Tag: Spotify

Earlier this year, I wrote about the rapidly rising Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, Luna Shadows.  Interestingly, the Los Angeles-based pop artist began her career as a touring member of the acclaimed New Zealand-based synth pop act The Naked and Famous — but Shadows went solo, because she felt she had a voice that demanded to be heard on its own terms.

Since then, Luna Shadows has developed a reputation for a staunchly DIY approach, as she writes, performs, records, produces, edits and engineers every single note of her work — and for crafting sultry, melancholy pop that Billboard has called “. . . refreshingly soulful and haunting .  .  . ,” and compared by some critics as Lana Del Rey taking Lorde to the beach.

Adding to a growing profile, the Los Angeles-based artist’s work has amassed over 35 million Spotify streams with tracks landing on tastemaker playlists like New Music Friday, Indie Pop, Weekend Beats and Weekly Buzz and landing as high as #7 on the US Charts and #18 on the Global Viral Charts. Her live debut. which took place at the renowned Los Angeles indie music showcase School Night was a sell-out — and she also has received airplay on a nubmer of radio stations globally, including  including KROQ, BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1. And amazingly, she accomplished all of that without the support of a label.

Now, as you may recall this past year has been a momentous year for the Los Angeles-based pop artist: She recently began collaborating with two highly-acclaimed mainstream indie pop producers — s Now Now‘s Brad Hale and The Naked and Famous‘ Thom Powers to help shoulder the production and editing load — and she signed to +1 Records, who released her first single of the year, “lowercase,” a track imbued with the bitterness, heartache and confusion of a dysfunctional relationship full of power plays, recriminations and accusations paired with a sleek and hyper-modern, trap-leaning production. “god.drugs.u” continued in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor but while centered around a plaintive and unfulfilled yearning.

“practice,” Luna Shadow’s third and latest single of the year continues a run of sleek, hyper modern, radio and club friendly bangers, as its centered around the sort of synth arpeggios reminiscent of Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back,” Shadow’s plaintive vocals and tweeter and woofer rocking beats. And while being a rumination on love and loss meant to remind the listener that every love affair throughout your life is essentially practice for the next one, it’s also a reminiscence on the one that might have worked — but somehow didn’t. And instead of harboring bitterness, the song suggests that it’s all a part of being human.

“Like all songs in this series, this song involves a breakdown or barrier in communication both in the digital and physical worlds,” Shadows says of the song. “In the most literal interpretation, ‘practice’ is an imaginary conversation with a bridge jumper, beginning with a retroactive plea for them to check their Twitter mentions as they might’ve seen the outpouring of love left for them before they made an irreversible decision. The chorus is a sentiment that someone once expressed to me in a dark hour: that love is a process, something in constant refinement, something never damaged beyond repair, somewhere that you can always return. This message reached me at a necessary moment, and I wanted to forward it musically with the hope that it might reach someone who needs to hear it right now.”

 

 

 

 

 

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New Video: Rising British Pop Artist Jordan Mackampa Releases a Symbolic Visual for “Parachutes”

Jordan Mackampa is a rising London-born and-based Congolese-British singer/songwriter. With the release of “Under” earlier this year and 2016’s Physics EP, and 2017’s Tales From The Broken EP and Live from the Grand Cru EP, Mackampa has received critical praise from NME, The 405, The Line of Best Fit, Clash, Indie Shuffle, Wonderland and others — with all of his previously released material amassing over 50 million Spotify streams.

Mackampa’s work is inspired by his Congolese roots and his mother’s love of legendary soul singers like Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield. And much like his influences, Mackampa has a developed a reputation for pairing an old school singer/songwriter soul-like vocal delivery with earnest songwriting and catchy melodies with a modern approach. Building upon that momentum, Mackampa’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Foreigner is slated for a March 13, 2020 release. Along with that the rising Congolese-British artist is currently on tour opening for Amber Run  and he has been confirmed to play at next year’s SXSW.

Mackampa’s latest single, “Parachutes” is a breezy yet deliberately crafted track centered around a radio friendly and loose arrangement of twinkling keys, shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line and propulsive drumming. But the star of the show is Mackampa’s easygoing and expressive vocals — in this case, Mackampa’s voice evokes the soaring high of being in love and the embittering low of heartache and betrayal within the turn of a phrase.

“‘Parachutes’ encapsulates those situations with people you’ve come across in life; who aren’t who they pretend to be and the person they are with you, isn’t someone you want to be around,” Mackampa explains in press notes. “However because you love them, either platonically or romantically, you’re conflicted by your feelings for them until it gets to a point where you don’t want to be hurt anymore… Nobody is perfect, but if you were trapped in an airplane with them and they had a parachute but you didn’t you would jump out regardless, because any pain you would experience afterwards, won’t be as bad as what you’ve already gone through.”

Directed by Tom Ewbank, the recently released and deeply metaphoric captures the psychological and physical battles of any relationship — essentially saying that sometimes other people can be hellish and torturous. “I wanted this video to capture the mental, and sometimes physical battles we go through in relationships, whether they are platonic or romantic with people in our lives,” Mackampa explains in press notes. “It can sometimes feel as though you’re dealing with two different people, but no one else sees the other person you encounter who brings you pain and hurt, rather than joy. You become inwards within yourself until you can’t take it anymore and have to walk away from them, even if it’s hard.”

New Audio: Rising British Pop Artist Jordan Mackampa Releases a Soulful and Radio Friendly Single

Mackampa’s work is inspired by his Congolese roots and his mother’s love of legendary soul singers like Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield. And much like his influences, Mackampa has a developed a reputation for pairing an old school singer/songwriter soul-like vocal delivery with earnest songwriting and catchy melodies with a modern approach. Building upon that momentum, Mackampa’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Foreigner is slated for a March 13, 2020 release. Along with that the rising Congolese-British artist is currently on a North American tour opening for Amber Run that includes a stop tomorrow at Warsaw — and he has been confirmed to play at next year’s SXSW.

Jordan Mackampa is a rising London-born and-based Congolese-British singer/songwriter. With the release of “Under” earlier this year and 2016’s Physics EP, and 2017’s Tales From The Broken EP and Live from the Grand Cru EP, Mackampa has received critical praise from NME, The 405, The Line of Best Fit, Clash, Indie Shuffle, Wonderland and others — with all of his previously released material amassing over 50 million Spotify streams.

Mackampa’s latest single, “Parachutes” is a breezy yet deliberately crafted track centered around a radio friendly and loose arrangement of twinkling keys, shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line and propulsive drumming. But the star of the show is Mackampa’s easygoing and expressive vocals — in this case, Mackampa’s voice evokes the soaring high of being in love and the embittering low of heartache and betrayal within the turn of a phrase.

“‘Parachutes’ encapsulates those situations with people you’ve come across in life; who aren’t who they pretend to be and the person they are with you, isn’t someone you want to be around,” Mackampa explains in press notes. “However because you love them, either platonically or romantically, you’re conflicted by your feelings for them until it gets to a point where you don’t want to be hurt anymore… Nobody is perfect, but if you were trapped in an airplane with them and they had a parachute but you didn’t you would jump out regardless, because any pain you would experience afterwards, won’t be as bad as what you’ve already gone through.”

New Video: Rapidly Rising Portuguese Singer-Songwriter Marinho Releases a Cinematic and Surreal Visual for “I Give Up and It’s OK”

Filipa Marinho is a Lisbon, Portugal-born singer/songwriter, who grew up in an emotionally abusive household with plenty of early exposure to American cartoons, mid-90s movies and a growing intimacy with Hollywood notions of love, relationships […]

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Noosa, Australia-born, London-based indie pop duo and JOVM mainstays Geowulf. The act, which is comprised of longtime friends Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin have known each other since they were teenagers; however, their musical collaboration is a much more recent development that can be traced to when Kendrick enlisted the assistance of her old friend Benjamin, to flesh out some of her early demos.

The duo then released a string of highly successful, critically applauded singles that began with “Saltwater,” which received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s Top Ten and landed at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts, continued with the Mazzy Star meets Fleetwood Mac-like “Don’t Talk About You,” the  Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much” and  the jangling, 60s girls group pop-inspired single “Hideaway,;” and The Smiths-like “Sunday,” before the release of their Duncan Mills-produced full-length debut, last year’s Great Big Blue.

Building upon their rapidly growing international profile. the duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore album My Resignation is slated for an October 25, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings. The album reportedly finds Geowulf’s Kendrick writing arguably some of the most brutally honest lyrics of the band’s growing catalog to date. Written from the perspective and lens of a 20-something women trying to maneuver the weight of expectations put upon by others and herself, the album touches upon heartbreak and loneliness — in particular, leaning how to accept and love the space and much-needed self-awareness it can provide. As a result, the album and its material finds the duo maturing and attempting to maneuver the complexities and uncertainties of adulthood with their dignity and sanity intact. And if that feels familiar to you, it should. We’ve all been there at some point or another, and we’re still struggling through it all.

My Resignation‘s fifth and latest single, album title track, the deliberately crafted pop confection “My Resignation” is centered around a Phil Spector Wall of Sound-like production consisting of shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring hook and Kendrick’s gorgeous vocals expressing regret, weariness and hope for a new start simultaneously. “‘My Resignation’ inspired the name and the theme of the album,” the band’s Star Kendrick explains in press notes. It summed up a lot of the years before — resigning from old habits and relationships. Creating space for new things and learning to let go. Toma and I feel proud of the song and had a lot of fun writing and finessing it. I originally wrote the demo on holiday in Sweden, so it came back to London with me, where Toma and I worked on it some more.”

Geowulf will be returning to North America to embark on a handful of tour dates throughout November. The tour will include a November 11, 2019 stop at Mercury Lounge. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

 

NORTH AMERICAN DATES:
11/7/2019 – Chicago, IL – Schubas
11/8/2019 – Toronto, ON – Drake
11/11/2019 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
11/13/2019 – Los Angeles, CA -Moroccan Lounge
11/14/2019 – San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop
11/15/2019 – Seattle, WA – Barboza

New Video: DENM Releases an Ode to Summer and Southern California

Back in 2015, the emerging pop artist DENM was a bedroom producer, playing in a touring band full-time and producing songs on the side in his spare time. “My solo project basically started out as something to do when I was bored on tour,” DENM says in press notes. “We would all have our computers out, making our own music for fun on the road. I remember making this random dance song in the back row of a sprinter and thought it sounded pretty cool. I played it for a few friends and label people, and when they demanded to hear more, I took it to heart.” 

That dance song eventually became his critically applauded and commercially successful debut single “Lit,” a single that Pop Crush called “a garage house-y ode to hedonism and the rush of infatuation.” Within a month of its release, “Lit” amassed over a million streams and landed on the Top 10 of Spotify’s and Hype Machine’s Viral and Hot New Electronic Charts respectively. “Honestly, I just got super lucky,” DENM admits. “I didn’t make the song with the intention of it getting the reaction that it did. I was blown away by how well it did, but it also became somewhat of a curse to me. The people around me at the time wanted to hear more songs just like ‘Lit.’ But that wasn’t who I was or wanted to be as an artist. I’m not really an EDM artist. And I wanted to make music I truly believed in. Unfortunately, not everyone around me understand that, which left me stuck in this tension of wanting to be myself as an artist, but also not wanting to let my team down.” 

Since the release of “Lit,” DENM has been busy discovering who he is an artist, a lengthy process that at one point had him contemplating quitting music altogether. But instead of immediately quitting, he wrote “Life’s Too Short.” “When I wrote ‘Life’s Too Short,’ I had no money, nothing was working, and it seemed like I’d hit the final wall,” DENM shares.  “So as a form of therapy, I wrote a song about how life is too short – how it all flies by so fast. I mean, I remember being a little kid like it was yesterday. And now I’m an adult. Just like that. I’d been so focused on trying to make it, that I wasn’t even enjoying my life. So I decided to try and change my mindset. I let go. I told myself that I was going to be alright. That whatever will be, will be.”

Shortly, after writing “Life’s Too Short,” DENM was in a one-off writing session at Rock Mafia with some of the music industry’s biggest hitmakers. And as the story goes. when he was asked what he had been recently working on, he played a demo of “Life’s Too Short.” The industry folks dug the song, praising his laid-back, yet honest take on life. “Meeting them was life-changing for me,” recalls DENM. “I was so burned out from making music I didn’t like for other people. I told Rock Mafia how hard it was to write and create music under that kind of pressure. They simply responded, ‘Well, what kind of music do you wanna make?’ That question shifted something in me. It gave me this spark of hope inside. The energy in that room felt magical as we listened to the demo of ‘Life’s Too Short.’ I guess that’s where it all started for us. That’s when everything in my life began to change.”

Last year, DENM signed to Rock Mafia as an artist, songwriter and producer. Shortly after signing to Rock Mafia, the production team and the up-and-coming indie artist began working on his recently released Endless Summer EP.  Interestingly, the EP’s latest single, “Blow It Up” is a breezy summertime jam, centered by twinkling and reverb drenched keys, a sinuous bass line, a slick yet infectious hook and DENM’s laid back yet earnest delivery. And while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Sublime, the song is a subtly anthemic ode to hanging with your crew, getting high and escaping the shiftiness of your own life for a little while at least. Certainly, it’s a familiar theme for an uncertain and uneasy adulthood, which so many of us go through. 

The recently released video is a trippy and fitting ode to all things Southern California as you see DENM and his crew getting stoned under purple skies, playing craps and drinking beer. Others start a barbecue while local kids skateboard nearby. It’s the perfect ode to summer, as yet another year rushes by. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Geowulf Releases a Shimmering and Self-Assured Pop Gem

I’ve written quite a bit about Geowulf over the past few years. Comprised of Noosa, Australia-born friends and collaborators, Star Kendrick and Toma Benjamin, have known each other since they were teenagers; however, their musical collaboration is a relatively recent development that can be traced to when Kendrick enlisted the assistance of her old friend to flesh out some of her early demos. 

The duo released a string of highly successful, critically applaud singles that included “Saltwater,” which received over 1 million Spotify streams and reached Hype Machine‘s Top Ten and landed at #4 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts; the Mazzy Star meets  Fleetwood Mac-like “Don’t Talk About You;” the  Phil Spector meets Still Corners “Drink Too Much;”  the jangling, 60s girls group pop-inspired single “Hideaway,;” and The Smiths-like “Sunday,” the JOVM mainstays released their Duncan Mills-produced, full-length debut, Great Big Blue last year.

Building on the growing profile, the duo’s highly anticipated sophomore album My Resignation is slated for an October 25, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings, and the album finds the Aussie JOVM mainstays collaborating with acclaimed songwriter and producer Justin Parker on a number of tracks. Reportedly, the album finds Kendrick writing arguably some of the most brutally honest lyrics of the duo’s growing catalog to date. In fact, the material thematically focuses on loneliness — in particular, learning how to accept it and love the space and self-awareness it can provide. But naturally, the material is written through the lens of a 20-something woman trying to maneuver the weight of the expectations put upon by others and herself. Along with that, the album also deals with heartbreak. Of course that all should sound familiar and it should because all of us have been there at some point or another. In other words, the album finds the duo maturing and attempting to maneuver the complexities and uncertainties of adulthood with their sanity and dignity intact. 

My Resignation’s fourth and latest single “Lonely” is an incredibly self-assured bit of radio friendly and sugary pop, centered around jangling guitars, atmospheric synths, thumping drumming and Kendrick’s sultry crooning, but the song finds its narrator coming to a profound realization — that it’s better to be lonely and find yourself than to be lost and lonely with someone else. The song’s narrator also seems to be growing more confident within herself and within her own skin. It’s arguably one of the most mature and adult sentiments the duo have put to wax so far. 

“In a way, ‘Lonely’ epitomizes a lot of what this album means to me . . .” Geowulf’s Star Kendrick explains in press notes. “A bold and welcomed acceptance of myself and my own company. Feeling less and less like I need the approval of others. That’s one of the many nice things about getting a bit older.” 

The recently released video was shot on grainy Super 8mm film and it features Kendrick is a sparsely arranged room, wearing a gorgeous red, satin gown with matching veil. As she sings the song to herself, she takes off the gown and completes the song in just a plain bra and pair of panties. Essentially, the video finds Kendrick disposing of superficialities to get to the heart of the matter — her growing comfort with herself. 

New Audio: Acclaimed Dream Pop Act Cigarettes After Sex Release a Hauntingly Spectral Single

Currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Greg Gonzalez (vocals, guitar) with Jacob Tomsky (drums) and Randy Miller (bass), the acclaimed Brooklyn-based dream pop act Cigarettes After Sex can trace their origins back to when Gonzalez formed the band in El Paso. TX back in 2008. Their debut EP, 2012’s I received some attention when “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” became a sleeper hit of sorts, after it was licensed for use in commercials.

With the release of 2017’s self-titled debut, Cigarettes After Sex quickly became international sensations. Since its release the album as sold over 550,000 records to date, amassed over 360 million Spotify streams, 2.2 million monthly listeners and 350 million YouTube streams. They’ve been featured in a number of major media outlets including Vice Noisey, V Magazine, Interview, NPR’s Tiny Desk — and their music has appeared in The Handmaid’s Tale, Killing Eve and in a Ralph Lauren ad campaign. Additionally, Taylor Swift, Kylie Jenner, Lana Del Rey, Françoise Hardy, Lily Allen, Busy Phillips and a long list of others have claimed to be fans of the band’s work. 

During the week of their full-length debut’s release, the members of the Cigarettes After Sex traveled to Mallorca, Spain. And naturally, each of the band’s individual members consciously let the striking location guide what was to become the initial sessions for their forthcoming sophomore album Cry. “The sound of this record is completely tied to the location for me,” Greg Gonzalez explains in press notes. “Ultimately, I view this record as a film. It was shot in this stunning, exotic location, and it stitches all these different characters and scenes together, but in the end is really about romance, beauty and sexuality. It’s a very personal telling of what those things mean to me.” 

While the instrumentation came about quickly — often improvised on the spot — it would be another two years before Gonzalez would attempt to complete the material’s accompanying lyrics. Slated for an October 25, 2019 release through Partisan Records, Cigarettes After Sex’s highly-anticipated sophomore album is influenced by a new, burgeoning romantic relationship, the films of Eric Rohmer and the work of Selena and Shania Twain. Thematically, the material is a cinematic and brooding meditation on the many complex facets of love — meeting, wanting, needing and losing .  . . sometimes simultaneously. But interestingly enough, Cry will find the band blending the carnal subtly of its predecessor with a warmer sonic palette. 

Cry’s first single is the spectral yet lush “Heavenly.” Centered around Gonzalez’s achingly tender and vulnerable falsetto, hushed and shuffling drumming, shimmering guitar, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook, the song sonically reminds me a bit of Mazzy Star’s smash hit “Fade Into You.” And much like  “Fade Into You,” “Heavenly” is a feverish, narcoleptic dream that expresses a wild, desperate, swooning longing — the sort that mixes devotion, obsession, love and lust into a confusing and wonderful blur.  Of course, the song finds the band managing to craft material that’s as intimate as whispered, sweet  nothings to a lover while possessing a cinematic (and larger than life) quality.  As the band’s Greg Gonzalez explains, the song was “inspired by the overwhelming beauty I felt watching an endless sunset on a secluded beach in Latvia one summer night…”