – Grand at the Complex – Salt Lake City, UT

filous is the solo recording project of an up-and-coming and somewhat mysterious. 20-year-old, Austrian multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer and beatmaker known as Percy. Interestingly, the young Austrian multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer and beatmaker can trace the origins of his music career to a lifelong, incessant curiosity and need for discovery: when he was 10, he became proficient in dozens of instruments — and he immersed himself in a number of far-flung influences and sounds, including progressive jazz, country, bluegrass and black metal. However, he can trace the origins of his latest musical project to when he began teaching himself electronic music production via YouTube tutorials and experimenting on his own — with many of his earliest remixes coming from the artists he discovered while learning electronic production.

Since then, the up-and-coming Austrian has managed to amass over a quarter of a billion streams across YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify as a result of 11 Hype Machine number 1s and his debut EP Dawn topping the iTunes electronic charts in over 9 countries, including Switzerland, his native Austria, India and Russia — primarily as a solo artist. But after spending the past couple of years living and writing in Vienna, helping to push the city’s growing electronic music scene into new directions, the young producer eventually began to open up to collaborating with others, with the end result being his latest EP, For Love, which features a batch of his first co-written tracks, including the EP’s latest single “Already Gone,” which finds the Austrian producer collaborating with singer/songwriter Emily Warren, who has written songs for and has collaborated with The Chainsmokers and FRENSHIP.

Sonically, the song features Warren’s plaintive and delicate vocals ethereally floating over a production featuring arpeggiated synths, softly plucked acoustic guitar and gently swirling electronics paired with a soaring hook; but what makes the song interesting to me is that filous’ production manages to be simultaneously intimate and cinematic, radio-friendly and make-out session necessary.

 

 

New Video: Visuals for Wolf Alice’s “Heavenward” Capture Life on the Road

Currently comprised of founding members Ellie Roswell (vocals, guitar) and Jeff Oddie (guitar, vocals), along with Theo Ellis (bass) and Joel Amey (drums, vocals), the London-based indie rock quartet Wolf Alice derive their name from an Angela Carter short story, and can trace their origins to when its founding members Roswell and Oddie began the act in 2010 as an acoustic act. Eventually, Roswell and Oddie decided to add more electric elements to their sound and they recruited Roswell’s childhood friend Sadie Cleary (bass) and Oddie’s friend George Barlett (drums) to join the band. And with the original lineup, the quartet released a self-titled EP, which featured “Every Cloud,” “Wednesday,” and “Destroy Me,” with the band releasing a video for “Wednesday.”

When Barlett broke his wrist in 2012, Joel Amey joined on as a temporary replacement but later became a permanent member. Also in that year, Cleary left to focus on her studies, and Theo Ellis was recruited to join in. Despite the lineup changes, the band released “Leaving You,” on Soundcloud as a free download, and it received airplay on BBC Radio 1 was featured in NME‘s Radar section. Building upon the buzz they received nationally, the quartet toured with Peace, and they began the following year with a session for Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show.

Since then the quartet have released two EP’s 2013’s Blush and 2014’s Creature Song and a full-length album — 2015’s critically applauded and commercially successful My Love Is Cool, which featured the Grammy Nominated-single “Moaning Lisa Smile,” a track that peaks at #9 on Billboard‘s Alternative Songs Chart. The British indie rock quartet’s soon-to-be released sophomore effort Visions of a Life is slated for a September 29, 2017 release through Dirty Hit/RCA Records, and the album’s aptly soaring, latest single “Heavenward” reminds me quite a bit of A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve, as lush layers of shimmering guitar chords, four-on-the-floor drumming and Roswell’s yearning vocals are paired with an arena rock-like power chord-based hook. And while revealing some impressive guitar work, the song manages a rare feat — to be intimate,  immediate and bombastic yet yearning as the band arches heavenward, even if just for a few moments.

Directed by Andy DeLuca, the recently released visuals for “Heavenward” aptly capture a vision of a life — a life on the road, as the video follows the band on tour, rushing from place to place, goofing off to kill time between shows, playing sets in front of enthusiastic crowds in sweaty clubs, the rare moments between the members of a band before they hit the stage; but adding to the psychedelic vibe of the song are kaleidoscopic colors that includes members of the band playing superimposed over various imagery throughout. 

New Audio: Wolf Alice Releases a Gorgeous Shoegazer-like New Single

Currently comprised of founding members Ellie Roswell (vocals, guitar) and Jeff Oddie (guitar, vocals), along with Theo Ellis (bass) and Joel Amey (drums, vocals), the London-based indie rock quartet Wolf Alice derive their name from an Angela Carter short story, and can trace their origins to when its founding members Roswell and Oddie began the act in 2010 as an acoustic act. Eventually, Roswell and Oddie decided to add more electric elements to their sound and they recruited Roswell’s childhood friend Sadie Cleary (bass) and Oddie’s friend George Barlett (drums) to join the band. And with the original lineup, the quartet released a self-titled EP, which featured “Every Cloud,” “Wednesday,” and “Destroy Me,” with the band releasing a video for “Wednesday.”

When Barlett broke his wrist in 2012, Joel Amey joined on as a temporary replacement but later became a permanent member. Also in that year, Cleary left to focus on her studies, and Theo Ellis was recruited to join in. Despite the lineup changes, the band released “Leaving You,” on Soundcloud as a free download, and it received airplay on BBC Radio 1 was featured in NME’s Radar section. Building upon the buzz they received nationally, the quartet toured with Peace, and they began the following year with a session for Huw Stephens’ BBC Radio 1 show.

Since then the quartet have released two EP’s 2013’s Blush and 2014’s Creature Song and a full-length album — 2015’s critically applauded and commercially successful My Love Is Cool, which featured the Grammy Nominated-single “Moaning Lisa Smile,” a track that peaks at #9 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs Chart. The British indie rock quartet’s soon-to-be released sophomore effort Visions of a Life is slated for a September 29, 2017 release through Dirty Hit/RCA Records, and the album’s aptly soaring, latest single “Heavenward” reminds me quite a bit of A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve, as lush layers of shimmering guitar chords, four-on-the-floor drumming and Roswell’s yearning vocals are paired with an arena rock-like power chord-based hook. And while revealing some impressive guitar work, the song manages a rare feat — to be intimate and immediate and bombastic yet yearning as the band arches heavenward, even if just for a few moments.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Dublin, Ireland-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist Sorcha Richardson. Initially relocating to the States to study, Richardson quickly developed a number of close relationships within Brooklyn’s underground electro pop/electronic music scene that wound up influencing the sonic direction of the material she had started to write and record; in fact, the Dublin-born, Brooklyn-based pop artist first caught the attention of the blogosphere with CON VOS, a musical project that received praise from Nylon, Pigeons & Planes, and Indie Shuffle.

Richardson quickly followed that up with her bedroom recorded debut EP Sleep Will Set Me Free EP, which received 200,000 Soundcloud streams and caught the attention of Crosswalk Records/Delicieuse Musique, who released the Last Train EP. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, Richardson has played sets at Northside Festival and CMJ, and several other festivals, as well as a number of headlining shows. Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about the Dublin-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, but she’s been rather busy writing and recording a number of singles that have further cemented her reputation for crafting deeply introspective pop, including her latest single, “4AM,” single in which the song’s narrator muses about her current love prospects — with recognition of two things: that if things go wrong in a prospective relationship, it’s not always your fault — and the narrator proudly recognizes that being alone is perfectly fine to want to be alone and unbothered by someone else’s baggage and bullshit. Reportedly, the song, which is by far the most brooding in Richardson’s growing catalog, finds her pairing a sparse, Dido-like arrangement of dramatic piano chords with a soaring, radio-friendly hook with a club-leaning production featuring enormous tweeter and woofer rocking beats, swooning synths and Richardson’s ethereal yet achingly earnest croon. The song manages to walk a careful tightrope between late night, lonely regret over a relationship that has gone wrong and the pride of moving forward as quickly as possible from a flaming disaster — and it’s done with an honesty that comes from personal experience.

 

 

 

Hayley Johnson is a 26 year-old, San Diego, CA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based folk singer/songwriter, who writes and performs under the moniker The Little Miss.  Inspired by Fiona Apple and Jewel, jazz, classic blues, folk and Americana, Johnson can trace the origins of her music career to when she was a child, starting girl bands during recess at school and writing lyrics in notebooks. And while in middle school, Johnson had begun performing original music at coffee shops and surf competitions around the San Diego area with her father. After performing for several years with the stage name Hazel, Johnson came up with The Little Miss while studying philosophy at San Francisco State University — and upon graduating, Johnson relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a music career in earnest.

Johnson has begun to receive attention for a sound and overall aesthetic that nods at the likes of the great T. Bone Burnett as both a solo artist and as a producer, or in other words, a sound and approach that’s comfortably anachronistic, in the sense that it bridges both the contemporary and old fashioned, while being soulful and viscerally earnest. “Doubt,” Johnson’s latest single is a bluesy bit of Americana featuring a scuzzy guitar line and a trippy organ chords paired with her soulful, whiskey and cigarette-tinged vocals. And while some will suggest that the song nods at Fiona Apple, whose voice Johnson’s bears a similarity to, or the White Stripes, the song reminds me a bit of The Mountain-era Heartless Bastards, as “Doubt” possesses a similar sense of regret and longing. Interestingly, as Johnson explains in press notes “‘Doubt’ concerns itself with the intellectual understanding that life’s answers cannot be summarized, but takes note of the relentless desire to still call for said answers. Eventually, it’s about asking questions that you know you will never have an answer for — i.e., “I pray everyday and I pray every night,/ but I’ll never know if I am getting it right/Or will I?”

Now, as I’ve mentioned a few times on this site, as I’m listening to tracks on Soundcloud, I’m usually multitasking — as I write this post, I’m watching the New York Yankees season opener down in Tampa Bay. And because my mind is in several different directions, I wind up being introduced to a track by a new artist I had never heard of, or going through an entire artist playlist.  So unsurprisingly, while listening to tracks I stumbled across The Little Miss’ haunting, dusty and old-timey folk-leaning cover of Johnny Cash‘s “Ring of Fire.”