Tag: SXSW

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Yola Releases an Uplifting Tune for Young Black Women

With the release of her critically applauded, Dan Auerbach-produced full-length debut, last year’s Walk Through Fire, the Bristol, UK-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Yola had a highlight-filled, breakthrough year. Some of those major highlights included:

playing a breakout performance at SXSW
making her New York debut at Rockwood Music Hall
playing a live session for YouTube at YouTube Space New York
opening for a list of acclaimed artists including Kacey Musgraves, Lake Street Dive and Andrew Bird on a select series of US tour dates that featured stops at Newport Folk Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Austin City Limits Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors
making her nationally televised debut on CBS This Morning: Saturday Sessions
receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Artist, along with fellow JOVM mainstays The Black Pumas.
making her late night national television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
releasing a soulful cover of Elton John‘s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” that’s not only a staple of her live sets — but caught the attention of Sir Elton John himself, who praised the rapidly rising artist and her cover.

The British-born JOVM mainstay had hopes to build upon the incredibly momentum of 2019 with a handful of opportunities that many artists across the world would probably kill someone for: Earlier this year, it was announced that she was preparing to play blues and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Baz Luhrmann’s musical drama Elvis alongside Austin Butler in the title role, Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Presley’s mother. Unfortunately, the film wound up being delayed as a result of pandemic-related shutdowns- and infamously, Tom Hanks contracting COVID-19 while filming in Australia.

The Bristol-born, Nashville-based JOVM mainstay finished her first Stateside headlining tour, which included a Music Hall of Williamsburg show in February, right before pandemic-related shutdowns put the entire known world on pause. In between filming, she was supposed to play a series of dates opening for country superstar Chris Stapleton and Grammy Award-winning acts The Black Keys and Brandi Carlile — with one of those shows being at Madison Square Garden. The best laid plans of mice and men, indeed.

In the meantime, Yola has made her rounds across the domestic, late night television show circuit: Earlier this year she performed, album bonus track “I Don’t Want to Lie” on The Late Late Show with James Corden — and recently, Yola was on Late Night with Seth Meyers with a soulful, gospel-tinged cover of Nina Simone‘s classic and beloved “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” filmed at The Ryman Auditorium.

Her latest single, the Dave Cobb-produced “Hold On” is the first bit of original material from the JOVM mainstay since the release of Walk Through Fire and the track features an All-Star cast backing her including The Highwomen bandmates Brandi Carlile (backing vocals) and Natalie Hemby (backing vocals), Sheryl Crow (piano) and Jason Isbell (guitar). The Yola penned song was recorded during The Highwomen self-titled debut sessions at RCA Studio A — and the track is an uplifting, gospel-tinged track with a warm yet spacious country soul arrangement and that incredibly soulful powerhouse vocal range. The sister can flat out sang, as they say. And along with the aforementioned cover of “To Be Young Gifted and Black,” “Hold On” comes from a rather personal, lived in place.

Inspired by many of the conversations and lessons Yola’s mother gave her about the racism, colorism and systemic unconscious bias she would later experience as a woman, the song finds its narrator imploring the listener — young, Black women, in particular — to be brash and bold, to stand up and take up place, and to to show the entire world that being young, gifted and black is where it’s at, as Nina once sang. Fuck yes, to all of this — and all the goddamn time, too.

“‘Hold On’ is a conversation between me and the next generation of young black girls,” Yola explains. “My mother’s advice would always stress caution, that all that glitters isn’t gold, and that my black female role models on TV are probably having a hard time. She warned me that I should rethink my calling to be a writer and a singer…. but to me that was all the more reason I should take up this space. ‘Hold On’ is asking the next gen to take up space, to be visible and to show what it looks to be young, gifted and black.”

A proportion of the profiles from sales of the track will be donated to MusicCares and National Bailout Collective. She also launched an accompanying line of merch with a proportion of proceeds from those sales also benefiting the same organizations. Check out the following:

https://www,iamyola.com/store

New Video: Follow Acclaimed Aussie Indie Rocker Peter Bibby on a Hilarious Night Out in New Visual for “Calcium”

Over the past handful of months, I’ve written a bit about the rising and critically applauded Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, Peter Bibby. Bibby’s music career started in earnest when he turned 19: he quit the unfulfilling job he was working at the time to busk, eventually landing a few paying gigs. Sometime later, the Fremantle-based singer/songwriter and guitarist landed a high paying job that he wound he losing because he would show up hungover from the gigs he’d play the night before. So, he played even more gigs with a series of different backing bands including Frozen Ocean, Fucking Teeth and Bottles of Confidence developing a rough and tumble sound and approach, a sound and approach that a critic described as being like Shane McGowan screaming at bleeding laudanum and typhoid hallucinations while his guitar playing has been described as being like a dog drunk on rum.

With the release of his first two albums 2014’s Butcher/Hairstylist/Beautician and 2018’s Grand Champion, Bibby proudly championed — and has been championed for — being a working class and wholeheartedly independent artist, which was documented in greater detail in the 2018 film Chasing Palm Springs, which followed Bibby on a cross-country trip from Perth to Melbourne in a temperamental van. Since then, the Fremantle-based artist has begun to build a growing profile and reputation as a must see act, as a result of a rowdy and raucous live set — and through headlining shows and international festival circuit stops at Laneway, Falls and SXSW.

Bibby’s highly anticipated, third album Marge sees it official released today through Spinning Top Records/Caroline Records Australia. The album, which features Bibby’s latest backing band Dog Act — Pete “Strawberry Pete” Gower (bass) and Dave “Dirty Dave” Taylor (drums) derives its name from Dave Taylor’s grandmother Marge. The titular Marge is prominently featured on the album’s cover art, smoking a cigarette on a beach in Darwin, Australia, seemingly watching her corner of the world go by. “I felt there was no better image than a smoking nanna to be the face of this album,” Bibby says. Sonically, the album is splintered and volatile and written as a sort of soundtrack to a surf movie from hell, where there’s blood in the water, a dirt road leading to a dead end — and everything is covered in diesel fumes and dust. “The Dog Act and I recorded this album in a week off in Perth between two Australian tours. We were match fit and full of beans,” Bibby says of the album. “It features a selection of songs, some fun, some completely bloody miserable. It was made better by the involvement of the fourth Dog, Mitch McDonald, who engineered the record and offered endless energy and ideas. I love this record.”

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: the disorderly, wobbly and boozy “Oceans,” a track full of spittle, fury and howled invective centered around fuzzy and lurching power chords, thunderous drumming and drunken shout along worthy choruses reminiscent of Johnny Thunders‘ “Born to Lose,”and John Cale‘s “Pablo Picasso” — and “Whyalla,” a love letter and condemnation of rural Australia that viciously points out the hopelessness, small-minded thinking and boredom of that world with the sort of lived-in hate, despair and deeply abiding love you’d feel for a dysfunctional and fucked-up family member.

Marge’s third and latest single “Calcium” is a slow-burning track that’s one part sarcastic yet scientific study and one part late night, shitfaced blues, centered around shimmering guitars, BIbby’s earnestly howled vocals, twinkling piano and shout along friendly hook. The song features a narrator, who’s deeply concerned about his calcium intake — mainly because he’s concerned about his teeth becoming jacked up. See, vanity, they name is male!

“I wrote this song on the back porch of a mate’s place in Mt Lawley. I remember having read a lot of mumbo jumbo about the dairy industry at the time. The lyrics felt silly but the tune felt so nice to sing. Engineer Mitch pulled a real shifty on me and put my guitar solo in reverse, resulting in me being a happy boy,” Bibby says of the new single.

Co-directed by Bibby and Billy Bowen, the recently released video for “Calcium” follows Bibby on a typical night at his regular bar: Bibby having preternatural restraint and control as friends and regulars offer him booze, cigarettes and alcohol, which he steadfastly refuses. Throughout the video we see Bibby drink milk, lose terribly at pool and hunt for vitamins like a fiend. It’s hilarious and absurd — but at the end, Bibby can say that his grill looks good.

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Yola Performs a Soulful Rendition of Nina Simone’s “To Be Young Gifted and Black”

With the release of her critically applauded, Dan Auerbach-produced full-length debut Walk Through Fire, the Bristol, UK-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Yola had a highlight-filled, breakthrough year last year. Some of those highlights included:

playing a breakout performance at SXSW
making her New York debut at Rockwood Music Hall
playing a live session for YouTube at YouTube Space New York
opening for a list of acclaimed artists including Kacey Musgraves, Lake Street Dive and Andrew Bird on a select series of US tour dates that featured stops at Newport Folk Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Austin City Limits Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors
making her nationally televised debut on CBS This Morning: Saturday Sessions
receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Artist, along with fellow JOVM mainstays The Black Pumas.
making her late night national television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
releasing a soulful cover of Elton John‘s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” that’s not only a staple of her live sets — but caught the attention of Sir Elton John himself, who praised the rapidly rising artist and her cover.

Much like countless artists across the globe, the British-born JOVM mainstay had hoped to continue the momentum of her breakthrough 2019: she was supposed to play blues and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Baz Luhrmann’s musical drama Elvis alongside Austin Butler in the title role, Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Presley’s mother — but the film has been delayed as a result of both pandemic-related lockdowns and Tom Hanks contracting the virus while in Australia. And although she finished her first headlining Stateside tour, she was supposed to play a run of dates with country superstar Chris Stapleton and Grammy Award-winning acts The Black Keys and Brandi Carlile. However, the JOVM has begun to make her rounds across the domestic, late night television circuit: earlier this year, she performed, album bonus track “I Don’t Want to Lie” on The Late Late Show with James Corden — and recently, Yola was on Late Night with Seth Meyers with a soulful, gospel-tinged cover of Nina Simone’s classic and beloved “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” filmed at The Ryman Auditorium.

As a YouTube commenter said “Nina and Aretha are smiling down from above.” He’s absolutely right. Of course, I hope that each rendition of the song will remind everyone of one simple, incontrovertible fact: Black Lives Matter.

Initially founded in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico by Estrella del Sol Sanchez and Amor Amezcua, the Mexican shoegazer act Mint Field quickly received international attention with the release of their debut EP Primeras Salidas, eventually playing sets across the North American festival circuit, including Coachella and SXSW, as well as venues across both the States and their native Mexico. Building upon a growing profile, Mint Field’s full-length debut, 2018’s Pasar De Las Luces found the act establishing a clearer sense of what they wanted to do sonically — primarily, as a result of finally having access to the tools to do so. The end result was an album’s worth of material that drew from dream pop, krautrock, stoner rock and shoegaze, imbued with sorrow and nostalgia.

The past couple of years since the release of Pasar De Las Luces has been rather eventful for the Mexican shoegazer act: they’ve toured extensively across the North America and the European Union, playing over 100 shows. Continuing that momentum, the band recorded Pasar De Las Luces’ follow-up, last year’s  Mientras Esperas EP, which they supported with further touring across the States, Canada and Mexico — with two sold out shows in Mexico City.

During that same period, the band relocated to Mexico City and upon relocating to the Mexican capital, the band went through a massive lineup change: Amor Amezcua left the band, and the band then expanded into a trio with the addition of Sebastian Neyra and the band’s newest member, Ulrika Spacek’s Callum Brown. Capping off a series of monumental changes for the acclaimed Mexican act, they signed to Los Angeles-based post punk label Felte Records.

Slated for a September 25, 2020 release, the band’s Syd Kemp-produced sophomore album Sentimiento Mundial was recorded at London‘s Wilton Way Studio, and the album reportedly sees the band’s sound shifting towards a decidedly minimal, rhythmically focused approach. The album will feature the meditative “Natural,” and the motorik groove-driven “Contingencia,” and the lushly textured  Pink Floyd-like “Delicadeza.

“Aterrizar,” Sentimiento Mundial‘s fourth and latest continues a run of slow-burning, painterly material, centered around shimmering yet angular guitars, propulsive drumming, del Sol Sanchez’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and a soaring hook. Interestingly, the track manages to recall Slowdive and The Verve-like shoegaze — but imbued with an aching nostalgia for a seemingly innocent past that we can’t get back.