Tag: Stevie Nicks

 

Gemma Ray is a Basildon, Essex, UK-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has collaborated with Sparks, Alan Vega and members of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds while releasing 8 full-length albums that have found the Basildon-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist meshing a number of disparate genres into what’s been dubbed pop-noir, sideway blues and gothic folk.

Ray’s forthcoming full-length album Psychogeology is slated for a February 15, 2019 release through her longtime label home Bronze Rat Records and interestingly the album which was recorded at Candybomber Studios and Ray’s Berlin Studio finds her incorporating sci-fi synthscapes, girl group dramarama, gothic surf disco, blues cantatas, Melody Nelson-era Gainsbourg groove, and harmony-laden reverb-drenched folk-pop among other things. Although the album’s first single “Blossom Crawls” sounds a bit like Stevie Nicks mixed with shimmering Phil Spector Wall of Sound-era girl pop, complete with a soaring hook. Unsurprisingly, the song reveals some ambitious songwriting centered around a careful attention to craft and a swooning romanticism.

 

 

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Luvia is an up-and-coming Brighton, UK-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, who has received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that she describes on her Facebook  page as a mix of Lana Del Rey, Mazzy Star and a hint of Stevie Nicks, brining together a tender ethereal, acoustic sound. Lyrically, the up-and-coming, British pop artist is inspired by spoken word poetry and story-telling — in particular, she’s been deeply influenced by stories of people, who have given into their guilty pleasures and have taken that proverbial walk on the wild side. Luvia’s latest single is the noir-ish “Love Lust,” centered around the young British artist’s achingly tender vocals and an atmospheric and slow-burning production featuring dramatic drumming, twinkling keys and a soaring hook. Sonically, the track bears an uncanny resemblance to JOVM mainstays ACES as it evokes a cinematic air, that recalls 80s movie soundtracks; but interestingly enough the song seems to capture

As Luvia explains in press notes, “’Love Lust’ is a reflection of what it was like growing up for me but also a lot of people I know. Lots of feeling numb and having a lot to deal with and doing things to feel something or anything. I think that’s where the main line ‘even if it kills me it makes us feel alive, even if it thrills me we might as well just try’ came from, an act of teenage thrill seeking perhaps. Although on the flip side the song is also about growing away from that and finding a way to come alive and wake up from the darker side of things and from the dull day to day.”

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New Video: JOVM Mainstay Eliza Shaddad Releases Minimalist Visuals for Gorgeous Yet Sparse Album Single

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed British singer/songwriter and guitarist Eliza Shaddad — and as you many recall, Shaddad released her full-length debut Future earlier this month to critical applause from a number of media outlets. That shouldn’t be surprising as album singles My Body,” “This Is My Cue” and “Just Goes to Show” revealed an artist, whose sound draws from trip-hop, indie rock, grunge rock, 80s and 90s movie soundtracks, pop and folk in a cohesive fashion; but most importantly, the album is centered around some of Shaddad’s most personal and unabashedly honest songwriting to date. 

Interestingly, the album’s latest single, the intimate and slow-burning “(To Make It Up To You)” is something of  a departure from the album’s previously released singles as its centered around a sparse arrangement consisting of Shaddad’s plaintive and aching vocals accompanied by strummed guitar. Lyrically, the song may arguably be the most unabashedly honest songs as its narrator recognizes that they’ve had a lengthy pattern of making the same time-worn mistakes without learning much from them, managing to blindly and selfishly hurt people, who she cares about — and alienating herself from a chance of happiness. As a result, the song’s narrator finds herself full of regret and missed chances, asking for forgiveness and a chance to get it right; however, there’s this sense that the forgiveness and understanding she’s asking for, she may never receive; and that sometimes a relationship has been permanently altered. 

The recently released video for the song employs an extremely simple concept: Shaddad earnestly performing the song in an equally sparse setting — a white studio in which she wears a white shirt and black pants. Unsurprisingly, the video suggests that the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in experience. 

New Video: Introducing the Anthemic Synth Pop of Kansas City’s Yes You Are

With the release of their attention-grabbing debut single “HGX” which debuted during Pepsi’s Super Bowl 51 halftime show and was featured in the major motion picture Bad Moms, FX’s Tyrant and MTV’s Scream, the Kansas City-based indie electro pop act Yes You Are, which is comprised of Kianna Alarid (vocals), Jared White (rhythm guitar, vocals), Jacob Temper (lead guitar, keys), Joseph Wilner (drums) and Willie Jordan (bass) quickly emerged into the national scene for a dark, goth-inspired take on pop that the band’s Kianna Alarid describes as black pop. “It implies that there might be shadows lurking, even in the shiny places.”  Interestingly, as a result of a growing profile, the band has opened for the likes of K. Flay, Moon Taxi, Marion Hill, Lucius and Neon Trees among others.  

Building upon a growing profile, the band is putting the finishing touches on their forthcoming full-length debut; but in the meantime, their latest single is the slickly produced and infectious “Blacklight.” Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, an anthemic, shout along worthy hook and Alarid’s pop star belter vocals, the track sounds as though it were channeling Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back;” however, the song lyrically and thematically is inspired by one of the most terrifying experiences that Alarid has ever had. “I was 12 years old when I first started seeing the hooded entity in my room at night.” explains Alarid. “It was terrifying and it happened often. It wasn’t until a decade later, but I finally decided to put my foot down. I visualized a light inside of me and told the hooded figure that it didn’t scare me anymore. It never happened again. Those occurrences always made me feel weak and powerless but after I stood up to it, I felt stronger than I ever had before. ‘Blacklight’ is a song about finding that light in the dark places, and the mysterious feeling that maybe the darkness was working for you all along.”

Directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Blacklight” features Alarid running and dancing in a field towards brilliant light but at one point it seems as though she embraces some of the darkness surrounding her. 

New Video: An Intimate Look Behind the Scenes for Visuals for Mass Gothic’s Soaring 80s-Inspired Synth Pop Single “Keep on Dying”

Mass Gothic is an acclaimed New York-based synth based project comprised of married duo Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri, and the over course of their 18 year relationship, the’ve managed to dip in and out of each other’s creative spaces, advising on their respective projects and supporting one another; but throughout that bulk of their relationship, they never completely committed themselves to collaborating together on an entire album, sharing equal load — that is until, the project’s recently sophomore album, I’ve Tortured You Long Enough, a tongue-in-cheek title based around the fact it took way too long for the duo to finally collaborate together. 

Interestingly, Heroux started Mass Gothic back in 2016 as a solo project, after the breakup of his previous band Hooray for Earth. Reportedly plagued by his own insecurities and anxieties, Heroux wasn’t yet ready to deal with putting his trust and confidence into a shared, collaborate project — and perhaps most importantly, he wasn’t ready to do so with someone so close and so fundamental to his life. But before work began on the second Mass Gothic album, the phrase “I’ve Tortured You Long Enough” had reverberated through his head and quickly became both a mantra and a premonition. “It just popped into my head,” Heroux explains in press notes. “You can say it to a loved one or to a friend. Or You could wish someone say it to you. It covers so many basses but it’s taken on extra meaning in the past couple of years, while everybody is at each other’s throats; frustrated and confused all the time.” At the time, Heroux was in need of forcing himself out of his comfort zone and letting go of his prior, deep-seated stubbornness — and by the fall of 2016, circumstances forced him to face his biggest fears head on. “We rented a small tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. We put ourselves away and worked on music all day, wondering what it would feel and sound like,” Jessica Zambri recalls in press notes. 

The first song they wrote together was an early iteration of “Keep On Dying.” Zambri had the melody and lyrics while Heroux had arranged the chords. From there, things snowballed and while the writing began in New York, early last year the duo threw caution to wind, got rid of their Brooklyn apartment, purged most of their belongings and relocated to Los Angeles to write and record their album. They then bought a car, drove to L.A. where they lived out of duffle bag with co-producer Josh Ascalon, and they spent the bulk of their time writing. “The entire record from start to finish was done without having our own place to live,” Heroux recalls. Maybe we wouldn’t have been able to do it if we were anchored at home. We were forced into it. Jess was trying to open me up and if we could have just sat on a couch and thrown on the TV it probably wouldn’t have worked.”

Working as a duo helped to evolved the project’s sound, with the duo’s sophomore album being a more intentional meeting of the minds, centered round a complete openness to work together without rules or conditions — although last spring, when they initially thought they had finished the album, Heroux and Zambri separately realized that the material had way more potential; in fact, while they were preparing to go on tour with Zambri’s sister Cristi Jo and her boyfriend Jospeh Stickney when Heroux woke up one morning, turned to his spouse and said “Oh God, we have to fucking re-record the whole album.” The duo quietly agreed that it was required and during the final ten days, they made sure that the material was perfect but felt alive. Reportedly, the album’s material basks in and celebrates the acceptance of co-dependence and independence simultaneously — and while being autobiographical (it’s rooted around the relationship of its creators), it’s not so autobiographical and a conversation between its creators but while not being  alienating to the listener. 

I’ve Tortured You Long Enough’s latest single”Keep On Dying,” is a  hook driven song that features brief blasts of horn, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and Zambri’s ethereal vocals — and while sonically the song brings to mind Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks, it possesses a swooning Romanticism that’s tethered to the real world; vulnerable but with the recognition that love, like all things doesn’t make much sense and can be simultaneously easy and difficult yet so necessary in an increasingly stark, cynical world. 

Co-directed by the band and Nira Burnstein, the recently released video is an look of the band while on tour, goofing off, practicing — and with a profound, behind the scenes intimacy of a touring band.

Dan Sultan is an acclaimed Fitzroy, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who started playing guitar when he was four and wrote his first song when he turned 10. As the story goes, his mother’s friend gave the young Sultan an old electric guitar, and he began playing gigs at local pubs. In 2000, Sultan met a fellow singer/songwriter and guitarist Scott Wilson at a Williamstown, Australia pub and the duo began writing songs together. As Wilson recalled in an interview “What struck me at first was that he [Sultan] could play piano and guitar, and he was a great foil for what I was doing . . . After a while playing together, he said, ‘Can I Sing this one?’ I said, ‘Do you know the words?’ . . . [he had a] mighty voice. A lot people can play guitar . . . not many can sing like that.”

Sultan’s  Scott Wilson-produced, full-length solo debut, the genre-defying Homemade Biscuits was released in early 2006 and consisted of tracks written by Wilson or co-written by Sultan and Wilson, and a featured number of local musicians and collaborators, including Lazare Agneskis, Neil Gray, Elijah Maiyah, Lochile McKlean and Ben Wicks. Sultan’s debut also featured two attention grabbing tracks — “Your Love Is Like a Song,” which won a 2007 Deadly Award for Single Release of the Year, and “Rosyln,” a song Sultan wrote about his mother, who was a member of the Aboriginal “stolen generations,” which he performed during 2007’s National Day of Healing concert. Adding to a growing profile that year, Paul Kelly invited Sultan to record a cover of Kev Carmody’s “This Land Is Mine” for a compilation tribute album of Carmody’s work titled Cannot Buy My Soul — and with a backing band of Eugene Ball (trumpet), Ben Gillespie (trombone), Joshua Jones (bass), Peter Marin (drums), Ash Naylor (guitar) and Gina Woods (keys), Sultan and company played Australia’s festival circuit over the next two years or so, including set at the Sydney Festival and the Queensland Music Festival.

Sultan’s sophomore album 2009’s Get Out While You Can was a massive, commercial success as it charted on the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100, eventually reaching #1 on the independent Australian charts and was a Triple J featured album. Along with that, Sultan won ARIA Music Awards for Best Male Artist and Best Blues & Roots Album, and Australian Independent Records Awards for Best Independent Artist and Best Independent Blues & Roots Music Music.

In early 2014, Sultan opened for Bruce Springsteen‘s Melbourne and Hunter Valley shows during his Australian tour, which Sultan promptly followed up with the release of his third full-length album Blackbird, an album that reached #4 on the ARIA Albums Charts and spent 13 weeks in the Top 50 — and the album won a Best Rock Album Award at that year’s ARIA Awards. Building upon an impressive year, Sultan released the Dirty Ground EP, which reached the ARIA Albums Chart Top 100. Sultan’s fourth album, 2017’s Jan Skubiszewski-produced Killer was nominated for three ARIA Awards — Best Male Artist, Best Rock Album, and Best Independent Release.

Interestingly, Sultan’s soon-to-be released Killer Under a Blood Moon was recorded over the course of four days and while it continues Sultan’s commercially and critically successful collaboration Skubiszewski, the EP finds the duo collaborating with some of their country’s brightest and talented, up-and-coming artists, including  A.B. OriginalCamp CopeMeg Mac and Gang of Youths‘ Dave Le’aupepe to reinterpret a series of tracks from Sultan’s fourth album as a way to give his material new bodies, new ways of being while having a good time doing so. Now, as you may recall, last month I wrote about Sultan’s reworking of “Drover,” which featured Gang of Youth’s Dave Le’aupepe taking over vocal duties on a swaggering, arena rock-friendly blues centered around power chords, stomping beats, a looped choral sample and a muscular and anthemic hook reminiscent of The Black Keys.

The EP’s latest single is a reworking of Killer‘s album title track “Killer” that features Meg Mac — and while the original is a shuffling yet anthemic rock song with an infectious hook, the EP’s rework turns the song into a Fleetwood Mac/Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks-styled duet that retains the hook and melody but adds a sultriness to the song’s heartfelt vibe.

 

 

 

New Video: Introducing the Sultry 80s-Inspired Synth Pop of Brooklyn’s Saint Marilyn

Comprised of Che Houston (vocals, synths, drums) and Kevin Marksson (bass, synths), the up-and-coming, Brooklyn-based synth pop duo Saint Marilyn can trace its origins to when Houston and Marksson met while in college. And as the story goes, the duo flirted with the idea of starting a band, eventually collaborating together as a drums-and-guitar power duo back in 2013 — until a period of experimentation with vintage synthesizers led to a change in sonic direction, a new name and regular gigs across NYC.. 

Throughout 2015, the duo quietly self-released demos before entering the studio to record their Josh Benash-produced debut single “Frustrate Me,” a single that caught the attention of Earmilk and Indie Shuffle as it revealed a band whose sound drew equally from 80s New Wave and contemporary electronic music. Over the course of the next couple of years, the band wrote new material, enlisted Will Haywood Smith (drums) for live shows, and further honed their material through a rigorous series of live shows before entering the studio to record their Chris Coady-produced debut EP Tangle, which is slated for release next week, and the EP’s latest single is the slickly produced, dance floor friendly “Standard,” which finds the band further cementing their reputation for a sound that draws from early 80s New Wave, 80s synth pop and  modern electronic music that pairs Houston’s sultry vocals with shimmering, arpeggiated synths, four-on-the-floor drums and a sinuous bass line. Interestingly enough, the song to my ears brings to mind Madonna’s “Everybody,” and “Holiday,” Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back,” complete with an infectious hook. 

The recently released video for the song employs a familiar and beloved concept — it features the band performing the song in a neon-lit studio space. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Sofia Härdig Releases Moody Yet Upbeat Visuals for “Illuminate”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and JOVM Sofia Härdig, and as you may recall, she is at the forefront of an internationally renowned Swedish electro pop movement that includes a handful of JOVM mainstays and others that I’ve written about throughout the course of this site’s history; in fact, in her native country, she’s considered a queen of Sweden’s electronic rock scene. Along with that, Härdig has collaborated with the likes of Grammy Award-winning acts The Hellacopters, Bob Hund, Boredoms and Free Kitten‘s Yoshimi P-We — and she has shared stages with Lydia Lunch and Belle and Sebastian‘s Stevie Jackson. 

Härdig’s latest single “Illuminate” is an atmospheric, 80s-inspired, glistening and moody synth pop track consisting of layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a subtle rhythm guitar, a sinuous guitar line and a sultry hook — and while in some way reminding me of Stevie Nicks “Stand Back” and The Cars “Drive,” “Illuminate” is a deeply contemplative and introspective song focusing on the endless and seemingly frustrating search for love and for connection. Although it comes from a deeply personal place, it’s a universal sentiment that we’ve all felt at one point or another — and with a similar yearning to find that sort of love once again.

As Härdig explains in press notes. “I worked with the song ‘Illuminate’ alone in my studio for many long, lonesome nights. It was just the studio, the stars and I, while I played all the instruments, made the soundscape and recorded the single in solitude. Later, I invited over some friends to improvise over the track. Guitarist John Essing and bass player Mats Hellquist, both from the band ‘bob hund’, but also a classical pianist and cellist respectively, added parts to the soundscape of ‘Illuminate.’ I brought all the new recordings back into the studio – tore them apart, rebuilt them and made arrangements, as if I was a mad scientist in my lab. I then brought in Jari Haapalainen to produce the songs. The solitary fashion in which ‘Illuminate’ was crafted reflects the mood of the single.”

 The recently released video by Stefan Sundlof features textured and looped footage of dimly illuminated streets and close ups of Härdig in soft vignette framing — the darkness at the edges of the footage, slowly envelope the Swedish singer/songwriter and producer at one point, leaving only her illuminated. Towards the end of the video, the footage becomes increasingly brighter and day lit, further emphasizing the song’s increasing upbeat tone towards its conclusion. “It’s amazing that three of my best friends are filmmakers, even more so that they’re all involved in some way or another with this album,” Härdig says in press notes “Jessica Nettelbladt took the photos for the singles and the album, Johannes Stjärne Nillson did the covers and Stefan Sundlöf directed this video. The video uses a special version of ‘Illuminate’ that Stefan had fallen in love with; a slower, darker one. Stefan and I often share music and talk about it. When I sent him this edit of ‘Illuminate’ he responded almost right away with a 30 second video clip, that he’d made of what he had in mind for the song. It was stunning. I was convinced and saved the version for the video. So especially for you, here you get a glimpse of another universe of ‘Illuminate’. The one for the video, the one for Stefan.”
 

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about renowned Swedish singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist JOVM mainstay Sofia Härdig, who’s at the forefront of a blogosphere attention grabbing Swedish pop movement that includes several acts that I’ve written about at some or another; in fact, in her native Sweden, she’s considered the queen of electronic rock. Adding to a growing profile, the Swedish-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has collaborated with the likes of Grammy Award-winning acts The Hellacopters and Bob HundBoredoms and Free Kitten’s Yoshimi P-We — and she has shared stages with Lydia Lunch and Belle and Sebastian‘s Stevie Jackson.

Last month, I wrote about Härdig’s “Illuminate,” an atmospheric and introspective, 80s-inspired synth pop track featuring layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a subtle rhythm guitar, a sinuous guitar line and a sultry hook that managed to remind me of both  Stevie NicksStand Back” and The CarsDrive” but centered around a deeply personal and yet universal experience — the seemingly endless, frustrating search for love and connection with another. Interestingly, “Let Me Fall,” the latest single from her forthcoming full-length effort, Changing the Order is a thumping, club banging track that finds the renowned Swedish pop artist drawing from industrial electronica and 90s house music — to my ears, it’s a trippy yet forceful synthesis of Depeche Mode, Light Asylum and Snap!