Tag: Sufjan Stevens

New Video: The 80s Inspired Visuals for Swooning Phil Spector-like “Can’t Help The Way I Feel”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Indianapolis, IN-based folk pop duo Lily & Madeleine, And as you may recall, the act, which consists of siblings Lily and Madeline Jurkiewicz can trace its origins to when the Jurkiewicz Sisters began singing together while attending high school, uploading home videos of various covers to YouTube. Those videos caught the attention of Bloomington, IN-based producer Paul Mahern, who invited the sisters into his studio to record what would become their debut EP, 2013’s The Weight of the Globe when their class schedule permitted. Kenny Childers (Gentleman Caller) assisted by co-writing the material off the EP with the sisters; but it was video of the sisters singing in Mahern’s studio reached the front page of news aggregator Reddit — and as a result, Sufjan Stevens signed the Jurkiewicz Sisters to his label Asthmatic Kitty Records.

Adding to a growing profile, John Mellencamp asked the Jurkiewicz Sisters to contribute guest vocals to the soundtrack of his musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. After playing some of their first sold out shows in their hometown, they made their national TV debut on CBS This Morning to promote their self-titled, full-length debut, which was released in February 2013. The album was praised from a number of major media outlets, including The New York Times, which praised the album for their extraordinary sibling vocal blend, “deep and seamless and relaxed.” Since then the Indianapolis-based sibling folk pop duo have released two more albums — 2014’s Fumes, which was released through Asthmatic Kitty and 2016’s Keep It Together, which was released through New West Records.

Now, as you may recall, the Jurkiewicz Sisters kicked off this year with the inclusion of “Just Do It” on the first Spotify New Music Friday playlist of 2019 and the track, which was co-produced by Grammy Award-winning production team Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuck, who worked on Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour pairs the Lily and Madeleine’s gorgeous and effortless harmonizing with a shimmering dance pop-like production centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, hand claps and fluttering electronics; but at its core, the song not only talks about taking chances, it talks of confidently coming of age as a woman — and demanding what you need and want from yourself and others.

Canterbury Girls, the Jurkiewicz Sisters’ the fourth full-length album is slated for a February 22, 2019 release through New West Records and interestingly, the Phil Spector-like “Can’t Help The Way I Feel” is centered by what may arguably be the tightest and funkiest groove on the entire album, with a razor sharp and infectious hook, handclaps, twinkling keys and the Jurkiewicz Sisters easygoing yet gorgeous harmonizing. At its core, the song’s narrator is proud and defiant, openly saying that while her friends may disapprove of her love interest, she simply can’t help how she feels — even if the relationship isn’t good for her. Somehow, I suspect that many of us can relate.

Directed by Horatio Baltz, the recently released video for “Can’t Help The Way I Feel” features the Jurkiewicz Sisters are swooning and lovestruck 80s teens. Owing a visual debt to John Hughes films, the video features some slick split screens and some dreamy glamor sequences.

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New Audio: Lily & Madeleine Release a Gorgeous and Swooning New Single

Over the past month, I’ve written quite a bit about the Indianapolis, IN-based folk pop duo, Lily & Madeleine, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of siblings Lily and Madeline Jurkiewicz can trace its origins to when the Jurkiewicz Sisters began singing together while in high school, uploading home videos of various covers songs YouTube. Those videos catgut the attention of Bloomington, IN-based producer Paul Mahern, who invited the sisters into his studio to record what would become their debut EP, 2013’s The Weight of the Globe when their class schedule permitted. Kenny Childers (Gentleman Caller) assisted by co-writing the material off the EP with the sisters; but it was video of the sisters singing in Mahern’s studio reached the front page of news aggregator Reddit — and as a result, Sufjan Stevens signed the Jurkiewicz Sisters to his label Asthmatic Kitty Records.

Adding to a rapidly growing profile, John Mellencamp asked the Jurkiewicz Sisters to contribute guest vocals to the soundtrack of his musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. The duo’s self-titled full-length debut was released in February 2013, and received praise from a number of major media outlets including The New York Times, which praised the album for their extraordinary sibling vocal blend, “deep and seamless and relaxed.” Since then the Indianapolis-based sibling folk pop duo have released two more albums — 2014’s Fumes, which was released through Asthmatic Kitty and 2016’s Keep It Together, which was released through New West Records.

The Jurkiewicz Sisters kicked off this year with the inclusion of “Just Do It” on the first Spotify New Music Friday playlist of 2019 and the track, which was co-produced by Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuck,  pairs Lily and Madeleine’s gorgeous and effortless harmonizing with a shimmering dance pop-like production centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, hand claps and fluttering electronics; but at its core, the song not only talks about taking chances, it talks of confidently coming of age as a woman — and demanding what you need and want from yourself and others. “Can’t Help The Way I Feel,” the sibling duo’s second single of this year was centered what may arguably be the tightest and funkiest groove on the entire album — but perhaps more interesting is the fact that the track features a razor sharp and infectious hook, handclaps, winkling keys. shimmering and arpeggiated organ lines and the Jurkiewicz Sisters easygoing yet gorgeous harmonizing. At its core, the song’s narrator is proud and defiant, openly saying that while her friends may disapprove of her love interest, she simply can’t help how she feels — even if the relationship isn’t good for her. 

Co-written by Lucie Silvas and the Jurkiewicz Sisters, their third single of this year is the swooning and atmospheric “Analog Love.” Centered around shimmering steel pedal guitar, shuffling drumming, acoustic guitar and the Jurkiewicz Sisters gorgeous vocals, the track is a sweet love song that sonically seems to draw from honky tonk country and Phil Spector pop while evoking the sensation of the sort of love in which the world fades away, and for a few moments, it’s you and your love; but there’s also the underlying recognition that nothing lasts forever and as a result, there’s this desire to hold on to what you can for as long as you can. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about Lily & Madeleine, an Indianapolis, IN-based folk pop duo, consisting of siblings Lily and Madeline Jurkiewicz. The act can trace its origins to when the Jurkiewicz Sisters began singing together while in high school, uploading home videos of various cover songs to YouTube. Those videos catgut the attention of Bloomington, IN-based producer Paul Mahern, who invited the sisters into his studio to record what would become their debut EP, 2013’s The Weight of the Globe when their class schedule permitted. Kenny Childers (Gentleman Caller) assisted by co-writing the material off the EP with the sisters; but it was video of the sisters singing in Mahern’s studio reached the front page of news aggregator Reddit — and as a result, Sufjan Stevens signed the Jurkiewicz Sisters to his label Asthmatic Kitty Records.

Adding to a growing profile, John Mellencamp asked the Jurkiewicz Sisters to contribute guest vocals to the soundtrack of his musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. After playing some of their first sold out shows in their hometown, they made their national TV debut on CBS This Morning to promote their self-titled, full-length debut, which was released in February 2013. The album was praised from a number of major media outlets, including The New York Times, which praised the album for their extraordinary sibling vocal blend, “deep and seamless and relaxed.” Since then the Indianapolis-based sibling folk pop duo have released two more albums — 2014’s Fumes, which was released through Asthmatic Kitty and 2016’s Keep It Together, which was released through New West Records.

Now, as you may recall, the Jurkiewicz Sisters kicked off this year with the inclusion of “Just Do It” on the first Spotify New Music Friday playlist of 2019 and the track, which was co-produced by Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuck, who worked on Kacey MusgravesGolden Hour pairs the Lily and Madeleine’s gorgeous and effortless harmonizing with a shimmering dance pop-like production centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, hand claps and fluttering electronics; but at its core, the song not only talks about taking chances, it talks of confidently coming of age as a woman — and demanding what you need and want from yourself and others.

Canterbury Girls, the Jerkiewicz Sisters’ the fourth full-length album is slated for a February 22, 2019 release through New West Records and interestingly, its latest single is the Phil Spector-like “Can’t Help The Way I Feel.” Centered by what may arguably be the tightest and funkiest groove on the entire album, the track features a razor sharp and infectious hook, handclaps, winkling keys. shimmering and arpeggiated organ lines and the Jerkiewicz Sisters easygoing yet gorgeous harmonizing. At its core, the song’s narrator is proud and defiant, openly saying that while her friends may disapprove of her love interest, she simply can’t help how she feels — even if the relationship isn’t good for her. Somehow, I suspect that many of us can relate.

Lily & Madeleine will be touring to support the new album throughout February and March, and the tour will include a February 21, 2019 stop at Rough Trade. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES: 

Mon., Feb. 18 / Cafe Nine / New Haven, CT

Weds., Feb. 20 / The Saint / Asbury Park, NJ

Thurs., Feb. 21 / Rough Trade NYC / Brooklyn, NY

Fri., Feb. 22 / World Cafe Live Upstairs / Philadelphia, PA

Sat., Feb. 23 / Songbyrd / Washington, DC

Mon., Feb. 25 / Cat’s Cradle – Back Room / Carrboro, NC

Tues., Feb. 26 / Eddie’s Attic / Decatur, GA

Thurs., Feb. 28 / Zanzabar / Louisville, KY

Fri., Mar. 1 / Deluxe @ Old National Centre / Indianapolis, IN

Sat., Mar. 2 / Schubas Tavern / Chicago, IL

Sun., Mar. 3 / Turf Curb / St. Paul, MN

Mon., Mar. 4 / The Mill / Iowa City, IA

Weds., Mar. 6 / The Pike Room at The Crofoot / Pontiac, MI

Thurs., Mar. 7 / The Drake Hotel / Toronto, ON, Canada

Fri., Mar. 8 / Quai Des Brumes / Montreal, QC, Canada

Sat., Mar. 9 / Berklee College of Music: The Red Room @ Cafe / Boston, MA

 

 

New Audio: Acclaimed Folk Pop Duo Lily & Madeline Release a Bold and Self-Assured New Single

Lily & Madeleine are an Indianapolis, IN-based folk pop duo, consisting of siblings Lily and Madeline Jurkiewicz. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to when the Jurkiewicz Sisters began singing together while in high school, uploading home videos of various cover songs to YouTube. Those videos catgut the attention of Bloomington, IN-based producer Paul Mahern, who invited the sisters into his studio to record what would become their debut EP, 2013’s The Weight of the Globe when their class schedule permitted. Kenny Childers (Gentleman Caller) assisted by co-writing the material off the EP with the sisters; but it was video of the sisters singing in Mahern’s studio reached the front page of news aggregator Reddit — and as a result, Sufjan Stevens signed the Jurkiewicz Sisters to his label Asthmatic Kitty Records. 

Adding to a growing profile, John Mellencamp asked the Jurkiewicz Sisters to contribute guest vocals to the soundtrack of his musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. After playing some of their first sold out shows in their hometown, they made their national TV debut on CBS This Morning to promote their self-titled, full-length debut, which was released in February 2013. The album was praised from a number of major media outlets, including The New York Times, which praised the album for their extraordinary sibling vocal blend, “deep and seamless and relaxed.” Since then the Indianapolis-based sibling folk pop duo have released two more albums — 2014’s Fumes, which was released through Asthmatic Kitty and 2016’s Keep It Together, which was released through New West Records.

The Jerkiewicz Sisters kicked off this year with the inclusion of “Just Do It” on the first Spotify New Music Friday playlist of 2019 and the track, which was co-produced by Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuck, who worked on Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour pairs the Lily and Madeleine’s gorgeous and effortless harmonizing with a shimmering dance pop-like production centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, hand claps and fluttering electronics; but at its core, the song not only talks about taking chances, it talks of confidently coming of age as a woman — and demanding what you need and want from yourself and others.  

Live Footage: Rafiq Bhatia Performing “Breaking English”

Rafiq Bhatia is a Hickory, NC-born, New York-based composter, guitarist and producer of East African Indian descent. Before joining Ryan Lott and Ian Chang to expand renowned indie act Son Lux from a solo recording project to a fully fleshed out band, Bhatia released two critically applauded solo efforts — 2012’s Yes It Will and Strata. As a guitarist and producer, Bhatia has worked with an impressive and diverse array of artists including Olga Bell, Sam Dew, Marcus Gilmore, Billy Hart, Heems, Helado Negro, Vijay Iyer, Glenn Kotche, Valegir Sigurðsson, Moses Sumney, David Virelles, Lorde, Sufjan Stevens and others. Adding to a growing profile, he’s recored with the chamber ensembles International Contemporary Ensemble, JACK Quartet and Alarm Will Sound, and he’s had work appear on the soundtracks for the major motion pictures The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Air, and Afflicted.  

Bhatia’s third solo album Breaking English is slated for an April 6, 2018 release through ANTI- Records, and the album reportedly finds the renowned composer, producer and guitarist, who has long been influenced by Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Madlib, as well as mentors and collaborators Vijay Iyer and Billy Hart, meshing avant-garde jazz with textured and sculptured electronic composition and production. Because of his experience as a first-generation son of East African-born, Indian Muslim immigrant parents, who can trace their ancestry back to India, and the influence of mentors like Vijay Iyer and Billy Hart, Bhatia sees music as a way to actively shape and represent his own identity, not limited by anyone else’s prescribed perspective.  Interestingly, the album’s overall theme and its title were inspired by a 2008 trip to India that Bhatia took with his sister and parents — the first time he had ever seen the ancestral homeland. “We were driving towards the Taj Mahal, and noticed as we approached that there was an alarming number of signs advertising ‘Shooting Ranges.’ We grew increasingly curious and concerned about why these signs, which were written in English, were so prevalent — could they be targeted towards American tourists and their obsession with guns?” Bhatia recalled in press notes. “But eventually, we realized that ‘shooting’ was intended in the photographic sense. We had a good laugh about it, but then my dad turned to me quite seriously and asked ‘Eventually there will be likely more English speakers out here than there are in the West. At that point, who will get to decide what constitutes a proper use of English?’”

“’Breaking English’ is a ceremony of a song,” Bhatia continues. “Its central theme revealed itself to me in an improvised performance, fully formed, as though it had always existed. The cyclical form of the piece allows it to shed its skin and present itself anew in successive iterations, even as the core idea — or problem, or experience — stubbornly persists.”

Breaking English‘s latest single, album title track, the atmospheric and soulful “Breaking English” which features skittering drums, a sinuous bass line, blasts of bluesy guitar and a wailing chorus — and in some way, the composition nods at an incredible synthesis of the work of JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim, J. Dilla and Flying Lotus but with a soulful weariness and ache.

New Audio: Rafiq Bhatia’s Atmospheric and Soulful New Single

Rafiq Bhatia is a Hickory, NC-born, New York-based composter, guitarist and producer of East African Indian descent. Before joining Ryan Lott and Ian Chang to expand renowned indie act Son Lux from a solo recording project to a fully fleshed out band, Bhatia released two critically applauded solo efforts — 2012’s Yes It Will and Strata. As a guitarist and producer, Bhatia has worked with an impressive and diverse array of artists including Olga Bell, Sam Dew, Marcus Gilmore, Billy Hart, Heems, Helado Negro, Vijay Iyer, Glenn Kotche, Valegir Sigurðsson, Moses Sumney, David Virelles, Lorde, Sufjan Stevens and others. Adding to a growing profile, he’s recored with the chamber ensembles International Contemporary Ensemble, JACK Quartet and Alarm Will Sound, and he’s had work appear on the soundtracks for the major motion pictures The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Air, and Afflicted.  

Bhatia’s third solo album Breaking English is slated for an April 6, 2018 release through ANTI- Records, and the album reportedly finds the renowned composer, producer and guitarist, who has long been influenced by Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Madlib, as well as mentors and collaborators Vijay Iyer and Billy Hart, meshing avant-garde jazz with textured and sculptured electronic composition and production. Because of his experience as a first-generation son of East African-born, Indian Muslim immigrant parents, who can trace their ancestry back to India, and the influence of mentors like Vijay Iyer and Billy Hart, Bhatia sees music as a way to actively shape and represent his own identity, not limited by anyone else’s prescribed perspective.  Interestingly, the album’s overall theme and its title were inspired by a 2008 trip to India that Bhatia took with his sister and parents — the first time he had ever seen the ancestral homeland. “We were driving towards the Taj Mahal, and noticed as we approached that there was an alarming number of signs advertising ‘Shooting Ranges.’ We grew increasingly curious and concerned about why these signs, which were written in English, were so prevalent — could they be targeted towards American tourists and their obsession with guns?” Bhatia recalled in press notes. “But eventually, we realized that ‘shooting’ was intended in the photographic sense. We had a good laugh about it, but then my dad turned to me quite seriously and asked ‘Eventually there will be likely more English speakers out here than there are in the West. At that point, who will get to decide what constitutes a proper use of English?'”

“’Breaking English’ is a ceremony of a song,” Bhatia continues. “Its central theme revealed itself to me in an improvised performance, fully formed, as though it had always existed. The cyclical form of the piece allows it to shed its skin and present itself anew in successive iterations, even as the core idea — or problem, or experience — stubbornly persists.”

Breaking English’s latest single, album title track, the atmospheric and soulful “Breaking English” which features skittering drums, a sinuous bass line, blasts of bluesy guitar and a wailing chorus — and in some way, the composition nods at an incredible synthesis of the work of JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim, J. Dilla and Flying Lotus but with a soulful weariness and ache.

Sam Valdez is a Nevada-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, and classically trained violinist, who after spending time performing in a number of bands, discovered her own unique sound and decided that it was time to step out in front as a solo artist, writing her own original material influenced by the vastness of the desert and its sky, as well as Sufjan Stevens, The War on Drugs and the work of Sylvia Plath.  Interestingly, with the release of Hours, Valdez received attention from the likes of BlackBook.  Building upon a growing profile, Valdez’s latest single “It’s Alright” pairs incredibly forthright lyrics that thematically focus on coping with the disillusion that comes from relationships with a sound that manages to mesh anthemic shoegazer rock and twangy alt country/Americana in a way will remind some listeners of a brash and swaggering Mazzy Star, complete with rousing power chord-led hooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone (keys), Allen Tate (vocals), Charlene Kaye (vocals), Rebekah Durham (vocals, violin), John Brandon (trumpet), Stephen Chen (sax), Tyler McDiarmid (guitar) and Michael Hanf (drums), the renowned indie pop collective San Fermin can trace its origins to when Ludwig-Leone had attended Yale University. While at Yale, Ludwig-Leone had studied composition and assisted renowned composer Nico Muhly, known for his critically applauded work with Antony and the Johnsons, Sufjan Stevens and Grizzly Bear, on several film scores and operas. And although Ludwig-Leone had been in a number of bands throughout high school and college, he didn’t decide to focus on pop music until the end of his college career. As San Fermin’s primary songwriter has publicly mentioned he put on a concert with some pieces written for female vocalists and the night ended with the backing band playing some pop tunes with over-the-top arrangements. And as he has noted, at the time he realized that he could mesh both his interests in a seamless fashion.

Shortly after graduating from Yale, Ludwig-Leone relocated to secluded Banff, Alberta, Canada, where he would write the material, which would eventually comprise San Fermin’s self-titled debut, an effort that was widely praised for musicianship that   the New York Times‘ Paul Krugman described as delivering “epic and emotion-laden rock, with glorious and operatic vocals, electronic break beats, horns, strings, and other flourishes.” And as a result of the band’s growing live reputation and wide critical praise, the album reached #18 on Billboard‘s Top Heatseekers album chart. After the release of the San Fermin’s self-titled debut, the band built upon their growing profile with the release of their highly-anticipated sophomore effort Jackrabbit, an album which garnered further praise from NPRRolling Stone and others, as well as national TV appearances on CBS This Morning and Last Call With Carson Daly. With the growing attention on the Ludwig-Leone and company, their sophomore effort was even more commercially successful than its predecessor, as it landed at number 8 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers album chart.

Belong, Sen Fermin’s third, full-length effort is slated for an April 7, 2017 release through Downtown/Interscope Records and reportedly the material on the album reflect a marked shift in Ludwig-Leone’s songwriting approach with songs focusing on a much more personal perspective — with the album’s material thematically focusing on feelings of disconnection, displacement and everyday anxiety, among other things.  “No Promises,” Belong‘s first single was as Ludwig-Leone explains in press notes “the last song I wrote for this record, and it’s addressed directly to my bandmates. We’ve spent the past few years together; I just realized how much of their lives they’ve devoted to being in this band. It’s overwhelming to think about. The verses are about how touring can go from this exciting thing to feeling like you’re quite literally going in circles. The bridge is a rapid-fire list of things they’ve been required to do: early flights, all-night drives, maintaining long-distance relationships, etc. But really the song is about the fear of disappointing the people you love.” Along with the change in songwriting approach, “No Promises,” reveals a subtle change in sonic direction as Ludwig-Leone and company pair gorgeous and ethereal female melodies with a production that begins with a dramatic minimalism the builds up to a swooning, soaring and anthemic hook. Interestingly, the song to my ears, reminds me a bit of St. Lucia‘s breezy, pop confections.

San Fermin will be touring extensively throughout the Spring and Summer to support Being and the tour includes a May 13, 2017 stop at Brooklyn’s newest venue, Brooklyn Steel. Check out tour dates below.

Spring 2017 Tour Dates

04.11.17 – Toronto, ON – Great Hall
04.12.17 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
04.14.17 – Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
04.15.17 – Winnipeg, MB – The Park Theatre
04.17.17 – Calgary, AB – Festival Hall
04.18.17 – Edmonton, AB – The Needle
04.20.17 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
04.21.17 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
04.22.17 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
04.24.17 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
04.26.17 – West Hollywood, CA – The Roxy Theatre
04.27.17 – San Diego, CA – Casbah
04.28.17 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
04.29.17 – El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
05.01.17 – Dallas, TX – Sons of Hermann Hall
05.02.17 – Austin, TX – Antone’s
05.03.17 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
05.05.17 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
05.07.17 – Atlanta, GA – Park Tavern
05.09.17 – Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theatre
05.10.17 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
05.11.17 – Pittsburgh, PA – Andy Warhol Museum
05.12.17 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
05.13.17 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
05.15.17 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
05.16.17 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
05.18.17 – Dublin, IE – The Sugar Club
05.20.17 – Amsterdam, NL – Bitterzoet
05.22.17 – London, UK – Village Underground
05.25.17 – Berlin, DE – Grüner Salon
06.02.17- Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
06.03.17 – Bunbury Music Festival – Cincinnati, OH
07.15.17 – Green River Festival – Greenfield, MA