Tag: Sylvan Esso

New Video: Lillian Frances’ Brightly Colored and Summery Visual for Infectious Pop Banger “Raincheck Summer”

Lillian Frances is a Davis, CA-based singer/songwriter, producer and self-described “sonic collager.” Inspired by the creative nature of children, Frances’ work isn’t bound to genre or style conventions: her work frequently meshes and blurs lines between a variety of genres and styles within the same song with shapeshifting aplomb — and Frances pairs that with lyrics sung in English and Spanish. 

Developing a sound that some have compared favorably to Lorde, Sylvan Esso, and Billie Eilish, Frances’ 2018 effort Timeism EP was released to praise from NPR’s Heavy Rotation, Indie Shuffle, and Cap Radio. Frances has opened for Sylvan Esso and played alongside Shakey Graves, Sage the Gemini, and Lexi Panterra. Additionally, she has made appearances at a number of regional festivals, including Sacramento PorchFest, the Davis Music Festival and the Davis Cherry Blossom Festival among others. 

Building upon a growing profile, Frances’ full-length debut Moonrise Queendom is slated for a June 5, 2020 release, and the album’s first single “Raincheck Summer” is a breezy and forward thinking pop confection featuring wobbling low end,  twinkling and clattering polyrhythm,  bursts of shimmering and emotive cellos, an infectious hook and Frances’ sultry vocals.  Centered around a coquettish and mischievous push and pull, the track is a summertime anthem — albeit, an oddly quarantine appropriate song in which you never quite hang out with anyone. And yet underlying its bold playfulness, the song as Frances explains, “explores the idea of authentic connection.” 

Directed by Lillian Frances, the recently released video employs a bright color palette as we follow Frances riding a bike, playing in a pool, in front of a childhood lemonade stand  and sunbathing bringing back memories of past summers. Of course, throughout the entire course of the video, we see the Davis-based singer/songwriter completely alone, which is strangely appropriate for what may be a quarantined summer for a lot of us. 

Grace Joyner is an emerging Charleston, SC-based singer/songwriter, who has spent the bulk of her career as a harmony and backing singer for several bands in and around the Low Country. Back in 2014, Joyner stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with the release of her debut EP, Young Fools, an effort that found her reflecting on a difficult yet important time in her own life — and that naturally inspired her own original songwriting, “I think there is something valuable in admitting your mistakes, as well as recognizing the power within you to leave them behind.  Somewhere in the middle of learning that getting hurt does not make you weak, I started the healing process — I started writing music,” Joyner said at the time.

Joyner’s full-length debt, 2016’s Wolfgang Zimmerman-produced Maybe Sometimes in C wound up being a way for the Charleston-based singer/songwriter to further define her musical perspective and showcase her maturation and growth as a songwriter, with the material thematically focusing on moving from heartbreak and into a place of independence and self-assurance. Joyner’s sophomore album Settle In continues her ongoing collaboration with Zimmerman but while reportedly finding her taking bigger creative risks: the material explores more personal topics, including her romantic failures, her family and her relationship to her career. “I took my time with Settle In. This record covers a lot of ground for me. I took bigger risks in my songwriting process and pushed personal boundaries by exploring content around my romantic struggles, my family, and my relationship with the pursuit of music itself,” Joyner explains in press notes. ” But, ultimately, you can’t choose what or who you love, and if you don’t give it a fair shot you might never know what could have been.”

Now, as you may recall, last month I wrote about the shimmering Stevie Nicks and Sylvan Esso-like “Fake Girlfriend,” which found Joyner and Zimmerman crafting ambitious yet accessible disco-influenced dream pop. “Hung The Moon,” Settle In‘s latest single is a slow-bending track centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, Joyner’s plaintive and yearning vocals paired with an enormous track. And while being a remarkably cinematic track, the song focuses on an important and intimate moment in one’s life: the recognition that a major romantic relationship is at a cross roads and that you have to make an uncomfortable decision.  “Production wise, this was one of the first songs we recorded and it is an example of how exploratory I was in the approach to this record,” Joyner adds in press notes.

Grace Joyner is an emerging singer/songwriter, who has spent the bulk of her career as a harmony and backing singer for several  bands in the Charleston, SC area. In 2014, Joyner stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with the release of her debut EP, 2014’s Young Fools, an effort that reflected on a difficult yet important time in her life — and inspired her own songwriting. “I think there is something valuable in admitting your mistakes, as well as recognizing the power within you to leave them behind.  Somewhere in the middle of learning that getting hurt does not make you weak, I started the healing process — I started writing music,” Joyner said at the time.

Joyner’s full-length debt, 2016’s Wolfgang Zimmerman-produced Maybe Sometimes in C wound up being a way for the Charleston-based singer/songwriter to further define her musical perspective and showcase her maturation and growth as a songwriter, with the material thematically focusing on moving from heartbreak and into a place of independence and self-assurance. Her forthcoming sophomore album Settle In continues her ongoing collaboration with producer and engineer Wolfgang Zimmernan — and the album reportedly finds Joyner taking bigger risks with the material exploring much more personal topics including her romantic failures, her family and her relationship to her career. Building upon a growing profile, Joyner has made appearances across the national festival circuit with sets at SXSW and Savannah Stopover. She has also recorded sessions for Daytrotter and Breakthru Radio — and most importantly, “Dreams” appeared on The CW’s Riverdale

Her soon-to-be released sophomore album Settle In finds the Charleston-based singer/songwriter continuing her ongoing collaboration with Wolfgang Zimmeran while furthering her development as an artist and songwriter. “I took my time with Settle In. This record covers a lot of ground for me. I took bigger risks in my songwriting process and pushed personal boundaries by exploring content around my romantic struggles, my family, and my relationship with the pursuit of music itself,” Joyner explains in press notes. ” But, ultimately, you can’t choose what or who you love, and if you don’t give it a fair shot you might never know what could have been.”

“Fake Girlfriend,” Settle In‘s second single is a mesmerizing and swooning song featuring  a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, shuffling four-on-the-floor,  Joyner’s achingly plaintive vocals and an infectious hook, reminiscent of Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back” and Sylvan Esso. Centered around a slick, dance floor friendly production, the track finds Joyner and Zimmerman creating ambitious yet remarkably accessible disco-influenced dream pop.

 

With the release of their full-length debut Colors, the Galveston, TX-based act El Lago — Lauren Eddy, Jacob Villarreal, Charles Eddy and Jaron Hal — quickly established an unhurried and reverb-drenched take on dream pop, which resulted in a lengthy tour that included stops across the national festival circuit, sharing stages with the likes of Stereolab‘s Laetitia Sadier, JOVM mainstays Sylvan Esso, The Black Angels and Blushing, Holy Wave and Crumb.

Slated for release later this year through Wallflower Records, El Lago’s forthcoming sophomore effort Pyramid reportedly finds the band’s sound and approach evolving in  new direction as they increasingly incorporated elements of post-punk and New Wave into the dream pop and shoegazer-like sound that won them attention, essentially adding a darker element to their sound.  Interestingly, Pyramid‘s latest single “Endless” is centered by the prerequisite layers of fuzzy and distorted guitars and ethereal vocals of shoegaze within an expansive song structure — but with a muscular and forceful insistence.

New Video: Follow Acclaimed Indie Act Hippo Campus on the Road in New Visuals for “Honestly”

Comprised of Jake Luppen (vocals, guitar), Nathan Stocker (guitar, vocals), Zach Sutton (bass, keys) and Whistler Isaiah Allen (drums, vocals), the acclaimed St. Paul, MN-based indie rock act Hippo Campus can trace their origins to when the members of the quartet met while attending the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Interestingly, at the time, the members of Hippo Campus were playing in a number of different, local bands before forming their current project.

Hippo Campus independent released their Alan Sparhawk-produced debut EP Bashful Creatures in 2014. But when they signed to Grand Jury Records, their new label re-released the EP during the following year. The EP which featured singles “Little Grace” and “Suicide Saturday” was supported with an appearance at SXSW, their national, late night TV debut on Conan, a live session on KRCW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and KEXP before ending the year with an appearance on CBS This Morning. Paste Magazine also named them that year’s The Best of What’s Next. 

“The Halocline” was featured in the series finale of TNT’s Falling Skies and building upon a growing profile, the members of Hippo Campus toured with Modest Mouse, Walk the Moon, The Mowgli’s, JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket, Vacationer and My Morning Jacket. They also toured across the national festival circuit, playing sets at Lollapalooza, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Minneapolis’ Rock the Garden — and an appearance at the Reading and Leeds Festival. They ended the year with the release of their sophomore EP, 2015’s South, which landed at #16 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. 

2017 saw the release of the band’s critically applauded and commercially successful, BJ Burton-produced, full-length debut Landmark, which featured album singles “Boyish” and “Way It Goes.” As a result of the album landing at #3 on the Billboard Heatseekers Charts, the band made their second appearance on Conan, and went out a headlining international tour that included festival stops at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. They ended the year with the release of the warm glow EP.

Last spring and last summer, the St. Paul-based indie rock act played at Sasquatch Music Festival, the Reading and Leeds Festivals and they opened for Sylvan Esso at Red Rocks before releasing their critically applauded BJ Burton-produced sophomore album Bambi. Interestingly, album singles “Passenger,” “Golden,” and album title track “Bambi” found the band pushing their sound in a new direction, as the material incorporates an increasing amount of synths and drum programming, 

Bambi’s latest single “Honestly” is centered around shimmering synths, angular guitars, a propulsive rhythm section and a soaring hook — and in some way the track reminds me of JOVM mainstays White Reaper, who also pushed their sound in a similar direction while maintaining an ability to craft an infectious, radio friendly hook. Underlying that  the song possesses a wistful air for something seemingly simple and easy although that may be an illusion that you have to learn to deal with. 

Directed by Brittany O’Brien, the recently released video for “Honestly,” follows the band goofing off behind the scenes while on tour — but underneath the hijinks and glamour, there’s the recognition that a life eon the road is lonely and profoundly strange. 

 

With the release of their slow-burning, genre-bending debut single “Just Wanna See,” the Washington, DC-based indie electro pop trio SHAED, comprised of multi-instrumentalists, production duo and twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernest and Chelsea Lee (vocals) quickly received attention for a sound that has been favorably compared to Florence & The Machine, Sia, Justin Timberlake and Sylvan Esso. However, “Trampoline,” which appears on their latest EP, 2018’s Melt has been their breakout hit, as it recently made a prominent appearance in Apple’s ad campaign for the new MacBook Air — and once you hear the song, it shouldn’t be surprising as to why it was chosen: Lee’s sultry vocals float ethereally over a slick, hyper-modern yet chilly production centered around wobbling and arpeggiated synths, finger snaps, a distorted backing vocal sampled and a soaring hook.  And while bearing an uncanny resemblance to JOVM mainstays Sylvan Esso, the track is infectious and radio friendly.

Building upon a growing profile, the members of the Washington, DC-based indie electro pop trio will be making appearances at Firefly Music Festival and Electric Forest, as part of a headlining national tour that includes a February 22, 2019 stop at Baby’s All Right. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
2/22 @ The Rec Room (WLKK) in Buffalo, NY #
2/13 @ The Camden Assembly Pub in London, UK #
2/24 @ Subterranean in Chicago, IL #
2/26 @ Great Scott in Allston, MA #
2/27 @Baby’s All Right in New York, NY #
3/1 @ Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia, PA #
3/2 @ U Street Music Hall in Washington, DC #
3/6 @ The Drake Underground in Toronto, CA #
3/7 @ The Hollow (WEQX) in Albany, NY #
3/9 @ Steadfast Festival in Columbus, OH
3/12 @ Pub Rock (ALT AZ) in Phoenix, AZ #
3/13 @ Moroccan Lounge in Los Angeles, CA #
3/15 @ Popscene in San Francisco, CA #
6/21-23 @ Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE
6/27-30 @ Electric Forest in Rothbury, MI

 

# Headline

New Audio: Introducing the Breezy Yet Restless Pop of Mad Hawkes

Mad Hawkes is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, who dubs her sound and aesthetic as “babe rock,” citing Karen O. and Amy Winehouse as influences on her and her work. Interestingly, Hawkes can trace the origins of her music career to an internship at Parts + Labor Records: As the story goes, label head and producer Jimmy Messer, who has worked with AWOLNATION, Kygo, Kelly Clarkson and others encouraged Hawkes to write with an emotional honesty — and as a result. the music she has written since then touches upon angst, heartache, confusion and so on while paired with breezy and upbeat melodies; in fact, Hawkes latest single “Face Pinch” sounds as though it were influenced by JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket, Sylvan Esso and Dirty Ghosts but with a restless energy and thumping beats. 

With the release of “Superego,” which received nearly 3 million streams on Spotify, the Vienna, Austria-based indie electro pop duo Leyya, quickly emerged into both the national and international scenes. Adding to a growing profile, the duo comprised of Sophie Lindinger and Marco Kleebauer played sets across the European Union’s festival circuit. including The Great EscapeLiverpool Sound CityTallinn Music WeekPrimavera SoundReeperbahn FestivalIceland Airwaves and a headlining set at Popfest. Along with that the duo have received airplay on Huw Stephens‘ and Phil Taggart‘s BBC Radio 1 shows and Lauren Laverne‘s BBC Radio 6 show, been playlisted on Germany’s Radio 1, as well as praise from Pigeons and PlanesWonderland MagazineClash MagazineKonbiniThe 405 and Consequence of Sound among others.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’d know that the duo’s sophomore effort Sauna was released earlier this year, and from album single “Drumsolo,” the duo further cemented a growing reputation for crafting ambient and moody electro pop while expanding upon their sound with elements of hip-hop, R&B and jazz in a way that reminded me of Flourish//Perish-era BRAIDS and Clearing-era Softspot but with a coquettish and swaggering self-assuredness. Interestingly, “Wannabe,” is a standalone single, released as a follow up to their critically applauded sophomore effort and the track is a breezy and summery track that finds the duo’s sound nodding at JOVM mainstays Sylvan Esso, as Lindinger’s coquettish and ethereal vocals float over a slick production consisting of layers of stuttering and staccato beats, bubbling synths, gently swirling electronics and an anthemic hook. Lyrically, the song manages to walk a tightrope between spirited animation and deep introspection, which gives the danceable song a palpable yet subtle emotional heft.

As the duo says of the single, “After releasing our second album Sauna we tried to avoid the post-release-down with being creative and writing new music straight away. The song is circling around a problem almost everyone can relate to: Wanting to be like somebody else. Ironically – we find – its often also the other way around.“

 

 

 

 

New Audio: JOVM Sylvan Esso Return with a Sinuous and Propulsive Dance Floor Friendly Single

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’ve come across a handful of posts featuring JOVM mainstays and blogosphere darlings Sylvan Esso. And as you may recall, the duo of Mountain Man’s Amelia Heath (vocals, synths)  and Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn (synths, programming, production) have received attention for  a slick, minimalist yet propulsive and thumping pop sound that’s a radical departure from the duo’s previous, individual projects.

Continuing their ongoing run of critically applauded and commercially successful releases, the duo’s Grammy-nominated, sophomore effort What Now featured the duo crafting material that inched towards a self-assured and coquettish, dance floor and radio friendly sound as you would have heard on album singles like “Radio,” “Jump Kick Start,” and “Die Young.” Thematically, the material on What Now focused on a critical and deeply sobering question” where we do go now as a culture, when it feels as though everyone and everything is standing at a precipice?  And as result, What Now’s material was imbued with the urgency of our contemporary political moment. 

“PARAD(w/m)e,” the duo’s first single of 2018 — and the follow up to their critically and commercially successful sophomore effort, will further cement their reputation for coquettish yet forward looking electro pop as Heath’s come hither cooing is paired with a slick and glittering production featuring shimmering arpeggiated synths, hand clap-led percussion, thumping beats and a sinuous hook.  And while sonically being upbeat, lyrically the song continues in a similar vein as their sophomore effort, as it manages to be deceptively ambivalent — is a celebration of love or a celebration of survival at all costs? Considering the contemporary political moment, perhaps ambivalence at all things is par for the course.