Tag: SXSW

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.”

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New Audio: Rising Aussie Electro Pop Trio Haiku Hands Release a Thumping, Old School Hip Hop Inspired Banger

Splitting their time between Melbourne and Sydney. the Aussie indie electro pop act Haiku Hands, which features a core trio of Claire Nakazawa, Beatrice Lewis and Mie Nakazawa have received attention both nationally and internationally for a sound that draws from hip-hop, electro pop, dance music and house music. Interestingly, the trio is part of a larger collective that engages with and explores social norms with their lyrical, musical and visual content. 

Now, as you may recall last year was a breakthrough year for the Aussie electro pop trio: their high energy club bangers “Squat,” “Jupiter,” and “Not About You” amassed over 3.5 million streams — and as a result, each single landed spots on iTunes charts across the globe. Adding to an enormous year, “Jupiter” was included on Matt Wilkinson‘s Best Songs of 2018 So Far list, and received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Radio X. Continuing on  the momentum, the members of Haiku Hands went on a month-long North American tour with CHAI that featured stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and the Market Hotel, an opening date for Cupcake in Chicago, and appearances at a handful of SXSW showcases. 

The Aussie indie electro pop trio’s highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for release next year through Mad Decent and Spinning Top in Australia and New Zealand. In the meantime, the trio’s latest single, the Mad Zach-produced “Onset” is a brash and infectious banger centered around a glitchy and thumping 808-based, old school hip-hop production reminiscent of Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force’s “Renegades of Funk” and Missy Elliott paired with the trio delivering equally brash and dexterously flows that nod at Khia’s “My Neck, My Back (Lick It),” schoolyard rhymes and chants. As a child of the 80s, this song brings boom boxes, shell toe Adidas and B Boys breaking — but with a modern touch. 

New Audio: Montreal’s Corridor Returns with an Explosive Post Punk-like New Single

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a little bit about the Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar) and Julien Bakvis (drums), received attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere with the release of 2015’s Le Voyage Éternel and 2017’s Supermercado. In fact, Supermercado received glowing praise from NPR and Vice, who referred to Supermercado as “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 .  . . ” 

Last year, building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Quebecois band toured across Europe and made their Stateside debut with appearances at SXSW and Northside Music Festival. Shortly after, they returned to the States, touring with British post-punk act Shame. And earlier this year. they opened for Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour, and have made appearances at London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival. Building upon the rapidly growing momentum surrounding the band, their third, full-length album Junior is slated for release next week through Sub Pop Records, making them the first Francophone band that the renowned indie label has ever signed.  

Junior manages to continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier but unlike its predecessors, the album found the band jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors — out of inspired necessity. Although the members of Corridor had just signed to their new label, the band firmly committed themselves to releasing a new album every two years. At the time, Sub Pop gently warned the members of the band that if they wanted to release new material this fall that they needed the completed album by May 10. 

So with the ink barely dried on the finalized deal, the members of Corridor went into the studio and recorded Junior in an inspired blitz, finishing the album in mid-April. Six of the album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend — with the lyrics to “Bang” written on the eve of the sessions, as the band’s Jonathan Robert began to panic. And as a result, the album’s material features fewer expansive jams, fewer overdubs. Even the album’s artwork came in the nick of time: in spite of other, meticulous and gorgeous artwork they received, Robert’s “shitty last minute collage” (of an egg saying hello) was the one his bandmates went for. “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions.

Junior’s first single “Topographe,” was a crafted, breakneck gallop centered around jittering and jangling guitars, propulsive drumming and reverb-drenched call and response vocals — with the end result being a muscular swoon, evoking the fluttering pangs of love. “Domino,” the album’s second single is a breezy track that was one part New Zealand-styled jangle pop and one part explosive, motorik groove driven jam that revealed a unit that can craft an incredibly infectious track that balances deliberate craft with a wild, improvised frenzy. “Pow,” Junior’s mesmerizing, third single may arguably be the most recognizably post punk-like song of the album. Centered around angular guitar lines,  fluttering synths, ethereal vocals, an infectious yet driving hook, jittery hi-hat and explosive toms, which seem to give the song its explosive title. 

New Video: Starcrawler Releases an Anthemic Country-Tinged Rocker

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles-based indie rock act Starcrawler, and as you may recall, the band quickly emerged with the release of last year’s critically applauded, self-titled debut album, an effort that established their sound, a heavily grunge rock-inspired sound, and for a feral live show. Since the release of their debut, the members of the band — Arrow de Wilde (vocals), Henri Cash (guitar), Austin Smith (drums) and Tim Franco (bass) — have had a busy touring schedule that has seen them play some of the world’s biggest music festivals, including Primavera Sound,Rock Am Ring, Download Festival, Voodoo Festival, FujiRock Festival, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, SXSW and others.

Adding to a rapidly rising profile, the band was included as part of last year’s incredibly diverse crop of Vevo DSCVR — but they were only ones to have Garbage’s Shirley Manson praise the band and de Wilde in a video testimonial. They’ve opened for Foo Fighters, MC50  Morrissey, Beck, Cage The Elephant, Spoon and The Distillers. But 2019 may arguably be the biggest year of the young band’s history: “Hollywood Ending,” the first single from the band this year received praise from NPR and Rolling Stone, and as a result, the track spent several weeks at #1 on speciality radio charts. And the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Devour You is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through Rough Trade Records.

Produced by Nick Launay at Sunset Studios, the album finds the band capturing the aggression and essence of their unhinged live show and pairing it with a more elaborate, more nuanced yet harder-hitting sonic palette to create a sound that the band’s Arrow de Wilde says ““encapsulates all the blood, sweat, bruised knees, and broken fingers of a Starcrawler show.”  “Bet My Brains,” Devour You’s first official single, was a T. Rex-like boogie shake, centered around de Wilde’s feral vocals, a massive guitar riff and a cretinous and forceful stomp. Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “No More Pennies” is a mid-tempo, country rocker with an enormous hook that reveals an ambitious, young band growing more mature and adventurous with their songwriting and sound — while being reminiscent of Headbanger’s Ball-era metal and T. Rex. 

Directed by the band’s Arrow de Wilde and Jonathan King, the recently released video as the de Wilde explained in press notes, “.  . . started with an archive of 16mm film that Gilbert Trejo shot with us on tour and at home over the last year.” “I was editing it together with Jonathan and we were both drawn to a lot of the shots of us around Los Angeles. So we jumped in a car, and shot the video performances around town trying to capture the feeling we get when we’re all together back in the city. We had our friends with us – Gilbert, Annie Hardy (Giant Drag), Mary James, my uncle Jimmy and Jonathan’s chihuahua Earth Angel. It’s got a feeling that captures the dreaminess of the song.” 

With the release of their full-length debut, Before It Gets Dark, which was released through German label AdP Records in Europe and BonFire Records in North America earlier this year, the Berlin-based pop duo Wolf & Moon, comprised of Dennis and Stef, received attention across Germany and elsewhere. They made appearances at  SXSW and Reeperbahn Festival, where they received a Best Newcomer Award nomination at the festival’s VIA Indie Awards. Adding to a growing profile, the act has received airplay on several Dutch radio stations including 3FM-FX, ZuidWestFM, BredaNu, A-FM and Indie XL, Chicago’s WGN, and German radio stations like Sputnik, DETEKTOR FM and SWR3. They’ve also been featured in The Guardian.

While establishing a sound that the duo have described on their Facebook Fan Page as “somewhere between the folky sound of Angus and Julia Stone and the electronic influences of The xx . . .,” the duo have developed a reputation for relentless touring with a minimalist live set up — generally, a travel guitar, electronic drum machine, a mini Casio keyboard and their voices. Building upon a growing international profile, the Berlin-based pop duo recently were approached an export grant from the Dutch Music Exchange and will be releasing their highly-anticipated sophomore album next year.

But in the meantime, the duo’s latest single “Situations” is a deliberately crafted, hook-driven pop confection centered around shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line and the duo’s hushed boy-girl harmonies — and while bearing a resemblance to thee breezy pop of JOVM mainstays Geowulf and Moonbabies, the track as the band explains is about grappling with what to do when you’re stuck in a bad place, whether it be political or personal.

 

 

New Audio: Montreal’s Corridor Releases a Breezy Genre-Defying Jam

With the release of 2015’s Le Voyage Éternel and 2017’s Supermercado, the Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor — longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar) and Julien Bakvis (drums) — quickly won attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere, as they received glowing praise from the likes of NPR and Vice, who referred to Supermercado as “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 .  . . ”  Last year, building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Quebecois band toured across Europe and made their Stateside debut with appearances at SXSW and Northside Music Festival. Shortly after, they returned to the States, touring with British post-punk act Shame.

This year, the band opened for Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour, and they’ve already made appearances at the London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival. Adding to an already busy year, the band’s third full-length album Junior is slated for an October 18, 2019 release through Sub Pop Records, making them the first Francophone band that the renowned indie label has ever signed.  Junior, which continues their ongoing collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Either finds the band jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors — out of inspired necessity. Although the members of Corridor had just signed to their new label, the band firmly committed themselves to releasing a new album every two years. Sub Pop gently warned the band that if they wanted to release new material this fall that they needed material by May 10.

So with the ink barely dried on the finalized deal, the members of Corridor went into the studio and recorded Junior in an inspired blitz, finishing the album in mid-April. Six of the album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend — with the lyrics to “Bang” written on the eve of the sessions, as the band’s Jonathan Robert began to panic. And as a result, the album’s material features fewer expansive jams, fewer overdubs. Even the album’s artwork came in the nick of time: in spite of other, meticulous and gorgeous artwork they received, Robert’s “shitty last minute collage” (of an egg saying hello) was the one his bandmates went for. “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions.

Last month, I wrote about Junior’s first single “Topographe,” a crafted, breakneck gallop centered around jittering and jangling guitars, propulsive drumming and reverb-drenched call and response vocals creating a muscular swoon that seems to evoke the fluttering pangs of love. “Domino,” Junior’s second and latest single is a breezy and infectious track that’s one part New Zealand-styled jangle pop and one part explosive, motorik groove-driven jam, with a tight hook. And while revealing a band with a remarkable ability to craft an infectious tune, the band manages to balance deliberation and order with a wild, unadulterated frenzy.

“People are often glorifying what being an artist or a musician can mean. Art doesn’t necessarily make you a better person,” the band’s Jonathan Robert says in press notes. “There can be angst, stress and so on. It can have a negative, direct impact on the people closest to you. ‘Domino’ is about navigating just that. It is the first song out of Junior that we’ve composed and we’ve played it live quite a few times already.”

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Yola Performs “It Ain’t Easier” at YouTube Space NYC

Throughout the bulk of this past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the rising Bristol, UK-born, London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Yola. And as you may recall, the JOVM mainstay’s extraordinary personal life have inspired her Dan Auerbach-produced full-length debut Walk Through Fire, which was released   earlier this year through Easy Eye Sound.

2019 has been a breakthrough year for the Bristol-born, London-based singer/songwriter and JOVM mainstay: she made her New York debut earlier this year at Rockwood Music Hall, played an attention-grabbing SXSW set and has opened for Kacey Musgraves, Lake Street Dive and Andrew Bird on a select series of US tour dates, which has included stops at the Newport Folk Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Austin City Limits Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors and Brandi Carlile’s Girls Just Wanna Weekend in Mexico. She played Mavis Staples’ traveling, 80th birthday celebration tour — and made her national TV debut on CBS This Morning: Saturday Sessions performing several songs off Walk Through Fire. 

Additionally, the JOVM mainstay performed an intimate set at YouTube Space, which was simultaneously filmed for later distribution across the internet. During that set, she played one of my favorite track off the album, “It Ain’t Easier,” a carefully crafted and earnest love song centered around the concept that love always takes effort and care to survive. 

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstay El Dusty Teams Up with Tiano Bless on a Sultry Club Banger

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Corpus Christi, TX-based JOVM mainstay producer, DJ and electronic music artist, El Dusty. And as you amy recall, the Corpus Christi-born JOVM pioneer has received attention across the blogosphere as a pioneer of a sub-genre he’s dubbed “nu cumbia,” which features elements of hip-hop. drum ‘n’ bass, house music and samples of classic and beloved cumbia songs in a swaggering, genre-defying and club banging take on traditional border music. 

Not only has El Dusty received a a Latin Grammy nomination for his work, he was named on of Rolling Stone‘s 10 New Artists You Need to Know, Billboard‘s New Latin Act and to Watch and was placed on Pandora‘s Latin Artists to Watch. He’s also played at EDC Las Vegas, EDC Mexico, Ciudad Sonido Festival, Fiesta De La Flor, Universal Records‘ Latin Grammy Showcase, Brisk Bodega Tour, the Mad Decent Block Party, Austin City Limits, SXSW, and others.  And adding to a growing profile, the Corpus Christi-born and-based JOVM mainstay released his full-length debut, last year’s Cumbia City, an album that found him pushing his sound and approach in new directions, further revealing why he has quickly become a highly sought-after producer and collaborator. 

Since the release of Cumbia City, El Dusty has been busy producing original music and collaborating with a variety of artists on releases through his independent label Americano Label. His latest single “El Pescador” is a sultry, two-step inducing club banger, centered around thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a classic cumbia sample that prominently features accordion and Latin percussion and an enormous hook paired with 2012 Rototom Latin contest winner, drummer and vocalist Tiano Bless contributing hip-hop inspired rhymes to the proceedings.